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The Saddest Song of All--Part II

09 Dec 99 - 09:23 PM (#147338)
Subject: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Mbo

I believe this great long-running thread needs a second part, the first one's the biggest thread I've ever seen. Let see this one prosper as much as it's predecessor!

--Mbo


10 Dec 99 - 07:14 AM (#147485)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Skipjack

Here's a thought.

If a song is trembling your bottom lip, try the Humphrey Littleton cure, and sing it to a different melody.

For example, why get choked up during "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" when you can sing it to the tune of "When I'm Cleaning Windows!"

Just a thought.


10 Dec 99 - 07:43 AM (#147491)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Liz the Squeak

Now that is sad - knowing that 'the band played....' goes to 'When I'm cleaning windows'!

My saddest song has to be Kate Rusby's version of 'the Recruited Collier', but 'Over the hills and far away' does tend to make the old (hairless) bosom heave somewhat....

LTS


10 Dec 99 - 08:11 AM (#147495)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: kendall

I find that what I think is the saddest song depends on the mood I'm in at the time. Lately I've been battling depression and Utah Phillips' song The Faded Roses of December is right up there. Also, his, Ashes on the Sea will usually get to me.


10 Dec 99 - 09:02 AM (#147516)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: MTM

Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye" is erving the same purpose for me.


10 Dec 99 - 09:10 AM (#147519)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Mbo

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Carlene Carter's "Unbreakable Heart" always makes me want to cry.

--Mbo


10 Dec 99 - 09:17 AM (#147526)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Skipjack

Sorry to hear you've been down, Kendall. It's a black tide many are sucked down by, many more than we know. I am battling my own demons right now, and I play a session every night, which is the firewall I need to keep them away. I hope you have this luxury available to you.


10 Dec 99 - 09:25 AM (#147531)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Dan Evergreen

It isn't exactly the same as sad, but a very emotionally moving song for me is "Sweet Rose of Allendale." I cannot always finish the lines, "My life had been a wilderness,/Unblessed by Fortune's gales,/Had Fate not linked my lot to her,/The Rose of Allendale." The same is true of "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen", speaking to the universal theme of love and depression.


10 Dec 99 - 09:49 AM (#147536)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Bert

I think that most of us guys get very emotional about The Bobbit song by Tom Paxton.


10 Dec 99 - 10:01 AM (#147543)
Subject: Lyr Add: SADDEST POEM (Pablo Neruda)
From: Håvard

SADDEST POEM (Pablo Neruda)

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

Håvard


10 Dec 99 - 10:29 AM (#147555)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Jeri

Kendall, don't forget there's a loud-but-friendly session about an hour south of you on Fri evening (as in tonight) starting around 4:30. Great music and great conversation (even if it is during the music.)


10 Dec 99 - 10:32 AM (#147556)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: oldest living folkie

Saddest song...Stan Rogers "White Squall"


10 Dec 99 - 11:02 AM (#147570)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

Garnet Rogers' tear jerker "Small Victory" is a triumph of compassion for those who need a boost. Always does it for me.


10 Dec 99 - 11:48 AM (#147587)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Mbo

I've just read the lyrics to an old Irish song called "Beneath the Gallows Tree" I haven't heard the tune yet, but the subject matter is very sad.

--Mbo


10 Dec 99 - 12:13 PM (#147596)
Subject: Lyr Add: SMALL VICTORY (Garnet Rogers)
From: Metchosin

SMALL VICTORY
(Garnet Rogers)

"You've no business buying a mare like that, but buy her if you must."
He bit the end off his cigar and spat it in the dust.
"She's old, she's lame, and barren too; she's not worth feeding hay,
But I'll give her this:"—he blew smoke at me—"She was something in her day.

"I recall her well ten years ago; she was a winner in her prime.
She was fast and lean and willing, but they raced her past her time,
And though she had the heart, her legs were gone, and it wasn't see hard to see
They kept her at it in the hopes of one more small victory.

"So she was shunted round from track to track, from Kentucky up to Maine.
They'd run her in cheap claimers, all doped up to mask her pain,
And if it's my advice you want, I'd say: The poor thing's had her day.
You'd be throwing good cash after bad. It's best—." He turned away.

Oh, they led her round the auction shed and bidding started low.
"She'll go for dog-food," someone said. "The market's been that slow."
But she raised her head and pricked her ears, and before the hammer fell,
She's was mine. My friend turned round to me: "You're soft-headed, I can tell."

"But she's been shoved from pillar to post," said I, "and always done her best.
They used her up; they wrung her dry; you'd think she'd earned her rest,
So if she does naught but end her days beneath some shady tree,
I'll have saved her from the knacker's yard, and that's enough for me."

