Mike Craver
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"WAGONER'S LAD" Lyrics

A Wagoner's Lad
Black Randy
Waiting for the Coming Storm
Little Brown Bat
Dewberry Place
Crossroads
Freddy
Ollie's Song
Soldier in the Rain
In the Bottom of the Leadville Mine"
Lord Gregory/Big Tree Lodge
Judy
One Day When Now Is Gone

"A Wagoner's Lad"

(Sheet music for this song available here)

I was the son of a wagoner, born with a heavy load
I grew up at the old home place, down by the Rockford Road
Down by the Rockford Road

For years I worked the wagoners' trade, making those buggies shine
I courted little Mary with the chestnut curls, rosebud blooming on the vine
Rosebuds blooming on the vine

Had me a shop in the Rockford town, Nineteen Hundred and Two
bayard.jpg - 3217 Bytes Built me a barn with the carbide lights, a cottage with a river view
A cottage with a river view

Chorus: Fly away little birdie oh fly away
Winter's a coming little birdie, so fly, fly, fly

Married little Mary in the Dunkard Church, the second day of June
Breaking out the fiddles at the old camp ground, dancing to the yellow moon
Dancing to the yellow moon
But oh kind stranger listen to me, things ain't what they seem
The sweetest flower withers on the vine, life is a sorrowful dream
Life is a sorrowful dream
Found my little Mary in the new mown hay, pale as a winter sky
Brushed the curls from her burning cheeks, a fever in her eyes
A fever in her eyes
Cho.

Oh kind stranger listen to me, once I was just like you
Standing on the hill with a new made plow, blackberries in the dew
Blackberries in the dew
But the only one I ever loved, sleeping in the cold, cold ground
I took me a torch and gallon of oil, I burned those buildings down
I burned those buildings down
The Miller boys come in the dead of the night and beat me deaf and dumb
Left me in the middle of the Rockford Road, I reckon my kingdom's come
I reckon my kingdom's come
Cho.

For years I wandered the Natchez Trace, rambled East and West
But I couldn't forget my little Mary's face and never could I find my rest
Never could I find my rest
So I returned to the old home place in Nineteen Twenty Two
Slept on the sacks in the wagon shed, walked in the morning dew
Walked in the morning dew
I roamed the streets of Rockford town, begging for rags and bread
Trying to tell my story on the courthouse steps, a fire burning in my head
A fire burning in my head
Cho.

Now the young folks are selling off the old home place, cutting all the timber down
I sit and sing in the evening shade but nobody hears a sound
Nobody hears a sound
Oh kind stranger listen to me -- the end is coming soon
Live your life in the burning light, dance to the yellow moon
Dance to the yellow moon
Oh once I was a wagoner's lad, drinking from the living stream
Now I'm sleeping in the old church yard, life is a curious dream
Life is a curious dream
Cho.

"Black Randy"

(Sheet music for this song available here)

Black Randy called upon the Widow White
She saw him standing in her yard
She was looking through her window
She was reckoning hard

Black Randy called upon the Widow White
Into her house he ran
She pulled him in her parlor
She cooled him with her fan
She drew a bath of sandalwood and rose
She fed him honey and bran
She dressed him up in crimson astrakhan

Black Randy called upon the Widow White
I saw them walking on the shore
They're going down into the spirit of things
The blood of the Minotaur
And when they came to it in the woods
Beneath the oak and the pine
She pulled him to her
His bracelets jingled in time
All God's children got a right to love
It drops like a dew from heaven above to below

And when she woke up she felt so ashamed
She stuck her head in the sand
Black Randy's run off with the girl in the velvet band
Here's hoping that there's more to come
Beneath the oak and the pine
Down by the rocky shore
Through the walls of time
Cross the mountains and the cloudy banks
Cross the rivers and plains
Light the light of saints
Through the mist of rain
All God's children got a right to love
It drops like a dew from heaven above to below

"Waiting for the Coming Storm"

My first name's Giles, my last name's Glenn
I'm serving my time in the Wakefield Pen
I got bound out to the Zimmermen
The year that I was born
I worked for the old folks forty years
Washing their clothes and drying their tears
Shooing their flies & keeping their suppers warm
There was Mammy and Paw & the oldest Dwight
Two sets of twins & a jewel bright:
Miss Amanda Jane was my heart's delight
A rose among the thorns
Saturday night by the parlor door
I played my harp till she begged for more
I saw us on a diamond shore
Walking hand in hand

Miss Amanda Jane in her lavender gown
Prettiest girl in the county 'round
But a devil named Mack he tracked her down
& took her to the dawn

