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ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans +sequel (Steve Goodman)


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Joe Offer 22 Jun 20 - 04:02 PM
Felipa 09 Oct 21 - 04:40 PM
leeneia 12 Oct 21 - 01:12 PM
Felipa 12 Oct 21 - 01:47 PM
Felipa 12 Oct 21 - 06:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 13 Oct 21 - 11:16 AM
leeneia 13 Oct 21 - 04:34 PM
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Subject: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans (Steve Goodman)^^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jun 20 - 04:02 PM

Thread #56795   Message #1186339
Posted By: GUEST,Augie
15-May-04 - 03:01 PM
Thread Name: Greatest Anti-War Song Ever?
Subject: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans (Steve Goodman)^^^

Steve Goodman wrote this the last time we got into a stupid ass war.

The Ballad Of Penny Evans
(Steve Goodman)

Oh my name is Penny Evans and I just turned twenty-one
A young widow in the war that's being fought in Viet Nam
And I have two infant daughters and I do the best I can
Now they say the war is over, but I think it's just began.
And I remember I was seventeen on the day I met young Bill
At his grandma's grand piano, we'd play good old 'Heart and Soul'
Well, I only knew the left hand part and he the right so well
He's the only boy I ever slept with and the only one I will.

It's first we had a baby girl and we had two good years
It was next the 1A notice came and we parted without tears
It was nine months from our last good night our second babe appears
And it's ten months and a telegram confirming all our fears.

And now every month I get a check from some Army bureaucrat
And it's every month I tear it up, and I mail the damn thing back.
Do you think that makes it all right, do you think I'd fall for that?
And you can keep your bloody money,sure won't bring my Billy back.

I never cared for politics,speeches I don't understand,
And likewise never took no charity from any living man.
But tonight there's fifty thousand gone in that unhappy land
And fifty thousand 'Heart and Soul's' being played with just one hand.

And my name is Penny Evans and I've just gone twenty-one
A young widow in the war that's being fought in Viet Nam
And I have two infant daughters and I thank God I have no sons
Now they say the war is over, but I think it's just begun. ^^^

I heard him sing this in 1975 and as he later wrote regarding the "Old Smoothies",there was "not a dry eye in the crowd".

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Subject: Lyr add: Penny Evans' Daughters - a sequel
From: Felipa
Date: 09 Oct 21 - 04:40 PM

The Ballad of Penny Evans (Steve Goodman) doesn't have its own thread, but the lyrics were submitted here and this thread appears to be the one from which they were harvested for the Digital Tradition.

I've come across a sequel by Roland Kushner

There is a recording of Steve Goodman singing Penny Evans followed by Roland Kushner singing Penny Evans Daughters


Penny Evans is my mother, also to my sister Mae
Our father died in Viet Nam at the dawn of a bright new day
His picture sits at home upon an old piano stool
With one of him beside my mother playing “Heart and Soul”

Our mother lived alone without a man to share her life
She felt the steady heartache of a nation wrought with strife
The lessons that she taught us, the lessons that we’ve learned
Are how a life of peace is never given, only earned

And as we grew to womanhood our lives went separate ways
I sought out quiet and comfort, while Mae found passion’s blaze
We learned our Daddy’s story that his memory not grow cold
And the three of us each Father’s Day will still play “Heart and Soul”

In Chicago and in New York, in Lake Charles and Bakersfield
So many women had to forge a mother’s bond in steel
The coming home was bitter for the soldiers who came home
More bitter still the ache and torment of the widows left alone

It’s a lesson, it’s a struggle, it’s an honor earned each year
The raising of a family, standing strong and fighting fears
Her reservoir of strong resolve, her courage, love, and faith
A widow’s path she’s walked and lived with charm and style and grace

We are Penny Evans’ daughters, it’s the dawning of our day
The war that claimed our father’s life may never fade away
Of their grandfather’s brave trial, how he went and was undone
Are the stories we now tell to our daughters and our sons

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Subject: RE: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans +sequel (Steve Goodman)
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Oct 21 - 01:12 PM

As so often happens when people are engaged in great controversy, matters are arranged so that those with the least clout and money suffer the ill effects. Here, Penny refuses the government money (like I believe that), and it will be her daughters who suffer the economic effects of that.

But perhaps Penny has remarried, and her daughters go to good schools, take music lessons if they love music, get their eyes checked and see the dentist regularly. Somehow I doubt it.

I have a niece who refused to cash her boys' child-support payments and spend the money on her sons. She put the money in bank accounts and said she would let them have it when they were 18. Is that any way to treat your kid?

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Subject: RE: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans +sequel (Steve Goodman)
From: Felipa
Date: 12 Oct 21 - 01:47 PM

Leenia, the sequel song says the mother "lived alone without a man to share her life" so no she didn't remarry - according to Kushner's song.(Goodman said someone told him the story, that it is about a real person, and that she had eventually remarried. But let's look at it just as a song, is it a believeable fiction?) Presumably Penny had to work and probably the family wouldn't have been well off. They already had a piano and Penny could have taught the girls a bit of music herself. I agree that when I hear the words of the original song, I think to myself, "can she really afford not to use the government support; and also doesn't she and her children deserve to have it?" But that doesn't for me take away from the song, which I do find believeable.

[also there is nothing in the song to tell us how long, how many months, Penny held out after she fkirst took her stance)

I don't know the full circumstances of your niece, Leenia, so I can't comment on her decision. Maybe the boys will be glad to have a fund when they reach adulthood.

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Subject: RE: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans +sequel
From: Felipa
Date: 12 Oct 21 - 06:36 PM

I quite often make small changes to singer-songwriter songs when I sing them myself. Penny Evans is not in my repetoire, but I can make a suggestion to address Leenia's objection to the song. How about singing re the government check "every month I WANT to tear it up and mail the damn thing back"? It may make Penny seem less strong-willed, but would get across the conflict and difficulty of her situation.

Penny had her children early; the first one born before she was 18(she is 21, met Bill at 17, had 2 years and 9 months between the first child and the second child, and got the dreaded telegram when the second child was 10 months old; it must be late into the 21rst year as Penny has apparently had a few months of checks to tear up.)

Maybe Leenia would like to write a different sequel: Penny telling how one day her resolution failed. A child needed to go to the dentist and the piano from Bill's granny needed tuned. Or she got laid off work. She finally has to cash a check. Or how and why despite having sung "he's the only boy I slept with and the only one I will," she decides to marry again. Or different verses from the daughter's perspective, saying how hard life was and wishing her mother had taken the government money.

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Subject: RE: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans +sequel (Steve Goodman)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Oct 21 - 11:16 AM

Bram Taylor, who is neither female nor 21, was on at our folk club many years back and started the evening with "Penny Evans" As soon as he sang the first line some cracked off laughing and that set the tone for the night. I don't think he ever forgave us :-)

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Subject: RE: ADD: Ballad of Penny Evans +sequel (Steve Goodman)
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Oct 21 - 04:34 PM

I don't want to sing it or rewrite it. I just wanted to point out how often in controversies, the weakest party gets it in the neck. For example, in Kansas City the school board and the teachers just couldn't seem to work out a fair integration program, so a federal judge ordered that for ten years, students had to be bussed to distant neighborhoods. Young kids were standing in the streets at six in the morning, no matter how cold it was, to get a bus to please this judge.

And the Covid crisis - medical people, students and teachers are getting it in the neck because rednecks hate the government. School board members are getting death threats. Are these the defenseless parties? You bet.
Those checks are probably sitting in a fund somewhere to this day, waiting for Billy's heirs to claim them.

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