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The Folk Song Army

This song is by Tom Lehrer and appears on the album That Was The Year That Was (1965) and on the 3 disc box-set The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000).

Spoken introduction:
One type of song that has come into increasing prominence in
Recent months is the folk song of protest. You have to admire
People who sing these songs. It takes a certain amount of courage
To get up in a coffee house or a college auditorium and come out
In favor of the things that everybody else in the audience is against,
Like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on. But the nicest
Thing about a protest song is that it makes you feel so good.
I have a song here which, I realize, should be accompanied on
A folk instrument, in which category the piano does not, alas, qualify.
So imagine, if you will, that I am playing an 88-string guitar!

We are the folk song army
Every one of us cares
We all hate poverty, war, and injustice
Unlike the rest of you squares

There are innocuous folk songs, yeah
But we regard 'em with scorn
The folks who sing 'em have no social conscience
Why, they don't even care if Jimmy Crack Corn

If you feel dissatisfaction
Strum your frustrations away
Some people may prefer action
But give me a folk song any old day

The tune don't have to be clever
And it don't matter if you put a couple extra syllables into a line
It sounds more ethnic if it ain't good English
And it don't even gotta rhyme... excuse me: rhyne!

Remember the war against Franco?
That's the kind where each of us belongs
Though he may have won all the battles
We had all the good songs!

So join in the folk song army!
Guitars are the weapons we bring
To the fight against poverty, war, and injustice
Ready, aim, sing!


Written by:

Tom Lehrer

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