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Great folk song lyrics

CET 08 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM
JHW 08 Apr 10 - 06:42 PM
oldhippie 08 Apr 10 - 07:12 PM
deepdoc1 08 Apr 10 - 07:16 PM
Stringsinger 08 Apr 10 - 07:44 PM
Celtaddict 08 Apr 10 - 08:01 PM
deepdoc1 08 Apr 10 - 08:31 PM
Midchuck 08 Apr 10 - 09:48 PM
mousethief 08 Apr 10 - 11:15 PM
DonMeixner 08 Apr 10 - 11:18 PM
DonMeixner 08 Apr 10 - 11:20 PM
meself 08 Apr 10 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,nine_ca 08 Apr 10 - 11:44 PM
Zhenya 09 Apr 10 - 12:58 AM
Backwoodsman 09 Apr 10 - 03:02 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Apr 10 - 03:25 AM
Terry McDonald 09 Apr 10 - 03:52 AM
CET 09 Apr 10 - 05:51 AM
deepdoc1 09 Apr 10 - 06:23 AM
banjoman 09 Apr 10 - 06:27 AM
Fred McCormick 09 Apr 10 - 06:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Apr 10 - 06:53 AM
Deckman 09 Apr 10 - 09:37 AM
Tug the Cox 09 Apr 10 - 09:42 AM
mrmoe 09 Apr 10 - 09:58 AM
CET 09 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM
PHJim 09 Apr 10 - 01:02 PM
PHJim 09 Apr 10 - 01:04 PM
Tootler 09 Apr 10 - 01:30 PM
DonMeixner 09 Apr 10 - 01:35 PM
Tootler 09 Apr 10 - 01:40 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Apr 10 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,CS 09 Apr 10 - 02:00 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Apr 10 - 02:06 PM
Richard Mellish 09 Apr 10 - 02:08 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Apr 10 - 02:10 PM
Mavis Enderby 09 Apr 10 - 02:14 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Apr 10 - 02:17 PM
Acorn4 09 Apr 10 - 04:06 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Apr 10 - 10:39 PM
mousethief 09 Apr 10 - 10:52 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Apr 10 - 12:03 AM
beeliner 10 Apr 10 - 12:57 AM
Bert 10 Apr 10 - 03:30 AM
Tootler 10 Apr 10 - 05:22 AM
CET 10 Apr 10 - 06:24 AM
Mr Fox 10 Apr 10 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Apr 10 - 07:21 PM
Commander Crabbe 10 Apr 10 - 07:29 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Apr 10 - 10:39 PM
PHJim 10 Apr 10 - 10:55 PM
autoharpbob 11 Apr 10 - 08:11 AM
Murray MacLeod 11 Apr 10 - 06:02 PM
Bluegrassman 11 Apr 10 - 07:21 PM
Commander Crabbe 11 Apr 10 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Continuity Jones 12 Apr 10 - 04:43 AM
meself 12 Apr 10 - 08:36 AM
Stringsinger 12 Apr 10 - 02:26 PM
Tootler 12 Apr 10 - 04:54 PM
Commander Crabbe 12 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Bernie 12 Apr 10 - 06:51 PM
Joe_F 12 Apr 10 - 06:54 PM
CET 12 Apr 10 - 08:26 PM
Richie 12 Apr 10 - 11:20 PM
PHJim 13 Apr 10 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Wally Macnow 13 Apr 10 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Wally Macnow 13 Apr 10 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Jeff Parton 13 Apr 10 - 12:12 PM
Fred McCormick 13 Apr 10 - 12:44 PM
meself 13 Apr 10 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,saulgoldie 13 Apr 10 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,JP 13 Apr 10 - 08:05 PM
CET 14 Apr 10 - 12:13 PM
Joe_F 14 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM
Commander Crabbe 14 Apr 10 - 09:37 PM
GUEST,Phil B 15 Apr 10 - 07:11 AM
TonyA 15 Apr 10 - 02:38 PM
Amos 15 Apr 10 - 02:44 PM
Tootler 15 Apr 10 - 02:57 PM
Commander Crabbe 15 Apr 10 - 11:22 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Apr 10 - 12:38 AM
Commander Crabbe 16 Apr 10 - 05:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Apr 10 - 05:35 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Apr 10 - 05:44 AM
mkebenn 16 Apr 10 - 03:47 PM
Tootler 16 Apr 10 - 03:55 PM
mkebenn 16 Apr 10 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Seonaid 16 Apr 10 - 06:40 PM
PHJim 17 Apr 10 - 12:38 PM
PHJim 17 Apr 10 - 12:40 PM
PHJim 17 Apr 10 - 12:49 PM
PHJim 17 Apr 10 - 12:52 PM
Joe_F 17 Apr 10 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Russ 17 Apr 10 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,Vicki Kelsey 18 Apr 10 - 09:15 PM
Bert 18 Apr 10 - 09:22 PM
ichMael 18 Apr 10 - 11:02 PM
Sailor Ron 19 Apr 10 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Peter G 20 Apr 10 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Guest -Jon 20 Apr 10 - 07:04 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Apr 10 - 03:11 PM
deepdoc1 20 Apr 10 - 05:40 PM
frogprince 20 Apr 10 - 09:58 PM
frogprince 20 Apr 10 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,CAP 21 Apr 10 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 21 Apr 10 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,mg 21 Apr 10 - 03:28 PM
mkebenn 21 Apr 10 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,mg 21 Apr 10 - 06:03 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Apr 10 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,mg 22 Apr 10 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Apr 10 - 03:06 PM
Joe_F 22 Apr 10 - 06:09 PM
sharyn 23 Apr 10 - 10:21 AM
meself 23 Apr 10 - 11:34 AM
Tootler 23 Apr 10 - 05:41 PM
CET 21 Dec 11 - 06:40 PM
CET 21 Dec 11 - 07:01 PM
Joe_F 21 Dec 11 - 08:13 PM
CET 21 Dec 11 - 08:48 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 22 Dec 11 - 11:38 AM
Elmore 22 Dec 11 - 11:54 AM
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Subject: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM

I was listening to The Field Behind the Plow, by Stan Rogers, this morning, which got me thinking to great lyrics I have heard in folk music - the kind that take your breath away, or that burrow their way so deeply into your mind that you can't get rid of them. I think this is really why I prefer folk music to pop or jazz. There are thousands of songs like that in folk music, not so many in other forms of popular music. Even great pop songwriters, like Lennon and Macartney, rarely rise above being clever.

So here is my contribution to start off this thread, from Field Behind the Plow:

Emmett Pierce, the other day, took a heart attack and died at forty-two
You could see it coming on, 'cause he worked as hard as you.

I'll add others if this thread goes anywhere.

What lyrics really pack a punch for you?


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: JHW
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 06:42 PM

The terraced streets were my Grand Canyons
The shipyard cranes were my redwood trees
Those steel yard tips were my mountain ranges
And the brickyard ponds were my Seven Seas

My Eldorado - Graeme Miles


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: oldhippie
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 07:12 PM

"You came when you were needed
I could not ask for more
Than to turn and find you walking
Through the kitchen door."

The Trumpet Vine - Kate Wolf


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: deepdoc1
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 07:16 PM

Holy crap! Where to start? That's like asking which breath I liked best out of a lifetime of breathing. Like you said, a main strength of this music is the story, or the glimpse into a soul (of course a good tune doesn't hurt). (I also like the Stan Rogers you gave.)Well, here's one or two:

Gordon Bok, Old Fat Boat

Well, mercy, mercy, I do declare,
If half the fun of going is getting there,
Mercy, Percy, you better start rowing,
'Cause the other half of getting there is going.

