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Signs of Home coverSigns of Home

OGR 8893 | Released 1990

Executive Producers: Joel R. Feidelman and Lawrence S. Herman

Produced by: Ken Ford

Recorded at: Megaphone, Portland, Maine

Recording and Mixing Engineer: John Stuart

Mastered at: Frankford Wayne Mastering Labs, New York

Mastering Engineer: Tom Steele

Photo by: Gail Waitkun

Design and Graphic Layout by: Diane Potenzo and Gail Waitkun

Special Thank-yous to: Pam, Gail and Donna; Russ Rowe; Dave Rowe; Penny Cary; Susi Baldwin; All the folks at Megaphone, and especially Ken Ford and John Stuart, the A-team.

Schooner Fare is:

Chuck Romanoff: vocals, twelve and six string guitars, tenor banjo

Tom Rowe: vocals, electric basses, six-string guitar, tin whistle

Steve Romanoff: vocals, six string steel and classical guitar, five string banjo

Song List

Rolling Home | Just Ask the Children | Big House, Middle House, Back House, Barn | Farewell to the Gold | Hills of Isle au Haut | Boats of Stone | Roseville Fair | Muddy Water | Golden, Golden | The Royal Tar | Sweet Tennessee | All Coming Together

ROLLING HOME
Trad. Arr. Schooner Fare

Call all hands to man the capstan,
See the cable run down clear
Heave away, and with a will, boys,
For New England we will steer.

	Rollin' home, rollin' home,
	Rollin' home across the sea,
	Rollin' home to old New England,
	Rollin' home, dear land, to thee.

Many thousand miles behind us,
Many thousand miles before,
Ancient oceans lead us homeward,
To our own New England shore.

To the friends we leave behind us
We will bid a fond adieu,
We'll remember tears and laughter,
And the joys we've spent with you.


JUST ASK THE CHILDREN
Words and music by Steve Romanoff

Who, ask the children, will the real teachers be,
Who will show that real knowledge is love and real love sets you free,
If you wonder who'll teach them to notice the false from the true,
Just ask the children, they're all looking at you.

Why, ask the children, can so many not read,
Why do you think there is time to debate all the warnings to heed,
If you wonder why only a few seem to join in the dance,
Just ask the children what they'd give for the chance.

Where, ask the children, will the clear waters flow,
Where will the blue of the sky and the green of the wilderness go,
Do you borrow their future and pay with the interest you should
Just ask the children if your credit is good.

How, ask the children, will we know when you're gone,
Will you still show in the blance of nature that you've overdrawn,
Did you think you could save by reducing it year after year,
Just ask the children, they're all waiting to hear.

When, ask the children, will our leaders be brave,
When will they give of themselves as their fathers and foremothers gave,
If all of the dreams you encourage are dreams you've deferred,
Just ask the children what they think of your word.

What, ask the children, are my neighbors to eat,
What is so kinder and gentler to you about life in the street,
If you wonder whose promised deliver is so overdue,
Just ask the children, they're still looking at you.


BIG HOUSE, MIDDLE HOUSE, BACK HOUSE, BARN
Words and music by David Crossman and Tom Rowe

Through the big house, middle house, back house, barn,
Goes the kitten with a mitten and a ball of yarn;
All a'scitter and a'scamper, gonna upset Grandpa
By playing under his chair.
From the halls with the walls and the floors well worn
To the room in the eaves where the kids were born;
It's the place we grew 'til we finally knew
We'd have to leave it all behind.

	And I can see like yesterday the smile on Grandma's face.
	And I can hear the love we shared as it echoes in this space.
	And though it's just a memory, it cannot be erased;
	For like the big house, middle house, back house, barn,
	We're connected to this place.

In the big house, middle house, back house, barn,
There's Dad with Mother on his arm.
You can tell inside he's filled with pride;
You can see it in his sparklin' eyes.
When they built this house it was strong and stout,
And it took a lot of love to keep the weather out.
It held our faith and cradled our dreams
And kept us warm and dry.

In the big house, middle house, back house, barn,
We still live here and life goes on.
There've been a few changes and a few rearranges
But the love remains the same.
And we all meet here maybe once a year
And we talk about the folks we hold so dear;
And the kids make noise as they play with toys
That come from another time.


FAREWELL TO THE GOLD
Words and music by Paul Metsers

Shotover River, your gold it is waning,
It's years since the color I've seen,
But there's no use just sitting and Lady Luck blaming,
I'll pack up and make the break clean.

	Farewell to the gold that never I found,
	Good-bye to the nuggets that somewhere abound,
	For it's only when dreaming that I see them gleaming
	Down in the dark, deep underground.

