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Beautiful Bibulous Babylon
The Ballad of Frederick Fosdick
The Mortician from Morden Manitoba
The Ballad of Deadwood Dan
Summerville, Colorado
There's a Hole in Your Tights
Oh What a Golden Dream
What Ladies Love
The Night I Met Miss B.
The Dame of Camellias
The Girl in the Gem Saloon
Ode to Mysterious Dave Mather
Stuffed People
The Ghost in the Theatre
When It's Rhubarb Time in Orangeville
Railroading on the Great I. C.
Yesteryear



from BOSH AND MOONSHINE
words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here

In 1998 I was commissioned by Don Steele of the Boot Hill Repertory Company of Dodge City, Kansas, to come up with a musical/theatrical take on Dodge City's early history. This song, a warped valentine to the early days of Dodge, was one of the results. One of the characters in my Bosh and Moonshine musicals (the one that I play) is an undertaker named Mould. There was also another undertaker named Mould -- in Charles Dickens' MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT -- one of my favorite novels.

Once there was a feller named Charlie Rath
Who not so very long ago
Happened on a spot that weren't too hot
And commenced to shootin' buffalo
Not so far behind a feller named Hoover
Clumb from the primordoal ooze
He laid a board across two hobnail barrels
And made a fortune sellin' booze
Pretty soon lots of little bitty businesses
Spread from the spot like fleas
A couple of corrals and a flock o' nightowls
Feedin' fancy houses full o' chickadees

CHORUS: Oh the beautiful the bibulous Babylon
Where the Jack of Diamonds reigns
May she forever prosper & carry-on
Jewel of the Great High Plains

Pretty soon somebody run a railroad
Right through the middle of our game
Kansas got fenced & the cow trade commenced
And our little town ain't ever been the same
With the longhorn comes the rowdy cowpokes
Ready for a shave and a shot
Blastin' off the hats of the town folks
Could be construed as rude by maybe not

CHORUS

How fondly I recall the old days
When the undertaking trade was bold
A week-end's kill could fill Boot Hill
And put money in the bank for Mould
Jolly cowboys appreciated Shakespeare
That's how I became a star
But tragedy, my friends, it takes beer
So his dressing room is always by the bar

CHORUS



from BOSH AND MOONSHINE
words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here

The "Bottom" in the third verse refers to Nick Bottom, a character in Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, who provides comic relief throughout the play, and is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of an ass by the elusive Puck within the play.

My name is Frederick Fosdick
I've royal blood in my veins
I've got my father's talents
My mother's looks and brains
Mama was heir to an empire
Castles by the dozens
But her dreams were disappointed
By a couple of bastard cousins

There were rumors of a fatal pill
And a princess hung in a steeple
And something about a legal will
Relatives can be such terrible people
They ripped the throne 'neath Mama's shanks
One day while she was noshing
And banished her to Cleveland
Where she was forced to take in washing
In order to finance my higher education
At the Imperial Academy of Dramatic Art in Valparaiso
Chile?
No, Indiana
Where I excelled at declamation

I gloried in the classics
While Ma would scrimp and save;
While I sailed on wings of Poesy
She feared an early grave
But Mama she was practical
She booked me into the circus
Playing Bottom to a warthog
May humility never shirk us
But my undeniable talent
would save me from this fate
I suckered Ma with every bill
While I kept all the gate

I soon progressed to tragedy --
MacBeth with chimpanzees --
Mama was forced to join me
In tights on a trapeze
By now she hated the theatre
She complained it was too talky
She got married to a brewer
And moved to Milwaukee
She's now Madame Schlazinksi
A patroness of the arts
While I am here in Dodge
Drinking beer and playing darts
My cousins got the castles
The estates and the domain
While I got the Royal Plunger
To unclog the Royal Drain

So you see how I have struggled
Against gargantuan odds
For my place on Mount Parnassus
Unlike all you other clods



from THE BELLE OF THE WABASH

words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here

Once when I was a Red Clay Rambler we played a gig in Morden Manitoba. That night I was billeted at the home of a mortician. The first sentence I wrote in my journal the next morning was "I met a mortician from Morden, Manitoba". When I re-read this entry years later I knew it had to be a song.

