Joe Flood Translates and Sings Georges Brassens

by Joe Flood

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1.
In this small town it's safe to say My reputation's here to stay If I do or don't it's all the same No harm is done to my bad name I don't do a thing to get people riled 'Cept go along my way like a carefree child But those good fine folks who never stray Hate to see you go your own way And everybody curses me Except the mutes Obviously Fourth of July, Memorial Day At home in bed is where I stay That music in step, hup, two, three Has got nothing to do with me I don't do a thing to hurt one or all Choosing not to answer the bugle's call But those good fine folks who never stray Hate to see you go your own way And everybody points at me 'Cept th' amputees Obviously I cross paths with some apple thief Chased by some clown giving him grief I stick my foot out just enough That clown falls down and hushes up I don't do a thing to hurt anyone Letting some poor thief and his apples run But those good fine folks who never stray Hate to see you go your own way And everybody jumps on me Except the lame Obviously No need to look for prophecies I know the fate that's promised me Find them a rope to suit their taste They'll string me up no time to waste I don't pose a threat to your house and home Just because my road doesn't lead to Rome But those good fine folks who never stray Hate to see you go your own way They'll all come see me hanged for good Except the blind That's understood!
2.
You can keep your blue skies and your fine sunny days Sunny skies make me sick and fill my eyes with rage My temper rises with the pale blue sky For my life's greatest love, greatest joy, greatest pain, I owe to Jupiter, god of thunder and of rain She came to me with lightning from on high In November the storm came upon us and burst Thunder pounded the roof while thunder roared its curse And eerie lightning danced there in the din Aroused from her sleep, she put bare feet to floor And not pausing to dress came rapping at my door A neighbor begging me to take her in Won't you please open up, I'm alone and afraid My poor husband's gone out to ply his thankless trade You'd think he'd know to come in from the wet But he won't stay at home in our bed nice and warm He's a company man in business with the storm When you sell lightning rods that's what you get Thanking Franklin's invention I opened my arms And I snuggled her close to keep her safe from harm And what was left to do love did for me You can sow bits of ir'n round the whole countryside But you'd better plant one above your frightened bride Or fate will show you how cruel it can be Now when Jupiter'd left to make noise somewhere else And my new love, alas, had come back to herself All unafraid now she was safe and warm She went back home again to dry off her old man After we'd made a date, a promise, and a plan To rendez-vous at the next thunderstorm And from that day to this I've not lowered my eyes Giving over my days to gazing at the skies And ogling every cloud I chance to see Eyeing stratus and nimbus without any shame And to each cumulus I wink and speak her name But still she hasn't come back here to me For her husband it seems made his fortune that night While old Jupiter raged and I held her so tight Those lightning rods made him a millionaire And he carried her off toward those ever clear skies Some poor country of fools where dark clouds never rise And lightning never flashes in the air Please see that my poor plea finds its way to her door Thunder beating its drum to bring the rain once more Remind her of that night and how we were When a stray lightning bolt struck this poor heart of mine And with intent to kill engraved it with this sign A little flower that looks just like her
3.
The Gorilla 04:11
A big strong gorilla stood upstage While the crowd of ladies downtown Gazed through the bars of his small cage Without pausing to look around With no shame they all nudged each other And craned their necks for a better view Of a feature my dear old mother Would forbid me to name for you There's a gorilla! All at once the door of the prison That the animal had called home Swung wide for no obvious reason And the young beast was free to roam Teh ape quit his posing and preening And he cried out, "Today's the day!" I bet you all can guess his meaning Before I even have to say There's a gorilla! The zookeeper wailed, "What a bungle!" And his consternation was great For his mighty prince of the jungle Had never known even one mate When those of the female persuasion Discovered the monkey was hot They postponed their investigations And just all took off like a shot There's a gorilla! While moments before these same females Had ogled him boldly enough The ape forced tehir hand and they turned tail Their big talk had just been all bluff Their missed chance seems even sillier Since the gorilla I've heard say Is better at getting familiar Than a man is any old day There's a gorilla! Everyone went running for cover Out of range of the prowling ape Except a decrepit grandmother And a young judge who stood and gaped While everyone else sought protection In his rolling, shambling gait The ape sped off in the direction of grandma And the magistrate There's a gorilla! "Oh, well," sighed the centenarian, "The idea that it would want me Strikes me as extraordinary an' The kind of luck I never see." The judge in his robe saw him coming But he through, though not too hard or long, "He'd never take me for a woman," But what followed would prove him wrong There's a gorilla! Now suppose one of you just might be Like the monkey forced to choose Between a judge or an old lady, Which one would you take of the two? Left with no other tale to tell you, You cna believe me, girsl and boys, It's no trouble for me to sell you On the old gal as my first choice There's a gorilla! It may be true that as a lover The gorilla puts us to shame But it's some comfort to discover That on brains he can lay no claim The old lady smiled and showed no fear But he foolishly let her be And grabbing that fool judge by both ears He dragged him off behind a tree There's a gorilla! The rest I leave to your assumptions For sadly not even the half Would be fit for public consumption But it could give us all a laugh For the judge all dignity scorning Shouted "Mommy!" and cried like heck Like the man who that very morning He'd blithely had hanged by the neck There's a gorilla!
4.
It's sung for you this weary song My backwoods friend who right or wrong Gave me for free the wood you sold When my life left me in the cold You who built me a ifre when All those good solid citizens And all of that well-intentioned crowd Were happy to see me put out It wasn't much, four sticks of wood But from these bones it stole the chill And in my soul it's burning still As bright as the home fires should You, my fine friend, when you should die And the pallbearers bear you by May they lead you beyond the sun To th' eternal one It's sung for you this weary song Poor housekeeper who right or wrong Gave four bits of bread to eat When my life left me in the street You who fed me from your board when All those good solid citizens And all of that well-intentioned crowd Just laughed at my being locked out I know you just spared what you could But from these bones it stole the chill And in my osul it's burning still As wild as a bonfire would You, dear lady, when you should die And the pallbearers bear you by May they lead you beyond the sun To th' eternal one It's sung for you this weary song You, the stranger, who right or wrong Gave me a sad smile on that day The cops came and hauled me away You who didn't cheer them on when All those good solid citizens And all of that well-intentioned crowd Were glad to see me knocked about It wasn't much from where they stood But from these bones it stole the chill And in my soul it's burning still As warm as a summer sun would You, kin dstranger, when you should die And the pallbearers bear you by May they lead you beyond the sun To th' eternal one
5.
