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This is an appeal to any Kosmonaut associated with the recording industry here at dKos. A Kosmonaut has penned a remarkable set of lyrics to a song stemming from the Katrina disaster. As the writer, long-time poster Ptolemy. has used his diary for today, I am posting the lyrics and his request as a diary on (his?) behalf.  See below for lyrics and details.  If you are in the music industry, please read.

Ptolemy composed this song in response to the story told by Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard today on Meet the Press:

The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything.  His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son?  Is somebody coming?"  And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you.  Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Friday."  And she drowned Friday night.  She drowned Friday night.

Here are the lyrics--all lyrics are copyright of the author "Ptolemy":

Mama was trapped in the home,
Water was rising, she was by the phone,
Called up her son, "I need someone to rescue me,"
"The Lake's come now, and it's at my knees."

And the son said ...

"Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's coming Tuesday,
The governor's called to DC."

Tuesday came, mama was still in the home,
Water still rising, she was left all alone,
Called up her son, "Need someone at the place,"
"Floodin's not stopped, and it's up to my waist."

And the son replied ...

"Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's coming Wednesday,
The troops are now on their way."

Wednesday came, mama couldn't get to the door,
Water still pouring all over her floors,
Called up her son, "I'm losing my calm,"
"Devil's still flowing, and He's up to my arms."

And the son yelled ...

"Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's coming Thursday,
The President's comin' on down."

Thursday came, mama stood on her chair,
Water still coming, she needed some air,
Called up her son, "Get someone here quick,"
"Flood's still not stopping, it's up to my neck."

And the son sobbed ...

"Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's gonna get you,
Mama, help's coming Friday,
Just pray and they'll be there real soon."

Friday came, the flood sealed mama's fate,
Mama drowned, went to the Pearly Gates,
 ... and the angels came down to greet her ...
... and they sang together as a mighty choir ...
... weeping tears into the mighty Mississippi below ...

... they sang ...

"Mama, help's come and got you,
Mama, help's come and got you,
Mama, help's come and got you,
The Lord's taken you from that wicked world."

(Repeat last chorus)

Here are Ptolemy's suggestions:

Can you or another Kossian post these lyrics as a diary, and ... rather than record this ... can anyone with connections get this to:

A) Tom Waits?  His anti-Iraq song on the MoveOn album is amazing.  I still cry when I hear it.

B) Harry Connick Jr.?

C) Randy Newman?

D) Aaron Neville?

E) Jeez, at this point, I'd settle for Celine Dion.

F) If someone can get this to one of the ragin delta musicians or a blues legend or even one of the moveon crew.  I mean, even Green Day or something ... I know the odds are small, but can you make the request on the diary?  Anyone?

Yes, anyone?  This reminds me of the great traditional classic--in the thread I called it "How High's the Water Mama" but I believe the actual name is "Five Feet High and Rising," brought thoroughly up to date.  (Another name that jumps to my mind immediately in addition to those suggested by Ptolemy would be Clifton Chenier, Jr., who I suppose falls into Ptolemy's first line in F.)

Originally posted to Dancing Larry on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:12 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No fair! I'm writing my own song! (4.00)
         Was gonna record it Friday, but have had scheduling difficulties etc.

         Seriously, good luck! ...Maybe there could be an Daily Kos ALBUM; I may be able to record something by Tuesday, if I'm lucky.

  •  I'm not picky at a time like this (4.00)
    And I'm certainly not possessive.
    Heck, at the rate I typed those words, they're hardly mine.  But let's not get into religion right now.

    ANYONE with a good sense of tune and access to equipment ... record this ... send it to Randi Rhodes, send it as a demo to your favorite artists (I can also think of Bright Eyes as a possibility), send it to anyone you think will listen.

    Imagine if 3 versions of this song popped up at the same time.

    Imagine if 10 versions of this song popped up at the same time.

    We just keep singing this until they send as much help as the four corners of the earth now have contained in them.

    •  You can Creative Commons the lyrics (none)
      but that might actually hurt the chances of it getting out somewhat...just like not patenting a medicine...the record companies want a slice of publishing revenue, and I believe for that there has to be a songwriter and publisher who own rights...the world is kinda unfair about stuff like that.

      But maybe an IP attorney would have a better insight on that point...ianal.

      You can always donate your share of the proceeds to relief efforts.

      The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

      by peeder on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:41:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  steve earle (none)
    or john prine maybe too
  •  Strong suggestion to take immediately (4.00)
    Please edit this diary with an explicit statement that says the author of the lyrics owns the rights to them.

    Protect the lyricist.  You've just published the lyrics, so you have to indicate ownership.

  •  Forwarded this Diary to a popular musician... (none)
    Will disclose further details if I hear back.

    No need to name drop if nothing will come of it.

    Ptolmey or Dancing Larry - e-mail me if you want more info.

