A lot of people have asked "what were you people in Palm Beach County thinking?" There was a local boom in song parodies, including "Wasting My Vote Again in Margitaville," and this one of mine.....the daughter of Walter O'Brien, whose 1949 race for mayor of Boston inspired the original of the song, also wrote to me....her letter appears below, after the lyrics....
USA ©2000 Rod MacDonald (sung to the tune of "MTA") Let me tell you of a story of a man named Charlie on that tragic and fateful day he went down to vote in Palm Beach County for President of the USA CHORUS Was it ever returned, no it was never returned and our fate is still unlearned we may count forever in Palm Beach County for the man who was never returned Charlie, he wanted to vote Democratic so he punched hole number two when he realized he'd voted for Pat Buchanan Charlie didn't know what to do Now all night long they're recounting all the ballots the computer didn't count by hand with W's face saying large on the tv "Don't I get to be President?" Charlie's wife goes down to the bedroom in the condo everyday with two matzoh balls she says "Charlie, you voted for Pat Buchanan you're lucky I feed you at all." You citizens of Florida, don't you think it's a scandal how the people get tossed away? Take the time it takes, count up all the ballots for President of the USA. Letter from Kate Hartig (reprinted by permission of author)
I must have been aligned with the universe yesterday, hearing you live on WUMB singing your version of my Dad's ( Walter O'Brien ) campaign song, when he ran for mayor of Boston in 1949, as a Progressive Party candidate. My parents political legacy in the hearts of me, my two sisters Julie and Amy, and so many radical humanitarians, throughout the decades, has always been so symbolized by the song, "Charlie on the MTA." .
After the huge let down so many of us have experienced in this past wacked out presidential election, ignoring the voices of so many citizens, how incredibly clever of you to approach the Florida story through my Dad's song.
Our parents have both died peacefully ( thank you for your song "White Buffalo", which has helped me grieve within the past two years ) and so many friends and relatives have sung and listened to the MTA song in celebration of my parents' lives. At First Night, 2001, Tony Saletan, wonderful folksinger and WGBH-TV's first host and Jackie Steiner, one of the original songwriters and singers of the original MTA song, performed at the Community Church in Boston with "Charle Rides the MTA into the New Millennium" . They also sang other Progressive Party campaign songs for Henry Wallace, who ran for President in 1948. Several of the songs, as well as the MTA song, were so poignant and humorous. A number of us in the audience suggested they be to be used for the Green Party in the future.
I got the impression that you have not yet decided if you will record your version of Charlie's song. Just putting in my vote, which I am sure will speak for my family, so many former progressive party humanitarians, and particularly for Tony Saletan and Jackie Steiner, who are working so to keep the message alive through their performances and sing alongs.
This is my big favor to ask you. Whether or not you record this song on a cd, would there be any way that I could purchase a tape of it? We have a "Charlie" collection including the cd I had made for my Dad of the original version, of course the Kingston Trio's recording ( they changed my Dad's name to George O'Brien, as they didn't want to be connected with radical politicians), a video tape of the Boston Pop's, Keith Lockhart's version on the 4th of July in 1998 and Fred Small's version with a story of the Russian astronaut that never returned. If it is not possible, I would appreciate knowing if and when this song would be part of a new cd.
You have always been one of my favorite acoustical singer/songwiters. I saw you a number of year's ago at Passims and have several of your cds and of course listen to WUMB all day and hear you often on the air. This new political satirical song brings out a message the country might actually listen to, as it is a melody so many love, across the political spectrum. Maybe your message regarding the absolute disgrace of the Florida election quagmire could come across through the back door. It truly cracks me up when everyone including right wing individuals say they love "Charlie on the MTA." They obviously don't know the true political history. Sorry I am rambling, but I want you to know how much I appreciate what you have done in using this song in an obvious political leftist reportoire.
Whether or not I ever hear your new song again, I feel that hearing your special voice singing this modern version was such a true gift. Thank you so much!
Peace, wisdon and joy comes through your beautiful voice,
Kate ( O'Brien) Hartig
Feb 3, 2001