Oh, that was near two years ago; she's filled out some since then,
The more so since she's been in foal; she eats enough for ten,
And this morn as I crept to the barn around 'bout half-past three,
There stood nursing on still trembling legs one more "small victory".


10 Dec 99 - 01:14 PM (#147626)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: catspaw49

That's lovely................

Spaw


10 Dec 99 - 01:38 PM (#147635)
Subject: Lyr Add: THERE'LL NEVER BE PEACE TILL ... (R Burns
From: Julie

The saddest song for me is this old Scottish Jacobite song. Jamie is King James VIII and III, the old Pretender. It also has a haunting tune - I bawl every time I sing it.

By yon castle wa' at the close of the day,
I heard a man sing, though his head it was grey
And as he was singing, his tears down came -
"There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!"

The church is in ruins; the state is in jar,
Delusion, oppression and murderous war,
We dare na weel say't but we ken wha's to blame -
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!

My seven braw sons for Jamie drew sword,
But now I greet round their green beds in the yerd;
It brak the sweet heart o my faithfu' auld dame -
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!

Now life is a burden that bows me down,
Sin I tint my bairns and he tint his crown;
But till my last moments my words are the same -
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 6-Oct-02.


10 Dec 99 - 01:52 PM (#147641)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: kendall

I'd never heard Small Victory before..wow!! How could such an abrasive boor write such beautiful stiff.??


10 Dec 99 - 01:59 PM (#147643)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: kendall

that one that goes, we drifted on home through the public bars, we were ten times less by one... and..I turned around with a lonely glass, and drank to the bar room wall.


10 Dec 99 - 02:12 PM (#147649)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Jeri

Outside Track. (Can't remember who wrote it right now.) How about Eric Bogle's The Cockie?


10 Dec 99 - 02:15 PM (#147651)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: kendall

Jeri, check your personal thread


10 Dec 99 - 02:25 PM (#147660)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Jon Freeman

I can't remember who wrote this one (I think it was a Scottish band) but this another one that gets to me. In some ways, I have been there and certainly done the wine bit. The person I learned it from told me he had was going through a split up when he first heard the tune and it took him a while before he was able to sing it.

Remember a time not so long ago?
You couldn't say goodbye now you can't say hello
So I'll pick up the glass and I'll pour me some wine
And say what shall we drink to tonight?

What shall we drink to tonight?
What shall we drink to tonight?
I'll drink to the lassie who should have been mine
That's what I'll drink to tonight

Now that your gone these things I recall
The way that you smiled, the best smile of all
So I'll pick up the glass and I'll pour me some wine
And say what shall we drink to tonight?

What shall we drink to tonight?
What shall we drink to tonight?
I'll drink till the landlady calls that it's time
That's what I'll drink to tonight

Now that I've heard that you've found someone new
It could have been me if it wasn't for you
So I'll pick up the glass and I'll pour me some wine
And say what shall we drink to tonight?

What shall we drink to tonight?
What shall we drink to tonight?
I'll drink till this bottle is empty and dry
That's what I'll drink to tonight

What shall we drink to tonight?
What shall we drink to tonight?
I'll drink to the lassie who should have been mine
That's what I'll drink to tonight

Jon


10 Dec 99 - 02:25 PM (#147661)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

Outside Track was Garnet Rogers again.


10 Dec 99 - 02:36 PM (#147665)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

Re Garnet's abrasiveness: Maybe he finds it hard to resolve his love for his brother while being overshadowed by Stan's legendary stature.


10 Dec 99 - 02:43 PM (#147668)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

The saddest songs of all are Stan's songs 'cause he's not with us anymore....


10 Dec 99 - 02:54 PM (#147672)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: emily rain

i haven't waded through all the posts on the last thread, so maybe someone's mentioned "there were roses" already. it took me a week of singing it several times an hour before i could get through it without choking up.

we gathered at the graveside on a cold and rainy day
the minister, he closed his eyes, and for no revenge he prayed...

oh, that a minister should ever have to do such a thing just tears me up.

also, when i'm feeling sad about my love life, i find myself involuntarily singing "loving hannah". depression is the pits, but i guess it's good for something.


10 Dec 99 - 03:07 PM (#147680)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE OUTSIDE TRACK (Henry Lawson)
From: lamarca

"The Outside Track" is a poem written by the Australian poet Henry Lawson, and was set to music by Gerry Hallom, an English singer of Australian songs. Garnet Rogers learned it from Gerry. I sing it putting back the first stanza and final chorus that Hallom left out; it's one of my very favorite sad songs:

THE OUTSIDE TRACK by Henry Lawson

There were ten of us there on the moonlit quay,
And one on the forward hatch.
No straighter mate to his mates than he
Ever said, "Old Len's a match!
'Twill be long, old man, ere our glasses clink,
"Twill be long, ere we grip your hand,"
So we dragged him ashore for a final drink
And the whole wide world looked grand
Chorus:

    For they marry and go,
    And the world rolls back,
    They marry, and vanish and die,
    But their spirits shall live on the outside track
    As long as the years go by.

