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ADD: Flight 641 - songs by Lawrence Hammond

GUEST,stevenmcnight 17 Aug 09 - 11:04 PM
GUEST,stevenmcnight 17 Aug 09 - 12:17 AM
Beer 03 Aug 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Seth from Olympia 03 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,John 02 Aug 09 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,brdalton 22 Jul 09 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,brdalton 21 Jul 09 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,John 17 Jul 09 - 02:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jul 09 - 10:09 PM
GUEST,Siennna Tenayo 13 Jul 09 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Seth from Olympia 12 Jul 09 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Barbara Lee Laughton 12 Jul 09 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,sienna tenayo 08 Jul 09 - 01:57 AM
GUEST,Max R 01 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,lemondracer 06 Jul 08 - 02:09 AM
Peace 15 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Karl 15 Jan 08 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,correction 28 Feb 06 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,I saw him live 28 Feb 06 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,lemondracer 05 Feb 06 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Dale 05 Feb 06 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,lemondracer 05 Feb 06 - 04:59 AM
Dale Rose 02 Nov 00 - 08:48 PM
Seth 02 Nov 00 - 07:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,stevenmcnight
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 11:04 PM

CORRECTION: The gig in question was actually at The Boarding House, not the Drinking Gourd.Gettin' old! lousy memory for names

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,stevenmcnight
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:17 AM

I heard LH and his band in about 1976 at The Drinking Gourd in San Francisco. I cannot even remember who he opened for, but he stole the show I thought then. I particularly remember "Tornado's Coming Down" and him taking the encore with a solo version of "Dustcloud" There was that pause after a song ends and before the applause where an audience lets you know something extraordinary is still sinking in. I saw him again hunched over a guitar off the wall at McCabe's guitar store writing down words to a song and playing a phrase over and over. The guy could really play. I believe he was with the same woman the other posts mention above, she did have almost white hair and dark skin, wore a bunch of bracelets, and they spoke Spanish to each other, which is interesting, since a lot of his stuff has a Mexican ranchero feel to it. (This lady seemed to have a real love of music. I wonder if they are still together?). I was surprised some years later to hear Larry Sparks and then The Judds do "John Deere Tractor" It seemed they took a fast and sort of ironic song, and changed the chords all around, then made it slow and sad (try Larry Sparks on youtube). I am pretty sure LH never sang the song that way. I think the best recording of this song is on Larry Sparks album "40" where Allison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, and Stuart Duncan do harmonies and fiddle.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: Beer
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 07:02 AM

Fascinating thread to read.
Seth, there is a thread called "Little known '60s Folk Singers" that has about 700 hits. If you haven't already, you should have a look and maybe you will find other lost friends and memories.
Beer (adrien)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Seth from Olympia
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM

I wonder how many other people saw and heard him at Freight and Salvage? That was a great little coffeehouse, wasn't it? I saw a lot of artists there: Rosalie Sorrells, Laurie Lewis,Kathy Kallick, Mance Lipscomb and LH. I got my nose open, that's no lie, and my ears too. Now I find I still grab anything by these artists that I can find. It occurs to me that LH was in another band called"Mad River" and they put out an album, not as good as his solo one, but there was a great song on on it that he used to do about being a counterfeiter with a press that was " crankin' out those twenty dollar bills" Maybe we were all there on the same night. My wife and I always sat at a table (did they even have tables?) toward the back. I was the guy with the long hair, beard and glasses who didn't have a guitar.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,John
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 07:50 PM

To brdalton-Many thanks! I've tried transposing your chords to B and playing along with the record--you are very close. a whole lot closer than I was!--but he is doing something a little different. Still your arrangement is a tremendous improvement over mine, so thank you. This song is wonderful, but it has been driving me nuts and I truly appreciate your help. PS--Hammond certainly loved using diminished chords (Trucker's nightmare for example). I wonder, given your experience of him in concert, if he also slack-keyed his guitar?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,brdalton
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 04:09 AM

oops. think I messed up on those chords. I think its Em--Fmaj7--C--C#dimin--A7--Dm--Bflat--D7--G7 then back to verse in C.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,brdalton
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 03:21 AM

I saw this man perform @UCSD in about spring of 1976, solo, never having heard of him before. One song called "Little Britches Rodeo" really stood out for storytelling. I bought his LP. The following day I noticed him sitting with a woman in a cafe and approached him to say I had enjoyed his performance. He was kind enough to invite me to join them for a beer. He seemed disinclined to talk much about music and most of the discussion, as I remember it, was about the health situation in East Africa. He and the lady spoke in Spanish together (his wife maybe?) and I believe she was a medical professional who travelled in an international role. LH did write out the chords to the rodeo song for me before I left but it seems it was never recorded, and I can't remember the melody.Does anyone know this song? It whould rank right up with the best coyboy ballads.

