Could The Allman Brothers Band be the harbingers of the fertile ground that postmodernism gives to anti-utopian thinking (Moylan, Scraps of the Untainted Sky 140)? Keep in mind that one year after “Dreams” (1969), they release “Revival” (a track now performed in churches, it seems). Unlike the latter’s politically debilitating profession of collective love and its uses, the trax in question finds us at the precipice of social collapse. Dystopias, according to Jameson, require a character/subject, and singer’s “blues” (which he “had to wake up with”) are founded on the “dreams I’ll never see” (The Seeds of Time 56). But unlike an anti-utopia’s attempt to proclaim imperfection in the name of greater (achievable) perfection, the singer can only turn to the lover who will witness the singer’s “end of me.” Dystopian praxis: the sharing of a plural “hunger”/impulse and an “us” out of join(t).
Probably most famous for being third in line (but the most successful) to record “Love of the Common People,” Thomas shifts from smarmy community-building to an immigrant’s plaint here. It’s a move from a coercive optimism for the poor to an embodiment of living death in which those of means “don’t care if I freeze to death and die.” The “promised land” is a set of shifting goalposts, each subsequent one narrowing the chances of survival. Salvation, too, is a false panacea, with your preacher soliciting money to go to the “holy land.” We’re implored to “give no money to that lying, cheating man.” But this shouldn’t be mistaken for either a sunny worry about equality (i.e. “we all go or no one does”) or a desire for deeds that match the (national) creeds. “Saturday night” proves formative for the trax’s critical dystopia; parties that are “outside” enjoy the practice of aggressive, excessive exchange. Come Sunday, we institute an economic austerity from the bottom up.