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Lyrics by Joel Mabus

OMNIBUS

(Fossil 1908)

All material ©1990, 1992, 2008 Joel Mabus
all rights reserved -- do not post this material to another website!

Scroll down or click on title to read the lyrics or monologues.

To learn more about this CD, click here
To order this or any album, click here

First Times
Hard To Say
The Fiddle & The Bow
Love Is A Song
Oscar & Minnie
I'm On My Way
Snow On The Water
If Wishes Were Horses
Doc'sology
The Book I Gave Up Reading
5w Blues  
Honeysuckle Moon
Warmer Every Day
Talking 20th Century
A Better Voice
Let It Be Me & You

 

DO NOT COPY THESE LYRICS TO ANOTHER WEBSITE!

 

FIRST TIMES
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


My first car... was little and yellow and rusty as a bucket, it was 
My first car... my first feel of a real live automobile.
Fill 'er up with oil and check the gas,
Step on the pedal - let everybody pass.
It didn't go fast or far; it was my first car.

My first drink... was down in the basement with my buddies, it was
My first drink...my first time with a sweet red bottle of wine.
Taste so funny, just made me grin,
Laugh so hard till the room began to spin - 
And it wound up in the sink - it was my first drink.

First times ain't the best times - Sometimes they're the worst.
But if times are gonna get better - There's always got to be a first.

My first kiss... was out on the back porch with my neighbor, it was
My first kiss... my first taste of a teen-age, feminine lip.
She closed her eyes, I closed mine,
Our hearts beat fast as our young arms entwined -
Then her braces chipped my tooth - it was my first smooch.

My first gig... a nineteen-seventies college-town restaurant -
My first gig... sing all night for a meal and a ten dollar bill.
The crowd was loud - they couldn't care less -
Just made a lot of noise and stupid-ass requests -
Alice Cooper was big - at my first gig.

And if this here is the first time you've ever heard me sing,
Well, stick around - it might get better - First times don't mean a thing.

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HARD TO SAY
words and music ©1990 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Firelake


He's a little bit nervous - he's a little bit shy.
He could be in love, but he don't know why
He should feel that way - 
It's so hard to say.

He's taking it easy - he's playing it cool.
When you're nobody's lover, you're nobody's fool;
He's been hurt before - 
Yeah, he knows the score.
But he's a little bit worried he's losing his grip -
Afraid of what might happen if he should slip
And give his heart away - It's so hard to say.

And it's so hard to say those easy words - I Love You -
When so much depends on if she says -
Darlin', I Love You Too.

So he's asking no questions - he don't want to hear
What she might say if he made it clear
That he loves her so -
He don't want to know,
Because when love is the question, a lover just might
Hold on a little too tight................
Or turn and run away - It's so hard to say.

And it's so hard to say those easy words - I Love You -
When so much depends on if she says - 
Darlin', I Love You Too. 

So he's a little bit nervous - he's a little bit shy.
He could be in love, but he don't know why
He should feel that way - 
It's so hard to say.

Maybe some other day - it's so hard to say.
Say it some other way - ahh, it's so hard to say.
.........................ahh, it's so hard to say.

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THE FIDDLE & THE BOW
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


She moved up here with her boyfriend, but that didn't last as long as she had planned.
Now her only ticket out of here is that fiddle case she's holding in her hand.
She walked into the music store & gave that broken violin to an old man who'd seen quite a few.
He said, "This thing ain't worth much, but I'll give you 20 dollars, you can take it - you can leave it - it's up to you."

She said, "I was hoping you could do a little better for me, sir.
You see, that fiddle was my grandmother's and her grandpa had given it to her.
And I know it's old and busted, and all the strings are rusted, but it sure has played sweet music in it's day.
It breaks my heart to sell it, but that greyhound costs money - if I'm going home, there's just no other way."

Well the old man looked her over, and he watched her wipe a teardrop from her eye.
Then he opened up that fiddle case and held it up a little closer to the light.
He looked inside the fiddle, trying to read the label, and when he did he muttered with a sigh,
"I guess I was hasty when I told you 20 dollars - would you take a hundred twenty five?"

Well, she gratefully accepted and she said, "Whatever changed your mind?"
He said "Sometimes when you look a little closer, it's surprising what you find." 
He said a very famous maker had made that violin and that's what contributes to the price.
As he counted out the money, she said, "I'm so happy you took the time to look into it twice."

