Monday, November 01, 2004

It's About Time

I have re-discovered an old song lately, written by Terry Callier (via HP Lovecraft) called "It's About Time":

Well it's about time for the rising sun
It's about time yeah, that the deed was done.
Whoa a better day's a comin', that's a thing I know.
You and me brother, we can make it so.

Whoa it's about time, for the wars to cease,
It's about time for the dawn of peace.
Well tear down the wall, break the sword and drum,
Yea, you and me brother, we can overcome.
We can overcome.

Have you seen the tears in the young one's eyes?
Have you heard the sound of the wronged ones cries?
Now we gotta get together, that I know for sure.
But you and me brother, we can make it so.
We can make it so.
We can make it so.
We can make it so.

I tend to follow my instincts about music, and for some reason this song has grabbed me lately. I first heard it on HP Lovecraft II from 1968. The song is practically buried in psychedelic wretched excess, but the vocals come through like a lighthouse, with a sense of gospel urgency. I just found it on CD, and started searching around for the lyrics. HP Lovecraft was a vocal-heavy rock combo out of Chicago, with a taste for trippy sounds; kind of like choir boys on acid. A little more research revealed that the song was written by a friend of the band, Terry Callier. Terry is a black folk/jazz/blues singer, a contemporary of the great Curtis Mayfield. I finally tracked down the original tune, from 1965. Terry was quite young then, but with a soul beyond his years.

Tonight is November 1, 2004, the night before the election. There is no more time left before what could be one of the most important decisions this country may make. I have heard of people making plans to move to Canada if Bush is re-elected, and there is a certain life-or-death urgency about it all. I keep wondering how I will cope if Bush wins. What I think this all comes down to is how we interact with Time.

Time is long, and life is short. Subconsciously, we all hope that while we're alive, we will see society achieve that plateau of perfection, the ultimate goal of our evolution. Kind of like on Star Trek, where the races get along, poverty has been eliminated, and utopia reigns, at least inside our local star system.

When Terry Callier sang "It's about time yeah, that the deed was done" was he thinking of 1965? 1966? 1970? As we sit here almost 40 years later, does it make him look like he was wrong? We have a tendency to smirk at utopians, at their foolishness. But I feel that recognizing good and evil, and taking a stand, lives apart from whether the time is actually coming for the ultimate triumph.

Even if George Bush and his neoconservative criminal cronies may indeed hang on to power another four years, that proves nothing. Taking a stand against injustice is putting your hands on the wheel of Love, and giving it a turn. We will not always see the fruits of our labors, but we must have faith that doing good, and opposing evil, must inexorably lead us on right path. I don't mean to hedge my bets here; I think Kerry has a great shot at a definitive win, but we must not wilt away if victory is snatched from the people again.

Perhaps it's a little ironic that the song ends with "make it so." This is one of the more famous lines delivered by Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise, always with a hand gesture, moving forward.

When the path is clear, why should we be afraid to "make it so?"

Music Links:
HP Lovecraft CD
New Folk Sound of Terry Callier
About the Boondocks comic strip (below)
After I had completely written my blog entry, I noticed the following comic strip, due to be printed the next day. I couldn't believe the serendipity at work here!
At the time, I wasn't sure what "C. P. Time" was, so I asked around, and found it refers to "Colored People Time," which is somewhat more flexible than Greenwich Mean Time.


Ric said...

"And where are the strong ones? And who are the trusted?" (from WHAT'S SO FUNNY 'BOUT PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING)

The Old Hippie said...

Geoff-First, I didn't know you had a blog!  Should have let me know.  Second, I'm a fan of Aaron McGruder also, but had missed that particular toon - Thanks for posting it.  On the song/utopian thing...  To be honest, I'm not really feeling all that utopian since the election, but the point is well made, and heard.  I shall endevor to rid myself of this deep blue funk, that I've fallen into of late, and try to get back into the fight of at least trying to "make it so."

Anonymous said...

The writing credit for Its about time is to Kent Foreman & Lydia Wood - not Terry Callier - who are they?

Geoff Gould said...

Since I don't know who posted the above comment, I don't know quite what to say. The songwriter of "It's About Time" is Terry Callier, although on the original HP Lovecraft vinyl (which I just looked at) it says "Collier." I don't know who Kent Foreman & Lydia Wood are; are you saying they are the actual writers, and somehow not gotten credit on the albums?