some lyrics by
Smithsonian Folkways Recording Artist
THOM PARROTT

Printed in Broadside Magazine (no recording):

House Of God // Freedoms We've Been Fighting For

From Tom Parrott's Folkways LP/CD NEON PRINCESS:

Where Are You Going, Boy? // Groovy And Linda
Aberfan // Misty Morning Maiden // Neon Princess

From Tom Parrott's Folkways LP/CD MANY WINDOWED NIGHT:

I'm Going Now // One More Nickel // They Ask Me Why I Wander
Many Windowed Night // Hole In The Ground // Our Children Are Dying

From the Broadside LP/CD BROADSIDE BALLADS, VOLUME 5:

Pinkville Helicopter

Written for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater:

Hudson's Name Was Henry

Sung by Thom on the Cerridwen and Darragh tape/CD Star Crystal:

Merry Meet

Recorded by Randy Rhodes on Blue Ridge Records:
Teardrops On Tap


index of lyrics by Thom Parrott

HOUSE OF GOD
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1965 by Thom Parrott

(Printed in Broadside Magazine #56, March 10, 1965)

I was taught that in the House of God
You folded your hands in prayer.
Two or three would gather together
To ask for forgiveness of sins.
There might be singing. There might be preaching,
Though your book might be different from mine.
I always thought that the church was meant for praying.

Some folks were taught that in the House of God
You listen but you do not hear.
Ten or twenty will gather together
To make a council of war.
And they burn their crosses and use their rifles
And throw their dynamite thru the door.
Some people think that the church was meant for burning.

Now they've taught me that the House of God
Is built in the hearts of men.
All of us must stand and be counted
Or our souls will wither and die.
And there may be murder. They'll sure be trying.
But if there weren't fear, why bother to stand.
Now we know that the church was meant for building.

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FREEDOMS WE'VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1967 by Thom Parrott

(Printed in Broadside Magazine #82, July, 1967)

We've fought a thousand battles. We've won a hundred wars.
From the bloody ridge at Gettysburg to China's "Open Door."
And it's written in our history, it's recorded in our lore,
All the wonder of the freedoms that we've been fighting for.

We drove the Indians from their land, their hallowed grounds to till.
They went if they were savvy. If they stayed they all were killed.
And it didn't matter that this land belonged to them before,
For they were not red men's freedoms that we were fighting for.

And when we crossed the mountains to the California side,
And gold was found at Sutter's Mill, no force could stem the tide.
Freedom was the battle cry but greed was at the core,
And they were not Mexican freedoms that we were fighting for.

And when the Civil War came and fathers killed their sons,
Emancipation was the cause for which it all was done.
But the slavery of two hundred years lived another hundred more,
For they were not Negro freedoms that we were fighting for.

And when our boys in Viet Nam drive out the Viet Cong,
Behind them come the landlords to continue all their wrongs.
And a government of tyranny treats its country like a whore.
Are they Oriental freedoms that we are fighting for?

And when we rise to speak our minds against the cancer's spread,
We're told that we're responsible for the rising toll of dead.
Then we're battered and we're beaten for we stand against this war.
Tell me, where are all the freedoms that you say we're fighting for?

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WHERE ARY YOU GOING, BOY?
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1965 by Thom Parrott

Came to this city, hope in my heart.
Find this town will only be the start.
Where are you going, boy?
I don't know, and what's more, I don't think I care.

New York City, Frisco Bay,
And all the country along the way.
Where are you going, boy?
I don't know, and what's more, I don't think I care.

Love when I can, fight when I must,
Die if it's needed, life is a lust.
Go where I want to, live how I can.
Somewhere along the way I may become a man.

Got to be going, you know why.
May never find myself but I know I've got to try.
Where are you going, boy?
I don't know, and what's more, I don't think I care.

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GROOVY AND LINDA
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1967 by Thom Parrott

Groovy was a rambling boy who came to Tompkins Square.
He sometimes had a crash pad, everyone was welcome there.
And he helped a thousand people, he'd have helped a million more.
But they found his broken body on the bloody basement floor.
And Groovy was a free man, so beautiful to see,
With a love for everybody that was there for all to see.

Linda was a young girl who painted with her soul.
Who lived a life of luxury til she just had to go.
And she loved all of her people until the day she died,
Tho the straight folks in Connecticut could only wonder why.
But Linda was a free girl, so beautiful to see,
With a love for everybody that was there for all to see.

Jesus was a drifter who went from town to town.
All the evil, up-tight people knew when he was around.
For he showed us what we ought to be, til they nailed him on the cross,
Though they knew somewhere within their hearts, they paid too high a cost.
For Jesus was a free man, so beautiful to see.
With a love for everybody that was there for all to see.

