Back in 1970 I had just landed my first job as a newspaper delivery boy for the New York Daily News. It was a big deal for me, getting a job at the ripe age of 13, as it meant I had money in my pocket. On a good week when I finished collecting and paid my manager his cut I might actually have as much as $15 profit for delivering 60-80 newspapers each morning, seven days a week.
The first thing I used my new-found wealth for was to invest in a radio cassette tape recorder. I wanted to listen to music and be able to record it. With the wonders of then-new solid-state electronics, all kinds of gadgets were becoming available. So I found a sale on a quirky portable AM/FM/Cassette recorder that was within my budget, and with Mom’s help driving me to the store I became a proud new owner.
One of the first songs I heard on my new radio cassette included the lyrics:
…Outward Bound Upon A Ship With Tattered Sails…We Could Not Ask For More…
It was a simple song with a simple guitar accompaniment that touched me. I never actually heard it all the way through for one reason or another, and never caught the DJ announcing either the title or singer. It only played in the top 40’s list a few times before it was off the air.
The melody and few lines of lyrics stayed with me ever since. For years I wished to be able to hear the entire song, and learn the composer and title.
Fast forward to last winter. I was home alone on a cold Saturday playing on the Internet. That piece of music flashed into whatever part of my brain remembers stuff like that, and I decided to use the power of the Internet to locate it.
I did an Internet search and quickly located a music database “SongLyrics.com” that allowed searches based on lyrics. I entered the few words I remembered and the search results came back…with the song Outward Bound. The musician was listed as Tom Paxton, and a bit of searching in YouTube, “Amazon.com” and “CD Universe.com” brought up two versions of the song, one by Tom Paxton and the second by Nana Mouskouri.
With a little more research I determined that the song “Outward Bound” was first released in 1966 by singer/songwriter Tom Paxton on his album “Outward Bound.” Paxton re-released the song in 2004 on his album “Outward Bound/Morning Again.”
It was also released in 1971 by Nana Mouskouri on her album “A Place in My Heart.” I suspect her version of this song was the one I heard on that top 40’s station way back in the last century, on a now antique radio cassette player. Between the two versions, I prefer Mouskouri ‘s. Her voice is absolutely enchanting and perfectly adds to the lyrics.
So, as a reward for reading all the way through this post, here is Nana Mouskouri’s version of this beautiful piece of music as provided by the ever-wonderful YouTube.
This song still touches me.