It's nearly two years since I left my old mother,
For adventure and gold by the pound,
With Jimmy, the prospector, he was another,
For the hills of Otago was bound.

We searched the Cardrona's dry valley all over,
Old Jimmy Williams and me,
They were panning good dirt on the winding Shotover,
So we headed down there just to see.

We sluiced and we cradled for day after day,
Making hardly enough to get by,
When the terrible flood swept poor Jimmy away,
During six stormy days in July.


THE HILLS OF ISLE AU HAUT
Words and music by Gordon Bok

Away and to the westward
There's a place a man can go,
Where the fishin's always easy,
And they've got no ice or snow.

	But I'll haul down the sails
	Where the bays come together,
	And bide away the days
	On the hills of Isle Au Haut.

Now the Plymouth girls are fine,
They put their hearts in your hand,
And the Plymouth boys are able,
First-class sailors, every man.

Now the trouble with old Martir,
You don't try her in a trawler,
For those Bay of Biscay swells
Can roll your head right off your shoulder.

Now the winters drive you crazy,
And the fishin's hard and slow,
You're a damn fool if you stay,
But there's no better place to go.


BOATS OF STONE
Words and music by Steve Romanoff

Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?
Did you see them sailing south to honor Washington?
From these silent quarries now so overgrown,
Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?

Tell me, Mister, did you see the city halls?
Did you carve the marble monuments from humble mountain walls?
And great colums for cathedrals we have known?
Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?

To a nation finally free in her new prosperity,
Came a building boom for granite in the nineteenth century,
And the finest source alone for this solitary stone
Lay sleeping in the quarries of New England.

The need for public buildings of a new magnificence,
Gave Vermont and all her marble a new significance,
And the growing need for granite on a monumental scale,
Awoke the tiny island villages of Maine.

Through every season of the year they sailed along the Coast of Fear,
On a downest course for home you'd see them ride,
Into the rising sun this schooner fleet did run,
Sailing light to make the morning tide.

To many green New Hampshire towns came this fleet of hand-me-downs,
Having spent their buoyant youth on coal and lumber,
They'd all seen better days before the killin' quarry trade,
Now everybody knew their days were numbered.

Up to the loading sheds the leaking hulls would edge,
Ready for the rubble and the good rock,
High above the groaning sledge the shrieking gulls would pledge,
"You'll never make a round trip to this same dock!"

	It seems only yesterday, I entered the carving trade
	And now I'm so far away from all that I know,
	But word came to Italy of good work across the sea,
	And you gave your farewell to me for I had to go.

	So here, off the coast of Maine, on the island called Hurricane,
	I dream I'll see you again when the work gets too slow,
	Yes, here under pointed trees with marble and memories
	I carve lions and liberties through the long winter snow.

You could see them from the shore always going back for more,
A steady stream of stone to build a nation.
Every capital and fort, the new library of New York,
Every church of every known denomination.

For the mansions of our dreams these humble schooners split their seams,
Like shuttles on the wind they carried on,
Some too cold to feel the granite columns on their keel,
Bound for New York's new Cathedral of Saint John.

To every green New England hill where we no more will hear the drill,
Now the quarry men are still in peaceful slumber,
To every bust and effigy in Boston, New York and D.C.
And every city curb would be too great to number.

To the hands and to the boats who cut the stones and pulled the ropes,
To the children and their hopes in dark December,
To the labor of the crew, their weary vessel would get through,
We give the credit where it's due and we'll remember.

Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?
Did you see them sailing south to honor Washington?
From these silent quarries now so overgrown,
Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?

Tell me, Mister, did you see the city halls?
Did you carve the marble monuments from humble mountain walls?
And great colums for cathedrals we have known?
Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?
From these silent quarries now so overgrown,
Tell me, Mister, did you see the boats of stone?


ROSEVILLE FAIR
Words and music by Bill Staines

Oh, the night was clear and the stars were shining,
The moon came up so quiet in the sky,
The people gathered 'round, the bands were tuning,
I can hear them now, playin' "Comin' Through the Rye."

You were dressed in blue, you looked so lovely,
Just a gentle flower of a small town girl,
You took my hand and we danced to the music,
With a single smile you became my world.

	And we danced all night to the fiddle and the banjo,
	Their drifting tunes seemed to fill the air,
	So long ago, I still remember,
	How we fell in love at the Roseville Fair.

We courted well, we courted dearly,
We'd sit for hours on the front porch chair,
The years went by from the time that I met you,
And I made you mine at the Roseville Fair.

So here's a song for all the lovers,
Here's a tune that they can share,
May they dance all night to the fiddle and the banjo,
The way we did at the Roseville Fair.


MUDDY WATER
Words and music by Roger Miller

	Look out for me, old muddy water!
	Your mysteries are deep and wide.
	And I've got a need for goin' someplace.
	I've got a need to climb upon your back and ride.

