Some Notes On Our Sixth Album – The Chuck Norris Project


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This info page is divided into two sections, firstly an two-part essay about the project and secondly the album lyrics


Section 1) An essay about the project



Southern Tenant Folk Union – The Chuck Norris Project

– Further Reading –


Philosophy of Album 6 and how I picked up on Chuck Norris (by Pat McGarvey)


It all came about as Southern Tenant Folk Union finished the mixing of our fifth album ‘Hello Cold Goodbye Sun’ in late September 2012 and during the next month got the track listings, artwork and everything organised (including a nice little CD single release). I had begun working on the PR and press release for it as we weren’t touring much and had also been following the American presidential election race between Obama and Romney with interest as it drew to a conclusion.


Sometime that month (or maybe it was in September when it first aired online?) I saw the clip of Mr Chuck and Mrs Linda Norris exhorting voters to come out for Romney – it may have been in the media or on facebook, certainly it was trailed with a tag-line like ‘Re-election of Obama would lead to 1000 years of Darkness says Chuck Norris’. Being a long-time fan of his movies and many other ‘bad movies’ (may I just say that I’ve loved action, horror, sci-fi and kung fu flicks since the 80’s when I was a kid renting the colourful/garish big box art VHS movies from local corner video shops) I picked up on it and though it wasn’t a surprise to me that he was on the right…I knew he was…(and that’s totally fine – it’s his choice) but thought to myself, hmm, a bit further right than I remembered.


Of course this was the election where Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair at the Republican Party Congress and various other celebrities weighed in on either side of a debate which seemed to contain a minimal amount of policy discussion at best (I finish this article as the 2015 UK general election campaign is in its last two weeks and where again we’re seeing personality attacks and negativity unsurprisingly to the fore). Being famous is and always has been enough grounds for greater consideration and widespread reporting of opinion, however crazy, ill-informed or biased so it was no real surprise then to hear from Mr Norris as part of that totality.


And maybe I was watching a few of his movies too that month but somehow I came upon the idea that you could take the titles of some of the flicks and write songs using each title as a starting point for lyrical creativity. I was also keen to make some personal points about the state of politics in the USA and in the UK (though because of the movie titles and the actor’s home country everything on the album is nominally set around US politics – I think most of it, besides the gun control stuff, still applies here in the UK). All of this felt like a natural progression from some of the politically influenced material on album five and immediately began to sound interesting musically as well as trying to reflect the tradition of ‘protest song’ in folk music with the lyrical content.


So let me say initially that I’m not and wasn’t picking on Chuck Norris the man, and bear him no ill will. I don’t know what he’s like and I assume, like with anyone I don’t know personally, that he’s a decent and honest person. If you listen to the album and the lyrics of each song none are about him or his films. Instead the album concept is designed to enter and reflect the political debate that we all see and experience going on around us. There’s a general feeling on the left (and I apologise for crude political terms like left and right but it’s going to make this essay a whole lot shorter if I do frame things in that way) that many elements of hard won freedoms of the twentieth century are being systematically removed by vested interests. Ones that are happy to have the ‘left’ and ‘right’ of politics fight amongst themselves whilst being essentially powerless to change anything. On the album, on my songs at least, I am only commenting on the issues used to theme each track and putting forward alternative viewpoints in summarised song form (and hopefully with a ‘good beat’ too).


Going back to the ‘1000 Years Of Darkness’ thing, this US election campaign video Mr Norris and his wife recorded, warning that re-electing Obama would bring about such a long period of awfulness (they were quoting from a speech Ronald Reagan made in 1964 supporting and promoting Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater In my opinion their use of the quote isn’t quite what Reagan would have had in mind – and as a side note Goldwater lost to Johnson by a landslide that year – though of course I’m sure Reagan would’ve approved of the small state nonsense of the current generation of Republicans).  That then made me think about Mr Norris in a political context and as an ordinary voter and also as an archetype of a person personifying that streak of opinion which has always raised its head in political debate. That of conservative man and woman; holding back progress because they seem to believe that it has gone ‘far enough thank you’ and that it was this social progress (rather than the massive and real problems of debt, corporate power and corruption) since – insert your own ‘golden age’ preference here – that brought the world into the ‘sorry state’ it is in today.


