WC’s buddy Ray Funk, a highly respected music scholar and writer (and another unsuccessfully retired lawyer), pointed WC to a timely, powerful Gaby Moreno cover of David Rudder’s 1998 song, “The Immigrants.”
Here are the lyrics. An acoustic version of Moreno’s cover is below the lyrics. WC likes both the metaphors and the very clever use of different immigrant music heritages to illustrate just how important immigrants are. And then uses our own, most cherished words to underscore the point.
So much trouble in the home of the brave and the land of the free
Am I an immigrant or am I a new slave, made for all brutality?
I don’t think so.
Is it that man has lost his reason?
You can’t even blame the heat
They’re moving like jackals in the hunting season
And the refugee’s soul is the meat
The immigrants are here to stay, to help build America
The immigrants ain’t going nowhere, they’re here for America
Fighting for a better life, fighting through the grunge
America remember Ellis Island, we all came here to take the plunge
I hope you understand it.
Take me away now with your sweet soul calypso, a cumbia and a reggae
Like a punta rock and a salsa samba, a high life bhangra merengue
In other words
This is a different kind of apple now, New York City
Or like an orange, I love L.A.
What a delight so bright and juicy
But a little spicy to the taste Chorus
We all hold this truth to be self-evident
That all men are created equal
Bring your sick, bring your needy
In the early evening, by the dawn’s early light
Remember the founding fathers
Home of the brave, land of the free
You and me
From the New York island, from sea to shining sea!
Music can have an outsized influence on world events. Country Joe MacDonald’s raucous “I Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Rag,” did more to stop the Vietnam War than any ten protests; Peter Gabriel’s heartbreaking “Biko” made the evil of the Apartheid policies real. Maybe Rudder’s song can accomplish something similar. We can hope.