I met a mortician
From Morden, Manitoba
And he made me want to be one too
A mortician, that is
Not in Morden, Manitoba
Though most any other place would do
He made a most momentous host
One moist Memorial Day
That marvelous mortician
From Morden, Manitoba
Who made me want to be this way

I met a mortician
From Morden, Manitoba
And his name was Mordecai McGoo
He was a modest little Morman
From Morden, Manitoba
And he made me want to be one too
A mortician, that is
Not a modest little Morman
Though I'm sure they're magnificent too
Like that marvelous mortician
From Morden, Manitoba
Who made me want to be one too

His mortuary moved me
I marveled at his morgue
I met his manicurist
Whose maiden name was Borg
She was married to a miner
Whose moniker was Sims
I mention them to let you know
That everything's not "m's"

How I miss that mortician
From Morden, Manitoba
What merriment we made 'midst the mounds
We meandered all around
Morden, Manitoba
Amd our morbid mischief knew no bounds

Mayhap I'll meander
Back to Manitoba
Some moist Memorial Day
To that marvelous mortician
From Morden, Manitoba
Who made me want to be this way
That mythical and mystical
And Mephistopholistical
Mortician man from Morden, Manitoba, CA



from THE BELLE OF THE WABASH

words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here

My name is Deadwood Dan
But I'm not such a terrible man
I know I've raised some hell
But it don't sit well
But now I want to change
I want to live free on the range
In a charming cottage with a welcome mat
And a parlor organ and a Siamese cat
Now tell me, good people
What you think about that?
Nuts -- it don't go with Deadwood Dan
He's still a terrible man!

Don't you ever get tired of the pose
Don't you ever want to stop and smell a rose?
Instead of standing like a soldier
With a big chip on your shoulder
I tell you boys it gives my neck a crick
And chawin' makes me sick
Chawin' makes him sick?

It don't come naturally
I'd rather dip snuff, you see
With one of them lacy handkerchiefs in tow
To help mop up the blow

Instead of cow pokin' and dirty jokin'
And cigareet smokin' and fights
Would you rather curl up with a cup of mint tea
And a copy of WUTHERING HEIGHTS?
No!

I'll build a seminary
On the top of Tucumcari
And churn out little brothers just like me
We'll start a new world order
Just west of the Texas border
In a charming cottages with welcome mats
And parlor organs, and Siamese cats
Now tell me good people what you think about that?
Nuts -- it don't go with Deadwood Dan
He's still a terrible man!



from BOSH AND MOONSHINE
words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here

From the 1850's through the 1880's, many unscrupulous real estate speculators and promotors acquired land west the Missouri River that seemed ideal for a future town, and sold it off as building lots. But the hopeful citizens who bought into these deals often arrived at their destination to discover only a wasteland. Many of these supposed towns were advertised as luxurious communities where residents could live cultured and carefree lives in elegant and vernal splendor.

I read about it in a fancy brochure that came one day thru the mail
The prettiest little town you'd ever seen with two acre parcels for sale
It showed citizens strollin' down a main street in top hats & calico
"Greetings," it said in gingerbread, "from Summerville, Colorado"

At the at the end of a long long road that leads through a wide ravine
There twinkles a town of a thousand lights -- it's a beautiful beautiful scene
And its court house shines in the morning sun like a marbled temple of old
And its streets spread out in elegant spokes that glimmer with the glints of gold

There's parks and ponds and promenades and a station waiting for a train
There's turrets & towers & trellisses & roses blooming in a lane
There's a college & a half a dozen churches and an opera house on the way
And a steam boat dock & a great town clock strikin' in a grand new day
I could live it seems in the land of my dreams, under a golden bow
In the feckless clime of a town sublime, Summerville, Colorado

I held my deed in the palm of my hands as the locomotive hurdled me 'fro
And the stars seemed to rise in the western skies o'er the valley where I was to go
But that great wide glittering main street where the promise of my happiness streamed
Was nothing more than an old cow path full of broken wagon wheels and dreams

Perhaps its citizens had tired of polo, and tennis, and cards
Perhaps its businesses had foundered, and its grass withered in yards
Or perhaps some wretched pilgrim disembarking from an eastern train
Discovered that fair Summerville was the figment of a boomer's brain

He lived it seemed in the land of his dreams under a golden bow
In the feckless clime of a town sublime, Summerville, Colorado
In the feckless clime of a town sublime, Summerville, Colorado



from THE BELLE OF THE WABASH

words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here
Every actor's worst nightmare

One night in Drury Lane, in the fifth act of HAMLET
I was just about "to be or not to be"
When I heard a stage whisper from Gertrude, in the wings
And these were the very words she said to me:

