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© 1995 Tania Opland

Willy caught a bus rollin' north from skid row;
Didn't really care where the bus was going to go.
Maybe if he rides just as far as he can
It'll bring him closer to Ketchikan.

He'd been working on the dockside all of the time.
He'd been living on the edge of the poverty line,
But with the work getting scarce, and the rent due again
Seemed he just couldn't make it in Ketchikan.

So he packed himself a bag and he went away,
Scarred and callused hands for his résumé.
He could for anyone who would need a strong man
And someday he'd return to Ketchikan.

No work, no work for an Indian here.
No friend when you're down but the man who serves the beer.
Same old story in a whole new land:
Maybe should have stayed back in Ketchikan.

Willy caught a bus rolling north from skid row.
Didn't really care where the bus was gonna go.
Maybe if he rides just as far as he can
It'll bring him closer to Ketchikan.

Khaghun Tavra Tunni (When will it be?)
© Alex Muktoyuk

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Alex Muktoyok, now of Portland Oregon, came from King Island, Alaska. Until 1947 Alaskans and Siberians travelled freely back and forth across the Bering Strait. Then the Cold War and the 'Iron Curtain' cut them off from one another for four decades. Alex writes songs both in English and in his native language, Inupiat.

Kåghun tavra tunni
Kåghun tavra tunni
Ingalillu, Imåklillu
Unga, iya, ah
Ung iya, unga iya, unga iya ah
Eya yunga ah iya, yunga ah
Kåghun tavra tunni
When will it be again?
When will we get together?
When will it be again?
When will we greet each other:
The Diomede People, the Siberians

And the King Island People,
So that I can see
The Welcome Dancers?

When will it be again?

Somewhere in America
©1993 Eric Bogle - Greentrax

Across the North Dakota hills, the twilit road unwinds.
The setting sun spreads showers of gold among the dark green pines.
Evening shadows change from grey to an ever deepening blue
And I'm somewhere in America, half a world away from you.

With sixteen towns behind me now, and sixteen more to go,
I've long since stopped believing in the romance of the road.
Though friends and kind hearts wait for me in the town I'm heading to,
Still I'm somewhere in America, half a world away from you.

And the road goes on and on and on, and the road goes on and on and on.

Here and there along the road, welcoming and bright,
the lights from farms and homesteads pierce the dark Dakota night.
But their brightness shines on others' lives, their welcome's for their own,
And I'm somewhere in America, half a world away from home.

But well you know I love this life, the endless road's a stage,
And music's a fever in the blood- a wild bird in a cage.
You and I let that wild bird fly, its bright dreams to pursue,
So now I'm somewhere in America, half a world away from you.


The Oregon Trail
© K. W. Todd - Jaywalker Music

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Rumors of rich farmland in the west started a migration across the country in the 1840's. Many of the prospective
settlers were not prepared for the journey, or aware of the dangers. Seattle songwiter K. W. Todd wrote this tribute,
which was the title track on his first album.

Here's a health to the Deveneaux, Jones and O'Malleys
Who rode from the east on a slow turning wheel,
Who forded wide rivers, crossed mountains and valleys,
To lose their young lives on the Oregon Trail.

Where the river ran, there was no ferry,
So the captain bade carry a line to the shore.
A young man of twenty named Michael J. Deveneaux
Stepped forward to swim to his final reward.

Where the mountains rise, the wagons got heavy,
So the ox teams were doubled to lighten their load.
It snapped the yoke shackle while Darcy Jones was droving.
She landed in pieces so far down below.

Where the black brush grows, and miles they are many
Were water is scarcely a dream in your mind.
Big Johnson O'Malley went fetching to find some,
But the water he found us was tainted with lye.

So my story's told. The people were many
Who lived and who died by the light of their dreams.
We lay down beside them our love for their journey,
And with it a curse on the Oregon Trail.


Barbara Allen Blues
© Tania Opland (lyrics adapted from the traditional song 'Barbara Allen')

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Elizabeth Scarborough said in one of her books that most of the old ballads would fit
to a twelve bar blues or the theme from Gilligan's Island. I did change the words a bit,
but the story was so right for it (I haven't tried the Gilligan version, yet.)

In old Scarlet town where I was born there was a fair maid dwellin' (2x)
She made the boys weep and sigh, her name it was Barbara Allen.

It was in the merry month of May when green buds all were swellin' (2x)
Young Jenny Groves on his death bed lay for love of that Barbara Allen.

He sent a servant to her then, to the place where she was dwellin' (2x)
And he said, "Now you must come and see my master if you are the lady they call Barbara Allen!"

Oh so slowly she came. So slowly she came nigh him. (2x)
And when she got there, all she said was "Young man, I believe you are dying."

He turned his face to the wall, 'cause death was drawing nigh him (2x)
And he said "Adieu my dear friends all, but you be kind to this Barbara Allen."

She was just walkin' across the field when she heard his death bell knellin' (2x)
And every stroke seemed to say, "You hard-hearted Barbara Allen!"

"Oh my mother make my bed, for I am sick with sorrow. (2x)
This young Jenny Groves died today, and I believe I am gonna die tomorrow."


Not Too Late
©1993 Peg Loughran - Low Rent Music

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From Peg's debut CD 'Crossing Over', released just before she left Seattle to return to New Hampshire.

