The California Recordings

by Mike Tod

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A collection of folk songs sung, written or heard while travellin' through the woods of Northern California ...

Dedicated to Ramblin' Jack Elliot

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released 26 January 2013

Vocals and guitar: Mike Tod
Vocals: Alyssa Jean Gardner
Recorded by: Scott Munro
Mastered by: Nils Mikkelsen
Instruments used: Grandpa Ward's 1964 Gotz acoustic
Art Direction: Eric Seymour
Illustration: Barun Fox
Record Label: Cabin Songs

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Track Name: The ballad of the miner
Four strong winds they took me sailin'
Headed West for wealth and ways
Lookin' for gold, I was a miner
I left my love by the way

In the spring I sent a letter
Proclaimin' love I had that day
Said we'd wed before the winter
I asked my love could you wait?

And she said..

"Heard the weather's fine in California
Heard you found your little band of gold
Heard you're climbin' up the tallest mountains
Like I knew you would
Like I knew you would"

Summertime and I became lonely
Seekin' out some peace of mind
I hit hard luck and little dollars
My time was up the mine ran dry

Found myself in the bed of another
She was not but 17
She gave me love and peace and comfort
Dreamt of true love in my dreams

And she'd say ...

"Heard the weather's fine in California
Heard you found your little band of gold
Heard you're climbin' up the tallest mountains
Like I knew you would
Like I knew you would"

Summer to fall and fall to winter
I climbed up the the mountains high
I cried out "My Lord, I'm torn
You gotta tell the reasons why"

I came down from the top of that mountain
I dug a hole down in the ground
Wrote on the stone I died by my lover
Not by gun, but by kindness abound

Cause she'd say ...

"Heard the weather's fine in California
Heard you found your little band of gold
Heard you're climbin' up the tallest mountains
Like I knew you would
Like I knew you would

Like I knew you would
Like I knew you would."
Track Name: The crow
Young black crow
As pure as the snow
As dark as the night

He's in the gutter
Scavengin' for his mother
He's ready for the fight

He's on the wire
Watchin' a city on fire
Doesn't know wrong from right

Well he's travellin' on a storm
Never settlin' down in cradlin' arms
Never knowin' the wrong from the right
O that boy, he's got a wanderin' mind

Took from the seas
Left in the alley's
Ready for the night

An brothers on their knees
Playin' for food and keeps
With nothin' left to eat

An with just one song
With the right amount of salt
He could right every wrong

Well he's travellin' on a storm
Never settlin' down in cradlin' arms
Never knowin' the wrong from the right
O that boy, he's got a wanderin' mind
O that boy, he's got a wanderin' mind
Track Name: Broad highway
Off in this ole' world
Well it's hard travellin' evry night
Highways, boats and boxcars
I walked an I hitchhiked
Heard a voice in the distance
It was weary, it was blue
Said "I don't know much, son,
But this I know is true ..."

It's hard travellin'
Down the road
But you're my brother
That I know'd
We're lost and lonely
Or so they say
Well it's some hard travellin' down the broad highway

I heard the sound of laughter
I heard the sound of a lie
I heard the ground once wasn't ours
I heard my, oh, my
I heard ladies callin', heard the skies a-fallin'
Heard an old lost soul he cried
He said "I'll see you in the sweet by and by"

It's hard travellin'
Down the road
But you're my brother
That I know'd
We're lost and lonely
Or so they say
Well it's some hard travellin' down the broad highway

I saw some big red oak trees
An I saw the ocean colored blue
Saw I river run dry, while I was sittin' next to you
Saw birds in flight, saw the days and nights
Saw some broken eyes too
An when I sing this song, you know I sing it for you

It's hard travellin'
Down the road
But you're my brother
That I know'd
We're lost and lonely
Or so they say
Well it's some hard travellin' down the broad highway
It's some hard, travellin', down the broad highway
Track Name: Around the bend
When I was a young boy
My mamma told to me
Said "I can fix you up son,
Them holes in your jeans
Once broke ain't always broke
An I'm sure that it will mend"

She said, "Good things are comin'
Around the bend"

Met a weary hobo
On the street corner that night
He hadn't given up yet
He still wanted to fight
I said "take this bread,
It's all for you my friend."

I said, "Good things are comin'
Around the bend"

When my time is up
When it's time for me to die
I'm headed up to the big blue
Hell I'm gonna fly
Hopin' amongst hopes
That I'll be heaven sent

An I'll know, "Good things are comin'
Around the bend"
Track Name: Ain't goin' back
I'm on a hill
I'm a-lookin' down
I pick myself up
For another day all abound

Cause I went away
For oh so long
An I ain't goin' back to my home

Ain't goin' back
Ain't goin' back
No I ain't goin' back to my home

I'm on the road
I'm long and gone
Remember me
When you hear this song

Cause I went away
For oh so long
An I ain't goin' back to my home

Ain't goin' back
Ain't goin' back
No I ain't goin' back to my home
Track Name: The very best
I'm not home now, but I will be
You knocked upon my door, and you healed me
From all those hard times
And all those heart-aches
Nasty splits and turns, well firm will breaks

