Sue Jeffers,
Welcome Home
(FBI, 2002)

Welcome Home is folk going back to its true roots of protest and agitation. This means that you may never hear it without buying Sue Jeffers' CD. It will not sit well with some listeners, but neither did Bob Dylan, Joan Baez or Pete Seeger.

"On This Train" opens the disc with some laidback guitar and harmonica, with lyrics about what you can or cannot have on the eponymous train.

I truly enjoyed "Yelling for War," the kind of song folk music was invented for. It reminded me of the old definition of war: "old men sending young men to fight and die." The lyrics are reminiscent of Dylan in his younger days and show a deep reflection on how Jeffers views the modern world. The lyrics include "the generals keep telling us the children that we kill are collateral damage or just mistakes." Does this mean only mistakes or justified mistakes? The theme continues with "Voice of Amerika."

"Ole Man Blues" continues the violence motif but on a more personal level. It appears to explore the decreasing value of human life, referring to someone who "shot him in the head to see if he would die."

"Compassion Fatigue" captures a spirit abroad in many parts of the world. Are we really losing our capacity to feel for those less fortunate? If we are, we must listen to this and songs like it or we will become so much less than human. "Officer Tom" sounds very much like a song of the 1960s, but on closer listening we hear it could be a wake-up call for the 21st century -- if we are not careful of our hard won civil liberty. The only track not written by Jeffers is Phil Ochs "Cops of the World."

This CD may never be a major hit. It will not get the airplay that many of these tracks deserve because they have too sharp an edge. It reminds me of Buffy Sainte-Marie singing of the Native Americans. Jeffers may not be the greatest singer around today but it is strangely uplifting to hear words that protest the status quo. They may not be revelations, they might even be mistaken in places, but please listen, examine and decide for yourself.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 1 February 2003