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The Star Spangled Banner and Me

from Exact Change by Sandy Cash

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Music and lyrics by David Roth, posted by permission


I was minding my own business with a mug of herbal tea
I hear the ringing of the phone…I answer…it’s for me
“I’m so-and-so-and-such-and-such and I do this-and-tha
I work for the Chicago Bulls, I wonder, can we chat…

The coach asked me to call you up, it seems he’s heard you sing
And wonders if your talents to Chicago we could bring
To sing the national anthem on a nationally televised game
It’s all sold out,” he says to me, I says to him “Who’s playing?”

The Bulls against the New York Knicks,” he rapidly replied
“I’ll have to check my book” I said, and cupped the phone and cried
“My prayers are answered, thank you Lord, I always knew you would”
I pick the phone back up again and say “I suppose I could…

Just one little item, though, before we close this deal
America the Beautiful just might have more appeal
Something ’bout those bursting bombs, I’ve always kind of spurned it”
He said “Star Spangled Banner, Ms. Cash” and so I learned it

I show up at the Stadium, the crowd is filling out
Eighteen thousand six hundred and seventy six, about
I take my place at center court, I’m standing on the Bull
I lift my head to look around, the freaking place is full

So there I am, I start the song, but not my usual way
Not like the whiny folksinger you’re looking at today
I raise my voice, I let ‘er rip with passion, verve and style
I go to hit the highest note, the place is going wild

I finish with a flourish “…and the home of the brave…”
Up there in the balcony I swear they’re doing the “wave”
Triumphantly I leave the court, an usher guides my way
I guess I’ll take my seat there on the bench with Michael J

Instead we take a couple turns, the next thing that I knew
We’re halfway up to Heaven in the mezzanine, it’s true
I look around, I’m shocked, I’m stunned, it’s hot dogs, peanuts, beer
Oxygen, binoculars, that’s all they sell up here

So in a somewhat strident voice I grab my friend and claim
“I can’t believe they stuck us way up here to watch this game”
Immediately the woman to my right does one of these
“Just what exactly’s wrong with this location?” she decrees

“We come to every game” she says “and this is where we sit
These are our seasons tickets, sir, and you are full of envy
And then she does a double take and breathily mumbles “Oh…
Aren’t you the one who sang the national anthem down below?”

My chest begins to swell with pride, I’m recognized I guess
With ever ounce of wit, panache, and charm I answer “Yes…”
I’m pulling out my pen, she probably wants my autograph
Instead she says “Gee, usually they get famous people to do that…”

There’s little more to recount in this poignant paradigm
The Bulls went on to win that game by one in overtime
And I went on to eat a slice of humble pie delight
For you usually get what you deserve
And I got mine that night


from Exact Change, released January 1, 2000
Words and Music by David Roth (with very slight changes by Sandy!)


all rights reserved



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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