Wednesday, May 03, 2006

***Professor Presley***

I’ll have to admit, when I first saw the cover of this CD and read the subtitle, “A Punk Rock-N-Roll Romp Through U.S. History”, I was very skeptical. But, man-o-man, this is an amazing album! Bill Reynolds, aka Professor Presley, has used classic punk chord changes, song structures, and lyrical immediacy to tell the story of America’s history from Colonial settlement to the Reconstruction era. And the damn thing rocks!

As a Middle School Social Studies teacher in Encinitas, California, Reynolds took it upon himself to create materials that would appeal to his students, thus was born Professor Presley: History Rocks. With the musical help of Mike Kamoo and the vocal talents of several bands from Southern California, including Lucy's Fur Coat, The Stereotypes, Static Halo, Rookie Card, Jameson's Gypsies, and Jersey Thursday, Reynolds takes 8th Graders on a tour of significant events in the history of the United States.

Documents that were the foundation of our political system, the idealistic differences between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, the War of 1812, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the causes of the Civil War, are all given straightforward, literal descriptions and explanations. And what better music to be the backdrop of such inflammatory, thought-provoking subjects? It totally works, and you can almost see our founding fathers, if they had possessed the technology, grinding out a punk rock song about the pros and cons of the Federalist and Democratic-Republican Parties.

Another great aspect of Reynolds’ project is his Teacher’s Tool Kit, which includes two CDs and tons of materials to use in the classroom. So educators, take note! This one is a winner, and word is Professor Presley is currently working on World History Rocks and Science Rocks as we speak.

And check out the old school pics of the Minutemen in the contest area!


J.P. said...

Billy is a good man. All the little surf groms around here respect him and that isn't easy sometimes.
Cool blog by the way...

Anonymous said...

I was in his 8th grade history class when he was writing most of these songs, they are great :)

Warren Truitt said...

Bill seems to really love his job! You guys were lucky to have him as a teacher, I'm sure.

Silly Bus said...

It is a very nice and good post. Keep up the good work.

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