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Unreleased 3: Society's Child
Unreleased 3: Society's Child

1999

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The Basics: We began this series as a way to fill in the gap between major-label-release CD's, and to help the Pearl Foundation. Since that first effort, put together on a shoe string and a prayer, we've done two more. This one is my favorite. We're getting low on stock and will not be re-pressing these.

Inside Scoop: It's my favorite because I had the most time to put it together - 5 months. There's a good mixture of solo and band work here, with songs that have been covered by other artists ("Amsterdam": Joan Baez, "This Old Town": Nanci Griffith) but were never put out by me, songs that were demo'd for projects that never happened ("If We Had Wings," "Never Laid A Hand On Your Heart"), alternate versions of songs the record company wouldn't release ("Ride Me Like A Wave" dance mix [the "wet mix"]), and the like. There's also a live version of "Society's Child," because we've had so many requests for it.

Lyrics

Forever Blue

Janis Ian/Jess Leary

I can't sleep
and I can't lie awake
I just float in between
Tangled up
in the sheets on my bed
and i can't get you out of my head

'cause the day never comes too soon,
and the night is forever blue
Was there ever a time -
just one night or two -
when dreams weren't always you

I'm old friends
with the quarter moon
that shines on the clock on my wall
Hours pass
'til the dawn's breaking throughm
and I have cried a river or two

'cause the day never comes too soon,
and the night is forever blue
Was there ever a time -
just one night or two -
when dreams weren't always you

And the moon's not to blame
as I whisper your name
She knows how i drove you away
But if prayers had wings
then the moonlight would bring you back
forever to stay

'cause the day never comes too soon,
and the night is forever blue
Was there ever a time -
just one night or two -
when dreams weren't always you
and I wasn't forever blue

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Sony/STV Harmony.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Never Laid A Hand On Your Heart

Janis Ian

I feel your heart against my hand tonight
I taste the colors of your skin
I see you tremble like a butterfly
Will you let me in? Will you let me in?

I drink the wine that lingers in your hair
I breath your need upon the wind
I run my fingers through you everywhere,
ready to begin - ready to begin

But I never laid a hand on your heart
Even when it tore me apart
I only took what you gave from the start
Never promised more than a dream
Wonderful as it might have seemed
I always felt there was someone else
beside us in the dark
so I never laid a hand on your heart

I hold your restless body in my arms
until the fever leaves your skin
I feel your heart beat underneath my palms
and I let you in. As I let you in
There is no sorrow in this heart of mine
There is no future and no past
I only hope to hold the hands of time
long as it can last. Long as it can last

'cause I never laid a hand on your heart
Even when it tore me apart
I only took what you gave from the start
Never promised more than a dream
Wonderful as it might have seemed
I always felt there was someone else
beside us in the dark
So I never laid a hand on your heart
On your heart
On your heart

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

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One Mississippi

Fred Koller/Janis Ian

Deep in the heart of Dixie, where cotton's still the king
If you slide on down to the Delta, you can hear those banjos ring
Might be the muddy water
Comes in the spring with the rain
or a poor boy down on parchment farm
aAt the end of a ball and chain

Singing One Mississippi is a long time
Gone in the blink of an eye
Two Mississippi is a lifetime
The years just drift on by
M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i

If you stand on the banks of the river
As the evening sun goes down
When the cattails shake and shiver
You can hear that lonesome sound
Might be the moon on the water
Or the old grey ghost in the trees
Or the scent of the sweet magnolia
Rising on the breeze

Singing One Mississippi is a long time
The days just drift on by
M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i

And the riverboat floats by like a ghost
on its way down to New Orleans
The paddle wheel turns, the coal smoke burns
from the heart of the Delta Queen

If you head on past the levee, down a road that's got no name,
there's a white cross on the hillside,
and the sign says "Jesus saves"
And when that congregation
begins to sing and shout
you can hear those rafters rattle
in the land of the cottonmouth

Singing One Mississippi is a long time
The days just drift on by
M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i

© Rude Girl Pub./Lucrative Music. All rights reserved.

