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Louis Rosen & Capathia Jenkins

SOUTH SIDE STORIES

  (2006, Rosecap/Di-Tone Records)

 

Produced by Louis Rosen & Scott Lehrer

Music and Lyrics by Louis Rosen

 

Rosen, who accompanies on piano and guitar, has a James Taylor-like talent for setting intimate lyrics over facile, catchy melodies.... Don’t miss this…” Bloomberg News

 

“... a fine and sometimes somber portrait of heartbreak and survival, joy and its absence, and love that endures even when the objects of that love are long vanished." Chicago Tribune

 

“...the songs are as intelligent as they are soulful, appealing to the brain as much as the heart. ... A musical saga of generations and the joy, pain, love and death they've experienced …. a performance of elegance, sensibility and passion.” Cabaret Scenes

 

"Consider the case of Louis Rosen ... and his nostalgic, romantic, emotionally charged song cycle, 'South Side Stories....'" Chicago Sun-Times

 

“Rosen's protean talents are obvious to all but the oblivious. ... [He] does more than talk a good game; he writes it, composes it and performs it, too.” The Jewish Exponent  

 

Click on the store's name to buy or download "South Side Stories" at LOUIS' STORE (complete CD only), itunes.com, cdbaby.com or amazon.com.

Also available at most other online distributors.

 

LISTEN to songs from "SOUTH SIDE STORIES"

   

READ the press highlights...

 

Songs

 Lucky, Lucky Girl  -  The South Side  -  Troubled Children  -  Mae’s Chevrolet  -  South Side Blues  -  Fast  -  When They Dance  -  Family Business  -  If I Were a Reincarnationist  -  Many Ghosts at the Party  -  The Peace That Comes  -  Lullabye for Teddy

 

 Capathia Jenkins  -  vocals

Louis Rosen  - vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, additional percussion

David Loud  -  piano

Mike Freeman  -  vibraphone

Dave Phillips  -  acoustic &  electric bass

Erik Charlston  -  drums & percussion

 

 Arrangements by Louis Rosen

 

 

LYRICS 

 

LUCKY, LUCKY GIRL

Take a slow stroll

In the warm light

As the night falls

On this fall night

Your hand holding mine

Lights a light in my soul

Makes me feel wise

Makes me feel whole

 

I’m a lucky, lucky girl

Thought my romance days were through

If you feel like me

Lucky me and lucky you

 

And our son plays

As we stroll on

He knows warm days

Soon are long gone

His games are the dreams

Of a boy soon to fly

As the moon smiles

In the fall sky

 

I’m a lucky, lucky girl

Because one plus one made three

If you feel that too

Lucky you and lucky me

 

I’m a lucky, lucky girl

Because three came out of two

And if you agree

Lucky me and lucky

Boy we’re lucky

Me and lucky you

Lucky girl

 

There’ll be more strolls

When the day’s done

As our boy grows,

As the years run

But the moments are few

When the stars line up right

For a slow stroll

On a fall night

 

I’m a lucky, lucky girl

Thought my romance days were through

If you feel like me

Lucky me and lucky you

 

I’m a lucky, lucky girl

Because three came out of two

And if you agree

Lucky me I’m lucky

Boy, we’re lucky

Me and lucky you

Lucky me

Lucky you

Lucky girl

 

 THE SOUTH SIDE

I was born

In some North Side room

Near the Edgewater Beach Hotel

Now my folks knew that hotel well

It’s there they used to go to dance the

Nights away

And like they planned

I was the first child born since my

Father’s father had died

So, with a sad, sweet, expectant pride

They gave me his name and they

Carried me home to

The South Side

 

Now my clan,

If it has roots anywhere

Claims that part of town

It’s where Mom’s family settled down

It’s where Dad was living when he

Came of age

And they met

A blind date at some downtown club

Where Jews didn’t usually go

Where the service and the dancing were slow

In a month he proposed

In a year they were married on

 

The South Side

Known for Capone and his rat-tat-tat,

That’s the South Side

But in the baby-boom years it was

Nothing like that

It was bungalows all in a row

Where a family dream could grow

And only Democrats knew where the

Bodies were buried on

The South Side

 

Uncle Ted and Aunt Syl lived

Right near by

Uncle Irv lived a mile away

Grandma Fanny lived with Jen by the

U. of C., near

Ida, Uncle Joe and Aunt Dora Lee, we were

Four generations of the family tree, and the

Child I was

Imagined we’d always be

 

On the South Side

Latino, white and black, each a separate part,

But the South Shore of the South Side had the

Avenues and alleys that I

Knew by heart,

It was Hyde Park down to U.S. Steel

It’s a memory, yet so real

And my parents both assumed that their

Bodies would be buried

I guess I just assumed that some-

Day we’d all be buried on

The South Side

On the South Side


 TROUBLED CHILDREN

Ronnie and me in the back of the bus

There on the edge of first love

Watching our friends

Watching the kisses

Hoping for a sign from above

“Will he kiss me?”

