Mudcat Café message #172164 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17718   Message #172164
Posted By: Joe Offer
02-Feb-00 - 04:50 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: There But for Fortune (Phil Ochs)
Subject: Lyr Add: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE (Phil Ochs)
Gee, Steve, don't tell me you're one of those purist types... Well, OK, I have transcribed it exactly from a live Ochs performance:
THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE
(Phil Ochs)

Show me a prison, show me a jail
Show me a prison man whose face is growing pale
And I'll show you a young man with many reasons why
And there, but for fortune, may go you or I

Show me an alley, show me a train
Show me a hobo who sleeps out in the rain
And I'll show you a young man with many reasons why
And there, but for fortune, may go you or I

Show me the whiskey stains on the floor
Show me a drunken man as he stumbles out the door
And I'll show you a young man with many reasons why
And there, but for fortune, may go you or I

Show me the country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of the buildings once so tall
And I'll show you a young land with so many reasons why
And there, but for fortune, go you or I
It's almost exactly what's in the database. I can't say I've ever been bothered by the way Baez handles lyrics, but now you've got me curious, so I listened to the Baez recording. She says "prisoner whose life has gone stale," and she says "drunkard" instead of "drunken man." She might use "the" instead of "a" in a few places. No major changes, I'd say. I listened to it on a 1964 Baez recording - very simple, beautiful, unembellished arrangement. I'd say it's Baez at her best.
But it appears to me that the transcription in the database is closer to the Ochs recording.
-Joe Offer- ^^^ (already in database)