I was a teenager, maybe 16, when I first heard Tom Waits. His gravel studded notes always made me think “old man,” but he only now really fits that title. Closer to my age than I knew. Now I’m old too. Over 60. WTF!
Tom Waits contributed to Marc Ribot’s compendium of resistance songs from 1948 through 2018. The folk song roots trace back much further than even the Italian Civil War.
Old and sometimes weary. Like the resistance. A 21st Century version of the Italian Resistance song.
It is rather silly of me to only now understand how close my life’s beginnings were to the horror that was 20th Century World War. I was a child of the post World War II baby boom; born at the peak of that demographic spike.
The last half of the Twentieth Century in America wanted to cast itself as distinct, a thing apart from all that came before. Lawnmowers, red-checkered tablecloths, and squeaky clean white suburban families eating grilled meats from the barbecue. The then was distinct from now.
In truth it was all still a mush, a mashup of a newly carved up world. It was a fresh coat of paint and a nice new window framed by iron curtains over a weary world.
Pretend all we like, the same old struggle has returned to the forefront of 21st Century thought and action. Men, for the most part, attempting to carve up the world and assign, reassign, the dismembered bits through the machinations of politically and economically synched fiefdoms.