The port lights glowed in the morning mist
As it rolled on the waters green,
And over the railing we grasped his fist
As the dark tide came between.
We cheered the captain, we cheered the crew
And our mate, times out of mind.
We cheered the land he was going to
And the land he had left behind.
Chorus

We roared "Lang Syne" in a last farewell
But my heart felt out of joint.
I well remember the hush that fell.
As the steamer passed the point.
We drifted home through the public bars,
We were ten times less by one
Who sailed out under the morning stars
And under the rising sun.
Chorus

Then one by one, and two by two
They've sailed from the wharf since then.
I've said goodbye to the last I knew,
The last of the careless men.
And I can't but think that the times we had
Were the best times after all,
As I turn aside with my lonely glass
And drink to the barroom wall.
Chorus

Final Chorus:

    So I'll try my luck
    For a check Outback
    And a last farewell to the bush
    For my heart's away on the Outside Track
    At the back of the steerage push.

    This is from memory - I'll double check it in my book of Lawson's poems when I get home tonight. I'm surprised it's not in the DT.


10 Dec 99 - 03:22 PM (#147686)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: kendall

I was referring to Stan Rogers as a boor, not Garnet, I never knew him


10 Dec 99 - 05:37 PM (#147760)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

Stan was a boor, eh? .....interesting


10 Dec 99 - 06:11 PM (#147780)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Willie-O

The saddest song of all is seeing teenage Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" while knowing that fifteen years later she was a dead junkie.

Saw Oz twice this fall. Man...that girl could sing.

Bill

Interesting that someone mentioned White Squall. First time I ever heard it was on a reel-to-reel in Stan's (former) living room the day of his funeral. (Sorry, this is a particularly ghastly sort of name-dropping, I really didn't have any business being there, just tagged along.) I completely lost it. Never could sing that song, or "Jeannie C." either, after he died. That he was a difficult person is no secret. Every hear Pete Seeger on Woody Guthrie? He says: "Few people who knew him would tell you that Woody was a wonderful person. He wrote wonderful songs...the rest is a bit awkward."

Well what a dull repertoire we would have if all male folksingers were sensitive new age guys....

Bill

LaMarca thanks for the complete lyrics to Outside Track. Never knew about the first and last stanzas, which Garnet doesn't sing. How's the CD coming? ;>=


10 Dec 99 - 06:40 PM (#147797)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: doug

is there a tune to small victory? thanks doug


10 Dec 99 - 07:02 PM (#147804)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Darren

the Lucinda Williams song covered by Emmylou on her Wrecking Ball Cd, "sweet old world", for some reason I think of Kurt Cobain when I hear this


10 Dec 99 - 07:12 PM (#147809)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

Yes Doug and it's as good as the lyrics but I don't know how to get it to you. I also don't know which of his albums the song is from, as someone sent a tape to me and it is just labled "some Garnet Rogers. I do know that it is not on the Outside Track.


10 Dec 99 - 08:16 PM (#147840)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: hummer

How about something we ladies can sing. Somehow, I just don't think I would be believable as a lonely sailor??? *S*


10 Dec 99 - 08:43 PM (#147861)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

How about Tracy Chapman's Fast Car? It almost qualifies as a folk song , at least it will be one 50 years from now. And it sure is sad.


10 Dec 99 - 09:02 PM (#147871)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

Also Hummer, why limit yourself to the sterotype of what a woman can sing. Cait O'Riordan didn't with her "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day" on the Pogues album Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.


10 Dec 99 - 09:08 PM (#147875)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Jon Freeman

...even though her name was "Jock Stewart". It is actually my favourite version of the song but there again I loved the Pogues.

Jon


10 Dec 99 - 09:16 PM (#147879)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

me too.


11 Dec 99 - 12:42 AM (#147960)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: TheMuse

I just screwed up and posted to the original Saddest Song instead of letting it fade off into an unused thread . . So I will repeat myself here.

Don't know if it's the saddest song, but pretty darned close, "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt always gets me. The main line that says it all is:

"I can't make you love me if you don't, you can't make your heart feel what it won't"

TheMuse


11 Dec 99 - 01:51 AM (#147970)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Lonesome EJ

I asked her once "please tell to me
How you got this need for speed?"
She smiled and said "it might just be
the next best thing to love
When hope is gone,and I confess,
you finally lay your dreams to rest
You can get what's second best,
But it's hard to get enough."

