Sunday, January 30, 1972

American Gothic

Mrs. Molly Jenkins
Sells her wares in town,
Saturdays in the evening,
When the farmhands come around,
And she sows all their names in her gown.

     Ah, but is she happy?
     No, no, no, she wants a better home,
     And a better kind of life.
     But how is she going to get the things she wants, the things she needs,
     As some poor wretch of a farmer’s wife?

He trades the milk for booze,
And Molly wants new shoes,
And as she snuggles down with a stranger
In some back of the bar-room bed,
It’s much to dark to see the stranger,
So she thinks of shoes instead.

Old man Horace Jenkins
Stays at home to tend his schemes,
Sends for pictures of black stockings
On paper legs with paper seams,
And he drinks 'til he drowns in his dreams.

     Ah, but is he happy?
     No, no, no, he wants to be reborn,
     To lead the pious life.
     But how is he going to shed his boozy dreams,
     When he has to bear the cross of a wicked wife?

She claims to visit shows,
And he pretends that’s where she goes.
And as he snuggles down to his reading
In a half-filled marriage bed,
He’s so ashamed of what he’s reading
That he gets blind drunk instead.

Sunday breakfast with the Jenkins:
They break the bread and cannot speak.
She reads the rustling of his paper;
He reads the way her new shoes squeak,
And prays God to survive one more week.

     Ah but are they happy?
     You’d be surprised:
     Between the bed and the booze and the shoes
     They suffer least who suffer what they choose.


Intro and A minor pattern


Am | - | - | - | - | - | -
Dm6/b-Dm6/c | Dm6-Em | Am | - |
Cm/g | Bb/f | Ab/eb | Ebsus2
Cm/g | Bb/f | Ab/eb | Ebsus2
G | - | F | -
Dm | - | Cm | -
Dm | - | Cm-Fmaj7-E | Am

Saturday, January 29, 1972

Love's Enough

Every time you fall in love,
That’s the best time of all.
It’s holding sunshine in your hands,
It’s heaven come to call.
And you wonder, will it last forever?
And you try to keep tomorrow locked away.
‘Cause tomorrow is forever,
And love’s enough for anyone today.

Every time you fall in love,
That’s the only time it’s real.
And that girl is the only girl,
Who shares the way you feel
And you wonder how you lived without her,
And you tell yourself she’ll never go away.
‘Cause without her there’s no living,
And love’s enough for anyone today.

     Love’s enough
     To find your heart and lose it,
     To see the doubt and choose it
     Over knowing how or when.
     Love’s enough,
     To know if she’d refuse it
     You’d take what’s left and try your luck again

‘Cause every time you fall in love,
That’s the one and only time.
It’s living through the final verse
Of a wan and lonely rhyme
‘Cause you know this one will last forever,
And you turn and watch tomorrow drift away.
‘Cause tomorrow is forever,
 And love’s enough for anyone today.


For guitar players, I would suggest playing it either in C with a capo on the third fret or in D with a capo in the first fret. The cover by Dutch singer Ricky Koole is in C, but with a capo on I. When I write a 9 chord, by the way, it mostly means simply: add the 2nd (e.g., an F with a g in it).

In C (as in the Ricky Koole version):

Bb9       F9/a
x            x
1            1
0            0
3 (or 2)  3
1            0
x             x


C | Bb9 | F9/a | C(-G7)
C | Bb9 | F9/a | C
F | C | D7sus4 | G7sus4
C | Bb9 | F-G | C


Am | Am/g# | Am/g | D9/f# | 
D9/f | C | D9 | G7sus4

In D:

C9    G9/b
0        3 (or x)
3        3
2        2
0        0
3        2
x        x


D | C9 | G9/b | D(-A7)
D | C9 | G9/b | D
G | D | E7sus4 | A7sus4
D | C9 | G-A | D


Bm | Bm/a# | Bm/a | E9/g# | 
E9/f | D | E9 | A7sus4

Chords as played on the record:


Eb | Db9 | Ab9/c | Eb-Bb7
Eb | Db9 | Ab9/c | Eb
Ab | Eb | F7sus4 | Bb7sus4
Eb | Db9 | Ab - Bb | Eb


Cm | Cm/b# | Cm/bb | F9/a |
F9/ab | Eb | F9 | Bb7sus4

Intro for guitar

Some of the notes have been left out to accomodate the conversion to guitar. Capo on the first fret again.


