Generations

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Listen to Song Samples
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Release date: 1987
  1. Solo
  2. One Room
  3. Don't tell Me To Smile (The Full-Diaper Blues)
  4. Generations
  5. Somebody Gonna Change My Name To Dada | ListenMusic
  6. Jacob and Eva | ListenMusic
  7. Flail Away | ListenMusic
  8. Lost in Song
  9. The Killyloo Caper
  10. Randy's Tail
  11. Bone of Contention

Generations: Lyrics

SOLO
-- Contrary to public opinion, being a musical performer isn't all
glamour, romance and ego-gratification. This song is to help end that
misconception, and is also my way of venting some frustrations that have
occurred along the way. The lyrics are based on experiences of mine and
others who dare bare their souls in public watering houses. 

Pass the cream and the classifieds. Is that salesman spot still there? 
You can chalk up last night to a lesson in life, just one more jukebox affair 
Well, it happened again, like the last time. Thought I had this couple all night 
As I packed up, they asked what I do for work, and I smiled, though my mouth felt real tight 

I hope I reached someone tonight. Made 'em laugh, left 'em feeling alright 
And if I offended a mind ripe for bending, at least I'll have found a nerve tonight 

Standing there, screaming the soft ones, my eyes shut to block out the din 
Must've looked like a fool, but only to myself. Seemed like nobody knew I plugged in 
So I cranked up my volume to seven. If only I'd been a choir 
This crowd brought a P.A. with power to spare. Rendered me a log in the fire 

I tried to make contact, tonight, singing sad or a tad impolite 
And if, by some chance, my music made 'em dance, maybe I touched a soul tonight 

Could be the folk circuit spoiled me, and those church basement concert hall rooms 
Where they listen so hard you can hear yourself sweat 
And you think you're worth paying to see 

Winding the wires I got hoarse through, from four hours that felt like a life 
I see a man through his snifter, nudging his date: "Look, honey, live music tonight" 
So why should I pour all my guts out, when they're only received by the floor 
Give me one set of eyes looking my way, and I'll sing to 'em out there some more 

I hope I reached someone tonight.... 

Hear 'em loading the ice during the love songs. Hear my ballads with blender on lead 
Hear the register crash, and I'm drawn to that drawer 
The only reward I'm guaranteed 

Thank God for unbreakable egos, 'least that's what I tell folks, these days 
I hope I'm still resilient tomorrow, when I'm standing on some other stage 
So I head home to woods and to loved ones. It's a drive, but I welcome that time 
To haul out the memories of magic and fine ones that got me through this one 

I tried to make contact, tonight.... 

ONE ROOM
-- Vermont is strewn with hunting camps that used to be one-room
schoolhouses. It dawned on me a while ago that if I ever want to see
this vestige of education's past in action, I'd better do it soon, or
it'll be gone. So, I traveled to the nine in Vermont that had at least
grades 1-6, and talked to the kids and teachers. They sang me songs they
liked, read their stories and poems, and gave me a feel for the pros and
cons of one-room schooling. This little tour became a nine-part series
on "Just Kidding", my radio show (see "Just Kidding" link). All but one
of the schools are gone, either bigger and modern, or only heated during
hunting season, now. I felt enriched and grateful for my sojourn. Got a
song out of it, too, inspired by what I heard and witnessed. 

One room we got. Some need more. For others, it's a lot 
Learning to read, write and divide and come together, come together in one room 

Crack of dawn, it's a yawning room, warm as the middle of a grandma's hug 
Handful of half-awake, sandy-eyed souls gather 'round the morning 
Some are down from the mountain top, born, bred and buttered just a bike ride away 
Flatlander city folks sitting there, too, sitting in one room 

Belt a tune. It's a music room. Stares say my melody is loud and wrong 
Sounds of an older voice ring in my ear. Hum it to me one time 
Multiplying used to get me down. Faced with a fraction and I felt like crying 
Kids came together. Now I can teach, too, together in one room

Now, sometimes one room's awful small. Got to wait for the teacher till your arm falls 
I need much more room to roam, and to be alone 

Eating time. It's a dining room. Trade you an apple for a Milky Way 
Teach me to bake and I'll lend you my pan. Bigger pie the better 
There's a word got me all confused, long as the winter and a hard one, too 
Show me the meaning, I'll show you my glove. Sharing in one room 

Now, sometimes when I'm stuck inside, got to yell, got to wrestle, run and hide 
Oh, if we only had a gym to unwind in 

All the day, it's a living room. Me and my buddies that I know so well 
Never a hallway, never get lost. Know my way around here 
Daddy moved to another town. He got my sister and I'm here with Mom 
Got me a family where the bus goes. Family in one room 

DON'T TELL ME TO SMILE (the full-diaper blues)
-- It should be a felony for one person to tell another to smile. When
I'm in a rotten mood and somebody tells me what shape my mouth should
be, I suspect I can empathize with an infant who's had a loaded Pamper
for far too long. Chalk up that inexcusable analogy to the
sleep-deprivation and the inherent irrationality of early fatherhood. 

