Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 1997 Mark Rallings

Story

A feeble attempt to try and express something of that inexpressible joy and connection that only a song can give.

Lyrics

- A song comes from somewhere you can’t often go, It teaches you something you already know, It’s easy to see but it’s so hard to find, It goes straight to your soul through the back of your mind. A song gives you wings and you can fly if you will, It takes you up high, it will give you a thrill, There is absolutely nothing else of its kind, Whatever you’ve lost it will help you to find. And when your heart’s almost broken in two, It will show you the way you should bend, But if you can’t and it breaks anyway, Then it’s medicine that knows how to mend. A song is a season that never will end, It gives you a reason to reach for the wind, It’s a flower that grows up wherever there’s room, Whatever the weather, forever in bloom. But a song needs a singer to make it come true, If you can’t believe it, it’s nothing to you. A song comes from somewhere you can’t often go, It teaches you something you already know, It’s easy to see but it’s so hard to find, It goes straight to your soul through the back of your mind.

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright Mark Rallings

Story

Mark lives in Winston-Salem, within sight of the real Mt. Pilot--that's Pilot Mountain, NC--and has been a fan of The Andy Griffith Show as long as he can remember. This song was written for a Mayberry Days gig we did some years ago. If you know the show, you'll recognize all the characters and situations here.

Lyrics

Everyone's Hometown Copyright 1998 Mark Rallings Walking down the road with a fishing pole Opie throws a rock in the fishing hole Get a big grin all over your face Going back to another time and place Welcome to Mayberry Come on in Floyd's Barber Shop Walk to Wally's for a bottle of pop Hey to Gomer, Gomer says hey What's your hurry, anyway At Aunt Bea's table you can try Her famous white beans or sweet tater pie She sure can cook, but her touch is fickle Love the chicken but I'd pass on the pickles Kerosene cucumbers Oh, Mayberry's the friendly town Got the friendliest folks around No place like it can be found Makes you want to settle down In everyone's hometown He's known as Tiger Fife or Barney the Brave City folks think he's just plain "naive" But a crook in Mayberry's name is Mudd When Barney nips it in the bud Nip it! With his Subconscious Prober Primer Barney's bound to catch moonshiners Them Morrison sisters act like queens But he'll bust their still to smithereens Pow! Pow! Pow! She's the cat's-, that Thelma Lou She loves Mayberry's Adolphe Menjou Every Tuesday night over cashew fudge His hair gets mussed and her lipstick smudged Vavavavoom! Cousin Goober takes off on Cary Grant (Judy, Judy, Judy) Gomer tries, but he just can't Well, you might say Goober's just a ham But doggone how he does that Shazaam! Watch out for old Ernest T. You have your choice to fight or flee Better keep your doors and windows shut He's just plain ornery He's a nut! Oh, the Darlings ain't got much to say But if there's time to breathe they got time to play Their songs'll make you cry and moan But just jump in and hang on

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 1994 Mark Rallings

Story

I don't like the sanitizied sweetness of most depictions of the birth of Jesus. When we do this we negate the essential power of why God would do it the way he did, and we dishonor the faith of Mary and Joseph, who, in spite of miraculous revelation, must have struggled mightily to believe what they'd been told as events unfolded the way they did.

Lyrics

- An angel scared a teenage girl, said she’d bear the savior of the world, Told her she was favored most, and she was pregnant by the Holy Ghost, But her fiancé could not understand, he knew there must’ve been another man, He was just about to let her go when an angel in a dream told him it was so… Now Joseph understood, but I doubt that many other people would, Nine months of gossiping behind their backs and then they found out they had to pay more tax, ‘Cause Caesar Augustus had a great new plan to get more taxes from every man, Just send ‘em all back to their own hometowns and make ‘em lay more money down. Is this the same story that you know? I’m sure they doubted, they didn’t want to go, They probably thought God was out of his mind, They didn’t know the rest of the story line. Still Joseph and Mary walked all week long, though it seemed so crazy, it felt so wrong, They made it down to Bethlehem but there was no room in the inn for them, So someone pointed them to the caves, out with the animals and runaway slaves, They found a place that was mostly dry, that’s when Mary began to cry ‘Cause there was mud on the floor and a chill in the air, the smell of dung hovered everywhere, Joseph laid some hay in a feeding trough, but I don’t believe it was very soft, And there was not a single midwife to be found, nothing but this damp, cold, muddy ground, Just a terrified girl and a bone-tired man. Way to go, God, what a marvelous plan! It wasn’t very pretty, it wasn’t very clean, Not your typical manger scene, It wasn’t very sweet and it wasn’t very nice, But this was the birth of Jesus Christ. So the time was come and the child was born, Mary brought forth her first-born son, We don’t know how much it hurt or how long it took, that part isn’t in the book, But there were no wise men, they were still seeking, the sheep and oxen were not speaking, They didn’t hear no angel wings, Mary just thought about all these things, She kept them in her heart and pondered, I really wonder what she wondered, Could she believe what she had heard, this baby was the living word? But somehow God saw them through, he helped them to do what they had to do, They only knew a tiny part, and it was just enough not to break their hearts because It wasn’t very pretty, it wasn’t very clean, Not your typical manger scene, It wasn’t very sweet and it wasn’t very nice, But this was the birth of Jesus Christ. Like nothing we could ever dream, the God of heaven in a manger mean, But this is how he chose to become a man, so way to go, God, what a marvelous plan! Life isn’t very pretty, it isn’t very clean, We’re just your typical human beings, We’re not very sweet and we’re not very nice, We need someone like Jesus Christ.

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 2005 Dave Nealon

Story

I was thinking about an illustration that Jesus used. Are you ever frustrated because your labor seems fruitless? Remember this.

