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Music Review - `Beautiful Country’s Burning, Brother (Bucket Brigade)` by Jimmy Baldwin (dmac)

Jimmy Baldwin - Beautiful Country’s Burning, Brother (Bucket Brigade)  (click on image to watch video)

26 October 2020

 

Black

Jimmy Baldwin begins the video for his single, “Beautiful Country’s Burning, Brother,” with lovely images of American nature, while he sings the song’s chorus backed only by guitar. Soon, however, an image of crosses appears, which remind us how this is more than just a simplistic love song to the country. Next, Baldwin is seen playing his guitar and singing wearing a colorful outfit. He’s pictured alone, like a lonely troubadour. He comes off much like a folky John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness. 

These images of natural beauty are soon interspersed with pictures of people protesting. Some of these protesters are holding up Black Lives Matter placards. Although this summer has seen a lot of brushfires on the West Coast, when Baldwin sings about fires, he’s talking about the political variety, not the physical type. Baldwin also repeats the phrase “bucket brigade,” during the track’s chorus. Bucket brigades refers to the old pre-fire department community fire fighters’ days. This is when folks would literally pass buckets of water from one person to another, to fight a fire. Baldwin uses this phrase to underline how all hands need to be on deck – so to speak -- to fight the racial problems in our land. Of course, had he sung about using firehoses (the more modern way to fight fires) this would have brought up bad memories of how governments sprayed protestors with firehoses during the Civil Rights Movement, and would have likely distracted listeners from the message in his song. 

Lyrically, Baldwin’s song has the impact of a Woody Guthrie song. He’s not pointing fingers at anyone but is instead calling on everyone to unify and come together. Musically, this song is a relatively simple, acoustic guitar-driven song. It’s intentionally simple, almost like a Sunday school song. Although Baldwin sings the song’s verses, he’s joined by multiple voices on its chorus. 

Strikingly, many of these images are of people dressed in red, white, and blue, or holding up an American flag. Clearly, this is a pro-American song. Maybe not pro-American in the conservative, Trump way, but a lyric that seeks to find common values among us, drawing from all political viewpoints. Although singing about literal fire is not the purpose of this song, some of the video’s latter images include scenes of actual fires taken from street protests. 

While Baldwin is mostly positive while singing his song, he does ask at one point, “Could this be our funeral pyre?” Sadly, there are potential dire consequences to the country’s social/political divisions, and Baldwin is unafraid of asking this hard question. Toward the track’s end, a fiddle part can be heard. This gives the track a distinctly country music flavor, as well. 

Also, toward the song’s end, more images of America’s natural beauty are seen again in the video. It’s as though Baldwin is saying we need racial beauty just as much as natural beauty. There’s so much ugliness – both physical and emotional – breaking down our country. Baldwin’s song is his humble attempt to put out these fires of division. After the music stops, the words: “Unite America. Help End Racism Now” appear on the screen. Lastly, Baldwin can be seen walking away in an open field playing his guitar and singing. This concludes his simple, but all too necessary, message song.

 

 

Music Reviewer - Dan MacIntosh

 

Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio, Roughstock.com, Country Standard Time and Spin.com. 

To Read All of Dan's Reviews, Click Here

 

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