Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three songs with Brown in them.

JOHN BROWN
(Bob Dylan)

John Brown went off to war, called to battle on a foreign shore,
And his mother, she sure was proud of him!
When he stood so straight and tall, in his uniform and all,
His mother’s face broke out in a glowing grin.

She said, "Son, you look so fine, I'm so glad you're a son of mine—
You make me proud to know you hold a gun.
Do what your captain says an’ lots of medals you will get,
Then we'll hang them on the wall when you come home."

As that evening train pulled out, John's ma began to shout,
Telling everybody in the neighborhood:
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now, you know,"
And she made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while, and her face broke into a smile,
Then she showed them to the people from next door,
And she bragged about her son, with his uniform and gun,
And this thing they called “a good old-fashioned war.”

“A good old-fashioned war.”

After all his letters home, his mail had ceased to come,
And she hadn’t heard a word for nine months or more.
Then one letter finally came: "Go down and meet the train—
Your son is coming home from the war."

Oh, she smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around,
But she could not find her soldier son in sight.
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
And when she did, she could hardly believe her eyes.

His young face was all shot up, and one hand had been blown off,
And he wore a metal brace around his waist.
He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know,
And she could not even recognize his face.

She said, "Oh, my darling son, Lord, tell me what they’ve done.
How is it that you ended up this way?"
He tried his best to speak, but his mouth could hardly move,
And his mother had to turn her face away.

"Don't you remember, Ma, when I went off to war,
You thought it was the best thing I could do?
When I was on that battleground, you were home an’ acting proud.
Be glad that you weren’t standing in my shoes.

And I thought when I was there, ‘God, what am I doing here?
Just tryin’ to kill somebody or DIE tryin'.’
But the thing that scared me most, when my enemy came up close,
I saw his frightened face looked just like mine.

Lord, just like mine!

Then I couldn't help but think, through that thunder and the stink,
I was only one more puppet in their play.
And through the roar and smoke, that string, it finally broke,
And a blast of fire blew my eyes away."

When the young man tried to walk, his mother was still in shock,
As she saw that metal brace that helped him stand.
But as they turned to go, he held his mother close,
And he dropped his medals down into her hand.

--1962

MR BROWN
(Bob Marley)

(Who-oo-oo-oo is Mr Brown?)
Mr Brown is a clown who rides through town in a coffin
(Where he be found?)
In the coffin where there is
Three crows on top and two is laughing
Oh, what a confusion! Ooh, yeah, yeah!
What a botheration! Ooh, now, now!

Who is Mr Brown? I wanna know now!
He is nowhere to be found
From Mandeville to Slygoville, coffin runnin' around,
Upsetting, upsetting, upsetting the town,
Asking for Mr Brown
From Mandeville to Slygoville, coffin runnin' around,
Upsetting, upsetting, upsetting the town,
Asking for Mr Brown
I wanna know who (is Mr Brown)?
Is Mr Brown controlled by remote?

O-o-oh, calling duppy conqueror,
I'm the ghost-catcher!
This is your chance, oh big, big Bill bull-bucka,
Take your chance! Prove yourself! Oh, yeah!

Down in parade
People runnin like a masquerade
The police make a raid,
But the - oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
The thing get fade

What a thing in town
Crows chauffeur-driven around,
Skankin' as if they had never known
The man they call "Mr Brown"

I can't tell you where he's from now
From Mandeville to Slygoville, coffin runnin' around,
Upsetting, upsetting, upsetting the town,
Asking for Mr Brown
From Mandeville to Slygoville

--1970

JOHNNY 99
(Bruce Springsteen)

Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late that month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun shot a night clerk now they call him Johnny 99
Down in the part of town where when you hit a red light you don't stop
Johnny's wavin' his gun around and threatenin' to blow his top
When an off-duty cop snuck up on him from behind
Out in front of the Club Tip Top they slapped the cuffs on Johnny 99

Well the city supplied a public defender but the judge was Mean John Brown
He came into the courtroom and stared young Johnny down
Well the evidence is clear gonna let the sentence son fit the crime
Prison for 98 and a year and we'll call it even Johnny 99

A fist fight broke out in the courtroom they had to drag Johnny's girl away
His mama stood up and shouted "Judge don't take my boy this way"
Well son you got a statement you'd like to make
Before the bailiff comes to forever take you away

Now judge I had debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holdin' my mortgage and they were gonna take my house away
Now I ain't sayin' that makes me an innocent man
But it was more `n all this that put that gun in my hand

Well your honor I do believe I'd be better off dead
So if you can take a man's life for the thoughts that's in his head
Then sit back in that chair and think it over judge one more time
And let `em shave off my hair and put me on that killin' line

--1982

1 comment:

  1. boss was listening to a lot of Suicide back then...

    ReplyDelete