HARBORTOWN

by Bob Wright

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1.
THE OLD STATEN ISLAND FARMS © Bob Wright G D C G It used to be the trees nestled up against the sea C D And the water from the springs ran cold and clear G D There were riches in the bay C G And the topsoil and the clay C D And the sun shined on the people living here C D You know it don’t seem fair (chorus) C D That I’m surrounded by rows of houses Em C the places I used to love are gone D they’re gone the way of the wetlands G and the old Staten Island farms then some ships came into view and the native people knew that life for them would never be the same and the changes came so fast they erased most of the past I don’t know who to blame (chorus) cause and the villages and farms filled the gentle hills with barns and the pastures flowed with cattle and with corn and as good as they might do it someone else would say improve it people never can leave well enough alone and now it all is gone (chorus) and
2.
03:05
ALICE AUSTEN © Bob Wright Alice Austen, Alice Austen won’t you play me a tune my ship’s in the harbor I’m leaving here soon So grab hold of Bessie And tune up to C And play me a tune Before I have to leave So they got out the Dobson and a parlor guitar On the Clear Comfort porch On a night filled with stars The tugboats slipped quietly by in the dark As Alice and Bessie got ready to star Alice Austen, Alice Austen won’t you play me a tune my ship’s in the harbor I’m leaving here soon So grab hold of Bessie And tune up to C And play me a tune Before I have to leave theres a breeze through the Narrows that’s gentle and fair it lifts up the spirits and sweetens the air Bessie strums rhythm And Alice picks lead On a warm summer’s night boys That’s all that you need Alice Austen, Alice Austen won’t you play me a tune my ship’s in the harbor I’m leaving here soon So grab hold of Bessie And tune up to C And play me a tune Before I have to leave there’s an old photograph I display it with pride Of Alice and Bessie On the porch side by side I can still hear that banjo As it floats in the wind And I feel like I’m back On the front porch again Alice Austen, Alice Austen won’t you play me a tune my ship’s in the harbor I’m leaving here soon So grab hold of Bessie And tune up to C And play me a tune Before I have to leave
3.
Erastina © Bob Wright (chorus) Buffalo Bill, Buffalo Bill how many buffalo did you kill I can hardly wait until I can go see Buffalo Bill Buffalo Bill in a big ol’ hat Flowin’ hair on down his back Sits a horse like you kiss the wind I wanna go see him again (chorus) Buffalo Bill, Buffalo Bill how many buffalo did you kill I can hardly wait until I can go see Buffalo Bill Buffalo Bill on a big ol’ steamer Headed out to Erastina Built himself a railroad track I can’t wait till he comes back (chorus) Buffalo Bill, Buffalo Bill how many buffalo did you kill I can hardly wait until I can go see Buffalo Bill Buffalo Bill makes the horses dance When they crank up the Cowboy Band There’s not a dry eye to be found When they go tenting on the old campground Many are the hearts that are weary tonight wishing for the war to cease many are the hearts that are looking for the right to see the dawn of peace tenting tonight, tenting tonight tenting on the old campground Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Made it’s mark and had to go Gave the people quite a thrill To spend some time with Buffalo Bill (chorus) Buffalo Bill, Buffalo Bill how many buffalo did you kill I can hardly wait until I can go see Buffalo Bill
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STARLIGHT KITTY AND MOONLIGHT NELL © Bob Wright (key of D- capo 2nd) adrift in a place where the boys know their faces and the smoke of the bars hides their eyes they could be who you wanted without any traces of malice or traces of lies (chorus) then they’d dance at the Castleton high on a hill or wait by the Silver Lake side Starlight Kitty and Moonlight Nell Come on boys let’s go for a ride Well they walked everywhere And the women would stare As they walked hand-in-hand Through the streets And they welcomed the night When the flicker of gaslight Made them both beauties to see (chorus)
7.
02:21
SANDY GROUND © Bob Wright I came up here from Maryland from a place they call Snow Hill Where you have to be as white as snow to exercise free will I heard the oysters here were sweet as any to be found So I took a chance and I ran away to live in Sandy Ground (chorus) so pull those tongs good and strong and bring the boat about there’s oysters on the bottom and the tide is runnin’ out ain’t no pearls to give the girls no treasure to be found but it’s oysters pays for supper when you live in Sandy Ground I love the tappin’ of the waves underneath the hull And I love the taste of salty water and the laughing gulls I wouldn’t trade the life I got with any to be found And I wouldn’t want to lead a life without Sandy Ground (chorus) so pull those tongs good and strong and bring the boat about there’s oysters on the bottom and the tide is runnin’ out ain’t no pearls to give the girls no treasure to be found but it’s oysters pays for supper when you live in Sandy Ground the sun is fading in the west I have to go my friend you can see the light at Prince’s Bay out there to guide me in I’ll sleep tonight in my own bed and when I lay me down I’ll say a prayer of thanks that there’s a place like Sandy Ground (chorus) so pull those tongs good and strong and bring the boat about there’s oysters on the bottom and the tide is runnin’ out ain’t no pearls to give the girls no treasure to be found but it’s oysters pays for supper when you live in Sandy Ground
8.
