Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Photographers (Grit Laskin)

Pete Seeger didn't write this ribald little ditty (it's by Canadian songwriter and guitar maker Grit Laskin), but he did record it, and it definitely shows a very different side of Pete Seeger than most of us are used to. Unfortunately there is no available CD version of Pete's Circles and Seasons LP, where his version was recorded. The tune is your basic generic English ballad tune.

"The Photographers"

Well early Saturday morning, I was strolling in the wood
I came upon a lady who by the wayside stood
And what, pray tell, would such a lass as you be doing here?
I've come to take some photographs, said she as I drew near

Said I to her, I do declare, this is a fateful day
For I have come to photograph, the same as you did say
Then I took out my Nikon-F and placed it in her hand
She said that's quite a camera, sir, you have at your command

My camera so delighted her, she could no more delay
She let me see her camera case, wherein her accessories lay
I'm sure, she said, you have most everything that can be bought
Just let me stretch my tripod out before I take some shots

We photographed from haylofts, and up against the wall
If you've not shot on Saturday night, you've not photographed at all
She had her shutter open wide, for daylight was all gone
Likewise my naked camera lens, it had its filter on

This lady had experience with cameras, yes, indeed
And I thought her exposures the best I'd ever seen
Although she seemed to tire not as on and on we went
I said I'll have to stop now, my film supply is spent

She said I've had Mirandas, Yashicas and Rolleis
Hasselblad and Pentax, likewise a Polaroid
Fujica, Canon, Nikkormat, a Kodak and the rest
But now I've seen your Nikon-F, and surely it's the best

(Thanks to Jim Capaldi of the Pete Seeger Appreciation Page for turning up the lyrics.)

In memory of Pete Seeger (1919-2014) and Jim Capaldi (1950-2013).

Update (2021): A Norwegian version performed by Lillebjørn Nilsen can be found on Live in Telemark, the recording of a 1994 joint concert by Nilsen and Andy Irvine.


Bob Cat Al said...

Have you heard the recordings of the concert of Pete Seeger at the Royal Albert Hall in London where he sings it?
If not I could share with you

Chris said...


No, I haven't, but I just found it online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmEfo4KqV8Q . Thanks for the tip!