Chuck and his wife, in their youtube video, were of course only trying to mobilise the evangelical Christian right to vote for Mitt Romney, and they’re entitled to do that. But their use of the inaccurate, in my opinion, quoting of Reagan and the idea that the re-election of Obama, a fairly conservative pro-big business democratic presidential election candidate, would be the first step towards generations of chaos is nonsense, unless of course they were also to suggest in an even handed way that letting the GOP back in would have done the same.


Certain sections of the media (in the UK, Europe and USA as far as my own experience goes though it must happen in the media globally) often seem keen to point out that white, straight, religiously conservative men are under attack from the liberal media and society in general (with the ‘political correctness debate’ a case in point) and therefore they must take action and fight back with whatever tools necessary. These ‘tools’ though, include extremely well-funded lobby groups and political campaigns, they include the creation of a swath of media outlets (radio, cable TV, web-based) that no longer have to consider balance in their reporting, they include a new generation of socioeconomic and racially segregated schooling, and their belief, particularly those in business, that the working class are lazy slackers who do not deserve to share in the profit they create and whose attitude to life has ruined the country.


From the outside though it’s easy enough to see why people like me find the rich white conservative world-view a cynical and/or blinkered one that has consistently held back progress at every turn. Of course racism with its depth and persistent nature has been a major factor (especially in the west where it hasn’t ever really been dealt with) but at least legislation was eventually passed to outlaw it. But it’s the level of debate that indicates the problem. For each side of the argument it’s become about winning at all costs rather than dealing with the actual facts around them and reacting with pragmatism, compromise and thought. The unfair world into which both Chuck and I were born remains unfair for more systematic and deep seated reasons than whether or not it’s cheaper and fairer to run government healthcare vs private (though it does seem to be much cheaper, more efficient and certainly fairer to run healthcare and other organisations via social pooling of resources – see here, or if it’s a good or bad idea to tear up environmental legislative safeguards and hope no-one notices (as Bush did after he shouted and scraped his way into the White House in 2000 – though some did notice These things directly affect people’s lives and there should be logical, careful and balanced argument about which course would be in our planet and its inhabitants best interests but none of the ‘culture wars’ issues get to heart of the problem with our systems of government, free speech, democracy and fairness and isn’t it time something was done?


I suppose it’s natural – we all believe different things. Try as I might I just can’t put myself in the shoes of those on the right and how they can still think that the ‘left’ and their ‘spendthrift ways’ and ‘liberal’ agenda are to blame for pre conceived ideas of national or world problems. Neither mainstream left or right seem substantially different in their political philosophy sometimes. That viewpoint, to me, doesn’t make sense at all. So either these people have got their heads in the sand and don’t want to hear about or to understand the countries they ‘love’ and the world around them. Or they’re just stupid. Idiots. People who the rich and powerful (those that perpetuate the status quo) must love. Unquestioning morons? Maybe. In their luxurious state of denial they help those lobby groups that represent corporate interests propagate power in ever more corrupt ways to make more money for the same few people. They seem to think that what’s wrong with their country and the world is not that it’s too unfair and weighted against the common citizen but the opposite. That if only the government was even tougher on the people at the bottom of society and those getting state handouts that this would somehow make people more self-reliant and fix society’s ills and the need for taxation. And while we’re on the subject, why the hatred for taxation? Because it’s ‘their’ money? You get what you pay for. You want an ordered and safe and tolerant society then cough up you cheapskate bastards.


In summary then I and the band are just making our own small contribution to music, culture and progress. That doesn’t sound humble because it’s not supposed to. It is of course a very small contribution but what else can you do? Logically the more debate, the more ideas (however unlikely they might sound) the better for our planet’s future.


