Still On The Hill

ozarkinfolk duo

Lyrics


Ozark: A Celebration in Song
by Still on the Hill (2008)

 

The Weaning House
Track #1
by Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna

(Kelly sings) 
Fleecy, Fleecy marry me, 
we'll move down to the weaning house… 
perfect place for starting out, 
we'll get his mule and blue tick hound, 
there's an acre we can plow…Fleecy, Fleecy. 

(Donna Sings) 
Benson I will marry thee, 
if you take a job at the factory… 
learn to bend them barrel staves, 
make about a buck a day… 
take me to the city…and I will marry thee. 

Hickory tree on the hillside is a waving… 
Mama's on the front porch, I can hear her cry, 
Pappy's in the barn, just a' praying… 
we'll leave before he has to say Good-bye! 

(Kelly Sings) 
Fleecy, Cal-a-forn- I-A… 
seems a million miles away. 
I know that you have a dream, 
theres a big ole world to see, 
pack your clothes, and come with me… 
Fleecy Fleecy. 

Hickory tree on the hillside is a waving… 
Mama goes to town and checks the mail each day, 
the weaning house is ready and a-waiting, 
if we ever choose to come back home and stay. 

(Kelly sings) 
Many years have passed on by, 
how I miss the countryside, 
the Ozarks they are calling me, 
sassafras and dogwood tree, 
I shore miss my family…Fleecy Fleecy. 

(Donna sings) 
Benson pack that ole banjo, 
it's high time we headed home, 
send Pappy a telegram, 
tell ‘em that we're moving in… 
into the weaning house…Benson Benson 

Hickory tree on the hillside is a waving, 
Mama's in the kitchen making minced meat pie, 
Pappy's in his rocker, just a' whittling… 
watching us come o'er the mountain side. 


Take Me to the Other Side 
Track #2
by Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna

That Ozark sun was beating down, dropped my plow to the rocky ground, 
the world turned black in a heart attack and a vision passed before my eyes 
Was I dead? Or Alive? I said, “Lord, take me to the other side.” 

I became a great tortoise swimming like hell, 
5 little children clinging to my shell, across a raging river deep and wide 
the day I heard the Lord confide, “Shed your vanity, shed your pride, 
and I'll see you make it to the other side. 

I knew that moment my fate was sealed 
when the Lord told me he'd make me a deal, 
he'd deliver my children to that shore 
and show me what these hands are for, to build guitars…in his name… 
that's what I'll do until my dying day. 

So I grabbed an axe my son and me, we felled a big ole walnut tree. 
I sawed that wood up into boards, made a guitar for the Lord… 
and the Lord, looked down and smiled, 
when I gave it away to a little child. 

Pork chop bone whittled for a bridge, 
tail piece made from a rusty ole hinge. 
Door springs, saw blades mounted in the middle, Lord loves the sound 
when them ole parts jiggle, sawed off frets from a braising rod, 
carved on the top… true faith true light have faith in God. 


Well, I built a guitar and hundreds would follow, 
for nearly every child in Hogscald Hollow. 
Now I'm old and moving slow, but his love still carries me wherever I go, 
though I walk with a cane, still I rejoice in my Savior's name. 

Lord, maybe someday you'll call me again, 
walk with me to the river's end; I hope you're proud of all I've done, 
I've kept my promises, every one. Now I'll look into your eyes, 
and pray, “Lord, take me to the other side.” 


Mug Tree Lady 
Track #3
by Donna Stjerna

Idle hands are the devil's workshop, 
I needed something to fill my days up, 
to keep me from crying, when my son was dyin'. 
So I pounded nails into my tree trunk, 
on each one I hung me a special coffee cup. 
It might sound crazy but it kept me sane, 
now the Mug Tree Lady is my nickname. 

