Lyrics – Spotted Mule

“Highway 17 roadtrippin’ sarcasm and storytelling from the local Americana singer/songwriter.” (Good Times Santa Cruz)

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Still Walkin’
Spotted Mule
Highway 17
Takin’ Baby Steps
Good God Man How Big a Car Do You Need?
Jack of All Trades
Entertaining an Angel
Not Stubborn Not My Mule
Old-Tyme Heaven
High and Lonesome

Still Walkin’
I learned to walk on two small feet
Kept on walking to the end of my street
Walked a path that always lead home
‘til I found the nerve walk on my own
I’m still walking

Walked in places where I used to play (but you)
Can’t go back – everything’s changed
Walked down roads I knew I shouldn’t
Walked up hills I thought I couldn’t
And I’m still walking

Walked with people I’m glad to have met
Along with a few I’d best forget
I’m sure I’ve had the same effect
A few good breaks, a few regrets
Still walkin’

Out walking my dog at the end of her leash
A black and white world is all she sees
Man, I wish it were simple that way
But this whole world is just shades of grey
I wouldn’t have it any other way
All I can do until I call it a day

Is keep walking
I’m still walking
I’m still walking

Spotted Mule
Saw him out on Larkin’s Farm
Standing in the rain
They take in horses to raise and train
This odd beast was just standing in a field
I think I know how he feels

Spotted mule on Old Adobe Road
Dad was a donkey – momma was a roan
Pass him every day on my way back home
Wonder if he feels alone

He’s no Silver or Trigger you see
Won’t be in the movies or up on the TV
But if I had my way, I’d saddle him and say
“Heigh-Yo spotted mule, away”

Spotted mule on Old Adobe Road…

Pegasus rose from the blood of Medusa
Spotted mule’s mom was a brown Appaloosa
A mule doesn’t breed – he’s one of a kind
If you’re a misfit, friend
You’re a friend of mine
Spotted mule on Old Adobe Road…

Yeah, he’s unique like you and me
and everyone I know
Wonder if he feels alone

Highway 17
High-strung yuppie in an SUV
Hits the brakes in front of me
6:00 a.m., highway 17
Motorcycles splittin’ lanes
Even in the pourin’ rain
People ain’t too bright, on highway 17

Out the door in the dark again
First thing in the morning, coffee in hand
Getting ready to make that dreadful drive
See there’s this windy road on the way to work
People goin’ to fast and they don’t even look
While the rest of us wonder if we’ll make it back home alive

Gravel truck spittin’ rock
The guy behind him cuts me off
Every day on highway 17
There’s some guy changing a flat
Everybody slow down – take a look at that
So much to see on highway 17

It’s a perfect picture of the human race
There’s a chick on the phone
Some guy shaving his face
Once I saw a driver in the fast lane watching TV
We’re just going to work
It shouldn’t be that hard
You just keep up with traffic
Look out for cars
Everybody play nice
Like when we were three

Porsche passes me at 85
Cop gives his partner a big high five
Pickin’ ‘em off on highway 17
Horns are honking, cars are rude
Lots of pent-up attitude
Then one day, it all occurred to me

See it took me years to realize
Some people just ain’t satisfied
Unless they’re doing all they can to get ahead
So you can drive like an idiot, I don’t care
They’ll still have work whenever I get there
Hurry on by – I’ll take my time instead

So it’s up at 5:00 and out the door
Wonder what the hell I’m doin’ this for
But now I have my own philosophy
It ain’t hard, let people pass
Keep your eyes on the road, stay off my back
We’ll survive highway 17

Day after day on highway 17
Got my life in my hands on highway 17
Just get me home, from highway 17

Takin’ Baby Steps
Baby Emma
One year old today
See her hit the floor
And crawl away
Finds a sturdy wall
Tries to stand
That kid’s determined
She has plans

Should be that easy
Forty years down the road
You need somethin’ done
You just move forward (but)
Things seem difficult
They’re really not that way
If she could talk
Little Emma’d say (just take…)

“Baby steps, so you trip and fall (takin’)
Baby steps – before you walk, you gotta crawl”
If you stop before you start
That’s as far as you’ll ever get
Everything begins with baby steps