If unkissed we die today, A thousand miles apart we stay
Not so bitter a strong love tasted, Not so foolish to have waited

If as strangers we meet again, Standing naked with open hands
Not so hard a friendship blossomed, Not so wild a love imagined

Not too late, not too soon, To watch the rising of the moon

If we never feel the rain, Our souls will not have looked in vain
Not too much what we are giving, Not run dry the well of loving

If we speak from the heart, And catch our breath at the start
Not too deep the first emotion , Not too wide the rolling ocean

Not too late, not too soon, To watch the rising of the moon ( x2 )

If unloved we walk the earth, Ashamed to celebrate our birth
With blistered feet sore from wandering, Going blind from searching

If at last we find a place, Familiar ground, a loving face
We run the risk of joy and sorrow, A grief of letting go tomorrow

Not too late, not too soon, To watch the rising of the moon (x3)


Rosemary's Sister
© Huw Williams

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Those of us who grew up during the cold war can only try to imagine what it's like living through a real one.
Songs like this, from the Welsh duo Huw and Tony Williams, help.

Brother of disaster, sister of our fate, do you count the tragedy we see?
And brother of confusion and sister debate, do you remember the sister of Rosemary?
The doodlebugs were flying, the blitz was at its height.
Rosemary lay sleeping with her sister, only nine.
And no one heard the one that hit- the one that blew the lid-
But Rosemary came out crying, and her sister never did.

You fly high, your dreams are all in vain;
One moment you are singing and the next you cry with pain,
And high above the heavens, in a host of angels' wings
Rosemary's sister will be dancing.

Her mother cried all that year, as so many others did, though there were moments when she'd pull through now and then.
And the people there in Bethnel Street, in the rubble and the stone, just swept it up and started on again.
When tyranny is biting, you do your best to try to stifle all your heartaches 'til it's safe again to cry.
And when the darkness disappears and the light comes shining through, Gather all that you have left and start anew.

There's a teacher in the classroom, there's a mother in the hall. The children sit and wait for the bell to go.
And Rosemary stands watching- she has a child there of her own, and she's waiting to collect and take her home.
Sometimes in the firelight in silence where she sits her mind goes back to Bethnel Street, the darkness and the blitz,
And she's heard if there's another one then the end will be complete. Well, I wonder what they'd say in Bethnel Street.


Tonkaya Ryabina
words: I. Surikov

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Shto stoish', kachayas', Tonkaya ryabina,
Golovoy sklonyayas' do samovo tina?

A cheryez dorogu za ryekoy shirokoy
Tak zhe odinoko dub stoít vyisokiy.

Kak bui mnye, ryabinye, k dubu pyerebrat'sya?
Ya b togda ne stala gnut'sya i kachat'sya.

Tonkimi vyetvyami ya b k nyemu prizhalac'
I s evo listami dyen' i noch' sheptalas'.

No nel'zya ryabinye k dubu pyerebrat'sya,
Znat' sud'ba takaya- vyek odnoy kachat'sya

Why do you stand, swaying, slender ash tree,
your head bent over your roots?

And across the way, over the broad river,
likewise alone, stands a tall oak tree.

How could I, as the ash tree, go to the oak?
I wouldn't then stand bowing and swaying.

With my slender branches I'd press against him,
and with his leaves, whisper day and night.

But it's impossible for an ash tree to move to the oak.
This is its fate- forever alone, swaying.


Why Does Love...
© TR Ritchie - Whitebark Music

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I've been investigating this peculiar situation.
I've read the literature and listened to the speculation.
I've gone into the field to study it first-hand,
But there remains a point or two that I still don't understand.

Why does love make you stupid?
How can your heart be so cruel?
Watch out for that rascal cupid.
You may think you're smart, but when he shoots his dart
You will find yourself playing the fool.

I've monkeyed with the numbers and done lengthy calculations,
I've analyzed the spreadsheets in search of explanation,
I've looked the contracts over with a most judicious eye,
But I never see the loopholes 'til they hang me out to dry.

I've questioned all my friends, but they don't have a clue.
I asked a crystal ball to tell me what to do.
I even went to church to ask God for a sign,
But all he said was, "Kid, your guess is just as good as mine!"

So I'm developing a theory about the human race
Wherein love is just another cream pie in your face,
And I've made a - a commitment to the moon and stars above
To duck a little faster next time some jerk mentions love.


Last Call
© 1994 Tania Opland

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How many people, sitting quietly together in this airport café
Over cups of earl grey, with their bags piled at their feet, are saying goodbye?

How many here are merely covering their confusion about leaving today?
Do they wish that they could stay, or are they ready to go, catch their plane and fly?

How many times have I looked over your shoulder at that clock on the wall
And the black warning sign that says "last call"?

How many people passing bravely through security are hiding their fears,
Holding back tears about what they're returning to, or what they're leaving behind?

How many breaking hearts are lined up by the sign that says passengers only,
Watching us go, leaving half-formed dreams and unresolved fragments of lives?

How many steps will take me down this ramp of no return? I feel you behind me,
But the sign up ahead says "last call".


©1993 Brian Bedford - Bedspring Music

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There are many roads to travel, I'll tell you now my friends,
But the easy roads are rarely those that lead to happy ends,
For the hardships you encounter on the way that's dark and long
Make the ending linger sweetly like the last note of a song.

There are roads on which you're lonely, every turning seems the same
When the journey has no purpose, when no one speaks your name,
When you need someone to walk with just to say that you exist;
That's the road that seems the longest, like the path lost in the mist.

There are many roads to friendship, some are short and quickly wane,
But the friends you make on troubled roads are those that will remain;
Those you carry when they're weary, those who'll guide you when you're lost,
Are the friends that you will warm to like the fires that melt the frost.

You will sit by many firesides seeking comfort from the road
'Til the fire of friendship burns you and you carry one more load,
Then you'll share a fire that warms you, glows beside you through the day,
And you'll walk the road together, taking turns to lead the way.

For there are many roads to travel...