Song Lyric Sunday — The Shame “Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl” and Janis Ian “(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl”

Song Lyric Sunday is upon us, and the prompts this week are clear/dark/light, courtesy of Jim Adams. Now, some weeks I start my research looking for song titles or lyrics that fit the prompt. More often than not, I decide I want to write about (and listen to) a particular artist and look for the prompt words among that artist’s songs.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer lately, so I focused my search this week on their bassist/vocalist, Greg Lake. You may know that, before he became the “L” in ELP, he was a founding member of the seminal prog rock band King Crimson in 1969. Before those successes, he honed his craft in a few bands you’ve never heard of.

Lake was the lead singer in a little-known U.K. band, The Shame, when they recorded a cover of Janis Ian‘s “(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl,” originally released in January 1967 on her eponymous debut album. The Shame’s version, released as a single in the U.K. later the same year, is entitled “Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl.” (Note, however, that Lake’s website pictures the single released in the U.S. on the Poppy label with Ian’s title.) While The Shame made a few minor changes in the lyrics, one really stands out.

Where Ian’s lyric is “Now, there is no escaping, and you’d enjoy a raping just to find out the facts of life,” Lake sings “Now, there’s no denyin’ you’re gonna end up cryin’ to find out the facts of life.” I haven’t been able to find any information to explain the reason for the radically different lyric.

Interestingly, neither Ian nor Lake sings the written lyric “Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales”. Lake sounds like he sings “Your mother’s wails and the daily news tales”.  Ian sings it differently every time it occurs. The first time it’s “Your mother’s aware of the Enquirer’s tales;” the second, it’s the “Daily News tales”. The final occurrence it’s “When your mother’s gone you continue to run”.

In any case, the changes must have been acceptable to Ian; after Lake’s death she posted on Facebook that they had “intended to do a bunch of writing together.”

Here are videos (audio only) of both The Shame’s and Ian’s versions. Enjoy!

 

 

(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl

Janis Ian

Don’t go out in the street, little girl
and don’t go out into town
You don’t know who you’ll meet, little girl
There are bad men around
Your mother, she’s in love with you
She tells you, you shouldn’t go with guys
So go to bed at ten, let your mama tuck you in
and turn on your Mickey Mouse night-light
Then you make it with your mind

Don’t go out into town, little girl
Stay safe in the house, little girl
Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales
keep you hiding, denying

Don’t go into the park, little girl
You know those men are all the same
Stay inside alone after dark, little girl
Boys want just one thing
Don’t talk about sex, you might get hexed
God’ll punish you for your dirty mind
Now, there is no escaping, and you’d enjoy a raping
just to find out the facts of life
Mama says – Maintain your pride

Don’t go out into town, little girl
Stay safe in the house, little girl
Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales
keep you hiding, denying

Don’t go into your mind, little girl
The windows, they’re only made of glass
Don’t let me catch you trying to pry, little girl
Mirrors of illusion tumble fast
You’re too far gone for anyone
I’d like to help, but I can only sigh
You’d best maintain your mama’s pride
’cause you lost yours the time
you obeyed when she said “Don’t fraternize”
No place to hide

Don’t go out into town, little girl
Stay safe in the house, little girl
Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales
keep you hiding, denying

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

 

Song Lyric Sunday — Cream — Rollin and Tumblin

While most weeks Song Lyric Sunday prompts are multiple words connected to a theme, this week our host, Jim Adams, has chosen one word: Harmonica. Well, my friends, you would not believe how many songs feature a harmonica. I decided that I didn’t want to focus on blues, a genre in which harmonicas are ubiquitous.

The blues spawned many other musical genres, including rock ‘n’ roll. My introduction to blues in the late 1960s was through two blues-rock bands, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Both bands featured their leaders’ harmonicas. Butterfield’s frenetic Chicago-blues style was well-suited to the fusion of blues and electric-guitar-based rock. Mayall’s style, equally energetic, was more a fusion of blues and jazz. I was researching both bands, listening to some great music, when, as usual, I took a detour down a somewhat surprising path.

Did you know that U.K. rock supergroup Cream recorded a couple of blues songs featuring harmonica? Yes, indeedy. Turns out bassist and singer Jack Bruce plays a mean blues harp, which he demonstrated on “Rollin and Tumblin” from their 1966-67 (U.K.-U.S.) debut album, “Fresh Cream.” Although some sources give Bruce writing credit for Cream’s version, most sources cite either Hambone Willie Newbern or Muddy Waters, or both. Cream credits Newbern, who recorded “Roll and Tumble Blues” in 1929. (edited to add: The true origin of “Rollin and Tumblin” may be unknown. Newbern? Waters? Robert Johnson? Noah Lewis? traditional? See comments section for my discussion with John Holton.)

