Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Circle of the Sun

A song by Sally Rogers
Rise Up Singing chapter: Home and Family, p.107

C - - - / CF C G C ://
C - - - / F C F G / C G C - / CF C G C

Babies are born in a circle of the sun
Circle of the sun on their birthing day (repeat)

Monday, December 19, 2011

When I was a Fair Maid

Traditional, Bristish Isles
Rise Up Singing chapter: Seas and Sailors, p.207

G - C - / D - - - / G D G D / C G D G
D - G D / C G D G
When I was a fair maid about 17
I enlisted* in the navy for to serve the queen
I enlisted* in the navy a sailor lad to stand
For to hear the cannons rattling and the music so grand
And the music so grand (2x)
For to hear the cannons rattling and the music so grand

*Pronounce: 'listed

Well the officer that elisted* me was a tall and handsome man...

Monday, March 7, 2011

When New York Was Irish

Words and music by Terence Winch
A bonus to the Rise Up Singing Project. This isn't in Rise Up Singing, but it's a nice one to sing nevertheless.

Erratum: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was not set 150 years ago. I may have implied that. It's set in the first 20 years of the 20th century. Whatevs.

Verses: G - - D / G Em C D D7 / 1st / G Em CD7 G
Chorus: G - C D / G Em C Am D7 / G Em C D / G Em CD7 G

I'll sing you a song of days long ago
when the people from Galway and the County Mayo
And all over Ireland came over to stay
And take up a new life in Americay

They were ever so happy, they were ever so sad
To grow old in the new world through good times and bad
All the parties and weddings, the ceilis and wakes
When New York was Irish, full of joys and heartbreaks / heartaches

We worked on the subways, we ran the saloons
We built all the bridges, we played all the tunes
We put out the fires and controlled City Hall
We started with nothing and wound up with it all

You could travel from Kingsbridge to Queens or midtown
from Highbridge to Bay Ridge, from uptown to down
from the East Side to the seaside those sweet summer scenes
We made New York City our island of dreams

I look at the photos now brittle with time
Of the people I cherished when the city was mine
Oh, how I loved all those radiant smiles
How I long for the days when we danced in the aisles

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Hills of West Virginia

This song was written by Phil Ochs
A Rise Up Singing Project bonus

D G D G / D G A - / G D G D / - G A D

From the flat plains of Ohio we drifted out one day
For the southern part of the journey
And underneath the bridge the Ohio river sang
As we headed for the hills of West Virginia

And the red sun of the morning was smiling through the trees
As the darkness of the night was quickly fading
And the fog hugged the road like a cloudy, cloudy sea
As we drove though the hills of West Virginia

We smoked the tobacco and drank of the wine
And we spoke of the forest we were passing
And the road would wind and wind and wind
When we drove through the hills of West Virginia

Among all the wealth of the beauty that we passed
There were many old shacks a-growing older
And we saw the broken bottles laying on the grass
When we drove though the hills of West Virginia

The Virginia people watched as we went riding by
Oh, proud as a boulder they were standing
And we wondered at each other with a meeting of the eye
When we drove thought the hills of West Virginia

And once in a while we would stop by the road
And gaze at the womb of the valley
Almost wishing for a path down below
Where we stopped in the hills of West Virginia

Up and down and all around we took our restless ride
And the rocks they were staring cold and jagged
Where explosions of the powder had torn away the side
Where we drove through the hills of West Virginia

And the orange sun was falling on the southern border line
As the shadows of the night were now returning
And we knew the mountains followed us and watched us from behind
When we drove from the hills of West Virginia

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gallo del cielo

By Tom Russel
Also done by Joe Ely

Great song
Chords D - Em - A - D something like that, then, uh, some other stuff, I'll write them down later. There's also a G at the end of verse and chorus where you go G - A - D .

Carlos Saragosa left his home in Casas Grandes when the moon was full
He had no money in his pocket, just a locket of his sister framed in Gold
He headed for el Sueco, stole a rooster named Gallo Del Cielo
Then he crossed the Rio Grande with that roosted nestled deep within his arm

Galllo del Cielo was a warrior born in heaven so the legends say
His wings they had been broken, he had one eye rollin crazy in his head
He'd fought a hundred fights and the legends say that one night near El Sueco
He fought Cielo seven times, seven times he left brave roosters dead

Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in San Antonio
I have 27 dollars and the good luck of your good luck of your picture framed in gold
Tonight I'll put it all on the fighting spurs of Gallo Del Cielo
Then I'll return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from father long ago