She wants to fly,
but there's nowhere that she can go
nowhere the pain won't come again
But she can hide, hide in the pouring rain
She rides the eye of a Hurricane


15 Dec 99 - 09:30 AM (#149785)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Tiger

I guess I wouldn't have gotten so carried away with this list if you hadn't hit my soft spot - this kind of song has always suckered me in. I'm really a happy guy, though. These are ones from my collection. There are probably lots more, but if they grab me, I grab 'em. The 1 to 5 scale is how they hit me - I'd be interested in your comments.

Tearfully.......Tiger

    The Randall Knife
    I put this in a special category, 'cause so many people have mentioned it. This song must be heard live to be properly awed, although the CD version is good. Guy unplugs his guitar and moves to the front of the stage (or whatever) to sing solo, as close to the audience as he can get. You'll not hear a footfall or a tinkling ice cube during this song, I gar-own-tee it. It's difficult to express the feelings (maybe 'thunderstruck'?).

    Industrial Strength Tear-jerkers (4 Stars)
    And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
    No Man's Land
    The Old Man
    The Massacre of Glencoe
    The Wind that Shakes the Barley
    Deportee

    3-Star Lachrymators
    Old Shep
    The Dutchman
    The Faded Coat of Blue
    Tecumseh Valley
    Annie's Going to Sing Her Song
    There Were Roses

    I Think I Can, I Think I Can (2 Stars)
    Cornflower Blue
    Ballad of Springhill
    Urge for Going
    Another Time and Place
    I Wonder if They Ever Think of Me
    He Was a Friend of Mine
    Lili Marlene
    The Rose
    Cindy's Cryin'
    Fort Worth Blues
    For the Sake of the Song
    The Town that I Loved So Well
    Streets of London
    Vincent
    Danny Boy

    I Get Misty (1 Star)
    Loch Tay Boat Song
    Till We Meet Again
    Lovely Derry On The Banks Of The Foyle
    Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
    Long, Long Time
    Seven Spanish Angels
    Just a Country Dream
    Macushla
    Mother Machree
    On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
    Me and Bobby McGee
    Green Green Grass of Home
    Shifting Whispering Sands
    Ballad of Ira Hayes
    Adelita
    Old Uncle Ned
    Turning Toward the Morning
    Three Score and Ten
    Coward of the County
    Bird on a Wire
    Coat of Many Colors
    Inches and Miles
    Darling Nelly Gray
    What's Your Mamma's Name
    Where the River Shannon Flows
    Wild Montana Skies

    Not sad, but teary anyway
    Christian Island
    Amazing Grace
    Battle Hymn of the Republic
    Morning Has Broken
    Song for the Mira
    Roseville Fair
    Island in the Sun
    The Mary Ellen Carter

    Just can't leave out my teen tragedy medley
    Ebony Eyes
    Teen Angel
    Patches
    Tell Laura I Love Her
    Running Bear


15 Dec 99 - 11:59 AM (#149839)
Subject: Lyr Add: SAM STONE (John Prine)
From: Mark Clark

I think I alluded to John Prine's song "Sam Stone" in part one of this thread but until now I didn't notice that it isn't in the library. Here, then, are the lyrics to what must surely be right up there with the saddest of songs.

SAM STONE


by John Prine


Sam Stone came home to his wife and family,
After serving in the conflict overseas,
And the time that he had served had shattered all his nerves,
And left a little shrapnel in his knee.
But the morphine eased the pain and the grass grew round his brain,
And gave him all the confidence he lacked,
With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back...

(Chorus)
There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes,
And Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose,
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years,
Sad songs never last too long on broken radios, hmmmm.

Sam Stone's welcome home didn't last too long,
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime,
And Sammy took to stealin' when he got that empty feelin',
With a hundred dollar habit without overtime.
And the gold rolled through his veins like a thousand railroad trains,
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose,
While he kids ran around wearin' other peoples clothes.

(Chorus)

Sam Stone was alone when he popped his last balloon,
Climbin' walls while sittin' in a chair,
He played his last request while the air smelled just like death,
With an overdose a hoverin' in the air.
But life had lost it's fun and there was nothin' to be done,
But trade his house that he bought on the GI Bill,
For a flag-drapped casket on a local hero's hill.

(Chorus)


Whew, it turns out "Sam Stone" isn't just hard to sing with dry eyes, it's hard to type with dry eyes as well. The humming at the end of the chorus is part of the melody and actually fills out the last two bars. Now will this eventually make it's way into the library or is it necessary to repost with a "LYR ADD" header?

- Mark


15 Dec 99 - 03:10 PM (#149921)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: jofield

"He Stopped Loving Her Today" -- George Jones

"Louise" -- by...who?


15 Dec 99 - 03:23 PM (#149926)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: emily rain

tiger, excellent post. i wish "lachrymate" could be a verb, as in "we should get together sometime and lachrymate the night away..."