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Amsterdam

Janis Ian/Buddy Mondlock

* Also recorded by Joan Baez

Just the pattern of sunlight on a building
Just a flash in a window I was passing
Just a frame in a movie I remember
Amsterdam
Just the sound of a wheel in the gravel
Just the click of a heel in the pavement
Just a moment like any other moment
Amsterdam

I remember your lips
I remember your eyes
and the taste of the kiss
and your graceful goodbye
You lied... goodbye

Just the scent of perfume on the linen
Just the print of a palm on the pillow
Just the hint of the moon from the window
Amsterdam
Just a ghost in the steam on the mirror
Just a shadow of motion in the water
Just a need to look over my shoulder
Amsterdam

I remember your lips
I remember your eyes
and the taste of the kiss
and your graceful goodbye
You lied... goodbye

Just two lovers asleep in the silence
As I walk from the door
Just the weight of a heart as it's falling
Nothing more

I remember your lips
I remember your eyes
and the taste of the kiss
and your graceful goodbye
You lied... goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye...

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

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Bayonne Blues

Janis Ian

I must have been around 14 when I started this, just after my family moved to New York City...everything in it actually happened to me one weekend shortly after, and I remained in a state of culture shock for a good six months! By the time I finished the song I was in my late teens, a seasoned New Yorker, & I truly felt I'd been "raised in New York City", even though I'd grown up in New Jersey. We never lived in Bayonne, but my dad worked there for a while, and "Farmingdale" and "East Orange" just didn't scan.

I was raised in New York City, where the money grows on trees
and the flowers all look gritty and the people look diseased
Come up from New Jersey where I sung the Bayonne Blues
I watched the roller derby on the seven-thirty news

I thought I'd be a folksinger
I went down to Macdougal Street
and Bleeker where the stars got stoned
But the union hall was closed
and the stars out on the road
making money singing anti-money songs

I went back up to Broadway. I took the IRT
An old man in a raincoat parked his body next to me
"Do you want to make some money fast?"
and then he grabbed me by the ass
I got derailed on Forty-Second street

I asked somebody for the time
She asked me to her room
She said "I've got a water bed"
I said "I've got the flu
"You look just like a friend of mine
"I never liked too well
"She sold picture postcards
"of the crack in the Liberty Bell"

I went into the Taco Bell to get myself some lunch
They rushed me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped
Run over on the corner by a wheelchair with no horn
I fell into a manhole and was baptized and re-born

I moved out to Long Island
Bought a color TV
I watch the doctor shows
I'm a soap opera queen
I think I got pneumonia
I'm sure I've got TB
It may not be a hell of a life
but it's life enough for me

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Blood Red Rose

Janis Ian

In the hour before sunrise
when the shadows hustle home
and the owls dream of day-break
and the redwoods softly moan
I have often begged for magic
to bring my true love home.
but the sunrise only shows
how well my garden grows
in the heat of a single blood-red rose

These eyes, no good for darkness,
rely upon the tenderness
of shadows for their passion
And the branches slowly twist
tangled promise with a kiss
only lovers can imagine
I have often begged for morning
confessing all she knows,
but the sunrise only shows
how well my garden grows
in the heat of a blood-red rose

In the hours of my morning
In the vision of the light
lay the afternoon and evening
and a promise of the night
I have often begged for darkness
to still these trembling hands,
but the sunrise only shows
how well my garden grows
in the heat of the blood-red sand

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

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Breeze On Through

Janis Ian

Instrumental

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Old Photographs

Janis Ian/Kye Fleming

Sometimes i feel like we've got nothing to say anymore
We sit around and fade into the walls
like old photographs
I guess it happens as the days and years go by
Something changes. You don't know why
and you're afraid to ask

Photographs
I don't want to be just a fading memory
torn in half by time
All we have are pictures of us
and the way loved used to be
between you and me
Old photographs

We used to talk about mistakes our parents made
We swore we'd never waste our lives that way
How the tables turn
Are we the same two people who fell in love
Have we really changed so much
or did we just grow up?

Photographs
I don't want to be just a fading memory
torn in half by time
All we have are pictures of us
and the way loved used to be
between you and me
Old photographs

Photographs
Pictures of us
and the way loved used to be
between you and me
Old photographs

© Rude Girl Pub./Irving Music-Eaglewood Music. All rights reserved.