Greg Brown, impossible to limit to just a few:

Early:

Oooo-ee, ain't the mornin' light pretty,
When the dew is still heavy, so bright and early.
My home on the range; it's a one-horse town,
And it's alright with me.

Guy Clark, (also impossible to narrow too much) Step Inside This House:


Step inside this house girl
I'll sing for you a song
I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been
It shouldn't take too long
I'll show you all the things that I own
My treasures you might say
Couldn't be more than ten dollars worth
They brighten up my day

Annette Bjergfeldt, Boo Hewerdine,
Footsteps Fall
Sung by Maura O'Connell:

And the loneliest sound of all
Is the sound of love through a stranger's wall
But when their laughter fades
And there are no more words
The silence breaks me most of all

The list goes on. My clicker is tired now.

JimB


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 07:44 PM

Stan Rogers was great!

I like a song that boils it down like:
"Take a trip with me in nineteen thirteen
to Calumet Michigan in the copper country....."
or
"In the shadow of the steeple, I saw my people......."

"Do you see yon crow that flies so high? T'will surely turn to white,
If I am false to the girl I love, bright morning turn to night......"

"Tell you more lies than cross-ties on a railroad or stars in the skies...."

"Longest train i ever did see was on the Georgia line.
Engine come in at six o'clock and the caboose came in at nine."
(Them trains are really long)

"You're an eyeless, boneless chickenless egg
and you'll have to stand by a bowl and beg.............."

"Some'll rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen...."

"It's cloudy in the West and it's lookin' like rain
and my damned old slicker's in the wagon again....."

The world of folk is full of profound stuff.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Celtaddict
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 08:01 PM

The ways of man are passing strange:
He buys his freedom and he counts his change,
Then he lets the wind his days arrange
And he calls the tide his master.

Gordon Bok, The Ways of Man


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: deepdoc1
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 08:31 PM

Eric Bogle, If Wishes Were Fishes

And I wish I was young again my song still to be sung again
The sweet tunes of my life have gone sour and off key
Writin' my tired old rhymes tryin to turn back time
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea
==========================
Patty Griffin, Top od the World (Folk? Debatable, but memorable)


    There's a whole lot of singin's never gonna be heard
    Disppearing every day without so much as a word somehow
    I think I broke the wings off that little songbird
    She's never gonna fly to the top of the world now
    To the top of the world

I wished I'd of known you
Wished I had shown you
All of the things I
Was on the inside
==========================
Tom Waits, San Diego Serenade, among others"

Never saw the East coast until I moved to the West
I never saw the moonlight until it shone off your breast
And I never saw your heart till someone tried to steal it away
Never saw your tears till they rolled down your face
==========================
Iris Dement. No Time To Cry

I've got no time to look back, I've got no time to see
The pieces of my heart that have been ripped away from me
========

I'm done. There's just too many. Every one of these , and more every day, are at the top of my 'smack-in-the-head' category.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 09:48 PM

The old ways had their hardships, and the winters were too lonely;
But they knew where they belonged, in a world they could understand.
'Till the cities closed in on us, and our one choice grew too simple:
You go broke from paying taxes, or get rich from selling land.

Dick McCormack


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: mousethief
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 11:15 PM

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you've lived too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself -- pacing the cage

--Bruce Cockburn


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 11:18 PM

King Kitchie Kitchie kimme kimo

D


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 11:20 PM

King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Kimo

or words to that effect, I don't speak Frentch as well as I'd like.

D


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: meself
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 11:23 PM

He got his mean-streak from the gutter,
He got his kindness from God.

- "Blackpatch", Luara Nyro


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,nine_ca
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 11:44 PM

The mate was a man I loved so much, you see
for he save all his pretty words and poetry for me
its "scrub the deck and paint the ship and don't you gimme any lip
, this aint no bloody pleasure trip....

or

And the hookers standing watchfully, waitin by thre door

Stan G Triggs
Ian Tyson


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Zhenya
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 12:58 AM

Where does an old time pilot go
After he's stood his last watch?
Does he fall by the ear of the man who steers
Saying hold her on that notch
There's a gentle sneeze in the river breeze
Saying son I'm goin to bed.
And they light their pipes and go off in the night
Or was that fireflies instead?

Second verse of Old Time River Man (John Hartford)


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:02 AM

She wears Bougainvillea blossoms
You pluck 'em from her hair and toss them in the tide
Sweep her in your arms and carry her inside
Her sighs catch on your shoulder
Her moonlit eyes grow bold and wiser through her tears
And I say "How could you bear to leave her for a year?"

Thanks Stan.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:25 AM

Without wanting to stir up YET AGAIN the oldoldoldold question: looking back thru this thread, I can't help thinking it would be nice to get some quotes from actual folk songs cited, as well as all these effusions of enthusiastic & well-meaning singer-songwriters more or less in the idiom [whatever that might subsume].

I'll kick off with that great floater, best poetic summation I know of an urgent journey made in extreme haste; the variations on getting to riverside, lying on belly and swimming, getting to other side, taking to heels and running...

Any more like that?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 03:52 AM

Just what I was thinking. I'm always surprised by the North American view on what constitutes a 'folk song.'

For what it's worth, I'll offer

'Strange news has come to town,
Strange news is carried
Strange news flies up and down
That my love's married.'


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:51 AM

I started off with Stan Rogers because Field Behind the Plow was what I had been listening to. That may have got people off on a singer-songwriter tangent.

I'm a traditional music lover myself, and I find a lot of singer-songwriters to be pale imitations of the real thing - BUT there are some who have the gift, Stan Rogers being very notably one of them. He did have his off days, and some of what he wrote could be described as well meaning effusions, but with Field Behind the Plow he reached the summit.

Ian Tyson is another great writer. His lines quoted above are just about perfect:

"And the hookers standing watchfully, waitin by the door" - no attmpt to be "poetic", but with just a few words he puts you right there on the street.

Ian Tyson had the same gift with that song that Kipling had in so many of his poems:

"Oh the young recruits are shaking, and they'll want their beer today
After hanging Danny Deever in the morning."

Thank God for Peter Bellamy. Would we ever have realized what a great songwriter Kipling was without him? I know he was very far from being the first to set Kipling to music, but none of the earlier songs have the same impact as his do. Compare his version of the Road to Mandalay to the old favourite, for example.

Here are some trad lyrics that do it for me, from Sam Hall. I've never heard anybody sing them except me:

I have candles lily white, hanging high, hanging high
I have candles lily white, hanging high
I have candles lily white, and I stole them all by night
They shall fill my room with light till I die, till I die
They shall fill my room with light till I die.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: deepdoc1
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:23 AM

Yes, I do apologize for wandering. A couple of glasses af wine and my enthusiasm started tugging at the leash. I shall slink off int' the underbrush and attempt to learn restraint. It probably won't work, but I'll try. ;)


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: banjoman
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:27 AM

How about Tom Paxtons song about 9/11

I'm haunted by the sound
of Firemen running up the stairs while we were running down.

This one came to mind as I was thinking about those two brave men who lost their lives in Southampton (UK) on Thuesday night.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:36 AM

From Child 88. Young Johnstone.

'Now live, now live, my fair lady,
O live but half an hour,
There's neer a leech in fair Scotland
But shall be at thy bower.'


