Voices from the Other Side

by Sandy Cash

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1.
First finger, second fret Listen to the sound you get He loved me from the day we met I’m Gilad’s guitar He promised me when we were young I’d be his gift to a cherished one And now you’re here his will be done I’m Gilad’s guitar Reminder of the price he paid I’m hand crafted, tailor made I sound better the more I’m played First finger, second string Leave the buzz out make me ring I know you have a song to sing I’m Gilad’s guitar The songs he loved will never fade They live in all the dues we paid I sound better the more I’m played And I hope one day before we’re gone You’ll have a child and pass me on You can introduce me saying This was Gilad’s guitar First finger, second fret Listen to the sound you get I loved him from the day we met I’m Gilad’s guitar (in your hands now) I’m Gilad’s guitar (make us proud) I’m Gilad’s guitar
2.
Of all the slaves he owned, Josiah Henson was the prize There was no man who could plant or hoe the faster Josiah brought the crop yields up and he never raised his eyes So was named the overseer by his master In 1817 the master called Josiah in Said here’s a letter signed by me to make you lucky I owe my neighbors silver but they want their pay in skin Hide our best slaves with my brother in Kentucky If you get ‘em there this letter here from me says you’ll go free Josiah stocked his master’s wagon up with oats and slaves and bacon And crossed Virginiamountainous and wide He’d switched the wagon for a trawler on Ohio’s west-bound water When he heard voices from the other side When he heard the voices from the other side Chorus: The journey is long and the river is deep It flows on the tears of grieving But with hope in your heart and a promise to keep You’ll rise on the banks of freedom The slave state of Kentucky on the river’s southern edge The free state of Ohio to the north Josiah’s oar bent double on the hope that he could dredge For the liberty his shackled crew was worth Just then the sound of footfalls pounding on the northern shore From the deck the crowd of slaves all turned to see A dark skinned man shouting things they’d never heard before About the abolitionist’s decree Turn your vessel round and point it here to me – and you’ll be free Chorus Get down Josiah hollered as he swung his oar up high And held it there above his charges trembling The first man makes a move will be the first man who will die Cause I ain’t a one you’ll want to be offending He drove his captives on until they docked at Blackford Creek Nearby the great estate where he’d been leading Then bounded up the stairs, his master’s brother for to seek With a letter he was incapable of reading But loyalty’s debt would ne’er be repaid Black ink on white master’s paper The note’s hidden terms had Josiah betrayed It said he would not go free – never In his new master’s fields Josiah kept his eyes cast down But stood up tall to scan the dark horizon And then one moonless night he caught a train they call the Underground And rode it ‘till the border was behind him And standing on free land, he promised himself In the name of the slaves he’d delivered He’d follow that train route again and again And lead more free men to the river
3.
A wondering soul who hitched a ride beside a beam of light In thoughts that loosed the laws of space and time I rode along beside him after I became his wife For both a second wedding Me alone his marriage ending As Albert’s life was changing I knew that so was mine Laughing eyes that I had loved since childhood inBerlin Our parents sat and talked as we would play As a man he overturned the world that I was in A world he could then not repair From Germany to MC2 Illumination prisoner to the darkness of the day On the backs of envelopes he’d sketch the universe Until his weary head would start to nod I made my contribution to this greatest show on Earth Practical in talents I would keep the checkbook balanced As I watched him chase the coattails of his sage and silent Gd. All those admirers would stand in line It took a genius to schedule that man’s time So don’t you ask me to explain his relativity Though I heard him tell it hundreds of times through What mattered was the life we shared was more than theory A home made rich with simple things Visits from movie stars and kings While I kept the famous mind well fed and helped him find his shoes
4.
A moment in time An angle of sight Background blurred out Picture cropped tight A directing hand And an innocent mind Make a freeze frame truth Of a dangerous kind She’s a two-bit extra in this wartime show As the sun beats on her windshield in a line so slow Soldier’s just a kid but his face is hard As he pops her trunk, checks her ID card He’s just 19 and he’d rather be Maybe traveling, or starting university His ceramic vest could make a grown man melt In six hour shifts spent searching for the next bomb belt CHORUS He was eight years old when the roadblock to peace Was the bombs going off more than once a week “Now” may be now, “then” may be then But his job is to make sure it doesn’t happen again That driver in line, she’s a victim too Of the fear of what will happen if something slips through Facts slip through the cracks and they make no sound While the camera shoots and we all fall down A simple temptation, a summary of sin But tell me whose stories will you let in? CHORUS
5.
