CD Review
We The People

By Sandy Rapp
CD Review by Jack Nichols

Sandy Rapp’s CD album, “We The People” makes her a spiritual cousin  to Woodie and Arlo Guthrie, her style of Folk- Americana being first-rate. Her song for Becky Bell, “Where Were The Flowers”, is, in the best sense, Dylanesque. But I’ve chosen from her album as my own favorite, its last cut: “The Rally.”

“The Rally”, written by Rapp in 1994, is a show-stopper. It’s a kicking-high song someone like Shirley McLaine might comfortably choose around the time, maybe, when McLaine’s legs at age 50—in an astoundingly inspirational pose—kicked highest on the cover of Time. 

 “We The People” is not only an album of catchy sing-alongs that further energizes high-energy crowds. It is also an emotionally-sound tribute to the energies of everyday people who try to make a difference, and it is this that makes Sandy Rapp a number-one choice—a natural-- as a sought-after entertainer for relevant political celebrations and pride parades.

Her album’s first cut, “Hats Off to Bella”, is Rapp’s  memorable tribute to one of feminism’s and gay liberation’s most beloved political allies. The singer-song-writer’s infectious infatuation with the late Bella Abzug turns, as do others of her songs, into a triumphal anthem  full of good humor, infused by the certainty of an eventual, final victory. 

Sandy Rapp’s vision of America with Bella Abzug as its President projects a nation where:

Vice President Steinem takes center stage
Where Jesse Helms is a Congressional page
And when the Congress starts off its day
It’s with a meditation led by Shirley McLaine
Ms. Rapp, I’d say, is an inspirational optimist whose vision of the future realistically takes tragedy –even mass tragedies—into account. Located on Paumanok, the same isle from which Walt Whitman hailed, Ms. Rapp is as quintessentially American. She gets involved by spreading her verses and her songs. She bravely walks to center stage. She lets us know that there are still sturdy World Citizen song-makers among us-- urging us onward--urging even those with  despairing hearts-- toward something greater than we’d thought, toward the best that we can be.

Though Sandy Rapp once studied drama in the Mid west, it was in Scotland—at the University of Aberdeen-- that her dramatic talents began to grow, opening in  her a powerhouse of Feelings to be expressed for more purposeful, more lasting endeavors. Anthems she’d write to inspire the building of communities.  In a few of her rousing songs there’s a very slight tremor, her sense of poignancy momentarily incarnating. 

Rainbow Community News, which serves Long Island’s gay and lesbian population, tells how Rapp takes “her one-woman shows to gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” across the country. Her performances highlight some of her work from ‘We The People’, her CD which focuses on gay and lesbian issues through poignant and witty songs.”

Atlanta’s Etc., tells of Rapp’s benefit performance following bombings in that city last year and quotes her as a believer in the benefits of a good sing-along: “That’s one of the things that bothers me the most about today’s music. They pass up all this opportunity for group singing, ” she says.

I couldn’t agree more. And not only that, but I nominate Rapp’s “The Rally”  for its proper and rightful recognition not only as a great poem—or lyric—but as a marching/dancing anthem for the gay, lesbian and bisexual, transgender movements, one that—in me—evokes appreciative tears each time I listen. 

If the experienced/ecstatic visions Rapp evokes in  “T he Rally”  were widely understood, we’d all be drinking  more deeply from the magical well of life’s happiest moments. It sings of carnival airs, of balloons, buttons, and banners.  I wish only that others might sing this stirring song in endless enthusiastic choruses behind her. A great movement anthem like this would find us kicking even higher. One great verse from “The Rally”? Each person will choose one, but  here—set to a seasoned melody--is my  favorite:

But I stayed at The Rally, that wondrous rally,
And at daybreak the past events came clear
The moons and the suns, the roses and guns,
The musings of mystics, the cruising of crystals
Sandy and I definitely have one thing in common. We’ve both written books that take major potshots at the religious right’s politicized homophobia, raising alarms about the prospect of a theocratic state. But Sandy’s done me one better. She’s put her thoughts about  TV evangelist Pat Robertson, the “White Men in Black Dresses” (Roman Catholic priests --“they have smiles on their faces and blood on their hands”) and the like into joyful, rousing songs.

Hats off to you, Sandy. Hope to get to hug you at “The Rally.”

    To Order:  “We The People”  - CD $15.95, Casette: $9.95

    “Hardweather Friends” - Casette: 8.95

    Send Checks to: 
    Sandy Rapp Music
    P.O. Box 1191
    Wainscott, New York

    For Book Orders Only:
    To order Sandy Rapp’s Book on lesbian & feminist issues: 
    GOD’S COUNTRY: A Case Against Theocracy,
    The Haworth Press
    Binghamton, New York