Mack was tall, he talked a good line
Curly headed, with a chin so fine
To Miss Amanda Jane he took a shine
To the garden come a swarm

Mack married in to the family blest
Gambled half the fortune and he drank up the rest
Treated Miss Amanda with a wild and a reckless scorn
Worked her in the fields till her fingers bled
Putting up tobacco in the packing shed
Nothing to eat but stale corn bread
Her baby still unborn

Amanda took sick on Christmas night
We prayed to God in the pale lamplight
But Doc couldn't save her, try as he might
We lost her in the storm

Still I did my work, as I was told
Biding my time in the Devil's hole
Hiding my thoughts in the well of my soul
Waiting for the coming storm

Mack was the curse of the Old Folk's life
Worried them to death like he did his wife
Till somebody got him with a butcher knife
Down in a stand of corn

Found him in the stalks with his eyes cut out
The twins rejoiced, Dwight commenced to shout
"Somebody went to Hell and got the Devil out --
Come gaze upon his form"

Now the house is gone, the timber's sold,
In its place lay fields of gold
But my treasure's lost and so my story's told

My first name's Giles, my last name's Glenn
I was bound out to the Zimmermen--
Outlived them all, and their wicked kin --
Waiting for the coming storm

"Little Brown Bat"

Little brown bat in the amethyst light
Zigzags all the August night
Boys are beating on the old bass drum,
Ghost of the past, and the ghost to come

Alice bought an evening gown
From selling dewberries to the folks in town
The color of the flower called the heliotrope
Lover of sun, flower of hope

Handsome Willie in the golden rod
Face of Jesus, hands of God
Spies Miss Alice walking from town
In her high button shoes & evening gown

He walks her to the old square house just as the cows are lowing
Spies the old folks in the wagon off to church they're going
The boys they set the ladder up just as night is falling
Alice waits till she hears Willie calling

Up at the church the old folks pray
On their knees a-mumbling
Down in the field the boys make hay
Like so many bees a-bumbling

Fire and brimstone, bosom and cod,
Sinners in the hand of an Angry God
Flour and sugar and Aaron's rod
Little brown bat is laughing

Papa pulls the ladder down as the moon is rising
Shuts his head and goes to bed without realizing
Alice isn't in her room, Willie he was knowing
Met her where the evening stars are glowing

The old folk's windows' shuddered tight
Blind to the lovers' roaming
Little brown bat, the eye of night
Ricochets in the gloaming

He took her in the new mown hay
Swift was her undoing
He laid in her arms till the break of day
Left that poor girl ruing

Up at the store the boys all meet as the rooster's crowing
Farmers hitch their wagons up, off to town they're going
Little brown bat flies by the moon, folds his wings in the morning
Pretty Miss Alice, flower of hope, she didn't hear Mama's warning

"Dewberry Place"

(Sheet music for this song available here)

There was a time I truly miss
A time of charm and grace
Embodied in an edifice
Known as Dewberry Place

Children played in its maple shade
And ladies dressed in lace
Made music and light fill the Georgia night
On the porch of Dewberry Place

Its mistress was a beauty
By the name of Mary Grey
And suitors came for miles around
Just to steal her heart away

There were doctors and lawyers and farmers
And soldiers and senators and fakes
Swinging her in her swings and telling her things
While eating her cookies and cakes
But time and youth don't linger
And pride would make its case
She could have married anyone
But she hid from the sun
In the shade of Dewberry Place

They found her long years later
Locked in an upper room
A recluse gray with a faded bouquet
From a long ago night in June
As they led her down the front steps
A smile crossed her sad old face
"Waltz me one more tune
'Neath the Chattahoochee moon
On the porch of Dewberry Place"

They've pulled the old house down now
And put up a superstore
With parking rights and bright street lights
But nobody knows what for
Though they still recall a summer
That time cannot erase
Embodied in an edifice
Known as Dewberry Place

"Down at the Crossroads"

(Sheet music for this song available here)

Just a road house with a neon sign
And a yucca plant like a porcupine
A blue facade that's fading gray
A reminder of a better day
Down at the Crossroads

The shelves are stocked with Gravy Train
And potted meat and White Rain
There's a poster of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift
In "A Place in the Sun"
Down at the Crossroads

The smell of fish and gas and tar
And Pabst Blue Ribbon in a bar
You get to through a door that says
"Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here"
But you stay a couple of hours or so
Until your brain cells start to go
And your thin veneer of sophistication implodes
Down at the Crossroads

Myrenelle tends the bar,
She'll give you your money's worth
She's been wearing her hair like that
Since dinosaurs ruled the earth
Down at the Crossroads

