Lyrics for Somebody Stole my Canoe © John Dorsey 2006

Not from Texas

People who live in Texas are proud of their home state
They sing about their cowboys out ridin’ that open range
Their outlaws are their heroes but if you’re not from there
The sentiments are borrowed, you just can’t compare

The Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia
The Colorado Rockies, Hotel California
We know the songs, they make us feel
That we are from there too
But if you’re not but feel you ought to, what else can you do

Well you could write a song about where you’re from
Or support someone who can
Trying to be somewhere you’re not can get you in a jam
I’m proud to be from Canada and live in Ontario
I like to have four seasons and I don’t mind the snow

In the Haliburton Highlands the air is crisp and clear
A swim in a Muskoka lake is better than cold beer
The skyline of Toronto caught by the setting sun
It’s home to me and where I’ll be ere the day is done

So let’s be proud of where we’re from, let’s take a local stand
And find our inspiration from those who opened up this land
So wear your tuque with pride wherever you may be
It’s our home and native land, it’s my favourite country
It’s our home and native land, it’s my favourite country

electric and acoustic guitar – Peter | accordion – Michael |
mandolin – Tim | acoustic bass – Jason | drums – Don |
vocal, acoustic guitar – John


Northern Summer

I like to swim in clear northern water
Hear the mournful call of the loon
Play my guitar ’round the fire in the evening
Count shooting stars and howl at the moon

Northern summer, northern summer
It’s a northern summer again

A mist covered lake in the cool of the morning
Fresh caught trout, right into the pan
Sun coming up, looks like a good one
Another fine day, out on this land

Flash of the paddle, the smell of the pines
On the rocky point
The sun on my back, you here beside me
And everything is fine

piano – Michael | harmony – Ellen, Don | acoustic bass – Jason |drums, percussion – Don | dobro, harmonica, lead vocal – John


Wintertime in Mexico

Wintertime in Mexico, lots of sun – no snow
Striped umbrellas on sparkling sand, lovers walking hand in hand
And those warm ocean breezes keep reminding me of you

Windsurfing ’cross a turquoise sea, a gull - soaring free
Till dark clouds cover up the sun
And a sudden shower scatters everyone
Then the sky is clear and blue just like your eyes

And all around me it’s so beautiful
But there is something missing too
I want to have you here beside me
I want to spend my life with you

Swimming down a coral stair, kaleidoscope colours everywhere
Pirate ship in the setting sun coming home ere the day is done
And in a few days now I’ll be coming home to you

accordion – Michael | pedal steel – Gord | percussion, drums – Don | acoustic bass – Jason | harmonica, guitar, vocal – John


Somebody Stole my Canoe

Somebody stole my canoe
It wasn’t a very nice thing to do
Don’t understand but it’s true
Somebody stole my canoe

It wasn’t much to look at - a battered faded blue
Aluminum gunwales, and pretty heavy too
I kept it at my cabin, chained up to a tree
I’d paddle up the river to see what I could see

Early morning coffee, just me and that canoe
We’d slide up through the morning mist, it’s what we liked to do
We’d listen to the birds and maybe see a deer
That canoe was like an old friend and now it isn’t here

Did you load it in your pickup, in the middle of the night
Or drift off down the river in the broad daylight
You cut the heavy chain so I know you planned it too
Do you know you took more from me than just that old canoe

acoustic bass – Jason | banjo, dobro, guitar, vocals - John


Pan Phillips (The Ballad of Wild Horse Panhandle Phillips)
Pan Phillips was the last of the frontier cowboys in Canada’s west, and the subject of a CBC TV series based on three books by Rich Hobson. I was lucky enough to travel back in time with him where we stacked hay by hand, rounded up our own horses and learned to shoe them. Two of our group rode bareback over a pass to the next valley where we had to swim the horses across a river to get extra saddles at Pan’s daughter’s ranch.

You know the west is changing, things are rearranging
It’s pretty hard to find a real cowboy today
And if you finally see one, he mighty not be your fantasy one
He’ll probably be riding on a Honda or in a plane
And he might not even raise cattle anymore
It just don’t pay these days

He came up from Wyoming when times weren’t easygoing
A top hand with dreams of a ranch of his own
’Cause he heard that up in B.C. lay some unexplored country
He thought there might be grass beyond the mountains there
So he quit his job, packed his bags and headed down the road
He never looked back

He opened up the last frontier Pan Phillips
He’s a rounder through and through, he’s a ropin’ buckaroo
He opened up the last frontier, they call him Wild Horse Pan
Now he’s still much the same though ranchin’s not his game
And the places ’round are named for the horses that he tamed to work the land

Come October he was snowed in, a tiny cabin at the road’s end
His food was gone his feet were cold and the wind kept comin’ through
But he wasn’t ’bout to give in, he built a stove with his old lard tins
And then one day a man rode up and said, “You’ll come with me.
My family’s gone to town till spring I need someone to help me
And if you stay here, you’ll freeze”

So Pan became one of them moosehided men of Anahim
And learned how they had drained the swamps to grow good red top feed
He helped rebuild a burned-down barn, made good friends and told good yarns
Drove pack trains through the mountains at 66 below
But the distance Algaks beckoned him and soon the spring would come
And he’d head out for the valley of his dreams