On the "Coyote's Dream" record it sounds like "The Legend of the Pale-eyed companion" is in the key of B, but when I watched him play it I am pretty sure he played it in C. Working out the middle bridge from the record on the piano, the chords would be: Em--Fmajor7--C--C#dimin--Dm-Bflat--Bflat--D7--G--then back to the verse in C. I am pretty sure this is right..His melodies and chord progressions were always adventurous. Does anyone know who put up the My Space webpage?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,John
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 02:28 PM

I was looking for the chords to "the legend of the pale-eyed companion" and came across this thread. I too became a fan of LH when he played the old Freight and Salvage (when it was north of University on San Pablo Ave). I never understood why he was not more popular--his lyrics were powerful, his melodies unusual and his chord changes a whole lot more complex than most of his contemporaries. At one memorable performance he was accompanied by a woman flautist who did some spectacular solos both on pale-eyed companion and on "Tornado's comin' down--I swear that when she played, the lights in the place changed to that pale-green you don't want to see if you are in tornado country! I am happy to hear that he landed well. If anyone knows the changes LH used on pale-eyed companion, especially in the bridge with the cow-bells, I'd be much obliged.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 10:09 PM

Would very much appreciate lyrics to Coyote's Dream.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Siennna Tenayo
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 04:23 PM

Papa Redwing started something like:

Well the redwing's call
got 67 different notes in all
When I hear that song I wanta flap my hands along.

I'm ..........(don't know this line)
seems like it ain't for the crops
it's so the damn backbirds get something to eat.

But I'm goin' to fly away
Papa Redwing's goin' to lead my way

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Seth from Olympia
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 09:58 PM

I'm "seth from China" ten years on. Came back from two years teaching 5th and 6th graders English at a private school in Henan Province. I used a banjo ( of which there are almost none in that area) to teach them lots of songs. We covered the range of American music from Woody to Nat King Cole and everything in between. We made a whole class production based on " Coat of Many Colors", " It Should have been Me", "Dream of a Miner's Child" and "Straighten Up and Fly Right". Far and away the best job I ever had.
I also saw LH at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley in the mid 70's and really loved his stuff. Been carrying Coyote's Dream around with me all these years. I knew that " Take This Plane..." was not on a record, Now I'm looking for another song that I only heard him sing once called "Papa Redwing"
It's slow rainy Sunday here in Olympia. I was really tickled to find this thread today.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Barbara Lee Laughton
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 07:24 PM

Wow! I stumbled on this thread while looking for a replacement vinyl disc for my worn-out copy of "Coyote's Dream." In 1977 or so, I think after he had dissolved the band he had been playing with I saw him play 2 sets in Boston. He sang a song about a kid in a rodeo ("Little Britches Rodeo?") and "Tumbleweed Plantation," a song about a ranch women who dies in an accident ("Nevada something") and "Coyote's Dream" as well as "Take this Plane to Heaven Cried the Stranger with the Gun." He ended with "Coyote's Dream." I bought a copy of that LP which became one of my favorites. In 1985 I became quite ill and landed in the hospital in Boston. My resident doctor from Harvard looked sort of familiar, but I was too sick to make the connection to his nametag until I started to get better. When I mustered the courage to ask him if he was the same one, sort of laughed and rolled his eyes and said, "yes, but that was a lifetime ago." He took great care of me then, and I always wondered what became of him.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,sienna tenayo
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 01:57 AM

2nd verse of Lawrence Hammond's "TUMBLEWEED PLANTATION," as I remember it, went:

When she ran away I could not get my forward gears a-turnin
I just lay out on my bed and heard that highway pass me by.
Lookin for my darlin through the brown glass of a bottle
with my fingers 'round the bedpost rail and teardrops in my eyes

Now they say a sorrowin man should give his mind some occupation
so with a schoolbus full of laughin kids I drive until I'm blind
But the nighttime brings me emptiness, and there's no consolation
In last week's Reno papers and California wine

We heard him sing this at some club in LA in about 1975 or 76. He was with a bunch of friends from Mexico, 2 of which got up and and sang backup on "Flight 641" (and played mandolin and bass. He sang about 2 or 3 songs in Spanish and left with a interesting looking young woman with almost white hair and dark skin. He was kind enough to scribble out some words to "Tumbleweed" for us after he sang and I learned that song after a fashion.