  •  now we're waking up to the power of culture (4.00)
    my only request is a heavy delta blues atmosphere, bottle slide guitar and harmonica, to root it in the culture that was devastated. this might not be a bad hip-hop possibility was well, as long as we're playing on ptolomy's idea of multiple versions at the same time. n'awlins have any good rappers out there?

    crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

    by wu ming on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:33:50 PM PDT

  •  What does he want done with it? (none)
    Is it already put to music?
    He wants it recorded?
    My best friend is a known/published folk and blues singer who knows more and I can ask him about it...
    but what would I ask him?
  •  I think (none)
    Rosanne Cash could do something wonderful with it, and it would tie it to her dad's song.
  •  Add a line with "Katrina" (none)

    People hearing the song might not know what it is in reference to. Great idea though

    Thoughts from Connecticut -

    by ctsteve on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:36:39 PM PDT

  •  Indicate your copyright of this ASAP (none)
    You need to do at least two things that I can think of.. I am not in the music biz, I deal with images, but what little I know..

    1. Look up the procedure for copyrighting song lyrics, and what kind of notice needs to attached..
    2. Indicate that you are willing to sign a no-sue agreement for any name musician willing to look at the song...

    Great song by the way..
    •  Copyright will take too long. (none)
      Lawyers?  Am I correct here?

      I'm going to email my lawyer friend.

      I am stating here now a no-sue agreement.  Any musicians can verify at my email address, available through Kos by clicking on my name here.

      •  You don't need a lawyer (none)
        Google song copyright procedure or US Copyright..
        the first step before registration is making sure you have proper notice attached, then do the filing as soon as you can... the notice protects you, and the filing puts the teeth in the damages... I have been thru a couple of copyright disputes (someone using my work)... lawyers don't come in until a lawsuit is necessary
      •  Poor man's copyright (none)
        Take a copy to the lyrics, sign it, date it, put it in a heavy duty mailing envelope, seal it--no tape!--take it to the post office, send by certified mail to yourself, keep both the envelope and the date-stamped certification in a safe place and do not break the seal.
        •  Even Simpler Method (none)
          Put the following at the beginning and end of your lyric post

          Lyrics Copyright 2005, Ima Songwriter

          Then look upthe copyright procedures, they are simple and cheap, and do it. I can copyright a whole  CD full of photos at once for one copyright fee, which is around  $30...

        •  Poor man's copyright... (none)
          I have been told will not hold up in court. I register my stuff with the Library of Congress.

          Go to the website and get forms PA and SR (downloadable), either or (preferably) both are considered legal proof of copyright.

          LOC is also one of the few gov agencies who I have found very easy to deal with!

          Tax the churches. Tax the businesses OWNED by the churches--Frank Zappa 10-30-1981

          by SherwoodB on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:54:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ptolemy (none)
        check out Creative Commons. They offer several layers of rights, determined by the creator. That link takes you to their license page.
  •  As many styles as possible! (none)
    I would love to hear 20 (or more) different sets of music to this: you name it, R&B, R&R, Delta Blues (obviously), punk, hip-hop--write a piano accompaniment and do it as a "classical" art song ala Shubert et al. Love to hear Aaron Neville sing it.

    All styles of music are valid and the more variations we have the greater audience we can reach.

    All of them on one CD, the same lyrics and a stunning diversity of approaches.

    A musical reflection of the diversity that make New Orleans--and America what it is.

    Tax the churches. Tax the businesses OWNED by the churches--Frank Zappa 10-30-1981

    by SherwoodB on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:49:47 PM PDT

  •  TITLE ! TITLE ! TITLE ! (none)
         Ptolemy, what is the title of your song???
    •  Help's Going to Get You (4.00)
      That's the title.

      And the song is copyright Ptolemy, Sept 4 2005

      I guess I now officially have a pen name.

      And since it's on the Internet as mine (in my first post on the other thread) ... it's copyright as of creation:

      "Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. "Copies" are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm. "Phonorecords" are material objects embodying fixations of sounds (excluding, by statutory definition, motion picture soundtracks), such as cassette tapes, CDs, or LPs. Thus, for example, a song (the "work") can be fixed in sheet music (" copies") or in phonograph disks (" phonorecords"), or both."

      •  Yeah, technically, but to sue (none)
             more easily and get significant damages, it helps to have it officially copyrighted, I strongly believe.

             As above, check out ,
        "Sound Recordings: Follow these steps to register your recording of music, drama, or a lecture..." at U.S. Copyright Office.

      •  And your title sure beats (none)
             "Sweet Georgia Bush" or "Blind Lemon Jefferson Clinton", one hasta admit.
        •  or (none)
          george-you're on my mind....
          •  more lyrics (none)
            dubya, dubya
            the whole "fuck you"
            just the same dumb smirk
            keeps dubya on my mind

            dubya, dubya
            the sound of you
            comes as sweet and clear
            as someone fucking
            with my mind

            other ads reach out to me
            other viles smile tenderly
            still in in kool-aide sips
            I see
            The Rove leads back to you.

            dubya, dubya
            no peace I find
            just an old cliche
            keeps dubya on my mind

            New Orleans reach out to me
            Feds retreat steathily
            Still in wildest dreams
            Yer ho's keep backing you!

            dubya, dubya
            no peace of mind
            cuz we can't feel safe
            till dubya's met decline

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