Cream’s version is the only one featuring harmonica. Otherwise, the music is the same as on recordings by Newbern or Waters but with slightly differing tempos and interpretations. While all lyrics are based on Newbern’s, both Bruce and Waters each made additions and/or changes to their respective versions. In my opinion, that means Bruce and Waters could share credit with Newbern on their recordings. You can find both Newbern’s original lyrics as well as Waters’ additional lyrics here, and Bruce’s here.  Listen to (and/or watch) all three below. Newbern’s and Waters’ are the original recordings; Cream’s is video from their 2005 gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall. You know I love live recordings. Enjoy!

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday — “Jersey Girl” — Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, “La,” I’m featuring “Jersey Girl,” written by Tom Waits with additional lyrics by Bruce Springsteen. I don’t know what it is about this song, but it gives me goosebumps up and down my spine. And I’m not a Jersey girl; imagine what it must do to one of them!

Both Springsteen and Waits married Jersey girls (Patti Scialfa and Kathleen Brennan, respectively) and Waits wrote this song for his.

“Jersey Girl” first appeared on Waits’ 1980 album “Heart Attack and Vine,” which peaked at number 96 on the Billboard Hot 200. Although it was his seventh album, he confessed in an interview, “I never thought I would catch myself saying ‘sha la la’ in a song,” adding, “This is my first experiment with ‘sha la la.'” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and was one of “Rolling Stone Magazine’s” 2015 picks for the “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.”

Springsteen started occasionally covering the song in the early ’80s and began including it in regular rotation in his set list during a series of concerts marking the opening of the then-Brendan Byrne Arena in Rutherford, New Jersey. (The arena was subsequently named The Meadowlands.) Springsteen tweaked the first verse a bit. Where Waits wrote “Don’t want no whores on Eighth Avenue,” Springsteen sang “Or the girls down on the avenue.” Springsteen also added three new verses and eliminated Waits’ final line “And I call your name, I can’t sleep at night.”

During one of Springsteen’s 1981 Los Angeles appearances, Tom Waits joined him on stage, where they performed the song together. In what we, today, would call a “mashup,” they combined Waits’ original lyrics with Springsteen’s new lyrics. Each sang backup for the other.

You can hear the audio in the video below. If you want to follow along with the lyrics, I’ve posted Waits’ original lyrics in full and Springsteen’s additional three verses.

Just in case you’re not familiar with their voices, Waits sings the first three verses. Springsteen chimes in on the first Sha la la las and sings the fourth and fifth verses written by Waits. Waits comes back in with his final verse (“And I call your name…”), after which Springsteen sings the three verses he wrote. Many Sha la las are mixed in throughout. Enjoy!

 

Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits

Got no time for the corner boys,
Down in the street makin’ all that noise,
Don’t want no whores on eighth avenue,
Cause tonight I’m gonna be with you.

‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take that ride,
Across the river to the jersey side,
Take my baby to the carnival,
And I’ll take you on all the rides,
Sing sha la la la la la sha la la la.

Down the shore everything’s alright,
You’re with your baby on a Saturday night,
Don’t you know that all my dreams come true,
When I’m walkin’ down the street with you,
Sing sha la la la la la sha la la la.

You know she thrills me with all her charms,
When I’m wrapped up in my baby’s arms,
My little angel gives me everything,
I know someday that she’ll wear my ring.

So don’t bother me cause I got no time,
I’m on my way to see that girl of mine,
Nothin’ else matters in this whole wide world,
When you’re in love with a jersey girl,
Sing sha la la la la la la.

And I call your name, I can’t sleep at night,
Sha la la la la la la.

 

Jersey Girl” additional lyrics by Bruce Springsteen

I see you on the street and you look so tired
I know that job you got leaves you so uninspired
When I come by to take you out to eat
you’re lyin’ all dressed up on the bed baby fast asleep

Go in the bathroom and put your makeup on
We’re gonna take that little brat of yours and drop her off at your mom?s
I know a place where the dancing?s free
Now baby won’t you come with me

‘Cause down the shore everything’s all right
You and your baby on a Saturday night
Nothing matters in this whole wide world
When you’re in love with a Jersey girl

compiled with information sourced from Wikipedia, AllMusic.com, SongFacts.com, and SongMeanings.com

 

Song Lyric Sunday – “Maybe Baby” – The Cars

Jim Adams has been giving us multi-word Song Lyric Sunday prompts for a while, so I was a little shocked to discover that this week’s prompt is one word: “Baby.” Of course, there is a Cars song for that. They recorded one I love, “Maybe Baby,” for their 1981 “Shake It Up” album.

You might think “Maybe Baby” is going to be a cover of Buddy Holly’s iconic 1957 hit, but you’d be wrong. The Cars’ song is a quirky Ric Ocasek original. I do think, however, that the song title is his sly tribute to Holly, just as his “Bye Bye Love” is (I believe) to The Everly Brothers, unless both Ocasek song titles are mere coincidences.