Lyrics

Seeds Dave Nealon 6/5/05 Lacey Spring, VA Tumbling down down, spinning round round Not a sound sound, buried in the ground You’re a farmer sowing seed Then you go your way, awake and asleep Down in secret they will grow How it happens you’ll never know Mustard seed so small But it grows up so wide and tall Throwing branches here and there Shelter for the birds of the air

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 1999 Mark Rallings

Story

This is a case of a song trying to teach me something that I should have already known!

Lyrics

- I’ve been looking all my life for one I thought I’d know, Guess what I was looking for didn’t really show, There’s lots of women in this world but most just left me cold, Till I found the one who was the sister of my soul. She’s not the keeper of my heart, no she cannot make me whole, She’s not the mother of all other loves, she can’t play every role, She’s not the daughter of my dreams, no, she’s not my pot of gold, She is simply what I need, the sister of my soul. It took so long for me to see just who she could become, I had some foolish notions that kept me on the run, But when my eyes were finally opened I could see I’d reached my goal, The one that I was seeking was the sister of my soul.

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Traditional

Story

Jon Nichols taught this to Dave in Chapel Hill. I think Jon learned it from the Double Decker Stringband. Jon and Dave and Stefan Keydel sang it together in a band whose name was unstable: Your Contemporary Ancestors and Bixby's Favorites are two monikers I remember.

Lyrics

- It's a might rocky road Most done traveling I'm bound to carry my soul to the Lord I'm bound to carry my soul to Jesus I'm bound to carry my soul to the Lord

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 2006 Mark Rallings and Dave Nealon

Story

Mark and I both loved Ry Cooder's soulful version of "Jesus On the Mainline." This is just a little update. The old "Mainline" song meant that God was accessible. It was as easy as Sheriff Taylor in Mayberry picking up the phone and saying, "Sarah, get me Jesus." But now you'd have to dial 20 digits and enter a passcode, and then you'd get the recording: "Thank you for calling Heaven's automated prayer line. Your call is very important to us. For praise or thanksgiving, press 1. If you have sins to confess, press 2 . . . . "

Case Studies
11/30/-0001
Copyright 1994 Mark Rallings

Story

The constant friction between who I am and who I long to be.

Lyrics

- I start out fresh every morning in the same old rut, No way to suck the poison out of the cut, Got a mighty deep groove, it’s burned into my brain, Seared into my soul, you see it grain for grain. Paved over with pain, swallowed up in sin, I need a grace I can’t contain to start growing again. The power of inertia’s got me in its grip, It don’t have to hold, you know it’s only got to slip, My life is slipping away, And there’s nothing I can do to hold the time at bay. Paved over with pain, swallowed up in sin, I need a faith I cannot feign to start feeling again. I am on my way to heaven but it feels like hell, C’est la vie, they say you never can tell, But I just want to know what they are talking about, When they say that faith grows stronger in the shadow of doubt. Paved over with pain, swallowed up in sin, I need a love I can’t allow to start living again.

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 2005 Dave Nealon

Story

Wrote this in a few minutes on a chilly night after spending time on the hill in the back yard.

Lyrics

The fire's in the stove and the cider fills our mugs
And the friends all stand in the warm and glow On the pine and braided rug
But I slip out to the cold night air The bright stars to behold
From the days I was young till the time that I'm old I'll be out in the cold

They stare at the great wide screen  And the sound is turned up loud
And the ads sell beer and razor blades To the cheering football crowd
But I slip out to the cold night air Where naught is bought or sold
From the days I was young till the time that I'm old I'll be out in the cold

Just the creek in a murmur Just the wind in my eyes
Just the dark to blanket me Just the moon on the rise

And I slip out to the cold night air Replenishing my soul
From the days I was young till the time that I'm old I'll be out in the cold

I slip out to the cold night air As stars step round the pole
From the days I was young till the time that I'm old I'll be out in the cold

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 1994 Mark Rallings

Story

From the third chapter of the gospel of John.

Lyrics

- You can’t hold the wind in the palm of your hand, Try as you might you will not understand, Its coming unknown and its going unplanned, It can’t be contained by the mind of a man. The wind, it will touch you, but it may not stay long, You might even feel it in the sound of this song, It blows through the stars, it will blow right through you, The truth is in motion, to the motion be true. The wind, it is blowing wherever it will, Living and moving, it never stands still, Descending each valley, it climbs every hill, No one ever stopped it, no one ever will. It’s the blast of the storm that is breaking you down, And the calm winds of change that will turn you around, Can’t see where it came from or which way it went, But you know when it touches you, it’s heavensent. It can’t be resisted and it will not be tamed, Its name is so holy it cannot be named, But just a whisper of wind will awaken the dead, It’s time to get moving, that’s what it said. For the wind moves around every unmoving rock, You may try to stay static but the wind will not stop, And the hurricane breeze, it may come as a shock, ‘Cause there’s nothing locked up that it cannot unlock. The wind, it is blowing wherever it will, Living and moving, it never stands still, Descending each valley, it climbs every hill, No one ever stopped it, no one ever will. So let the wind carry you, let the wind fill, Let the wind take you wherever it will.

Case Studies
10/14/2006
Copyright 1994 Mark Rallings

Story

I love how snow softens and changes everything and how it brings peace--a lot like grace.

Lyrics

- Well I know, it falls like snow, Coming steadily and coming slow, Covering what we would show, Changing everything we think we know, Falling, freely falling. It doesn’t make a sound, coming all the way back down, Opening and spreading ‘round a blanket on this frozen ground, Like a dream descending, newness that is never-ending, All that’s past rescinding, all that matters it is mending. White that once was red, from a wound that always bled, Now the sky has shed this resurrection for the dead, Can it be that love is blind and grace is free? Again I start to see, they will suffice for you and me.