She's seen 'em come and seen 'em go
Love, to her, is just a show
Tossed out with a careless pitch,
Like a bottle when it hits the ditch
Down at the Crossroads

She still remembers every face
And every name and every place
Which can be kind of annoying
If you're trying to be somebody that you're not
But then again you never will
So you might as well just drink your fill
And chew your Red Man
And pull your Farmall cap down over your eyes
And try and pretend that you could be one of the Joads
Down at the Crossroads

George Washington once stopped here
But he didn't spend the night
The father of our country
Just took a leak and had a bite
Down at the Crossroads

I wonder what it was like then
Back in 1791
Was there more of a sense of hope?
A lot less cars, a lot more fun?
Down at the Crossroads

But nothing ventured nothing gained
And nothing ever stays the same
Which could explain why satellites
And cellular towers are filling up the skies
Pretty soon they'll cut down all the pines
For high speed fiber optic sewer lines
And God knows what else until it all overloads
God save the Crossroads

I don't know how I got here,
Or when I'll be back again
I don't know where I'm going
But I sure know where I've been
Down at the Crossroads

Just a road house with a neon sign
And a yucca plant like a porcupine
A blue facade that's fading gray
A reminder of a sweeter day
Down at the Crossroads
(photo by Sprague Cheshire)

"Freddy"

Freddy you work every night up in your lonely room
Sending out songs to the northern borderline
Out to the sleepy houses and the factories
Of Evangeline
Every night I listen on the airwaves
Waiting to hear your voice from the perfect place
Wishing that we could be conspirers
In a state of grace

But you're not that kind
It echoes through the walls of time
But you're not that kind
You come from far away

I wish that we were riding through some rainy town
And we were friends like when we were kids
And you imagined life to be adventure
The way that I did
And you were what I always thought a friend should be
And you appreciated the way I was
And life would be like a Hollywood movie
In a land of Oz

But you're not that kind
The wildest wind won't change your mind
But you're not that kind
You come from far away

Freddy you look to me like an angel
With your golden curls and your lack of vanity
Freddy sometimes I think I could strangle
To have your sanity
One of these nights there's gonna be a shakeup
I'm watching from my window like a spy
And one of these mornings I'm gonna wake up
With shining eagle eyes

But you're not that kind
The wildest wind won't change your mind
I hear it all the time
You seem too far away
There's nothing more to say

"Ollie's Song"

A morning sun's a-shining
Through a cloudy silver lining
In the scrub a coyote's whining
For his love, for his love

Another heart that's been forsaken
Another town left for the takin'
Somewhere love is bound to waken
Without me, without me

The west wind's a-blowing
Through the sycamore leaves
Another summer's going
Tonight it's gonna freeze

But the morning will be waiting
For the one who's ceased his hating
Though I might be overstating
I love you, I love you,
I love you, I love you

"Soldier in the Rain"

Pilgrim on the path to nowhere
Blue tattoo on his shoulder
Wandering in the lonely hills
Climbing up the granite boulder
Twenty years of winter fall
Maple spring, cedar summer
Stranger on a foreign shore
Marching to a different drummer
Soldier in the rain, soldier in the rain

In the grass a boy is watching
Green eyes, green and golder
Following the path to nowhere
Waiting for the day he's older
Angel in a folding chair
Listening to Nirvana
Faded glory in her hair
Faded hopes pinned upon a
Soldier in the rain, little soldier in the rain

Glory in the western skies
Flying colors in the canyon
Angel with the lonesome eyes
Weeping for her lost companion
In the grass a boy in watching
Green eyes green and golder
This is how the heartache starts
This is how the world gets colder
White gloves fold the flag
In the valley bells are ringing
Little girls in Sunday dresses
Holding hands and gently singing
For the soldiers in the Rain, soldiers in the rain

"In the Bottom of the Leadville Mine"

(Sheet music for this song available here)

In the bottom of the Leadville Mine
Where the fickle sun refused to shine
I was once beguiled by Oscar Wilde
And the cream of the Leadville line
oscar.gif - 14766 Bytes Just me and Oscar in the earthen bowels
With fifty seven miners all boiled as owls
The rats never heard such colorful vowels
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine

They'd laid a supper on the groaning boards
A feast more fitting for the mongrel hordes
The first course was whisky, the second whisky, too
The main entrée was "whisky a la roux"
We finished with a chorus of "Auld Lang Syne"
A toast to the host with a local wine
It tasted more like turpentine
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine

