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Lyr Req: (We May Be Fighting a) Losing Battle

Pejotka (From Germany) 05 Mar 98 - 05:54 PM
Jon W. 05 Mar 98 - 06:56 PM
Jon W. 09 Mar 98 - 04:24 PM
Pejotka 09 Mar 98 - 07:18 PM
S.P. Buck Mulligan 09 Mar 98 - 07:36 PM
Jon W. 09 Mar 98 - 07:50 PM
S.P. Buck Mulligan 10 Mar 98 - 08:14 AM
Jon W. 10 Mar 98 - 05:49 PM
S.P. Buck Mulligan 11 Mar 98 - 07:57 AM
Joe Offer 19 Dec 02 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,Keith Glazzard 24 May 13 - 04:39 AM
GUEST 29 Jun 13 - 01:37 PM
Jim Dixon 03 Jul 13 - 09:22 PM
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Subject: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: Pejotka (From Germany)
Date: 05 Mar 98 - 05:54 PM

Im looking for the lyrics of a blues, that was sung by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

The words are similiar as We are fighting a losing battle But have a lot of fun in trying to win.

Freundliche Gre Pejotka


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: Jon W.
Date: 05 Mar 98 - 06:56 PM

I think I have this somewhere on a tape, I'll try to find it and get back. Meanwhile, I remember the first verse as going:

Lord you know it's hard, loving another man's girlfriend,
Can't see her when you want to, got to see her when you can.
We may be fighting a losing battle, but having a lot of fun both trying to win

It's one of the few blues songs that works as a true duet.


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Subject: Lyr Add: (WE MAY BE FIGHTING A) LOSING BATTLE
From: Jon W.
Date: 09 Mar 98 - 04:24 PM

I finally found the tape. Here is the song. It is done as a call and response for the first four lines of each verse, with Sonny Terry taking the lead and Brownie McGhee doing the response (shown in parentheses). They overlap a beat or so at the end of each line. Then they sing the two line chorus in harmony. It really is a great effect.

(WE MAY BE FIGHTING A) LOSING BATTLE
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

You know it hard (yes you know it's hard)
Love another man's girlfriend (Love another man's girlfriend)
Can't see her when you wanna (Can't see her when you want to)
Can't see her when you can (Gotta see her when you can)

Chorus:
We may be fighting a losing battle,
But having a lotta fun, both trying to win.

I thought it over (I thought it over)
The points of view (from these points of view)
For one-way lovin' (Surely one-way lovin')
Sure ain't no good for two (Ain't no good for two)
(chorus)

Bridge (Brownie McGhee):
Here's my confession baby, I want you to take heed,
From this day on darlin', you can do anything you please.
Oh, yes--

I asked my baby (I asked my baby)
Should I go away? (Should I go away?)
These men want me to leave (Man wants me to leave)
Do you want me to stay? (Do you want me to stay?)
(chorus)

(Spoken:go ahead and win boy)
(Harmonica break)

(repeat bridge, third verse, then chorus three times)


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: Pejotka
Date: 09 Mar 98 - 07:18 PM

Thank you so much, Jon. Ive been looking a long time for this lyrics. Its true, this is one of a few number of "blues-duets", from which you can say, they are beautiful. Thank you again.


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: S.P. Buck Mulligan
Date: 09 Mar 98 - 07:36 PM

Interestingly enough, it's also on one of PP&M's mid-career LPs - maybe "A Song Will Rise" or "Late Again" or "See What Tomorrow Brings" - somewhere in that era. Stookey does the lead. It's pretty good, actually.


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: Jon W.
Date: 09 Mar 98 - 07:50 PM

Pejotka, you're welcome. Just don't ask me to transcribe any of the variations of "Sonny's Squall" :-)!

Buck, you're kidding, right? Actually I can see how it could happen--Sonny and Brownie were enthusiastically embraced by the '60's great folksinger revival scare as it is called in that other thread. John Hurt was another. They all had an easy flowing style that was probably more accessible to white audiences than, say, Son House's or Fred McDowell's harder edged blues. Of course I'm too young to remember any of this first hand.


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: S.P. Buck Mulligan
Date: 10 Mar 98 - 08:14 AM

Not kidding in the least. Just looked it up - it's listed as "Trying to Win" credited to Terry/McGhee, and it's on "See What Tomorrow Brings" - released in 1965.


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: Jon W.
Date: 10 Mar 98 - 05:49 PM

Buck,
In one of those amazing coincidences that happen, I was at the library over my lunch hour and noticed the PPM CD you mentioned. I checked it out and gave it a listen. As I mentioned above, I was too young in the 1960's to really appreciate most of the "folk" supergroups (by this I mean people like Peter Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, Burl Ives, and other popularizers of folk music). So it was somewhat of a pleasant surprise to me that I actually enjoyed this CD. The guitar playing is first rate, for the style that they play. However, of the five (out of 12) songs on the CD with which I was previously familiar, I have to say that I enjoy versions which are closer to the "Original" (whatever that means with folk music) than PPM's versions on four of them. Their version of "Tryin' to Win" (I'll concede that's the right title) is a fairly straight cover of Sonny and Brownie's but lacks the punch of the original. I have "Betty and Dupree" as "Dupree Blues" recorded by Willie Walker in 1930, on Yazoo 1013, "East Coast Blues", a wonderful if a somewhat raw-edged version. PPM's slowed down, dreamy version of the Irish rebel song "The Rising of the Moon" would be hard pressed to stir any Irishmen up to rebellion and failed to stir my soul. I guess the rather defensive album liner notes say it best: "They don't claim to be authentics. They couldn't possibly be. They're not Negroes and they weren't born in the Ozarks, and it would be hypocritical of them to sing in any manner other than they do." I guess I just like authenticism too much.

