The Audio Archive of Songs Illustrated in the CPR
All music archived here by permission of the artist.



Our March Second Saturday artist Danny Schmidt graciously gave us permission to reprint this anthem-like song.  His partner Carrie Elkin did a wonderful job singing lead on it at our March 11 concert.  Danny and Carrie were both veteran road warriors and singer-songwriters when they became a couple a few years ago.  You can hear their arrangement on their 2104 duo CD, For Keeps, or at the link below to Danny Schmidt's webpage (Company of Friends is track #4).
                                                Company of Friends [audio]                                                             Company of Friends [lyrics and chords]


                                                                            NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A BONNIE WEE LASSIE


In honor of St. Paddy’s day this month, we offer this well-known Irish ballad. Despite the Scots-sounding“bonnie wee lassie”, this song is definitely Irish in origin.  Carnlough Bay is in Northern Ireland, and is, in fact, the location of Pat Hamill’s Hotel (though it is now called the Glencloy Inn).  Pat Hamill’s was a center for cycling enthusiasts, where folks could stop off on their excursions, and a brisk business in renting bicycles was carried on there.  You can hear a lovely version of this song, sung by Jenny Martin at the link below.

                                            Sweet Cornlough Bay [video]                                                    Sweet Cornlough Bay [lyrics & chords]

The Road to Lubeck  by Paul Cooper

In 1705, when he was twenty years old, J.S. Bach took a six-week leave of absence from his job as music director at the Lutheran Church in Arnstadt, Germany and walked two hundred miles to Lubeck to hear an organ recital by his hero Dietrick Buxtehude  the greatest organist of his day.  I was struck by this commitment and passion for music on Bach's part.  I started speculating about what might have gone through his mind on this journey.  First I guessed he might have been thinking about his career and his contributions to music  inventing the well-tempered scale and such.  Getting a little more whimsical, I saw him looking into the future, comparing himself to other composers  maybe getting a little jealous of Handel.   Listen carefully to the melody in the last two lines of the chorus.  The song changes key every measure as it works its way around the circle of fifths.

                       Road To Lubeck(audio)           Lyrics and Chords

                                       MINSTREL BOY TO THE WAR HAS GONE              
submitted by Paul Cooper

This is one of those songs that many can recognize, but few can name that tune. The tune is familiar, because it has been used as background in several movies (Saving Private Ryan, Blackhawk Down, The Man Who Would Be King) and TV shows (Star Trek). The song was originally composed as an Irish patriotic air by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) who composed it in memory of his Trinity College friends who died in the irish rebellion of 1798. Over the centuries it has come to stand as a universal anti-war song.
                                 The Minstrel Boy sung by Tommy Makem (audio)                            Lyrics and Chords



Submitted By Paul Cooper


For those of us who don't attend hockey games or ice skating rinks, a Zamboni is the big four-wheeled machine that comes out and smooths out the ice between skating sessions.  Named for its inventor, Mr. Zamboni, this graceful monster makes quite an impression  especially on kids.  This song was written by Chris Hartman's sister Mary Hartman.  The chorus of it was read by Garrison Keiller on his radio show during his Christmas song contest, and the song has also been heard on NPR's popular program, Car Talk. Mary says "Our local (minor league) hockey arena sometimes plays part of it between periods at hockey games when the Zamboni comes out".   Mary says "We play it in C. I play G chords with the capo on the 5th fret, and Janet plays in C with no capo."


Mary performs with the trio Humphrey, Hartman and Cameron out in state of Washington.  Their website is  (It is worth visiting for the banjo haiku alone.)   Please note that the audio file was made available by Mary  for purposes of learning the song.  It is not to be added to your permanent collection.

                                                 Lyrics and Chords                                                   Zamboni (audio)


By Steve Goodchild

The notes to Across the Water's second album say:  Joe Scurfield was a schoolmate, fellow soccer and rugby team player, and one of Steve's first musical collaborators.  Came the time for the leaving, Steve and Joe went separate ways, neither knowing that they were to attend universities in adjacent towns, not 20 miles apart, both continuing to pursue their musical interests.  Thirty years later, watching the Old Rope String Band while both were appearing at the Chester (England) Folk Festival, Steve recognized the balding, bearded troubadour as his erstwhile friend  despite playing the fiddle whilst being supported upside-down with his head in a bucket of water! Sadly only a couple of years after renewing the acquaintance, Joe was run down by a drunk, speeding 'joyrider'in a stolen car whilst making his way to his local pub in Newcastle to catch last orders.  "Time gentlemen, please" is a common phrase in the parlance of English pub landlords to announce that it is closing time.