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:53 AM

Spencer the Rover

His children came around him with their prittle prattling stories
With their prittle prattling stories to drive care away


Anyone with kids will know why I love it:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:37 AM

GREAT THREAD ... I'll contribute after I wake some more ... Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:42 AM

The whole of
'I sowed the seeds of love' takes some beating.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: mrmoe
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:58 AM

Carl Watanabe's "where the uplands roll"

if you say my name where the uplands roll
and the answer you get ain't very kind
they'll be spoken by my hard friends of old
and my hard friends of old, I don't mind

I met a green eyed girl where the chaparral rolls
and grows high up to meet the yellow pine
her name and age best be unknown
it's enough just to say she once was mine

she was fair but her ways were much fairer yet
and her laughter could dance against the wind
her manner charmed everyone that she met
'til they held her as dear as next of kin

each young man placed his wealth and his soul in her hand
but none of them could be so proud
for she did choose a stranger to the land
and she came to me with her head bowed

our wedding day would come when the spring flowers bloomed
like two horses we danced into the sun
the stallion pranced and the mare would follow
before our wedding day a child would come

soldiers kill and we honor them with fortune and fame
but a baby who's harmed not one life
but is early to come is bathed full in shame
so must die unborn to a doctor's knife

as the doctor took our unborn babe
seeds of sorrow took root upon her mind
in her body the poison from his unwashed blade
left a wound who's cure we'd never find

so if you say my name where the uplands roll
and the answer you get ain't very kind
they'll be spoken by my hard friends of old
and my hard friends of old, I don't mind

but if they say not a word about me at all
but are reminded of a young girl once so fine
then listen close to the words that they recall
and they'll tell you of a girl who once was mine


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM

I hope this won't turn into trad vs. non-trad thread. What I had in mind was a discussion of lyrics with power, so whether it's singer-songwriter or trad.that does it for you, have at it.

That said, it would be interesting to hear from folks on my side of the Atlantic about traditional lyrics that take your breath away.

There are plenty of fine songwriters that don't manage to achieve this: Lennon/Macartney to name two. I wouldn't include many Bob Dylan songs either. Much as I like his music, he never wrote anything (IMHO) that equalled the emotional impact of Stan Rogers or Ian Tyson at their best.

Here's some more:

La reine a fait faire un bouquet
De belles fleurs de lise
Et la senteur de ce bouquet
A fait mourir Marquise

(Le roi a fait battre tambour)

Hard to get any simpler than that and it's all there in high definition - the bitter hatred of the queen for the Marquise, who is only the victim of the philandering king. You can practically put yourself in the room in the royal palace where the Marquise dies alone.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 01:02 PM

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry


Hank Williams


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 01:04 PM

Wilder Than Her - Fred J. Eaglesmith

Well I'm wilder than her, and what else can I say
But I guess that's why she fell in love with me
She's a house on fire, she's got all those charms
I'm a house on fire, too, but I got four alarms


And I'm wilder than her, and it drives her out of her mind
I guess she thought that she was just one of a kind
But she's a summer storm, and I'm a hurricane
One just blows through town, one blows the town away
And I'm wilder than her



When we go drivin' in our cars, racing through the night
She can drive as fast as me but she stops at all the lights
She says it's 'cause I'm crazy and she's probably right
But I think that the reason is that I'm twice as wild

chorus

But when she takes my hand and she looks me in the eye
I see something that I've never seen in my life
She takes the fire and turns it down low
She takes the night and makes it not so cold
She takes the distance and breaks it into miles
She makes my life just a little less wild


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 01:30 PM

There's not enough quotes from Traditional songs on this thread. They are the true folk songs.

The sheep's in the meadow, the kye's in the corn
Thoo's ower lang in thy bed, bonny at morn.

The bird's in the nest, the trout's in the burn,
Thoo troubles thy mother at mony a turn

We're all laid idle wi' keeping o' the bairns.
The lad winnot wairk, the lass winnot lairn.


Trad Northumbrian.

I'm sure that any parent whose children are teenagers or older will recognise this scenario.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 01:35 PM

There are so many great songs and with true bits of poetic brilliance in them. The quote from Brave Wolfe is an excellent example. How does one find just a few to choose from.

Ian and Sylvia's song The French Girl, I assume by Ian Tyson just captivates me again every time I hear it. The line from Along Side the Sante Fe Trail She had a smile like an acre of sunflowers brings to me a face I haven't seen in 40 years but I remember it still.

And Henry Lawson's poem set to music Reedy River is just one rolling collection of pictures. I don't have a favorite but those I mentioned will do until I find one.

Don


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 01:40 PM

And surely, one of the most beautiful love songs ever written:

It was on the fifth of August
The weather fair and mild
Unto Brigg Fair I did repair
For a love I was inclined

I got up with the lark in the morning
My heart was full of glee
Hoping for to meet my love
Long time I wished to see

I looked over my left shoulder
To see who I could see
And there I spied my own true love
Come tripping down to me

I took hold of her lily white hand
And merrily sang my heart
For now we are together
Never more to part

For courting is a pleasure
And parting is a grief
And a false hearted lover
Is worse than a thief

The green leaves they may wither,
The roots they may decay
Before that I prove false to her,
The lass I love so well.


The simplicity of the language makes it more telling.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 01:54 PM

"I hope this won't turn into trad vs. non-trad thread "

================================

No, indeed CET; this is one thread where contribs from both sides of that divide, right across the spectrum, should be welcome. I made that earlier observation because it seemed from the first few posts that traditional wasn't getting anything of a look-in at all.
=================
"That said, it would be interesting to hear from folks on my side of the Atlantic about traditional lyrics that take your breath away," you go on.
Can I suggest one such from over here: "Hug you & kiss you & tell you more lies Than the cross-ties on the railroad and the stars in the skies". That certainly a very beautiful one, & certainly from your side of the Atlantic, because over here, our railWAYS have SLEEPERS, not cross-ties.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:00 PM

The OP said: "I hope this won't turn into trad vs. non-trad thread. What I had in mind was a discussion of lyrics with power, so whether it's singer-songwriter or trad.that does it for you, have at it."

Yes, I had similar thing resulting from another thread I initiated recently where I put "folk" but meant something quite broad. My summation would be that it would be helpful if people creating threads clearly deliniated their terms and wants in the OP. I used the term "folk" when I was meaning "traditional & singer/songwriter" others read "folk" to mean "traditional only", so I had to explain the broader terms of my OP. Having said that I don't know how many (if indeed any?) Americans recognise any distinction between traditional (very old) and contemporary (not so old) folk music. Honest here.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:06 PM

Vaughan Williams once said that he thought 'Searching For Lambs' had the most beautiful tune he had ever heard. Some of its lyrics are quite lovely also:

How hero-like the sun do shine
How pleasant is the air
I'd sooner rest on my true love's breast
Than any other where...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:08 PM

MtheGM lamented the absence of "quotes from actual folk songs". As one pedant to another, I would point out that there were a few of those (in the narrower sense of "folk songs") before his posting.

However there has been a preponderance of recently-composed songs throughout this thread. Perhaps this reflects a general (though by no means universal) difference between the old songs, which tend to be largely matter-of-fact about the events recounted, and the new ones, which more often describe explicitly what the protagonists felt and thought.

For words that "take your breath away" how about the description of the fate of the innocent Child Owlet? (The following is hastily pasted from the DigiTrad. Other versions are similar.)

