Song Lyric Sunday

Our theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song you love that falls in the category of “singer/songwriter”.

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. The genre began with the folk-acoustic tradition. Singer-songwriters often provide the sole accompaniment to an entire composition or song, typically using a guitar or piano. The first popular recognition of the singer-songwriter in English-speaking North America and Great Britain occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s when a series of blues, folk and country-influenced musicians rose to prominence and popularity.

Judy Collins came to mind immediately as a singer songwriter I have loved since I was a teenager. The song Born to the Breed is written about her only child, Clark. In 1992 at age 33 he committed suicide after a long bout with clinical depression and substance abuse.

I was only nineteen
The morning you were born
With your hair fine and red
And your eyes like my own

Barely a woman
With only a song
I sang to make you smile
And held you all night long
Home through the streets
With you in my arms
Cold winter mornings
In a Colorado town

I’ve seen you stumble
You’ve watched me fall
You know I’ve got nothing
You know we’ve got it all

Trucks roll by and the rain coming down
Does that old parka keep you dry?
Sixteen years old out on the road
Trying to get to the sky

Back in September
You called me on the phone
“Ma, you know I love you
But I gotta be own my own”

“Comes a time in a boy’s life
When he’s got to be a man
Please don’t try to find me
Please try to understand”

Now he’s playing guitar
In a rock and roll band
Looking like a baby
Talking like a man

The life of a guitar man
Is a hard life to live
What can I tell you
You were born to the breed

Rain comes down, the trucks rolling by
I that old poncho gonna keep you dry?
Sixteen years old, January child
Trying to get to the sky

I’ve watched you growing
Through all these years
You’ve seen me stumble
I’ve watched your tears

Sometimes there was roses
Sometimes there was thorns
But I know you’re gonna make it
As sure as you were born

And I hope from what you wanted
You get what you need
I know you’re gonna make it
You were born to the breed
Sixteen years old, January child
Trying to get to the sky

16 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday

  1. Following Judy Collins since the beginning, we having seen her in concerts numerous times …she still graces the stages with strength and conviction and despite her personal tragedy, continues to impress. M 🙂


  2. I was never a Joni Mitchell fan, even as far back as her looking-at-clouds days. I was in the minority among my friends, but then I didn’t care for Judy Collins, either. Again, in the minority.

    But this song, knowing her son’s story, touches me deeply. My own son is 33, and although I have no reason to believe he suffers from depression, I am constantly aware that anything could happen, and I don’t know what my life would be like if I lost him forever. I do admire her strength and glorious outlook.

    Thank you for sharing this.


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