Be a Pain: An Album for Young (and Old) Leaders

by Alastair Moock

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about

Alastair Moock’s new album, Be a Pain, is a joyful, musical rallying cry for young (and old) leaders in these turbulent times. It looks to the heroes of our past (Dr. King, Harvey Milk, Billie Jean King, Pete Seeger, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X) and our present (Malala Yousafzai, the Parkland student protestors, climate change marchers) to inspire our kids to move the ball forward. The album features guest turns from a powerful and diverse group of musicians and change-makers, including Sol y Canto, Alisa Amador, Reggie Harris, Mark Erelli, Melanie DeMore, Kris Delmhorst, Rani Arbo, Crys Matthews, Sean Staples, Heather Mae, Boston City Singers, and GRAMMY-nominated producer Anand Nayak.
Moock’s plan is to give away free copies of the album –– along with free programming on social justice history –– to underserved schools in the Boston region and beyond. So far, the fund has raised over $10,000 towards that goal. More info here.Boston City Singers

Alastair Moock is a 2014 GRAMMY Nominee, two-time Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Winner, and recipient of the ASCAP Children’s Music Award. Long one of Boston’s premier folk artists, Alastair turned his attention to family music after the birth of his twins in 2006. The New York Times calls him “a Tom Waits for kids” and The Boston Globe declares that, “in the footsteps of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, Alastair Moock makes real kids’ music that parents can actually enjoy.”

“How lucky we are to have Alastair Moock around these days! When too many adults are role modeling the pursuit of fame, fortune, or personal gain, Alastair’s songs encourage our kids to pursue goodness, kindness, awareness and courage. Adults might listen up!”
- Nora Guthrie, President, Woody Guthrie Publications

“With ‘Be a Pain,” Alastair puts himself firmly in the tradition of singers, songwriters and activists who know that music can move people towards a better world. The songs are rock solid in melody, singability, and meaning. This album should be played out loud, not on headphones, so everybody in the room hears it and sings along.”
– Bill Harley, multiple GRAMMY-winning children’s artist

credits

released April 3, 2020

Alastair Moock – vocals, acoustic guitar
Anand Nayak – electric guitar, piano, ukulele, sampler, banjo (1, 9, 11), electric bass (4), additional percussion, background vocals
Eric Royer – banjo, dobro, pedal steel guitar
Paul Kochanski – upright and electric bass
Scott Kessel – drums, percussion

~ with ~

Sean Staples – mandolin (1, 3, 5, 11, 14)
Jamie Walker – electric guitar (2, 4, 7, 14)
Lily Sexton – fiddle (1, 5, 11)
JJ O’Connell – additional percussion (9)

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about

Alastair Moock Boston, Massachusetts

A 2013 Grammy Nominee and two-time Parents' Choice Gold Medal Winner, Alastair Moock makes music for the whole family: kids, parents, even discerning pets. Long one of Boston’s premier folk artists, Alastair turned his attention to family music after the birth of his twin daughters in 2006. The Boston Globe calls him “one of the town's best and most adventurous songwriters." ... more

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Track Name: What is a Leader? (Feat. Rani Arbo & some smart kids)
Chorus:
What is a leader?
What does a leader do?
What is a leader?
What does leading mean to you?

If a leader walked into the room
Would you know it right away?
What would they look like? What would they talk like?
What would a leader say?

Chorus

Who are the leaders you’ve heard of?
Where did you learn their names?
Does a leader need to be famous?
Can you lead if you don’t have fame?

Chorus

Is a leader a man or a woman?
Are they LGBTQ?
What color would their skin be?
Could a leader look like you?

Chorus

Should a leader do what they’re told to do
If what they’re told to do’s not right?
If a leader sees a wrong somewhere
Should they run or stay and fight?

Chorus

Chorus:
What is a leader?
What does a leader do?
What is a leader?
Could a leader be you?
Track Name: Be a Pain
If you see something that’s wrong, raise your hand and say that’s wrong
Point it out and name that thing by its name
Don’t stand by and stare –– if it’s wrong, it’s your affair
Don’t be quiet, make a riot, be a pain

Chorus:
Be a pain, be a pain, shout about it and complain
Ignore the crowd and go against the grain
Don’t be polite, raise your voice and do what’s right
Be a pain, be a pain, be a pain

When Rosa Parks sat on that bus, she chose to make a fuss
She chose to break the rules and take the blame
Her choice to sit and fight helped to bring on Civil Rights
Because one strong woman chose to be a pain

Chorus:
Be a pain, be a pain, shout about it and complain
Ignore the crowd and go against the grain
If they say, “You have to move,” say “I’ll remain”
Be a pain, be a pain, be a pain

Harvey Milk, he chose to run for the council board and won
Even though folks said, “You can’t because you’re gay”
One brave LGBTQ elected leader ran and knew
You can change things if you choose to be a pain

Chorus:
Be a pain, be a pain, shout about it and complain
Ignore the crowd and go against the grain
Tell ‘em, “I won’t let you make me feel ashamed”
Be a pain, be a pain, be a pain

