Lyrically Speaking

We all have our personal center piece when it comes to things like music, painting, movies, sports and other forms of entertainment or art.

For me, the center of my musical universe has been rock. Now rock takes in a wide variety of music and so do I. What today is called “classic rock” was and is near and dear to my heart.

From the Beatles (the originals for this genre) to The Who, and on to harder groups like Aerosmith or Led Zeppelin I was of the proper age for that music to suit me. Still, life is boring when riding on a one trick pony. My first album purchased (at maybe 8 years old) was country star Johnnie Cash. Through the late seventies and eighties when people of my ilk were accepting the transition of hard rock into heavy metal, I was often left flat.

When Rolling Stone Magazine made fun of John Denver, I was bemused as to me he was a poet of a gentler sort, but very much a poet. His lyrics were considered trite, corny and too countrified. When he wrote in Rocky Mountain High, that he was “born in the summer of his 27th year, going home to a place he’d never been before”, I, at 23, knew exactly what he’d meant. Had he been reading my mind?

Let the music and the words, speak to you, and if they be not vulgar or violent, it should matter little what the world thinks of your choices. What speaks to one, may not to another.

For years now I have been sharing with you some of my favorite song lyrics. It is always dangerous to separate the words from the music as they are meant to cohabitate. Still, some words are strong enough to breath on their own. Not long ago I shared Simon & Garfunkel’s legendary Sounds of Silence, which is on my all time top five list of lyrics. Below are six songs of which the words I find to ring true, albeit sometimes in my imagination.

Below are some of the words to Rocky Mt. High.

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hanging by a song
But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changing fast and it don’t last for long

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept his memory

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high

Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high

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Me & Bobby McGhee was written by “outlaw” country performer/writer Kris Kristofferson, and made famous by Janis Joplin. Both Kristofferson and Joplin were hated by many, but loved by others. His words and her voice and soul brought the lyrics below to life. Like many song lyrics, they can be taken literally, or used to represent a “bigger picture”.

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin’ for a train
Feelin’ near as faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before a rain
It rode us all the way to New Orleans
I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
was playin’ soft while Bobby sang the blues, yeah
Windshield wipers slappin’ time, I was holdin’ Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no
And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGhee
From the Kentucky coal mine to the California sun
There Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done
Yeah, Bobby baby kept me from the cold
One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away
He’s lookin’ for that home, and I hope he finds it
But, I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for a single yesterday
To be holdin’ Bobby’s body next to mine
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, that’s all that Bobby left me, yeah
But, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
Hey, feelin’ good was good enough for me, mm-hmm
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGhee

Bobby, was originally Bobbi as Kristofferson was writing about a woman. Janis’s version became Bobby McGhee.

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Bob Dylan’s Along The Watchtower is a surreal examination of life, performed by Jimi Hendrix. In many ways it seems it might be a drug induced rant, but there are words that “can” mean things in anybody’s life. It’s all in how you choose to read them.

“There must be some kind of way out of here” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion”, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

“No reason to get excited”, the thief he kindly spoke
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”.

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

One of Dylan’s best, Forever Young.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
Forever young
May you stay
Forever youngHorD8002 019

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Garth Brooks The Dance. A pretty simple but very profound thought. Don’t miss the dance!

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared ‘neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye

And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I a king
But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

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To me, the greatest song written is Amazing Grace. Penned by a former slave runner named John Newton who just could not live with himself any longer. He sought God’s forgiveness and was so blessed. Below are the inspired words that followed ! How sweet the sound
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

God Bless,                                                                                                                                                       Wayne

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