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Second Fiddle Rag

©1973 Music: Doug Bowes Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

my man
plays in a barroom band
he’s got one pair of lightning hands
well he sits in the middle
and he plays jazz fiddle
right beside the big trombone
oh it’s dark when he goes out to work
and light when he gets home

I asked my man
to show me how to play
he said “Forget it, sugar
that’ll be the day!
you know this may be 1931
but a woman belongs at home,
baking pies and making eyes
at the man she calls her own”

so I bought me a fiddle on the sly
and a crank-up gramophone
I can’t go wrong I’m playing along
with Stephane Grappelli
he turns me to jelly
I’m learning tricks and real swell licks
while my man is snoring away
goodbye Yehudi
hello Venuti
my how that kid can play…

well did you hear the news
my man has done left town
he ran off with that old Marjorie Brown
oh I cried for a little
then I grabbed my fiddle
and I went down to the bar
I said “Hey boss listen, you’re missin’ a musician
but you don’t have to look too far

“Because here I am
better grab me while you can
or I’ll be struttin’ my stuff in
ol’ Ina Ray Hutton’s
all girl band!”

Le coffre à jouets

Music: Marie-Lynn Hammond   Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond & Marie-Thérèse Hammond

français:
hier j’ai regardé dans leur coffre à jouets
ah si j’avais su tout ce qui m’attendait
une poupée endormie, étouffée de caresses
un ourson de velours tout bourré de tristesse
une étoile à la page de tous leurs
mon vieux cœur fait naufrage comme ce pauvre voilier

refrain :
et un rayon de soleil
une poignée de
adieu mes petits, adieu mes amours
adieu jeunesse

et des billes de cristal, souvenirs lumineux
coulent entre mes mains, comme des bijoux précieux
ensuite des timbres de tous les pays
venus par milliers se coller dans leurs vies
et les roses séchées de leur premières amours
un chapelet oublié qui attend leur retour

refrain

et un carnet fané qui retient ses secrets
un peu comme on a fait
et enfin un casse-tête qui manque des morceaux
un peu comme entre nous

refrain

Translation:
yesterday, I raised up the lid of their toy chest
ah, had I but known what awaited me there
a child’s sleeping doll, long smothered with kisses
a plush teddy bear, its stuffing all sadness
a star on each page of their school notebooks
and a sorry toy sailboat, shipwrecked like my old heart

chorus:
and a ray of sunlight
a handful of sadness
farewell my little ones, farewell my loved ones
farewell to youth

and crystal marbles, luminous souvenirs
slip through my fingers like precious stones
and next, stamps from all over the globe
come by the thousands to brighten their lives
the dried roses of their first loves
and a forgotten rosary that awaits their return

chorus

and a faded journal, withholding its secrets
somewhat as we too have done
and finally a puzzle with pieces gone missing
somewhat the way it has been between us

chorus

Where the Grey Sky Meets the Sea

Music: Marie-Lynn Hammond Lyrics: Elsie Kohl Hammond

as I sit and watch I long to be
out where the grey sky meets the sea
where the grey sky meets the sea
for I know there’s a place where dreams come true
where smiles are many and tears are few
where the grey sky meets the sea
and the beautiful deeds that we wish to do
will be given birth and we start anew
in that land of our dreams beyond the blue
where the grey sky meets the sea
where the grey sky meets the sea

Over Queen Charlotte Sound

Music & Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

over Queen Charlotte Sound
the lichen-covered rocks below are grey and rust-brown
foam on the water like filigree
sun scatters sequins of gold on the sea
and Ted with the logbook and his head bent down
while I’m holding her steady
over Queen Charlotte Sound

over the mountains now
valley after valley of smoky jade and shadow
snowy range rises against the blue
like a fantasy magic-lantern view
and we’re as tiny as a speck of dust on the screen
lost in a world no one’s ever seen
over the mountains now

engine droning
landing on some nameless lake
pontoons rocking gently on the water
drift in silence when we cut the motor
drift in silence
drift in silence

over Queen Charlotte Sound

Loving and Losing

Music & Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

moving together, drifting apart
like dancers at an old-fashioned ball
sometimes we meet, sometimes we miss
and never connect at all

you turn to me just as I turn away
so I quickly spin ’round but you’ve gone
both feeling sorry, both feeling hurt
out of step while the others dance on