"There's a hole in your tights --you're not wearing underpants
There's a hole in your tights -- I see England I see France
Grab a leaf from a fig or a poke from a pig
Get a grip, there's a hole in your tights"

I struggled oh so valiantly to pull my tunic down
I backed against a column -- I worked my way around
To an arras that was hanging, but I couldn't yank it down
'Til the titters of the audience began to resound

"There's a hole in your tights --you're not wearing underpants
There's a hole in your tights -- we see England we see France
Grab a leaf from a fig or a poke from a pig
Get a grip, there's a hole in your tights"

I probed my nether regions, this brouhaha to stickle
Twas then that I discovered the extent of my pickle
It seemed the aforementioned hole
Had spread from East to West
Apparently the twain don't meet
So you fill in the rest

There's a hole in your tights
You're not wearing any bloomers
There's a hole in your tights
So much for those rumors
Grab a leaf from a fig or a poke from a pig
Get a grip, there's a hole in your tights



from OKLAHOMA HALE & DAMNATION
words and music by Mike Craver
Sheet music for this song available is here

Once I was callow
Drifting along the stream
My fields were fallow
'Til you came along like it seemed
You were high, wide, and handsome
Riding that Guernsy cow
So I took up farming
Though I didn't know my butt from a two horse plow
And how we struggled
Through ev'ry foolish scheme
But oh how we snuggled
It was never less than fun
and I thought you were the one
But oh what a golden dream

I should have been bolder
But I was just a buckaroo
I went for a soldier
But by that time the war was through
I asked you if you wanted to get married
I guess you thought I'd never be a keeper
So I started playin' with a bar band
While you bought stock in McCormick Reaper
And so I mosey along
You might think I'd be sad
But there's wine and women and song
I hear people say
I've pissed my life away
But oh what a golden stream



from BOSH AND MOONSHINE
words and music by Mike Craver, plus I also make small musical quotes from Jacques Offenbach's "Can Can", Handel's "Ombra mai fu" (or "Largo",) and the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata in C, Köchel no. 545.
(Sheet music for this song available here)

Ladies love strength, ladies love height
Ladies like a man with a little fight
One who'll stand when duty calls
And if you'll pardon my expression, ma'm
Ladies love balls

Ladies love lace, ladies love roses
Ladies love men with enormous noses
Chiseled features, and impressive manes
And above all else, ladies love brains

So ave pui, cara d'amabile
Who's buying lunch today? Not me, are you?

Ladies love to be lavished and live like queens
Most ladies want a man of means
But if the truth be none of the above
I've no idea what ladies love

Women? My God, I don't know where to begin
Sometimes I think they don't even like men
In principle they might, but when push comes to shove
Most women I know seem cynical of love

Ladies love guts, ladies love gall
We must be nuts or we couldn't stand ya'll
But if the truth be none of the above
We've no idea what ladies love
You can say that again
We've no idea what ladies love


arguably, she was the most famous actress of the 19th century
from SARAH BERNHARDT IN TEXAS
words and music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)

Sarah Bernhardt was arguably the greatest actress of the 19th century, and she toured America many times during her career.

I met her at the stage door
At Walnut and old Broadway
She was playing CAMILLE
And the old playbill
Said she'd soon be on her way
I asked her for her autograph
She sweetly said "mais oui!"
And the world stood still in Louisville
The night I met Miss B.

She let me sit backstage that night
And watch her from the wings
As she laughed and cried
And loved and died
And a thousand other things
That crowd demanded curtain calls
I counted twenty three
But the world stood still in Louisville
The night I met Miss B.

She smiled at me so sweetly
My hand she gently shook
She kissed me on my forehead
And signed my little book

What lasted but a moment
Felt like eternity
But the world stood still
In Louisville
The night I met Miss B.
The night I met Miss B.



from SARAH BERNHARDT IN TEXAS
words and music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)

She was the dame of camellias
Not azaleas, not abelias
She was the dame of camellias
She was the sweetheart of gay Paree
They say Cornelius Vanderbilt came to every show
He cried through every scene
You shoulda heard him blow
That little gal she broke the hearts of Europe's howling swells
Including Victor Hugo and his pal the Prince of Wales

She was the dame of camellias
Not azaleas, not abelias
She was the dame of camellias
She was the sweetheart of gay Paree

She loved Prince Napolean
Though he had chubby arms
Unsuitable for amour
But not without his charms
She had flings with counts and kings
And the czar (he was a dope)
It's even said she had a little diddle with the Pope!

