American Wake (Black 47)

“American Wake” Sheet Music (pdf).
“American Wake” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: Larry Kirwan.
Tune: Larry Kirwan.


Open up the door, she’s standin’ there
With a smile in her eyes, but the grey in her hair
Betrays the fact you strayed far from home
With your drink and your smokin’, your whorin’ around.
Sit down by the fire; put your feet on the grate.
Spend the night reminiscin’ ’til the hour grows late.
Always remember at the end of the day,
You can always go home. You just can’t stay.

Then, it’s off to the pub for to see your old mates.
Ah, they all look older, but nothin’ has changed.
And you drink ’til you’re nearly out of your head.
“Hey, what are you all doin’ snakin’ off to bed?”
Then, you’re outside her flat, but she’s no longer there.
The tears scald your eyes as you think of her hair
In the photo they sent you of her wedding day.
You can always go home. You just can’t stay.

Then, you see her at Mass with the kids at her side,
And it all comes back in the blink of an eye:
The tears and the laughter, the love and the lies,
And that dress she wore the night you said goodbye.
Then, her husband says, “It’s good to have you back.”
And she smiles for a moment and squeezes your hand.
But you know what she’s thinkin’; she doesn’t have to say.
You can always go home. You just can’t stay.

And you swear to yourself time and time again
It was all in the past. She don’t mean anything.
Now, your life is full of laughter and bars.
What did you leave behind? Just the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Then, it’s up in the mornin’ at the crack of dawn.
With your stomach churnin’, she says, “C’mon, now, Sean,
You’ll be late for the plane.” But that crack in her voice
Betrays the fact that you made your choice
A long time ago. Now, there’s no turnin’ back
’Cause last night you had your American Wake.
And the bells are still ringin’. Can’t you hear what they say?
You can always go home. You just can’t stay.


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