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Various Artists

Give Us Your Poor

17 New Recordings to Help End Homelessness

(Appleseed; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: Available as import)

The statistics concerning homelessness are sad and staggering. As the liner notes to Give Us Your Poor point out, in the course of any given year: 3.5 million Americans are homeless, 41% of all homeless are families, and one out of four homeless is a child under the age of 10. This fund-raising CD brings together established musicians, socially committed actors, and currently, or previously, homeless musicians in a moving collection of songs and stories. Notable contributors include Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger performing a bouncy rendition of “Hobo’s Lullaby”, Bonnie Raitt and the elderly Weepin’ Willie Robinson cooking on “Walking the Dog”,  and rocker Jon Bon Jovi and the formerly indigent bluesman Mighty Sam McClain on “Show Me the Way”. Natalie Merchant, joined by six musicians who had been homeless for various periods, does a moving song penned by one of the dispossessed artists, “There is No Good Reason”. Madeline Peyroux, Michelle Shoked, and Keb’ Mo’ are among the other musicians doing good work here. The actors do their bit to, including Danny Glover and Tim Glover, but the voices of the actual homeless make the strongest impact.


Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.

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Natalie Merchant and Mighty Sam McClain
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