Calaveras

 
Calaveras
12/31/1969
Greg Beattie

Story

Ready to Fly was inspired by a Bread and Roses benefit concert our band Calaveras performed at a nonambulatory senior facility in Mill Valley California. Afterwards, we spoke to several members of the audience. They told us the music brought back memories—of dancing at the Avalon ballroom, of loved ones they had lost, or just of feeling young and alive. Knowing that they were nearing the ends of their lives and would probably never leave the facility, their stories, smiles and tears were deeply profound to me. A couple of weeks later I was thinking of them, and the song nearly poured out of my guitar and onto the page—essentially finished in half an hour. It was as much a gift to me from them as a work of my own.

Lyrics

Ready to Fly I am standing on the edge of the water And I am watching the wild birds fill the sky And I am longing to be lifted up among them I am not dying I’m getting ready to fly. I am an old man and these old hands tell my story Fifty years on the Boston piers took their toll Faded faces smile from those places I cannot return to ‘Til my days are done and they take me home And I am standing on the edge of the water And I am watching the wild birds fill the sky And I am longing to be lifted up among them I am not dying I’m getting ready to fly. I was a young wife with my whole life still before me It was the last year of the last great war My darling Edward never returned from Normandy But soon I will see my Edward once more. And I am standing on the edge of the water And I am watching the wild birds fill the sky And I am longing to be lifted up among them I am not dying I’m getting ready to fly. My memory is fading like an ember But I remember a promise I once made I said dear Father I’ll be faithful forever And as he draws near me he can hear me pray I am standing on the edge of the water And I am watching the wild birds fill the sky And I am longing to be lifted up among them I am not dying I’m getting ready to fly.

Calaveras
04/01/2008
Greg Beattie

Story

A fantasy tour of Boston and Cambridge as it could have been at the millenium (had I been there), with a Carribbean groove because I was actually on a ship somewhere near Cuba. I guess it's more Jamaica Plain than Boston proper.

Calaveras
03/26/2008
Greg Beattie

Story

This song arrived shortly after our second child, Cameron. It celebrates the indescribable bonding of mother and child in the moments after birth.

Lyrics

Peace of My Love Tiny, frightened child Feeling yourself breathing your first breath Though your heart flutters like a birds Take comfort in these words You are of my body, by my side In my heart forever so close your eyes and sleep in the peace of my love Your eyes are my eyes My smile is your smile I see what is good in my in you I’ll be here to help you grow but for know just know You are of my body, by my side In my heart forever so close your eyes and sleep in the peace of my love In a world not yet divided by pedigree or race You are still an angel in a state of perfect grace Of my body, by my side In my heart forever so close your eyes and sleep in the peace of my love

Calaveras
05/01/2008
Greg Beattie

Story

Dogs are unlike all other animals (and most politicians) because they experience guilt and remorse. If a dog could talk (and sing) I think this is how he would assess himself.

Lyrics

To tell the truth I’m misunderstood Never had a thing against doing good But when I see a full moon, I can’t stop howling Or a tasty little poodle, I can’t keep from growling I’m a bad dog and I can’t change Ain’t no ointment for this kind of mange If it itches I scratch, if it tickles I kick If it smells I sniff, if it’s nasty I lick Cause I’m a bad, bad dog. I once caught a fat Siamese cat—oh boy Gave it a nice Chinese name—chew toy But just because I chase squirrels and cats and cars That’s no reason to put me behind these bars I spent a year of hard time here in this pen And you know in dog years, that’s seven to ten But I’m bustin’ out and it sure is a crime So many hydrants so little time Cause I’m a bad dog and I can’t change Ain’t no ointment for this kind of mange If it itches I scratch, if it tickles I kick If it smells I sniff, if it’s nasty I lick Cause I’m a bad, bad dog. I might fetch your slippers and bring them to you But they’ll be covered with slobber and a little chewed too I don’t roll over or shake or sit Don’t know how those other mutts put up with that stuff I once took a try at obedience school But I must have broken some cardinal rule While the other dogs were learnin’ to sit up and beg I was getting acquainted with the instructor’s leg Bad dog! And I can’t change Ain’t no ointment for this kind of mange If it itches I scratch, if it tickles I kick If it smells I sniff, if it’s nasty I lick Cause I’m a bad, bad dog.

