Tip Jar Jam #32: Rap, Rap, Rap, We Call Her The Rapper*

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Who would have thought that Kathy had such a gift for spontaneously making up lyrics to a song? She gave us a glimpse of this audacious talent last week, when she came up with some off-the-cuff words about Janet and Kenney and then Beulah Land Bob to the tune of Glendale Train. She made them up on the spot. And then told us that what real rappers do. I was highly impressed. I would have blogged about that but I caught a bodacious summer cold last Tuesday and was deep in the throes of having no energy to do anything except lie on the couch and catch up on HBO movies. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, still holds up well. My favorite line from the book and the movie remains Mrs. Weasley saying, "Not my daughter, you bitch!" while brandishing her wand at Bellatrix Lastrange.) But I digress...


This week Rapping Kathy treated us to an expanded version of her own special Glendale Train lyrics. Shortly before the jam, she had made up a verse for everyone who was there. I have no idea how she memorized all those verses which were quite long. She graciously is allowing me to share them with you. I hope you know the melody to Somebody Robbed the Glendale Train. If not, that's what Google is for!


(Kathy asked me to withhold Kenney and Janet's verse and Scott's so they can first hear them "live." These touchy artists!!!!)

Now Beulah Land Bob, he left the law,

And his music career's just startin',

But he'll have to head right back to court,

If he orders one more Martin!

If you're wonderin' why he wears short pants,

And you never see Bob in socks,

It's because he bought another guitar,

And most of his clothes are in hock!



Well we're Murphy's Misfits and we're real proud,

Of the music that we can play.

We keep coming back every week for fun

Cause we know we'll never get paid.

And if you ask us why it feels so good

To be part of these tip jar jams,

We'd all tell you that it's because,

We're all a bunch of big hams.

[This last line was immediately changed to

We just don't give a damn!]


Well Dr. Bob is a quiet man,

Who lives for the Steelers season,

We sure feel good when he's around,

In case we all start sneezin'!

But to be real fair he's just as skilled

With a banjo or a stethoscope,

But when it comes to his choice of football teams,

I'm afraid there's just no hope.


Little Miss Barbara is a classy lady,

She's clever, witty and wise.

She can pick a guitar or slap a bass,

That's five times her size.

She may be small and so demure,

And she always acts so polite,

But if you cut her off or steal her song,

She'll put up her dukes and fight.


Our mandolin player, her name's Kristina,

And she's hopin' I left her out.

Cause showin' off and drawin' attention,

Just ain't what she's about.

She pushes herself to be the best,

And I never really understood,

Why she gets so mad when she messes up,

That's why her mando's missin' some wood.


To introduce her kids to the group,

Kathy brought her son not her daughter,

Cause she knew that playin' here the first time,

Is like leading a lamb to the slaughter.

But Chip can hold his own with us,

Cause he grew up in Kathy's house,

He learned early on to assert himself,

To be a lion and not a mouse.


Well Kasey and Ben, they're quite a pair,

And together they play real smart.

But Kasey don't dare move her chair,

Or Ben will fall apart.

Kasey takes the prize each week,

With a wardrobe that's hip and funky.

But her dad can take some comfort in knowin',

That he's still got his little monkey.


Now Murphy she's the matriarch

Of this motley merry crew,

And without her leading us,

We wouldn't have a clue.

We'd play outta tune and outta time,

And Bob Van Metre'd be a'cussin',

Cause he'd be lost without her there,

And we'd miss all of their fussin'.

THANK YOU, KATHY, FOR A FABULOUS SONG! LOVE IT!!! (I will admit, it was kind of scary to think that Bob was as skilled with a stethescope as he was with a banjo......!!)

We had a strong showing of folks to jam and to witness Kathy's amazing performance but I sorely missed the guitar playing of Bob Van (who had a bad case of poison ivy) and Janet (who had a case of granddaughters! Actually it wasn't a whole case, just two!). Kenney graciously gave up an hour of granddaughter time to play bass, after I pretty much begged him on bended knee. There was a hole in the music (dear Liza, dear Liza) when he left. We welcomed two visitors, Martha, who was in town for the Women's Banjo Camp, and Chip, who is Kathy's son. I told the regulars to be on their best behavior and pretty much everyone was since Bobby and Scott weren't there to agitate and Ben was too tired from being on vacation last week.


When we have visitors we try to ease them into the jamming by having everyone play together to begin with. Then we do the same song again with individual breaks. So we did Banjo in the Hollow and Cripple Creek this way. Later on, we did Old Joe Clark like this. For our first singing song, I asked Bob A (aka Beulah Land Bob) to sing his Do Lord clone, Beulah Land. (Instead of "I've got a home in Glory Land" it's "I've got a home in Beulah Land.") The Jammers and I have discovered that the Do Lord break (from the Misfits DVD) can be used to fit a number of other songs. We now have a saying, "If in doubt about what to play, play Do Lord! It's close enough!"


We moved on through our singing songs with Kathy, Kasey, Barbara, Martha, Bob A and me all taking a turn with the lead vocals. Bob A also sang Foggy Mountain Top, which I don't think we've ever done, even though it is on the Improvising DVD. Kasey improvised a good break on the spot and then covered for her Dad when he kinda got lost in the middle. Don't ever worry, Ben, Kasey has got your back! As nine o'clock rolled around, we closed out with the ever-popular Foggy Mountain Breakdown.


Our Women's Banjo Camp starts on Friday, July 19, and I am really excited about that. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it, but right now, I've got promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep!


Note about the * in the title: That song is in my mind because of my grandson Dalton. Long ago, Casey and I both got in the habit of singing a tidbit of song to suit whatever Dalton was doing or playing with. Every color has a song: Yellow Rose of Texas, Purple People Eater, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, etc. So following in this pattern, when he and I were outside recently throwing rocks (a current favorite activity), there were some Virginia Creeper vines in our way. So I pulled up some of the vines and started singing, "I heard it through the grape vine." Then, wanting to throw the vines away but needing to compact them so they would sail through the air, I wound up the vine like I would a microphone cord and then wrapped the loose end around the middle. And, naturally, I started singing, "Rap, rap, rap, they call him the rapper..." (Or perhaps I should write it: Wrap, wrap, wrap, they call him the wrapper....!") Dalton loved both songs and now......I have to sing them every time he sees a vine for me to pull up. Such fun! Did I say I love being a Gran????