Appearances September-October 2023
Appearances Further Out In Time...
Short Bio-Press Release
Newsletter Signup
Video on YouTube
Reviews and Accolades
Festival Workshops
Unitarian Universalist Programs
February Sky - The Long Story, and What About That Name???
Where We've Played
Contact Us...
Phil's Folk Curmudgeon Review
Cooper & Nelson and Cooper, Nelson & Early Recordings

Lyrics from "Goldenrod" CD

1. MY FAITHFUL JOHNNY Traditional, arranged by February Sky

When will you come again, my faithful Johnny,

When will you come again, my sweet and bonnie?

When the corn is gathered, when the leaves are withered,

I will come again, my sweet and bonnie, I will come again.


Then winter's winds will blow, my faithful Johnny,

Then winter's winds will blow, my sweet and bonnie,

Though the day be dark with drift, that I cannot see the light,

I will come again, my sweet and bonnie, I will come again.


Then will you meet me here, my faithful Johnny,

Then will you meet me here, my sweet and bonnie?

Though the night be Halloween, when the fearful sights are seen

I will come again, my sweet and bonnie, I will come again.  (repeat first verse.)


2. SPENCER’S MARCH  Tune by Phil Cooper, 2012, all rights reserved

3. GOLDENROD By Susan Urban, 2012, all rights reserved

Here they stand, in the shade of an ancient white oak tree,

Holding hands as they gaze into each other's eyes,

Autumn eyes, all surrounded by fine lines and wrinkles,

They were children just yesterday, how the time flies!

  Some will say, love is only for nubile young beauties,

  Some will say, when you're long past where youth had its end,

  Finding love deep and fervent is foolish and crazy,

  You'll embarrass your family and freak out your friends.

Like the late blooming goldenrod, bright in October,

Like the maples that flame on the gray autumn skies,

Finding love late in life is a gift to be treasured,

For the longer the wait is, the sweeter the prize.


It's a long twisted road they have walked to each other,

Disappointment and sorrow attending their way.

Now that journey is over, they're starting a new one,

Bright or dark, hand in hand they will move through their days.

Some will say, such a short time ‘til old age and parting,

Some will tell them, why bother so late in the day.

They will say, "Time has taught us to live in the moment,

Life is always uncertain, whatever your age."

  They both know separation is merely illusion,

  They were always together, and always will be,

  The kaleidoscope turning to steer them back homeward,

  When they sail on the waves of that great star-lit sea.

But for now, they'll take joy as it comes, not complaining

That it didn't come sooner, or ask when it ends.

And the young folks will gawk, but the old ones will smile,

When they kiss in broad daylight, true lovers and friends.


4. THE HOUSE CARPENTER Traditional, arranged by February Sky

Well met, well met cried an old true love,

Well met, well met cried he,

For I have returned from the salt, salt sea

And it's all for the love of thee.

I could have married a king's daughter there,

And she would have married me,

But I did forsake her crowns of gold,

And it's all for the love of thee.

Well if you could have married a king's daughter there,

I'm sure you are to blame,

For I have married a house carpenter,

And I'm sure he's a fine young man.

Would you forsake your house carpenter,

And come along with me,

I'll show you where the grass grows green,

On the banks of Italy.

If I should forsake my house carpenter,

And come along with thee,

What do you have to maintain me on,

To keep me from slavery.

I have seven ships all on dry land,

Seven more on the sea,

And I'll give you the best of them,

And keep the worst for me.

She picked up her dear little babe,

And kisses gave him three,

O stay at home my sweet little babe,

And keep your papa company.

They had not been sailing all along two weeks,

I'm sure that it was not three,

When this fair maid she began for to weep.

And she wept most bitterly.

O are you weeping for silver or gold,

Or all of your wealth in store?

Or are you weeping for your house carpenter,

Who you're never going to see anymore?

O I am not weeping for silver or gold,

Or all of my wealth in store,

But I am a-weeping for my sweet little babe,

That I'm never going to see anymore.

