Skip to content


  • by

When Pat Scanlon asked Greenpeace New England to co-sponsor an album of songs about the most important issues of our time – protecting the environment and halting the nuclear arms race – we didn’t hesitate. We all know about the importance of music and lyrics to the work we do.

Music can be very valuable in teaching people about issues and about ways they can get involved when change is necessary. These songs by Pat Scanlon and the Black Water String Band do just that. They sing of a love of the earth, of the wonder of life and of the need for us all to fight the attitudes of greed and waste that pollute our air and water, kill endangered species, promote dangerous energy policies and lead us to the very brink of nuclear holocaust.

Greenpeace is an international environmental activist organization dedicated to preserving the quality of our environment. While many people observe the growing degradation around us, Greenpeace supporters take responsibility to change human impact on the environment from a negative to a positive force – we take direct action.

We are pleased to be part of this project and hope that this effort will bring about a new awareness of our collective responsibility to ourselves, to our planet, and to ….

Our Future Generations

Love the Earth

Greenpeace New England

Endorsement of the album: Songs for Future Generations

A native of Philadelphia, Pat moved to Massachusetts in 1971 to attend college after serving a three-year stint in the Army. He spent the year of 1969 as an Intelligence Analyst at MACV Headquarters in Saigon, South Vietnam. Pat has been involved in numerous peace, and environmental organizations ever since his return from the war. His career and passion for over 40 years has been in the recycling and environmental field. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Recycling Coalition for five years and is the founder and past president of MassRecycle, the Massachusetts Recycling Coalition. That organization awarded Pat its prestigious Lifetime Recycling Achievement Award in 2000.

Throughout college Pat developed a love for folk music. He attended folk music performances and festivals all over New England. He was especially fond of any banjo picking. After college a friend bought him a banjo and before you know it he was plucking away, writing songs and playing at peace and anti-nuclear rallies all over New England and beyond. An organizer for the Clamshell Alliance, he became a fixture at Seabrook Anti-Nuclear Power rallies.

Rounder Records released Pat’s first album in 1984 entitled “Songs for Future Generations”. That album was co-sponsored by the environmental organization Greenpeace and was recorded with his friends, the Blackwater String Band from Concord, New Hampshire.

After the release of “Songs for Future Generations” in 1984 Pat’s music took a back seat to all the environmental and recycling work he was doing. Though not actually playing himself, Pat was able to keep active in folk music, by providing a wonderful venue for other musicians to perform. He is one of the founders of the Crossroads Coffeehouse in North Andover, MA. For the seventeen years Pat did the booking and was MC at monthly performances.

In 1998 after a musical hiatus of several years Pat began playing and writing again, resulting in his CD “We Can Do It”. This is a wonderful compilation of upbeat, heartfelt, meaningful and inspiring songs performed with a cast of extremely talented musicians from the Boston area who donated their talents in support of the messages conveyed through Pat’s lyrics.

After the start of the Iraq War Pat got involved with Veterans For Peace a national veterans organization dedicated to the abolition of war. Pat wrote, “Where is the Rage” shortly after the beginning of the Iraq War. He was personally outraged that this country was taking our young people to war once again based on lies, a repeat of the Vietnam debacle. Where was the peace movement? Where were the thousands of protesters in the streets? Where were the voices of reason and resistance? They appeared to be non-existent. Without the draft this war was not personal to most folks. It certainly was not personal to students, their parents and loved ones across this country. So Pat wrote “Where is the Rage” in an effort to bring the experience of the fallen soldier, based on his personal experience and loss, a little closer to home, making the real cost of war a little more personal. This resulted in a two song CD, the second song being, “I’ve Got a Feeling I’ve Been Here Before”.

After John Kerry’s loss for the presidency in 2004 Pat wrote “Blue State Liberal” and a new CD of the same name was born that included some new material and some older songs off of the “Future Generations” album. (It should be noted the Pat was very involved with the Kerry campaign and developed the recycling program for the Democrat National Convention in Boston. Also, at the convention Pat accomplished a first in recycling. All the paper waste; signs, placards and posters generated during the first night of the convention was collected all night and picked up at 7:00 am the following morning. The paper was transported throughout the Merrimack Valley, first to the Haverhill Paperboard Mill and made into paperboard, then to Journeyman Press in Newburyport where the paperboard was made into posters. Within eleven hours, door to door, Pat took the waste paper generated inside the convention on the first night and turned it into 30,000 Convention Posters. On Wednesday morning at the delegate’s breakfasts each state delegation received boxes of posters. They were informed that the new Convention Posters they were holding were made with the trash they had all thrown away Monday evening. The posters were signed by John Kerry and John Edwards).

In 2007 Pat was a principal organizers for a large peace rally and march in Kennebunkport, Maine and was the M.C. for the rally. There was a fundraising concert the night before the rally The night before the rally featuring Emma’s Revolution along with Pat and his musical friends. This concert resulted in the CD “Kennebunkport Songs of Peace”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *