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Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman)

GUEST,reachme@dingoblue.net.au 18 Nov 00 - 05:19 PM
Sorcha 30 Jan 01 - 12:26 AM
Charley Noble 10 Aug 01 - 05:14 PM
GUEST 10 Aug 01 - 05:26 PM
Sorcha 10 Aug 01 - 05:41 PM
Charley Noble 11 Aug 01 - 05:33 PM
Sorcha 11 Aug 01 - 07:38 PM
Charley Noble 11 Aug 01 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Obray Lyman 24 Jun 06 - 06:08 PM
Charley Noble 25 Jun 06 - 11:31 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 25 Jun 06 - 12:18 PM
Charley Noble 25 Jun 06 - 06:36 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 25 Jun 06 - 07:20 PM
Franz S. 26 Jun 06 - 12:56 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 26 Jun 06 - 04:38 PM
Franz S. 26 Jun 06 - 04:55 PM
Charley Noble 26 Jun 06 - 06:32 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 06 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Obray Lyman 30 Jun 06 - 06:28 PM
Franz S. 01 Jul 06 - 12:01 AM
Charley Noble 01 Jul 06 - 03:36 PM
Charley Noble 31 Jul 10 - 05:26 PM
Obray Lyman 06 Feb 11 - 06:50 PM
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Subject: Lyrics request - Birds Fly
From: GUEST,reachme@dingoblue.net.au
Date: 18 Nov 00 - 05:19 PM

Would anyone be able to help me with the lyrics of a song I heard Don McLean sing many years ago? From memory it starts off with ... "There was a boy in our town, And people came from miles around. And he sang Birds Fly, Aren't they pretty, Sun Moon All is beauty, Fish swim they don't make a sound." That's all I can remember. Any info on this song appreciated.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lyrics request - Birds Fly
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 12:26 AM

refresh


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Subject: Lyr Add: SIMPLE BOY (Mel Lyman)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 05:14 PM

I posted the lyrics to this some time ago as a puzzler and no one could figure it out. Mel Lyman was the composer, and I'd rather retain my early memories of him than any later ones. I'll post the lyrics here again:

SIMPLE BOY
(Words and Music by Mel Lyman © 1963)

A simple boy lived in our town,
And he was knows for miles around.

Chorus:

He'd sing, "Birds fly, aren't they pretty,
Sun, moon, all is beauty,
Fish swim, they don't make a sound."

He did not know his given name,
The people went, the people came. (CHO)

The people said, "Alas, poor thing,
He sits and knows not what he sings." . (CHO)

The years went by, the boy's now gone,
But those who care still sing his song.*

Final Chorus:

They sing, "Birds fly, aren't they pretty,
Sun, moon, all is beauty,
Fish swim, they don't make a sound."

* New verse by Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: Lyr Add: BIRDS FLY (WHISPER TO A SCREAM)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 05:26 PM

BIRDS FLY (WHISPER TO A SCREAM)
Icicle Works

Love comes, down upon us
Till you flow like water
Burning, with the hope of insight
Feathered, look they're covered
with a bright elation,
Stolen, in the sight of love

We are, we are,
We are but your children,
Finding our way around indecision,
We are, we are
We are ever helpless,
Take us forever,
A whisper to a scream

Birds fly, in the eye
of the faithless daughter,
Broken, at the bitter end
Wasted, sacrificed for a new Nirvana
Night time, sends us on our way

A whisper to a scream


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lyrics request - Birds Fly
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 05:41 PM

e mail sent


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lyrics request - Birds Fly
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 05:33 PM

Sorcha - I tried an e-mail to the original poster and it was returned. Maybe some of the OZ Mudcats know the poor soul who wanted this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lyrics request - Birds Fly
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 07:38 PM

Strange; I sent one and it didn't bounce.


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: SIMPLE BOY
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 07:57 PM

Sorcha, you probably copy better than I do. Here's the chords to the above and a few minor spelling corrections:

SIMPLE BOY
(Words and Music by Mel Lyman © 1963 Key: G)

G-D7-G—F-----------------G
A sim-ple boy lived in our town,
-----D7-G---F-----------G----F-G
And he was known for miles a-round.

Chorus:
D7---G-----F
He'd sing, "Birds fly, aren't they pretty,
G-------------------D7--G
Sun, moon, all is beau-ty,
F------------------------G----F-G
Fish swim, they don't make a sound."

He did not know his given name,
The people went, the people came. (CHO)

The people said, "Alas, poor thing,
He sits and knows not what he sings." . (CHO)

The years went by, the boy's now gone,
But those who care still sing his song.*

Final Chorus:

They sing, "Birds fly, aren't they pretty,
Sun, moon, all is beauty,
Fish swim, they don't make a sound."

* New verse by Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: GUEST,Obray Lyman
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 06:08 PM

Message for Charlie Noble.

Hi Charlie. I am actually Mel's son and I didn't even know all the words to this song my dad wrote although I heard him sing it when I was a kid. I am just wondering where you found the lyrics and chords?

Cheers


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Subject: Lyr Add: SIMPLE BOY (Mel Lyman)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 11:31 AM

Obray-

Good to hear from you, and your first name does ring a bell whch echoes all the way back to when Franz Schneider (who also checks in at Mudcat) and I were visiting your father in 1963 down in Madison County, North Carolina. Your father introduced us to Obray Ramsey, a wonderful banjo picker and singer, probably best remembered for his version of "Rain and Snow."

We actually heard "Simple Boy" earlier when Mel was singing in Cambridge, MA. Franz knew Mel from Seattle.

Here are Mel's verses as I wrote them down:

SIMPLE BOY
(Words and Music by Mel Lyman c 1963)

A simple boy lived in our town,
And he was known for miles around.

Chorus:

He'd sing, "Birds fly, aren't they pretty,
Sun, moon, all is beauty,
Fish swim, they don't make a sound."

He did not know his given name,
The people went, the people came. (CHO)

The people said, "Alas, poor thing,
He sits and knows not what he sings." . (CHO)

Final Chorus:

They sing, "Birds fly, aren't they pretty,
Sun, moon, all is beauty,
Fish swim, they don't make a sound."

I added an additional verse:

The years went by, the boy's now gone,
But those who care still sing his song.*

Anyway, I'm pleased that you found this thread and I do hope you teach the song to those around you. I don't believe that Mel ever recorded it.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 12:18 PM

Is this the same Mel Lyman who had the "Lyman family" commune in Boston in the late 60s / early 70s? "Fortune Hill" sticks in my mind, but it was a long time ago. Or is this a different Mel?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 06:36 PM

Bonnie-

As I posted above "I'd rather retain my early memories of him than any later ones." In short we are talking about the same Mel. Franz and I knew him when he was in his more mellow early folk music period. He also introduced me to S. S. Stewart banjos, having a nice Model 2 Thoroughbred 5-string. I'd rather not rehash Mel's later history in this thread in deference to his son. There is an abundance of speculation on line for the curious.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 07:20 PM

Wasn't trying to rehash anything. I only wanted to know if it was the same person. I don't regard myself as "the curious". Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....
From: Franz S.
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 12:56 PM

Obray,

I'm very glad to hear from you. Your dad was a friend of mine in Portland, Oregon, and Portland. Maine, not to mention Madison County NC back in 1958-1963. He taught me a lot of things, got me started on the banjo and on freight trains, and was always good to me.   I learned "Simple Boy" from him, along with many other songs I still sing.   There's a song of his to which I still remember the chorus but not the verses.

"Roaming is a fever
That settles in the blood.
It makes a sailor heartsick;
It makes a father old.

Yes roaming is a fever
That settles in the blood,
And once you leave your home behind
You've lost a home for good."

So far I've not found anyone else in the world who knows it, but I'm still trying.

Yeah, Bonnie, it's the same Mel Lyman. But I didn't know him then.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 04:38 PM

I think Charley is crediting me with more knowledge that I actually have. Though native-born, I haven't lived in America for over 35 years (based in England then Ireland) so I've been out of touch with a lot of things. I once spent a few years in Boston and his was a vaguely familiar name which rang a bell, and I simply wondered if it was he who wrote the words. I certainly didn't mean to stir up a (potential, I guess) hornet's nest, and honestly didn't know I was. It's very nice to learn of this song, anyway; and apologies to Obray.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: Franz S.
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 04:55 PM

Bonnie, I apologise for any huffiness that make have come through inadvertently. Mel was apparently a very controversial person in later times, but as I said I didn't know him then. Some people who did have very strong feelings against him, I gather (I've read some of the websites and threads on the subject), and mention of his name sometimes brings out arguments. I remember Mel as a friend and mentor who gave me a lot, his wife Sophie who fed me, and Obray and his siblings, who were quite small at the time. I also got to know the man Obray is named after, and I still correspond a little with that family.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 06:32 PM

Bonnie-

And I apologize to you as well. I felt a strong need up above to try to head off a rehash of Mel's post-Cambridge life.

