Before the Ice Melts

by Max Godfrey

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    Comes in a stunning 4-panel case, featuring collage artwork by Steven Cline and photography by Lauren Godfrey

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Full of train wrecks, cave-ins, lock-outs, break-ups, apocalyptic floods, and plenty of hard luck, my latest album approaches classic stories of exile, poverty, and disaster with a fresh perspective. More relevant in these chaotic times than ever, these songs are a celebration of healing and adaptation.

While my last album stayed true to the recordings I learned from, this album weaves some of my own lyrics into traditional songs, features several of my own instrumental arrangements, and more clearly expresses my unique interpretation of folk music.


released January 23, 2017

Thanks to all the folks who contributed funds to the kickstarter campaign to help make this album possible, with special thanks to Peggy and Ron Cline, Barrett Smith, Trudie Thibodeaux, Moira Nelligan, Melanie Boyd, Luke Whelan, Maggie Hall, Deedee and Les Real, Charlie Stegman, Margaret Carpenter, Brent Hall, Katie Briggs, Mac and Rose McCullough, Kathleen Day, Jenna Lloyd Reid, Maggie Hunter, Jean Sommerville, Rebecca Showalter, Ann Sommerville-Hall, Ellen Wan, Christina Davis, Wen Wang-Core, Maxine Watkins, Bill Salmon, Polly Sherrill, Hillery McNeill, Leigh Anne Strawn, and to Joe, Gail, Louise, Bill and Will Godfrey.

Big Thanks To:
Damon Moon at The Cottage in Atlanta, GA, for the recording, mixing, and mastering.

Lauren Godfrey, for the photography.

Steven Cline, for the artwork and design.



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Max Godfrey Atlanta, Georgia

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Track Name: Pretty Boy Floyd
If you gather round me children,
A story I will tell,
Bout pretty boy Floyd the outlaw,
Oklahoma knew him well.

It was in the town of Shawnee,
It was a Saturday afternoon,
His wife beside him in his wagon,
As into town they rolled.

There a deputy sheriff approached him,
In a manner rather rude,
Using vulgar words of language,
Which his wife she overheard.

Pretty Boy grabbed a long chain and the
deputy grabbed his gun,
And in the fight that followed,
He laid that deputy down.

There’s a many a starving farmer,
The same old story told,
How this outlaw paid their mortgage
Saved their little home

Others tell you of a stranger
Who come to beg a meal
And underneath his napkin
Left a thousand dollar bill

Was in Oklahoma city
It was on a Christmas day
Come a whole cartload of groceries
With a letter that did say

You say that I’m an outlaw
You say that I’m a thief,
Well here’s your Christmas dinner
For the families on relief

Now as through his world I’ve rambled
I’ve seen lots of funny men,
Some will rob you with a six gun
Some with a fountain pen

But as through your life you travel
And through your life you roam
You will never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.
Track Name: Mississippi River Blues
Mississippi River
It’s so long deep and wide
I can see my good gal, on that other side

I cried and I called
I could not make my baby hear
I’m goin get me a boat mama, paddle on way from here

I went down to the landing
To see if any boats were there
And the ferryman told me could not find no boats nowhere

Ain’t it hard to love someone
When they are so far from you
Gonna get me a boat mama, paddle this river through

That big boat is up the river,
She’s on a bar of sand,
If she don’t strike deep water, I believe she’ll never land

That big boat Is up the river
Aww, turning round and round,
Gonna get me a good gal, or jump overboard and drown.
Track Name: Nobody's Business
If I should take a notion, and jump into the ocean,
Nobody’s business if I do, do, do
I go to church on Sunday, and Cabaret on Monday
Nobody’s business if I do.

My baby ain’t got no money, I say take all mine honey
Nobody’s business if I do, do, do
I give her my last nickel, she leaves me in a pickle.
Nobody’s business if I do.

Sometime my babe gets boozy, then again she tries to rule me,
Nobody’s business if I do, do, do
I’d rather my babe would hit me, than jump right up and quit me
Nobody’s business if I do.

One these mornings gonna wake up crazy gonna grab my coat, leave my baby
Nobody’s business if I do, do, do
If I dislike my lover, and leave her for another
Nobody’s business if I do.

If I should take a notion, jump into the ocean,
Nobody's business if I do, do, do
Ain’t no body’s business, nobody’s doggone business,
Nobody’s business if I do
Track Name: Don't Think Twice It's Alright
Well it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why babe, it don’t matter anyhow
Well it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why babe, if you don't know by now
When the rooster crows at the break of dawn,
Look out your window and I’ll be gone,
You’re the reason I’m traveling on,
Don’t think twice it’s alright.

Well it ain't no use in calling out my name, gal
Like you never done before
And it ain't no use in calling out my name, gal
I can't hear you any more
But I wish there was something you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
But we never did too much talking anyway
Don't think twice, it's all right

Well it ain't no use in turning on your light, babe
The light I never knowed
It ain't no use in turning on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road
I ain't a saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
Don't think twice, it's all right

I’m a walking down that long lonesome road babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
Goodbye is too good a word, babe
So I just say fare thee well
I'm a thinking and a wondering all my way down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I’m told
I give her my heart but she wanted my soul
Don't think twice, it's all right
Track Name: Swannanoa Tunnel
Asheville Junction, Swannanoa tunnel,
That's my home, That's my home

I’m going back to Swannanoa tunnel
That's my home, That's my home

Last December, I Rembember
Wind blew cold, Wind blew cold

Hammer Falling From my shoulder,
All day long, All day long

Ain’t no hammer, on this mountain,
Outrings mine, out rings mine

Take this hammer, and throw it in the river,
Shines right on, shine right on

When you hear that, watch dog a howlin,
Somebody round, somebody round

When you hear that, hoot owl squallin,
Somebody dying, somebody dying

Asheville Junction, Swannanoa tunnel
All cave in, baby, all cave in

I’m goin back to, Swannanoa tunnel,
That's my home, baby, that's my home
Track Name: The Old Fish Song
Now gather round people and I’ll tell you a tale,
How Jonah the prophet got caught by a whale,
Tis better than the story of Daniel or Ruth,
Although it is fishy it’s every bit true.

