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"County Farm" ("Another Man Done Gone") – Johnny Cash Version + Others

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Perhaps they were searching by the wrong song title ("Country Farm" instead of "Another Man Done Gone"), but considering how many released versions there are it's astounding they couldn't find the writing credits for Live Anthology.

Here's Johnny Cash's version.  I'll post others version below, but this one is a stunner.



 

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Anyone know how Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers knew of the song?

So many versions and yet they couldn't get the title right or find the writing credits for Live Anthology.  Googling the lyrics would have solved the issue.

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Well, who knows about how they knew on a particular song, right?

But more generally, in Zanes' book, Benmont remembers being a kid & talking about music with Gainesville people who his family employed in their house & garden. Plus, they say they retrospectively learnt about some US music when bands like Rolling Stones played covers of blues classics.

More generally, would they just somehow absorb a rich diversity of music as part of their southern heritage, as musicians who loved storytelling & music? It'd be in the local water, in the air (radio)? Plus, social issues like unfairness, poverty, racism, chain gangs, prison farms, segregation & civil rights movements were all right there in Florida when they were growing up, deep in among it, from 1950-1974. Throw in family legends from previous generations (Petty grandparents across the border in Georgia)... 

Admittedly easier for us these days to track stuff down... I followed a hunch that the original was collected as part of the Lomax field recording project... Yes! Here it is listed in Library Of Congress collection. ❤️

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Ps dang, the mobile device I'm using is playing fast & loose with the font / typeface sizes. Hey! It's not me! I'm not doing it for emphasis!! Sorry!

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Where does TPATH's version rank for all of you? Up there, one of the best things they did live? Middle of the road? Didn't care for it? I like the energy they brought to the song and pretty much most opportunities to hear Mike or Benmont (even Tom) solos is nice. I think for me it's above middle of the road.

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I think it's them at their best.  They brought an explosive rock arrangement to it.

As for the notion that they learned the song by osmosis, you don't get all those words right without a source.

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I think the TPATH live version is the best. That riff is just so god damn good. One of their best covers by far. Thank God it got officially released on the Live Anthology. Now if only "Mystic Eyes" was dropped for "Gloria"

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Same thing Bob did with the "Modern Times" record.  Take an old song, slap a few different lyrics, maybe a riff from somewhere else, give it a new name, and it's yours!!  Check out Bob's "Someday Baby" from that record - which he claimed a writing credit for.  Except it's really Muddy Waters "Trouble No More". 

Is "County Farm" any different?

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25 minutes ago, TomFest said:

Same thing Bob did with the "Modern Times" record.  Take an old song, slap a few different lyrics, maybe a riff from somewhere else, give it a new name, and it's yours!!  Check out Bob's "Someday Baby" from that record - which he claimed a writing credit for.  Except it's really Muddy Waters "Trouble No More". 

Is "County Farm" any different?

Yes because Tom doesn't claim any song writing credits lol

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Yeah.. it's sure gets a bit murky at times in the twilight zone of traditionals, public domain and original copyright, between what's loot and what's homage. None of which used to matter, but in todays market system easily gets both troublesome and misunderstood. The list of how many times and in how many variations exist of some of those older folk and blues tunes - often if not quite always - originating in old pre-war US traditionals, chain gang songs, sea shanties, ancient british tunes or even african, or combinations of the above mentioned, usually surviving or developing - widely or in pockets - in the US south... The list is endless.

And a lot of it we know of today thanks to Alan Lomax and The Library of Congress and a few "early" explorers of the field, who caught some of these sounds, the second, third or fourth generation porch singers, banjo players and tap dancers, as it were, on tape, before it was too late, who salvaged a few thousand old wax cylilinders and early schellac records and Victrolas from oblivion.. People ranging from record collectors and anthropologist old time music fans like Harry Smith (who saved a virtual grail of wonders for the afterword with his Anthology project - check it out for the ride of your life! !) on to  transitional performers like Howlin Wolf, Big Joe Williams, Mississippi John Hurt, Odetta, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters onto more modern era explorers like Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, the Animals, Them and the Stones.. and the whole lot of them. (HUGE tradition TPATH work within here, yes!) Let's not forget that part of the whole tradition was to invent new ways to play old familiar songs, to get the local style flavor on them, musically.. and tell old familiar stories, in those days of oral tradition.. or to simply tell new stories to them old tunes. That was the whole game. 

As for Another Man Done Gone.. or County Farm.. well.. Baby Please Don't Go, anyone? Turn The Lamp Down Low, Alabamy Bound? No?

Sometimes when flipping through all the old 78s, I get the feeling that there's really just a handful of themes in there, a dozen songs maybe, the rest of it is countless variations, wild and tall tales and crazy bananas string playing, opening it all up for a universe of wonders.

Just saying.

I rank TPATH's version kinda middle of the road. It may be the best "rock" effort, sure,  but I still think some of the old an bluesier renditions have this certain chillin qualities to them, not least the vocals, that a slower, more "nude" approach sometimes offer.. Vera Hall is always the best to me. That said Tom's a great version and I too would agree it's one of the better covers of theirs.. The competition is fierce though..

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All these versions let the spirit of the song shine through. 

For me, Vera Hall's is most powerful because it's the original recording & carries it with a single vocal. Can hear it & imagine past generations of people singing it out on their porches, in the fields... 

Jorma Kaukonen ... well, uh, hmm, well, his music seems too jaunty & cheerful for subject matter... Bit of a disconnect. Reminds me of reports of Garth saying that Levon really didn't approve of Joan Baez's approach to "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".  

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Here's the version Petty mentions in the Live Anthology liner notes.  I'm still going through all the lyrics to all the versions, but this is the only one I've found other than Petty's to say "on the county farm" rather than "to the county farm" or "from the country farm":
 

 

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Interesting. The evolution of a song. This really touch upon the neighbouring topic of playing covers (discussed elsewhere.. and elsewhen), the merit or folly of it.

As for the wording of a certain version, that sure can help in tracing where someone picked a certain song up. Mayall most certainly was TP's source, since he about admit as much himself. Others that do the "ON the county farm" lyrics include Midge Mardsen (bad version, IMO) and the somewhat more interesting rendition by Jojo Wall and the one by Steve Jennings.

Some hillbilly version even has it "Down AT the county farm.." if I'm not mistaken. In some ways that ought to be one of the more obvious readings, IMO.

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