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Burning Down: The Songs of Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain

by Various

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UNDER YOUR RADAR I'm under your radar You don't know my name I know right where you are You'll never be the same You can't find me You can't buy me You can't kill me You-can't-stop-me-you-can't-stop-me I'm under your barbed wire You can't see my face Your satellites can't find me My steps don't leave a trace But I'm comin' I'm runnin' I'm runnin'-runnin'-runnin'-runnin' I'm standing right behind you I'm your shadow as it falls I'm that clock that's ticking That you can't hear at all I'm Crazy Horse and Marcos Moctezuma and the Taino Malcolm, Tecumseh Assata and Allende Weathermen, S.L.A. Bolivar and MLK Ho Chi Minh and Castro Chavez and Tito Guevara, Sandino Huey and Geronimo I'm history... I'm history... I'M YOUR HISTORY...
DEAD KIDS ever since those trade towers fell I believe in things I can't even spell like democracy... and economy half a million dead kids the cost of oil buried in Iraqi soil while vultures dine... on Palestine oil black and money green the whole fuckin' thing is so obscene dead kids hey, hey, U.S.A. how many kids did you kill today dead kids nike logo on the holy grail we knew Marx was doomed to fail Gatorade quells... the fires of hell keep 'em hooked and keep 'em dumb let 'em look and sign up young fill the ranks-boats-planes-and-tanks oil black and money green the whole fuckin' thing is so obscene dead kids hey, hey, when you buy the lies would you like some blood to go with those fries dead kids tell me what I should think when to breathe and when to blink I'll nod when... you say "us" and "them" pour it on, runnin' down my sink pop the top, I'll take a drink industrial waste... we love the taste
DO YOU THINK ABOUT ME Love, hate something so intense I can't relate but I do the best I can wrong, right you know I don't wanna fight but I have to make my stand And do you think about me when I'm standing in the pouring rain? do you think about me... do you think about me... do you think about me at all would you be there to catch me if I fall do you think about me at all if the going gets tough you can count on me but if the tables turn, can I count on... you, me caught up in the tragedy and I love you too much to stay yes, no both sides of that winding road but I can't just walk away day, night you know I tried to make it right but I don't know where to begin sticks, stones don't hurt as bad as no way home so I run against the wind
BACK TO YOU Since I've been gone, I'm a song without the band without you, I'm a beach without the sand an arm without the hand a but without the and I'm comin' home I'm comin' back to you, back to you I'm comin' home I'm comin' back to you, back to you I'm comin' back to you Since I've been gone, I'm a bank without the cash without you, I'm a tray without the ash a whip without the lash a wreck without the crash It's been a long hard lonely road and now I'm on my return I almost forgot the sound of your voice now my letters to you will burn and I plan to prove what I wrote to you every single word of every single letter was true Since I've been gone, I'm a scandal without the scorn without you, taps without the horn a night without the morn a flake without the corn
A HERO'S RETURN Stepped into my boots to make my contribution protect god-country-and-mom, and our constitution back in the real world, that don't pay the rent pennies and dreams are easily spent everyone seems to know just where it all went... But me take a good look... at a hero's return I know you awaited my return with anticipation meet your great expectations I'm vacant as straw behind paranoid eyes sad to inform you, but your son has died I pulled back the curtain, there's no one inside... But me take a good look... At a hero's return I'd rather decline from a dose of your condemnation my chest full of medals and grand commendations signed with the general's own rubber stamp I was straight as an arrow, boy, sharp as a tack now who stands before you with the knife in his back... But me take a good look... At a hero's return
SEREMOS COMO EL CHE say you don't believe in revolution you don't believe in solidarity you don't believe in liberation you only believe what you can see one day, one day... so you believe in making money you believe in shit you buy you believe your wealth can save you one day you'll see it's all a lie one day, one day seremos como el Che became a slave to your habits became a slave to your desires became a slave to the tyrants faith never forged in fire one day, one day... you can't take freedom from the people can't exploit a woman or man you can call them what you want to makes them no less proletarian one day, one day seremos como el Che
MY RELIGION I played the knight who rescues the maiden proposed to the princess on my bended knee she looked at the world through rose-colored glasses and I took for granted the things I had seen I walked yellow brick roads through miles of desert watched sand castle dreams melt in raging seas as I went under I remember thinking, "I have plans for tomorrow... does tomorrow have plans for me?" you are my religion you have always been just what I need you are my religion you have always been what I believe I remember places the sun found me waking I hope those places remember of me I've had dark desperate hours push down on my conscience and maybe it's the bondage that made me truly free I remember faces of those who have known me and I've seen their fingers worked down to the bone seen those same hands when they tried to hold me when I was too worry to stand up on my own I saw Woody at Brooklyn State Hospital I cried for him like you cried for me sat with Guatama down in the desert and I watched Yashua walk across the sea some people find God in old rusty buildings after walking thousands of miles some people find God in old dusty rule books I find God each time I see you smile
IOWA SUMMER No one here knows the color of the sky we're captive in a raging storm stackin' up hope all through the night our homeland's become trenches for war this farm put clothes on my family's backs put my daughter through school won't sell the land to the government man who says I must be a fool the rivers rage the river rolls the eye of the storm is blind my hands have bled for the family's I've fed now I wonder who's gonna feed mine... when rivers rage forty days and forty nights we been in fear of losin' the land all that I see and all that I know is all that I sew with my hands live in the house my grandfather built farm the soil he plowed sometimes sir I can smell his cologne when I wipe his sweat from my brow I see my dad sitting out on that fence hear his harmonica play these memories are all part of me all being swept away now 18 inches of rain fell today it's only a matter of time we can work through the night and again through the day to keep from falling behind
PROLETARIAT I watched the proletariat as their diamonds turned to coal foreclosure unsuspected like the mortgage on their souls life passes by in a hard-earned world where hope is now erased corporate giants deal the cards, they sit and watch the race and it's hard to live a life when there's no life left to live meaning yields to greed and there's nothing left to give the tired, the poor, the hungry all hear the east wind blow now we're all huddled masses and there's nowhere left to go petty leaders built their monuments dictated greedy schemes they stole the simple magic and stomped the "American Dream" so the sheep began to wander no more life breathed from the dust grazing fields turned to pavement when the silver coins were tossed a graveyard was made where amber waves and spacious skies turned gray lady liberty wept bitterly dropped her torch into the bay McRome has burned and the sun has set the polls have all come in to a vacant house on a barren hill where a flag blow wind
NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE you can have my today, can't have my tomorrow steal my joy, can't touch my sorrow take my eyes, I won't be blind steal my thoughts, I've got my mind I'd rather die, stand up and die you'll never, ever take me alive I'd rather die, stand up and die cuz no one here gets out alive lead me to water, can't make me drink roll me in your gutter, can't make me sink steal the diamonds, I got my coal take the heart but not the soul take my treasures, call them trash take my dreams, turn them to ash take the pleasure, I've got my pain steal my freedom, I'll break these chains
WASTING BEAUTY ON THE BLIND Joe's guitar was in a cardboard case each night he found a dive to play the needle and bottle were his falls from grace a desperate poet looking to trade diamonds for dimes... living in a timeless tragedy drinking til he saw nothin' wrong no one ever listened but the drinks were free and he could usually play his own songs as long as they rhymed wasting beauty on the blind wasting beauty on the blind Tina worked hard to spend the rest of her life in a marriage that just wouldn't last devoted to a man who beat his wife she fixed dinner with her arm in a cast pearls before swine... at night she danced topless and I'd stare at her face wonderin' if it crossed her mind she was giving away what she couldn't replace for something she just couldn't find spending her time wasting beauty on the blind wasting beauty on the blind Joe and Tina had no way to know their futures wouldn't be so dark they both signed up for a traveling show that plays McBeth in Brandenberg Park no more bump and grind... Tina was looking for a place to stay finally moved in with Joe she laid in his arms and he heard her say: "You know, sometimes you just don't know the treasures you find wasting beauty on the blind wasting beauty on the blind..."