A tennis star named Billy Jean told the world she had a dream
That men and women would be paid the same
She refused to hit the ball ‘til there was equal pay for all
She was a King because she was a royal pain

Chorus:
Be a pain, be a pain, shout about it and complain
Ignore the crowd and go against the grain
If they refuse to pay, refuse to play the game
Be a pain, be a pain, be a pain

Kids from Parkland led the fight for something they all knew was right
They said, “It’s time for us to finally make a change
If adults can’t compromise, we must go march for our lives”
They spoke out and led the charge, they all were pains



Chorus:
Be a pain, be a pain, shout about it and complain
Ignore the crowd and go against the grain
When you’re faced with laws you know are just insane
Be a pain, be a pain, be a pain

Chorus:
Be a pain, be a pain, shout about it and complain
Ignore the crowd and go against the grain
Don’t be polite, raise your voice and do what’s right
Be a pain, be a pain, be a pain
Track Name: Everybody Was a Kid (Feat. Mark Erelli)
Two little eyes staring from a crib
A tiny little mouth drooling on a bib
A tiny little fist with a tiny little grip
Before they grew up, everybody was a kid

Malcom X was a kid and Dr. King was a kid
Mahatma Gandhi was a kid, the Dalai Lama was a kid
Before they got tall, before they grew big
They used to be small, everybody was a kid

You are a kid, you got dirt on your hands
You wipe ‘em on your shirt, you wipe ‘em on your pants
But one of these days you’re gonna get real big
How do I know? ‘Cuz everybody was a kid

So where you gonna go? What you gonna do?
Who you gonna be? We’re waiting on you
We’re holding our breath and our lips are all bit
Because we all know everybody was a kid

Oprah Winfrey was a kid and Angelina Jolie
Even Bill Gates and Muhammad Ali
Before they got known, before we knew what they did
Before they got grown, everybody was a kid

Two little eyes staring from a crib
A tiny little mouth drooling on a bib
A tiny little fist with a tiny little grip
Before they grew up, everybody was a kid

So where you gonna go? What you gonna do?
Who you gonna be? We’re waiting on you
We’re biting our nails though we keep it well hid
Because we all know everybody was a kid
Track Name: Get to Work Feat. Boston City Singers
Chorus:
People, get to work, people, get to work
Roll your sleeves up, knuckle down, people get to work
A boulder won’t just move itself, shoulder up and start to help
People, get to work, people, get to work

Children, gather round, children, gather round
Put your hands in, pick your tools out, children gather round
You can’t get no building done when your hammer isn’t swung
Children, gather round, children, gather round

Chorus:
People, get to work, people, get to work
Roll your sleeves up, knuckle down, people get to work
That boulder won’t just move itself, shoulder up and start to help
People, get to work, people, get to work

Children, love’ll win, children, love’ll win
Pick your chin up, plant your seeds now, children love’ll win
Put your muscle in this fight, what is wrong, you make it right
Children, love’ll win, children, love’ll win

Chorus:
People, get to work, people, get to work
Roll your sleeves up, knuckle down, people get to work
Put your shoulder to that boulder, one, two, three, now, roll it over
People, get to work, people, get to work
People, get to work, people, get to work
Track Name: Go Pete Go (Grab Your Hammer)
‘Ol Pete Seeger was a man, a banjo in his hand
He spread his messages of justice all throughout the land
‘Ol Pete Seeger fought for fairness, peace, and civil rights
For working folks of every color, brown and black and white

Chorus:
Round and round, go Pete go, round and round I say
Planting seeds, fighting wrong until your dying day
Round and round, we’re up next, time to take our turn
‘Tis the season, grab your hammer, show ‘em what we’ve learned

‘Ol Pete Seeger went to Harvard for a couple years
But he dropped out and rode the rails, still wet behind the ears
He studied in the migrant camps and down inside the mines
He struck and stood for stronger unions on that picket line

Half Chorus:
Round and round, go Pete go, round and round I say
Planting seeds, fighting wrong until your dying day

‘Ol Pete Seeger sang a song, from labor rights it come
He helped to shape and turn it into “We Shall Overcome”
‘Ol Pete Seeger sang another that’s a real fine jammer
He and Lee Hayes wrote and called it “If I Had a Hammer”

Chorus

‘Ol Pete Seeger had a wife, Toshi was her name
Toshi worked as hard as Pete and kept him on his game
Toshi stood with Pete in Congress, 1955
He wouldn’t name no names or plead the fifth ‘gainst all advice

Half Chorus

‘Ol Pete Seeger was blacklisted all throughout the fifties
But ‘Ol Pete still found ways to play because ‘Ol Pete was sneaky
Pete would go to schools and sing for kids of every age
Inspired them to join the fight, some even took the stage

Chorus

‘Ol Pete Seeger stood against the war in Vietnam
He didn’t think we should’ve sent them soldiers to Saigon
He sang, “Lay down your sword and shield, no more war you’ll study”
He went on the TV, sang, “We’re waist deep in the big muddy”

Half Chorus

‘Ol Pete Seeger saw pollution up and down the Hudson
His solution was to oversee a boat’s construction
Pete and others sailed that boat, they sang and gathered cash
They helped to clean the river up by getting new laws passed