There wasnae grass nor heather knowe
Nor broom nor bonnie whin
But drappit wi' Chylde Owlet's blood
And pieces o' his skin

There wasnae stane on Elkin Moor
Nor yet a piece o' rush
But drappit wi' Chylde Owlet's blood
And pieces o' his flesh

Or the climax of the version of The Daemon Lover, where he grows taller than the ship's mast and dashes it to pieces?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:10 PM

"Having said that I don't know how many (if indeed any?) Americans recognise any distinction between traditional (very old) and contemporary (not so old) folk music. Honest here." GUEST CS
=====

One who most assuredly did, Sis, was the late great Sandy Paton; don't think I have ever met anyone much more conscious of the distinction.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:14 PM

Tootler, you beat me to it with Brigg fair!


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:17 PM

"MtheGM lamented the absence of "quotes from actual folk songs". As one pedant to another, I would point out that there were a few of those (in the narrower sense of "folk songs") before his posting." ===

Indeed, Richard, your post, pedant-2-pedant, made me check back: & there was indeed one [count them 1] post from Stringsinger containing several lines among a selection which would indeed qualify.

Pedantic apologies ···

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Acorn4
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 04:06 PM

"Money doesn't talk, it swears, propaganda all is phoney!"

Bob Dylan


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 10:39 PM

Another traditional floater I would nominate is the "Sad is the fortunes of all womankind" opening stanza which is the topic of another ongoing thread at this moment.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: mousethief
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 10:52 PM

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky


This is gorgeous.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 12:03 AM

A woman is a branchy tree,
A man a singing wind, wind;
And from your branches carelessly
He'll take what he can find, find,
He'll take what he can find...

Get home to your father's garden
Where you may weep your fill
And think on your own misfortunes
Brought on by your wanton will

The King looked o'er his left shoulder
And a grim look looked he;
"An 'twere not for my oath, Earl Marshall," he cried,
"Hanged you should be!"

And he took her by her lily-white hand
And he led her away to the hall
And he cut off her head from her neckbone
And kicked it against the wall!

The Brown Girl she was standing by
With knives both keen and sharp
Between the long ribs and the short
She pierced fair Eleanor's heart

"Oh never will I forget, forgive,
As long as I have breath.
I'll dance upon your green green grave
Where you do lie beneath."

And so on and so on and so on...

Aaaahhh ~~ say what you will: they just don't write 'em like that any more...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: beeliner
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 12:57 AM

Townes VanZandt: "Silver Ships of Andilar"

Of those that sailed the silver ships
From Andilar I am the last
The deeds that rang our youthful dreams
It seems shall go undone
North for the shores of Valinor
Our bows and crimson sails were made
Our captains were strong, our lances long
And our liege the holy king

The hills did turn from green to blue
And vanish as on the decks we watched
But every thought in that noble company
Was forward bound
To the lifeless plains of Valinor
Where reigns the dark and frozen one
And with tongues afire and glorious eyes
We pledged our mission be

The clime from mild to bitter ran
The wind from fair to fierce did blow
Oath and prayer did turn to thoughts
Of homes left far behind
Longed every man for some glimpse of land
And the host that did await us there
But each new day brought only a sea
And sky of ice and gray

Thanks give no word can drag you through
Those endless weeks our ships did roll
Thanks give you cannot see those sails
And faces bleach and draw
Ice we drank and leather did chew
For the oceans are unwholesome there
The dead that slid into the seas
Did freeze before our eyes

Then a wind did fling the ships apart
Each one to go her separate way
The sky did howl, the hull did groan
For how long I do not know
And what men were left when the winds had ceased
Grew dull and low of countenance
For soldiers denied their battle plain
On comrades soon must turn

So one by one we died alone
Some by hunger, some by steel
Bodies froze where they did fall
Their souls unsanctified
Until only another and I were left
Then just before his flame did fail
We shone ourselves brothers-in-arms
To serve the holy king

Perhaps this shall reach Andilar
Although I know not how it can
For once again he's hurled his wind
Upon the silver prow
But if it should my words are these
Arise young men fine ships to build
And set them north for Valinor
'Neath standards proud as fire


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Bert
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:30 AM

When the wind whistles cold on the moor at the night
All along down along out along lee
Tom Pierce's gray mare doth appear ghastly white....


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 05:22 AM

Was there ever a greater cry of anguish than the last stanza of "The Well Below the Valley"

For seven long years I'll be ringing the bell
But the Lord above may save my soul from porting in Hell!
At the well below the valley O

From a woman who had committed incest (most likely been forced to) with her uncle, brother and father and had killed or seen killed the babies resulting from these liaisons.

I found an almost identical verse in an American version of the Cruel Mother when the ghosts of her murdered babies tell her

For seven long years you'll be ringing the bell
In seven long years you'll be going to Hell

Puts an entirely different complexion on essentially the same verse yet equally powerful.

Burton Coggles: sorry for pinching your suggestion or is it a case of "great minds" [grin].


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 06:24 AM

Richard, you beat me to it with Child Owlett! It's one of my favourites - better described as stomach-churning rather than heart-rending, but doesn't it just put you in the moment?

That's why traditional lyrics tend to work better for me than most singer-songwriter lyrics - they make you see something, rather than spending a lot of time telling you about it.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Mr Fox
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 07:11 PM

If you had been a practical man,
You would have been forewarned.
You would have seen that it never could work,
And I would have never been born.

- Never any Good, Martin Simpson

I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome,
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home

- '52 Vincent Black Lightning, Richard thompson

Brown hair zig-zag around her face
And a look of half-surprise
Like a fox caught in the headlights
There was animal in her eyes

- Beeswing, Richard Thompson

Then he became a burning bush
With a flame that leapt so high
And he sang the song the spider sings
When she comes to court the fly

- Jack Rowland, Trad/Martin Carthy

Great silence hung from tree to sky
The woods grew still, the sun on fire
As through the wood the dove he came
As through the wood he made his moan

- Famous Flower of Serving Men, Trad/Martin Carthy

As I walked out one fine spring day
I saw twelve jolly dons decked out in the blue and the gold so gay
And to a stake they tied a child new-born
Then the bells were rung and the songs were sung and they sewed their corn

- Scarecrow, Lal Waterson


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 07:21 PM

"That's why traditional lyrics tend to work better for me than most singer-songwriter lyrics - they make you see something, rather than spending a lot of time telling you about it."

Well put CET, there is a sparse and direct commentary with most Trad. lyrics which assume the listeners complicity irrespective of how 'otherworldly' or unreal the circumstances depicted are.
There is a magic in this as it triggers the listener into a childlike suspension of disbelief, or so I think...


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 07:29 PM

ENGLAND 1914: Ralph McTell

"But the gas-lamps stand like soldiers, Hiss warnings to the wind
Their evening vespers prophecy of war."


THE SETTING: Ralph McTell

"Outside the trees they grew starlings like apples. Their bustle and chatter, not dampened by the rain."


The Wild Geese/Norland Wind: Violet Jacob

And far abune the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee
A lang lang skein o' beating wings wi' their heids towards the sea
and aye their cryin voices trailed behind them on the air
Oh wind Hae mercy, haud yer wheesht, for I daurna listen mair.


Deep Dark River: (Lloyd Roberts)

And always I hear the stir of men slipping
Down the Chaudiere, their thin blades dripping
Catch the low wraith of a long bark canoe
And the wilod sweet chansons of a phantom crew


The Outside Track: Henry Lawson

And one by one and two by two, they've sailed from the wharf since then.
I've said goodbye to the last I knew, the last of the careless men
And I can't but think that the times we had were the best times after all.
As I turn aside, raise a lonely glass and drink to the bar room wall.


Raglan Road: Patrick Kavanagh

When the angel woos, the clay he'll lose, his wings at the dawn of day.