With his slogan, ”Nothin’ to it”, he proved that he could do it
He built a ranch in wild lands where no white man had been
He drove 50 head of cattle ’cross a high mountain saddle
On half a foot of frozen snow with twenty more below
Acute appendicitis almost killed him but he hung on
And cured it by drinking olive oil

Now in the many years gone by his stories make me laugh and cry
But only the big union ranches have survived
He sold the old homestead, works as a fishing guide instead
He still rides his horses when he takes the hunters out
But he’d rather drive his Honda ’cause he doesn’t have to catch it
And he only has to feed it when it’s working

accordion – Michael | mandolin – Tim | harmony – Don | pedal steel – Gord |
guitar, lead vocal – John


Me and David Brown

It stopped raining yesterday, so it’s time to make some hay
While the sun shines and that’s not just a saying
’Cause the barn’s not piled very high and it’s already mid-July
And I hope that damn bailer keeps on bailing
So I hook up to the rake and make my way up to the high ground
Where it’s better drained and Jesus what a view
You can see for 40 miles and oh it makes me smile
I’m feelin’ good and thinkin’ of you

Just ridin’ high on David Brown, the sunshine on my face
The country breezes fill my senses up
Till I’m one with that tractor as we work that land below
And I feel a part of everything I see
And I feel that it’s a part of me

Workin’ up the fallow fields, lookin’ for a better yield
Tryin’ to put the twitch grass on the run
That old diesel engine’s singin’ and my ears are a ringin’
And I’m hoarse from all the songs that I have sung
And the dogs are chasin’ gophers as I kick the throttle over
And stop to rest beside a berry tree
There’s a crow there a-callin’ and oh I think I’m fallin’
For the life I know I want to lead

Layin’ stooks up by the woodlot, that old bailer’s really hot
Just me and Paul and we weren’t even stoppin’
Till we’d done all 600 in an hour less than Tom had said
We’d do it in if things were really hoppin’
There’s a pride in the carin’ of a land you’ve got a share in
And of workin’ hard to make your dreams come true
It’s livin’ in the country with my friends all around me
Just let those good feelings come on through

mandolin – Tim | pedal steel – Gord | harmony – Ellen, Don |
drums – Don | acoustic bass – Jason | guitar, lead vocal – John


Just to be Alive

Holiday weekend, you’ve planned some outside fun
Weather prediction, more rain and storms to come
It’s so depressing, another weekend indoors
But the day dawns bright, lovely weather in store

Sometimes things just go your way, look out the window it’s a sunny day
No more rain the wind blew it away, this day’s not just another day
You can walk out with your head held high, not a cloud in that big blue sky
No need to wonder why, so glad just to be alive

There’s a big project you have to do
You’re worried that maybe you can’t carry it through
But then you wake up in the middle of the night
An inspiration and everything turns out right

You’re feeling down, seems like everyone around
Has a special someone that they can count upon
But then some magic in the depth of your despair
You turn around and she is standing there

tenor and alto sax – Devon | trombone – Doug | electric guitar – Peter |
harmony – Ellen | acoustic bass – Jason | drums – Don |
acoustic guitar, lead vocal – John


Plastic Leopard
At 93, Harry, my father-in-law, was still living in his own apartment and driving his car to garage sales in Montreal every Saturday. He was working on his 14th book, active in the art community and still playing accordion - a fine example to us all.

“What’s this, Dad? We can’t move it all.” He said, “I don’t know
I found it at a garage sale several months ago
I like its shape, the way it feels, see how it fits in your hand
One day I’ll find a use for it and then I’ll understand”

“Well what about these old shoes, they don’t even fit?”
“Such soft Italian leather,” he said, “and fine workmanship
To buy a shoe like that these days you’d pay – oh I don’t know
I just crumple up some newspaper and shove it in the toe”

He could see the good in things that others couldn’t see
Through his eyes I learned to see the world
He could see the good in things that others couldn’t see
Through his eyes I learned to see the world differently

A yard sale book about Japan caught his eye one day
The images intrigued him, he asked what he should pay
“You want this?” she raised her head, as teary eyes were shown
“I’d be honoured - please take it, that village was my home”

“How about this?” I asked, “Can we throw it away?
It’s just a cheap plastic leopard and it’s seen better days”
“No”, he said, “I’ll keep it, I couldn’t let it go
“Someone really took some care, see how the muscles show”

acoustic lead guitar – Peter | pedal steel – Gord | accordion – Michael | harmony – Ellen | harmonica, guitar, lead vocal – John


Instant Replay

I went down to Florida to get me a little sun
But along the way we stopped to pay
A visit to Mr. Johnson
Now Howard was busy it seemed so I asked
His daughter to fix me a meal
The meal looked real good but it tasted like wood
And the bill was hardly a steal

And it seems like some people ’round here just don’t care
If the end of the world came today
They’d probably keep right on watching T.V.
And wait for the instant replay, wait for the instant replay