Following in the “coincidence” vein is this: Ocasek supervised the remastering of the 2017 release of an expanded version of the Cars’ 1980 “Panorama” album with bonus tracks. Among those is a “not previously released” song called “Be My Baby,” which is also sometimes referred to as an early version of “Maybe Baby.” Joke’s on us, peeps! They are exactly the same song, previously released in 1981. Word for word. Note for note.

Now, you may not know this, but Ric Ocasek could have been called a control freak. Nothing the Cars did — no album, cd, concert, tv appearance — occurred without Ric’s finger in the pie. Incongruously, he also enjoyed a good practical joke.  Somewhere in the ether, I picture him still laughing at this one.

 

 

“Maybe Baby”
I heard stories about you
I’d like to think that they were true
I did not know you’d be like that
With those surprises under hat

Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby

When you dance between the stars
In the night late, sweet and dark
Turn them over one by one
You don’t need to jump the gun

Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby

When the night is feeling flush
And when the night is all a hush
Electric look, eclectic blue
Keep one dream that won’t come true

Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my, be my
Be my maybe baby

Maybe baby
Maybe baby
Be my, be my, be my
Be my maybe baby

Maybe baby
Maybe baby
You’re the one

Maybe baby
Maybe baby
Maybe baby
Be my, be my, be my
Be my maybe baby
Be my maybe baby

I heard stories about you
I’d like to think that they were true
Be my maybe
Be my, be my, be my, be my

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday – “Don’t Tell Me No” and “Don’t Go To Pieces” – The Cars

The last time I featured a Cars song for Song Lyric Sunday was September 22, 2019. That’s too long ago. This week’s theme Did/Didn’t/Do/Don’t/Does/Doesn’t gives me the opportunity to remedy that oversight. Quite a few Cars songs would fit, but I’m featuring two of the best, both relatively-unknown: “Don’t Tell Me No” and “Don’t Go To Pieces.”

As with all Cars songs, Ric Ocasek wrote both, but “Don’t Go To Pieces” is one of the few Cars songs for which he shares co-writing credit with someone — Greg Hawkes, the Cars’ “jack of all trades,” whose contributions to the Cars included keyboards, synth, sax, percussion, and background vocals.

Both songs were released as singles, but neither charted. “Don’t Tell Me No,” the second single off the Panorama album, was released in November, 1980, with “Don’t Go To Pieces” on the B-side. “Don’t Go To Pieces” was released again in January, 1981, as the B-side of the third Panorama album single “Gimme Some Slack” (which also didn’t chart.) “Don’t Go To Pieces” did not appear on a Cars album until the Just What I Needed Anthology album in 1995 but was also included with the Panorama expanded edition released in 2017. Although commercially unsuccessful, both songs are cult-favorites in the Fanorama. (Considering how many times DGTP was released, I wonder if Ric Ocasek also had a soft spot for it.)

Both songs are showcases for Benjamin Orr’s vocal versatility. I’ll start with my fave:

 

Don’t Go To Pieces

What’s it gonna be?
Red jacket girl, lover, midnight spree
What’s it gonna be?
You look so imperial

What’s it gonna be?
You tried and you tried
But you couldn’t hook your shoelace
What’s it gonna be?
Know you got intention, difficult to see

You can make the switch
You can have your wish

What’s it gonna prove?
Turning all the dials, makin’ all the right moves
What’s it gonna prove?
It’s all so mystical

What’s it gonna prove?
You look so tacky in your chrome drip belt
What’s it gonna prove?
You’re ready to rage and startin’ to melt down

You can make the switch
You can have your wish

Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces
Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces

What’s it gonna show?
All left out and ready to go
What’s it gonna mean?
You feel like trash but you look so clean

What’s it gonna do?
All of them angels jealous of you
Where’s it gonna go?
Anyplace, faster pace, overcome the low blow

You can make the switch
(Ooo)
You can have your wish

Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces
Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces

Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces
(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces, b-baby
(Ooo)

(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces
(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces, b-baby
(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces
(Ooo)

 

 

It’s my party, you can come
It’s my party, have some fun
It’s my dream, have a laugh
It’s my life, have a half, well
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (I like it when you tell me slow)
It’s my transition, it’s my play
It’s my phone call to beta ray
It’s my hopscotch, light the torch
It’s my downtime, feel the scorch, well
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (I don’t like it when you tell me no)
It’s my ambition, it’s my joke
It’s my teardrop, emotional smoke
It’s my mercy, it’s my plan
I want to go to futureland, well
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (I like it when you tell me slow)
Don’t tell me no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no, no, no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me, I don’t want to know)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no, no, ay (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no (Don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no, no, don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (don’t tell me, you have to go, don’t tell me no)