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Hunger
Hunger

1997

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The Basics: Produced by Janis Ian & Jeff Balding; "Searching For America" produced by Ani Difranco. Recorded spring 1997 at Bearsville, NY; in Austin; and at various Nashville studios; original release September 1997 (Windham Hill). "Honor Them All" went top 10 on the Gavin chart; "Getting Over You" top 5, and top 30 on the R&R chart. "Honor Them All" is also the title track for the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) album release, and benefits MADD.

Personnel: Musicians: Cyro Baptista, Kevin Breit, Steve Brewster, Ani Difranco, Andrew Gilchrist, Dan Huff, Ron Huff, Janis Ian, Randy Leago, Terry McMillan, David Piltch, Andy Stochansky, Glenn Worf. Vocalists: Ani Difranco, Janis Ian.

Inside Scoop: Windham Hill and Janis seemed to be a marriage made in heaven; they asked her to record, gave her a budget, and left her alone. Janis chose a producer whose work she admired greatly, and "the first 5 days of recording, while the band were present, went great. After that it degenerated into the worst recording experience of my life - and after 32 years, that's a mouthful!" The producer wouldn't even address Janis by name, referring to her through third parties as "Your little friend" and insisting she leave the studio during "his" editing and mixing. When the record company refused to accept the master as technically satisfactory, he demanded his name be removed from the credits, which Janis gladly obliged. She brought in Jeff Balding to rescue the project; they only had five days, so she re-recorded seven lead vocals and twelve guitar tracks in two days while Jeff was mixing in another studio. Still, Hunger got a rave review in Rolling Stone, and wonderful critical notice from the press. Ani Difranco was, and remains, one of Janis' heroes. "Shadow," "Might As Well Be Monday," and "Hunger" were all written in Janis' dormitory room at Bearsville Studio, "where I took three days off before everyone arrived and sat by the creek, thinking and singing. "Shadow" just fell out of me, the night before we began recording. "Hunger" I'd started a year earlier, but hadn't been able to get further than the first verse - I asked them to bring me a Bible, started leafing through Psalms, and found the second verse. It's a perfect writing environment up there."

Lyrics

Black & White

Janis Ian

We were marching from Montgomery,
Alabama, '65
Freedom riders, Jim Crow heroes,
come to keep the faith alive
We were picking Southern cotton,
registration for the vote
We were one then
We were young then
when black & white still spoke

Now it's all gone to pieces
God alone knows why
Just a story they call history
written down in black & white

And we set aside our anger,
and we set aside our fears
And we built a common future
on the bedrock of our tears
And we marched for the children
and the millions without hope
We agreed to believe,
when black & white still spoke

Now it's all gone to pieces
God alone knows why
Just a story they call history
written down in black & white

Nothing's sadder than the man who
thinks he's free when he is chained
to the prison of his hatred
and a dream gone up in flames

Colored only at the fountains,
congregations, soda shops
Colored only in the bathrooms
and the cemetery lots
And if Jesus was a black man
or as white as Sambo's grin
it's his words that we'd remember
not the color of his skin

It's all gone to pieces
God alone knows why
Just a story they call history
written down in black & white

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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On the Dark Side of Town

Janis Ian

I wound up talking with your wife
She says you've got another life
Thought you'd finally settled down
but you keep on going 'round to the dark side of town

She says you promise not to stray
Then you make your getaway
and she prays for it to pass, and you say that it won't last
because you're going nowhere fast

On the dark side of town, where new lovers meet
at the old lost and found on the edge of the street
and the noon shadows hide from the fires outside
On the dark side of town, where some woman waits
to worship your crown, to burn at your stake
I lay myself down on the dark side of town

She says you fill her with desire
but when you want her, you're a liar
She can taste it on your breath
cutting through the cigarette
She can smell it on your sweat

You've been taking off your ring
Women see these little things
You might think it doesn't show
but it shows how far you'll go
to feed the fire down below

On the dark side of town, where new lovers meet
at the old lost and found on the edge of the street
and the noon shadows hide from the fire outside
On the dark side of town, where some woman waits
to worship your crown, to burn at your stake
I lay myself down on the dark side of town

