The Preacher And The Bear


h1 July 1st, 2017

A popular minstrel song form the 1800s.

Lyrics:

[C] A Preacher went out a-huntin’ was [F] on one Sunday [C] morn
It was against his religion, but he [D] took his rifle [G] along
[C] He shot himself three mighty fine quail
and [F] one little measly [C] hare
[F] And on his way [C] returning [Am] home,
[D] he met a great big [G] Grizzly [C] Bear

[Am] Now the bear marched out in the middle of the road
[Em] Right up to the Preacher [Am] you see
[D] The Preacher got so excited, he climbed up a cinnamon [G] tree
[C] The bear sat down upon the ground,
the [F] Preacher climbed out on a [C] limb
[F] Well he cast his [C] eyes to the [D] Lord in the skies,
[G] These words he said to [C] Him

[C] Oh Lordy, didn’t you deliver [F] Daniel from the lion’s [C] den
Also, deliver Jonah, from the [D] belly of a whale and [G] then
[C] Three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace
so the [F] Good Book do [C] declare
[F] Oh Lord, if you [C] can’t help [D] me,
[G] Please don’t help [C] that bear

[C] Now the Preacher was up in that tree,
[F] I think it was [C] all night
[C] He said Mr Bear if you bother me,
[D] I’ll give you an awful [C] fight
Just about that time the limb let go
and the [F] Preacher came a-tumblin’ [C] down
[F] You could see him getting his [C] razor [D] out
[G] before he hit the [C] ground

[Am] Now he hit the ground cuttin’ right and left,
[Em] he put up a very good [Am] fight
[D] Then the bear grabbed the Preacher,
and he squeezed him a little too [G] tight
[C] The Preacher dropped his razor, the [F] bear held on with a [C] vim
[F] Well he cast his eyes to the [C] Lord in the [D] skies
[G] These words he said to [C] Him
CH
[C] They fought all the way to the river,
[F] it was a terrible [C] fight
That bear just kept a-hanging on,
but the [D] Preacher was a-doing all [G] right
[C] He dragged that beast right down in the water
[F] it was three times in and [C] out
[F] Then the bear got up and he [C] limped [D] away
[G] and the Preacher began to [C] shout

[C] Oh, Lordy, didn’t you deliver [F] Daniel from the lion’s [C] den
Also, deliver Jonah, from the [D] belly of a whale, [G] Amen,
And oh Lord, it may-not look like much from way up there,
But the hardest job I ever done was a-baptizing that bear.

Reminds me of this joke:

The Atheist and the Bear!

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the evolution had created. “What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!”, he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing.

He ran even faster, so scared that tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out “Oh my God!….”
Time stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
Even the river stopped moving.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, “You deny my existence for all of these years; teach others I don’t exist; and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?”

The atheist looked directly into the light “It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as Christian now, but perhaps could you make the bear a Christian?”

“Very well,” said the voice.
The light went out.
The river ran again.
And the sounds of the forest resumed.
And then the bear dropped his right paw ….. brought both paws together…bowed his head and spoke:

“Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful…AMEN!”
Author Unknown

Frankie And Johnny


h1 June 1st, 2017

This traditional blues based on a true story of a love affair gone wrong.

Lyrics:

[E] Frankie and Johnny were lovers
Oh! Lord, how they did love
[A] Swore to be true to each other
Just as true as the stars up [E] above
He was her [B7] man, but he was doin’ her [E] wrong

Frankie she was a good woman
Just as everyone knows
She gave her man a hundred dollars
Just to buy a new suit of clothes
He was her man but he was doin’ her wrong

Johnny went down to the corner
He asked for a glass of beer
Frankie went down in an hour or so
Said my loving Johnny been here?
He is my man but he’s doing me wrong

I ain’t gonna tell you no stories
I ain’t gonna tell you no lies
I saw your lovin’ Johnny
Making love to Nellie Bligh
He is your man but he’s doing you wrong

