Sunday, 22 July 2012

Home Waltz

Lyrics and music by Marion Parsons © 2003

A sentimental song about an old-time dance; see below for further notes.



The lights are burning brightly in the basement of St. Pat’s
The lilting of a hornpipe filters through the window slats
The dance has swelled and dwindled in the hours since it began
They’ve drawn the fifty-fifty, Ian Strachan’s the lucky man.
The tray of squares was polished off, the coffee’s gone to tar
My weary feet are grateful that my bedtime’s not too far
They’re stacking up the folding chairs, they hope we’ll take the clue
But this night isn’t over, Gail, till I dance the home waltz with you.

    As the dance is fading and they’re calling it a day
    The band will give us one more waltz to send us on our way
    The sun is well and firmly set, the dark is soaked with dew
    But this night isn’t over, Gail, till I dance the home waltz with you.

The fiddler’s snapped a dozen hairs, the caller’s voice is sore
We’ve heard St. Anne’s three times tonight, perhaps they’ll go for four
The pickers rub their fingertips, the banjos reach a truce
My shirt is rather sticky and your braid is coming loose.
I’ve danced away the night with you a hundred times before
As long as these poor knees hold out, we’ll dance it many more
For these are all the good old tunes that our grandfathers knew
And this night isn’t over, Gail, till I dance the home waltz with you.

Chorus

I was playing at an old-time fiddlers' dance in Prince George, BC when the MC asked me if I would play "the home waltz". I said, "Sorry, I don't know it," and he said, "No, I mean play any waltz to send us home." I liked the expression and it inspired this song.

“St. Anne’s” in the second verse refers to St. Anne’s Reel, a tune that is very popular in Canada and that I used as the melody for Anne of Three Minutes.


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