There But For The Fortune

Hi Everyone

Here is one of Dad’s Favourites; There But For Fortune written by Phil Ochs and sung by Laura Jones.

I would have loved to have been around to be part of one of the memorable Jacqui and Bridie Club Nights that Dad often reminisces about, with fond memories of this brilliant song. Ian can tell you more…

“Hi Folks

We all have our favourite songs that we love listening to, and that take us back to that “happy place” where cherished memories lie, dormant, waiting to be awakened by those first few chords, or words, and that old, familiar tune, They are like recesses in the corners of our mind where our own secret wardrobe waits for its hidden door to be unlocked, once more, to transport us into our own magical world of Narnia, if only for a brief 3 minutes or so.

This song, “There but for Fortune”, is one of Brian Jones’ all-time favourites so, I’ll let him tell you the story that makes it so “special” for him.

“One of my favourite songs of all time. Jacqui and Bridie would always finish their club night with it at the Coach House. What a fabulous atmosphere there was as singers got up and everyone in the room would join in. The harmonies were amazing.

So, you can imagine, the 1960’s, no sound system, Jacqui, and Bridie leading an audience of up to 200 people, which included the cream of local folk scene of the day, singing that very moving chorus.

“And I’ll Show You A Young Man with So Many Reasons Why

There but For Fortune Will Go You Or I, You, Or I”

There would always be two choruses, to finish, with one of them being unaccompanied. This is one of those very special songs that sings itself. Whenever I sing it, it just takes over.”

I know what you mean Brian. I think, if we are very lucky, we might, once or twice, experience that feeling of a song taking you over, body and soul, though such songs are rarer than hens’ teeth. However, I agree that “There but for Fortune” is one of them.

Written by Phil Ochs, a contemporary of Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary, in 1963, it was very much a reflection of the Greenwich Village folk scene in New York. It epitomised the protest movement of the 1960’s, and the hopes and dreams of young Americans, and later, the British folk movement, that took up the rallying call from across the Atlantic

It went on to be a chart hit for Joan Baez (top 50 in the States and top10 in the UK), although Ochs never achieved the same fame with his own recording of it. Like many creative, yet troubled geniuses, of his generation, he burnt out early, suffering from manic depression, plus an affinity for the bottle. He committed suicide on April 9, 1976, at the age of 35.

In his all too short life, especially the earlier years, he wrote many fine songs but was never able to repeat the poignancy and connection of “There but for Fortune”. The song is a fine legacy to leave the world and ensures that he will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who sing it and listen to it.”

Ian Chesterman

Thanks Ian, enjoy listening everyone.