Stella Got A New Dress

Bob Gibson wrote this song with Bob Camp in the early 60s. Gibson was my first influencer for folk music. In 1957 He came to the Latin School of Chicago and performed a 45 minute set that blew me away! I ran up to Louise Ganter, my music teacher, who had invited Bob and asked what type of music that was? She told me it was folk music and suggested that I check out the newly opened Old Town School of Folk Music. Well after three years of studying there I was a professional musician. So Gibson’s appearance was a life changing event for me.
The Smothers Brothers recorded this song and Tommy who passed away recently, was a good friend. I put this song up as a love ballad for Valentine’s Day as well as a tribute to Bob Gibson and Tommy Smothers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Lyrics:
In the key of F in the D position with a capo on the third fret.

[D] Stella’s got a new dress [A] just today.
[D] Everywhere she goes the [A] people say.
[Em] Who’s that walkin’ [A] down the street?
[Em] Pretty little girl so [A] dainty and petit
[D] With a brand new way to [A] wear her hair
[D] And a brand new [F#m] bright new [G] dress to wear.
Who could imagine a [Em] sight so fair
[A] As Stella in her pretty new [D] dress?

Stella’s got a new dress don’t you know.
Everybody turns to watch her go.
All dressed up she looks so sweet
Pretty new shoes on her pretty little feet.
The very first time she passed my way
Stella stole my heart away
Who could imagine that lovely day
When Stella got a pretty new dress.

Stella’s got a new dress just today.
Everywhere she goes the people say.
Who’s that walkin’ down the street?
Pretty little girl so dainty and petit
With a brand new way to wear her hair
And a brand new bright new dress to wear.
Who could imagine a sight so fair
As Stella in her pretty new dress?

1840 When We Were There

1840 was the golden age of sail. The ships were still mostly wind powered and required a great deal of physical labor to operate. The crews used work songs to coordinate their efforts.

This song is new. I wrote it to capture the feel of a sailing ship in that period.

My wife Camilla and I love being at sea. We are sailing now for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Happy New Year 2024!!!

Lyrics:
“1840 When We Were There”
Played in D position with capo on first fret.
CH:
[D] Yo ho, me hearties, [Em] heave away,
We’ll [A] sail the oceans, [G] come what [D] may,
With the wind in our favor, high [G] seas at bay,
[D] Yo ho, me hearties, [A] heave [D] away!

[D] In eighteen-forty on a [Em] stormy sea,
[A] A band of sailors, [G] brave and [D] free,
[D] Hoist the sails and [Em] trim the mast,
[A] We’re bound for adventures, [G] far [D] a-vast!

With sun-kissed faces and calloused hands,
We’ll roam the waters of distant lands,
Through raging tempests and tranquil breeze,
We’ll sing our songs across the seas.
CH
As stars will guide us through the night,
We’ll tell old tales by lantern light,
Of pirates bold and mermaids fair,
Legends with a sailor’s flair.

So raise your voices, let the chorus ring,
To the rhythm of the sea, we’ll sing,
Together we stand, come storm or gale,
Our brotherhood will never fail.
CH
As the years go by and we grow old,
The tales we wove will be retold,
With laughter and tears, we’ll reminisce,
Of the days we sailed with hearts of bliss.

So here’s to the life we’ve chosen true,
To the sea and the crew, both old and new,
With every voyage, a story to share,
Of eighteen-forty, when we were there.
CH

I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go

Camilla was playing this lovely song written by Mary Brown in 1894, from her hymn book and I liked the melody so much that I decided to record it for December’s Christmas Folk Den Project.

Lyrics:
[G] It may not [Bm] be on the [C] mountain’s height,
[G] Or over the stormy [D] sea;
[G] It may not [C] be at the [G] battle’s [C] front
[G] My Lord will have [D] need of [G] me;
[D] But if by a still, small [G] voice He calls
[D] To paths I do not [G] know,
[G] I’ll answer, [C] dear Lord, with my [G] hand in [C] Thine,
[G] I’ll go where You [D] want me to [G] go.