CC


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 10:39 PM

I buyed me a little bull about four inches high
And everybody feared him that ever heard him cry
For when that he did bellow it was such melodious sound
That all the walls of London came a-tumbling to the ground
Sing tadladay


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 10:55 PM

They say I am feeble with age, Maggie
My steps are less sprightly than then
My face is a well written page, Maggie
But time alone was the pen.
They say we are aged and grey, Maggie
As spray by the white breakers flung
But to me you're as fair as you were, Maggie
When you and I were young.

George Johnson


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: autoharpbob
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 08:11 AM

"If it wasn't for the 'gators, I'd sleep out in the woods"

"T'would been better for us both had we never, in this wide and wicked world had never met
For the pleasures we've both seen together, I am sure love I'll never forget"


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:02 PM

I do so hate to be pedantic, but Commander Crabbe has got the punctuation badly wrong in his line from Raglan Road, notwithstanding the fact that most people mistakenly sing it the way he punctuated it.

It's not:

When the angel woos, the clay he'll lose, his wings at the dawn of day

It is:

When the angel woos the clay, he'll lose his wings at the dawn of day.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Bluegrassman
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 07:21 PM

The farmers dog can only bark
But the cold north wind can bite.
From a Butch Hancock song called "You've never seen me cry" and performed by the Flatlanders.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 08:14 PM

Murray

My most humble apologies!

However, you try singing the line with your punctuation to the the last bar of "The dawning of the day", the tune to which it is most frequently sung.

It was originally a poem and if I ever read it as such I promise I'll punctuate it as such. Until then, while I choose to sing it, I'll arrange it and perform it any way I want. Of the many times I have done so, no one has ever complained that I got the punctuation wrong in that line.

Quote "I do so hate to be pedantic" Hmmmmmmmmm! Maybe not I think.

Yours mistakenly

CC


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Continuity Jones
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 04:43 AM

Now it's been 25 years or more
I've roamed this land from shore to shore
From Tyne to Teign, or Severn to Thames
From moor to vale, from peak to fen

Played in cafes, pubs and bars
I've stood in the street with my own guitar
But I'd be richer than all the rest
If I had a pound for each request

For 'Duelling Banjos', 'American Pie'
It's enough to make you cry
'Rule Britannia', or 'Swing low...'
Are they the only songs we English know?

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
They're never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
They need roots

After the speeches, when the cake's been cut
The disco's over and the bar is shut
At christening, birthday, wedding or wake
What can we sing 'til the morning breaks

When the Indians, Asians, Afro-Celts
It's in their blood, below their belt
They're playing and dancing all night long
So what have they got right that we've got wrong?

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
They're never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
They need roots and

Haul away boys, let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We've lost more than we'll ever know
'Round the rocky shores of England
We need roots

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wales
Well, I've got a vision of urban sprawl
There's pubs where no-one ever sings at all

And everyone stares at a great big screen
Overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps

And we oughta be ashamed of all we walk
Of the way we look, at the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs

And the guy next door's a west indian fella
but we get on well chat about uri gellar
and next to him there's an African born
but he always helps me mow my lawn

How will we know where we come from?
If this Sat Nav gives up and dies
We've lost George Cole and the tv remote
behind the sofa that's where it lies

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
I'd go out now and tend that garden
if I could only find them blasted boots

Haul away boys, let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
Out in the hail and the fog and the sun as well
down past the piggery with it's awful smell
We need roots


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: meself
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:36 AM

"It was originally a poem and if I ever read it as such I promise I'll punctuate it as such. Until then, while I choose to sing it, I'll arrange it and perform it any way I want. Of the many times I have done so, no one has ever complained that I got the punctuation wrong in that line."

That's because almost no one knows or cares what this poem/song means, and they are quite content to enjoy it as a meaningless but tuneful jumble of words and images, or to impose on it whatever fanciful interpretation comes into their heads. See the pertinent threads for examples of same.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 02:26 PM

She's like a swallow that flies so high,
She's like a river that never runs dry,
She's like the sunshine on the lee shore,
I love my love and love is no more.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 04:54 PM

Commander Crabbe wrote:
It was originally a poem and if I ever read it as such I promise I'll punctuate it as such. Until then, while I choose to sing it, I'll arrange it and perform it any way I want. Of the many times I have done so, no one has ever complained that I got the punctuation wrong in that line.

All very well, but if you sing those last two lines the way you punctuated them, they completely lose their meaning. As they are effectively the "summing up" at the end, then the rest of the song loses its meaning.

Raglan Road is a superb song, but is not easy to sing because the phrasing of the words and the phrasing of the tune do not always match, so you need to think very carefully how you are going to phrase it so as to make the meaning clear to your listeners.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM

I do


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Bernie
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:51 PM

Ian Tyson again,from his latest,"Yellowhead to Yellowstone"...
...a song to his estranged[and only]daughter...one of the saddest and loveliest of all...

Poplar trees are turning,how long has it been now
since I heard a word from you
since you blessed me with a smile
how long has it been ..

Evertything is so still;I can hear a dog bark
though,like you,he's far away
though like you he's gone from me
how long has it been....

How our horses couldn't wait to run
school bus afternoons in early fall
the races that you always won
through the fields of our dreams...

Now i'm waiting out the flight delays
waiting for the storm to pass
waiting for the sky to clear;and I see your face
I don't think I know you,but I know I love you
... still ......


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:54 PM

If I am forsaken, I'll not be forsworn,
And he's surely mistaken if he thinks that I'll mourn.
I'll get myself up in some right high degree
And pass as light by him as he can by me.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:26 PM

Well, Cdr Crabbe, it seems to me that Murray has it right, and that your response is a bit petulant. If you sing the song the way you punctuated it, you are singing gibberish. Kavangh's work deserves the respect of getting the punctuation (and the meaning) right.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Richie
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:20 PM

One of my favorite stanzas, that I used in one of my songs:

A cowslip ain't no kind of slip,
To slip upon a cow.
That's whay a catfish never answers,
To a cat's meow.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 11:42 AM

Maybe I should call her up
And even if she laughs at me
At least I would get to hear her voice.

Fred Eaglesmith


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Wally Macnow
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 11:50 AM

Perhaps my favorite

"I asked her for water, she give me gasoline." - Tommy Johnson "Cool Drink of Water Blues"


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Wally Macnow
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 11:55 AM

Also

I gave her the ring. She gave me the finger.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Jeff Parton
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 12:12 PM

Re the Tom Paxton song about 9-11, it's

Firemen pounding up the stairs while we were running down

That "pounding" is such a powerful word, so evocative.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 12:44 PM

A few verse from various Child ballads

I dreamed a dream last night, he said.
Such dreams are never good.
I dreamed by bower was full of swine,
And my bride bed full of blood.

Is Lady Margaret in her bower?
Or is she in her hall?
Or is she in her cold, cold coffin,
with her face turned to the wall.

Aft hae I played at the cairds and dice,
With my ain dear rantin' laddie.
But now I maun sit in my father's hall,
And sing bah to my bastard baby.

Willie stands at his hall door
and strokes his milk white steed.
When the rings they burst from off his fingers,
And his nose began to bleed.

Then up and spake the weather man.
I fear we'll all be be drowned.
For last night I saw the new moon
with the old moon in her arm.

Wha will lace mah shoes sae sma'
And wha will glove mah hand.
And wha will bind mah middle,
With a new made linen band.

Dinna ye mind, Lord Gregory,
When we were at the wine,
We changed the rings on our fingers,
And I can show thee thine.

Up then crew the red, red cock,
And up then crew the grey.
The eldest to the youngest said,
"It's time we were away"

The day does dawn, the cock does crow,
The chunnering worm does chide.
If we be missed out of our place,
A sore pain we must bide.