I rose to recite a passage from "Lear"
The miners' reaction was really rather queer
They shot off my hat, and dipped me in a vat
Of buffalo fat and brine
Of course I resented being so abused
Oscar, on the other hand, seemed quite amused
He said, with disdain, "Let's dunk him once again!
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine"

The sewers of Paris and the gutters of Spain
The stockyards of Chicago in a summer's rain
None can compare with the rarefied air
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine
Though the miners appreciated Oscar's wit
They doubted his capacity for taking shit
But Oscar, he was able
He drank 'em all under the table
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine
In the bottom of the Leadville Mine

"Lord Gregory"/"Big Tree Lodge"

Lord Gregory

I am a Queen's daughter I come from Cappoquin
In search of Lord Gregory, pray God I come in
The rain beats on my yellow hair
The dew wets my skin
My wee babe's cold in my arms
Lord Gregory let me in

Lord Gregory he is not here
I swear he can't be seen
He's gone to bonnie Scotland
For to bring home a fair Queen
Oh don't you remember, love
That night in Cappoquin?
When we exchanged rings my love
And I against my will

Go saddle the black horse, the brown or the gray
Go saddle the fastest horse in my stable this day

I'll ride over mountains, o'er valleys so wide
Till I find the girl that I love and ride by her side

Big Tree Lodge

Times have changed, come September,
All the rich folks say "Farewell"
With their jewels and fans, changing hands
They've gone away to sail
Big Tree Lodge, Big Tree Lodge
Big Tree Lodge farewell

I've been here every year since '80, it's my summer place
But things have changed, the joint's so dark and shady
I can't see your face
See your face, see your face
See your face so well

I seed the greenest fairways
I paint the bluest skies
I serve the finest seafood in Old Bay
I got rows of red geraniums blooming by my drive
But no-one seems to notice anyway

So I'll say goodbye with coffee at the BP
And promises to meet again
A lonely smile, a nervous handshake
Farewell my so-called friend,
Friends I knew, friends I knew
Friends I knew so well

All the famous beauties came tripping down your stairs
You were quite the showplace in your day
But your sinking old veranda it's way beyond repair
And who needs sixteen bedrooms anyway?

So I'll go back and shut the light and put the cat out
One last drink from the well
I'll make a sign, I'll draw it up with Magic Marker:
"Big Tree Lodge For Sale"
Big Tree Lodge, Big Tree Lodge
Big Tree Lodge farewell

"Judy"

(Sheet music for this song available here)

It was another Sunday and the streets were empty
Judy's time had come
She felt a nervous tingle as the lights were lowered
And blacked out one by one
It was later than she thought it was

On the walls of her asylum
Picture postcards of what might have been
A cottage in the Poconoes with lilac bushes
At the rainbow's end
And stuck there with a pin:
A photo from the New York Times:

Some other April in Manhattan, in her dreams she sleeps on satin
And as the curtain parts, she's capturing the hearts
Of the businessmen and brothers, the misfits and the mothers
Crowding into Carnegie Hall

When Judy sang, the sun shone for a moment,
For one sweet hour, American dreams were so alive and free
In 1963
It was later than we thought it was
Later than we thought it was

"One Day When Now Is Gone"

One day this'll all pass
And I'm going to kick myself
'Cause I didn't take the air of a night in June
Kiss the cat and howl at the moon

One day this'll all pass
And I might have a little regret
That I didn't stay at home and watch TV
But how many "Andy" reruns can you see?

'Cause one day now will be gone, gone
Nobody knows how, but it won't be long
Like the dreams of the night in the light of the coming dawn
One day when now is gone

One day this'll all pass
And I might have a little regret
That I didn't spend more time with Mom on the porch
Watching the crabgrass bloom and the roses scorch

One day this'll be different,
The things I have now I won't have then
But I won't really notice
Till the roof caves in
But this old roof it's only made of tin

'Cause one day now will be gone, gone
Like the morning dew on a summer lawn
Like the dreams of the night in the light
Of the coming dawn
One day when now is gone

One day I know I'm going to see you again
Up on the Lake o' the Pines where the world began
A hot afternoon, cicadas humming
There's a child a-born
There's another one coming
Straight through the gates
Of the jaws of the Great Unknown
One day when now is gone

One day this'll all pass,
Things'll change -- it'll happen fast
And I'll be all alone without you
Underneath a strange sky of blue
Mark, and Dad, and them
Frank and Alice and Jim
One day when now, one day when now
One day when now is gone

All lyrics (with the exception of 'Lord Gregory') by Mike Craver, copyright 1999 Sapsucker Publishing, BMI


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