Mystic Brotherhood: The Lyrics

The average Mystic Brotherhood song would begin as a poem by Mack, which he would bring in and ask for help in setting it to music. Usually he had a general idea of the style or mood the music should have, and Joseph would make up various guitar parts until Mack heard something he thought he could sing along with. The early songs often lack the usual division into verse and chorus that we expect from pop music.

On a few occasions, when Joseph had already come up with an interesting guitar part, Henry "the Shaman" Nicholls concocted the lyrics using deliberately "Mack-ian" style and imagery. Later Henry would contribute complete songs in his own elusive and idiosyncratic style, which perhaps harkens more to his obsession with New Order than to the folk-rock roots of much of the other music.

BOBBY'S THEME

Lyrics by Mack Reynolds; Music by J. Morales

A red pill, a blue pill
Anything to ease the pain
My partner went to score heroin
But he didn't come home that day

Now I hear he's down in Chino
Doing five to ten for robbery
But the winds still are blowing
And when the frost surrenders to the spring

Maggie's squatting in the corner
Her arms are wrapped around her legs
She had to sell the bong
When the help went off to catch a wave

It's down in definitions
That makes a man feel all alone
This my friend he told me
While he practiced keeping beat on a bone
Alright

You might be right, you might be wrong
Is all that I can think to say
And do you have that same stuff
That we smoked the other day

Dylan he's standing in the corner
I don't think he know's why he's here
He don't say too much anymore
But I kinda like his hair

She'll be uphill, by your past
Don't seem to be much like any fun
But I guess you won't have to be alone
When it's time to take the fall

A red pill and a blue pill
Anything to ease the pain
My woman went to buy heroin
But she didn't come home today

I feel if she don't come back things won't be the same
I feel if she don't come back, oh no

Like Bobby in the corner
I could live with my dreams
I could live with yesterday

CAPTAIN KENNEDY

Lyrics by Neil Young; Additional Lyrics by Mack Reynolds; Music by J. Morales

[ This song has a strange history. For years we assumed that Mack wrote the words, but eventually it became clear that Mack had started with a Neil Young song and made both additions and changes to the lyrics so as to adapt the song to the story of his father.  Joseph created the musical accompaniment without ever hearing the original song, to which it (musically) bears no resemblance. ]

I am a young mariner
Sailing off to sea
Thinking about my family
And what it means to me

There's water on the wood
And the sail feels good
And when I get to shore
I hope that I kill good

My father was a soldier
Under Captain Kennedy
He lost a wooden schooner
To a beast they couldn't see

Exploded on the water
For all the world to see
To humiliate that American
And Captain Kennedy

He was known throughout the country
To be of fire and of steel
Never stopped to take a rest
And I don't think he ever will

Running from the shadows
Of what that could have been
Before that wooden schooner
And the death of his captain

I saw him in the bottomlands
In 1981
His strength was a-faded
But he still ran the run

He spent all his energies
Worked his fingers to the bone
To rebuild that wooden schooner
And sail out on his own

I am a young mariner
Sailing off to sea
Thinking about my family
And what it means to me

There's water on the wood
And the sail feels good
And when I get to shore
I hope that I kill good

DIABLO

Lyrics by Mack Reynolds and Henry Nicholls; Music by Mack Reynolds

Weed is talking and it's talking to me
Feel my mind talking and it's talking to me

Wind on the ridge
Darkness in the sky
You're all alone
But I'm not alive

You've got to be strong
You've got to be strong
When you call on Diablo
You've got to be strong

Man on the run
The weed is on fire
Bright as the sun
And I'm torn apart

You've got to be strong
You've got to be strong
When you call on Diablo
You've got to be strong

How do you dream
When your life is unreal
Weed is the cart
And I am the wheel

You've got to be strong
You've got to be strong
When you call on Diablo
You've got to be strong

KASHMIRI BLUES

Lyrics and Music by J. Morales

Sunlight over the water
I see the morning's young daugther
She's throwing a flower to me
But that flower is not for free

The king's wife appeared in a dream
See what you've done to me
And my soul will never rest
Until you build the palace you promised

The local goddess lives up the street
Blesses the people who bow at her feet
But when I turn 15
What man will marry me

On a bridge over the river
A long line of yogis did shiver
If you want to take my portrait
Please me one red blanket

In a cave high in the mountains
People go to see their lord Shankara
He stands about 10 feet tall
He's made of ice from head to toe

Sunlight over the water
I see the morning's young daugther
She's throwing a flower to me
But that flower is not for free

NICOLAE'S PASSION

Lyrics by Mack Reynolds

I won't come quiet
Boots stomping through the night
Hide your women
Eyes wide from their fright

Give up your food
There's no warmth in your home
I'll take from you
'Til your spirit lowly moans

Fear the stone
Fear the stone
Feel the stone
As it rolls over me

Give me the children
To torture as I will
Love the sadness in their eyes
No hope in the sky
Love the sadness in their eyes
No hope in the sky

Fear the stone
Fear the stone
Feel the stone
As it rolls over me

NOTHING AT ALL

Lyrics by Mack Reynolds; Music by J. Morales

Understand man, when I heard my friend whining
"I hate this place"
Didn't realize what he meant, only attitude
What did he mean by "this place"
Was it my house that he hated
Or the world at large

Take me back
Throw it back
Wish I could do something
About my life

But I got my four-day pass
A kid and a little wife
Didn't know what to do
So I did
Nothing at all
Nothing at all

I don't mind uniforms
But I hate these hills
They make me well
I don't mind dying here
And it's better than the shadow over there

Just a leaf in the wind
Blown about to and fro
I don't know
I don't know
I don't know

Take me back
Throw it back
Wish I could do something
About my life

But I got my four-day pass
A kid and a little wife
Didn't know what to do
So I did
Nothing at all
Nothing at all

Took a step
Took a step
Took a step ...

