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TUNE REQ: Alfred/Alferd Packer


Related thread:
Alferd Packer killer? (38)

MMario 25 Jun 02 - 03:22 PM
katlaughing 25 Jun 02 - 04:01 PM
MMario 25 Jun 02 - 04:05 PM
MMario 26 Jun 02 - 01:36 PM
Gorgeous Gary 13 Jan 10 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,999 13 Jan 10 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,999 13 Jan 10 - 09:24 PM
reggie miles 13 Jan 10 - 11:00 PM
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Subject: ADD: Ballad of Alferd Packer
From: MMario
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 03:22 PM

found this while cruisin' the web looking for the tune to the Phil Ochs song about the same thing Ballad of Alfred Packer :

(Copyright 1972 by Robert D. Anderson)
(This ballad is inscribed on the wall of the snack bar, University of Colorado, Boulder)

Twenty-one men left Provo in the winter of seventy-three
Their destination Breckenridge and the Colorado gold spree
But some of them would never find the riches in that land
For it happened that Alferd Packer was traveling with that band.

For two long months they journeyed and the going it got bad
Fear of their starvation was the only friend they had
Livin' on rabbits and rosebuds and finally the horse's grain
And all the while the freezing cold added to their pain.

Where the Uncompahgre river and the Gunnison split in two
A party of Ute Indians surrounded Packer's crew
Chief Ouray "the White Man's Friend" showed hospitality
And said that spring would help them travel much more easily.

But the prospectors grew impatient to try and stake a claim
With a bad case of gold fever burning in their brains
Packer set out into a storm with five unlucky men
And nobody knew if anyone would see them all again.

Then in early morning April in 1874
At a Wilderness Indian Agency, Packer stumbled through the door
He said he and his companions had parted company
And he alone for sixty days survived miraculously.

The town of Saquache found Packer a very wealthy man
Buying whisky for his friends and gambling a losing hand
For one who had been grubstaked his behavior wasn't right
He was arrested on suspicion and thrown in "jail" one night.

When someone found five bodies by the Lake Fork Gunnison
Evidence proved without a doubt that murder had been done
Although his arms were placed in irons Packer disappeared
Someone passed a penknife key and he was gone for nine long years.

In Wagonhound Wyoming they took him without strife
Back to Kinsdale County to be tried for his life
The courtroom rose in turmoil, the judge he raised his hand
"Give us your confession now," so Packer took the stand.

"The snow had slowed us down so bad we had no food to eat
We had to chew on pine gum tar and the moccasins off our feet
We all were cryin' and prayin' and they begged me to scout around
When I came back to camp at night this is what I found.

"Shannon Bell killed the others and then he came for me
So I shot him in self-defense now wouldn't you agree?
I was so cold and hungry right there I couldn't feel
I cut some flesh from off those men and cooked it for my meal.

"If you were lost and starving and with you so was I
Who knows which of us might live and which of us might die?
If I died could you eat me or would you even try
Or would you freeze and starve to death and let my body lie?

"Those men would do the same as me it's man's will to survive
And if I hadn't eat their flesh I wouldn't be alive
So charge me not with murder I wanted no one's life
A dead man cannon feel the pain of hunger or a knife."

The jury deliberated, the decision loudly read
They found Al Packer guilty in spite of what he'd said
The judge then passed the sentence with an eloquent reply
"You robbed the living of their lives and now you'll have to die."

The case went to a higher court where Packer found some hope
Careless laws and clever lawyers saved him from the rope
But the judgment passed still sentenced him to a death of a lesser degree
Forty years in Canyon City the state penitentiary.

After serving sixteen years Packer was paroled
He died alone with a troubled mind and without any gold
There has never been a mystery or a story quite so strange
And the secret sleeps with 5 dead men in the mighty San Juan range.

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Subject: RE: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 04:01 PM

That's right, MMario, they even named it the "Alfred E. Packer" snack bar/cafeteria!

One point of pronunciation, in case some wonder, the town Saquache sounds like "Su (as in sunny) wotch.

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Subject: RE: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: MMario
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 04:05 PM

so - (just to let people know) we need a tune for BOTH songs!

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Subject: RE: TUNE REQ: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: MMario
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 01:36 PM

be fresh

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Subject: RE: TUNE REQ: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 09:15 PM

Does anybody have a proper credit for the version of "Ballad of Alfred Packer" that's in the DT?

It doesn't appear to be Phil Ochs, as implied above--a Google search pulled up very different lyrics associated with Ochs.

I'm working on putting together a limited-edition CD for an upcoming filk convention, and one of the tracks we want to put on it features one of our guests covering the version that's in the DT. And, since we're honest folks, we want to give credit (and royalties, if applicable) where they're due.


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Subject: RE: TUNE REQ: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 09:21 PM

Here for tune and atributions.

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Subject: RE: TUNE REQ: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 09:24 PM

Phil Ochs' "Alferd Packer" with lotsa history.

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Subject: RE: TUNE REQ: Alfred/Alferd Packer
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 11:00 PM

A number of years ago, I played Phil's ballad for a tribute night that was also a benefit for a local cause. The theme of the evening was Phil's songs. I enjoyed the lighter treatment of the grisly subject in his version. I recall being relieved that no one else selected the same song to play.

I located a piece of the audio of Phil's "Ballad of Alferd Packer" at an online site somewhere. With less than 24 hours before the show, I wasn't able to assimilate his guitar part well enough to reproduce it. So, I developed my own guitar arrangement for it.

The benefit was a hit and well attended. The Tractor Tavern, in beautiful downtown Ballard (a Seattle neighborhood), was hosting the event. It was packed with a wonderful listening audience.

I remember that there was only one drunk patron talking during my presentation. He was near the bar. Other than that, the entire house, of a couple of hundred listeners, was dead silent. Upon hearing his disraction, while on stage, I contemplated confronting him or at least bringing his ill-timed actions to the attention of someone who could politely ask him to whisper but I didn't want to make his lack of attention the focus.

The event was also filmed. I believe that I have a copy of my performance of the song on DVD around here. Or, maybe it was on a VHS. Sadly, the video wasn't captured very well. It would have been sweet to have had a good version of that to share.

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