Ray Rivers

Ray Rivers


Ray Rivers writes and sings political songs - the environment, war and peace, humanity.


Ray Rivers is an environmentalist who writes 'melodic message music' - messsages about our environment, war and conflict and the other social issues. Years of environmental advocacy are evident in his songs about the number 1 global threat today - Climate Change. His first CD titled “Angry Old Men”, released in March 2007, was dedicated to the folk singers of the 60’s.


For Katrina

Written By: Ray Rivers

Verse #1
There was a girl we called Katrina and she blew into this town
She came alone but with a vengeance and the fury of a woman once let down
Oh this city of life and this lady of death
And the gift that she brought to help us see
Verse #2
It's true that we all loved New Orleans - though preachers called its life a
But it's how we treat the planet - that made the climate change begin
There is a treaty called Kyoto, a starting point to change our ways
But the land around New Orleans preferred just living for today
Verse #3
Preachers said God had struck New Orleans to clean its sin out for all time
But we all know that's not the reason - God has bigger sins on her mind
We have a lesson from Katrina - but it's not one we want to hear
Preachers - take a look around you - is this why God has put us here?
Verse #5
There was a girl we called Katrina and she brought a message to us all
If we don't change the way we're living - this is how we all will fall (and


Written By: Ray Rivers

Words and Music by Ray Rivers – November 2005

Give me your tired, poor masses to breathe free;
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me;
I lift my lamp beside the golden door
And all will bask in freedom for ever more (repeat once)
Verse #2
Welcome to America – the best democracy
The President got elected by the Supreme judiciary
He breaks the laws and spies on people here
And stays in power by keeping us in fear (repeat once)
Verse #3
We jail more people here than almost anywhere
And we’re real proud of our electric chair
With so many guns - someone’s always shot
And if you’re coloured they’ll arrest you on the spot (repeat once)
Verse #4
We’re building a wall to keep the Mexicans out
Their crime is taking jobs that Americans don’t want
English and Christian are what you have to be
If you want to live here like us – hassle free (repeat once)
Verse #5
So keep you poor and homeless away from our door
You could be a terrorist we don’t want you here no more
And just in case you get here – how I don’t know
We’ll send you off for torture to Guantanamo (repeat once)
Repeat 1st verse (no repeat on last line

Winter's Changed

Written By: Ray Rivers

Winter’s Changed
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – November 2005
Verse #1
I was born in the winter time when the February winds did blow
The winter is a part of me and so is all that snow
But they say it’s changing – yes they say it’s changing
Soon - Winter’s changed for ever more
Verse #2
I’ve read a book of two on this and it seems everyone agrees
The world is getting hotter because we’re cutting all the trees
And we’re burning coal - and we’re driving cars
Soon - Winter’s changed for ever more
Verse #3
Some years ago they signed a pact to start to stop this trend
But the ones who really count wouldn’t make a stand – couldn’t give a damn
And they say it’s changing – yes they say its changing
Soon - Winter’s changed for ever more
Verse #4
I see the snow flakes in the air and wonder why change must be
World nations are growing up and building their economies
Cutting trees and burning coal – driving cars and paving roads
Soon - Winter’s changed for ever more
Verse #5
Perhaps one day we’ll come to grips and change the path were on
Raging storms, drought and floods foretell an Armageddon
But they say we’re changing – yes they say we’re changing
Before - winter’s changed for ever more

Being Amish

Written By: Ray Rivers

Being Amish
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – October 2006

It was just a one room school – like where I used to go
Gentle folk with their faith – of peace and love and hope…..

If the Popes were all Amish –no inquisition in Spain
No alter boys violated, no holy wars, no crusades
If Hitler had been Amish – in the land from where they came
No Holocaust we would know - nor would we bear that shame
Would we share the blame

It used to make me smile to see the buggies and the clothes
But I never understood the power of these folks

If Saddam were Amish – Iraqis might have loved this man
No gassing and no slaughter – the Middle East at peace again
If Osama were Amish – the towers would still there
America might be focused on humanity and not war – humanity and not war

How long will it take for us to understand?
Forgiveness is the key to peace among all men

The courage of the girls as a mad man took their lives
The forgiveness of their parents in the face of all that strife

If George Bush were Amish – he wouldn’t have gone to war
He’d talked to those other folks and not be enemies no more
Half a million Iraqis might not have died in vain
The world might be united – not driven to hate again –driven to hate again

Goodbye Polar Bear

Written By: Ray Rivers

Good Bye Polar Bear
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – December 2006

Have you ever seen a polar bear? - she asked the other day
I know they’re big and I know they’re white and I know they’re going away
It seems the ice they live on is melting more each year
But why can’t we do something to save the beautiful bear?

