LINER NOTES - River Of Life
Produced by Peter Alsop - Engineered by Greg Hilfman
Recorded at Barely Sound Studios, Topanga, CA
Peter Alsop vocals, acoustic guitar, jaw harp, shaker
Greg Hilfman piano, bass(5,10), tuba, drums, cello, vocals (2, glockenspiel
James McVay banjo, slide & acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass(4,7,8), vocals (1), whistling
Vocals: Shelby Flint (7,9)/ Ellen Geer (1,4,6,8)/ Cindy Hilfman (2)/ Nina Kurtz (2)
Janis Leibhart (4,6)/ David Lichten (2)/ Melora Marshall (1,4,6)
Art Layout: Nira Lichten
Photo credits: Megan Geer-Alsop, (Peter's nephew Giuseppi Villa & his son Jaxon on the Klamath River)
Matt McCroskey, (Peter in New Zealand)
All songs written by Peter Alsop, © 2011-2014, Moose School Music (BMI)
except #4, © Edward B. Marks Music Company, music by B. Ross & J. Dixon,
lyrics by Peter Alsop, ℗© Moose School Productions, 2014
Box 960, Topanga, CA 90290 - 800-676-5480 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of us spend our lives, helping kids, families and communities find better, more sustainable and caring ways to live on this planet of ours. My friend Mal Jones supported worthy cause organizations for years with funds from his family foundation. Then he heard this story. Three elders sat by a river, and one noticed a baby floating down the river. He jumped in and saved the baby, but another baby drifted by. The second elder dove in to rescue that baby, and yet another baby was spotted. "Go save that baby!" they yelled to the third elder. She spoke back, "You'll have to save that baby yourselves. I can't. I'm going up stream to find out why the babies are falling in!"
Well, Mal thought this was a good idea too, so along with his wife Carol Koury and their daughter Carina, they challenged the organizations they were supporting to "go up the river" together, to find out the root causes of our social difficulties, especially the increased pressures felt from our growing human population.
For 12 years, I've been a part of Up The River Endeavors. Once a year we'd meet together to look for a root cause. What we came up with, was that there is a dire need to empower women in our world. When women have control over their reproduction and education, they have fewer children and are better able to give to their communities.
Dr. Judith Hand, one of the folks I met at Up The River, points out that a woman's biological imperative is to use the resources she has, to build community infrastructure, so her kids can live to be old enough to have children themselves. A man's biological imperative, on the other hand, to keep his genes in the gene pool, ... is to mate with as many women as possible. For most of us men, this isn't always in the forefront of our minds, but it makes sense to explain why we often use our resources to make ourselves look good; to show off our abilities and strength. We want to gain more wealth and resources so we can appear more attractive to women. Mal was more interested in helping our world community than making himself "look good", so he packed the group with committed high energy women.
So, what's this got to do with my River Of Life CD? Lots. Most of the songs on this album come from the many insights I gained spending time with these women and men. I'll tell you about some of these folks and songs they inspired.
1. RIVER OF LIFE is about helping each other stay alive and afloat in the river, ... not just humans, but all living animals and plants. We humans are stewards for life here, and we have much to do. This song's for Mal Jones and all the folks who have been part of Up the River Endeavors in any way.
Dr. Gay Reinartz spends time in the Congo for the Zoological Society of Milwaukee to study and preserve habitat for bonobos. (zoosociety.org)
Dr. Amy Parish works as an anthropologist studying bonobos, and teaching Gender studies at USC.
Mona Cadena works with Equal Justice USA to pass and enact state laws all over the country to stop the death penalty. (ejusa.org), and
Sean Southey heads up PCI Media Impact, working with partners in other countries to produce entertaining educational programs that promote positive social change. (mediaimpact.org)
2. FRACK, FRACK, FRACKING
This song came out of a discussion with my buddy Chris Wrather, who supported his small local community in California to take action to stop outside profiteers from endangering their health and water by fracking in their area. Check out my YouTube as Uncle Sam singing this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdyr1DZV92k&list=PL5E1A263AB9F5B38A
3. LET'S NOT DO THIS ANYMORE
When I was camping with my family in Yosemite, a domestic fight broke out in the next tent. So this song's for women stuck in abusive relationships and for men who don't know how to stop their violence. It's also to help us think about ways to intervene when we are bystanders to public violence. Sometimes it's effective to include ourselves as a person who understands the frustration and anger the abuser is feeling. That approach is more likely to calm the situation, than it would be to directly confront them about their behavior.
