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Origins: Can't Nobody Fix It When It's Gone

GUEST,Stringsinger 10 Jan 13 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,999 10 Jan 13 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,999 10 Jan 13 - 11:00 AM
Stringsinger 10 Jan 13 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,999 10 Jan 13 - 02:39 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Jan 13 - 02:50 PM
Stringsinger 10 Jan 13 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Guest (Stevebury) 19 Mar 13 - 09:13 PM
Stringsinger 20 Mar 13 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,(Stevebury) 12 Apr 13 - 06:57 PM
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Subject: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: GUEST,Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:43 AM

Hi, I'm looking for the composer/author of an environmental protest song called
"Cain't nobody fix it when it's gone, gone, gone." It was in one of the SingOut magazines
some time ago but I haven't been able to locate it. Thanks for your help.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 10:55 AM

I don't suppose you're looking for 'Rings of Grass' by Shel Silverstein?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 11:00 AM

You can ask Sing Out! here, Frank.

I'm comin' up empty on the www.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 02:24 PM

Thanks 999. I wrote to SingOut and hope for a response.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 02:39 PM

Good luck. They seem pretty good at getting back to people.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 02:50 PM

If it ever appeared in Sing Out! it ought to be listed on this page, but I don't see it there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 02:52 PM

The lyric goes:

1. Once the forest stretched from Kansas to the rocky coast of Maine
Surrounding fertile fields and valleys on it's way
But they chopped and cleared to make more room
And destroyed the watershed
And the rains came down and washed the soil away.

2. The Great Southwestern Dust Bowl was carpeted with grass
And herds of creatures roamed across it's face
Though with grazing and misuse of cattlemen who didn't care
Turned it to a gray and lifeless place.

3. Oh, you'd think we'd learned the lessons from the losses of the past.
You'd think we keep the things that still remain.
But from the Redwoods to the Everglades
The bulldozers are (cutting?)
Tearing down the things we can't get back again.

The chorus: Something like Can't Nobody Fix It when it's gone, gone, gone
We'll just have to do without it from now on.
Why can't everybody know we'll have to reap just what we sow?
Yes and can't nobody fix it when it's gone.

I thought I saw "cain't" but it might be "can't". Any ideas? Thanks.


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Subject: ADD: Can't Nobody Fix It When It's Gone (Hughes)
From: GUEST,Guest (Stevebury)
Date: 19 Mar 13 - 09:13 PM

My sister-in-law just gave me a songbook for my birthday, which includes to song "Can't Nobody Fix it When It's Gone" by Tony Hughes. "Sing the Good Earth" was published in 1982 by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Googling the song, I found this Mudcat thread. Here are the words as they appear in the book:


CAN'T NOBODY FIX IT WHEN IT'S GONE
(Tony Hughes)

Once the forest stretched from Kansas to the rocky coast of Maine,
Surrounded fertile fields and valleys on the way;
But they chopped and cleared to make more farms and destroyed the watershed,
And the rain came down and washed that soil away.

CHORUS:
Yes and can't nobody fix it when it's gone, gone, gone,
We'll just have to do without it from now on.
Why can't ev'rybody know we'll have to reap just what we sow?
Yes an' can't nobody fix it when it's gone.

One the great southwestern dust bowl was carpeted with grass,
And herds of creatures roamed across its face.
But overgrazing and misuse by cattlemen who didn't care
Turned it to a dry and lifeless place.

CHORUS

Well, you'd think we'd learned our lesson from the losses of the past,
You'd think we'd try to keep the things that still remain;
But from the redwoods to the everglades the bulldozers are rollin',
Tearing up the things we can't get back again.

CHORUS:
Yes and can't nobody fix it when it's gone, gone, gone,
We'll just have to do without it from now on.
Your great grandson may never see the beauty that touched you and me,
Yes an' can't nobody fix it when it's gone.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Cain't nobody fix it
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Mar 13 - 11:03 AM

Yes, this is the one. Thank you for the information. Do you have any on Tony Hughes?

I had to change the colloquial title to "There's No One To Fix It" to be grammatically consistent.

The last line is awkward in the scansion of the stanza so I left it off.

Otherwise, I think it's a damn good song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Can't Nobody Fix It When It's Gone
From: GUEST,(Stevebury)
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 06:57 PM

I tracked down Tony Hughes: he recently retired as an elementary science teacher at the Miquon School in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.   He says he taught the song to Hedy West, so it may have spread from there.

I have to say I disagree about changing the colloquialism: I think that line is one of the strengths of the song. I'm a pretty picky editor when I'm writing standard English; but I have no problem with an "ungrammatical" colloquialism in other contexts.


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