Where is this guy now?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Max R
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM

"By day I drive a school bus in Elko, Nevada
I used to deal out blackjack at the Desert Jewel Cafe
got a shack outside of town where the dry wash meets the highway
there my poor heart's achin' for my flow'r that's blown away

As the cards fell from my hands I'd watch her face and she'd be smilin
servin coffee to them drivers on the Frisco-Denver run
but when some Nevada tumbleweed stole away my darlin
I could not finf a reason in this world for keepin on

I'm the cold coyote master of a tumbleweed plantation
I'd have made this dry ravine a garden if she'd been my wife
and when thwe cold wind drives the snow down from the mountain 'cross the basin
I know that this old desert's just as lonely as my life"

(I forget the next verse -)

"....looking for my darlin in the brown glass of a bottle
with my fingers round the bedpost rail and teardrops in my eyes

I'm the cold coyote master of a tumbleweed plantation
I should quit this town tomorrow, leave the past and turn the page
but I guess I've just decided, Lord, I'm here for the duration
til my life becomes a desert wind that blows across the sage"

-I met LH in Berkeley in 1971 at the F&S. I was 20. I had just sung a song I'd learned from a Mad River album (Cherokee Queen). I got off the stage and was approached by a rather beautiful woman who said her "old man" (was a standard phrase at the time) had sung the song on the record and was going to stop by the Freight later that evening.

He did, he played Flight 641 and another good song "Pale-Eyed Companion", and the "Tumbleweed Plantation" I wrote down above, which he taught to me at his home on Milvia St. a day or two later when I stopped by for a hero-worship opportunity. He couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years older than me - but way out of my league as musician and esp. songwriter.

"You gotta be able to play it in your sleep"

Well, I'll check out the MySpace link sometime soon.

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Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,lemondracer
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 02:09 AM

check out Lawrence Hammond at My music. Site has a couple of unreleased tunes on it, including "Texas Fiddler" which has an opening recording glitch I think, and "Nevada McCloud." Some great
instrumental work, wonder who is playing and when the recordings were made.

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Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: Peace
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM

coyotes dream - all music guide review

Not a very well known entity in the Takoma catalog, this LP is a solo outing by a singer, songwriter and picker who had previously been involved with a psychedelic country combo based originally out of Antioch, Mad River. The Ohio group predictably flowed its way onto the San Francisco scene during an era when hippies and more importantly hippie musicians embraced country and western.

The music of this cultural fusion was well documented and includes some famous masterpieces. Despite some obvious drawbacks, Coyote's Dream rates right up there with any great country rock moment, sometimes even surpassing the threshold with a track such as "Trucker's Nightmare", a superb, hard-edged ditty that doesn't appear to have ever been included on any of the numerous compilation sets devoted to songs about truckers.

Ignoring this album may have been something of a religion, yet certain listeners seem to cling to it. For example, a highly accomplished steel guitarist carefully copied the vinyl to distribute in burned CD form to other prospective fans, complete with hand-drawn cover and notes in which no knowledge of any particular sidemen accompanying Lawrence Hammond is admitted. Actually some of the sidemen are the same dudes who played on similar material from the period that achieved much more commercial success, particularly fiddler Byron Berline. The fine pedal steel player is Bill Weingarden.

Hammond`s singing style may have been one of the problems if reactions of music critics can be trusted, not always the right philosophy but basically considered reasonable in this case following careful comparison of said voice and said criticism. Yes, "a voice to crisp an aardvark's nose-hairs" is a little mean. Meanness may be excused as a reaction, however, after absorbing a few of the man's stylistic mannerisms, among them a falsetto maneuver as uncomfortable as someone unwanted sitting down at a campfire.

"I spent the entire album listening to each word, waiting for another one of those falsettos in sheer dread" commented a member of the network that had received dubs of the project as a further distribution of the steel guitarist's original donation. The reactions of a varied group of enthusiastic music listeners is interesting in any case, demonstrating the great appeal of this LP as clearly as it underscores the frightening aspects of Hammond vocalizing.

A critic who had always seemed kind of kinky--yet an expert in country and western of all sorts nonetheless--admitted that he had become a prisoner of the first track, unable to proceed further, not out of dislike but the total opposite. Feelings like this about a song entitled "George Gudger's Overalls will not seem extreme to anyone who has experienced the song itself. It is one of the few songs in the history of music about a pair of pants and if that is not enough includes a round of indecent exposure at close, the songwriter coming up with good rhymes for both "in the raw" and "in the nude."

