Holly Near - 2018

2018

Holly Near 2018; CTM0012

A collection of outspoken songs performed with simplicity and wisdom from singer songwriter Holly Near. Near’s work has been synonymous with social change activism for well over 45 years.  Her new songs dig deep into subjects like bullying, domestic violence and flood destruction in Puerto Rico. Still there is a twinkle long identified with Holly’s view of life as she brings laughter and tenderness to the human condition – as in Coup d’État that Holly delightfully rhymes with Mardi Gras and Menage a Trois.  Plus fireflies, an old fashioned front porch, pondering on the moon and a goosebump duet with her nephew Quinn Van Antwerp. Then there is her voice, which is more powerful and clearer than ever. Featuring Tammy Hall (piano), Jan Martinelli (bass), Nina Gerber (guitars), and other outstanding guest instrumentalists.

Track Listing: Nature, Front Porch, Casualty in My Own House, Calling Me Out, Soon It’s Gonna Rain, Moon, Coup d’Etat, Are You Kidding Me?, When I Grow Up, Bully Bully, A Singer Must Die, Healing Journey, Someone Was Brave Before Me / Move

Credits

This recording was produced by Holly Near, Donna Korones, and Gary Mankin

Engineered and mastered by Gary Mankin

Recorded at Mesa Recording Studio, Knob & Tube, Megasonic Studio, and Neal Harris Studio

Alison de Grassi – Design Coordinator
Irene Young – Photographer
Inkfish Design – Designer
Goldenrod – Artist Support

The Players

With generous creative participation by:

Jan Martinelli – Bass, Music Coordinator
Tammy Hall – Keyboards
Nina Gerber – Guitars
Nancy Hayashibara – Piano on “I Am Only Borrowed”
Helena Jack – Flugelhorn
Sheldon Brown – Clarinet, Sax, Recorder
Rich Kuhns – Accordion
Melanie DeMore, Sandy O, Pat Humphries – Support Vocals
Michaelle Goerlitz – Snare, Spoons

Track Notes

Nature
nature

NATURE ©2017
By Holly Near
Acoustic Bass: Jan Martinelli
Piano: Tammy Hall

HN NOTES: When Jan, Tammy and I first started learning this song together it seemed it cried out for lush instrumentation but in the studio we discovered it became too bombastic and it really benefited from simplicity. There is almost an old world musical theater quality to the song, maybe in the spirit of Kurt Weill who was born in 1900 and died in 1950.  He was married to singer Lotte Lenya who sang the lead in one his most famous works, Three Penny Opera, written with Bertold Brecht penning the libretto. Some of those songs live on today, most notably “Mack The Knife”. In a San Francisco State production of Three Penny Opera oh so long ago, my sister Timothy played the same part as Ms. Lenya and sang the haunting “Pirate Jenny”.  Later, when I went to UCLA, I used that song as an audition piece to get into the theater program.  The rehearsal pianist didn’t show up for the audition and although the committee said I could reschedule, I was pretty sure I had better get it over with.  I sang the song a cappella!  Thanks to all those years singing a cappella to the cows on the ranch, I pulled it off with flying colors – much to the amazement of a committee that was not familiar with a cappella singing.

Front Porch

FRONT PORCH ©2017
by Holly Near
Electric Bass: Jan Martinelli
Acoustic and Electric Guitars: Nina Gerber
Piano: Tammy Hall
Snare & Spoons: Michaelle Goerlitz

HN NOTES: Although the overall concept of the CD recording was to work without drums and find the rhythm within the melodic instruments, I succumbed on this one. I pictured a bunch of folks making music on the front porch and I was pretty sure someone would have picked up a stick or brought out some kitchen spoons.  I love how it turned out.

Casualty In My Own House

CASUALTY IN MY OWN HOUSE ©2018
Lyric by Holly Near
Music by Mary Watkins
Electric Bass: Jan Martinelli
Electric Guitar: Nina Gerber
Piano: Tammy Hall

HN NOTES: I had this lyric written but I was having trouble with the music. I asked the amazing Mary Watkins if she would take a look at it.  She did one better. She wrote powerful and totally appropriate music for the song.  Once I had the music to work with I was able to improve on the lyric.  And what the trio played on this is subtle and powerful. While we were recording the song, it was moving to notice that some of the people who were listening to the session started to weep.  It was their story.  One gentleman hugged me and said, “Thank you.” When doing vocal overdubs I didn’t feel there needed to be any harmonies added but I did want the activist’s voice represented so I added “Is there a shelter? Is there friend?”

Calling Me Out

CALLING ME OUT ©2018
Lyric by Holly Near
Music by Holly Near and Jan Martinelli
Electric Bass: Jan Martinelli
Electric Guitar and 6 string Uke: Nina Gerber
Piano: Tammy Hall

HN NOTES: This piece started out with a lyric called “There Goes My Mind Again”.  I kept defending the song when we toured even though producer Donna Korones said she did not understand (aka did not like) the song.  We recorded the song in the studio and I finally had to admit that I didn’t like it either.  And it was the lyric that was the obstruction. So I was taking it off the recording. However, I had spent so much money in the studio on the tracks trying to make it work. I couldn’t bear to throw all that work away.  After a day in the studio I went back to the drawing board and in the middle of the night wrote a completely new lyric. And now I love the song. Thank you co-writer Jan Martinelli for hanging in there with me and my friend Donna for being honest.

Soon It's Gonna Rain

SOON IT’S GONNA RAIN ©1960
Lyric by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt
from The Fantastiks
Vocals by Holly Near and Quinn Van Antwerp

HN NOTES: I have always loved this song. I originally sang it with Broadway artist Brian Lane Green. He and I found the harmonies together in our rather unconventional way which involves lots of laughter and wrong notes until we reach our goal.  I also sang it as a duet with Cris Williamson. Here, I sing it with my nephew. There is something about singing with family…like the DNA gets in to the vibrato! Back in 2000, Quinn sang on a recording I did called Edge.  He is the child voice on the song, “Uh Huh”.  Child no more, he is a singer and actor, played Bob Gaudio in the musical Jersey Boys on Broadway. Currently working on Broadway in a show called The Play That Goes Wrong. Thanks Quinn for literally flying in for a few hours to sing with me on this song.

Moon

MOON ©2017
Lyric by Holly Near
Music by Tammy L. Hall
Acoustic Bass: Jan Martinelli
Piano: Tammy Hall
Flugelhorn: Helena Jack

HN NOTES: My appreciation of Tammy Hall has slowly unveiled itself. First I got to know her as a pianist, a composer, then an arranger (she arranged the trumpet part) and eventually discovered she could sing as well. Her ability to cover lots of styles is essential to the support I need when touring and recording.  Tammy travels with Jan Martinelli and I on the fall tour 2018.

Coup d'Etat

COUP D’ETAT ©2017
by Holly Near
Acoustic Bass: Jan Martinelli
Piano: Tammy Hall

HN NOTES: Definition of a coup d’etat:

A sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group; a quick and decisive seizure of governmental power by a strong military or political (or corporate) group – as in a corporate coup d’etat.

Are You Kidding Me?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ©2017
by Holly Near
Electric Bass: Jan Martinelli
Electric and Acoustic Guitars: Nina Gerber
Piano: Tammy Hall

HN NOTES: I live in Sonoma County and watched my neighbors, my community, go through a terrible fire.  Many lost homes, some lost lives. And the northern counties are still traumatized, trying to recover and move on.  So much support showed up from surrounding counties and from neighboring states – planes, water, firefighters. Shelters opened and were overwhelmed with contributions of clothes, supplies and money – so much love and compassion.  And all the while, I kept thinking about Puerto Rico, New Orleans and other places around the world that did not receive the same attention.  Another example of inequity that could so easily be avoided and yet the hardwired issues of class and race get in the way of the world’s humanity.

When I Grow Up

WHEN I GROW UP ©2017
by Holly Near
Recorder: Sheldon Brown
6 string uke: Nina Gerber

HN NOTES: This song was inspired by my agent and friend, Jim Fleming who laughing told me one day, it seems I am what I am going to be when I grow up.  I loved that idea. And I have to take all my hats off to Jan Martinelli who transcribed this song – again and again and again – until I got it right.  Sometimes something so simple can be really hard, when every part of the work is so exposed there isn’t much room for error.  Sheldon worked out his part so beautifully to dance around mine and Nina danced around us both – true masters on their instruments.  I sang the song with two voices.  The first time I sang it with a “younger voice”.  Then again with an “older voice”.  We all liked the latter better. So that is the one you hear.

Bully Bully

BULLY BULLY ©2017
Lyric by Holly Near
Music by Holly Near and Jan Martinelli
Vocals: Holly Near, Pat Humphries, Sandy O
Acoustic Bass: Jan Martinelli
Acoustic Guitar: Nina Gerber
Accordion: Rich Kuhns
Clarinet: Sheldon Brown
Snare: Michaelle Goerlitz

HN NOTES: This is such a tight track.  I love it. Nina and Jan set an amazing groove giving Sheldon and Rich room to do their magic. I never tire of listening to all the juicy licks, so playful.  The subject matter is equally complex and not so much fun. There is nothing fun or juicy about bullying. So I joined the tough ideas with a song we can dance to, as a path to healing from being bullied or as a mirror to look into if we ourselves, in one way or another, bully others.  Good luck to us all on all fronts.

A Singer Must Die

A SINGER MUST DIE ©1974
by Leonard Cohen
Acoustic Bass: Jan Martinelli
Accordion: Rich Kuhns

HN NOTES: This is the kind of vocal/instrumental relationship that takes years to mature. And yet Rich and I had two hours to meet each other on this song.  Thank you Rich for getting right inside the lyric with me so we could tell this story so beautifully written by Mr. Leonard Cohn

Healing Journey

HEALING JOURNEY ©2017
by Holly Near
Acoustic Bass: Jan Martinelli
Piano: Tammy Hall
Tenor Sax: Sheldon Brown

HN NOTES: This is basically the same song musically as “Shadow of War” which is on a previous album called Peace Becomes You.  Back when doing that project, I couldn’t decide which lyric to put to the music – the healing lyric or the one about the ways of war. I chose to use the lyric that is about the ways of war. But I liked this other lyric as well so I thought, “Hey there is no rule that says I can’t record it again with the alternate lyric.”  So here is “Healing Journey” aka Shadow of War #2

I Am Only Borrowed

I AM ONLY BORROWED ©2017
Lyric by Holly Near
Music by Jeff Langley
Piano: Nancy Hayashibara

HN NOTES: When my mother was dying I asked her where she thought she would go. She said she didn’t think she would go any where, that she had always been here and would always be here.  Only now, we got to see each other – for a moment.  Once recorded with the wonderful pianist Nancy Hayashibara I played it for co-writer and long time friend, Jeff Langley. This is what he said.

March 2018

Wow, yes, you two nailed it. And I know the challenges (vocal phrasing that’s not-so-obvious and anyway requiring mighty breath control and…LUNGS; getting across the lyric’s multiple messages; the tender intimacy that’s also spatially vast; the texture seemingly spare and simple but deceptively so, and very hard to pull off.) 

Nancy’s and your humility and musical sensitivities unlock the poignancy, that sense of mystery hiding somewhere out there on another plane… and, yes, more than a bit of sadness too. How we miss these giants of love and wisdom who gave/taught us so much; how to face that sometimes brutal daily emptiness stemming from their utter absence, the finality of that. And therefore the song, the reassuring forever of their presence within us. You and Nancy somehow convey it all… so, well… enough said!

i-am-only-borrowed
i-am-only-borrowed-2
Someone Was Brave Before Me

SOMEONE WAS BRAVE BEFORE ME ©2017 and MOVE ON OVER ©2017
by Holly Near
Vocals Holly Near, Melanie DeMore, Pat Humphries, Sandy O

HN NOTES: I have used BRAVE as a way for people to tell stories in circle. I sing it first time round and then someone shares a story of a person who was brave and then we return to singing the refrain.  If the group keeps a soft rhythm tapping their feet or hands-on-knees then it can hold the space until the next person feels inspired to tell a story.  If possible, record such sessions even with a simple cell phone so that these stories can be “found” by the next generation.  Let’s leave a trail.  And to all those who are determined to ruin all things NATURE, quite apart from the thousands of years based on life and death and the food chain, we do wish you would just go sit down and have a cup of tea. Read a book. Get off your violent path. Stop hurting everyone. Stop promoting hate. Stop being bullies and destroyers.  nd if you don’t then humanity has no choice than to follow in the footsteps of our brave, inspired and well-meaning ancestors – we will resist you.  Historically it is inevitable. The people always rise up – century after century we will remind you – sometimes peacefully, sometimes with violence.  And then ultimately, NATURE will have its way with us all.

Lyrics

Nature

Nature is a reminder that we are animals
Life and death and the food chain, all part of the plan
But why does my animal hurt its offspring
And sell them down the river
For a tidbit, an acre, or a bone?

Nature is a reminder that we are animals
Life and death and food chain, all part of the plan
But why does my animal abandon its reason
And dampen a spirit with an insult, a bat, or a bomb
Why does my animal?

Nature is a reminder that we are animals
Life and death and food chain, all part of the plan
But why does my animal get set on destruction
Poison our mother and level the mountain
For a promise, a nugget a gold?

And anyway I’ve just been thinking about it
And anyway I’ve just been thinking about it
I’m like that, I think about things
In the middle of the night.

And anyway I’ve just been thinking about it
And anyway I’ve just been thinking about it
Are you like that? Do you think about things
In the middle of the night?

Front Porch

If I had a front porch, I’d be sittin’ on it
Sittin’ in a rocking chair, and I’d be rockin’
If I had a sweetheart, you’d be sittin’ there with me
Sittin’ in a rockin’ chair and we’d be rockin’

And you would look at me like I’m a thing of wonder
And I’d look back and smile and say
Here comes a bit of a storm
Let’s watch the lightning and the thunder

If I had a front porch I’d be sittin’ on it
Sittin’ in a rocking chair and I’d be rockin’

Firefly lighten up the sky
Humidity dripping down my face
Soon all the neighbors can’t resist
Let’s go hang out at Holly’s place

If I had a cool drink I’d be sipping on it
Apple and a sprig of mint and I’d be rockin’
If I had a big cat, she’d be sittin’ there with me
Sittin’ in a rocking chair and she’d be rockin’

We can hear the cheers from the little league park as
Some gal rounds the base
The game is over, team can’t resist
Let’s go hang out at Holly’s place

If I had a baritone uke, I’d be strummin’ on it
Sittin’ in a rocking chair and I’d be strummin’
If I had a front porch I’d be sittin’ on iot
Sittin’ in a rocking chair and I’d be rockin’ rockin’ rockin’

Casualty

You come at me with your anger
You come at me with your rage
The back of your hand, the center of your fist
Afraid to tell anyone this

I can’t keep saying I fell down
Or ran into the kitchen door
My back is unhinged, my center is undone
When you say you’re sorry, I just want to run
I’m a casualty in my own house

I’m afraid to go home at night
The worst of my bruises don’t show
But my children are there, and they need me to care
And I don’t know where else we would go

You come at me with your grown up
You come at me with your age
You yell and insult, and I’m just a kid
You don’t seem to see what you just did

Who knows what your mood will be
Don’t know who will get it next
You’re weak and you’re cruel, an infernal machine
I sink into the walls and try not to be seen
I’m a casualty in my own house

I’m afraid to go home at night
The worst of my bruises don’t show
But my siblings are there, and they need me to care
And I don’t know where else we would go

(Is there a shelter, is there a friend?)

Can’t you hear earth is weeping
Don’t you know she is your home
You’ve trampled the grass lands and poisoned the wind
You bring me religion as if I have sinned
I’m a casualty in my own house

I love to walk on the earth at night
When the worst of her bruises don’t show
But my planet is here and she needs me to care
And I don’t know where else we would go.

Calling Me Out

There was a red sky at morning
Strange warm November air
Calling me out, calling me out
Calling me out of my despair

Child feeding a pony
Parents watching in awe
Tenderness and caution
In that moment, not one flaw

Is that love? Is that love? Is that love?

There was a blue sky at midnight
Mystery and intrigue
Calling me out, calling me out
Calling me out of my fatigue

To gather acorns fallen
An old woman is bending
Such a special treasure
A gift the oak is lending

Is that love? Is that love? Is that love?

Lion moves across the desert
A place where she has always been
Calling me out, calling me out
Calling me out from from within

Raven floating in the wind
Hawk upon the wire
A teacher steps in front of a child
In the line of fire

Is that love? Is that love? Is that love?

Soon It's Gonna Rain

Soon it’s gonna rain, I can feel it
Soon it’s gonna rain, I can tell
Soon it’s gonna rain, what are we gonna do?

Soon it’s gonna rain, I can feel it
Soon it’s gonna rain, I can tell
Soon it’s gonna rain, what will we do with you?

We’ll find four limbs of a tree
We’ll build four walls and a floor
We’ll bind it over with leaves
And run inside to stay

Then we’ll let it rain, we’ll not feel it
Then we’ll let it rain, rain pell-mell
And we’ll not complain if it never stops at all

We’ll find four limbs of a tree
We’ll build four walls and a floor
We’ll bind it over with leaves
And run inside to stay

Then we’ll let it rain, we’ll not feel it
Then we’ll let it rain, rain pell-mell
And we’ll not complain if it never stops at all

We’ll live and love within our own
Happily we’ll live and love no cares at all
Happily we’ll live and love within our own four walls.

Moon

We live in a world so full of hunger
We work in a world that is dis-eased
Sharing the air with people who are hungry
But not sharing food, not sharing guarantees
This inequity still brings me to my knees

I try to keep my look good thing together
And fight all my indulgent tendencies
But even if I lean in to denial, avoidance, distraction
This inequity still brings me to my knees

Someone made a robot and there goes another job
Someone built a car that needs no driver
I used to say good morning to the gal who worked the bridge
Now my money disappears into a space that they call cyber

So you say that you are building a spaceship to the moon
You say you want to mine it, that’s the goal
Have you never kissed a sweetheart when the moon was full
Or read Goodnight Moon to sooth your childlike soul?

Maybe this is my country but this country is not mine
Maybe this is my friend, but this friend is not mine
Maybe this is my child, but this child is not mine
Maybe this is my moon, but this moon is not mine

Do not mine, do not mine, do not mine the moon

Coup d'Etat

Coup d’état French words are so lov-er-ly
Coup d’état Sounds like a pas-ter-y
Coup d’état A silky camisole
Coup d’état Bub-bu-ly, bub-bu-ly, al-co-hol

Coup d’état I can hear the bankers counting
Un deux trois And the terror it is mounting
Coup d’état There’s never been a bunch so bad
Call it outrageous, call it sad – but call it a coup d’état

Coup d’état The coun-ter-ry is on the brink
Coup d’état Perhaps it’s time to raise a stink
Coup d’état It’s not a dance at Mardi Gras
Coup d’état Perhaps it’s more like a ménage à trois

Coup d’état It does no good to play coquette
Coup d’état No, it is not Pinochet
Coup d’état Right here in the good ole ooh ess ahh
Coup d’état La la

I know that every empire must fall flat
But I thought that I would be dead way before that
And how long will it take for us to recover
This might be a good time to take a lover

Coup d’état Who was at the rendezvous?
Coup d’état Alternative facts may misconstrue
Coup d’état Does Kissinger tell them all what to do?
Coup d’état Is someone doing a judicial review?

I know it’s not a cheese soufflé
But it was a downright terrible day

It’s a coup d’état – please don’t come to chez moi
Coup d’état and we are way beyond je ne sais pas
Coup d’état French words are so lov-er-ly
But don’t confuse with de mo cra cy
It’s a coup d’état
La La

Are You Kidding Me?

My house is under water
The circuits are all blown
I have no electricity
I cannot charge my phone

I’ve run out of medicine
I have no gas for the car
Then you tell me to apply for help on your website
Apply for help on your website

Are you kidding me? Oh, oh
Are you kidding me? Oh, oh
You’ve got to be kidding me
Or are you just losing your mind?

We can’t get clean water
Can’t get fresh food to eat
Can’t drive to school or the marketplace
Destruction all over the street

You say go stay with a relative
Until we have it all fixed
And then you tell me to apply for help on your website
Apply for help on your website

Are you kidding me? Oh, oh
Are you kidding me? Oh oh
You’ve got to be kidding me
Or are you just losing your mind?

Should I sound the alarm? I can’t sell the farm!
Have none of you ever lived in the real world?
Do you know how it feels, when you reach for my hand
And say you understand
Mr. President

Are you kidding me? Oh, oh
Are you kidding me? Oh oh
You’ve got to be kidding me
Or are you just losing your mind?
Hmm hmm hmm

When I Grow Up

I thought that I would like to work with things of beauty
With art and with nature
To give back to the earth
What had been given so graciously to me

I am what I am going to be when I grow up
I am what I am going to be when I grow up

I knew that I would meet a lass and she would make me smile
She would make me happy for a long long while

I am what I am going to be when I grow up
I am what I am going to be when I grow up

I knew that there would be mistakes and they would build my character
I knew that I would hurt someone and that I would offend
I knew that I would be hurt, I knew I’d be offended
But in the end it made me the one I am

And now I wonder who I’ll be when I grow up
Will I live another day or a decade or two?
My hair is grey, my mind is sharp and I still love the lass
And will tomorrow bring me something new?

I am what I am going to be when I grow up
I am what I am going to be when I grow up

Bully Bully

Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?
Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?
Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?
Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?

Sometimes a bully is just someone who doesn’t know how to stop teasing
Sometimes a bully will steal your coat especially when it’s freezing

Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?
Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?

Sometimes a bully is a gang of gals who rule the cafeteria
Sometimes a bully is a handsome guy who calls the geeks and nerds inferior
Sometimes a bully is just someone who hits and kicks and pinches
Sometimes a bully calls the others names like fatties, queers, and bitches

Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?
Are you a bully bully bully bully bully bully are you a bully bully?

Sometimes a bully is the president who forgets his station
Sometimes the bully is a three piece suit who threatens the Indian nation
Sometimes a bully throws a tennis shoe high up on the wire
Sometimes a bully has his finger on the button and could set the world on fire

Can we be the the ghosts and the ghouls and the goblins, can we be the witches of change?
Can we be the the ghosts and the ghouls and the goblins, can we be the witches of change?
Can we be the the ghosts and the ghouls and the goblins, can we be the witches that fly?
When the clock strikes twelve I will still be myself and the pumpkin will go in the pie

Can we be the the ghosts and the ghouls and the goblins, can we be the witches of change?
Can we be the the ghosts and the ghouls and the goblins, can we be the witches of change?
Can we be the the ghosts and the ghouls and the goblins, can we be the witches that fly?
When the clock strikes twelve I will still be myself and the pumpkin will go in the pie

A Singer Must Die

Now the courtroom is quiet, but who will confess
Is it true you betrayed us? The answer is yes
Read me the list of the crimes that are mine
I will ask for the mercy that you love to decline

And the ladies go moist, and the judge has no choice
A singer must die for the lie in her voice

And I thank you, I thank you for doing your duty
You keepers of truth, you guardians of beauty
Your vision is right, my vision is wrong
I’m sorry for smudging the air with my song

La la la…

Oh, the night it is thick, my defenses are hid
In the clothes of a woman I would like to forgive
In the rings of her silk, in the hinge of her thighs
Where I have to go begging in beauty’s disguise

Oh goodnight, goodnight, my night after night after night after night after…

I am so afraid that I listened to you
Your sunglass protectors they do that to you
It’s their ways to detain, their ways to disgrace
Their knee in your groin and their fist in your face

Yes and long live the state by whoever it’s made
Sir I didn’t see nothin’, I was just getting home late

La la la…

Healing Journey

In my heart I know the body
Is in truth a fragile dwelling
And I often treat it harshly
Leaving havoc in my own home
Havoc in my own home

Even when I treat it fairly
Strong and startling storms abound
That blow away my walls and windows
And bring my dwelling down

Hurt deep, can’t swim
Take her to the shallow water
Heart broke, leaky boat
Look what love and trust has brought her

My soul will find another shelter
And return to live again
I embrace the healing jorney
That I travel on ’til then

Hurt deep, can’t swim
Take her to the shallow water
Heart broke, leaky boat
Look what love and life has taught her

Hurt deep, can’t swim
Take me to the shallow water
Not broke, still afloat
Dreamin’ on my granddaughter

I know not where this path will lead
And the end I have not found
But I know it’s a healing journey
This time around.

I Am Only Borrowed

I am only borrowed from the universe

Here on earth only to be returned to the whole

Life is personal

Life is why I am here

Life is why I will return

To here

I have always been

Here

And I will always be

Here

Only now

We see each other for a moment

Someone Was Brave Before Me

Someone was brave before me
Someone was brave before me
Someone was brave before me
I walk in their path

Someone sat down in the road
Someone sat down in the road
Someone sat down in the road
I walk in their path

Someone stood up to the gun
Someone stood up to the gun
Someone stood up to the gun
I walk in their path

Move on over ’cause the people are rising up.

Holly Near: Peace Becomes You

Peace Becomes You (2-CD Set)

Calico Tracks Music 2012; CTM0010

28 newly recorded songs extending from Holly’s distinctive songwriting to material written or sung by artists including Irving Berlin, Jacques Brel, Ferron, Gnarls Barkley, Bernice Reagon, and Keb Mo. It’s an extraordinary collection showing the wide expanse of Holly’s stylistic virtuosity and her musical interests – love songs, standards, timely reflections on our world – all with conscience, some with humor, all in her unique, strong voice.She is accompanied on the journey by 22 outstanding musicians and vocalists, each contributing to the variety of sounds and styles. This reflective, tender, passionate, joyful, thoughtful collection of songs will warm you heart and stir your soul.

Track Listing: One Good Song, Because Of A Song, Because Of A Drum And A Song, 99 Miles From L.A., In The Shadow Of War, Peace Becomes You, Jump Jump, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, Shirt In The Wind , Crazy , She Just Wants To Dance , My Favorite Year, It Won’t Take Long , We’ve Come A Long Way, There’s A Meeting Here Tonight , Here Comes The Hard Part, Carousel, Let’s Face The Music And Dance, Sway, The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want To Get Over You), Seemed Like A Good Idea, It’s A Lazy Afternoon, What About Me?,  If I Were Alone, Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Full Moon Rising, Waiting, We’re Still Here, Peace

Credits

Producer Holly Near
Co-Producer Donna Korones
Engineer and Co-Producer Gary Mankin
Post Production Coordinator Alison de Grassi
Art Direction/Graphic Design Jill Davey, Penny Werner, JPD Communications
Photos Irene Young
Mastering Ken Lee Mastering
Recorded at Mesa Recording, Sebastopol CA
Additional Recording at Knob & Tube, San Francisco CA and 25th Street Studio, Oakland CA
Mixed at Knob & Tube
Additional Engineering Jeremy Goody, Megasonic Sound, Oakland CA

The Band

John Bucchino – Piano (with whom I’ve worked for decades. Thanks, John.)
Jan Martinelli – Electric, Acoustic, and Fretless Bass
David Rokeach – Drums
Nina Gerber – Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Ukelele

Special Guests

Alex de Grassi – Acoustic Guitar
Andre dos Santos Morgan – Vocals
Barbara Higbie – Violin
David Worm – Vocals
Ellen Seeling – Trumpet
emma’s revolution: Pat Humphries &
Sandy O – Vocals
Georges Lammam – Violin
Gina Breedlove – Vocals
Jackeline Rago – PercussionCuatro
Julie Wolf – Accordion
Libby McLaren – AccordionVocals
Melanie DeMore – Pounding StickVocals
Nicolas Bearde – Vocals
Quique Cruz – Zampoña
Rhonda Benin – Vocals
Robin Flower – Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar, Vocals
Tammy L. Hall – Piano

Lyrics

One Good Song

Going round the radio dial – round and round
Ads and lots of talk – round and round
Somebody’s talkin’ bout recipes
Somebody talk about sin
Somebody talk about the weather
Or will America win

I want to hear one good song while I’m stuck here in the traffic
I want to sing along – I need a song to help me me stay awake
One good song that will reach my demographic
Take me home, with one good song

Going round the radio dial, round and round
Rush Limbaugh losing his mind, round and round
Somebody celebrating ignorance
Puts a wrinkle in my brow
A freeway sign is rubbing it in
If you lived here you’d be home by now

I remember in radio when the DJs picked the songs
Patsy Cline could break my heart
And Ella could do no wrong
And though I’m over 30
And I’m not to be trusted
I like Bruno Mars and he seems so well adjusted
People on talk radio seem to have lost their way
So unless you happen to live where Public Radio has a say

Just play me one good song while I’m stuck here in the traffic
I want to sing along – I need a song to help me stay awake
One good song – that will reach my demographic
Take me home, with one good song
Take me home with one good song
Take me home with one good song

Because of a Song

You may laugh and I may be wrong
But I believe when we sing our spirits grow stronger
In art we learn things that cannot be taught
Releasing emotions that have been caught inside for years and years

Alone in my room, in my sense of self
I am remembering books on the shelf
Writers who had me catching my breath
Ideas that linked me to life and to death

Saving my soul, and saving my sanity
Holding my hand, and calming my vanity
Lifting my spirits, and easing my pride
Holding the truth when somebody lied

Then one day I made up a song
The words poured out as I went along
I sang what my mind could not see
I was singing in a new me

Because of a song I made my way
Through the world not equal or fair
Choices to make that called on my soul
To decide if I wanted to care

Without a drum and a song I would not know you
There would be no healing by the fire
The messenger would die of loneliness
With no reason to inspire

We’d go flat like a world without knowledge
There would be no dancing in the moonlight
The singers would die of loneliness
Somewhere in the night

Because of a Drum and a Song

A penny whistle, a rock and roll band
A symphony, a stick on an old tin can

A lullaby and a jazz quintet
A polka, a salsa and a minuet

A screaming guitar, a pounding beat
Dancing in heels or in bare feet

Wailing trumpets, piano rags
Fast tarantellas and tempos that lag

The drummers begin, the dancers arrive
And suddenly we know that we are alive

Choirs of peace, and marching bands
Soprano who hits all the notes nobody else can

A banjo, a koto, an oud, or darbuka
A cellist who dares to replace a bazooka

Cherokee Dance, a Mississippi blues
A troubadour daring to bring the news

Crossing the border, deep in the night
Ave Maria to hold off my fright

A sweatshop of noise where boredom can kill
Tapping her foot reflects a powerful will

Raising my children over the prison phone
Humming and humming so they won’t feel alone

A child who can’t sleep, a pain in her bones
A parent who sings so he won’t feel alone

Teenagers survive behind headsets of sound
Escaping the terror of a family unwound

A church on alert – the choir sings out
And women in hats begin to shout

Shout to the heavens, a grand jubilee
Raging and twirling in ecstasy

Birds in the sky, and bees in the hive
We know we are dying and we know we’re alive

How would my days have gone without a drum and a song?
How would my days have gone without a drum and a song?