I said -- I know that woman well
and I will see her soul in hell
before I let her carry on 'til all your hope is gone
Man, you should have seen her smile
like she'd known it all the while
and she said - thank you from me and my child
Thank you from me and my child

On the dark side of town, where new lovers meet
At the old lost and found on the edge of the street
and the noon shadows hide from the fire outside
On the dark side of town, where some woman waits
to worship your crown, to burn at your stake
I lay myself down on the dark side of town

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Might As Well Be Monday

Janis Ian

Might as well be Monday if it's Friday,
but it's Friday without you
Every day is lonely, but it's only
on the weekends I crash through
Saturday & Sunday aren't holidays
when they are coding blue
Might as well be Monday if it's Friday,
but it's Friday without you

All night, d-d-dancing in the street
They are blistering their feet
while I hide here in the heat
All night, I wonder where you are
Evey f-f-Friday we're apart
might as well be Monday in my heart

Jackie burned a vein out Monday morning
and it made him miss his bus
Carol heard the comet call on Tuesday
and by Wednesday she was dust
Thursday morning paper said in
twenty million years the earth will die
By the time my Friday rolled around,
I was not sure I was alive

All night, d-d-dancing in the street
They are blistering their feet
while I hide here in the heat
All night, I wonder where you are
Evey f-f-Friday we're apart
might as well be Monday in my heart

Don't look left - don't look right
Something's gaining on you
In the struggle and sweat
I pray for a lick of the light
I take solace - God must get lonely, too

All night, d-d-dancing in the street
They are blistering their feet
while I hide here in the heat
All night, I wonder where you are
Evey f-f-Friday we're apart
might as well be Monday in my heart

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Getting Over You

Gary Burr/Janis Ian

Borrowed pens on dotted lines
sign the past away
This is yours and that is mine
So the papers say
How can you move so quickly?
How can you heal so fast?

And what will I do with my mornings?
What will I do with my nights?

Tell me what you see in her
that used to be in me
Why is it the simple truths
are hardest to believe?
After this day is over,
how can we still be friends

And what will I do with my mornings?
What will I do with my nights?
You want answers that I can't give
You want words I don't know
Ask me when I'm through
getting over you

After this day is over
how will my dreams go on?

And what will I do with my mornings?
What will I do with my nights?
You want answers that I can't give
You want words I don't know
Ask me when I'm through
getting over you

Ask me when I'm through
getting over you

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Universal MCA Music Publishing.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Seaching for America

Janis Ian

They herded us like so much meat
up from the sewers to the street
where concrete canyons stretched their walls
so high it made us want to crawl
Past proverbs writ on subway cars
and inbetween the window bars
We walked until the pavement bled
and not a curse was left unsaid

Into a place that knows no spring
Where only steel and silver sing
They made us dance until we dropped
and the music of the jackhammers finally stopped

I caught a cinder in my eye
searching for a patch of sky
but the shadows drizzed down like in Pompeii
That's how I spent my yesterday

Searching for America
in the rivets and the rust
Searching for America
Finding only dust

What did you see that made you cry
and left these trackmarks on your eye
What did you find while you were there
that sucks the light out of the morning air

They gave us each a cropper's shack
and land so hard it broke the back
Then fed us 'til our bellies burst
on promises that died at birth
So I lay the baby out each dawn
inbetween the tender corn
with sunrise for her bonnet
and flies her only blanket

We harvested until we bled
'Til every single root ran red
and when the work was finally done
they gave our names to Immigration

I did not know how bad it hurt
until I lay there eating dirt
and the cold seeped in between my bones
That's where I was when I left home

Searching for America
All her dreams and hopes
Searching for America
Finding only ghosts

Who are these people you have seen
to dream this dark and distant dream
To tell the stories you have told
To leave these bruises on your soul

They are the flesh, they are the bone
They are the very cornerstone
They leave their mansions and their shacks
to hide here inbetween the cracks
Their hope is tattooed on my lips
Bleeding from my fingertips
They are crawling toward the promised land
hand over hand