Lyrics and Chords                                            Time, Gentlemen Please (audio)   


By Jack Hardy


Jack Hardy was kind enough to give Across the Water permission to record this song, and I am boldly assuming his permission also extends to reproducing our version of it here.  This song was inspired by one of Jack's many trips to Ireland.  Some of the details in the song are no doubt products of the poetic imagination, but Killorglin and Caherciveen are real places along the Ring of Kerry, and Jack asserts that there really was a tinker named Willie Goggins, and Jack Hardy did end up with his hat!  You can hear our version of the song on Across the Water's third CD, Watercolour, or on the HFMS link below.

 We perform the song in G, capoed up two frets.  You can of course adjust the capo position to suit your vocal range,


Lyrics and Chords                        Willie Goggin's Hat (audio)



This song tells a true story.  The lyrics flowed out in a fairly orderly fashion shortly after I heard the story  unlike most of my songs.  The one salient departure from fact is that a year after I recorded the song, I heard that a friend of the people in the song had done a painting of the place in Arizona where the poppies actually bloomed.  And it turned out they were yellow!  The original story as related to me had not included what color the poppies were.  To fit the music, I needed a one-syllable word to describe the poppies, so I had made them red in the song.  Art does not always imitate life down to the last detail.  This song can be heard on Across The Water's second CD, Waterproof, or at the link below.

                                                                                              Lyrics and Chords                                Alethea's Song [audio]

                                                                                               A HOLE IN THE HEART


When Lucy Nell Andrews passed away, her family's Email screens lit up with condolences and tributes from singers and songwriters from all over the country who had graced her living room.  Lucy Nell's house concerts were one of the pillars of the Houston acoustic music community, and the very best artists lined up to play there when they were in Texas.  One of the tributes came from Bob Livingston, who wrote, "There's a hole in the heart of Texas tonight".  When this thought was passed on to Steve Goodchild, he says the rest of the song just fell into place.  Thank you, Steve.


                                                                                             Lyrics and Chords                              A Hole In The Heart of Texas [audio]


Way out Here by Ken Gaines


Ken opened our May Second Saturday Concert songwriter's circle with this fine original.  Having heard Ken perform it for six or seven years now, it's still one of my favorites.  You can substitute an F chord for the Fmaj7 Ken plays at several points if you want a more folky feeling, instead of the shimmery Fmaj7.  You can hear Ken perform this song with Karen Mal on his excellent CD, Catfish Moon, or solo on the HFMS Music archive web page at

Lyrics and Chords                               Way Out Here [audio]


(C. Mims) Pandulce Music BMI


Connie was one of the panel of three singer-songwriters who gave us such a fantastic show at our May Second Saturday Concert.  She graciously gave us permission to publish this song of hers in the Rag. "My Wedding Day" is from Connie's 2008 CD release "Go Deep", produced by Jack Saunders at White Cat Studios, Houston. Connie performs this one with capo at Fret III.  The chord designated as C2 in the chorus looks like this:                             


You can see Connie perform this song on YouTube at:  Connie on YouTube, or listen to it on the Audio Archive page of the HFMS website at:

                                                                          Lyrics and Chords                                      My Wedding Day [audio]

                                                                                                           Fireside Banjo Sampler                    
posted by Andy Longo
I recently completed a Fireside Banjo kit sold by  Backyard Music .   The ring of the banjo is cardboard, and the top is white pine.  I was asked about a sample of the sound so I am storing the audio file on this page for a link of Facebook.
                                                                                                                  Wildwood Flower_sampler



Bully of the Town


You will hear this tune frequently as an instrumental performed by bluegrass and old-time music groups.  For years I thought it was a fiddle tune without words until I heard someone sing it at a bluegrass jam in New Jersey.  There are many variations on the lyrics -- these are my favorites.  I think the last verse is a classic!    Even if you don't choose to learn the song, you should listen at least once to Gid Tanner and his great guitarist Riley Puckett.  They were important pioneers in the development of the music we know today as bluegrass.