O they had not been sailing all about three weeks,

I'm sure that it was not four,

When the ship sprang a leak in the bottom and sank,

Never to rise anymore.

Well met, well met cried an old true love,

Well met, well met cried she,

For I am a-drowning in the salt, salt sea,

And it's all for the love of thee.


5. I HAVE SO MANY CHILDREN By Susan Urban, 1985, all rights reserved

I have so many children,

Though I've never borne a child,

Younger ones who have come to me

For a place to rest awhile,

And they tell me their stories,

I hold out what hope I can;

When they leave, they carry part of me,

Living always in their hands.


I have so many mothers,

Although born to only one;

They have found out the worth in me,

Turned my darkness toward the sun.

They have watered the seeds of time

That would otherwise have died,

I have seen all that life contains

In the colors of their eyes.


I have so many sisters,

Though I am an only child.

We have joined our hands in sorrow,

And returned each other's smiles.

We have shared our deepest secrets

Without judgment, without blame,

For we know what is given

Will return to us again.

I have so many children!

6. THOMAS THE RHYMER Lyrics traditional, collated by Susan Urban; tune Susan Urban, 2005

True Thomas lay on a grassy bank and he beheld a lady gay,

A lady who was brisk and bold, come riding o'er the fernie brae.

Her skirt was of the grass-green silk, her mantle of the velvet fine,

And hanging from her horse's mane were fifty silver bells and nine.

True Thomas he pulled off his cap and bowed him down on bended knee:

"All hail to you, oh Heaven's Queen, Thy like on earth I ne'er did see."

"O no, True Thomas, no," she said, that name does not belong to me;

I am the queen of fair Elfland, and I have come to visit thee.

"Now you must go with me," she said, "True Thomas, you must go with me,

And you must serve me seven years, through good or ill as chance may be."

She mounted on her milk-white steed, she took True Thomas up behind,

And every time the bridle rang, the horse ran swifter than the wind.

And so as they rode further on, they found a garden thick with trees,

"Light down," he says, "O Lady fair, and I will gather fruit for thee."

"O no, True Thomas, no,"' she says, "That fruit must not be touched by thee,

For all the plagues that are in Hell are in the fruit of this country."

"But I have bread here in my lap, likewise a bottle of red wine,

And now ‘ere we go further on, we'll stop awhile, and you may dine."

And once he ate and drank his fill, she told him, "Lean upon my knee,

Abide and rest a little while, and I will show you wonders three."

"O do you see that narrow road, so thick beset with thorn and briar?

That is the path of righteousness, though after it but few inquire."

"And do you see that broad broad road, that lies across the grassy mead?

That is the path of wickedness, though some Heaven's where it leads."

"And do you see that bonny road, that winds about the green hillside?

That is the road to fair Elfland, where you and I this night must ride."

"But Thomas, you must hold your tongue, no matter what you hear or see,

For if one word you chance to speak, you'll ne'er return to your own country."

And then he wore a grass green coat, and likewise shoes of velvet green,

‘Til seven years were past and gone, True Thomas ne'er on earth was seen.


7. MULL OF THE MOUNTAIN Traditional tune, arranged by February Sky


8. URSA By Susan Urban, 2010, all rights reserved 

I was the daughter of a wild mountain man,

Mated with my mama for to get himself a son.

He stole me from her when the moon was new in April,

And he left for her a trade-good fortune, pelts and knives and guns.

He cursed the stars above him when he found I was a girl,

But still he raised me up to be a daughter of the pines.

My daddy died of snakebite on the day I turned 14,

And soon I grew so lonesome that I thought I'd lose my mind.

So I went running through that shadowed forest,

Going who knows where,

Daughter of the half-breed human offspring of a bear.

I stole a good dress from a farmhouse washing line,

Found myself a kind man, and he went and married me.

