Greg Dennis: A romantic life in song lyrics
Step into this house, girl, and I’ll sing for you a song. I’ll tell you all about where I’ve been. It shouldn’t take too long.
I lived with the decent folks in the hills of old Vermont. Where what you do all day depends on what you want.
I took up with a woman there when I was just a kid, and I smile like the sun to think of the loving that we did. Yankee lady so good to me, Yankee lady, just a memory.
I don’t know what prompted me, but I knew I had to go. I left that Vermont town for a lift to Mexico. I headed west to grow up with the country, across those prairies with those waves of grain.
I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. They can’t take that away from me.
Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s. Let’s head on down the road. There’s somewhere I gotta go. You don’t know what it’s like to be me.
I’ve been warped by the rain, driven by the snow. I’m drunk and dirty, don’t you know, and I’m still willin’. Out on the road late at night, I see my pretty Alice in every headlight — Alice, Dallas Alice. And I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonapah.
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 to every door.
Now East Coast girls are hip. I really dig those styles they wear. And the northern girls with the way they kiss, they keep their boyfriends warm at night. I wish they all could be California girls.
K___, she’s a silver sun. Best walk her way and watch it shine. Watch her watch the morning come.
I was hers and you were his, the night we met out on that bridge. You knew then what I know now: Love put down gets up somehow. A summer wind, a cotton dress. This is how I remember you best.
Just to think that I might have never known you, if I had lived my life in Tennessee. But I really could have never let that happen, for you and California are in me. There’s California bloodlines in my heart, and a California woman in my song.
I’m gonna rent myself a house in the shade of the freeway. Gonna pack my lunch in the morning and go to work each day. And when the evening rolls around, I’ll go on home and lay my body down. When the morning light comes streaming in, I’ll get up and do it again.
Are you there? Say a prayer for the pretender, who started out so young and strong, only to surrender.
It’s too late, baby, now it’s too late, though we really did try to make it. Something inside has died and I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it.
As the morning light crept in upon my bed, I thought of you. Remembering your laughing eyes and all we said. I love you too.
Our short time together lasts so long, makes me strong. As two weeks came and went and you and I were gone, living on. For it seems our love was destined to be caught in other nets.
The eyes of sweet ____ were headlights on the road. A beacon for the weary heart that hardens as it goes. In the eyes of sweet ______ was something I had lost. There’s something how your life will go, as to how the heart is tossed.
Someday when we’re both alone, we’ll get together, someday when we’re both alone. We’ll find out if our dreams are all that they seem — find out if our place is a home. A long, long time I been lookin’ at you. Long time you been lookin’ at me.
A__, what you wanna do? I think I could stay with you.
I can’t hold it on the road when you’re sittin’ right beside me, and I’m drunk out of my mind, merely from the fact that you are here.
I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose, and still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall.
But hey, it’s good to be back home again. Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend.
I’ve got me a piece of land. Lord, all I can grow is stones. But the stream that runs beside my house is clear.
Seems to me I’m always coming home again. And if I should die tomorrow, you can bury me right here. I’m just a Green Mountain boy.
Hat tip for the lyrics: Guy Clark, Jesse Winchester, Gram Parsons, James Taylor, John Denver, Cole Porter, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Lowell George, Brian Wilson, Richard Shindell, John Stewart, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Jerry Jeff Walker, Greg Brown, Craig Lee Fuller, Joni Mitchell and Peter Isaacson.
Gregory Dennis’ column appears here every other Thursday and is archived on his blog at www.gregdennis.wordpress.com. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: greengregdennis.
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