Now part of the story is awfully sad
Bout a greenhouse effect and a whole lot of gas
The Lord saw them people n’ their polluting ways
He couldn’t sustain it but forty more days.

So he spoke to old Jonah and said, 'Go and fly
To the capital city and tell them that I
Give 'em forty days more to get humbled down
Or the ocean will swell up and flood the whole town.

When he heard the lord a’speaking old Jonah said no,
My home’s on a hilltop and so I won’t go,
Oh, them other folks are too set in their ways,
Why should you expect me to go to their aid?

So he went down to the harbor, was there in great haste
That he boarded a ship for a different place
And The Lord looked down on that ship and said he,
'Old Jonah’s a’ fixin' to run off on me'

So he set the wind a-blowing with it’s squeaks and it’s squeals
And the sea then got rowdy and kicked up its heels
Old Jonah confessed it was all cause of him
So the crew threw him out and the whale took him in


The whale said to Jonah, 'Old feller don't fret
I'm a’ sent here to take you in out of the wet'
So he opened his mouth and said “in you go”
And carried poor Jonah away down below

What a funny sight bud that ever was seen
When old Jonah rode off in his new submarine,
Them rigs kept on rigging, kept the people content,
For the message of warning to them was missent.

On a bed of green seaweed that whale tried to rest
And said, 'Now I'll sleep while my food will digest'
But he grew mighty restless and so afraid
For he rumbled inside as the old prophet prayed

On the third day the old fish arose from his bed
With his stomach tore up and a pain in his head
He said, 'I must get to the air mighty quick
This filthy old sinner’s a’ making me sick

So he winked his big eye and he wiggled his tail
Set out for shore for to deliver his mail
And He got near shore and looked all around
And vomited Jonah clear out on the ground

Old Jonah thanked God for his mercy and grace
And turning to the whale he then made a face
Said, “After three days and nights you have found
A good man, old sucker, you can't keep down”

The old prophet stretched up with a yawn and a sigh
Set out on the shore for his clothing to dry
He thought how much better his preaching would be
Since from a whale seminary he'd had a degree

Having rested himself and dried well in the sun
He set out a walking almost at a run
He said, 'I must hurry as fast as I can
I'm sure I don't want to be swallowed again'

When he arrived at the city he called all who were able,
To work and convert to a life su stain able,
And the windmills hummed and the glaciers were saved,
And the hand of the ocean at length it was staid.

‘fore all the ice melts let’s remember this tale,
Find a new way of living cause our last one has failed,
Don’t ever stop searching, we’re sunk if we do,
And don’t forget I’m in the same boat as you.
Track Name: Casey Jones
Down in Atlanta, way back when,
Sold bootleg liquor to the railroad men,
Every other morning, half past two,
I’d sell Casey a pint as he was passing through.

I was selling my gin and selling it straight,
Police run me to my best friend’s gate,
But he locked his door and said begone,
Y’already done wore out my best futon.

Shuffled off down Decatur street, where
Sirens blared, dogs gnashed their teeth,
Knew right then I had to leave my home,
And I heard old Casey he was blowin’ his horn,

Casey asked me “but what would you do?”
Said shovel coal do what bootleggers do,
Can’t buy no ticket but like as not, I can
Keep you good ‘n drunk and get this boiler hot.

Well the conductor hollered hello,
I stuck my head out the window, hollered all aboard,
People tell by the throttle moan,
The man at the throttle was Casey Jones.
He’s on the road again…
Wild engineer on the road again.

He drove that train at a hell of a pace,
Til number four stared right in our face,
Casey looked at me said you’d better jump,
These two engines is about to bump.

He took one more drink and began to grin,
Said when you tell my wife disremember this gin,
Casey blew his whistle, shook my hand
and Took a farewell trip to the promised land.

Casey’s wife she dreamt a dream,
The night she bought a sewing machine,
Needle got broke, lord, could not sew,
She loved Mr. Casey and she told me so.
Told me so…
Loved Mr. Casey and she told me so
But he’s dead and gone…
Wild engineer and he’s dead and gone.
Track Name: Here Am I, Oh Lord, Send Me
Can’t you hear, somebody’s calling,
Saying who will go and work today,
The fields are ripe and the harvest waiting,
Who will bear these sheaves away?

Here am I, lord send me,
Here am I, lord send me,
Oh here am I, lord send me,
Here am I, oh Lord, send me,

Though I do not have religion
I don’t pray down on my knees,
I believe a song can do some healing
Believe a tune can bring some peace.

Oh I do not live for heaven,
Like the bible tells me to,
I just put my faith in this here music,
Won’t you come help to carry this tune?


Although we may not sing like angels,
We may often sing outta key,
Each and every note, in our bones rings truly,
And the singing of it sets us free.

We sing our wars must now be over,
We sing this wastefulness must end,
And we sing lets all join in this labor,
And work this earth to mend.