99 Miles from L.A.

Keeping my eyes on the road, I see you
Keeping my hands on the wheel, I hold you
99 Miles from LA, I kiss you, I miss you, please be there

Passing the white sandy beach, we’re sailing
Turning the radio on, we’re dancing
99 Miles from LA, I want you, I need you, please be there

The windshield is covered with rain, I’m crying
Pressing my foot on the gas, I’m flying
Counting the telephone poles, I phone you
Reading the signs on the road, I write you
99 Miles from LA, we’re laughing, we’re loving, please be there

The windshield is covered with rain, I’m crying
Preessing my foot on the gas, I’m flying
Counting the telephone poles, I phone you
Reading the signs on the road, I write you
99 Miles from LA, we’re laughing, we’re loving, please be there

In the Shadow of War

War is child abuse for which our taxes pay
Soldiers are just children who have been denied the right to play
So don’t send our children out as the first line of defense
And then stand on patriotism to try to make some sense – of WAR, of WAR

The use of torture is just fascist in the shadow of Guantanamo
Don’t spend your hard earned money on this deadly horror show
Desperation is a mighty gun, and rage is a poisoned bullet
You put the trigger in a shaking hand and fear will come to pull it – because of WAR, because of WAR

The greatest of these offenses is the rape of body and spirit
And even with the screams for help seldom do we hear it
It’s the trauma of WAR, trauma of WAR

The roads are closed, and the wells polluted
There is no food to steal or buy
We seem to think starvation Is an acceptable way to die  –
in the shadow of WAR
in the shadow of WAR

And so it goes and so it goes  –   And so it goes on forever
And so it goes and so it goes  –   And so it goes on forever

And if we can’t figure this one out then we are not so clever
in the face of WAR
senseless WAR
in the trauma of WAR
in the shadow of WAR

Peace Becomes You

I like the way you look in your baggy jeans
The way you walk with your sassystride
I like the way you sound when you call out my name
The way you laugh when you’ve got something to hide
But most of all I like how you trust in change
And honey darling wonderful and true
May I say, Peace Becomes You
May I say, Peace Becomes You

I like the way it breaks your heart to see the cruelty of prison
The way you show up to be counted time after time
I like the way you raise your voice to put an end to war
The way you celebrate a woman in her prime
Ain’t no doubt about it, I like the way you speak your mind
And honey darling wonderful and true
May I say, Peace Becomes You
May I say, Peace Becomes You

May I say, Peace Becomes You
May I say, Peace Becomes You

I like the way you grab a thought and then put it into practice
The way you know when its time to honor rage
The way you really listen before you start talking
The way you stand on a picket line for a living wage
But most of all I like how you chose to love me
And honey darling wonderful and true
May I say, Peace Becomes You
May I say, Peace Becomes You
May I say, Peace Becomes You

Jump Jump

Once I thought I needed that pretty dress
Once I thought I needed more stuff
Once I thought I was all about it
Now I know enough is enough – Oh yeah
Now I know enough is enough

So let’s stop spending money
Let’s stop wasting time
Let’s stop driving around for nothing
And let’s stop living a lie, oh yeah
Let’s stop living a lie

Come on and Jump Jump Jump on and love the planet
Jump Jump Jump on and love a friend
Jump Jump Jump on and love the children
And let’s put a stop to the end – oh yeah
Let’s put a stop to the end.

I’m going up, up to the mountain
I’m going down, down to the sea
If you like walkin’ and if you like breathin’
You can come with me

I don’t always love the humans
We move slower than a snail
But of all the tasks that have been put before us
This time we don’t want to fail

You may ask me, why all the action
Why all those crazy people down in the street
All over the world, people be jumpin’
Turn up the love and turn down the heat

Jump Jump Jump on and love the children
Let’s put a stop to the end

Once I thought I needed that pretty dress

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face

I’ve grown accustomed to your face, you almost make the day begin
I’ve grown accustomed to the tune that you whistle night and noon

Your smiles, your frowns, your ups, your downs
Are second nature to me now,like breathing out and breathing in

I was serenely independent and content before we met
Surely I could always be that way again – and yet

I’ve grown accustomed to your look
Accustomed to your voice
Accustomed to your face

Shirt in the Wind

Driving cross the prairie, no one in sight for hours
A lonely house appears and I wonder who is living there
Next to the run down tractor there is a homemade clothesline
The sheets and shirts are waving like they’re running from a dust storm

I no longer have an address. My clothes are in a suitcase
I don’t know where I am but being lost seems so familiar
I am the run down tractor. I am the homemade clothesline
The sheets and shirts are waving like they’re dancing at a honky-tonk
Who is the one who lives here? Have I ever been that lonely?
Is that the wind that’s crying or coyotes in the grassland?

Feel like a shirt in the wind, feel like my threads are showing thin
Losing my shape against the sky, I can’t remember why
Feel like a shirt in the wind, feel like my spirit is growing thin
Like a dress that’s flying high, pinned against the sky
I can’t remember why

The city is before me, the lights define the skyline
A job is waiting for me a like a pair of shiny handcuffs
I see the tractor in the mirror. The sheets and shirts are still now
And the shadow of a woman who once could dance the night away
The rain that crossed the prairie evaporates to nowhere
The storm that came is a storm that passed and I made it to the morning

Feel like a shirt in the wind – Feel like my threads are showing thin
Losing my shape against the sky, and I can’t remember why I
Feel like a shirt in the wind, losing my shape against my skin
I am a dress that’s flying high, pinned against the sky
Just the clouds and I

Crazy

I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place
Even your emotions had an echo in so much space

And when you’re out there without a care,
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough
I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy?  Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy?
Possibly

I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice, that is my only advice

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Bless your soul
You really think you’re in control

I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy
Just like me

My heroes had the heart to live their lives out on a limb
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it’s no coincidence I’ve come and I can die when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy, maybe you’re crazy, maybe we’re crazy
Probably

I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

She Just Wants to Dance

When the music starts a playin’ and she slides out on the floor
Dancing without a partner, swaying on the two and four
There’s a rhythm in her footsteps, and a flower in her hair
A smile on her face cause she’s in a place where she don’t have a care

She’s not looking for a lover, she’s not looking for romance
She just wants to dance, she wants to dance
She just wants to dance
She just wants to dance

Well she’s moving kinda lazy and it’s obvious to me
This woman isn’t crazy, she’s as wild as she is free
She can feel it in her fingers as it moves on down her spine
And when it hits her hips, she parts her lips
And you know she’s feeling fine

She not looking for a lover, she’s not looking for romance
She just wants to dance, she wants to dance
She just wants to dance
She just wants to dance

Well she’s moving kinda lazy and it’s obvious to me
This woman isn’t crazy, she’s as wild as she is free
She can feel it in her fingers as it moves on down her spine
And when it hits her hips, she parts her lips
And you know she’s feeling fine

She’s not looking for a lover, she’s not looking for a romance
She just wants to dance,  she wants to dance
She wants to dance, just wants to dance

She’s not looking for a lover, she’s not looking for a romance
She just wants to dance,just wants to dance
She just wants to dance

My Favorite Year

You, reappearing in my mind
You were right and I was blind
But that was long ago

Now, do I ever cross your mind
Are your memories like mine
Or have they let you go

After all the lives I’ve lived through, all these years
I had to go so far without you, now it’s clear
You were my favorite love, that was my favorite year

When we, we were young forever yesterday
Fools and little children run away
If we could go back there, would we stay?

After all the loves I’ve lived through, all these years
I had to go so far without you, now it’s clear
You were my favorite love, that was my favorite year
You were my favorite love, that was my favorite year

It Won’t Take Long

They said some men would be warriors and some men would be kings
And some men would be owners of land and other man-made things
And false love as the eternal flame would move some to think in rings
And gold would be our power and other foolish things

But you who dream of liberty must not yourselves be fooled
Before you get to plea for freedom, you have agreed to be enruled
If the body stays a shackle then the mind remains a chain
That’ll link you to a destiny where by all good souls are slain.

And it won’t take long. It won’t take too long at all
It won’t take long, and you may say
“What has that got to do with me?”
And I say, “You mean to tell me that’s all?”

Of three men in a desert wandering, one is knowing and two are scared
They say time is in the river, but the river is not there
Dry in spirit dry in body, two will lend themselves to death
And in grief one weeps into his hands and drinks his bitter tears

‘Cause it won’t take long, it won’t take too long at all
It don’t take long, and you may say,
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,”
and I say “You mean to tell me that’s all?”

And as I stand before you now, I am hopeful in my rage
You know love has finally called for me, I will not wilt upon its stage
But still smaller than my nightmare now do I print upon the page
Do we have to live inside its walls to identify the cage?

‘Cause it takes so long, why does it take so long,
but it takes so long, and you may say,
“I don’t really care what you’re talking about,”
and I say, “Are you trying to say you don’t belong?”

I am my mother’s daughter, but I have seen myself in you
It’s this blessing that I follow now, and so I must speak true
I dreamed of thousands dying, it was you and you and you,
And while the city sleeps so quietly there is something we must do

And it wont’ take long, it won’t take too long at all,
It won’t take long, and you may say,
“I don’t know if I wanna know what you’re getting at”
and it makes me wanna say, “So long.”

Because grief shall come in measures, only grief alone will know
and you’ll see it on your family, on your own face it will grow
and they’ll try to keep you hungry. And then they’ll tell you to eat snow
You know pride can be a moving thing if we learn the strength of “NO!”

It won’t take long, it won’t take too long at all,
It won’t take long, and you may say,
“I don’t think this has anything to do with me,”
“But did you ever think that you could be wrong?”

At noon on one day coming, human strength will fill the streets
Of every city on our planet, hear the sound of angry feet
With business freezed up in the harbor, the kings will pull upon their hair
And the banks will shudder to a halt, and the artists will be there

‘Cause it won’t take long, it won’t take too long at all,
It won’t take long, and you may say,
“I don’t think I can be a part of that,”
and it makes me want to say,
“Don’t you want to see yourself that strong?”

Divisions between the people will disappear that honored day
And though oceans lie between us, lifted candles light the way
Half will join their hands by moonlight, the rest under a rising sun
As underneath the sun and moon, a ritual’d wailing has begun

And it won’t take long, it won’t take too long at all,
It won’t take long, and you may say,
“I don’t know how to be a part of what you’re talking about,”
and it makes me want to say, “Come on!”

And beware you sagging diplomats, for you will not hear one gun
And though our homes be torn and ransacked we will not be undone
For as we let ourselves be bought, we’re gonna let ourselves be free
And if you think we stand alone, look again and you will see:

We are children in the rafters,
We are babies in the park,
We are lovers at the movies,
We are candles in the dark,
We are changes in the weather,
We are snowflakes in July,
We are women grown together,
We are men who easily cry,
We are words not quickly spoken,
We’re the deeper side of try,
We are dreamers in the making,
We are not afraid of “Why?

We’ve Come a Long Way

We’ve come a long way to be together, you and me
We’ve come a long way to be together, you and me

And we’ll stay holding to each other
Fighting and trusting as we grow

It’s been a mighty distance, dangerous journey to be here
It’s been a mighty distance, dangerous journey to be here

And we’ll stay holding to each other
Fighting and trusting as we grow

It’s taken the sacrifice of many others to be one
It’s taken the sacrifice of many others to be one

And we’ll stay holding to each other
Fighting and trusting as we grow

We’ve come a long way to be together, you and me

There’s a Meeting Here Tonight

There is a meetin’ hmmm, There is a meetin’ hmmm
There is a meetin’ hmmm, There is a meetin’ hmmm
There is a meetin’ here tonight
There is a meetin’ here tonight
There is a meetin’ here tonight
There is a meetin’ here to-niiiii-ght

Well there’s a meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’, ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
There’s a meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’ , ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight

I went down to the city park (I went down to the city park)
Talked with folks well into dark (Situation mighty stark)
Students had a lot to say (Students had a lot to say)
We’d stay in school but it’s too much to pay, too much to pay, too much pay

Come to the meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’, ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight

I lost my house and I lost my nation (Lost my house and lost my nation)
Lost my job, found an occupation (Come on down to the Ocuupation)
Being poor is not a crime (We are running out of time)
Can’t feed my family on a dime, on a dime, on a dime

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’, ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight

You might have thought that we’d moved on (Might have thought that we’d moved on)
But racism was never gone (It still hangs on)
Find your voice and be an ally (Everyone can be an ally)
Don’t let this moment pass us by pass us by pass us by

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’, ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight

Birth control is patriotic (Don’t make me a felon)
The choice is mine, make sure I got it (Stop the War Against Women)
Take your laws off my body (Oh oh here we go again)
Your arrogance is killing me, killing me, killing me

There’s a meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’, ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight

Immigrants from around the world (I’m not from here)
Watch a 1000 flags unfurl (On the Trail of Tears)
Why punish friends from Mexico (Take down the walls from Mexico)
Let our families come and go, come and go, come and go

Come to a meetin’ here tonight, there’s a meetin’ here tonight
Crowds a gatherin’, ready for change, there’s a meetin’ here tonight

There is a meetin’, there is a meetin’, there is a meetin’ here tonight
There is a meetin’, there is a meetin’, there is a meetin’ here tonight
There is a meetin’, there is a meetin’, there is a meetin’ here tonight

Here Comes the Hard Part

Young folks getting shot in the back
Dangerous being brown and black
You may have thought it was history
But we’re not over slavery
The prisons are the new lynching tree

Here comes the hard part, taking in the hard part
Learning about the hard part, the hard part of change
Then comes the hard part, dangerous the hard part
Lifetime of the hard part
Will we keep showing up?

We live together still we live apart
This great divide is ripping my heart
There’s no such thing as color blind
When race has all our lives defined
This takes more work than simply believing
I’m staying with this, I’m not leaving

Are we afraid to do the hard part
Do we keep failing at the hard part
We are shaking in the hard part
But we keep showing up

Falling fearing failing shaming terrifying hard part
of change

Three women murdered every day
And that’s just in the USA
Killed by lovers by so-called friends
My body breaks, my spirit bends
We hold our sons and daughters with arms unfurled
And teach them to be strong and loving in a violent world

Here comes the hard part
Trusting is the hard part
Will we make it through the hard part
The hard part of change

The hard part comes at some with such a vengeance every day
For others it’s a choice to care but they care anyway
Whether born with privilege or poverty in your hand
There comes a time in every life where we’re choosing where we stand
And love comes from the deepest impulse we have ever known
People do the impossible and history has shown
The impossible becomes the probable
Change crashes through the door
And lives are changed forever, forever more

Because of the hard part
Standing through the hard part
A lifetime of the hard part
But we keep showing up
Moving through the hard part
Calling on the hard part
I love you through the hard part
Because you, because you, because you keep showing up

Carousel

Carnivals and cotton candy
Carousels and calliopes
Fortune-tellers in glass cases
We will always remember these
Merry-go-rounds quickly turning
Quickly turning for you and me
And the whole world madly turning
Turning, turning ’till you can’t see

We’re on a carousel
A crazy carousel
And now we go around
Again we go around
And now we spin around
We’re high above the ground
And down again around
And up again around
So high above the ground
We feel we’ve got to yell
We’re on a carousel
A crazy carousel
We’re on a ferris wheel
A crazy ferris wheel
A wheel within a wheel
And suddenly we feel
The stars begin to reel
And down again around
And up again around
And up again around
So high above the ground
We feel we’ve got to yell
We’re on a carousel
A crazy carousel

Carnivals and cotton candy
Carousels and calliopes
Crazy clowns chasing brass rings
Soda pop and rock-candy trees
Merry-go-rounds quickly turning
Quickly turning for you and me
And the whole world madly turning
Turning, turning ’till we can’t see

Carnivals and cotton candy
Carousels and calliopes
Kewpie dolls with painted faces
Tricky shell games and missing peas
Merry-go-rounds quickly turning
Quickly turning for you and me
And the whole world madly turning
Turning, turning ’till you can’t see

Let’s Face the Music and Dance

There may be trouble ahead
But while there’s moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance

Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still have the chance
Let’s face the music and dance

Soon, we’ll be without the moon
Humming a different tune
And then

There may be teardrops to shed
So while there’s moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance

Sway

Other dancers may be on the floor
Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have that magic technique
When we sway I grow weak

When marimba rhythms start to play
Dance with me, make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
Hold me close, sway me more

Like a flower bending in the breeze
Bend with me, sway with ease
When we dance you have a way with me
Stay with me, sway with me

Other dancers may be on the floor
Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have that magic technique
When we sway I grow weak

I can hear the sound of violins
Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know how
Sway me smooth, sway me now

Quién será la que me quiera a mi
Quién será, quién será
Quién será la que me de su amor
Quién será, quién será

Yo no se si la podré encontrar
Yo no se, yo no se
Yo no se si volveré a querer
Yo no se, yo no se

Like a flower bending in the breeze
Bend with me, sway with ease
When we dance you have a way with me
Stay with me, sway with me

Quién será la que me quiera a mi
Quién será, quién será
Quién será la que me de su amor
Quién será, quién será

The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want to Get Over You)

I’m not here to forget you
I’m here to recall the things we used to say and do
I don’t want to get over you
I don’t want to get over you

I haunt the same places we used to go
Alone at a table for two
I don’t want to get over you
I don’t want to get over you

They ought to give me the Wurlitzer Prize
For all the silver I let slide down the slot
Playing those songs sung blue
Help me remember you
I don’t want to get over you

Fresh roll of quarters
Same old song
Missing you through and through
I don’t want to get over you
I don’t want to get over you

They ought to give me the Wurlitzer Prize
For all the silver I let slide down the slot
Playing those songs sung blue
Help me remember you
I don’t want to get over you
Help me remember you
I don’t want to get over you

Seemed Like a Good Idea

Take yourself back to day one of the automobile
Sit yourself down on that seat and behind that wheel
Driving your horseless carriage, can’t you feel the pride and power?
Racing along your rutted road at about three miles an hour

No more walking 6 miles to school, it was a sign of the times
Cruisin’ along in summer showers, feeling fine
Your arm around your favorite gal, you feel a godlike kind of power
And nothing seals the deal like going 20 miles an hour

Seemed like a good idea
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time

Won’t be long before you’re thinking of selling the horse and the mule
Ditching the cart and hitching your future to fossil fuel
You can do things and go places you couldn’t do or go before
So it’s worth the dust and smell and smoke and the deafening engine’s roar

Six billion people on the planet having sex for love or hate
But no matter how you do the math, they continue to procreate
Tin box on wheels, lots of gasoline to devour
Speeding along on expensive roads at 80 miles an hour

Parked by the sea, couples kissing – the oil spill on the shore
Having one last fling before they ship off to another bloody war
And it must have seemed like a good idea!

Are you a road warrior or a road survivor?
Am I just along for the ride or am I the driver?
I’ve been thinking lately about the way that we all get around
The automobile gave us a lift but it might just bring us down
Chorus
It seemed like a good idea
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time

The drivers all are amateurs but certainly not distracted
The drivers are all amateurs but certainly not distracted by
A high jolt soda and I just got fired
The dogs are sick and the kids are tired
Late for work, I’m mad as hell
You broke up with me on the cell
My doctor says I’m gonna die
I’m so strung out I need to get high
I’m losing my mind – I’ll have one drink and that will help me think
I forgot the milk, well the store isn’t far
Let’s all get in the car!

Seemed like a good idea
You know it seemed like a good idea at the time

It’s a Lazy Afternoon

It’s a lazy afternoon
And the beetle bugs are zooming
And the tulip trees are blooming
And there’s not another human in view
But us two

It’s a lazy afternoon
And the farmer leaves his reaping
In the meadow cows are sleeping
And the speckled trouts stop leaping up stream
As we dream

A fat pink cloud hangs over the hill
Unfolding like a rose
If you hold my hand and sit real still
You can hear the grass as it grows

It’s a hazy afternoon
And I know a place that’s quiet
Except for daisies running riot
And there’s no one passing by it to see
Come spend this lazy afternoon with me

What About Me?

You poisoned my sweet water. You cut down my green trees.
The food you feed my children is the cause of their ill disease.
The world is slowly falling down. The air is not fit to breathe.
And yet you seem to think that you can keep doing as you please

Oh, what you gonna do about me?
Oh, what you gonna do about me?

We work in your factories. We study in your schools.
Fill the penitentiaries and the military too.
I can feel the future trembling as the word gets passed around.
There are more of us than we know if we can find our common ground
And they know that or they would not be trying to shut us down.

Oh, what you gonna do about me?
Oh, what you gonna do about me?
Oh, what you gonna do about me?
Oh, what you gonna do about me?

The world falls into greedy hands when we the people fall asleep.
This is not new, each generation wakes to make the leap.
But this time it’s not just people. It is planet and life itself.
So we dust off all the lessons learned and take wisdom off the shelf.

Oh, what you gonna do about me?
Oh, what you gonna do about me?We shall not be moved *

*a line from a spiritual from early African American tradition, first called I Shall Not Be Moved.  Adapted by the activists of the 1930s and often sung at political gatherings. 

If I Were Alone

If I were alone in the world
All alone in the world
I’d love silence in my every day
Nothing much to say
If I were alone in the world

If I were alone in the world
All alone in the world
I would linger in the mist
Feel like i’d been kissed by a cloud
If I were alone
Totally alone

I would dance without fear
Never minding the magic in the woods
If I were alone
Alone in the world

But then again
There is you
And I dont know what I would do
If I were alone
Alone in the world
Without you

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me

Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me

Full Moon Rising

Full moon rising circle round
Shine your light when the sun goes down
Give a little happiness, give a little shout
Give a little lovin’ til the sun comes out
All night long – sing your song
All night long – sing your song

Waiting

I have been waiting for this very one
And now I stand before you and my hair is all undone
And you know even if I were a liar
We could not stop the fire in which we have begun.

And when the sun has spun its way across the sky
And the turning of the earth will not be noticed in the night
You will come and fill me up with fire
And when it’s once again begun
We’ll wait once more with darkened eyes
For the rising of the sun.

Moving changing breathing
Hearing nothing but the wind and morning flowers opening
They sing la la la la…
We kiss and kissing fall to love and loving rise to dawn and morning skies
I can feel the fire dying with the rising of the sun in your eyes.

And when the sun has spun its way across the sky
And the turning of the earth will not be noticed in the night
Will you come and fill me up with fire
And when it’s once again begun
We’ll wait once more with darkened eyes
For the rising of the sun

We’re Still Here

Yes we can cause a lot of trouble if you send our children to fight and to die
Or poison the food or try to delude us with ads that blatantly lie
Our children have minds meant for learning
If there is a god, then god lives in them
Books are not meant for burning
What is it you feel that you must condemn?
But no matter how hard you push us around, there is something around the bend

We’re still here
Choosing love over fear
When the lines are drawn we’re still here
We’re still here making it perfectly clear
When the lines are drawn we’re still here

No matter how much you love to hate us, and fear is driving a stake in your heart
As long as the stars shine bright in the sky then love will keep doing its part
Yes, you may try to stop the music
But music has wings and flies over the walls
It’s there when we dance and when we romance
It’s there when the dictator falls
But no matter how hard you push us around, there’s one thing you need to recall

Sometimes we get sad and discouraged
As old friends die and dreams slip from our grasp
But much as we treasure our memories, we don’t live in the past
Years can bring us grey hair and wrinkles
And wisdom as well, I hasten to say
With walkers and canes we are standing
Between young people and harm’s way
And your job just got harder today
Because

We’re still here
Choosing love over fear
When the lines are drawn we’re still here
We’re still here, making it perfectly clear
When the lines are drawn we’re still here
When the lines are drawn we’re still here

Peace

Let’s give it one more try

Holly Near – We Came to Sing!

We Came to Sing!

Calico Tracks Music 2009; CTM0009

Holly and emma’s revolution put their unique vocal stamp on songs from Holly’s repertoire. Eleven tracks include old favorites such as Listen to the VoicesSky Dances, and Fired Up along with new arrangements of Study War No More and Sail Away Lady, Pat Humphries’ Swimming to the Other Side, and Rick Burkhardt’s (The Prince MyshkinsMinistry of Oil.

“… Artists often accept the consequences of a broken heart so that we might heal a wounded soul. Some paint, some dance, some write. We came to sing.” —Holly

“… On this recording, the three of us have delved into these songs, each venturing back into her musical beginnings, passions and influences to create arrangements that sometimes even surprised us! We hope you enjoy the ride.” —Pat & Sandy

Track Listing: Listen to the Voices, Sail Away Lady, Sky Dances, Swimming to the Other Side, 1000 Grandmothers, Sing to Me the Dream, Ministry of Oil, Fired Up, West Virginia Friend, Mountain Song, Study War No More

Credits

Produced by Holly Near
Co-produced and engineered by Gary Mankin
Production coordinated by Alison de Grassi
Mastered by Neal Harris, Affinity Sound
Photographs by Irene Young
Assistant to photographer: Sally Burr
Cover composite: Carol Ehrlich
Graphic layout by tropogal
Recorded at Mesa Recording and Knob & Tube

The Players

Holly Near – Vocals
Pat Humphries – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo
Sandy O – Vocals, Guitar
Jan Martinelli – Bass
Kendrick Freeman – Percussion
Michaelle Goerlitz – Percussion

Thanks

Thank you to Donna Korones, Kenny Evans, and Jon & Mary Fromer. We thought of you, Freyda Epstein, while singing West Virginia Friend. Vocal and musical arrangements by Holly Near and emma’s revolution.

Lyrics

Sail Away Lady

I first heard this song sung by Odetta. Reading a bit about the song’s history, I learned that the tune is identified with the south central Kentucky and middle Tennessee locals and may date back to American dance music in the period between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Paul Wells (Middle Tennessee State University) states that the song was collected around the turn of the 20th century and seems to have been common to both black and white traditions. 