Intro for piano

Friday, January 28, 1972

Ballad of the Ship of State

Is this ship going home?
Will you take some old young men for crew?
We left our flag in tatters,
Where it fell along the shore.
They said a flag´s what matters,
But nothing matters anymore.
´Cause you're ten years overdue, ten years.

Do you have some room within your hold.
For some friends of ours, who won't be growing old?
Why won't you answer us? Why aren't we told?
Is this ship going home?

     Listen all of you, shut up and listen to me!
     You don't have to shout, we hear you.
     You don't have to wave, we see.
     It's just that we're very surprised,
     To find you alive.
     We were told there was nothing going on,
     And that all of you'd gone.'

Is this ship going home?
You must have room, we are so few.
Ten years we've stood here waiting,
For a ship to hove in view.
We will have no more of waiting,
Tell the captain, tell the crew,
That they're ten years overdue, ten years.

     Listen all of you, shut up and listen to me.
     The captain is locked in his quarters.
     He's busy and can't be disturbed,
     And as for the crew,
     I'd watch out, were I you,
     For we can't keep their appetites curbed,
     No, we can't keep their appetites curbed.

Is this ship going...

     Please, please, get up off your knees,
     You must see it's better this way
     You were such doughty fellows,
     While fighting the yellows
     That they might even ask you to stay,
     Yes, they might even ask you to stay.
     Don't you get the idea?
     You're much better off here.
     You're not welcome at home anymore,
     'Cause we're all so bored with the war.
     Cast off, Mister Mate!

Is this ship going home?


A wonderful showcase of Ackles' ability to incorporate multiple voices in a single song, to great dramatic and ironic effect.

Thursday, January 27, 1972

One Night Stand

Well good morning,
How you doing honey?
I’ve got to tell you,
I never met a girl so funny,
I wish it wasn’t a one night stand.

You know you’re quite a girl,
You sure are pretty;
With just you in it,
This is one fine city.
I wish it wasn’t a one night stand.

     But I’ve got to be in Buffalo by eight a clock tonight,
     Playing in some two-bit dive,
     Selling little bits of my soul for eighty bucks a week;
     Ah hell it keeps the rest of me alive.

But I’d sure like to stay
And get to know you better
I’d say I’ll write
But you’d never get a letter.
I wish it wasn’t a one night stand.

     Hey, why don’t you take off work and let’s go for a ride,
     Some place special just for us.
     We could take along a pick-nick and find a place to hide.
     Yeah, I know, I’ve got to catch a bus.

Well, it’s sure been nice,
I might even miss you.
Hey, what’s your name?
Come here, I’m gonna kiss you.
I wish it wasn’t a one night stand.




Dsus2-D | Dmaj7-D
Csus2-C | Cmaj7-C
Asus4-A | Gsus4-G | D


F | Dsus2
F (sus2)| Asus4-A

Fingerpicking verse arrangement:

Chords as played:


Ebsus2-Eb | Ebmaj7-Eb |
Dbsus2-Db | Dbmaj7-Db
Bbsus4-Bb | Absus4-Ab | Eb


F# | Dbsus2
F# | Bbsus4-Bb

Wednesday, January 26, 1972

Oh, California!

I’ve been North and East and South.
Which one is the best?
I found people are the same all over,
But the sunshine’s in the West.