So let me pour you some sweet iced tea 
and I'll tell you my whole story 

So far I've got Five Hundred and Three, 
coffee cups nailed to my tree. 
Once a House Wren built a nest, 
in the one that I liked best. 
Everyone has wit and wisdom, 
wish you'd take the time to read them. 
Every winter I take ‘em down, 
put ‘em away till spring comes round. 

So sip your iced tea slowly 
and I'll tell you another story. 

My first husband was a preacher man, 
a go-go girl led him off the path. 
The 2 nd man I married, he's now dead and buried. 
My little dog and my good neighbors, 
they make me feel just a little bit safer. 
When folks stop by to visit me, 
me and my ole Mug Tree 

Talking Part: 
I left out an important part of the story…you see, 
my sweet son had HIV…bought his own tombstone 
kept it in his yard till his dying day, 
raising AIDS awareness in his own strange way. 

Cause some of the folks who live ‘round here, 
still live in ignorance and fear. 
I refused to be invisible, my Mug Tree is a symbol. 
Thanks so much for the special coffee cup, 
I love the red ribbon on the front, 
I'll hang it up for folks to see, when they visit me 
and my Mug Tree (Chorus) 


Willie's Walls 
Track #4
by Donna Stjerna and Kelly Mulhollan

He was born deaf and silent, he was born with coal black skin, 
way on down in Arkansas before the Civil War began. 
He never heard the cannons and he did not understand, 
what happened to his family there, what happened the land? 

So he walked the quiet hills, so afraid and all alone… 
searching for his loved ones, looking for his home. 
He'd sleep in daytime shadows, at night he'd travel far, 
traveling as his father taught, to follow the northern star. 

Half starved and exhausted, he fell down by the road, 
found there by a soldier, in a tattered rebel coat… 
and the soldier felt compassion for the tiny boy he'd found, 
so he throw'd him o'er his shoulder and he carried him to town. 

The soldier called him Willie, and raised him as his own, 
and through the language of his hands, 
taught him how to build with stone. 
Willie learned the secrets of each and every rock 
and he knew just where to place the stones… 
as if he heard them talk. 

Well, he grew to be an old man, never left that Ozark town, 
the years they took their tole and his hands had let him down. 
In the end he was remembered by the children of that day… 
as the old man who would dance for them, for pennies thrown away. 

The cornerstone and legacy of Snowball, Arkansas , 
is hidden in those tangled vines, there in Willies walls. 
There in silent beauty, Willies life remains, 
but wander thought the graveyard there… 
you'll not find Willie's name. 


Seven Pies 
Track #5
by Donna Stjerna

Mama said…If I chopped good cook wood, 
she'd bake me an apple pie. 
Dead dogwood burns the hottest, 
‘specially if it's good and dry. 
I peeled apples, I cut wood, 
helped my Mama…best I could. 
Musta been the apple of her eye 
cause Mama baked me 7 pies 

7 Pies, 7 pies 
Mama baked me 7 pies 
Sweetest apples tucked inside 
Mama baked me 7 pies 

Then she cut off a big ole slice, 
full of cinnamon and spice. 
1 piece, 2 piece, 3 piece, 4 
I said, “Mama, I want more”. 
Them apple pies…they tasted sweet, 
I had all that I could eat. 
My stomach was smaller than my eyes… 
but I ate all them 7 pies! 

7 pies, 7 pies 
I ate all them 7 pies… 
Sweetest apples tucked inside 
I shore loved them 7 pies 

Now I'm old and I've turned gray, 
my sweet Ester, passed away. 
But I've still got that ole wood stove 
and there's a pretty girl down the road. 
Even though I'm 95, I would gladly take a wife, 
she'd be the apple of my eye, 
if she'd just bake me 7 pies 
(Chorus 7 pies…If she'd just bake me…etc.) 

