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Uncle Wonderful
Uncle Wonderful

1983

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The Basics: Produced by Janis Ian & Arti Funaro; recorded at Wilder Bros. Studio, Los Angeles, through 1983; released in Australia 1984. "Heart Skip" co-written with Dan Hartman.

Personnel: Musicians: Ciro Baptista, Jeff Berlin, Kim Bullard, Paulinho da Costa, Buzzy Feiten, Arti Funaro, Chas Grasamke, Tony Horowitz, Janis Ian, Terry Jennings, Marvin Kanarek, Chris Page, Peter Schles, Rick Schlosser, Lee Sklar. Vocalists: Kal David, Arti Funaro, Dan Hartman, Janis Ian, Leslie Smith, Joe Turano.

Inside Scoop: After a few years away, Janis missed recording, so she assembled a band in Los Angeles and began recording with her own money. They had a wonderful time, but no US company would touch the album. Janis still considers it "a wonderful album for a musician, but very transitional." Her new manager was convinced age was a big factor in his inability to secure placement for the album; hence the strange cover, where Janis looks younger than she did on Stars!

Says Janis: "The weird album. People love it or hate it. I really like it, but then again I'm biased."

Digitally remastered, with complete album artwork.

Lyrics

Just A Girl

Janis Ian

She's not useless -- she's just a girl
She's not stupid -- she's just
A whirl of emotion, stranger to caution
Now you can straighten her out
Sure she'll pout
But that's what love's about

She gets angry -- say it's cute when she's upset
Keep her hungry
Never overfeed a pet or convenience
Try to be lenient
Don't hold the leash too tight
Train her right
You've got her brain to fight

Did you really feel LLife was that unreal -- oh no
Did you just assume NNo one else needs room -- how slow
Now is it any wonder SShe's looking for some thunder?

She's not angry
It's just a bad time of the moon
She's not pretty -- she's just well made up
With glue and a paint box
Making your heart knock
But they're all alike in the dark
Guard your heart
And keep it well apart

They always told you It was better to be born a man
You never understood It's down to more than size
Shrug your shoulders, Say you're never gonna understand
I don't know, But you should tryb

She ain't leaving
She can't even dial a telephone
You're not grieving
You just hate to eat alone
She's expected -- she'll be rejected
Then she'll come crawling home

Crawling home -- she must come crawling home
Throw the dog a bone -- throw the dog a bone
Throw the dog a bone -- throw the dog a bone

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

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Uncle Wonderful

Janis Ian

My lips are cold. My heart is flame.
My hips are old. My kiss is pain.
My father took me one too many times
No mother I'll be to any of his kind,
for kindness is the flesh on flesh

They call me "Crazy"
'cause there's no one else to blame
Crazy, full of fantasies and shame
So I'm crazy as a bedbug in June?
What's a girl to do?
What's a girl to do?

My eyes invite the calloused mind
My thighs excite like newly-ripened wine
I take their lust and I swallow fast
They rape the dust of my body's past,
for passion is the time after time

They call me "Hey, baby!"
and spill their naked seed
"Hey baby, don't you save a little bit for me?"
So I'm savior and mother to the breed?
What's a girl to be
What's a girl to be

Those little girls with their tongues on fire
That child's world full of innocent desire
I never touch them but to photograph the dream
Those lonely children never feel alone with me
for loneliness is mother to my need

They call me "Uncle wonderful"
Uncle wonderful...
The wonder's in the splendor of their youth
What's a girl to do?
What's a girl to do?

I lock you in just to shut you out
No love begins, there's no love to doubt
I offer life without pain or need
I murdered mine, and I threw away the key
Now I've forgotten how to breath

They call me "Normal"
Normal...
I am the institution of private destiny
I offer a solution - anesthesia's ecstasy
They call me free

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

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Why Can't You & I

Janis Ian

Hope dies, withered on the vine
Old before its time. Water into brine
And dreams die, waiting to be fed,
long before they're wed to life

So here we are, two ships without a sail
No rudder for the gale winds, or the tailspins

I miss you even when you're near
You're leaving, pouring out like tears
If dreams die before we give them life,
why should love survive?

Hope tries. First you're holding hands
Then dreams become demands
and passion turns to plans
And love tries, blinded by its youth,
to turn its anger into truth

So here we are, twos hips upon the land
No anchor for the sand dunes. When the earth moves

I miss you even when you're near
You're leaving, pouring out like tears
If hope tries to fight the test of time,
why can't you and I?

