Saxophonist Charles Lloyd has made a cover version of Bob Dylan’s protest song “Masters Of War.” Lloyd and Blue Note Records timed the release of the single—a track from the album I Long To See You—to coincide with today’s inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president of The United States. The world’s troubles in 2017 echo the uneasy Cold War standoff of 1962 and 1963 when Dylan wrote the song. Dylan said then,
I’ve never written anything like that before. I don’t sing songs which hope people will die, but I couldn’t help it with this one. The song is a sort of striking out… a feeling of what can you do?
In a news release accompanying the release, Lloyd is quoted,
Nations have been throwing rocks at each other for 1000s of years. We go through spells of light and darkness. In my lifetime I have witnessed periods of peace, protest, and uprising, only to be repeated by peace, protest and more uprising. The fact that Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” was written in the early 1960s and not during the last decade, makes it timeless and timely. It breaks my heart to think that there are current generations of young people all over the world who are growing up without knowing of Peace in their lives. The words Dylan wrote are a laser beam on humanity.
The recording is by Lloyd’s band, Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: Lloyd, tenor saxophone; Bill Frisell, guitar; Greg Leisz, pedal steel guitar; Reuben Rogers, bass; and Eric Harland, drums. The powerful vocal is by the folk, blues, rock and country singer Lucinda Williams.
Lucinda Williams’ father, Miller Williams (1930-2015), was the poet who read his inaugural poem, “Of History And Hope,” after President Bill Clinton was sworn in for his second term twenty years ago today. To see and hear Professor Williams deliver it, go here.