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Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)

DigiTrad:
BIG MUDDY
DON'T ASK WHAT A RIVER IS FOR
FLOWERS OF PEACE
I MIND MY OWN BUSINESS
MY GET UP AND GO HAS GOT UP AND WENT
MY OLD BROWN EARTH
OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
OLD DEVIL TIME
ONE GRAIN OF SAND
PRECIOUS FRIEND
QUITE EARLY MORNING
SAILING DOWN MY DIRTY STREAM
SAILING DOWN MY GOLDEN RIVER
SOUR CREAM
TURN, TURN, TURN or TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON
WALKING DOWN DEATH ROW
WELL MAY THE WORLD GO


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historical reference: Knee Deep in the Big Muddy (13)
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GUEST,Pat Blackman 16 Jun 12 - 12:12 PM
GUEST 17 Jun 12 - 11:32 AM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Nov 14 - 12:32 PM
Joe Offer 28 Oct 16 - 11:15 AM
Jim Dixon 29 Oct 16 - 12:50 AM
Felipa 29 Oct 16 - 06:47 AM
Jim Dixon 29 Oct 16 - 09:20 AM
Mrrzy 29 Oct 16 - 01:48 PM
Ken Liss 29 Oct 16 - 03:21 PM
Ken Liss 29 Oct 16 - 04:29 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Oct 16 - 05:17 PM
Ken Liss 31 Oct 16 - 09:46 AM
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Subject: Seeger's 'Those Three Are on My Mind'
From: GUEST,Pat Blackman
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 12:12 PM

This week on Murder Ballad Monday Ken explores the origins and context of "Those Three Are On My Mind", written by Frances Parker with music and performance by Pete Seeger.

Those Three Are On My Mind - Ken takes us in to new territory by exploring the political murder ballad "Those Three Are On My Mind." Voiceless killers, the chilling closeness in time, and the terrible power of the subject make this introduction tentative. The promise of more depth this week gives both reader and writer pause. Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, and Kim and Reggie Harris and Magpie all give us the music we need to confront the truth.

Folk Singer's Field Report - August 5, 1964 - Ken uses Pete Seeger's memoir to develop the discussion about the events surrounding the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964. "...perhaps this is one of the more peaceful revolutions of history. Last night I had to announce to my audience that the bodies of the three young civil rights workers had just been found. But no one was shouting for revenge. Rather, one felt simply an intense determination to continue this work of love. Afterward, people came up to me to get the words to a new song I've been singing: O healing river..."

Songs of Freedom Summer - Freedom Summer inspired several songs that fall within the bounds of our loose definition of murder ballad. In today's post, Ken samples such music from Paul Simon, Tom Paxton, Carolyn Hester, and Mimi and Richard Farina; as well he delivers a devastating broadside by Phil Ochs. "They smile and shrug their shoulders at the murder of a man."

"So died these men as became Athenians" - Ken caps off a contemplative week by seeking out the place that "Those Three Are On My Mind" holds in American history and music. As an elegy, "it's an opportunity for the singer and the listener to bond their experience of loss to a context of broader meaning and purpose." Some wonderful performances by the Freedom Singers, Harry Belafonte, Ani DiFranco, and Cordelia's Dad help us understand that place where art and history combine perfectly.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THOSE THREE ARE ON MY MIND (H Belafonte)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 11:32 AM

THOSE THREE ARE ON MY MIND
Words and Music by Frances Taylor and Pete Seeger
© 1966 Fall River Music, Inc.

I think of Andy in the cold wet clay
Those three are on my mind
With his comrades down beside him
On that brutal day
Those three are on my mind

There lies young James in his final pain
Those three are on my mind
So I ask the killers can you see those three again
Those three are on my mind

I see dark eyed Michael
With his dark eyed bride
Those three are on my mind
And three proud mothers
Weeping side by side
Those three are on my mind

But I'm grieving yet
And for some the sky is bright
I cannot give up hoping
For a morning light
So I ask the killers do you sleep at night
Those three are on my mind

I see tin roof shanties
Where my brothers live
Those three are on my mind
And the little burnt out churches
Where they sing we forgive
Those three are on my mind

I know of Tom Paine's Water Tree
I know the price of liberty
Now I ask the question that is deep inside of me
Did they also burn the courthouse
When they killed those three
Those three are on my mind
Those three are on my mind
Those three are on my mind


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Subject: RE: Seeger's 'Those Three Are on My Mind'
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 12:32 PM

At first reading I was perplexed at the lines,

I know of Tom Paine's Water Tree
I know the price of liberty


But then I thought of Jefferson's great quote:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time
with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural
manure.


