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(2005)

LAUGHING in the FACE of the BLUES

Song List and Lyrics

1. Meet Me Mama
2. Hushabye
3. Segue - The Laughing Place
4. Laughing in the Face of the Blues
5. A Sucker for Love
6. Segue - Hey, Flat!
7. Count on Me
8. High Cotton
9. Tell Old Bill (Traditional)
10. Segue - Randy Green’s Blues
11. Lay Down by the Water
12. The Unseen Hand
13. Segue - Smoke (Kern and Harback)
14. Buckets of Rain (Bob Dylan)
15. Life Is Sweet
16. Daddy’s Heaven

 
MEET ME, MAMA   

Meet me, Mama, on the tightrope
Meet me ‘way up in the sky
Sing and dance until we go broke
We can watch the world go by
Tonight there’s gonna be a little party for two
Dancin’ on thin ice – me and you
Meet me, Mama, on the tightrope
We can watch the world go by

Meet me, Mama, on the minefield
Out where time doesn't pass
High kickin' and slow dancin'
Every step could be the last
You were raised with a silver spoon
Spoiled rotten out outta reach of the moon
Meet me, Mama, on the minefield
Every step could be the last
Every step could be the last

CHORUS   
Meet me, Mama, Meet me, Mama
Meet me, Mama, on the tightrope
We can watch the world go by
We can watch the world go by

Meet me, Mama, on the quicksand
Low down next to the ground
Keep your eyes on the gators, they’ll try to separate us
There’ll be no turnin’ around
If you won’t change your sheltered ways
They’ll wrap you in a bubble for the rest of your days   
Meet me, Mama, on the quicksand
Low down next to the ground
Low down next to the ground
HUSHABYE

Old Judge Holley lived in town
He served the law and laid it down
He ruled by fear of man and god
He never smiled nor spared the rod
Grandma was his youngest child
She feared the man who never smiled
She feared the man who never smiled

He warned of strangers, sticks and stones
Shield your eyes and brittle bones
Murder, fire, lightning, rain
Life is naught but fear and pain
Of all that moves, Judge Holley said
Fear the living and the dead
Fear the living and the dead

The bough breaks, the cradle falls
No one answers when I call
If I die before I wake
The devil’s there my soul to take
Fear was your destiny
Judge Holley’s legacy
Hushabye, don’t you cry, Darlin’

She hid from darkness, prayed for light
Apparitions prowled the night
Leaves rustled in the wind
Like thieves and cutthroats wanting in
Mad dogs and men from Mars
Afraid of god, she feared the stars
Afraid of god, she feared the stars

As Grandma aged and twilight fell
She descended into hell
Demons soaked in bloody stains
Opened coffins, raised on chains
Fearful child, tormented soul
Was lowered into flaming coals
Lowered into flaming coals
LAUGHIN' IN THE FACE OF THE BLUES

Got my motion,
Got my breeze.
Tall grass prairie,
Walls and walls of trees.
Got my lady
She's easy to please.
No one demandin'
Money or my company.
No one complainin'
'Bout my clothes or philosophy.

I got my eagle,
Lost and found.
Take the sky road
Or sit down on the ground.
I whisper to my lady
And she turns around.
We might be ridin'
That Empire Builder train.
We might be runnin' 
Through a Carolina rain.

We're laughin' in the face of the blues.
Laughin' at the noise
And all the bad news.
You're my very best friend,
We got a hand full of wind
And a heart full of endless youth.
We're laughin' in the face of the blues.

Soakin' up
All this mountain air.
Walkin' 'round in circles 
Up in Harvard Square.
I see my lady
Everywhere.
We'll take a back road 
To the far side of the moon.
We'll be so cozy in my
World-sized livin' room.
A SUCKER FOR LOVE
 
I’m a big fish in the ocean
    But there’s something much bigger than me
It made me swallow an Israelite whole
   Then it made me set him free

I’m a big dude from the desert
   A pituitary Philistine clown
They made me fight some Israelite
   And he laid my poor body down

      I was needy and blue - chosen from above
      I played the part but got a stone in my heart
      I’m a sucker for love

I tried to be a real good daddy
   But the master said to slay my son
He stayed my hand at the very last minute
   Now the boy won’t trust anyone

	 There was trouble at home
            Push came to shove
	 Thy will be done – I traumatized my son
	 I’m a sucker for love

	Oh, Jack! I didn’t count on that,
	On everything comin’ back on me!
	Lord knows how the chill wind blows
	Through the bows of the dogwood tree

I’m an otherwise pretty nice fella
   Who wouldn’t harm a hair on your head
But if I kiss you after supper tonight
   I’m just doin’ what the Big Dog said

	I was chosen to burn - abandoned from above
	I played the fool and the liar 
         Wound up in the fire
	I’m a sucker for love

The godfather asked for a favor
   “I’ll make you a hero”, he said
Now the deed is done and I’m a friend to none
   I’m on the streets with a price on my head

I’ve been gazin’ at my navel
   My navel gazes back at me
I raise my eyes to the writing on the wall
   Askin’ why have you forsaken me?