15 Dec 99 - 04:25 PM (#149959)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Tiger

Geez, I missed that Jones one - it's on my list, too. Give it two stars.

BTW, is he related to Cleigh?


15 Dec 99 - 04:44 PM (#149971)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Metchosin

jofield, I have "Louise" on the album Greenhouse by Leo Kottke. The liner notes say it was written by Paul Siebel or Seibel (spelled two ways on the album) and I would agree that it is the running as the saddest song.


20 Jan 02 - 08:27 PM (#631891)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST,Arjay

Just about the saddest song I ever heard was sung by Ethel Waters, probably in the 1930's. I can't recall the title, but it's a mother singing to her children telling them that daddy isn't coming home tonight. (He's been lynched.)

If anyone knows the title, please post it.



In a similar vein is "Strange Fruit," sung, I think, by Billie Holiday. It's also about lynchings.



Songs that make me choke up include:
The Sweetest Gift (sung by The Judds)
Mr Tanner (Harry Chapin)
Where've You Been? (Sung by Kathy Mattea)
Un Cananien Errant
My Yiddishe Mame


21 Jan 02 - 09:27 AM (#632139)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Dave Bryant

Of the songs that I sing, I think currently the one that most affects me is "Home Lads, Home" words: Cicely Fox-Smith, Tune: Sarah Morgan. You can find it (Somehow relocated in India - I never knew Givenchy was that far east) in DT under WHERE THERE'S REST FOR HORSE AND MAN or HOME LADS HOME (click).

I think I would also list "The Oggie Man" and "Reunion" by Cyril Tawney, and "Unicorns" by Bill Caddick.


21 Jan 02 - 10:07 AM (#632169)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST,breezy

HELLO Dave. When you used to sing Fiddlers Green I used to cry .
Cos it took ages.
Its sad that we're all still at it, coming round again.
Jimmy Newman then when Denver did it on the T.V.
It was a Paxton masterpiece and not over romantic.


21 Jan 02 - 10:16 AM (#632175)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE SHORTEST STORY (Harry Chapin)
From: SharonA

For me, the saddest song is "The Shortest Story" by Harry Chapin, who fought hard against world hunger. It's the story of what happens during a famine:

THE SHORTEST STORY
by Harry Chapin

I am born today, the sun burns its promise in my eyes;
Mama strikes me and I draw a breath and cry.
Above me a cloud softly tumbles through the sky;
I am glad to be alive.

It is my seventh day, I taste the hunger and I cry;
My brother and sister cling to Mama's side.
She squeezes her breast, but it has nothing to provide;
Someone weeps, I fall asleep.

It is twenty days today, Mama does not hold me anymore;
I open my mouth but I am too weak to cry.
Above me a bird slowly crawls across the sky;
Why is there nothing now to do but die?


© Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 The Harry Chapin Archive. All rights reserved.


22 Jan 02 - 03:36 AM (#632791)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Genie

I don't think the link to Saddest Song I has been posted. Here it is

Genie


22 Jan 02 - 04:01 AM (#632796)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: alanabit

Dylan's "If You See Her Say Hello" and Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today".


22 Jan 02 - 04:37 AM (#632806)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Navillus

Fields of Athenry and Born on the Fourth of July do it for me.


22 Jan 02 - 08:14 AM (#632887)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE GRAVE (Don McLean)
From: Steveie1

THE GRAVE
(Don McLean)

From memory:-

The grave that they dug him had flowers
Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colours
And the brown earth bleached white at the edge of his gravestone
He's gone
But eternity knows him and it knows what we've done

And the rain fell like pearls on the leaves of the flowers
Leaving brown muddy clay where the earth had been dry
And deep in the trench he waited for hours
As he held to his rifle and prayed not to die

But the silence of night was shattered by fire
As guns and grenades blasted sharp in the air
One after another his comrades were slaughtered
In a morgue of marines alone standing there

He crouched ever lower, ever lower with fear
They can't let me die; they can't let me die here
I'll cover myself with the mud and the earth
I'll cover myself, I know I'm not brave
The earth, the earth, the earth is my grave

{Moody guitar bit}

The grave that they dug him had flowers
Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colours
And the brown earth bleached white at the edge of his gravestone
He's gone

That song just does it for me every time I sing it - Great! Ah!

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 6-Oct-02.


22 Jan 02 - 09:48 AM (#632956)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Murph10566

How about Eric Bogle's "One Small Star", or The Irish Descendants' "Will They Lie There Evermore"...or Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia ? Also, I reviewed the 'Saddest Song I' thread, and found a question from Wyo Woman about the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial... Have you ever heard John McDermott's cover of "The Wall"(EMI / Remembrance); Michael McCann has also released a version on his CD "Soldiers' Songs"... worth a listen or two... Regards, M.


