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Present Company
Present Company

1971

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The Basics: Produced by Jerry Corbett; engineer: Bob de Sousa; 2nd engineer: Muffyn; photography: Peter Cunningham; recorded in Berkley, CA, summer 1970; released February 1971 (Capitol).

Personnel: Musicians: Ed Bogus, Kelly Bryant, Peter Childs, Jerry Corbitt, Charlie Daniels, Rita Downing, Carol Hunter, Janis Ian, John McFee, Jeff Myer. Vocalists: Janis Ian.

Inside Scoop: Janis still wasn't sure if she'd earned the right to call herself a songwriter, so she began experimenting with the form. She also wasn't sure it was time to record, but felt she wouldn't move on as a writer if she didn't. So she changed coasts, lived in Marin County for a while, and began work. This album is the result; completely different from anything she'd done before, and heavily influenced by Charlie Daniels and John McFee, who played on it.

"This could accurately be described as Janis Ian's first comeback album. After four Verve albums during her teenage years, as well as the hit single "Society's Child," Ian struggled through her remaining albums for the label, battling indifferent record executives and A&R people. Although quite low in spirit and somewhat depressing, those final Verve albums were still breathtaking. Here, on her first (and only) Capitol album after breaking the Verve contract, Ian experienced a wonderfully positive musical rebirth, which resulted in an extremely buoyant record both musically and spiritually. Tracks such as "He's a Rainbow," "Here in Spain," and the title track are uplifting and exciting as well. The album is also Ian's loosest affair, and this may have to do with ex-Youngblood Jerry Corbett's role in production and musicianship." - Matthew Greenwald

Lyrics

The Seaside

Janis Ian

The sunlight
reminds
you
of
where you've been

Would I be?
Could I be
true
to thee?

The seaside
in prisms
reflects
your
name

Would
I
be?
Could
I
be
true
to me?

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Present Company

Janis Ian

Used to drive a pipeline
from here to Blind Man's Bend
Tried and ride the main line
I went there with my friends
I like to be together
I like to be alone
Yes, and what I like best
is I like it like this
and I stay with you at home

Enjoy the present company
Eat some grits and hominy
Couldn't get much better for me
I enoy your company... ooo...

Used to drive an ocean liner
Sunk in '52
off the coast of Indochina
Yes, I sunk there, too

Frost on the jewel glass windows here
is ringing in the dawn, my dear
Spring is busting out of my ears
I wish that I was home

Enjoy the present company
Eat some grits and hominy
Couldn't get much better for me
I enoy the company... ooo...

You can wave a banner
I don't mind if you do
I'm running back to Louisiana
I'm gonna drink that mountain dew
Used to be a loner
and I'd run the highway tolls
What I run now is I'm running anyhow
and I stay with you at home

So joy to the present company
Joy to the grits and hominy
and a joy to getting better for me
I enjoy the company - ooo

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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See My Grammy Ride

Janis Ian

Come in through the window
See my butterfly
Come in through the pillow
Look at my grammy ride

Come in through the doorway
See my pretty butterfly
Come in through the night and the day
Look at my grammy ride

And I be thine
and thee be mine
Yes, we be rhyme
Look at my grammy ride

Come in, come in through the doorway
See my limousine
Try and see it your way
Look at my grammy swing

Oh, come in to my kitchen
Look at the dirty clothes
Come with me to the bedroom
You can wash them with a hose

And I be thine
and thee be mine
We be rhyme – I feel fine
See her ride

Come on, come on through the window
See my pretty butterfly
Come on to the pillow
Look at Grammy ride

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Here In Spain

Janis Ian/Peter Cunningham

Big Brother called me yesterday
on the transatlantic phone
He said you should come home
They say it's much too dangerous
to live outside alone
among the briars and the primrose

and everybody's looking to the rain
Santo Domini
All the children are in flames
here in Spain

The President is constantly
yelling on the phone
He wants you to come home
The Law Enforcement Justice League
will tell you where to go
among the briars and the primrose

and everybody's looking to the rain
Santo Domini
All the children are in estranged
here in Spain

They say the country is
a testament to the free
but Romeo and Juliet
couldn't find a place to sleep
No, no, no no no

The child of my father called me yesterday
on the transatlantic phone
Got to, got to come home, come home

And everybody's looking to the rain
Santo Domini
All the children are in flames
All the children are in vain
All the children are inflamed
here in Spain

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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On The Train

Janis Ian

When I was on the train I said,
I said I always like
to see the sun one day
Would you please
take up the shade?

