A Tale Of Two Americas

A Tale Of Two Americas was recorded in four late-night sessions at Mark Dann Recording in New York and Woodstock with Rod's voice and guitar and harmonica, Mark Dann's bass, and Steve Eriksson's guitar and mandolin (Steve is lead guitarist on Recognition and tour guitarist in Europe).

Buy Cd for $5.00

Liner Notes are as follows:

"Even though there are different traditions, religions, and customs in the world, we should not fight with each other, or make war with each other, but care for each other. I hope that in the future that everyone will share, the same love, peace and care"........Sara Dann, age 10.

The new cd has been reviewed by Folkwax, Celtic & Folk Music, and the Palm Beach Post, among others. Arthur Wood wrote in Folkwax: "A new Rod MacDonald recording is always an event to anticipate and savour, since you know that his lyrics will challenge your perceptions regarding recent historic occurrences, even shared events in ones everyday life, and he consistently brings clarity to those issues." Kevin McCarthy's review in Celtic says "MacDonald has proven again here that he is a master at musically portraying the difficult issues facing this country and the world. " The Post's Bill Meredith called it an "18-track, 72-minute history lesson." To read the full reviews, click here.


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A Tale Of Two Americas
A Tale Of Two Americas
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A Tale Of Two Americas was recorded in four late-night sessions at Mark Dann Recording in New York and Woodstock with Rod's voice and guitar and harmonica, Mark Dann's bass, and Steve Eriksson's guitar and mandolin (Steve is lead guitarist on Recognition and tour guitarist in Europe).

Liner Notes are as follows:

"Even though there are different traditions, religions, and customs in the world, we should not fight with each other, or make war with each other, but care for each other. I hope that in the future that everyone will share, the same love, peace and care"........Sara Dann, age 10.

The new cd has been reviewed by Folkwax, Celtic & Folk Music, and the Palm Beach Post, among others. Arthur Wood wrote in Folkwax: "A new Rod MacDonald recording is always an event to anticipate and savour, since you know that his lyrics will challenge your perceptions regarding recent historic occurrences, even shared events in ones everyday life, and he consistently brings clarity to those issues.Kevin McCarthy's review in Celtic says "MacDonald has proven again here that he is a master at musically portraying the difficult issues facing this country and the world. The Post's Bill Meredith called it an "18-track, 72-minute history lesson." To read the full reviews, click here.

Lyrics

ray and ron died the same week, i knew them most of my life
their stories filled the tv news, that’s what happens when you die
ray was a musician ron was a president
when ray sang where’d the money go ron knew where it went

ray came from poverty was blind his adult life
ron came from california with his cowboy hat so white
ray played with an orchestra and a voice that’d make you cry
ron never met a weapons system he didn’t want to buy

when ray sat down at the piano bobbing ‘round the microphone
every word came from the heart and spoke to you alone
ron spoke on television in a voice you’d always known
so well he could sell you things you knew were completely wrong

ron said “ketchup is a vegetable we need more bombs in space
trees pollute more than people and nuclear power is safe
lower taxes on the rich will benefit the poor below”
ray got busted for drugs and ron said “just say no”

i wonder what ron would have to say if you asked him about ray
he’d probably make a great speech, that would be his way
he’d say “ray had so much soul it filled him to the brim
instead of naming all this stuff after me they oughta name it after him.”

yeah, ray and ron died the same week, i knew them most of my life
their stories filled the tv news, that’s what happens when you die
ray was a musician ron was a president
when ray sang where’d the money go ron knew where it went

you want to say who can and who can’t fly
you want to say who has and has no rights
you want to make some people disappear
give no explanation, year after year
you want to say what i can and cannot know
and always where i can and cannot go
what’s the reason for it all, haven’t you heard
terror is a very magic word

you tell me i should just do what i’m told
it’s been going on this way since days of old
you tell me i have to live in fear
and it’s going to keep goin’ on like this for years
you want to keep me in a constant state
and always give me somebody to hate
you’ve reasons for it all, i’ve been assured
terror is a very magic word