Mt. Magazine Springtime Song 
Track #6
by Donna Stjerna and Kelly Mulhollan

Mr. Ferguson was a strange ole man, 
And a “man of mystery”, 
he made his home in the Ozark hills, 
up on top of Mt. Magazine. 
He said he had mastered all his fears 
but rattlesnakes still gave him a fright, 
so he turned them loose all over his floor 
and he slept in a coffin at night. 
There in his coffin he wrote this poem, 
on the top of Mt. Magazine … 
here are the words..so listen close, 
I think that he called it "Spring". 

When the naked trees loosen up their hides 
and begin to grow new clothes… 
when the March wind blows the cold away, 
and dries my dripping nose, 
I'll hike to the wild onion patch… 
eat and belch and sing, 
blow my breath into winter's face… 
and turn him into spring. 

Well he didn't own much, just gadgets and locks, 
pencils, paper and chalk, and a little red cap 
that he wore on head, every day when he took his walk. 
He would stroll on up to the country school, 
spin a tale in verse and rhyme… 
and the children there would hear those tales 
of his life on the mountain side. 
So 3 cheers for the ‘Hermit-poet' 
living on Mt. Magazine , 
the 2 nd verse well it goes like this, 
to the poem that he once called "SPRING"! 


When the hairy bumblebee crawls forth 
and spreads his stubby wing… 
he takes off running for the air, 
I hear his motor sing. 
Then he makes a nose-dive for my britches, 
stabs me with his sting.. 
I can feel a rise in the temperature 
And a swift return of SPRING. 


Ghost of the Crescent Hotel 
Track #7
by Donna Stjerna

Why can't they see me? I wish they could hear me. 
They open up my bedroom door, put their luggage on the floor 
and walk right through me… 
He pulls her down onto the bed and smothers her with kisses, 
as I stand by and watch, silently reminiscing. 
OH oh…I'm gonna make the curtains flutters just a bit, 
make them realize that I exist… 
I'm gonna make the lantern rattle on the table over there, 
make those lovers tremble, make them both aware… 

That I'm the ghost of the Crescent Hotel and 
I'm the stories they know well… 
I ain't seen heaven, Lord, I ain't seen hell, 
only these walls at the Crescent Hotel. 


I lift up the curtains, let them gently fall, 
I walk across the creaky floor, 
open up the bedroom door that leads to the hall. 
She sits up in the bed and says, “Darlin, what's that sound?” 
He whispers in her ear, tries to calm her down, 
“Oh oh, It's just the wind my love, it's just the wind,” 
then he reaches down and kisses her again… 
I'm gonna make the lantern rattle on the table over there 
I'm gonna make the lovers tremble, 
make them both aware…(Chorus) 

I remember the night my love told me good-by...at the Crescent Hotel, 
I remember his kiss upon my lips. I remember it well, 
I remember the window at the end of the hall… 
I remember it open; I remember the fall... 


They stopped all their kissing, I see that they're whispering, 
I hear them talk about a ghost, so I move in really close just to listen. 
As I brush against their naked skin, I can feel them shivering, 
They know I'm right beside them now, there among the living. 
Oh oh, what I wouldn't give to lie down next to them, 
to feel a lover's passion once again. 
If I could only touch them, if I could really feel, 
maybe I'd be born again, maybe I'd be real (Chorus) 


Otis and Ocie 
Track #8
Lyrics by Jason Harmon / Music by Kelly Mulhollan

Daddy Otis, they say, slaved his life at the mill 
just to make sure his children could eat. 
Miss Ocie, they say, she could dance all night, 
gave it up for the Lord, preacher man gave her fright. 
Together they lived, raised their kids on the land 
put their faith in the word while their hopes slipped like sand. 

Well Otis and Ocie, they lived in a shack 
with an old gray mule, she lived out back 
in a barn that once caught fire, they raised their chickens and corn 
and when Willie Sue was born, it was hard to feed so many mouths. 
So Otis he worked with his hands on the earth, 
to keep his family from starving. 

