Ballad Of

at the vanguard of tradition

Louisa (The Ballad of Buffalo Bill)”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

I was just a messenger boy, age 14
Skinniest thing you’d ever seen
I rode them prairies, flat and long until
Mr. Lincoln’s war it come and gone

And those boys building those railroad tracks
Tricky fingers and bends in their backs
Working long days in the Wyoming sun
While I roamed the prairies for bison

Oh Louisa the west is parting our love like Moses at the shore
Of the red, red sea
But Louisa the west is calling me
You have your God and I have my country

That meat kept those boys alive
I got my name and I found my pride
And I married you, the sweetest girl on the land
Can’t believe you took my hand

My name it went for infamy
Oh those stage lights had it in for me
Oh Louisa the Queen of England kissed my hand
My wayward life was in demand

Oh Louisa the west is parting our love like Moses at the shore
Of the red, red sea
But Louisa the west is calling me
You have your God and I have my country

I brought the west to privileged sons
While you tended to the little ones
Oh Louisa we’ve outlived our kin
That should be enough for a man to rest in his skin

Well I know that your faith got you through it
That was never enough for me for I couldn’t prove it
But outside I’m a small grain of sand
In the crux of His hand

“Dear Ethel”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

Oh Ethel for this Easter all I want is my Savior and my dear ether
For forty days and forty nights I wandered through the desert high as a kite
They both wore perfume of the sweetest smell
They both had me under quite a spell!
Lusting after my woman and after my drug
Which was the greater sin I know not of!

With the names of my addiction and my honeybee
Sounding one and the same
Sometimes I didn’t know who was calling me
Was it the drug or the dame?

I don’t want to die, Ethel, but I don’t want to live either
Without my hand on the bottle of my sweet, sweet ether
Oh, the oil of vitriol, runs through my vitals from body to soul
They both wore perfume of the sweetest smell
They both had me under quite a spell!
Lusting after my woman and after my drug
Which was the greater sin I know not of!

With the names of my addiction and my honeybee
Sounding one and the same
Sometimes I didn’t know who was calling me
Was it the drug or the dame?

From this genie’s bottle your voice rises like vapor
and entices my senses to hang on and savor
I must get three wishes, one for you, one for me
and one for the precious elixir makes three
They both wore perfume of the sweetest smell
They both had me under quite a spell!
Lusting after my woman and after my drug
Which was the greater sin I know not of!

With the names of my addiction and my honeybee
Sounding one and the same
Sometimes I didn’t know who was calling me
Was it the drug or the dame?

“Hard Line”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

Oh the riches abound when I stand my ground
I throw my head back and laugh the good laugh
With a hard line on my mind
You will not be crossing again

It was a hard line, it was a hard line to draw
Deep into the soft earth
And as it gave way, my hands covered in clay
In all it’s glory and heady mirth

When we’re in our shoes it’s easy to choose
We crawl to the darkness and hide from the light
But it’s time to draw the hard line loud and bold
Or we’ll go quietly into the night

It was a hard line, it was a hard line to draw
Deep into the soft earth
And as it gave way, my hands covered in clay
In all it’s glory and heady mirth

“Electric Boogaloo”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

All this fuss and all this fable
I don’t know if I am able to love you the way I should
There was a time not long ago
At the start of winter’s fallen snow
When your loving was so good

When you hold my hand too tight
I cannot clear my mind
When you hold my hand too loose
You may decide to choose
To leave me where i’m standing, so darling
Hold my hand just right

We tried to match our steps in time
But we kept on falling out of line
But both had two left feet
You picked me up and spun me ‘round
I once was lost but then was found
Oh how easily we lost the beat

When you hold my hand too tight
I cannot clear my mind
When you hold my hand too loose
You may decide to choose
To leave me where i’m standing, so darling
Hold my hand just right

Oh beloved when we departed
I felt as if my life had started over
You had demons, I had them too
They danced the electric boogaloo
But neither could leave the floor

When you hold my hand too tight
I cannot clear my mind
When you hold my hand too loose
You may decide to choose
To leave me where i’m standing, so darling
Hold my hand just right

“Eternal Day”
From The Sacred Harp

Oh what of all my suff’rings here,
If, Lord, Thou count me meet
With that enraptured host t’appear
And worship at Thy feet?
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away,
But let me find them all again
In that eternal day.