Frankie went home in a hurry
She didn’t go there for fun
She hurried home just to get a hold of
A big old forty-four gun
He is her man but he’s doing her wrong

Roll me over darling
Roll me over so slow
Roll me on my right side
Cause my left one hurts me so
He was my man but he was doing me wrong

Cupid’s Garden


h1 May 1st, 2017

This traditional song (Roud 297) is about an 18th century tea garden located on the south side of the River Thames in London. It was named after Abraham Boydell Cuper. It became known as “Cupid’s Garden because of the questionable morals of its visitors and as a result, lost its licence in 1736.

Lyrics:

[G] ‘Twas down in Cupid’s [D] Garden I [C] wandered for to [D] view
[G] The sweet and lovely [D] flowers [C] that in the [D] garden [G] grew,
[G] And one it was sweet [D] jasmin, the [C] lily, pink and [D] rose;
[G] They are the finest [D] flowers [C] that in the [D] garden [G] grow
[C] that in the [D] garden [G] grow.

I had not been in the garden but scarcely half an hour,
When I beheld two maidens, sat under a shady bower,
And one it was sweet Nancy, so beautiful and fair,
The other was a virgin and did the laurels wear
and did the laurels wear.

I boldly stepped up to them and unto them did say,
“Are you engaged to any young man, come tell to me, I pray?”
“No, I’m not engaged to any young man, I solemnly declare;
I mean to stay a virgin and still the laurels wear”
and still the laurels wear.

So, hand in hand together, this loving couple went;
To view the secrets of her heart was the sailor’s full intent,
Or whether she would slight him while he to the wars did go.
Her answer was, “Not I, my love, for I love a sailor bold”
for I love a sailor bold.

It’s down in Portsmouth Harbour, there’s a ship lies waiting there;
Tomorrow to the seas I’ll go, let the wind blow high or fair.
And, if I should live to return again, how happy I should be
With you, my love, my own true love, sitting smiling on my knee
sitting smiling on my knee.

Rock A My Soul


h1 April 1st, 2017

Rock A My Soul is a classic African-American spiritual originating in the southern United States. It refers to a parable in Gospel of Luke of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man had his reward in life but the poor beggar Lazarus suffered greatly. In death Lazarus went to enjoy the comfort of the bosom of Abraham and the rich man was tortured in Hades.

The counterpoint of the two choruses is just for fun. You gotta go in through the door.

Lyrics:

CH 1)

[E] Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
[B7] Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
[E] Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
[B7] Lord rock a my [E] soul

CH 2) Overlap

[E] So high you can’t get over it
[B7] So low you can’t get under it
[E] So wide you can’t get around it
[B7] You gotta go in through the [E] door

[E] I would not be a sinner
And I’ll tell you the reason [B7] why
If by chance my Lord should [A] call me
[B7] Then I wouldn’t be ready to [E] die

Why don’t you rock a my soul
In the bosom of Abraham
Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Oh rock a my soul
Why don’t you rock a my soul

I went down in the valley
To find me and place to pray
I felt my soul so happy
That I sang my prayers all day

CH out

(c) 2017 McGuinn Music /
New Lyrics By Roger McGuinn

Cat Come Back


h1 March 1st, 2017

This is a comic children’s song written by Harry S. Miller in 1893. It has since been adopted by numerous folk singers.

This is dedicated to all cat lovers, especially Cynthia Kula and Morgan Fairchild.

Lyrics:

[E] Old Mr. Johnson had some troubles of his own
He had a little kitty cat that wouldn’t leave his [B7] home
[E] He tried one day to give the cat away
So he gave it to the preacher and thought he [B7] would [E] stay.

