"Candy from Delaware"

© 1973-1974 Lee Ruth

Composed 12/31/1973

Carolyn Mathews Band

Carolyn Mathews - Guitar & Vocal
Mike Robertson
- Bass
Pippa Letsky - Mandolin
John Marcovitz
- Congas
Mark Ort - Electric Guitar
Morgan Matsiga - Percussion

Tomi Greentree - Background Vocals
Nirtana Goodman - Background Vocals
Susan Schabilion - Background Vocals
Jeanie Kuntz - Background Vocals
Pete Szkolka - Keyboards

  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original


Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
Take me to Delaware, take me to your home.
Let me know you where you live in understanding grown.
Take me to meet your family, and live among your friends.
Take me to Delaware, take me home again
Is the seacoast rocky, the water cold and clear?
I have never been there 'cause I've been here.

Come to Missouri, come with me to my home.
Come and know me where I live, in understanding grown.
Come meet my family, and live among my friends.
Come to Missouri, come you home again.
Can my brother play his fiddle and make his banjo ring?
Are we livin' in the middle? Do my friends love to dance and sing?

Interlude: Love, love, love, everybody's got love, love, love,
everybody's got the gift of love, everybody's got love.

Come and listen, it is true, I'll do the same for you
The Great Missouri Ocean will surprise you--it surprises me!
Love can happen anywhere that a heart is free,
Missouri or Delaware, wherever you may be.
If love is not the only thing worth livin' for,
It's the best thing I have found, I believe it more and more.

Come meet my family, and live among my friends,
Come to Missouri, come you home again.

Take me to Delaware
Take me to your home
Let me know you where you live
In understanding grown
Take me to meet your family
And live among your friends
Take me to Delaware
Take me home again

Is the seacoast rocky, the water cold and clear?
I've never been there, 'cause I've been here

Come to Missouri
Come with me to my home
Come and know me where I live
In understanding grown
Come and meet my family
And live among my friends
Come to Missouri
Come you home again

Can my brother play his fiddle, and make his banjo ring?
Are we living in the middle, do my friends love to dance and sing?

Come and listen, it is true
I'll do the same for thee
The great Missouri ocean will surprise you
It surprises me
Love can happen anywhere
That a heart is free
Missouri, or Delaware
Wherever you may be

If love is not the only thing, worth living for
It's the best thing that I've found, I believe it more and more

Take me to Delaware

Artist on the Song:
Lee on the Song:

When I checked out what songs were left to record, after the better-known songs had already been chosen, I didn't remember "Candy from Delaware" at first. I really liked hearing the song on Lee's demo tape, decided to choose it, and worked on learning it. As I practiced it
and tried to figure out some of the words, wondering about some of the unique and creative phrases in the song like "that Great Missouri Ocean will surprise you, it surprises me," and "where I live, in
understanding grown," I had a flashback. I remembered one late night with Lee, Diana and I on the front porch when Lee sang that song and we commented on the unusual wording and he asked us if we thought it was better changing the sequence of the words for more clarity or
preserving the rhyme and rhythm. I think Diana and I had our opinions and then Lee said how he thought he'd do it, and that was that, he knew what felt right to him. I still love that line about the Ocean, which
seems so delicately humorous, ironic, and mysterious to me. I asked Lee and he said something about teaching a guy at Denny's how to write a song, a guy who was love-struck over this girl named Candy, and it was partly a response to those who might say, compared to the East Coast, West Coast (or Delaware), our Missouri lacks an ocean. So Lee kind of threw in that twist about Missouri's surprising Ocean, without the slightest need to be logical about it. After all, it's a song, it's poetry anyway, and that's the beauty of it.

