Storyteller 1: Blue Days & Blue Nights / Various
This is the third album of The Blue Ribbon Tea Company presenting the stories and songs of Bill Kostelec. Featuring Mike Janes on harmonica it has a bluesy feel throughout. What marks this album is the sometimes militant character of it's protests, a cynical disdain for truth-twisting politicians and corporate executives and hired gun lawyers who glory only in victory no matter what the human and social cost. An example is The Rathdrum Prairie Refueling Depot Disaster, a true account of the BNSF railroad's empty promises and leaking diesel fuel, which even now threatens to forever destroy the quality of the water of the aquifer which supplies water for over 400,00 people in the Spokane Washington area. Kostelec's song, written in response to the report of a second spill at the Depot begins with an idyllic pastoral mood, and ends up with a bitter verbal damning of lawyers and P.R. men, railroad executives and politicians. The Blue Ribbon Tea Company is made up of working people, and the album expresses it's devotion to the masses of workers and laborers and to their laboring ancestors. Let Us Now Praise... is an anthem of such devotion and respect, for farm workers, coal miners, steel gangs and homemakers all. Social Insecurity, written at the suggestion of one of Bill's co-workers, acts as a catch-all look at the hypocrisy of national politics, from the war in Iraq and the absence of political and religious leaders' children on the front lines, to the social security question itself. Georgia Theresa Gilmore recounts a story about a relatively unknown Montgomery Alabama woman who was an essential part of the early Civil Rights Movement, Kostelec's way of doing homage to the thousands of people, men and women young and old, who struggled in that cause not so very long ago. Storyteller 1 also adds the vocal work of Kathy Kostelec. BRTC (The Blue Ribbon Tea Company) focuses on the songs and the stories they tell. This storytelling is as old as the human race. We are born storytellers, and in these times of hack politicians and professional hypocrites, there is a lot to tell about. BRTC's Storyteller 1 takes a clearly delineated stand against the greed, hypocrisy and lust for power that so infects both American corporate culture and American political culture. It evokes memories of nobler virtues from our history, of workers standing together for their own sakes and for the sakes of their families. It reflects on the materialistic side of our culture that begins among the everyday people and feeds in to the higher echelons of power where dishonesty and deception have become blatantly obvious in the series of corporate scandals of recent memory. This is music that takes our world and the issues that confront us very seriously, with little time for fun and fluff. We are proud to make this album available and as always we ourselves are available to perform benefits for good and honorable causes. Press: "The press and the public have (rightfully) made a big deal of the Woody-Guthrie-esque "Rathdrum Prairie Refueling Depot Disaster," but Bill Kostelec's just as sharp on "Social Insecurity" and "The Big Tax Cut Deficit Flu." His reedy, beating vibrato may be at it's best on the disc's opening track, "Going Nowhere." (Storyteller 1) Joel Smith, The Pacific Northwest Inlander.