©2006/2011 William S. Monroe
So many towns I’ve lived in – so many left behind.
So many people welcomed me, and brought me piece of mind.
Wherever I may wander – wherever I may roam
I know that I’ll be taken in, as though I’ve come back home.
And it must have been Providence that brought me here
Like the quiet voice of wisdom whisp’ring in my ear.
Though I might have gone down any road, this one looked so clear.
It must have been Providence.
I’ve found myself in places where I’d never choose to go,
And maybe where I should have been was a place I didn’t know.
But you find that what’s important, is not really where you’ve been.
It’s the people that you’ve touched, and the love you have within.
SONG NOTES: I was inspired to write this song after going with
my son to see Elvis Costello. Two things came together in that
concert: like many performers, Costello declared how nice it was to
be performing in Providence, and then there was the sheer energy
of the performance. Most of the songs I’d written were slow, and it
occurred to me to write a more upbeat song about Providence. It
started out as a song about the city, but ended by being more
about the idea of providence. But, the city, after all, was named
for the idea, so it really is about both.
THE BURNING OF THE GASPEE
©2011 William J Nottage, Jr
IN THE DARKENED CORNER OF A SMOKE FILLED ROOM
ON JUNE OF 1772
A PLOT WAS HATCHED IN THE AFTERNOON
AN ACT AGAINST THE CROWN
THE NEWS HAD JUST COME DOWN
THE GASPEE RAN AGROUND
FOR TO LONG SHE’S BEEN ON THEIR BACKS
BOARDING THEIR SHIPS COLLECTING TAX
TAKING THEIR OUR CARGO FILLING THEIR SACKS
AND IT WOULD END THIS DAY
SHE’S HELPLESS IN THE BAY
THE GASPEE’S GOING TO PAY
FROM BUNKER HILL TO THE DUMPING TEA
THE FATHERS FOUGHT THE TYRANNY
UNTIL THEY WON THEIR LIBERTY
FREEDOM DOESN’T COME FOR FREE
IT ALL BEGAN ONE NIGHT AT SEA
WITH THE GASPEE
ON A MOONLESS NIGHT THEY BOARDED THE CRAFT
ORGANIZED THEN SPLIT IN HALF
STARTED FIRES BOTH FORE AND AFT
AND AS AWAY THEY ROWED
AMIDST THE FIRE’S GLOW
HER POWDER KEGS DID BLOW
A SPIRIT SPREAD THE COLONIES
A SENSE OF SOLIDARITY
OF BRAVE MEN LONGING TO BE FREE
AND ALL ACROSS THE LAND
THE TIME WAS CLOSE AT HAND
THE TIME TO MAKE A STAND
BY THE WATER’S EDGE
©2011 William S. Monroe
By the water’s edge, where we go to dream,
Where the Narragansett Bay meets the river’s stream,
Our fathers and our mothers came a better life to sow
And planted us a garden, if we’ll only make it grow.
That river, she flows on, winding through the silt and clay.
And she’ll turn a dozen millwheels before she meets the bay.
Over dams that came and went, and the little falls of old,
She leaves a rich and fertile soil, of stories yet untold.
Though we’ve come from England, Cape Verde, or Dakar
Our dreams have merged together as we’ve followed the same
Like the waters of the rivers that join to meet the bay,
With Providence between them to show them all the way.
We might look to Roger Williams for the vision he has shown,
Or to the Independent Man, if we could make it on our own.
But let us look to each other, and to each other pledge,
To build a better place to live down by the water’s edge.
SONG NOTES: This song was written in response to two
events: one was the call for songs about Providence and its
history, and the other was a request to perform a set of
“historical” songs in Pawtuxet Village. My performances usually
consist of mostly traditional music, but I was inspired to write a
song that illustrated both the past and the future of Rhode
Island. There are many explicit references to Pawtuxet, but also
more generally to Providence and to Rhode Island as a whole.