Solutions? (by Pat McGarvey)


As a side note I don’t to be one of those people that just complains whilst never offering any concrete ideas – so, here’s five things, in no particular order, that I think we could do in the short to medium term to move towards a fairer world and a version of capitalism that shares profit more equitably, promotes world peace, localised democracy, human rights for all humans and not just for some. It would enable us to remember that it’s a round world and we’re all on board together for the ride.


1 – Complete financial transparency – Starting with politics (we’re part way there in the UK but not far enough) and large organisations (public and private) and taking it as far as it needs to go before those that are given to helping themselves to more than they should will think twice. Knowing it will be a matter of public record will probably turn out to be the only way to prevent financial abuse in politics and in business. Now some advocates of this approach say there should be exceptions made to protect commercial interests – maybe, but I imagine it would still prove too easy to hide corruption behind that sort of cloak. Certainly anything like this would take getting used to and mean huge adjustments in ideas of how business and society work but once people tried it on for size and the initial few years of terrible corruption exposes (and there will be many) had passed things would settle down. I really think people might like it once they saw the results.


2 – Take all of the money out of politics – this is of course allied to the financial transparency but merits its separate place as it’s a long held dream for many. I think the majority of us don’t care which of the many ways the parties could fund themselves but they should never again be funded by big business. And doesn’t it make sense that no jobs are secured post any political career that have anything to do with that persons remit whilst they held public office?


3 – Land ownership reform worldwide – Possibly along the lines of the South African truth and justice commission with full ownership and transparency talked about publicly. Should people really ‘own’ large stretches of coastline, private islands, huge swathes of our countryside and stop others from going there?  Where does it say we have to keep passing on this feudal property system to our descendants?


4 – A proper world food body – mainly to establish prices and any trade tariff barriers (if needed due to weather events, sustainability of supply, etc). It would need to be tied into transport and logistical power to make sure food distribution and sale was done in a sensible way and not just having profit as the central deciding factor. Also it would need to have control over farm/food subsidies, applying them where needed and ensuring that they weren’t being used for commercial advantage or in a corrupt manner.


5 – Ok, this one is the most important (a tiny white lie in the introduction) as most of the other four would be unworkable without this. I propose a simple online world constitution. One that if over 50% of adults in any one country signed up to would whilst sitting alongside their current constitution would also be able to legally override it when necessary and enable a free-er and more democratically accountable governmental model (one that would automatically entail all the previous 4 points if they hadn’t already been enacted). There would be provision for local customs, language and circumstances but no equivocation on the rights of minorities, free speech, freedom of religion, etc. Countries would of course be free to leave at any time if more than 50% of those voting age adults decided they would like to return to their previous constitutional arrangements.


You would need 3 tiers of government then. Local – possibly with the most power and control over finance in each area,  National – to arrange things to be done countrywide, probably large institutions like the National Health Service would be overseen by this body & things like central taxation for flood defences, national transport infrastructure. World – democratically elected citizens (not professional politicians) on fixed single terms to oversee central planning of the planet’s resources and how best to use them for short, medium and long term objectives.


This would of course be very unpopular with vested interests worldwide – most of whom control armed forces & weapons of massive destructive power, ones they would probably want to use to defend their way of life – however it would conversely, if properly run, be hugely popular with those of us on the planet that just want to bring up our families in peace and security. And who makes up this group? Probably the overwhelming majority of human beings alive today. Basically everyone.


Section 2) Lyrics from the album


Track 1 – Walker    (P McGarvey)


A gun show in Oregon, he bought six assault weapons

Soon walked across the state line, but nowhere did he have to sign


The first sold to a collector, now it’s polished up to perfection

The second went to the far right, they use it when they dress in white


Walker hates the NRA, talk show hosts and what they say

His mission radio hate off air, so Walker’s on his way down there


The third and fourth sold both at once, to the men who control the drugs

Of course it can keep them alive, but then they executed seventy five


Walker used the money good, gave half to the Brady’s fund

Posted the buyers names online, with pictures, details, how to find


At the station where he plans to kill, the lady asked if he’s ill

She offered him some coffee, and Walker turns on his heels


Walker takes the last two guns, throws them in the street and runs

Then calls the cops, the ATF, to take this stuff he’s scared to death



Track 2 – The President’s Man   (P McGarvey)


Who makes love to the president’s man? the president, the president

Who makes sweet love whenever they can?