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After The Rain

Janis Ian/Kye Fleming

I hear the sirens calling. It's Saturday night again
Outside the stars are falling
Smells like rain on the edge of lightening
Distant thunder - I remember...

far from these city streets, my heart beats a distant memory
of children in the silos
Ribboned highways where the corn grows
skyscraper high, I close my eyes

and time stands still
It's the magic of the heart
Tonight you will be lying in my arms
The memory is always the same
after the rain, after the rain
After the rain

Sometimes the walls are papered
with the sound of neighbor's loving in the night
And I feel the heat rising from the street
Years go by here inside

Rain blows against the window
Echoes through this empty room of mine
A picture on the dresser smiles at me as I read your letters
Line by line, I close my eyes

and time stands still
It's the magic of the heart
Tonight you will be lying in my arms
The memory is always the same
after the rain, after the rain
After the rain

It's a restless moon traveling through the clouds
And it shines on me, like it shines on you
and for a while, we cross the miles

and time stands still
It's the magic of the heart
Tonight you will be lying in my arms
The memory is always the same
after the rain, after the rain
After the rain

© Rude Girl Pub./Irving Music-Eaglewood Music. All rights reserved.

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Counting Up The Years

Janis Ian/Skipper Wise/Ed Cohn

* Also recorded by Janis Ian with Windows

I look at my life
Count the years
Wonder why I'm here
The days go by
The circles close
Love comes and goes

It's not enough
just to be alive
staring at an empty sky
To find my place
Run my race
then retire
Where's the fire?

Counting up the years
Wondering how long they'll last
Measuring the future by the past
through the looking glass
Counting up the years

Making moves
Making plans
Making haste
No time to waste

Keeping score
Gaining points
Losing faith
Love may come too late

Counting up the years
Wondering how long they'll last
Measuring the future by the past
through the looking glass
Counting up the years

Counting up the years
Wondering how long they'll last
Measuring the future by the past
Shadows drawing near
Counting up the years

© Taosongs Two (50%)/Crunchy Frog Publishing.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Rate My Music (became Danger, Danger)

Janis Ian

Rate my music 1-2-3. Keep your children safe from me
Rate my writing X-Y-Z. That's what keeps this country free

You got Ma Rainey talkin' 'bout a jelly roll
Chuck Berry workin' on a mojo
Bessie Smith singin' bull dagger blues
Elvis twiching on the evening news

Rate my music 1-2-3. Keep your children safe from me
Rate my writing X-Y-Z. That's what America means to me

Gonna rate Walt Whitman, and Jean Cocteau
All the fags will have to go
Alexander the Great, Plato and such
Kids might catch it if they read too much

Rate my music 1-2-3. Keep your children safe from me
Rate my writing X-Y-Z. Living in the land of liberty

Gonna rate all the dagos, the wops and the kikes
Gonna rate all the chinks and the towelhead types
Rate all the niggers, rate all the fags
Wrap it up tight in the american flag

Rate my music 1-2-3. Keep your children safe from me
Rate my writing X-Y-Z. That's what keeps this country free

I watched the news last night at nine
Saw a head blown off somebody's spine
while the women moaned and the children screamed
Doesn't anybody else think that's obscene?

Rate my music 1-2-3. Keep your children safe from me
Rate my writing X-Y-Z. That's what America means to me

All you folks who bitch and moan
about the music kids buy and bring on home
Tell me just one thing before we're done
Where'd their money coming from?

Rate my music 1-2-3. Keep your children safe from me
Rate my writing X-Y-Z. That's what keeps this country free

© Janis Ian/her co-writer(s) if any/their publisher(s). All rights reserved.

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If We Had Wings

Bill Lloyd/Janis Ian

I can't dance forever
thinking we're together
Waiting for the words that never come
I need something more than
waltzing 'round the floor when
my heart's aching to know you are the one

We better sit the next one out
We've got a lot to talk about
between the diamonds and the doubt

If we had wings,
where would we fly?
Would you choose
the safety of the ground
or touch the sky?
if we had wings

There's no use pretending
we're a happy ending
when we don't know where to begin
Will I ever know how
far you want to go now?
Can you find our song upon the wind?