Raised on peace, sister and brotherhood. Now my dog's picking fights around the neighborhood 
Limping home bloody, got me hot and confused. I'm feeling like a newborn with the full-diaper blues 

So, don't tell me to smile. Don't want to have no nice day 
Let me stew in my juice. What if I need to be this way? 
Just leave me alone. Stop with your concern 
Don't be cheering me up. I've got some trash to burn 

Got home late, driving all night from Maine. Idiot lights winking at me, calling my name 
My kitty left me presents I know I'll never use. Irate, crib-crazy, got the full-diaper blues 

I'm a zipper in this vel-cro world. In Synthesizer Town I still sing the "Duke of Earl" 
Bottling up my anger when I'm watching the news, wearing all my rage inside the full-diaper blues 

So go ahead - keep feeding my pet peeve. Pin your smile button right there on my sleeve 
When you call me "sweetheart", I'm a bomb with no fuse. 
Can't you see I'm cranky? Got the full-diaper blues. 

GENERATIONS
-- A friend of mine sent me a George Bernard Shaw quote, which fit my
philosophy of life to a tee. It became the first verse, and I added two
more of my own. Wish I'd known GBS... 

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live 
I rejoice in life for its own sake. I rejoice in life for its own sake 
Life is no brief candle to me. Life is no brief candle to me 
It is a sort of splendid torch that I have got hold of for a moment , and I want to make it burn 
Yes, I want to make it burn as brightly as possible, before passing it on to future generations 

And the child paints the sky brown below the purple grass 
And the four-eyed cow with fangs is upside-down 
It's a work of art for its own sake, what a masterpiece for its own sake. May the canvas of fantasy go on 
May the canvas of fantasy go on. Don't grow them up before their time 
Let the children have their childhood, and they'll paint the world they see, always paint the world they see 
And never forget the art, and carry that spark within them, forever 

Simple gifts of bygone days are treasured over time, and the music of the past returns as gold 
It's a silver song for its own sake. Sing a silver song for its own sake 
As we celebrate the innocence of age, and we welcome the innocence of age 
Hold the strong hands of gray-haired children, whose lives have come full-circle 
And they'll teach us their dances, and we'll join in their dances 
Remembering the lessons, and learning that we must move to our own dance 

SOMEBODY GONNA CHANGE MY NAME TO DADA
-- I suffered from acute pre-natal hysteria (PNH) when I found out that
I was going to be the father of my first child. My physician prescribed
songwriting and plenty of sleep. This is the resulting tune. I still
haven't gotten the sleep. 

My mind may seem a little off, deviating from a normal pattern 
My behavior may be vaguely reminiscent of a soul from Saturn 
My demeanor, on which I pride myself, is abominable. I'm beside myself 
And the two of me need to scream out what I found out 

Somebody gonna change my name to Dada 
There'll be company for the trillium in May 
Longing to be a father, still learning to be a son 
Growing with the child inside my lady 

I'm drawn to dreaming fantasy. Been known to fancy myself a turtle 
It appears my imagination's not the only attribute that's fertile 
Try Maggie, Ethel, Don, Lee, Irving. This reality is so unnerving 
But the melody is the antidote for the malady 

Somebody gonna.... 

Do I wear a pipe? Smoke a cardigan sweater? Season passes for the zoo? 
What does a pregnant papa look like? 
What's a father-to-be to do? What's a father-to-be to do? 

In shock, elated, thrilled, afraid, not to mention how it all preoccupies 
It's a foggy day in Papa Town, hard to see ahead of me through misty eyes 
I'm an embryonic father, in love with an unborn mother 
On a road with many unseen bends and washboards 

Somebody gonna.... 

And with all the joy, my only wish is that I could share the nausea, too 
I'd even put on weight, if that could help her 
What's a father-to-be to do? What's a father-to-be to do? To be to do, to be or not to do? 
That is the.... 

JACOB AND EVA
-- The most sublime memories of my childhood are the times I spent with
the only grandparents I knew. I remember the fragrance of their
apartment at 2260 Bronx Park East, I remember the sound of the bells of
the ice-cream man we waited for, together. Most of all, I remember that
I never felt safer and more loved in my life. 

