Mercedes Benz


This is another from Jon’s Forest School Camps and he offers, “We sing this on FSC although I’m not quite sure why, but it always seems to stick in my memory. I don’t really sing anything else like this that I can think of.” I’m expecting a few ripples and lively discussion here, but this version with Jon and Concertina contrasts nicely with Janis Joplin’s A Capella original. It was the very last thing she recorded before her untimely death at the age of 27. The song was an obvious commentary on materialism and was written with poet Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth. Ironically Joplin owned a psychedelically painted Porsche at the time she wrote and recorded this. You can wiki it all here should you so desire. Interestingly, although I wasn’t really expecting to find anything, there’s quite a lot on Mudcat, such as this thread, which even suggests an extra verse.


The buy links should now work properly. We had some problems with a duplicate track and everything needed to be updated, but I’ve just tested them and they are now OK!

You can buy the digital album now from the following stores:


69 Responses to “Mercedes Benz”

  1. Andy says:

    Isn’t this exactly how folk songs come about? People write about their wants and their losses and their loves and their woes, they adapt tunes to fit their needs and alter the words of songs to make them more relevant to their lives. More power to you guys, and I hope you get your new bathroom soon, Steve! 😉

  2. Phil says:

    Isn’t this exactly how folk songs come about?

    I don’t know – it depends what you mean by “folk songs” (Lord Bateman? The Grand Conversation On Napoleon? Boots of Spanish Leather?)

    I’m not going to say that only traditional songs are folk. What I will say is that at least when someone talks about traditional songs everyone knows roughly what they mean. When it comes to folk songs, lots of people seem really keen to fit anything and everything under that label, and I honestly don’t understand why. If “folk” did just mean “not sung by a horse”, then the word would be redundant – all songs would be folk songs, by definition.

  3. mr_ffloyd says:

    it was very interesting to read.
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  4. […] you are a bit wary of ‘folk’ music you might like to start with Mercedes Benz, but do check out some of the others, traditional music like this is full of tales of war and lust […]

  5. Alice Dixon says:

    I’m just sorry I missed this as was when my computer was broken cos I love it. Blue skies.

  6. nev perry says:

    Reading the comments on this one, this song certainly did stir up some controversy! Did not Dolly Parton bring out a version of this song in the c&w vernacular? Like all genres there are always some crossover elements in them. Whether this song will be accepted into the fold by die hard folkies only time will tell.

  7. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    This time around I’m making no comment……except to say I’m making no comment.

    Aw heck………..all I mean’t the last ime was……I loved the project but this one was not for me……..blimey…………talk about “light blue touch paper and retire to safe distance”…………but we all know each other now and have enjoyed the whole project together…….and Jon and Simon have catered for all tastes…Q.E.D.

  8. Maggie says:

    I think this is a great version of M-B, thanks Jon. One of the things that I like best about AFSAD is the variety of songs. Some songs I haven’t heard for years and had forgotten that I knew them, other new songs and others a different take on something familiar. I love some of the postings from them all – and others leave me cold, but hey, that gives us all something to talk about.

    I discovered this site after reading the Observer article last year, so a relative newcomer and enjoying the chance of catching up.
    As to whether or not something is folk music … I never really wanted to study philosophy!

  9. Johnnyev says:

    I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel………..


  10. SRD says:

    Having lasted the course, and come back for a return trip, I think that this is a classic example of those songs that will encourage others to stand up and sing a song in public, if that leads them into a study of traditional music or to continue to sing out loud then both are, to my mind, valid expressions of traditional music.

  11. Diana says:

    Always loved this one. Jon does an excellent job but also like Janis Joplin’s version but she did have an unusual voice.

  12. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey) says:

    I’m doing it again…jumping ahead…………just looked back to the earliest comments from 2010…when we didn’t know each other and BOY…did this song set the hares running.
    I think the following comment from Grandad7 put it all into context:-

    Grandad7 says:

    July 12, 2010 at 7:00 am

    This from Peter Warlock a composer who lived in Enysford a village quite near where I live in Kent (1926)
    “. . . music is neither old nor modern: it is either good or bad music, and the date at which it was written has no significance whatever. Dates and periods are of interest only to the student of musical history. . . . All old music was modern once, and much more of the music of yesterday already sounds more old-fashioned than works which were written three centuries ago. All good music, whatever its date, is ageless — as alive and significant today as it was when it was written . . .”

  13. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey) says:

    Oh Jane…….ref your request in 2010……
    did the Lord buy you that new bathroom suite and safe toilet seat?……….
    we should be told!

  14. Robert says:

    I’ve heard a LOT of covers of this in my time. This one – wow. Perfect.

  15. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey UK) says:

    I suspect that, as time passes and technology progresses in leaps and bounds, the things one would wish for would change dramatically………….all we really need is Health happiness food ,drink, shelter.

  16. khuyen mai xe oto Chevrolet 2017 moi tai dai ly xe Chevrolet Newway

  17. bang gia xe oto Chevrolet 2017 moi tai dai ly xe Chevrolet Newway

  18. Mercedes HCM says:

    khuyen mai xe oto Mercedes 2017 moi tai dai ly xe Mercedes Haxaco

  19. old Muzza (NW Surrey) says:

    for the curious:-
    Google translation of the last three comments says:-Chevvy and Mercedes are compatible!

Your Reply

Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /customers/a/0/f/ on line 121