Created February 1, 2006. Revised March 1, 2006; May 8, 2007; August 29, 2007; and May 8, 2013.
Copyright 1998-2013 by John W. Allen.



THE SONGS OF
JOHN W. ALLEN




 
During a short period in 1964, I moved back to Chicago from Los Angeles for six months. I became part of a band called Dave and the Del-Rays. One Puerto Rican, two Mexicans and I, the token 'white boy.' We practiced free in the basement of a Catholic Church on the south side of Chicago. Very dangerous grounds. We played for Latino weddings, Battle of the Bands at local theaters and for High School Dances in Chicago. It was here in 1964 that I wrote some simple dance songs trying to create new dances. Songs such as The Yoyo and Stringbeans with my Gravy on my Mashed Potatos.




The Yoyo
(circa spring/summer 1964).

Gonna teach you all about this dance,
Then I'm gonna let you have a chance,
To do the Yoyo and not the Twist,
So listen to me baby and it goes like this.

Well you put your arms in front of you,
You then turn around,
And then you do the Yoyo,
Up and down,
Turn to the right,
And give a little twist,
Can't you just see Chubby Checkers doing this,

Well you rock that cradle,
All around the world,
You give a little twist and you give a little twirl,
Turn to your right and give her a kiss,
Cannot wait to see Ole Chubby doin this.




Stringbeans with my Gravy on my Mashed Potatos
(circa spring/summer 1964. Chicago.)

Give me Stringbeans,
with my gravy on my Mashed Potatos,
Give me Stringbeans,
with my gravy on my Mashed Potatoes,
give me Stringbeans,
With my gravy on my Mashed Potatos tonight-night-night-night.

Stringbeans is the greatest thing,
Since the Mashed Potatoes and the Onion Rings,
Come on baby its the talk of the teens,
Its the same kinda dance but its called Stringbeans.

Give me Stringbeans,
with my gravy on my mashed Potatos,
Give me Stringbeans,
with my gravy on my mashed Potatoes,
give me Stringbeans,
With my gravy on my Mashed Potatos tonight-night-night-night.

Like I said,
Stringbeans is the greatest thing,
Since the Mashed Potatos and the Onion Rings,
Stringbeans gonna take first place,
Leavin' gravied Mashed Potatos all over the place.

Give me stringbeans,
with my gravy on my Mashed Potatos,
Give me stringbeans,
with my gravy on my Mashed Potatoes,
give me stringbeans,
With my gravy on my Mashed Potatos tonight.

 
While I was in Chicago, I also worked part time for the Chicago Sun Time and the Chicago Tribune newspapers.

It was during this period that I wrote two protest songs. Poor Soldier and I Believe You.

I wrote the Poor Soldier song while working on the paper truck delivering newspapers to the news stands and stores on the west side of Chicago.

Poor Soldier started out as a joke, a Vietnamese Protest song before anyone else was even protesting out fighting in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, two verses are gone forever. The song was sung to the tune of Bill Bailey.

A few years later in 1967 I tried to entice Sonny and Cher whom I met briefly at a party in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately they turned the songs down claiming they were too controversial and that their agent advised them not to record my lyrics and music.

I personally think they were chicken-shit about doing the songs. It was at this time in history that protests began to become popular in America and the world and my song was about Viet-Nam, long before anyone heard in America were aware of Vietnam.

The song was for a girl who sang the first and third verses and for the boy to sing the second and fourth verses. I had lyrics in the middle of the song that were spoken with a Bobby Bare voice.

"Carry a can of raid by your side,
The enemy smells the insecticide."

The second song, "I Believe" is about a boy who commits suicide at the end of the record when you hear a gun shot blast come out of your speakers. Again, a song too controversial for Hollywood in 1964.

So below are the first two verses to "Poor Soldier" and the first verse of "I Believe."

The original lyrics for both songs were included in my poetry book and were lost in New Orleans in the early summer of 1967. I keep hoping someone on social media would find me and say they lept my poetry all these years. I left a group of 17-psychonauts in New Orleans who along with me traveled from Gorda Ranch in Big Sur in the spring of 1967 to start a commune on the Swaney River in Florida and left the group when we arrived in New Orleans. I left my poetry book in their Van. We went on this trip after leaving Big Sur, picked Tomato's in Stockton-Medesto, and then went East.




Poor Soldier
(Circa spring/summer 1964, Chicago).

Girl: Won't you come home poor soldier,
Won't you come home,
Viet-Nam's a long way from home,
You might do the fightin' for me,
But who's gonna pay my rent,
While your out there fightin' a war.
And did you know this administration,
They're just too damm frustratin',
When they send our men out there to die,
Just as long as they're not there,
They don't seem to even care,
Ain't no use in tryin' to figure why.

Boy:Well they say I played my part,
Just like a work of art,
Brave to the core through and through.
But don' let them fool you darlin'
It isn't so,
I was frightened just the same as you.
And all of them damm politicians,
Should really be morticians,
Sending mothers sons to war to die,
Just as long as they're not there,
They don't seem to really care,
Honey, ain't no use in tryin' to cry.




I Believe
(circa spring/summer 1964 Chicago)

I believed you when you told me,
That you loved me so,
And I believed when you told me,
You would never ever let me go,
But whose that boy I saw you with,
He held you close last night?
Is this the end?
Is this the end?
Is this the end,
of me my friend.

Yes I believed you when your smile,
Made me smile with you,
and I believed you when you told me,
That your love was true,
But whose that boy I saw you with?
He kissed you late last night,
Is this the end?
Is this the end?
Is this the end of me my friend.
(I have more lyrics somewhere but cannot find them).




This next song was written and played by me on the guitar while trippin on hit of acid ('purple flat') in Los Angeles 1967. The rest of the lyrics were lost over the years.

Get High
(Los Angeles, 1967)

Children,
You get high,
And still,
People pass you by,
So why don't I just turn you on my friend,
That's the way to be free,
To do the things,
that you want to,
When dropping L.S.D.

Trippin',
Now I see,
What,
What I must be,
So lets go out and turn on the world,
That's the way to feel free,
To love living life, doing things you like to do,
And all in harmony.

(Long Instrumental).



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