Good bye polar bear – I know you’re going away - It’s not my fault you have to go – Daddy please help them stay

If I could stop the coal from burning – the land from being cleared - All the damage of the war machines - and the wasting over the years - If I could get the President to do what he should have done - Then the fight to save the polar bear might almost be won

Good Bye polar bear – I know you’re going away
I’m sorry I let this happen – what more can I say

I’ll leave you many good things when I’m gone away
But when it comes to the polar bear – I don’t know what to say
I wish I’d voted differently – tried harder to make a change
But I gave up too easily – and now I think it’s too late

Hold On Tom

Written By: Ray Rivers

Hold On Tom
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – February 2006

Tom Bradley was my best friend we used to live next door
We both joined the army reserve not thinking we’d ever go to war
The Cold War was now over – we could use the extra dough
Tom’s Cora was expecting – her third boy in a row

Hold on Tom you must be strong – I’ve called for help - now
It won’t be long – Hold my hand and together we’ll pray
That we’ll make it out some day

Our fathers were war heroes – Tom’s died over there
We always played being soldiers and now we’re here
Stuck out in the desert, our HumVee on its side
Someone firing at us – hey, don’t they know we’re the good guys

This is not what we expected – we seem so out of place
We’ve made such a mess here – it’s a wonder they can stand our face - We killed a little girl yesterday – about the age of our Jenny dear - She wouldn’t stop when we hollered – why don’t they teach them English here?

Tom, I hear a chopper – there’s a doctor on the way
They’ll get you to a hospital and fixed up in less than a day
Tom, can you hear me? – Please just nod your head
How many times have I told you – that we won’t leave here dead

Mingle Music Blues

Written By: Ray Rivers

Mingle Music Blues
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – July 2006

I played guitar – most of my life
Don’t get out much – mostly play for my wife
Invited to parties – bring your guitar along
But then folks just talk through my best songs
…So I say…

I don’t play mingle music - that’s not my thing - Shut up and listen if you want me to sing - I packed my guitar here today - So please be quiet and let me play

Now we all got this habit with the radio - Wanna talk - we turn the music down low - But I don’t got no volume knob - And I ain’t even getting paid for this job …so I say..

My music’l play at my funeral when I die - All my friends – come to say goodbye - But they’d better not start to talk - Or out from that casket – man -I’ll walk…because…

Cuba Libre

Written By: Ray Rivers

Cuba Libre
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – January 2007

It’s just little island sleeping with a bully next door
Who wants to steal sugar and cigars – from these folks - with these old cars

When you hold the Coca Cola and fill the glass with rum
You get a Cuba Libre – out from Uncle Sam’s thumb
An independent Cuba – the one Fidel had begun
An independent Cuba – the one Fidel had begun

I hear they now live better - more doctors than ever before
But he has no money – his people forced to starve - for almost 50 years

What about elections - and so many trying to leave
But Ernest wished him luck – Pierre was his friend – Hugo and Salvador

But what about the oppression – I’ve heard he could be really mean
Ah, but women loved him – for all his charm – despite the cigars

What will happen when he dies – I’ve heard the Americans will move in
I think he’ll leave a legacy – of pride and freedom – of a better Cuba

This Dance

Written By: Ray Rivers

This Dance
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – August 2007

Just hold my hand and look into my eyes
This dance won’t end till the music dies
Our bodies fit like hand and glove – looking like two people in love
But we’re just another couple on the floor
And though we’ve never touched before
We’re floating, drifting- like in a trance – but just two strangers sharing this dance

You don’t even know my name – but I can tell you feel the same
We’re floating, drifting like in a trance – but just two people sharing this dance

Afraid to ask any more of you – though I think you want me to
We’re floating, drifting like in a trance – just two strangers sharing this dance

The Last Folk Singer

Written By: Ray Rivers

The Last Folk Singer
Words and Music by Ray Rivers – June 2007

Wrinkled shirt and baggy jeans – nothing special on the stage
But magic was born as he beat the guitar like a man inflamed by rage
Tears and cheers – stoking our fears – leaving us all to recall
A final glimpse at the last folk singer – barring his soul to us all

I’ve just seen the last folk singer - he said it all 40 years ago
What will become of this whole damned world – now that he’s not singing still
Now that he’s not singing still

There but for fortune go you and I – the cops of the world all undone
Is there anybody here to say it now – there’s no place when I am gone?
I ain’t marching anymore and no more martyrs can be found
But what’s this I hear about the Iron Lady – she is still going strong

The strings cry out as I pluck the steel – a noisy dog at the moon
My head is a piano and my heart a bass – and my voice almost in tune
Lyrics here and poetry there – messages pointing out what’s wrong
Trying to keep the memory alive - singing the last folk singer’s songs


"Angry Old Men" - 11 tracks - released March 2007
"Weather Makers All" - 12 tracks - formal release June 1, 2008 (Hughes Room, Toronto)

Set List

Last Family Farm, For Katrina, The Only Way She Knew, Winter's Changed, Hold on Tom, What's the Matter with Peace, Circle the Wagons, Liberty, There Was Jane, Rememberance Day, Israel, Dark Days, Black Lung Blues, It Matters, Truck Stop Blues, Being Amish, It Gets all Men, Angry Old Men, Good Bye Polar Bear, Tomorrow, The Last Folk Singer, This Dance, Listen