The different tastes my children had Were plain as plain could be Especially at mealtimes they agreed to disagree Child A was vegetarian Veggies drove child B to tears And C survived on cornflakes for at least eleven years Child D – who liked things fancy – had a preference as well He dreamed of gourmet restaurants with the poshest clientele But ever since they moved out Seem’s the fight’s come to an end Cuz whenever they feel strapped for cash on this you can depend What do you do When the rent is coming due And you spent a bit too much down at the bar That little dress in black Looked too good there on the rack Hey everybody needs some R & R It’s so good to know You’ve got a place to go Where the back door is always left ajar It’s Mom’s whistle-stop, delicious, short order, nutritious Free Food Bar. Yes, young folks today Must learn to pay their way But some may find old habits tough to break The meals they can afford Can leave ‘em mighty bored When the folks’ freezer is stocked with T-bone steak It’s so good to know You’ve got a place to go Where the back door is always left ajar It’s Mom’s whistle-stop, delicious, short order, nutritious Lip-smackin’, flap jackin’ Free Food Bar. You’d think some angry words would have been spilt To give the kids a proper sense of guilt But that loyalty parental Has a power fundamental The need to feed out kids got civilization built When the numbers don’t add up There’s a place to dine and sup Where the owners keep their cool about the tab To satisfy their wishes Just declare you’ll do the dishes And take the garbage out for Mom and Dad It’s so good to know You’ve got a place to go Where the back door is always left ajar It’s Mom’s whistle-stop, delicious, short order, nutritious Lip-smackin, flap jackin, Rest a while, home style No beatin’ good eatin’ On your mark, a la carte What’s for dinner, Mom’s a winner Free Food Bar.
6.
Like a Song 03:32
Like the sun, like a shadow Like the frame that holds a window A way to hear, a way to see They’ve always been a part of me They draw me close, and they take me far My soul alive with all they are What a surprise to recognize the way You hold me like a song That whispers in my ear You turn my head around To listen when I hear You help me place the tune That I knew all along Harmony’s what happens When you hold me like a song A place to hide, a place to dream That’s what the music used to mean To smooth it out in measured time To disappear in side the rhyme You listened to the words I’d sing Your silence gave me everything What a surprise to feel it every day CHORUS I used to think I’d heard it all You sure did prove me wrong Just keeping time with your constant heart I learned to sing along CHORUS
7.
Numbers 05:17
He was running some deliveries Down in Borough Park The traffic was a blasphemy It was late and getting dark And he had to find a telephone Call up information There was no way he’d be on time To his final destination A siren pierced 10th Avenue as a spring gale took his list So he casually wrote the number on his arm above his wrist And thinking nothing of it With appointed rounds complete He stopped into a diner to have a bite to eat Well the matron on the register reviewed him with alarm Her eyes went wide with wonder she kept staring at his arm And she called to him in German – Avrum bist du das? Avrum – is that you? It was only then he noticed her numerical tattoo There are numbers on the telephone numbers on a bet Then there are the numbers you never can forget He said – my name is Stuart, there must be some mistake I was born an Anglo Saxon she said this time Gd gave you a break Of course you don’t remember it was 1942 You were then my only son And like me you were a Jew They brought us into Dachau in the middle of the night Not a word was spoken as we marched in muted fright They threw you in a boxcar with some other boys and men And despite all prayers and promises you were never seen again But the demons never figure in their frenzy for control They can sometimes take your body but they can never reach your soul And the numbers on your arm mein kinde, as far as I can tell Are the same you wore when they took you now you’re back and looking well There are numbers on the calendar Numbers to regret Then there are the numbers You never can forget Well he didn’t want to argue for her this was so real He touched her hand and walked away never got his meal Driving home he mused at last one could explain Why he feels a rage inside him when he sees a child in pain Why he questions all authority why he shuns the beaten path Why he fears to lose the ones he loves, why he always hated math Why sometimes he is selfish while longing to be fair Why the only Hebrew words he knows are from the mourners prayer There are numbers on the calendar numbers on a lock Numbers on the telephone numbers on a clock Numbers on a license plate numbers on a bet Then there are the numbers you never can forget You never can forget
8.
Song of Zion 03:13
If I said I love her Would you click your tongue for shame Would your fingers drum the headlines To hint I share the blame If I said I love her Would you crown me with her crimes Tribal colonizer thinks the Bible’s wiser Than the staff of the New York Times Righteous beauty all the rage A bold new truth to try on Model for the mirror as you Sing a song of Zion And if I said I love her Would you glance around in fear Would you guide me toward a corner To make sure your friends don’t hear And if I said I love her Would you shake your head and stare Would you search my eyes until you find The hate that you’re sure is there CHORUS But if I said I lost her I bet you’d come around To admire the wheels of justice turning Over new-scorched ground And maybe I’d get used to The acceptance that you’d give But oh my friend, my love and I We would have rather lived.
9.
