...Or Would You Rather Get a Job?

1. The Ballad of The St. Anne's Reel

song: Lyrics and Music by Dave Mallett, 1978 Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc./ASCAP
Tune: "St. Anne's Reel", traditional

Lead vocal and concertina: Mike Agranoff
Harmony vocal: Mark Wolkoff
Fiddle: Pete Sutherland
Guitar and Mandolin: Orrin Star
Bass: Greg Vongas

1
He was stranded in a tiny town on fair Prince Edward's Isle
Waiting for a ship to come and find him.
A one-horse place, a friendly face, some coffee ahd a tiny trace
Of fiddling in the distance far behind him.

2
A smile across the counter, then. A shy hello and a brand new friend
And a walk along the street in the wintry weather.
A yellow light, an open door, and a "Welcome, friend. There's room for more!"
And then they're standing there inside together.

Bridge
He says, "I've heard that tune somewhere before, but I can't remember when.
Was it on some other friendly shore? Did I hear it in the wind?
Was it written in the stars above? Think I heard it from someone I love,
But I never heard it sound so sweet since then.

Instrumental: " St. Anne's Reel", one "A" part and one "B" part.

3
Then his feet begin to tap. A little boy says "I'll take your hat!"
And he's caught up in the magic of her smile.
A-leap the heart inside him went, and off across the floor he sent
His clumsy body, graceful as a child.

Bridge
He says, "There's magic in the fiddler's arm, and there's magic in this town.
There's magic in the dancers' feet, and the way they put them down."
Smiling faces everywhere, boots and ribbons, locks of hair,
Laughter, and old blue suits and Easter gowns.

Instrumental: " St. Anne's Reel", one "A" part and one "B" part.

4
The sailor's gone. The room is bare. The old piano's sitting there.
Someone's hat's left hanging on the rack.
The empty chairs, the wooden floor that feels the touch of shoes no more
Waiting for the dancers to come back.

Bridge
And the fiddle's in the closet of some daughter of the town.
The strings are broke, the bow is gone, and the cover's buttoned down.
But sometimes on December nights when the air is cold and the wind is right
There's a melody comes drifting through the town.

Instrumental: " St. Anne's Reel", complete, twice through.

 

David Mallett writes:
I wrote this song in or around 1978 when I was hanging around with a bunch of trad. players, fiddlers and such. We were all at a contradance on Orono, Maine one night and the thing just sort of started. The melody has always been one of my favorites and I thought it needed a story to go with it. Its become a popular song with fiddle bands who also do vocals. I run into people all over who know this song, even in Europe. It is an enlargement of a traditional tune .

I remember I did a gig with Vassar Clements once and I tought him the melody and we all did it on stage. Quite a thrill..Also Itzhak Perlman played it on national television with John Denver once, also a thrill.