STAPLETON © Bob Wright Prohibition killed the breweries Their fate forever sealed But when Volstead wasn’t goin And the beer began a flowin’ All that was left was Piels ( expressions of major disgust :- ) There used to be so many You could smell it in the air In the houses and the taverns And the hillside caverns Everywhere was beer beer beer (cheers?) But prohibition killed the breweries Their fate forever sealed And when Volstead wasn’t goin And the beer began a flowin’ All that was left was Piels Bechtels, Bachmann’s, Bischoff’s Menken’s, Meuller’s, Griemes, Rubsam and Horrmann Had to hire extra barmen Just to keep all of the locals in the line But then prohibition killed the breweries Their fate forever sealed And after it was over And the beer began a flowin’ All that was left was Piels People drank it by the barrel People drank it by the glass They guzzled P’s and Q’s Down with pickled eggs and ne All of it had to pass Because prohibition killed the breweries Their fate unfairly sealed By the crime th was a’showin And the bootleggers a’rowin And the money that was owin To the neighborhoods a growin And when Volstead wasn’t goin And the beer began a flowin’ All that was left was Piels
9.
COBH OF SORROW (key of D-capo 2nd) © Bob Wright D G She stood on the deck there and whispered her name D C Till the wind took it from her and nothing remained D G Just the shell of a body the crew put below D A D As they sailed past the Hook and they entered New York (chorus) A D there’s a Cobh of sorrow filled deep with the names A of the people who vanished when they left Ireland D G where the waves break and scatter and clatter in vain D A D there’s a Cobh of sorrow filled deep with the names they arrived in New York and the dead filled the holds and the air there was thick with the leaving of souls and the wagons pulled in and the wagons would go up the hill to a hole in the forest (chorus) well there are no trees left there to mark where she lay but the grass there is green and there’s soft rain some days and her body’s a part of the land that she craved and her soul is a part of the air there (chorus)
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03:47
KATE WALKER (key of B) © Bob Wright B The harbor is a busy place E Filled with boats and all those faces B G#m F# Lookin’ for a shelter from the storm B It may be safer that the open waters E But the dangers aren’t over B F# B We still need someone to guide us home (chorus) E B E B mind the light Kate mind the light G#m E keep us protected in the night B G#m as long as its still burning everything will be all right F# B mind the light Kate mind the light Katie Walker was a lighthouse keeper A mile offshore on Robbins Reef She toted kerosene throughout the night For over thirty years she struggled To keep the harbor safe from trouble By making sure she kept it shining bright (chorus) So heres a toast for when she graced us It took four men to replace her And now the lights run automatically But sometimes from a foggy ferry Look hard at the light and You might see her sitting out there with her tea (chorus)
13.
THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE (key of B-capo 4th) © Bob Wright B A B I can see that old bridge there in the distance A F# Hard against the traffic and the tide B A while the men who laid her stones B E Are long reduced to bones B F# B I can still hear them crying in the night (chorus) E B cause they’d load up the caissons with workers A F# and sink them in the muddy river bed B A and they’d leave all those men B E on the bottom till again B F# B another trolley dodger danced the Grecian Bend over and over it happened men were coming up and falling down and they didn’t understand when another healthy man lay twisted like a shipwreck in the sand (chorus) say a prayer for the builders and the dreamers say a prayer for the river and the bridge but save your deepest thoughts for all the lives it cost and pray it doesn’t happen there again (CHORUS)
14.
AQUEHONGA MOON © Bob Wright C Em F Aquehonga Moon Slowly rising up beyond the Hook Fm C G C Charming anyone who cares to look Aquehonga Moon Aquehonga Moon Don’t you find a cloud and try to hide I’ll still see you right before my eyes Aquehonga Moon F C G C Just look down from a north shore hill The harbor glows below F C G C Pearly bridges and high-rise lights Still can’t steal the thrill Of the Aquehonga Moon Crossing over through a starry plain As it comes to visit us again Aquehonga Moon Aquehonga Moon Everybody wants to wish on stars But I know that mine don’t go that far Aquehonga Moon Aquehonga Moon It really doesn’t matter who you are You can find it hanging by a star Aquehonga Moon You don’t need any telescopes Or have to pay a fee Just look up and it’s floating there Reflected in the sea Is the Aquehonga Moon Smiling softly in a silver sky Just a glimpse of it can make me cry Aquehonga Moon I hope that I can go there when I die Aquehonga Moon
15.
I DON’T THINK YOU’D CHANGE YOUR MIND © Bob Wright (key of A- capo 2nd) A D Every day I try to figure out G A If the things I’ve done were right D And every time I start to think of you G A I’m up half the night 2nd D A It gets lonely here without you D Bm But at least you once were mine A D If I had to do it over G A I don’t think you’d change your mind If the sun got any brighter We would never see the stars And if the nights got any longer I’d still wonder where you are (repeat 2nd) So I get up and I lead a life That is mostly full and fine And the thoughts of how it could have been Only sometimes cross my mind (repeat 2nd)

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released January 1, 2004

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Bob Wright/ Harbortown New York, New York

He is a multi-instrumentalist, an award winning songwriter and Bob Wright songs are often mistaken for traditional songs because their immigrant roots run deep beneath the surface of America and back to the places they came from for nurturing and inspiration. They surface in a modern world, constructed with a modern sensibility and a comforting resonance with the past. ... more

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