Lyrics and Chords                  Link to Audio on YouTube



In 1856 the steamboat Arabia struck the stump of a submerged walnut tree in the mighty Missouri River just south of Kansas City.  She went down in minutes, taking with her over 200 tons of cargo bound for general stores all over the American frontier.  All crew and passengers survived.  In 1988 River Salvage, Inc. found her and most of the cargo intact.  Bob's song tells the story of a fictitious river man wannabe who lost his boat and career the first time out.  He reluctantly returns to the farm, declaring the river life "just a dream".  Today the Arabia Museum in Kansas City displays the salvaged boat and much of the lost cargo.  Across the Water plays this song in C chord shape, capo IV. 

Lyrics and Chords               The Arabia [audio]



Ben Bedford's songs are often historical -- sometimes literary -- sometimes both, as in this fine song about Jack London.  The last verse is comprised almost entirely of allusions to London's better-known works.  With his fine tenor voice, Ben performs this song way up around the key of G.  I have pitched it for those of us with more regular voices in the People's key of D, but you may of course capo or transpose it to suit your own vocal range,  You can hear Ben perform this song on his excellent CD, Lincoln's Man.

Lyrics and Chords       Goodbye Jack [audio]


                                    By Paul Cooper

Gerald Connor was a real cowboy -- an inducted member of the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, in fact, which helps explain why there was Willie Nelson music playing in the chapel at his funeral.  Gerald was also a decorated veteran of World War II, and a lifelong member of the Masonic Lodge.  All of these institutions were represented at his funeral, and all of them show up in the song.  You can hear this song on Across the Water's first CD, Watermark.

                                                                                                       Lyrics and Chords             Gerald's Song [audio]


by Paul Cooper


Joe Crookston's songs about people and events draw the listener in emotionally as much as any singer-songwriter I know.  Joe's CD, "Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog", of which this is the title song, received the most airplay of any folk album at the time it was released, and was awarded "Album of the Year" by the International Folk Alliance.  Joe will perform at our March Second Saturday concert March 9.  This song can be heard on Joe's CD by the same title or at the link below.

                                                                                                       Lyrics and Chords              Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog [audio]


                                                                                                       SECOND GENERATION SUNSHINE

                                                                                                                      By  Paul Cooper


This is a first for our recently inaugurated song column.  In January we featured Mattie May by Zachary's mom, Carolyn Davis.  This month we are happy to present this lyrical delight which Zachary first performed for us at one of the pickin parties a few months back.  The first verse and chorus show the actual chords created by the lively guitar lick he uses in the accompaniment.  The second verse and chorus show a simplified version if you just want to strum it.  You can hear this song on Zachary's online profile at Reverbnation or at the link below.

Lyrics and Chords                      Sunshine [audio]


A song by Eric Johnson

Another song by one of our talented members,  Eric wrote this song back in the 1980s.  He says he sent the song to the creator of the Garfield cartoon series, but it was not adopted as a theme song.  That's a loss for all of Garfield's loyal fans, in my opinion.  It's a good song.   It is sung to the tune of  'So Long, Its Been Good To Know You' by Woodie Guthrie.  Eric recorded the audio track at World Music in Sugarland, TX


Lyrics and Chords                Garfield [audio]



This is another song by one of our many talented members, Lloyd Ernstes.  Lloyd has helped us out many times by running sound at our Second Saturday concerts.  You can hear Lloyd's demo of this song at the link below.  Lloyd recorded and mastered the demo at his studio and music store in Stafford, Texas.  You may recognize some familiar voices and players on the demo, including Tica Gibson, Marion Winsett and Kelly Lancaster.