POETRY

Lyrics and Music by Henry Nicholls

And then the little wheel
Which sits atop the hill
Sings in the gathering rain
Of hearts left unfulfilled

When early morning light
Grows bright and ever new
Worlds darken into night
Never reach the light of you

Too late we sing for gods
Whose poems we have not seen
And so repeat our folly
At once silent and serene

When early morning light
Grows bright and ever new
Worlds darken into night
Never reach the light of you

To think can only drive
Our heavens twice as high
And like a single star
Fills up the world's sky

When early morning light
Grows bright and ever new
Worlds darken into night
Never reach the light of you

And then the little wheel
Which sits atop the hill
Sings in the gathering rain
Of hearts left unfulfilled

PURPLE PEOPLE

Lyrics by Mack Reynolds; Music by Doug Manley

I got no time for no purple people
I got no time for their kinky lies
Just give me what I got coming
Just give me what I know is mine

How come you got a mind of glory
You'll go to hell for that, you know
Give my hands for your turkeys
For stepping on my little sister's toes

I got no time for no drug offenders
I got no time for no refugees
Just want to go to the park on Monday
Just give me what belongs to me

I got no time for no purple people
I got no time for their kinky lies
Just give me what I got coming
Just give me what I know is mine

How come you're in this place on Sunday
I think you come here just to pray
You know it ain't going to do you
You're going to hell anyway

How come you got a mind of glory
You'll go to hell for that, you know
Give my hands for your turkeys
For stepping on my little sister's toes

[Spoken] You take your tight shoes and go home

THE SOFTEST TOUCH

Lyrics and Music by Henry Nicholls

There's a place where I belong
Where all I know I tell in a song
Where memories die a thousand deaths
And dreams tell more to us
Than we can say with the softest touch

Silence fills each waking dream
And yet for you
I take the chance to wake
And find myself all alone

And when I know that you are far away
And aching care is here to stay
I smile the smile that reason brings
And choose to wait for other things

There's no place I've ever seen
Where men live lives without painted scenes
Where memories die a thousand deaths
And dreams tell more to us
Than we can say with the softest touch

Dreams are silent when
We see the faces of those
Who live for dreams
And so I hide my face
And so I hide my face

And when I know that you are far away
And aching care is here to stay
I smile the smile that reason brings
And choose to wait for other things

SQUATTER'S SONG

Lyrics by Henry Nicholls; Music by J. Morales

There's a man who lives for the money
He can't find the reason for his own name
He believes himself to do God's bidding
Ain't going to worry and leave the dream

Passion paints a witless portrait
Old men have the least to gain

I got faith in his rear window
Showing the path that has no end
I'm free to choose the path I'm walking
'Cause it's better than my own home

Passion paints a witless portrait
Old men have the least to gain

Dreams are some men's horizons
Though they feel as thin as air
Things are real, that's not surprising
You all can see what's there

Passion paints a witless portrait
Old men have the least to gain

STORY TO TELL

Lyrics by Mack Reynolds; Music by J. Morales

Can I get you to a place
Not far from the mountains
Where the rain and the springs
Turn the land to green

Where the woods are still
And the deep green water
And the land of the weary
Has a story to tell

Between the sun and the moon
Is a long bridge only
With the wind blowing through
When the mind is free

There's a love going in
In the land of the weary
When the winds are still
And the deep green sea

When I come here now
With less to carry
And the sea and heaven
Is a patient thing

Do you hear me call
Have you dreamed of dreamers
When the winds are still
And the great blue sea

Can I get you to a place
Not far from the mountains
Where the rain and the springs
Turn the land to green

Where the woods are still
And the deep green water
And the land of the weary
Has a story to tell

Do you hear nme call
Have you dreamed of dreamers
When the winds are still
And the great blue sea

VERACRUZ

Lyrics by Henry Nicholls; Music by J. Morales

Colors hang above my head
Shadow dancing with the dead
Life's a dream I dream tonight
Life's a ship gone out of sight

I feel the blood run away
I see your face and smile
I live without a care
I live for now

Regrets surround everything I see
Reason clouds the man I'll be
Seasons change for all the rest
Crying is meaningless

I feel the blood run away
I see your face and smile
I live without a care
I live for now

Silence kisses each golden tear
Lovers are all I ever feared
Freedom rings above the stars
Dust is all we ever are

I feel the blood run away
I see your face and smile
I live without a care
I live for now



Return to Mystic Brotherhood Home Page

Lyrics copyright by their respective authors.