Another reaction touches on lyrics as well, speculating whether even the great Roger Miller had managed to come up with a rhyme based on the name of union thug Jimmy Hoffa. Unfortunately the latter listener became more enamored with Hammond than emotionally healthy, lapsing into a severe depression when nobody actually showed up to "sit a spell" and "drink a few" as promised in an endearing portrait of "Uncle John Mills".

Not exactly sure of what to make of the following reaction, it is included because of the relevant reference to twangy guitars, a really attractive part of the entire album: "Hey this was the first thing I listened to after replacing one of my headphone earpieces with a wad of scotch tape. I am not sure what happened to the earpiece, I think it got dragged the length of the corridor in a hotel on a marble floor. Anyway I like the scotch tape better, it twitches and tickles my ears when the guitars are twangy, I like it so much I am going to revisit my entire country collection."

The record also sounded good to a film projectionist who while not admitting it actually was experiencing even worse playback deficiencies then the aforementioned head-taper, as opposed to home-taper. "I had the soundtrack to Exodus playing in the background, it sometimes drowned out the Coyote`s Dreams." Finding a copy to form an individual judgement in pristine audio conditions will no doubt take longer than listening, the album features only eight songs and lasts just a bit longer than a half hour. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

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Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,Karl
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 12:28 AM

This sure takes me back! My friends and I were Lawrence Hammond fans back in the mid 70s. When Lawrence Hammond and the Whiplash Band played at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, we were there. When their album, "Coyote's Dream", came out, my girlfriend bought a copy. Sadly, when we split, I had no copy! I've seen it on eBay, but never bid high enough.

In the later 70s, Lawrence left music, as Lemondracer says. At age 30, I found myself once again a student, at Merritt College in Oakland. At the first meeting of my Math class, I saw a vaguely familiar face. Turned out it was LH, also in his 30s and starting back to school, aiming at pre-med.

We developed a casual acquaintance, stopped and chatted when we ran into each other over the next few quarters, then both transferred to other colleges. I'm glad to hear he got his MD. Harvard, yet! Yes, a very talented guy who deserved a better reception in music.

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Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,correction
Date: 28 Feb 06 - 11:24 PM

should be

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Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,I saw him live
Date: 28 Feb 06 - 11:23 PM

Lawrence Hammond was a very talented writer / singer. I saw him live in the late 60's / early 70's in San Francisco and he let us record this song on a reel to reel in a club one night. God knows where it is now. I am not surprised that he went on to become a physician. A very talented man.

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Subject: Lyr Add: SAN CARLOS (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,lemondracer
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 06:49 AM

Here's another little-known Hammond saga that seems to belong together with Legend of the Pale-Eyed Companion.
(called San Carlos, or San Carlos Fiesta, I think it was written when he lived in New Mex (Silver City?)

(Lawrence Hammond)

Fall came early that year in the Sangre de Cristos.
The snow on the mountaintop gleamed in the moon cold and clear.
The 13th of August the sly full of geese heading homeward.
And the wolves ranged the lowlands stalking the young running deer.

In the corral that morning I was breaking the buckskin caballo.
The heat of his breath it smoked in the cold mountain air.
Consuela in the kitchen, baking bread for San Carlos Fiesta.
And in the sunlight by the doorway my little Carlito played there.

"Daddy, come quick! A big kitty, Que Gatito Grande!"
His little voice filled up with laughter as he called me once more.
Then a scream cut the hillside 'til the pinion nuts broke from the branches.
As the buckskin shied madly I raced down to my cabin door.

Consuela ran crying, her shawl streaming down the barranca.
The lion that took my Carlito, he crested the hill.
There he turned, there he dropped him and his snarl echoed round the montana.
He was gone in a heartbeat, but my treasure lay broken and still.

"How can a pine box so small hold so much of my sorrow?"
I asked Father Pedro as he stood by the grave next to me.
As he blessed the hard ground, oh Santa Maria, please forgive me.
His words were just babbling from somewhere far over the sea.

Consuela she lay in the darkness with eyes like the twilight
As I cleaned my old Springfield and polished the stock till it shone.
Not a word did she speak, but the old saddle groaned as I mounted.
She whispered his name in the dark as I rode of alone.