Outside of San Diego in the Onion fields of Paco Monte Verde
The Pride of San Diego lay sleeping on a fancy bed of silk
Adn they laughed when Saragosa pulled the one-eyed Del Cielo from beneath his shirt
But they cried when Saragosa waked away with a thousand dollar bill

Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in Santa Barbara
I have 15 hundred dollars and the good luck of your good luck of your picture framed in gold
Tonight I'll put it all on the fighting spurs of Gallo Del Cielo
Then I'll return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from father long ago

Now the moon has gone to hiding and the lantern light spills shadows on the fighting sand
A wicked black named Zorro faces Del Cielo in the sand
And Carlos Saragosa fears the tiny crack that runs across his roosters beak
And he fears that he has lost the 50,000 dollars riding on the fight

Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in Santa Clara
The money's on the table, I'm holding now your good luck framed in gold
Everything we dream of is riding on the spurs of Del Cielo
Then I'll return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from father long ago

The signal it was given and the roosters rose together far above the sand
Gallo Del Cielo sunk a gaff into Zorro's shiny breast
They were separated quickly but they rose and fought each other time and time again
And the legends all agreed that Gallo Del Cielo fought the best

But then the screams of Saragosa filled the night outside the town of Santa Clara
As the beak of Del Cielo lay broken like a shell within his hand
And they say that Saragosa screamed a curse upon the bones of Pancho Villa
As Zorro rose up one more time and drove Del Cielo in the sand

Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in San Francisco
I have no money in my pocket I no longer have your good luck framed in gold
I buried it last evening with the bones of my beloved Del Cielo
I will not return to buy the land that Villa stole long ago

Do the rivers still run muddy outside of my beloved Casas Grandes?
Does the scar upon my brother's face turn red when he hears mention of my name?
And do the people of El Sueco still curse the theft of Gallo Del Cielo?
Tell my family not to worry, I will not return to cause them shame

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God Hates Rock and Roll—"A Whole Lot More of Jesus"

By Wayne Raney
Rise Up Singing chapter: Gospel

Verses: A - / D - / - A / B7 E
Chorus: A - / D - / - A / E A

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Bramble and the Rose

Verses: A - E - / D E A - ://
Chorus: A E D A / D E E7 - / A E D A / D E A -

We have been so close together
Each a candle, each a flame
All the dangers were outside us
And we knew them all by name

See how the bramble and the rose
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
Round each other we will twine

Now I've hurt you and it hurts me
Just to see what we can do
To ourselves and to each other
Without really meaning to

So put your arms around me
And we'll sing a true love song
And we'll learn to sing together
Sing and laugh the whole night long

Amber & me behind the scenes:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Rambling Boy (Tom Paxton)

By Tom Paxton
Here's Alonzo Garbanzo's version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3amUhNY_nfA
Tom Paxton performances will probably show up alongside it, so I won't bother linking you.

Rise Up Singing chapter: Friendship

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To Everyone in all the World

French translation by Raffi
Chord arrangement by me

D - A D / D - A D / G D A7 D / G D G D / G A D -
To everyone in all the world I reach my hand, I shake their hand
To everyone in all the world I shake my hand like this
All, all together, the whole wide world around
I may not know your lingo, but I can say, "By jingo!"
No matter where you live we can shake hands

A tous et chacun dans le monde, je leur tend la main, je leur donne la main
A tous et chacun dans le monde, je leur tend la main comme ça
Tous, tous ensemble, au monde entier je chante
C'est très facile entre humains avec une poignée de main
N'importe où dans le monde on peut s'entendre

For those dilettantes working out the French on their own, note that s'entendre can have the meaning of 'hear each other", "understand each other" or "get along", and in this case, it's "get along".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Days Like These (Billy Bragg cover)

Words and music by Billy Bragg

The party that became so powerful by sinking foreign boats
Is dreaming up new promises because promises win votes
And being resolute in conference with the ad man's expertise
The majority by their silence shall pay for days like these

The right to build communities is back behind closed doors
Between government and people stands the right arm of the law
And shame upon the patriot when the mark of the Bulldog Breed
Is a family without a home and a pensioner in need

Those whose lives are ruled by dogma are waiting for a sign
The Better Dead Than Red Brigade are listening on the line
And the liberal, with a small L cries in front of the TV
And another demonstration passes on to history
Peace, bread, work, and freedom is the best we can achieve
And wearing badges is not enough in days like these

Friday, January 14, 2011

From Red to Blue (Billy Bragg cover)

Words and music by Billy Bragg. A bonus to the Rise Up Singing project.
G Bm Am C...