After all it's only fear
ties us down and keeps us here
as our tomorrows disappear

If we had wings,
where would we fly?
Would you choose
the safety of the ground
or touch the sky?

Seen from the air,
our world's too small
But I would choose
the safety of your arms
And have it all
If we had wings

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Bill Lloyd Music.

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Caleb Brown

Fred Koller/Janis Ian

Caleb Brown was a mighty fine man
and his skin was the color of the good rich land
He bought a slope-eared mule named dan
and broke a little piece of ground
Cleared the place with his own bare hands
Made cotton grow in the rocks and sand
Thought he'd found the promised land
'til the soldiers came to town

Gather by the river
Light a fire in the old camp ground
Stand and deliver
They're burning Dixie down

Caleb Brown never took a side
Always hoped that the war would pass him by
Trouble came and he closed his eyes
then he woke to the sound of the guns
They stole his chickens and the old milk cow
Left him nothing but a broken plow
He cried out “what can I do now
but to wait for the kingdom come?”

Gather by the river
Light a fire in the old camp ground
Stand and deliver
They're burning Dixie down

Was a war, was a mighty fine war
Was a war like the world never saw before
The only one not keeping score
Was a man named Caleb Brown
No one knows what his eyes have seen
How he washed his hands in a bloody stream
Buried all his hopes and dreams
down in the cold, cold ground

Gather by the river
Light a fire in the old camp ground
Stand and deliver
They're burning Dixie down
They're burning Dixie down

© Rude Girl Pub./Lucrative Music. All rights reserved.

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Every Love

Janis Ian/Kye Fleming

Every love is different
Every love's the same
Every love has memories
Every love has pain
I knew love at thirty
and I knew love at nine
but the love I know right now
is the sweetest love I'll ever find

Every town's familiar
Every town is strange
When you're feeling lonely
every town's the same
I have dreamed of Paris
and I have dreamed of Rome
but the dream we're in right now
is the sweetest dream I've ever known

Touch me
in the silent shelter of the night
Hide me
Safely wrapped in your arms
'til morning's light

Every love remembers
Every love forgets
I've had my share of sorrows
but I have no regrets
Love is made of silver
Love is made of gold
but the love that we have made
is the sweetest love I'll ever know

© Taosongs Two (50%)/Irving Music//Eaglewood Music. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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This Old Town

Janis Ian/Jon Vezner

This old town should have burned down in 1929
That's when we stood in line,
waiting for our soup while swallowing our pride
This old town should have burned down in 1931
when the rain refused to come
Air filled up our bellies
Dust filled up our lungs,
and we thought our time had come

But this old town was built by hand
in the dustbowl of the motherland
There must be rock beneath this sand
I'll be damned - this town still stands

This old town should have burned down in 1944
when the last man went to war
They came back different, if they came back at all
This old town should have burned down in 1956
That's when the twister hit
All our hopes lay buried beneath the boards and bricks,
and we almost called it quits

But this old town was built by hand
in the dustbowl of the motherland
There must be rock beneath this sand
I'll be damned - this town still stands

Somewhere in the distance
the city lights do shine
Sidewalks gleam with neon dreams
that call from time to time
When my children's children ask me
why I didn't go
I'll say - The heart of any town
is the people that you've known,
and they always call you home

This old town was built by hand
In the dustbowl of the motherland
There is be rock beneath the sand
I'll be damned - this town still stands

© Taosongs Two (50%)/Universal-Songs of Polygram. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Heaven Knows

Janis Ian

Since I saw you, I have wondered -
Do you ever think of me?
as someone who could hold you tight
on those long and lonely nights
Could it be me who sets you free?

Free to feel the sky above you
Free to leave the earth below
We could make a symphony of tears
and hope that heaven hears
Somewhere in that sky tonight
there's someone who could make it right

Heaven knows how much I want you
Heaven knows how much I care
We could own this sky
and every star that lights your eyes up there
if heaven only dared

Do you still believe in magic
like the magic we once knew?
When even birds would stop their flight
just to taste the light that we once drew
Is it still true?

