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Percy's Song - who is it about?

Roughyed 16 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Feb 02 - 06:17 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 02 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,rassta 16 Feb 02 - 06:46 PM
Roughyed 17 Feb 02 - 02:55 AM
Lonesome EJ 17 Feb 02 - 03:21 AM
Mark Cohen 17 Feb 02 - 04:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Feb 02 - 05:30 PM
voyager 17 Feb 02 - 06:05 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 02 - 11:49 PM
GUEST 19 Sep 14 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,beeliner 20 Sep 14 - 12:56 AM
bubblyrat 20 Sep 14 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,henryp 20 Sep 14 - 08:57 AM
GUEST 20 Sep 14 - 12:56 PM
Felipa 20 Sep 14 - 03:44 PM
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Subject: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: Roughyed
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM

Don't tell me Percy! The song is by Dylan with a brilliant version on Unhalfbricking by Fairport convention. The story is pretty clear from the song but I was curious if this incident was based on real life and if so what the details were, i.e who was Percy and is the song completely accurate. Apart from anything else, are they up for parole yet? Should we contact Amnesty International?


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 06:17 PM

Not a bad idea to put a link to a song you want to ask about, Swan. Like this: Percy's Song (http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/percy.html)


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 06:43 PM

For some info on a part of this, click here and scroll down to number 14.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: GUEST,rassta
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 06:46 PM

i always thouht it was about a waiter who worked in the gaslight cafe on mc dougal st in the village back in the dark ages--could i be wrong peace out --rastaa


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: Roughyed
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 02:55 AM

Sorry about the lack of a link, McGrath. My experiments with blue clickies have been pretty unsuccessful. The song is in the database though and I suppose I assumed a Dylan song would be well known to Mudcatters even if it is an obscure one. The implication of the link both you and catspaw sent is that the incident is completely imaginary. In which case you have to say that that Dylan bloke is some writer, even on his obscure stuff to make the song so realistic. I'm not sure where the waiter fits in Rassta, but thanks to all three of you.


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 03:21 AM

At the risk of opening a large can of worms, there are the comments on Masters of War....

The tune of "Masters of War" is based on the traditional "Nottamun Town," believed to be an old magic song from an English mummers' play. The great Scottish folk singer Jean Ritchie affixed the copyright of her Geordie Music Publishing Company on "Nottamun" in 1964.

kyTrad might be surprised to find out she was "a great Scottish folk singer". Well, there is a Glasgow in Kentucky.


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 04:11 PM

I wonder if they meant Jean Redpath...

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:30 PM

Interesting site spaw, but it doesn't do anything to answer the question.

I'd have thought this is the kind of thing Dylanologists would have all the facts about at their finger tips. Maybe we haven't got any resident Dylanologists, which would seem surprising.

If anyone should say "sorry" it's me, Swan, because my post with thelink comes across as a bit snide, which it wasn't meant . But it's not a song I've ever thought of as being called Percy's Song, though I know that' what it says on the album, since the name never come into the lyrics.

I'm curious now.


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: voyager
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:05 PM

Following Spaw's link -

"Something I might have written might have been a take
off on 'Hiram Hubbard,' a civil war song he used to sing,
but I don't know. A song like that would come to me
because people were talking about the incident."

I'd ask the question - what's this HIRAM HUBBARD tale?

Also, search of "deja.com", under "rec.music.dylan" leads to the same source
. A typical Dylan tale, vague and loosely threaded to the end
. Interpretation is left to the listener
;>}

voyager


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 11:49 PM

Yeah Mac, I knew it didn't answer the question but I thought it was some interesting info to add here because I'm hoping someone will come up with some definitive answers. I like this one for a number of reasons and like many of Dylan's lyrics, there is at least one line that I fall in love with.....seems mandatory for me to like a Dylan song, I need to live one line! In this case it's "...he'd never harm a life that belonged to someone else..." It speaks volumes in the way we could but often don't treat each other and reminds me of a dear friend, now gone.

I hope we can get some more info.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 09:12 PM

Introducing this song at a live, 1963 performance he gave under the name,vElston Gunn, Dylan said, it's "about friend of mine" - for whatever that may be worth, which probably isn't a lot. Despite what he might have us think, Dylan's lyrics are virtually never invented entirely out of whole cloth, however brilliant and fresh they still sound. Based on what is known about Dylan's work, often from Dylan himself,a song this long and detailed has to involve at least some fragment of something Dylan heard, read,or experienced, however much he added to, subtracted from, or changed the details to suit the song. One thing for sure, though, is no judge in the US would agree to meet privately with anyone to discuss a case, either ongoing or already decided,and certainly not with anyone (including Bob Dylan) not a party to the case.


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: GUEST,beeliner
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 12:56 AM

As a previous poster stated, Dylan has admitted that the story was fictitious, as were, of course, the conditions in the reformatory in "Walls of Red Wing".


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 06:13 AM

Of course,here in England "Percy" has a certain "risque" connotation,referring as it does to the male member ; in fact , I could imagine the late ,great Jon Isherwood singing something about it.


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 08:57 AM

But I don't think that it affects the song, bubblyrat.

And I don't think Willie-O is generally affected either.


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 12:56 PM

Or Willie of Winsbury?


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Subject: RE: Percy's Song - who is it about?
From: Felipa
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 03:44 PM

Percy's Song is on Mudcatthread.cfm?threadid=55316#859909
I remember the Fairport Convention recording of it. They may have been drawn, as I was, to the tradional-sounding "turn, turn to the wind and the rain" refrain.
Here is a version of Child 10 (Twa Sisters, Binnorie) with a similar refrain @displaysong.cfm?SongID=4372

The lyrics do sound like they could be about a friend of Dylan's.

Percy's Song doesnt sound like the version of Hiram Hubbard I used to sing, no great similarity except that the song is also about someone wrongly accused "Hiram Hubbard is not guilty, I heard the people say/He was not in this country, he was many miles away" Of course there may be another version which has a similar tune to Percy's Song for all I know.


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