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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Song Review : 500 Miles By Joan Baez

500 Miles Lyrics
(Lyrics Credit :

If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles

You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

Lord I'm one, Lord I'm two, Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four
Lord I'm 500 miles away from home
Away from home,away from home,away from home,away from home
Lord I'm 500 miles away from home
Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name
Lord I can't go a-home this a-way
This a-away, this a-way, this a-way, this a-way
Lord I can't go a-home this a-way

If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone

You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

'An Intimate Performance' - Album by Joan Baez 

About The Song
(Credit : Wikipedia)

"500 Miles" (also known as "500 Miles Away from Home" or "Railroaders' Lament") is a folk song made popular in the United States and Europe during the 1960s folk revival. The simple repetitive lyrics offer a lament by a traveller who is far from home, out of money and too ashamed to return.
The song is generally credited as being written by Hedy West, and a 1961 copyright is held by Atzal Music, Inc"500 Miles" is West's "most anthologized song." Some recordings have also credited Curly Williams, and/or John Phillips as co-writers. David Neale writes that "500 Miles" may be related to the older folk song, "900 Miles", which may itself have origins in the southern American fiddle tunes "Reuben's Train" and "Train 45"

Joan Baez performing 500 Miles

Song Review

The voice of 'Queen of Rock' is indescribable in mere words.A petty trial could be to express it as indulging sweetness and boldness into a highly capable soprano. 
The lyrics of the song is very simple and as it has been previously described,is repetitive in nature.That however,does not compromise with the qualitative value of the song but only makes it even more striking and as such,even more valuable.The lyrics and tune combined together express the lament of a worker far away from home who is ashamed to go home without a penny too his name and yet longs for home.It also presumably talks of his girl,who would still be able to hear the train whistle blowing from a hundred miles away from his hometown as the train leaves with him travelling in it.
There is very less instrumentals involved and you can hear faint guitar notes with the bold voice,both of which when combined make the experience increasingly beautiful.
The imagery is almost clearly visible - the setting sun with all its golden and scarlet might,the train whistle,a small town and the train leaving the place and the stinging pain of a petty worker's lament makes it more realistic.

Lyrics - 5/5
Instrumentals - 5/5
Melody - 5/5
The voice behind - 5/5

As a song - {(20/20 * 100)%} = 100%

A Little Note

Thank You BDM for letting me know about 500 Miles in Joan Baez's voice,I would never have felt it so specially unless it would have been sang so beautifully,though there is a lot of beauty in the lyrics itself.But sometimes you just need external forces to help open up your perspectives for something better.

Disclaimer - The photographs used do not belong to me.

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  1. Must be one heck of a song to deserve full credits from your...will check it out.

    1. It is a very beautiful song indeed,it is one of the best performances by Joan Baez according to me.Do check it out.


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