Songs

Toast to the Union

Carol Denney, July 2010

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give me the workingclass heroes who never think twice about lending a hand
give me the bars and bordellos and ladies who know the real worth of a man
give me the drunks and the junkies who know the true depth and the soul of desire
give me the rail-riding bums and the hoboes who sing to the stars by the fire
give me the losers and down-and-out underdogs buying each other a beer
give me the bankrupted nobodies giving salutes of good luck and good cheer
here’s to the truckers who fly across mountains on love songs and rubber and prayer
here’s to the workers who sing at the top of their lungs as if no one was there

we belong, we belong, and the union between us is strong
we may be wrong here but yes we belong here this is our life and our land
no one can take it away if we make it our shared paradise and we can

here’s to the felons parolees and miscreants hollering Saturday night
here’s to the fry cooks in truckstops with breakfast at dawn making everything right
here’s to the misfit the unhip who cannot put up with the sickening show
here’s to the kid who knows just what he did and when asked why just says I don’t know
chase down the worst and I’ll tell you they’re first on the list of the people I love
show me the women who’ll slam their opinion down hard with no pearls and no glove
saddle me up with the liars and showmen whose stories go on until dawn
put me right next to the gamblers who bested the best and don’t care what they won

here’s to the bartenders waiters and waitresses hustling for nickels and dimes
here’s to the clear-headed hard-hearted heartbreakers pouring out songs with the wine
here’s to the suckers and slackers who bought the whole package and didn’t know why
here’s to the bums and the beggars who fail and keep railing at life till they die
here’s to fumblers the blundering stumblers who never get picked for the game
here’s to the aimless the nameless who shamelessly spit upon fortune and fame
here’s to the takers and fakers who shook up the dice and looked twice and then ran
here’s to the jagged old raggedy farts kicking dreams down the road like a can

tell me the lies and the stories that tear my heart open as though they were mine
paint me the dreams and the paintings and make it so real I’m left speechless and blind
tear up the maps and the borders admit it we’re all here together today
we’re all unrepentant and this is our sentence and damn it get out of our way

Long-time member, fiddler, concertina-player, folklorist and troublemaker Carol Denney is on a roll. After these lyrics appeared in the Street Sheet, Jack Hirschman, former poet laureate of San Francisco, called to say that they’d got her nominated to the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, whose new anthology is to be released with a celebration at The Beat Museum on November¬†11. Her song “The Riley Boys” is on the Finest Kind’s new CD, For Honour & For Gain, and Pete Seeger has asked for a score. Recent events have provoked an update of “PG&E Song, or, Write the Check and Shut Up.” And a new CD, A Toast to the Union, should be out this December.

Ready to Be Born

Lisa Hubbell

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Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
A child of light, that shines in every hue
Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.
Ready to shine

Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
With eyes to see, and ears to hear the truth
Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.
Ready to hear, ready to shine.

Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Who travels light, just like the sparrows do
Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.
Ready to trust (like sparrows), just trust (like sparrows), ready to hear , ready to shine.

Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Who travels light, just like the sparrows do
Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.
Ready to trust (like sparrows), just trust (like sparrows), ready to hear , ready to shine.

Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Whose healing touch can make all things new
Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.
Ready to heal, ready to trust (like sparrows), just trust (like sparrows) ready to hear, ready to shine.

Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Who has the faith to make a mountain move
Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.
Ready to move, ready to heal, ready to trust (like sparrows), just trust (like sparrows), ready to hear ready to shine.

Oh, someone is getting ready to be born
Oh yes, and I’m getting ready too.

Lisa Hubbell writes: “I had the idea for a couple of years, whenever my favorite Christmas carols came around, that what I wanted to reflect on at that time of year was not only that one particular individual was born in a certain time and place, but that everyone has the potential for something new to be born in us. The song finally came to me during a Quaker meeting.” You can hear this and more songs by Lisa on her MySpace page, www.myspace.com/lisahubbell.


The folknik song pages are lovingly produced by Kay Eskenazi, John Kelly, and Barbara Millikan. John Kelly produced the song pages for this issue.

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