And those who've tasted Groovy's love and Linda's quite the same,
Have also known of Jesus love, tho they shun the Christian name,
For they had love that so few people ever understand:
The love of those who give themselves to help their fellow man.
So let us all be free men, the, so beautiful to see,
With a love for everybody that is here for all to see.

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THE ABERFAN COALTIP TRAGEDY
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1966 by Thom Parrott

The mining men of Wales are hardy, strong and bold,
And they tunnel in the earth and make it yield its coal.
But in the town of Aberfan, it's dearer now than gold,
For one generation, for the black rock, has been sold.
How many died in Aberfan
When the coal tip came rumbling down?
How many children will never grow old?
How many lives purchase how many pounds of coal?

The little school of Pantglas* lay where the mountain loomed,
And some two hundred children took their lessons in its rooms.
The day fall recess was to begin, they went to meet their doom,
Not knowing "the green hollow" would soon become their tomb.
Chorus.

It was just 9:00 AM when they opened up the door,
And in came the children, two hundred, maybe more,
For nobody knew what the mountain had in store.
The lucky ones were tardy, the others are no more.
Chorus.

"I played with my big dog, I played with my cat."
Signed "Paul, October 21." There's nothing after that.
For the mountain came down, and everyone was trapped,
And now there's only coal slag where little Paul once sat.
Chorus.

In eighteen hundred and seventy-four, the first pit shaft went down,
And they started piling mining waste on the slopes above the town.
Everybody knew that the practice was unsound
But for ninety-two years no better place was found.

The men of the National Coal Board said that they'd known from the first.
The coal tips they permitted were a worry and a curse.
But I've heard that kind of thing so many times and it always sounds rehearsed.
If the coal tip was a murderer, the Coal Board's crime was worse.

For the children all were pretty, the children all were fine,
But the children went to school in the shadow of the mine.
With the coal tip up above them, they were running out of time,
And they were buried alive by the Ministry of Mine.
How many died in Aberfan
When the coal tip came tumbling down.
How many children will never grow old.
How many lives purchase how many tons of coal.

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MISTY MORNING MAIDEN
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1966 by Thom Parrott

On the misty Monday morning of the dawn of my release,
While searching through the shadows for some sign of inner peace,
I found a misty morning maiden with flowers in her hair,
Smelled a cooling, soothing fragrance, I heard music everywhere.
And the misty morning maiden softly took me by the hand.
Sometimes laughing, sometimes weeping, led me thru her misty morning land.

From the melding of a mirror with the vision of its face,
We went slipping down a mossy bank where a swirling brooklet raced.
And there upon a sandy shore where the mountain flowers lie,
We counted all the pebbles as we watched the clouds roll by.
And the misty morning maiden warmly took my wandering hand,
And, laughing thru her teardrops called me her misty morning man.

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NEON PRINCESS
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1966 by Thom Parrott

The Neon Princess smiles a smile that's numb with nothingness,
Her eyes a sea of molten masquerade.
She moves her mouth in greeting and she kisses you to show
You are welcome to her gruesome, small parade.

But her words have little meaning
And her kisses have no feeling
And she doesn't really see you there at all.
For her neon youth is flying
And she knows there's no use crying
And she doesn't really care which way she falls.

The Neon Princess drinks the beer you buy her on the sly,
But she's tasting mead in an Arthurian dream,
And, tho she sits beside you on a bench against the wall,
She sees herself beside a Scottish stream.

And she goes on with her dreaming
Tho she knows what you are scheming,
For your hands are asking silent questions of her.
For her neon world is dying
And she knows there's no use crying
And she doesn't really care who is her lover.

The Neon Princess climbs the stairs up to the room you show her,
Her feet reluctant to the work of walking.
And she takes the drink you offer and she nibbles at your ear,
And you know she doesn't feel too much like talking.

And you think you know her yearning
For your own lust is a-burning
But that isn't really what she feels at all.
It's just, her neon world is dying
And she knows there's no use crying,
And she doesn't really care which way she falls.

Tho the Neon Princess burns you with the presence of her body,
You feel the passion of the moment go,
For, tho she's there beside you, her presence is a chore,
For her spirit left her body long ago.

So you finish what you've started
But you do it now half hearted,
For you know she doesn't feel you there above her.
And you know that you are plying
A princess who is dying,
Who doesn't really care who is her lover.

And she's gone now, and you're lonely, but you know you do not miss her,
For she was gone before you found her on the corner.
And you know that she's a martyr, a phantom orphan in the night,
And you know that no one else will ever mourn her.

The Neon Princess is defiled,
She's a lost and a lonely child,
Who'll come to anyone who cares to call.
And she's done her share of crying
For her neon world that's dying,
And she knows there's nothing left now but to fall.