Feed me. Pluck me from the vine
Stop the hands of time
Turn water into wine
And see me. Treasure every seed
Pleasure in the need - Be mine

Here you are, my comet in the sky
Afraid to spin too high, and burning as you fly

I miss you even when you're near
You're leaving, pouring out like tears
If dreams die, then why should you and i?
We were born to fly
We were born to fly
We were born to fly

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

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Trigger Happy Love

Janis Ian/Amanda Hunt Taylor

I've seen her standing in the street
Just waiting for the next affair
Satin braces on her feet, and manicured hair
I've seen him waiting in the wings
Counting shadows as they pass
The warning buzzer starts to ring
He'll break her like glass, and caress every sliver of dress
then insist that she kiss and be blessed
The big test - the big test

Feelings are stealing your heart away
Feelings are stealing your heart away
Each and every day, the need's growing stronger
Can't hold back any longer
Trigger happy love triggers a love that's no love at all

The hand is quicker than the eye
The present closer than the past
He took her once, he took her twice, not waiting to ask
Then he laid her body down,
stroking gently on the stairs
The blushing roses turned to brown, and mixed with the air
and the heat and the noise of the street
in the dust of what must be complete
To have need - to have need

Feelings are stealing your heart away
Feelings are stealing your heart away
Each and every day, the need's growing stronger
Can't hold back any longer
Trigger happy love triggers a love that's no love at all

They gave him twenty to life
He's out in five on parole
Back to the kids and the wife, and life on the dole
He's just a family man
She nags him worse than before
He counts the minutes on his hand
and walks out the door to be charmed in the arms of a whore
To be freed of the need to be more
To want more - to want more

Feelings are stealing your heart away
Feelings are stealing your heart away
Each and every day the need's growing stronger
Can't hold back any longer
Trigger happy love triggers a love
that's no love at all

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

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Heart Skip Too Many Beats

Janis Ian/Dan Hartmann

When a heart skip too many beats
When a heart skip too many beats
When a heart skip too many beats
I can't sleep, I can't sleep

You say you love me and the truth takes time
Think I need some time away
What kind of truth comes out of lies?
What kind of love comes out of pain?
And now my heart's too hot
I can't start, can't stop
I got no spark, no shot
I can't breath, I can't breath

When a heart skip too many beats
When a heart skip too many beats
When a heart skip too many beats
I can't sleep, I can't sleep

Never knowing
How you're feeling
How much loving
How much wheeler-dealing

You say you want to be a friend of mine
I think I have too many friends
You say you want to make it last this time
You know on whom it all depends
And now my heart's too hot
I can't start, I can't stop

Need to know just where you're living
What you're taking, how much you'll be giving
I think I need a doctor, 'cause my heart keeps
Skipping a beat

Truth and passion melt with time
Faith and reason on the firing line
No more treason, no more lies
Help me trust you
Let me love you tonight

When a heart skip too many beats
When a heart skip too many beats
When a heart skip too many beats
I can't sleep, I can't sleep

© Taosongs Two (50%)/EMI April Music Inc.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Body Slave

Janis Ian

Take me to the light
Take me to the mystery of life
Take me to the light
Let me see the edges of the night
He's got the answer - we'll live forever
Take me to the light, give me what i crave
He knows the meaning, he shows we're dreaming
Take me to the light
And let me be your body slave
Body slave

She said - I wanted all the Wealth and fame, fancy name
My life in lights. The time was right
And I was right for the role
(but nobody liked me)
He came along when my Life was down, hit the the ground
I didn't hesitate - we meditated
And he sated my soul
He took control

Now fame is just another illusion
My name will one day be forgotten
But in these times of confusion
I know that I have been chosen

Chorus

She says - I never feel A sense of greed or of need
He will provide and i'll survive
On the light of his love
(begging on the freeways)
He gives freely of all that's learned. In return,
Some minor favors like delivering the Savior
a dollar or two
or bringing you

Money's just another confusion
and destiny can be an illusion
so let him be the one decide
You'll go to paradise
Your soul's the only price

Chorus

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

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Hit You With The Guilt

Janis Ian/Kim Bullard

They pin you full of medals, thinking everything is settled
like you're some jerk
They make you out a hero, then they turn you into zero
'cause there's no work
They mail congratulations every federal occasion
but it still hurts
They send you out to kill, then they hit you with the bill
and every time you try to climb the hill

They hit you with the guilt
You've not committed any crime
They hit you with the guilt
Anything if you toe the line