You might feel stuck
Afraid to make a move
Hung up on somethin’
In the past that fell through
Might be your daily grind
Fighting against change
You gotta move (but)
Everything remains

(You’re not takin’)

Baby steps…

Every baby learns to walk – imagine that
Small steps make big ones if you do the math
So walk along beside me
You don’t need to crawl
And I’ll be there to catch you if you stumble
Or you fall

I’m watching Emma
She finally stands
Holding up that wall with her little hands
Takes her first real steps
Her knees shake a bit
Wish I had the courage of that little kid (takin’)

Baby steps…

Everything begins with baby steps
Takin’ – baby steps

Good God Man How Big a Car Do You Need?
Heading home
Late at night
Blinded by two white lights
Rear view mirror
All I could see
Big and bright and it was coming at me
Thought I saw a UFO
Tried to run me off the road
A blue Suburban
Seats fifteen

Good God man how big a car do you need?

There’s a Hummer ahead
I just don’t understand
Why not just get a Jeep
And then torch eighty grand?
They’re crowding the highways
Lined up ‘round the block
I wouldn’t mind it so much
If they’d just learn how to park
Roads are such a mess
Everybody’s compensating
For something I guess
Maybe it’s ego

Good God man how big a car do you need?
Good God man how big a car do you need?

When I was younger – cars were cool
We had a ’49 Plymouth – and an old Malibu
Now size is all that matters – apparently
Good God man how big a car do you need?
Good God man how big a car do you need?

I’m on the highway
Running scared
Just praying I make it from home from here
But I’m surrounded
This ain’t no fun
These mutant station wagons
Now they’re blocking the sun

Not fooling anyone, ya know
Like that Lincoln Navigator
Has ever been off the road
Maybe it’s ego
Good God man how big a car do you need?
That’s about the size of it if you ask me

Good God man how big a car do you need?
Good God man how big a car do you need?

Jack of All Trades
Ever since I was a little kid
I always wondered what everyone did
Adults so determined to go on their busy way
I hopped around from job to job
Flipping burgers, washing cars
And never had an answer
Whenever somebody’d say

“Ain’t ya got it figured it out, yet?”
“Whatcha doing when you grow up son?”
Well, I don’t mind being a jack of all trades
Wish I could master one

I went to college part-time-forever
Teachers asking me if I knew
What I wanted to do
‘til it made me ill
There were office jobs, assembly lines
I even wrote for Jay Leno one time
But nothing fun ever seemed to pay the bills

“Ain’t ya got it figured it out yet…”

I never had any definite plans
But I’ve been here long enough
To know that, man
You just work to live
It ain’t the other way around

Some people chase careers
Neglect everything else
Waste the years
‘til the only time left
Is when they’re settling into the ground

A wise man once told me this
Jobs come and go, give it your best
Do an honest day’s work
Appreciate the people you meet

I’ve left some things to chance
But in a hundred year’s no one’ll ask
If I – became a doctor or wrote my Ph.D.

“Ain’t ya got it figured it out yet…”

Entertaining an Angel
The sign said he’d work for food
I doubted it
he didn’t look so good
But I gave him a couple of bucks
like everyone did
I turned to walk away
Heard, “Bless you son. Have a good day”
Then remembered something I learned
When I was a kid

You might be entertaining an angel
When you give some time
To someone you don’t know
Entertaining an angel
You might meet one anywhere you go

He said, “I could stand here and scream and shout”
Nobody sees you when you’re down and out
I stayed for awhile – saw it again and again
We talked for awhile ‘til I had to go
Gave him a twenty, but you know
I think he only needed someone to listen to him

You might be entertaining an angel…

I don’t know where you’ve been
What you went through or when
But I won’t look away
I might need you to look at me someday

I shook his hand as I turned to leave
Still thinking about the angels, and then he…Smiled and said
“I read that in the bible, too” “Stranger things have happened, son”
Never know who’ll you meet when you help someone
But that angel…it might be you

You might be entertaining an angel…

Yeah, you might meet one anywhere you go

Can’t make an omelet
‘til you break a few eggs
Rooster doesn’t crow
Until the breaking of day
Can’t get in shape
‘til you break a little sweat
Yaeger broke the speed of sound
And said “You ain’t seen nothing yet”