	I was taught to believe, to obey and to trust
	I played into  
the hands of the grand mighty plan
	I’m a sucker for love

	On, Jack! I didn’t count on that!
	On everything turning back on me!
	Lord knows I’m glad to be chosen
	For a part in the comedy

I only want to be with my baby
   She’s prettier and smarter than me
You can offer me gold but I’d rather grow old
   In the arms of a sucker like me

	I’m cuttin’ no deals - returnin’ no calls
	I’m drawin’ the line (thank you) - doin’ just fine
	I’m a sucker, that’s all
	I was chosen to burn - abandoned from above
	I played the part and got a stone in my heart
 
	I’m a sucker for love

	EPILOGUE  
It ain’t necessarily so
It ain’t necessarily so
The things that you’re liable to read in the Bible
It ain’t necessarily so
COUNT ON ME

I got no money, I got no car
I can’t buy nothin’, can’t go very far
But I got a woman, who shines like a light
She’ll make me supper, take me home every night
When the long shadow falls
Count on me

Got no insurance, no rainy day funds
I don’t mess with gamblin’ and I sure don’t mess around with guns
But I’ve got a secret that’s all mine to keep
It rolls me when I waken, and rocks me in my sleep
When the long shadow falls
Count on me

I’ve known destruction, I’ve known disease
I’ve known confusion that brought me to my knees
I’ve known your heartbeat, steady like a rock
I’ve seen your lovelight, leadin’ me through the dark
When the long shadow falls
Count on me

BRIDGE
    This world’s in trouble
    We’re goin’ down
    When love and sanctuary can’t be found
    When sorrow deepens and dogs do prowl
    I call your name and walk untroubled
    Where the wild demons howl
    When the long shadow falls
	Count on me

I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got rhyme
I’m still a very young man and I’ve got plenty of time
I’ve got a woman of blood, flesh and bone
She’ll catch me when I’m fallin’ and remember me when I’m gone
When the long shadow falls
Count on me
HIGH COTTON

Cotton stands open to the mornin’
Mornin’ breaks loose from the night
Night runs grievin’ down the basin
The river takes a shine to the light
Light lifts the heat from the pasture
I love the warm feelin’ in my nose
Dusty red bull swats a deerfly
As he nibbles on the Cherokee Rose

Cotton, high cotton
The more I see, the less I know
The well runs deeper than the bucket goes
Swing high, swing low,
High cotton

Cotton says “howdy” to the melon
Melon throws a shadow on the toad
Toad spies a purple snake-doctor
In a sunbeam layin’ cross the road
Road used to lead through the cotton
Before they turned the field into a mall
Mall ran our store out of business
And took a little family from us all

Cotton gives shelter to the weevil
Weevil gives breakfast to the shrike
Shrike must kill but does no evil
Ask the sparrow on the thorny spike
Cotton saw the land turn to madness
A million souls buried in the clay
Freedom walks her fields in a sad dress
In my Dixie home far, far away

Cotton, high cotton
The more I see, the less I know
The well runs deeper than the bucket goes
Swing high, swing low,
Where’s a poor boy to go?
Easy come, easy go,
High cotton
TELL OLD BILL

CHORUS
Tell old Bill when he gets home this mornin’
Tell old Bill when he gets home this evenin’
Tell old Bill when he gets home
To leave them downtown girls alone
This mornin’, this evenin’, so soon.

Bill left by the alley gate this mornin’
Bill left by the alley gate this evenin’
Bill left by the alley gate, but he couldn’t outrun that .38
This mornin’, this evenin’, so soon.

Old Sal was baking bread this mornin’
Old Sal was baking bread this evenin’
Old Sal was baking bread when she got the news that Bill was dead
This mornin’, this evenin’, so soon.

She said “Oh, no, it can’t be so this mornin’”
She said “Oh, no, it can’t be so this evenin’”
She said “Oh, no, it can’t be so, Old Bill left home about an hour ago”
This mornin’, this evenin’, so soon.

