152a: “Boats to Build”

Guy Clark was one of America’s great singer-songwriters. I have loved his work for decades: his tunes are graceful, his lyrics meticulously composed, his lessons wise.  Today, by chance (?), I put on one of his finest albums, 1992’s “Boats to Build.” The title song, which he co-wrote with Verlon Thompson, played fourth. It seemed to me to be the perfect complement to our last post, “The Glorious Bow.”  So I hunted it up on YouTube and, below’s a fine version which he played with Verlon Thompson at The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas, in November, 2011. (I’ve not been able to identify the ukulele player.) The concert was in honor of Guy’s 70th Birthday, and virtually every singer/songwriter who had ever recorded one of his songs was there to sing them as tributes to him. I’m sorry I missed the concert

Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson: Boats to Build: The Performance

Here are the song’s lyrics:

It’s time for a change
I’m tired of that same ol’ same,
The same ol’ words the same ol’ lines,
The same ol’ tricks and the same ol’ rhymes.
Days, precious days,
Roll in and out like waves,
I got boards to bend, I got planks to nail,
I got charts to make, I got seas to sail
I’m gonna build me a boat
With these two hands;
It’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan.
Let the chips fall where they will,
‘Cause I’ve got boats to build
Sails are just like wings,
The wind can make ’em sing.
Songs of life, songs of hope,
Songs to keep your dreams afloat
I’m gonna build me a boat
With these two hands.
It’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will,
‘Cause I’ve got boats to build.
Shores distant shores;
There’s where I’m headed for;
Got the stars to guide my way,
Sail into the light of day.
I’m gonna build me a boat
With these two hands,
It’ll be a fair curve,
From a noble plan.
Let the chips fall where they will
‘Cause I’ve got boats to build
Above, I said that Guy was one of America’s great songwriters. He left us in 2016. At 74. No more boats to build, alas. But the ones he did build, metaphors for life, are, like bows, beautiful, and precious. Mr. Ruskin would’ve liked him.
Keepers
Until next time, be well out there.

Jim

P.S: If you stay to the end of the video, another of Guy’s classic songs, “Old Friends,” will play; if you stay to end of that, you’ll see Guy and Verlon do one of his greatest songs as the concert encore, “The Guitar.” Then there’s the album, “Some Days You Write the Song, Some Days, the Song Writes You” and much more…

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