Oh what hath Jesus bought for me,
Before my ravished eyes?
Rivers of life divine I see,
And trees of paradise.
I see a world of spirits bright,
Who taste the pleasures there,
They all are robed in spotless white,
And conqu’ring palms they bear.

“Lay My Banjo Down”
Written by Anders Fahey

Some sweet morning when my soul departs
Gonna trade my banjo for a golden harp
Some sweet morning I’ll lay my burden down
Singing “Glory Hallelujah” to that joyful sound

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I sing glory Halleloo when I lay my banjo down

These weary fingers they pick and strum
They’ll keep on pickin’ till the pickings done
These weary fingers they are letting go
Like a bullet from my pistol or the strings on my old banjo

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I sing glory Halleloo when I lay my banjo down

Oh Susanna, don’t you cry for me
I come from Minnesota with a banjo on my knee
Oh Susanna, don’t you weep and don’t you mourn
Just lift up your voice and Dinah won’t you blow your horn

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I sing glory Halleloo when I lay my banjo down

Gonna sing this song till its last refrain
Though my body dies you know my soul remains
Gonna sing this song then I’ll quit the band
Gonna rise up singing to that Promise Land

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I sing glory Halleloo when I lay my banjo
I sing glory Halleloo when I lay my banjo
I sing glory Halleloo when I lay my banjo down

“Liminal Lover”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

Oh my liminal lover
He does just what he can
With the body of a horse and the head of a man
Oh my liminal lover
He’d rather pass the time
With his belly dragging on the sand
Resting on the shoreline

Oh my liminal lover
Toe the line or jump to fall
Oh my liminal lover
Betwixt and between it all

Oh my liminal lover
At the threshold of his fate
One foot in and one foot out
He’s swinging on the gate
Oh my liminal lover
He won’t make up his mind
He can’t help in part, got a coward’s heart
Leaves me hanging on the line

Oh my liminal lover
Toe the line or jump to fall
Oh my liminal lover
Betwixt and between it all

“Old Boy”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

Late night, cold night
headed down south
with an old boy in the backseat
biding time for the long ride
those sad eyes, old boy it’s gonna be the end of you
the end of us the end of a long, long, long, long road

Mountains, valleys on our way to Tennessee
The rock slide once slowed this ride
how I wish for just a little more time with you
Oh, my friend
Do you know what’s in it for you?

The ground’s gonna be so cold we’ve gotta dig deep
We’re chipping icy dirt up to our knees and you’re wagging your tail
for the last time like a last heartbeat
Old boy, don’t you know I’m digging your grave?

The city didn’t cut it like the surgery didn’t fix your disease
So we’re going where we can’t see the forest through the trees
Good boy, just lay down, put your nose in the wind
Catch your breath before the drugs settle in

Dear companion the time has come for you to run
eternally because I know the only running you could do
that didn’t hurt you was in your dreams
Now I’ll put you to sleep in the mountains of Tennessee

The ground’s gonna be so cold, we’ve gotta dig deep
We’re chipping icy dirt up to our knees and you’re wagging your tail
for the last time like a last heartbeat
Old boy, don’t you know I’m digging your grave?

“The Year of Linear Thinking”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

Well I’m tired of thinking in circles
And I’m tired of thinking in curves
Because this thinking has caused some exhaustion
On my otherwise tireless nerves

If the world would go flat I’d be happy
If my dreams were just sequencing time
If I could get to a point without rambling
Or tell a joke before delivering the punchline

It’s the year of linear thinking
It’s the year of the straight and narrow
It’s the year you could pierce my thoughts
With your rusty bow and arrow

You’re not in my linear thinking
You’re a meandering walk in the blue
You are teardrops and sadness and otherwise madness
A web of thought so tangled in you

In the year of linear thinking
There’s no looking back or ahead
It’s a step at a time and no step out of line
It’s a place to rest your head

It’s the year of linear thinking
It’s the year of the straight and narrow
It’s the year you could pierce my thoughts
With your rusty bow and arrow

In the year of linear thinking
It’s a night of soundless sleeping
Or a starry night above
Without yearning for your love

