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:
President Steinem takes center stage
Jesse Helms is a Congressional page
when the Congress starts off its day
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
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
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
I stayed at The Rally, that wondrous rally,
at daybreak the past events came clear
moons and the suns, the roses and guns,
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:
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
The Haworth Press
Binghamton, New York