Carla Ulbrich: Professional Smart Aleck

 
 

Her Fabulous Debut

Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Carla Ulbrich

Story

People don't believe me when I say this is a love song. It is! I wrote it just a few days before we started recording "Her Fabulous Debut" and was just fooling around with it during warmups and everyone insisted we record it.

Lyrics

I could always find a reason why a man was not my style
He was rude or crude or stupid or he didn't ever smile
But you are kind and charming and the model of restraint
You're just what I was looking for and that is my complaint

CHORUS: Won't you please do something stupid so I can get over you
If you really cared about me it's the least that you would do
The perfect man's not in my plans; I've got too much to do
So won't you please do something stupid so I can get over you

At the dinner table you did not show me your scar
You did not say you were in movies and I could be the star
You didn't show up with your toothbrush expecting you could stay
You never asked how old I was or how much I weigh
On the way to take me home your car did not run out of gas
You did not stop to hock some loogies off the overpass

CHORUS

It's always been so easy not to sweep me off my feet
I was happy with my Irish Setter and my parakeet
Do you have to be so handsome do you have to be so sweet
I was sure I'd set my standards for someone that I would never meet
I never date comedians because they never laugh
Or anyone whose love letters are not at least a paragraph
Or someone else's boyfriend Or anyone named Steve
Or anyone in high school. but you are none of these

CHORUS

Carla Ulbrich
Carla Ulbrich

Story

This was the first song of mine to be played on Dr. Demento. It won me a number of songwriting awards, as well as landing me a spot on "Up All Night with Rhonda" and a piece of hate mail.

There are numerous parodies of this song floating around out there, such as "What If Your Date was King Kong?" (Randy Hoffman) "What If Carla Ulbrich Were Gone?" (Adam Selzer) "What If Your beer was Gone" (Todd Chapelle) and of course, my own parody, "What If Your Butt was Gone."

Lyrics

I was just wondering -- hypothetically What would you do? -- theoretically
If something should happen accidentally or medically
What if your girlfriend was gone?
If she died in a fire from a broken light fixture
Or happened to swallow a poisonous mixture
Would I find my way back into the picture
If you were suddenly alone?

Would ya call me up would ya write me a letter
Would ya tie a message to your Irish Setter
Would ya try to get through so we could be together
What if your girlfriend was gone?

If she disappeared without a trace
And everyone looked all over the place
Why do you have that look on your face?
It's not like I have any plans!
But if I were around and I could appease ya
And she was suddenly struck with amnesia
And never again would be able to please ya
Would you still wanna be her man?

CHORUS

Of course, as you know, I'm a very nice girl
A beacon of light in a cold, cruel world
Evil plans I could never carry out
But who could blame me for wonderin' about

If something should happen hypothetically
What would you do? theoretically
If something should happen accidentally or medically
What if your girlfriend was gone?

CHORUS

Would ya walk away from your deep devotion
Put a letter in a bottle and throw it in the ocean
Realize that you've got a notion
To give me my long overdue promotion

CHORUS (Ending 1)

Ending 2: Would you hunt me down with your Irish Setter
Would you tie me up in a chain and fetter
Throw me in jail 'cause you like her better
What if your girlfriend was gone?

Ending 3: Would ya tie me up in a chain and fetter
Would you photograph me with your Irish Setter
Do all those things that used to upset her
What if your girlfriend was gone

Carla Ulbrich
arr. Carla Ulbrich

Story

This of course is from Disney's "Song of the South" which I believe is now banned because it is politically incorrect. I don't think I've ever seen it, but we've all heard this fantastic tune. My dear departed cat made me think of arranging this tune, because he was such a happy playful guy. I wrote this arrangement after attending the Chet Atkins Convention for the first time. I wonder if it shows?

Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Carla Ulbrich

Story

I saw this story around 3am on the news, about a 21 year old guy who had graduated college at 11. For a couple of years, he held the Guinness Book Record for Youngest Person with a College Degree, until a 10-year old came along and broke it. The reporters (and the rest of us) wanted to know how his life had turned out. Kind of a "where are they now?" of the Guinness Book. The real hero is his mom, who won a custody battle after divorcing the Boy Wonder's dad, and put the Boy Wonder back in school with kids his own age.

Lyrics

I was 11 years old when I finished my degree
Got my picture in the paper and my story on TV
To be so young and so amazing took a genius they were sure
I was the center of attention and my future was secure

Chorus: I'm the boy wonder
They all know my name
I'm the boy wonder but still I feel the same
They talk about boy wonder and the promise that it brings
But I'm the boy wonder and it doesn't mean a thing
So they asked me how I did it was I born a prodigy
I tell them anyone can do it if they live a life like me
Buried in the books while the others played outside
I learned all about scholastics and a father's selfish pride

CHORUS

I was told it was an honor when I made the Guinness book
So I opened up a copy I just thought I'd have a look
My perusal was revealing I still see it in my sleep
Haunted by the volume of the company I keep:
The largest ball of twine and the longest fingernails
People struck by lightning
The fastest moving snails
Tallest totem pole and the longest loaf of bread
Most objects juggled while turning pirouettes
Largest jigsaw puzzle and the biggest piece of cheese
My years of study had earned a place with these ...

