Ragtop Ford 

Mandolinist Bill Martin has the gift of composing music that is at once accessible and intriguing. When I was producing his CD “Out On A Limb” Bill came up with a song idea:  put characters from stories, songs, and movies into a Ragtop Ford and see what they do. I took the ball and ran with it. Bill says I got in the Ragtop Ford and drove away with it— that I am really the composer. I’ll admit that I composed more of it, but I never would have thought of this idea on my own. 

I can understand that many people these days do not recognize the reference to Duncan & Brady.  Check out the Wilmer Watts record “Been On The Job Too Long” and Leadbelly’s “Duncan and Brady”. You’ll be glad you did. But I am surprised that many do not recognize the references to Frankie & Johnny, or Wee Willie Winkie. I am delighted that audiences tend to spontaneously join in on the chorus singing “raaaag top” at the start of each line. I am slightly disappointed that no one seems to notice the pun on barroom in “zoom ba-room”.  Maybe they do notice but are politely avoiding telling me that the pun is awful. But I also don’t understand why people object to puns. Do they pretend to object because they feel they are expected to?  But folks do seem to notice and approve my favorite part: “diddle icon doodle eyeka make it all right”. The Cucaracha reference in the Willie Winkie verse commemorates and celebrates a different Ford auto. It was a second hand Ford Escort that legendary recording engineer Mike Cogan had. It came with a horn that played La Cucaracha at three speeds. Third speed was something special. 

Ragtop Ford
 (Bill Martin & Jody Stecher/ Double Strung Music BMI) 

Frankie said to Johnny better treat me right 
She shot him when she caught him with Nelly one night 
Rooty toot toot through the hardwood door 
She made her get away in a Rag Top  Ford. 

Rag Top , she had a Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top , it was a Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top , (instrumental fill) 
Ain’t no way to catch her in a Rag Top  Ford. 

All I ever dreamed of when I was seventeen 
Was cruisin’ down the highway in a ford machine 
A whole heap-a horses, flames on the door 
A suped up rider, a Rag Top  Ford 

Rag Top  gotta have a Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top  it’s gotta be a Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top  (instruments) 
Savin’ up my money for a Rag Top  Ford 

Duncan said to Brady you’re doin’ me wrong 
Bustin’ in the barroom with the game goin’ on 
Knockin’ down the windows, breakin down the door 
Zoomin round my barroom in your Rag Top  Ford 

zoom! ba-room! been on the job too long 
Rag Top , it was a sad sad song 
Now you’re lying dead on the barroom floor 
Took Brady to the graveyard in a Rag Top Ford 

Eve ate the apple, Adam did the same 
The Lord got angry, Adam got ashamed 
Banned from the garden by the order of the Lord 
They peeled outa Eden in a Rag Top  Ford 

Rag Top,  it was  a Rag Top  Ford 
90 miles an hour Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top  (instrumental) 
They’re gonna move to Kansas City in a Rag Top  Ford 

Wee Willie Winkie driving through the town 
Rumbling like a freight train with the top rolled down 
Rattling all the windows, shaking up the lock 
Everybody out of bed, it’s only 10 o’clock !! 

Rag Top, in a Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top , he’s out of his gourd 
Rag Top   (instrumental) 
Honking cucaracha in his Rag Top  Ford. 

Me and my baby we got into a fight 
I did all I could do till I could make it all right 
Next thing I know i hear a slamming door 
“Oh, man.....she took my Rag Top  Ford!!” 

Rag Top,  she took my Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top , Rag Top  Ford 
Rag Top  (instruments) 
Pedal to the metal in my Rag Top  Ford. 

Jody Stecher: vocal, guitar 
Scott Nygaard: guitar 
Bill Martin: mandolin 
Chad Manning: fiddle 
Sharon Gilchrist: bass