Hopefully, we haven't spooked Obray as well.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 08:30 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: GUEST,Obray Lyman
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 06:28 PM

Hi Charlie, Franz et al,

I am glad I found this thread too. I just happened to be searching on Google for Simple Boy and found it. If you want to know about my dad there is a website from Steve Trussel that is essentially a collection of stories and articles, (yes, including the negative stuff) that he has accumulated over the years. (http://www.trussel.com/f_mel.htm ) It is quite an interesting read and quite extensive. A lot of the negative stuff is propaganda, designed to stir up emotions, but there is a grain of truth to it. My dad was a simpe soul who had this burning desire to always learn and consume more. First it was with music, learning first the harmonica, which he played the hell out of, and then the banjo. He moved the whole family to North Carolina just so that he could learn to play from Obray Ramsey. He was a bit eccentric like that. (I happened to be born during that time so I ended up with the name.) He did a lot of traveling and met up in the deep South with some of the great old blues players and later hung with Woody Guthrie before Woody died. He consumed life. Eventualy he got this idea that he could teach people about life through playing music and somehow that turned into a commune of people around him. It was an interesting experiment which still lives on to this day, although sadly my dad died in '78 when I was a teen.

The "Lyman" family lives on in California and Boston (Fort Hill) although I left in '89 when I met a English girl who I married shortly afterward. Coincidentally Bonnie, I live in England now too(since '98)

Regarding Simple Boy, I have a recording of it which he made in North Carolina at the time. The sound quality isn't that great, but it might be worth a listen. I haven't listened to it in years.

It is good to know that there are people out there who still remember my dad and appreciate his music. I think he was a hell of a harmonica and banjo player, but I think he would tell you himself that he wasn't much of a singer, (though he tried his darndest). I have been toying with this idea of putting together an album of his music, but I don't know that there would be a market for it. He never had an interest in in the "big time" and to him "career" was a bad word, so he never became widely known.

I am still in touch with Sofie, my mom, who has been married to Jim Kweskin for about 20 years now. She and Jim were recently in Japan for a big Jug Band memorial because Fritz Richmond died recently. All the olf band members showed up. I gather they had a big get together in Cambridge a month back too when they got back from Japan. My mom said people showed up that they hadn't seen in 40 years.

Franz, regarding the Roaming song, I am sure the "family" has a recording of it. I remember hearing it, so it must be recorded.

Anyway, great to hear from you. I'll check in on the thread every now and again to say howdy. Cheerio from England. Obray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....
From: Franz S.
Date: 01 Jul 06 - 12:01 AM

Obray, when I first knew your dad he was playing banjo mostly with a harmonica in the handless wire rack that people use, very much like Woody Guthrie only with banjo. He taught me "Fair Ellender", "Pastures of Plenty", "Don't Mind Marryin'", "Hobo's Lullaby", "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie", and a bunch of other songs, some his and some others'. He may not have had a great voice, but he could yodel pretty good.   I never heard anyone yodel the chorus of "Long Black Veil" like he did. His was a high bluegrass kind of voice, though he didn't do any bluegrass when I knew him. I could easily fill an hour or two with stories of Mel and the things I learned from him and the experiences he led me to or provided for me.

Your mother probably doesn't remember me, but I do owe her an apology, which I'd like you to pass on for me if you would. In Portland OR and Marshall NC I imposed on her a great deal. She fed me and gave me a pallet on her floor and didn't fuss when I sang seriously drunk at midnight and woke you kids. I have always thought she was one of the finest women I knew.

I've read much of the stuff on the website you mention, and to me the negative stuff is all pretty much offset by the time he took me to hear Jesse Fuller live on Beacon Street, or the time I got to sit up all night in his living room in Portland west singing the blues with Brownie McGhee and drinking Mel's homebrew.

I'll try to track down the lyrics to "Roaming is a Fever" through the Family. I remember the tune. I don'y want ot listen to it, I want to sing it.   I found the "America" album last year in a second-hand store in Santa Cruz CA, and I enjoy it hugely..

I'm very glad to hear you are doing well, and your mother also. I have forgotten your olest sister's name. but I remember her as a very mature six-year-old, and I hope she too is well.

Thanks for the memories.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman) 'Birds fly....'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 06 - 03:36 PM

Obray-

Thanks for checking in again. It's good to hear that you're doing well. Are you doing any music in England?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Jul 10 - 05:26 PM

refresh!

This was a nice thread in terms of drawing together a few widely scattered connections.

I'll be doing some music in the UK in September and it would be a pleasant surprise to find an Obray Lyman in the crowd. Who knows, it might just happen.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Simple Boy (Mel Lyman)
From: Obray Lyman
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 06:50 PM

Hi Charley,

Sorry i missed you in September, but I live in the Southern part of England. Let me know when you next come over. Do you have your own website?

Cheers,

Obray


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