You Can’t Feel The Bern Until You’ve Heard His 1987 Spoken Word Album (AUDIO)

One of the things people say that they admire about Bernie Sanders is his honesty. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks. He’s “real.” That is something all voters appear to want in a 2016 candidate. Sanders has always been real, as this folk album reveals.

Sanders, it turns out, is so real that he agreed to work with Vermont musician Todd Lockwood in 1987, when Lockwood asked him about a collaboration. The musician says that he didn’t really know how to contact the then-Mayor of Burlington. So he just called his office and left a message with Sanders’ secretary. To Lockwood’s surprise, Sanders returned the call. A meeting was arranged, where Sanders admitted that the project “appealed to my ego.”

Lockwood lined up thirty Vermont musical artists to play on the album. Songs were chosen for their inspirational nature. Everything was readied. But when it came time to begin recording Lockwood and the crew discovered that Sanders had no musical ability. Zip. Zilch. Nada. He couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

“As talented of a guy as he is, he has absolutely not one musical bone in his body, and that became painfully obvious from the get-go. This is a guy who couldn’t even tap his foot to music coming over the radio. No sense of melody. No sense of rhythm — the rhythm part surprised me, because he has good rhythm when he’s delivering a speech in public.”

Lockwood decided to go with Bernie’s strength. Sanders wrote short speeches about each song and then recited the lyrics. That, married to the musical performances, created a truly unique album. Some won’t like it: one reviewer wrote that it will make your ears bleed. But others can get beyond that lack of musical talent and feel the musicality of the speeches. The cadence, the rhythm and the sincerity in those speeches still resonates.

The album consists of only five songs: “Oh, Freedom,” “The Banks Of Marble,” ” Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “This Land Is Your Land” and “We Shall Overcome.” Probably for the best, some might say. But the combination of the musicians, singers and Sanders’ sincerity are really rather appealing to many. Sanders speaks on the album about many of the same things as he does today. It’s obvious that he has always been a populist and peacenik.

This was my favorite review on Amazon. com, by T. Hitchcock:

“This is REAL Patriotism & Inspiration, not the ‘flag-waving / bible-thumping’ brand that we are so often subjected to in today’s media. If you want to feel that America’s best days are both ahead of us and obtainable, this 5-song CD will do for you. It’s a shame that this gem remained buried for 28 years and it took a presidential run by the ‘artist’ to bring it to light. As we endure all the upcoming bombastic rhetoric of the 2016 election, this will be my anchor. I can’t recommend this recording highly enough.”

Here are samples of the five songs on “We Shall Overcome” by Bernie Sanders and Thirty Vermont Artists:


Featured image via  Bernie Sanders’ website