It’s the president, and the president’s man


They do it, they do it in the hall

When they’re tired, they don’t do it at all

Heckled in the house, by the G.O.P.

A demographic wonder, used to star on Fox TV


There’s always constant tension, in the middle east

Another lobby scandal, nude photographs released

When they go to dinner, on occasions of state (fellow diners say)

“It’s a tolerant country, but it’s still full of hate”


Who lies down with the president’s man? the president, the president

Who cries at night and holds his hand? the president, the president


There’s photos in the papers, some spread in a magazine

Constant speculation, from that fashion conscious scene

So much time election funding, but some nice holidays abroad

Once there was a time, when someone spoke their mind but long before Gerry Ford


Who likes to kiss the president’s man? the president, the president

Who’s sure to miss him when there’s travel plans? the president and the president’s man


A president decides, who gets to live or die

Then usually misses dinner, most nights works after five

The critics didn’t like, the gun reform laws

They would’ve shot them both if they could get the rocket launchers through the doors


Air force one, has room where they can lie

Look out of the port holes, at the cloudy sunny sky

Who makes love to the president’s man? the president, the president

Who fits like a glove with the president’s man? the president


Who finds time for the president’s man?

Who is inclined to the president’s man?

Who might argue with the president’s man?

Who takes solace in the president’s man?



Track 3 – The Octagon    (P McGarvey)


Everyone must bow before the Octagon

It doesn’t matter what you think they’re always right we’re wrong

Speak to them seek out, the wisdom that they preach

You’ll see there’s no consistency in the hate they think and teach


The Octagon, eight for one, in a fever armed with guns

The Octagon, where’s the fun, while they have us on the run


Who do you trust? Is it them or is it us?

Who do you trust from them and us we need to know what you discussed


You can’t hold a conversation when someone blocks their ears

Frank communication is amongst their deepest fears

Just like wage inflation the arms budget is the same

To increase it’s share of gdp each year it is insane


Octagon, a force of eight, I think we know who they hate

The Octagon, they help the poor, out the door and push them to the floor


Who do you trust, iIs it them or is it us?

Who do you trust you must think through who you can really really trust

Who do you trust, is it them or is it us?

Who do you trust, you must think through, who you can really really trust

Are you with them? Or are you going to align yourself with us?


Not formally connected but they all share common traits

Like a willing disregard for the wider human race

We don’t need fundamentalists we just crave common sense

Together please can we stamp it out, all this ignorance?


Their fear of honesty is transparent to us all

When we find their secrets out, we’re not surprised at all

I feel little sympathy they’ve panic in their eyes

As they stand behind the state police they secretly despise


The Octagon, they led us on, some white men in charge again

An Octagon, I really hate, how they tricked us, is it too late?


Who do you trust, is it them or is it us?

Who do you trust from them and us we need to know what you discussed

Are you with them or are you going to align yourself with us?



Track 4 – Martial Law       (P McGarvey)


If you hate the sound, of liberals on the ground

You dismissed all you heard, about socialist ideals they’re dirty words

As you switch your radio on, Rush is talking and not playing Sawyer Tom

He complains about his country, and asks if you will join him being angry


Oh what would you do, if it were up to you?

Just what things would you do, have you thought it through?

Would you bring in martial law, that’s what the guns are for, right?

A semi-martial state, just for those you do not hate, right?

And there’s not many you do not hate


There’s tap tap tapping in your head, the voice inside makes you see red

Immigrants they stole your jobs? It was the quest for higher profits, cheaper corn on the cob

The internet feeds so called news and suddenly your crazy right wing views

Seem commonplace you nod along, why don’t you post some little comments on your phone?


Oh what would you do, if it were only up to you?

What things would you do, C’mon I bet you thought it through?

Would you bring in martial law, that’s what those guns are for, right?

You want a smaller state, just for those you do not hate, right?

