January 13, 2006

Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician

bottle.jpgMy new favoritest song ever - tragically recorded about 28 years too late for me to enjoy it as a sing-a-long on long school bus trips - is "Godfrey", by Illinois country singer Robbie Fulks. It's included on a children's album called "The Bottle Let Me Down - Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides," and I just can't stop listening to it. As far as I can tell, Fulks is both the artist and the composer on the song. I couldn't find the lyrics online so I transcribed them.

It's a terrific album.

Godfrey
by Robbie Fulks

Who's the feller by the jungle gym?
All the children in town love him.
He can pull a pigeon or a root beer float
Out from his camel's hair overcoat.
He's kinda cranky and he coughs real loud,
But that's no matter to the pint-sized crowd.
He's their hero because they know
He just loves to do his magic show!

(And what's his name?)
Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician,
He's got wonders up his sleeve.
Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician,
If you'll only make-believe.

He's got pigeons in his trouser seat.
Is that a trick or luncheon meat?
Just say no to that root bear float!
It's made of stuff from inside his throat.
He can eat food outta garbage cans.
Wiggle his scars in a cha-cha dance.
Cut a bug in half turn his eyelids out.
Tell you things you shouldn't know about.

(And what's his name?)
Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician,
He's got tricks you haven't seen.
Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician,
Never made it look routine.

One sad day when the kids came 'round
Godfrey wasn't at the old playground.
Searched behind every bench and tree,
Where could the cut-rate Kreskin be?
Then in homeroom the very next day
Came this message on the school P.A.:

[Begin spoken word]
Excuse me, students and faculty. Couple of announcements here this morning. Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur magician, will no longer be available at recess. The authorities have led me to believe that he's been incarcerated up in Belleville for a number of months. So he'll no longer be by the jungle gym. From now on we shouldn't mention him.
[End spoken word]

But if you know the secret of make-believe
Godfrey never really has to leave.
He's wherever little kids may be,
Though he's in a strait jacket technically.
But as long as rodents roam across the land,
As long as children have a mucous gland,
As long as body fluids gurgle and flow,
Anyone can do a magic show!

(What's his name?)
Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician,
He's got wonders up his sleeves!
Godfrey, the sickly unemployed amateur children's magician,
If you'll only make believe!

Posted by Sterling at 07:34 AM GMT
Comments
#1

I find it odd you like Robbie Fulks. Not just because I do as well.

Posted by: 99 on January 13, 2006 06:50 PM
#2

I am not sure what I find most disgusting -

I think it is the word "unemployed" in the designation, which is redundant, it is like including the words "idiotic cypher" -
or - "funny jerk" or "man who isn't quite mainstream in the way we are " or somesuch -
sad for those who think human life is more than futile, or defined in quite the narrow way implied in this post - -

"unemployed" - ? if unemployed, surely we wouldn't have heard the song?

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on January 14, 2006 12:07 AM
#3

Oh, c'mon Claude, you can fold that five ways and stick it up your wazoo.

Posted by: Jame on January 14, 2006 02:14 AM
#4

Yeah, "sickly" is worse.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on January 17, 2006 01:02 PM
#5

My favorite new song as well. I can't get the chorus out of my head..."the sickly, unemployed..." And my 7 month old loves it too :^)

Posted by: Jeff on January 21, 2006 04:02 AM
#6

It's such a great album, isn't it?

Posted by: Sterling on January 21, 2006 04:55 AM
#7

My son just asked me to see if Godfrey has a website we could look at. Ah, if only. Reading the lyrics here I'm cracking up yet again. What a great song and the way he sings it is perfect.

Posted by: rebecca on August 16, 2006 05:11 PM