I don't find a quote from Tom Paine about a Water Tree.
But maybe it's some other tree, or some other Paine.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Seeger's 'Those Three Are on My Mind'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 11:15 AM

Can anybody tell us about Frances Taylor and her story, and how she came to write this song? Did she write other songs?
Any corrections to the lyrics? The song has been recorded by Pete Seeger, by Harry Belafonte, and on a Seeger tribute album by Magpie and Kim & Reggie Harris. Some recordings have the song's title as "These Three Are/Were on my Mind," but the usual title seems to be "Those Three Are On My Mind."
-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: THOSE THREE ARE ON MY MIND (Pete Seeger)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 12:50 AM

I listened to the recording, and it has some significant differences with the lyrics posted above:


THOSE THREE ARE ON MY MIND
As sung by Pete Seeger on "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy and Other Love Songs" (1967)

I think of Andy in the cold wet clay.
    Those three are on my mind.
With his friends beside him on that brutal day.
    Those three are on my mind.

There lies young James in his mortal pain.
    Those three are on my mind.
So I ask those killers: can you sleep again?
    Those three are on my mind.

I see young Michael with his soft-eyed bride.
    Those three are on my mind.
And three proud mothers weeping side by side.
    Those three are on my mind.

But I grieve yet and for some the sky is bright.
I cannot give up hoping for a morning light,
So I ask those killers: can you sleep at night?
    Those three are on my mind.
    Those three are on my mind.

I see the tin-roofed shanties where my brothers live.
    Those three are on my mind.
And the burnt-out churches where they sing, "We forgive."
    Those three are on my mind.

While on the backwoods roads still ride the hooded bands,
Poisoning the air throughout the good south land.
So I ask those killers: can you ever wash your hands?

    Those three are on my mind.
    Those three are on my mind.

There sit the mighty judges handing down the law.

    Those three are on my mind.
In their marble courthouse, we are filled with awe.

    Those three are on my mind.

I know of Tom Paine's watered tree; I know the price of liberty,
But I must ask that question that still burns in me:
Did they also burn the courthouse when they killed those three?
    Those three are on my mind.
    Those three are on my mind.


[The 3 murdered civil rights workers were James Earl Chaney of Meridian, Mississippi, and Andrew Goodman and Michael "Mickey" Schwerner of New York City, all killed on the night of June 21–22, 1964 in Nashoba County, near Meridian, Mississippi. Wikipedia]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Felipa
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 06:47 AM

for the tune -- there are some recordings on you tube, example
Pete Seeger

Harry Belafonte

also Harry Belafonte


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 09:20 AM

The lyrics posted by GUEST on 17 Jun 12 are actually those sung by Harry Belafonte. The subject line of his message now contains that information.

I believe DaveO has correctly identified the source and meaning of the tree metaphor, and that the songwriter has incorrectly attributed it to Tom Paine. It should be Jefferson.

Also, I think "water tree" is a mishearing; it should be "watered tree"—although the difference is subtle and easily missed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 01:48 PM

The poster said H. Belafonte...

Also, is this a true story? It sounds like not a war story but something like the Yogurt Shop murders...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Ken Liss
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 03:21 PM

This song was unknown to me until a few weeks ago when my sister saw a mention of it in an article about Many Rivers to Cross: A Festival of Music, Art & Justice held in Atlanta at the beginning of October. The article (on the online site The Root) said that Harry Belafonte performed the song, which it called a "new song." When my sister looked it up she found, of course, that it was an old song with music by Pete Seeger. The lyrics were attributed in various places to Frances Taylor, Frances Fink Taylor, or Frances Parker. My sister couldn't find information about her, and that set me off on a quest to learn more. After several weeks and help from a number of sources, here is what I found.

Frances Fink Taylor was a music critic and later a film critic for the Long Island Press in New York in the 1960s and 70s. She interviewed Bob Dylan in the office of his manager, Albert Grossman, in August 1965. Her column about the interview. published in the Long Island Press in October, is often cited in writings about Dylan. In it he disavowed his early folk and protest songs.

Broadside: The National Topical Song Magazine published "Those Three Are on My Mind" and two other songs with lyrics by Taylor in 1966. "In the process of interviewing young singer-songwriters (including Bob Dylan) for her column," the editor wrote, "she became interested in songwriting herself."

The music and lyrics to "Those Three…" appeared in the October 1966 issue of Broadside. Here's what the editor's note said:

"Frances Taylor first write [sic] the original lyrics of this song in the form of a poem about a year ago. Last summer Pete Seeger composed a tune for the words, which underwent some revision in the process, and this is the result. Pete introduced the song on the David Susskind T-V show, October 2, 1966. Harry Belafonte is recording it and plans to use it it as the title song of his forthcoming new L-P album."

That episode of The David Susskind Show was the first under that name. (The show had previously been called Open End.) The other guest, in addition to Seeger, was Robert Kennedy. (Historic Films Archive has clips from the Susskind show, and I hope to find this one.)