They tell you get a job, but there's not a lot to rob
and it's too late - can't wait
They want you to be patient, get a higher education
Find a new trade - self-made
They tell you to forget, but the people that you've met
put out quite a chill
They treat you like a loser. You're just another user
and every time you've had your fill

They hit you with the guilt
You've not committed any crime
They hit you with the guilt
Anything if you toe the line

It's a crummy situation when the heroes of a nation
are its outlaws
There's got to be a reason to keep on believing
when you're rubbed raw
What happened to the payoff? Just another layoff
Just another short-order drill
They treat you like a man, then they mark you with a brand
And every time you want to kill

They hit you with the guilt
You've not committed any crime
They hit you with the guilt
Anything if you toe the line

They hit you with the guilt
You've not committed any crime
They hit you with the guilt
Anything if you toe the line

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

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Sniper Of The Heart

Janis Ian

When you take a chance, romance is waiting for you
Lurking at the corner bar
Every soggy street, a lonely alley that means
you don't have to search too far
Just check your shadow, kiddo
You know what you really are

Every false caress, a messy ending for
someone who'd rather jump the gun
Every lonely heart beating like a lark
Waiting for the cover to be broken and the games begun
It's tragic, magic
You know what you really will become

Sniper of the heart, you'll be taken
long before you learn to give
Sniper of the heart, someone's waiting for you tonight,
so guard your life
You may fall apart - all this waiting,
longing for the one who's right
Guard your hero's heart
You may own the night

Every passing face a racing shadow
in the marathon of lover's lane
Strangers in the night. Colliding bodies
when you're blinded by the hidden flame
And every stranger's danger
Wanderlust until you're tamed

When you steal a kiss, the risk is greater
than the given one you might have missed
Sneaking like a rat, quiet as a cat
Motion in the window there's a shadow
and a silent hit
You check your shadow, kiddo
I know what you really want to risk

Stranger of the heart, you'll be taken
Long before you learn to give
Sniper of the heart, I am waiting for you tonight
Guard your life
Sniper of the heart,
longing for the one who's right
Sniper of the heart
You will own the night

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

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This Night

Janis Ian

Here I am dressed for the ball
Does he still like me, will he call?
Tonight's the night
Will he remember my name?
I've written his all over the sky
Tonight's the night
I'm gonna make him mine

And the lights will go swirling 'round and 'round
and the bells will ring on high
and I'll laugh until I cry the night away
This night will be mine forever now
'cause forever is his name
and the lights will keep swirling and burning up the day
Tonight's the night

Here I am dancing at last
Holding my own even when the band plays fast
Tonight's the night
What if the band plays too slow?
Will he forget me and leave me stranded?
How do you know just how far to go?

And the lights will go swirling 'round and 'round
and the bells will ring on high
and I'll laugh until I cry the night away
This night will be mine forever now
'cause forever is his name
and the lights will keep swirling and burning up the day
Tonight's the night

Here I am ready for bed
Do I look pretty or just well-fed?
Tonight's the night
What if I look like a fool
Maybe I just better wait and see
what he's gonna do - or maybe he's scared, too

And the lights will go swirling 'round and 'round
and the bells will ring on high
and I'll laugh until I cry the night away
This night will be mine forever now
'cause forever is his name
and the lights will keep swirling and burning up the day
Tonight's the night

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

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Mechanical Telephone

Janis Ian

Dark night but there's plenty to believe in...
Why'd you have to let her touch your feelings?
I always gave you everything that you needed
All you had to do was ask -- but you just got greedy

Now the only time we talk is when we talk alone
to the voices that you leave
on your mechanical telephone
Sometimes I call just to hear your voice
set free of the talons and claws,
but the memory I keep
doesn't really let me leave any word at all

You always liked any woman who was easy
Hope you've met your match...but can she beat me?
You always said I'd be the first to walk
You say I'm always the first to talk, but can she free me?

Now we rarely talk alone. We usually speak in groups
to the people you invite
for the theater and a bite who are used to you
They like to listen to their own mouths move
They like to watch your jaw drop, too
but the witticisms fade when the covers
are unmade and I'm so far away

I bet you thought I'd be an easy lay
I bet you thought I lived alone
Hungry for the vision and the afterplay
I've had better times alone

Now we rarely talk of love. We only speak of need
and the sacrifice of life
to the altar and the knife on our mound of greed
I rarely call just to hear your voice,
set free of the pillars and stone
but for the company I keep when I speak
to your mechanical telephone
It's the company I keep when I speak
Your mechanical telephone
The company I keep...

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

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All tour dates updated on January 13, 2017

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