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Joe Jones (Nickel Pies)

Posted By: Scott Campbell

Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 05:24 AM

A 5 minute folk song with six verses and no chorus or bridge - just what you wanted!

At least it's uptempo smile

This is not meant for general appeal. It's a gift for my wife's grandmother Ann and is written about her husband Joe, who passed on about 20 years ago.

I know many are hesitant to comment on songs of a personal nature but I would love to hear suggestions. I'll probably keep the lyric pretty close to what it is unless there are some suggestions for better phrasing. Any comments about the arrangement, mix, or any other aspect would be appreciated.

This was co-written with Joe's niece Resa. She wrote some of the lines and gave me essentially all the details.

Here's the song:

Here's a picture of Ann and Joe taken in 1936 - about 49 years before they celebrated their 50th anniversary smile

[Linked Image]

I'll post the lyric below. Thanks!


Joe Jones (Nickel Pies)
(c) 2007 by S.W. Campbell and Teresa Thornburg

Well Missouri in the thirties
There was more men than was work
But every job there hard or dirty
I did for dinner and dessert
But I knew the world was bigger
So I hopped a freight train west
And I left each town
With my nails worn down
And some pennies in my vest
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Well I rode those rails and counted the ties
And I dreamed of nickel pies

Never thought I'd find my fortune
North of nowhere mining coal
There a shy, sweet girl named Ann
Made my tattered heart feel whole
And I knew the world was brighter
On a January day
We were to wed in Spring
But I had the ring
And I knew I couldn't wait
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Well we said our vows under cold, blue skies
And we dreamed of nickel pies

Well the folks back home in Higbee
Heard of the gains that could be got
And pretty soon our friends and family
Filled our two room place with cots
And through those cold Wyoming winters
We helped all who came our way
Someone asked what we did
When the summer hit
I said “We play ball that day”
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
We made it through on company store supplies
And we dreamed of nickel pies

When we left Rock Springs for Portland
A welder’s ticket in my hand
I knew my job there was important
We built the ships that beat Japan
And though times were getting better
We didn’t have much money saved
And when the doc told me,
“You need surgery”
I said, “Doc, it’ll have to wait”
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
So we became both pound and penny wise
And we dreamed of nickel pies

We moved back to Missouri
When my daddy passed away
I heard the mine up in Excello
Needed welders for good pay
Was on a shovel named Goliath
Where I chanced to make my name
Well we kept him goin’
On a night so raw
That the cold wind cracked his frame
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
I saw my breath freeze right in front of my eyes
And I dreamed of nickel pies

So we bought a house a stones throw
From the town where I was raised
It was here we’d let our roots grow
And our son would come of age
And by the time that we had grandkids
It was known across this land
That if you had the need
To run a bead
Joe Jones, well, he’s your man
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
Lo de oh de oh oh oh
It’s been fifty years Ann, how time flies!
That’s a lot of nickel pies
That’s a ton of nickel pies

Posted By: Rick Norton

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 06:12 AM

Hey Scott, it was too short. I wanted more verses. This really is great and all the better it has special meaning. Only one line stands out that didn't meter right.

There a shy, sweet girl named Ann

You turned Ann into two syllables. Maybe this would work:

There a shy, sweet girl by the name of Ann

But then again, who wants to sing 6 verses over again when the song turned out so great.

Way to go.

Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 02:25 PM

Originally Posted by Rick Norton
But then again, who wants to sing 6 verses over again when the song turned out so great.

It's worse than that, Rick. I recorded it all live with guitar on right hand, banjo on left, and playing bass and drum lines on my keyboard with my toes. So I would have to do *everything* over grin

Seriously though, thanks for listening. I feel like I'm imposing on people when I put a long song up.

And thanks for pointing out that line. Is one of the ones I was not entirely comfortable with - I'll think on it some, along the lines of your suggestion.

See ya
Posted By: Kevin Emmrich

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 02:39 PM

Just a great story song. Good stories never seem long. Excellent.

