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Lyr Req: There But for Fortune (Phil Ochs)

01 Feb 00 - 07:51 PM (#171930)
Subject: There but for fortune. words?
From: The Shambles

I was suprised that this was not in the DT? I did find in the threads a verse (and chords). Could some kind soul post the words of this song please?

I was showing off, when someone wanted the words and I said proudly "no problem, just a press of a button away".

I have told them I expect to have it tomorrow, so they will be back then. HELP!


01 Feb 00 - 08:10 PM (#171934)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Joe Offer

Hmmmm. Sure it's there, Roger, o ye of little faith! Click here.
-Joe Offer-


02 Feb 00 - 02:00 AM (#172129)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: The Shambles

Thank you Joe.

All I got was Tom Paxton's 'Phil'?


02 Feb 00 - 03:08 AM (#172147)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: The Shambles

But when I did it UPPER CASE---- DA DAH!

Now I always use new UPPER CASE!


02 Feb 00 - 03:16 AM (#172150)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Steve Parkes

Joe, is this the lyric before it was "improved" by Baez? (My memory isn't what it was - I think!)

Steve


02 Feb 00 - 04:50 AM (#172164)
Subject: Lyr Add: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE (Phil Ochs)
From: Joe Offer

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)


03 Feb 00 - 03:33 AM (#172741)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Steve Parkes

Purist?! joe, I'd invite a lesser man to wash out his mouth. A couple of years ago I wrote a letter to a magazine (I forget what for), and it got a thoroughly unjustified reply, which boiled dow to what a sad person I must be. It was accompanied by a cartoon from the staff illustrator (an accolade, really!) with me describing myself as "stricly speaking, I'm a know-all, not a pedant"; something I've proudly pointed out to people ever since.

And he did say "this is a song that was written for me by Joan Baez"!

Steve


03 Feb 00 - 04:15 AM (#172745)
Subject: ROTFLMAO
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Steve - I'm one of those who protests the Internet (and occasionally Mudcat) practice of one person telling a joke, and then 75 people responding with acronyms that indicate their asses have been off-laughed.
Nonetheless, you gave me a good chuckle. I do like to see correct lyrics in the database, and usually prefer the "original" version of a song, if it's one that can be traced to a songwriter.
I made a quick copy of "Miss Otis Regrets" from the database to use as a cheat sheet for a song circle this evening. As I was going out the door, I noticed that the words didn't fit the meter of the song. Good thing I had a copy of the original Cole Porter lyrics, so I didn't have to fake it. You can bet I'll submit corrected lyrics.
-Joe Offer-


05 Feb 00 - 05:41 PM (#174061)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Susanne (skw)

Joe, I have a Joan Baez recording - ('Joan Baez 5'). What I understand in the second line is 'the prisoner whose life has gone astray'. You think that likely? - Susanne


05 Feb 00 - 06:54 PM (#174088)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Susanne - the collection I listened to has the same cut you have, the one from Joan Baez 5. I listened again, and I'll admit it's hard to pick out the ending sound of the last word on that line - I still say it's "whose life has gone stale." I can't say I'm totally satisfied with either rendition of the line. I could wish that Ochs had polished it a bit more.
-Joe Offer-


06 Feb 00 - 12:03 AM (#174180)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: raredance

In the for what its worth category, "The Complete Phil Ochs" songbook has the pale faced prison man line that's in the version Joe pasted above with one teeny tiny variation - Above has "growing", the songbook has "growin'"

rich r

LTMSVTNOEKBPICOOMN

(Laughing To Myself So Vigorously That No One Else Knows But Pop Is Coming Out Of My Nose)


07 Feb 00 - 12:05 AM (#174371)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: paddymac

I gotta admit, rich r, your "alias" made me laugh. Thanks.


07 Feb 00 - 02:03 AM (#174391)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: The Shambles

This is a good example of a song that has been used, abused and tortured but still carries its simple and eloquent message today, despite all of that.

A good song?


07 Feb 00 - 02:39 AM (#174394)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Lonesome EJ

I think it's a great song, Shambles. The tune is quite beautiful, the words simple and to the point. But I think the sentiment behind it elevates it to greatness- we are all linked by the common bonds of our humanity, however separate we may seem. This is the great message of the Folk music of that era.

LEJ


07 Feb 00 - 09:35 AM (#174451)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Peter T.

In one of her books, Joan Baez remarks that this is one of the few songs that gets through to a younger generation. She uses it on tough houses.
yours, Peter T.


07 Feb 00 - 03:32 PM (#174610)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Joe Offer

Hey, Peter - what lyrics differences do you have in your Baez songbook? That recalcitrant Susanne <grin> still won't accept my "prisoner whose life has gone stale" interpretation, and my Baez songbook doesn't have that song.
-Joe Offer-


07 Feb 00 - 03:41 PM (#174615)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Peter T.

Gee, Joe, I don't have it in my songbooks at all (except RUS!!!). I have the same recording of Phil Ochs as you do. I agree with you about the need to do more with the song: it sort of cliches around with what is a terrific idea, and a great tune. yours, Peter T.


07 Feb 00 - 05:04 PM (#174649)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: GUEST,LEJ

Joe, I have the Baez recording and will check the lyric.


07 Feb 00 - 05:18 PM (#174659)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: GUEST,Graham Pirt

Just for info - Mudcatter Sam Pirt and his band 422 are at this moment supporting Joan Baez in London at the Waldorf Hotel for the BBC. Don't times move on? He hadn't heard of her!


07 Feb 00 - 05:29 PM (#174662)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Susanne (skw)

Wasn't his dad there to tell him about her?


07 Feb 00 - 07:11 PM (#174744)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: bbelle

I don't want to be dogmatic, but the word is "stale" ... moonchild


08 Feb 00 - 12:30 AM (#174880)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: ddw

Joe, I used to do the song as learned from Baez and my recollection of the words agrees with yours for what that's worth.....

david


08 Feb 00 - 01:10 AM (#174890)
Subject: Joan Baez
From: Joe Offer

I went to a Joan Baez concert a couple of years ago, the first time I'd seen her live. I expected her to have a condescending, "more liberal than thou" attitude. I was pleasantly surprised. Either she's learned to laugh at herself, or maybe she never was as stuffily politically correct as I thought her to be. The concert was a real pleasure, and she came across as a warm, funny, intelligent human being.
-Joe Offer-


08 Feb 00 - 05:54 PM (#175225)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Susanne (skw)

Maybe it is possible to be politically correct without being stuffy and 'liberaller than thou'?? Just a thought ...
Still haven't had the time to listen, but as several people say so I suppose I misheard 'astray' for 'stale'. - Susanne


08 Feb 00 - 07:26 PM (#175267)
Subject: RE: There but for fortune
From: Lonesome EJ

Yep, Joan says "stale". A better rhyme with jail than "astray", anyway.