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Lyrics by Joel Mabus

Short Stories

(Fossil 592cd)

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

Scroll down or click on title to read the lyrics.

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

First Times
If Wishes Were Horses
Honeysuckle Moon
The Book I Gave Up Reading 
The Fiddle And The Bow
Warmer Every Day
The Preacher And The Flood
5 W Blues
Let It Be Me And You
Talking Twentieth Century (updated 1998)


words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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.

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.

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.

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."

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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus
[a new version appears on the Retold album]

It's the story of an old hard-shell preacher, sanctified in the blood,
And about the time he had the year of the dreadful flood.
It rained for forty days and nights, 'til at last the dam gave way;
The preacher fell down on his knees and everybody heard him pray:

[Chorus 1]
He said, Lord, deliver me, deliver me from this flood -
Lord you know I'm sanctified, sanctified in the blood.
I been to the river and I been baptized, 
Now I raise my hands to the heavenly skies 
And say Lord, deliver me, deliver me from the flood.

Now the preacher's sittin' on his old front porch, rockin' in his rockin' chair -
The water's rising step by step, licking at the very top stair.
A neighbor come by in a row boat, said "Preacher, better come with me!"
The preacher said, "You can save yourself, but the Lord will deliver me!"

[Chorus 2]
The Lord will deliver me, deliver me from this flood -
Don't you know I'm sanctified, sanctified in the blood.
I been to the river and I been baptized,
Now I raise my hands to the heavenly skies 
And say Lord, deliver me, deliver me from the flood.

Bye and bye that old river water come rolling in the preacher's door,
So the preacher, he ran upstairs to his room on the second floor.
A coast guard cutter come a-sailing by, said "Everybody get on board!"
The preacher stuck his head outside his window, said "I'm trusting in the Lord!"
[Chorus 2]

Now the preacher's sitting on his rooftop, hugging to his old smoke stack.
The water's rising higher and higher, things are looking mighty black.
Along come a police helicopter, and they lowered down a line.
The preacher, he just waved 'em away, said "Boys, I'm doing fine!"
[Chorus 2]

Now the Preacher's standing at the pearly gates, his robe is a dripping wet.
The preacher said to the heavenly king, he said, "There's something I don't get!
Lord, why didn't you save me - I put all my faith in you!"
God said, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter - what more could I do?"

[Chorus 3]
The lord will deliver you, deliver you from the flood,
But it'll be too late if you sit and wait for heavenly angels from above.
I'm here to tell you, sister and brother,
The lord helps them that help one another,
And the lord will deliver you, deliver you from the flood, 
Amen, deliver you from the flood - again,
Deliver you from the flood.

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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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'.....

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?

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....

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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

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.

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.

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.

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words and music ©1992 Joel Mabus

[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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©  2001 Joel Mabus
Last revised: January 24, 2015 .