“Is he really in love?”

 

Two popular kids

The perfect couple

An adolescent dream come true

Ronnie and me

Magnet and iron

Attracted by the secrets we knew

The unspoken secrets we knew

 

We were troubled children

Joined by the feelings we shared

Troubled children

Daring and eager, but scared

We both disguised it

Hoped that no one could see

Not even Ronnie and me

 

Then came high school days

We seemed to drift apart

There were older boys who promised

Right from the start

To steal her heart

 

Waitressing nights in some Chicago dive

She brightened when she caught my eye

She said,

“Six long years since we

Watched those kisses

Why’d you let that moment go by?”

I said, “I panicked

I just let it go by.”

 

She insisted, so we drove to where she lived

Met her lover

Had a drink or two

Ronnie tried hard to make her

World seem happy

But sadness seemed to seep right through

She didn’t know it

It just seeped right through

 

We made a plan to meet

Decided where and when

But then something changed

A message was left, and then

We drifted again

 

Fifteen years pass and the telephone rings

A reunion of the old South Side

“Will Ronnie be there?”

The question’s met with silence

Then I hear this voice say she died

That one night she O.D.’d and she died.

 

Memories flooded in and out of view

Time just seemed to disappear

Ronnie and me

Forever searching

Now it finally seemed so clear

What we were together seemed so clear.

 

We were troubled children

Joined by the feelings we shared

Troubled children

Chasing our dreams unprepared

We tried to hide it

Hoped that no one could see

The story of Ronnie

The story of Ronnie and me

The story of Ronnie and me

 

MAE’S CHEVROLET

It was the Old Black Funk

A ‘60 Impala

Rescued from a junkyard grave

Man, what a mixed-up ride

Blew heat in the summer

Air in the winter

Nothin’ made that car behave

We’d wheel down the road with our

Windows down,

The radio wailin’ away

In Mae’s Chevrolet

 

Now Mae was cool

Kind of slick

But funny

Lookin’ for her lover boy

Saturday night we’d cruise

Adventure our mission

Boys were our passion

Music our main-line joy

Marvin was singin’,

“What’s Goin’ On”

Blue Monday seemed miles away

In Mae’s Chevrolet

 

Chicago streets, kind of

Wild and rough,

Made suburban kids turn pale.

Chicago cops played it

Mean and tough.

If you’re fro was too long or you

Looked at them wrong

They’d haul your ass into jail

 

Then there was Backseat Joy

Her fingers in motion

Air guitar day and night

Smokin’ her homemade smoke

We’d sing ourselves dizzy

Lost in the music

Howling out with all our might

We’d float down the skyway like

Fish downstream

Reality hours away

In Mae’s Chevrolet

 

Chicago’s race thing was

Wound so tight

Made us feel the South Side Blues

Suburban life seemed so

Rich and white

The black white and brown of the

South Side of town was the

Only side we could choose.

 

It was the Old Black Funk

A ‘60 Impala

Clearly more dead than alive

These were the days we’d ride with

Time on our hands

Mae at the wheel

Me riding shotgun

Nothin’ else to do but drive

We’d roll down the road singing

“Let It Be”

The future seemed lives away

In Mae’s Chevrolet


SOUTH SIDE BLUES: 1968 

Black folks here

Black folks there

Black folks movin’ everywhere

On the South Side

A change was comin’

And we all heard the news

“Are we leavin’? Are we stayin’?”

That’s the South Side Jews Blues

 

Blacks move in

Whites move out

That’s Chicago without a doubt

On the South Side

Knock down those dominos

And light up that fuse

“Are we leavin’? Are we stayin’?”

That’s the South Side Jews Blues.

 

Some will hold on with all their might

They can’t afford to move away

Some will try hard to do what’s right

And some will run to live and run another day

 

I asked myself, “Why?”

I asked myself, “Who?”

I answered, some just don’t like barbecue

On the South Side

I watched my buddies

I was lookin’ for clues

Would their Daddies think by leavin’ there was

Nothin’ to lose?

Were their Mommies maybe prayin’ that they

Won’t have to choose?