CH:
[D] I’ll go where you want me to [G] go, dear Lord,
[D] O’er mountain, or plain, or [G] sea;
I’ll say [C] what you want me to [G] say, dear [C] Lord,
[G] I’ll be what you [D] want me to [G] be.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now, in the paths of sin
Some wand’rer whom I should seek.
O Saviour, if Thou wilt be my Guide,
Tho’ dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet,
I’ll say what you want me to say. CH

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide,
Where I may labor thro’ life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So, trusting my all to Thy care,
I know Thou lovest me!
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I’ll be what you want me to be. CH

Hard Travelin’

Camilla and I have been on the road since the beginning of September and are going to sea this week. We’ve been doing some hard traveling!!! This is a great Woody Guthrie song.

Lyrics:

[G] I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, I thought you knowed
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, [A] way down [D] the road
[G] I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, [C] hard ramblin’, [Am] hard gamblin’
[G] I’ve been havin’ some [D] hard travelin’, [G] lord

I’ve been ridin’ them fast rattlers, I thought you knowed
I’ve been ridin’ them flat wheelers, way down the road
I’ve been ridin’ them blind passengers, dead-enders, kickin’ up cinders
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, lord

I’ve been hittin’ some hard-rock minin’, I thought you knowed
I’ve been leanin’ on a pressure drill, way down the road
Hammer flyin’, air-hose suckin’, six foot of mud and I shore been a muckin’
And I’ve been hittin’ some hard travelin’, lord

I’ve been hittin’ some hard harvestin’, I thought you knowed
North Dakota to Kansas City, way down the road
Cuttin’ that wheat, stackin’ that hay, and I’m tryin’ make about a dollar a day
And I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, lord

I’ve been working that Pittsburgh steel, I thought you knowed
I’ve been a dumpin’ that red-hot slag, way down the road
I’ve been a blasting, I’ve been a firin’, I’ve been a pourin’ red-hot iron
I’ve been hittin’ some hard travelin’, lord

I’ve been walking that Lincoln highway, I thought you knowed,
I’ve been hittin’ that 66, way down the road
Heavy load and a worried mind, lookin’ for a woman that’s hard to find,
I’ve been hittin’ some hard travelin’, lord

1842

One of my favorite sea chantey melodies is “Go To Sea No More” so I’ve written new lyrics to it about a packet ship during the golden age of sail 1842!

Lyrics:

[Em] In eighteen and [D] forty-two, our packet ship set Em] sail,
With winds a-howlin’ through the storm a hearty [D] crew to [B7] hail,
[Em] She cut through the waves with her sturdy hull, her masts they [D] kissed the [B7] sky
[Em] Through storm and calm, we [D] journeyed on beneath the heavens [Em] high.
[G] Heavens high, heavens [D] high [Em] beneath the heavens [B7] high
[Em] Through storm and calm, we [D] journeyed on [Em] beneath the [D] heavens [Em] high.

From New York’s harbor, we’d embarked when our pilot gave the go!
We braved the seas with hearts so bold, with raging ebbs and flow,
A packet ship, so sleek and swift, through the foam we glide,
A sailor’s life is grand me boys, on the ocean with his bride!
His bride, his bride, on the ocean with his bride!
A sailor’s life is grand me boys, on the ocean with his bride!

With each new day, our spirits strong, as we pressed ahead,
Guided by the stars at night, as the moonlight spread
A cargo of treasures and dreams me lads our joy cannot be told
With a romance as precious as a hearty pirate’s gold
Pirate’s gold, pirate’s gold, as a hearty pirate’s gold
With a romance as precious as a hearty pirate’s gold

So raise your voices, me boys, and sing, of that daring quest,
As we bid farewell to our packet ship, that made us sail our best!
We’ll sing our songs of distant lands, all across the sea,
In eighteen forty-two me lads a tale we tell with glee!
With glee, with glee, a tale we tell with glee
In eighteen forty-two me lads a tale we tell with glee!

