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Ballad of Penny Evans

  • Steve Goodman

    My name is Penny Evans and my age is twenty-one
    I'm a widow of the war that was fought in Vietnam
    I have two baby daughters and I do the best I can
    They say the war is over but I think it's just begun

    I remember I was seventeen when first I met my Bill
    At his father's grand piano we played old 'Heart and Soul'
    I only knew the left hand part, he knew the right so well
    He's the only boy I slept with, and the only one I will

    First we had a baby girl, we had two good years
    And next the warning notice came, we parted without tears
    Then it's nine months from our last goodbye our second child appears
    And it's ten months and a telegram confirming all our fears

    So once a month I get a check from some army bureaucrat
    And once a month I tear it up and mail the damn thing back
    Do they think that makes it all right? Do they think I'll fall for that?
    They can keep their bloody money, it won't bring my Billy back

    I never cared for politics, speeches I don't understand
    Likewise I'll take no charity from any living man
    But tonight there's fifty thousand gone in that unhappy land
    And fifty thousand 'Heart and Souls' being played with just one hand

    My name is Penny Evans and my age is twenty-one
    I'm a widow of the war that was fought in Vietnam
    I have two baby daughters - thank God I have no son
    They say the war is over but I think it's just begun

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1967:] Art Buchwald, the Washington, D.C. political satirist, wrote a now-classic column not too long ago entitled "President Goldwater". In it he spoke of his great relief at Goldwater's defeat, for if Goldwater had won, trembled Buchwald, the war in Viet-Nam might have been escalated. Bombers from Guam might be dropping their payloads in the North and thousands more G.I.s might be poured into the conflict. Thank goodness a man with policies like that was repudiated by the public and we had instead a rational and peace-loving president: Lyndon B. Johnson. (Tom Paxton in Reprint Sing Out 10, 222)

  • 1976:] One [of the] most interesting tracks on the album is Goodman's totally unaccompanied version of 'The Ballad Of Penny Evans'. Why did he record a protest song about Vietnam? "It wasn't meant to be as such, it was just that nobody writes about anybody that's left at home. There was a point where I met a person who actually told me that story, and I was impressed with it enough that I went back - it was in Rochester, New York, and I was playing in a place called The Nugget Pizza Palace, and that's the truth! [...] I was playing there and this girl actually told me the story. I'd heard Louis Killen sing 'The Flying Cloud' a couple of times, and when I went back to the hotel to write the song, it was to the tune of 'The Flying Cloud' with the exception of a few notes. It scanned like it, so I decided that rather than making something up that wouldn't be half as appropriate, it sounded like that kind of time, and that was how that happened. In fact, she lives in Boston now, she's re-married. At one point, I wasn't sure that she'd been telling me all the facts, or she might have made up some of it, or imagined it before she even told it to me, but I guess that wasn't the case, and it turns out it was all pretty much the way it was told to me. I've since met a couple of people who were in the same situation, so I guess that's who the song's for. The only reason I still do it is not because I feel like I have anything I want to say to anybody - one of the things I'm really trying to avoid is preaching." (Steve Goodman, London interview published in the Omaha Rainbow, 1987, quoted by John Tobler, 1990, The united Kingdom Interviews)
  • For further info on the Vietnam war see Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation

Quelle: USA

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