I warn ya',
I’m coming back to California.
Lend me a shack and I’ll perform you
All kinds of happy songs to ease your pain.
Think of all we will gain.
We’ll be sunny until it starts to rain.

Let me inform ya':
I’m coming home to California.
Concrete and chromium adorn ya',
Land of MacDonald’s and the Ice Capades.
Think of all the blonde braids.
We’ll be happy behind the rose-colored shades.

     They say it’s the wave of the future,
     But the future’s looking grim.
     ‘Cause when the oil meets the redwoods,
     And the sun grows dim.

Then I can warn ya',
We’re all gonna live in California,
Wherever you live is California,
Where the road of tomorrow is a dead-end doubt.
If we won’t change the route,
Let’s be happy, until the sun goes out.

Tuesday, January 25, 1972

Another Friday Night

Another Friday night,
Guess I’ll put a clean shirt on
And hitch a ride to town.
No more work for two whole days,
There’s no point hanging around.
Working on the road,
I sweat and ache and cuss the pain,
But it sure does pass the time.
Two days free and all I see
Are the same old walls to climb.

Guess I could fall by Moreau’s Bar,
And maybe borrow Jack’s guitar,
And find a girl to sing to,
Lord knows she’s what I’m longing.
Hey who am I kidding, she can’t be
The sort of girl who’ll wait for me
In Sunday laces,
In the kind of places
I belong in.

     But I hold on to my dreams anyway,
     I’ll never let them die.
     They keep me going through the bad times,
     While I dream of the good times coming by.

Ten years out from home,
I joined the circus, worked the fields.
But I never saved a dime,
Never stayed in one place long,
'Less I was doing time.
Looking for my life,
I thought I’d found it once or twice,
But it turned out I was wrong.
Heard the music and learned to dance
To someone else’s song.

I’ve had men tell me, be content
To spend your life for food and rent
And give up trying
They say life’s a dying jailor.
I just tell them, I do alright.
Still it’s rough on Friday night.
When there’s time for thinking
I spend it drinking
Up my failure.

     But I hold on to my dreams anyway,
     I’ll never let them die.
     They keep me going through the bad times,
     While I dream of the good times coming by.


This song is originally in Bb. On the guitar I would suggest a capo on the 3rd fret and the following chords.


G | - | Am | - (a-b-c)
C | G/b | Am | D
G | - | Am | - (a-b-c)
C | G/b | Am | D

F9 (maj7sus2) | C| F9 | Dsus4
Gsus4-G | F9 | D7
F9 | C | Fs9 | Dsus4
Gsus4-G | F9 | D7 (d-e-f#-g)


G | C | G | G7 (g-a-b-c)
C7 | C/b | Am7 | Am7 (e-g-a-c-d-e-d)
G | G/f# | Em | Em
D | D | C | D | G


Monday, January 24, 1972

Family Band

I remember the songs
We sang Sunday evening,
In a white church in a green time,
When faith was strong.

When my dad played the bass
And mum played the drums
And I played the piano,
And Jesus sang the song.

     Now those small town days have come and gone,
     And sometimes my faith grows weak.
     Ah but still every time I hear those songs,
     I hear my old friend Jesus speak

And I will cherish the faith
In the songs we knew then,
Till we all sing together
Till we all sing together
Till we sing them together again


The piano intro is in Eb and 4/4, the rest of the song in F and 3/4. For guitar players I would suggest dropping the intro and playing it either in the original key of F or with a capo on the fifth fret and the following chords:


C | G/b | Am | C/g
F | Dsus2 | G | G
C | G/b | Am | C/g
F | G | F (f-e-d-c) |C (c-b-a-g)

G| F | G | G (g-a-b-c)
C | F | C | E
Am | C/g | F | F
D | D | G | G (g-a-b-c)

C | G/b | Am | C/g
F | G | C (c/b/bb/a) | A7
Dm | G | F (f-e-d-c) | C (c-b-a-g)


Sunday, January 23, 1972

Midnight Carousel

She hears the beckoning call of night,
Neon fingers touching her with light,
And she runs to join the movers
On the minight carousel,
Calling 'faster' to a barker
She knows all too well.

