SINGLES ONLY: “Learning How to Love You” (John Hiatt) and “Sailors & Soldiers” (Phil Ochs)

Posted: November 16, 2013 in Singles Only
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Broccoli Fields Forever ...

Broccoli Fields Forever

Singles Only

Singles are cover songs without a mate (a.k.a. opponent). I’ve searched high, low and in between and my research indicates these particular songs were covered once and only once. Why would a band cover a song so obscure that no other band on the planet is interested in also doing so? How the hell should I know? But I do have a few of these rarities and it is now part of your solemn responsibility to listen to them. No competition on this day. Rather unabashed reverence, reflection and repose. Enjoy …


Learning How to Love You – The Original

Very nice tune hear by John Hiatt. That’s Ry Cooder on guitar and Nick Lowe on bass (and Sawyer and Claire on the beach)

John Hiatt:


Learning How to Love You -The Cover

Anne Richmond Boston, originally of the cult-favorite Swimming Pool Q’s, knocks out a sweet cover of John Hiatt’s Learning How to Love You.

Anne Richmond Boston:


Sailors & Soldiers – The Original

Based on my research, Phil Ochs never actually released this song. I could not find a studio or live version by Phil anywhere. If anyone knows of an available version by Phil then please let me know.


Sailors & Soldiers – The Cover

This cut is from a Phil Ochs tribute disc (“What’s That I Hear: The Songs of Phil Ochs”). Considering a version by Phil does not seem to exist I have no idea how Sid Griffin & Billy Bragg were aware of it or why they would have selected such an obscure number for the tribute disc. Musicians … Who the hell knows what’s up with them?

Sid Griffin & Billy Bragg:


  1. ileneonwords says:

    This morning I posted one of my all time fave Phil Ochs songs: Changes.

    • RDubbs says:

      Changes is a beautiful song. I’ve got a few covers of it that will be posted at some point but none capture the emotion in Phil’s voice. I’ve read Marc Eliot’s excellent biography of Phil a few times (i.e. Death of a Rebel) although it has been awhile since the last. But as I recall Phil wrote Changes at a time when he was desperately trying to woo back a woman – either a past girlfriend or wife, I can’t remember. He was so enthused with the song that upon completion, which happened to be in the middle of the night, he excitedly called the woman somehow thinking it would be the key to rekindling the relationship. He sang Changes to her over the phone. Not surprisingly it was not the key, nor any entre for that matter, to reconciliation. Most of us have been there before, desperately trying anything to win back a past lover. Every time I hear Changes I picture Phil on that lonely night and can hear the desperation in his quivering voice. No, no one is ever going to cover Changes and elicit those types of visions and emotions from me …

      • ileneonwords says:

        Thanks so much for your thoughtful and enlightening comment!!! I used to have the Jim and Jean LP with Changes. You’re right, though, no one but Phil could emote that song properly. What a sad ending for him. Still miss him and his songs are still so relevant!!!!

  2. The Bug says:

    ok, the hiatt song is nice enough, actually like Boston’s cover more, but what’s with the Sawyer Claire montage, they were not each other’s love interest. Claire had Charley and Sawyer was with Kate and later the scientist lady, makes no sense. Boy Richie, bet you’re wishing you never taunted me about not contributing . . . .

    • RDubbs says:

      I also found the video to be kind of ridiculous but it is the only studio version of Hiatt’s Learning How to Love You on YouTube and the few live videos of it did not quite do it justice. Plus, the video provided me fodder for my hysterically witty line regarding Claire and Sawyer on the beach (you know, Cooder on guitar, Lowe on bass, Claire and Sawyer on the beach …). Damn I killed with that one.

      On an entirely different subject, Bug, I think maybe you should take a break from CMI. You’ve been just a little too “involved” lately if you know what I mean.

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