She was the dame of camellias
Not azaleas, not abelias
She was the dame of camellias
She was the sweetheart of gay Paree

She was pretty good at laughin'
She was very good at cryin'
But her specialitees
Was murderin' and dyin'
You shoulda seen her Lady Macbeth
Washin' her bloody hands
They say her turn as Hamlet
Was as good as any man's

She was the dame of camellias (she was heaven sent)
Not azaleas (she can pay the rent)
Not abelias (on our little tent)
She was the dame of camellias (she's magnificent)
She was the sweetheart of gay Paree

She was the dame of camellias (yes)
Not azaleas (no)
Not abelias (what?)
She was the dame of camellias (who?)
She was the sweetheart of gay Paree
She was the sweetheart of gay Paree



from THE BELLE OF THE WABASH

words and music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)

This song was inspired in part by Shawn Werner's piece in DEADWOOD MAGAZINE about the notorious Al Swearengen

Where did she come from where did she go
Under the green corn moon
Who will remember Mary Bright
The girl in the Gem Saloon

He promised her fame without a price
Under the green corn moon
A one way ticket to paradise
The girl in the Gem Saloon

In a palace on a bed
Snowflakes falling in her head
Laudanum, laudanum

He sold her youth for silver and gold
Under the green corn moon
A one way ticket to Deadwood
The girl in the Gem Saloon

In a cold crib on a bed
Snowflakes falling in her head
Laudanum, laudanum

I dreamt I saw a sailing ship
Under a green corn moon
Carrying home my Mary Bright
The girl in the Gem Saloon
The girl in the Gem Saloon



from BOSH AND MOONSHINE
words and music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)
It was the Western frontiersman and gunslinger Luke L. Short who really had the reputation for being "the undertaker's friend," due to Short's ability to dispense of his victims without undue bodily disfiguration. However I appropriated the phrase to describe Mysterious Dave Mather too, since I was already "working" with him in this show.

He was always known as the undertaker's friend
He'd pick 'em off neat and clean
With a single shot through the middle of the head
Not the nose or the gizzard or the spleen
(Not the nose of the gizzard or the spleen)

Lesser gunslingers made a lot bigger mess
And the hearse took extry-long fringes
Just to make damn sure that the coffin stayed shut
I'd use nine inch nails instead of hinges
(He'd use nine inch nails instead of hinges)

Remember Texas Jack Vermillion and Bermuda Carlisle
They each took me twenty four hours
Plus a gallon of whitewash to cover up the bile,
Not to mention a wagon load of flowers

Folks come for miles and miles around
Just to take a look at Bermy and Tex
Whoever shot 'em blowed their eyeballs out
So I give 'em each a pair of dark specs
(He give 'em each a pair of dark specs)

He never shot a horse or a kitten or a kid
Or wives or mothers or fathers
He only shot what needed to be rid
As long as it was God's will, and Mather's

He was always known as the undertaker's friend
With a single shot through the head
Their defining features he'd leave intact
So folks would know the bastards was dead
(So folks would know the bastards was dead )



from SARAH BERNHARDT IN TEXAS
words by Mike Craver, music by George Root (the tune is "Just Before the Battle, Mother")
(Sheet music for this song available here)

When it's rhubarb time in Orangeville
I'll be thinking dear of you
In the golden light of morning
We'd pull rhubarb in the dew

I told my darling I liked rhubarb
She baked a rhubarb pie or two
Then came rhubarb cakes and custard
And pretty soon came rhubarb stew

I drew the line at rhubarb gravy
My darling's face turned white as chalk
I swore I'd rather join the Navy
Than eat another blasted stalk

When it's rhubarb time in Orangeville
I no longer think of you
The pigs got in my patch of rhubarb
Tonight I'm having barbeque



from SARAH BERNHARDT IN TEXAS
words & music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)

There's a ghost in the theatre
On stormy nights she lingers
Clinging to the curtains
Catsup on her fingers

There's a ghost in the theatre
Her name is Ethel Redd
She wanders through the dressing rooms
Looking for her head

There's a ghost in the theatre
With grizzled locks, and gory
But like every would-be actress
She's dreamt of nights of glory

There's misery in her moaning
There's torment in her tread
Some say they're due to a bad review
Some say to gas instead

Be careful how you love her
Lest you should get her goat
For if you step upon her lines
She'll likely slit your throat!