I was there when it happened; when she left, I walked up to the old man.
I asked him "Could I see that broken violin you're holding in your hand?"
I was curious to find out just who was that famous maker, and when I read the label then I knew.
It said, "Made by Sears And Roebuck, Our Beginner Student Model, Chicago 1962."

Now I am not an expert, but I know a little bit about the trade.
And I knew that broken violin wasn't worth the money that he paid.
I said, "These mail order fiddles ain't worth a dime-a-dozen; you'll never turn a profit if you tried!"
I said, "What you bought and paid for was that little lady's story, & it appears to me that pretty woman lied."

"Well, If you think I'm sentimental," he said, "Son, you've made a big mistake."
Then he invited me to look inside that old beat-up leather fiddle case.
And there I saw a fiddlestick with fancy silver winding & parts carved out of ivory, white as snow.
He said, "I'm no fool, son. I know that fiddle's worthless, but I can get five hundred dollars for the bow."

Well, I left there thinking about the deal those two good people made.
How the old man and the young girl both got what they wanted in the trade.
And if you were to ask me for the moral to the story, I'd be the first to tell you, I don't know.
'Cause she sold him a story, and he bought him a fiddle, but all he ever wanted was the bow.

And that's the story of the fiddle and the bow.

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LOVE IS A SONG
words and music ©1990 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Firelake


Love is a song -
Love has got a melody.
Sing it along with me - Love is a song.
Love is a song -
Love is not a short short story -
It goes on and on and on -
Love is a song.

Love is not a drama - Love is not a one-act play.
It's more than just the words you say -
Love is a song.
Love is not a novel - can't find it in a book for sale,
Love is not a fairy tale -
Love is a song.

Love is a song -
Love has got a melody.
Sing it along with me - Love is a song
Love is a song -
Love is not a short short story -
It goes on and on and on -
Love is a song.

Love is not a lecture - Love is not a sermonette
Haven't you heard it yet ?
Love is a song.
Love is not a fable - true love is not a mystery
Oh, isn't it plain to see -
Love is a song.

Love is a song -
Love has got a melody.
Sing it in harmony - Love is a song
Love is a song -
Love is not a short short story -
It goes on and on and on -
Love is a song.

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OSCAR AND MINNIE
words and music ©1990 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Firelake


This is a song about Oscar and Minnie.
Oscar And Minnie lived a long time ago.
Minnie was a teacher in a one room schoolhouse.
Oscar was a farmer like his father before.
And Minnie could sing and play piano;
Oscar'd play his Hawaiian guitar.
If they came from nowhere, well that don't matter -
You find your music right where you are.
You sing your song right where you are.

So Oscar and Minnie, they got married.
Nineteen twelve was the year that they did.
Oscar raised the crops as a tenant farmer.
Minnie ran the house and raised the kids.
And when the whole world went to war
Oscar's hand stayed on the plow.
It was beans and corn and hay and sorghum -
Oscar and Minnie - they showed 'em how.
Oscar and Minnie sure showed 'em how.

Oscar and Minnie grew old together.
Together they loved and kept the flame.
The children had kids; now the kids have families.
The more things change, how they stay the same.
Oscar and Minnie still live together -
They live on as a part of me.
The music they make is sweet and simple -
It's what I am; it's who I'll be.
It's what I am; it's who I'll be.

Minnie could sing and play piano;
Oscar'd play his Hawaiian guitar.
The song they sing is sweet and simple -
You find your music right where you are.
You sing your song right where you are.

This is a song for Oscar and Minnie.
Oscar and Minnie lived a long time ago.

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I’M ON MY WAY (trad. arr. Joel Mabus)
words and music ©1990 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Firelake


Once there lived a man named Job
He lived In the land of Nod
He was the only man for miles around
That kept the commandments of God
Now the devil, he got jealous
He went talkin' to God one day
He said "Remove your hand from a gospel man
He gonna curse you to your face."

He said, there's nothin' you can do
Gonna turn him around
There's nothin' you can do 
Gonna turn him around
'Cause he done signed up -- made up his mind
He's on his way -- he's on his way

Now the devil put his hand on Job
And Job felt downright weak
He had boils on the top of his head
And sores on the bottom of his feet
Job's old friends come talkin' to him
They numbered from one to five
They said, "Job, you're sick and you won't get well
You better curse your God and die."