Daddy Otis he'd sneak to the dance for a drink 
and stayed there all night dreaming. 
Miss Ocie she'd wait and rely on her faith 
to keep him from the depths of abandon. 
They worked every day in a desperate way 
as only people living on dreams can… 
and one day they tell, Daddy Otis he fell 
and left Miss Ocie there a-crying. 
With 4 kids alone she would make their home, 
wishing and praying and a dreaming. 

Miss Ocie one night awoke to the sight, 
of her grandmother's ghost by her side. 
“Miss Ocie” she said, “You can't bring back the dead, 
so why are you laying there crying? Go hop the next train 
help ease the pain, of your niece living over in Sharpsburg . 
Her brother is bad and it's making me sad, 
knowing that he's doing Sissy wrong.” 

Otis worked the Mill but he soon had his fill 
of cutting them forests into lumber. 
But he never did stop ‘til his heart it did stop 
and he left his family forever. 
Miss Ocie lives on but her mind's almost gone, 
on a good day she knows her own name. 
In a bed in a room, she lives in the gloom 
wondering when the good Lord will take her. 

They lived by the word but they never had heard 
of living their lives for the moment. 
Now Otis is gone, but his memory lives on 
in the frail, empty shell that is Ocie. 


One Good Leg 
Track #9
by Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna

Hadn't shaved in a month of Sundays, must have looked a fright, 
tattered and frayed my rebel coat, must have been a sight. 
That battle down in old Corinth , nearly took my life away, 
I never forgot the smell of death, ‘til my dying day. 

But I still had one good leg, no poison in my bones, 
Traded Papa's pocket watch for a horse to take me home 

I took a job teaching school in Ozark , Arkansas 
I wanted to marry sweet Lizzie Quaile but could not convince her Pa. 
He said I'd not amount to much and I could not provide… 
I swore someday I'd prove him wrong, and took her for my bride. 

‘Cause I still had one good leg and fire in my bones. 
Now Mrs. James Berry would help me make a home. 

Lizzie bore me many children as the years flew by, 
‘twas 17 years before her Pa would look me in the eye. 
I'd become a lawyer, respected across the land, 
but when I became the Governor, John Quaile would shake my hand. 

And now I've got 2 good legs, in a statue on the square, 
in Bentonville , Arkansas , my name is written there. 
Yeah, I now have 2 good legs, in a statue on the square, 
wouldn't John Quaile be surprised, to see me standing there? 


Marker Tree 
Track #10
by Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna

There's an old oak tree in Shaddox Holler I am told, 
crooked like Grandfather, pointed like an arrow. 
Bent by Cherokee, a sign post by the road, 
to let his people know where sweet waters flow. 

Marker Tree, Marker Tree 
through the years you grew, twisted and gnarled, 
never straight and true… 
loggers cut the forest down 
when the railway came through, 
chose only the tallest oak, 
passed right over you. 

Those who refused to walk down the Trail of Tears, 
found caves in the Ozarks, back 150 years. 
Marker Trees were guiding stars in the middle of the day, 
helping native travelers find their weary way. 


Granny Told Johnny 
Track #11
by Donna Stjerna

Granny told Johnny, “Don't ya keep the chair rockin' 
when you get up and walk away, 
something evil is gonna come and sit right down, 
cause a peck o' trouble till my dying day.” 
Granny told Johnny, “Get in here this minute, 
or yer gonna get a hickory whipping, 
if that chair keeps rocking one minute more, 
trouble come creeping round my back door.” 

Granny told Johnny, “If you catch a leaf fallin' 
on the first day of autumn you'll not catch cold. 
You'll be fit as a fiddle in the middle of winter, 
that's a story my Mama told.” 
Granny told Johnny, “If you catch a coughing fit, 
take a single hair off the top of your head, 
sandwich it between two pieces of bread, 
feed it to the dog, he'll get sick instead.” 

Johnny told Granny, 
“There's a gal down the holler, 
she takes my breath away.” 
Johnny told Granny, 
“Can you conjure me something 
that will make her look my way?” 