He was the softest man I ever knew. He sang me my first song 
The one about the animal fair, and the raccoon was there, and somebody brushed its teeth in a frying pan 
I see my grandma's hands. I can feel 'em. She threw me my first ball. I missed it, and it landed at my feet 
"If at first you don't succeed..." And when she said that, I knew Eva made it up 

Jacob and Eva, Jacob and Eva 
Son and daughter of a gentler time 
Jacob and Eva, Jacob and Eva 
Grandparents and friends of mine 

We used to take in the zoo, me and Jacob. The monkeys made us laugh 
We watched lions and bears and the seals made us feel good. I saw my grandpa's face. I loved the seals 
I remember Grandma's cornmeal, really lumpy. It was a special order 
Along with scrambled eggs and baked beans, known the Bronx over 
History-making jell-o, the first with character 

He told me about the old days, over ice-cream, across the street in the park 
How he was four when he got here, and as he nodded to another, I tried to imagine my grandpa being four 
My grandma loved her long walks. Took me with her. Recited Shakespeare along the way 
And she made it into music to crunch among the leaves to. 
I don't remember words, but I can hear her voice 

I loved to watch their wrinkles rise and fall. Their faces told me stories 
I saw furrows and ridges, roots un-earthed and re-planted. 
Deep-seeded smiling lines went on and on and on and on.... 
As if it weren't enough, they raised my mother, and taught her love, by example 
Not to mention jell-o and Othello and scrambled eggs with lumps, and baked beans and walks to the zoo 
I loved the seals 

Jacob and Eva, Jacob and Eva 
Son and daughter of a gentler time 
Jacob and Eva, Jacob and Eva 
Grandparents and friends of mine 
Grandparents and friends of mine 
Grand friends of mine 

FLAIL AWAY
-- When my first child began to wave his arms and legs around, at the
age of two months, I figured he was the first baby ever to do that. I
knew I was exhibiting symptoms of an advanced stage of Paternal Neurosis
(PN), but I didn't care, and wrote a song about it, anyway. 

Cheerfully vague, often staring off at nothing. I'm readily teary and scattered 
I've got my son in my eyes, and I sing to the little one: 

Welcome, my baby, to the big, old world. You kept us guessing 'bout a boy or girl 
I know it's colder here than inside Mom. Your little body's got to flail away 

Flail away, flail away, flail away all your days 
Flail away, flail away. With folds unfurled, flail away 

I hold you against me and I rock you slow, a powerful feeling like I've never known 
You grab my shoulders and I'm glowing like the moon. You let out a yell and flail away 

Might've been gas or a sideways yawn, but I could swear you put a smile on 
When you're grinning with your gums all around, makes a daddy want to flail away 

I love you when you're cranky and I love you when you laugh 
I love you when you giggle in your bubble bath 
I love your pooping, when I just changed you. That's when you REALLY flail away 

So hard to leave you, and just between us, I wish I could feed you like your mommy does 
But when you're eating from a bottle and a spoon, I'll nourish you to help you flail away 

Your wandering eyes bring tears to mine. You trust me like none in my time 
I'll teach you reading and I'll teach you how to strum, if you'll teach me how you flail away 

LOST IN SONG
-- This was supposed to be about how I lose myself in my music. Well,
once again the creative process took me where it wanted to, and the song
evolved into a tribute to my lady. One never knows what'll happen when
you let the tune take over. 

I wish I had all the answers stashed away in my secret drawer 
O.K., how 'bout knowing the questions: Why am I here? What's in store? 
Fed this mind of mine to science, trying via the high-tech route 
Hard to process what's important. Glad my life does not compute 

So, if my eyes are disappearing, though my voice is loud and true 
I may seem gone, but I'm here with you. I'm only lost in song 

It's about my sense of humor. Folks have been locked up for less 
Both my ears can wax poetic, just a phase I'm in, I guess 
Taught myself to stifle anger, back in days when I could hide 
I could open a bottling plant for all the things I've pushed inside 

Feelings may hold my thoughts hostage, making prisoners of my needs 
Thinking may invade my feelings, but not when I'm lost in song 

Mittens made my childhood toasty, hanging there outside my sleeve 
Now I'm wearing all I feel there. You give me love that I believe 
Part of you you keep way back there, like a hidden rhapsody 
But when your piano soothes the silence, more of you is clear to me 

How I long to know your music. Play me what no words can say 
I love what I learn about you when you're lost in song 

THE KILLYLOO CAPER
-- A triathlete told me a joke in a locker room, once. Quite a moment it
was, given how serious triathletes tend to be. Great joke, too, and I
had him write it down so I could make a song out of it. 