Lived in that same town where I bore to him six babies,

‘Til the year I was a widow woman turning 63.

I heard that there were Yankees coming, burning up the towns,

My children all were grown and gone or off to fight the war.

I fled to seek my refuge in the trackless mountain woods,

Confederate money, fancy dresses no good any more.

And I went fleeing through that misty forest,

Going who knows where,

Daughter of the half-breed human offspring of a bear.

I lived alone there for the turning of a year,

But the work and weather made my old bones start to ache,

Deep in the autumn, I could sense the Yankees coming,

But I had no will to move again, though my life they should take.

Then on a grey November eve, came crashing through the trees,

A he-bear huge and handsome, shaggy fur of deepest black.

I had no fear to meet my fellow creature of the woods,

I held my ground and watched him as he ambled toward my shack.

And I stood waiting in that autumn forest, bound to go nowhere,

Daughter of the half-breed human offspring of a bear.

The bear looked at me, and he rose on his hind legs,

Then a man appeared there, long dark hair all glistening.

He said, "Granddaughter, come away and roam with me now,

We will sleep the Winter-Time away and frolic in the Spring."

I looked down at my body, it was covered with thick fur,

I followed my grandfather as he stalked into the night,

And to this day, the hunters talk about the two great bears

Who vanish into nothing when they fix them in their sights.

And we go laughing through the cool bright forest,

Roaming everywhere,

Immortal son and daughter of the Spirit of the Bear.


9. WHEN I GO Dave Carter/David Robert Carter (BMI), admin. by Tracy Grammer Music

Come, lonely hunter, chieftain and king,

I will fly like the falcon when I go

Bear me my brother under your wing,

I will strike fell like lightning when I go

I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war

A twisting pillar spun of dust and blood up from the prairie floor

I will sweep the foe before me like a gale out on the snow

And the wind will long recount the story,

Reverence and glory, when I go

Spring, spirit dancer, nimble and thin,

I will leap like coyote when I go

Tireless entrancer, lend me your skin,

I will run like the gray wolf when I go

I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon

Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon

I will make the lay of long defeat and draw the chorus slow

I'll send this message down the wire

And hope that someone wise is listening when I go

And when the sun comes trumpets from his red house in the east

He will find a standing stone where long I chanted my release

He will send his morning messenger to strike the hammer blow

And I will crumble down uncountable

In showers of crimson rubies when I go

Sigh, mournful sister, whisper and turn,

I will rattle like dry leaves when I go

Stand in the mist where my fire used to burn,

I will camp on the night breeze when I go

And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline

Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines

Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so

All your diamond tears will rise up

And adorn the sky beside me when I go


10. BEER IS GOOD FOR YOU By Susan Urban, 2010, all rights reserved, tune traditional

Would you like to drink some tea?  Thank you, no, I’ll have a beer!

Our ancestors started brewin’ seven thousand years ago,

Down in Mesopotamia.

When some wild yeast and water got into the cereal,

They knew a good thing when they drank it.

Tasted mighty satisfyin’, gave a little buzz,

Kept through the wintertime too,

They would sip from the common bowl through straws,

Singing, ”Beer is good for you!”

In a pilsner fine, or a frosted stein,

Beer is good for you!

From an ice cold can, of whatever brand,

Oh, beer is good for you!

When you hear those silly people puttin’ down that liquid bread,

Don’t you believe it’s true,

It’ll lower stress and make you much happier,

Beer is good for you.

Drinkin’ beer will thin your blood out where your arteries could clog,

Raises your good cholesterol.

It’ll help to keep dementia from foggin’ up your head,

Or breaking a hip if you should fall down.

The key is moderation when you’re slurpin’ down a brew,

Have one or maybe just two,

For as long as you don’t overdo those brewskies,

Beer is good for you!

On a summer’s day, when you’re making hay,

Beer is good for you!

On a winter’s night, by a fire bright,

Oh, beer is good for you!

