Myths & Fables

by Bett Butler

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Songwriter Bett Butler follows the offbeat characters in her songs wherever they take her, from jazz to earthy blues to chamber music and art songs. "She changes attitudes from song to song with the facility of a trained actor."—John Swenson, UPI


released November 3, 2007



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Bett Butler Texas

Songwriter, piano player, storyteller.

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Track Name: For Gabriele
Alone within these four gray walls
Alone among a thousand faces
Alone with you while my heart falls
in love with love in moonlit spaces

How tangible this time with you
How very present seem your lips
But you are only passing through
Like rain between my fingertips

But mine is not to wonder why
Mine is but to dance and fly

Fleeting friendship doesn’t last
Equally elusive, love’s elation
The future doesn’t yet exist, the past
is open to interpretation

This moment, only this, is mine
Only this belongs to me
If there exists a thing divine
This moment, my divinity

But mine is not to wonder why
Mine is but to dance and fly
Track Name: When Love Has Left the Room
Oh, hello, it’s you
Won’t you please come in
I hope you’ll pardon me not answering the door
I’ve just been sitting in the dark again

Here, let me light the lamp
Won’t you have a seat
Please pour yourself a drink; there’s a bottle here somewhere
I’d get up, but as you see, I’m not too steady on my feet

But yes, I’m doing fine
Why, do I seem a little strange
I guess it takes a little time to find your way again
When all the scenery has changed

But thanks for dropping by
Won’t you come again, and soon
But in truth, I know I probably won’t be seeing you again
There’s no use hanging ‘round
When love has left the room
Track Name: Secrets
It was another time, another place, another page of family history
Things were different then, folks did not confess their sins so easily
And in the small town life, a certain order was in place
Painful memories were best forgotten and not faced
But however deeply buried, trouble always leaves its trace

She was a happy child, but times were hard, simple pleasures were in short supply
They had a family farm and everybody did their part, and they got by
Her father was a decent man, generous and good
But there lived in him a sadness no one understood
Still, he did for his family the very best he could

From the maze of his mind, through the corridors of consciousness
A noise, ever-present, like the clattering of stones
From the rooms of remembrance, now and evermore
Comes the muffled sound of tapping from a never-opened door

From the closet comes the clicking of skeletal remains
The clattering of dry and dusty bones
The faint odor of decay that never goes away
When old and musty secrets never see the light of day
Never see the light of day

It was a simple thing her father did, a favor to a fallen friend
A loan to be repaid once the fellow got back on his feet again
His luck was sure to change, he could see a brighter day
But everything went wrong, when it was due, he couldn’t pay
And since her father signed the loan, they took his farm away

In ruin and despair, he slid into the darkest depths of misery
It was a fatal blow to one already given to despondency
In the most painful of ways, he tried to take his life
But he lingered on for days, to the horror of his wife
And the sound of his suffering cut her like a knife

And when it was over, she tried to shield her children from
The scandal only spoken of in quiet, muffled tones
She tried to keep them sheltered from the sorrow and the pain
But in the awful silence, a certain sound remained


She was a happy child, but times were hard, as times for her would always be
But life continued on, she worked hard and married, raised a family
Another generation, a daughter and a son
Who showed a certain sadness from the time that he was young
And she shared with him the shackles that could never be undone

And in the small town life continued on, he grew up and moved away
Had children of his own and fought the darkness all alone, until one day
He visited a cousin grown indiscreet with age
Who, in most dramatic fashion, worthy of the stage
Told the family story and supplied the missing page

A conspiracy of silence shattered in a moment
Like the searing sunlight flooding dusky catacombs
And for him and for his children, healing could begin
But his mother never spoke of it, silent to the end

Track Name: Angel in a Dog Suit
He gets up at the crack of dawn
Nudges momma out of bed
Makes his sleepy way on down the street to do the do

On lightening his load
There’s a lot of happy dancing
Stopping here and there to do the doggy snoofaloo

The trash cans on the corner
Hold polka dots and moonbeams
And every tree he passes holds the scent of someone new

He’s an angel in a dog suit
A charming cosmopolito
Just a little wiggle-o
And love him, yes we do

Bopping down the avenue
See that bass man walk the dog
They’re headed to the studio, struttin’ down the street

Truckin’ down to Tito’s
He stops to greet Joaquin
who pats him on the head and gives him something good to eat

Then China Latina
where his girlfriend Miss Nicole
reads his fortune from the cookie
that he munches happily