Billy the Kid [lyrics]           Billy the Kid [audio]



HFMS member Tony Paiotti did a nice job performing this fine old traditional song at our May 2013 Second Saturday concert.  Tony plays it in G, capoed at the third fret.  You can of course capo to suit your own vocal range.  You can hear a recording of Tony's performance by using the link below.  You can hear more of Tony's songs at

The Broom of the Cowdenknowes [Lyric & Chords]                 Audio_File     


by Paul Cooper

This one is dedicated to our member and good friend Cal Perry, who passed away on June 6.  This is one of the songs Cal and I performed at Houston Christian High School's presentation on Shakespeare's As You Like It with a backup folk band.  Cal enjoyed doing this song, and it was a pleasure and a privilege performing with him.

                         So Long It's Been Good To Know You [Lyrics]                  Video with Rob Tepper lyrics as shown          Video with Woody (alternative lyrics)

Cal leading us on.

by Andy Longo
From time to time, I bring a small recorder with me to the picking parties.  On one occasion, I recorded Cal Perry leading the group in an instrumental performance of I'll Fly Away.    I extracted from the CPR pdf files images of recent pickin' parties that Cal had attended and made a  video(LINK).  The images are of low resolution, but your memories may refine them.


 by Paul Cooper

I first heard this great old traditional English song on the CD Dark Fields by the excellent folk duo Show of Hands.  It's not hard to figure out that the song is both English and traditional, since making fun of Napoleon ("Old Boney in the song) is one of England's most cherished traditions.  You can hear the song performed solo by Phil Beer of Show of Hands at the link below ( The song begins about four minutes into the video, so you can skip over to the song if you like):
The Warlike Lads of Russia [audio]                                                     Lyrics and Chords  


by Paul Cooper

In this gospel-sounding melody, Bryan speaks through the voice of an ante-bellum Southern Home.  The song will work with guitar just as well as autoharp.  You can hear this song on Bryan’s CD Home, Home on the Road or at the link below.

Stately Mansion [audio]                      Stately Mansion [lyrics and chords]

by Paul Cooper

This song is a fictional account of the July 4, 1878 match race between the Kentucky horse Ten Broeck and the California mare Mollie McCarty at the Louisville Jockey Club (now Churchill Downs). Ten Broeck won the race before a record crowd of 30,000. The song commonly states that Ten Broeck "was a big bay horse", and although he was a bay, he was "very compactly built" The song refers to a fatal outcome, which did not in fact occur; Mollie McCarty lived nearly five more years, winning multiple races and producing three foals. This song was first recorded by the Carver Brothers in 1929, and later by Bill Monroe. You can hear the song performed by Tony Rice, Sam Bush and Bela Fleck at the link below.

                                                         Run Ol'Molly Run [audio]                                      Run Ol'Molly Run [lyrics and chords]


   by  Paul Cooper

Elizabeth Cotton was a pioneer of American urban folk music, and particularly of the guitar style known as two finger pickin’. She played a standard strung guitar left-handed, which to most of us would be upside down. If you don’t know the story of how she was “discovered’ while working in the household of Pete Seeger’s family, it is worth looking up. Cotton wrote a number of other great songs, including Freight Train and Shake Sugaree, that have been recorded by a great number of artists. I suspect a lot more people know her music than know her name. You can hear this song performed by Elizabeth Cotton on YouTube on the link below:

                                                      Tellin' Her Lies On Me [audio]                                       Tellin' Her Lines On Me [lyrics and chords]



HFMS member Gaylee Malone performed this classic sixteen-bar blues at the November pickin’ party – one of many fine songs she has written. Gaylee says everything in the song is taken from actual experience.  She was one of the girls sittin’ at the station waving at the boys in green.  You can hear this song on Gaylee’s CD, or at the link below.

                                                       Troop Train Blues [audio]                                      Troop Train Blues [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                                    SHE WAS VERY FOND OF DANCING


Twenty-something years ago I took a trip to Connecticut with the family.  At the restaurant where we were having lunch one day, a quartet dressed in renaissance garb was performing folk and traditional music, and they were very good.  Fine guitar players, terrific harmony.  One of the members was a a red-haired Australian lady with a wonderful strong soprano voice.  I bought their tape (remember audiocassettes?), learned that the name of the group was Sheelta, and listened to it all the way home.  Fast forward twenty years.  When I moved to Houston and heard Sue Atkins sing at a pickin’ party, her voice seemed very familiar.  I overheard her mention Sheelta, and sure enough, it was the same person.  This is the closing song on the tape – a great story of disappointed love, as sad as it is lively.  For the rhyme to work, you have to give “clerk” the English pronunciation – more like “clark”.  You can hear Sue perform this song at the link below.
                                             Calico Printer's Clerk [audio]                           Calico Printer's Clerk [lyrics and chords]          



