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Chuck Foster: June 7, 2009

Hard Times

In light of the current economic crisis and my own personal financial difficulties, I decided to make a CD compilation, a “mixtape” if you will, with songs about struggling through hardship. This is just what I came up with off the top of my head and I’m sure I forgot a few things, so feel free to make suggestions and maybe I’ll do a second volume. For now, here’s what I put together. It just happened to have 20 songs, so I have them separated here in order by twos.

  1. Lubricated Goat – “Bad Times” & Cro-Mags – “Hard Times”

    I began the CD with the irreverent, noisy Lubricated Goat song because it’s fun and it nicely sets up the theme of the CD. It’s from the Dope, Guns & F***ing in the Streets Vol. 2 CD. The Cro-Mags song is undeniably one of their best and it fits perfectly for obvious reasons. This is the version from Before the Quarrel, the reissued demo for Age of Quarrel.

  2. Iggy Pop – “Endless Sea” & Circle Jerks – “When the S*** Hits the Fan”

    “Endless Sea” has long been one of my favorite post-Stooges Iggy Pop songs. It’s about taking the “long swim to China,” as Richard Burton called it in the film version of Night of the Iguana. I particularly like the final verse, where Iggy shouts, “And when you’re tight for the rent, you think you’re gonna break…” It’s the story of my life. From New Values. The Circle Jerks song livens things up again with a solid rocker about widespread economic problems. “We just get by however we can/We all have to duck when the s*** hits the fan!” Taken from Golden Shower of Hits.

  3. The Deviants – “Let’s Loot the Supermarket Again (Like We Did Last Summer)” & The Kinks – “Low Budget”

    The Deviants song is the revved up punk version by the late ’70s incarnation of the band. It’s taken from the Black Tracks of Mick Farren & The Deviants 1967-96: This CD Is Condemned collection. “Low Budget” is a heavy arena-rock-era Kinks song that perfectly sums up my lifestyle. I took it from Come Dancing with the Kinks: The Best of the Kinks 1977-1986

  4. AC/DC – “Down Payment Blues” & X – “We’re Desperate”

    “Down Payment Blues” is my number one favorite AC/DC song EVER! Bon Scott was a brilliant lyricist and this song about struggling as a musician really strikes a chord with me. It’s from Powerage, which is also my favorite AC/DC album. X’s song is self-explanatory and was taken from Wild Gift.

  5. Dead Boys – “Not Anymore” & Lou Reed – “The Kids”

    The Dead Boys song tells the tale of a lost soul wandering the winter streets of New York City, perhaps after being kicked out by his girlfriend or maybe even his parents. It’s a particularly chilling does of reality. From Young, Loud and Snotty. Lou Reed’s song from Berlin is the droning, morose story of a junkie prostitute who has her kids taken away by ACS. High comedy, I tell you.

  6. Gil Scott-Heron – “Whitey on the Moon” & Ice Cube – “Once Upon a Time in the Projects”

    Gil Scott-Heron’s proto-hip-hop describes a guy in the projects who’s constantly struggling to make ends meet when a rat bites his little sister. He’s can’t pay the doctor’s bills, but astronauts are landing on the moon. From The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Ice Cube’s funky diatribe depicts a crack-house in the projects through the eyes of a guy who just wants to take out a girl who lives in the apartment with her family and ends up with a serious case of the wrong place/wrong time blues. From AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.

  7. Iggy Pop – “Dog Food” & Dead Kennedys – “This Could Be Anywhere”

    I know Iggy’s on here already, but I feel like I’m eating dog food whenever I eat discount frozen food for dinner, which is most of the week. From Soldier. The DK’s song is an uncharacteristically uncartoony depiction of urban squalor and it’s a damn great song from Frankenchrist.

  8. Black Flag – “Six Pack” & The Avengers – “White N**ger”

    “35 dollars and a six pack to my name…” Again, the story of my life. This is the version with Dez Cadena on vocals from The First Four Years. The Avengers song is about working a soulless job to make money, but never quite making ends meet, so you’re constantly chasing your tail trying to catch up. I’ll say it again, the story of my life. From The American in Me.

  9. ANTiSEEN – “White Trash Bitch” & David Allan Coe – “If That Ain’t Country”

    “White Trash Bitch” is an uplifting ditty about a girl who “got married at 17 to a man of 21,” only to become an abused sex slave for her husband. Finally, she cracks and kills him, but she also realizes that that’s all she knows and she doesn’t know what to do. From The Best of Antiseen. Coe’s song eloquently describes his tough upbringing as “poor white trash.” From For the Record: The First 10 Years.

  10. Bob Dylan – “Ballad of Hollis Brown” & Suicide – “Frankie Teardrop”

    Dylan’s song from The Times They Are A-Changin’ is the morbid tale of a starving Midwestern farmer who cracks under pressure and kills his family and himself. “Frankie Teardrop” is essentially the same thing, only Suicide-ified. Frankie is a factory worker who can’t make ends meet, so he cracks under pressure, killing his family and himself. From Suicide, and the perfect way to end this “Good Times” collection!