Woe be, woe be, my love he cries,
Woe be to your family.
Oh Don't you see my own heart's blood
Come trickling down my knee.

There was a lord in Edinburgh,
And a false, false lord was he.
he came a courting a rich king's daughter.
And married thought she.

For love comes in at my bedside,
And love lies down beside me.
Love so oppressed my tender breast.
And love will waste my body.

The stalk is withered dry my love.
So shall our hearts decay.
So be content to prove my love.
Till God calls you away.

Marvellous stuff!


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: meself
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 01:05 PM

Where are the eyes that looked so mild,
When my poor heart you first beguiled?
Why did you skedaddle from me and the child?
Johnny, I hardly knew ye.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 02:28 PM

"And the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame,
And on each end of the rifle, we're the same."

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon


"There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away
with a warm heart whose better days are o'er.
Though her voice would be merry, 'tis sighing all the day,
   Oh hard times come again no more.

Hard Times Come Again No More by Stephen Foster


Saul


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,JP
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 08:05 PM

Alistair Hulett, in my opinion one of our finest songwriters, sadly died a few months ago. A couple of samples:

And the old men lilt how the blood was spilt
On the banks of the river Boyne
Three hundred years of hate and fear
Clutched like a miser's coin

(Among Proddy Dogs and Papes)


The bailiff came wi' the writ and a'
And the gallant lads of the Forty Twa
They drove ye oot in the sleet and snaw
The Gaels of Caledonia
When yer house was burned and yer crops as well
Ye stood and wept in the blackened shell
And the winter moor was a living hell
For the Gaels of Caledonia

(Destitution Road, about the Highland Clearances)

Or if you want traditional, how's this for chilling:

They came to rob, they came to slay,
They made their sport, they went their way.

(Famous Flower of Serving Men)

or in a lighter vein

He gave her a wink and she rolled her eye
Says he to himself "I'll be there by and by."

(Lovely Joan)


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 12:13 PM

As another example of a contemporary song that has the gift, consider this from "Broke Down" by Slaid Cleaves and Rod Picott:

"Sherry had a pawnshop band of gold
A sink full of dishes and a love grown cold
Along came a boy, pretty as the devil
She took his hand, the whole thing unravelled."

To me, that's no "well meaning effusion". It has the same clarity as this:

"Oh sall I kill her, nourice,
Or sall I lat her be?"
"Oh kill her, kill her, Lamkin'
For she ne'er was good to me."

Neither of those verses are sentimental, but the sentiment itself is inescapable.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Joe_F
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM

Look yonder, partner, see that eagle rise.
He was born on land, but he sure enjoys the skies.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:37 PM

CET

You Said

"Well, Cdr Crabbe, it seems to me that Murray has it right, and that your response is a bit petulant. If you sing the song the way you punctuated it, you are singing gibberish. Kavangh's work deserves the respect of getting the punctuation (and the meaning) right."

Well

I haven't denied that Murray has it right. The punctuation he put up is correct. It's just that the punctuation Kavanagh used for the poem is difficult for the tune "Dawning of the Day" which is most popularly used for singing it.

Murray also says "notwithstanding the fact that most people mistakenly sing it the way he (my goodself) punctuated it". This is presumably because that is the way it best fits with the tune.

As Tootler said it's not easy to sing because of the phrasing. So it needs to be chosen carefully to convey the meaning correctly, which as I said, I endeavour to do, so as to avoid it being the gibberish you say it becomes.

May I re-iterate that if I ever read it as a poem I will punctuate it the way Kavanagh wrote it. Also when I sing it I will do my best to convey the true meaning out of respect for his work.

To my knowledge I am not aware that either Murray (or your good self) have actually heard me sing it. So I fail to see how you could judge my performance of Raglan Road based on the placing of two commas. That said, if you have, then comment away. All constructive criticism is gratefully received.

If I actually charged money for my performances and you had witnessed them then I might accept the criticism as fair game.

It is also some kind of rare talent to be able to determine petulance from an inert line of text on a forum.

Like I said "while I choose to sing it, I'll arrange it and perform it any way I want" If you, Murray or in fact anyone witnesses my performance and doesn't like it, feel free to tell me in person straight away. I don't mind if you do.

However, as you feel qualified to make judgement about me based solely on a comment made on this forum. Then I'm sure you will not object if I point out that your spelling of Kavanagh is not quite right.

Please be assured that I personally don't care if this is down to lack of ability or that you forgot to review your message before posting it.

Yours, fairly objectively but not very petulantly or pedantically.

Commander Crabbe


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Phil B
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 07:11 AM

May he never prosper
And my he never thrive
At anything he takes to hand
As long as he's alive
May the very ground he walks upon
The grass refuse to grow
Since he has been the cause
Of my sorrow grief and woe.

or


May you never prosper
May you always fail
At anything you take to hand
I hope you ne're do well
May the very ground etc etc.

or


There are tinkers tailors and shoemakers
Lie snoring asleep
While we poor souls on the ocean wide
are ploughing through the deep
There's no-one to defend us love
Or keep us from the cold
On the ocean wide where we must bide
Like jolly sailors bold.

or

Now I work down at the carwash
Where all it ever does is rain.

or

Pick up my guitar and play
just like yesterday
Get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again.

and so on


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: TonyA
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 02:38 PM

Nearly all the hundreds of songs I sing regularly were chosen because the lyrics moved me greatly, but picking just a few that come to mind right now:

contemporary:

Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir,
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook, like a night from some old-fashioned book,
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child.
Now I'm a grown woman, but my thoughts are still wild.
I thought I'd see London, or maybe Paree,
but I'm starin' at cornfields, that are starin' at me.

In the little dark engine room,
where the chill seeps in your soul,
how we huddled round that little pot stove
that burned oily rags and coal.

The beaches they sell to build their hotels, my fathers and I once knew.
The birds all along, the sunlight at dawn; singing Waimanalo blues.

Getting home and taking off his shoes, he settles down with the evening news,
while the kids do their homework with the TV in one ear.
While Superman, for the thousandth time, sells talking dolls and conquers crime,
dutifully they learn the date of birth of Paul Revere.
In the paper there's a piece about the mayor's middle name,
and he gets it read in time to watch the All-Star Bingo game.

I don't know much about much, and what I don't know I don't say.
And when I have nothing to say, I'm quiet.

They were creatures in a manner quite reptilian, in their unique and stylish way.
And their numbers could be reckoned in the millions;
but there are zero of these heroes in the world today.
They had music, art and fashion, there was dinosauric passion,
and I think they'd be enraged and mortified
that when they're mentioned today, it's only to say:
Their brains were small and they died.

traditional:

Vain, vain are the vows we have plighted.
I would that we never had met.
Love's a flower that blooms to be blighted
and a star that arose but to set.

Oh what a silly girl am I, to hang myself for a butcher's boy.

But I knew that with all my weeping, all the tears that I might shed
could not bring life back to Arthur, lying there so cold and dead.
So I took his lifeless body, cast it o'er the river side;
and I leave this world to wonder what became of Arthur Clyde.

For I was nothing to him,
Though he was the world to me.

It was on an autumn evening, an old man bent with age
strolled up to the village express, just off of a dusty stage.
"Is this the express office? I've come to get my son.
They told me that his train was due this place at half-past one."
"You've made a great mistake, sir, I would like for you to know.
This is the express office, not the town depot."
"You do not understand me, lad," with quivering lips he said.
"He's not coming as a passenger, he's coming to me dead."

