Booking Through Thursday - Sing, Sing a Song!

Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:

Sing, Sing a Song:

What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love? Why? And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

Now, of course, I have that stupid Carpenter's song running through my head, thanks a lot Deb!

One of my most favorite songwriters of the last 15 years or so is Cheryl Wheeler. She writes funny songs, poignant ones, love songs, breakup songs, songs about her cats - attending one of her concerts is like an emotional Space Mountain ride!

Cheryl wrote one of the best love songs ever - "Gandhi/Buddha." My partner and I sang it to each other at our commitment ceremony. Here's the chorus:

I must have been Gandhi or Buddha
or someone like that.
I must've saved lives by the hundreds everywhere I went.
I must've brought rest to the restless
and fed the hungry too.
I must've done something great…
to get to have you.
At her concerts she sings the alter ego version in addition:
I must have been Hitler or Satan
or someone like that
I must have brought death and destruction
everywhere I went
I must have brought torts to the tortured
Drowned some puppies too
I must have done something BAD to have to have you
See what I mean about Space Mountain?

Another favorite CW song is called "Unworthy." It moves along at a pretty good clip and, as you can see, has lots of words. I love singing this song, though I usually have to untie my tongue when I'm done.

I'm unworthy, no matter what I'm doing,
I should certainly be doing something else.
And it's selfish to be thinking I'm unworthy,
all this me, me, me, me, self, self, self, self, self.
If I'm talking on the phone I should be working on the lawn
which looks disgraceful from the things I haven't done.
If I'm working on the lawn I should be concentrating on
those magazines inside, since I have not read one.

I should learn how to meditate and sew and bake
and dance and paint and sail and make gazpacho.
I should turn my attention to repairing all those
forty year old socks there in that bureau.
I should let someone teach me to run Windows,
and learn French that I can read and write and speak.
I should get life in prison for how I treated my parents
from third grade until last week.

I should spend more time playing with my dog
and much less money on this needless junk I buy.
I should send correspondence back to everyone
who's written, phoned or faxed since junior high.
I should sit with a therapist until I understand
the way I felt back in my mom.
I should quit smoking, drinking, eating, thinking sleeping,
watching TV, writing stupid songs.

I should be less impatient when the line just takes forever
'cause the two cashiers are talking.
I should see what it's like to get up really early rain or shine
and spend three hours walking.
I should know CPR and deep massage
and Braille and sign language
and how to change my oil.
I should go where the situation's desperate and
build and paint and trudge and tote and toil.

I should chant in impossible positions
till my legs appear to not have any bones.
I should rant at the cops and politicians
and the corporations-in indignant tones.
I should save lots of money to leave Audubon,
plus all the rocks and animals and plants.
I should brave possibilities for plotting plums of problems
prob'ly blossomed, plausibly from
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah I'm unworthy.
I also think "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is the most perfect song ever written.


*claire* said...

Hi Terri, I haven't heard of CW either, but I loved reading the Unworthy lyrics.. she's got a great sense of humor! :D

Beth F said...

Too funny. CW is on my list too! Didn't think anyone would have heard of her.

gautami tripathy said...

She is a new one for me too!

My favourite songs

Kat said...

The lyrics of that last song is so powerful! Here's my take.

den said...

"Gandhi/Buddha" sounds really romantic. I'look it up :)

sherry said...

Your comment about "Over the Rainbow" made me think of an old classic that is just perfect in my eyes: "You are my Sunshine." Love it -- love it!

NoBS said...

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" reminds me of "If I Only Had a Brain". I like to sing it with the attitude of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"! Try it. It's hysterical!

Gal Friday said...

Nice to have found another person who likes C.W.--she is a bit of a local around here and I have been lucky enough to have heard/seen her perfrom a few times. A pure, perfect voice, funny as hell("unworthy"! and her sommentary on stage), and writes killer songs. I, too, love "Gandhi/Buddha", as well as "Estate Sale" and "When Fall Comes To New England" among others..
Came here by way of Tea Leaves and have had a good time reading your entries...

Gal Friday said...

er, that's "commentary", NOT sommentary..

Dreamybee said...

Have you ever heard Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"? It's a mix of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World." I normally don't like remixes or anything that messes with a classic, but I really like this combination of these two wonderful songs.

Anonymous said...

Based on the lyrics you posted, I'm definitely going to have to check her out!

I've been looking for a copy of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" because it's glorious--- but I could never spell his name.