Monday, June 9, 2008

Merry Ellen

Way back in 1992 I returned home to Texas after living in California for several years. I started playing music in the clubs around Houston and met most of the people that I still hang out with today. Merry Ellen is one of those people, and yesterday was her birthday.

She’s old enough to be our mother, and treats us all like her favorite child. Merry Ellen is a serious fan of live music, particularly original music. A few months after we met I thought I should write a song for her, as a thank you to all the times she came out to hear me perform, usually with two or three Merry Ellen groupies in tow. Many times she was the reason I wasn't putting on a private show for the bartender.I wrote the song for purely unselfish reasons, and as it often happens with unselfish acts, I was rewarded many, many times over for having written the song. She's followed me to Nashville for gigs at the Bluebird Cafe, and once, in a serendipitous convergence of life and luck, she planned a trip to Europe with her son shortly before I got a gig playing in Montreux, Switzerland.

"Oh, David", she said, "Let's swing down to Montreux and see Willie on our way to Paris."

I wasn't really on their way to Paris, but he's a dutiful son, so David drove eight hundred miles out of his way to make his mom happy.

The Merry Ellen Song
© 1992

Well she sits there in the front row, where there’s room to tap her toes,
She’s the number one music fan, everybody knows,
She’s helped so many people, she’s the rock we all lean on,
She’s also soft and fuzzy, her name is Featherstone,
Chorus
Merry Ellen will you come to hear me play tonight,
I’ve been working on a new song, I believe I’ve got it right,
I’ll sing all your favorites too, anything you say,
Merry Ellen will you come to hear me play.

She follows Shake and Jack, Michael Brim and Bill Ward too,
She’s even come to hear me and Dave Holder a time or two,
Bow Brannon, Terry Ridgeway, Gary Morris and Rusty Weir,
We all love it when somebody says, “Merry Ellen’s here,”
Repeat Chorus
You can see her with the top down, hair blowin’ in the breeze,
On her way to who knows where, to hear some melodies,
If you’ve never had her spiced pecans you’re missing quite a treat,
Homemade by Merry Ellen, and almost as sweet,
Repeat Chorus
Merry Ellen will you come to hear me play,
Merry Ellen will you come to hear me play.

Happy 79th birthday Merry Ellen!

1 comment:

David Carlton said...

Willie, Thank you for the warm words and memories about Mom & I. Yes, 800 miles & 4 countries out of the way, but that's what loving sons do for their beloved Moms.

I look forward to seeing you in Houston for the Maell Memorial Bluebonnet Tour, sharing music, laughter & love in honor of Mom.
I am so grateful to be a part of it. Blessings, David