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Lyrics

Selected Songs:

My Next Drink
Alleluia, The Great Storm Is Over
Beggars to God
Hard Love
Thanksgiving Eve
Waiting for Nineveh to Burn

Album Lyrics:

Long Roads, Short Visits

The Desert Questions


My Next Drink

Words & Music by Bob Franke

2009 Robert J. Franke

 

Come give your kind attention, and while I can clearly think,
I'll sing a little song for you, I call it
My Next Drink.

Not today, dear God, not today. 

A handle of Glenlivet, or a magnum of champagne,
The leavings from three bottles that my wife poured down the drain,
Not today, dear God, not today.

The rush of sweet oblivion goes running down my tongue,
Forever, for a moment, I am witty, proud and young,
Not today, dear God, not today.

Then stupid, old and shameful, I attempt another day,
My children and my wife all do their best to stay away,
Not today, dear God, not today.

The ones I once loved dearly all recoiling from my breath,
The nightmares, and the shaking, on my slow return to death,
Not today, dear God, not today.

I made myself a promise when the sun came up today,
The gift of my sobriety, I will not throw away,
Not today, dear God, not today.

Not today, dear God, not today.

2009 Robert J. Franke


Alleluia, The Great Storm Is Over

Words & Music by Bob Franke

Recorded on "One Evening In Chicago" (Flying Fish FF90435, originally on Great Divide, GDSR 1766, 1982)

Bob Franke: guitar and vocal

The thunder and lightning gave voice to the night;
the little lame child cried aloud in her fright. .
"Hush, little baby, a story I'll tell,
of a love that has vanquished the powers of hell.

Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!
Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!

 "Sweetness in the air, and justice on the wind,
laughter in the house where the mourners had been.
The deaf shall have music, the blind have new eyes,
the standards of death taken down by surprise.

Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!
Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!

"Release for the captives, an end to the wars,
new streams in the desert, new hope for the poor.
The little lame children will dance as they sing,
and play with the bears and the lions in spring.

Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!
Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!

 "Hush little baby, let go of your fear:
the Lord loves his own, and your mother is here."
The child fell asleep as the lantern did burn.
The mother sang on 'till her Bridegroom's return.  

1982 Telephone Pole Music Publishing Co(BMI)


Beggars to God

Words & Music by Bob Franke

The song of Gypsy Davy rang delighted through the night
The wise & foolish virgin kept her candle burning bright
Rise up my young & foolish one & follow if you can
There'll be no need for candles in the arms of such a man

Chorus:

Make love to each other, be free with each other
Be prisoners of love til you lie in the sod
Be friends to each other, forgive one another
See God in each other: be beggars to God

The night was cold & dark & wet as they wandered on alone
The sky became their canopy, the earth became their throne
And as their raiment ran to rags, they thought it nothing wrong
For earth & sky are robe enough when you sing the Gypsies' song

They sang & played the Gypsies' song wherever they were sent
To some it seemed a dancing tune - to some, a sad lament
But in ev'ry heart that heard them true a tear became a smile
And a pauper or a prince became a Gypsy for a while

1983 Telephone Pole Music Publishing Co(BMI)


Hard Love

Words & Music by Bob Franke

I remember growing up like it was only yesterday
Mom & Daddy tried their best to guide me on my way
But the hard times & the liquor drove the easy love away
And the only love I knew about was hard love

It was hard love, every hour of the day
When Christmas to my birthday was a million years away
And the fear that came between them drove the tears into my play
There was love in daddy's house, but it was hard love

And I recall the gentle courtesy you gave me as I tried
To dissemble in politeness all the love I felt inside
And for every song of laughter was another song that cried
This ain't no easy weekend, this is hard love

It was hard love, every step of the way
Hard to be so close to you, so hard to turn away
And when all the stars and sentimental songs dissolved to day
There was nothing left to sing about but hard love

So I loved you for your courage, and your gentle sense of shame
And I loved you for your laughter and your language and your name
And I knew it was impossible, but I loved you just the same
Though' the only love I gave to you was hard love

It was hard love, it was hard on you, I know
When the only love I gave to you was love I couldn't show
You forgave the heart that loved you as your lover turned to go
Leaving nothing but the memory of hard love

So I'm standing in this phone booth with a dollar and a dime
Wondering what to say to you to ease your troubled mind
For    the Lord's cross might redeem us, but our own just wastes our time
And to tell the two apart is always hard, love

So I'll tell you that I love you even though I'm far away
And I'll tell you how you change me as I live from day to day
How you help me to accept myself and I won't forget to say
Love is never wasted, even when it's hard love

Yes, it's hard love, but it's love all the same
Not the stuff of fantasy, but more than just a game
And the only kind of miracle that's worthy of the name
For the love that heals our lives is mostly hard love

1982 Telephone Pole Music Publishing Co. (BMI)


Thanksgiving Eve

Words & Music by Bob Franke

It's so easy to dream of the days gone by
It's a hard thing to think of the times to come
But the grace to accept ev'ry moment as a gift
Is a gift that is given to some

Chorus:

What can you do with your days but work & hope
Let your dreams bind your work to your play
What can you do with each moment of your life
But love til you've loved it away
Love til you've loved it away

There are sorrows enough for the whole world's end
There are no guarantees but the grave
And the life that I live & the time I have spent
Are a treasure too precious to save

As it was so it is, as it is shall it be
And it shall be while lips that kiss have breath
Many waters indeed only nurture Love's seed
And its flower overshadows the power of death

1982 Telephone Pole Music Publishing Co. (BMI)


Waiting for Nineveh to Burn

Words & Music by Bob Franke

Written the night before the Boston Folk Alliance convention.
Recorded on Daring 3016, The Heart of the Flower

Bob Franke: guitar and vocal
Cary Black: bass
Tom West: Hammond B3, piano
Tim Jackson: drums
Nina Gerber: acoustic guitar
Duke Levine: electric guitar
Mason Daring: tambourine

I spent three days inside the whale.
Although it seemed much longer.
I fought like hell to decompose,
But the angel was much stronger.
A mighty vomit gave me chance
to show you what I learned:
I sing my song as you dance your dance,
Waiting for Nineveh to burn.

I used to think that I was kind.
I thought I was a winner.
They used to love me for my mind.
They used to bring me dinner.
As I was looking off the bow,
They threw me off the stern.
I look like Death warmed over now,
Waiting for Nineveh to burn.

You dancers think that you're so hot,
To praise the Lord's compassion.
While we who draw the prophet's lot
Are treated in this fashion.
I see once more as I saw at first,
(I guess the worm has turned)
My growing shadow, and my thirst,
Waiting for Nineveh to burn.   

1995 Telephone Pole Music Publishing Co. (BMI)