It's unclear what were the revisions that Broadside mentioned, but the lyrics as published there are slightly different from the way either Seeger or Belafonte sang them. (I'll post the lyrics separately.) In 1999, Seeger wrote to Sing Out! that "Frances Taylor sent these words to me; all I did was put a tune to them." (Sing Out! The Folk Magazine. Vol. 44, No. 1, 1999, p. 80)

A second song with lyrics by Taylor and music by Seeger appeared in the November 1966 issue of Broadside. Titled "Men of Principle," it ridiculed the hypocrisy of government officials whose words about open and low-cost housing, integrated schools, jobs, and peace did not match their actions. (I'll post those lyrics, too.)

A third song with Taylor lyrics, "Computer Love-Song," had been published in Broadside in June 1966. It was a whimsical and skeptical song about computer matching (long before OKCupid or Tinder.) The music was by pianist, singer, and composer Irma Jurist. I have found evidence of another song they wrote together, called "I Haven't Lost My Way" but know nothing more about that one. (Eleven years earlier, Irma Jurist had been one of many performers, including Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, who refused to testify about ties to communism in hearings before the House Un-American Activities Subcommittee.)

Finding information about Frances Taylor before and after this period was difficult, but here's what I have discovered.

She was born Pearl Finkelstein in New York in 1909. Her father had a drugstore in Manhattan. It's not clear if Frances was her middle name or how she otherwise came to be known as Frances, but the family name was eventually shortened to Fink. She graduated from the Columbia University School of Journalism and was listed in various sources as a reporter or a writer as early as 1933, but it is unknown who she wrote for or what kind of writing she did before the 1960s. She married a Czech-born motion picture theater operator named Michael Zala in 1933. They were later divorced. In 1947, she married Joseph S. Taylor, another motion picture operator.

I have not yet found any other examples of her music writing, besides the Dylan interview, except for a reference to a column about Woody Guthrie. She continued to write film reviews for many years until the demise of the Long Island Press in 1977 and was a member of the New York Film Critics Circle. She died in Poughkeepsie, New York in December 1979 at the age of 70.

I have been in touch with Frances Taylor's daughter and hope to learn more about her and about how she came to write the lyrics to "Those Three Are on My Mind" and other songs. (Her daughter did not know or did not remember Pete Seeger's connection to the song.) I'll share more info when I have it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Ken Liss
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 04:29 PM

These are the lyrics by Frances Taylor as published in Broadside. There are several minor differences between this and the various recorded versions. The most notable include:

1. In the second stanza, the line "While my tears keep falling like the rain, like the rain" (Broadside) changes to "So I ask those killers: can you sleep again?" (Seeger) and "So I ask the killers can you see those three again" (Belafonte).

2. In the third stanza, "blue-eyed Michael with his blue-eyed bride" (Broadside) changes to "young Michael with his soft-eyed bride" (Seeger) and "black-eyed Michael with his black-eyed bride" (Belafonte).

3. In the refrain, "But I breathe yet" (Broadside) changes to "But I grieve yet" (Seeger and Belafonte).

THOSE THREE ARE ON MY MIND
As published in Broadside: The National Song Magazine, #75, October 1966

I think of Andy in the cold wet clay.
    Those three are on my mind.
With his friends down beside him on that brutal day.
    Those three are on my mind.

There lies young James in his mortal pain.
    Those three are on my mind.
While my tears keep falling like the rain, like the rain
    Those three are on my mind.

I see blue-eyed Michael with his blue-eyed bride.
    Those three are on my mind.
And three proud mothers weeping side by side.
    Those three are on my mind.

But I breathe yet and for some the sky is bright.
I cannot give up hoping for a morning light,
So I ask the killers: "Do you sleep at night?"
    Those three are on my mind.
    Those three are on my mind.

I see the tin-roofed shanties where my brothers live
    (Those three are on my mind)
And the burned-out churches where they sing, "we forgive"
    (Those three are on my mind)

While on the backwoods road still ride the hooded bands
Poisoning the air through the good southlands
And so I ask the killers: "Can you ever wash your hands?"
    Those three are on my mind; Those three are on my mind.

There sit the mighty judges handing down the law
    (Those three are on my mind)
In their marble courthouse we are filled with awe
    (Those three are on my mind)

I know of Tom Paine's watered tree,
I know the price of liberty
But I must ask the question that must burn in me
Did they also burn the courthouse when they killed those three?
    Those three are on my mind; Those three are on my mind;
    Those three are on my mind.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 05:17 PM

To be honest, when I listened to both versions, I was uncertain whether it was "breathe" or "grieve" but "grieve" made more sense to me so I went with that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Those Three Are on My Mind (Pete Seeger)
From: Ken Liss
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 09:46 AM

I created a Wikipedia page for Frances Taylor.

I think that's the best way to make sure that other people who look her up or look up the song will find out more about her.

I have some leads on additional info and will update the page when I have more to add.


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