Ain’t no use to sit and cry
You’ll be an angel by and by
Don’t you rock em
Don’t you rock em
Don’t you rock em mmm
Don’t you rock em daddy–o

Soon as I get my new house done
Sail Away Lady Sail Away
Give my old one to my son
Sail Away Lady Sail Away

Additional verses:
I got a home in New Orleans
All I got left is my ole jeans

I got a home in Baltimore
Train come a runnin’ right past my door

Singers sing and the players play
Let’s sing Odetta on her way

Listen to the Voices

A big part of singing is listening. Singing in harmony is good training for living in the world. The drone you hear under the voices are actually voices. Sandy and Pat’s voices were sampled and “electronically enhanced” to create this low foundation for the song’s harmony. 

Listen to the voices of the old women
Calling out the messages
Of the moon and sea
Telling us what we need to know
In order to be free
Listen to the voices of the old women

Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Calling out the messages
Of the earth and sky
Telling us what we need to know
In order to survive
Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations

Listen to the voices of the young children
Calling out the messages
Of the heart and soul
Telling us what we used to know
Before the lies were told
Listen to the voices of the young children

Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Listen to the voices of the old women
Listen to the voices of the living

1000 Grandmothers

My fantasy is that one day we all will just lay down whatever it is we are doing and we refuse and the reality is that all over the world and throughout history, small groups of people have stopped what they were doing and refused. Happens all the time… just not all at the same time.

Send in a thousand grandmothers
They will surely volunteer
With their ancient wisdom flowing
They will lend a loving ear

First they’ll form a loving circle
Around the wounded wing
Then contain the brutal beasts of war
Sweet freedom songs they’ll sing

A lullaby much stronger
Than bombs and threats to kill
A force unlike we’ve ever seen
Will break the murder’s will

To the prisons we’ll invite them
The most violent men will weep
When a 1000 women hold them strong
And pray their souls to keep

Let them rock the few who steal the most
And rule with youthful charm
So they’ll see the damage that they do
And will fall into grandma’s arms
Two thousand loving arms

If you think these women are too soft
To face the world at hand
Then you’ve never known the power of love
And you fail to understand

An old woman holds a powerful force
When she no longer needs to please
She can cut your shallow life to bits
And bring you to your knees
We best get down on our knees

And pray for a thousand grandmothers
Will you please come volunteer
No longer tucked deep out of sight
Will you bring your power here
Will you bring your power here

Sing to Me the Dream

emma’s revolution joined me on my trip to Chile a few years ago. I first wrote the song with Jorge Coulon and sang it on the 1984 US tour with Inti Illimani. There is quite a bit about our trip to Chile (and photos) right here

When you speak the language of your life
I do not know the story
The words are only sounds, they leave my mind to wonder
Perhaps you speak of the mountains,
or the child you used to be
Of the city Santiago and the moment you were free
To sing of hungry hearts and of the dream, do you speak of the dream.

When you speak the language of your love
I do not know the story
The words are only sounds and they leave my mind to wonder
But when you soar through my heart with a melody
I hear the dancing feet, I taste the salty tears
I know the laughing child and the moment of the dream

When you sing the language I feel love
Now I know the story
the songs are mighty sounds that fill my mind to wonder
And when you soar through my heart with a melody
I hear the dancing feet, I taste the salty tears
I am the laughing child, sing to me the dream
Come fill my mind with wonder
And sing to me the dream

Fired Up

Declaration of the Rights of the Child 

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Children need schools more than they need jails
That’s where our society fails
First seven years creates the child’s foundation
Mandatory for a healthy nation

How could we forget that the children come first
We left them alone and they died of thirst
Mothers and fathers confused and forlorn
When the children are missing there’s something wrong

Can’t just focus on kids with wealth
Can’t pick and choose who gets the health care
Take an honest look at the great divide
Looks dangerously similar to genocide

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You break another mother’s heart

West Virginia Friend

I wrote this song while teaching at the Augusta Heritage Center many years ago. The assignment to the songwriters attending my class was to write as if you were in someone else’s shoes. I recorded this song with Trapezoid and John McCutcheon so that means the fabulous Freyda Epstein sang the low part. She was killed in a car accident and we miss her so. It was very emotional for Pat to sing Freyda’s part on the recording.

I don’t want to say goodbye to you
To think we may not ever meet again
Remember me, some day when you’re lonely
And know you have a West Virginia Friend

I know you’re only passing through
I Knew it from the start
Sometimes there is love to spare
Inside this country heart
Now the rain upon the old barn roof
And your own North Dakota song
Will be a pleasant company
If only when you’re gone

I don’t want to say goodbye to you
To think we may not ever meet again
Remember me, some day when you’re lonely
And know you have a West Virginia Friend

Maybe I’ll go rambling
When my baby’s up and grown
I kinda like the thought of traveling
Out there on my own
But I love these gentle mountains
More than strangers do
Some of us stay settled
And some of us pass through

I don’t want to say goodbye to you
To think we may not ever meet again
Remember me, some day when you’re lonely
And know you have a West Virginia Friend

Mountain Song

Mountaintop removal is devastating. Google it and you will get lots of information as well as suggested activism. Mountaintop removal has wiped out 500 mountains and destroyed historic communities. Join the national campaign to bring mountaintop removal to an end.

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away – not with me watching
You may drive a big machine
But I was born a great big woman
And you can’t just take my dreams away – without me fighting

This old mountain raised my many daughters
Some died young – some are still living
But if you come here to take our mountain
Well we ain’t come here to give it

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away – not with me watching
No you can’t just take my dreams away – without me fighting
No you can’t just take my dreams away

Study War No More

A spiritual rising up from the African American tradition, this song takes on profound meaning defined each time by context.  In the religious context, I understand that to “study”  can mean to allow your mind to dwell on something. So, for example, to study war suggests it has become acceptable to you and therefore you participate in it. So in the reverse, to not study war is to stay in close relationship to the unacceptability of war and to one’s refusal to participate. As is true in any craft, to be an activist in opposition to war requires practice. War to me includes domestic violence, world hunger, inhumane systems of education, prisons, emotional and physical abuse of children, harsh and critical language and so on. So as we sing this song (in this rendition as a prayer) we both honor the tradition from which the song comes as well as we are committing ourselves to the practice of unlearning behaviors that are not useful to the evolution of life on this earth.

I ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
Study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
Study war no more

I’m gonna lay down my burden
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside

I’m gonna lay down my burden
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
And study war no more

I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Why don’t we all lay down the guns and bombs
Down by the riverside
Ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
Study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
Study war no more

Holly Near - Sing to me the Dream

Sing to Me the Dream

Calico Tracks Music 2008; CTM0008

Great thanks to Feña, Sylvia, and Lichi. Also to all the people at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley who have not only kept the spirit and music of Chile alive for all these years, but have made La Peña into one of the most important cultural centers in the U.S. 

The recording of the concert with Inti Illimani and myself was made in 1984, at a time when we had neither the capacity nor the desire to tweak our music to auditory perfection—good, bad, flat, and sharp notes all made their way on to the recordings. Other artists were able to afford the time and money to make fixes but we had to live with the notes we sang. Listening back today, I am quite impressed by how well we did! I encourage the next generation to hold on to craft and not to lean too heavily on the machines of perfection. Find your own notes and sing them as they are meant to be sung.

Of the two live concerts on this reissue that Inti Illimani and I did together, one was in a large concert hall and the second in a small and intimate music club. The audiences at both were terrific, inspiring us to rise to our best. We had only one day of rehearsal and it is a testimony to the musicianship of Inti Illimani that we so quickly got to the essence of these songs.

As for me, I must have been fearless or in a heightened state of denial. I had invited this ensemble to tour with me in the U.S. fully aware that the tour would make no money. Not only that, I had agreed to sing without my trusty pianist and to sing several songs in Spanish!! What was I thinking? I didn’t even speak Spanish!

But now, over 20 years later, as I listen, I hear the spirit and energy of the collaboration and my ear forgives all the little shaky places, the mispronounced words. I get to the meaning, the essence of the tour, which was meant to gather the progressive forces in my country and feed the solidarity movement so it might continue the work of cutting off funds to Pinochet and other dictators in Latin America. The work was to make very public the violence and torture, to bring world attention to “the disappeared.” This same work goes on today; one example is in Columbus, Georgia where activists gather every year to protest at the School of the Americas—the site where our government trains the future dictators and torturers of our world.

Track Listing:

Live Concert with Holly Near and Inti Illimani, 1984
Tinku, Gypsy, Te Doy Una Cancion, Sing to Me the Dream, Colibri, El Arado, Watch Out, La Pajita, La Marusa, We’re Not Alone, She, Medley: Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida / Voices / It Could Have Been Me, Samba Lando, Gracias a la Vida

Studio Recording, 2000
Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida

Live Concert with Holly Near and Mercedes Sosa, 1989
They Dance Alone, Todavia Cantamos

Credits

Sing To Me The Dream Reissue
Produced by Holly Near
Production coordinator, Alison de Grassi
Mastered by Paul Stubblebine
Mix of bonus tracks, Neal Harris1984 Peace in the Americas Concert Tour 
Tour produced by Redwood Records and Jeanne Bradshaw Rizzo
Recorded at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and at the Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, CA
Recording produced by Holly Near, Joanie Shoemaker and Jo-Lynne Worley

1989 Oakland Concert
Concert produced by Redwood Cultural Work
Recorded at Calvin Simmons Theatre, Oakland, CA
Live Concert Recording produced by Stephen Powers and Holly Near
Remote Facilities provided by The Plant, San Francisc,o CA
Engineered by Bob Skye
Mixed by Jim Scott at Ground Control, Santa Monica, CA and Sound Castle, Los Angeles, CA
Mastered by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab, Hollywood CA Post-Production Coordination, Melissa Howden

2000 Studio Recording

Produced by Holly Near
Engineered by Lesle Ann Jones
Assistant Engineer, Dann Thompson
Recorded at Skywalker Sound in Nicasio, CA
Mastered by Paul Stubblebine

The Players

1984 tour of the United States
Holly Near
Inti Illimani: Horacio Salinas Alvarez, Horacio Duran Vidal, Jorge Coulon Larrañaga, Max Berru Carrion, José Seves Sepulveda, Marcelo Coulon Larrañaga, and guest Jorge Ball Vargas

Studio recording, 2000
Holly Near, vocals
Adrienne Torf, piano
Quique Cruz, zampoñasLive concert in Oakland, 1989:
Mercedes Sosa, vocals
Holly Near, vocals
Nicolas Brizuela, guitars
Osvaldo Avena, percussion
Poppi Spatocco, keyboards
Oscar Alem, Bass

Lyrics

El Gitano

Out on the highway of flutes and fire
A circle of Gypsies and sparks
Ancient forever we head for tomorrow
A city of lights in the dark

The land is our home, home is where we are
Love in our arms.
If love comes into our life we’ll go on and on
The Gypsy dances on

Out on the highway of disappointment
Past cities of metal and tears
Are we running forever to doubtful tomorrows
A symphony playing on fear

If our land is no longer our home
Then our home is not where we are
And love no longer disarms
Can life go on and on the
Gypsy dances on

Out on the highway of death and madness
The plan of extinction will fall
Faithful forever to earth and to children
We answer a passionate call

The land is our life
And life is where we are
With love come into our arms
We live on and on — Gypsy dances on. lst verse again.

Land must be our home — home must be where we are
If love comes into
We can live on

Sing to Me the Dream

When you speak the language of your life
I do not know the story
The words are only sounds, they leave my mind to wonder
Perhaps you speak of the mountains,
or the child you used to be
Of the city Santiago and the moment you were free
To sing of hungry hearts and of the dream, do you speak of the dream.

When you speak the language of your love
I do not know the story
The words are only sounds and they leave my mind to wonder
But when you soar through my heart with a melody
I hear the dancing feet, I taste the salty tears
I know the laughing child and the moment of the dream

When you sing the language I feel love
Now I know the story
the songs are mighty sounds that fill my mind to wonder
And when you soar through my heart with a melody
I hear the dancing feet, I taste the salty tears
I am the laughing child, sing to me the dream
Come fill my mind with wonder
And sing to me the dream

Watch Out!

Watch Out! Watch Out!
There’s a rumble of war in the air
Watch Out! Watch Out!
There’s a rumble of war in the air
With a man like that you never know
Just where or when
He’s gone, he’s gone and sent in the
Marines again

Some are small and frightened
Some well-seasoned men
Some are rightly scared to death
Some are feeling joy at seeing blood again

Today they recruited calmly
In a patriotic trend
Sending poor people off to war
it’s cheap cannon fodder again

Casualties seldom counted
Are the ones the guns invade
The ones who work the land, the ones
who love the land
Where dreams of peace are made

We're Not Alone

I shall not tire of the road we’re walking
Your smile a candle, I shall not tire
I shall not weaken in the face of danger
But draw you close to me
We’re not alone, we’re not alone

Earth like a friend who’s wounded
Child, you’re the fragile promise of tomorrow
You, who become a condor in a moment
Can you spread your wings of courage and fly on

Trees are a story telling
Stars, like the burning sun that warms the water
Wind is a force that cleans our sails of sorrow
Woman guide the ship of freedom and sail on

Creatures of courage make a chain that cant be broken
Like my heart can be broken
Links must withstand the strain and pull
That tries to tear our souls apart

Hands are a map I follow
Songs are the haunting call that draws me forward
Hearts be the drum that keeps my feet from slowing
Like a cadence that is crying come on

Force that has turned the flower of the people
Into steel that strikes a fire
Can we use the heat to solder such a chain
And believe on, believe on

She

She danced across the mountain, she thought no one could see
And every move she made across the land taught her to be free
She swept across the valley, her body so defined
And wet with the sweat of seventeen, she found another mountain to be climbed

She soared across the desert, the moon was all aglow
She stumbled once in the freezing sand but no one would ever know
She swam across the river, her muscles straining strong
And she knew as she crossed, the water pulled her deeper into places she belonged

She came to another mountain and found that all could see
Every move was proudly made with love and dignity
For she is Freedom’s daughter and Mother—Nature’s child
As she raced across the finish line her beauty drove the watchful people wild

She paused to feel the power of people singing songs
That celebrated living, a feeling that she longed for
But slicing through the laughter came an anguished country’s cries
And she saw a gun blow up the song and stole away the future from her eyes

A child was standing near her and caught the runner’s fire
She kissed her mouth with passion and filled her with desire
And when her feet were on the ground she faced the burning sky
And with a cry that filled the air with rain she cooled the skin of those who would not die

The killer saw her power, the tyrant saw her skill
The women saw themselves in her and the people saw her will
Divided by their colors, betrayed by fear’s decree
But no matter how the future goes, She has been and She will always be

She will dance across the mountain
She will dance across the mountain
I have dreamed on this mountain

Medley: Hay Una Mjuer Desaparecida / Voices / It Could Have Been Me

Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida

Michelle Pena Herrera
Nalvia Rosa Mena Alvarado
Cecilia Castro Salvadores
Ida Amelia Almarza
Clare Elena Cantero
Elisa Del Carmen Escobar
Eliana Maria Espinosa
Rosa Elena Morales

Hay una mujer desaparecida en Chile
And the junta knows where they are hiding her, she is dying

Missing in Brazil
Missing in Uruguay
Missing in Guatemala
Missing in El Salvador

Hay un hombre, hay una nina
Oh los ninos
Hay una mujer desaparecida
A spirit lives in Chile
New lives, new songs are rising up
A spirit lives/grows/sings in Chile
New lives, new songs are rising up

Voices

Listen to the voices of the indigenous nations

Calling out the messages of the earth and sky
Telling us what we need to know in order to survive

Old women
Moon and sea
Telling us what we need to know In order to be free

Young children
Heart and soul
Telling us what we need to know Before the lies were told

It Could Have Been Me

It could have been me, but instead it was you
So I’ll keep doing the work you were doing as if Iwere two
I’ll be a student of life, a singer of songs
A farmer of food and a righter of wrong
It could have been me, but instead it was you
And it may be me dear sisters and brother
Before we are through
But if you can work for freedom
Freedom, freedom, freedom
If you can work ( die, sing, live, work, speak) for freedom
I can too
If you can die for freedom I can too

Students in Ohio 200 yards away
Shot down by a nameless fire one early day in May
Some people cried out angry you should have shot more of them down
But you can’t bury youth my friend
Youth grows the whole world round

The junta broke the fingers on Victor Jara’s hands
They said to the gentle poet “play your guitar now if you can”
Victor started singing but they brought his body down
You can kill that man but not his song
When it’s sung the whole world round

A woman in the jungle so many wars away
Studies late into the night, defends the village in the day
Although her skin is golden like mine will never be
Her song is heard and i know the words
And i’ll sing them until she’s free

Additional verses added over time:

One night in Oklahoma Karen Silkwood died
Because she had some secrets that big companies wanted to hide
There’s talk of nuclear safety and there’s talk of national pride
But we all know it is a death machine and that’s why Karen died

The songs of Nicaragua and El Salvador
Will long outlast the singers who face the guns in war
They sing at the line of fire, they sing from the fire within
All across the land the poets stand
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencida
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencida

Holly Near - Show Up

Show Up

Calico Tracks Music; CTM0007

Holly is a story teller, a dramatic singer. When I listen to her work, I see theater. There is the big dance number, the novelty song, and the quiet moment with one actor left on stage, intimate and heart breaking. The melodies stick and the audience goes out humming after the show. Then add her critical thinking, her passion for social change and activism. And the music becomes the soundtrack for a movement. Being called a folk singer is an honor, to be sure. And yet, it would be an incomplete description of this artist. Let the play begin. — Timothy Near, Artistic Director San Jose Repertory Theater

Holly Near sings her own work as well as songs by Jackson Browne, Jane Siberry, Laura Love, Cheryl Wheeler, Eric Schwartz, Michael Butler, and Amy Carol Webb. “I Am Willing” is a powerful hymn of hope and tradition. “Somebody’s Jail”, a heart-breaking reflection on the condition of women in the world. “I Want You Gone”—well, guess who that is about? “Lives In The Balance” moves into the Middle East on the wings of George Lammam’s haunting violin solo. And yes, there is laughter. “Hattie and Mattie” celebrates two elder women who fell in love long before there was a word for it. “Family Band”, a light-hearted song about creating new family if the one we got aint working. Enjoy!

Track Listing: Family Band, Somebody’s Jail, Gandhi/Buddha, I Am Willing, I Want You Gone Too, Lives In The Balance, Bound By The Beauty, Hattie and Mattie, Show Up, It’s About Time, Drunken Sailor, This Is Peace, Oh River

Credits

Produced by Holly Near
Engineered by Gary Mankin
Production coordinated by Alison de Grassi
Photographs by Donna Korones (front and back) and Pat Hunt (inside, collage, booklet)
Graphic design by Jill Davey and Nicole Vasgerdsian, JPD Communications
Recorded at Mesa Recording, Fantasy Studios and Knob & Tube
Mixed at Knob & Tube Mastered by Paul Stubblebine Mastering

The Players

Holly Near – Vocals except where noted
John Bucchino – Keyboards
Jan Martinelli – Bass
Nina Gerber – Guitars
Paul van Wageningen – Drums
Georges Lammam – Kaman (Arabic violin)
Susu Pampanin – Darabouka
Jackeline Rago – Percussion
Robin Flower – Mandolin
Libby McLaren – Accordion and support vocals
Linda Tillery, Nicolas Bearde, Rhonda Benin – support vocals

Lyrics

Family Band

When life gets busy and I can’t slow down
I get lost more than I get found
Taking the floor, taking a stand
And dance to the family band

Everybody trying to find themselves
Wallflowers tumbling off the shelves
How do I feel, where do I stand
Will I dance to the family band

I was well loved and I was well taught
Still it didn’t turn out the way I thought
Out of the sea, living on land
Slipping out of the family hand

Falling apart, falling in place
Telling lies and saving face
Looking for right and finding it’s wrong
Where do I belong

Good thing the world is bigger than me
Way beyond my own genealogy
Family can’t always be enough
They be drowning in their own stuff

What if family is a tree that bends
Living off lovin’ that never ends
Holding out for a loving hand
Can we dance to the big time band

Ain’t nothing wrong with the mom and pop
But the pushing and shoving has got to stop
Ain’t nothing wrong with a personal god
But save the child and spare the rod

Good thing the world is bigger than me
Way beyond my own family tree
Nations can’t always be enough
They be drowing in their own stuff

Ain’t nothing wrong with a personal savior
‘Cept when it leads to bad behavior
If you send in your spies and you’re trying to bust us
We’re gonna rise up for love and justice

Gonna dance, dance, dance to the family band

Somebody's Jail

Just walking along, shopping for food
Stepping out of the line of fire when people are rude
Cheap stuff made in China, someone calls it a sale
Somebody’s mama, somebody’s daughter
Somebody’s jail

Beat down in the market, stoned to death in the plaza
Raped on the hillside under the gun from LA to Gaza
A house made of cardboard living close to the rail
Somebody’s mama, somebody’s daughter
Somebody’s jail

And I feel the witch in my veins
I feel the mother in my shoe
I feel the scream in my soul
The blood as I sing the ancient blue
They burned in the millions
I still smell the fire in my grandma’s hair
The war against women rages on
Beware of the fairytale
Somebody’s mama, somebody’s daughter
Somebody’s jail

The noise of elections, the promise of change
A grabbing of power at the top, a day at the rifle range
Somebody’s in danger, somebody’s for sale
Somebody’s mama, somebody’s daughter
Somebody’s jail

It’s not on a map
The weight of the world on somebody’s back
It’s the clothes that I wear, it’s the food that I eat
It’s the women and the children living out on the street
It’s the war at the border, the refugee camp
It’s the child bride doomed to walk the ramp
It’s the boot in the stomach, the slap in the face
It’s the death that is handed out simply by race
Rape by the soldiers, abduction of sons
It’s nuclear threat, the fascination with guns
Looks at the office, the danger at night
The one you call darling coming home for a fight
It’s the AIDS with no borders, it’s the African teen
It’s the women all over simply going unseen
It’s the arrogant posture, the man on the moon
It’s the dying of need before the promise of soon
It’s the millions who go without food and water
It’s somebody’s mother, somebody’s daughter

I Am Willing

I am open and I am willing
To be hopeless would seem so strange
It dishonors those who go before us
So lift me up to the light of change

There is hurting in my family
There is sorrow in my town
There is panic in the nation
There is wailing the whole world round

May the children see more clearly
May the elders be more wise
May the winds of change caress us
Even though it burns our eyes

Give me a mighty oak to hold my confusion
Give me a desert to hold my fears
Give me a sunset to hold my wonder
Give me an ocean to hold my tears

I Want You Gone Too

Laura Love wrote this fun song—check out her version. She generously agreed to let me write new/more lyrics. Will the song be dated in a few years? Wouldn’t that be great. But chances are, there will always be someone out there who, in the name of damage control, should gracefully agree to “retire.”

You been telling big time lies
And you been stealing money
In any book of law or god, that’s illegal honey
You can’t lead your nation and you are no peace maker
With people dying every day, in my book that’s a deal breaker

I’m tired being smooth
I’m tired of being nice
I’m tired of making it sound all pretty
I want you gone like the wind
I want you gone like the wind
I want you gone gone gone gone gone – hey

What we need is a mama
Thanks so much for trying
We are sending you on your way
That’s the price you pay for lying
But don’t you worry little one
We won’t be after you only
Most the congress and most the court
So you won’t be sad and lonely

We could feed the whole wide world
And empty all of the prisons
Doctors could return to healing
Leaders would require vision
War would be a thing of the past
And we would all learn to listen
You’re running the world with an iron hand
And the heart and soul is missing

Show Up

I don’t feel good, love is gone
Lost all hope by the crack of dawn
But what if more love is on the way
Wouldn’t you hate to miss that day
You gotta show up, get ready
See if you know how to rock steady

It don’t look good, news is bad
You know I lost all hope that I thought I had
But what if good news is on the way
Wouldn’t you hate to miss that day
You gotta show up get ready
See if you know how to rock steady

Keep walkin’ that walk, keep talkin’ that talk
Get busy, get bold, life never on hold
Show up – get ready
See if you know how to rock steady

Most of the world is ready for change
Being quiet is mighty strange
No reason to feel alone
We’re coming together, bring it on home

There’ll be hurting and there’ll be quiet
There’ll be a danger of a riot
You don’t need to do it all
One little bit can break the fall
You gotta show up, rock steady
See if you know how

Sure is easy to lay the blame
Losing the planet is a doggone shame
Little bit harder to do that do
Can’t be done without you
You gotta show up, get ready
See if you know how to rock steady

Keep walkin’ that walk, keep talkin’ that talk
You’re never too old, life never on hold
You gotta show up, rock steady
See if you know how to

There’s a change in the weather
Let’s try to get it together
Talking about nonviolence
And a little defiance
You gotta show up, rock steady
See if you know how to get ready

It's About Time

Waiting for a long time or waiting for a bus
Feels a bit like waiting for you
I never know if it has come and gone or perhaps it’s a block away
Feels a bit like waiting for you

So you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I say “No, no it’s about love”
And you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I need to look back at you and say “It’s about love”

Longing for a short time or longing for a train out
Feels a bit like longing for you
I never know if I should sit up all night or take in a sleeping car
Feels a bit like longing for you

So you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I say “No, no, it’s about love”
And you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I need to look back at you and say “It’s about love”

Holding on to no time or holding on to life
Feels a bit like holding on to you
I never know if I should ride it to the bell or give it to the clown
Feels a bit like holding on to you

So you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I say “No, no it’s about love”
And you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I need to look back at you and say “It’s about love”

So I look at you and I say “OK then, it’s about time”
And you say “No, no, it’s about love”
So I look at you and I say “OK then, it’s about time”
And you need to look back at me and say “It’s about love”
And you look back at me and you say “Oh darling, it’s about love”
And I look at myself and I say “Well hey, it’s about time.”

Drunken Sailor

Some say this is a traditional Irish air while others say it is one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon sea shanties. It is riddled with verses of punishment like “Put him in bed with the captain’s daughter” (captain’s daughter is a reference to a whip) or “Shave his belly with a rusty razor.” Hundreds of year later, we now know that addiction is a disease and cannot be beaten out of you.* Alcohol, heroin, control, food, oil, work, sex, crack, shopping, gambling, lying, rage, power—whether we are the sailor or the dark shadow of a soul on the widow’s walk, it can take us down.

What shall we do with the drunken sailor
Early in the morning

Row the long boat to a landing
The drinking life is too demanding
Tough love will leave you standing

Are you sick of being sick and tired*
Being late and being fired
First one drunk and last one hired

The kids all love you and adore you
But by evening they are looking for you
Rowing a lifeboat along beside you

The wind is up and the ocean rages
Disease will take you down in stages
The killer whale will eat through cages

Loving this much has got me grieving
I can’t stand by and watch you leaving
But no more lies, no more deceiving
The truth comes in the morning

I’m loving the one this storm is taking
I’m on the shore, my heart is breaking
Watching a drowning in the making
It’s gonna take me down—by morning

Living in guilt and dying in shame
The drunken sailor is not to blame
But when we asked for help millions came
And it was a brand new morning

*”Sick and tired of being sick and tired” has entered popular language use. Where did it come from? Fannie Lou Hamer said it. She was one of the most important influences in the civil rights movement. Learn more at www.ibiblio.org/sncc/people.html

Oh River

Oh river take it on down, take it on down, take it on down
Oh river take it on down, take it on down to the sea

Someday i will fly so high
I will walk barefoot on the sky

Oh river take it on down, take it on down, take it on down
Oh river take it on down, take it on down to the sea

Someday i will dance so fast
The future will start to look like the past

Oh river take it on down, take it on down, take it on down
Oh river take it on down, take it on down to the sea

Someday i will sing so high
The birds will look up and wonder why

Oh river take it on down, take it on down, take it on down
Oh river take it on down, take it on down to the sea

Here we are to celebrate love, family gathered around
In a time when war is raging, love is so profound

Oh river take it on down, take it on down, take it on down
Oh river take it on down, take it on down to the sea

Holly Near - Edge

Edge

Calico Tracks Music, 2000; CTM0004

Holly Near’s sense of justice, sense of culture, and sense of humor continue to delight and astound. Her new material keeps her solidly positioned as one of the nation’s finest political artists. Her long time fans say this rates as one her best cd ever. And she adds surprising renditions of songs by Harry Nilsson, Cheryl Wheeler and Paul Simon! Guest musicians include Michael Manring, June Millington, Alex de Grassi, Jackeline Rago, Mark Ford, Quique Cruz.