if there’s a danger that some passing stranger means violence instead of love
using fear for advantage you’re doing more damage than even your enemy does

you want the power to say who lives and dies
the power to say what’s true and what is lies
the power to keep yourself in power when
the people want to have your power end
you want to play the god and wield the fire
and always without questioning your own desires
how long until this disease is cured
terror is a very magic word

are you sure there’s no reason for the rise this season in threats from distant lands
what is it in your actions that breeds dissatisfaction with the work of your hired hands

you want to give the orders and be obeyed
you want to be supported in a luxurious way
you want it to be someone else’s health
jeopardized for the sake of your own wealth
you want to be the one who’s in control
and always tell me what’s good for my soul
when you’re so far from knowing, it’s absurd
terror is a very magic word

I get a card every couple days
a smiling face looks at me and says have you seen us,
we’re missing
here’s one from 1995 ten years she’s been alive
and already she’s
missing
here’s another 1994, red hair, brown eyes, five feet four, and already she’s
missing

where do the missing go
with who and do they even know they’re
missing
it says right here on this card
135 children have been recovered from what i believe was
missing
i haven’t seen you but if i did
i’d look you in the eye and say hey kid are you
missing

well if you’re out there and lost telephone home at whatever cost and say
hey remember me
i’m missing

let me tell you why i love america
it’s a place where a guy can rise so high
i started out with nothing but my brains and some muscles
now i’m reaching right up to the sky
hey look at me i’m the governor of california
they say i’ve no experience but they’ll see
in my last picture i saved the world from aliens
how hard can a simple budget be?

everybody wanted to be governor of california
that’s why i’m honored the voters elected me
all i had was friends and 30 million dollars
and the networks showing my movies every night on tv

some people say i’m no friend of women
just because i groped a few along the way
that’s why i brought my wife here to say a few words
not like that one in total recall i had to blow away

hey look at me i’m governor of california
they say i’ve no experience but they’ll see
in my last picture i saved the world from miami
how hard can a simple budget be?

here’s my program to deal with all those taxes
those deficits and blackouts and all that stuff
since every story deserves a happy ending
i’m gonna light a big explosion and blow everything up

hey look at me i’m governor of california
they say i’ve no experience but they’ll see
in my last picture I saved the world from myself
how hard can a simple budget be?
now who’s gonna save the world from me?

if we didn‘t have you we’d have to invent you
it surely wouldn’t do to have no one like you
don’t the people need someone, someone to be afraid of
and that’s you
that’s why i love you like i do
my beloved enemy

you’re the one who makes us rally, ready for the fight
the one who makes us rise up sure that we are right
to use our might and target someone who
is just like you
that’s why i love you like i do
my beloved enemy

you strike fear in our hearts
it’s important to our leaders
that we keep on believing you would
kill us if you could
still i wonder if you would
is that really you
why do i love you like i do?
my beloved enemy

children hide under your desks, someday you’ll study napalm
better ways to hit the target when you’re dropping bigger bombs
raise that flag on high boys, god must be on our side, boys
they’re hiring and daddy’s got a job to do
that’s why i love you like i do
my beloved enemy

send the soldiers overseas,
take the taxpayers’ money
we’re making making profits you won’t believe
get it back in contributions
to keep us re-elected,
it’s a wonderful solution thanks to you
no wonder i love you like i do
my beloved enemy

listen there it is again, that face up on the screen
the voice says there’s a danger, someone no one has seen
is going to try and hurt us, we must strike before they do
it doesn’t matter who
there will always be a you
my beloved enemy

while you were outside having a smoke some guy walked in the back way
gave everybody a $100 bill bought a round of drinks and after he paid
he slipped out again by the back door
i tell ya, this ain’t no joke
you missed a free drink and $100
while you were outside having a smoke

while you were outside having a smoke you wouldn’t believe what went down
a playboy playmate and her lesbian lover got out on the dance floor with each other
and everybody stared as chrissie and cheryl
got down to the wreck of the edmund fitzgerald
for the whole song nobody spoke
while you were outside having a smoke

