Good Times Are Here

Second in a series about the songs on our forthcoming album The Full Catastrophe

I wrote “Good Times Are Here” in mid-winter 2008, soon after Barack Obama had won the Iowa caucus and it was clear he was a real contender for the presidency. My father had called me up the night he won, practically in tears he was so happy. I realized on the phone with him that night the difference between him and me. My father has never been afraid of optimism. He has never been seduced by sarcasm or cynicism. Once, Katryna asked him, “Daddy, how old were you when you became disillusioned?” He paused, cocked his ear to the side and said, “I haven’t.”

A few months later, I found out by accident that I was having a baby boy. The ultrasound tech goofed and let the pronoun slip even though I’d said I’d not wanted to know. I knew I wanted to name this boy after my dad, even to call him by the name my dad’s family had called him. So this song was a love song to both father and son. I really do believe that everything we lost can be found and that it was (is) there all along in the ground.

My friend the poet Mike Biegner heard the song when I first played it in my Wednesday night writing group. “I hope you always maintain the bittersweetness of this song,” he said. “It has a mournful quality to it.” I didn’t mean it to be bittersweet or mournful, but perhaps this was just as optimistic as this congenital pessimist could get.

Katryna sang the scratch vocal in the vocal booth while I played the guitar part, using as I usually did on this record, our friend Ben Demerath’s amazing old Guild. When we listened back, Dave muttered,”That’s no scratch vocal.”So we kept it, and that is what you will hear when you play the track.

And I do believe good times are (always) here. The trick is to see them that way.

Good Times Are Here

It’s been so long since we had room to laugh
It’s been so long we’ve been traveling the narrow path
It’s been so long since hope had a season
Always trading sentiment for reason
And now you’re showing me the sunrise

Oh, good times are here, Johnny
Good times are here
You were right, you were right all along
Oh, good times are here, Johnny
Good times are here
You were right, you were right all along

I though your love was too good to trust
You had enough dreams for the both of us
And so I let you dream while I worried
Always gave you love in a hurry
And now you’re showing me the greatest surprise

Good times are here, Johnny
Good times are here
You were right, you were right all along
Oh, good times are here, Johnny
Good times are here
You were right, you were right all along

We ate our fear like the noble men
We built our walls to keep the children in
And every year our tribe became smaller
Trading in our heritage for dollars
And now you’re telling me to turn it around
You’re telling me to tear those walls down
That everything I lost can be found
It was there all along in the ground

Good times are here, Johnny
Good times are here
You were right, you were right all along
Oh, good times are here, Johnny
Good times are here
I am glad, I’m so glad I was wrong.

Nerissa Nields
Feb. 21, 2008

2 thoughts on “Good Times Are Here

  1. “Once, Katryna asked him, “Daddy, how old were you when you became disillusioned?” He paused, cocked his ear to the side and said, “I haven’t.””

    I love this. It makes me think of warm and fuzzy things, and people like Mr. Rogers.

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