Track Listing: Fired Up!, Planet Called Home, If It Were Up To Me, 1000 Grandmothers, Kids Are Gonna Love, Love Don’t Need A Reason, Think About Your Troubles, Standard White Jesus, Uh Huh, When Do We Rest?, Didn’t You Mean To Say?, I Ain’t Afraid, Further To Fly

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Associate Producer: Donna Korones
Production Coordinator: Alison de Grassi
Engineer: Gary Mankin
Graphic Designer: Sara Glaser
Mastering Engineer Paul Stubblebine
Arrangements by Holly and the players

Recorded at Laughing Coyote Studio, Redwood Valley, CA aand at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA; second engineers: Keith Feigin andMichael Anderson

Additional recording by Spencer Brewer at Laughing Coyote Studio and Tom Size at Fantasy Studios
Mixed by Gary Mankin at Laughing Coyote Studio and at Laughing Tiger Productions, San Rafael

The Players

Holly Near – Vocals
John Bucchino – Piano and Keyboards
Jan Martinelli – Bass
Nina Gerber – Guitars
June Millington – Electric Guitar
Janelle Burdell– Drums
Adrienne Torf – Keyboard
Jackeline Rago – Percussion
Mark Ford – Harmonica
Ellen Seeling – Flugelhorn
Alex de Grassi – Acoustic Guitar
Michael Manring – Bass
Quique Cruz – Sikus, charango

Joey Blake, Andre dos Santos Morgan – Support vocals
Additional vocals: Michael Callen, Michelle Athanasiades, Libby McLaren, Paula Samonte, Rocio Mendoza, Rachel Kiichli, Grace Magruder, Allison Frochen, Loretta Near, Quinn Van Antwerp

Lyrics

Fired Up

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Children need schools more than they need jails
That’s where our society fails
First seven years creates the child’s foundation
Mandatory for a healthy nation

How could we forget that the children come first
We left them alone and they died of thirst
Mothers and fathers confused and forlorn
When the children are missing there’s something wrong

Can’t just focus on kids with wealth
Can’t pick and choose who gets the health care
Take an honest look at the great divide
Looks dangerously similar to genocide

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You break another mother’s heart

Planet Called Home

Can you call on your imagination
As if telling a myth to a child
Put in the fantastical, wonderful, magical
Add the romantic, the brave and the wild

Once upon a time there was a power
So great that no one could know its name
People tried to claim it and rule with it
Always such arrogance ended in shame

Thousands of years would pass in a moment
Hundreds of cultures would come and go
Each generation with a glorious calling
Even when they were too busy to know

Then one day after two millennia
Which after all was a small part of time
Hundreds of souls found their way out of nowhere
To be on earth at the threat of decline

Let’s all go, they moved as one being
Even though each would arrive here alone
They promised to work in grace with each other
To brave the beautiful planet called home

There was no promise that they could save it
But how exciting to give it a try
If they each did one or two actions beautifully
Complex life on earth might not die

And so they arrive in a spectrum of colors
The population on earth did explode
Some threw themselves in front of disaster
Other slowly carried their load

Some adopted small girls from China
Some lived high in the branches of trees
Some died as martyrs, some lived as healers
Some bravely walked with a dreadful disease

They mingled among each class and culture
Not one of them could be identified
But together they altered just enough moments
To help the lost and the terrified

To step outside of our egos and our bodies
To know for once that we truly are one
Then quickly we would forget to remember
But that’s OK, their job was well done

And earth went on for another millennium
Now it’s time for my song to end
This magical story of hope and wonder
Invites you all to wake up and pretend to be
Fabulous creatures sent from the power
Souls that have come with a purpose in mind
To do one little thing that will alter the outcome
And maybe together we’ll do it in time

Can you call on your imagination
As if telling a myth to a child
Put in the fantastical, wonderful, magical
Add the romantic, the brave and the wild

The Souls are coming back!

1000 Grandmothers

Send in a thousand grandmothers
They will surely volunteer
With their ancient wisdom flowing
They will lend a loving ear

First they’ll form a loving circle
Around the wounded wing
Then contain the brutal beasts of war
Sweet freedom songs they’ll sing

A lullaby much stronger
Than bombs and threats to kill
A force unlike we’ve ever seen
Will break the murder’s will

To the prisons we’ll invite them
The most violent men will weep
When a 1000 women hold them strong
And pray their souls to keep

Let them rock the few who steal the most
And rule with youthful charm
So they’ll see the damage that they do
And will fall into grandma’s arms
Two thousand loving arms

If you think these women are too soft
To face the world at hand
Then you’ve never known the power of love
And you fail to understand

An old woman holds a powerful force
When she no longer needs to please
She can cut your shallow life to bits
And bring you to your knees
We best get down on our knees

And pray for a thousand grandmothers
Will you please come volunteer
No longer tucked deep out of sight
Will you bring your power here
Will you bring your power here

Kids Are Gonna Love

He is an Arab, she is a Jew
And they don’t care if that bothers you
One may be brown, one may be black
But when love is true they don’t hold back

Kids are gonna love. gonna love, gonna love
Kids are gonna love. gonna love, gonna love
Kids are gonna love. gonna love, who they damn well please

She loves a she, he loves a he
They are thrilled to be who they turned out to be
One may marry God, one may marry poor
Curse all you want as they walk out the door

Help them stay safe, lend them a hand
Promise never to abandon them
Love them, enjoy them and watch them grow
Kids have angels and the angels know

We need more honest love
We don’t always do that so well
If we can learn to love with open arms
Only time can tell, but rest assured

Kids are gonna love. gonna love, gonna love
Kids are gonna love. gonna love, gonna love
Kids are gonna love. gonna love, who they damn well please

Oh those kids!
Kids are gonna love. gonna love, who they damn well please

Ah!

Uh Huh

I feel so sad
I feel so bad
I feel so mad
Breathe in, breathe out

My mind is here
My mind is there
Life is unfair
Breathe in, breathe out

I feel so blue
Too much to do
I’m blaming you
Breathe in, breathe out

It moves so fast
And nothing lasts
Just let it pass

I want to kill
Afraid I will
Try to be still
Breathe in, breathe out

Come back to here
Let go of fear
My mind is clear
Breathe in, breathe out

I feel so sad
I feel so bad
I feel so mad
Breathe in, breathe out

When Do We Rest

Rest
When do we rest?

What’s left to drink after you’ve stirred up the waters
What’s left to love after you’ve lost your mind
What’s left to hate after you have hated yourself
What’s left to hurt after you have hurt mother-kind

Judges are not welcome in this court room
They want you to kill stray cats to work off you DUI
How strange?

Daddy got a reason
Lawyer got a reason
Preacher got a reason
Judges got a reason

Doors open
Windows open
Heart open
Why not
When do we rest?

Didn't You Mean to Say

Didn’t you mean to say you assassinate your enemies
Didn’t you mean to say you kill journalists and artists
Didn’t you mean to say you give orders for the murder
Didn’t you mean to say you sell drugs to make your fortune

Didn’t you mean to say you hire thugs to do the dirty work
Didn’t you mean to say it’s been going on for years
Didn’t you mean to say you’d do anything for power
Didn’t you mean to say you govern out of fear

Didn’t you mean to say you can’t tolerate an insult
Didn’t you mean to say you were beaten as a boy
Didn’t you mean to say you were sexually assaulted
Didn’t you mean to say you have never trusted love

Didn’t you mean to say statistics show it’s common
Didn’t you mean to say we should never hit a child
Didn’t you mean to say we need counseling for parents
Didn’t you mean to say your report has just been filed

Didn’t we mean to say there’s fire that is burning
Didn’t we mean to say there is something we can do
Didn’t we mean to say that we turn babies into monsters
Didn’t we mean to say if we create you

We can prevent you

I Ain't Afraid

I ain’t afraid of your Yahweh
I ain’t afraid of your Allah
I ain’t afraid of your Jesus
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God

I ain’t afraid of your churches
I ain’t afraid of your temples
I ain’t afraid of your praying
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God

Rise up to your higher power
Free up from fear, it will devour you
Watch out for the ego of the hour
The ones who say they know it
Are the ones who will impose it on you

Rise up, and see a higher story
Free up from the gods of war and glory
Watch out for the threats of purgatory
The spirit of the wind won’t make
A killing off of sin and satan

Holly Near - And Still We Sing

And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection (2-CD Set)

Includes collaborations with Rhiannon, Inti Illimani, Ronnie Gilbert, HARP, Mercedes Sosa, and Brian Lane Green
Calico Tracks Music, 2002; CTM0005

This collection of 37 songs (mostly from out-of-print recordings) remains emotionally intense yet politically articulate. Live and studio performances include duets with Mercedes Sosa, rousing songs with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Ronnie Gilbert, passionate vocal collaborations with Rhiannon and Brian Green, a tender lullaby with Inti Illimani, and anthems like Singing For Our Lives and The Great Peace March.

Track Listing:

Disc One:
Fired Up, I Ain’t Afraid, Voices, They Are Falling All Around Me, To Raise The Morning Star, Foolish Notion, I Got Trouble, No More Songs, Family Promise, Power, Simply Love, In The Face Of Love, Ain’t Nwhere You Can Run, Wrap The Sun Around You, Change Of Heart, No More Genocide, Oh Holy Night, Wish You Were Here, It Could Have Been Me

Disc Two:
Sing To Me The Dream, La Pajita, La Marusa, They Dance Alone, Todavia Cantamos, Pallet on the Floor, Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida, Fight Back, Waterfall, We’re Not Alone, Mountain Song, Singer In The Storm, Ella’s Song, Harriet Tubman, Don’t You Worry, Te Doy Una Cancion, Great Peace March, Singing For Our Lives

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Mastering Engineer: Paul Stubblebine
Production Coordinator: Alison de Grassi
Art Direction/Graphic Design: Jill Davey, JPD Communications
Photography 
Front cover: Mike Rogers
Back cover and flap: J.A. Rubino
CD trays: “Bandada de Pájaros” batik Lisa Kokin
Booklet cover: Paul Dix
Disc one: J.A. Rubino
Disc two: Vicki Vanderslice

The Players

The numerous players on the 37 tracks in this two-CD set are identified in the packaging.

Lyrics

Fired Up

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Children need schools more than they need jails
That’s where our society fails
First seven years creates the child’s foundation
Mandatory for a healthy nation

How could we forget that the children come first
We left them alone and they died of thirst
Mothers and fathers confused and forlorn
When the children are missing there’s something wrong

Can’t just focus on kids with wealth
Can’t pick and choose who gets the health care
Take an honest look at the great divide
Looks dangerously similar to genocide

Fired up ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You’re breaking my mother’s heart

Ain’t gonna take it no more
Tied up ain’t gonna take it no more
You say cool down, we say step down
You break another mother’s heart

I Ain't Afraid

I ain’t afraid of your Yahweh
I ain’t afraid of your Allah
I ain’t afraid of your Jesus
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God

I ain’t afraid of your churches
I ain’t afraid of your temples
I ain’t afraid of your praying
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your God

Rise up to your higher power
Free up from fear, it will devour you
Watch out for the ego of the hour
The ones who say they know it
Are the ones who will impose it on you

Rise up, and see a higher story
Free up from the gods of war and glory
Watch out for the threats of purgatory
The spirit of the wind won’t make
A killing off of sin and satan

Voices

Listen to the voices of the old women
Calling out the messages
Of the moon and sea
Telling us what we need to know
In order to be free
Listen to the voices of the old women

Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Calling out the messages
Of the earth and sky
Telling us what we need to know
In order to survive
Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations

Listen to the voices of the young children
Calling out the messages
Of the heart and soul
Telling us what we used to know
Before the lies were told
Listen to the voices of the young children

Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Listen to the voices of the old women
Listen to the voices of the living

Foolish Notion

Why do we kill people who are killing people
To show that killing people is wrong
What a foolish notion
That war is called devotion
When the greatest warriors are the ones that stand for peace

War toys are growing stronger
The problems stay the same
The young ones join the army
While general what’s-his-name
Is feeling full of pride
That the army will provide
But does he ask himself

Death row is growing longer
The problems stay the same
The poor ones get thrown in prison
While warden what’s-his-name
Is feeling justified
But when will he be tried (when justice is denied)
For never asking why…

Children are so tender
They will cross the earth if they think they are saving a friend
They get drawn in by patriotic lies
Right before our eyes
They leave our home
And then they find out once they’re all alone
They’re asking the age old question
Why?

I Got Trouble

New lyrics to a song formerly known as “Laid Off”

I been laid off, trouble got trouble
I been laid off, trouble tonight
First I want to talk about it
Then I want to fight
Then I want to make love to you all night
I been laid off, trouble got trouble
I been laid off, trouble tonight

You know we need the money, we need it bad
The money I was making is the last that we had
To do the feeding, feeding, our kids need clothes
They need feeding, payment on the loan

I came home angry, I let it show
I didn’t mean to blame it on the best friend I know
I love you darlin’, darlin’, let’s sleep in late
Come tomorrow, I’ll go out and agitate

They hire a computer, hire a machine
And then they call the product “The American Dream”
And it ain’t working, working, it’s no surprise
When you ain’t working, time to organize

Family Promise

Finally a baby born in the spring time
Then helping us all face a death in our lives
Your mother and your grandma
And your aunts so proud and grateful
Your father and you are now the men in our lives

But outside the shelter, the war claims the children
That you might grow up to be friends with one day
And what of the water, the air and the desert
We make a family promise on your first birthday

While we’re alive in this world
We will try to disarm every nuclear nation
An everyday gift to the child
A gift to ourselves, while we’re alive

Amazed by the details we watch you for hours
Just like our dad did, you make us all smile
Such inspiration for facing the future
Demanding survival, your fist still so small

Simply Love

Why does my love make you shift restless in your chair
And leave you in despair
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

It’s a simple hand on a warm face to say
A glance to see if love is still ok
A glow at dawn when love is still there
Tears and strong arms at the end of the day
And simply love – my love for a woman

It’s the laughter as the kids clown
And tease our weary thoughts away
It’s looking ’round the table
And knowing hard work fed us one more day
And simply love – my love for a woman

Why does my love make you shift in your chair
It’s the bombs across the border
That should make you tear your hair
And yet it’s my love leaves you screaming out your nightmare

Perhaps you know there’s something you should fear
If my love makes me strong and makes you disappear
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

In the Face of Love

Written during the US war against Nicaragua.  Strategical planning. Collateral damage. It is much more personal than that. Chemicals explode blowing up vegetable gardens. Hands are blown off children. Ancient forests are destroyed, orchards demolished, wells polluted, grandparents’ hearts broken.

Silver hair falling over me
So soft, so fine, I hold my breath
And I feel you moving up like a sunrise over my body
Inside we remember birth
Outside we are facing death
In the face, in the face, in the face of love

Silver hair falling over me
So brave, so strong, I find your eyes
And I feel you moving down like a sunset over my body
Inside we are making love
Outside another dies
At the front, at the front, at the front for love

The guns are waiting in the mountains
Kids playing quiet in the dust
It’s time
And if I make it back to you
My sunrise, my sunset, my earthquake, my soft and fine silver hair…

Ain't No Where You Can Run

From Fire In the Rain (1981)

There ain’t no where you can run no, no, no
There ain’t no where you can run

You can move to California
Or you can move to Spain
But there ain’t no where you can run
From the nuclear rain

You can hand out flowers in airports
You can stay on your knees and pray
But there ain’t no where in this whole wide world
That you can run away (you know you’ve got to face it)

It gets into the blood of the workers
And then it rides through the land on a train
After thousands of years in containers
It still remains

It can get you on the top of a mountain
Or it can ooze under prison doors
It can kill us slow in a lifetime

Or get you fast in a nuclear war!

Wrap the Sun Around You

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Wrap the sun around you like a rainbow
Let the mighty breezes be your lullaby
Feel the power of the sea
Mother Nature’s energy
Is washing over me

We can make it if we try
I’ve seen it done before
Where we all opened up our hearts
And that opened up the door
Don’t you remember
It wasn’t so long ago
Been going on forever
In fact, it’s happening right now
While we’re singing

Wrap the sun around you like a rainbow
Writing songs that wake us out of lullabies
Learn the lessons of the past
We’re not the first
And we’re not the last
To sing about freedom
To live our lives for freedom

Singing, singing songs about freedom
I can remember we were singing
Singing songs about freedom
People, you have the light and the sun
Like a rainbow
You are like a rainbow, magic colors
We are like a rainbow, in the sky
Side by side, such a sight

Don’t you remember talking about freedom
Think back to all who come before you
Think back to all who danced before you
Think back to all who loved before you
Think back to all who sing before you

Freedom is not to be the same
Freedom is to cherish who you are
Freedom is to know

No, no don’t melt into one
Wrap the sun around you like a rainbow
Be tender with your heart

Just like a rainbow

Change of Heart

From Musical Highlights (1993)

Something changes in me when I witness someone’s courage
They may not know I’m watching, I may not let them know that
Something changes in me that will last me for a life time
To fill me when I’m empty, and rock me when I’m low

Something changes in me anytime there’s someone singing
All the songs I’ve never forgotten, let out voices sing them strong
Something changes in me anytime there’s someone standing
For the right to be completely all the good things that we are

There’s a change of heart
Anytime there’s someone counting
All the lives that won’t be thrown away
There’s a change of heart
Anytime you join the choir, be a voice up on the mountain
Or see a fire…in the rain

Something changes in me when my arms are held wide open
Fear and hate are set aside and only love remains
Something changes in me and I feel a deep emotion
While the ones who offer help replace the ones that just complain

Do not forget the children, they are singers in the storm
And when their hearts are threatened, well a fire is bound to start
It wakes us up at midnight, we feel an ancient pain
And I do believe that loves directs the flame

No More Genocide

From Musical Highlights (1993)

Why are our history books so full of lies
When no word is spoken of why the Indians died
Or that the Chicanos loved the California land
Do our books all say it was discovered by one white man

That’s just a lie, one of the many and we’ve had plenty
I don’t want more of the same
No more genocide in my name

Nazi forces grow again, ignorance gives them a place
The Klan is teaching children to hate the human race
Where once there was a playground, now an MX missile plan
Do they think it’s fun to see just how much we can stand

People die all around the world from starvation and grief all the time
Some folks try to avoid the truth by saying God and gun will provide
In Auschwitz, Capetown and Beirut, San Salvador, Greensboro,
Belfast, Manila and many more
It’s a crime, do we think the fascist right will save the world in time

They try to tell us so but we’ve got to tell them no

O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
This is the time a new decade is born
Long has lived the world in fear and error pining
But when peace appears, the soul knows its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Rise from your knees, and hear the people’s voices
O night divine, O night let peace be born

O night, O night, O night divine

It Could Have Been Me

From A Live Album (1974) and Journeys

It could have been me, but instead it was you
So I’ll keep doing the work you were doing as if I were two
I’ll be a student of life, a singer of song
A farmer of food and a righter of wrong
It could have been me, but instead it was you
And it may be me dear sisters and brother
Before we are through
But if you can work for freedom
Freedom, freedom, freedom
If you can work ( die, sing, live, work, speak) for freedom I can too

Students in Ohio 200 yards away
Shot down by a nameless fire one early day in May
Some people cried out angry you should have shot more of them down
But you can’t bury youth my friend
Youth grows the whole world round

The junta broke the fingers on Victor Jara’s hands
They said to the gentle poet “play your guitar now if you can”
Victor started singing but they brought his body down
You can kill that man but not his song
When it’s sung the whole world round

A woman in the jungle so many wars away
Studies late into the night, defends the village in the day
Although her skin is golden like mine will never be
Her song is heard and I know the words
And I’ll sing them until she’s free

Studio recording 1983

The songs of Nicaragua and El Salvador
Will long outlast the singers who face the guns in war
They sing at the line of fire, they sing from the fire within
All across the land the poets stand
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencida
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencida

Additional verse not included on this recording

One night in Oklahoma Karen Silkwood died
Because she had some secrets that big companies wanted to hide
There’s talk of nuclear safety and there’s talk of national pride
But we all know it is a death machine and that’s why Karen died

Sing to Me the Dream

When you speak the language of your life
I do not know the story
The words are only sounds, they leave my mind to wonder
Perhaps you speak of the mountains,
or the child you used to be
Of the city Santiago and the moment you were free
To sing of hungry hearts and of the dream, do you speak of the dream.

When you speak the language of your love
I do not know the story
The words are only sounds and they leave my mind to wonder
But when you soar through my heart with a melody
I hear the dancing feet, I taste the salty tears
I know the laughing child and the moment of the dream

When you sing the language I feel love
Now I know the story
the songs are mighty sounds that fill my mind to wonder
And when you soar through my heart with a melody
I hear the dancing feet, I taste the salty tears
I am the laughing child, sing to me the dream
Come fill my mind with wonder
And sing to me the dream

Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida

Michelle Peña Herrera
Nalvia Rosa Mena Alvarado
Cecilia Castro Salvadores
Ida Amelia Almarza

Clara Elena Cantero
Elisa Del Carmen Escobar
Eliana Maria Espinosa
Rosa Elena Morales

Hay una mujer desaparecida
Hay una mujer desaparecida
En Chile En Chile En Chile

And the junta, and the junta knows
And the junta knows where she is
And the junta knows where they are hiding her, she’s dying
Hay una mujer desaparecida
Hay una mujer desaparecida
En Chile En Chile En Chile

Missing in Brazil
Missing in Uruguay
Missing, Guatemala
Missing, El Salvador
Hay un hombre, hay una niña
Oh los niños

But a spirit lives in Chile
New lives
New songs are rising up

Fight Back

By day I live in terror
By night I live in fright
For as long as I can remember
A lady don’t go out alone at night, no no
A lady don’t go out alone at night

But I don’t accept the verdict
It’s a wrong one anyway
‘Cause nowadays a woman
Can’t even go out in the middle of the day, safely
Can’t go out in the middle of the day

And so we’ve got to fight back
In large numbers
Fight back, I can’t make it alone
Fight back, in large numbers
Together we can make a safe home
Together we can make a safe home

Women all around the world
Every color, religion and age
One thing we’ve got in common
We can all be battered and raped
We can all be battered and raped

Some have an easy answer
They buy a lock and they live in a cage
But my fear is turning to anger
And my anger’s turning to rage
And I won’t live my life in a cage—no!

By day I live in terror
By night I live in fright
For as long as I can remember

A lady don’t go out at night—fight back

We're Not Alone

From This Train Still Runs (1996)

I shall not tire of the road we’re walking
Your smile a candle, I shall not tire
I shall not weaken in the face of danger
But draw you close to me
We’re not alone, we’re not alone

Earth like a friend who’s wounded
Child, you’re the fragile promise of tomorrow
You, who become a condor in a moment
Shall you spread your wings of courage and fly on

Trees are a story telling
Stars, like the burning sun that warms the water
Wind is a force that cleans our sails of sorrow
Woman guide the ship of freedom and sail on, sail on

Creatures of courage make a chain that can’t be broken
Like my heart can be broken
Links must withstand the strain and pull
That tries to tear our souls apart

Hands like a map I follow
Songs are the haunting call that draws me forward
Hearts be the drum that keep my feet from slowing
Like a cadence that is crying come on, come on

Force that has turned the flower of the people
Into steel that strikes a fire
Can we use the heat to solder such a chain
Believe on, believe on

I shall not tire on the road we’re walking
Your smile a candle, I shall not tire
I shall not weaken in the face of danger
But draw you close to me
We’re not alone, we’re not alone

Mountain Song

Inspired by an elder activist who protested the strip mining of her land.  They carried her off the mountain and put her in jail. But the great part about the story is that she did not go willingly and for that moment in time, she knew exactly where she stood. May we all know such moments.

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away ­– not with me watching
You may drive a big machine
But I was born a great big woman
And you can’t just take my dreams away – without me fighting

This old mountain raised my many daughters
Some died young – some are still living
But if you come here to take our mountain
Well we ain’t come here to give it

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away ­– not with me watching
No you can’t just take my dreams away ­– without me fighting
No you can’t just take my dreams away

Singer in the Storm

A dove flies free from the prison bars
And lights the candles with the stars
And carries news home from afar
She’s a singer in the storm, she’s a singer in the storm

She does not fear the pouring rains that drench her to the bone
She only fears the consequence of living all alone
She does not mourn the lessons learned
While falling from the sky
She only mourns for those who turn away as they pass by

He who joins with people’s voices
He who honors women’s choices
He who dares to cry, rejoices
With the singer in the storm

She does not fear the raging wind that calls her into a song
She only fears the consequence of a forest dead and gone
She celebrates her lover’s touch, it caught her by surprise
Still she mourns for the narrow minds who stare as they pass by

Late in the night she hears the painter scream
But tonight she knows it is not a dream
Again and again recurring themes call for the singer
To come and heal a wounded heart
Confront an ancient lie
To cross a fragile bridge
And offer hope to those to dare to try

She who walks the unpaved road
She who picks up half the load
She who knows that the dove is code
For the singer in the storm

The dove flies free from the prison bars
And lights the candles with the stars
And carries news home from afar
Are you the singer in the storm
Let the dove fly free
The dove is in me and she lights my way
So I may be the singer in the storm

Don't You Worry

Well here we are, they call it winter
And the air feels like the desert
The current of this river is standing still against its will
Well here we are with too much feeling
It damns all sense of motion
But don’t you worry, that’s how love is, so they say

Well here we are, you’re asking questions with your silence
Still I know you’re crying
And I tend to hide away behind a smile, that’s my style
Well here we are and we’re falling into arms that know our sorrow
But don’t you worry, that’s how love is, so they say

Like a fat white cloud goes rolling by on a humid summer day
It will cross a perfect sky and soon it’s far away
Can love outlast such a day

Well here we are, first day of winter
And the air cold as the desert
No love can last forever without a pain, without a doubt
Well here we are with too many reasons to keep the love
To keep the motion

But don’t you worry, that’s how love is, so they say

The Great Peace March

Ancient eyes are watching in the night
The stars come out to guide the way
The sun still shines despite the clouds
And the dawn is dusk is dawn is dusk is day

Farmers rise and dream to feed the world
The world awakes to feed the heart
Hearts beat while a thousand flags are waving
And the farmer sees a dream has played a part

We will have peace, we will because we must
We must because we cherish life
And believe it or not, as daring as it may seem
It is not an empty dream
To walk in a powerful path
Neither the first nor the last great peace march
Life is a great and mighty march
Forever for love and for life on the great peace march

Are you black like night or red like clay
Are you gold like sun or brown like earth
Grey like mist or white like moon
My love for you is the reason for my birth

Peace can start with just one heart
From a small step to leaps and bounds
A walk becomes a race for time
And a brave child calls out from the crowd

Singing for Our Lives

I wrote this song after Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were killed in a homophobic hate crime in 1978.

We are a gentle angry people
And we are singing, singing for our lives

We are a land of many colors
We are gay and straight together
We are a peaceful loving people

Holly Near - Simply Love

Simply Love: The Women’s Music Collection (2-CD Set)

Calico Tracks Music, 2000; CTM0003

Recorded between 1974 and 2000, Holly sings a collection of songs that document the height of the feminist and lesbian feminist movements. These are songs of joy, love, hardship, fear, and vigilance. Songwriters include Meg Christian, Ferron, Cris Williamson, Linda Tillery, Therese Edell, Margie Adam, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Jeff Langley, and Alix Dobkin.

For old-timers, this is a lovely walk down memory lane—an acknowledgement of a terrific era. And for the young and curious, some herstory and perspective awaits you (as well as beautiful singing!).

Track Listing: 

Disc One:
You Can Know All I Am, Harbor Me, Imagine My Surprise, Put Away, Nina, Mountain Song, Kentucky Woman, You Bet, Rock Me In Your Arms, Something About The Women , No Loss of Pride, Golden Thread, Fire In The Rain, Infatuation, Take It With You

Disc Two:
Perfect Night, She, Singing With You, Waterfall, Simply Love , Wouldn’t You Rather, Testimony, Singer In The Storm, Woman In Your Life, Having Been Touched, Emma, Wonderful, Rock Will Wear Away, Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida, Every Woman

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Associate Producer: Donna Korones
Production Coordinator: Alison de Grassi
Supervising Engineer: Leslie Ann Jones
Graphic Design: JPD Communications
Cover photograph: Mike Rogers
Mastered by: Paul Stubblebine at Rocket Labs, San Francisco, CA
Mixed and additional recording: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio and Different Fur, San Francisco

The Players

The numerous players on this two-CD set are identified in the packaging.