And there’s not many you do not hate


What’s your favourite colour on the map, I have a funny feeling that it won’t be black

Can’t you hate us all the same, then you wouldn’t even have to take much aim

You think the world is run by jews? I bet you like to hear white men rock the blues

Polite to people you don’t know, but underneath it you don’t have no self-control


Skin tears on your blood drenched fists, as you hit anyone you think doesn’t fit

Those swastikas not out of sight, tattooed on your neck your head spins from the light

Women don’t like the look of you, with your mustache and your muscles showing through

You have the floor let’s hear you say, how we build up trust using hate


Oh what would you do, if we left it only up to you?

How much damage would you do, I bet you’d push it through?

Would you bring in martial law, that’s what those guns are for, right?

A kindly martial state, just for those you do not hate, right?

And there’s not many you do not hate


Some lobby PAC groups turned your head, made you very angry played you good

You were never really supposed to know, that all of your opinions are each just bought and sold

Because they know that facts won’t change your mind, truth does not matter to your kind

It makes your patriotism kind of suspect, you don’t love what you pretend to defend


Did tea party people, come around? And promise your America could be found?

Well get ready for a jolt, of caffeinated liberal left wing votes

Your noise keeps clogging up the airwaves, only hearing what your petty mind craves

As that right wing echo chamber rings, with the sound of lonely kings



Track 5 – Slaughter In San Francisco    (R Butler/P McGarvey)


Knees to chin, keep it up, head held down, touched the desk

For luck she won’t breathe for a little while, she won’t breathe for a little while

A little while, for a little while


Kissed a boy, on the cheek, in the park, just last week

Her hair was soft for a little while, she is lost in this little while

Where has he gone? Where has he gone


She can still hear the shots in the air, fired up, doesn’t know why

Knows she must not cry out, oh, she knows

Just a little more, a little more, a little more, a little more


First day back, new school term, class is full, trying to learn

There’ll be no school for a little while, a second more than a little while

A little while, a little while


Stairs to here, footsteps near, doors ajar, screams not far

Hold her breath for a little while, beneath this desk for a little while

A little while, for a little while


She can still hear the shots in the air, fired up, doesn’t know why

Knows she must not cry out, oh, she knows

Just a little more, just a little more, a little more

A little more, a little more, a little more



Track 6 – Good Guys Wear Black   (P McGarvey)


Good guys wear black, some ask “why’s that?”

It’s a reasonable question, but ask yourselves why you mind how looks define how people know you


Good guys wear black, what’s wrong with that?

There are no reasonable questions, but you can ask yourselves why you mind

We all look different, so very different, beautifully different, that’s how people know you


I have faith in facts, good guys wear black, we’re rarely reactionary, we are not few we’re many

Where we live we are free to, ask ourselves, why we care, how looks define how people know (you), how people show


Where shall we go to? To escape all the people, who don’t like people, like us

Or shall we let people know, we’re not going to slow?

This progress that we’ve made, it’s not going to be working, if we let the jerks win

Don’t let them do, what they’d like to do, though I know we all think differently That’s how people know you



Track 7 – Expendable Too      (P McGarvey)


The MD wants to cut the costs, so the factory must move across, the sea to another site

Unanimous at the board, impatience is its own reward, they say there has been oversight

The gossip leaked to the press, soon uncovered the whole mess, the workers knew something just wasn’t right


You’re expendable too, expendable too


With a different cost analysis, the workers found alternatives, outsource the MD and the board

In a hostile atmosphere, lowered costs, jobs stayed here, advertised the MD’s post abroad

Now they’ve interviewed another boss, from a country where the pay is less, and she’ll work harder and they can afford to

Pay the workers dividends, they’ll run the board of women and men, prosperity it was restored


The MD he’s expendable too, the CEO expendable too, the chairman he’s expendable too


If a company is in the black, why do the staff get attacked, how much profit will be enough?