He said, there's nothin' you can do
Gonna turn me around
There's nothin' you can do 
Gonna turn me around
'Cause I done signed up -- made up my mind
I'm on my way -- yes I'm on my way

Then Job's man come runnin' to him 
Said, "Job, I got something to say.
The fire done come from heaven last night
And carried your cattle away."
Job looked right straight at the man
And said, "I don't have nothing to say
For the Lord, God in heaven, He giveth
And the Lord God taketh away."

And there's nothin' you can do
Gonna turn me around
There's nothin' you can do 
Gonna turn me around
'Cause I done signed up -- made up my mind
I'm on my way -- yes I'm on my way

I'm on my way to the Kingdom land
I'm on my way to the Kingdom land
And if you don't go on my journey there
I'm on my way -- yes I'm on my way

Then Job's wife come talkin' to him 
With the devil right in her eye.
She said, "Oooh, you're sick and you won't get well
You better curse your God and die."
Job looked right straight at the woman
Then he looked up in the sky.
Said, "Woman, you sound like the foolish one
But you sure don't sound like my wife.

I'm on my way to the Kingdom land
I'm on my way to the Kingdom land
And if you don't go on my journey there
I'm on my way -- yes I'm on my way

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SNOW ON THE WATER
words and music ©1990 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Firelake


You can steal my money - you can wreck my car -
You can cut the strings off this old guitar.
You can do what you will, but you won't get the best of me
You can take back the love that you swore was mine -
You can turn out the lights but the stars still shine -
'Cause where you put your treasure - that's where your heart will be.

It's snow on the water - Snow on the water, 
Such beautiful snow on the water,
Gone..........Gone..........Gone.

You can touch it on your body - you can put it in the bank -
You can nail it up in the suburbs plank by plank -
You can drink it from a bottle - sail it on the deep blue sea.
You can rock it in the cradle - seek it in a friend,
Why, some people fight about it to the bitter end,
But where you put your treasure, that's where your heart will be.

It's snow on the water - Snow on the water, 
Such beautiful snow on the water,
Gone..........Gone..........Gone.

Tonight I'm thinking 'bout my friends who have gone before -
I sure do hate to think I'll never see them no more;
But sometimes in my dreams, I can hear them talk to me.
And when the time comes for me to go
I want my friends to consider the snow,
Because where you put your treasure, that's where your heart will be.

It's snow on the water - Snow on the water, 
Such beautiful snow on the water,
We're gone..........Not really gone..........Just gone.

It's snow on the water - Snow on the water, 
Such beautiful snow on the water,
Gone..........Gone..........Gone.

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IF WISHES WERE HORSES
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


He's a cowboy, he's a poet - he's got a heart but he don't show it.
His face was made for poker, you can never read his mind.
He's got a job down at the factory - killing time and building Chevies,
And when that whistle blows he's the first one off the line.

And if wishes were horses, that old boy would ride;
If daydreams were wildfire, he'd burn the mountainside;
If the ocean was desire, he'd sail out on the tide;
If wishes were horses, how that boy would ride.

She's an artist, she's an actor - and if luck was not a factor
She'd be out in Hollywood, you could read her name in lights.
But she's waitin' down at Denny's - wiping tables, saving pennies,
Acting like she's satisfied - it's the performance of her life.

And if wishes were horses, that old girl would ride;
If daydreams were wildfire, she'd burn the mountainside;
If the ocean was desire, she'd sail out on the tide;
If wishes were horses, how that girl would ride.

He's a rocker, he's a bopper - went to school to be a lawyer,
Now he's sitting in a traffic jam in his leather covered car.
And the radio plays on old song - he shakes his head and sings along,
He wonders where his old friends went, & where those good times are.

And if wishes were horses, that old boy would ride;
If daydreams were wildfire, he'd burn the mountainside;
If the ocean was desire, he'd sail out on the tide;
If wishes were horses, how that boy would ride.
If wishes were horses, how we all would ride.

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DOC'SOLOGY
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


Thank you, Doc Watson, for teaching me this lick...........
[pick a hot guitar lick reminiscent of Doc Watson]
I only wish, compared to you, I played 'er half as slick..........
[repeat hot lick]

When I was a kid I played your records through and through,
I wondered how a mortal man could pick it like you do.
Now I'm a pickin' fool, and I blame it all on you...........
[reprise hot lick]

Thank you, Doc Watson, for pickin' your guitar.........[etc]........
Thanks to you, I know what this old flat-pick is for...........

Those old tunes from Deep Gap, they mean a lot to me,
So thanks to you and Merle, and his mama, Rosa Lee.
I just want to offer up my doxology................
[hot lick once more, with feeling]

Thank you, Doc Watson, for pickin' your guitar.............