Lyrics

You Can Know All I Am

From You Can Know All I Am (1976) 

You can know all I am
Share my life, take my giving
I can’t change how I’m living
But you can know all I am

You can know all I am
Watch me grow, know my sorrow
I can’t lend and I can’t borrow
But you can know all I am

This could be a love in passing
Simple and lonely
Mysterious woman, elegant stranger
Where it’s safe and dark inside
But it’s much harder to love you
To say, “Love me”
With all my right and wrong
I’ve been longing to say it all along

You can know all I am
Take my love, I am willing
I can’t change how I’m living
But you can know all I am

Harbor Me

From You Can Know All I Am (1976) 

This is the choral tag from the song, Nicolia

Oh, won’t you harbor me

Imagine My Surprise

From Imagine My Surprise (1978)

Imagine my surprise! I love that I have found you
But I ache all over wanting to know your every dream
Imagine my surprise! To find that I love you
Feeling warm all over knowing that you’ve been alive

Pirates off an Eastern Coast
Women you lived in danger
But I hear your laughter free of petticoats
No need for foolish chivalry
Though you’re living in the eighteenth century
You make love to each other on your boats out on the sea

Lady poet of great acclaim
I have been misreading you
I never knew your poems were meant for me
You lived alone in a quiet den
Pouring passion through your pen
And weeping for your lady lovers
As they safely married men

Rugged women gone before me
Paving paths like pioneers so often all alone
I dreamed of queens and cinderellas
Facing disappointment when I was grown
Facing disappointment when I was grown

Put Away

From Imagine My Surprise (1978) 

You dressed in gym socks and tennis shoes
So you could ride your bike to school
Your starched white shirt tucked in a skirt revealed defiance
While matching sweaters were the rule
And while the other girls dressed up and went to dances
You played mazurkas at home
Your flaming spirit burned its passion on those ivory keys
Storm but yet a breeze
You were an artist . . . precious artist

Now you’re put away
Locked up in a prison
Now you’re put away
In a safely padded room
Now you’re put away
They say that you went crazy
But we’re coming, coming for you

You had your sights on the Olympics
You looked to women who were strong
Amidst the multitudes of fads and teenage idols
You felt the pressure to belong
But in the summer time, you joined the boys in baseball
Girls were playing games that weren’t your own
With nimble grace how you would fly the field with mighty speed
Always in the lead
You were an athlete . . . graceful athlete

You always passed me in silence
I never reached for your hand
Though someone told me that you liked to hear my music
I never joined with you to stand
Stand up and fight the myth condemning you with rumors
Well, I never thought those things of you
But now with time as my heart grows in love and gratitude
I hope that the rumors were true
Oh dear sweet woman . . . loving women

Nina

From Imagine My Surprise (1978) 

Oh Nina, where does your heart take you today
To play with Negra and Rose and Maria
I sadly recall the friends of my childhood
You, my love, bear the fruit of my pain

Do you ride wild horses in Amazon battles
I rode like a lady – except when alone
I wept for dead soldiers then burned all my journals

Your muscles are shining as you dance with each other
I wore shiny stockings, I was led to the floor
I learned how to follow but never got married

Nina, my daughter, sometimes I resent you
Your laughter, your lovers, your courage to feel
I was never allowed to love Eloisa
Yet you sleep so warm in the arms of your friends
But as I lie awake and hear your soft pleasure
My resentment fades, and I shelter your love
For the outside world makes you cry all too often
And because of you, I too hold a woman tonight

Oh Nina, where does your heart take you today
To play with Negra and Rose and Maria
You will sadly recall the pages of childhood
Women unborn will bear the fruit of your pain

Mountain Song / Kentucky Woman

From Imagine My Surprise (1978)

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away– not with me watching
You may drive a big machine
But I was born a great big woman
And you can’t just take my dreams away –without me fighting

This old mountain raised my many daughters
Some died young – some are still living
But if you come here to take our mountain
Well we ain’t come here to give it

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away, not with me watching
No you can’t just take my dreams away, without me fighting
No you can’t just take my dreams away

Kentucky woman, Appalachian dream
I hear your voice in the morning
As you stand so strong and shining before the mighty man
As he tries to being you down with his money

Born a miner’s daughter, you have seen the night
The darkness of survival in the broad daylight
Your sister went to Detroit and your brother went to war
You stayed home to battle with strip mining

Machines you use are noisy, the air you breathe is dust
You hate the thought of striking but you know you must
The hours that you’re working are much higher than your pay
While the factory owner plays in Puerto Rico

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away, not with me watching
You may drive a big machine
But I was born a great big woman
No you can’t just take my dreams away, without me fighting
No you can’t just take my dreams away

You Bet

From Imagine My Surprise (1978)

If I only had a dollar I’d spend it with the women
Who sing to me sweet melodies of women loving
Songs with room for growing that show us where we’re going
So caringly, that dare me to grow up fighting strong

You bet I sing love songs
Songs that carry me along
Through fearful times and tender times
Songs of mother love
Songs of my lover’s love
Singing the songs of loving myself

If I only had an hour, I’d spend it with the women
Who live the lives, the fighting lives
Lives that inspire the songs of women working
Fighting for our senses courageously
Preparing me for battles that are yet to be won

Linger on the details
The part that reflects the change
There lies revolution
Our everyday lives, the changes inside
Become our political songs

Rock Me In Your Arms

From Imagine My Surprise (1978)

Won’t you write a melody for me, pretty woman
I need a little song in the middle of the day
Won’t you write a melody
Just a simple melody
To rock me in your arms so far away

Rock me in your arms so far away
Rock me in your arms so far away
I send you the words I send you the dreams
But one thing missing to me it seems
So won’t you please find a melody
To rock me in your arms so far away

Won’t you write a melody for me, pretty woman
I need a little song in the middle of the day
Won’t you write a melody
One that brings you close to me
To rock me in your arms so far away

Something About the Women

From Imagine My Surprise (1978)

One woman weaves a message
Singing the sounds of silence
Another wheels her chair to the center of the stage
Changing minds and attitudes
With eyes that hear and hands that see
These women working, living independently

I look to you, I look to you for courage in my life
And I promise it’s not just foolish idolatry
That makes me gaze at you in wonder

Some drink and call it celebration
For some it is pain and sorrow
She says “Well maybe just this once would be OK”
But the voice of millions strong
Surviving guiding light
A circle holds her tightly and she throws the drink away

So big and beautiful, she sets my heart on fire
Like a raging river in the moonlight of the dawn
She’s the mother of my youth
She’s the daughter of my age
This woman now and always . . .
Survival is her name, healer of my pain, quiet in her fame
Goddess keep me sane

No Loss of Pride

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

I don’t want to fight with you anymore
My time has come for resting
in the love that brought us through that door
There’s no loss of pride
I don’t want to hide
I fear I strike out at the closest thing to me
And it’s not always the best thing for me
You are not, you are not my enemy

Going down the list of times that you hurt me so
Telling friends who I know will run to tell you
So you’ll know
And you keep doing the same
We’re bringing each other pain

Try to find a place for me in your heart
Where we can be together when our paths cross
And still have room to stay apart
Our battles may remain
I know our differences are still the same

Golden Thread

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Such a rush is going through my body
And you are so far across the room
Tender words caress my weary mind
I will move closer to you soon
It’s hard for me to ponder long
On what is wrong or right
Oh how can I touch you the way I want to touch you
When I intend to go home with my friend and my lover
After we say goodnight

My heart has stopped, I can’t get air
Your face is so close to mine
We share a passion and pain, my friend
You too are walking a foreign line
Is it hard for you to ponder long
On what is wrong or right
Oh how can you touch me the way you want to touch me
When you intend to go home with your friend and your lover
After we say goodnight

A woman’s love is like a golden thread
It can weave in and out so magically
I know this is true
My lover has woven such a life with me
And I do love her so

But such a rush is going through her body
My lover sees a woman across the room
Tender words caress her weary mind
She will move closer to her soon
Is it hard for her to ponder long
On what is wrong or right
Oh how can she touch her
The way she wants to touch her
When she intends to come home with her friend and her lover
After they say goodnight

But you can’t possess a woman, no
You can’t possess a woman
If you love her so
You’ve got to let her go
And she’s got to let you let her go

Run, run, running free
Fly, run, creatively
She’s flying next to me
Oh jealousy, let go of me, so I can truly love her
She’s family – flying free!

Fire In the Rain

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Fire in the rain, fire in the rain
You’re like a fire in the rain
So unexpected, I came upon your love

You came into my life
And I had my eyes wide open
Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned

I got too close one night
With no plans for heart left open
Unintending to change, I had nothing to fear
But the music she let me hear
Like an ancient fife, it had a haunting tune
It changed my life

I want you
Sometimes I stare for hours
Like the last to leave the fire on a winter night
Sometimes I dance before you
Like a firefly who is caught in your light

Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned

I remember you
Stronger than the wind
Brighter than the moon
Faster than the night

Take It With You

From Demo Session (1982)

Where will you go when we leave this place tonight
How will you feel in the morning
Will you tell a friend, will you tell a stranger in your day
Or will you slowly let this feeling drift away

Is this a night of resolution in our hearts
Or is tonight just entertainment
And in the morning when the sun is rising will you rise and say
Oh let this feeling follow me throughout the day

Take it with you wherever you go
And let the world know we won’t go easy
Take it with, take it with you wherever you go
Take it with, take it with you wherever you go

How can we harbor all the light that comes with love
Let’s not be robbed of life’s perfections
Can we remember to care in a world where madness fills the air
And will we take the music, it’s here to share

It is like we’re being held by a thousand loving arms
With the tenderness of my mother’s kiss and the passion of a lover
Don’t let tomorrow’s plans for you fade this special moment
Won’t you try to pass it on to me
Help a wondering heart discover

Perfect Night

From Lifeline (1983)

A woman is dressed in style tonight
A three piece suit and a tie tonight
There’s a polished glow on her face in spite
Of her look of amusement
And she will dine with her true love
Take in a bar or two
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

The gal is dressed for work tonight
She’s got dusty jeans and boots tonight
There’s a lovers look on her face in spite
Of her farming intention
And she will plant with her true love
Take a break in the barn, maybe two
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

The jock is dressed in wool tonight
Softball glove and a cap tonight
There’s a competitive look in her eye in spite
Of her generous heart
And she’ll play ball with her true love
Take in a home run or two
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

All the rules have been broken
They’re not talking about the weather
A gentleman asks “Are you ladies alone?”
They smile and say, “No, we’re together!”

A woman is dressed in silk tonight
A glittering gown and a stole tonight
There’s sequin on her cheek in spite
Of her sparkling eyes
And she will dance with her true love
Take in a show or two
And nothing short of a perfect night
And nothing short of a perfect night
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

She

From Watch Out! (1984)

She danced across the mountain – she thought no one could see
And every move she made across the land taught her to be free
She swept across the valley, her body so defined
And wet with the sweat of seventeen, she found another mountain to be climbed

She soared across the desert – the moon was all aglow
She stumbled once in the freezing sand but no one would ever know
She swam across the river, her muscles straining strong
And she knew as she crossed, the water pulled her deeper into places she belonged

She came to another mountain and found that all could see
Every move was proudly made with love and dignity
For she is Freedom’s daughter and Mother Nature’s child
As she raced across the finish line her beauty drove the watchful people wild

She paused to feel the power of people singing songs
That celebrated living, a feeling that she longed for
But slicing through the laughter came an anguished country’s cries
And she saw a gun blow up the song and stole away the future from her eyes

A child was standing near her and caught the runner’s fire
She kissed her mouth with passion and filled her with desire
And when her feet were on the ground she faced the burning sky
And with a cry that filled the air with rain
She cooled the skin of those who would not die

The killer saw her power, the tyrant saw her skill
The women saw themselves in her and the people saw her will
Divided by their colors, betrayed by fear’s decree
But no matter how the future goes, She has been and She will always be

She will dance across the mountain
She will dance across the mountain
I have dreamed on this mountain

Singing With You

From Singing With You (1984)

Life is full
Of tides that pull
Oceans and hearts to shore
And I found it’s like
The heat of dancing feet
Keeping a body warm
I like the melodies
In evergreens, roaming winds
And rocky mountains
Summer storms and hawks that warn
Innocent lands
Working hands
And the miraculous birth of a child
Who demands attention
I have been such a child

Life’s a gift of arms that
Lift baskets of fruit to share
And I find it’s like a night
Of northern lights
Startling me, unaware

I like the whales at sea
The mysteries
Irish cliffs and desert flatlands
Weathered barns and farmers’ yarns
Arrows unfound, quiet towns and
Incredible death oh, we know
It is bound to happen

Singing with you
Is the best thing that could happen
To me my friend
You throw me back a voice
That is a mighty bit more than
Making a dream come true
And when life is a burden
And every heart we know is
A hurting heart
The world is on trial
We’re walking a mile
And singing with you is a start

A start for me
For my heart

Oh, life is full
Of tides that pull
Oceans and hearts to shore
And I find it’s like
The heat of dancing feet
Keeping a body warm
I like the melodies
In evergreens, roaming winds
And rocky mountains
Summer storms and hawks that warn
Innocent lands
Working hands
And the miraculous birth of a child
Who demands attention

Simply Love

From Singing With You (1984)

Why does my love make you shift restless in your chair
And leave you in despair
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

It’s a simple hand on a warm face to say
A glance to see if love is still ok
A glow at dawn when love is still there
Tears and strong arms at the end of the day
And simply love – my love for a woman

It’s the laughter as the kids clown
And tease our weary thoughts away
It’s looking ’round the table
And knowing hard work fed us one more day
And simply love – my love for a woman

Why does my love make you shift in your chair
It’s the bombs across the border
That should make you tear your hair
And yet it’s my love leaves you screaming out your nightmare

Perhaps you know there’s something you should fear
If my love makes me strong and makes you disappear
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

Wouldn't You Rather

From Singing With You (1984)

Wouldn’t you rather love a great big woman
Than ask your lover to starve herself to death
Wouldn’t you rather love a great big woman
Than ask your lover to starve herself to death

Would you have her go play out in the traffic
Or drink a drop of cyanide
Would you want her to go and join the army
Or lay out in the desert and die, die

Wouldn’t you rather love a great big woman
Than ask your lover to starve herself to death
Wouldn’t you rather love a great big woman
Than ask your lover to starve herself to death

Singer in the Storm

From Singer In the Storm (1990)

A dove flies free from the prison bars
And lights the candles with the stars
And carries news home from afar
She’s a singer in the storm, she’s a singer in the storm

She does not fear the pouring rains that drench her to the bone
She only fears the consequence of living all alone
She does not mourn the lessons learned
While falling from the sky
She only mourns for those who turn away as they pass by

He who joins with people’s voices
He who honors women’s choices
He who dares to cry, rejoices
With the singer in the storm

She does not fear the raging wind that calls her into a song
She only fears the consequence of a forest dead and gone
She celebrates her lover’s touch, it caught her by surprise
Still she mourns for the narrow minds who stare as they pass by

Late in the night she hears the painter scream
But tonight she knows it is not a dream
Again and again recurring themes call for the singer
To come and heal a wounded heart
Confront an ancient lie
To cross a fragile bridge
And offer hope to those to dare to try

She who walks the unpaved road
She who picks up half the load
She who knows that the dove is code
For the singer in the storm

The dove flies free from the prison bars
And lights the candles with the stars
And carries news home from afar
Are you the singer in the storm
Let the dove fly free
The dove is in me and she lights my way
So I may be the singer in the storm

The Rock Will Wear Away

From Spring 2000 Studio Sessions (2000)

Sixteen year old virgin
Springtime takes her to the park
Where the moon shines down like the future
Calling her out of the dark
But her nightmare finds her freedom
And leaves her lying wounded, worn from invasion

Light as a feather floating by
Landing then covered with soot
Waiting now, watching now for rain
To wash clean her pain

Can we be like drops of water falling on the stone
Splashing, breaking, dispersing in air
Weaker than the stone by far but be aware
That as time goes by the rock will wear away
And the water comes again

Thirty year old mother
Autumn finds her pregnant once more
And the leaves, like gold and copper
Reminding her that she is poor
And her children often are hungry
She hungers too
For knowledge, time and choices

Eighty year old poet
Winter keeps her home and alone
Where she freezes, and darkness keeps her
From writing her final wisdom
But she lights her last red candle
And as it is melting
Tilting it, writing now

Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida

From Spring 2000 Studio Sessions (2000)

Michelle Peña Herrera
Nalvia Rosa Mena Alvarado
Cecilia Castro Salvadores
Ida Amelia Almarza

Clara Elena Cantero
Elisa Del Carmen Escobar
Eliana Maria Espinosa
Rosa Elena Morales

Hay una mujer desaparecida
Hay una mujer desaparecida
En Chile En Chile En Chile

And the junta, and the junta knows
And the junta knows where she is
And the junta knows where they are hiding her, she’s dying
Hay una mujer desaparecida
Hay una mujer desaparecida
En Chile En Chile En Chile

Missing in Brazil
Missing in Uruguay
Missing, Guatemala
Missing, El Salvador
Hay un hombre, hay una niña
Oh los niños

But a spirit lives in Chile
New lives
New songs are rising up

Holly Near: HARP

HARP: A Time to Sing (2-CD Set)

with Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie
Appleseed Recordings 2001; APR-CD-1054

Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert, and Pete Seeger are reunited in this historical 1984 live recording, expanded to two CDs and containing 26 songs and wonderful storytelling.

When the original recording was released on vinyl, the out-takes were stored away on tape in a vault. So when Holly got ready to reissue the recording as a CD (Appleseed Recordings, 2001), she remembered all the songs and stage banter that hadn’t fit on to the original LP and decided they would be a great addition as a beautiful slice of history, that is also powerful and contemporary.

Here, Pete and Ronnie are at their spectacular best. Holly and Arlo, singing with their mentors, bring great humor and tenderness.

Track Listing: Oh Mary Don’t You Weep, Somos El Barco/We Are The Boat, Singing With You, Oh Mom, Emma, You And Me, Mothers, Daughters, Wives, What’s Going On/Foolish Notion, Jacob’s Ladder, Take Back The Night!, The Water Is Wide, City Of New Orleans, Wimoweh (Mbube), Twelve Gates To The City, Fine Time, Icicle Blue, Ghannu Ma’i, Tarantella, All Over The World, Small Business Blues, Estadio Chile, Guantanamera, Mr. Tambourine Man, Good For The World, Pallet On The Floor, Singing For Our Lives

Credits

Reissue produced by Holly Near

Full credits are listed in the CD packaging.

The Players

The numerous players on this two-CD set are identified in the packaging.

Lyrics

Singing With You

Life is full of tides that pull oceans and hearts to shore
And I find it’s like the heat of dancing feet keeping a body warm
I like the melodies in evergreens
Roaming winds and rocky mountains
Summer storms and hawks that warn innocent lands
Working hands
And miraculous birth of a child who demands attention
I have been such a child

Life’s a gift of arms that lift baskets of fruit to share
And I find it’s like a night of northern lights
Startling the unaware
I like the whales at sea, the mysteries
Irish cliffs and desert flatlands
Weathered barns and farmers’ yarns
Arrows unfound, quiet towns and incredible death
Oh, we know it is bound to happen

Singing with you is the best thing that could happen to me, my friend
You throw me back a voice
That is a mighty bit more than making a dream come true
And when life is a burden
And every heart we know is a hurting heart
The world is on trial, we’re walking a mile
And singing with you is a start
A start for me, for my heart
And singing with you is a start

Emma

Terror races ’cross a nation
Fear locks doors on open minds
Fire burns the bloodied pages of our time

Lines that seemed so simply spoken
Are now stuck screaming in my brain
I stand trembling in confusion without shame

But I will laugh and sing and dance
And make love with consenting humans
In our evolution—and I also agree
I will fight, live and die freely human, in our revolution
Well, it’s hard work, in hard times
And when my feelings get dull, my spirit has to shine
It takes every muscle in my heart to dance at our revolution
But I’m dancing, Emma,
It takes every muscle in my heart to dance at our revolution

Preachers, witches, slaves and rulers are all found in my family tree
I will grow a branch twice stronger cause of thee (who went before me)

I can hear their voices calling,
Conflicting choirs cross the land
I will follow those whose blood has fed me
My heart is in my hand

Fine Time

No, I’m not feeling fine
The blues have got me like a five and dime
The tank is empty
And the chrome on Chevys don’t shine
When love is gone from me
No I’m not feeling fine
The day has done me and I’m on decline
The songs are sappy
And the boots on baby don’t shine
When love is gone from me

So this would be a fine time to tell me
That you love me
Yes, this would be a fine time to tell me
That you love me
I feel like a wreck, I can’t find my way out
I’m hungry for love but I been chewing on doubt
So this would be a fine time to tell me
That you love me

No I’m not feeling fine
The sharks are biting and I’m falling behind
The drive-in’s closing
And the midnight motion don’t shine
When love is gone from me
No, I’m not feeling fine
No angel babies and it’s crying time
Shoo-bop-ee-doo-wah
And the harps in heaven don’t shine
When love is gone from me

I won’t lead you on baby or play hard to get
I won’t promise you riches or leave you in debt
I got a ’54 Chevy, an Ovation guitar
And I can play “Love Me Tender”
In the back seat of my car

No I’m not feeling fine
The blues have got me like a five and dime
The tank is empty
And the chrome on Chevys don’t shine
When love is gone from me
No I’m not feeling fine
No angel babies and it’s crying time
Heartbreak hotel has got me standing waiting in line
When love is gone from me

Icicle Blue

Icicle blue
Day sky blue
Blue almost silver blue eyes
Looking at me all my life
Blue skies, blue stones
Songs of blue sung late in the night to a sleepless child
Mother, hold me, I remember now
ItÕs through these blue eyes that I have learned how
To join the black night, and touch the red earth
And dance in the morning sun
That I see through these icicle blues

Singing for Our Lives

We are a gentle angry people
And we are singing, singing for our lives

We are a land of many colors
We are gay and straight together
We are a peaceful loving people

Holly Near - Lifeline Extended

Lifeline Extended (2-CD Set)

with Ronnie Gilbert
Appleseed Recordings 2002; APR-CD-1066

Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert—two powerful women who helped two active generations bridge a gap and now another generation is discovering the world through their music.

This collection highlights the collaborative work between these two powerful political singers. It includes the original and out-of-print recordings, Lifeline and Singing With You, and additional introductions, stage banter, and wonderful audience participation.

Track Listing: 

Disc One:
Harriet Tubman, Si Me Quieres Escribir, Pastures Of Plenty, Beloved Comrade, Two Good Arms, Biko, Isabel, Started Out Fine, The Right Time, No More Genocide, Kids Song, Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida, Goodnight Irene

Disc Two:
Women’s Medley, I Cried, The Activity Room, Perfect Night, Lucky To Be Me, Stormy Medley, Army Song/Chairman of the Board, Family Promise, Singing For Our Lives, Singing With You

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Graphic Design: Sara Glaser
Cover photographs: Susan Wilson
Mastered by: Paul Stubblebine at Rocket Labs, San Francisco, CA
Full credits are listed in the CD packaging.

The Players

The numerous players on this two-CD set are identified in the packaging.

Lyrics

Started Out Fine

Started out fine, we were moving ahead
I was driving in the truck
You were combing the hair on the head
Of the one in the middle
She was loving it all, bouncing around like a rubber ball

And you thought she was just about the finest kid I had to agree
But maybe that’s cause she looks like me
And you were filling a space
Maybe taking the place of a father

But then you started seeing that it might be a scene
You got to complaining, you got pretty mean
First it was the weather and then it was me
And then you started taking it out on the baby

Well, if you think traveling three is a drag
Pack it up, loner, I’ve got my own bag full of dreams
For this little child of wonder
And you can only stay if you start to understand

How an old camp fire gets warmer with you
But even when you’re gone
It still cooks the stew and the coffee
How it frees my soul
And I ain’t ready to grow that cold

You say, “Go home, lady, and find you a someone”
Who’s gonna turn out to be a middle class bum anyway
Well, he might make me some money
But that ain’t the kind of life we’re looking for, honey

So don’t go around saying I’ve been a burden to you
You’ve been a burden to me and we’re through
If you can’t seem to find the joy in my living
Can’t seem to get into taking and giving

’Cause I’ve got a little one who loves me as much as you need me
And, darling, that’s loving enough
For a hiking boot mother who’s seeing the world
For the first time with her own little girl

No More Genocide

Why are our history books so full of lies
When no word is spoken of why the Indian dies
Or that the Chicanos/Chicanas love the California land
Do our books all say it was discovered by one white man

That’s just a lie, one of the many and we’ve had plenty
I don’t want more of the same
No more genocide in my name

Why are the weapons of war so young
And why are there always rich ones around when it’s done
Why are so many of the soldiers black or brown
Do we think it’s because they’re good
At cutting other people down

Nazi forces grow again
Ignorance gives them a place
The Klan is teaching children
To hate the human race
Where once there was a playground
Now an MX missile plan
Do they think it’s fun to see
Just how much we can stand

People die all around the world
From starvation and grief all the time
Some folks try to avoid the truth
By saying God and gun will provide
In Rome, in Capetown, and Beirut
San Salvador, Greensboro, Belfast, Manila

And many more
It’s a crime
Do we think the fascist right will save the world in time
They try to tell us so
But we’ve got to tell them no

Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida

Michelle Peña Herrera
Nalvia Rosa Meña Alvarado
Cecilia Castro Salvadores
Ida Amelia Almarza
Clara Elena Cantero
Elisa del Carmen Escobar
Eliana Maria Espinosa
Rosa Elena Morales

Hay una mujer desaparecida
Hay una mujer desaparecida
En Chile, en Chile, en Chile

And the junta, and the junta knows
And the junta knows where she is
And the junta knows where they are
Hiding her, she’s dying

Missing in Brazil
Missing in Uruguay
Missing in Guatemala
Missing in El Salvador

Hay un hombre
Hay un niño
O los niños
Hay una mujer desaparecida

A spirit lives in Chile
New lives, new songs
A spirit grows in Chile
New lives, new songs are rising up
A spirit sings in Chile
New lives, new songs are rising up
A spirit lives in Chile
New lives, new songs
In Chile

Perfect Night

A woman is dressed in style tonight
A three piece suit and a tie tonight
There’s a polished glow on her face in spite
Of her look of amusement
And she will dine with her true love
Take in a bar or two
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

The gal is dressed for work tonight
She’s got dusty jeans and boots tonight
There’s a lovers look on her face in spite
Of her farming intention
And she will plant with her true love
Take a break in the barn, maybe two
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

The jock is dressed in wool tonight
Softball glove and a cap tonight
There’s a competitive look in her eye in spite
Of her generous heart
And she’ll play ball with her true love
Take in a home run or two
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

All the rules have been broken
They’re not talking about the weather
A gentleman asks “Are you ladies alone?”
They smile and say, “No, we’re together!”

A woman is dressed in silk tonight
A glittering gown and a stole tonight
There’s sequin on her cheek in spite
Of her sparkling eyes
And she will dance with her true love
Take in a show or two
And nothing short of a perfect night
And nothing short of a perfect night
And nothing short of a perfect night will do

Family Promise

Finally a baby born in the spring time
Then helping us all face a death in our lives
Your mother and your grandma
And your aunts so proud and grateful
Your father and you are now the men in our lives

But outside the shelter, the war claims the children
That you might grow up to be friends with one day
And what of the water, the air and the desert
We make a family promise on your first birthday

While we’re alive in this world
We will try to disarm every nuclear nation
An everyday gift to the child
A gift to ourselves, while we’re alive

Amazed by the details we watch you for hours
Just like our dad did, you make us all smile
Such inspiration for facing the future
Demanding survival, your fist still so small

Singing For Our Lives

We are a gentle angry people
And we are singing, singing for our lives

We are a land of many colors
We are an anti-nuclear people
We are young and old together
We are gay and straight together
We are a gentle loving people

Singing With You

Life is full
Of tides that pull
Oceans and hearts to shore
And I found it’s like
The heat of dancing feet
Keeping a body warm
I like the melodies
In evergreens, roaming winds
And rocky mountains
Summer storms and hawks that warn
Innocent lands
Working hands
And the miraculous birth of a child
Who demands attention
I have been such a child

Life’s a gift of arms that
Lift baskets of fruit to share
And I find it’s like a night
Of northern lights
Startling me, unaware
I like the whales at sea
The mysteries
Irish cliffs and desert flatlands
Weathered barns and farmers’ yarns
Arrows unfound, quiet towns and
Incredible death oh, we know
It is bound to happen

Singing with you
Is the best thing that could happen
To me my friend
You throw me back a voice
That is a mighty bit more than
Making a dream come true
And when life is a burden
And every heart we know is
A hurting heart
The world is on trial
We’re walking a mile
And singing with you is a start
A start for me
For my heart

Fire In the Rain

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Fire in the rain, fire in the rain
You’re like a fire in the rain
So unexpected, I came upon your love

You came into my life
And I had my eyes wide open
Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned

I got too close one night
With no plans for heart left open
Unintending to change, I had nothing to fear
But the music she let me hear
Like an ancient fife, it had a haunting tune
It changed my life

I want you
Sometimes I stare for hours
Like the last to leave the fire on a winter night
Sometimes I dance before you
Like a firefly who is caught in your light

Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned

I remember you
Stronger than the wind
Brighter than the moon
Faster than the night

Take It With You

From Demo Session (1982)

Where will you go when we leave this place tonight
How will you feel in the morning
Will you tell a friend, will you tell a stranger in your day
Or will you slowly let this feeling drift away

Is this a night of resolution in our hearts
Or is tonight just entertainment
And in the morning when the sun is rising will you rise and say
Oh let this feeling follow me throughout the day

Take it with you wherever you go
And let the world know we won’t go easy
Take it with, take it with you wherever you go
Take it with, take it with you wherever you go

How can we harbor all the light that comes with love
Let’s not be robbed of life’s perfections
Can we remember to care in a world where madness fills the air
And will we take the music, it’s here to share

It is like we’re being held by a thousand loving arms
With the tenderness of my mother’s kiss and the passion of a lover
Don’t let tomorrow’s plans for you fade this special moment
Won’t you try to pass it on to me
Help a wondering heart discover

Holly Near - Crushed

Crushed: The Love Song Collection

Calico Tracks Music, 2002; CTM0006

“OK, OK…. Some of you have asked about all the love songs that haven’t made it to the other collections. So here they are. I had no idea there were so many. Turn the volume up real loud and clean house!” 