while you were outside having a smoke, they had a two-for-one special on gin that was sloe
passed out free meatballs and glasses of beer, some guy hit a home run, everybody cheered
the guitar player tuned for what seemed a half hour
played two notes and a string broke
they had to sing some thing called a capella
while you were outside having a smoke

while you were outside having a smoke some guy was watching tv
took a piece of paper out of his pocket said “hey everybody i won the lottery!”
he bought this bar and fired the band
just so he could sing karaoke
i had to buy it back with my tip jar money
while you were outside having a smoke

while you were outside having a smoke they paid everybody back for enron
cleaned up all the air and water, disarmed all the nuclear bombs
taxed the billionaires to feed the hungry
made health care so cheap you could croak
that’s when world peace broke out all over
while you were outside having a smoke

what's that you're saying baby, why don’t i treat you right
don't love you anymore like i did that night
we checked into that motel after driving all day
had a couple drinks and got carried away
well here i am baby spread eagled on the bed
wearing nothing but a smile and the words you said

why don’t i treat you right
how ‘bout i treat you right
i’m gonna treat you right
right now
right now

you can pull my leg, baby, you can count my toes
you can touch my forehead trace my lips and nose
you can scratch my back send me deep into the zone
you can tickle me behind the knee and work my funny bone
you can cover me with kisses and see if i reply
you know there's so much more to me than meets the eye

you know i got up early, i been working all day
you stand there staring at me til i just got to say
baby take your shoes off, leave 'em on the rug
give your hair a little shake and give me that shoulder shrug
prepare to fight the good fight and go the extra mile
if we don’t make it back alive let’s leave here with a smile

hello there little girl
welcome to the world
i’m the one who’s driving you backwards down the road
you were born with your eyes open
soon enough you cried them closed
it’s a mean old world, yes i know
and who am i to say it’s all right, don’t be sad
hello there little girl
i’m your dad

hello there little girl
welcome to the world
i’m the one who’s checking you when you’re sleeping
you’re lying there so quiet in the middle of the night
i just want to make sure you’re still breathing
and who am i to say hush now, don’t be scared
hello there little girl i’m your dad

i’m the one who sang to you
so your mom could get some sleep
when you were kicking her so hard inside her
we could almost see your feet

hello there little girl
welcome to the world
i’m the one who’s singing you this song
it’s 3 a.m., your mom’s asleep
you’re wide awake here next to me
i will remember this my whole life long
And who am i to say this ol’ life ain’t so bad
hello there little girl i’m your dad
and who am i to say these are the best times i've ever had
hello there little girl
i’m your dad

we lost a fence and the power’s out
they say it’ll be down for days
our favorite tree’s been stripped of leaves
but the windows and roof are ok
there’s a curfew in town from dusk to dawn
to keep would-be looters at bay
and down in the tropics another hurricane’s coming
they say it’s only days away

and we’re the lucky ones
say a prayer for those who lost their homes t
hank you for asking, yes we’re fine
we’re the lucky ones this time

it’s too hot to sit in the house and sweat
so we went across town a few streets
sat in a bar with air conditioning
watching the news on tv
there’s a woman standing in her living room
with the water up over her knees
and all she has left is a photograph album
and a box of old jewelry

we’re the lucky ones
raise a glass to those who’ve come undone
thank you for asking, yes we’re fine
we’re the lucky ones this time

some sun-drenched morning we’ll cross the bridge to the island
we’ll go down and try on the ocean for size
turn ‘round in the water, watch the palm tres swaying
and we’ll say “so this is paradise”

we ran out of groceries and had to go shopping
in the heat of the afternoon
traffic was crawling around trees that had fallen
on the six lane avenue
we pulled up to a crossing where the lights were broken
wondering who’d make the first move
twelve lanes of drivers eye-balling each other
and every single one of us knew

we’re the lucky ones
say a prayer for those who've lost their homes
thank you for asking, yes we're fine
we're the lucky ones
raise a glass to those who’ve come undone
lend a hand on down the line
we’re the lucky ones this time

was that you i saw in the rain
last night at the ball and chain
when i went outside and got down on my knees
that’s when you went drivin’ by
you looked so warm and dry
you said “don’t let your dim light die til you hear from me.”