Was the question, “What to do?”

Or was the question, “What excuse do we use?”

“Are we leavin’? Are we stayin’?”

That’s the South Side.

“Leavin?” “Stayin?”

That’s the South Side Jews Blues.

 

FAST

Lonnie goes back to Jenny's

Sixteenth year

The first boy she ever undressed

They were in her cousin’s basement

A kind of teenage lover’s nest

Chicago was cold on that New Year’s Eve

So under the covers they stayed

And with Laura Nyro singing

A tender teenage love was made

 

They were fast

Couldn’t wait to grow up

Taste a love that sweet

Fast

Dancing to the rhythm of a hungry beat

They were young

Thinking maybe love would let them feel complete

 

Jennie and Lonnie

Carved in tree-trunk

Shaped like a heart to

Let their love grow

 

Jennie said, “Visit me in La-la-Land”

Lonnie said, “You won’t have to ask twice”

Took a seven-forty-seven

Found an urban paradise

Canyons and beaches and an endless sky

That was L.A. in ‘75

And the girl from South Chicago

Felt her senses come alive

 

They were fast

Sneaking out and staying up ‘till

Who knows when

Fast

Nothing seemed impossible to

Try back then

They were young

Thinking they would never feel alone again

 

Jennie and Lonnie

Carved in a tree-trunk

Shaped like a heart to

Let their love grow

Lonnie and Jennie

Jennie and Lonnie

Drifting apart

Can’t let their love grow

 

Teenage romance isn’t made to last

By fall these young lovers were through

Lonnie’s fragile world was shaken

Jennie fell for someone new

But, time can turn lovers into old, old friends

Joined by the secrets they share

Now they talk on Jennie’s birthday

Each glad to know their friend is there

 

They were fast

Couldn’t wait to grow up

Taste a love that sweet

Fast

Dancing to the rhythm of a hungry beat

They were young

Thinking maybe love would let them feel complete

 

Jennie and Lonnie

Carved in a tree-trunk,

Shaped like a heart to

Let their love grow.


 WHEN THEY DANCE

They smoke cigarettes

I mean they really smoke

Light a new one from the last one

Anytime

Everywhere

But for those dressed-up nights

When they dance

 

They talk none too well

Some nights no talk at all

Disagreements by the dozen

Walk away

Feel the chill

But for those tender nights

When they dance

 

She loves the gentle way he holds her

Holds her tight, but never holds her down

He loves the way she feels the music

Loves the way she loves to paint the town

 

One boy grown and gone

The house quiet at last

Too much time to think and question

All at once tired and old

But for those reckless nights

When they dance

 

She wonders did she ever love him?

Then they whirl and she remembers when

He wonders, Could he ever leave?

Then twirls her out and spins her back again

And again

Once again...

 

They smoke cigarettes

I mean they really smoke…

 

 FAMILY BUSINESS

One fall night

So long ago

Set the path for my whole life

Had the best guy

We were so in love

I said,

“Yes, I'll be your wife"

I floated home

Told my Ma and Dad

Ma was cold as cold could be

Said, “A light-skinned girl

And a dark-skinned boy…

Will you bring this shame on me?”

 

Family business

Family ties

Debts that we pay

Dreams of the mother

Father and child

Don’t just fade away

 

So I slammed out

Found a corner bar

And I drank ‘till I was blind

We could drive off

Elope there and then

Just leave this life behind

But Ma and Dad

Meant the world to me

Words alone cannot explain

How does someone choose,

Make a happy life

On the soul of someone’s pain?

 

Family business

Family ties

Debts that we pay

Dreams of the mother

Father and child

Don’t just fade away

 

So I told my beau

We’d have to wait

Maybe Ma would come around

Let’s just carry on

Though I fooled myself

He faced our fate

Well before I knew we were through

He was gone.

 

Family business

Family ties

Debts that we pay

Dreams of the mother

Father and child

Don’t just fade away

Dreams of the mother,

Father and child

Faithful or foolish

Reckless or wild

Don’t just fade

Don’t just fade away

 

One fall night

So long ago

Set the path for my whole life

 

IF I WERE A REINCARNATIONIST

I’m the middle daughter of a

Middle daughter

And I hated my mother

Just like she hated hers

She was smart, but selfish

Witty, but cruel

I’ve thought about why she hurt me

‘Till the memory blurs

 

But if I were a reincarnationist

A true-blue reincarnationist

I’d know we’ve played our drama out

Through various lives

Maybe I was her mother once

Or she was my lover once

Though flesh may turn to dust

Perhaps the spirit survives

Maybe back to Egypt

 

I’m the jealous daughter of an

Absent father

He loved gambling

He loved women

More than family life

He fought with my mother

She turned me against him

I never got to know him through the

Anger and strife

 

But if I were a reincarnationist

A die-hard reincarnationist

I’d know we’ve played our drama out

Through various lives

Maybe I was his father once

Or he was my mother once

Though flesh may turn to dust

Perhaps the spirit survives

 

 What could be the reason we’d keep coming back?