[E] But the cat come back, [A] thought he was a goner
[E] But the cat come back, [B7] cat come back
[E] The very next day the [A] cat come back
[E] Oh he thought he was a goner
But he [B7] couldn’t stay [E] away

Gave it to a railroad engineer,
Take the little kitty cat away from here
But the boiler busted so they say
And the cat come back the very next day

But the cat come back, thought he was a goner
But the cat come back, cat come back
The very next day the cat come back
Oh he thought he was a goner
But he couldn’t stay away

He gave it to a man in a hot air baloon
Told him to give it to the man in the moon
But the balloon busted so they say
And the cat come back the very next day

But the cat come back, thought he was a goner
But the cat come back, cat come back
The very next day the cat come back
Oh he thought he was a goner
But he couldn’t stay away

(c) 2017 McGuinn Music /
New Lyrics By Roger McGuinn

All The Good Times Are Past And Gone


h1 February 1st, 2017

Another favorite traditional bluegrass standard.

Lyrics:

[A] All the good times are [D] past and [A] gone
All the good times are [E] o’er
[A] All the good times are [D] past and gone
[A] Little darlin’ don’t you [E] weep no [A] more.

Now don’t you see that turtle dove
Flyin from pine to pine
It’s mournin’ for It’s own true love
Just like I mourn for mine.

All the good times are past and gone
All the good times are o’er
All the good times are past and gone
Little darlin’ don’t you weep no more.

Now don’t you see that passenger train
Coming around the bend
It’s taking me from this lonesome old town
Never to return again

All the good times are past and gone
All the good times are o’er
All the good times are past and gone
Little darlin’ don’t you weep no more.

Come back, come back my own true love
And stay with me a while
If ever I’ve had a friend in this world
You’ve been a friend for many a mile

(c) McGuinn Music /
New Lyrics By Roger McGuinn

Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms


h1 January 1st, 2017

“Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” is a traditional folk song often recorded by bluegrass and country artists. It was derived from a cowboy song titled “My Lula Gal” which was taken from an old British song “Bang Bang Rosie.”

Lyrics:

[G] Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Roll in my sweet baby’s [D] arms
[G] Lay around the shack ’til the [C] coal train comes back
[D] And I’ll roll in my sweet baby’s [G] arms

[G] I ain’t gonna work in the city
I ain’t gonna work on the [D] farm
[G] Lay around the shack ’til the [C] coal train comes back
[D] And I’ll roll in my sweet baby’s [G] arms

Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Lay around the shack ’til the coal train comes back
And I’ll roll in my sweet baby’s arms

Now you ought a see my baby
She’s so sweet and kind
I take her every place I go
I never would leave her behind

Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Lay around the shack ’til the coal train comes back
And I’ll roll in my sweet baby’s arms

I know her parents they like me
They welcome me in their door
Invite me to a real fine meal
And ask if I want any more

Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Lay around the shack ’til the coal train comes back
And I’ll roll in my sweet baby’s arms

Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Roll in my sweet baby’s arms
Lay around the shack ’til the coal train comes back
And I’ll roll in my sweet baby’s arms

(c) McGuinn Music /
New Lyrics By Roger McGuinn

One Horse Open Sleigh


h1 December 1st, 2016

Inspired by the sleigh races in Medford Massachusetts during the mid 19th century, James Pierpont penned this song at 19 High Street in the center of Medford Square at what was then the Simpson Tavern. It has since become a popular Christmas song.

My wife Camilla and I have added new lyrics to reflect what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in Florida. Note the “Miami Vice” TV show was on the air (in the 1980s) when we came up with the new words. It’s in reruns now but there is still plenty of vice in Miami.

Merry Christmas 2016!

Lyrics:

[G] Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open [C] sleigh
O’er the fields we [D] go
Laughing all the [G] way

[G] Bells on bobtail ring
Making spirits [C] bright
Oh what fun to [D] ride and sing
A sleighing song [G] tonight!

[G] Jingle bells, [Bm] jingle bells,
[Em] Jangle all the [G] way.
[C] Oh! what fun [G] it is to ride
[Am] In a one-horse open [D] sleigh.