22 Jan 02 - 03:53 PM (#633250)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: jup

"Long Long Before Your Time" Does it for me every time. Jup.


22 Jan 02 - 04:33 PM (#633283)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Murph10566

Two more that are worthy of note, I think: "Over the Rainbow" by the late Eva Cassidy (whose voice was so sweet and pure that she is surely singing with a Heavenly Chorus... and, a different approach to Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again, Naturally" by Vonda Sheppard (Allie McBeal)... What d'ye think ? M.


22 Jan 02 - 05:31 PM (#633326)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST

Life is the saddest song of all.

Actually, two thoughts. I have yet to get thru "Run, Kate Shelley, Run" dry-eyed on the guitar, and I've been trying for months. I did it one mando once and made it, because I had to concentrate on the other side of the brain. That's not even a sad song, now that I think of it, just melodramatic. But my "different instrument" thing is a parallel to the "different melody" suggestion made by good old Skipjack. I'll try that melody thing.

I have, however, just gone thru a deal which will forever enshrine Tom Paxton's "Hold On to Me, Babe" as THE saddest song EVER. All of 35 years ago, I knew a person who was truly neat, creative, sensitive, etc., but very, very moody, sort of drifting thru relationships without any of them 'taking.' Just found out that she was abused as a child. She's working it out now, but it's rather too late for any of us who knew her in college to help spare her years of grief.

"There was something locked inside you, like a secret, burning pain,
In a prison where you would not let me go.
Still I thought we'd find the answer, till I woke and found you gone;
Now what it was, I guess I'll never know."

The world is total crap, sometimes. CC


22 Jan 02 - 05:33 PM (#633330)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie

Re previous post--

I forgot that for some reason I now post as "Guest." Had I remembered I would have signed that Chicken Charlie.

CC


23 Jan 02 - 06:21 AM (#633634)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE BALLAD OF MONGREL GREY
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill

Dave Bryant's post mentioned "HOME LADS, HOME," a song I've heard a few times when I've travelled back to the UK.

The version I have heard starts with, "Overseas in Flanders..."

And further on in the song,
"For Dick fell at Givenchy and Prince beside the gun
On that red road to glory a mile or two from Munn."

Is sung
"For Dick fell at Givenchy and Prince beside the guns
On that blood red road to glory a mile or two from Mons."

Or
"For Dick fell at Givenchy and Prince beside the guns
Blown to pieces in the traces a mile or two from Mons."

In Part I of this thread there were numerous posts about "OLD SHEP." One on a similar theme about a horse is "THE BALLAD OF MONGREL GREY," an adaptation of a poem by A. B. Patterson.

THE BALLAD OF MONGREL GREY

I'll tell you a story an old stockman told
By the camp-fire when stars were bright
And the moon it rose up like a great globe of gold
And flooded the plain with it's light
As we watched the cattle 'til dawning of day
We spun yarns to while hours away
And as we were listening the tale he did tell
Was the story of old Mongrel Grey

Just a no-account Brumby bred out on the Never
On the station hard used as a hack
Spurred, walloped and beaten shown no kindness ever
Ridden all day with sores on his back
He'd then be left all night with nothing to eat
To be saddled and cursed all next day
Such treatment as this was common occurrence
It was normal to old Mongrel Grey

We well may have sold him but someone had said
On the flood plains he'd run as a colt
Where he'd learned to swim like a damn water bird
With an instinct for finding the shoals
Be it midnight or midday it meant nothing to him
Over flooded ground he'd find his way
And tho' channel and billabong twisted about
Nothing puzzled old Mongrel Grey

Down in a cabin on our lower run
Located close by Conroy's creek
I was there camping with my youngest boy
Just a nipper he barely could speak
We were scouting out grazing, we hunted and fished
The youngster and I spent our days
Alone in the Bush with our string of horses
And among 'em was old Mongrel Grey

One night quite sudden a flash flood came down
From the hills lashed with summer rain
Roaring, rank smelling and eddying brown
It spread o'er the flat and the plain
The thunder and lightning brought on driving rain
As torrents of water came down
To move seemed hopeless but we had to try
To make it for high ground or drown

Out to the stock pen I ran and I found
All our horses there shaking with fright
All bunched together stamping the ground
Silhouetted in electric blue light
As best as was able I led them all out
In the dark as the water raced by
They reared and they snorted and all turned away
None would face it but old Mongrel Grey

With my stock whip I tied the child to his back
We set off in the flood and the rain
If he struck deep water, swift flowing and black
He would swim with me clutching his mane
He turned and he twisted across flooded ground
Choosing places to wade or to swim
How he found the crossings by sight or by smell
Only God and that old horse could tell

