The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40846   Message #587114
Posted By: Joe Offer
06-Nov-01 - 08:47 PM
Thread Name: Help: Everything Malvina!
Subject: Lyrics ADD: Malvina Reynolds songs
Here are the lyrics posted at the Malvina Reynolds Website, at the link shown above.
-Joe Offer-

Ear to the Ground Song Lyrics

Check out the Ear to the Ground page at Folkways which has audio for some of the songs. Album Notes: http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=2675

THE ALBATROSS

It is an ancient mariner
Who stoppeth one of three.
He killed the blessed albatross
When he was out to sea,
And the guilt it hangs about his neck,
The same as you and me,
Poor old sailor
Who shot the gentle bird.

I don't know why he shot him,
The silly gooney duck,
But if you shoot an albatross
You sure are out of luck,
For forever, ever, after
It will hang around your neck.
Poor old sailor
Who shot the gentle bird.

I also wear the albatross,
The bird of guilt I bear,
I shafted my best buddy
In a moment of despair,
And the guilt is always with me
In my dreams and everywhere.
Poor old sailor
Who shot the gentle bird.

Yet those that kill their thousands
With napalm in the street,
They live a good respected life
And sleep an easy sleep,
And they'd never shoot an albatross,
It isn't good to eat.
Poor old sailor,
Who shot the gentle bird.

So never kill a gooney bird
Or knife your loving kin,
And never burn a single soul,
Be sure it's more than ten,
And never do a stick-up,
But gouge the world of men,
And leave bad dreams to sailors
Who kill the gentle bird.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1968


BORAXO

Boraxo, Boraxo
The greatest stuff of all,
Boraxo in the bathroom, detergents in the hall,
Your dainty feet don't touch the street
Like people poor and mean,
And your conscience is washed clean
With Boraxo.

Chorus:
It's all right, it's all right,
If you're righteous it's all right,
Tho you've had your hands in blood up to the elbow,
You can always wash them clean with Boraxo.

The cop shot the Rector on the roof,
The cop is clear of blame,
His uniform was spotless,
His rifle was the same.
The coppers carry dark wood clubs
So blood can not be seen
And they always wash them clean
With Boraxo

Chorus

The student is protesting,
The copper clubs his hair,
His head is private property
But no one seems to care,
The happiness he's fighting for
Is earth and life and green,
And it can't be scoured clean
With Boraxo

Chorus

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright 1969 by Schroder Music Co, Renewed 1997


BURY ME IN MY OVERALLS

Bury me in my overalls,
Don't use my gabardines.
Bury me in my overalls
Or in my beat-up jeans.
Give my suit to Uncle Jake,
He can wear it at my wake.
And bury me in my overalls.

The undertaker will get my dough,
The grave will get my bones,
And what is left will have to go
For one of those granite stones,
But this suit cost me two weeks pay
So let it live another day,
And bury me in my overalls.

The grave it is a quiet place,
There is no labor there,
And I will rest more easy
In the clothes I always wear,
This suit was made for warmer climes,
Holidays and happy times,
So bury me in my overalls.

I gave a hand to clear the land
And make the cities rise,
I helped to bring the harvest in
And laid the railroad ties,
I've boomed about from east to west,
It's time I had a little rest,
So bury me in my overalls.

And when I get to heaven
Where they tally work and sin,
They'll open up those pearly gates
And holler, “Come on in!
A working stiff like you, we know,
Has had his share of hell below,
So come to glory in your overalls.”

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company, 1956


CAROLINA COTTON MILL SONG

Oh I love to get into my clean bed
With the sheets so fair and white,
And when I am in my clean bed
I sleep through most of the night,
And my dreams are hardly troubled
By the worrying of my mind
For the workers who die of the brown lung
In the mills of Caroline.

CHORUS Oh the mystical people, they think they are wise,
With the smooth on their faces and stars in their eyes,
But the truths of this system are spoken and sung
By the workers who bear the brown lung.

Oh it's Burlington and Stevens,
And the names we wives know well,
Who advertise the sheets and towels
And give us the old soft sell,
And they'd rather buy the government men
With promotions here and there,
Than pay out company profits
For to clean the cotton mill air.

CHORUS

Oh some people talk of the yin and yang
And walk in a karma daze,
As though the influence of the stars
Could change millowners ways,
But the people who work in the cotton mills
Know how the world is run,
And they need some help of an earthly kind
To live their time in the sun.