Hey Lilee

“Hey Lilee” is a song I played with the Limeliters on my first professional recording, “Tonight In Person.” We recorded it live at the Ash Grove folk club in Los Angeles in July of 1960. Although I didn’t receive credit on the album, I made a lot of cash as the opening act and backup musician for the Limeliters, on guitar and banjo.
This is an improvisational song where the audience was invited to make up verses on the fly. I decided to write some love stanzas instead.

Lyrics:

CH: [E] Hey Lilee, Lilee,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo [B7]
[E] Hey Lilee, Lilee,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo [B7]

Hey Lilee come dance with me,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
We will set our spirits free,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

In the meadow, twirl and spin,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A dance of joy, where love begins.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

We will let our laughter ring,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Chase fireflies, on gentle wings,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo —- CH
CH
Through the night, we’ll laugh and play,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Memories, in a special way.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

In the night, our hearts unite,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Enchanting worlds, where dreams take flight,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

Hand in hand, through forests deep,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A journey for our souls to keep.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo —— CH
CH
With every beat, our hearts align,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A love so pure, and so divine.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

Through sun and rain, we will stand strong,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
And in each other’s arms belong.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo — CH X 3

King’s Highway

This is a gospel song I used to sing with a folk group I was in called “The Frets” in 1957. Johnny Carbo on 5-string banjo, Lou McDonald on conga drum and me on 6 and 12-string guitar. Johnny Carbo owned the Cafe Oblique coffee house where we did shows on Friday and Saturday nights.
The chorus sounds a lot like the one from “City of New Orleans” “Good morning America how are you.”

Lyrics:

[E] No need to worry Lord, no need to hurry
Walking up the King’s highway [B7]
Christ walks beside me, angels to guide me
Walking up the King’s [E] highway
Chorus:
It’s a [A] high [B7] way to [E] Heaven
[B7] None can walk up there [E] except the pure in heart
It’s a [A] high [B7] way to [E] Heaven
[B7] Walking up the King’s [E] highway

My way gets brighter Lord, My load gets lighter Lord
Walking up the King’s highway
There’s joy in knowing, with Him I’m going
Walking up the King’s highway
Chorus:
It’s a highway to Heaven
None can walk up there except the pure in heart
It’s a highway to Heaven
Walking up the King’s highway

Happy Birthday

The original song was “Good Morning To You” sung to teachers at the beginning of the school day. A dispute arose as to who the legitimate authors were and it was eventually taken over by Warner/Chappell Music who made millions of dollars in licensing fees for movies and recordings. After a class action lawsuit it was returned to the public domain.

I got the idea for using this song for the Folk Den from my long time musical associate Bob Dylan who sang it for Brian Wilsons recent 81st birthday.

Click below to see Dylan sing Happy Birthday.

Lyrics:
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear ——-
Happy birthday to you

John Peel

I learned this song in glee club at the Latin School of Chicago in the mid 1950s. The verses are a bit bloody so I left them out. If you really want them click on “Lyrics” Lyrics:

[D] Do you ken John Peel at the break of day
[A7] Do you ken John Peel with his coat so grey
[D] Do you ken John Peel when he’s [G] far far [D] away
Or the fox in his [A7] lair in the [D] morning




May Morris Dance

There are more songs written about the month of May than there are about Christmas. This comes from the 17th century as a celebration of Spring. It is also a Morris Dance. The origin of Morris Dance is unclear but many think it comes from the Middle East. Lyrics:

[Dm] Come ye young men, come along,
With your music and [A] your [Dm] song.
Bring your lasses in your hands
For ’tis that which [A] love [Dm] commands.

[F] Then to the maypole haste away
[C] For ’tis now our [F] holiday

‘Tis the choice time of the year
For the violets [C] now appear.
Now the rose receives its birth
And the pretty primrose decks the earth.

And when you well reckoned have
What kisses you your sweethearts gave,
Take them all again and more,
It will never make them poor.

When you thus have spent your time
Till the day be past its prime
To your beds repair at night
And dream there of your day’s delight.