When you hear those silly people puttin’ down that liquid bread,

Don’t you believe it’s true,

Full of vitamins and stout antioxidants,

Beer is good for you.

There’s a kind of beer for nearly everybody in the world,

Dark stout to lightest lager brew.

There is Oberon that’s flavored with a hint of orange peel,

Or blueberry ale from Northern places.

Good vanilla porter’s like a beer with Haagen Daaz,

Ale made with pumpkin in the fall.

They will make each day a big celebration,

‘Cause beer is good for you!

With a roasted bird or a fry that’s stirred,

Beer is good for you!

With a pizza slice or some wild rice,

Oh, beer is good for you!

When you hear those silly people puttin’ down that liquid bread,

Don’t you believe it’s true,

‘Cause it’s is even great for strict vegetarians,

Beer is good for you.


11. TALCAHUANO GIRLS Traditional, arranged by February Sky

I've been a ship’s cook, and I've been a clipperman

I can dance, I can sing, I can walk a jib-boom

I can handle a harpoon and cut a fine figure

Whenever I get sent to a good standing room


We'll rant and we'll roar like true-born young whalermen

We'll rant and we'll roar on deck and below

Until we see bottom inside the two sinkers

And straight up the channel to Huasco we'll go

I went to Talcahuano last year on a whaler

I bought some gold brooches for the girls in the Bay

I bought me a clay pipe, they calls it a Meerschuam

It melted like butter on a hot sunny day


I went to a dance last night in old Tumbez

There was plenty of talent, as much as you'd wish

There was one little girl there a-chewing tobacco

Just like a young kitten a-chewing fresh fish


Here's a health to the girls of old Talcahuano

Here’s a health to the girls of far-off Maui

Let’s drink and be merry, don't be melancholy

I can't marry youse all, or in chokey I'd be



12. ANNA AND TIM By Susan Urban, 1996, all rights reserved all rights reserved

The greystone was a showplace with treasures rich and fine,

Miss Anna was its owner back in 1929.

Tim handed her ten dollars, she told him, "Come lay down,"

And afterwards he gazed into her eyes of amber brown.

"You know this was my first time, gosh, I hope I did okay,"

"You come on back tomorrow, boy," that was all that she would say.

            Though she was more than twice his age, Tim couldn't keep away,

            And soon the greystone mansion saw young Tim there every day.

            Though Anna's nights were busy, still she found the time for him,

            He'd love her in the evening, when the light began to dim.

            She said, "You keep your money, boy, there's others who can pay,

            You'll need it for your college," that was all she had to say.

She told him, "I remember back when I was young and green,

I've had to make it on my own since I was just 14.

I'm proud of all I have because I've earned it free and clear,

The mobsters, they all hate me, for of them I have no fear.

They swear they'll bring their Tommy guns and cut me down one day,

So just you watch your back, boy," that was all that she could say.

            One early winter evening, when the snow was falling hard,

            Tim found the greystone empty, so he looked out in the yard.

            There Anna lay, her lifeblood draining out into the snow,

            He tried to stop the bleeding, but she told him, "Darlin', no!

            It's much too late already, kiss my lips and say adieu,

            There's no one else who's loved me, boy, in all this world, but you."

He buried her in Graceland, there was no one else around,

He left a dozen blood red roses on the frozen ground.

Next day her lawyer called and said, "She left it all to you,

The house, the cars, the furniture, and lots of money, too.

I don't know why she did it, but it's sure your lucky day."

And Tim just stood there weeping, there was nothing he could say.

            Tim grew up and he got married, the babies numbered three.

            He raised them in the house where Anna's business used to be.

            And in the early evening, Tim would watch his children play

            Upon the very spot where Anna died that winter's day.

            The years went by, the block went bad, the kids said, "Move away!"

            "This old house means a lot to me," that was all that he would say.

There's a double plot in Graceland over where the El trains roar;

One stone is carved with "Anna," just her name and nothing more.

