Old Friends and Lovers ~ The Lyrics

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The following songs, written over the last twenty years, are all on my first CD, "Old Friends and Lovers," released in September of 2000. Several of the songs were recorded previously, by my good friend Dermot Kenny, on a winter afternoon in Mill Cove, Nova Scotia. That recording was an acoustic session and was never released publicly. It took several additional years, and songs, before Graham, my son and producer, was able to provide both a home studio and some excellent back-up musicians. Some folks raise gardens, some raise children, sometimes you raise a band...

My synergistic collaborators, who were willing to work for food are: lead guitar and back-up vocals, Graham Alan Duncan; percussion, Michael Patrick Galante; and electric bass, the great Harry Dailey. Yours truly is on folk guitar and vocals. You can also catch Michael and Graham in the art rock band, Radiophonic!

If you would like to buy a CD click here!

Going Away (Housewive's Lament)
Hungry for Something More
As Long as We Are Friends
To Know You
Charming Birger
Old Friends and Lovers
Dirty Old Ladies Blues
Time to Know
Family Tree
Life is Sailing

Going Away (or Housewive's Lament)     back to top ^

This song emerged from the ether about the time I was starting to think about singing in public again and Bill was thinking about all of us going to Moscow or Germany for a postdoctoral fellowship. It is probably about the continual search for balance in a relationship. Thus the "lament part."

Going away for awhile could mean something
Mind straightening needed to do.
Somehow, no matter how far that I wander,
I always end up here with you.

And I'm happy to be by your side going nowhere,
Happy to be by your side, if we stay.
Guess that I'm happy to be by you always,
Sure hope you want it that way.

My mind has taken me far from our friendship,
On journeys of fancy for free.
Fancy is fancy, but life's made for hardship.
Away is no place I can be.


Chains on my mind, like chains on my body
Leave me nowhere but blue.
Chains can't keep the love that's between us.
That dear, is up to me and you.


Hungry for Something More     back to top ^

The chords were laid down for this song a couple years before the words found the tune. A blues song born of other's troubles. The lyric is pretty transparent...

Always searching
What are you looking for.
Always searching
Hungry for something more.

Chemical highways,
Leading around the bend
Pain free promise
Broken at every end.

What's the hunger
That never seems to die.
If it takes you,
Will anyone know why?


Glasses rosey
Viewing forbidden fruit
Makes you wonder
If this one might just suit.

But all your baggage
Travels along with you.
Stacks the cards
That this time won't work out too.


Always searching
Always searching
Always searching
Hungry for something more

Always searching
Always searching
Always searching
What are you looking for?
Looking for.

As Long as We Are Friends     back to top ^

Our "live-in graduate student," a talented young man named Mead Pimsler, was the one who encourage me to get back into public performance. This song was for him… Thanks Mead!

If I could only say all the things that I feel,
I'm sure it wouldn't make a lot of sense.
There are far too many changes in my head, and in my heart.
To call these feelings love, is just pretense.

But when I see you face I have to smile,
And when we talk together there are things to say,
And songs to share,
As long as we are friends.

Keeping up with you makes me so mad and work so hard.
I wished I'd never started things, I really want to do.
If I were not so lazy, you would be no use at all,
But being put to use is not quite you.


So welcome to my life, I guess you'll be here for awhile,
And while you're here, I'll try to be a friend.
We have so much to learn, and there's so much to do,
If you need me to, I'll stay right 'til the end.


To Know You     back to top ^

While working as a folksinger for Chelsea Corner in the early 80's, I had a falling out with one of my counterparts, a talented young musician named Gary Stewart. We were arguing about the level of suffering necessary to actually be a "true artist." He maintained that with my privileged status as wife and mother, I could never suffer enough to qualify. Imagine! The very next day I took the kids to the pool at the Marriott (where we had a membership), stretched out on a chaise lounge and wrote this song.

I wish that you could see my life, and that I could see yours, from the inside.
I'd understand your troubles, I'd understand your cares,
I'd understand just why you have to feel that you are here, and I am there.
And the differences are far too hard to bear.

We both have made our choices and although regrets are few,
I hope the paths we've chosen are not too far to view.
The other road looks easy, when it's seen from far away.
The other road is full of bumps and detours you must stray.

