STFU – Top Ten Politically Influenced Songs…Number 9 – Mesopotamia

Posted on: February 6th, 2016 by STFU

STFU – Top Ten Politically Influenced Songs…


Number 9 – Mesopotamia


Next in the list (see first posting of ‘Number 10 – Martial Law’ for full explanation of this series of ‘song notes’) is the track ‘Mesopotamia’ from our second album ‘Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs’…it’s the final cut on the album and started life as a much more uptempo song in the vein of The Band (I’ve been trying to rip off ‘It Makes No Difference’ for years but still not managed it – maybe next time?)…


No easily recallable memory of whether the lyrics or chords came first but I think I had the title and then it flowed from there (but not sure) – the basic concept is about the elections following the 2nd Iraq War (Mesopotamia being the ancient name for the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates roughly encompassing modern day Iraq, Kuwait and Syria) and the subsequent re-election of Bush in 2004 (especially) and Blair in 2005 (less so, as a Labour voter I didn’t think I had that much choice)…

…“but oh the morning after we all saw what you did, looks like you lost your head”…

…the song lyrics tried to use the trick of making the whole thing seem like it was about one thing (a relationship) and not another (castigating US voters for re-electing Bush)…


Another main influence on the song (besides Helm, Hudson, Danko, Manuel & Robertson) was the Uncle Tupelo song ‘Anodyne’…check it out on youtube if you haven’t heard it for a while…I borrowed a copy for a few years from Sid (understandably he made me give it back eventually) and I’d always loved the slow pacing of the lyrics with the held title refrain in the chorus during the first sections sounding really beautiful before the steel kicks it up a gear…and overall it’s a great album too with their cover version of Doug Sahm’s ‘Give Back The Keys To My Heart’ with Doug guesting amongst many highlights (a shame Farrar and Tweedy couldn’t get on with each other and make more music as UT, but that’s the way it goes)…


I’ve tried to put this song back in the set (last time in March 2013 when line-up changed) since it fell out (during the 2008 touring) but it’s too damn slow and we’ve always got loads of other slow ones that take priority…maybe someday…


Next up at Number 8 a track from what is probably our most political album overall, it’s album six (again), ‘The Chuck Norris Project’……/

STFU – Top Ten Politically Influenced Songs…Number 10 – Martial Law

Posted on: February 3rd, 2016 by STFU

STFU – Top Ten Politically Influenced Songs…

Number 10 – Martial Law

Can't_Cage_Mr._Norris by Cameron Russell


As we work on the songs for the upcoming Album 7 I’m going to take a little look back through the ‘politically influenced’ songs that I’ve been involved with writing for Southern Tenant Folk Union. It’s a wide catch-all term really as the ten songs picked (and I’ll post a little on each & an audio link over the next few weeks, time permitting) have fairly diverse sounds, influences and lyrical subjects…or do they?


First up then, at number ten, is Martial Law – the Chuck Norris connection is very very tenuous here – the title is from the Sammo Hung TV show in the late 90s in which Mr Norris made a guest appearance (as his ‘Cordell Walker – Texas Ranger’ character) & I can’t remember ever seeing the episode he’s in though it was a decent action series (and Sammo Hung, the director, producer & actor – is a legend – would be nice to see some of those episodes again)…


Anyway, the STFU song lyrics deal mostly with right wing talk radio in USA & the way it cynically exploits people’s base fears with outright lies or half-truths…from here in Europe the right in the USA and their obsession with firearms is frankly scary & at the same time logic-defying (I understand it’s fun to shoot live ammunition – I’ve done it myself)…the main point though isn’t really about left/right issues (which are conveniently used by some to divide us where there is no real fundamental differences in the kind of world we’d like to see) but about the underlying thought that there are still many people living amongst us in our countries and communities that would, if they could, take us back to facism, militias, civil conflict and don’t like and will never like democracy…


Incidentally for fans of the band Rush there’s a reference to them and their song of Moog Taurus-esque magic ‘Tom Sawyer’ in a passing reference to Rush Limbaugh (in Verse 1)…


Next up at Number 9 will be a track from our second album ‘Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs’…/312057

STFU Scottish gigs in Dec 2015 – Dates for your diary…

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by STFU

The Scottish gigs (and only other concerts in 2015) in December are now up on this website’s tour page so mark them in your diary…

Wed 9th Dec – Edinburgh House Concert, Thu 10th Dec – Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club, Fri 11th Dec – Clydesdale Folk Club, Biggar, Sat 12th Dec – Kilbarchan Performing Arts Centre, Kilbarchan….

STFU Irish Tour starts on Tue 3rd March

Posted on: February 21st, 2015 by STFU

We head over to Ireland in just over a week to launch the new album there – can’t wait…and I think these will be the only Irish concerts this year so get along to a show if you can…


Also we’re playing live on RTE Radio 1 on Tue 3rd March sometime between 9am and 10am on the John Murray Show so tune in if you can…


Here’s the dates


Tues. 3rd: Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co. Louth, 8.00 p.m.; €13.50 (€12.00 + €1.50 booking fee). Bookings: e-mail or tel. 042 9352697


Wed. 4th: Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart, Co. Londonderry, 8.00 p.m.; all tickets £10 (incl. complimentary interval refreshments). Bookings: 0044 (0) 28 7083 1400


Thurs. 5th: Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 8.00 p.m.; £12 (£10 concs). Bookings: 0044 (0)28 9250 9509


Fri. 6th: Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, 8.00 p.m.; €15. Bookings: 071 9855 833 or e-mail


Sat. 7th: Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, 8.00 p.m.; €15 on door, €12 early bird tickets available. Bookings: 0504 90204


Sun. 8th: Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin, doors 8.00 p.m.; €12 adv. or €14 on door. Bookings: WaV box office, tel. 1890 200 078




Album Six ‘The Chuck Norris Project’ available now via mail order

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by STFU

So we’ve got the new album back from manufacture and even though it won’t be officially released and in the shops til January they’re already on sale via this website…the cost is just £10 inc p&p (in UK – email me for R.O.W. postage prices) and you can pay electronically via paypal (or mail us a cheque)…

Here’s the link where you can place an order

And if you’d like to listen first before you buy here’s a link to where it’s streaming in full for a limited time


Finally here’s a list of the confirmed concerts on January’s launch tour (I’ve not had time to add them all to the tour page on this website yet)…


STFU Sixth Album Launch Tour – January to March 2015


Sat 17th Jan – Edinburgh Storytelling Centre – Hometown Album Launch

Sun 18th Jan – Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow – Scottish Album Launch

Wed 21st Jan – Borough Theatre, Abergavenny

Thu 22nd Jan – The Atkinson, Southport

Fri 23rd Jan – Villa Marina, Douglas, Isle of Man

Sat 24th Jan – Merlin Theatre, Frome

Sun 25th Jan – Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington

Mon 26th Jan – The Greys, Brighton

Tue 27th Jan – Dartford Folk Club

Wed 28th Jan – The Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole

Thu 29th Jan – Watermark Arts Centre, Ivybridge

Fri 30th Jan – Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

Sat 31st Jan – South Street arts centre, Reading


Thu 5th Feb – Ents Shed, Bedford

Fri 6th Feb – Kings Place, London – London Launch

Thu 12th Feb – Courtyard Theatre, Hereford

Fri 13th Feb – Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot

Sat 14th Feb – Acorn Theatre, Penzance

Sun 15th Feb – Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham


Tue 3rd March – The Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth

Wed 4th March – Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart

Thu 5th March – Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

Fri 6th March – Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim

Sat 7th March – Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co Tipp

Sun 8th March – Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin



STFU Web Page Teaser