My lover was a soldier, too. He fought at God's command.
A sabre pierced his gallant heart. You might have been the man.
He reeled and fell but was not dead. A horseman spurred his steed
and trampled on his dying brain. You might have done the deed.

I'll be all smiles tonight, love. I'll be all smiles tonight.
Though my heart may break tomorrow, I'll be all smiles tonight.

C'est l'aviron qui nous mène, qui nous mène.
C'est l'aviron qui nous mène en haut!


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Amos
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 02:44 PM

"But them cowboys, they had never heard
Of such a thing as a bankruptcy law.
So we left that drover's bones to bleach
On the trail of the buffalo....".



A


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 02:57 PM

It is also some kind of rare talent to be able to determine petulance from an inert line of text on a forum.

It is possible through the way you phrase a comment to convey an impression of petulance. A line of text is not inert but is open to interpretation. The comment below came over as petulant to me. You may not have meant it so, but that's the impression it conveyed.

It was originally a poem and if I ever read it as such I promise I'll punctuate it as such. Until then, while I choose to sing it, I'll arrange it and perform it any way I want.

It's the last sentence that does it.

Going back on topic, I believe that Patrick Kavanagh did actually intend it as a song, though being a poet, he wrote it as a poet would rather than as a songwriter would.

Luke Kelly gives that impression here


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 11:22 PM

Hi Tootler

Ok, I will concede that although a line of text is technically inert, it is open to interpretation.

You have said "It's the last sentence that does it". If in fact it was the last sentence, I could agree that it could be assumed as petulance. However, in the original post it is not the last sentence and neither was it intended to be petulant.

In the open session I attend and occasionally MC, it is not unusual for people to sing or play some material that I also do. It is rare that it conforms to the arrangement that I use. However, I would not be so impolite as to tell them that their punctuation or phrasing was crap, even if it was.

As I see it, they are free as individuals to arrange and interpret a song any way they wish to do so. Even if I don't particularly like it.

If as you say, an inert line of text is open to interpretation then;

Murray said:

"I do so hate to be pedantic, but Commander Crabbe has got the punctuation badly wrong in his line from Raglan Road, notwithstanding the fact that most people mistakenly sing it the way he punctuated it."

1. Contrary to his statement, Murray, I believe, quite likes to be pedantic.
2. If I had written this, I wouldn't comment on another's punctuation or phrasing.

CET said:

Well, Cdr Crabbe, it seems to me that Murray has it right, and that your response is a bit petulant. If you sing the song the way you punctuated it, you are singing gibberish. Kavangh's work deserves the respect of getting the punctuation (and the meaning) right.

1. Again, if I had written this, I wouldn't comment on another's punctuation or phrasing.

May all your lottery wins be more than a tenner.

CC


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 12:38 AM

Commander ~~ as I am the OP of a currently ongoing thread on the topic of winning only £10 in the lottery when the jackpot was £17,000,000, I cannot help but feel that perhaps, in the words of Air XXX in The Beggar's Opera, "that was levelled at me".

May I respectfully ask why? Or am I mistaken & this is mere coincidence?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 05:19 AM

Michael

I am not aware of your ongoing thread and it was not levelled at you.

CC


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 05:35 AM

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky

This is gorgeous.


I think that all depends what you are smoking:-) One more draw and I would put up "Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind."

(Only joshing - honest. I openly admitted liking the Moody Blues the other day!)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 05:44 AM

Thanx, Commander. But if you have a look at my thread, which is BS, you will see your comment was so peculiarly à-propos as to be positively spooky!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: mkebenn
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 03:47 PM

Poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty's livin' in a cheap hotel
the desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
and so this story end's, I'm told.


Townes, of course. Not too bad for a verse he added because someone told him the song wasn't long enough...Mike


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 03:55 PM

By Woody Guthrie

A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says "They are just deportees."

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: mkebenn
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 05:22 PM

Whiskey is my deathbed
tells me where to lay my head
"not with me" is all she said
Early in the morning


Townes, again Mike


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Seonaid
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 06:40 PM

Here's one that makes me laugh (cynically) -- it's about horses and young maids, but the political implications are so-o-o timely:

"Keep 'em so busy up in front, they can't look out behind."

(From "The Bachelor Boy")

Now, here's one that makes me cry -- selections from Child #91:

O we were sisters seven, Maisry,
And five are dead wi child; …

'O hold your tongue, my ae daughter,
Let a your folly be,
For ye shall be married ere this day week
Tho the same death you should die.'


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 12:38 PM

Some blues lyrics that I've always liked:

It's Honey and it's Sweety when I'm with her,
Big nasty man when I'm gone
When she sees me coming with a twenty dollar bill
It's,"Sweet Darlin' where you been so long?"

I ain't never had no two women at one time
No I ain't never had no two women at one time
To satisfy this boy takes six, seven, eight or nine.

I prayed to the Lord to send me an angel down
Yes I prayed to the Lord to send me an angel down
He must've been out of angels 'cause he sent me old Thelma Brown.

What is it makes me love that Thelma Brown?
Ah what is it makes me love that Thelma Brown?
Must be the same old thing makes a bulldog hug a hound.

What makes my Grandma love my Grandpa so?
What makes my Grandma love my Grandpa so?
He's got that same jelly roll he had fifty years ago.

Although some of them may be politically incorrect, I like 'em.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 12:40 PM

Don't you leave me here,
Don't you leave me here,
But if you must go and leave me Darlin'
Leave a dime for beer.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 12:49 PM

Old Timer, Old Timer,
I'm too late to die young now.
Old Timer, five and dimer,
Tryin' to find a way to age like wine somehow.

My new stuff is nothin' like my old stuff was
And neither one is much when compared to the show
Which may not be as good as another one you saw
So help me I know, I know, I know.

I'm an Old Timer, Old Timer,
Too late to die young now.
Old Timer, five and dimer,
Tryin' to find a way to age like wine somehow.

I've known every fool who's ever signed his picture on the wall
At the back of all these beer joints and concert halls,
Been through sven managers, five labels,
A thousand picks and patch cables,
Three bands, a bunch of guitar stands
And cans and cans and cans of beer
And bottles of beer and bags of pot
And a bunch of stuff that I forgot
I thought that I'd be dead by now.
But I'm not.

Todd Snider - Aged Like Wine


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 12:52 PM

"Three bands, a bunch of guitar stands
And cans and cans and cans of beer
And bottles of beer and bags of pot"

should be

"Three bands, a bunch of guitar stands
And cans and cans and cans of beer
And bottles of booze and bags of pot"

"sven managers" should be "seven managers"


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 06:25 PM

Single girl, single girl,
Goes to the store and buys.
Married girl, married girl,
Rocks the cradle and cries.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 09:17 PM

Great thread.

Lulu, oh lulu,come and open up this door.
Before I have to open it with my old 44.
(Trad - Hang me/Been all around this world)

I have secrets I could tell you
You have secrets of your own
All these years we've lived together
You and I have lived alone
(Utah Philips - Golden Mansions)

Some will rob you with a six gun
some with a fountain pen
(Wood Guthrie - Pretty Boy Floyd)

Russ (permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Vicki Kelsey
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 09:15 PM

There are many that do it for me, but two that come to mind are Michael Smith's "The Dutchman", a heart-filling description of a love that endures through the trials that life can dish out, and Eric Bogle's "No Man's Land", aka "Willie McBride" and "Green Fields of France", which I am unable to sing or even hear without blubbering halfway through.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Bert
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 09:22 PM

Haul him aboard with a running bowline.