chorus:
oh we’re loving and losing in three-quarter time
such a gracefully sad affair
so strike up the music, now pour out the wine
and show me someone who’s never been there

bridge:

sometimes loving the best that you can’s not enough
for the dance has a logic all of its own
one moment we’re whirling together as one
and the next I’m out on the dance floor alone

so moving together, drifting apart
in the quicksilver rhythms of chance
someday you’ll vanish forever, I know in my heart
but till then we’ve no choice but to dance

chorus

Elsie

Music & Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

Elsie was a beauty
and she was a wild one
the only time she pleased the family
was when she married a banker’s son

he enlisted in the Great War
there wasn’t time to stop and grieve
Elsie knit mufflers for the men at the front
and slept with the ones on leave

chorus:
Restless spirit, dance, dance on
maybe if you’d lived today
all that drive and passion
might have found a way
Elsie won’t you dance

Elsie took a notion
in nineteen-twenty-five
left her husband for the man who taught her
how to sail the skies

tea-time at the Empress
oh how the scandal runs wild
my dear I hear she’s in the family way
and they say it’s the flyer’s child

chorus

Together like outlaws into the heart of the North
Skeena Mountains, Bella Coola
Gypsy Moth flying where no one had flown before
Peace River, south Nahanni
hard drinking, fast-living, throttle wide-open
till the fast life laid him low
it was never the same again after he’d gone
no, it seemed there was no place left to go…

It ended on the highway
with the taste of whiskey and rain
for a moment she was sure he was there at her side
and they were flying again

hand-tinted photograph
of Elsie in her younger days
they say my sister’s got her eyes
but I’ve got her wilful ways

Restless spirit, dance, dance on
maybe if you’d lived today
all that drive and passion
might have found a way
Elsie won’t you dance, dance on
wherever you may be
can you see a part of you
the dance that’s in the heart of you
is still alive and thriving
flowing down through time to me

La jeune mariée

Music & Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

français:
quand j’étais jeune mariée
di de laï don
mon mari m’a dit
viens ici t’coucher
pis neuf mois plus tard
voilà un p’tit bébé
c’est une fille? ben oui
pas un garçon? ben non
di de laï don
pis faut choisir son nom
pis faut l’appeler Marie queq’chose

Marie-Cécile c’est un bon nom
appelle-la donc Marie-Cécile

Marie-Cécile di de laï don
Marie-Yvonne, Marie-Colette
Marie-Thérèse, Marie-Madeleine

(et finalement)
encore une fille? ben non!
c’est un garçon? ben oui
di de laï di
pis faut choisir son nom
pis faut l’appeler queq’chose de beau
appelle-le Joseph Jean-Marie
j’ai dit appelle-le Jean-Marie
Marie-Madeleine, Marie-Thérèse (etc.)
Joseph Jean-Marie – c’est un garçon!
di de laï don

English
when I was a young bride
my husband said
come to bed with me
and nine months later
there’s a little baby
is it a girl? well yes
not a boy? well no
so we have to choose her name
and we have to call her “Marie” something
so call her Marie-Cécile

Marie-Yvonne, Marie-Colette,
Marie-Thérèse, Marie-Madeleine

(then finally)
another girl? Well no!
it’s a boy? Well yes!
so we have to choose a splendid name for him
call him Joseph Jean-Marie
Marie-Madeleine, Marie-Thérèse (etc.)
Joseph Jean-Marie – it’s a boy!

Flying/Spring of ’44

Music & Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

he had twelve days leave when I met him in Montreal
we courted a week then got married
he wore his uniform
I wore my grey silk suit and a hat with a veil
my mother shook her head and said
you hardly know the boy

but it was spring of ’44
it was such a crazy time
and he seemed so brave
so full of glory
with his talk of planes and the sky
I remember him saying –