A spring in his step, not a whistle wetter, The devil in his grin, a glint in his eye: He might be a boy, but there's no man better Ever went off chasing butterflies Near the edge of town, he looked up and met her Cinderella still in her maid disguise He smiled big and said if she liked he'd let her Go with him to chase some butterflies Cinderella beamed, shook free of her tether Found her newest dress and boots just her size And then arm in arm like birds of a feather They set off to chase some butterflies Little did they know out among the heather Cupid lay in wait for the perfect prize Not just one young heart, two young hearts together, Two young hearts out chasing butterflies Sitting side by side, he began to pet her She said, "Once for all, let me set you wise: It's not in my skirt, it's not in my sweater, That you should go chasing butterflies." Her two lips on fire swore that they knew better How his two met hers you may well surmise As to who was got and who was the getter Let's leave that up to those butterflies Knowing that the day could not last forever Hearts about to burst they said their good-byes Swearing if they lived forever they'd never Miss a chance to chase some butterflies So long as they love, so long as the weather Keeps the clouds away and tears from their eyes They may wander far and wide in the heather But they won't be chasing butterflies No more chasing butterflies
6.
I had never once taken off my cap For anybody Now I'm hat in hand kneeling at her lap Each time she calls me I was a lone wolf; she called me indoors Where I still linger, At her tiny feet begging one treat more From her sweet fingers I'm a child again before this little doll Whose eyes close when you lie by her side I'm a child again before this little doll Who cries for mama when you hold her tight I was cold as ice but she melted me Before I knew it Her lips fed the fire I fell willingly Burning into it Teeth flash pearly white every time she smiles Or she sings to you But she's a she-wolf when you get her riled Best watch what you do I'm a child again before this little doll Whose eyes close when you lie by her side I'm a child again before this little doll Who cries for mama when you hold her tight I can still recall running wild and free Those days are over She's the jealous queen of all that I see And takes what's owed her One poor pretty girl I looked at one day With too much feeling That one pretty girl who dared look my way She sent home reeling I'm a child again before this little doll Whose eyes close when you lie by her side I'm a child again before this little doll Who cries for mama when you hold her tight All the innocents and the wise men say That lost in her charms When with my last breath my last prayer I pray I'll be in her arms Your love may be foul, your love may be fair But once love's met you If it gets you here or it gets you there Love's going to get you I'm a child again before this little doll Whose eyes close when you lie by her side I'm a child again before this little doll Who cries for mama when you hold her tight
7.
Lord knows I'm not one who'd ever pray That another's soul be borne away But if death stopped coming 'round I would starve here ont his mound A poor gravedigger am I There are those who think that I take pride In a living made off those who've died But look closely and you'll see I don't do it willingly A poor gravedigger am I Any time I set my feelings free That's the time my friends make fun of me They all poke me in the side Say, "You look like someone died!" A poor gravedigger am I "Death's just part of life," I hear them say, But I don't know why it is that way There are those, but i'm not one, Who can take death as it comes A poor gravedigger am I Dear departed one who I'll never know Should you meet the Lord six feet below Let him know how much it hurt This last shovelful of dirt A poor gravedigger am I Your poor gravedigger am I
8.
As soon as they snap back from that frist slap on the ass These young knuckleheads think they're miles a heado ftheir dads And as soon as they're all losing their hair or going gray Old men start to shout for these punks to get out of their way Well, I'd like ot wiegh in on the question From my middle age to those just mentioned Age has no bearing on the matter When you're an ass, you're an ass At twenty-one or as a grandpa When you're an ass, you're an ass I'd ask you please cast no aspersions Going up or over the hill Young dumb-ass as fresh as a daisy Old ass who's been through the mill Young dumb-ass as fresh as a daisy Old ass who's been through the mill All you innocent young aspiring assholes to be Take your old men for the asses you'll never be You old asinine jackasses as blind as you're sure That these young asses for the asses you never were I ask you, ponder this suggestion Just one middle-aged view of the question Age has no bearing on the matter When you're an ass, you're an ass At twenty-one or as a grandpa When you're an ass, you're an ass I'd ask you please cast no aspersions Going up or over the hill Young dumb-ass as fresh as a daisy Old ass who's been through the mill Young dumb-ass as fresh as a daisy Old ass who's been through the mill
9.
Jenny 03:30
Oh, Jenny, yes, Jenny There’s a room at her inn if you’ve no hearth or home The last place of its kind you will find as you roam Until you reach the good Lord’s inn at last And enter there without a knock Through a door with no lock Knowing trouble’s past That’s Jenny’s, yes, Jenny’s You’re nobody at all come from no matter where And miraculously you can pull up a chair To find you’re just one of the family And if you push in just a bit In her heart you can fit Snug as you can be And Jenny, that Jenny She is poor and her table’s not so well supplied But the little that’s there will keep you satisfied Just by her giving it so willingly Her water is turned into wine Bread becomes cake as fine As cake ought to be And Jenny, poor Jenny You pay her what you can the price always is right A quick kiss on her brow or on her hair so white Play something like a guitar chord or two And for a tip just lead her to Some poor dog or cat who Is as lost as you And Jenny, poor Jenny Never found in her garden a baby to hold And to love and defend when the four winds blow cold And nurse with her own milk at her own breast How sad and empty she could be With no child on her knee Just like all the rest But Jenny, yes Jenny Doesn’t cry anymore over what might have been Why should she care to be just one more mother hen When she is mother to the universe And ev’ry child who’s born to cry In the earth, sea, or sky Is already hers
10.
She was no tall ship brave and stout The kind old sailors wax about From Amsterdam to Singapore, Out to Singapore. She sailed upon the bounding main Of that big duck pond down the lane; They called her “Friendship Evermore”, Friendship Evermore. Their motto wasn’t poetry, No, they weren’t tempting destiny. They were just friends down to the core, Right down to the core. Her captain and all of her crew Were no sons of the well-to-do, But they were buddies aft and fore, Friendship evermore. They weren’t half-brother demigods, No yacht club peas all in a pod, No budding prep school commodores, No young commodores. But any time worse came to worst, They always put their buddies first And rode the wave fate held in store, Friendship evermore. Now they weren’t angels, that is true, They hadn’t read the gospels through, Not even one among the four, Not one of the four. John, Peter, Paul, and company Had just one creed, one litany, But it rang true from shore to shore: Friendship evermore. Friendship stood watch and walked the bar, Shone bright and high like their north star, Though woe strike like a man-o-war, Like a man-o-war. If they were ever in distress, Their arms all waving S.O.S., You’d see spelled out in semaphores, “Friendship evermore”. If any hand should ever fail To be on deck at time to sail, You’d think that albatross of lore Had croaked, “Nevermore”. And if it turned out to be true That death had claimed of one her crew, With every tide that washed the shore He’d be missed the more. Of all the boats I ever knew Just one sailed where the four winds blew, Full sail into what lay before, What might lie before. She sailed upon the bounding main Of that big duck pond down the lane; They called her “Friendship Evermore”, Friendship evermore.