Mr. President,
his face went red
and he said -- Kid
you should have come
before I came
Would you please
remove your face

I'm on the train
and I'm trying
to make it away
On the train
They keep on trying
to make me ashamed
So many funny
people in life today

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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He's A Rainbow

Janis Ian

He's a rainbow
He's a rainbow
He's a rainbow searching for the sun
Let him find you
Let him guide you
He's a rainbow searching for the sun

In my life
there've been many cast aside
when the evening spread her light
iupon the table
Infinity
reaches out to shelter me

He's a rainbow
He's a rainbow
He's a rainbow searching for the sun
Let him find you
Let him guide you
He's a rainbow searching for the sun

Come into my life
There've been many gone astray
You know we took the easy way
when we were able
Eternity
has lost its mystery
So bring me home

He's a rainbow
He's a rainbow
He's a rainbow searching for the sun
Let him find you
Let him guide you
He's a rainbow searching for the sun

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Weary Lady

Janis Ian

Lo, I be weary
Traveling on
Lo, I be a weary lady
Look to the sunlight
Take me back home
Lo, I be a weary lady

Looking to the gardens in the night
Sound of fireflies upon my pillow
Looking for the sound of a ladybird
Was it you I heard by the weeping willow?
Willow, willow

I'll be weary
Got no home to go to
Lord, I be the weary lady
Look to the lady's sunlight
Gonna take me back to home
Lord, I be a weary lady

Looking to the gardens in the night
Sound of fireflies upon my pillow
Looking for the sound of a ladybird
Was it you I heard by the weeping willow?
Willow, willow

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Nature's At Peace

Janis Ian

Did you notice, the dawn
had the nerve to come on
to the sunrise today
Have I said that my head
had the nerve to be dead
when I wanted to break
Did you see that the sun
doesn't need anyone
to come in on time

Nature's at peace
every time you see the rain

Did you notice, the trees
are standing in peace
without orders, without me
Have I told you the leaves
can't be broken or creased
A silent symphony
Did you see the lights
when the clouds began to try
and hide the sun from the sky

Nature's at peace again
every time you see the rain

Can it be explained?
Lady Nature's back again
In a world that's gone insane
Lady Nature takes away all the yearning

Maybe I should try
to cover up the lies
but the sun in the sky
has never asked us why
we are burning

Nature's at peace
every time you see the rain

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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See The River

Janis Ian

See the river and the sun at dawn
I've been waiting alone so long
See the river and the grass is green
Now at last there's a place for me
to be
here with you

See the river and the sunny sky
I've been living for you to be mine
See the river and the sky is blue
I've been waiting so long for you
to come through

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Let It Run Free

Janis Ian/Peter Cunningham

I've been a'wandering a long, long time
and now I've decided I'm hot and tired
Open the window, let the breeze run free
Let it run on over me
You got to let it run free
Run on over me
No, you can't stop the breeze

I've been up, I've been down
I've been 'round, 'round, 'round
and the people I see
keep on bringing me down
Through the wind and the rain
The heat and the pain
I keep waiting and praying for you

I've been a'wandering a long, long time
and now I've decided I'm hot and tired
Open the window, let the breeze run free
Let it run on over me
You got to let it run free
Run on over me
No, you can't stop the breeze

I look forward to boarding
Your train, getting on
I'll be pleased and relieved
if you'll open your door
I fall into your arms
and I thank my good God
I kept waiting and waiting for you

I wander a long, long time
and now I've decided I'm hot and tired
Open the window, let the breeze run free
Let it run on over me
You got to let it run free
Run on over me
No, you can't stop the breeze
You can't stop the breeze

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Alabama

Janis Ian

See the light
Southern light
Show me the way to go home
See the light
Southern light
Show me the way to go home

Alabama, lady of the nation
Guardian of the South
My pretty belle
Wishing well

Mississippi, guardian of the nation
Laying your waste on all creation
Jezebel
Oh well