He’s an angel in a dog suit
He sees the world through starry eyes
If everything were half this good
what heaven it would be
Track Name: Cold Front
When I came home this evenin'
Felt a chill down to the bone
Instead of a warm embrace
I got a smile as cold as stone

Oh baby
A frosty wind is blowin' strong
The mercury is droppin'
I feel a cold front comin' on

Was it something that I did?
Was it something that I said?
Your icy silence tells me
There's a dark and stormy night ahead

Oh, baby
Why won't you say what I did wrong?
But you don't tell me nothin'
I feel a cold front comin' on

Your warm and tender kisses,
Used to be so nice
I'm on my knees, oh baby, please,
What can I do to break the ice

Oh, baby, baby, baby
Don't make me spend the night alone
Don't leave me out here in the weather
I feel a cold front comin' on
Track Name: Nothin' To Be Proud Of
Now I was born and raised here
And I love these people, and I love this land
And I’m proud of who we are and what we’ve made here
But certain things I’m finding hard to understand

Comes a time we have to question what you’ve always been taught
Seems like things aren’t always simple black and white
Seems we’ve treated certain people badly in our time
Seems we haven’t always done what’s right

Ain’t nothin’ to be proud of
Ain’t nothin’ to be proud of
Ain’t nothin’ to be proud of
Ain’t nothin’ to be proud of

Now we are young as a country
Sometimes we act with the carelessness of youth
We think that we’re invincible, we can do no wrong
We make decisions not entirely based in truth

And it seems we’ve treated certain folks unfairly
Even while we claim that God is on our side
But I can’t help but think that God has much more sympathy
For people to whom justice was denied


Now different things mean different things to different people
Like the meaning of a symbol or a song
But rubbing salt into the wounds of people’s painful memories
How can we ever learn to get along


And we find it really hard to say we’re sorry
So the shadow of injustice still remains
We build monuments to those who died in battle
But we seldom speak of those who died in chains

Track Name: Bitter Dawn
If I could just get by until the day is through
And embrace the falling shadows once again
To sleep and dream’s the only thing I care to do
For only in my dreams can I be close to you

And if somehow, sweetly bitter, in the depths of night
I feel the shadow of your touch against my skin
For one fragile, fleeting moment, my heart takes flight
And I rail against the dawning of the morning light
'Til another brittle dawn comes breaking hard and
And as it breaks, my heart is breaking, too
Track Name: It Ain't Over 'til It's Over
You're always in a hurry to cross the finish line
You get your fancy tickled, I just get left behind
So get yourself right back here
I got needs that must be met
It ain't over 'til it's over
And it ain't over yet

You think your work is done here, but you ain't even tried
It takes more than a hit and run to keep me satisfied
You never lift a finger
You don't even break a sweat.
It ain't over 'til it's over
And it ain't over yet

A promised trip to paradise just leaves me in frustration
Just when I'm 'bout to get on board, the train done left the station

So pay some close attention to the matter here at hand
If you can't do what’s called for, I'll find someone who can
So wipe that smile right off your face
Put out that cigarette
It ain't over 'til it's over
And it ain't over yet
It ain't over 'til it's over
And it ain't over yet

It ain't over 'til it's over
And it ain't over yet
Track Name: Grim Fairy Tale
Here we are
in a tale of our own making.
Fooled ourselves before, but there’s no longer any doubt that the wolf is at the door, but he’s inside looking out.
How did it turn out this way?
What happened to our happy ending?

Here we are
in a bargain with the devil
Did we think that he’d protect us from the terrors of the night? Once invited in, he plundered everything in sight. Still we look the other way.
How long can we go on pretending?

Sleeping ones, awake
Open up your eyes
Don’t let yourself be swayed by promises and lies
Admit we’ve been betrayed by a wolf in lamb’s disguise

Sleeping ones, awake
Don’t be fooled again
How little it would take to change the world you’re in
Just the touch of a button, just the stroke of a pen
Track Name: Something You Said
Something you said to me
I don’t remember
And yet it sings inside my head
A soft refrain

A gentle melody
discreet and tender
My heart awakened from the dead
A rose to rain

Words through windows of dreaming
I can’t hear what they say
Still I search for meaning
Though you’ve slipped away

In mists of memory
Something of splendor
Veiled in the dust of distant stars
in something you said
Track Name: Praise Them
The birds don't alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We're the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn't hear
what singing completes us?