To walk until they run no more
and wash up on some distant shore
where truth is not the enemy
and whatever does not kill us, sets us free

Somewhere out there
are millions just like me
Homesick for Eden
Heartsick at the memory

Searching for America
in every stick and stone
Searching for America
Going home
Searching for America
Going home

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Hunger

Janis Ian

I hunger for you like a sky for the weight of the sun
I hunger for you like a tide for the moon to come
I hunger for you like the skin of a doe for the blade
I hunger for you like the sin of the lost for the saved

Hunger in the body, hunger in the soul
Hunger when I'm lonely, hunger when I'm whole
Hunger in the heart, hunger in the home
Whenever we're apart, I'm hungry to the bone

I hunger for you like a sheet for the scent of your lips
And in the heat that rakes across your fingertips
I hunger for you like a thief for the night to descend
I hunger for you like a whore for a man to call friend

Hunger is the body, hunger is the soul
Hunger for the lonely, hunger for the whole
Hunger in the heart, hunger in the home
Whenever we're apart, I'm hungry to the bone

Why don't I drink my tears like wine?
They're the only taste you leave behind

I hungered for you so long the seas ran dry
Hungered for you so long the mountains cried
Here is a well that reeks of rock and rain
Hunger is a hole that calls my name

Hunger for the body, hunger for the soul
Hunger when I'm lonely, hunger when I'm whole
Hunger for the heart, hunger for the home
Whenever we're apart, I'm hungry to the bone
Whenever we're apart, I'm hungry to the bone

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Welcome to Acousticville

Janis Ian

It was a long, long road
It was a big deep hole
and then the axle broke
I barely had time to work up a sweat
when my poor Corvette went up in smoke
I was glued to the seat, I was dying of the heat
Then the water jug spilled
right onto the desert sand
I got down on my hands and knees
and said "Do what you will"

There was a voice from the dunes
In the noonday sun
She handed me a pamphlet
Said "Make sure you read it"
and started back the way she had come

It said - Welcome to Acousticville
Welcome to the place where time stands still
You can drink your blues neat or on ice
You can pay your dues any way you like
Welcome to Acousticville

It was a big mirage,
or maybe her garage
just looked like a Motel Six
She checked me in over there
wearing nothing but her hair
and a couple of candlesticks
She had long, long teeth
It was a huge relief that my door had a chain
It was an ordinary bed
It had a sign that said "You can steal this stain"

Not an outlet in sight, not a lamp, not a light
and it was coming on night
I was sleeping on the floor
when she slithered through the door
and whispered "Baby did you lose your appetite"

She said - Welcome to Acousticville
Welcome to the place where time stands still
Ain't no bass, ain't no drums
Ain't no waste, just two opposable thumbs
Welcome to Acousticville

Gary Davis, Sippie Wallace, Furry Lewis
Muddy Waters they were laying by the pool
Robert Johnson, Libba Cotton, Willie Dixon
Charlie Christian and his children, too
In between the lotion and chlorine,
Jimi Hendrix played a Martin D-18,
and we all joined in as he began to scream
"Welcome to Acousticville"

I had a real good time
Good food, good wine
I got my appetite back
But whenever I told her I wanted to leave,
she'd get so mean,
she'd peel the paint off a Cadillac
"Wait a minute!" I said,
"I don't recall being dead,
"though I am white as a ghost"
She looked me right in the eye
Said "You think you're alive,
"but baby, God only knows"

And that's the thing I love about the blues
You can't predict who it is gonna choose
but it's an honor that you really can't refuse
Welcome to Acousticville
Welcome to Acousticville
Welcome to Acousticville...