Sitting down for dinner on a Sunday night Chairs scraping on the floor Annie and Jimmy start to fill their plate While Dave reaches out for more The baby’s crawling round underneath our feet – let her stay there for a while Then Bob bursts in – running straight from the gym And you catch my eye and smile Sometimes I don’t feel old enough To be showing these kids the way The way they’ve been keeping me on my toes I just might take up ballet The house is a-humming with the going and the coming – so fast my head’s a-spin Still I thank the Lord that the life I’ve got Is the one that you are in CHORUS: What a road it’s been Along the uphills and the downs Through the winding streets Not a signpost to be found Still we travel on Through this life we thought we knew Cuz we’re learning as we go Both me and you Sometimes I think back to the early days When we started on down this road We had so little to weigh us down Still we struggled ‘neath the load All the wrong turns taken and the dreams forsaken left us wiser for the trials As we kept our faith the journey And in each other through the miles CHORUS All those good directions never did a bit of good Cuz we got lost no matter how we’d try I’m not the quickest study but I’ve finally understood The best path can take you by surprise… you improvise… So as the years go spinning by us And as we watch our hair turn gray Let this happy home be a beacon For travelers along the way Cuz what we’ve learned as the seasons turned is a simple thing and true That the joy that’s in your journey Is in those who walk with you CHORUS
10.
The Journey 02:12
Brown earth loose beneath my feet past woodland green and silver Chill mist shining off the trees is all the light I need here The journey of a thousand nights I want no one to guide me My cloak, my pack, my leather boots, my walking staff beside me A songbird cries out from the trees then wings into the distance I turn my head to watch her flight until its disappearance I set my gaze back on the trail my footsteps sure and heavy My sturdy staff points down the road where I have walked already The dark mist pearls upon my cloak my pack weighs down my shoulders The fingers wrapped around my staff grow stiff as they grow colder I think upon that forest bird, I think upon her singing I think on her uncharted flight, the point of song’s beginning And if you were to sing to me so sweetly from the shadows And if you bid me raise my eyes to where another road goes I wonder if I’d risk my staff my cloak my boots of leather And everything I know is mine – for what we’d find together
11.
My cousin Mary is a real good friend so she's a bridesmaid for the tenth time They say that love is blind and a bride to be can prove it Cause what they pick for bridesmaids is a heinous fashion crime. She pays 300 dollars for a dress the bride is claiming, "If you hem it, you can wear it as a cocktail dress."Well, sure.If you hem it, redesign the sleeves, tear off the bows and rhinestones, tuck in the sash and dye it black, well then, 500 dollars later you will end up with a gown that is quite obviously a bridesmaid dress altered to be worn as a cocktail dress.Well, she called me when the dress came in and said, "I can't believe it, but this one wins the one for the most piteous." I said, "You've got a wide brimmed melon hat, nothing Could be worse than that."But it was. It was hideous. It was yards of silken aqua foamy green with lace and ribbons It was Scarlett crawling back up from the dead And as she shoved her feet into a set of matching four inch heels For lack of any better words I said, Someday jumbo butt-bows will be all the rage, that's what my hunch is And Someday jade silk long gloves will be he power dress for corporate lunches They brought the bellbottoms back, they said it couldn't be done, it's just a question of when Don't trash that satin, I'm telling you girl you'll use that dress again The reception was a dinner cruise that sailed into the bay, Despite the lace and ribbons Mary looked divine. But another psycho bridesmaid who was jealous of her beauty Lured her up onto the deck and pushed poor Mary into the brine. Well, she floated on for days because the bustle made her buoyant. And the sharks could not bite through the crinoline skirt. And her parasol turned over caught her ten fresh quarts of water Till she landed on the last uncharted island, whether beaten but unhurt. She turned the rhinestones sunward, the reflection made a fire And the natives were impressed with what they saw. For they dined on wild bobcat Mary caught with bow and arrow She'd refashioned from the wire of her under wire bra and she said, ... Well, a Miami plastic surgeon came upon Mary's distress note She'd sent floating out to sea in pillbox hat And as Mary waylaid anchor, he fell instantly in love And he jumped into his private yacht and set to sail where he thought She'd be at. A squall came from the south, the handsome surgeon's boat took water he prepared himself to die amidst the wreck But as his head was going under he heard "grab onto tthis buttbow" And our heroine pulled him from the turgid water safely up on to her deck They married three weeks later and our Mary wrote a book ...

about

Voices From the Other Side is my latest studio recording, produced by David Epstein. This disc was a labor of love, as I slowly pieced together the best of the songs I’ve written and performed over the past few years.

Living in Israel — a Western-oriented society in the heart of the Middle East — has affected me as a songwriter, urging me toward issues-based lyrics that draw deeply from the well of history, while not hesitating to hold up a mirror to the politics of the present day. At the same time, my music owes much to the North American songwriters (my Voices from the Other Side) who have inspired me over the years. In this collection you’ll also hear about what keeps me going in this complicated life I’ve chosen for myself: the sustaining love of family, commitment to community, and – oh, so important! – a sense of humor.

credits

released January 1, 2012

Words and music © Sandy Cash, Bud-Man Music, BMI, except where noted

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Sandy Cash Israel

From the Midwest to the Middle East, American-born singer-songwriter Sandy Cash is a musical storyteller whose thoughtful – and theatrical – performance style is rooted in the songs on which she grew up back in her native Detroit.

Sandy draws on history and present-day politics, while exploring themes such as the sustaining love of family, a commitment to community, and a healthy sense of humor.
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