See the darky's laughing eyes
See the sunrise in disguise
Naturalized

Alabama, my lady of the nation
The serpent's after you
And your labor's overdue
Oh, I pity you

I'll give to you, Dick
(Dear, dear Dick)
just what you give to me, Dick
(My dear, dear Dick)
Yes, and i'll give to you, Dickie dear
(Dear, dear Dick)
just what you give to me, Dickie dear
(My dear, dear Dick)

See the light (Alabama)
Southern light (Alabama)
Won't you show me the way to go home

See the light (Mississippi)
Southern light (Alabama)
Show me the way
I'll go home

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Liberty

Janis Ian

Liberty, you and me
had a do in the afternoon
when the sun poured down

Liberty, didn't you and me
drink our tea '
neath the shade
of a lazy tree
Liberty –
do you remember me?

Cause now I'm lost and I'm lazy
and the world's getting hazy
I can't see your face

We are lonely and bored
We have everything and more
but we just can't find our place

Liberty,
do you remember me?

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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My Land (Not My Land)

Janis Ian

The country is a bleeding child
and a broken, withered whore
with righteous anger, time after time,
come clawing at her door
And the fatherless child, running wild,
screaming -- No no more
Please believe – my hands are clean
I've never seen the guillotine
Must you say I'm guilty, guilty all the same?
Such things can't be in my USA

'cause no no no, it just can't be
in a land like mine, all decent and free
You must be mistaken, not my country
Such things happen across the sea
No no no, not my land

You're green and rotting corpses are reeking in the sun
Calvary horses laying in their dung
and the plague on your household's only just begun
You can see that it's come
You raise up the guns
and aim them to blot out the sun

But no no no, it just can't be
in a land like mine, decent and free
You must be mistaken, not my country
Such things happen across the sea
No no no, not my land

I'll go on giving to charity
long as I needn't look back at life
I'll go to church, be proud of my piety
I'll pray only when you say it's all right
I want to follow in your society
'cause I'm too damned scared to fight
I will close myself up in a wall
Pretend I can't see or hear at all
I will point my finger back across the sea
Ignoring all that goes on around me
Saying "Look what goes on in that other country"

'cause no no no, it just can't be
in a land like mine, decent and free
You must be mistaken, not my country
Such things happen across the sea
No no no, not my land

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Hello Jerry

Janis Ian

Hello Jerry
I been watching you
Times are getting scary
Don't know what to do

but sing a song
for everyone
Lighten up the heavy sky
You can croon your tune
Let yourself shine through
Help the people 'round you
come alive

Hey, hey Davy
Do you understand?
The country's going crazy
Lend a helping hand

We'll sing a song
for everyone
Lighten up the heavy sky
You can croon your tune
Let yourself shine through
Help the people 'round you
come alive

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Can You Reach Me

Janis Ian

Can you reach me?
Would you teach me to be free?
Is it such an easy thing, to be a friend?
Can you reach me?
Would you teach me to be free?
Have you got a helping hand to lend?

It's okay - I know you're trying to wait
hoping time will hesitate
as you sit down on the phone
It's too late, when your hands begin to shake
You're trying to make it and break it all alone
And I know I can't please you
I can only try to reach out to you

Can you reach me?
Would you teach me to be free?
Is it such an easy thing, to be a friend?
Can you reach me?
Would you teach me to be free?
Have you got a helping hand to lend?

beause, my friend, seems like everything depends
on the timing of my bending papers waiting for a song
Yes, and then, seems like everybody depends
on the lifting of a hand, and...

I go 'round and 'round and 'round
I be bound - I got nothing to give
but God – I'm gonna live
I'm gonna live – I'm gonna live

Would you reach me? Would you teach me to be free?
Is it such an easy thing? Be my friend – my friend - oh, be my friend

Tell me, would you reach me? Tell me, tell me is it easy?
Could you please me? Could you release me?

Oh would you reach me? Tell me, tell me is it easy?
Would you tease me? Would you believe in me?

Tell me, could you reach me – tell me, tell me is it easy?
Would you tease me?
Release me...

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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The Sunlight

Janis Ian

The sunlight
reminds
you
of
where you've been

Would I be?
Could I be
true
to thee?

The seaside
in prisms
reflects
your
name

Would
I
be?
Could
I
be
true
to me?

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on April 20, 2014

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