Friday, March 31, 2006

Great Lyrics: "See the Light"

From 70, Girls, 70, the Kander and Ebb flop musical that City Center Encores! is currently putting on in concert. The best song in the show was "See the Light," one of the last songs in a great Broadway tradition: the show-stopping mock-gospel song. Songs in this vein included Cole Porter's "There's a Happy Land in the Sky" (Something For the Boys), Irving Berlin's "The Lord Done Fixed Up My Soul" (Louisiana Purchase), the Gershwins' "Clap Yo' Hands" (Oh, Kay!) and dozens of others, but this particular type of song was almost gone from the Broadway stage by 1971, when Kander and Ebb brought it back for singer Lillian Roth in 70, Girls, 70. Nobody writes a gospel song like my fellow Jews.

I used to know a lady known as Emma Finch,
Emma Finch, Emma Finch,
She had a kleptomania that made her pinch
Any article she saw.
She liked to spend the afternoon at Bloomingdale's,
Bloomingdale's, Bloomingdale's,
But Emma's way of going to the bargain sales
Was a bit beyond the law.
Emma took along a shopping bag,
Emma took along a shopping list,
Emma thought whatever Bloomie's lost
Bloomie's never missed.
She couldn't see the light,
She wouldn't see the light,
Emma never knew wrong from right,
Which left her in the dark, unable to see the light.

Emma saw a poochie
And Emma cleared the bin,
Emma Finch walked out of Bloomie's
Weighing ten pounds more than when Emma walked in.
Emma, like a lemur,
Would tiptoe left to right.
Emma's one dilemma
Was the poor kid never could see the light.

But things are never easy when you're at the top,
At the top, at the top,
Emma got to thinking that she oughta stop,
Oughta check her goals again.
"This penny-ante pilfering is just a bore,
Such a bore, quite a bore,
I really think I oughta use my talents more."
So she started lifting men.
Emma took along a shopping bag,
Emma took along a shopping list,
Any man at all who wasn't hers
She could not resist.
She couldn't see the light,
She wouldn't see the light,
Emma never knew wrong from right,
Which left her in the dark, unable to see the light.

But one of Emma's fellas made her very blue,
Mighty blue, black and blue,
Later in the clinic where they brought her to,
She began to comprehend.
"I've been an awful sinner in the way I stole,
I mean the clothes I stole, and the men I stole.
The Devil's reaching out, about to take my soul,
I'd better make the Lord my friend."
Emma put away her shopping bag,
Emma got herself another plan,
Emma went and put the poochies back
And she returned that man.
She cried "I see the light!
Oh, yeah, I see the light!"
Emma figured out wrong from right,
Despite her swollen jaw, she finally saw the light!

And now on Thursday night,
Come down on Thursday night,
Her talks are dynamite,
Pray with Sister Emma, mister, and see the light!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these great lyrics. If I may be permitted one correction, I believe Emma was stealing Puccis, not poochies, from Bloomingdale's -- as in Emilio Pucci the designer, not Fido poochies as in pups (which she probably stole from Petsmart!).
-- Chip

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to remember these lyrics for weeks!! I was props manager for a local production of this show and we used real people for the mannequins, I even stood in as one for a night. It was all I could do not to laugh when they would sing my name. :-)


Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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