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I'M GOING NOW
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1967 by Thom Parrott

I'm going down to the highway,
Gonna hitch myself a ride.
Don't know where I'm going.
I just need someplace to hide.
I'm going now. I'm going now. I'm going now.

I once had a woman...
I once had a girl.
She was just my woman,
But I was her whole world.
I'm going now.

I never wanted love,
I didn't want to take the load.
She gave me all her love,
Now I'll take the open road.
I'm going now.

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ONE MORE NICKEL
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1968 by Thom Parrott

I've been standing here all day long.
Begging nickels and dimes.
Now I've got thirty-four cents in my jeans.
It's almost time.
Just one more nickel and I'll have me a bottle of wine.

Say, mister, have you got a nickel?
I haven't had my coffee today.
You've only got a five dollar bill.
Well, thanks for trying anyway.
Just one more nickel and I'll have me a bottle of wine.

Say, madam, I haven't had a morsel
Since almost two days ago.
You've searched to the bottom of your purse
And there's only one token to show.
Just one more nickel and I'll have me a bottle of wine.

Standing on the corner. It's getting late.
Nobody's been passing by.
Guess the liquor store's closed anyway.
Guess I'll crawl into an alley and die.
Just one more nickel and I'd've had me a bottle of wine.

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THEY ASK ME WHY I WANDER
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1966 by Thom Parrott

The people that I meet, as I go rambling round,
Have often had me in their homes,
And the friends that I have made, as I go from town to town,
Sometimes wonder why I roam.

They ask me why I wander.
I ask them why they stay.
Cause the world is spinning,
And nobody's winning,
And what did you do today?

I've heard a lot of talk in the places I have been,
But none of it has seemed to mean a thing.
As I've left the talk kept on tho it sounded mighty thin,
And I hope I say more in the songs I sing.

They ask me why I wander....

The promises of politicians, rich men and their wives
Seldom live for more than half an hour.
I sometimes feel that it is best to let them live their lies,
And waste their lives in foolish games of power.

They ask me why I wander....

The roads are sometimes muddy and the roads are sometimes rough,
And the jobs are sometimes very hard to find.
But the singing's there for pleasure and the people there for love,
And the hunger is a pain that I don't mind.

They ask me why I wander....

My words begin to tumble and my mind begins to reel
And the sense of what I'm saying seems to slide.
So I will leave you here now with one more fond goodbye,
And walk the highway hoping for a ride.

....And what did you do today?

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MANY WINDOWED NIGHT
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1965 by Thom Parrott

The many windowed night looks out
From dancing street to silent depths of solitude.
Lying wakeful on my bed
I hold your hand as you drift off in dreams.
The night becomes a fairy tale
Of laughing children, singing Gods.
And I, the Gypsy Rover,
Whistle thru your valley, casting magic spells.

I watch you rising, falling,
In the easy rhythm of your sleep soft breathing.
And smiling softly, I reach out
Caressing the hair that flows beside me.
My room becomes a wonderland
Where life is endless, all is good.
And the shadows of the soft lit night
Are freely flitting satyrs.

My body aches from weariness
And so I slide to lie beside you quietly.
I reach gently to caress your lips
In the tender evenings final kiss.
You, half-waking, turn to nestle
Warmly, closely into me.
The many windowed night revolves
From dancing street to love filled depths of solitude.

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HOLE IN THE GROUND
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1968 by Thom Parrott

My age is ten years. I wear raggedy pants.
And I beg from the soldiers, when I get the chance.
My mother is living in a house in the town.
But my daddy lives in a hole in the ground.

The soldiers are friendly. The soldiers are fun.
I play with the soldiers. I field strip their guns.
I tell them I live with my mother in town,
But my daddy lives in a hole in the ground.

The soldiers are nice men, yes they are my friends.
And they feed me candy without any end.
They say they are new here. Could I show them around?
Could I show them where my daddy lives in the hole in the ground?

I show all the soldiers what they want to see.
Because they are good men and so nice to me.
That night there's a booming from outside of town.
From near where my daddy lives in the hole in the ground.

The next day I go to visit my daddy.
I walk and I look all across the rice paddies.
But I can't find my daddy. There's no one around.
And I can't find the hole where he lived in the ground.

But I've still got my soldiers to visit today.
But they don't want to see me. They all turn away.
Some faces are sad and some wear a frown,
As I speak of my daddy in the hole in the ground.

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OUR CHILDREN ARE DYING
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1968 by Thom Parrott

The naked, starving parents with no longer any hope.
Who would long ago have hung themselves, but couldn't buy the rope.
Who have turned upon themselves because they cannot reach the foe.
And strangle on the thousand things we will not let them know.

For we cut the corners. Save the dollars.
Never mind the babies that founder in the squalor.
And just close our hearts when we hear the crying.
Our children are dying.