So I forfeited my childhood living in the public eye
And a paragraph in Guinness was my consolation prize
Now my choices lay before me with the future open wide
So when I graduated college I went back to Junior High

I'm the boy wonder but now I've changed my name
Because I've always wondered what it's like to be the same
No longer living under the attention that it brings
Yeah I was the boy wonder and it didn't mean a thing Doodootdo ...

Carla Ulbrich
Carla Ulbrich

Story

Special thanks are due to Joe Giacoio, who convinced me to put the bridge back into the song, and Al C Smarr, who moved his ham radio antenna so we could record. He had connected it to a chain link fence and it was broadcasting through the electrical outlets in the studio. Oh, wait that was the first studio. We never used that version. Well, thanks anyway, Al. I actually recorded Her Fabulous Debut about 3 times before I was happy with it- in Atlanta, Nashville, and finally my home state of South Carolina. Which is why some of the songs, like this one, were written as far back as 1996. This one is in an open G-tuning. I was listening to a lot of David Wilcox at the time.

Lyrics

Television's been good to me
24-hour availability
I flip the channels and fill my head
All that talk and nothing is said
It reminds me of you

Credit cards are my best friends
If I only had a nickel for every dollar I spend
But the money's gone when the bills come in
Feels like a typical fair-weather friend
It reminds me of you

Chocolate is my best bet
I'll eat as much as I can get
Have to admit it hasn't failed me yet
For a moment of pleasure and days of regret
It reminds me of you

I like the things that taste too sweet
And shine too much and look too sleek
And seem too easy and move too fast
I always find the snake in the grass
But if I can't have what's good and true
I guess I'll take the substitute
I close my eyes I take the stuff
The problem is, there's never enough ...

Old faithful alcohol Turncoatingest of them all
A few good times I can barely recall
But I remember the endless withdrawal
It reminds me of you

I'm gonna go cold turkey again
Take a vacation from you my friend I'll be back ...
I don't know when
Maybe when I've forgotten again
To remind me of you

Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Carla Ulbrich

Story

This was written on assignment at the Swannanoa Gathering, only I was supposed to write about something else entirely...

Lyrics

I sat and listened to each story
Deep profound evocatory
And then it was my turn
I took my lyric sheet outside to burn 'cause I had nothing to say

Nothing nothing nothing nothing Nothing to say
Nothing nothing nothing nothing Nothing to say
At home I was a poet
I treasured every line
Now that I am singing I wish this song wasn't mine 'cause I have nothing to say

I consulted all the rules books
My structure was intact
I used my dictionary my rhymes were all exact
I had written something clever
I had written something smart
But everyone before me had just broken every single heart
I had nothing to say

Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
At home I was hilarious
I laughed at every page
Now I think it's funnier that I'm standing on an stage
'Cause I have nothing to say

So I tried to be more serious and get outside my head
But everything worth saying has already been said
My playing is not bursting with originality
I am not the first guitar player to play C G and D
I must have nothing to say

Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
At home I was Segovia with masterful technique
Seemed like such a great idea when I played it for my Dad last week
Now I have nothing to say

I do not save the planet not even just one tree
I don't stop abuse of children or even those abusing me
My songs won't work in churches not even at a peace rally
I must have nothing to say

Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
At home I was a genius
Now my songs all sound the same
When they introduce me I wish they'd use a different name
'Cause I have nothing to say

Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing to say
Three chords and an easy rhythm doesn't take much style or wit
I ought to go to Nashville I think I finally have a hit
'Cause I have nothing to say

Carla Ulbrich
Carla Ulbrich

Story

True story about a guy I met in Hollywood, CA who was quite in love with himself. Except the show was not actually "Love Connection," but "Matchmaker" a more obscure and short-lived knockoff show. This song was also released on a 4-song cassette in 1997. There's a jazzy version of this song with some hot Nashville players backing me up somewhere out there on iTunes.

Lyrics

He was God's gift to women you can ask him yourself Little black books piling up on the shelf Long cool hair and a bad attitude Absolutely sure he was one hot dude Chorus: I was a little put off by our first meeting and our second and third with your frosty greeting But I was rewarded for all this rejection When I saw you get dumped on the Love Connection yeah 3am I was watchin' TV playing guitar drinkin' JD I was back from California feelin' down in the dumps But what I saw next pulled me outta my slump There they were three women three men I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you among them Competing for the prize a red hot date And fame among people who stay up real late well You stood real cocky and you flipped your hair waited for your chance to be put on the air You answered your questions and you thought you impressed But all the host had to say was "NEXT" CHORUS I shook my head in disbelief; why was I allowed to witness your defeat? I know I shouldn't revel in other people's harm Just for a moment I believed in Karma Well You didn't get the date with the dame But I hope you enjoyed your 5 seconds of fame Maybe they should call the show Love Disaster Now I am sure that the guests aren't actors So From this story I searched for a lesson I took a look at your self-expression I guess even total jerks have a need for affection All this I learned from the Love Connection Yeah

Wolf

03:38
Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Carla Ulbrich

Story

I wrote this one around the guitar riff. It's in some kind of open tuning. I haven't played this song in so long I forget what the tuning is.

