I’m still sorting stuff, and still finding songs I have no memory of hearing. I went through the main song file when I was helping Charles Smith put up the lyric site, but these songs are in other files. “What’ll You Bet” had a heading on top: 
songs by malvina reynolds
song sheets
There’s no date, but it was paper-clipped to six other songs (all with lyrics only), and I’d guess 1958 from the company it keeps. Which means that “Fifty years from now” is this year. Alas.
Fifty years from now the sun will always shine,
There won’t be any army brass to make you fall in line,
There won’t be any army camps to mar the scenery, 
I’ll bet you any money that’s the way it’s going to be.

What’ll you bet, what’ll you bet, what’ll you bet,
    Those atom bombs will one day be passe,
        There’ll be people, there’ll be trees,
        There’ll be fishes in the seas,
    But there won’t be any generals, they’ll all fade away.

Fifty years from now there’ll be plowshares by the ton,
But it’s only in museums that you’ll ever see a gun,
And folks will sometimes wonder at what fools we used to be,
To totter on the brink of Hell with crazy Foster D.*

What’ll you bet, what’ll you bet, what’ll you bet,
    Munitions stocks will take an awful slump,
        There’ll be people, there’ll be trees,
        There’ll be fishes in the seas,
    And we’ll take those guided missiles and we’ll guide them to the dump.

When people make their minds up, there’s nothing they can’t do,
I see their minds a-making and this dream is coming true,
And many who are working now will surely live to see
The time when wars both hot and cold are ancient history.

What’ll you bet, what’ll you bet, what’ll you bet,
    The battle flags will quietly be furled,
        There’ll be people, there’ll be trees,
        There’ll be fishes in the seas,
    And neighbors will be neighborlike all around the world.

*John Foster Dulles 

When Steve Goodman produced the single (45) of “The Judge Said” for Malvina at Chicago Recording Company I happened to be in Chicago too, and sang on the chorus. I was mightily impressed that Jethro Burns was there, playing mandolin, and I learned more about the Burns-Goodman connection a few weeks ago at Moe’s Books, where Clay Eals had assembled a fine panel of local musicians to help him present his biography, Steve Goodman: Facing the Music. 

Steve got hooked up with Kenneth “Jethro” Burns, of the country comic duo Homer and Jethro, when Jethro’s son Johnny (a guitarist) brought him to see Steve’s act. Steve was mightily impressed when Jethro came backstage to say he liked the show. Homer had died of a heart attack at 53, and Jethro was at a loss what to do next. Steve called on him to back him on an album, and they became performing buddies as well. I also learned from the book that the session Steve arranged for my mother was one of his first ventures into producing, at a time when his own producer was pushing a pop feel that Steve didn’t think worked for him.

In the book, Steve is quoted as saying his act is hard to record live because it’s so visual. Luckily there is a DVD available of Steve, Live from Austin City Limits.

There’s a thoroughly enjoyable interview with Clay Eals and Jim Rothermel, woodwind player who backed Steve on recordings and also at my mother’s memorial concert, online on the KPFA website. Interviewer David Gans, also a musician, illustrates the conversation by playing Steve Goodman recordings.

Here’s the entire crew backing Malvina on the 45, from the jacket: 
“The Judge Said” 
Words by Malvina Reynolds, Music by Malvina Reynolds, from a traditional air.
Steve Goodman, guitar, 12 string guitar
Howard Levy, piano, harmonica, Arp strings
Sidney Sims, Fender bass
Angie Varias, drums
Bob Hoban, violin
Jethry Burns, mandolin
Backup vocals: Katherine Barber, Sally Fingerett, Lee Hartz, Nancy Schimmel, Amanda Tucker.


Malvina’s song about the Rand Corporation has been running through my head since I read on TomDispatch that we are outsourcing most of our government intelligence services. Back in the day, we thought the FBI and CIA were bad, but now we have for-profit corporations gathering and processing intelligence, and why should they worry about the constitution? Please read the article, I guarantee it’s fascinating in a horrible sort of way.

  “The Rand Hymn,” ©1961,previously unreleased, now available on Omni’s reissue of the album Malvina Reynolds

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Georgian tanks destroyed as Russia invades.