CHORUS

Oh the mystics they wear the blue jeans
But their heads are in the stars,
For they do not know how the denim is made
Nor the years of workers' wars.
And my place is not in an ivory tower
Or seeking some power divine,
But it's out on the bricks with the union folks
At the mills in Caroline.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1976


DIALECTIC

It's hard to believe that people live in such palaces,
With fine carved wood and carpets like clouds on the floor,
And ride around in gold-plated automobiles
With a flunky to drive and a flunky to open the door.
It's hard to believe, but people do live that way.
And that's why thousands live on the riverbank
And have hardly enough to eat from day to day.

It's hard to believe that thousands live in such shanties,
Or are jammed into slums where we do not usually go,
And they don't know how they'll make it to the next payday,
If they have a payday, that is, when things get slow.
It's hard to believe, but people do live that way,
And that's why a few live in real palaces,
And cannot spend money as fast as they get it,
No matter how hard they try,
Or how many houses and automobiles they buy.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1960


IT ISN'T NICE

It isn't nice to block the doorway
It isn't nice to go to jail
There are nicer ways to do it
But the nice ways always fail
It isn't nice, it isn't nice
You told us once, you told us twice
But if that is Freedom's price
We don't mind.

It isn't nice to carry banners
Or to sit in on the floor
Or to shout our cry of Freedom
At the hotel and the store
It isn't nice, it isn't nice
You told us once, you told us twice
But if that is Freedom's price
We don't mind.

We have tried negotiations
And the three-man picket line,
Mr. Charlie didn't see us
And he might as well be blind.
Now our new ways aren't nice
When we deal with men of ice,
But if that is Freedom's price
We don't mind.

How about those years of lynchings
And the shot in Evers' back?
Did you say it wasn't proper
Did you stand out on the track?
You were quiet just like mice
Now you say we aren't nice
But if that is Freedom's price
We don't mind.

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright 1964 by Schroder Music Company


THE JUDGE SAID

The judge said, Screw 'em,
Boys, you're only human,
They brought it on themselves
By being born a woman.
Like a mountain's there to climb
And food's there to be eaten,
Woman's there to rape
To be shoved around and beaten.

CHORUS:
The judge took his position,
The judge he wouldn't budge,
So we've got out this petition
And we're going to screw the judge.

Now if you beat a horse or dog
Or violate a bank,
Simonson will haul you in
And throw you in the clink,
But violate a woman,
Your equal and your peer,
The judge will slap you on the wrist
And lay the blame on her.

CHORUS

To draw a true conclusion
From what Simonson has said,
Woman has to live in fear
And cover up her head.
She has to dress in purdah
And lock herself in cages.
And this kinky judge in Madison
Is from the Middle Ages.

NEW CHORUS:
The judge took his position,
The judge he wouldn't budge,
So we've got out this petition
And we're going to dump the judge.

Tune: When Johnny Comes Marching Home.
Words by Malvina Reynolds. Copyright Schroder Music Company 1977


LOOK ON THE SUNNY SIDE

Look on the sunny side,
Sugar's going up,
Sugar it will poison you,
Don't put it in your cup,
Lay off the soda pop.
Don't drink those colas,
They'll eat away your molars
And the googlies and the twinkies
Will put you on the blinkies
Pass 'em by,
Also the pie.

Chorus:

Look on the sunny side,
The sunny honey funny bunny side.

Look on the sunny side,
Gas is out of sight,
Gasoline it fouls the air
And dims the heavenly light,
The blossoms get the blight.
You'll do much better hiking it,
Streaking it or biking it.
If an auto is required
On the job where you've been hired,
Stay at home,
Tell em you're tired.

Chorus

Look on the sunny side,
Your old man left you flat.
Your old man was a nuisance,
He criticized your cat,
He wore your favorite hat.
When you felt like you were dyin
He'd split and leave you cryin,
When you did not need him there,
He'd be crawlin in your hair,
Pass him by,
Also the pie.

Chorus

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Co. 1974


LITTLE BOXES

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same
And there's doctors and lawyers
And business executives
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright 1962, Schroder Music Company


THE LITTLE MOUSE

A little mouse got into the wires
At the central clearing house in Buenos Aires
One little mouse short-circuited the computers,
Says a press dispatch from Reuters
Hooray for the little mouse,
That mucked up the clearing house,
And threw the stock exchange in a spin
And made the bankers cry.
So much for the electronic brains,
That run the world of banks and aeroplanes,
And if one little mouse can set them all awry,
Why not you and I?

Then there was another item in the papers
About a banks computers
That messed up the accounts
So the farmer's checks all bounced,
So his business fell apart.
And it nearly broke his heart.
So he took the bank to court
And they gave him an award
Of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
The bank appealed and on due consideration,
The higher court doubled the compensation.
So if a computer does it to you,
You can sue
Or chew the wires through.