Now he dodged the timber wherever he could
But the timber brought us grieve at last
I was struck and half stunned by a big baulk of wood
That snagged me as it drifted passed
Loosing my grip of the old horse's mane
I was instantly swept clean away
Fighting for breath in that hell of a night
I was parted from old Mongrel Grey

I climbed into a tree and there had to sit
While the flood waters round me did run
To the Lord of creation I earnestly prayed
To save the life of my son
When the station hands found me I dreaded the news
As homeward I raced down the track
But that dawn Mongrel Grey had pitched up at the homestead
With the child safe and sound on his back

Now he's kept for the wife on the homestead to ride
Nothing too good for him now of course
She'll ensure that no whip will touch his hide
For the debt that we owe the old horse
That he'll want for nothing's a promise I've made
Binds my kin till old Mongrel's last day
And not old man Tyson for all of his money
Could purchase old Mongrel Grey

Now you've all heard the story that old stockman told
By that cattle drive campfire that night
Where the moon it rose up like a great globe of gold
And flooded the plain with it's light
The words of the story I heard long ago
Remain in my head to this day
And tho' I oft quote it, it was Patterson wrote it
The story of old Mongrel Grey.

Eric Bogle's SING THE SPIRIT HOME takes a bit of effort to get through.

Cheers,

Bill

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 6-Oct-02.


23 Jan 02 - 09:30 AM (#633749)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Zipster

Not sure which thread to add to now.

Currently listening to Matt McGinns THe Rolling Hills of the Borders and given that a good friend recently buried his mother back in her native Scottish borders that has me welling-up.

I agree with so many of the above, but I haven't seen Sonny's Dream anywhere. A beautiful song and a sad tale of missed opportunities.

Personally I have a great fondness for "Yellow Roses". Its an Arthur Alexander composition the recording I have is Ry Cooder (Chicken Skin Music I think).

Search as I have I can't find chords anywhere on the web. If anyone can help I'd be very grateful.


23 Jan 02 - 02:07 PM (#633915)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Sooz

Has anyone scored the individual songwriters that have come up in this thread? Eric Bogle must be very near the top of the list and no-one has yet mentioned My Youngest Son or Nobody's Moggy (depending on your viewpoint). How about Alistair Hulett's He Fades Away and Ralph McTell's Jesus Wept.


23 Jan 02 - 03:19 PM (#633968)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Genie

Here's a link to the Ethel Waters song referred to above.  It's  "Supper Time" written by Irving Berlin for a 1933 musical, "As Thousands Sing."    The musical makes it clear that the father has been lynched.  The song lyrics themselves don't tell you why he isn't coming home.

Willie O.,
I don't remember just how old Judy Garland was when she died, but I'm sure it was considerably more than 15 years after The Wizard Of Oz was released (1939). When she did here most haunting rendition, I think, of "Over The Rainbow," sitting by the footlights of the stage, in her hobo costume and make-up, she must have been at least 35 to 40. Also, I could swear I saw her do duets with adult daughter Liza.  Or did you mean that she died 15 years after you first heard her sing "Over The Rainbow?"
 

Genie


23 Jan 02 - 03:50 PM (#633988)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Little Hawk

Bob Dylan's "Most Of The Time", "Ballad of Hollis Brown", and the one about the mining town that's slowly dying, whatever it's called...Al Stewart later borrowed from it in a pretty obvious way to write his song "Ballad of Mary Foster", which is also very sad.

Not that they are your typical tearjerkers...they're not melodramatic or contrived enough for that, but they sure are sad.

- LH


23 Jan 02 - 04:41 PM (#634022)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Genie

Little Hawk,
I think the Dylan song you're referring to is "Red Iron Ore." Joan Baez sings it on her "Any Day Now" album.

Genie


23 Jan 02 - 05:00 PM (#634038)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST,Steve N.

Hands-down, it's "Come All Ye Tenderhearted", which can be found on an album by the most wonderful Peter Rowan. This old-timey song is not sad, it's what us Bluegrassers refer to as "Pitiful"!


23 Jan 02 - 07:03 PM (#634118)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST

Isn't Red Iron Ore actually North Country Blues?


23 Jan 02 - 09:19 PM (#634197)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST,Argenine

Guest, I'm not sure about "North Country Blues." It's not the same as "The Girl From The North Country," though.


24 Jan 02 - 01:29 AM (#634363)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Robo

A well-sung "Fields of Athenry" will do it for me, too, and so will "The Town I Loved So Well." Tim O'Brien also has a terrific song in "First Days of Fall."

