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By Kathleen Dunbar
Copyrighted by Kathleen Dunbar

a freak as a boy on the far side of hell
he lived by his wits in a crumbling motel
with the eyes of a gunner, a rock-steady aim
all that he lacked was a good-looking dame

charm won the girl and the damage was done
his prospects weren’t much but it sounded like fun
when the calls comes for you and you step in the ring
inside the big tent you get to be king

the acrobat jumps while the audience stares
dangling his legs and his life in the air
when he performs, there’s never a net
a prayer and a handshake is all that you get

it’s time for the show and he changes clothes
puts on the sequins, the makeup, a rose
a jacket with tails as wild as a dream
sweet love and nightmare sewed into the seams

the ringmaster waves his tall hat and cries out
the knifethrower enters and circles about
under his spell, you hold your breath
in the circus at the edge of death

he says I fell, I’m in love – I’m still falling
oh-ho my dear how your loves is enthralling
when you let go (pause) there is no cure
for a fall

he tells the girl to lay perfectly still
steadies his hand by the strength of his will
the wheel is spinning, the knives wicked sharp
her neckline plunged down shows the beat of her heart

he’s in to the hilt and he’s up the hasp
throws back his arm and the audience gasps
he wants the girl but true love is so frightening
he lets go his knives and he throws them like lightning

the more the desire, the sweeter the kiss
I’ll try to be good but please know if I miss
love is more fun when it’s dan-ger-ous!


tigers are jumping through round rings of fire
a tightwalker walks on a rope of thin wire
love is a promise, a wing and a prayer
step up if you dare!


from Liars, Cutthroats and Dames, released August 4, 2017
Kathleen Dunbar/songwriting, vocals. Gawain Mathews/keyboard organ, piano, virtual circus bass drum, virtual “Piatti” symbol crash, virtual standup bass, virtual strings, shakers, tambourine, accordion, banjo, guitar, mandolin, virtual theramin (how cool is that), and Nicholas Daniel Wlodarszyk on his AMAZING trombone.


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Kathleen Dunbar San Francisco, California

You may notice my songs are about angels and devils, birth, life, death, about creation and crumbling destruction—the troubles we humans get ourselves into and the choices we make—some of them funky, some of them ending in the dark, others rising into the light of morning. Touching, humorous, spellbinding storytelling—my songs brings you into the irony, the tragedy, and the possibilities of life. ... more

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