Rick could be right on the two syllable "Ann" phrasing, though.

Posted By: RIKY

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 02:40 PM

Hi Scott..I listened a few times and this song grew on me.When I heard the part"lo de oh de oh oh oh" come in I would have thought this to be the chorus.Great old photo..I like the idea of putting a photo with your song. The photo adds so much to the story..
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 03:15 PM

Hey Kevin:

Thanks! I had 4 verses in mind - then settled on 5. When I got to 5, I couldn't fit everything I wanted to say so it went to 6. I was bothered some and then I thought, "You're not trying to get this on the radio - just make it as long as it needs to be" grin

Glad the story worked for you...Thanks for the confirmation on that line...

Hey Riky:

Not just once but a few times? Thanks!

You have an excellent point about the chorus. I guess, including the final lines, that this section could be interpreted as an evolving chorus. In any event, I guess it tries to do what a chorus does anyway.

I scanned that photo because I thought I'd put it on the cover of the jewel case when I give the song to Ann. Put it here because sometimes it's nice to be able to put a face to people you're hearing about.

Thanks guys!

Posted By: Mike Caro Substudio

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 08:23 PM

I loved the lyrics! great story!

It was long but you pulled it off..... the nice musical changes and tempo kept it flowing

Great picture too.
Posted By: Robert Pickens

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/12/07 08:56 PM

Scott....Definitely you pulled this off....a musical life history....wonderful story....

Hey try Annie instead of Ann....if that's maybe what Joe called her by once in awhile... Annie....

Playing all this with toes, fingers, banging your head on the keyboard, neat my friend.....

We ain't heard nothin' out of Clint since must have given him a lot of homework

This really is cool....I like it...I like the story told....Bob
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/13/07 05:18 AM

Hey Sub:

I threw every instrument I had at this, except for my mom-in-law's fiddle. I'd have thrown that too if I could have. grin

Yeah, thought I had to put something different in each verse to keep it from getting stale...

Was kinda different to put this together because I didn't have to make anything up - just figure out how to place it smile

Hey T-Bob:

That's a great suggestion. I'll find out if he ever called her Annie. I knew him for the last five years of his life and I don't think I heard him call her by that but he might have...I know other people have...

Ha - I don't know what Clint's up to. But he DOES seem to produce a lot of songs in a short period of time and then take a break for awhile. Maybe this is one of his breaks grin

Thanks guys!

Posted By: Two Singers

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/13/07 05:36 AM

Hey Scott...

Love it! It's one of those songs that after you hear it, it just stays with you. I'll probably be singing the darned thing when I go to bed tonight!

I have but 2 small nits. The first one has been addressed already: The one-syllable "Ann" really sticks out. The other one is in the second verse. You wrote "Made my tattered heart feel whole". Tattered usually means that something has been beaten up pretty good or is in bad shape due to wear and tear. I don't think that is what you mean here. How about this: "Made my empty heart feel whole". If he was simply lacking that special woman, his heart would have been empty rather than tattered. Just my take...KOS!

But, I really do like this one...a lot! In fact, of all of yours that I have heard, this is either my favorite, or right near the top. Thanks for sharing! And I love the photo. I am a Genealogist, so old pictures are always a treat!


Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/13/07 02:12 PM

Hey Alan:

Thanks so much for the listen and for the comments. I'm glad you liked it! Was a true labor of love for me...

Part of it is set in your neck of the woods - well, from my vantage point in Florida its in your neck of the woods smile Higbee is about 2 or 3 hours west of you, just north of Columbia.

You are dead on with your comments. There were three lines in the song I was still uncertain about and you found two of them. I'll re-work them.