Repeat first verse.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1976


THE LITTLE RED HEN

The little red hen found a grain of wheat,
Said “This looks good enough to eat
But I'll plant it instead, make me some bread,”
Said to the other guys down the street,
“Who will help me plant this wheat?”

Chorus:

“Not I!” said the dog and the cat,
“Not I!” said the mouse and the rat,
“I will then,” said the Little Red Hen,
And she did.

Well the sun shone bright, the rain it blew,
The grain of wheat it grew and grew,
It began to sprout, headed out,
Till it was ripe enough,
Said, “Who will help me harvest this stuff?”

Chorus

She lugged it to the miller to grind to flour,
Cause the others would offer her no manpower,
And at baking time, they all declined
To help her with the job;
They were a dog gone no-good mob.

Chorus

The bread looked good and smelled so fine
The others came running and fell in line;
“We'll do our part with all our heart
To help you eat this chow!”
She said, “I do not need you now.

“I planted and hoed this grain of wheat,
Them that works not, shall not eat,
That's my credo,” the little bird said,
And that's why they called her Red.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1965


MAGIC PENNY

Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away,
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

It's just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won't have any.
Lend it, spend it and you'll have so many
They'll roll all over the floor, for

Chorus

Money's dandy and we like to use it
But love is better if you don't refuse it,
It's a treasure and you'll never lose it
Unless you lock up your door, for

Chorus

So let's go dancing till the break of day
And if there's a piper, we can pay
For love is something if you give it away
You end up having more.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Northern Music Co. 1955, 1958


MARIO'S DUCK

Mario had a little pet duck,
They couldn't afford a dog or a cat,
But a duck needs only scraps to eat,
Though scraps were the family's principal meat.
Mario's father was God knows where.
After a drunk he would stagger in,
Out of work and in despair,
To brood and curse and be gone again.

Mother washed fine clothes every day
For the rich people, for little pay,
Seven kids she raised alone,
And Mario was the youngest one.
This was in Chile some years ago,
When the people were poor as they are now.
Allende tried to change things round
But the CIA's Junta shot him down.

The story that I am telling you
Happened in Chile a while ago,
Mario walking a dusty road
Looking for rags or a scrap of food.
But there as he walked along his way
Somebody's duck that had gone astray
Followed him down around the bend
And took the boy for his brother and friend.

The farmer laughed and let him go,
But Mario's mother said, “Oh no!
We can't afford pets in the barrio.”
“I'll find him his food,” said Mario.
Everyone smiled at the funny two,
The little duck went where the boy would go,
They played all day by the cabin door
And slept on the pallet on the floor

As if there weren't troubles to spare,
Alicia gets pregnant, Alicia the fair,
And how can they marry with no place to go?
There are no more rooms in the barrio.
But mama manages everything,
A wedding dress and a wedding ring.
Two satin sheets that got lost somehow
In the washing, become the wedding gown.

The wedding ring is a silver band
That once graced mamacita's hand,
And a room is made out of boards and tin
Built onto the hut that they all lived in.
The wedding bouquet was Mario's find,
Field flowers of every kind,
Pretty and bright and arranged with taste
To hide Alicia's swelling waist.

And what did they have for the wedding feast
For the bride and the guests and the village priest?
It was Mario's duck, with the feathers gone,
Crowning the table, roasted brown!
What a strange wedding they had that day,
Eating and drinking and all so gay,
And Mario, crying, up in the tree
Throwing rocks at the company.

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1976


THE MONEY CROP

Well money has its own way,
And money has to grow,
It grows on human blood and bone
As any child would know.
It's iron stuff and paper stuff
With no life of its own,
And so it gets its growing sap
From human blood and bone.

Many a child goes hungering
Because the wage is low,
And men die on the battlefield
To make the money grow.
And those that take the money crop
Are avid without end,
They plant it in the tenements
To make it grow again.

The little that they leave for us
It cannot be a seed,
We spend it on the shoddy clothes
And every daily need,
We spend it in a minute,
In an hour it is gone,
To find its way to grow again
On human blood and bone,
Blood and bone.

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright 1966, Schroder Music Co.


ON THE RIM OF THE WORLD

She inches along on the rim of the world,
Always about to go over,
How she can manage I never will know,
To get from one day to the other.
Scrounging a buck or a bed
Or the share of a roof for her head,
This nobody's child, this precarious girl,
Who lives on the rim of the world.

She looks like a princess in somebody's rags,
She dreams of a world without danger,
Climbing a stair to a room of her own
With someone who isn't a stranger,
But now she eats what she can,
And accepts what there is for a man,
This nobody's child, this precarious girl,
Who lives on the rim of the world.