In a hamlet called Killyloo, not more than a mile from this one 
Stood a pub, green grocer, butcher and a bank, and a church and another church 
There twice was a man of the cloth, Father Flynn being quite the Kerryman 
And from Inverness, Very Reverend Smythe came along into Killyloo 

Killyloo, Killyloo, where the handlebartenders are, and the rumors are true 
Killyloo, Killyloo, where there's a wheel there's a way in Killyloo 

'twas a car taboo in Killyloo, so every bottom had a bike beneath it 
No exceptions were our clergymen. On their Big Wheels they did ride 
On their way to pray, Sunday morn, the priest would pass the pastor 
With a "top of the morning, John." "Aye, Dan, and the rest of the day to you." 

Now, a year'd been swallowed by time, when this one very odd Sunday 
There walked a bikeless minister and, to his peddling pal he said: 
"All blisters aside, Dan my boy, 'tis a dismal day in Killyloo 
When a man's own bike gets pinched from his porch, 'tis a desperate day, indeed" 

Ah, but Dan was a priest with a plan, designed to find the Big Wheel 
He and John would preach the Commandments Ten, with a sharp eye on the pews 
"Thou Shalt Not Steal" is the one to be dwelt on with great fervor 
Then the shamed thief would return the prize, and Smythe would ride again 

On the following Sunday morn, came the peddling pastor, smiling 
"Good work," said Flynn. "I see it did the trick." "Well, not quite true to plan" 
Said John: "I preached as agreed, with a poignant pause on stealing, 
But when came 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultry', I remembered where I'd left my bike" 

RANDY'S TAIL
-- Nothing can be more painful than having to put a pet to sleep,
especially one that's been through all of life's travails with you for
many years. My dog, Randy was my companion, confidante, and close friend
for nine years. He and his brother, Ned (see Randy and Ned Go To School
GO TO SCHOOL on the GONNA DIE WITH A SMILE IF IT KILLS ME album) were
fixtures in my life. Ned passed away at five, but Randy stayed around
another four years, and it nearly killed me to have to say goodbye.
Writing this helped. 

No wonder you were different, no mystery there at all 
Neurotic was an understatement. You were off-the-wall 
I'm blaming the game warden for every little quirk 
When you were just a piddler, I showed you to that jerk 

I held you like a champion. You licked the man in green 
He said you were the strangest looking pup he'd ever seen 
Well, he didn't even whisper. No, he said it to your face 
The damage to your self-esteem had surely taken place 

Your early years were troubled. A thousand tears were shed 
You took it out on chair legs and your normal brother, Ned 
Surviving adolescence matured you with a flare 
Your nose no longer paisley, you could face the world out there 

But just when life got mellow, and brothers became friends 
The ones who loved you, she and I, went separate ways again 
I would've been so lonely without you loving hounds 
And when you lost your sibling, I turned the favor around 

We weathered all the traumas. We held each other up 
And I can't count the good times, Randy. Numbers aren't enough 
But now you bend in misery. Your hurt consumes me, too 
There is no pain like powerlessness. I know what I must do 

I'm not sure where you're going, but there's no need to grieve 
I hear they've got some t-bones there that you would not believe 
Good night, my pooch and partner. Sweet memories and take care 
When my time comes, I'll find you. We'll take a walk up there. 

BONE OF CONTENTION
-- Thanks to my chiropractor, I'm able to make a living standing around
with a heavy object hanging from my neck. I wrote this for my appearance
at the annual dinner of the Vermont Chiropractic Association. It's the
least I could do. 

Well, I've been bent out of shape since a baby, maybe due to some old crooked genes 
Took me thirty-five leg, neck and back-aching years to listen to my body scream 
Pill after pill after pill after pill after pill after pill got me through day after day 
But when the drug wore off and the pain wore on, there had to be a better way 

Takes a whole lot of nerve to make a body move. Got to have a straight channel to move through 
Takes a whole lot of nerve to make a body move. Got to have a straight channel to move through 
It's the bone of contention, the bone of prevention. It's your backbone 

Somebody told me chiropractic helps your body heal on its own 
Now, I'm a natural-born cynic, bound to be a skeptic, but the misery brought the notion home 
So I hobbled on down to Back Street. Took some 8x10's of my spine 
I saw the subluxating, stationary vertebrae. No wonder I was crying 

It takes a whole lot of nerve.... 
Manipulate me, doctor, all hands on neck. Adjust me, doctor, hands-on 
Manipulate me, doctor, both hands on back. Adjust me, doctor, hands-on 

What a change since my realignment! Moving better than ever before 
I can leap tall buildings in a single bound, but I'll settle for a dance 
I'm going straight with my chiropractor, and I can bend over backwards for my friends 
Feeling so well-adjusted from my head to my heels. My body's feeling whole, again!