Although Holly is known for her work in social change music, this moving (and often humorous) look at love and relationships is a delightful surprise. These 19 songs, covering styles from pop/rock to country to jazz, round out the series of collections released over the last few years.

Track Listing: Crushed, How Bold, The Promise, Don’t Hold Back, How Was I To Know, Boney Jaw Baby, Bird Gonna Fly, Plain And Simple Love, Back Off, Fire In The Rain, Right To Love, The Letter, Sit With Me , Backing Off And Pulling Away, Dancing Bird, Lonely Days, Room For Me, Once Or Twice, Really Didn’t Want To

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Production Coordinator: Alison de Grassi
Graphic Designer: Sara Glaser
Cover Photograph: Irene Young
Collage Photographs: Jesse Van Antwerp
Mastering Engineer: Paul Stubblebine

The Players

The numerous players on this recording are identified in the packaging.

Lyrics

Crushed

From Don’t Hold Back (1987) 

I’m so crushed
Oh I’m so crushed
I’m crushed
I’m crushed out on you

We have been longtime friends
And we are best of friends
And we will be goodtime friends always
And you’ll never know that

The way you have looked at me
How you look so lovingly
It seems you are looking at me always
But you’ll never see that

We’ve seen hard times
Never stepping on any lines
But you ignore the signs always

Don’t you want to know that

How Bold

From Don’t Hold Back (1987) 

How bold! We’ve hardly met and already we are naked
How bold! Fully dressed you tell me your name
How bold! I shake your hand and already we are lovers
How bold! Cool and calm, I tell you my name

How bold!  My hand is still in yours and already my heart is breaking
How bold!  Nonchalant, we discuss the rain
How bold!  Your hand is still in mine and already the car is waiting
How bold! I kiss your mouth and I feel no shame
Taxi drivers seem to know
When to let a woman weep in silence

How bold! Your body haunting mine and already I am dying
How bold!  Turn the car ’round in the rain
How bold!  I find the place where your eyes had made me tremble
How bold!  The empty street cries out your name
Taxi drivers seem to know
When to let a woman weep in silence

The Promise

From Don’t Hold Back (1987)

Can’t you see a promise just makes us feel good now
Then tomorrow, if we break up, one of us will be asking
How could you do this to me darling
When we promised life a rose
The promises that lovers make are wishful thinking I suppose

How can anyone know if love is forever
Or only for a moment
How can anyone know
Stay with me awhile, it may be a long while

Maybe we’ll live together and the years will have their way
One morning we will wake up and one of us will say
How could you do this to me darling
Did you know it from the start
The promises we never made were outlasted by the heart

Can’t you see a promise just makes us feel good now
And we grew up with the notion that lovers must take a vow
But I can tell you in this moment as life unfolds each day
The way that we’ve been making love
I don’t want to go away

Don't Hold Back

From Don’t Hold Back (1987)

You may be shy darlin’
You may like to wait until somebody else comes on strong
And then you can just go along
But this time won’t you change your ways
Knock on my door for days and days

Don’t hold back
This time baby don’t hold back
Don’t hold back
Don’t hold back on me

You’ve got the moves darlin’
There’s no need to wait until somebody comes unwound
While you’re just hanging around
It’s time for you to make your move
I’m telling you honey now, I approve

I know you may be shy
You may be waiting for my sign
But I hope you can make it across the line

How Was I To Know

From Don’t Hold Back (1987)

How was I to know you would call me a waterfall
And give me words like rubies
After all, I am a poet’s daughter
And words come to me as no surprise

How was I to know my heart would tremble and fall
And give a glow like fire
After all, I am a candlemaker’s daughter
And fire comes to me as no surprise

How was to know you would crash into my mind
Like children hit the water at summer time
I am a pilot’s daughter
And a crash comes to me as no surprise

How was l to know your memory would shimmer and steam
And leave a night of wonder on my dreams
I am a boilermaker’s daughter
And steaming comes to me as no surprise

Bony Jaw Baby

From Don’t Hold Back (1987)

Bony jaw baby put your face near mine
Smooth skin cooling my burning desire
I walk around pretending I’m not mad for you
I’m a liar, I’m a liar, I’m a liar on fire for my bony jaw baby

Bony jaw baby put your hand in mine
Smooth skin cooling my burning desire
I walk around pretending I’m not mad for you
I’m a liar on fire for my bony jaw baby

Laugh, I laugh at the doorman at dawn
He’s been up all night and I know how he feels
Watching for thieves to enter the door
I steel myself against losing it all
And more and more and more and more

Dance, I dance, in the light of the moon
I’ve been up all night and I like how it feels
Waiting for you to enter my room
I warn myself against falling too fast
Too soon, too soon, too soon, too soon

And you come dancing my back door baby
I pretend I’m busy painting my life
I try to act like there’s nothing going on
But it’s hard to hide when I shine like a light

Bony jaw baby on the cool of the floor
Steam is rising and I’m ready for more
I storm around swearing
That you’re just my friend
But I’m a liar on fire for my bony jaw baby

Mountain Song

From Don’t Hold Back (1987)

Bird gonna fly even though you build a cage
And a child’s gonna try again
Even as the curtain comes down on this empty stage of my life
I was walking all alone when the town came to an end
And there I met a stranger who treated me like a friend

And now I know there’s a reason to make the music soar
You opened up a dream when you opened up my door
A friend was missing from the life I left behind
Sing with me forever and I won’t mind

Star’s gonna shine even when the clouds are low
And this child’s gonna try again
Even as the curtain comes down on the late show
I was sitting on the edge of night
When I felt the shadow of dawn descend
And there I met a stranger who treated me like a friend

Sing on, sing forever more, sing with me forever

Plain and Simple Love

From Don’t Hold Back (1987)

No fancy fantasy
No magic mystery
No wide eyed wonder
Just a plain and simple love

You see me just the way l am
I know you as you are
We’re living down on earth
Just a plain and simple love

Just a plain and simple love
My lonely days are through
I can breathe now, a sigh of relief
I am completely loved by you

No frantic facade
No lies at the start
No great expectations
Just a plain and simple love

Oh the years of pretending
To please and impress
Left such a scar of loneliness
Too mighty to confess

Back Off

From Speed of Light (1982)

If you want to hold me, hold me with open arms
The fact that I’ve got self respect is no cause for alarm
But if you’ve got a game to do, a lie or a sham or a trick or two
You better back off

If you want to love me, love me with all your heart
If you want a journey, I’ve got a good stride, that’s a start
But if you’ve got a game to do, a lie or a sham or a trick or two
You better back off

Fool, you’re wasting your time
Got evil thoughts climbing in your mind
Fool, you’re walking down danger street
Ain’t nobody’s love gonna be there
On the other end to meet you

Sure you’re looking pretty, the prettiest I’ve ever seen
But pretty doesn’t do too much good if honey you treat me mean
So if you’ve got a game to do, a lie or a sham or a trick or two
I think you better back off

(You give me inspiration, a woman is a work of art)

Fire in the Rain

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Fire in the rain, fire in the rain
You’re like a fire in the rain
So unexpected, I came upon your love

You came into my life
And I had my eyes wide open
Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned.

I got too close one night
With no plans for heart left open
Unintending to change, I had nothing to fear
But the music she let me hear
Like an ancient fife, had a haunting tune
And it changed my life

Sometimes I stare for hours
Like the last to leave the fire on a winter night
Sometimes I dance before you
Like a firefly who is caught in your light

Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned.

I remember you
Stronger than the wind
Brighter than the moon
Faster than the night

Sit with Me

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Finding a friend in you to wake me in the morning
Finding a friend in you to travel through the night
Finding a friend in you to be there in the morning
Finding a friend in you to hold me through the night
When I’m frightened by the work that I must do
When I’m frightened, I know wherever I am
I can call on you, when I’m frightened, I can call on you

Please sit with me through the night
And tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
‘Cause I’m so tired and I’m so scared
I’m so sad about the world tonight
And sometimes I feel I can’t defend myself, my love, or my light
The thought of surviving just makes me want to die
Come lay beside me, hold me while I cry

Please sit with me through the night
Tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
‘Cause I’m so tired and I’m so scared
I need to grieve and weep and scream and moan
And sometimes I feel I can’t defend myself, my life, or my home
But you know tomorrow, I’ll be back on my feet
It’s not in me, my friend, to accept defeat

But won’t you please sit with me through the night
And tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you

Finding a friend in you to wake me in the morning
Finding a friend in you to travel through the night
Finding a friend in you who will be there in the morning
Finding a friend in you to hold me through the night

Backing Off and Pulling Away

From Watch Out! (1984)

When you see me backing off and pulling away
It’s ’cause I love you
Guess that I don’t know how to be just friends
You see me backing off and pulling away
It’s ’cause I love you
I’m an actress, but I don’t know how to pretend

We lingered too long in a love that should have only been a friendship
Now we’re trying hard to move it on with a bit of grace
I was sure it would be easy, a dance I’ve done before
But I forget the steps every time I see your face

I say to myself in the night “Grow up” and I know my heart is taken
By the love of my life who is in my arms without illusion
Affairs have a way of passing and I’ll be glad when I let this one go
But I can’t make my mind and heart come to the same conclusion

Dancing Bird

From Speed of Light (1982)

I watch you flying, I hear you sing
You bring the music into my heart
You are a healer, your colors ever changing
And the melody you play becomes a part of you

Your body soaring, now you catch the wind
I see the sky in the palm of your hand
Wings of an eagle, the heartbeat of a dove
Slowly I begin to understand – you really are a…

Dancing bird, flying there before me
Dancing bird, pouring out the music
Dancing bird, I’m watching you, watching you, watching
Dancing bird, singing out the love

I find I’m sinking deep down inside me
A journey past sounds that I have never heard
Someone is changing right this very moment
And tomorrow I may be a bird – I think I’ll be the…

I look away, I look back
And there you are a flower in the morning light
Next you are an animal creeping through the night
Then you are a star shining down from the sky
But when I look again, it’s true that I cannot deny
You really are a…

Lonely Days

From Speed of Light (1982)

Does everybody wonder sometimes if nobody likes them
Or is it just something that I feel on my down days
On my why aren’t any of my friends hanging around days
Why didn’t I call ahead to make a few plans days
I feel alone

Does everybody wonder sometimes if nobody likes them
Or is it just something that I feel
On the line days on my wasn’t it just last week I had a good time days
How am I going to get myself out of this state of mind days
I play a song

And I think of those lonely days and broken hearts
And learning to live alone
Those lonely days, a child at heart
Learning to leave my home
Those lonely days, where to start
First time I had to face the world alone

Does everybody wonder sometimes if nobody likes them
Or is it just something that I feel
On my blue days
On my why can’t I seem to face my things to do days
How come the rock and roll doesn’t seem to pull me through days
I dance alone (And I think of those . . . )

And I think of those lonely days and broken hearts
And learning to live alone
Those lonely days, a child at heart
Learning to leave my home
Those lonely days, where to start
First time I had to face the world alone
With my heart full of tears
Pushing against my chest,
Crying out all those years

Room for Me

From Speed of Light (1982)

Hearts calling, free falling
Love making, earth shaking
The door is always open, we leave the lanterns out
Always room for loving, always room for doubt
There is room for me

Room to change directions, to have a brand new start
Room to love another and to have a broken heart
Room to hold you by the fire, and hear you call it home
Knowing there’s a place for me ’cause I have some room of my own

Room to bring you comfort when the days have got you down
Room to hear you speak your mind or never make a sound
Room to go away a while and maybe not return
Well, if it’s done then let it go, if it’s not then let it burn

I may have to walk out the door any minute
‘Cause I have trouble getting air
But walking back in, I’m able to breathe
Finding love standing there (It’s like…)

Once or Twice

From Fire in the Rain (1981)

Sometimes you say a look will cross my eye
While we’re sitting close to touch and talking
Like my heart is saying, don’t go it all the way
Save that kind of feeling for another day
That kind of loving can make a traveler stay

Sometimes you say a look will cross my eye
While I sit alone and you are playing
Like my brain is saying don’t play that song today
Not while I’m trying to pack and get on my way
That kind of music can make a fiddler stay

I guess I could get up and I would walk right out the door
And maybe I would forget you before I reach the highway

But sometimes a loving look comes across your eye
You’re the sweetest thing that’s ever touched me
I’m wishing I had met (loved) you later on in my life
But damned if your arms around me don’t feel nice
Maybe if it happens once it can happen twice

I Really Didn't Want To

From Speed of Light (1982)

Well, I’m afraid I’m falling in love with you
And I really didn’t want to, I really didn’t want to
Afraid I’m falling in love with you
And I really didn’t want to, sweet one

Jumping like a trampoline, dancing like Nureyev
Singing like a street corner choir
Floating like a summer cloud, cooking like a party crowd
Falling farther out by the hour

Singing like a mockingbird, groovin’ like a radio
Hopping like a kangaroo
Playing like a tambourine, mushing like a movie screen
Tell me what am I going to do

Afraid I’m calling on the telephone
Afraid I’m getting on the airplane
Afraid I’m standing on your front porch
Hugging and kissing you madly

Holly Near - Early Warnings

Early Warnings

Appleseed Recordings 2001; APR-CD-1056

To appreciate the songs on this recording, it’s helpful to understand them in the context of the times. Most of the songs were written in the 1980s. Reagan was president. Apartheid ruled in South Africa. The AIDS epidemic was cataclysmic. The US-backed Contras rained havoc on the Nicaraguan revolution. The women’s movement was reeling from the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment. Fear-based thinking and fundamentalism were on the rise.

There were many early warnings … and the storms just keep on coming.

Track Listing: The Meek Are Getting Ready, Don’t Let The Singer Down, War Of The Flea, Watch Out!, Step It Out Nancy, The Train Song, Couple Of Friends , She, Nicaragua Night, Sun Won’t Stop, Child, Skydances, West Virginia Friend, Quite Early Morning

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Graphic Designer: Sara Glaser
Cover Photograph: Craig Harris
Other Photographs: Jesse Van Antwerp
Mastering Engineer: Paul Stubblebine

Thanks to John McCutcheon for co producing this work with me.

The Players

The players on this recording are identified in the CD packaging.

Lyrics

The Meek Are Getting Ready

Get ready war machine
Big guys riding high on power
Falling short on feeling and the hour is
growing near
You got a judging eye before a baby’s birth
You keep assuring the meek we will inherit the earth
Well what you failed to notice in your
destruction cold and steady
Is hey big guys you’re sinking and the meek are getting ready

Get ready death machine
Small folks coasting up on empty
Feeling full of feeling and the sky is
growing clear
The maps are drawn by a living choir
And every move you make it just fuels our fire
Well what you failed to notice in your
destruction cold and steady
Is hey big guys you’re sinking and the meek are getting ready

Behold the meek are ready, armed with a
loving hand
The earth is sending a message to the keepers of the land
We won’t wait, we won’t wait
We won’t wait until it’s over
To inherit what’s left
Or to eat out of heaven’s hand
We won’t wait, we won’t wait
We won’t wait so move over
You’ll find a world of lovers and friends
Singing where a tyrant used to stand

The meek are getting ready
The meek shall inherit the earth

Don't Let the Singer Down

I saw an eagle fly across the sun
The flags came down without a sound
I felt a passion of mixed persuasion
Just then the mountain came tumbling down
I dreamed a rainbow spilled across the night
I want to see it in my time
The harbor opened to ships and saviors
Just then the mountain came tumbling down

If life is like the music
Then be careful you can lose it
And beware the singer
How the lights come shining
And I’m counting on my timing
Oh the band is playing fine
Tell the cynic to kiss tomorrow
All the moments are melodies
And the songs I have borrowed
They keep coming on back to me
I’m standing on precious (solid) ground
Filling the air with sound
Don’t let the singer down

I touched a hand that played a thousand drums
A child escaped into the moon
A rage exploded and spread like rumors
Just then the mountain came tumbling down
I saw an eagle fly across the sun
The flags came down without a sound
A soldier kissed me and ran for cover
Just then the mountain came tumbling down

Watch Out

Watch Out! Watch Out!
There’s a rumble of war in the air
Watch Out! Watch Out!
There’s a rumble of war in the air
With a man like that you never know where or when
He’s gone, he’s gone and sent in the Marines again

Some are small and frightened
Some well-seasoned men
Some are rightly scared to death
Some are feeling joy at seeing blood again

Today they recruited calmly
In a patriotic trend
Sending poor people off to war
It’s cheap cannon fodder again

Casualties seldom counted
Are the ones the guns invade
The ones who work the land, the ones
who love the land
Where dreams of peace are made

The Train Song

Daddy took a bullet from a scab in West Virginia
Mama took the family and she drove to Albuquerque
My sister took a job, got sent to fight across the border
My brother keeps my mama, her grief took half her mind
So I send them home some money from the odd jobs that I find

No one came knockin’ at my door with loving on their mind
The only knocks I ever got were of the hurting kind
So I keep on moving on down the line
One foot ahead of trouble
But trouble’s all this body ever finds
One step forward, two steps back
Trying to get across the railroad track
One step forward, two steps back
Trying to get across the railroad track
And there’s a train a-comin’, there’s a train a-comin’
There’s a train a-comin’, I want to ride

I’ve seen the eyes of prison guards staring at my body
I’ve known the arms of strangers who left money on the table
I’ve stood for hours putting pears and apples into boxes
I’m afraid to see my mama, I may lose half my mind
So I send them home some money from the odd jobs that I find

Couple of Friends

Too tired to sleep after a long day’s work at the Augusta Heritage Arts Workshop, my weary fellow teachers and I holed up in an old farm-house and wrote this song. 

Stole away like jeweling thieves to swim round the waterfall
Dark crept around us, still we found our way
The movers are melting at the racer’s end
I’m spending the night with a couple of friends

Long days and helping hands, songs for slowing down
The babies are sleeping, the food’s put away
The movers are melting at the racer’s end
I’m spending the night with a couple of friends

Home, everybody home
For the moment we breathe in the family
That we have created from love, from a lifeline
Women loving women and men loving men
Women loving men, people trying again
As we work for a future so that all that we are
Can come home

She

She danced across the mountain, she thought no one could see
And every move she made across the land taught her to be free
She swept across the valley, her body so defined
And wet with the sweat of seventeen, she found another mountain to be climbed

She soared across the desert, the moon was all aglow
She stumbled once in the freezing sand but no one would ever know
She swam across the river, her muscles straining strong
And she knew as she crossed, the water pulled her deeper into places she belonged

She came to another mountain and found that all could see
Every move was proudly made with love and dignity
For she is Freedom’s daughter and Mother Nature’s child
As she raced across the finish line her beauty drove the watchful people wild

She paused to feel the power of people singing songs
That celebrated living, a feeling that she longed for
But slicing through the laughter came an anguished country’s cries
And she saw a gun blow up the song and stole away the future from her eyes

A child was standing near her and caught the runner’s fire
She kissed her mouth with passion and filled her with desire
And when her feet were on the ground she faced the burning sky
And with a cry that filled the air with rain
She cooled the skin of those who would not die

The killer saw her power, the tyrant saw her skill
The women saw themselves in her and the people saw her will
Divided by their colors, betrayed by fear’s decree
But no matter how the future goes, She has been and She will always be

She will dance across the mountain
She will dance across the mountain
I have dreamed on this mountain

Nicaragua Night

We are dancing in the moonlight, in a Nicaragua night
For the mothers of the soldiers, we bring our spirits here
We call on midnight’s mentor to mourn the murder done
For the mothers of the soldiers, spirits now be here

In the heat we learn your language
In the night we learn your songs
Voices call across the canyon in search of echoes
A bloody pictures point the finger at the devil’s brand of terror
And the wailing will begin soft and low

There is passion in remembering
There is fire in the heart
On the mountain grows a tree that roots the fury
The river moves the story, it’s a troubadour’s revenge
As the tortoise slips beneath the sea, the hare begins to worry

In Detroit a child is crying
On Big Mountain a people die
But in Washington the palace lamps are burning
The hand that bought the ambush has tried to buy my soul
But like you I won’t sell out and I will never surrender

And we’ll keep dancing
In the moonlight, in the Nicaragua night
Hold our children through the night
For the mothers of the soldiers, we bring our spirits here
We call on midnight’s mentor to mourn the murder done
For the mothers of the soldiers, spirits now be here

Sun Won't Stop

Children ran to the river bank
Left their shoes and swam toward the light
When dark came on and the dinner bell rang
The children were nowhere in sight
Only a shape, only a memory, only a shell
And the sun won’t stop for no one

Death paused on its weary way
Left the highway and stayed the night
When dawn came on and my mama rose
My daddy was nowhere in sight
Only a shape, only a memory, only a shell
And the sun won’t stop for no one

Who’s gonna hold my hand when I’m old
I’ll still have stories to tell
You will wish one day you had paused to listen
But I will be nowhere in sight
Only a shape, only a memory, only a shell
And the sun won’t stop for no one

Child

A child becomes a target of a day that was too tough
On a mother and a father who work hard to make enough
To feed a family that they love
To build a home that’s full of joy
And they did not mean to hit the baby boy

It’s just too hard for a child to understand
When a home turns into a nightmare
And it isn’t how anyone planned
Let’s not leave the children helplessly in fear
Let’s not leave the parents lost and all alone
The violence that we read in the morning paper
May well be our own

A child becomes a target of a passion misdirected
She can’t reveal her terror or for sure she’ll be suspected
Of being evil or telling lies
Her mother turns away her eyes
As the father carries out an act the world denies

Young minds become the target of a world that lives in fear
They’re burning books, they’re burning crosses
And the violence is clearly robbing children of their senses
And denying them a heart
In a world like this, that’s where abuse can start

West Virginia Friend

I don’t want to say good-bye to you
To think we may not ever meet again
Remember me someday when you’re lonely
And you know you have a West Virginia friend

I know you’re only passing through
I knew it from the start
Sometimes there is love to spare inside this country heart
But the rain upon the old barn roof
And your North Dakota Song
Will be a pleasant company for me when you’re gone

Maybe I’ll go rambling
When my baby’s up and grown
I kind of like the thought of traveling out there on my own
But I love these gentle mountains
More than strangers do
Some of us stay settled and some of us
pass through

Holly and Cris

Cris & Holly

HC Records, 2003; HNC6201

Long-time friends, Cris Williamson and Holly Near combine their powerful voices on twelve songs of love and world peace. They include new material as well as a walk down memory lane.

Track Listing: Valentine Song, Tea Leaf Prophecy, Mountain Song, I’ve Learned To Let Things Go, Azulão, Bound by the Beauty, On Going, I Am Willing, We the People, In Our Little Town, Lullabye/Harbor Me, Memory Lane Medley

Credits

Produced by Holly Near
Co-produced and engineered by Gary Mankin
Production coordinated by Alison de Grassi
Mastered by Neal Harris, Affinity Sound
Photographs by Irene Young
Assistant to photographer: Sally Burr
Cover composite: Carol Ehrlich
Graphic layout by tropogal
Recorded at Mesa Recording and Knob & Tube

The Players

Holly Near – Vocals
Pat Humphries – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo
Sandy O – Vocals, Guitar
Jan Martinelli – Bass
Kendrick Freeman – Percussion
Michaelle Goerlitz – Percussion

Thanks

Thank you to Donna Korones, Kenny Evans, and Jon & Mary Fromer. We thought of you, Freyda Epstein, while singing West Virginia Friend. Vocal and musical arrangements by Holly Near and emma’s revolution.

Lyrics

Mountain Song

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away ­– not with me watching
You may drive a big machine
But I was born a great big woman
And you can’t just take my dreams away ­– not with me fighting

This old mountain raised my many daughters
Some died young – some are still living
But if you come here to take our mountain
Well we ain’t come here to give it

I have dreamed on this mountain
Since first I was my mother’s daughter
And you can’t just take my dreams away ­– not with me watching
No you can’t just take my dreams away ­– without me fighting
No you can’t just take my dreams away

I Am Willing

I am open and I am willing
To be hopeless would seem so strange
It dishonors those who go before us
So lift me up to the light of change

There is hurting in my family
There is sorrow in my town
There is panic in the nation
There is wailing the whole world round

May the children see more clearly
May the elders be more wise
May the winds of change caress us
Even though it burns our eyes

Give me a mighty oak to hold my confusion
Give me a desert to hold my fears
Give me a sunset to hold my wonder
Give me an ocean to hold my tears

In Our Little Town

A flag over there, a flag over here
Someone rises out of the fear
And puts up a sign that says “Question the War”
In our little town
What kind of grown ups send kids off to die
And to kill for a town without asking why?
Grow smart, grow strong
Teach right from wrong
Some died from drugs and disease or in cars
And we mourn them together because they are ours
Mike hardly walks, his legs blown apart
Taught to be brave right from the start
Thirty years later he wonders what for
Sacrifices ignored
A flag over there, a flag over here
Mike is wheeling along in his chair
And he holds up a sign that says “Question the War”
In our little town

Harbor Me

Oh won’t you harbor me …

Memory Lane Medley: Imagine My Surprise / Fire In the Rain

Imagine my surprise, I love that I have found you
But I ache all over wanting to know your every dream
Imagine my surprise to find that I love you
Feeling warm all over, knowing that you’ve been alive

Rugged women gone before me
Paving paths like pioneers so often all alone
I dreamed of queens and cinderellas
Facing disappointment when I was grown
Facing disappointment when I was grown

Fire in the rain, fire in the rain
You’re like a fire in the rain, so unexpected
I came upon your love
You came into my life and I had my eyes wide open
Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love and I had to learn how
to feel the heat
And not get burned

Holly Near - With a Song in My Heart

With a Song In My Heart

Calico Tracks Music, 1997;CTM-CD-9701

A lovely collection of songs from the ’30s and ’40s.

Track Listing: Love is Here To Stay, The Best Is Yet To Come, Just In Time, Isn’t This A Lovely Day, The Nearness Of You / My Romance, I’m Beginning To See The Light, Where Or When, When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful , What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?, The Very Thought Of You, You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, I’ve Got The World On A String, 01d Devil Moon, With A Song In My Heart, Reprise: When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful

Credits

Producer: Holly Near
Recorded by: Leslie Ann Jones
Photo: Mike Rogers

The Players

Holly Near: Vocals
John Bucchino: Piano

Holly Near - This Train Still Runs

This Train Still Runs

Abbe Alice Music, 1996; AAH0696

Nineteen wonderful songs performed live by Holly Near and Gilbert, celebrating Ronnie’s 70th birthday.

Years ago when our paths converged and we decided to take a musical trip togehter, we couldn’t know what the road had in store for us, the excitement, the joy, the danger, or who we’d meet along the way. We couldn’t know about the potholes either.