out back by the dry canal
the deputy took three-ring sal
and he polished his badge til she did her trick for free me
i melted into the woods
watching them would’ve done me no good
and i seen that trick so many times it’s killing me

the trucks and the tents unload
on down this back country road
and the people come out looking for some mystery
but me i’m barely alive
strapped to the wheel where the gypsy’s knives
say “don’t let your dim light die til you hear from me.”

the owner he’s got his cane
the snake charmer drives him insane
he sleeps with her wrapped around him like he was a tree
but me i got to hide
the fat lady says i must be her guy
i say “don’t let your dim light die til you hear from me.”

now the moon is full they say
but it’s been rainin’ here for days
i play poker with the gypsy and the girl from the trapeze
i took her for two barrel rolls
but the gypsy, he won my soul
he says “don’t let your dim light go til you hear from me.”

so was that you i saw in the rain
last night at the ball and chain
when i crawled outside and raised up on my knees
that’s when you went driving by
you didn’t even say goodby
just “don’t let your dim light die til you hear from me.”

i’m just as patriotic as the next guy
i love my country, want to look after my family
and i understand that freedom isn’t always free
no you sometimes have to sacrifice
fight for what you believe in
and i believe in freedom, toleration, peace and liberty

ah but those who say you have to go and fight
never send their own to battle, it’s always someone else’s sacrifice
that makes the system go
as long as there’s enough poverty
there’ll be volunteers for the military
while the ones who run the show sit back and watch their millions grow

chorus:
and sacrifice the young to feed the old
sacrifice the hot to serve the cold
sacrifice the patriotic for the gold
sacrifice the truth for the story being told
i’m all right, i’m just looking through the eyes
of my patriotic heart

i’m just as angry as the next guy
i don’t want to see suicide bombers over me
or breathe toxic microfibers in the hall
so they tell you to strike first
before the other guy can hurt you
what if the other guy was never going to strike you at all

ah but then it all gets marketed like a movie
some great adventure across the world, some documentary
and compared to wars in history fought for real causes
againsty slavery, tyranny,
extermination camps
how could there ever be enough oil wells to justify the losses?

(chorus)

i’m just as likely as the next guy
to drive the kids to school or heat the house with fuel
but it makes for strange relations with the world
to suck up to the countries
that sell it to us cheap
while their people hate us and want to kill us in our sleep

and now no one is afraid to bomb civilians
from so high above the soil you can’t even see the oil
or alone in a marketplace with bombs strapped on their chests
one side kills the other in return for killing them
when you look on the down the road, time and time again
all you do is is sacrifice the future for the past

(chorus)

peace now there’s a concept
is it something to maintain coddle, feed, love
or does it just exist on its own terms
a verb
and our job is to
get out of its way
and let it shine let it shine
all over the world
let it shine

peace here in the real world
that’s what we’re talking about
not just some fantasy, ideal, wishful-thinking well-intentioned delusion
but a real thing
alive and kicking up its heels in the face of war
and all you can do is
let it shine

peace peace
i even love the sound of the word
peace peace
what if the very next sound you heard was

peace now there’s an idea
think of all you could give away
what would power, fear, desire and greed have to say?
if all over the world everyone took a moment’s peace
and passed it on

i’ve been trying to find a way
to climb this mountain all day
a trail out on the sand
i’m overwhelmed by what i see
carved out by the centuries
barely touched by man

chorus:
and here i stand before you
my two legs in your wind
i bring my song before you
just to see your face again

i’m not a man who’ll often try
to climb on a place this high
but here i’m not afraid
there are things that go more high i know
the clouds make shadows down below
where my shadow stays
(chorus)

and if i’ve got a tale to tell i must sing my song so well
you will hear it somewhere
for just another man am i who stands here pressed against this sky
raising his voice on high
to you out there

i must go back to where i came
mind the wind, heed the rain
sing a song that’s true
and if this moment in the sun
could be shared by everyone
they’d see the work you do