Lyrics

She's sitting by the phone Staring at the clock again He told her 8 o clock Now it's almost 10 She says I'm tired of excuses And I'm tired of his lies I can't take one more night of waiting There ain't no man worth this price His reasons are ridiculous and that's how I must look There are stories more believable in little children's books I wanted to believe him So I was the last to see But I swear this is the last time He'll make a fool of me And this piece of tin you call a ring Is as worthless as the promise it implies And if you think a dozen roses fixes everything This time you are in for a surprise He's standing in the rain Six miles from the nearest exit Flat tire and a broken jack No one stops to help him fix it This time it's not a lie Not some lame excuse But he used this story last time So he's got no time to lose Perhaps he's been a little careless with her heart But that was never his intention Seems his fear of what's required on his part Is the mother of invention She says "what, no apology? No show of regret? But I must say it's real clever how you showed up soaking wet Why don't you come on in We'll finish up our date" And she handed him a package and said "by the way.. you're late" He was not sure what to think as he untied the ribbons Inside the box a hardbound box He searched for an inscription "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" read the title Still he didn't get it Beneath it in her handwriting were 2 words: "Forget it"
Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Carla Ulbrich

Story

I wrote this after a friend of mine was disappointed to see me in a bad mood. She had an idealized version of me that was always happy.

Lyrics

So you think you wanna own a little piece of me You want something to hold onto You want my autograph you want my photograph You wanna live by my philosophy well Living on a pedestal Is no longer my ambition It's not like I can rise above the human condition But you think I'm some kinda hero You think I have all the answers but if you knew the mistakes that I have paid for you'd see I'm not your Jesus I'm not your savior But I was filled with sympathy upon contemplation So many of us living in this world In such desperation Searching for someone or something to guide us to lead us to love us to feed us But one lone human can only do so much But you think I'm some kinda hero You think I've got the touch but just like you I'm only ashes to ashes ashes to ashes to dust So if you think I got it all together I can be a great pretender But the only time I've ever made a change in my life Is when I learned to surrender See just like you I've been to the edge and looked down and I thought about jumping Then not by my own strength I turned away But you think I'm some kinda hero You think I'm so sure and so strong but I know fear and I know weakness I've been scared I've been wrong You think I'm some kind of hero You think I've got all the answers But if you knew the mistakes that I have paid for you'd see I'm not your Jesus I'm not your savior
Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Glenn Hanson

Story

Glenn is my cousin. Joe (now my sweetie) hates this song. I found this out after I released "Her Fabulous Debut," which had this song in a jug band version near the end of the CD. (This is the only track from the 1998 Atlanta sessions that survived the cut). Once I learned Joe hated this song, I made sure to play it on any show we shared, and to include it in my next CD- an extended live solo version. In 2006, Joe proposed to me while wearing a penguin suit, while I was performing this song. I'm starting to think it's really his favorite song that I sing, and he's just using reverse psychology.

Lyrics

Well I almost decided to marry you But that ain't the right thing for me to do I don't love ya darlin’ can't you see It's the Toasted Chicken Sandwich and the big glass of sweet ice tea All those nights I dated you at your home It wasn't 'cause I didn't wanna be alone It's because of those great snacks you fixed for me Like a toasted chicken sandwich and a big glass of sweet ice tea I was always sweet I was never rude But before I'd kiss you I'd ask for food You'd buzz through the kitchen like a bumblebee And fix a Toasted Chicken Sandwich and a big glass of sweet ice tea You thought your food was the key to my heart Now I realize you're kinda smart There's only one way to marry me That's a Toasted Chicken Sandwich and a big glass of sweet ice tea You ain't that good lookin' But I like your cookin' Get into that kitchen Bring me some chicken You're makin' me high When I look at that thigh Of a Toasted Chicken Sandwich A finger lickin' sandwich Toasted Chicken Sandwich and a big glass of sweet ice tea Toasted Chicken Sandwich and a big glass of sweet ice tea Toasted Chicken Sandwich and a big glass of sweet ice tea
Carla Ulbrich
1999-11-10
Henry Hipkens

Story

Henry Hipkens is a lawyer living in Nashville who writes wonderful love songs that sound old.
Carla Ulbrich
11/10/1999
Carla Ulbrich

Story

This is a blooper of me singing, or rather trying to sing "What If Your Girlfriend Was Gone" at the Bluebird Cafe. I got the words mixed up and said something provocative by accident. Which later turned into an alternate ending for the song (that version is on Professional Smart Aleck).