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Our Man Guygax:
Avant-Garde Linguistic Genius,
or Merely a Recent Immigrant?

Thomas J. (for "Jackson") Guygax, Sr., late of Springfield, Missouri, is credited as lyricist of 10 known song-poem recordings, all cut either by MSR Records or their subsidiary label, Songuild, and each a standout for its broken-field appropriation of accepted English syntax. While poetic license is always conceded to the artist, Guygax consistently goes one better by seeming to ignore the meanings of words altogether or, at least, the order that gives them meaning.

Guygax's greatest achievement occurs midway through the song "At The Time," when lead vocalist Bobbi Blake, fronting The MSR Singers, takes a deep breath and then unfurls a string of verbiage that perhaps only Cummings could approach in divining breathtaking beauty from an apparently random sequence of simple words:

"Along by our knowledge of the well-kept adage by the more of all helpin' with the all of coulds."

And set to a groovy beat, to boot.

Notes and transcription by Phil Milstein
Transcription assistance: Matt Miller, Eric Goulden, Pea Hix, Tiia Reinvald-Sillaste, Irwin Chusid, James Lindbloom


A PET PIGEON
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The MSR Singers

Right again and this time of year
Perched on the bough, close to the window
We see a pet pigeon, which likes to be near
With a good position, it likes of soul

Along with more, and helped by voice
By placing a tray of seeds near the windowsill
Where it can reach, by their type and choice,
By enough on the plate to help fill bird
Friends and itself among all nearly
While it helps to show its part
By it being around yearly
With some of spring cleaning each year to start

repeat second stanza


AT THE TIME
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The MSR Singers

Although by the also to have differed with yearly and all known dearly
Throughout and among, we use preferred
By the also of having choicefully

Three times a day, as the average, we use of thee among of our foods
Along by our knowledge of the well-kept adage by the more of all helpin' with the all of coulds
Towards being among our masters and the also by our intelligence while the passin' of time
Decides our manners by the also collectively to being with the tense

Throughout and among, we use preferred
By the also of having choicefully
Three times a day ...

("At The Time" appears on the Carnage Press CD The Makers Of Smooth Music.)


THE SPARROW
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The MSR Singers

Our good friend and bird
Likes all the bread we spare
With choice crumbs placed outside to be its third
While all the rest, the rest close by
Are flying, soaring in air

Closely with so many others, and the wren
They're busy flying around, while, as they found
To notice while away from close tree and when
They spend hours there among their kind

(spoken:)
All of all are known throughout our continent
With all years and of how many are by working ourselves together
With all annual reports that everywhere are yearly sent

And of all during years we are with our caring
Of all during years, we are with our caring


SUNNY DAYS
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The MSR Singers

Sunny days
Sunny days

With the more of to say, while often we pause to greet
With the others who we know each day,
While to speak to all we meet

With the more and alike to seek
We read our paper, we carry along
Or through the pages we care to peek
By of all so to help with the song

While the more of each day we know
There is a presently to choose us long
Towards our each day and full of soul
And during our spare time, we might care for a song
And during our spare time, we might care for a song

While the more of each day we know
There is a presently to choose along
Towards our each day and full of soul
And during our spare time, we might care for a song
During our spare time, we might care for a song

Sunny days
Sunny days


GOOD
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by Bobbi Blake

Along through the veil,
And the sunshine by its prominence
With the path along through the dale
While the furthering, with the stance
Comes the time, during the day
While to pass around the of among food
And the year has been nicely, like we say
And the more of helping, which we should

And so we straighten, and work
With thee all awhile, busy by years
And the moral while pert to always maintain
The balance of dears

Comes the time, during the day
While to pass around the of among food
And the year has been nicely, like we say
And the more of helping, which we should
(repeat stanza twice more)


TIMES ABOUT
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by Dick Kent

Among our language the word is: "Tiger" (background vocals echo: Tiger)
For among much of our travel (bg vox: Travel)
Many could have also bought (bg vox: Also bought)
And with more to notice and by thought

Every day, and with all good (bg vox: Good)
To also be with enough to do (bg vox: To do)
Much can also keep beside searching further
Further through the deep (bg vox: Further through the deep)

(spoken:)
There in with flowers of choice among
By all the male around
We'll bring with more of agriculture
To work about our grown culture

repeat first stanza


PARADISE PUDDING
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The MSR Singers

By the choice of recipe
With its whipped cream, alright with me
And dessert, by the choice of theirself
While ever worked with, by its acclaim

Racin' to the refrigerator, on the shelf
By the choice of itself, assembled upon the shelf
Nice to notice some goblets there
With the top of what we have read
Very nice for the dinner table
Round the table, we like it to know

By the more of our meals to balance, it's waitin' there
And their likeness being there is by the plans

By the choice of recipe
With its whipped cream, alright with me
And dessert, by the choice of theirself
While ever worked with, by its acclaim
Racin' to ...


YONDER
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The Sisterhood

Yonder with a village view sits a village queen
And around all reading through planted with all colors of green
A little boy far traveled,
Might also care to travel back
With a seaboard, crates and masts
He is educational, years of more track

Towards yonder, where all work is done
With harvest enduring years
And more of distribution begins where all reading is shown by far and nears

repeat both stanzas

Where all reading is shown by far and nears
Far and nears


YEARLY SECURE
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
vocalist unidentified (but apparently Milford Perkins)

Towards tomorrow, with all we place
Having learned while time to trace
Truly to read by more quest
Further to help by the best

Always to care, while we are
With all of sorted from far
Have found the word of kind
Helping with the more of find

Also by many there of all
Towards always and more by far
While carin' we like to say
Further foods will help each day

Towards tomorrow, with all we place
Having learned while time to trace
Truly to read by more quest
Further to help by the best


A POET
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by Fortune

A poet once sat among his papers
Letters from here and far across the sea
He scribbl'd with his pencil a moment
Saying, "My! what's happen'd to me?"
"Should I wrote poetry or prose?
Heaven only knows!
I wish I had something to write about
Then I wouldn't have to sit here and pout
So let's call Jerry and dance about."


DURING EVENING
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by The Sisterhood

It will be nice and noticing
Our reflections helping you to show
And about tomorrow and all of our rice
There all the time is at the also about now

Governments we all are acquainted
And of course that's all of our public knowing
With all of the tomorrow
And all of the well-fed
By all of our working and also our growing

All along with much of our everyday
We all of course know why
With all of our work and all of our everyday
With all of ourselves and you and I

All along with much of our everyday
We all of course know why
With all of our work and all of our everyday
With all of ourselves and you and I


SHELLBAGER
(Thomas J. Guygax, Sr.)
as recorded by Dick Kent

By the all of shells and colors
With the all of shapes and hues
Along by where found and more
Among the whites, red, yellows and blues
And there we notice as much of
Where the more of to choose upon
By all assorted for hats we wear above
With many shells to add there on
So to this poem we can add its title
By itself and letters arranged
To have it arranged full
With the parts of shells we have saved
repeat


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