Nan Orrock is a Georgia State Senator. She works with WAND - Women's Action for New Directions, to educate the public about the need to reduce violence and militarism. And it's mostly male violence. (wand.org)
Lori Haas works with the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, not just in our schools, but everywhere in the country. (csgv.org)
Anu Bhagwati helped to build SWAN - the Service Women's Action Network to stop sexism and sexual harassment in the military and support survivors, both women and men. (servicewomen.org), and
Moshe Rozdzial works with NOMAS, the National Organization of Men Against Sexism. . They are a pro-feminist, gay-affirmative, anti-racist organization that teaches men about our male privilege and entitlement, so we can change our behaviors and enhance our lives. (nomas.org)
Emily May started up Hollaback. She and hundreds of other women from all over the world use cel phones, social media and legislative pressure to raise awareness about, and stop street harassment. And it's working! These are my lyrics, on the Lollipop song by Julius Dixon and Beverly Ross. (iHollaback.org)
5. GMO CAFE'
Carol Koury, Mal's wife, runs the Sow True Seed Co, ... that's "sow S-O-W", educating people about the importance of using open-pollinated, non-hybrid, non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds to grow food and other crops. Carol made a comment about going into a restaurant, asking about whether the food had GMO's, and no one there even knew what they were. So let's raise some awareness about this. (sowtrueseed.com)
6. WE'RE HERE FOR YOU
Cindy Pearson heads up the National Women's Health Network. They check laws concerning women's health issues to ensure they're backed by solid scientific evidence, and not distorted by pharmaceutical companies' profit motives or legislators' paternalistic or religious beliefs. There's a great journal you can order from their web site. (nwhn.org) Eileen Schnitger of FWHC - Feminist Women's Health Centers of California and Janelle Yamarick with the Atlanta Feminist Women's Health Center provide complete health services for all women.
I thought they might need a Peter Alsop song to help them promote what they do so well.
7. GOOD BOOK
Jamila Raqib works with Gene Sharp at The Einstein Institute advancing the worldwide study and strategic use of nonviolent action. Gene's books have been used by many of the organizers of people's non-violent protests against dictators. (aeinstein.org)
8. JUST CAPITAL
Both David J. Andrews, who helps non-profits stay in business, and Stephen Albrecht with Charter Trust Company help their clients understand that there's much more to life than just making money and owning capital stuff, like stocks and bonds and things.
And Shelly Silbert works with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness to save wild places. We're starting to get the word, that saving our environment and keeping a capitalistic economic system are mutually exclusive.
I saw a woman on television standing in the rubble after a hurricane had destroyed her home. All she could say was "I wish I was dead! There's no reason to live!" Her grown children stood there with her. As horrible as it was, it seemed like someone had sold a "bill of goods" to this woman about what was really important in her life.
9. ME AND YOU
When we "label" someone with a noun, we create a way to dismiss the humanness of that person. Once we buy into a negative label, placed on ourselves or others, it can seem impossible to change. I teach that verbs are more useful because they describe what we do. We may not be able to change "who we are", but we can change "what we do". I learned from an great Native American teacher, Terry Tafoya, that each of us needs the "nobility of our purpose" to be seen, because then communications and relationships and any changes that are possible, have a chance to take hold and grow.
This is my home; ... where I think globally and act locally; love my family and friends and the daily rituals that keep me grounded. Where I laugh, write, choose to be in nature or engaged in society, and honor a sense of place and time spent, so I can remember the past and measure the changes that take us into the future.
11. LINER NOTES - River Of Life
- 10% of profits from River Of Life will be donated to these organizations. Support them directly at:
- Einstein Institute - aeinstein.org
- Coalition To Stop Gun Violence - csgv.org
- Equal Justice USA - ejusa.org
- Atlanta Feminist Women's Health Center - feministcenter.org
- Great Old Broads for Wilderness - greatoldbroads.org
- Hollaback - iHollaback.org
- PCI Media Impact - mediaimpact.org
- National Organization of Men Against Sexism - nomas.org
- National Women's Health Network - nwhn.org
- SWAN/ Service Women's Action Network - servicewomen.org
- Sow True Seeds - sowtrueseed.com
- Women's Action for New Directions - wand.org
- Feminist Women's Health Centers of CA - womenshealthspecialists.org
- Zoological Society of Milwaukee - zoosociety.org
If you go to my website - you can add your email to my email list, check out my free YouTube videos, friend me on Facebook, read lyrics, buy or download CDs, books and dvd's, get my phone number and email so you can contact me directly if you want.
Bye for now. Enjoy. Spread the word. Take action! Don't forget to Sing!