It’s the year of linear thinking
It’s the year of the straight and narrow
It’s the year you could pierce my thoughts
With your rusty bow and arrow

“Hard Drive”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

The night you failed me
You took all my memories with you
All those sentiments like sand
Through an hourglass

For many years we shared
Sounds and photographs
Of friends and loved ones
Both here and passed

I tried, I tried to back you up
When I felt you were slipping away
Fear was working overtime
It was a hard drive to get you to stay

Now there’s no common ground to refer to now
Just a slate that looks empty to me
It’s like holding a knife to the electrical cord
All at once I’m getting shocked and I’m getting set free

I tried, I tried to back you up
When I felt you were slipping away
Fear was working overtime
It was a hard drive to get you to stay

“Weeping Mary”
From The Shenandoah Harmony

Are there anybody here like Mary a-weeping?
Call to my Jesus, and he'll draw nigh;
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
Glory be to my God on high.

Are there anybody here like Peter a-sinking?
Call to my Jesus, and he'll draw nigh;
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
Glory be to my God on high.

Are there anybody here like Jailers a-trembling?
Call to my Jesus, and he’ll draw night;
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
Glory be to my God on high.

“The Longest Night”
Written by Anders Fahey

T’was on the winter solstice I was at my country home
As the evening approached I was on my porch alone
Suddenly I saw her silhouette afar
Growing ever clearer by the evening star

It was the longest night, it was the longest night of the year
But in the morning light, yes in the morning light I did appear
Morning did appear

The sun sailed over the mountains I was wide awake
Dressed in cloak and garlands into the woods she raced
Cautiously I followed a wild hunt then did start
Through the brush and brambles into the forest heart

It was the longest night, it was the longest night of the year
But in the morning light, yes in the morning light I did appear
Morning did appear

I spied a circle clearing in the center a great flame
The music I was hearing it was all in sweet refrain
Suddenly I saw her beckon me come nigh
Then handed a great bowl of wine Wassail was their cry

It was the longest night, it was the longest night of the year
But in the morning light, yes in the morning light I did appear
Morning did appear

I woke upon the morning break confused and alone
No druids I found on the make so I made my way back home

It was the longest night, it was the longest night of the year
But in the morning light, yes in the morning light I did appear
Morning did appear

“What I Would Give”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

I didn’t sing for you
Like you asked me to
I was afraid of failure
The notes I’d tuck inside
And all the songs I’d hide
I would hide them for nothing

What I would give to have you back
And I would sing, oh I would sing
What I would give to have you back
listening

I didn’t try again
Like you asked me to
I was afraid of disappointment
But I know now that all you wanted then
Was to see me try and try again

What I would give to have you back
And I would try, oh I would try
What I would give to have you back
to see me try

I didn’t stand my ground
Like you asked me to
Instead I sunk my voice into a void
I took the coward’s stance
If I had a second chance
I would speak my mind

What I would give to have you back
I’d stand my ground for you, I’d stand my ground for you
What I would give to have you back
to stand sound for you

“Psalm 30”
From The Shenandoah Harmony

And am I born to die?
To lay this body down!
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?

Soon as from earth I go,
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe
Must then my portion be!

Waked by the trumpet sound,
I from my grave shall rise;
And see the Judge with glory crowned,
And see the flaming skies!

“Beach Glass”
Written by Margaret Wasaff

I wonder where those broken bottles went
The ones that the has-beens broke and bent
The fans all stopped their cheering and the work got slow
There’s an old man singing karaoke to the song you wrote

You’re just beach glass, baby, you’re coming out fine
Though you’ve been through the mill and tumbled ‘round
You’ve got a little more shine
Some liked you in your younger days, a bit rough to the touch
But I see what we’ve been missing is a bit too much

Take your virtue to the shoreline and drink it in
Drink the sunrise while you’re at it and set yourself a’spin
Launch your vice into the ocean and
let it sink into it’s watery den

You’re just beach glass, baby, you’re coming out fine
Though you’ve been through the mill and tumbled ‘round
You’ve got a little more shine
Some liked you in your younger days, a bit rough to the touch
But I see what we’ve been missing is a bit too much

© Ballad Of, 2019