6/17/15 UPDATE: I mistakenly did not correctly disable the ability for folks to pay for this compilation, which I intended to do because there is no paypal account attached to this bandcamp page. Anyone who payed for the downloads has had or will have their payment refunded. However, I highly encourage you to redirect your money to Sean's legal defense fund at his website: seanswain.org

Burning Down is a collaborative music project between anarchist prisoner Sean Swain and musicians outside of prison. The lyrics to all of the songs on this album were written by Sean. The music was written and recorded by the bands, in some cases with input from Sean. As Sean is a fan of folk and punk music, bands that reflect those genres were sought for this project. If you like a particular band, there is a link to their website, bandcamp or facebook if you click on the individual track. A physical version of this compilation will eventually be released, hopefully by the end of 2015.

This project aims to support Sean and bring his lyrics to life. It also aims to provoke interest in prisoner support in general, including collaboration with prisoners on creative projects such as this. Learn more about prisoner support at the links below:

List of prisoners: denverabc.wordpress.com/prisoners-dabc-supports/
Tips for writing letters: nycabc.wordpress.com/write-a-letter/
And in case you are wondering why we hate prisons so much: criticalresistance.org/about/not-so-common-language/

For a world without cops, cages or borders!

These songs are free to download, but you can donate to Sean's legal defense fund at his website: seanswain.org


released May 1, 2015


all rights reserved



Sean Swain Lucasville, Ohio

Sean Swain has been held without legal conviction or sentence since 1991 for the self-defense killing of a court official’s relative who broke into Sean’s home and threatened his life.

Sean will only be liberated when the illegitimate power of the lawless rogue state holding him hostage is abolished once and for all.

More info at seanswain.org
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