Sunday, 20 February 2011

Great Atomic Power - existential angst in Country music

Listen to the words of this amazing song from the "age of anxiety" in the Cold War, when both sides were paranoid about imminent attack, either from each other or by alien forces, like Men from Mars. This song is a good example of how popular culture absorbed the Zeitgeist. Being devout Southern Baptists, the Louvin Brothers thought in the context of Armageddon, so their answer to the predicament could come straight from a pulpit,  enhanced by hillbilly harmony and the twang of guitars. Interesting how they equate Christianity with an "army". Not all so far from the Knights of the Grail in Wagner's Parsifal. Maybe it's a universal response to threat, but Jesus didn't teach violence. Interesting too, how singers like Ira Louvin thought in strict religious terms but lived wildly irreligious lives. Ira died a wreck in 1965. Charlie, the less demon driven brother, (the babyface) died aged 83 last month, singing tributes to Ira to the end. That's genuine love.
"Do you fear Man's Great Invention that they call Atomic Power, Are we all in great confusion, do we know the time or hour? When a terrible explosion may rain down upon our land, leaving horrible destruction, blotting out the Works of Man?

"Are you ready, to meet that Great Atomic Power, will you rise and meet your Saviour in the air ? Will you shuddeer, will you cry, when the fire rains down from high, are you ready for that Great Atomic Power?

"There is one way to escape it, be prepared to meet The Lord, put your faith and heart in Jesus,. he will be your shield and sword. He will stand beside and you'll never feel the test, for your soul will fly to safety and eternal peace and rest.

"There's an army that can conquer all the regiments of man, ....when the Mushroom of Destruction falls in all its might, God will surely save his children from that awful, awful fate."

1 comment:

Dominic Rivron said...

This sounds like one from (or a candidate for) the 365 Day Project.

Definitely worth sifting through the stuff stored there.