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Go Down You Broken Old Man

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I wrote this as a teenager having read Ivan Illich, Fromm, Rollo May and Hesse at a time when it seemed schools and other institutions were trying to turn out people who did not question things. At the same time I think my father was the model. In many ways I idolized him, but he could also be so stubborn (in both good and self-defeating ways). I guess I was trying to reach him by weaving a subtle message into the more direct one about the prisons that are our institutions of learning.

In the original I had more verses, but somehow they never sounded authentic, and so I deleted them...though I still have the old recording around here somewhere.
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Twilight has blanketed old country jail
The prisoners ain't sleeping, they're quietly waiting
And counting the days till the door is swung wide
And summertime welcomes them home


Go down you broken old shell of a man
Down where the young river rolls
The cage that has sprung you has robbed you of sight
And you are still caught in the night

To keep all our children from going to crime
We'll lock them in schoolrooms and structure their time
And we'll give them their freedom when lessons are learned
So life will not lead them astray


A black, broken prisoner lies lifeless and cold
He slept with a white girl just 10 years ago
But no-one condemns the white settler men
Who brought their religion then took all the land
Song Stats
Hits: 4341
Comments: 9
Fans: 7
Plays: 80
Downloads: 163
Votes: 2
Uploaded: Jan 24, 2008 - 12:16:46 PM
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2008 - 11:30:12 AM Last Played: Mar 10, 2019 - 11:44:28 PM
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Originally on tape,then transferred to a MAC and re-recorded with additional tracks using METRO
I am not sure what somng software means.
said 4226 days ago (January 24th, 2008)
Nice vocals! Very nice guitar work too!
said 4226 days ago (January 24th, 2008)
good job!
what a huge voice! quite wonderful in its passion and drama.
your harmony is a treat.
strings kick in at just the right place.
fine, fine song - thanks so much!

drakonis said 4226 days ago (January 24th, 2008)
The difficulties of teaching/parenting
Thought-provoking lyrics (definitely opinion-provoking!) Nice strong melody/guitar-playing/singing, this feels a lot like the old 60s songs (Seeger, Limelighters...) The backing strings were not overdone, although the organ had a little bit of a thin sound and being on the right, it was a little distracting. The sung harmony was nice.

Welcome to Macjams!
Check out my latest song called Miwok
Roxylee said 4226 days ago (January 24th, 2008)
I hear Bok
Very nice songwriting and vocals, and I 'd love to sing harmony with you. Welcome to MacJams. :-)
Check out my latest song called Emma, by davisamerica
Feter said 4226 days ago (January 24th, 2008)
Go Down You Broken Old Man
ahh what a sweet song ..a bass folk singer at last
Im not the only one :-)now .this is one of the finest
songs I ever heard here .very true its Bok's style
a true delight .thnx alot for sharin and welcome to
MJ !!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
J.A.Stewart said 4226 days ago (January 24th, 2008)
Puts Me Back...
in the coffee houses and folk clubs where I first started performing, all those years ago. That's how *authentic* it sounds to me.

Wrote it as a teenager? Remarkable.

Welcome to MacJams, Paul. ;)

--- Joe
Check out my latest song called Crankenhurst Challenge - Verse 1-7 (Inst. Break)
paularenson said 4226 days ago (January 25th, 2008)
Thank you
I have been reading your kind and critical responses and then listening to your own works (and the things linked from your sites). Back to say I am glad I d found this community. For many years I grew apart from music. Then a vocal chord problem I had a year ago thrust me into the hands of a very good vocal coach, and this prompted me to get excited about music again.

I will post some other things. Feel free to take anything and play with it, or invite me to do the same with your works....


Check out my latest song called Kate's song
Scott Carmichael said 4225 days ago (January 25th, 2008)
I wrote a message this morning... and I see that it didn't arrive on your song page... but i remember the content... your melody lines here have a lost classic vibe about them... natural and flowing... and I was struck by the interesting meter from line to line... very creative storytelling

and I also said "Welcome to MJ"
Check out my latest song called He Has Passed this Way
Joe Brady said 4225 days ago (January 25th, 2008)
Great voice...
I was reminded of Stan Rogers, not just by the voice, but by the structure of the song. Well written and performed.

Check out my latest song called Long Way From Denver
Artist Info
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Name: Paul Arenson
Location: Tokyo Japan
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I have been writing and singing since the age of 14. A red diaper baby born in 1952, I have lived in Tokyo 1979, teaching alternative media and English at several universities. I am involved in peace and social justice activities, which includes mai... [see more]

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