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THE BOOK I GAVE UP READING 
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


Last night I found your picture,
It was stuck between the pages
Of a book I gave up reading 
A long time ago -
The book had fallen down behind
The sofa in the living room
Where I laid every afternoon
That time I had the flu -
A Virus that I caught because I 
Stood outside and shivered 
In the cold December darkness
Just waiting in a line
For a stupid Christmas movie 
That you dragged me to despite the fact
I never liked that actor,
But you said we had to go
For the good of our relationship -
You read it in some magazine
That your best friend had showed you -
She was always butting in -
Just because you took a class with her
That time you took up macramé,
By the way, there's still a box-full of that
Crap in my garage,

Where I really would rather park
Instead of in the driveway
Where the neighbor kids are always throwing
Gravel at the squirrels,
The sparrows and the bluejays 
That you used to feed and now they
Come around expecting birdseed,
Expecting to be fed,
As if I don't have better things
To do, as if I don't have better 
Things I should be doing - I should
Get on with my life -

And that's just what I was thinking
As I looked behind the sofa 
For that book I gave up reading
A long time ago.....................................................

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5 W BLUES
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


There's five little things.....I need to know....
Five little questions.....Before you go....
Five little troubles .....Are on my mind.....
So tell me baby......And don't be lyin'.....

[Chorus]
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Who, What, Where, When, Why did you do me wrong?

Tell me who......Who was with you.....
And tell me what......What did you do.....
And tell me where......Where did you go.....
When did it happen.....And why did you treat me so?
[Chorus]

Five little W's .......All in a row....
Five little things...... I need to know....
Five little questions......Five little lies....
Five good reasons......To say goodbye....
[Chorus]

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HONEYSUCKLE MOON
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


There's a honeysuckle moon hanging in the sky,
And it's making me lonesome for you.
Dreaming of the night I looked into your eyes
And you told me, "Darlin', I love you, too."
    Why should it be  
    Your memory 
    Is making me 
    So blue?
Now you love another, still I wonder if you
See that honeysuckle moon hanging in the sky,
And I wonder if you miss me too.
I do.
I wonder if you miss me too.

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WARMER EVERY DAY
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


I turned on my television just the other day,
And I saw a spokesman from the EPA.
He said as a result of burning too much fossil fuel
The atmosphere was changing, and we all would lose our cool.

[Chorus] 
Oh, the whole world is getting warmer every day -
The whole world is a green house so they say.
This increase of CO2 - what it means for me and you
Is that the world is getting warmer, getting warmer every day.

As the polar ice cap slowly melts away
The ocean's getting deeper, rising higher every day.
So say good-bye Miami beach - But your old age you'll enjoy
If you purchase beach-front property in southern Illinois.
[Chorus]

From the jungles of Ohio to the West Virginia shore,
From the islands of Kentucky to the sea of Baltimore,
Levees 'round Long Island, and dikes in old New York -
It's so hard to find a gondolier in Brooklyn after dark.
[Chorus]

Now the government is telling us "No cause for great alarm -
A little global warming wouldn't do us any harm -
No more snow for Buffalo or sunny old Duluth - 
And you can trust the EPA, cause they always tell the truth."
[Chorus]

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TALKING TWENTIETH CENTURY
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


[This topical song was recorded in 1992. Here are the lyrics from the disc. As the decade progressed, I varied these lines quite a bit in concert, to include, among other things, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Woodstock II and, after his diagnosis, a kinder & gentler treatment of Ronald Reagan.]

Well I'm sittin' here thinking about modern times - civil wars & legal crimes,
And how this 20th century's almost done.
A few more years and it'll all be history,
If we make it it'll be a mystery
We didn't blow ourselves to kingdom come.
[ Yeah, if I'd'a known the world was gonna last this long
I would'a got me a better job - & some insurance -
I been countin' on World War Three. ]

Yeah, the 20th century sure was fun - we gotta lotta neat stuff done;
We all learned how to fly and watch TV.
Shootin' rockets off to the stars -
Takin' photographs of Mars,
Satellite dishes far's ......... the eye can see.
[Always have wondered, though, if we can put a man on the moon, why can't I program my vcr - maybe it does take a rocket scientist after all.]

And inventions - We got machines that'll curl your hair -
Brush your teeth, adjust your chair,
Answer your phone or call you in your car -
Oscillators, vib-eraters,
Microwaves to cook p'taters,
Machines to get us in and out of war.
[ Yeah, in this last war we dropped over one hundred thousand
of them smart bombs...for the same stupid reasons.]