I believe this is a song about hope. It encourages the listener to feel we should never give up on love. You know, no matter how far away the other person may be, if we try hard enough, we can make it work. Some lines are deceptively simple, with the repetition of "Take me to Delaware," "Come to Missouri, come with me to my home," but there are really some strong feelings underneath. I believe it's a deep conviction about the importance of home, family, and friends that is emphasized there, with the implication we are not just isolated individuals. Someone who loves us and is trying to decide about making a commitment toward us needs to know us in context, to meet those we love, who've supported us in so many ways. We are part of our environment, we are close to the land, and the surrounding circle of friends and family and community that is a big part of what makes us who we are.

The magic of sharing music with friends, in Lee's world and mine, just has to be an important part of anyone getting to know us. It's such a joy and such a blessing to share music with others who love it too,
and want to join in it with you! That's why I couldn't resist inserting that little portion of "Love, love, love" after his line about how his "friends love to dance and sing," because that musical sharing is so central to Lee's life and to the theme of the song. That's why I agree with the philosophy behind asking the loved one to come to Missouri, to come feel and experience firsthand the place where one has "in
understanding grown" and gained wisdom over the years. Or on the other hand, it also expresses the other side of that coin: if you love enough, if your "heart is free," you can be open-minded, flexible and unattached, and can go to Delaware. There you can more fully know Candy, or the person so loved, in her own locale, her habitat, her place of family and friends.

I truly think that's part of the reason this area's called the "Heartland," not just because we're in the middle! It's a place of the heart, expressing the idea that home is your land area, your circle of extended family, your community--not just your own house and immediate family. Lastly, of course, Lee speaks volumes from the heart when he sings "if love is not the only thing worth living for, it's the best thing I have found, I believe it more and more." Who could say more than that?

It was the eve of New Year's Eve 1973, and I was sitting in Denny's at two or three in the morning, drinking coffee with a young friend. He rather excitedly told me a story of having just met a young woman named Candy, from Delaware, who had recently been in Columbia visiting a friend of hers who was attending college in Columbia. It was the end of the first semester and both young women were getting ready to go home for Christmas vacation. Candy and my friend, Don, had been hitting it off well and before she returned to Delaware she asked him to come with her, no strings attached. He hadn't done so, but for several weeks his mind had been buzzing with thoughts of this offer that he'd turned down. Several cups of coffee later, our conversation drifted to other topics, and he asked me, "How do you go about writing songs? Where do you get your ideas from? How do you start a song?" (perhaps not in those exact words). So I opened up the spiral notebook I usually carried with me to the first blank page and wrote at the top of the page, as a title--"Candy from Delaware." Then I wrote out a verse, beginning with the lines, "Take me to Delaware, Take me to your home," and handed the notebook across the table. He read the verse, looking a bit like a cartoon character with a light-bulb caption over his head; surprised to see his recent romantic adventure turned into a song topic. Then he looked puzzled again. "OK, I see how that can work, but what comes next? Where do you go from here?" Taking the notebook back, I reversed the dramatic situation in the budding song, and wrote out a parallel verse, beginning with "Come to Missouri, Come with me to my home." (A cheap trick perhaps, but it can sometimes be made to work.) In the course of the next hour I puzzled together the rest of the song.

Here's a further word about the phrase "the great Missouri Ocean," which has caught listeners' ears as well as puzzled them. Some months earlier, sitting in a window booth at that same Denny's at a similar small hour of the morning, I was talking with a sailor on leave, stranded for a few hours between buses. At some point in the conversation he was complaining about the lack of an ocean here. I asked him, "But what about the Great Missouri Ocean?" He looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "What do you mean?" I pointed out the window and said, "Look out there! What do you see?" He stared out the window, across the sparsely-carred parking lot toward the closed gas station on the other side and the big trucks rolling by on Interstate 70, and said one word, "Nothing!" I grinned at him, pointed out the window again, and he thought about it again. Then he grinned back at me and said, "Oh! Now I see it. The Great Missouri Ocean."

Two further notions: (1) We live at the bottom of an ocean of air. (2) The vast expanses of prairie between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains have been likened to an ocean of grass, and the state of Missouri at one time had its fair share of prairie land.