Chorus

‘Ol Pete Seeger marched with Martin, stood with Cesar Chavez
Rode with Woody, mentored Dylan, Springsteen, and Joan Baez
‘Ol Pete Seeger sang and fought ‘til he was 94
There’s never been another like him, since then or before

Chorus
Track Name: No Wall (Ninguna Pared) (Feat. Sol y Canto & Alisa Amador)
There’s no wall between the branches of a tree
There’s no wall between the river and the sea
There’s no wall around the heart that can set one life apart
There’s no wall between you and me

Chorus:
We are marching toward tomorrow all together
We are making for a distant shining shore
We are walking hand in hand ‘til we reach that promised land
Where no wall separates us any more

There’s no wall between an ending and a start
There’s no wall between the sunshine and the dark
There’s no us, there’s no them
All walls fall down in the end

Chorus:
Todos juntos vamos hacia el porvenir
Hacia una orilla lejana y feliz
Codo a codo caminamos hasta que por fin llegamos
Donde los muros no nos puedan dividir

No hay muro entre lo antigüo y lo de hoy
Entre élites y masas, muro no hay
Por distintos que seamos, el mismo aire respiramos
No hay muralla entre tú y yo

Chorus:
We are marching toward tomorrow all together
We are making for a distant shining shore
We are walking hand in hand ‘til we reach that promised land
Where no wall separates us any more
Codo a codo caminamos hasta que por fin llegamos
Donde los muros no nos puedan dividir
Where no wall separates us any more
Track Name: I Am Malala (Feat. Reggie Harris)
‘Til every child can go to school
I am Malala, you are Malala too
‘Til freedom peace and justice rule
I am Malala, you are Malala too

Chorus:
I am Malala ‘til the sun has shone
‘Til dignity and truth are known
I am Malala ‘til the day is new
I am Malala, you are Malala too

One among many raising up my voice
I am Malala, you are Malala too
Speaking for all the girls and boys
I am Malala, you are Malala too

Chorus

I raise up my voice for an equal chance
To live and learn and grow
To be who I want to be and explore
The things I want to know

Malalalala Malalala
I am Malala, you are Malala too
Malalalala Malalala
I am Malala, you are Malala too

Malala Malala Malala Malala
Malala Malala Malala Malala
Track Name: Go Shine (Song for Elm) (Feat. Heather Mae)
You are who you choose to be
When you choose to be who you are
The world may be confused by you
But you know who you are

That face there in the mirror
Has the sleep wiped from its eyes
As the sun rises, so do you my dear
Go shine, go shine

You are who you choose to be
When you choose to be who you are
The world’s not quite like it used to be
Thank God we’ve made it this far

But this journey’s just beginning
And your finding your own way
I’ll follow right behind you
Whatever road you might take

Here’s my vow to you, I’m so proud of you
And I will be for all of my days
Astounded and amazed by you
You’re a rocket, you’re ablaze

You are who you choose to be
When you choose to be who you are
This world is yours to move and change
To shape with your hands and your heart

That face there in the mirror
Doesn’t need to wear a disguise
As the sun rises, so do you my dear
Go shine, go shine, go shine
Track Name: Kids Can Do Great Things (Feat. Kris Delmhorst)
Kids can do great things
You can fly a long, long way on little wings
Figure out the answers only you can bring
Believe me when I sing
Kids can do great things

Kids can open doors
Lead us through a world of undiscovered shores
Show us what you notice when it’s all brand new
Step on through, we can go explore
Kids can open doors

You can be strong enough to face something you fear
You can be kind enough to pull somebody near
You can be brave enough to stand up for what’s right
Even in the darkest hour, you can shine a light

Kids can do great things
You can fly a long, long way on little wings
I’m thinking of tomorrow and what time may bring
When I sing, “kids can do great things”
Oh, kids can do great things
Track Name: Planting Seeds (Feat. Sean Staples)
November was cold, as cold as cold can be
It left me bare and windblown as a Maple tree
I see the look on your face and I recognize that place
I know you feel about the same as me

Pre-Chorus:
But I’m picking up a shovel in the morning
Hand my old overalls to me

Chorus:
I’m putting seeds in the ground and the world keeps spinnin’ round
There’s sunshine coming, just look up and see

I know the wind’ll blow but that January snow
Is gonna bring up something good behind
It’s holding in the heat deep down below our feet
And now it’s just a matter of time

Pre-Chorus
Chorus

Spring is coming on and the days are getting long
The wintertime will be a memory soon
That snow is gonna melt and the water that it held
Is gonna bring up something new

Pre-Chorus
Chorus x2
Track Name: What We Tell Our Children
Be kind, be fair, do right
Cooperate, do the dishes, be nice
Don’t pull your sister’s hair
Don’t bully, remember to share

When we tell our children something matters
Do we listen to ourselves?
Who are we? We are them
Who are they? They are us

Be kind, be fair, do right
Cooperate, be nice
Don’t pull anybody’s people’s hair
Don’t bully, remember to share

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