Keepers of The Flame
Words and Music Pat Drummond
For the folkies

Looking like 'The Wreck of The Hesperus'
I went down to The Bitter End

*1. The Bitter End was a New York Coffee House pivotal to the development of the US Folk Protest movement of the 1960s
I was searchin' for the ghost of Dylan
I said he was my friend
People looked suspicious
It didn't hurt him to pretend

*2. According to his biography, Bob Dylan as a youth pretended to be an associate of Woody Guthrie's, going so far as to turn up at Woody's hospital room and representing himself to nursing staff as a close friend. Woody, in the final stages of Huntington's desease, was unaware who was in his room most of the time so Dylan would sit for hours playing his songs for Woody)

with borrowed songs and a borrowed name

(*3. Much is alleged on the 'borrowed' song front by folkies like Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs who felt somewhat wronged by the singer. Certainly many Traditional folksongs such as 'Scarborough Fair' were plagerised by Dylan who rebadged it as 'The Girl From The North Country Fair.' As for the borrowed name. Bob was born Bob Zimmerman. He took his stage name from the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas)

Forty years behind the game
I'm the keeper of the flame

I saw a shadow speak on Bleeker Street (*4. Bleeker Street' was Paul Simon's first attempt at dealing with the theme of Modernity's inability to communicate, a theme that reached it's best expression in the hit song 'The Sounds of Silence')
of Tom and Jerry's fame
(*5. 'Tom and Jerry' was Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's first stage name)
I was searchin' for the Sons of Silence
(*6. A reference to the second album with duffel coats on the cover)
No-one knew their names
A Jewish boy with Christmas songs
(*7. Paul Simon's original albums were peppered with Christian imagery in songs like 'Benedictus', 'Blessed' and 'Silent Night and The Six O'clock News' and the Christian version of 'Go Tell it on the Mountain' )
and passion in his veins
Duffel Coats and muffled pain
Forty years behind the game
I'm the keeper of the flame

In the 'Early Morning Rain' (*8. Gordon Lightfoot)
where the 'Four Strong Winds' blow cold
(*9. Ian and Sylvia Tyson)
'At Seventeen' I learnt the truth
(*10. Janis Ian)
There is no 'Heart of Gold'
(*11. Neil Young)
Busking through the 'Streets of London'
(*11. Ralph McTell)
playing real good 'For Free'
(*12. Joni Mitchell)
tuning in my guitar to 'W.O.L.D.'
(*13. Harry Chapin)

(*14. Riff - 'Song and Dance Man' Mike McClellan)

(*15. Riff - 'Streets Of London' Ralph McTell)

(*16. Riff - 'The Boxer' Paul Simon)

The blood and tears have disappeared
from Acoustic Radio
'ghosts and empty sockets'
(*17. Gracelands Paul Simon)
These days it's just ghosts
No money in my pockets
No ancient hits to boast
in the claim and counter claim
Forty years behind the game
We're the keepers of the flame

In the years 'Before the Deluge' (*18. Jacksone Browne)
Back when we knew which was which
We sang songs that seemed to matter
Before those songs that made us rich
While all those 'worker bees' in Nashville
Write all those songs that sound the same
Out here on the border
Ride the keepers of the flame
Out here on the borderline
(*19. Leonard Cohen)
Ride the keepers of the flame


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