credits

released March 8, 2014

1. The Bad Reputation (La mauvaise réputation)
2. The Thunderstorm (L’orage)
3. The Gorilla (Le gorille)
4. Song for a Kind Stranger (Chanson pour l’Auvergnat)
5. Chasing Butterflies (La chasse aux papillons)
6. I’m a Child Again (Je me suis fait tout petit)
7. The Gravedigger (Le fossoyeur)
8. Age Has No Bearing (Le temps ne fait rien à l’affaire)
9. Jenny (Jeanne)
10. Friendship Evermore (Les copains d’abord)
Recordings produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel with
Joe Flood (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo);
Garth Hudson (accordion, piano, melodica); Eric Ambel
(electric guitar); Mark Dann (double bass on tracks 1, 3,
4, 6, and 8); Skip Ward (double bass on tracks 2, 5, 7, 9,
and 10); Thierry Arpino (drums on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8);
and Phil Cimino (drums on tracks 2, 5, 7, 9, and 10).

All songs © Warner-Chappell Music.
All English lyrics © Joe Flood, 2011.
Cover art: Liz Grace.

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Joe Flood New Haven, Connecticut

Joe Flood is a songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist who has performed, written, and recorded with many of the great names in American roots music, among them The Band, Blues Traveler, Dr. John, Bottle Rockets, Laura Cantrell, Eric Andersen, Happy and Artie Traum, Jim Weider, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Jono Manson, and the list goes on! Please visit www.joefloodmusic.com for more information. ... more

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