From Pete Seeger’s  American Favorite Ballads:  In 1908 John Lomax listened to a woman sing as she washed clothes for her man working in a levee camp.  Next year he tried to look her up again.  The townspeople motioned up to the end of the street where the graveyard was.  "That's where Dink's living now."   The Lomax family remembered her song and passed it on to us, a great flower of beauty.  You can hear this beautiful song in the movie or on the soundtrack recording of Inside Llewyn Davis, or at the link below.                                 
                                                                                            Dink's Song [audio]                                    Dink's Song [lyrics and chords]    

                                                                                                                     A SONG PRESERVED BY ERIC JOHNSON

Sometime in the late 1970’s, Eric received from his brother a copy of a radio show broadcast in Washington, DC.   It was a recording of Richard K. Spotswood program.   R.K. Spotswood (b.1937) is a musicologist and author from Maryland who has catalogued and been responsible for the reissue of many thousands of recordings of vernacular music in the United States.  From this tape, Eric learned a song recorded by Walter Lee Moore (1914-1997), a long time country western performer who traveled across the country with a variety of groups.   The song is called “Where The Water Lilies Grow”.    It is one of Eric’s more moving and melodic tunes.  After some searching, I have found no other copy available but Eric’s recording at the link below.

Where the Water Lilies Grow[audio]                         Where the Water Lilies Grow[lyrics and chords]

                                                                                                      BANKS OF MARBLE

                                                                                                             By Les Rice


Les Rice was a New York State apple farmer and one-time president of the Ulster County chapter of the Farmers Union. His songs have made him well-known to farmers throughout the northeast. This song, ‘Banks of Marble’, written around 1948-49 deals with the farmer’s perennial problem of “parity” and how it affects the farmer’s life. Pete Seeger recorded the song on at least two albums; and in a note in one of his songbooks he wrote that Rice ‘farms across the Hudson from me, near Newburgh [Orange County, New York]. Like most small farmers, he was getting intolerably squeezed by the big companies which sold him all his fertilizer, insecticide and equipment, and the big companies that dictated to him the prices he would get for his produce. Out of that squeeze came this song..  You can hear Pete perform this song on YouTube at the audio link below.

                                                                                   Banks of Marble [audio]                                                   Banks of Marble [lyrics and chords]


At our April 2014 song circle, Jorge Palomarez sang  this beautiful love song in Spanish. His title for the song is “No Me Dejes Aqui” (Don’t Leave Me Here).

You can go to links below for the audio and the lyrics in Spanish along with the English translation.

                                                             No Me Dejes Aqui [audio]                                                No Me Dejes Aqui [lyrics & trans

                                                                              A Memorable Moment From Bill and Kate Isles Concert April 2014

It was mentioned in the last month’s CPR, that the April concert with Bill and Kate Isles was memorable when he brought up several in the audience to join in on the “Hobo’s” chorus.  As fortune would have it, Cathy Phillips was on hand with her iPhone to capture this event in sight and sound, and she did so admirably.  Below are two links;  One is a link to the full audio and the other is an excerpt of video.

                                                               Hobos in the Roundhouse [audio]                             Hobos in the Roundhouse[video]


by Paul Cooper

 We learned this song at a a performance of English music hall  numbers the last night of the Chester Folk Festival.  The connection with folk music is that many old music hall songs, such as this one, from the 1800s are now considered folk music, and thought by many to be traditional.  You can hear this song on YouTube at link below.
                                                                   Old Dun Cow [audio]                            Old Dun Cow [lyrics]


by Paul Cooper

   Not all fans of folk music include the Grateful Dead in their regular playlist.  But the Dead did a great deal to spread the gospel of folk, acoustic and singer-songwriter material.  They recorded many traditional folk songs, and a lot of their original tunes, such as the one below, would be a nice fit in any sing circle.  Robert Hunter was their main lyricist, and Jerry Garcia the principal music writer.  Hunter was a poet in his own right, publishing collections of poetry and a translation of Ranier Marie Rilke’s Duino Elegies, in addition to his many songs.  Below are links to the lyrics and to the audio available on youTube.

