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John Cog: Music

Captain John

(John Cog)
September 6, 2010
John Cog
      This song began as just another tune about going out on the road and leaving a woman behind ("So Long, John"). A fighting-forces theme came from living near New London, Connecticut's great military complex. After college and several years pounding pavement in New York, I settled near Norfolk, Virginia's great military complex. During stints on morning radio, someone requested a song about the first Gulf War. I tried to convert "So Long,John" into "Desert Storm," but the rewrite took longer than the four-day war. So overnight, a third rewrite, "Welcome Home" got a boatload of airtime backing up videos of returning sailors. Although still in a military context, this fourth rewrite, "Captain John," is really about anyone with a difficult job to do; the focus that work demands, and the sadness and loneliness felt by those left behind.

      PS: I tried to rewrite it a fifth time, into the first serious song about an ordinary woman going off to war (the three-minute equivalent of Demi Moore's "GI Jane" movie). I tried everything: "Captain Joan", "Captain Dawn", "Captain Fawn", "Miss Evonne", "Captain Mom", "Little Miss Blond"...it just never felt or sounded right.

      Someday, the uniquely modern, totally new concept of a wife, mother, daughter or girlfriend sailing off to fight will finally be accepted in our collective psyche, and balladeers will croon endlessly about their ladies in foxholes, but not yet.
        Stay safe, so far away. Stay safe, so far away now.

        Ain't no hurry, maybe twenty minutes more,
        Down on the dock when Captain John sails off to war.
        Don't cry, all that water takes him from your fingertips,
        In this cold gray mornin', sailin' on gray ships.

        So long, Captain John.
        Come back when all the wars are gone.
        'Til that time, jus' say a prayer, everyday
        To keep you safe, far away from harm.

        John hates goodbyes, no tears ever fall
        From his face, he is standing, when Johnny hears the call.
        Some might cry, some won't follow, well, he hears it all the time,
        Every cold, early mornin', one bell bottom line...

        Not so long, my Captain John.
        You come right back when all the wars are gone.
        'Til that time, jus' say a prayer, everyday,
        To keep you safe 'n far away from harm...

        Oh, my Captain John.

        Ain't no hurry, but only one minute more.
        Down on the dock he's sailin' off to another shore,
        Now hear that sound? Damn the oceans, jus' tearin' John apart,
        He'll take your love and the tears, you keep pourin' out your heartbreak

        So long for Captain John,
        Sayin' "Come right back when all the wars are gone."
        'Til that time, well, jus' say a prayer everyday,
        Don't make him sail so far away,

        Say, "Come back home someday,"
        Until that time. Bye bye Captain John.

        (c) 2010 John Coggeshall
        Worldwide Administration Rights controlled by Cogco Music, LLC.