(chorus)

when i first met her she moved right in
turned around and moved out again
left here sayin’ i don’t feel that way about you
i’d have let her leave, i’d have said farewell
how was i to know she’d ring my bell
stand there sayin’ i just can’t do without you

chorus:
true love, true love
must be a miracle to find
true love, true love
or is it just a state of mind?

then i had a woman who would have stayed
there i was in my own place
shrunk in a corner, avoiding her conversation
i asked her to leave she went away
i was hurting bad in a couple of days
sick of myself and my lonesome situation

(chorus)

and i’ve heard it said for everyone
there’s another soul under the sun
who’ll always know you, just want to be in your future
you have some lovers when you’re young
you have some others and when you’re done
you go on looking for someone who’ll never lose you

ah but i grow weary of starting again
gonna find a lover who’ll be a friend
reach across the night and try to find me
some lonesome highway, some crowded street
i know someday we’re going to meet
i know sometime, you’re gonna walk beside me

(chorus)

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times
in my tale of two americas
one side basking in the glare of self-congratulation everywhere
in my tale of two americas
“and for what” cried the other
“you reward yourselves like thieves
with your guns and your greed”
there were those who thought a military could be used to keep the peace
there were those whose thirst for war would never cease

there were some who say god wants laws based on their religion
in my tale of two americas
there are those who say religion is a personal decision
in my tale of two americas
some dream of a country where they could choose their partners freely
and have their love recognized
some dream of wilderness where wild animals roam free
and there’s not a single oil well in sight
you can buy up all the tvs, newspapers and radios
tell a lie til you convince yourself it’s true
you can spend a billion dollars to attack the other guy
hire some writers to report it like it’s news

and those who never knew war sent other people’s kids to battle
in my tale of two americas
they called each other warriors, sat real high up in the saddle
in my tale of two americas
those who never knew peace looked for someone to attack
hunted terror, left no child alone
they said to stand against them was an unpatriotic act
there are those who say “freedom starts at home”

you can steal a million votes, you can fill the air with lies
in the end you know it’s you who’s gonna lose
if i could have one question i could ask the wise:
what kind of future are you gonna choose?

if money is power
why can’t it buy passion?
if might is power
why can’t it stop these dreams?
if truth is power
then truth leads to knowledge
knowledge to wisdom
and wisdom to peace

chorus:
love is the common ground
the place we stand together
here’s the truth I’ve found
love is the common ground

and when we teach the children
who we are and what we know
we’re the ones who must remember
each of us is born
naked to the boundaries
and the fears of our teachers
so let the children teach us
to share the warmth of the sun

(chorus)

it’s not a simple journey
don’t know when we’ll meet again
here’s one thing I’ll carry with me
in memory of you, my friend

(chorus)

 in the last ten minutes five people have asked me
are you bob dylan?
are you bob dylan?

so i thought i’d come clean in case it was you who asked me
i am bob dylan
i am bob dylan

chorus:
and all i need to know is
what are you lookin’ at?
yeah, what are you lookin’ at?

in the last two weeks ten people have asked me
are you somebody?
are you anybody?
do ya think i look like bob dylan for nothin’?
i am somebody
yes, i am anybody

(chorus)

in the new milennium, the people will ask you
are you with somebody?
are you with anybody?
so if anybody asks you, you can just tell them
you’re with bob dylan
you’re with bob dylan

(chorus)

words & music by bob dylan
© 1963, 1991 special rider music

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

To help us all through these times, these cds are $5 (minimum 2 cds/$10

No Commercial Traffic (NCT) / And Then He Woke Up (TWU) / Into The Blue (ITB) / Recognition (R) / A Tale Of Two Americas (TTA) / After The War (ATW)

---Songs Of Freedom (SOF), Later That Night (LTN), Beginning Again (BA), or archival cds/dvs are $10 each. "Live In Germany" (DVD)