                                                                  Ripple [video on youTube]                                   Ripple [lyrics and chords]


by Paul Cooper

Phil Ochs was a major voice in the Folk Revival and Anti-war Movement of the 1960’s, though his music is not heard much today.  Born in El Paso, Texas, he took his own life in 1976 at the age of 35.  This song, "When I'm Gone", is a philosophical statement couched in lovely poetic images, and based on a simple “turnaround” chord progression.

                                                               When I'm Gone [video on youTube]                     When I'm Gone [lyrics and chords]



With 24 CDs going back to 1971, Allan Taylor is one of the premiere troubadours of the western world.  And  I am happy to announce that we have been able to book Allan for Second Saturday for our April 11, 2015 concert.  In the meantime, you can enjoy this great song of his at  the link below, as well as get a good look at how he plays it in Open G tuning. 

                                                          Bold Companeros[video on youTube]                            Bold Campaneros[lyrics and chords]

                                                                                              A MIGHTY DAY


The Hurricane of 1900 made landfall on September 8, 1900, in the city of Galveston, Texas. It had estimated winds of 145 miles per hour (233 km/h) at landfall, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. It was the deadliest hurricane in US history, and the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history based on the dollar's 2005 value (to compare costs with those of Hurricane Katrina and others).


Though the dramatic melody and chord changes suggest the hand of a skilled composer, this song is listed as “Traditional” in the online sources I was able to find.  You can hear the song as performed by the Chad Mitchell Trio at the link below.  Chad Mitchell’s lyrics are somewhat different from those shown here, but most of the verses are the same.  I believe the verses tell the story best in the order shown below.
                                                           A Mighty Day [video on youTube]                         A Mighty Day [lyrics and chords]



Pierce Pettis gave us a fine show at the September Second Saturday concert, which included this song, one of his best known.  If you are looking for a love song to learn, this near-scriptural paean to love itself would certainly qualify.  This is the title song of a wonderful CD Pierce produced on his own label, Compass records Group of Nashville  See links below for the audio file and the lyrics and chords document.   Pierce performs the song in the key of E.  I have transposed it down to D to make it a little more easily sung for most of us.
                                                             That Kind Of Love [audio]                                    That Kind of Love [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                             THROW THE VANDALS IN COURT


The lyrics to this song are from a 1938 work by the Welsh poet Idris Davies, later set to music by Pete Seeger, and first released in 1958 on an album Pete recorded with Sonny Terry.  The song was made more famous in 1960’s recordings by the Byrds, Judy Colliins and others.  You can hear how Pete Seeger performed it in 1964 at a concert in Australia at the link below. Pete takes careful pains to pronounce the Welsh place names correctly in this performance, which makes it useful for learning purposes.

                                               Bells of Rhymney [youTube video]                     Bells of Rhymney [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                         BRENNAN ON THE MOOR

Willie Brennan was an outlaw from County Tipperary – the same county as the Clancy brothers, whose inspiring version of this song can be heard at the link below.  This is such a great story, it is hard not to be sympathetic to Willie – though he is hanged in the end, according to the rules that outlaw ballads must follow. 

                                             Brennan on the Moor [youTube video]                 Brennan on the Moor [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                               OH, SWEET MAMA

Growing up in Dallas in the 1950s, I was aware there was a place east of downtown called Deep Ellum, but I knew very little about it.  I did know that it was inhabited by folks with considerably darker complexions than ours, but I did not know that much of the music that represents mainstream 20th century American blues was being invented and performed there.  Most importantly, I knew that Mom and Dad didn’t think it was any place us kids should be going.  In the 1920s and ‘30s, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Bessie Smith all performed there.  The 1950s still saw the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Blund Willie Johnson and T-Bone Walker performing there, among many others.  Today, Deep Ellum’s status has been elevated to that of a historical district, but I think this song captures well the flavor of the place in its heyday.  You can hear Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead perform this tune at the link below.