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Co. 1973


ROSIE JANE

This song is addressed to my sisters.
Any man who is present may listen,
Any priest, any public official, any physician.
But it gives him no license to touch us,
We make the decision.
Me and Lydia, Josie and Rosie and Eve,
We handle this matter ourselves, you'd better believe,
Or you'd better leave.

CHORUS

Rosie Jane, are you pregnant again? Rosie Jane,
You can hardly take care of the four you had before.
What in heaven's name were you thinking of!
Rosie Jane, was it love?

I had an extra shot, on top of what I'd got,
In a word I was drunk, so was Bill.
At least I think it was Bill, and I'd forgot to take my pill.
I guess it was God's will.

CHORUS

When that baby is a child, it will suffer from neglect,
Be picked upon and pecked, and run over and wrecked,
And its head will be crowned with the thorn,
But while it's inside her it must remain intact,
And it cannot be murdered till it's born.

CHORUS

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1973


SKAGIT VALLEY FOREVER

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds

There's a fine green valley not far from Vancouver,
Home of the black bear, the marten and the cougar.
It's the tree-rich valley where the Skagit River flows,
A home for God's creatures since Heaven only knows.

CHORUS
Skagit Valley, Skagit Valley,
Ray Williston is selling you away,
Skagit Valley, Skagit Valley,
They would turn you to a mud-pond
To run the Coca-Cola coolers
In Seattle U.S.A.

Well, the parks are getting fewer, the trees are getting thin,
The cities all are reaching out to take the wildwood in,
And the world is getting poorer with every mile they clear
And they'd sell our Skagit acres for five dollars fifty cents a year.

CHORUS

Oh my sisters and my brothers in this shining northern land,
It's time to get together and take each other's hand
And ring around the wilderness to keep the gangs away
Who would ravage our sweet country for a shameful pocketful of pay.

CHORUS
Skagit Valley, Skagit Valley,
No grabber will have you for a prize,
Skagit Valley, Skagit Valley,
We'll let no vandal drown you,
We'll keep you as we found you,
British Columbia's forest paradise.

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1970


THERE'S A BOTTOM BELOW

CHORUS
Do you think you've hit bottom?
Do you think you've hit bottom? Oh no.
There's a bottom below.

There's a low below
The low you know.
You can't imagine
How far you can go
Down.

CHORUS

Every once in a while
You'll rise and glow.
But that's only so
They can let you go
Down.

CHORUS

You sit at a party
And watch the fun,
It don't touch you none
Cause you're off and gone
Down.

CHORUS

There's a nightmare kind
Where you fall and fall
And you wake to find
You haven't been dreaming
At all.

CHORUS

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1970


WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO THE RAIN?

Just a little rain, falling all around,
The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound,
Just a little rain, just a little rain,
What have they done to the rain?

Just a little boy, standing in the rain,
The gentle rain that falls for years,
And the grass is gone, the boy disappears,
And rain keeps falling like helpless tears,
And what have they done to the rain?

Just a little breeze out of the sky,
The leave pat their hands as the breeze goes by,
Just a little breeze with some smoke in its eye,
What have they done to the rain?

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright 1962, Schroder Music Co.


THIS WORLD

Baby, I ain't afraid to die,
It's just that I hate to say goodbye
to this world, this world, this world.
This old world is mean and cruel,
But still I love it like a fool, this world,
this world, this world.

I'd rather go to the corner store
Than sing hosannah on that golden shore,
I'd rather live on Parker Street
Than fly around where the angels meet.
Oh, this old world is all I know,
It's dust to dust when I have to go
from this world, this world, this world.

Somebody else will take my place,
Some other hands, some other face,
Some other eyes will look around
And find the things I've never found
Don't weep for me when I am gone,
Just keep this old world rolling on,
this world, this world, this world.

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright 1961, Schroder Music Co.


WORLD GONE BEAUTIFUL

The world's gone beautiful
Because it's about to die.
I never saw such flower faces
Or so intent a sky.
I never heard such lines
From horns or violins,
Or saw such lavish girls, such dandy boys,
And I know why.
It's that the world is asking not to die.

I never saw such hands
Flexing like silver leaves,
I never knew such air,
Or leaned to so good a breeze.
Even the tears I cry,
They aren't salt but clear,
For seabirds riding the wind, calling their last,
Their wild goodbye.
The world is asking not to die.

I want to hold this world
And never let it go,
I want the sun to always rise
On the kids next door.
Whether I go or stay,
That question still abides,
Posed by rainbows in the river spray.
What answer do you give
A world that asks so bitterly to live?

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
Copyright Schroder Music Company 1969