     Hey girl, you best slow down,
     You'll lose your good name in town.
     All of God's children home in bed
     And you're out lookin' for a man in red.

She feels the wind of summer dark,
Rolling down the alleys of her heart.
As she turns to join the dancers
He is waiting in the line,
Staring at her soul and claiming
'You are mine'.

     Hey girl, you best go way,
     Leave the dark, leave today.
     All of God's children home in bed
     And you're out running with a man in red.

Yes, I know, I know it's true:
You are wise but I'm not you.
I am flame, and lightning, and the stars.
Let me burn up in the night-time,
In the spring time of my years:
I will not bear your pain of guilt
Or wear your tears.'

She feels his hands upon her face.
He leads her dancing from this place.
To a field of nightly revels
Where the caller plants the seed,
She burns her world behind her,
He is all she needs.

     Hey girl, you can't go home,
     Leave your good folks alone.
     All of God's children home in bed
     And your out sinnin' with a men in red.

When they knew all their fields were sown,
He left her by the road alone.
But that road was going somewhere
Worth the price there was to pay.
Now, she waits for morning
To be on her way.

     Hey girl, we told you so:
     Strangers come and strangers go.
     While good girls were home in bed,
     You were taken by a men in red.

Yes, I know, I know it's true:
You are wise but I'm not you.
I am flame, and lightning, and the stars.


Thanks to Bernard Gates!

Intro indeterminate in metre and key! (C)

Verse 1 indeterminate, C descending to Bb twice, then at ‘And she runs . . .’:

F7 l D/e l G/eb l D


D l D l C/d G/d D l A7/d D l D

Verse 2 indeterminate, Dd descending to Cb twicw, then at ‘As she turns . . .’:

Gb7 l Eb/f l Bb/fb l Eb


Eb l Eb l Db/eb Ab/eb Db l Bb7/eb Eb l Eb

Bridge (‘Yes I know . . .’)

D l Dm7 (modal) l D

Cm7 Bb aug (whole-tone) l Eb l Eb/d l Eb/c

Bb l Ab l Eb/g l Ebm/gb

(link) Fm7 for 4 bars (modal)

Verse 3/chorus and Verse 4/chorus follow the same pattern as Verses 1 and 2

Coda (bridge)

D l Dm7 l D

Cm7 l Bb aug l Eb l Eb/d l Eb/c l Bb (Eb to Bb like an ‘amen’ plagal cadence in Bb!)


Haven't got round to the music for this, which is quite complex, but what a song it is. Always reminds me of Kerouac writing that

'the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"'

On a side-note, it also brings to mind the immortal ending of the Diamond Sutra, though I guess the similar imagery (star, lightning, flame) is probably coincidental:

'Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud;
A flickering candle, a phantom, and a dream.'

Saturday, January 22, 1972

Waiting for the Moving Van

Standing on the front-porch of the old frame house in town,
In another day or two it all starts coming down.
I wonder what they'll do about the oak tree with the swing.
I never built the tree house but I had plans, for so many things
I am trying not to think of while I can,
Waiting for the moving van to come.

The front door has that noisy hinge I never did repair.
You used to hear it late at night and meet me on the stair.
Well I work the daylight now, I'm always home by six.
Now there's lots of time, and nothing left to fix,
Except the things I am trying not to think of, while I can,
Waiting for the moving van to come.

     It's almost summer here,
     Our favorite time of year.
     Hey, didn't we love to hear
     The children play.
     We had some happy times.
     Ten years is so much time.
     You'd think we both could
     Find a way.

No I won't get maudlin. It's just being here alone.
It took some getting used to, but I like it on my own.
I just wish they'd get here soon, I have so much work to do,
Plans to make and a whole new life to think about. But you,
I am trying not to think of while I can,
Waiting for the moving van to come.



