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Creedence Week No 2: Fortunate Son

In these times of American and European military intervention in the middle east, it’s pertinent to offer up a meditation on the themes of war and privileged, although this isn’t a meditation, more of a screaming rant. And I like a good rant.

One of the great things about John Fogerty is that he is in a select group of rock musicians that can translate screaming anger onto vinyl. And not many get angrier than he does here. For best effect, you should turn the volume up so that it’s just too loud for you, then turn it up a little bit more. Now that’s anger.

Great opening drums and bass, throbbing with indignation right from the start, then a repeated descending lick on the lead guitar that has an air of fed up inevitability about it, and then straight in, and I mean straight in.

If you think his voice sounds angry, just listen to the words:

Some folks are born,

made to wave the flag

hoooh their red, white and blue

and when the band plays "Hail to the Chief"

oooh they point the cannon at you

Although the song doesn’t state it explicitly, what’s got Fogerty all riled up is that the privileged sons of important Americans were somehow avoiding the draft or, if drafted, were avoiding active service in Vietnam.

Simple, but then the song becomes a rant as relevant today as it ever is, suggesting that the real wealthy who may well be the political warmongers and who may well be the best placed to benefit economically from war, are likely to be the same people who are finding as many tax loopholes as they can. Listen to the scorn in the line "Lord, don’t they help themselves”. The lines are often prefixed with an angry Hooooh or Oooh and ended with a muttered “Lord” or “ phaw", or “phaw yaw” as though he’s spluttering with rage so much he just can’t get it out. But he does, clear as a bell:

Some folks are born,

silver spoon in hand

Lord don't they help themselves

but when the taxman comes to the door

Lord the house looks like a rummage sale

Look at each accusatory first line “some folks are born” and “some folks inherit” None of them are spared:

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes

hoooh they send you down to war

and when you ask them, "How much should we give?"

hoooh they only answer "More! More! More!"

the best socio economic critique of war there is in rock

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate son

Lest we forget, indeed.

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