Story Songs (2002)

by James Hersch



released June 30, 2003




James Hersch Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hersch, a native Minnesotan, has fifteen album credits and is known for his story song style. He has been a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival and recognized for his original soundtrack for the PBS documentary, "Paving the Way". His reachwithme program has been honored with the Harry Chapin Award for Contributions to Humanity by the National Association for Campus Activities. ... more

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Track Name: Unit #3
Unit #3

I went to sing for Unit #3

Walkers and wheelchairs circle around me

I sang 'em my songs, they sang me their songs

We sang a little bit off key

We had a time out in Unit #3

I found a hand clapper, I found a toe tapper too

I found my real voice and I did the best that I could do

Their minds were traveling, their eyes were flashing

With a passion you could see

We let 'er rip out in Unit #3

Stanley had a verse that he'd made up

About his wife who had passed away last spring

Softly Stanley starts to sing:

You were my sunshine, my only sunshine

You loved me even when skies were gray

My world is dark now 'cause you're not with me

Why did they take my sunshine away

The sun was setting, there was orange light all around our feet

And around that bare-souled man and his song so sweet

I never felt more healed up, I never felt more human

As when he sang his song for me

I want to sing like that, I want to sing like that

I want to sing for you like Unit #3
Track Name: Blue Eyed Hint
There was a blue eyed hint of morning
As I scraped the frost from my car
And you were still inside fast asleep
On the couch
The same couch where we talked forever
And fell asleep to the TVs light
Til I’d awake and stumble up to let
Myself out

And at the time I didn’t know it
And if I had I still could not have shown it
That was love mostly unexpressed
And the best I could do
Was just hold you

And as I drove away in that blue light
I couldn’t keep a smile from my face
In all that kept me coming back again
To your house
I guess your M∏om and Dad could read it
I can’t believe how they trusted me
To just fall asleep with you in my arms
On the couch

And at the time I didn’t know it
And if I had I stll could not have shown it
That was love mostly unexpressed
And the best I could do
Was just hold you

Now I have a daughter and so do you
She’s sweet and smart and love is new
And tonight I watched a boy hold her hand
On the couch
And I swear that I could feel your cheek
And your sleeping face in the TV light
And I’ll try to read what love cannot express
When it’s young

‘Cause at the time I didn’t know it
And if I had I still could not have shown it
That was love mostly unexpressed
And the best I could do
Was just hold you
Track Name: Pretty Little Indiana Farm
Pretty Little Indiana Farm

Pretty little Indiana farm
Working that field, doing no harm
Many's the chore, many's the charm
On a pretty little Indiana farm

Cow in the pasture singing to me
A finer song and we agree
The sound is sweet and the stars are free
On a pretty little Indiana farm

Chicken in the field, move that pen
Evening comes, better move it again
Turn a little bitty chick into a big fat hen
On a pretty little Indiana farm

Chucking that manure between those rows
Spring is here and the wind she blows
Little too much for this old nose
On a pretty little Indiana farm

Middle of the night, a quarter past three
Dogs are barking at a critter they see
It's a late night barnyard symphony
On a pretty little Indiana farm

Farmer's daughter, sweet as can be
Boyfriend smiles and winks at me
Taking that walk to the old oak tree
On a pretty little Indiana farm

Sky is blue and the field is brown
Clouds are pink when the sun goes down
At the edge of the sky at the edge of the town
By the pretty little Indiana farm
Track Name: If These Walls Could Talk
There's a slope in the floor
It's not level anymore
Drop your pencil, it might roll right out the door
But I kind of like it that way

Go climb
Up the stairs one more time
Where so many little feet came to find
Their path, their dream, their way

The brick is old and it's brown
It's not the fanciest part of town
Go inside and you'll hear the sound
Of something really good going on

It's true
What matters most is what's inside of you
It's not about what's old or new
It's about what we become

If these wall could talk
If these stairs could sing
If these floors could tell their tale
They'd say just one thing
Our school is full
As any heart could be
With what the world needs most right now
The best out of you and me

So kick your shoes off and dance
Celebrate this circumstance
Be happy we had the chance to laugh
To learn, to live

Be proud
Sing your song and sing it loud
About a school that cares about the gift
We have to give
Track Name: Teacher's Chair
They have a brand new pair of shoes
And clothes you wouldn't choose
Sitting there they make you smile
A clue is in their eye
Did they laugh or did they cry
When they said goodbye to mom this morning
It's the first day od school
Teacher's chair, they see you

A little life, a little chance
A little wiggle in those new school pants
A little laugh, a little hurt
A little breakfast on that brand new shirt
Life is what they're learning
Teacher's chair keeps on turning

They'll discover something new
They'll learn a trick or two
Do as well as they can manage
Some will easily be taught
Some will give up on the spot
Teacher's chair is where they keep on trying
They have dreams inside
Higher than the playground slide

And in the years that come and go
So many things you'll never know
As they race ahead to find their future
Say goodbye, close the book
Take one last lonely look
But someday a moment will surprise you
In some fine young face you'll see
You are there, and you'll always be

So here's to life, here's to chance
All dressed up now in grown up pants
With a laugh and the tears
Discovered after all these years
Life is for learning
Teacher's chair is still returning
Track Name: What Your Heart Loves Best
Ralph Braun
Was the principal in our town
He kept an eye on the playground
He kept an eye on me
Runnin' down the back hall
I pulled a fire alarm off the wall
Mr. Brown's there to see it all
And he says to me

Ain't it funny, ain't it strange
How we live our lives
How we make our mess
Someday you're gonna change
And the world wil re-arrange
What matters most
Is what your heart loves best

Tom played
The Fender bass in the 8th grade
Man, I thought he had it made
Money and great hair
He turned his back on his Daddy's bread
Took to farming and shaved his head
Took a wife and had a kid
And I saw him at the fair
And he said...

Ain't it funny and strange
How it all turns out
Whoever would've guessed
Someday you're gonna change
And the world will re-arrange
What matters most
Is what your heart loves best

So off I go
Sing a song on the radio
Sing a song I think I know
And I know I love
Life is good enough to sing about
I'm glad I found that out
Sing it loud and sing it out
To Mr. Braun up above

All the lies and the games
You've got to be yourself
Nothing more, nothing less
Someday you're gonna change
And the world will re-arrange
But what the world needs now
Is what your heart loves best
Track Name: I Can Close My Eyes
When I'm lonesome and I'm far from home
And in the night some whistle cries
I get real quiet and I think of you
And I can close my eyes
Out on some wind blown interstate
Where the eighteen wheeler flies
I think of you, I hear you laugh
And I can close my eyes

When the day is full of stranger's faces
And angels in disguise
It's then I know you would be proud of me
And I can close my eyes
I walk the streets, the shadows fall
The sun sets low in the sky
My rambling rolls me right back to you
And I can close my eyes

Sometimes my heart runs away from this life
But your love knows where it hides
Calls me back, holds me now
So I can close my eyes
I wake up scared, sometimes I do
Feel the worries in me ride
I hear the song that you sing to our children
And I can close my eyes