C | Bbsus2 | F | G


C | G/b |  G/bb | A7sus4-A7 (c#-d-e-f)
Dm | Dm/c | Dm/b | G (g-a-b-e)
Em | Em | F | F
Em | Em | F | F
F6 | C6/e| Dm | Dm (d-e-f)
F | G


F F6 | F7 F6 | F F6 | F7 F6
F F6 | F7 F6 | G | G
F F6 | F7 F6 | F F6 | F7 F
F F6 | F7 F6 | G | G


Friday, January 21, 1972

Blues for Billy Whitecloud

Billy Whitecloud works for peanuts.
Give him peanuts, he goes wild.
Sweeps the market, keeps the sweepings,
Takes them home to his wife and child.
Hey Billy, don't be blue,
Lots of richer people envy you.

Billy Whitecloud went to high school
Learned to read and write real good.
Then he left the reservation
To find a job. He knew he would.

     He went to the city
     Where the people are nice.
     They sent him around to the backdoor
     And they gave him advice.
     They told him, 'No, Billy. No, no,
     You gotta go slow, Billy, slow. slow
     You know we like you fine,
     But if you step out of line,
     You beter go, go Billy Go, go.'

Billy Whitecloud took to drinking,
Spent his cash on low-grade rye.
Can't afford to buy a blanket.
He don't like it but he don't cry.
Hey Billy, don't be sad,
For an Indian it not so bad.

Billy Whitecloud, last December,
Went and made a first-class bomb.
Bombed the high-school. When we found him,
He was dancing on his tom-tom.
Hey Billy, don't be sore,
What you wanna go and do that,
Do that, do that, do that for?'

Thursday, January 20, 1972

Montana Song

I went out to Montana
With a bible on my arm,
Looking for my fathers,
On a long-abandoned farm,
And I found what I came looking for.

I drove into a churchyard
Of what used to be the town;
Walked along a cow-path,
Through the fences falling down,
'Til I found what I came looking for.

Through the dust of summer noons
Over grass long dying,
To read the stone and lumber runes,
Where my past was lying.
High among hill-sides and wind-mill bones,
Soft among oak trees and chimney stones,
Blew the wind that I came looking for.

And the wind blew over the dry land,
And dusted my city soul clean,
To read in my great-grand-father's hand
From his Bible newly seen:

     Born James McKennon, 1862,
     Married Leantha, 1884.
     Two sons, born in Montana,
     Praise the Lord!

The gentle wind
Of passing time
Blows the Bible pages,
And took my hand
And had me climb
Closer to the ages.

The picket fence, the lattice frame,
The garden gone to seed,
Leantha with the fragile name,
Defying place and need,
Declares this bit of prairie 'tame',
And sees her fingers bleed;
And knows her sons won't live the same,
But she must live her creed.

The fallen barn, the broken plough,
The hoofprint-hardened clay.
Where is the farmer now,
Who built his dream this way?
Who felled the tree and cut the bough,
And made the land obey.
Who taught his sons as he knew how,
But could not make them stay.
Who watched until the darkness fell,
To know the boys were gone,
And never loved the land so well
From that day on.

'Father James,' they wrote him,
Each a letter once a year.
Words of change that broke him
With the new age that was here,
And the new world they'd gone looking for.

The clouds arose
Like phantom herds
And by the dappled lighting
I read again
The last few words
In a woman's writing:

     March first, 1921,
     Last night papa died.
     Left one plough, a horse, his gun,
     This Bible, and his bride.

The long grass moved beside me
In the gentle summer rain,
And made a path to guide me
To a sudden mound of grain:

     A man and wife are buried here,
     Children to the land,
     With young green tendrils in her hair
     And seedlings in his hand.

I went out to Montana,
With a Bible on my arm,
Looking for my fathers,
On a long-abandoned farm,
And I found what I came looking for.