Rob-o


24 Jan 02 - 08:13 AM (#634498)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Steveie1

I've been pondering my set list since reading this thread and in my top 30 must sung songs 21 must rank as sad zero are actually happy the other 9 are light hearted but essentially sad. Sally Wheatley, Kew Gardens, Lock Keeper etc. Need to work on some happy stuff but struggle with the sincerity of it. Maybe a link for the future is "The Happiest Song of All Time"


24 Jan 02 - 05:18 PM (#634890)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Little Hawk

Yes, the Dylan song is called North Country Blues. Growing up in Hibbing, a dying former mining town, he had plenty of inspiration for writing it.

Al Stewart took the melody, changed it slightly at the end of each verse, took some of the lyrical phrases, and wrote the Ballad of Mary Foster.

Dylan probably had borrowed much of the song from previous folk tradition too, so that's okay with me. Al Steward was obviously a big Dylan fan in his early period, covering "She Acts Like We Never Have Met" on one of the early albums, when he rarely recorded anything but originals. He then went on to write songs quite unlike anything anyone else has come up with...good for him!

- LH


24 Jan 02 - 06:27 PM (#634937)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST,Oulmole

The Parting Song (Journey's End), by J.B. Goodenough.

Carroll Ban, by John Keegan Casey -- on the strength of the last verse, sung by the bereaved lover of a young man hanged in the failed Irish rebellion of 1798:

The meadow path is lonely, and the hearth is cold and dim, And the silent churchyard blossom blooms softly over him, And my heart is ever yearning for the calm that's coming on, When its weary pulse lies sleeping, beside my Carroll Ban.


05 Mar 02 - 02:23 AM (#662996)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Genie

"Grace" is a real tearjerker which, I understand, is based on a true story. (It's in the DT.) The Irish soldier (rebel?) is to be executed in the morning and marries his love that night, though they can touch only through the prison bars.
Here is the chorus: "Oh Grace just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger.
They'll take me out at dawn and I will die.
With all my love I place this wedding ring upon your finger
There won't be time to share our love for we must say goodbye.

Genie


05 Mar 02 - 02:37 AM (#662999)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Amergin

Genie, the song Grace is about Joseph Mary Plunkett who was due to be executed for his part in the Easter Rising.....he was suffering from TB (I think)...hence the sick bed....he and Grace were married while he was imprisoned and awaiting his sentence to be carried out....after the wedding they were pulled apart....and on his last night...they were allowed a few minutes together....


05 Mar 02 - 07:16 PM (#663332)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Genie

Thanks, Amergin. What you say ties in pretty well with what I had been told before. There is a guy who sings this song at Seattle Song Circle who has told us the story, and I'll check with him to see if he has any further details I've forgotten. I didn't remember the TB part, though. I had the impression that they actually married the night before the execution and were not allowed to spend any time alone together--that this was his way of expressing the strength of his devotion, that he wanted her to be his wife even if they were not able to comsummate the marriage or have any time really alone together. But my memory of it is foggy, and you seem to know the history.
Genie


05 Mar 02 - 09:42 PM (#663393)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: Genie

In THIS THREAD, Micca (?) writes:
...Plunkett was sentenced to die by firing squad for his role in the Rising. He fought even though he was a very sickly person ... . He was engaged to marry his Grace [Gifford] and she was brought to him in the chapel of Kilmainem. They were surrounded by British soldiers and were not allowed to touch one another, nor even kiss. They were married by the Priest and the next morning he was taken out and shot.

Genie


16 Mar 02 - 12:40 PM (#670235)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: GUEST

Genie, Glen sang this at our Seattle song circle. There's a nice recording of it on Seamus Kennedy's CD "A Smile and a Tear" http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/seamuskennedy10

This is from the CD liner notes: "This poem, written by Joseph Plunkett in 1911, was handed to Grace Gifford Plunkett, his new bride on the morning of May 4th 1916, just before he walked out to face the firing-squad." "Joseph Plunkett was 19 yrs old when he left his sick bed (he suffered from TB) to fight alongside Padraig Pearse and the other freedom fighters in the Easter Rebellion in Dublin, 1916. The Uprising was quelled and many of the rebels were executed by the English. At 1:30 a.m. on the 4th of May, Joseph Plunkett was led handcuffed into the chapel of Kilmainham Jail, where Father Eugene McCarthy united him in matrimony with his fiancee Grace Gifford. They were separated immediately after the ceremony. Just before dawn, Grace was brought back to his cell and they were allowed ten minutes together, and then as she left Joseph gave her the words of a poem he had written in 1911 - I See His Blood Upon the Rose. At dawn, his life was ended by an English firing-squad in Stonebreakers's yard." By the way, it's a great CD - I recommend it highly.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


26 Apr 08 - 05:52 PM (#2326522)
Subject: RE: The Saddest Song of All--Part II
From: JHW

The Border Widow's Lament. Ae Fond Kiss and Ballad in Plain D from other posts are also worthy contenders. Does anyone have the technology to set up a ballot?