[G] Jingle bells, [Bm] jingle bells,
[Em] Jangle all the [G] way.
[C] Oh! what fun [G] it is to ride
[D] In a one-horse open [G] sleigh.

BREAK

Oh Miami Vice, Disney’s nice
Alligators all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a fishing boat today

Oh Astronauts, swamp land lots
Big bugs all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a racing sloop today

Here we are in Florida
Without a hope of snow
Under swaying palms
Hurricanes sure to blow

But Santa Clause will know
How Florida will agree
Instead of coming from the North
He’ll come from the Florida Keys

Oh Miami Vice, Disney’s nice
Alligators all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a fishing boat today

Oh Astronauts, swamp land lots
Big bugs all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a racing sloop today X2

(c) McGuinn Music / April First Music 2016
New Lyrics By Roger McGuinn/Camilla McGuinn

The Farmer In The Dell


h1 November 1st, 2016

This is a classic children’s song and game brought to the United States by German immigrants in the mid 1820s. It has been translated into many languages around the world. In the game the players form a circle and hold hands. One person is selected to be the farmer. The people in the circle move around and the farmer chooses a wife. The wife joins the farmer in the center and chooses the child. They all choose someone until the cheese is left standing alone. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 6306.

My wife Camilla remembers playing this game when she was a little girl in Beaufort South Carolina.

Lyrics:

[G] The farmer in the dell (2x)
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer [D] in the [G] dell

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The farmer takes a wife (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The farmer takes a wife

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The wife takes the child (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The wife takes the child

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The child takes the maid (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The child takes the maid

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The maid takes the cow (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The nurse takes the cow

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The cow takes the dog (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cow takes the dog

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The dog takes the cat (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The dog takes the cat

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The cat takes the mouse (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cat takes the mouse

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The mouse takes the cheese (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The mouse takes the cheese

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The cheese stands alone (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cheese stands alone

Instrumental:
[Em] [D] [G]

The farmer in the dell (2x)
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

Instrumental: X3
[Em] [D] [G]

(c) McGuinn Music 2016
New Music By Roger McGuinn

Blue Tail Fly


h1 October 1st, 2016

This is an authentic version of a classic song once sung by minstrel groups in the 19th century.

Lyrics:

[G] Oh when you come in [C] summer time,
[G] To South Carlina’s [D] sultry clime,
[G] If in the shade you [C] chance to lie,
[D] You’ll soon find out the [G] blue tail fly,

CH: [G] And scratch him with a [D] brier too
And scratch him with a [G] brier too
And scratch him with a [C] brier too
[D] The old man’s gone [G] away

There’s many kind of these here things,
From diff’rent sort of insects springs;
Some hatch in June, and some July,
But August fetches the blue tail fly,

When I was young, I used to wait
On the old man’s table and hand the plate;
I’d pass the bottle when he got dry,
And brush away the blue tail fly.

Then after dinner when the old man’d sleep,
He bid me vigilance to keep;
And when he going to shut his eye,
He’d tell me watch the blue tail fly.

When he’d ride in the afternoon,
I follow with a hickory broom;
The poney being very shy,
When bitten by the blue tail fly.

One day he rode around the farm,
The flies so numerous did swarm;
One chanced to bite him on the thigh,
The devil take that blue tail fly.

The pony run, he jump, and pitch,
And tumble the old man in the ditch;
He died, and the Jury wondered why,
The verdict was, the “blue tail fly.”

They laid him under a simmon tree,
His epitaph is there to see;
Beneath this stone I’m forced to lie,
All by the means of the blue tail fly.

The old man’s gone, now let him rest,
They say all things are for the best;
I never shall forget till the day I die,
The old man and the blue tail fly.

The hornet gets in your eyes and nose,
The skeeter bites you through your clothes,
The gallinipper sweet and high,
But ‘worser’ yet the blue tail fly.