They brought Bill home in a hurry-up wagon this mornin’
They brought Bill home in a hurry-up wagon this evenin’
They brought Bill home in a hurry-up wagon, his eyes was buggin’ and his toes was draggin’
This mornin’, this evenin’, so soon.
LAY DOWN BY THE WATER

I make a fair livin’ and I love my work
Don’t mind puttin’ my lily-white hands down in the dirt
I’m a little lucky and I’m born to ride
I don’t run scared about what I’m gonna find on the other side

A little confusion is all I can take
When tension’s high and esteem is low these bones might break
Watch the ducks on the water, happy to be there
Feedin’ on the bottom, swimmin’ on the top, tails in the air

I only want to lay down by the water and be still
I want to rest my eyes and hold you while I cross over the hill
I only want to lay down by the water and be still

Had a fire in the homeplace. Burned clean through the roof.
Some of my stuff’s still burnin’, that’s the truth
A face at the window, shadow on the floor
I’ll leave this house and troubled mind and I’ll cry no more

The reason for livin’ was never quite clear
1000 stories – more or less – passed through my ear
1000 heavens – 1000 hells
It'll take something more like love to ring my bell. Your face is my beacon. Your hands are my guide. We’ll make this life worth livin’ and enjoy the ride I’ll carry your burden, and you’ll tote mine I’ll do for you, you’ll do for me while we’ve still got time I only want to lay down by the water and be still I want to rest my eyes and hold you while I cross over the hill I only want to lay down by the water and be still [add: If I don’t make it, my spirit will]
THE UNSEEN HAND
 
Help me, Dr. Simon
A lonely man am I
My name is Isaac Abramson
Am I doomed to wonder why?
I can’t hold down a good job
I’ve angered all my friends
My wife and children left me
And they won’t accept amends
My life has been frustrated
By love that never lasts
And a mind that roams in circles
Since that dark day in my past

The doctor eyed me carefully
And saw my trembling hand
He said, “Tell me of your childhood
And how you became a man”.
I said, “I always was a good boy
I did all I was told
My family: well-respected
And my lineage: solid gold
My father was a giant
Among his stellar peers
His mind and health unfailing
Despite his hundred years”.

But my troubles are as legion
As grains of ocean sand
I feel like someone stricken by
An unseen hand

One day the clouds came over
And blotted out the sun,
My father took me walking
But his mind had come undone.
I said, “Father, father, tell me…
Why do you wield a knife?”
He said, “You wouldn’t understand, my boy
But I must take your life.”
The old man rose to kill me
But he stopped and looked around
As if he’d heard a mountain speak
Or some other-worldly sound

He said, “My children will be legion
As grains of ocean sand
If I’ll just do the bidding
Of the unseen hand.
	
“My children will be legion
As grains of ocean sand
If I’ll just do the bidding
Of the unseen hand.”

And Dr. Simon said:
“There’s an oasis in the desert
And an island in the sea
But they’re only for the chosen few
Not the likes of you and me
And the unseen hand is silent
So if you’re looking for a sign
On earth as is in heaven, boy
Your guess is good as mine.

So, help me, Dr. Simon
Must I fail at all I try?
A “laughing man” I’ll never be
Am I doomed to wonder why?
BUCKETS OF RAIN (By Bob Dylan)

Buckets of rain, buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin’ outta my ears
Got buckets of moonbeams in my hand.
You’ve got all the love, honey baby, I can stand.

Ain’t no riddle, ain’t no joke
I’ve seen pretty people disappear like smoke.
Friends will arise and disappear
If you want me, honey baby, I’ll be here.

I like the smile from your fingertips
I like the way that you wiggle your hips
I like the cool way you look at me
Everything about you’s bringing me misery.

Little red wagon, little red bike
I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like
I like the way you love me strong and slow
I’m taking you with me, honey baby, when I go.

Life is sad, life is a bust
All you can do is do what you must.
You do what you must do and you do it well.
I’ll do it for you, honey baby, can’t you tell.

Buckets of rain, buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin’ outta my ears
Got buckets of moonbeams in my hand.
You’ve got all the love, honey baby, I can stand.
You’ve got all the love, honey baby, I can stand.
LIFE IS SWEET

What's going on? Who are these people?
Why do they stare into the night?
Quiet like children, waiting for sunrise
To light up their faces and open their eyes.

What's going on? This is no prison.
There are no walls to keep you inside.
No iron bars, no towers, no shackles.
This castle of tears is no place to hide.

Life is sweet, sweet as the morning.
Cool as the sun. Quiet as dew.
Life is sweet, sweet as the music.
Clear as the sun shinin' on you.

I've been to the top, and back down to the bottom.
I have seen all my wishes denied.
Go your own way, with love as your counsel.
Look to your heart, Heaven's inside.
MY DADDY'S HEAVEN
My Daddy died and went to hell
But found a way to live so well
That folks in heaven, dull and bored,
All bade farewell to their host, the Lord.
They flew down south to the warmer land
To meet the Southern gentleman.
God saw the empty golden street
Said, "Where in hell can they all be?".
He saw his angels trading lies
With my Old Man, 'neath Hell's red skies.  
They looked content, so God did go
To join that merry gang below.
Now if you fear eternity,
The moral of this tale must be:
For those who live true, fair and well,
There's only heaven, there is no hell.