I picked up his trail on the hillside where the bloodstains were fading.
For 4 days and nights rode his track high above the snowline.
More than once I saw him, too far off, just watching me, waiting.
Till slowly his trail circled back to the scene of his crime.

On the 5th day at dawn on the hillside above my ranchita
I lifted my rifle and prayed that my aim would be true.
But in the gun sight his cold eyes they mocked,
"Man, why do you hunt me? For I've done no more Than the Lord made me able to do."

"Gato" I said, "There's no answer to what you have asked me.
But you took what was mine, and there's nothing but that you must die."
Then the sound of a shot, and the powder smoke billowed up past me.
I watched as the blood it drained slow from his cold laughing eye.

Consuela stood there not 10 paces from where he lay broken.
My old pistol in two hands it shook as she fired 5 more rounds.
But in my hands the rifle was cold. Not once had it spoken.
A faint little smile, and slowly she sank to the ground.

I carried her down the hill shivering that cold winter morning.
She carried her silence one year; spoke no more than a stone.
Till Fiesta San Carlos, in the bed a new man-child was born in,
She brushed back his forelock, and smiled as she named him...Leon!

Lyrics by Lawrence Hammond
There is another one that sounded musically southwest cowboy, called Nevada McCloud, don't have the words, though.

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Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heav
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 05:42 AM

Well thank you for that, lemondracer! I was surprised to see my name there when I opened the thread.   I certainly had forgotten about it.

I just checked and it would appear that Seth from China has not posted here since February of 01. It's possible that some here may know his e-mail and could let him know. I will check around. Others who read this thread may do the same.

Thanks again.

I posted his Legend Of the Pale-Eyed Companion back in 99.

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Subject: Lyr Add: FLIGHT 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,lemondracer
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 04:59 AM

^^FLIGHT 641
(Lawrence Hammond)

I been pilot for Ozark Airways
For nigh on 15 years.
I flew The Hump from Burma (1943)
On a rig that weren't much more than a prayer.

And once on a foam-covered runway
I set her down at the speed of fear.
Yeah, but the worst was an hour out of Cairo (Illinois)
When I felt cold steel next to my ear

    "Take this plane to heaven," cried the stranger with the gun.
    "My Mother's there in Glory. My banker's down below.
    My wife she took the mobile home,
    Split with my best friend.
    We're riding home to Jesus,
    Captain, set your course and go"

I sent the girls back into the cabin
To keep the good people calm.
With a voice I was sure would betray me
I told them, "Now, do not be alarmed.

"There has been a slight change in the flight plan.
And we'll go home the long way round.
But we're bound for a friendly country, I am certain.
Please stay in your seats until we're on the ground.

    "Take this plane to Heaven" cried the stranger with the gun.
    The little man was shiverin'. his eyes commenced to run.
    And then the plane she staggered like a hooker drunk on rum,
    And I cried, "Please subtract my sins, O Lord, when you add up the sum."

But the hand of Jesus held us.
So gently He set us down.
On a runway engraved with the Scriptures,
And the ground crew of angels swarmed around...

They found the wreck on the foggy hillside.
And alone I'd escaped the flames.
I woke up with my limbs all in traction
And the doctor was asking me my name.

    "Take this plane to heaven," the poor stranger cried to me.
    And I've since pondered how the Dove of God became a DC-3.
    And, Doctor, hallelujah! 'Though my flying days are done.
    I was hijacked to Jesus on Flight 641

Words & music copyright Lawrence Hammond

These are the correct words to this lost song. Was never recorded. LH left music, went off to Harvard Medical School, and practices in the Pacific Northwest. Songs got recorded by The Judds, Doc Watson, and Larry Sparks.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lawrence Hammond lyrics
From: Dale Rose
Date: 02 Nov 00 - 08:48 PM

Nope, got the Coyote's Dream, and listen to it every now and then ~~ great things there, including the original of his song, George Gudger's Overalls. Never heard of the song you are asking for, but I will keep a look out.

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Subject: Lawrence Hammond lyrics
From: Seth
Date: 02 Nov 00 - 07:18 PM

Lawrence Hammond was a singer who played in the Bay area in the mid 70's. He made one album of great songs for Takoma "Coyote's Dream" He also was with a band called MAd River before that. I think that hedropped out of music completely, haven't heard anything by him in years, which is too bad. He's a great singe and wrote some wonderful stuff. I'm looking for the words to a song he wrote, but possibly never recorded "Take this Plane to Heaven" Anyone got a clue about the song or the artist?

Seth from China

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