Many thanks!
Posted By: Ken Randall

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/13/07 06:13 PM

Scott, Thats a ton of good vibes going on in this song, I really
like the cover photo for the Mother Road, this song is so Okie
americana with a lot of downhome sweet-nickel pie harmony and feel to it. Thanks for the oppurtunity for a feel good song
to be listened to on a rainy day here in the ozarks. Ken
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/14/07 05:01 PM

Hey Ken:

If a guy from the Ozarks says it has a good feel to it, then I hit the vibe I was shooting for. smile

Many thanks,

Posted By: Louis

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/14/07 08:06 PM

Scott, I'm late, been tied up. Man I love this. Great American Story. smile
Posted By: Tricia Baker

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/15/07 02:25 AM

Ditto, Scott. Loved the hook, the story and the musical treatment. Good job. What a slice of Americana. I love the yo de ho ho ho part in the chorus-that's catchy. The banjo and the sliding whatchamacallits are really cool.
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/15/07 02:57 AM

Hey Louis:

Thanks. Joe was one helluva man....

Hey Tricia:

Thanks to you too! That yo de ho part just seemed to capture Joe's spirit of adventure. Glad you found it catchy. Glad you noticed the whatchamacallits too. Those are the fun things to add after everything else is done smile

Joe loved his pie smile

Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/15/07 02:57 AM

Double clicked the submit button. Now I know what happens when you do that grin
Posted By: Accelerator

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/15/07 11:13 AM

You always tell a great story in you writing Scott!

This one had to have more meaning than most as it hit's close to home - it's not fiction.

I heard structure in it.

It was a good listen, thanks for sharing.

Martin / Accel
Posted By: beachbc

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/15/07 11:28 AM

Great job man, no complaints at all from me. It's weird, I don't like country, but I like folk? I don't know I'm weird. In any case, great song, my mom died when I was 15 and it would have been awesome if someone had done this, I'm sure this will touch Ann more than you know.
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/15/07 08:22 PM

Thanks Accel:

Appreciate that you were willing to listen to such a long song...yeah, sometimes truth is as interesting as fiction smile

Hey Bradley:

I'm the same way on the folk/country thing. Must admit though, I'm gaining more of an appreciation for country by hanging around here....

Yeah, hope Ann likes it. My experience is that people like having a song written about them or someone close to them more than any other gift. We'll see....

Thanks guys,
Posted By: Michael James Moore

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/19/07 02:35 AM

Great shot.The tune was great.Liked the whole story!
Posted By: mikeredwine

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/19/07 03:50 AM

Folk is not really my genre, but I liked it, I dig the banjo and harmonica there, melody too, quite catchy. Nice rhythm with the lyrics too.

Posted By: Clint Anglin

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/20/07 02:37 AM


I love that banjo - it really sets the tone for the ballad. This is a masterful folk story song. It didn't seem that long because the story really drew me in. I think I will only go to Wyoming on that one summer day though - exactly what date is that smile ?. I guess you can't get nickel pies anymore, better start dreaming of some considerably more expensive ones. Great tune - well written and well performed!

Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/20/07 04:42 AM

Hey Michael:

Thanks. Glad you liked the story. All true smile

Hi Mike:

Appreciate the listen, especially because its outside what you do. Banjo and harp parts were fun...

Hey Clint:

Welcome back! Sorry to hear you have been having health issues. Looking forward to hearing your new song.

Don't know what day that was - think it varied from year to year and you didn't get much notice. grin

Joe loved his dessert and a nickel pie could carry him a long way smile

Posted By: Tom Breshers

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/21/07 04:40 PM


Tiz a fine song...good banjo and the story...

where do you get these Lo de oh ho ho things? Is that folk scat-singing? anyway they is cool...

way cool is;
"and I dreamed of Nickle pies"

...enjoyed it!!!

Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Joe Jones (Nickel Pies) - 04/21/07 06:42 PM

Hey Tom:

Glad you're still here! Saw on another thread what you've been up to. Hope you're not working TOO hard smile

Glad you liked this. Yeah, maybe they are folk-scat. Don't know where they come from. For someone who places as much importance on the words as I do, it strikes me as funny that every once and awhile I feel the need to let go with something nonsensical grin

The hook was easy on this one - According to Ann, the occasional nickel pie was how Joe treated himself - knew the second I heard it that it would form the basis of the song smile

Nice to hear from you!

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