Sounds funny
But it ain’t no joke
Some things don’t work
Until they’re broke

God made Elvis
And he broke the mold
Sutter broke a rock
And he discovered gold
Gotta break a horse
To ride out on the range
If you never break the rules
Things will never really change

Sounds funny …

Break a mirror and pay for seven years
Like the superstitious say
Sometimes you’ll bend until you break
Sometimes you gotta break away

A man don’t really pray
Until he’s broke down on his knees
To win the race
You gotta break into the lead
‘til you break a fever
You’re gonna stay in bed
If you’re tired and you’re hungry
Let’s break a little bread

Sounds funny…

Not Stubborn Not My Mule
I have a friend she lives out back
Feed her breakfast from a gunny sack
Strap on our bags, and we hit the road
There’s days ahead and miles to go
She’s not a donkey, not a horse
They’re one step back in her family tree (of course)

They call her stubborn, but that ain’t true
She’s not stubborn, not my mule
She has a reputation
It’s an exaggeration
She sticks to her own set of rules
You get an honest hardworking day
She’ll plow your fields and haul your hay
But she’s not stubborn, not my mule

A mule’s smart – she just don’t like change
If it were up to mine
Things would stay the same
But she does the work and don’t complain
Like a postman
Through the sun, and snow, and rain

She has a reputation……

Can’t make a horse who’s not thirsty drink
Buy a man a book and he still won’t think
Can’t count chickens before they hatch through
But my mule’s a rock
She’s dependable, that’s true

She has a reputation……

She keeps going ‘til the sun goes down
My mule’s a good ole girl to keep around
She’s not impulsive – she thinks things through
Stick around – you might learn a thing or two

She has a reputation
It’s an exaggeration
Trust me – she’s nobody’s fool
You get an honest hardworking day
For a handful of grain and a little hay
But she’s not stubborn, not my mule

Old-Tyme Heaven
Climbed onboard a ship last night
I was lost at sea
The sails were trimmed and pearly white
A hand came down to me
Didn’t have no money
But a man said “come on board”
“You won’t be a wayfaring stranger anymore”

Then the music started
And I knew the sound
It was old-time gospel
I was back on solid ground
When I hear those old, old songs
I didin’t feel alone
We were off to old-tyme heaven
II was going home
(and they sang…)

“I’ll Fly Away”
Let’s go “Down to the River to Pray”
Heading off to “Canaan’s Land”
Where the soul of man don’t die
In old-tyme heaven the circle lies unbroken
Bye and bye

Saw Mother Maybelle Carter
Daughters by her side
June was holding Johnny’s hand
He looks good in white
Mahalia Jackson led the choir
And asked us all to stand
Carter Stanley played along
It was a real live “Angel Band”
(and they sang…)

“I’ll Fly Away…”

Woke up this morning
Old-tyme heaven was a dream
But the captain told me “stay on course”
A and he’ll come back for me
Never been a perfect soul
I know I’ve sinned
But when I lay me down to sleep for good
I hope my ship comes in
(and I’ll sing…)

“I’ll Fly Away…”

High and Lonesome
Met her at a festival on one hot summer day
Dancin’ in the meadow
To a bluegrass band onstage
Standing in the beer line, saw her and I knew
The body of an angel, a face like Emmylou

Waded through the tye-dye
An low-back concert chairs
True love within my reach
AsI saw her standing there
Moving past the t-shirt stand
I finally made my way
Walked up beside her
And found the nerve to say

I was high and lonesome
Sad and blue
Just high and lonesome
Until I found you

We talked about the music
And it was clear to me
From Bill Monroe to Newgrass
She knew her history
I was singing sad ole songs
Until I found this girl
A happy man again
I was “Sittin’ On Top of the World”

I was high and lonesome…

I heard opposites attract
I guess the opposite is true
I told her how I felt, and then I knew
Too sweet to tell me, she took me by the hand
Pointed out her boyfriend
Playing banjo in the band

So I’m standing in the grass again
Happens every year
Remembering how I saw her
Standing over here
The music ain’t the same no more
It’s very sad but true
And everytime I hear a banjo
It just gives me the blues

I’m high and lonesome
Sad and blue
Just high and lonesome
Darlin’ without you

Yeah darlin’ without you

All lyrics copyright Michael Gaither / MaryLou Tunes / ASCAP (except where indicated)


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