Why would we repeat this pain?

Maybe there’s some holy secret I lack

Maybe I’m working something out

That I don’t understand

That I can’t explain...

 

I’m the nervous parent of a

High-strung daughter

And I fear she hates her mother

Just like I hated mine

I pray that my husband

Won’t turn her against me

And I wonder,

Is it chance that our lives intertwine?

 

‘Cause if I were a reincarnationist

A true-blue reincarnationist

I’d know we’ve played our drama out

Through various lives

Maybe we were all brothers once

Maybe we were all lovers once

Flesh may turn to dust

But some connection survives

 

If I were a reincarnationist

A true-blue reincarnationist

If I were a reincarnationist

 

MANY GHOSTS AT THE PARTY

Dad lies alone in his bed

With a faraway look on his face

Old pictures dance in his head

Distant moments that time can’t erase

Dad sighs and turns off the light

There are many ghosts at the party tonight

 

Sweet streams of memories fly

Ma and Pa seem to be everywhere

Old scenes go whispering by

All his brothers and sisters are there

Dad’s overwhelmed by the sight

There are many ghosts at the party tonight

 

He wonders why

Why he is the last one?

Shakes his head

Almost starts to cry

He’s lived his life

Four score years and more

A life well-lived

He wonders what he’s waiting for

 

Dad lies awake on his bed

With a glimmer of hope in his eyes

Unsure of what lies ahead

After all of the final goodbyes

Dad sighs and turns toward the light

There are many ghosts at the party

There are so many ghosts at the party tonight

 

He wonders why

Why he is the last one?

Shakes his head

Almost starts to cry

He’s lived his life

Four score years and more

A life well-lived

He wonders what he’s waiting for

 

Dad lies alone in his bed

With a glimmer of hope in his eyes…

 

THE PEACE THAT COMES

Father died on Friday night

Monday he was buried

Tales were told and

Blessings made

Over his grave

Daniel hoped the words would ease the

Sorrow he carried

A lucky man

So thankful for the

Love Father gave him

 

There are prayers we say

There are songs we sing

We fill the void

Tumble on

Wandering blind

What we long to feel

Only time may bring

It’s the peace that comes with

Healing right behind

 

Mother hardly sleeps at night

Thoughts keep on turning

She told her son,

“We mourn as one,

But we all grieve alone”

A story told

Or a coffee cup

Bring out such yearning

A neighbor calls

A friend comes by

But she’s on her own now

 

There are prayers we say

There are songs we sing

We fill the void

Tumble on

Wandering blind

What we long to feel

Only time may bring

It’s the peace that comes with

Healing right behind

 

Mother and Daniel seem to

See life so differently

Yet a poet’s words

Keep sounding in Daniel’s ear,

Saying, “Birth is hard

And dying’s mean

So love in the between time"

Don’t turn away from what you hold dear

Soon enough we all disappear…

 

Prayers we say

Songs we sing

Sing

Wandering blind

What we long to feel

Only time may bring

It’s the peace that comes

With healing right behind

What we long to feel

Only time may bring

It’s the peace that comes with healing

The peace that comes with

Healing right behind

 

LULLABYE FOR TEDDY

(after William Shakespeare)

Sleepy boy, come rest your head

Sleep a cool and dream-filled sleep

Sandman soon will bless this bed

Say a prayer your soul to keep

 

Hear the voice of melody

Sing in our sweet lullabye

Lulla lulla lullabye

Lulla lulla lullabye

Sleep won’t harm or scare or charm

Close your eyes and breathe a sigh

Say goodnight with lullabye

Lulla lulla lullabye.

 

Ghosts and ghouls aren’t welcome here

One-eyed monster stay away

Evil demons

Don’t come near

Go find somewhere else to play

 

Hear the voice of melody

Sing in our sweet lullabye

Lulla lulla lullabye

Lulla lulla lullabye

Sleep won’t harm or scare or charm

Close your eyes and breathe a sigh

Say goodnight with lullabye

Lulla lulla lullabye