from OKLAHOMA HALE & DAMNATION
words & music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)

They used to stuff people back in old Cairo
And put them in pyramids just for the show
I guess it's all right if you've got the room
But there's nothing like pyramids for pure t gloom

If I stuffed my loved ones I'd keep them on the porch
Decorously draped and lit by a torch
Twould keep away in-laws, and salesmen and thieves
Just three of the benefits stuffing achieves

Or maybe I'd keep them in the old trophy hall
With the stag and the moose and the bobcat and all
I'd point out my fav'rites like dear Uncle Paul
And there's my sweet grandmother's head on the wall
I wish that I could have got all of her back
But she got drunk one night and fell asleep on the track
It's a hell of a place for a wee bivouac
Stuffed porkchops, stuffed peppers, stuffed people

Now the stuffing of love ones might seem rather strange
But there's lots of professions that hardly would change
Like state politicians and bankers with jowls
Plus Buckingham Guards, not to mention barn owls
Stuffed lawyer, stuffed D. A., stuffed judge like a porpoise
There'd never be problems with habeas corpus
Stuffed preacher, stuffed poet, stuffed hippotomi
Stuffed tinker, stuffed tailor, stuffed soldier and spy

There'll be future examples of stuffing you know
Like the mother of poor Norman Bates in PSYCHO
and Otzi the Iceman and Saint Bernadette
Though she was not stuffed per se, she just never got wet

Stuffed olives, stuffed mushrooms
Stuffed pillows, stuffed plushrooms,
Stuffed porkchops, stuffed peppers, stuffed people

Now the stuffing of loved ones has one dividend
They'll all still be hanging around at the end
A little retiring but always in view
In case there's the need for a sweet rendevous
Having tea in the parlor every evening at four
There's no conversation so they're never a bore
But they'd still scare the hell out of kids at the door
Stuffed porkchops, stuffed peppers, stuffed people

Stuffed aunts and stuffed uncles
Stuffed pants and carbuncles
Stuffed porkchops, stuffed peppers, stuffed people



from THE BELLE OF THE WABASH

words & music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)
I.C. stands for the Illinois Central Railroad, one of the earliest large freight railroads in America. Abraham Lincoln lobbied for it. The Illinois Central was chartered in 1851. At the time of its completion in 1856 it was the longest railroad in the world.

Oh I might go south to Keokuck
Or east to Kankakee
Any old place they take me in
Is 'Home Sweet Home' to me
Well I don't give a hoot what gets me there
Coach or boat or train
As long as I don't have to linger
Out in the cold and rain

Oh listen to the whistle
Cuttin' through the lea
Steamin' 'cross the trestle
Railroading on the great I. C. (repeat)

We crawled through the briars and the brambles
Til we got to the Aiken Station
And we flagged down a train in the cold and rain
And tried to explain our situation
Have a heart, Mister Conductor
For a widow in distress
Plus her poor old brother and her simple minded cousins
And two little orphans no less

Oh listen to the whistle
Cuttin' through the lea
Steamin' 'cross the trestle
Railroading on the great I. C. (repeat)

All aboard for Scales Mound, Apple River, Freeport, Red Oak and Buena Vista

Oh listen to the whistle
Cuttin' through the lea
Steamin' 'cross the trestle
Railroading on the great I. C.

Listen to the whistle
Cuttin' through the lea
Steamin' 'cross the trestle
Railroading on the great I. C.
Railroading on the great I. C.



from SARAH BERNHARDT IN TEXAS

words & music by Mike Craver
(Sheet music for this song available here)
Sarah Bernhardt's novella entitled DANS LES NUAGES - IMPRESSIONS D'UNE CHAISE, inspired this song. In her story Bernhardt quotes the poet Pierre-Jean de Béranger, and I have used this quote in the last four lines of the song. I close the song with a little musical nod to Claude Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau.

I remember Paris
An April afternoon
Sailing in sunlight
Up in our balloon

We dined on bread and oranges
And champagne and light
Toasting the future
To art and fame and flight

We sent that bottle waltzing
Into the lake below
Like an aging actress
After her final show

I've wandered through your garden
I've lingered on your shore
I've stoked your dreams
Your beautiful schemes
I'm sorry if i couldn't do more

I've witnessed many a curious thing
I've lived the life I dared to dream
I should be happy, yet I sing:
"Come back, I beg
My wood so dear
My well turned leg
And yesteryear --
And yesteryear"


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