Honey Come Dance With Me

Lyrics

by Patricia Luce Chapman

With illustrations by Krisztina Lee Botond

I found that I was a songwriter about the same time that I discovered country music. I had been, and remain, an opera buff. How was it possible that the same person who could shiver with joy at Aida and Madame Butterfly could also fall apart laughing or crying at All My Ex’s Live in Texas, or Love Me Tender?

Well, I came to realize, country is a kind of abbreviated opera, while opera is a kind of expanded country. Both have great stories and heady emotions. Country gives more fun in its surprising plays on words, while opera has more catch-your-breath beauty; I guess I like laughter and music and moving stories.

 

Lyrics must accommodate specific structural and rhythmic requirements, while saying something in an unusual way that rhymes. Wild wonderful creativity must be disciplined and controlled. The process is challenging. An idea can percolate for years before it emerges as a finished lyric. But when the pieces fall in place—when that one key word is found—there’s an overwhelming joyous rush.

 

Some of my lyrics are pop or blues in addition to country; some are novelty or theater. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

Dance With Lightning

I was watching the sky during a particularly dramatic thunderstorm; the lightning was leaping all over the heavens. My goodness, I though, the lightning is having fun, it’s dancing! But if you try to dance with it, it’ll be too hot, and you’ll get burned. Time passed, and then one morning I woke up with the line “dancing up a storm” in my mind. “Dance with Lightning was born. Christopher Blum came up with a great idea for the ending, and Jeff Severson wrote some really fun music to get us dancing! (This lyric was a prizewinner.)

Patricia Luce Chapman, whose article “To Bernard Berenson with Love” appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of the Social Register Observer, is also the author of a volume of lyrics, Honey Come Dance With Me, including those reproduced here.

 

Most of these lyrics together with their respective melodies can be heard or purchased directly from Mrs. Chapman or from www.Broadjam.com, as albums or as individual CDs. Those wishing to buy her book or one or more of her three CDs can do so by contacting her directly (patchacha@me.com, or www.patricialucechapman.com) or at www.Amazon.com

ChapmanWorks 2012, 112 pp.

$12.95, paperback.

ISBN: 978-0976520733

 

Dixie was dancing up a storm when I walked into the bar

Her hair as red as sunset, her eyes were like live wires

Well I wanted her, I wanted her, I asked her for a dance

She looked me over, tossed her head, and said

Not a chance

 

She was lightning, she was wildfire in the night

Wildfire

She was lightning like fireworks hot and bright

She shook her hips, blew me a kiss

Said, boy, you’ve got to learn

If you try to dance with lightning, baby

You’ll get burned

 

We I had totally lost it, I didn’t care if I got hurt

Just stood there praying she’d want me for dessert

Oh that short red leather skirt, red heels a mile high

She took a step forwards, leaned far back and that

Skirt rode up her thigh

 

[Refrain]

 

Dixie stepped back way too far, her heel caught on a wire

She fell into the drum set, started up a fire

The neon signs exploded, the bottles popped their tops

She sat hard on that sawdust floor, somebody called the cops

 

[Refrain]

 

She was lightning, she was lightning

Gonna Run Away

There come times in life when every day brings a new catastrophe or insult or unsolvable conflict, and you yearn to break away to a place just like the one described here. This lyric, basically intended for abused women, or men, can be adapted to other hard circumstances.

I’ve got to get away to find a life

Can’t take this treatment any more

Have to escape without him seeing me

Maybe slip out through the doggie door?

 

Gonna run to sunshine and to flowers

All the way to soft ocean air

Where the seagulls idle in the great blue sky

Far away from coldness and despair

 

Gonna run to music in the village heart

All the way to sweetness in the eyes

Where laughter rolls in like an ocean wave

Far from the city’s bitter cries

 

Gonna be a runaway, I’m gonna run away

From this hard place into a dream

Gonna be a runaway, gonna play each day away

Spreading happiness as thick as cream

 

So I’m pouring out the barrels full of tears

Burning boxes full of memories

Want a life clean as moonlight on the sand

Young as white spray dancing with the breeze

 

[Refrain]

 

I’m heading off and baby I’ll keep going

‘Til I get to where I’m safe and free

 

[Refrain]

Gonna run run away, gonna play play away

Run away play away, run run run run play away

Honey Come Dance With Me

This lyric was such fun to write, even though very difficult. It began as a Charleston: note the three rhymes in each two lines of verse. The inspiration was my mother, Edna Lee Booker Potter (pictured at left), who had a twinkle in her eyes and a stubborn chin. Krisztina “Tina” Lee Botond, her granddaughter and my daughter, who created the illustrations for the lyrics published here, made an important rewrite to the chorus. I learned a vital lesson when noted author/critic/songwriter Jason Blume at a BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) songwriters’ seminar read the lyric. I had written in the second verse, “(she) got a job in town.” Jason: “What was her job?” Me: “I dunno, she just had a job.” Jason: “Pin down her job and you’ve a strong song.” Three days later I got it: she worked AT THE SALON. Of course! The additional detail makes the heroine become so much more real.

In Louisville old folks still tell

About a pretty country belle

Who had a glow that caught the beaus

Made them feel like Romeos

Ah, peaches and cream, she was the dream

Of men from Butte to New Orleans

As spirit bright, full of fight

She waltzed and two-stepped every night

Calling

 

Honey come dance with me, dance with me hon

We’ve got time for one more dance

And let’s have a laugh or two

Sure is fun being with you

Oh honey, come dance with me, dance with me hon

 

She learned to swing, sang along with Bing

A new man said she was the prettiest thing

She married John, worked at the salon

Evenings they’d rock with the radio on

Some years were rough, but there was love enough

They discoed even when times got tough

Fire and grit, she wouldn’t quit

When her hair grew white and she wasn’t so quick

Calling

 

She’s in pain now, needs a cane

Holds her head high just the same

Her husband’s gone, was his name John?