And presidents, we've seen a few -
Wilson, Taft, and Truman, two
Roosevelts - Franklin and Ted.
McKinley and Kennedy took a fall,
But Ronald Reagan survives 'em all
Eight years and don't know a damn thing he said.
["Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" said the great and glorious Oz. ]

Yeah, I don't know why I feel so bad -
These 20th century blues I've had
Just leave me with the feelin' that something's wrong.
I got me a house, got plenty of food -
Got no reason to sit and brood,
Still, I get the sneaky feeling that I just don't belong.
[Not so much blues really..... as existential despair. ]

So I talked to Oprah, Geraldo, and Phil, -
and Sally Jesse Raphael
They all told me why I got the blues -
You see, I'm the adult child of a childish adult -
My dog's been kidnapped by the occult
I got every reason to believe.... I've been abused!
[ Gonna start me a group.... People Who Think Too Much.
If you think you think too much you probably do. Think too much, that is. ]

Yeah this 20th century was a blast,
But the new millennium is comin' on fast -
I don't see how the human race can fail.
Stalin and Hitler have turned to dust,
Communism's all gone bust -
The future looks bright for J. Danforth Quayle.
[ Or folks like him. I'm talking about them goooooood golphers!]

Now, there used to be dreamers and I was one,
Who thought by the year 2001
There'd be no more famine or disease.
But if the meek are gonna inherit the earth.......
They should get it appraised for what it's worth
'Cause the future ain't what it used to be -
[ No sirree........not for me.......... ]

Oh just fade me out of here
Don't end with a bang - just a whimper

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A BETTER VOICE
words and music ©1990 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Firelake


Sometimes I wish I had a better voice
to sing my song for you -
A voice so brilliant, rich and clear -
Soaring and gliding through the air,
Hanging the melody in your ear
The way good singers do.
But my voice cracks like a back porch chair,
Growls and groans like a big black bear,
Full of whispers, kinks and snares
And I sometimes miss the key -
But nobody sings my song like me.

Sometimes I wish I had a better life --
like the folks that's got it made -
Wearing fine clothes and making the scene -
Tooling 'round town in a big limousine,
No ifs or buts or in-betweens; 
Got all my aces played.
But I get by from day to day,
Make a little less money go a long, long way.
And if I ain't got much, at least I got my say
'Bout the way things gonna be,
'Cause nobody lives my life but me.

And sometimes I wish this was a better world
and I was a better man -
Taking the chances and giving my life,
Feeding the hungry and leading the fight
To shelter the homeless and turn back the night
And do every last thing I can.
But I'm no saint - I'm faint of heart;
Too weak to run, too slow to start,
But I'll pitch in and I'll do my part
When it comes around to me
'Cause nobody loves this world like me.

And sometimes I wish I had a better voice
to sing my song for you -
A voice so brilliant, sweet and clear -
Soaring and gliding through the air,
Placing the melody in your ear
The way good singers do.
But my voice cracks like a back porch chair,
Growls and groans like a big black bear,
Full of whispers, kinks and snares
And I sometimes miss the key -
But nobody sings my song like me.

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LET IT BE ME AND YOU
words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
originally on the album Short Stories


If a man and a woman can live life together, Let it be me, let it be you.
If two little people can love one another, Let it be me, let it be you.
If one in a million, once in a lifetime, shot in the dark comes true,
Then please let it be, let it be me, Let it be me and you.

[Chorus]
Let it be me, Let it be you,
Let it be sunshine - With a sky so blue.
Let us be happy. Let it come true.
Please let it be, let it be me,
Let it be me and you.

I used to know a man who believed in nothing that he couldn't see, or he couldn't touch.
The world was just one big fat joke and he wasn't laughing - at least not very much.
Then along come Love, stuck her head in the door -she said "I got a ticket for two!"
He said, please let it be, let it be me, Let it be me and you.
[Chorus]

If this old world is nothing but a big brown rock in a deep blue sea,
If this old life is nothing but heartache and sorrow, well that may be,
And if happiness is just a shooting star that only a few may view,
Then please let it be, let it be me, let it be me and you.
[Chorus]

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ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY JOEL MABUS
© 1990 or 1992 JOEL MABUS
FINGERBOARD MUSIC, BMI
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -- 

DO NOT COPY THESE LYRICS TO ANOTHER WEBSITE!