Now It’s Done

Last weekend, NPR aired a segment on the Depression-era ballad “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” I’ve heard the song forever; I think my mom and dad had a recording of The Weavers’ Eric Darling singing it. The melancholy in the tune and lyrics always made an impression; and I always felt that my parents had a direct connection to the song, that it was about a time they had lived through. Our very own economic crash prompted NPR to do its piece: online, the segment is titled “A Depression-Era Anthem for Our Times.”

They gave the subject 10 minutes of air time, and used it well. Rob Kapilow, a composer and student of popular song, deconstructed both words and music. His summary: “Lyrically, it’s the entire history of the Depression in a single phrase: ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’ ”

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One Reply to “Now It’s Done”

  1. My wife called me on her cellphone to tell me to turn on the radio when that story came on. Rob Kapilow’s deconstruction taught me things about a song I’ve been playing on guitar for years.

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