Another day dawns grey, its enough to make me spit
But we go on our way, just putting up with it
And when I try to make my feelings known to you
You sound like you have changed from red to blue

You're a father now, you see things in different ways
For every parent will gain perspective on their wilder days
But that alone does not explain the changes I see in you
The way you've drifted off from red to blue

Sometimes I think to myself
Should I vote red for my class or green for our children?
But whatever choice I make
I will not forsake

So you bought it all, the best your money could buy
And I watched you sell your soul for their bright shining lie
Where are the principles of the friend I thought I knew
I guess you let them fade from red to blue

I hate the compromises that life forces us to make
We must all bend a little if we are not to break
But the ideals you've opted out of,
I still hold them to be true
I guess they weren't so firmly held by you

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ontario, Québec and Me (Billy Bragg Cover)

By Billy Bragg

Ontario, Québec And Me

You don't need my Christmas cards
You already have my heart
This has been a holiday romance
Right from the very start

For we know how to spend the time
Who cares about the weather
We'll dance in the town till the sun goes down
And push our beds together

From the Land of the Midnight Sunglasses
To the Mountains of the Moon
You could never stay a day too long
Nor never come back too soon

And you know what a fool I am
With my short attention span
Flying in the rainy season too,
Nothing can keep me away from you

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Tree of Life: Ain't You Got a Right?

The audio was out of sync when I uploaded this video last night, for some reason. Here it is again. But it's still out of sync. Aw, man.

Rise Up Singing chapter: Freedom

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

O, Had I a Golden Thread

Rise Up Singing chapter: Dreams and Fantasies
Words and music by Pete Seeger
D G D A / / G DA D -

When you see a line end with two slashes / / instead of one / it means you repeat that line.
In other words: D G D A / /
means D G D A / D G D A

O had I a golden thread and needle so fine
I'd weave a magic strand of rainbow design
Of rainbow design

In it I'd weave the bravery of women giving birth
In it I'd weave the innocence of children all over the earth
Children of all the earth

Far over the water I'd reach my magic band
To every city, through every single land
Through every land

Show my brothers and sisters my rainbow design
Bind up this sorry world with heart and hand and mind
Hand and heart and mind

Far over the waters I'd reach my magic band
To every human bean* so they would understand
So they would understand

*See "The BFG" -Roald Dahl

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stagolee / Stack O Lee

Also maybe "Staggerlee". Whatever. Woody Guthrie clearly pronounces it a couple of different ways within one rendition.
Here's the "Just like Mississippi John Hurt" tutorial I promised to link you to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxGKBD...
And here's a "Just like Furry Lewis" tutorial for the song that I admit to not having watched because I knew beforehand I wouldn't have the patience to try it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk1WmN...

Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times and Blues
Chords: E - - E7 / A7 - - E / B7 - - E

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best Friend—The Unicorn Song

Words and music by Margie Adam
Rise Up Singing chapter: Dreams and Fantasies, p.27

C D Em B7 / C G Dsus D :// Em Am7 D Gmaj7 / E A B7 - -
When I was growing up my best friend was a unicorn
The others smiled at me and called me crazy
But I was not upset, knowing I did not conform
I always thought their seeing must be hazy
The unicorn and I would while away the hours
Playing, dancing and romancing* in the wildflowers and we'd sing

C Am7 G - / Em CG Am7 G ://
Seeing is believing in the things you see
Loving is believing in the ones you love

When I was seventeen my best friend was the northern star
The others asked why was I always dreaming
But I did not reply, I found my thoughts were very far
Away from daily hurts and fears and scheming
The northern star and I would share our dreams together
Laughing, sighing, sometimes crying in all kinds of weather, and we'd sing...

And now that I am grown, my best friend lives inside of me
The others smile at me and call me crazy
But I am not upset, for long ago I found the key
I've always known their seeing must be hazy
My friend inside and I will while away the hours
Playing, dancing and romancing in the wildflowers, and we sing...

*Romancing the unicorn?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mountain Bed (Bonus)

(Song begins at 0:55. Click to skip the chatter)
Words: Woody Guthrie sometime around 1944
Music by Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett of Wilco, in 1999
So Billy Bragg didn't actually participate in the writing of this one. Others on Mermaid Avenue volumes 1 and 2, he did.
D A G - / G - D A / Bm G Em G / D C EmG D

Some people like an Asus instead of an A every time. I try to keep it simple for you (and let's be honest: for myself.)

Do you still sing of the mountain bed we made of limbs and leaves:
Do you still sigh there near the sky where the holly berry bleeds:
You laughed as I covered you over with leaves, face, breast, hips and thighs,
You smiled when I said the leaves were just the color of your eyes.