Track Listing: This Train Still Runs, It’s About Time, Trouble in Mind, Home Is Where the Heart Is, In the Quiet Morning, Agitator, Build High the Bridge, Music in My Mother’s House, When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love, Look at the Way, Marie, Through the Years, The Poet, The Wife, and The Monkey, La Pajita, Why, Oh Why, We’re Not Alone, When the Stars Begin to Fall, Pastures of Plenty, Power and Glory

Credits

Producer: Donna Korones
Recording Engineer: Alan Kraus
Mix Engineer: Leslie Ann Jones at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA
Mastering: Paul Stubblebine at Rocket Lab, San Francisco, CA
Art Direction and Design: Jill Davey and Debbie Dare, JPD Communications
Photography: Jan E. Watson

The Players

Arrangements by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert with John Bucchino, Janet Hood, and Jeff Langley
Vocals: Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert
Piano: John Bucchino and Janet Hood
Cabasa: John Bucchino

Lyrics

It's About Time

Waiting for a long time or waiting for a bus
Feels a bit like waiting for you
I never know if it has come and gone or perhaps it’s a block away
Feels a bit like waiting for you

So you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I say “No, no it’s about love”
And you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I need to look back at you and say “It’s about love”

Longing for a short time or longing for a train out
Feels a bit like longing for you
I never know if I should sit up all night or take in a sleeping car
Feels a bit like longing for you

So you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I say “No, no, it’s about love”
And you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I need to look back at you and say “It’s about love”

Holding on to no time or holding on to life
Feels a bit like holding on to you
I never know if I should ride it to the bell or give it to the clown
Feels a bit like holding on to you

So you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I say “No, no it’s about love”
And you look at me and you say “Well hey, it’s about time”
And I need to look back at you and say “It’s about love”

So I look at you and I say “OK then, it’s about time”
And you say “No, no, it’s about love”
So I look at you and I say “OK then, it’s about time”
And you need to look back at me and say “It’s about love”
And you look back at me and you say “Oh darling, it’s about love”
And I look at myself and I say “Well hey, it’s about time.”

Look at the Way

Look at the way the children turn to see a hawk in flight
Look at the way the creek cuts through the earth might on might
Look at the way the stars are falling through the country night
Look at the way we love

Look at the way the sun can turn a valley into gold
Look at the way the oaks are standing proud as they get old
Look at the way the brush protects the deer when it gets cold
Look at the way we love

Gracious genius gentle glow
Soft and sultry such a seasoned show
Flaming feeding flooding fury
Healing haunting birth, Mother Earth

Look at the way the moon can guide a stranger to a home
Look at the way the quail will run together not alone
Look at the way the mountain bursts,
her passion unknown
Look at the way we love.

Look at the way the children turn to see a hawk in flight
Look at the way the creek cuts through the earth might on might
Look at the way the stars are falling through the country night
Look at the way we love

Look at the way the moon can guide a stranger to a home
Look at the way we love

Look at the way the quail will run together, not alone
Look at the way we love

Look at the way the stars are falling through the country night
Look at the way we love

Why Oh Why

They say there was a baby
Born with a special calling
Laid him in the manger
And then took him before his time

And I want to know why oh why oh why
If you care about life, why don’t you care about mine?
Why oh why oh why
If you care about life, why don’t you care about mine?

Look at all the babies
They ain’t got no mangers
Lying in the doorway
And dying before their time

Comes along another baby
If I have it I can’t feed it
I got the thing about my other children
Six hungry ones in all

Do you care about the babies
Or just the wars that keep them hungry?
I’m lying in the back alley
And I’m thinking about my right to life

So I died on Christmas morning
Leaving all my babies
Now they ain’t got no mama
And ain’t that a pity and a shame

And I want to know why oh why oh why
If you care about life, why don’t you care about mine?
Why oh why oh why
If you care about life, why don’t you care about mine?

We're Not Alone

I shall not tire of the road we’re walking
Your smile a candle, I shall not tire
I shall not weaken in the face of danger
But draw you close to me
We’re not alone, we’re not alone

Earth like a friend who’s wounded
Child, you’re the fragile promise of tomorrow
You, who become a condor in a moment
Shall you spread your wings of courage and fly on

Trees are a story telling
Stars, like the burning sun that warms the water
Wind is a force that cleans our sails of sorrow
Woman guide the ship of freedom and sail on, sail on

Creatures of courage make a chain that can’t be broken
Like my heart can be broken
Links must withstand the strain and pull
That tries to tear our souls apart

Hands like a map I follow
Songs are the haunting call that draws me forward
Hearts be the drum that keep my feet from slowing
Like a cadence that is crying come on, come on

Force that has turned the flower of the people
Into steel that strikes a fire
Can we use the heat to solder such a chain
Believe on, believe on

I shall not tire on the road we’re walking
Your smile a candle, I shall not tire
I shall not weaken in the face of danger
But draw you close to me
We’re not alone, we’re not alone

Holly Near - Musical Highlights

Musical Highlights

Redwood Records, 1993; Reissued on Calico Tracks Music (available as digital download)

Holly Near wrote a one-woman show with her sister Timothy Near. It was commissioned by San Jose Rep where Timothy is the artistic director. The play, based on Near’s autobiography, was called Fire In The Rain…Singer In The Storm. The show went on to have runs in L.A. at The Mark Taper Forum, in San Francisco and in NYC off-Broadway. This recording is a selection of songs that Holly sang in the show.

Track Listing: Water Come Down, You’ve Got Me Flying, Icicle Blue, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Started Out Fine, No More Genocide, Simply Love, Great Peace March, Coming Home, Find Me, Fire In The Rain, If I loved You, Si Buscabas, Sit With Me, Change of Heart

Credits

Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Jim Scott
Co-Produced by Holly Near
Orchestrated and Arranged by Derek Nakamoto Executive Producers: Joanie Shoemaker and Jo-Lynne Worley
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, Maine
Acoustic Piano by John Bucchino
Orchestrations Performed by Derek Nakamoto
Robben Ford appears courtesy of Stretch Records Photos by Jay Thompson
Design by Cathy McAuliffe

Credits

Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Jim Scott
Co-Produced by Holly Near
Orchestrated and Arranged by Derek Nakamoto Executive Producers: Joanie Shoemaker and Jo-Lynne Worley
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, Maine
Acoustic Piano by John Bucchino
Orchestrations Performed by Derek Nakamoto
Robben Ford appears courtesy of Stretch Records Photos by Jay Thompson
Design by Cathy McAuliffe

Lyrics

Water Come Down

Children in the pastures where the water flows
Sunshine turning shirtless backs to see all
My Daddy’s hat tupped back to see all his kids go running wild
It’s summer time, and the water’s coming down

Water from a mountain dam and the fruit of life will grow
It helps to feed a hungry land when the sky decides to snow
To Dad it means a special way to spend his life on earth
But to the rest the water means a perfect swimming hole

Water is like magic, it makes a child feel small
The brave and true for centuries
Have followed when it called
Water rushing by a child who has never seen the sea
Makes me think there must have been something
More than summer going on

You've Got Me Flying

I would hide behind to see where you would go to play
You were being Isadora, I was being you
But did I know that I’d grow up to say

You’ve got me flying, I’m flying
You inspired a sister song
All the pain you’re feeling
I want to share with you,
help you through
You’ve got me flying, I’m flying
You inspired a sister song
I never knew how good a friend you’d be to me
We are family

I believed the world would lay before you
All the passions – all the treasured secrets that you knew
I would wear the rose and cape when you were not at home
But did I know that I’d grow up to say

You’ve got me flying, I’m flying
You inspired a sister song
All the world you’re weaving
I want to go with you,
I want to do it too
You’ve got me flying, I’m flying
You inspired a sister song
I never knew how good a friend you’d be to me
We are family

Icicle Blue

Icicle blue, day sky blue
Blue, almost silver blue eyes
Looking at me all my life
Blue skies, blue stones
Songs of blue sung late in the night
To a sleepless child
Mother, hold me, I remember now
It’s through these blue eyes
That I have learned how
To touch the red earth and join the black night
And dance in the golden sun
That I see through these eyes
Icicle blue

Started Out Fine

Started out fine, we were moving ahead
I was driving in the truck
You were combing the hair on the head of the one in the middle
She was loving it all, bouncing around like a rubber ball

And you thought she was just about the finest kid
I had to agree
But maybe that’s cause she looks like me
And you were filling a space – maybe taking the place of a father

But then you started seeing that it might be a scene
You got to complaining, you got pretty mean
First it was the weather and then it was me
And then you started taking it out on the baby

Well, if you think traveling three is a drag
Pack it up, loner
I’ve got my own bag full of dreams for this little child of wonder
And you can only stay if you start to understand

How an old camp fire gets warmer with you
But even when you’re gone
It still cooks the stew and the coffee, how it frees my soul
And I ain’t readyu to grow that cold

You say, “Go home, lady, and find you a someone”
Who’s gonna turn out to be a middle class bum anyway
Well, he might make me some money
But that ain’t the kind of life we’re looking for, honey

So don’t go around saying I’ve been a burden to you
You’ve been a burden to me and we’re through
If you can’t seem to find the joy in my living
Can’t seem to get into taking and giving

‘Cause I’ve got a little one who loves me as much as you need me
And, darling, that’s loving enough
For a hiking boot mother who’s seeing the world
For the first time with her own little girl.

No More Genocide

Why are our history books so full of lies
When no word is spoken of why the Indians died
Or that the Chicanos loved the California land
Do our books all say it was discovered by one white man

That’s just a lie, one of the many and we’ve had plenty
I don’t want more of the same, no more genocide in my name

Nazi forces grow again, ignorance gives them a place
The klan is teaching children to hate the human race
Where once there was a playground, now an MX missile plan
Do thay think it’s fun to see just how much we can stand

People die all around the world
from starvation and grief all the time
Some folks try to avoid the math
by saying god and gun will provide
In Auschwitz, Capetown and Beirut,
San Salvador, Greensboro, Belfast , Manila and many more
It’s a crime, do we think the fascist right will
save the world in time
They try to tell us so but we’ve got to tell them no

Simply Love

Why does my love make you shift restless in your chair
And leave you in despair
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

It’s a simple hand on a warm face to say
A glance to see if love is still O.K.
A glow at dawn when love in still there
Tears and strong arms at the end of the day
And simply love – my love for a woman

It’s the laughter as the kids clown
And tease our weary thoughts away
It’s looking ’round the table
And knowing hard work fed us one more day
And simply love – my love for a woman

Why does my love make you shift in you chair
It’s the bombs across the border
That should make you tear your hair
And yet it’s my love leaves you screaming out your nightmare

Perhaps you know there’s something you should fear
If my love makes me strong and makes you disappear
It’s simply love – my love for a woman

The Great Peace March

Ancient eyes are watching in the night
The stars come out to guide the way
The sun still shines despite the clouds
And the dawn is dusk is dawn is dusk is day

Farmers, rise and dream to feed the world
The world awakes to feed the heart
Hearts beat awhile a thousand flags are waving
And the farmer sees a dream has played a part

We will have peace, we will because we must
We must because we cherish life
And believe it or not, as daring as it may seem
It is not an empty dream, to walk in a powerful path
Neither the first not the last great peace march
Life is great and mighty march
Forever, for love and for life on the great peace march

Are you black like night or red like clay
Are you gold like sun or brown like earth
Grey like mist or white like moon
My love for you is the reason for my birth

Peace can start with just one heart
From a small step to leaps and bounds
A walk becomes a race for time
And a brave child calls out from the crowd

Coming Home

I am so frightened by my nights alone
But I’m more afraid of my first night at home
Trying not to get much too eager
Knowing already that I’m much too eager
For all the kisses and days we missed
Work that we dreamed of sharing
What scares me most of all
Is that all-out kind of caring for coming home

What if you don’t meet my plane
What if I’m left out in the rain
Darling, I’ve waited oh so long
To sing to you a love song
What if I don’t like the way you laugh
Or if our summer didn’t last ’till fall
It’s crazy how my memories are getting hazy
Loving our work, mine took me away
I’m so frightened about the day
I’ve waited a month and a half for, coming home

What’s been going on in your head
What if there’s been someone else in your bed
What if I’ve changed and you’ve stayed the same
What if my love letters never came
What if I love you more than before
But it’s not me you’re waiting for
How can I know that I’ll need you only,
All that I know is that now I’m so lonely
For all of the loving that once we shared
Why does my time away make me scared
Of the one thing in life that I long for
I’m coming home

Find Me

Find me. I’m here
Keep your heart alert
I’m not standing in the open
Having been so hurt, You’ll have to

Find me. I’m here
Face in hands, my back to you
Are you wise enough to see me
And pull my passion through

You see I fear for love
When the morning comes on shining
I feear for love
My terror comes unwinding
As I pack my bag and find the roads that wind
Leaving all my things strewn along behind
What will I do if you

Find me. I’m here
I’m hiding, but I’m here
My heart is so big, my faith so small
It’s love that I fear
Most of all
Come on heart, tell me that it’s not too late
As I wait
Breathlessly for you to

Find me

Fire In the Rain

Fire in the rain, fire in the rain
You’re like a fire in the rain
So unexpected, I came upon your love

You came into my life
And I had my eyes wide open
Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned

I got too close one night
With no plans for heart left open
Unintending to change, I had nothing to fear
But the music you let me hear
Like an ancient fife, it had a haunting tune
It changed my life

Your love
Now what do I do with your love?
I wasn’t looking for you.
Your love, do I dare?
You were there
You were there

Sit With Me

Sit with me through the night
Tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
Cause I’m so tired and I’m so scared
I’m so sad about the world tonight
Sometimes I feel I can’t defend myself, my love or my light
The thought of surviving, just makes me want to die
Come lay beside me, hold me while I cry

Please sit with me through the night
Tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
Cause I’m so tired and I’m so scared
I need to grieve and weep and scream and moan
And sometimes, sometimes I feel I can’t defend myself, my life or my home
Well you know tomorrow, I’ll be back on my feet
It’s not in me, my friend, to accept defeat

Won’t you please sit with me through the night
And tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
Sit with me, sit with me

Change of Heart

Something changes in me when I witness someone’s courage
They may not know I’m watching, I may not let them know that
Something changes in me that will last me for a life time
To fill me when I’m empty, and rock me when I’m low

Something changes in me anytime there’s someone singing
All the songs I’ve never forgotten, let out voices sing them strong
Something changes in me anytime there’s someone standing
For the right to be completely all the good things that we are

Chorus:
There’s a change of heart
Anytime there’s someone counting
All the lives that won’t be thrown away
There’s a change of heart
Anytime you join the choir, be a voice up on the mountain
Or see a fire…in the rain

Something changes in me when my arms are held wide open
Fear and hate are set aside and only love remains
Something changes in me and I feel a deep emotion
While the ones who offer help replace the ones that just complain

Do not forget the children, they are singers in the storm
And when their hearts are threatened, well a fire is bound to start
It wakes us up at midnight, we feel an ancient pain
And I do believe that loves directs the flame

hang-in-there

Hang In There

Originally released in 1973 on Redwood Records. Reissued 2018 Calico Tracks Records.

This was my first recording, the songs written after I got back from traveling with Free The Army tour, a tour that performed for soldiers and military personal who were resisting war and racism from within the military. I learned so much. I had never been much a songwriter before that, focusing mostly on my singing and acting. But these songs poured out. I recorded the songs in a small home studio in LA that was owned by Alex Hasilev, one of the musicians in the Limelighters. I learned how to produce a record. Jeff Langley played piano and did the arrangements. My sisters sang background on some of the tunes.

Notes on some of the tracks:
Hang In There – recorded at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles with the audience on vocals!
Oh My Beautiful Friend – written by Ruthie Gorton
Wedding Song – I wrote this and sang at the Tom Hayden/Jane Fonda wedding 
It’s More Important to Me – my early feminism starts showing
Oh America – written while traveling with the Indochina Peace Campaign – special thoughts for George Smith, ex-POW who traveled with us. He was released in 1965 and then worked for peace
Tieng Dan Ta-Lu – an ensemble from Vietnam.  Most people in the US had never heard Vietnamese music even though we had been at war with them for at over 25 years

Track Listing: Hang In There; No More Genocide; Oh My Beautiful Friend; Wedding Song; Birthday Children; GI Movement; Strong; Better Days; It’s More Important to Me; Oh America; Tieng Dan Ta-Lu

Credits

Produced by Holly Near with the talents and patience of:
Arranger /Jeffrey Langley
Recordist / Jeffrey Peters
Remix / Jeffrey Peters, Holly Near, and Jeffrey Langley
Recorded at Alex Hassilev’s Studio

Original cover design / John Fridge
Reissue layout design / Kate Peterson
Liner photo / Aaron Sixx
Location recordist / Wesley Leon Dooley
Remaster engineer / Gary Mankin

The Players

Holly Near / Vocals
Jeffrey Langley / piano
Jacqueline Furman /drums
Steve LaFever / bass
Jack Rowe / guitar
David Sherr / flute, oboe, and tenor sax
Miamon Miller / violin
N3 / supportive vocals

Lyrics

Hang In There

Hang in there
A little bit longer
Though I know it’s been too long
For twenty-seven years you have been fighting
Twenty-seven years you have been strong.
When you farm you hold a rifle
When you sleep you hold a child
When you fight you get a hold on to freedom
I’ll feel stronger when I get to see you smile

Silver bird all filled with murder
So you bring it down to save your rice
Still you ran to find the foreign pilot
You healed his wounds and you gave mm back his life.

The water held back by love and labor
Dikes built by hand before my birth
If they break you know you’re gonna face hunger
So you move the mud to save the earth.

I have learned so much about living
Since I’ve seen you stay alive
I used to feel well hell it ain’t worth it
But now dear friends I don’t want you to die.

No More Genocide

Why do we call them the enemy
This struggling nation that we’re bombing across the sea
Why do we want these people to die
Why do we say north and south, oh why, oh why, oh why?

Well that’s iust a lie
One of the many and we’ve had plenty
I don’t want more of the same
No more genocide in my name.

Why are our history books so full of lies
When no word is spoken of why the Indian dies
Or that the Chicano loves the California land
Do our books all say it was discovered by white man.

Why are the weapons of the war so young
Why are there only older men around when it’s done
Why are so many of our soldiers black or brown
Do we say it’s because they’re good at cutting yellow people down.

Then came two men from the world of secrecy
They carried some secrets oft and shared them with you and me
I read the Pentagon papers seeking truth in their history
But who says that we have been preserving a democracy.

Oh My Beautiful Friends

Oh my beautiful friends
Tell me what can I do
Where will the madness end
They’re killing all of you
If we don’t stop them they’ll keep going
Until there’s nothing left alive
Somehow your struggle keeps on growing
So determined to survive.

Oh my beautiful friends
What can I say
I love you, I am with you
Learning from you every day
I can’t imagine what you suffer
There are no words can tell your pain
And yet each hardship makes you tougher
You will not have fought in vain.

Oh my friends, I have nothing
I would not gladly give
If it would help to speed our victory
I defend your right to live
Four thousand years of gentle farming
Turned to ashes by their bombs
Yet you keep singing while you’re fighting
For the life of Vietnam.

Wedding Song

Time made the decision that she’d understand
That there were other people living in a land
Where women touch each other, men walk hand in hand
In the day time of their lives.

Time made the decision that he would take a chance
For if we don’t take chances we will never dance
With people from all backgrounds, she had a different past
But it was the right time in their lives.

So let us sing a song of coming together
And in this evening help us to understand
That we have found a greater love while working hand in hand
That’s the love that we all have for Vietnam.

Time made the decision that these two should meet
To help us understand the kind of love we need
To overcome the problems that we must defeat
In our lifetime, now is the time.

And with our help time will decide that war must end
Flowers will no longer break, they will only bend
And we will cross the ocean to finally meet our friends
Of a life time, this is our time.

So let us sing a song of coming together
And in this evening help us to understand
That we have found a greater love while working hand in hand
That’s the love that we all have for Vietnam.

Birthday Children

Every year on my birthday, three gifts I always get without fail
I get one year older and the war goes on, it still ain’t over
And one more freedom fighter goes to jail.

So Happy Birthday, children of such sorrow.
Are you wondering what to do about tomorrow.
Well, there is one more present, though you’ve had it all along
And that’s the courage to keep on singing freedom’s song.

Every year on my brother’s birthday, three gifts he always gets without fail
He gets one year older and the Saigon prison makes his insides smolder
And one more freedom fighter dies in jail.

Every year on all of our birthdays, three gifts we’ve got to promise
that we’re going to get without fail
We’ll get one year wiser and we’ll spin our web like a healthy spider
And get our freedom fighters out of jail.

GI Movement

We’re here to talk to soldiers
We know that you won’t be still
You’re tired of US policy of kiIl, pay me, kill, kill, kill.

Soldier, did they tell you
That fighting would set you free
Strange how that rumor got around, that’s exactly what they said to me

Soldier sings a love song
It’s a ballad of his rights
I hear that soldier is sleeping on the stockade floor tonight. (cause he was)

Talking about the GI movement
Hear my song, carry it on
Something that feels this good to me lust can’t be wrong.

“Stop our shipl” it echoed
Body and soul awoke . . . stormy water rushing around my brain
So we’re going to rock this misery boat.

Some landed in Chicago
Some landed in the Philippines
But wherever they go they see a horror show because they’re paid to make the people bleed.

Strong

Mama taught me to be gentle, love the man the way I should
Papa taught me to be simple, love the world, live while I could
Sister taught me pretty
And brother taught me smile
But who’s gonna teach me to be strong – when the tears come
Who’s gonna teach me to be strong

Gentle taught me to be a mother, love the kids that I did born
Simple taught me patience with the man who sang my song
Pretty was my daughter
And smiling was my son
But who’s gonna teach them to be strong – when the tears come
Who’s gonna teach them to be strong.

I think that I am dying, my time is at its end
I want to leave some learnin’ to those who aren’t yet dead
I could leave a bit of laughter
But with that you are born
I wish I could leave you something strong — for when the tears come
And they will come
I wish I could teach you to be strong.

Better Days

I stood there waving as they drove you to your finish
And I smiled being brave like all those pretty women do
In the movies as they stand there with their hair in place
Their makeup emphasizing that they know he’ll be a hero, he’ll not die
Well you returned alive, but not a hero
You are bitter and you left your arms in Vietnam
I remember I was smiling as they sent you off – to where? I don’t remember
You see I was taught that
By the men who make the movies and the men who drop their evil
On the people of the world who aren’t white and aren’t kings
And now I’m angry
And I won’t just stand here waving at the things they do to others
For just now I realize that they’ve been doing it to me
So we’ll take away their power and we’ll straighten out the horrors
Men have dropped that made you leave your soul somewhere
across the sea.

And it doesn’t really matter if you like it or don’t like it
Cause I’ve got to ask these questions anyway
And when we’ve taken back the power and have melted down the lies
That our children swallow, well you’re gonna say
That you’re glad that I am a woman and you’re glad that
I am with you
We’ll have given birth to children and to better days
You’ll be glad that I am a woman, you’ll be glad that I am with you
We’ll have given birth to children and to much, much better days.

It's More Important To Me

It’s more important to me that we stay friends
It’s more important to me that we make amends
So if he’s the man that you’re after
That I can understand

It’s more important to me that we don’t fight because of a man.
I only knew him briefly, not long enough to call it deeply
We knew each other briefly, but not as long as you and me
So if he’s the man that you’re after
Well that I can understand
It’s more important to me that we don’t fight because of a man.

Sister, do you hear what I’m saying
Don’t you know that we must take care
God, it’s hard to change old habits
It’s so easy to fall back there to the days when
Women used to fight and squabble night and day
Just because some guy had been taken away
By a sister who was only staying alive
But now we don’t have to compete, my friend, to survive.

I used to think there is only one man for me and they told me
“Girl, if he passes by you, don’t you know that your life is through”
But men come a dime for twenty
And for me that’s going to be more than plenty
Its‘ more important to me that we stay friends for as long as we can
And we can, and we can, yes we can
That we stay friends for as long as we can.

Oh America (saga of the Indochina Peace Campaign pre-election tour)

l sang my song of protest to the war that we wage
I met a man named Chester, over 80 was his age
He introduced Tom Hayden and he welcomed George and Jane*
He said he’d spoken out against the war
Over the radio back in I954.

Oh America, I now can say your name
Without feeling bitter and without feeling ashamed
I traveled ‘cross your countryside
Your cities and your towns
And I saw the friendly people come and turn my head around.

Once we met a woman who said answer if you can
Do you mean we’ve been aggressing all this time in Vietnam
I thought that we’d been helping people fight to save their land
And her voice began to quiver as she cried
Her life began to change once she knew that they had lied

I sang for fifty people who were all three times my age
Some were much too tired to even show their rage
But their eyes were filled with moisture, I could see it from the stage
One said, “What can I do to stop the war?
I don’t think that this old body can take it anymore.”

We were in Muskegon, Michigan, where Wallace was their man
The paper let us know that all the people there were mad
At us “crazy hippies who are traitors, who are bad”
But two thousand people showed up that night
And let us know that they were going to set their paper right.

Once we saw a table where students sat behind
Re-elect the President was what was on their mind
But a voice on the loud speaker was clearing up some lies
And a student behind the table began to rise
Saying “Sorry folks, but l‘m moving over to the other side”.

We went to Philadelphia, a fitting place to be
Where we met a lovely woman who was proudly Vietnamese
She told a crowd of thousands that she wanted to be free
She said that all us Americans could decide
To give her back her country and l saw Americans cry.

Peace lost the election but we haven‘t lost our souls
We must come together to crystallize our goals
And we must find a better way to let the people know
Just like all the people in my song
Americans will change once they know that things are wrong.

Tieng Dan Ta-Lu

(When the Ta-Lu‘ sounds) . . . performed by the women of The National Ensemble of the Republic of Viet Nam. The song speaks of the women who carry rice through the jungle to the fighters; but no matter how heavy the load, they never abandon their Ta-Lu’ (a musical instrument of the minority Van-Kieu of the Khe>Sang region in northern Viet Nam).

Hang In There

Prison cell all filled with darkness
You can‘t see but still you smile
Ain’t no darkness gonna block out your vision
You know that if you die there’s gonna be another child
Who’s gonna

Hang in there
A little bit longer
Though I know it’s been too long
For twenty-seven years you have been fighting
Twenty~seven years you have been strong.

Sky Dances

Sky Dances

Redwood Records, 1989; reissued Calico Tracks Records, 2018
Some material reissued on Early Warnings (Appleseed Recordings)

Track Listing: Sun Won’t Stop, To Raise The Morning Star, Testimony, They Are Falling All Around Me, Sky Dances, Nicaragua Night, The Letter, No More Songs, Don’t Let The Singer Down, I Wish You Were Here, Over the Rainbow

Credits

Produced by Holly Near, Joanie Shoemaker, and Jo-Lynne Worley
Recorded at Bay View Studios by Tom Anderson
Mixed at Capitol Records by Leslie Ann Jones
Remaster engineering by Gary Mankin
Art Direction & Design/James McCaffry/Fotografis
Cover photography/Irene Young, James McCaffry
Reissue layout design/ Kate Peterson

The Players

Holly Near/vocals
John Bucchino/keyboards
Michael Manring/bass, high bass, synth on To Raise the Morning Star
Jackeline Rago/percussion
Nina Gerber/guitar
Irene Sazer/viola

Michael Manring and Irene Sazer appear courtesy of Windham Hill Records Michael Manring uses a Paul Reed Smith bass and D’Addario strings

Lyrics

Sun Won't Stop

Children ran to the river bank
left their shoes and swam toward the light
When night came on and the dinner bells rang
The children were nowhere in sight.
Only a shape, only a memory, only a shell,
And the sun won’t stop for no one.

 

No the sun won’t stop rolling around
The sun won’t stop rolling around
The sun won’t stop rolling around in the sky.

Death paused on its weary way
Left the highway and stayed the night
When dawn came on and my mama rose
My daddy was nowhere in sight.
Only a shape, only a memory, only a shell,
And the sun won’t stop for no one.

Who’s going to hold my hand when I’m old
l still have stories to tell.
You will wish one day you had paused to listen
But I will be nowhere in sight.
Only a shape, only a memory, only a shell,
And the sun won’t stop for no one.

Words by Holly Near. Music by Steve Wood and Holly Near
© I989 Hereford Music and Albedo Music (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission.

