Episode Eight: Robert Moses

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work on an HBO movie entitled "Freedom Song" about the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or SNCC. I have always been interested in the subject of Civil Rights and particularly the freedom rides that started in the early sixties and paved the way educating blacks giving them the skills they needed in order to cast a vote at a time when racial hatred had forbidden it.

While making the project every effort was made to be as authentic as possible to the truth of those times. I remember the actual stools that from the Woolworth's cafe counter in Greensboro, Miss where one of the most famous sit-ins had taken place were loaned to us to shoot that sequence.

The most amazing part of being involved in that film was standing in the presence of Robert Moses.

I think that Robert Moses may be one of the most important men still alive in this country. His work and continued efforts to educate and spread a word of love and freedom are astounding to me.

I was just recently looking around online for photographs I could possibly afford to purchase that concern this time period in American history and came across Robert Moses's website which has a great history of those tumultuous time, oh and guess what, some sound files as well.

I thought the audio files seem perfect for a first in a long time episode of Soundbytez.


Wiki Robert Moses


Robert Moses Telephone Interview
Conducted over the phone by John Greene and Jeremy Jackson
Date unknown

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Episode Seven: Woody Guthrie

Truth be told, I used to think that I "should" love Woody Guthrie because he represented so many beliefs and ideas that I believe in, but now, in last few years, my love of Woody Guthrie and his music has become real, for many reasons.
It all started when Billy Bragg's Grammy winning album "Mermaid Avenue" came out. The album was a labor of love that Bragg did after being approached by Woody Guthrie's daughter who offered him a chance to go through a vast amount of unrecorded Guthrie material and at his discretion pick lyrics that he would then put music to. The whole project lasted more than a year and the resulting albums are wonderful. This album did two things for my world of music appreciation. It Introduced me to the band Wilco, which served as the "back-up" band for the Mermaid Ave. sessions and it made me a huge fan of Woody Guthrie the story teller.
The other event that made me a great Woody Fan was having a child. I remember when I was young and went to this progressive school in Brooklyn, NY there was a class called "Rythm's" which was basically a folk dancing class. It was taught by a woman name Margaret Mayo, who was a friend of Woody's and in the course of that class I was inculcated with a broad love of amongst other things Woody Guthries music. Now that I have a son of my own and rediscovering so many of Woody's playful children songs, it made me pick up my guitar and for the first time in my life. actual play it with abandon and just put the songs out there. There may be nothing more joyful than singing along with children.
Anyway's. too make a long life history short, I decided to add Woody to Soundbytze just the other day when a co-worker gave me this set of Woody Guthrie interviews made by Alan Lomax as part of his "Oral Histories" that he made in the 1940's. Amongst the many powerful and beautiful ideas that Woody puts out is a haunting account of a dust storm that pert near sounds like the end of the world. And after the account Woody sings a very early version of one of my favorite songs of all time. "So long, it's been good to know you"

Woody Guthrie: "So Long It's Been Good To Know You"
Alan Lomax Oral Histories
Library of Congress Recordings 1940


Episode Six: Dave Rabbit

Dave Rabbit is the creator and DJ of a pirate radio station that broadcast from Saigon in 1970 and 1971.

I first heard excerpts from "Radio First Termers" through a friend who had a cassette that was given to him by another friend who served time in the war.

I listened to the tape only once, and for 20 years I never forgot it. As far as I am concerned it is as close to combat as I ever want to get. It is scary and intense and fearful and sad and many other things, to me.

When I started this podcast, "Radio First Termers" was the one thing I thought about putting into SoundBytze. I opted not to start my program using the material because I didn't want to set the stage and make it an impossible act to follow.

Of course my experience may not be yours and also I think hearing just these few excepts further disconnects the horror I find in in the message.

Here is the inexplicably bizarre part of episode five. Just before uploading the show I did one last google on "who is Dave Rabbit" and came up with an article that came out five days ago written by the man himself. 35 years in hiding, no one has ever known his identity, I wait until right now to put my little sound byte out there and low and behold, Dave Rabbit lives!

Go figure.

(2009 Update: If you enjoyed this episode, your gonna go nuts over the Radio First Termer Restoration page I  finished a while back)

Dave Rabbit
Radio First Termer
Saigon, Vietnam

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