You can look for me when you see me comin'.
I may be runnin', I don't know.
I may be tired and a-runnin' fever,
But I'll be headed south to the mouth of the Ohio.

I may be down to the pain and sorrow
Of no tomorrow comin' in.
But I put my pole to the river bottom,
And I've got to hide someplace to find myself again.


GOLDEN, GOLDEN
Words and music by Andy M. Stewart

Slowly, slowly, walk the path
And you may never stumble or fall,
Slowly, slowly, walk the path,
And you may never fall in love at all.

	Golden, golden, is her hair
	Like the morning sun over fields of corn,
	Golden, golden, flows her love
	So sweet and clear and warm.

Lonely, lonely, is the heart,
That never, ever can call its own,
Lonely, lonely, beats the heart,
That has to live all alone.

Wildly, wildly, beats the heart,
With a rush of love like a mountain stream,
Wildly, wildly, play your part
As free as a wild bird's dream.


THE ROYAL TAR
Words and music by Tom Rowe

On cold and dark October nights when northwest gales do blow,
You can see the Royal Tar off Coomb's Point all aglow.
A sidewheel sailin' ship, she was, a packet of renown;
She sailed from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, down to Boston town.
The cargo was a circus, horses, lions, camels too,
A leopard and an elephant, a tiger and one old gnu.
Aboard her were threescore and twelve and a crew of twenty-one;
And thirty-three would perish 'were that fateful night was done.

	"There's a fire!" someone shouted, "Fire in the hole!"
	And a northwest wind across the deck to chill the very soul.
	Their courage would be tested 'ere that fateful night was through.
	Of cowards there were many, of heroes just a few.

With only six months service she was just off Isle Au Haut.
The Captain looked for shelter when the gale commenced to blow.
Captain Reed dropped anchor in the lee of Haven's shore.
He said we'll be protected here 'til morning light for sure.
Then came the call of fire and a mad rush for the boats.
There being only two seaworthy and one that would not float.
The crew abandoned first with just three men from below.
The Captain took the jolly boat and two more for to row.

Seventy-two were left aboard in the fire and the gale.
Captain Waite, a passenger, slipped chain and set the sails.
He hoped to beach the Royal Tar and save all those aboard,
But the sails then caught afire and she helpless drifted seaward.
Then from North Haven harbor came Dyer and his crew,
Aboard the Schooner Veto, close by the Tar they drew.
They took off forty souls from the listing, burning wreck,
And then could take no more as the fire consumed the deck.

Twelve women died that night and eleven children too;
Just ten men died in all and only three of them were crew.
The folks out on Matinicus say they watched the Royal Tar
As she drifted out to sea 'til she looked to be a star.
Of the animals that lived it's said they swam to shore,
And to this day on stormy nights you'll hear the lions roar.
The elephant was found washed up on far off Brimstone Isle.
And none who lived to tell the tale would 'ere forget the trial.


SWEET TENNESSEE
Words and music by David Mallett

	There's a sweet song in my heart tonight,
	Out on this lonely road.
	It's like the sound of the sun goin' down
	And it warms me to my soul.
	There's an old song in my heart tonight,
	Someone I want to see.
	Highway signs keep sayin' it's time
	To get back to sweet Tennessee.

Midnight, uptight, life is such a prize fight;
Buckin' like a rough ride in a rodeo.
Big wheels, bad meals, waitin' on the big deals,
No matter where I go.

Uptown, downtown, chase another sundown;
Every town's a downtown when you're on your way.
Truck stops, raindrops, cigarettes and hard knocks
Day after rainy day.

There's a sweet song in my heart tonight,
Out on this lonely road.
It's like the sound of my sleepy home town,
And it warms me when I'm cold.
There's an old song in my heart tonight,
Someone I want to see.
Highway signs keep sayin' it's time
To get back to sweet Tennessee.


ALL COMING TOGETHER
Words and music by Tom Paxton

There's some high drifting clouds to the east of me
And a warm summer sun on my skin.
There's a songbird who thinks he invented his song
And I'm not gonna argue with him.
There's a peace in this place that's contagious.
There's a moon on the bright side of blue.
It's a feelin' I've waited a long time to find
And I just want to share it with you.

	Feels like it's all comin' together.
	Feels like I'm on the best kind of roll.
	Feel's like it's all comin' together.
	Feels like love clear down to my soul.

It's been years since I felt like a kid again.
It's been years since I laughed right out loud.
I thought of myself as a serious man,
I provided my own thundercloud.
Now it feels like a bright sun is shining
And it's chasin' the shadows away.
And it's high time I told you I love you, again,
And it gives me a good chance to say...