We drove right on down I–75, through the mountains of old Tennessee
And they say there are stills still up in the hills
But for the life of me I couldn’t see
And it wasn’t for the lack of lookin’
’Cause I stared till my eyes were red balls
But all I could see, was NEXT LEFT STUCKEY’S

SEE CRYSTAL BEACH, said the sign on the road
But I couldn’t for the houses and stores
There were so many cars and hotels and bars
That I just couldn’t take any more
So I headed on back up to Ontario
Where the land is still wild and free
To the beaver and moose and the Canada goose
On the pristine shores of Lake Erie

acoustic bass – Jason | harmony – Ellen |
dobro, lead and harmony vocal – John


Mr. Crocodile

Mr. Crocodile won’t you stay a while,
Give us a smile it’s about a mile
To the nearest swamp
My friends are all here, they might think it queer
If you don’t have a beer, don’t you fear
The sun out there

Now they can see the palm trees swaying in the breeze
And the flamingoes and the pelicans are right there on the beach
But you’ve got jaws like great big saws and that’s what’s so revealing
It’s your potential for violence that to them is so appealing

Now maybe you’re quite docile and wouldn’t hurt a flea (well a flea is really quite small and probably doesn’t mind being squashed at all)
And maybe you can sit for hours with the young croc on your knee
(which is not to suggest that you are an “old croc”)
And maybe you’re just a-headin’ down to the cut-rate liquor store
But Mr. Crocodile won’t you please turn around and come by just one time more

Now chimpanzees are clever and parrots can learn to talk
But they don’t have quite what it takes ’cause they can’t eat you up

Vocal, acoustic guitar, lips – John



There are days when I feel like I could just hibernate
When the cold winds blow and the snow drifts up, right against my gate
And all the news I read is bad or else it seems so trite
I want to hibernate, I want to hibernate, till everything is right

I vote on election day, it don't seem to count a lot
The lobbies and big business seem to call the shots
Greed and power like a storm rule the day
I want to hibernate, I want to hibernate until it goes away

If you don't like the weather, it'll change
I've been around for quite a while and I don't think the same
Can be said for human nature
Or the way things seem to go
So like a bear think I'll find a lair and hibernate
Like a bear gonna hibernate
Shut out all the fear and hate and hibernate
Don't worry ’bout being late, gonna hibernate

drums – Don | acoustic bass – Jason | harmonica, dobro, guitar, vocal – John


When I was Young

When I was young I always thought that I’d marry a movie star
She’d have long legs and great big eyes and a smile you could see from miles away
We’d live in a house by the ocean with the mountains just behind
And we’d ski and sail and make love all night and everything would be just fine

We’d put our money in the market when it was in a low
We’d make such good investments, we’d just sit back and watch them grow
We’d go south in the winter, to Paris in the spring
I’d sell my songs and be famous and wouldn’t have to do a thing

Now things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would
But I found a gal who loves me and she dances real good
She finishes up my sentences and corrects me when I’m wrong
But she makes good pies and has a great laugh and I’ll love her till I’m gone

Of course I’m not the perfect one (I am a guy after all)
So I drink and fart and spit in the street and I won’t go to the mall
And I’m always playing my music and sometimes pick my nose
But we’re good friends so we compromise and that’s the way it goes

We don’t live by the ocean but we’ve got a park behind
We go north in the summer, our little cabin is just fine
We worked hard, put some money aside, fame never came our way
But we don’t need it we’ve got each other and we’re happy anyway

piano – Michael | acoustic bass – Jason | harmony vocals – Julie and Don |
drums – Don | dobro, guitar, lead vocal – John


Tonight we’re gonna Drink

Times are gettin’ tougher, can’t seem to make enough money
My rent went up, my best friend ran off with my honey
To make ends meet, might have to sell the car and that ain’t funny

But tonight we’re gonna drink and sing and dance the night away
Tonight we’re gonna drink and sing and dance the night away
Why worry ’bout tomorrow, we’ve still got the rest of today

My job is a drag, don’t know how long I can last
Nearly lost my license ’cause I drive my Mustang too fast
The girl I got my eye on says I just don’t have enough class (What an ass!)

I need a long vacation, gotta get out in the sun
Lots of brown-skinned beauties eyein’ everyone
I’d like to do some sailin’ down in the southern seas
Now all I gotta do is win the lottery

electric guitar – Peter | tenor sax – Devon | piano – Michael | harmony – Ellen |
acoustic bass – Jason | drums – Don | guitar, lead vocal – John


South Sea Island Fever

Palm trees swaying in the breeze, waves lap gently on the beach
Lovely lady to go walking with, look for shells in the sand

I’ve got that south sea island fever once again
I’ve got that south sea island fever once again

Sun sinks slowly in the sea, I like the way you look at me
Feel the soft touch of your hand, the words I sing caressing you

South sea island you’ve got a hold on me
Don’t want to get back to my northern responsibility
South sea island you’ve got a hold on me
Your warmth is making it so hard for me to leave

Lying next to you at night, stars are shining oh so bright
Sweet magnolias fill the air, mixed with the softness of your hair

cello – Don | harmony – Ellen | guitar, lead vocal – John

All words and music by John Dorsey © John Dorsey 2006


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