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Four And Twenty

April 12, 2022

One of the songs that I remember well from back in the day (1970) was Stephen Stills’ Four And Twenty. For years I’ve been dragging around a CD copy taken from an ancient cassette tape I bought five decades ago. Recently, I popped for the $1.29 and downloaded a digital copy that sounds much better.

I played this song regularly when I performed publicly back in the 1970’s. It’s not a great song by most measures but it does have an unusual chord progression and unusual rhyme scheme that both please the soul despite the song’s stressful theme. The lyrics wander more than a bit but that was the style back then. It paints a great picture of loneliness and desolation. I still love it and still play it!

You have to be lyrically alert to catch some of the transitions and it also helps to be in a good mood when listening to this track as it can be depressing. Listening to this song brings me back to the fine old days when Ray Allopena and I played the hell out of this song and others at a bar called The Loading Zone. To call it a club would be a stretch. We were a bit down living in our little apartments but every Friday and Saturday we played from 9 PM until closing and it lifted our spirits. This song was often used in the last set. Who knew I’d turn into such a happy guy years later?

For those interested, the chord progression in each verse goes like this (There is no chorus.):

D5 Dsus4 D
D5 Dsus4 D
F G D7
F G D7
F G D7

(Note: I prefer to play the D5 Dsus4 D at multiple frets.)

Give it a listen and tell me what you think. I love comments from both musicians and listeners, especially those of you of the same vintage as me.

Here are the lyrics:

Four and twenty years ago
I come into this life
The son of a woman
And a man who lived in strife
He was tired of being poor
And he wasn’t into selling door to door
And he worked like a devil to be more

A different kind of poverty now upsets me so
Night after sleepless night
I walk the floor and want to know
Why am I so alone?
Where is my woman, can I bring her home?
Have I driven her away?
Is she gone?

Morning comes the sunrise
And I’m driven to my bed
I see that it is empty
And there’s devils in my head
I embrace the many colored beast
I grow weary of the torment
Can there be no peace?
And I find myself just wishing that my life would simply cease

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One Comment
  1. Interesting chord progression and rhyme scheme, like you say.

    Liked by 1 person

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