But I will run back to you, an I will rest upon your breast

Got no answers, for my wanderin's
Them lonely nights I stayed up a-ponderin'
Alone and drinkin', slowly sinkin'
A million miles from you what was I thinkin'

But I will run back to you, an I will rest upon your breast

Oh, oh, oh
I might not be too good at most things that I do
Oh, oh, oh
But I'm the very best at missin' you
I'm the very best at missin' you

All those people, an all those places
I just can't remember all them faces
Some er good news, some er bad news
But I'd spend my money right if I had you

And I will run back to you, an I will rest upon your breast

Oh, oh, oh
I might not be too good at most things that I do
Oh, oh, oh
But I'm the very best at missin' you
I'm the very best at missin' you
Track Name: Garden song (inch by inch)
Cause it's inch by inch, row by row
Let me plant these seeds I sow
I pray that the wind won't blow
An the rain's come tumblin' down

Starts off small, but ends alright
Let me plant this plant tonight
Gonna show it the bright sunlight
As the rain's come tumblin' down

Cause it's inch by inch, row by row
Let me plant these seeds I sow
I pray that the wind won't blow
An the rain's come tumblin' down

So grow, you, grow, be big one day
Trust in love, it'll be okay
Find your path, now you're on your way
As the rain's come tumblin' down

Cause it's inch by inch, row by row
Let me plant these seeds I sow
I pray that the wind won't blow
An the rain's come tumblin' down

Now you are old, an I'm old too
Just thankful for the sky so blue
Just know that I love you
As the rain's come tumblin' come

Cause it's inch by inch, row by row
Let me plant these seeds I sow
I pray that the wind won't blow
An the rain's come tumblin' down
Track Name: The lass and the lad
Young lass in the garden
Is all that I was
Awaitin' the lad for to give me his love
I searched an I sought
O'er rivers so wide
Awaitin' him softly, for twenty years of life

The lad he did come
He came in the night
Said "take my hand miss, it'll all be alright"
He courted me lightly
He courted me so
We lived on the land, where my new garden growed

An we sang "Oh..."

He said "just one question
Is all I'll ask of you
Would you be my darlin' wife, I promise I'll be true"
I said I would take him
I'd be a good wife
You'd be a good man, be together for all times

Many years did pass
With many years of love
A mother of seven, a mother I was
The lad he provided
Gave us all he could do
Gave us good love, as all good lads should do

An we sang "Oh..."

Time it did rear us
Our end was close by
'Stead of learnin' to live, we were learnin' to die
One thing that I wondered
One thing that you can't know
Is who gets called up first, for the Lord to carry home

The lad he did leave me
On one September night
He left me in his dreams, didn't leave me alright
I couldn't withstand it
Alone in the dark
I passed that December, died by broken heart

An we sang "Oh..."
Track Name: I'm comin' back
He said it with a tear in his eye
Yes, I'm comin' back
Lord, I'm comin' back
I know I'm comin' back someday

The heart ache withstandin'
We will meet again
Lord we'll meet again
I know we'll again someday

Cause this hard road I've been travellin'
It's about to end
Lord it's gonna end
I knew it's gotta end this way

This way ...

Those words that I were sayin'
They were supposed to mend
Lord they were gonna mend
Thought they were gonna mend today

My time it is a-comin'
I'm a-comin' home
Lord I'm comin' home
Thought I was comin' home today

Today ...

Cause I said it with a tear in my eye
That I was comin' back
Lord I was comin' back
Thought I was comin' back today

Today ...
Track Name: You'll have to excuse me
Said "You'll have to excuse me for most of my sins
Been ridin' on high, been rollin' on in
Been a rambler, a gambler, in this dusty town
Take me to the country and lay my body down"

Born on Red River where the land meets the sun
Where the buffalo roam, where the thousand lakes flood
Been all around seen the green grass an leaves
Let me walk down this highway with my brother in peace

Said "You'll have to excuse me for most of my sins
Been ridin' on high, been rollin' on in
Been a rambler, a gambler, in this dusty town
Take me to the country and lay my body down"

Oh...

Settled myself down an I found some good land
I walked an I talked, I laughed an I ran
Been thinkin' how love is my daily bread
Been thinkin' how love is how we are fed

Said "You'll have to excuse me for most of my sins
Been ridin' on high, been rollin' on in
Been a rambler, a gambler, in this dusty town
Take me to the country and lay my body down"

Oh ...

And it's on this good land that my body must lie
With the rivers and trees the day I do die
Farewell to lovers, and farewell to friends
You'll hear me a calllin, a callin in the wind

Said "You'll have to excuse me for most of my sins
Been ridin' on high, been rollin' on in
Been a rambler, a gambler, in this dusty town
Take me to the country and lay my body down"

Oh...
Track Name: Home (epitaph)
Under wide an starry skies
Dig my grave and let me lie

Glad did I live
An gladly did die

This'll be the verse, you grave, for me
"Here he lies where he belonged to be"

Home is the sailor, he's home from the sea ...