You have no ties on you, and I have got so many, that there are times I feel that there is nothing left for me.
You sing your songs and I sing mine, we try to make the verses rhyme,
We try to touch a little bit, the souls of those who sit and drink and listen,
Yes sometimes I think that someone out there listens.

I hope there is a little joy to give, I hope the mirrors that we hold up in our songs,
Reflect the life and feelings of the things we know.
The things that we hold dear, and the things we want to share, they are different, my friend,
These differences I feel come honestly, reflections of the lives we lead.

But there is so much the same, that I can not help but feel,
That if we try to understand, we'd have to understand,
So I'll try, If you'll try,
To know you.

Valentine     back to top ^

I was always impressed by a song I heard Carol Hadine sing back in the 60's at the 11th Door in Austin Texas. It was called "You for Christmas" and described a Christmas where two people had nothing but each other, a sort of "Gift of the Magi" theme. A few years later, I found myself in a similar circumstance on Valentine's Day. I wrote this song initially as a poem for my husband and later put it to music. As we approach our 30th year as married folk, I'm please to say I haven't had to change any of the lyrics (although the children are long grown). He still likes me too…

We're always in the middle of our road, you and me.
We've come so far, and yet we've far to go.
We've never really had too many troubles in our lives,
Nothing to get between us or to block our souls.

So here's a Valentine
A verse for you from me
I had some thoughts
I felt that you should know.

Seems like we were children when we met, so long ago,
And here we are with children of our own.
There isn't anything I would forget, of you and me.
I want our love to grow, on and on.

Charming Birger     back to top ^

There are many stories told about the exploits of Charlie Birger and his gang in Southern Illinois. This song is the Sanders Family tradition, as told to me by my father, about his father, John Jacob Sanders and his older sister (my Aunt) Erie. For additional information about Charlie Birger's Gang you can check out the Williamson County Historical Society Web site!

Down in that green land where the Big Muddy flows
In a time not so long ago.
The folks were afraid of an outlaw gang
That made many a man's blood flow.
Now Charlie Birger was handsome and strong
And charmed almost all he met
But Charlie Birger was ruthless and wrong,
And more than one widow left.

There still were a few in that pleasant land
Unimpressed with Birger's charm
And one was a preacher, a man who knew,
That going a long could do harm.
For blackmail and murder could never be
Justified in him mind.
And those who looked the other way
Would still no safety find.

Now Birger ran into a sheriff brave,
A man he could not buy.
So he sent out his boys to shoot him down,
With never a wonder why.
And two pretty girls were walking by
Just as the deed was done,
Those outlaws smiled and tipped their hats,
They figured their game was won.

Those girls both knew that they had seen
The murderers, it's true.
But no one who lived in that green land
Could say what they might do.
They were good friends from early days,
A friendship true and strong,
But one was the preacher's daughter fair,
Who knew her right from wrong.

To let murder pass 'cause she was afraid
Could never be her right,
To stand up for justice and testify,
Would be her courageous fight.
So the preacher's daughter told what she saw,
With truth her life did dare.
And charming Birger, for all his misdeeds
Was hanged in the courthouse square.

Old Friends and Lovers     back to top ^

Well we didn't go to Moscow, and we didn't go to Germany. We stayed in Dallas, and Bill did his postdoctoral work there. However, very good friends were leaving, and the departure of one of them, (you know who you are Ward) prompted the writing of this song. The lyrics are pretty universal, due to excellent advice from my good friend, artist Ruth (Dunbar Cortes) Knight (click here to see one of her recent paintings). After all, separation issues are everyone's issues.

I wonder if it's worthwhile to get close to friends we know,
People come, and people have to go.
And once you've mixed your minds and hearts,
And friendship starts to grow,
It sure hurts to miss them when they're gone.

There must be a way, for old friends and lovers,
To be close to me now.
I guess I'll keep, some space in my head,
And when I'm blue, from missing you,
I'll think about the good times we had.

Sometimes at night, I dream of friends.
Long since lost, no way to find them.
But then I wake up and know they're not gone
They're just on this road,
And this road is too damn long.


I'm not quite sure how this life got so strange.
Halfway 'round the world, seems like quite a range.
It's not by choosing that we've scattered far,
Seems that where the wind blows
Lands us where we are.


