Mudcat Café message #2582936 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117578   Message #2582936
Posted By: Joe Offer
06-Mar-09 - 07:16 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Who Speaks for Me (Tom Paxton)
Subject: ADD: Who Speaks For Me (Tom Paxton)
I think you did a noble effort of transcribing a piece that was very hard to hear. I found a recording on a CD called Shaw Brothers Collection. Here's my transcription:

WHO SPEAKS FOR ME?
(Tom Paxton)

The army comes through,
They curse us and prod us with guns;
Sometimes they take us away,
And that's the end of that.
They go where they like in our houses;
And their eyes miss nothing of value;
And may the Virgin be with you
If you've a gun or a knife.

But who speaks for me? I, who have no voice.
Who decides for me? For it seems I have no choice.
Do I live, do I die? Will my family survive?
Will this side, will that side allow us our lives?
One question I'd ask if I dared Of the ones whom we never see,
Guns and dollars are voices for you. But who speaks for me?


We are never asked,
We are simply shown to the fields;
And we give up our youth and our lives
To the cotton and coffee.
While the guards in their long white houses
Raise the dust with their long black cars,
They regard us with faces of stone
And grind us like corn.

But who speaks for me? I, who have no voice.
Who decides for me? For it seems I have no choice.
Do I live, do I die? Will my family survive?
Will this side, will that side allow us our lives?
One question I'd ask if I dared Of the ones whom we never see,
Guns and dollars are voices for you. But who speaks for me?


We are born like calves,
We are held to be valuable things;
And the guards in their long white houses
Send to hear us sing.
In the hot, still air of the evening,
While the blossoms float on the pond,
We pluck our guitars for survival,
And we smile like fools.

But who speaks for me? I, who have no voice.
Who decides for me? For it seems I have no choice.
Do I live, do I die? Will my family survive?
Will this side, will that side allow us our lives?
One question I'd ask if I dared Of the ones whom we never see,
Guns and dollars are voices for you. But who speaks for me?


One question I'd ask if I dared
Of the ones whom we never see,
Guns and dollars are voices for you.
But who speaks for me?


I think the Shaw Brothers are New Englanders. I'm sure they must be singing about "the guards in their long white houses," but it sure sounds like "gods."

-Joe-