Rosin smells and turpentine smells from eucalyptus and pine
Bitter tastes of twigs we chewed where tangled woodvines twine
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see
I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me.

Your arm was brown against the ground, your cheeks part of the sky,
As your fingers played with grassy moss, and limber did you lie:
Your stomach moved beneath your shirt and your knees were in the air
Your feet played games with mountain roots as you lay thinking there.

Below us the trees grew clumps of trees, raised families of trees, and they
As proud as we tossed their heads in the wind and flung good seeds away:
The sun was hot and the sun was bright down in the valley below
Where people starved and hungry for life so empty come and go.

There in the shade and hid from the sun we freed our minds and learned
Our greatest reason for being here, our bodies moved and burned
There on our mountain bed of leaves we learned life's reason why
The People laugh and love and dream, they fight, they hate to die.

The smell of your hair I know is still there, if most of our leaves are blown,
Our words still ring in the brush and the trees where singing seeds are sown
Your shape and form is dim, but plain, there on our mountain bed
I see my life was brightest where you laughed and laid your head...

I learned the reason why man must work and how to dream big dreams,
To conquer time and space and fight the rivers and the seas
I stand here filled with my emptiness now and look at city and land
And I know why farms and cities are built by hot, warm, nervous hands.

I crossed many states just to stand here now, my face all hot with tears,
I crossed city, and valley, desert, and stream, to bring my body here:
My history and future blaze bright in me and all my joy and pain
Go through my head on our mountain bed where I smell your hair again.

All this day long I linger here and on in through the night
My greeds, desires, my cravings, hopes, my dreams inside me fight:
My loneliness healed, my emptiness filled, I walk above all pain
Back to the breasts of my woman and child to scatter my seeds again.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Flower of Scotland (Bonus)

(Song begins at 1:39)
Words and music by Roy Williamson
For chords, click here.
They're written using the Nashville Number System of chord notation. I play it in G, so that means
1 = G
4 = C
5 = D
7 = F
Check it out. It's a notation worth understanding.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hard Loving Loser

By Richard Fariña
Rise Up Singing chapter: Men
Chords: mostly A. Also: D7 A7 E

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Sick Note

Rise Up Singing chapter: Work

Chords: D - AG D / G D E A / G D Em A / D - AG D

"A hod is an implement for carrying bricks, sort of a long pole and fixed to the end of it a rectangular box with 2 sides and 1 end missing. Bricks are then placed into the 2 remaining V shaped sides and the hod is hoisted on the the shoulder for carrying the bricks." - weegingayin

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Father

By Judy Collins, who I know best as an interpreter of other people's songs, but clearly she had some writing chops because this song is great.
Rise Up Singing chapter: Dreams and Fantasies, p.30
Ok, so I checked, and Rise Up Singing has a different chord pattern. But I still think mine is pretty good. It's the same in all the important parts.
Here's mine:
D - G D / D - G A
Bm E A - / Am7 - G F D (I use some variable rhythm here this last line, depending on how slowly I feel like singing it)

And R.U.S.'s:
D (walk down the bass) G Em D A / D (walk down the bass) G Em A -
Bm - E - A (walk down that bass) / C - Am - G - F - D - - -

Here are the lyrics I hear in the song. Asterisks mark R.U.S. differences:

My father always promised us that we would live in France
We'd go boating on the Seine and I would learn to dance
We lived in Ohio then, he worked in a mine
On his dreams like boats we knew we'd sail in time

All my sisters soon were gone to Denver and Cheyenne
Marrying their grown-up dreams, the lilacs and the man
I stayed behind the youngest still, only danced alone
The colours of my father's dreams faded without a sound

And I live in Paris now, my children dance and dream
Hearing the weight* of a miner's life in words they've never seen
I sail my memories of home** like boats across the Seine
And watch the Paris sun set in my father's eyes again

My father always promised us that we would live in France
We'd go boating on the Seine and I would learn to dance
I sail my memories of home like boats across the Seine
And watch the Paris sun set in my father's eyes again

*R.U.S. has "words", the internet has "ways".
**on high

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Auld Lang Syne in NYC 2011

Happy 2011, peoples. I was in New York on my way back to Bangkok from Montreal. Montreal to New York to Beijing (just the airport) to Bangkok. That's how it went. It took me like 2 whole days.

Words to this song are by Robert Burns. But you all knew that, right? You're all celebrating Burns' day this year too, right? January 25, people. Don't miss it.

In conclusion: "2011: turn it up to 11".

Saturday, January 1, 2011