If I could, I'd have you near me
If I only knew the words
I would call on every shining star
to witness where you are
and carry you on angel's wings
into my waiting arms again

Heaven knows how much I want you
Heaven knows how much I care
We could own this sky
and every star that lights your eyes up there
if heaven only dared

Dream on, until we find our way
You've got to hold your heart
I promise we will meet again
one bright and shining day

Heaven knows how much I want you
Heaven knows how much I care
We could own this sky
and every star that lights your eyes up there
if heaven only dared

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

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Society's Child

Janis Ian

Come to my door, baby
Face is clean and shining black as night
My mama went to answer
You know that you looked so fine
Now I could understand the tears and the shame
She called you "Boy", instead of your name
When she wouldn't let you inside
When she turned and said
"But honey, he's not our kind"

She says I can't see you any more, baby
Can't see you any more

Walk me down to school, baby
Everybody's acting deaf and blind
Until they turn and say
"Why don't you stick to your own kind?"
My teachers all laugh, their smirking stares
cutting deep down in our affairs
Preachers of equality
Think they believe it?
then why won't they just let us be?

They say I can't see you any more, baby
Can't see you any more

One of these days I'm gonna stop my listening
Gonna raise my head up high
One of these days I'm gonna raise up
my glistening wings and fly
But that day will have to wait for a while
Baby, I'm only society's child
When we're older, things may change
but for now this is the way they must remain

I say -- I can't see you any more, baby
Can't see you any more
No, I don't want to see you any more, baby

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

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Wherever Good Dreams Go

Janis Ian

Paint the walls in fairy tales
A ceiling full of stars
Mobiles hung in gay display
above the cradle bars
Sometimes I think I hear
your laughter through the door
Then I remember what
I won't hear any more

Do you see me down here?
talking to the empty air?
In my memories of you
I'm just a little closer to
wherever good dreams go up there

I was once the only one
to brush away your tears
If ever you are lonely
I will always be right here
And if you need me
you can wish upon a star
'cause I will always hear
your prayers in my heart

Do you see me down here?
talking to the empty air?
In my memories of you
I'm just a little closer to
wherever good dreams go up there

I wonder where you are tonight
Are you warm and tucked in tight?
and do you ever visit me
in your memory?

People think i'm crazy
to keep holding on so long
but how can I get over you
when you're not really gone

Do you see me down here?
talking to the empty air?
In my memories of you
I'm just a little closer to
wherever good dreams go up there

© Janis Ian/her co-writer(s) if any/their publisher(s). All rights reserved.

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Ride Me Like A Wave (wet mix)

Janis Ian

Hide me in your hollows
Taste the salt that clings to me
Shipwrecked in your shallows
Scented by the sea
Hide me in the wisdom of your thighs
Ride me like a wave

Chart my secret places
Navigate my shores
Map the ocean's traces
Lick them from my pores
Dry me with delusion and desire
Ride me like a wave
Cover me in spray
Promise you will stay

I remember mornings,
waking by your side
Your scent on the pillow
Fever in your eyes
Cast upon the waters
Shipless, I surrender
Lead me to your harbor
Cover me in splendor
Drown me in delusion and desire
Ride me like a wave

Other seas may call you
Other shores will shine
Tempt you with their treasures
Water into wine
Still the safest harbor will be mine
Ride me like a wave
Ride me like a wave

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

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If you enjoyed listening to this music and having access to these lyrics, please consider making a donation to The Pearl Foundation. Click the button below to find out how even a small amount can make a big difference in someone's life.

Tour Dates

click on any date for full information
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All tour dates updated on January 13, 2017

[full tour dates list]

In The Store
Society's Child Paperback Book

Audiobook - Society's Child: My Autobiography now available!

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Remember: Live 1977 Australia & Japan CD

Remember: Live 1977 Australia & Japan CD

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Best Of Janis Ian - The Autobiography Collection CD

Best Of Janis Ian:
The Autobiography Collection
CD

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Society's Child Paperback Book

Society's Child: My Autobiography Paperback now available

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Live From Grand Center DVD

Live From Grand Center DVD
A PBS Special

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Society's Child Signed 1st Ed. Hardback Book

Society's Child: My Autobiography
Signed 1st ed. hardcover

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Folk Is The New Black CD

Folk Is The New Black CD

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