The Department of Labor (DOL) regulations targeting the family farmer would make it more expensive for family farms to survive. No matter who you may have voted for, would you have wanted this? You probably wouldn’t, if you really knew about it. DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed new rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting young people from performing certain tasks on their family’s farm. (What’s next? Riding bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards and those “risky” sports?) Many family farmers hire young people from the community. Most family farmers believe that it is important for each succeeding generation to learn farming skills. The goal for farming families is to keep the farm in the family, but that won’t happen if your government can “help” it.
Fortunately, the loud public outcry was overwhelming and the initially proposed set of abusive laws was withdrawn, for now. That’s why we must all keep an eye on our government. Remember, they work for us. Don’t let it become the other way around. Let’s not lose the freedom from tyranny that we already fought for and won over two hundred years ago.
“I Won’t Comply” was written in a traditional eight bar blues format. The song was inspired by the overreaching federal regulations proposed to regulate family farmers. It is important to remember that the United States began as a republic of independent farmers seeking freedom from a tyrannical government – in those days, the British Empire. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens, they are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.”
The family farm is the basic unit of the predominately agricultural economy which has existed throughout human history. And if you reach back into the history of American music, in its roots you find the blues. Black American work songs were an important precursor to the modern blues. These included the field hollers and songs sung by laborers and the musical shouts of slaves working the fields. The early blues conveyed to listeners the feeling of misery, always the result of oppression and abuse by others, pressing upon the poor and unfortunate down trodden souls who yearn to be free from life’s troubles. That desperate plight seems similar to today’s family farmer struggling to exist under an overbearing federal government.
It is appropriate that “I Won’t Comply” was created to follow in these traditions and this genre, while relying on the modern electric guitar with piano and saxophone embellishments, both demonstrated with masterful blues and jazz techniques.
Buy this song and sing it out loud. Please play it loud so others hear the message.