This site is no longer maintained. Use or

Go to
Current setlist
Use anyway Mobile


It Ain't Easy

It Ain't Easy has not been seen in 194 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2016-10-31.
It was played at 0.05% of live shows.
It has been performed live 1 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Ron Davies

Original Artist: Ron Davies

Original Album: Silent Song Through The Land (1970)

Vocals: Trey

Debut: 2016-10-31

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

When David Bowie included his cover version of Louisiana born and Pacific Northwest raised songwriter Ron Davies’ gritty blues standard “It Ain’t Easy” on his acclaimed 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, he was the fourth artist in two years to pay tribute to the Davies original. This near simultaneous celebration of the tune was initiated by Three Dog Night (It Ain’t Easy - 1970), sustained by Long John Baldry (It Ain’t Easy - 1971), prolonged by Dave Edmunds (Rockpile - 1972) and concluded by Bowie shortly after Davies own release of the track on his 1970 debut album Silent Song Through the Land

Watch It Ain't Easy on YouTube Ron Davies “It Ain’t Easy”

Although Bowie’s version may be the one that gave the song the “Fame” it deserved, it was already obviously - MY JAM - for anybody who had heard it during that time period. Further evidence of the tune’s curious popularity and the wide-ranging appreciation for Davies songwriting abilities are the numerous alternate versions which have followed, including those by Graham Bonnett (Graham Bonnett - 1977), Chris Smither (It Ain’t Easy - 1984), Hazel (Crash Course for the Ravers: A Tribute to the Songs of David Bowie - 1996), Baby Gramps (The Mystery of Ron Davies a Pacific Northwest Tribute - 2011), and  Shelby Lynne (Unsung Hero: A Tribute to the Music of Ron Davies - 2013).

It would certainly be easy to to cast our collective hairy eyeball on Trey’s Naked and Afraid albeit jaunty as fuck crushed velvet jacket clad turn as an axe-less lead singer on this number; however, the vocal performance was courageously vulnerable, well rehearsed and quite moving. Unfortunately, by once again laying down his primary battle weapon (the recurring theme for 2016), we are left wanting for Trey’s take on the sultry slide guitar featured in many of the earlier versions. Excluding the backing vocals provided by Jennifer Hartswick, Celisse Henderson, and Jo Lampert, the 10/31/16 Phish performance, absent the requisite shuffling blues guitar, places towards the middle of the pack in the wide array of takes on “It Ain’t Easy.” This of course proves the primary assertion of the song’s lyrics. Thankfully, Davies’ words are strong enough to carry the day and Trey’s soulful soliloquy provided enough satisfaction, satisfaction to keep me satisfied.


© Universal Music Publishing Group

When you climb to the top of the mountain
Look out over the sea
Think about the places perhaps, where a young man could be
Then you jump back down to the rooftops
Look out over the town
Think about all of the strange things circulating round

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down

Well all the people have got their problems
That ain't nothing new
With the help of the good Lord
We can all pull on through
We can all pull on through
Get there in the end
Sometimes it'll take you right up and sometimes down again

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down

Satisfaction, satisfaction
Keep me satisfied
I've got the love of a hoochie coochie woman
She calling from inside
She's a-calling from inside
Trying to get to you
All the woman really wants you can give her something too

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down
It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down

Stats for "It Ain't Easy"Back to Songs

© 2022 The Mockingbird Foundation
Powered by
Designed by Adam Scheinberg