Friday, January 06, 2006

Lyrics: "Tall Hope" by Carolyn Leigh

As longtime (or even shorttime) readers of this blog will know, when I can't think of anything else to post, I fill up space by posting song lyrics I really like. This particular lyric is by Carolyn Leigh, one of my three or four favorite lyricists ever; it's the song "Tall Hope" from the musical Wildcat.

Wildcat was a star vehicle for Lucille Ball, a terrible singer (SCTV fans will recall Catherine O'Hara's parody of Ball's "singing" in the movie version of Mame); "Tall Hope," an ensemble number for the members of an oil drilling crew, was one of the few numbers that didn't involve Ball and therefore could actually get some decent singing.

The song itself is a great mixture of pastiche cowboy song, humor, and pathos; it shows off Leigh's combination of colloquial language and rhyming agility, along with her ability to come up with unusual turns of phrase. (Highlight of this one is the opening phrase, "Ridin' the tall hope.")


TATTOO
Right now
I'm ridin' the tall hope,
The ship that I call hope
Has me in the bow.
Come tell me tomorrow
To settle for small hope,
I'm ridin' the tall hope
Right now.
Come tell me tomorrow,
"Eliminate all hope,"
I'm ridin' the tall hope
Right now.

ONEY
There's a stripper in a joint in New Orleans
Just as faithful as a lady can be,
'Cause the told me she was spendin' her evenin's
Gettin' supper ready for me.
Enter Oney, cool as a breeze,
Flingin' diamonds at her dimply knees.
I can see my baby peelin' them peas
Right now.

ALL
Right now, right now.
Come tell me tomorrow
To settle for small hope,
I'm ridin' the tall hope
Right now.

SANDY
Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa,
Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa...

ALL
Wa-wa-wa-wa-what?

SANDY
I'm gonna buy me a slide trombone,
I'm gonna play me a tune so grand,
There'll be a ring on the telephone
And it's the boss man of the Promised land.

ALL
And what'll he say?

SANDY
What'll he say?
"How do you do?
Where have you been?"

ALL
You're in a spot!

SANDY
"Sinner or not,"
He's gonna say,
"Brother, come in!"

ALL
Why don't you come on in
And teach that Gabriel how?
Teach Gabriel how.
Come tell me tomorrow,
"Eliminate all hope,"
I'm ridin' the tall bright hope
Right now.
Come thunder, I don't shrink,
Come lightning, I don't scare,
Come mayhem, I don't think
I care
To wrinkle
My brow.

MATT
'Cause overhead the stars a-twinkle,
My two bare feet propped up in the bow,
Nothin' in the world to wrinkle
My brow,
Right now, right now.
Tomorrow find me grievin'
Or even in jail,
I'm in full sail
Right now.

ALL
Come tell me tomorrow,
"Eliminate all hope,"
I'm ridin' that tall bright hope
Right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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