Calaveras
03/26/2008
Greg Beattie, Victoria Blythe

Story

Growing up on farm was not as boring as people might think.

Lyrics

Firefly nights Do you remember those warm nights in June When we both were still just farmer’s kids And we walked out beneath that summertime moon And it gave its permission for the things we did And the crickets played rhythm to the beat of my heart While I tasted life’s many delights In the shadow of the new moon behind the old barn On those magic firefly nights, those magic firefly nights We danced in the circle of the firefly light In the sweet green fields of summer hay I called you my lover for the very first time I remember it like it was yesterday And the crickets played rhythm to the beat of my heart While I tasted life’s many delights In the shadow of the new moon behind the old barn On those magic firefly nights, those magic firefly nights

Calaveras
05/01/2008
Greg Beattie

Story

This song is about my son Austin. I wrote it just before he headed off to college up the California coast.

Lyrics

Heading north on Highway 101 Off to college with my first-born son He is talking about his mom He guesses she will feed the cats now that he is gone But we don’t talk about the way we feel I keep my grip just holding on to the wheel And I am driving him away And this is right and this is life And this is what we hope and pray But something’s dying in me anyway We used to wrestle on the parlor floor I’d let him win and he would yell for more Now he’s grown tall and full of quiet grace But I still see my little boy in his handsome face And though I know the time has come for him to leave He is still so dear to me I can’t believe I am driving him away And this is right and this is life And this is what we hope and pray But something’s dying in me anyway As I am driving him away So bittersweet is a father’s pride As he takes his biggest step I must try to step aside And I am driving him away. Heading north on highway 101 Off to college with my first-born son.

Calaveras
05/19/2008
Victoria Blythe

Lyrics

I thought I saw you in the rise of a granite peak Etched by a frozen hand in a language I cannot speak I tried to hold onto the moment but it was just a passing glance Out of step, out of rhythm I stumble and I miss my chance And I’ve been looking for you Sometimes there’s this darkness, it seems to swallow everything in sight Like a winter so unrelenting, spring just gives up the fight I’ve tried to fill this emptiness with money’s finest things But all the golden threads I’ve woven keep unraveling And I’ve been looking for you So pass by my room tonight Fill my dreams with your Holy light I’ve been looking for you.

Calaveras
11/30/-0001
Greg Beattie

Story

Grand prize winner, West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest 2005. This song grew out of living in Linden, California (pop. 1200 or so) and hearing small town jokes as a kid (told by the kids in the nearby bustling metropolis of Lodi).

Lyrics

My Town My town it’s a drive-on-by town It’s an if-you’re-going-60-you’ll-miss-it-if-you-blink-your-eye town It’s a bunch of little houses and a bank and a grocery, nothing much special to see But my town is the only town for me. I moved to the city for a couple of years but I could never call it home Funny how so many people can make you feel so alone I guess they got some pretty nice women there beneath the perfume and the paint But you never know which ones are and which ones ain’t It sure ain’t like My town it’s a folks-say-hi town It’s a kids-on-bikes and a flags-on-the-Fourth-of-July town You can come around for some lemonade and visit ‘neath a big shade tree That’s why my town is the only town for me I came back home and married Mary Jo, I’ve known her since I was four The sweetest girl in the whole wide world and she was livin’ right next door The best things in life are like that, sittin’ right under your nose You go chasin’ daisies when you’re already holding a rose And that goes for My town it’s an average-guy town A get-married-settle-down-have-kids-and-eventually-die town But there’s no place I hold dear like here among friends and family Cause my town is the only town for me. You get you’re birthday in the paper, with a coupon for one free beer And just about every decade, you get to be man of the year Right here in My town, it’s an average-guy town, It’s a folks-say-hi town It’s a drive-on-by town Oh it’s my town.

Calaveras
05/01/2008
Greg Beattie

Story

How to live without knowing what you are doing.