Granny told Johnny, “Take a fresh green pea pod, 
tie it up with a thread of white, 
hang it high above the doorway, 
keep it there till the moon shines bright.” 
Granny told Johnny with a wink and a nod, 
“If a stranger passes under that pea pod, 
the wish yer wishin' is gonna come true, 
that pretty little gal is gonna marry you.” 

Johnny couldn't wait 
to get to the garden, 
jumped outta that rockin' chair, 
slammed the door, ran down the road 
then he heard Granny cuss and swear… 


Granny told Johnny, “Don't ya keep the chair rockin' 
when you get up and walk away, 
something evil is gonna come and sit right down, 
cause a peck o' trouble till my dying day.” 


Ballad of Coin Harvey 
Track #12
by Kelly Mulhollan

Even today, all the great pyramids 
of ancient Egypt still stand, 
never time could erase such exploits of man. 
But in our race for destruction, 
no one seems to have the time, 
in a world so tired, 
no one seems so inspired today. 
Even skyscrapers fall, 
leaving hardly a trace at all. 

But down in the Ozarks, 
in the town of Monte Ne , 
nearly 100 years ago, 
Coin Harvey was convinced 
of our own decay. 

“Civilizations have come and gone, 
attended with untold suffering, 
and now this one is in danger, 
and is on the verge of going”. 

Well, he knew where it would lead, 
our society based on greed 
Harvey saw the end a comin', 
he would herald to the world 
a great signal warning. Far into the future, 
in our rubble they would find 
how our race ran astray, for his great pyramid 
would endure all time. 

It would stand so tall, 
near a pool of clear water, 
and forever it would wait, 
for society's fate to call. 


Devil Snake 
Track #13
by Donna Stjerna

My Mama swears that the Devil, 
kicks up his heels when he hears a fiddle. 
She says he always comes to town, 
when ever he hears that lonesome sound. 
Mama said, “Set that fiddle down, 
don't want that Devil hanging round.” 

Well I said, “Mama, yer dead wrong, 
the Devil hates them gospel songs, 
sometimes the Devil takes the shape 
of a big ole rattlesnake." 
So I'll grab that snake cut off its rattle, 
stick it down inside my fiddle 

That fiddle's gonna rattle like skeleton bones, 
send that Devil hightailing it home. 
I'll show ‘em that fiddlin' ain't no sin, 
and that I ain't afraid of him…no more 


Now I've learned to carve a fiddle, 
always put a rattle down in the middle. 
Superstition, well, I suppose 
but that's the story my Mama told. 
I'll grab my fiddle, grab my bow, 
play the Devil every song I know. 


Ode to Mr. Boze 
Track #14
by Donna Stjerna

Met him 20 years ago, he was ancient then, 
bet he's been around the sun 100 times. 
Don't know what possessed me to visit him again, 
curious if he was still alive. 
His ole weather-beaten shack had gone to rack-n-ruin, 
the way it was back then I don't recall. 
but I do remember his ole coffee can spittoon 
and all those handmade fiddles on the wall. 

Ole Mr. Boze, ole Mr. Boze…that fiddle makin' man! 

He took his favorite fiddle down, blew off years of dust, 
held it like a mother holds her babe. 
The A string it was missing and the other 3 were rust, 
but he tuned it up and played it anyway. 
Shaky fingers fumbled on like a blind man in the dark, 
playing each and every note he could find. 
He played a tune or two then he wailed on Old Joe Clark, 
playing it as if it was the last time. 

Ole Mr. Boze, ole Mr. Boze…that fiddle makin' man! 

In the heart of the Ozarks, the old man lived his life, 
a simple one with no great tales of fame. 
But to me he is a legend, if only in my mind, 
and in this song his memory will remain. 
As I think about him now, I wish that he had more, 
I've never seen such poverty and strife. 
But who's to say what's rich, Lord, who's to say what's poor? 
He had a wealth of music in his life. 

Ole Mr. Boze, ole Mr. Boze…that fiddle makin' man!