To Raise The Morning Star

Rising like lightspill from this sleeping town
Like the light in a lover’s eyes
Rising from the hearts of the sleepers all around
All those dreamers trying to light the sky

Burning all night long
Burning at the gates of dawn
Singing near and far
Singing to raise the morning star

Rising like lightning in the pregnant air
It’s electric, I can feel its might
I can feel it crackling in my nails and hair
Makes me feel like I’m dancing on feet of light

Burning all night long
Burning at the gates of dawn
Singing near and far
Singing to raise the morning star

Words by Bruce Cockburn, Music by Bruce Cockburn & Fergus Marsh
© 1984 Golden Mountain Music Corp. (PRO Canada, BMI)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission.

Testimony

There’s godlike
And warlike
And strong
Like only some show
And there’s sadlike
And madlike
And had
Like we know

But by my life be I spirit
And by my heart be I woman
And by my eyes be I open
And by my hands be I whole

They say slowly
Brings the least shock
But no matter how slow I walk
There are traces
Empty spaces
And doors and doors of locks

But by my life be I spirit
And by my heart be I woman
And by my eyes be I open
And by my hands be I whole

You young ones
You’re the next ones
And I hope you choose it well
Though you try hard
You may fall prey
To the jaded jewel

But by your lives be you spirit
And by your hearts be you women
And by your eyes be you open
And by your hands be you whole

Listen, there are waters
Hidden from us
In the maze we find them still
We’ll take you to them
You take your young ones
May they take their own in turn
And by our lives be we spirit
And by our hearts be we women
And by our eyes be we open
And by our hands be we whole

Words and Music by Ferron
©1980 Nemesis Publishing (PRO Canada)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission

They Are Falling All Around Me

They are falling all around me
They are falling all around me
They are falling all around me
The strongest leaves of my tree.

Every paper brings the news that
Every paper brings the news that
Every paper brings the news that
The teachers of my sounds are moving on.

Death comes and rest so heavy
Death comes and rest so heavy
Death comes and rest so heavy
Your face I’ll never see no more.

But you’re not really going to leave me
you’re not really going to leave me
you’re not really going to leave me
It is your path I walk
It is your song I sing
It is your load I take on
It is your air I breathe
It’s the record you set that makes me go on.
It’s your strength that helps me stand.
You’re not really going to leave me.

I will try to sing my song right
I will try to sing my song right
I will try to sing my song right
Be sure to let me hear from you.

Words and Music by Bernice Johnson Reagan.
© 1975 SongTalk Publishing Ca. (BMI)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
Lyric: Reprinted with Permission.

Sky Dances

Roy Brown, Puerto Rican musician and Jimmy Durham, Cherokee poet- crossing cultures – life transition, death. New things ride this way.

Sky dances Willows dance like women Dance like snakes
Willows dance before the mirror
Fish dance in the mirror, turtles dance
Oaks dance like bears, clouds sing like sky bears
Pines dance, they are stars

Storm has come here to kill the grubs, to kill worms
Seeds dance, water dances, it is proud sky horses
The corn will grow and dance with us
Lances of storms are with us
New plants grow, new things ride this way

Sky dances

Words by Jimmy Durham. Music by Roy Brown.
© 1987 Discos Lara-Yari (ASCAP).
All rights reserved. Used by Permission
Lyrics reprinted with Permission

Nicaragua Night

I wrote this song for my Nicaraguan friends, but also for the North American mother who lost her son on a ship in the Persian Gulf, the Palestinian mother who saw her daughter drop from a bullet directly aimed, the Irish mother who grieves as her whole family moves away from her hearth because the occupation has made it impossible to work or walk safely in the streets. To mothers all over the world.

We are dancing in the moonlight, in a Nicaragua night
For the mothers of the soldiers, we bring our spirits here
We call on midnight’s mentor to mourn the murder done
For the mothers of the soldiers, spirits now be here.

In the heat we learn your language
In the night we learn your songs
Voices call across the canyon in search of echoes
Bloody pictures point the finger at the devil’s brand of terror
And the wailing will begin soft and low

There is passion in remembering
There is fire in the heart
On the mountain grows a tree that roots the fury
The river moves the story, it’s a troubadour’s revenge
As the tortoise slips beneath the sea, the hare begins to worry

In Detroit a child is crying
On Big Mountain a people die
But in Washington the palace lamps are burning
The hand that bought the ambush has tried to buy my soul
But like you I won’t sell out and l will never surrender

And we’ll keep dancing
In the moonlight, in the Nicaragua night
Hold our children through the night
For the mothers of the soldiers, we bring our spirits here
We call on midnight’s mentor to mourn the murder done
(all over the world)
For the mothers of the soldiers, spirits now be here.

Words and Music by Holly Near.
© 1989 Hereford Music (ASCAP).
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission

The Letter

Our love is an essential pan of the movement to stop AIDS.

I got the word on the street, from people we never liked.
They told me that you were sick, and they think you’re going to die.
And although I was surprised, I didn’t act sorry then
’cause you’ve led the kind of life that feels good, right through the end.
How lucky those fools would be to have friends like you and me.

I went to my home and sat and waited for tears to come.
But suddenly, I changed my mind, got up and played my favorite songs.
I wanted to show myself that death could not take my heart
that I’d rather celebrate all the good days that we had.
That nothing can stand between two good friends like you and me.

Didn’t sleep that evening. I stayed up till the morning, thinking
how things we take for granted can go wrong.
Wished you would have told me, instead of finding out from strangers;
I never was ashamed to be your pal.
So I’ll visit you when I can and bring you the things you want.

And if the day when you leave I’m not around to say goodbye,
remember to take my love,
remember the laughs we had,
and how lucky two fools can be to be friends like you and me.
Take care.

Words and Music by Ruben Blades
© 1988 Ruben Blades Productions, Inc (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission.

No More Songs

Hello, Hello, Hello
Is there anybody home
I’ve only called to say I’m sorry.
The drums are in the dawn
And all the voices gone
And it seems that there are no more songs.

Once I knew a girl
A flower in a flame
I loved her as the sea sings sadly
Now the ashes of the dream
Can be found in the magazines
And it seems that there are no more songs.

Once I knew a sage
Who sang upon the stage
He told about the world, his lover.
A ghost without a name
Stands ragged in the rain
And it seems that there are no more songs.

The rebels, they were here
They came beside the door
They told me that the moon was bleeding.
Then all to my surprise
They took away my eyes
And it seems that there are no more songs.

The star is in the sky
It’s time to say good-bye
A whale is on the beach he’s dying.
A white flag in my hand
And a white boat in the sand
And it seems that there are no more songs.

Words and Music by Phil Ochs.
©1971 Barricade Music Inc. (ASCAP)
All Rights Administered by Alma Music Corp.
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission.

Don't Let the Singer Down

I saw an eagle fly across the sun
The flags came down without a sound
I felt a passion of mixed persuasion
Just then the mountain came tumbling down
I dreamed a rainbow spilled across the night
I want to see it in my time
The harbor opened to ships and saviors
Just then the mountain came tumbling down

If life is like the music
Then be careful you can lose it
And beware the singer
How the lights come shining
And I’m counting on my timing
Oh the band is playing fine
Tell the cynic to kiss tomorrow
All the moments are melodies
And the songs I have borrowed
They keep coming on back to me
I’m standing on shaky/common/precious ground
Filling the air with sound
Don’t let the singer down

I touched a hand that played a thousand drums
A child escaped into the moon
A rage exploded and spread like rumors
Just then the mountain came tumbling down
I saw an eagle fly across the sun
The flags came down without a sound
A soldier kissed me and ran for cover
Just then the mountain came tumbling down

Words by Holly Near. Music by Jeff Langley,
© I984 Hereford Music (ASCAP).
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission.

Over the Rainbow

I sing this as a thank you to the gay men’s community for facing one of humankind’s most startling killers with love and ace and showing others the way. Code word : I’m a friend of Judy’s.

Somewhere over the Rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
.
Some day I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
Away above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly,
Birds fly over the rainbow,
Why, then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow,
Why, oh why can’t I?

By E.Y.Harburg & Harold Arlen.
© 1938, I939 Renewed 1966, 1967 Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Inc.
Rights assigned to SBK CATALOGUE PARTNERSHIP
All Rights Controlled and Administered by SBK FEIST CATALOG INC.
All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.
Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission.

I Wish You Were Here

I wish you were here to get underfoot,
I wish you were here to get in my way,
To call me from work, to call me to play,
I wish you were here again.

Oh what did I do that had to be done,
Oh what did I read that had to be read,
When I might have turned to watch you instead,
I wish you were here again.

The monuments rise, the monuments fall,
The papers are signed and turn into chaff,
But I can recall the sound of your laugh,
I wish you were here again.

I wish you were here to get underfoot,
I wish you were here to get in my way,
To call me from work, to call me to play,
I wish you were here again.

Words and Music by Malvina Reynolds
© I962 Schroder Music Company (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Lyrics Reprinted with Permission

watch out

Watch Out!

With John McCutcheon and Trapezoid
Redwood Records, 1984 (to be reissued 2018)
Some material reissued on Early Warnings (Appleseed Recordings)

Track Listing: Watch Out, The Meek Are Getting Ready, She, War Of The Flea, Child, West Virginia Friend, The Train Song, Step It Out Nancy, Backing Off and Pulling Away, Couple Of Friends, Oh Come Smile With Us

Credits

PRODUCED BY Jo-Lynne Worley, John McCutcheon, Joanie Shoemaker, Holly Near
ARRANGED BY Holly Near, John McCutcheon, and the players except as noted
RECORDED AND MIXED BY Leslie Ann Jones
ART DIRECTOR: Jill Davey
GRAPHIC PRODUCTION: Ampersand Design
REISSUE LAYOUT DESIGN: Kate Peterson
REMASTER ENGINEER: Gary Mankin
Recorded at the Automatt
Mixed at Harbour Sound

The Players

Featuring TRAPEZOID:
Lorraine Duisit, Freyda Epstein, Ralph Gordon and Paul Reisler
With:
John McCutcheon
Barbara Higbie
Carrie Barton
Cam Davis
Rafael Manriquez
Ray Obiedo
Adrienne Torf
Darol Anger
Debbie Cotter

Notes

Watch Out recorded in 1984, a collaboration with John McCutcheon and Trapezoid. We so miss Trapezoid singer/fiddle player Freyda Epstein who was killed in 2003 in a car accident. Rafael Manriquez played on guitar on War of The Flea. He also died in a car accident and also is missed. I think there were people around me who thought this CD had too many songs of trauma. But I felt it was reflective of what was going on, It was 1984 after all.

Watch Out – John McCutcheon on dulcimer
The Meek Are Getting Ready – John Bucchino on piano
War of the Flea written by Japanese American activist musicians, Chris
Iijima and Nobuko Miyamoto
West Virginia Friend – the reference to North Dakota is where my dad was born and who had since passed, Freyda so sweet on the fiddle.
The Train Song – wonderful vocals at the end of this song by Lorraine Duisit, Freyda Epstein
Step It out Nancy by the wonderful Robin & Linda Williams. OK I added a verse at the end. I cant help myself.
Back Off
Couple of Friends – written after a group of us teachers finished up a long day at a folk festival, hot and humid south east
Oh Come Smile With Us – dedicated to those who have been tortured and t those who have the courage to hear their stories

speed of light

Speed of Light

Redwood Records, 1982 (reissued 2018)

Track Listing: Dancing Bird, Back Off, Lonely Days, Room For Me, Emma, I Really Didnt Want To, El Salvador, Coming Home, Family Promise, Power, Unity

Credits

Produced by Evie Sands and Leslie Ann Jones
Executive Producers/Artist Management: Joanie Shoemaker and Jo-Lynne Worley

Recorded and Mixed by Leslie Ann Jones at The Automatt, Assisted by Elisa Romano
Photographs by Irene Young
Graphic Design by Cathy McAuliffe
Reissue layout design: Kate Peterson
Remaster engineer: Gary Mankin

The Players

HOLLY NEAR – vocals
ADRIENNE TORF – acoustic piano,
fender rhodes, synthesizer
CARRIE BARTON – bass
CAM DAVIS – drums
RAY OBIEDO – electric/acoustic guitars
Special appearance by Afrikan Dreamland on Unity
Arrangements by the producers, players,Holly, and as noted.
HORNS: Arrangement by Ren Toppano
ANN PATTERSON – alto, tenor, soprano saxes
CAROL CHAIKIN – tenor sax
BETH CARVER – trombone
LOUISE BARANGER – trumpet, flugelhorn
STRINGS: Arrangement by Mary Watkins
San Franclsco Women’s String Ensemble

Notes

Recorded in 1982. This master also went missing so this is a digital copy taken off an LP.
Dancing Bird – written with pianist, John Bucchino
Back Off – Carrie Barton on bass!
Emma – hats off to Emma Goldman
El Salvador – a vicious war funded by US tax payers. And now in 2018 the tragic irony – families escaping to the US to seek asylum and then separated from their children.
Family Promise – my parent’s first grandson arrived. I was in active in the anti-nuke movement and could not get that child out of my mind
Power written by John and Johanna Hall
Unity – joined by African Dreamland

Fire in the Rain

Fire in the Rain

Redwood Records, 1981 (RCD 402); Reissued on Calico Tracks Records, 2018

Track Listing: Fire in the Rain, Once or Twice, I Got Trouble, Working Woman, No Loss of Pride, Sit With Me, Foolish Notion, Ain’t Nowhere You Can Run, Wrap the Sun Around You, Voices, Golden Thread

Credits

Produced by June Millington
Executive Producers: Jo-Lynne Worley & Joanie Shoemaker
Engineered by Leslie Ann Jones
Recorded at The Automatt, San Francisco, CA

Assistant Engineer: Susan Gottlieb
Cover Photographs: Micheline
Lighting Design: Leni Schwendinger
Original Graphic Design: Cathy McAuliffe
Reissue Layout Design: Kate Peterson
Remaster Engineer: Gary Mankin

The Players

Holly Near: Lead & background vocals
Adrienne Torf: Keyboards
Carrie Barton: Bass
Bonnie Johnson & Bernice Brooks: Drums
June Millington: Guitars, percussion, background vocals on Sit With Me and Wrap the Sun Around You
Vicki Randle: Percussion, background vocal on Wrap the Sun Around You
Jan Martinelli: Acoustic bass
Caille Colburn: Harp
Judith Chilnick: Vibes
Nancy Vogl: Guitar
Pamela J. Sayer, Sapphron Obois, Susan Laraine, Sarah T. Cline & Yolanda Nickell: Horns Cris Williamson: Background vocal on Sit With Me

Arrangements by June Millington, Holly Near & the players
String & horn arrangements by Mary Watkins

Lyrics

Fire In the Rain

Chorus
Fire in the rain, fire in the rain
You’re like a fire in the rain
So unexpected, I came upon your love

You came into my life
And I had my eyes wide open
Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned.

I got too close one night
With no plans for heart left open
Unintending to change, I had nothing to fear
But the music she let me hear
Like an ancient fife, had a haunting tune
And it changed my life

Sometimes I stare for hours
Like the last to leave the fire on a winter night
Sometimes I dance before you
Like a firefly who is caught in your light

Unintending to burn, you offered your light
You offered the warmth of love
And I had to learn how to feel the heat
And not get burned.

I remember you
Stronger than the wind
Brighter than the moon
Faster than the night

© 1980 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Once or Twice

Sometimes you say a look will cross my eye
While we’re sitting close to touch and talking
Like my heart is saying, don’t go it all the way
Save that kind of feeling for another day
That kind of loving can make a traveler stay
Sometimes you say a look will cross my eye
While I sit alone and you are playing
Like my brain is saying don’t play that song today
Not while I’m trying to pack and get on my way
That kind of music can make a fiddler stay

Bridge
I guess I could get up and I would walk right out the door
And maybe I would forget you before I reach the highway

But sometimes a loving look comes across your eye
You’re the sweetest thing that’s ever touched me
I’m wishing I had met (loved) you later on in my life
But damned if your arms around me don’t feel nice
Maybe if it happens once it can happen twice

© 1974 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Working Woman

Chorus
I’m a working woman and they call me “9 to 5”
What that means is I work full time, trying to survive
First I take care of boss’s business
And then I go home and take care of mine
Oh, I’m a working woman and they call me “9 to 5”

File a lot, smile a lot, yes sir, have a good day!
Oh my feet, on my seat, deadline! Do not delay!
I got phone-itis, in spite of us, they put in an extra line
I’ve got to file faster! Type faster! White-out is clogging my mind!
And without me the boss would be totally at a loss
I’d like some respect to be reflected in the check

Please, don’t call me honey
Don’t grab me as you go by
Dodging your passes just makes me angry
It’s hard enough to just keep your boring business alive!

Order flowers, gifts for showers, pick up his kids at three
See his shirt’s pressed, see he’s well-dressed
Bring in the coffee and tea
Dictation, flirtation, all requirements on the job
The stocks are falling, the press is calling,
Keep his lordship from the mob

Hey, I’m not your girl and you know it
At home I’m a woman, I’m a poet
I’m skilled at my job so don’t abuse it
There’s power in numbers
And working women, we’re all going to use it

© 1979 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

No Loss of Pride

Chorus
I don’t want to fight with you anymore
My time has come for resting in the love
that brought us through that door
There’s no loss of pride
I don’t want to hide
I fear I strike out at the closest thing to me
And it’s not always the best thing for me
You are not, you are not my enemy

Going down the list of times that you hurt me so
Telling friends who I know will run to tell you
So you’ll know
And you keep doing the same
We’re bringing each other pain
Try to find a place for me in your heart
Where we can be together when our paths cross ‘
And still have room to stay apart
Our battles may remain
I know our differences are still the same

© 1980 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Sit With Me

Finding a friend in you to wake me in the morning
Finding a friend in you to travel through the night
Finding a friend in you to be there in the morning
Finding a friend in you to hold me through the night
When I’m frightened by the work that I must do
When I’m frightened, I know wherever I am
I can call on you, when I’m frightened, I can call on you

Please sit with me through the night
And tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
Cause I’m so tired and I’m so scared
I’m so sad about the world tonight
And sometimes I feel I can’t defend myself, my love or my light
The thought of surviving just makes me want to die
Come lay beside me, hold me while I cry

Please sit with me through the night
Tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you
Cause I’m so tired and I’m so scared
I need to grieve and weep and scream and moan
And sometimes I feel I can’t defend myself, my life, or my home
But you know tomorrow, I’ll be back on my feet
It’s not in me, my friend, to accept defeat
But won’t you please sit with me through the night
And tell me it’s all right to fall apart with you

Finding a friend in you to wake me in the morning
Finding a friend in you to travel through the night
Finding a friend in you who will be there in the morning
Finding a friend in you to hold me through the night

© 1980 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

I Got Trouble

Chorus
I been laid off, trouble got trouble
I been laid off, trouble tonight
First I want to talk about it
Then I want to fight
Then I want to make love to you all night
I been laid off, trouble got trouble
I been laid off, trouble tonight

You know we need the money, we need it bad
The money I was making is the last that we had
To do the feeding, feeding, our kids need clothes
They need feeding, payment on the loan

I came home angry, I let it show
I didn’t mean to blame it on the best friend I know
I love you darlin’, darlin’, let’s sleep in late
Come tomorrow, I’ll go out and agitate
They hire a computer, hire a machine
And then they call the product “The American Dream”
And it ain’t working, working, it’s no surprise
When you ain’t working, time to organize

© 1980 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Foolish Notion

Chorus
Why do we kill people who are killing people
To show that killing people is wrong
What a foolish notion
That war is called devotion
When the greatest warriors are the ones that stand for peace

War toys are growing stronger
The problems stay the same
The young ones join the army
While general what’s-his-name
Is feeling full of pride
That the army will provide
But does he ask himself

Death row is growing longer
The problems stay the same
The poor ones get thrown in prison
While warden what’ s-his-name
Is feeling justified
But when will he be tried
For never asking

Children are so tender
They will cross the earth if they think they are saving a friend
They get drawn in by patriotic lies
Right before our eyes
They leave our home
And then they find out once they’re all alone
They’re asking the age old question
Why?

© 1980 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Ain't No Where You Can Run

Chorus
There ain’t no where you can run no, no, no
There ain’t no where you can run
There ain’t no where you can run no, no, no
There ain’t no where you can run

You can move to California
Or you can move to Spain
But there ain’t no where you can run
From the nuclear rain

You can hand out flowers in airports
You can stay on your knees and pray
But there ain’t no where in this whole wide world
That you can run away (you know you’ve got to face it)

It gets into the blood of the workers
And then it rides through the land on a train
After thousands of years in containers
It still remains

It can get you on the top of a mountain
Or it can ooze under prison doors
It can kill us slow in a lifetime
Or get you fast in a nuclear war!

© 1979 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Wrap the Sun Around You

Wrap the sun around you like a rainbow
Let the mighty breezes be your lullaby
Feel the power of the sea
Mother Nature’s energy
Is washing over me
Washing over, washing over me

We can make it if we try
I’ve seen it done before
Where we all opened up our hearts
And that opened up the door
Don’t you remember?
It wasn’t so long ago
Been going on forever
In fact, it’s happening right now
While we’re singing

Wrap the sun around you like a rainbow
Writing songs that wake us out of lullabies
Learn the lessons of the past
We’re not the first
And we’re not the last
To sing about freedom
To live our lives for freedom

Don’t you remember?
It wasn’t so long ago
Been going on forever
In fact, it’s happening right now
While we’re singing
We can make it if we try
I’ve seen it done before
Where we all opened up our hearts
And that opened up the door
And we walked out singing!

Singing! Singing songs about freedom
I can remember we were singing
Singing songs about freedom

People, you have the light and the sun
Like a rainbow
You are like a rainbow, magic colors
We are like a rainbow, in the sky
Side by side, such a sight!
Don’t you remember? Talking about freedom?
Think back to all who come before you
Think back to all who danced before you
Think back to all who loved before you
Think back to all who sing before you

“Freedom” is not to be the same
“Freedom” is to cherish who you are
“Freedom” is to know

No, no don’t melt into one
Wrap the sun around you like a rainbow
Be tender with your heart
Just like a rainbow

© 1980 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Golden Thread

Such a rush is going through my body
And you are so far across the room
Tender words caress my weary mind
I will move closer to you soon
It’s hard for me to ponder long
On what is wrong or right
Oh how can I touch you the way I want to touch you
When I intend to go home with my friend and my lover
After we say goodnight

My heart has stopped, I can’t get air
Your face is so close to mine
We share a passion and pain, my friend
You too are walking a foreign line
Is it hard for you to ponder long
On what is wrong or right
Oh how can you touch me the way you want to touch me
When you intend to go home with your friend and your lover
After we say goodnight

Bridge
A woman’s love is like a golden thread
It can weave in and out so magically
I know this is true
My lover has woven such a life with me
And I do love her so

But such a rush is going through her body
My lover sees a woman across the room
Tender words caress her weary mind
She will move closer to her soon
Is it hard for her to ponder long
On what is wrong or right
Oh how can she touch her
The way she wants to touch her
When she intends to come home with her friend and her lover
After they say goodnight

But you can’t possess a woman, no
You can’t possess a woman
If you love her so
You’ve got to let her go
And she’s got to let you let her go

Run, run, running free
Fly, run, creatively
She’s flying next to me
Oh jealousy, let go of rne, so I can
truly love her
She’s family —— flying free!

© 1978 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Special thanks to Kris Horton.

Voices

Listen to the voices of the old women
Listen to the voices of the old women
Calling out the messages
Of the moon and sea
Telling us what we need to know
In order to be free
Listen to the voices of the old women

Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Calling out the messages
Of the earth and sky
Telling us what we need to know
In order to survive
Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations

Listen to the voices of the young children
Listen to the voices of the young children
Calling out the messages
Of the heart and soul
Telling us what we used to know
Before the lies were told
Listen to the voices of the young children

Listen to the voices of the Indian Nations
Listen to the voices of the old women
Listen to the voices of the living

© 1979 Hereford Music
All Rights Reserved

Imagine My Surprise

Imagine My Surprise

With Guest Artist Meg Christian
Redwood Records, 1978; RRCD 401 (reissued 2018)
Some material reissued on Simply Love: The Women’s Music Collection

Track Listing: Imagine My Surprise!, Put Away, Nina, Lady At the Piano, Fight Back, Riverboat, Mountain Song/Kentucky Woman, You Bet, Rock Me In Your Arms, Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida, Something About the Women, Golden Thread, Simply Love

Credits

STUDIO RECORDING: The Music Annex
LIVE RECORDING: The S.F. Conservatory of Music RE-MIX: The Music Annex, Filmways/Heider Recordings & Recording Associates
REMASTER ENGINEER: Gary Mankin
DIN A REDMAN: original cover & insert design TEE CORINNE: front cover photo
TIA DODGE: photo of collage
KATE PETERSON: re-issue layout design

The Players

HOLLY NEAR: producer, lead vocals, harmonies, mixing, member of Redwood Records
MEG CHRISTIAN: arranger, guitars, vocals, mixing JOAN LOWE˕: engineer, mixing
ALISON BALLARD: associate engineer, mixing
TRUDY FULTON: production coordinator, percussion consultant, wooden spoons, member of Redwood Records SUZIE FOOT: mixing
J. T THOMAS: piano, melodica
BARBARA COBB: bass
SUZANNE VINCENZA: cello
CAROLYN BRANDY: congas
RHIANNON: vocals
LINDA “TUI” TILLERY˚: drums
TERESA TRULL˚: guitar, vocals

Track Notes

Imagine My Surprise recorded in 1978, engineered by Joan Lowe – the only woman engineer we knew at the time. I made a commitment to work with women, train one another, hire one another pay one another. Jazz singer Rhiannon, Linda Tillery, Teresa Trull all sang back up. This was my first “OUT” lesbian identified recording. What a time!

Imagine My Surprise – my first attempt to write a lesbian song. So hard to remember how “new” this was to the musical literature.
Nina – wrote with Meg Christian. Love her guitar and vocals on this.
Lady At The Piano – JT Thomas on piano, Barbara Cobb on bass, Linda Tillery on drums
Fight Back Carolyn Brandy on congas, written for women killed in LA by serial killer 40 years before the Me Too movement
Riverboat – Dedicated to community. We can’t do this alone.
Mountain Song/Kentucky Woman – inspired by activists in Appalachian Mountains, in particular Widow Combs
You Bet – written with Meg Christian
Rock Me In Your Arms – written with Meg Christian
Hay Una Mujer Decaparacida – my first attempt at Spanish – so gringa. It got better with time and practice.

Don’t Hold Back

Redwood Records, 1987 (out of print)
Some material appears on Crushed: The Love Song Collection

Track Listing: How Bold, The Promise, Don’t Hold Back, How Was I To Know, Bird Gonna Fly, Crushed, In The Face Of love, Boney Jaw Baby, All I Can Give Is Goodbye, Plain And Simple Love

Singer in the Storm

Chameleon Music Group, 1990 (out of print)
Some material reissued on And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection

Track Listing: Sing to Me the Dream, Sun Won’t Stop, Singer in the Storm, Ella’s Song (We Who Believe), Harriet Tubman (Lifeline), Te Doy Una Cancion, Don’t You Worry, Great Peace March, Icicle Blue, Si Buscabas, Singing For Our Lives, They Dance Alone (Cueca Sola), Todavia Cantamos

Singing With You

With Ronnie Gilbert
Redwood Records, 1987 (out of print)
Some material reissued on Lifeline Extended (Appleseed Recordings)

Track Listing: Singing With You, Lucky To Be Me, Right Time, I Cried, Simply Love, In A Restaurant By The Sea , Women’s Music Medley, Wouldn’t You Rather, Hand Me Down My Jogging Shoes, Kids Song, New Underground Railroad, Great Peace March

Journeys

Redwood Records, 1983; RRCD 405 (out of print)

Track Listing: A Retrospective, 1972-1983; Winner Takes All, Room For Me, You’ve Got Me Flying, Water Come Down, GI Movement, Unity, Once or Twice, Started Out Fine, Imagine My Surprise, Something About the Women, It Could Have Been Me, Wrap the Sun

You Can Know All I Am

Redwood Records, 1976 (out of print)

Track Listing: It’s My Move, Someday One Will Do, Song To A Melody, Don’t Take My Sunday Paper, Winner Takes All, Broken Promises Nicolia, Gotta Let Go, You’ve Got Me Flying, Damn The Poets, You Can Know All I Am, Sister-Woman-Sister

A Live Album

Redwood Records, 1975 (out of print)

Track Listing: Started Out Fine, Old Time Woman, Laid Off, Water Come Down, It Could Have Been Me, Faces Get Off Me baby, Free To Grow, Feeling Better, Haven’t Grown Tired, Santa Monica Pier

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