Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lisa Bigwood's "The Ballad of Charlie Asher"

The singing begins around the 3:10 mark.

"The Ballad of Charlie Asher"

got a little red horse that I like to ride around 
I’m not real social so I ride him out past town
on a cabin porch there stood a long-haired man
he stood in silence he didn’t raise his hand
I’d ride by to a pond I’d found
with my head down and my hair down
and my eyes upon the ground
after a while you know at night I’d lie awake 
wonder who he was in his cabin by the lake
so I asked around
I said who is that long-haired man
they said that’s Charlie Asher, he don’t give a damn,
he lives on what they gave him
for his leg after the war 
and he just ain’t too much use to society no more

got caught in the rain one day back by the pond
beating it for home found an army coat on a log
it said Asher on the pocket
it smelled like dust
scrawled in ink on one sleeve
the words "in God we trust"
well he don’t like a man
who loses much no more 
so I took it as a gift 
and hung it by my door

in my head I composed a thank you note
sat at my desk and this is what I wrote
well you don’t look like a man
who loses much no more
so I thank you for the gift
it’s hanging by my door
I took a kitten and I ran in real fast
left it on the porch while he was down in back 
added to the note, hey dear Charlie here’s a friend,
if he’s inconvenient I can take him back again.
now two pair of eyes watch as I ride by
Charlie and the cat on the porch side by side

one winter day he was waiting by the path,
cat around his legs,
braid down his back.
he said I’m Charlie Asher and I don’t believe
we’ve met... well at least we ain’t talked yet
Nice little horse there
looks like he’s your friend
when our eyes met I wished Charlie’s eyes would mend
I went into town, he said, the other day
your picture on a poster
said to come and hear you play
I didn’t know you was musical 
and I sure would be obliged
if you’d bring you guitar down
and play for me sometime

well, it just so happens Charlie 
I wrote a song for you
it’s down and dirty simple
but the message still comes through
your past is like a blanket boy 
woven tight and warm
if you don’t know how to use it, 
it can do you harm
don’t wear it on your head, boy
don’t wear in on your eyes
there it can smother you
it can make you blind
wear it on your shoulders
like a coat or like a shawl
it might get heavy sometimes
but you can stand up tall

now I play for Charlie
he makes me tea
we drink in silence
quiet company
he don’t offer information
about what he’s seen and heard 
he just says play that song again 
you know I love the words

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Scott Cook's "Further Down The Line"

Posted this before but it deserves one more time (at least). Immerse yourself in this one:

Aren't some people just famous for being famous?
Isn't that about all that they do?
And couldn't the radio leave you feeling aimless?
Just a nameless person like you
But I sure heard the words Woody Guthrie sang
Even when they didn't quite rhyme
He knew the heart was the stuff, they'd ring close enough
Further down the line

I've painted houses, mopped floors, and washed dishes
Taught kids, cut grass and moved gear
Swung hammer, cleaned toilets and dug ditches
And I even sang songs to sell beer
But it was all for someone else's dream,
'Til I set out after mine
Said, "take this hammer, take it to the captain
Tell him I'm further down the line"

I crossed the Fraser, the Columbia, the Mississippi,
The Allegheny and the Ohio
Saint Lawrence, Susquehanna, Chattahoochee,
The Hudson and the Colorado
I saw the big rigs sleeping in the starry desert
Saw the snow piled 'round the Yukon pines
But I couldn't hang around too long in New York Town
Without lookin' further down the line

Some of the joints in New Orleans ain't pretty
But the waitresses'll call you "hon"
And a cop'll stay on the white side of the city
'Cause they paid for his hat and his gun
And there's a Gulf War vet by the overpass
Who says "Bro, can you spare a dime?"
Who's he kidding? These days a dollar won't be getting
You any further down the line, boys

I saw the stars and bars flying in Dixie
And doomsday prophets on capitol hill
I saw a fast food mall named after Walt Whitman
And Gettysburg ghosts wandering still
If our families are so broken,
How do we make a family out of humankind?
We still got promises to break
And miles to go before we wake further down the line

I saw the homeless and the houses sitting empty
I heard the explanations of learned men
Nowadays they'll rob you with a computer
'Cause it's faster than a fountain pen
And if smarter people haven't found a gap in the armour
Why do I keep trying?
I still believe there's a world dying to be born
Further down the line, friends
Further down the line

Aw Woody, I been through all kinds of weather
Been searching all the faces for a sign
As you know, love's hard to keep together
As the miles and the years unwind
And you never run out of blacktop
Nah, you just run out of time
That ribbon of songs keeps on winding along
Ever further, down the line