21/10/16 – Joan Baez – There But For Fortune – 1964

Song Of The Day

joan-baez-there-but-for-fortune-1964Joan Baez might be the highest profile long standing activist protest singer. Famous for her earnest vibrato and her rise to fame in the Folk movement of the early sixties. She was the first famous archetypal female protest singer and her relationship with Bob Dylan made them the King and Queen of the Folk scene as she recognized Dylan’s talent and introduced him to her already substantial audience.

Baez had made two studio albums before Dylan’s debut and she often let him perform with her at her concerts even leaving the stage and allowing him to perform on his own during her set. Whereas Baez’ first two solo albums Joan Baez and Joan Baez Vol 2 made it to No.20 and No.21 respectively in the US charts, Dylans first album failed to chart at all. Baez’ next two releases were In Concert Vol 1 and Vol 2,  they made it to No.10 and N0.7 in the US charts in 1962 and 1963. It wasn’t till Dylan released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963 that he made the US charts reaching No.20. It was different in England – Dylan’s debut reached No.13 and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan No.1.

Baez also enjoyed success in England. The song featured here was written by Phil Ochs in 1963 and although it only reached No.50 in the US charts, it faired much better in England where it cracked the Top Ten reaching No.8 in 1964, a single release from her 5th album, Joan Baez 5 (No.3 UK, No. No.12 US). Earlier, her first album had made No.9, but the second album strangely failed to chart. It was the other way around with her two live concert records with the first one failing to chart and the second one making No.8 in the UK – interestingly it reached No.25 in Germany.

Baez was signed to Vanguard records for 12 years where she was produced by co-founder of the label Maynard Solomon. The label enjoyed considerable success during the sixties. The story of Maynard Solomon, his exploits and his writings, are an interesting story as he later switched from an interest in Folk to an interest in Classical music.

The rest of course is history but Baez still maintains a high profile as an activist, a singer/songwriter and an interpreter of Dylan’s and other people’s songs as well as her own.






Show me the prison, show me the jail
Show me the prisoner, whose life has gone stale
And I’ll show you a young man
With so many reasons why
And there but for fortune, go you or I……mm, mm

Show me the alley, show me the train
Show me the hobo, who sleeps out in the rain
And I’ll show you a young man
With so many reasons why
And there but for fortune, go you or I, mm, mm

Show me the whiskey, stains on the floor
Show me the drunkard, as he stumbles out the door
And I’ll show you a young man
With so many reasons why
And there but for fortune go you or I, mmm, mm

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 and I, you and I.

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