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Honor Them All

Janis Ian

They say that you can choose your friends
but you can't choose your family
and it's a lucky man who ends up in good company
I've done my share of looking back
Regret's my middle name
but the time goes by so fast
You turn around, tomorrow's passed
and the ones you love will never be the same
So why don't you honor your father
Honor your mother
Honor yourself above all
Honor the gifts you bring one another
each time you rise or you fall
Honor them all

There's not a family on this earth
doesn't sling a little mud
Hands get weary, hearts get hurt
We bow to the flesh and blood
Oh, people can be cruel sometimes
It leaves a lasting scar
but when you put it to the test
you usually find they've done their best
and as bad as that may be
it's turned you into who you are
So why don't you honor your father
Honor your mother
Honor yourself above all
Honor the gifts you bring one another
each time you rise or you fall
Honor them all

I have three nephews, all my children
and my memories
If there's one thing I would ask
it's that they keep alive the past
so the future doesn't have to end with me

I want them to honor their father
Honor their mother
Honor themselves above all
Honor the gifts
they bring one another
each time they rise or they fall
Honor them all
Honor them all

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Empty

Janis Ian/Hobo Jim Varsos

I took a ride down memory lane tonight
and every couple I passed by
made me wonder why,
oh why, oh why
did I make you cry
or ever let you go

Now I'm empty without your love
Like that big old moon,
I'm lost in the stars above
While the lovers laugh and life goes by
I sit alone in my room and cry
Empty without your love

I said a thing or two that I can't take back
I know it hurt you deep inside
You walked away and cried
and cried and cried
while I tried to hide
behind my foolish pride

Now I'm empty without your love
Like that big old moon,
I'm lost in the stars above
While the lovers laugh and life goes by
I sit alone in my room and cry
Empty without your love

I keep trying to say I'm sorry
But you're always in such a hurry
Baby baby look into my eyes
Maybe you will realize

That I'm empty without your love
Like that big old moon,
I'm lost in the stars above
While the lovers laugh and life goes by
I sit alone in my room and cry
Empty without your love
Yes I'm empty without your love
Empty without your love

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Willdawn Music.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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House Without A Heart

Philip Clark/Janis Ian

I can do what I want, choose where to haunt
I live like a ghost in this town
See a movie at one, go to sleep with the sun
knowing you won't be around
All the familiar places
All of the smiling faces

They ask me how you are
I tell them you are far away
but you're coming home soon
They smile and walk away
leaving me alone to say
that I'm lost without you

I miss you more than yesterday
More than words can say
More than hands can pray
I should have known it from the start
that whenever we're apart
I'm just a house without a heart

I can stay out all night, leave on every light
Throw all the coupon books away
I can lock out the cat, she can live off her fat
I never liked her anyway

I miss you more than yesterday
More than words can say
More than hands can pray
I should have known it from the start
that whenever we're apart
I'm just a house without a heart

And hearts break without a sound
and nobody sees
The heart you are holding now
is on its knees

I miss you more than yesterday
More than words can say
More than hands can pray
I should have known it from the start
that whenever we're apart
I'm just a house without a heart

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Shadow

Janis Ian

Why can't my wings soar like yours?
Why can't my span spread as wide?
Maybe I've got too much left to hide
Why is it so hard to fly
as I watch you grab the sky?
Maybe you've got nothing left to lose

In the air, we'd meet as friends
Equals in the sky,
and I would be content to watch you fly
From the ground you're just someone
who's closer to the sun,
and I am just the shadow by your side

Why is there a wind that waits
every time you leave the gates?
Why are you aloft when I'm a fool?
Maybe I don't feel the breeze
as it washes over me
Maybe I'm just too earthbound to move

But in the air we'd meet as friends
Equals in the sky,
and I would be content to watch you fly
Here on the ground you're just someone
who's closer to the sun,
and I am just a shadow by your side

Why does God give us these dreams
if He won't provide the wings?

If I had one wish tonight,
I would wish to chart my flight
higher than the mountains I can't climb
I would meet you halfway there
Soar like only eagles dare
and my wings would measure brave enough to face the sky

'cause in the air we'd meet as friends
Equal to the sky,
and I would be content to watch you fly
But from the ground you're just someone
who's standing closer to the sun,
and I am just a shadow by your side
From the ground you're just someone
Who's closer to the sun
And I am just the shadow by your side

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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