The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6051   Message #1096330
Posted By: PoppaGator
19-Jan-04 - 11:56 AM
Thread Name: Parting songs
Subject: Lyr Add: LAST CALL (Dave Van Ronk)
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Dave Van Ronk's "Last Call," a favorite of mine. It's on his "Songs for Aging Children" album -- I have a vinyl copy, but haven't had a working turntable for years. I just learned just now that it's also on another DVR album, "Going Back to Brooklyn."

I'm refreshing this old thread rather adding this suggestion to the current (Jan '04) request for a parting song to be sung a a high school graduation. Dave's black-humorous lyrics would NOT be appropriate for teenagers at their commencement ceremony, but they work very well in a barroom setting!

The melody, cadence, and mock-serious cappella delivery suggest that the tune may be not only traditional, but ancient. But then again, it may have been a Dave original that just *sounds* old.

I've found the lyrics easily in the past, via Google search, but had a little more trouble just now. The following verses were quoted "without permission," one at a time, within the text of somebody's on-line short story --- they may or may not comprise the complete song:

LAST CALL (Dave Van Ronk)

And so we've had another night
of poetry and poses,
and each man knows he'll be alone
when the sacred ginmill closes.

And so we'll drink the final glass
each to his joy and sorrow
and hope the numbing drink will last
til opening tomorrow.

And when we stumble back again
like paralytic dancers
each knows the question he must ask
and each man knows the answer.

And so we'll drink the final drink
that cuts the brain in sections
where answers do not signify
and there aren't any questions.

I broke my heart the other day.
It will mend again tomorrow.
If I'd been drunk when I was born
I'd be ignorant of sorrow.

And so we'll drink the final toast
that never can be spoken:
Here's to the heart that is wise enough
to know when it's better off broken.