Three crushed and bleeding family's, with no bath in two small rooms.
Where, in the winter, there's no heat. Eight children now. Another soon.
Five faces scrubbed, they run away, to find their lessons in the school.
To learn a life they cannot lead. To learn, by rote, the Golden Rule.

Chorus.

With eager, awkward minds at first, they try to win the teacher's heart.
And, though the teacher tries so hard, forty loves have no chance to start.
And soon the children know the rules. There's no time for love, only time for fear.
The funeral starts here.

Chorus.

Based on a book by Eliot Shapiro.

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PINKVILLE HELICOPTER
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1968 by Thom Parrott

As they flew over Pinkville, the choppers could see,
The slaughter that went on below them.
And they radioed the dying of the women and kids,
So that general headquarters would know them.

Then one circled down to a place on the ground
Where there were children who were wounded and crying.
And he took them in the chopper to take the kids out
So that they wouldn't be among the dying.

They were on their way out when below them they saw
A little two year old baby
So they went down again and the pilot got out
Muttering "The whole world has gone crazy."

The baby was cradled in the Captain's arms
Wounded and crying and bloody
When a Lieutenant came up and said "Put the kid down
And get your chopper on out of here, buddy."

The Captain looked down at the Lieutenant's gun
That was smoky and hot from the killing.
He said "If I have to give my life for this child,
Then, by God, you know that I'm willing."

Then the gunner who stood in the helicopter's door
Called out to the Lieutenant,
"We're calling your bluff. There's been killing enough.
If your gun starts more, mine will end it."

So they flew the kids out to the medics who said,
"War is hell. Even babies get wounded."
The pilot just looked at his gunner and shook.
Said "To kill them was what was intended."

As they flew over Pinkville, the choppers could see,
The slaughter that went on below them.
And they radioed the dying of the women and kids,
So that general headquarters would know them.

The events described in this song occurred March 16, 1968. The pilot was Hugh Thompson, the gunner was Lawrence Colburn and the third crewmate was Glenn Andreotta. They received the Soldier's Medal in March, 1998.

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HUDSON'S NAME WAS HENRY
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1970 by Thom Parrott

(Written for a Clearwater benefit in 1971.)

Hudson's name was Henry but the river is a john.
You once could see the sandy bed the water rested on.
But now the waste from factories and sewers flows along.
Hudson's name was Henry but the river is a john.

When Henry Hudson sailed his ship up past the Palisades,
His men could see the flounders on the bottom where they played.
But the white man brought his industry and time has flowed along.
Hudson's name was Henry but the river is a john.

Chorus.

We go into the bathroom and we leave a healthy load.
Then we pull the handle flushing out the old commode.
For, thanks to Sir John Harrington, our waste is washed away,
Down the mighty Hudson, out to the ocean's spray.

Chorus.

Producing electricity, paper, glass and such,
We make hot water, poisons, sludge and all that nasty stuff.
But since control costs money and doesn't seem to make us more,
We run our waste into the stream that flows by our back door.

Chorus.

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MERRY MEET
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1980 by Thom Parrott

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again,
To Fire and Water, to Earth and to Wind.
In the Circle of Life, the Dance never ends,
So merry meet, merry part and merry meet again.

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again.
May the Lord and the Lady guide you safely til then.
May your days all be peaceful and joyful my friend.
Merry meet....

Merry meet....
May skill and good fortune fill the work of your hands.
May the love of the Lady bless all of your plans.
Merry meet....

Merry meet....
But if something should happen to one of us, friend,
I'll still see you later on some other plane.
Merry meet....

Repeat first verse.

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TEARDROPS ON TAP
words & music by Thom Parrott
Copyright 1988 Blue Ridge Mountain Music

(Recorded by Randy Rhodes. Made it to 81 on Cashbox Country chart.)

One draft, bartender, for the day that we met.
The look in her eyes, I will never forget.
Turn the jukebox up loud. Play Jones and Wynette,
Cause new broken hearts get the same old regrets.
I thought when we married, we'd never part.
Now I'm alone with a new broken heart.
Pull back on the handle. Fill up my glass.
I'll drink to my memories with these TEARDROPS ON TAP.

Draw another, bartender. Here's to dangerous games...
That both of us played, so we both share the blame.
I know that she's drinking, tho she's not drinking here,
But wherever she is, she's got a glass full of tears.
TEARDROPS ON TAP don't help me forget,
But it hasn't been so long that I want to, just yet.
Pull back on the handle. Fill up my glass.
I'll drink to my memories with these TEARDROPS ON TAP.
I'll drink to my memories with these TEARDROPS ON TAP.

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HOME PAGE -- INDEX OF LYRICS

Copyright 1999 by Thom Parrott, email:
parrottsongs@yahoo.com

Copyright &c December 19, 1998.

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BLESSED BE!


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