A little self-enlightened plan, returns for the business when, there is capital left to share

A call all across the land, get the wage ratio defined, it will be fairer than it might be tough


Wage ceiling, maximum wage, wage ratio, it’s all the rage, wage ceiling, maximum wage


The MD he’s expendable too, the chairman he’s expendable too

The shareholder, expendable too, The CEO, expendable too

Just like us they’re expendable too, like me and you




Track 8 – Delta Force   (P McGarvey)


Are you a Delta, encased in the sea?

Wrapped up in a struggle, no longer so free

Do you need medication, to get out of your bed?

Let’s assume your position, is worth zero to them


Are you a Delta? Cos on your own you’ve no power

It doesn’t suit your life purpose, but you’d sure like some more hours

Where did the feeling, go that you had?

The bottom line has no meaning, when things are this bad


Protest, cos you’re Delta Force, progress with your Delta Force

Fight you are Delta Force, there’s some light for your Delta Force


Are you a Delta, or is your salary large?

Will you just settle, or help lead the charge?

There might be hard feelings, as you all take back your pride

If us humans are worth anything, at all, we’re worth more side by side



Track 9 – Silent Rage              


What I say, every day, makes me sad, oh I know I’m bad

But the truth, won’t advance, this romance, come November


My rage is silent, it can be hard

Behind this smile this smooth facade, silent rage, silent rage


Despite the turn, of my phrase, I’m engaged, not denying

It’s a curse, this modern age, the media, it’s easier lying


I’ll work for you with silent rage

My mouth is like a well swept grave

Say just enough to squeeze more votes

Please elect me I’ll go for broke, silent rage, silent rage



Track 10 – The Wrecking Crew (Part 1 – Eyes Right)    (C Purcell)


Here and all around

Town by town

Systems failing, falling down

And you won’t make a sound..


I am few and far between

Always felt I’m seldom seen

Heads of state and men of means

Guard these bloodlines carefully

I cry myself to sleep at night

In hotel rooms on never ending flights


I like to keep the markets free

Maintain your mediocrity

Unfunded opportunities

Breed underground monopolies

I’ve read the Prince a thousand times

Keeps me up when I need to keep you down


I turn red and I turn blue

Moving freely between two

We have got our eyes on you

And I make blood and money move

I’m a self made man made man like you

What’s good for me it must be good for you..


No time for feelings now

Its kill or be killed somehow


Mysterious ubiquitous

Maybe we’ll do business

You deal with the principal

I’ll collect the interest

if they cant pay we’ll cut them free

And in my shoes you’d do the same to me


No time for feelings now

Its kill or be killed somehow



Track 11 – The Wrecking Crew (Part 2 – Eyes Left)    (C Purcell)



























Track 12 – Invasion USA    (P McGarvey)


Help, oh please help us find a way

For our goods, and crops to invade the USA

Growth, of subsidy has made it hard

In markets, the whole world over from which we are barred

Trade tariff barriers, inhibit sales

Agriculture just for local use, that crop has failed

Well our main problem is, we just cannot share

If you think you’re right well I’ll tell you the answers are just not there


Now, we go, to our friends abroad

They want, to swap our goods for guns and swords

The price, they’re paying we know it won’t be fair

So accept, that we’re being screwed, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere


Undermine, your party line, no campaign funds, no junket fun


Come, come on, join Invasion USA,

Come on, make them sell the products that we need on sale

Come, come and join with us, we are not scared

Come, come and join with us, let your voice be heard

Your voice be heard, your voice be heard

Track 13 – A Force Of One    (P McGarvey)


I sit here, here I’m safe, every day, inside this place

It flies forth, in space heads north, dives attacks, then weapons flash


This force of one, we hurt, killed children, when things went wrong

There’s not just me, a team of people work in here

This force of one, we’re trained to fly this RPA

Though not alone, my commander’s voice, inside my ear piece

Inside my ear, he says fire, then fly clear


We saved lives, and watched men die, shifts so long, we must stay strong


Drive back home, a worker drone, I dream in red, they checked my head


When I’m back at work, I log back on behind my desk and screen

Twelve hours are gone and I can hear those words inside my earpiece

Inside my ear, they say fire then fly clear


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