Deep Ellum [youTube video]                                Deep Ellum [lyrics and chords]



Joe Crookston from Ithaca, N.Y. is an amazing songwriter who has penned a great many songs about a great variety of people and their stories.  In this highly philosophical tale, the melody is simple and traditional-sounding, but the chords are actually a little bit tricky, with frequent changes creating a lot of harmonic movement.  This song, from Joe’s excellent 2011 CD, Darkling & the Bluebird Jubilee is published here with Joe’s gracious permission.  You can access the lyrics, chords, and audio from the links below.
                                                                 Good Luck John [audio]                                                Good Luck John [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                     RIDE THROUGH THE LONELY NIGHT


This song was first published in Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag in the 1930’s.  Sandburg said he collected the song from a cowboy who was in the hospital with a broken leg.  The portrait of the cowboy’s lost love (Laura) in the song is as poignant as it is brief.  You can hear this lovely song at the link below.

The Colorado Trail [audio]                                            The Colorado Trail [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                               WHAT A FINE PLACE FOR ONE TO BE


Hickory Hill put on a fine show for us at the April Second Saturday concert.  This song by John Early, one of the founding members of the group, was among the ones they performed.  Like many bluegrass lead singers, John pitches his songs pretty high.  I have taken it down from the key of A to G for slightly easier singing. If you want to play along with the recording, you can just capo at the second fret and follow the chord symbols shown below.  You can listen to the song on Hockory Hill’s CD, Freedom, or at the link below.

                                                             Freedom [audio]                                                Freedom [lyrics and chords]

                                                                                                                 SPEED, BONNIE BOAT

This beautiful song tells the story of how Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) escaped in a small boat after the defeat of his Jacobite uprising of 1745.  Disguised as a serving maid, Charles was spirited from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.  You can hear this song at the link below.  If you want to play along with the group on the recording, capo at the first fret and play the chords in D as indicated below.

                                                                    Skye Boat Song [video]                                            Skye Boat Song [lyrics and chords]


Jean Ritchie, who died June 1 of this, first recorded The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore in 1965.  Since then it has been covered in recordings by at least 21 other artists, and live by countless other folk singers.  Born in an unincorporated community in the Cumberland Mountains of south eastern Kentucky, Jean went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from Kentucky University, and later was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to trace the links between American ballads and songs from Britain and Ireland.  You can hear Jean’s original recording of this song at the link below.  I have transcribed the song below in the same key as the original recording, Am.
                                   The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore [video]                    
The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore  [lyrics and chords]



This traditional song has been covered countless times by folk, folk rock and country artists – often with the lyrics altered to memorialize the passing of a particular person, as in the Byrds’ 1963 version that was a eulogy for John F. Kennedy.  The lyrics shown here are the way I learned it from a folksinging friend in the early 1960’s, before different versions such as Willie Nelson’s (which can be heard on the sound track of Brokeback Mountain) and others became popular.  The version recorded by The Greenbriar Boys, which can be heard at the link below.  It is very similar to the way I first heard it (which is the way that sounds right to me, of course).  A couple of chords shown below are slightly different, but fit perfectly with the melody.

                                            He Was A Friend of Mine [video]                                         He Was A Friend of Mine [lyrics and chords]



Wikipedia lists 38 recorded covers of this song since it was written in 1924 by jazz pianist Richard M. Jones.  It quickly became a blues standard, and many artists added lyrics of their own.  I have included my favorite verses from a variety of sources in this transcription.  The song can be found in a variety of styles, treatments and chord progressions.  The Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band’s 1987 version is based on the chords shown here.  You can hear this version at the link below.

                                          Trouble In Mind [video]                                                  Trouble In Mind [lyrics and chords]


                                                                                       A FLOWING GLASS I’LL RAISE


I was thinking about our October Second Saturday concert with Bryan Bowers, and remembered Bryan’s lovely rendition of this song (The Lake of Ponchartrain).  The story obviously happens in America, though the song is a staple in the repertoire of many Irish groups, such as the Hothouse Flowers, whose beautiful version can be heard at, or  at the link below.