Lyrics

a city and a life and a girl Tuesday morning without any coffee and too many chores to do Along came Sally biking down the alley to show me her new tattoo She said hop on and I said alright and she took me to a place she knows A little speak easy down in the shadows where nobody I know goes I said you gotta be crazy she said hey don’t we all? So we got up and danced to an old time record until I started to fall Fallin’ like a priest in the city of angels or a soul on capitol hill Fallin’ like a star into smoke and ash or the buzz from a little white pill Fallin’ like a trucker looking for a load in an empty container world Fallin’ like a brick into the mix of a city and a life and a girl I did a little thinking, a little bit of drinking and I called Sally again I made my bed but I couldn’t sleep in it, so I said let’s be friends She started to take her shoes off and I said hey let’s be clear I like my fun but honestly hun that’s not why I brought you here She said never say never And I said I never do. So we got up and danced to an old time record Just like lovers do Fallin’ like a priest in the city of angels or a soul on capitol hill Fallin’ like a star into smoke and ash or the buzz from a little white pill Fallin’ like a trucker looking for a load in an empty container world Fallin’ like a brick into the mix of a city and a life and a girl

Calaveras
05/01/2008
Greg Beattie

Story

Green Girl is the leaf-clad spring spirit, bringing fertility, mischief and irrepressible new life to the world.

Lyrics

Leaf-faced elf of spring has spoken Leaving me like quaking aspen Rooted deep but lightly shaking In the buffered breeze She brings light and flights of fancy Stolen from the God of dance she Flits and flies before my eyes and Kisses all she sees Toad and swallow rose and weed Know the green girl’s every deed On April wings at blazing speed The green girl comes to me Green girl tiptoes cross my lawn And lifts the summer sun beyond She stutters in the waking wind And shakes the berry vine She of wine and she of sorrow She of lovers in the meadow She who promises tomorrow’s Pleasures we will find Toad and swallow rose and weed Know the green girl’s every deed She makes the sap-veined pine tree bleed As she comes to me There is nothing I can teach her Bursts like bubbles if I touch her Playful star I only see her When I look away Toad and swallow rose and weed Know the green girl’s every deed In every shoot and every seed The green girl comes to me

Calaveras
11/30/-0001
Greg Beattie, Victoria Blythe

Story

One of our first songs to catch anyone's attention, it won the West Coast Songwriter's Song of the Year honors, was picked up by MasterSource Publishing in L.A. and has appeared in a bunch of TV shows and movies (the most prominent of which is "Anywhere But Here" with Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman).

Lyrics

I"ve been keeping your letters under my pillow' I've been keeping your love up on the shelf But I'm happy tonight just passing the time Dancing with you all by myself I still remember the night we promised each other Not to dance with anyone else Now you know how I'm keeping that vow Dancing with you all by myself The radio's playing our favorite song I close my eyes and you are kissing me I've been missing you darling For oh so long And I pray you are still missing me So I spin me around one more time slowly To that melody we know so well Til you are here I'll dream of you dear and be dancing with you all by myself.

Calaveras
05/01/1999
Greg Beattie

Story

Just the same old story--a guy forced into a life of involuntary yodeling.

Lyrics

Yodelin' blues I’m stuck up on this mountain called the Matterhorn Chasing sheep and wishing I was never born They make me eat Muesli, the Swiss brand of Total They let me sing the blues, but only if I yodel From Berne to Lucerne you can hear me shout the news This boy’s got a case of those yodelin’ blues Yodelladey, yodelladey adey hoo. My knees are knocking and my leg hairs are frozen From standing in the snow in my liederhosen We got no baseball, we got no place to surf Just pine trees and goat cheese and gift shops full of smurfs From the meadow to the ghetto you can hear my falsetto singing This boy’s got those yodelin’ blues Yodelladey, yodelladey adey hoo. I thought I had a shot at dating Katarina Witt Then she ran off with that skier and treated me like--dirt I guess I'll never jetset with the high and mighty I'll be lucky if I ever get to diddle Heidi Diddle Heidi diddle Heidi diddle Heidi diddle Heidi ho. Our chocolates and our watches are all overpriced We're neutral cause our army just has little red knives Our cheese is full of holes and we live next door to the French And with all those sheep and goats ach du lieber what a stench From Berne to Lucerne you can here me shout the news This boy’s got a case of those yodellady, yodellady, yodellady, yodellady, yodelin’ blues