The perfect playlist for any 4th of July party

Posted 6/26/19
While beer, barbecue and good company are essentials for a 4th of July party, perhaps most important is the music. Two audiophiles with deep knowledge have compiled their opinion of the top 15 songs no 4th of July party can be without.

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The perfect playlist for any 4th of July party

While beer, barbecue and good company are essentials for a 4th of July party, perhaps most important is the music. Two audiophiles with deep knowledge have compiled their opinion of the top 15 songs no 4th of July party can be without. Nate Malmgren (DJ Silace Amaro) is a local DJ, record dealer, volunteer and occasional guest DJ on KPTZ. His 2019 4th of July playlist commemorates the Declaration of Independence and will complement any 4th of July party or family picnic. Chuck Moses, a vinyl record collector and event organizer for the annual Port Townsend Record Show and owner of Resurrection Vinyl, 835 Water St., in Port Townsend. Nate’s List: 1 Bob Dylan, “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” (1965) “’I think I’ll call it America, I said as we hit land.’ Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream is an abstract portrait of an America that is still free, in process of discovery. An appropriate introduction to any Independence Day playlist with tall hats, watermelons and all.” 2 Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son” (1969) “It ain’t me...” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son addresses the ruling class, consumerism, and the problem of unconditional patriotism. “Some folks inherit star spangled eyes ... when you ask them, how much should we give? the only answer is More! More! More!” 3 Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.” (1984) “Probably the most popular 4th of July song on this list, many folks miss how Born in the U.S.A. addresses the harmful effects of war on Americans and the treatment of veterans upon their return home. It is often misinterpreted as purely sensational- a blind patriotic ballad, though it is not so.” 4 Lee Dorsey, “Yes We Can” (1970) “Written by the great Allen Toussaint this original version of the song advocates for unity and carries a positive message on the 4th. “We got to make this land a better land than the world in which we live.” Funky drums and bass line also make for a nice dance groove.” 5 Steve Miller Band, “Living in the U.S.A.” (1968) “An alternative to James Brown’s Living in America, this high energy cut references the rise of commercialism in America, “we’re living in a plastic land, somebody give me a hand, yeah.” Please pick up your trash this 4th of July.” 6 Sly & the Family Stone, “Everyday People” (1968) “Because that’s what this country is really about. Or should be. We are the 99% everyday people. ‘I am no better and neither are you - We are the same whatever we do.’” 7 Neil Young, “Keep on Rockin in the Free World” (1989) “Similar to ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ this classic red, white, & blue tune addresses many political shortcomings at the time. Still relevant today and first performed live on February 21, 1989, in Seattle without the band having rehearsed it.” 8 Prince, “America” (1985) “’Aristocrats on a mountain climb - Making money, losing time - Socialism is just a word - But if the government turn over - It’ll be the only word that’s heard.’ So true. Everyone with a Social Security card is a “card-carrying Socialist” as far as I’m concerned. Who cares.” 9 Toots & the Maytals, “Country Roads” (1973) “Because what’s more appropriate on the 4th of July than a reggae band covering of John Denver? Country Roads has pure Americana written all over it.” 10 Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, “This Land Is Your Land” (2005) “Woody Guthrie wrote ‘This Land Is Your Land’ in response to ‘God Bless America,’ which he felt wasn’t very realistic. When he first composed the song in 1941, he titled it ‘God Blessed America for Me.’ Sharon Jones covers the full version of the song in 2005 and it is awesome on so many levels.” 11 Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam” (1964) “’And I mean every word of it.’ In 2019, ‘Mississippi Goddam’ was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. ‘You don’t have to live next to me - Just give me my equality.’” 12 Phil Ochs,“Power and Glory” (1964) “But our land is still troubled by men who have to hate - They twist away our freedom & they twist away our fate - Fear is their weapon and treason is their cry - We can stop them if we try” 13 David Bowie, “Young Americans” (1975) “Because no playlist is complete without some Bowie. This one is about young Americans. The rest is open for interpretation, like much of Bowie’s work. Still a great dance number on the 4th.” 14 Mavis Staples, “We Go High” (2017) “Produced by Jeff Tweedy this cut came from a Michelle Obama speech and delivers a message of tolerance and compassion from the late, great Mavis Staples herself.” 15 John Lennon, “Bring on the Lucie” (Freda People) (1973) “A perfect finale to the evolution of America’s Independence as we now know it. A message to corporate America and the U.S. government that serves them. ‘Let’s shout it out loud like a prayer- FREE THE PEOPLE NOW!!!’ Happy 4th of July!” Chuck’s list: “This list celebrates the energy of summertime and the dependence we share in community,” Moses said. 1 Van Morrison, “Almost Independence Day” “Let this song transport you.”’ 2 Cat Stevens, “Peace Train” “Carry on, don’t give up.” 3 Bob Dylan, “The Times They are a Changin” “Dylan’s clarity says it all here,” 4 The Beatles, “A Hard Day’s Night” “Thanks Mom for taking me to the drive-in on the 4th of July.” 5 Martha and the Vandellas, “Dancing in the Street” “Time to shake it up” 6 Sly and the Family Stone, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” “Just the best dance song ever.” 7 Sister Sledge, “We are Family” “Keep the dance party moving.” 8 Earth Wind & Fire, “Fantasy” “An anthem of optimism.” 9 Bob Marley & the Wailers, “One Love/People Get Ready” “A call for community.” 10 The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations” “This song is so summertime.” 11 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning” “Greeting the day full of possibility.” 12 “Girl from Ipanema” “Barefoot on the beach.” 13 Steppenwolf, “Magic Carpet Ride” “Play it very loud.” 14 Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road” “On the road with The Boss.” 15 John Lennon, “Imagine” “A call to believe.”


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Joan Ward
Mavis Staples is alive and well, and recently recorded with Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt on Crow’s new song “Live Wire,” the latest single off her upcoming LP Threads. Loved the playlists!
Saturday, June 29