Oh 'tiz my delight on a shiny night, in the season of the year.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: ichMael
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 11:02 PM

Believe me if all those
Endearing young charms
Which I gaze on so fondly today
Were to change by tomorrow
And fleet in my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away
Though would'st still be adored
As this moment thou art
Let thy loveliness fade as it will
And around the dear ruin
Each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself
Verdantly still.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 11:30 AM

"Blaspheming saints & splendid drunken heroes" John Connelly's epic description of trawler deckhands [from his Trawler town Requium.]


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Peter G
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 05:47 AM

The kirk was decked at eventide, the tapers glimmer'd fair.
The Priest and Bride-groom wait the Bride, and Dame and Knight were there.
They sought her baith in bower and ha', the Ladye wasn'a seen----
"FOR SHE'S OWER THE BORDER AN' AWA' - WI' JOCK O' HAZELDENE"!


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Guest -Jon
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:04 AM

From 'Seasons' or 'The Ploughshare'

The sun has gone down and the sky it looks red,
down on my soft pillow where I lay my head,
when I open my eyes for to see the stars shine,
then the thoughts of my true love run into my mind.

...but them I'm biased!


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 03:11 PM

Oh, no Jon, no Jon, no Jon, no ~~~ not biased in any pejorative sense: & how the corpus ref'd to is full of candidates for this thread:~

He knew not what ailed him
But thought it was love

Our officers commanding us and them we must obey
Tho expecting every moment all to get cast away

`Twas on the morn of Valentine
When birds began to tweet,
Dame Durden and her maids and men
They all together meet.

Sweep chimnye sweep is the common cry I keep ···


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: deepdoc1
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 05:40 PM

The story goes that Leonard Cohen was battling depression when he wrote Bird on the Wire:

...
Like a baby stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out to me
...


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 09:58 PM

He's a preacher, and a prophet, and a problem when he's stoned
                   Kris Kristopherson

I have seen the David, and the Mona Lisa too; and I have heard Doc Watson play Columbus Stockade Blues

I loved you from the git-go, I'll love you til I die; I loved you on the Spanish Steppes the day we said goodby

                   Guy Clarke


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 10:05 PM

Rise again, rise again,
Though your heart, it be broke, and your life about to end;
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
Like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.
                   Stan


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,CAP
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 04:15 AM

River Run James Keelaghan.
The first verse:-

River of blue, cut through the valley,
swept pass the willows and the sandy bar,
ran so swift, locked in my memory,
but the way things were is not the way things are.
We used to swim in the crook of it's arm
in the summer heat who could be blamed?
Avioded the rapids the best that we could,
never thought that that stream could be tamed.

Past the Point of Rescue Mick Hanly

or any song that the writer makes you stop think and take a look at the wider picture as well as one self.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 04:39 AM

Indeed it is Michael. Some beauties.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 03:28 PM

I often thought that God made the mixer and the hod so that Paddy could know hell upon the ground..Building up and tearing England down

it wasn't his intent he got a fine head of cement..same

rifle to rifle and horse against horse...Bold Fenian men

I put my head into a cask of brandy..Peggy Gordon

when I have partaken of beans and of bacon I whistle a merry old tune of the trail..I live in Montana

oh no true love will be his guard and bring him back again..Blue bells of Scotland

and the brave keep falling to honor the names of the ones who have gone before..Leaves of grass. G. Lightfoot

so I'll work on the towboats with my slippery city shoes..Summer wages. I. Tyson

if I was a clerk and could write a fine hand..Boncloddy

in a cavern in a canyon excavating for a mine..Clementine

Trelawny he's in keep and hold Trelawny he may die here's 20,000 Cornish bold will know the reason why..Song of the Western Men

I probably have listed these on other threads..mg

and woe to he who will stop for tea with McALpine's Fusilers.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: mkebenn
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 04:23 PM

Casey leaves the underground
and stops inside the Golden Crown
for something wet to wash away the chill that's on his bones
seeing his reflection
in the eyes of all the lonley men
who grasp at anything they can
to keep from going home.
Standing in the courner Casey drinks his pint of bitters
never glancing in the mirror at the faces passing by
And he stumbles as he's leavin'
and he wonders if the reason
is the beer that that's in his belly
or the tear that's in his eyeBr>

Casey's Last Ride
Kris


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 06:03 PM

it was tears that made the Clyde.

there's a pick and shovel waiting down the coal town road A. Mcg.

I found him worthy of his wound..Dainty Davey.

I'll sit and mourn upon her grave a twelvemonth and a day Unquiet grave

all the world (is) sad and dreary everywhere I roam...Swanee River

why weep ye by the tide lady why weep ye by the tide..Jock of Hazeldeen

mg


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Apr 10 - 12:10 AM

Re Song Of The Western Men, ref'd above: fine song written by Robert Hawker in 1820s about historic event of late 17C. Worth following up in good Wikipedia entry.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Apr 10 - 02:13 PM

the gargle dims me brain.g


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Apr 10 - 03:06 PM

Before I'd be a slave I'd be buried in my grave. Oh freedom.

By our sons in servile chains..we will drain our dearest veins but we shall be free..Scots what hae..

tramp tramp tramp the boys are marching cheer up comrades they will come...

we'd make the rafters ring..when every sailor in the house would lift his hat and sing Fair thee well Enniskillen


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Apr 10 - 06:09 PM

It's luve for luve that I hae got,
Luve for luve again,
So turn your high horse heid about,
And we will ride for hame, bonnie luve,
And we will ride for hame.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: sharyn
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 10:21 AM

This old hammer ring like silver,
Shine like gold, shine like gold

I ha'n't had a knife since I can remember.

When Father Adam and Mother Eve
Did eat of the forbidden tree-O
Whaur was all your gentry then?
I'm just as guid as thee-O

What's the life of a man any more than a leaf?


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: meself
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 11:34 AM

She put her arms around me like a circle 'round the sun.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 05:41 PM

Westron wynde, when wilt thou blow,
The small raine down can raine.
Cryst, if my love were in my armes
And I in my bedde again!


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 06:40 PM

As I was driving to the airport in Fredericton, New Brunswick I came across this song on the CBC. I forget the name of the show. It's the one hosted by Jim Corcoran, that features music from French Canada - Canadian catters might know the one I mean. The song is "Rentrer chez nous", by David Portelance, and sung by Fred Pellerin. It absolutely knocked me for a loop. It's beautifully sung, which helps, and the words go straight to the heart. There is a very strong link to traditional music in the opening lyrics to each verse: "Derriere chez nous il y a...", which is a floating line in more than one traditional song. I particularly like the last words of the song:

"Derriere chez nous y a désert
Ou j'vas planter un peu d'amour"

Check it out on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4FTAJ34H6w

(For the umpteenth time I have followed the blue clicky instructions and they don't work)


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 07:01 PM

The CBC show was "A propos".

If anybody can post the lyrics or a link where I can find them I would be grateful. I've just spent a few fruitless minutes Googling for them.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Joe_F
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 08:13 PM

Va dire a mes amis
Que je me souviens d'eux.


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: CET
Date: 21 Dec 11 - 08:48 PM

"Derriere chez nous y a désert" should read "Derriere chez nous y a un désert"


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 11:38 AM

"Some will rob you with a six-gun; some with a fountain pen" (Woody Guthrie)

" Hard times then; it seemed they'd never end,
But we fought like hell and we lived to tell of the hard times once again" (Rick Fielding)


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Subject: RE: Great folk song lyrics
From: Elmore
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 11:54 AM

I was born this way, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice. Leonard Cohen


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