“Oh flying—
well the Hurricane she’s a damn fine plane
and I wish you could see all the boys and me
doing loops and dives in tight formation
chasing the wind
like eagles in the sun”

it was spring again when I went to meet his train
they sent him home a hero
with medals and that look in his eyes
and a cane—
I hardly knew him
and most nights he’d wake up shaking and scared
but he’d never tell me
what he was seeing

but it was spring of ’45
it was such a hopeful time
when he was finally on the mend
we’d sit on the porch
and he’d watch the sky
like he was looking for something

oh flying
sun on the silver wing
it’s so silent out there
like a blue cathedral
you can climb and climb
till the earth falls away
and you’re finally alone now
you’ve finally come home

well the doctors told him he could never fly again
but a hero’s a hero
and the Air Force takes care of its own
oh they let him fly a desk for thirty years
and except for the drinking
nothing much has changed
you know he’s still got his medals
and his aches and his pains
he’s still got his bad dreams
ah he’s still the same stranger I met
at the train

but there was a boy in ’44
he always talked of flying
and one day his plane took off
and you know, they’ve never come down
he’s still somewhere flying

oh flying
sun on the silver wing …

Élise cherche dans le ciel

Music: M.L. Hammond   Lyrics: Paul Savoie

français:
Élise cherche dans le ciel
ce qu’elle ne trouve pas sur terre
elle s’en ira peut-être un jour
vers d’autres frontières

Élise cherche dans son cœur
elle est prête enfin à tout donner
elle veut sa part de bonheur
bien sûr, elle sait risquer

elle est sincère; elle veut faire du bien
parfois elle se demande à quoi ça sert
quand elle regarde dans le miroir
et ses yeux ne disent plus rien
quand elle appelle et que personne ne vient

Élise cherche jour et nuit
l’amour n’a-t’il qu’un seul visage?
on lui a peut-être menti
ce n’est peut-être qu’un mirage

Élise cherche dans le ciel
ce qu’elle ne trouve pas sur terre
elle s’en ira peut-être un jour
vers d’autres frontières

Translation:
Elise looks skyward
searching for the things she cannot find
perhaps one day she’ll just move on
and start anew

Elise searches her heart
she is prepared to give everything she has
she wants her share of happiness
she knows how to take risks

she is sincere; she is doing her best
sometimes she wonders if it’s worth the price
when she looks in the mirror and her eyes
reflect nothing at all
when she calls and no one answers

Elise searches day and night
does love come in only one guise?
perhaps no one has told her the truth
perhaps love is only an illusion

Elise looks skyward
searching for the things she cannot find
perhaps one day she’ll just move on
and start anew

La tête anglaise, le cœur français

Music & Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

français:
perdue sur une mer vaste et profonde
c’est pas qu’il manque de côtes pour atterrir
mais me voici encore entre deux mondes
je me demande comment on peut choisir

car j’ai la tête anglaise, j’ai le cœur français
pris au milieu, entre les deux
je voyage sans fin
j’ai la tête anglaise, j’ai le cœur français
l’âme en conflit, toute ma vie
me voilà triste marin

au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot
maman me chantait les anciennes berceuses
papa lui, il écoutait sans comprendre un seul mot
pourtant la vie me semblait si heureuse

mais j’ai la tête anglaise, j’ai le cœur français
pris au milieu, entre les deux
je voyage sans fin
j’ai la tête anglaise, j’ai le cœur français
l’âme en conflit, toute ma vie
me voilà triste marin

et poussée par le vent, dans cette grande ville anglaise
où on me croit chez moi
mais quand même il y a des fois
où tous les paysages de mon enfance me reviennent
l’église au bord de l’eau
le fleuve et les bateaux
et encore il faut cacher ces larmes soudaines

oui, j’ai la tête anglaise, j’ai le cœur français
prise au milieu, entre les deux,
je voyage sans fin
j’ai la tête anglaise, j’ai le cœur français
l’âme en conflit, toute ma vie
me voilà triste marin

Translation:
adrift on a vast deep sea
shores there are a-plenty, though I do not land
for I am caught in the gulf between two worlds
never knowing which I must choose
with an head and a French heart
I am trapped in the middle on an endless voyage
conflict in my soul all the days of my life
I am a sad sailor

“au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot”—
my mother sang me those old lullabies
and Father, listening, didn’t understand a word
yet life to me seemed so happy back then

with an English head, and a French heart
I am trapped in the middle on an endless voyage
conflict in my soul all the days of my life
I am a sad sailor

borne by the winds to this English city’s shores
where all assume this is my home
still there are times when the landscapes of my childhood
return to haunt me – the church by the water, the river, the boats,
and once again I must hide these sudden tears

yes, an English head, and a French heart
I am trapped in the middle on an endless voyage
conflict in my soul all the days of my life
I am a sad sailor