Dirty Old Lady Blues     back to top ^

After listening to a Billie Holliday album over and over and over while stripping the old paint off a piano, I found I could actually play "Am I Blue," without even knowing what the cords were. The following song is another product of that Blues/Stripease combination. It came to me all at once one day, and after a few run-throughs, I walked my guitar down the street to play it for my good friend Diane Sherman. She was shocked! Must be a hit…

There's a guy I want to tell you about,
So good lookin', makes you want to shout.
There's just one little problem, ya see,
He don't know that I'm around.

Got a disposition like a honeybee in Spring.
Buzzin' round the ladies, makes 'em like to sing.
And I'm like all the other girls,
Except, he don't know that I'm around.

I'd buy a bra from Fredricks,
I'd lose a hundred pounds,
I'd trip him on the way to bed,
But he won't take me down. No.
That man's trouble,
He don't know that I'm around

Well bein' a dirty old lady ain't all
It's cracked up to be.
They say you're better when you're older,
But it's all the same to me.
Cause the man I'm lovin',
He don't know that I'm around.


Time to Know     back to top ^

We lived in a magical place, forest, fog and ocean. There was a balance there that can only be realized in the coming away.

Time to know, time to know my secrets
Time to write a heart song for my life.
Eagles fly, fly above my mountain
Take my spirit with them to the height.

Time to feed , time to feed the children.
Fill them with the love of every day.
Eagles fly, see their bright wings shining,
Shining with the light to guide the way.

Time to be alone and be together.
Time to be above and be below.
Time to write a melody of summer,
To sing to warm you, in the winter's snow.

Time to sing, time to sing my own song.
Time to give these feelings their own flight.
Eagles fly, as the day is dawning,
The world is full of wonder and of light.

Hillside     back to top ^

This song started out to be about middle age, but other meanings crept in, at least for me. Musically, I was kind of thinking "bagpipes," but that too transformed in the song writing process.

I come to the hillside and gaze down the valley
To view a horizon that someday I'll know.
The clouds that drift down to the gift of the future
Are forming a path of the way I must go.

And high up above where the stars make their music,
And send the strains down, where my feet touch the ground.
I dance to a tune that the stars have inspired
And I am surrounded by love I have found.

I come to the hillside, and you stand beside me,
Our pathways converging, though each is alone.
We sojourn together this trek down the valley,
And each place we rest, we will call that our home

And high up above, where the stars make their music
And send the strains down, where our feet touch the ground,
We dance to a tune that the stars have inspired
And we are surrounded by love all around.

I come to the hillside and gaze down the valley
To view a horizon that someday I'll know.

Family Tree     back to top ^

This song was written as an exorcism of anticipated empty nest syndrome. A great deal of pioneer blood exists in the family: my Swedish grandparents left Sweden at an early age, my birth in Texas was due to my own parents striking out from the Midwest; my sister lives in Hawaii, etc. etc. So the departure of our children for University seemed like the time for a good generational song. How could I know at the time that they would leave and come back, and leave and come back? But that will be another song…

It was a photograph of my grandparents, Nils and Hannah Lindbom on their wedding day, that got me started.

Long ago they crossed an ocean
Barely grown they left their land.
Traveled over fear and lonely
Found a world at their command.

Far away but close to hand
Distances like never-land
Far away but close to hand,
Distances like never-land.

And from their seed there came others,
Seeking fortune far and wide.
Journeys leading to another,
Families launched on every tide.


And we scattered like the others
Without thought we left our home.
All our sisters and our brothers
Wanderers are not alone.


Now we watch our own babes scatter,
Leaving home with anxious stride.
Youth must go to test its power,
Living life with joy and pride.


Life is Sailing     back to top ^

This is the second song I wrote in Nova Scotia. Our house overlooked St. Margaret's Bay. The beauty of the scenery was pretty overwhelming and the spiritual vibrations of the place hard to ignore.

Life is sailing
On the sea, ever free,
Water passing,
Washing time, from my mind.

We are ever sailors
In a universe of changing
Like waves rearranging
But the water's still the same.

Stars to guide
The vessel light, in the night
Voyage taken
Round again come again,

We are ever lovers
Though we sail through storms of fire,
Caught up in our ire,
But the love is still the same.

Passing through the times of change,
Letting go of fear
To the life we're meant to live,
Where hearts and minds are clear.

Life is sailing
Come with me, we'll be free
And the love is still the same.

back to top ^