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about

I have an urgency to record these songs. I have one vocal chord that functions, and one is paralyzed, from radiation and surgery for cancer treatment. I know very well that life is a game, unlike baseball or basketball, where the final buzzer will go off at any moment. So the day I wrote the lyrics to this song, was the day I wrote the lyrics, and this recording is the first time I played it on dulcimer. I didn't know if I could do it. Al Hemberger urged me on. "You got it. Keep going."

The hardest thing in the song to sing is the past tense -- I once had a Mamma.

very hard to say this, sing this, verb, verb, verb

The song chronicles my Mother's life and career and devotion.

It is the music that pulls me through. The words could be too much for me, but the rhythm and voice of the dulcimer's 4 strings, carry me through and make it a healing journey.

lyrics

“LILLY O LILLY”
8/13/2016
copyright 2017 Annie Lanzillotto


I once had a Mamma—
She was known as Sweet Lilly
rettiest girl in the Bronx
As a kid she was crippled—
cause she fell out a window
but her soul—you know was—strong as the rocks

O! It took some years—for her to learn once again
how to balance on two legs to stand,
O! Lilly loved music—and with rhythm inside her
From that day on—you know—Lilly did dance!

CHORUS
O Lilly O Lilly—Are you near me Sweet Lilly?
Will you come for me when I go?
Lilly O Lilly—Can you hear me Sweet Lilly?
Will ya stay with me when I go?

VERSE 2
She gave kind words, and haircuts—
permanents, and manicures,
Lilly held everyones’ hands!
While she spread beauty—she listened to everyone’s ills.

O nothing was too hard
as I held Lilly’s—soft hand in mine!
and through all of life’s hardships—
no matter what—Lilly’s eyes sparkled and shined.

CHORUS
O Lilly O Lilly—Are you near me Sweet Lilly?
Will you come for me when I go?
Lilly O Lilly—Can you hear me Sweet Lilly?
Dontchya know that I love you so!

VERSE 3
In life we can’t save each—other from sufferin’
but we can ease—loneliness and pain
The last time she stood up—she wrapped her arms around me
and I stood for her strong as a tree.

In the end—all there’s to say is:
“I love you” and “Thank you”
and “I bless you with all of my heart”

CHORUS
O Lilly O Lilly—Are you near me Sweet Lilly?
Will you come for me when I go?
Lilly O Lilly—Can you hear me Sweet Lilly?
Dontchya know that I love you so!


VERSE 4
We had a lifetime together
Hours to do with—what we chose
And so fast it happened—we slid into forever
At her grave you know I—tossed in a rose

Lilly left with a smile—as she took her last breath,
and I felt her pulse come into me,
Then we dressed her in purple—and covered her in pink roses
for her entrance to eternity.

CHORUS
Lilly O Lilly—Are you near me Sweet Lilly?
Will you come for me when I go?
O Lilly O Lilly—Can you hear me Sweet Lilly?
Now I look to the sky—for that face I love so!

VERSE 5
With the sun in my eyes—and Lilly in my heart
I heard all—that she came to say
“World Peace” she’d whisper in a demand
every night to God she did pray:

BRIDGE
“World Peace! World Peace!
World Peace Today!

World Peace! World Peace
for everyone today!”

World Peace! World Peace!
Il Pace per Il Mundo!
World Peace! World Peace!
Give everyone in the world—peace today!”

CHORUS
O Lilly O Lilly—I can feel you, Sweet Lilly!
Life with you—is all I’ve ever known!
O Lilly O Lilly—Rest in Peace, Sweet Lilly,
Before you know it—I’ll rejoin your soul!

VERSE 6
And we’ll waltz through the Heavens
And we’ll Lindy through the skies
My sweet Mamma Lilly and me

credits

from Never Argue With a Jackass, releases June 1, 2017

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about

Annie Lanzillotto Yonkers, New York

Annie Lanzillotto is an author, songwriter, performance artist, orator and poet.

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