The other's marked with "Tim" and shows his dates of death and birth,

And now those star-crossed lovers sleep together in the earth.

            If there's a place beyond this world where lovers meet, I pray

            Their souls are reunited in some new and brighter day,

            And their love will live forever - now there's nothing more to say.


13. WIDOW’S LAMENT/BROSE AND BUTTER Traditional tune, arranged by February Sky


14. INVISIBLE WOMAN By Susan Urban, 2007, all rights reserved all rights reserved

I am the invisible woman, but not like the guy in that old horror movie,

For though I'm solid flesh and bone, people pass me by and look through me:

Female human being, well past her child bearing years,

Ugly, dried-out, withered, nasty, I can hear their thoughts between my ears.

I close my eyes now, drifting back to another time and place,

When a woman of this age was worshiped for the wrinkles on her face…

The wrinkles on her face.


Respect  Honor  Wisdom  Reverence (2X)

We live in the strangest of eras, women ashamed to have lived past twenty-nine,

They sell us shots of deadly poison, surgery designed to turn back time.

It seems we've forgotten, life's a circle turning without end,

How we move from light to darkness, youth to elderhood and back again.

Sweet lovely maidens, mothers bearing babies in their prime,

Elder women wise with living, equal partners on the scale of time…

On the scale of time.  CHORUS


But the eyes say,

"Cut your hair off, no bright colors, do your best to pretend you don't exist,

You upset us, you remind us youth and beauty fade like morning mist…

Like morning mist."

Ah, now, but we are defiant, and we will refuse just to lay us down and die,

When they try to look through us, we will stand and look them in the eye.

Strong women with voices, we said "NO" to war and bigotry,

There will be no meek surrender, we will keep on singing ‘til we're free.

No, it won't be easy, we'll be climbing uphill ‘til the end,

When our daughters come to our age, no one then will dare to look through them…

Will dare to look through them!  CHORUS


15. BEE'S WING Richard Thompson, Beeswing Music, BMI, admin. Bug Music, used by permission

I was nineteen when I came to town, they called it the Summer of Love

They were burning babies, burning flags, it was hawks against the doves

I took a job in a steamer down on Cauldrum Street

And I fell in love with a laundry girl was working next to me

She was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing

So fine a breath of wind might blow her away

She was a lost child, she was running wild

Saying, "As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay,

And you wouldn't want me any other way"

Brown hair zig-zagging 'round her face, a look of half-surprise

Like a fox caught in the headlights, there was animal in her eyes

She said, "Young man, oh can't you see I'm not the factory kind

If you don't take me out of here, I'll surely lose my mind"

            She was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing

            So fine that I might crush her where she lay

            She was a lost child, she was running wild

            Saying, "As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay.

            And you wouldn't want me any other way"

We busked around from town to town, picking fruit in Kent

And we could tinker pots and pans and lamps wherever we went

And I thought that we might settle down, get a few acres dug

Fire burning in the hearth and babies on the rug

She said "Young man, oh foolish man, that surely sounds like hell.

You might be lord of half this world, you'll not own me as well"

            She was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing

            So fine a breath of wind might blow her away

            She was a lost child, she was running wild

            Saying, "As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay.

            And you wouldn't want me any other way"

We were camping in the Gower one time, the work was pretty good

She thought we shouldn't wait for the frost, I thought maybe we should

We were drinking more in those days and tempers reached a pitch

And like a fool I let her run with the rambling itch

They tell me now she's sleeping rough back on the Derby beat

White Horse in her hip pocket and a wolfhound at her feet

And they say she even married once, a man named Romany Brown

But even a gypsy caravan was too much settling down

And they say her flower is faded now, hard weather and hard booze

Maybe that's just the price you pay for the chains you refuse

            She was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing

            And I miss her more than words could ever say

            If I could just taste some of her wildness now

            Just hold her back in my arms today,

            And I wouldn't want her any other way