MP3s: Eight Janet Greene MP3s below the jump.
In the early to mid-Sixties, the anti-communist movement was trembling before the power and popularity of singers like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Searching for a solution to this problem, Dr. Fred Schwarz recruited one Janet Greene (a Joan Baez fan herself) to be the "Musical Director" of his organization, The Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC). As his Musical Director (or "Anti-Baez," as he referred to her), Greene converted Schwarz's red-baiting tirades into pithy right-wing folk songs. From 1964 to 1966, Schwarz released eight songs by Greene on the CACC's Chantico label, and then in 1966, he reissued all eight songs as part of his 4-LP set, Nature of Communism Series.
By 1967, Greene had grown disenchanted with Schwarz and quit the CACC. While there were a few other attempts at right-wing folk music during this period, most notably The Goldwaters, Greene was the darling of the anti-communist right during a period when leftist folksongs dominated the popular imagination. For a brief, shining moment, the right wing had its own raven haired troubador singing lyrics like this, from her song Poor Left Winger (MP3):
I'm just a poor left-winger, befuddled, bewildered, forlorn, duped by a bearded singer, peddling his communist corn. In the cafe, espresso, sounds of guitars could be heard, twanging a plaintive folksong, spreading the communist word...
"Every great movement throughout history has expressed its inspiration in music. The Anti-Communist movement is young and music has not played a large part in its development to date. This contrasts with the Communist movement which has made great use of such singers and Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger. The Christian Anti-Communism Crusade is adding a new dimension to its activity, the dimension of music. We are satisfied with nothing less than the best and we have followed this policy in securing the services of Janet Greene as music director. Janet is a vivacious and beautiful young lady of remarkable musical talent. For the past several years, she had been the leading TV star of Columbus, Ohio where her early morning program, Cinderella, has delighted the hearts of the children. In competition with Captain Kangaroo and the Today show, her program Cinderella had the highest rating. Conscious of the magnitude of the Communist danger, at considerable personal financial sacrifice, she had surrendered her TV program to become music director of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade."
A 1966 review of Janet Greene in the CACC's own newsletter sang her praises which included the fact that unlike those other folksingers, Janet occasionally bathed:
"Janet has a number of unfair advantages. For one thing she looks like a girl. Not many female protest singers can say that. And that may be what they are really protesting against, deep down. Granted, there are plenty of male protest singers who look like girls, but they don't look as good as Janet Greene either. Also, Janet does things that most protest folk singers wouldn't dream of. Like taking a bath. And like wearing clean clothes and dressing neatly and being legally married and having legitimate children and loving her country. You know, corny things like that..."
I was reminded of Janet Greene's music from my best Christmas present of all time, Bear Family's boxed set, Atomic Platters: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security. They've got a nice Janet Greene page up here.
Here are all eight Janet Greene songs released by the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade: