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Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)

GUEST 28 Oct 15 - 11:25 AM
GUEST 28 Oct 15 - 11:45 AM
Raggytash 28 Oct 15 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 28 Oct 15 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,I'm sorry but... 28 Oct 15 - 12:10 PM
Stewie 28 Oct 15 - 07:45 PM
Jason Xion Wang 29 Oct 15 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Raggytash 30 Oct 15 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 30 Oct 15 - 11:05 AM
GUEST 31 Oct 15 - 08:42 AM
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Subject: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 11:25 AM

I've always loved a John Prine song about little girls having babies, "Unwed Fathers", because it's so beautifully written. I only know two songs on the same topic, the other one being Tom Paxton's "Little Girl". I think Tom's song is too literal and not as good as the Prine song.

I have a friend named Boram who is a huge John Prine fan and a huge Iris DeMent fan too. I thought he would love "Unwed Fathers" as it was released as a Prine/DeMent duet. So I asked him about the song last month. To my surprise, he told me that he hates the song. He thinks the song is bad because it's so beautifully written and leisurely sung that it would actually diminish the severity of the topic itself. Here is what Boram said about the two songs:

When people listen to "Little Girl", they would realize how seriously terrible the situation is, and maybe do something about it; but when people listen to "Unwed Fathers", they would only think "hey, that's a helluva song", and not give a f- about the situation itself. If a teenage lover has listened to "Little Girl", she would never become an unwed mother - not so sure for "Unwed Fathers". It lacks the deep thinking. What we really need is to prevent this from happening, and Paxton's battery of questions would absolutely do better than Prine's beautiful storytelling.

I find his statement pretty convincing. What do you think?

S.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Unwed Fathers (John Prine)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 11:45 AM

Unwed Fathers

In an Appalachian Greyhound station,
She sits there waiting in a family way.
"Goodbye brother, tell Mom I love her,
"Tell all the others I'll write someday."

From an teenage lover to an unwed mother,
Kept undercover, like some bad dream.
While unwed fathers they can't be bothered.
They run like water through a mountain stream.

In a cold and grey town, a nurse says, "Lay down,
"This ain't no playground and this ain't home"
Someone's children out having children
In a grey stone building, all alone.

From an teenage lover to an unwed mother,
Kept undercover, like some bad dream.
While unwed fathers they can't be bothered.
They run like water through a mountain stream.

Somewhere else bound, Smokey Mountain Greyhound,
She bows her head down, hummin' lullabies.
"Your daddy never meant to hurt you ever,
"He just don't live here, but you've got his eyes."

From an teenage lover to an unwed mother,
Kept undercover, like some bad dream.
While unwed fathers they can't be bothered.
They run like water through a mountain stream.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: Raggytash
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 11:51 AM

I've thought that this song was so poignant from the first time I heard it. It told the story so beautifully. I haven't heard the Tom Paxton song so tonight I'll look it up and come back to you.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Little Girl (Tom Paxton)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 11:52 AM

Little Girl

Little girl, what are you doing with a child of your own?
Little girl, what are you doing in this city all alone?
If you haven't got the money, and I'm betting that you don't,
You will need the help of strangers, and I'm betting that they won't.
Little girl, what are you doing with this child of your own?

Did your momma ever tell you how you came to be her child;
How your daddy did not stay to see you born?
Now, your momma sits and worries that her baby's running wild -
Now her baby's got a baby of her own!

Little girl, what are you doing with a child of your own?
Little girl, what are you doing in this city all alone?
If you haven't got the money, and I'm betting that you don't,
You will need the help of strangers, and I'm betting that they won't.
Little girl, what are you doing with a child of your own?

Did you think about your baby as you walked the halls at school?
Did you dream about how perfect she would be?
Now she cries all night from hunger, till you don't know what to do,
But you know you're feeling anything but free!

Little girl, what are you doing with a child of your own?
Little girl, what are you doing in this city all alone?
If you haven't got the money, and I'm betting that you don't,
You will need the help of strangers, and I'm betting that they won't.
Little girl, what are you doing with a child of your own, of your own?
Oh, little girl, all alone.

From Live for the Record


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: GUEST,I'm sorry but...
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 12:10 PM

Both songs will do absolutely nothing to the situation.

If Bob Dylan or Lady Gaga or Tailor Swift sang the Paxton song, it would probably do something, but I'm betting that they won't. Tom Paxton's isn't "big" enough to influence.

John Prine's song is poignant, but it's so poignant that some listeners won't realize it's poignant. And that's the problem. It's helluva song.

By the way, please be sure to tick the "preview" box before posting song lyrics. Now it looks horrible.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 07:45 PM

There is also this one from Jason isbell, a first-rate wordsmith:

Children of Children.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 29 Oct 15 - 12:32 PM

Both John Prine and Tom Paxton are the kind of songwriters who could dig unique topics for songs that few other songwriters would touch, so it's not very surprising that they would choose a same topic. Another topic they've both written a song on is strip mining - see "Paradise" and "There Goes the Mountain". I really can't tell which one is better because they are both brilliant songs


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 07:24 AM

I cannot find "Little Girl" by Tom Paxton on YouTube. To me the lyrics themselves are not as powerful as Unwed Fathers and the images are not as stark but it's difficult to make a full assessment without hearing it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 11:05 AM

I always thought that This one , by John Sebastian would have gotten more attention...he even did it at Woodstock, but nobody seemed to have 'got it'.

GfS


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Subject: RE: Review: Unwed Mothers (Paxton/Prine)
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 15 - 08:42 AM

refresh


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