Artist on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artist:

As for Lee, wow, I've known him a long time. I guess I met Rena first, while she and I were both staying at the Missouri Farm near Fulton, about 24 years ago, I think. That would be '79, but I believe I met Lee in late '80 or early '81, when I started volunteering at KOPN. He and Rena got together somewhat before that, I guess. Actually I think Rena told me in '79 that she was hanging out with this folksinger, songwriter guy. I also saw him at KOPN while I was a DJ for the "Carry It On" show for approximately four years, at first by myself, and some of the time with Diana Nomad, and later with Carol Greenspan and Rose Wise for a short while.

I got to know Lee and Rena more, and I'm not sure exactly when I started going out to their house for gatherings. My two boys and their two oldest were close to the same age and hit it off pretty well, and I loved Lee's music and singing with him. A few times he accompanied me when I was performing at benefits, events, Earth Day, etc., as well as the many times he offered his solo performances at such events over the years. Diana and I would often go to the Chez Coffeehouse and listen to him play with Bartholomew Bean, or sometimes singing along. More often, at least once or twice for many years, I went out to their place at Happy Hollow near Lupus and we sang and jammed and played on and on for hours with whomever was there. Sometimes it was bigger gatherings, like a pot luck with music, outdoors by the fire if the weather permitted, with a number of musicians, ranging from Greg Renfro to Rick Aiken and Bartholomew Bean, with numerous others joining in with voices, drums, maracas, tambourines, like Sharon Feltman, Diana Nomad, and occasionally some of Lee's family. Although Lee has many great songs, one of those I loved the most is the wonderful "Love, Love, Love" song, which made a great sing-along at many of these events. It has a simple
universal quality and is catchy but, even so, still has shifts in rhythm and other uniquely original touches as so many of his songs do.

Other times it was a get-together like at Thanksgiving, with lots of great home cooking, or Easter, a festivity lots of families would come and enjoy, complete with Easter egg hunt for the kids, or sometimes just an evening with a few of us. Several times, gatherings would dwindle down to just Lee and Diana and I and maybe a couple others into the wee hours
of the morning, swapping songs, some originals, some oldies like some of Dylan's, or local favorites like Bob Dyer songs. Last May at Spring Sufi Camp in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, I enjoyed singing at the kid's camp cabin, on a few folk-country numbers with Lee and Sarmad Bernstein from Kansas City, who comes to Columbia for First Night. Most recently, I jammed a little with Lee and John Schneller, just adding a few vocal harmonies while they performed at Cooper's Landing on the Missouri River the night of the early November lunar eclipse and "Harmonic Concordance." What a delight!

I met Carolyn in 1980, during that first year that Rena and I were together. In 1979 she and Rena had both lived at the Missouri Farm, a branch of the Tennessee Farm. Carolyn grew up in Columbia but had been away for many years. After she returned, she became actively involved in local (and beyond) political and social justice issues, and as participating members of the local community we often found ourselves at events that presented an opportunity to play music together or with larger groups of musicians, which we often did. She has detailed this quite well in her parallel notes, so I'll not duplicate her tale. I'm pleased that she chose to sing "Candy from Delaware" and give it a shot of new life. Doubtless, as the years do pass, we will continue our family and community friendship and find more opportunities to play music together.
Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:
Carolyn defied Lee and my suggestion to keep the arrangement of "Candy from Delaware" simple. So the tune turned into a full musical ensemble instead of a simple arrangement. I'm glad she didn't listen to us. The expanded arrangement gave more musicians and friends a chance to be a part of this special project. Carolyn also gets credit for verifying that "Everybody's Got Love: The Songs of Lee Ruth" was the right choice for the title of this CD. You may have to come to Missouri to find that great ocean the song talks about.

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Date: 9/3/03

Mixed: 1/21/04 and 1/22/04

Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio


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