This isn't meant to be criticism (as I said, I enjoyed the CD overall). It's just commentary.


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Subject: RE: Lyric req.: Fighting a losing battle
From: S.P. Buck Mulligan
Date: 11 Mar 98 - 07:57 AM

Hi Jon - I agree pretty much with your commentary. The Betty & Dupree theme is more or less legendary, and shows up in lots of places, and is frequently listed as a variant of Frankie and Johnny (though I think it isn't really). The Great Folk Scare was most notable for bringing theretofore scarce music to us WonderBread types. If you want to hear something bizarre, listen to the Weavers' version of Leadbelly's Goodnight Irene, which was actually well up on the pop charts for quite a while in the early 50s, as was their version of Guthrie's "So Long (it's been good to know ya)". Folks like The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, Bob Gibson, Pete "Legend in his own Mind" Seeger (and the rest of his noble clan, may they increase) are deserving of our thanks not because they did their stuff the same way as the "originals" but because they introduced a whole generation of us whitebread types to the existence of the music, starting tin the 40s with the Weavers and Woody Guthrie. They took the stuff that Lomax et al had collected and made us listen to it by sorta "sneaking" it in under the guise of something we'd recognize. Then we branched out and went to the sources. Along the way of course, the "pop" folk sound grew up too (The Highwaymen, The Mitchell Trio, Limeliters, tons and tons of other one-hit, no-hit groups), and mercifully, pretty much died out, though they turned out to be the proving ground for so many of the musicians who took over pop music in the 70s - Steven Stills, Neil Young, John Phillips, John Sebastian, you name it. But you're right of course - once you've heard Robert Johnson do "Come on in my Kitchen" you'll never go back to Delaney & Bonnie's (however much fun it was). But PP&M are special - for me anyway - and their music will never die. Glad you enjoyed "See What Tomorrow Brings" - I recommend a tour through the rest of their stuff when you've time & leisure. Just as you were surprised to find this tune, there might be other epiphanies too. (A much older Mary's version of Eric Bogle's "No Man's Land" on "Flowers and Stones" is a true gem)


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Subject: ADD: Tryin' to Win
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 09:22 PM

Here's the Peter Paul and Mary version, from www.peterpaulandmary.com
Now I'm trying to think what album it was on - I peeked, and see it was "See What Tomorrow Brings," which may be my least-favorite PP&M album.
-Joe Offer-

TRYIN' TO WIN
McGhee/Terry- PRU Music c/o Oscar Cadena BMI

You know it's hard to love another man's girlfriend
You can't see her when you want to
You gotta see her when you can
We may be fighting a losin' battle
But havin' a lotta fun tryin' to win.

I thought it over from these points of view
One way love ain't no good for two.
We may be fighting a losin' battle
But havin' a lotta fun tryin' to win.

Here's my confession baby, I want you to take heed
From this day on darlin' you can do anything you please.

I asked my baby should I go away
Your man wants me to leave
Do you want me to stay?
We may be fighting a losin' battle
But havin' a lotta fun tryin' to win.

Here's my confession baby, I want you to take heed
From this day on baby you can do anything you please.

I asked my baby should I go away
Your man wants me to leave
Do you want me to stay?
We may be fighting a losin' battle
But havin' a lotta fun tryin' to win.

We may be fighting a losin' battle
But havin' a lotta fun tryin' to win.
We may be fighting a losin' battle
But havin' a wonderful time, wish you were here!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: (We May Be Fighting a) Losing Battle
From: GUEST,Keith Glazzard
Date: 24 May 13 - 04:39 AM

Thanks - its a line I've had in my head since the 60's, and never knew where it came from.

I saw Terry and McGhee in Manchester (Eng) many years back - Brownie's 'Key to the highway' still rings in my ears - and Peter Paul and Mary made me pick up a guitar and play.

Met David Mallett a few years back. Great songwriter, fabulous performer. Published by Cherry Lane. Magic dragons exist.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: (We May Be Fighting a) Losing Battle
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 01:37 PM

I have recorded this song several times on my blog bumbastories.wordpress.com (use the search option to find the song) and I've been singing and loving to sing this song since I first heard Brownie and Sonny do it in the mid-sixties. I posted the lyrics on the blog. Brownie uses the same melody several times. "I Been Living With The Blues" is a great song with a fine lyric. brownie was pretty good. Sometimes they substituted fightin a losing battle etc with "I'm a poor man but I'm a good man, been treated wrong' or "I'm a poor man but I'm a good man , no love of my own".


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOSING BATTLE (S Terry & B McGhee)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Jul 13 - 09:22 PM

YouTube has a performance of this song by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee taken from episode 34 of Pete Seeger's 1965-66 TV show "Rainbow Quest." These are the words I hear. The call-and response described by Jon W. above is omitted, and the lyrics of the bridge are different.


1. You know it's hard [to] love another man's girlfriend.
Can't see her when you want to; got to see her when you can.

CHORUS: We may be fighting a losing battle,
But havin' a lot o' fun, both tryin' to win.

2. I thought it over, these two points of view.
I found out a one-way love ain't no good for two. (CHORUS)

[BRIDGE] I watch the sun when it rise, people, until it fades away.
I have nothing but sleepless nights, oh yes, and endless days.

3. I asked my baby: should I go away?
Men wants me to leave; do you want me to stay? (CHORUS 4x)


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