Now she drifts back to the Grand Cotillion

Calling

 

[Refrain]

 

Honey come dance with me, dance with me

Dance with me, dance with me, hon

Oh honey, come dance

My Heart Attack Just Walked In

Two lines of an Emily Dickinson poem that I love have stayed with me for years. They are slightly altered in this lyric. Can you find them? Jeff Severson wrote very unusual rocking music for this song. (This lyric was a prizewinner.)

Oh my heart attack just walked in

I thought I’d gotten over him

And it’s scary how he fires up my brain

And I become a yearning churning heart aflame

 

And oh he’s walking over to me

And my pulse jumps and my knees go weak

He Comes up, whispers my name

And I become a shaking quaking heart aflame

 

And oh, and oh

That stoplight flashing in my heart

And oh, and oh

That sudden thundering alarm

I don’t need no EKG to fill me in

My heart attack just walked in

 

I knew he was trouble from the get go

He electrified my libido

He used me and abused me

And treated me mean

So I ran away from that

Heartbreak machine

 

[Refrain]

 

Help me!

I need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!

Together Forever

My children and I were stunned when we saw this scene of snow geese on a Texas ranch. Like Janie in the song, our eyes filled with tears. I love how smoothly it adapted into a love story between a boy and girl. Bonnie Farris Nicholson’s beautiful chorus adds poignancy and power. (This lyric was the Lyric Winner at the UK 2011 International Songwriting Contest.)

MANJITH KAINICKARA

Me and Janey were walking on the farm

Late in November

I was trying to find a way

To tell her I’d love her forever

We stopped to watch the white snow geese

Flying high above the lake

Then someone took a shot at them

One bird spun out of place

 

Well the frightened geese flew off, but one

Dropped to the lake to die

We saw one other circle back

To float right by its side

And I held Janey, saying

 

That’s what I call true love

And our love will live forever

Sweet and true

Together forever with you

We’ll be together forever

I swear to you

Together forever with you

 

The sky grew dark, but the faithful bird

Swam close beside its mate

Keeping vigil as the dying bird

Laid its head down on the lake

 

As the moonlight shone on one lonely bird

Janey’s cheeks were wet

We knew that what we saw this night

We could never ever forget

And I held Janey, saying

 

[Refrain]

We'll All Come Home

A New York tower is now rising high again. I hope the song will soon be obsolete. I can’t sing it without crying. Dedicated to the protectors and defenders of our American homeland.

When a tree finds a young boy’s kite

Across the fields to the candlelight

Children’s stories on a winter’s night

 

Then we’ll all come home

 

And when the valley is hushed with snow

From off the gray sea a cool wind blows

Ripening corn in long green rows

 

Then we’ll all come home

 

When the young girls are skipping on sidewalks

Covered with hopscotch and autumn leaves

When the young boys are fishing from boats

On the rivers we never wanted to leave

 

When through the trees we see an evening star

And young lovers walk on a windblown sand bar

And a boy kisses a girl in a beat up old car

 

Then we’ll all come home

 

When New York towers rise high again

To tell the tales of heroic men

And our homeland feels like home again

 

Then we’ll all come home

 

When New York towers rise high again

To tell the tales of heroic men

And our homeland feels like home again

 

Then we’ll all come home

We’ll all come home

The People-Repellent Blues: If You Ain't Breathing, You Ain't Smoking

Well now I know all about this subject, having been a happy smoker until asthma nearly killed me a few years ago. I was muttering to some equally nicotine-addicted music friends that it’s when you die that you can finally stop smoking. It’s just so hard to stop; and, I sort of joked, “if you ain’t breathing, you ain’t smoking.” They asked me to use that in a lyric and here it is. It’s a silly lyric but uncomfortably true. For anyone interested: sing it with any blues chords and act out exaggerated sound effects! I performed it at the Aransas Pass, Texas, “Rialto Theater” on an open mike night, and the audience broke up laughing.

My sweet baby left me, said I smelled like a stable

But Sweet Baby, I said, you know I tried to stop smoking but wasn’t able

Phew, phew, phew

She said, you’re stinking cause you’re smoking

If you ain’t stinking, I’m rethinking

 

My sweet baby left me, said I coughed up too much spit

But Sweet Baby, I said, you know I tried to quit

Ptuh, ptuh, ptuh

She said, you’re spitting cause you’re smoking

If you ain’t spitting, maybe I ain’t splitting

 

The blues, the blues

I got the people-repellent blues

Yeah I guess

I got the people-repellent blues

 

My sweet baby left me, said she was tired of my wheeze

But Sweet Baby, I said, you know I gotta breathe

Gasp, gasp, gasp

She said, you’re wheezing cause you’re smoking

If you ain’t wheezing, maybe I ain’t leaving

 

My sweet baby left me, said she can’t stand to hear me cough

OK, OK Sweet Baby, I said, I’ll have just one laaast little puff

Cough, cough, cough

She said, if you’re smoking you’re coughing

If you ain’t coughing, maybe I ain’t measuring your coffin

 

Phew, ptuh, gasp, cough

If you ain’t breathing, you ain’t smoking

 

The blues, the blues

I got the people-repellent blues

Yeah I guess

I got the people-repellent blues