STAGE AND CIRCUS SONGS from 2003 to 2019

by Craig Robertson

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Over the past 16 years I have recorded many original songs. One metaphor I continue to explore is the Stage or Circus songs. This album culls eleven original songs on those subjects from past albums and offers them in a new collection. I kept this collection to a manageable size, even though I probably have a dozen more I could have used. Stage and Circus themes are some of my favorite for lyrics. Most have been remastered for consistentcy.


released April 1, 2019




Craig Robertson Boston, Massachusetts

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Track Name: The Hypnotist
(C.Robertson 2003)
Cm6 G7
I went down to a part of town I’d never been before
Cm6 G7
Saw a sign, a strange design in paint upon the door
Fm Fm7 Cm6 (Fm=1013, Fm7=1313)
It seemed to say a cabaret was going on inside
D7 G7
It was locked, but when I knocked, the door swung open wide.

The room was filled with people of varied dress and age
the lights grew dim and a hypnotist walked out upon the stage
he bade me to come up and help and pointed to a chair
when I went up and sat down, he held me in his stare:

Cm6 G7 Bdim (1212)
chorus: His gaze was so hypnotic, he put me in a trance,
Cm6 G7 Bdim
he made me bark just like a dog and do a silly dance.
Fm7 Cm6
And I don’t remember anything at all
D7 G7
Until I woke at the police station staring at these walls.

They told me they had found me, a knife lay at my feet
Standing on a doorstep on an unfamiliar street
And when they looked inside they found a woman dead
She was the wife of a hypnotist, one policeman said.

People say you can’t be made to act against your will
People say you can’t be made to take a knife and kill
But here I sit in spite of it, alone in this cold cell
And curse the day I saw his gaze and ended up in hell.
Track Name: Somersaults
(Craig Robertson 2018)

we do somersaults
maybe it's nobody's fault
maybe we're tryin' too hard to make it real
I'm tumblin' head over heels...

When I first saw you
you were in the center ring
practicing for the show.
Tumblin tumbling tumbling
Everybody thought
we would get along
but down is up
and right is wrong


I get dizzy when I watch you
you get dizzy when I sing
I get dizzy when the lights are on
and you're in center ring
Everybody thought
we would get along
but down is up
and right is wrong


I cant change the things I do
you can't change the way you fall
you want someone to hold on to
and that ain't me at all
Everybody thought
we would get along
but down is up
and right is wrong

Track Name: I Can Make Elephants Disappear
I can make elephants disappear
(C.Robertson 2010)

G Em
You said, I know how she feels
Bm A
But it ain’t that big a deal…
I can make elephants disappear
I can make elephants disappear
Watch ‘em vanish in the air
Em A (D 2nd time)
Watch ‘em vanish in the air

You’re headlining in Vegas
You got butts in the chairs
You got a suit made of gold lame
Bm A
Nobody cares
I saw you in Tahoe
She was standing beside you
On the other side of the stage
Watching everything you do
She watched all the card tricks
She lived with the lies
I could see that she loved you
It was there in her eyes


I went to your trailer
But I didn’t go in
The lights were all out
And it smelled of gin
One of the tires was flat
it leaned to one side
and I don’t know how you could stand
living inside
I know she was with you
I knew she was there
I heard her cry out
It hung in the air

Track Name: Bears
(Craig Robertson 2004)

I work at the Circus
I take care of the bears
When they’re not wearing hats
Or standing on chairs
I put them to bed
They sleep on the floor
They know me pretty well
But they don’t know the score.

I ride on the train
When we come to a town
I put on my cowboy boots
And wear them around
I walk up and down the streets
And look at the shops
People smile when we meet
Even all the cops

But every town looks the same
Every place that we stay
Every town looks the same
And then we go away
The bears cannot smile
And they cannot say
What makes them unhappy
But they dance anyway.
Track Name: Houdini Never Hung Around in Bars
(C. Robertson 2005)

Dm Bdim A7
Houdini always thought outside the box
Dm Bm A7
That’s how he opened all those locks
Bb7 A7
He wasn’t worried
Gm A7
When they dropped him off the dock
Gm A7 Dm9
Houdini always thought outside the box.

His assistants always locked him up real tight
Then they turned out all the lights
There was never any doubt
That he’d somehow get out
When his assistants locked him up real tight

D G A D Bm
You think everyone’s a saint
G A D Bm
I’m here to tell you that they aint
G Å D Bm
You think your front door is locked
G Gm A7
I’m here to tell you that it’s not….

Houdini never hung around in bars
He was outside starin’ at the stars
Every Hank and Louie
Though he was plain screwy
But Houdini never hung around in bars.
Track Name: Acrobat
(Robertson 2017)


She's an acrobat
she tumbles all the time
she has a heart that dances
to each and every line
and I wish that I could figure out
how to make her mine
but she's an acrobat
she tumbles all the time

she's made a career
out of falling down
she recovers gracefully
every time she hits the ground
she's got bells around her waist
and sawdust in her hair
it only makes her lovelier
people stop and stare


I've watched her fall so many times
she spins head over heels
she doesn't know which way is up
and I know how that feels
she runs around in circles
and dances in the light
dazzles all the audience
every single night

Track Name: Jungle Girl
(Robertson 11)

Jungle girl, won’t you marry me?
I’ve watched you on the high trapeze
In your leopard skin costume you’re so lovely
Jungle girl, won’t you marry me?

The circus isn’t staying long
In another week they will be gone
And you’ll be off across the sea
Jungle girl, will you marry me?

We could find a house in town
Though I’ve never seen you on the ground
So perhaps a house up in a tree
Jungle girl, will you marry me?
Track Name: She Dances On Horses

She dances on horses
Ten feet from the ground
The audience faces
Spin around and around

Farmers and mystics
Knock on her door
After her act
They want to see more

They don’t understand
There’s nothing else there
Sequins and lipstick
In her makeup mirror

She dances on horses
In the center ring
The lights and the sawdust
All make her life sing

Every new city
Is just like the last
They all look the same
From the train as they pass

Her costume is tight
It’s been sewn and re-sewn
The clowns and the roustabouts
Leave her alone

her movements are smooth
like butter on toast
and everyone tells her that she is the most
beautiful woman that they've ever seen
but she don't feel beautiful
she just feels mean
if anyone asks, I don't fuckin' care
they never can touch me
they only can stare

Her movements are smooth
Like butter on toast
And everyone tells her
That she is the most

Beautiful woman
That they’ve ever seen
But she don’t feel beautiful
She just feels mean

And if anyone asks
I don fuckin care
They never can touch me
They only can stare
Track Name: Throwing Knives At Clouds
(Robertson 11)

Ankles and wrists, leather straps
She spreads her legs and the audience laughs
Her costume is brief and her arms are bare
You can see all the scars hidden there

You’re the target, you’re the target
There’s no need to be nervous
You’re the target, you’re the target
I only miss on purpose

Ankles and wrists, hesitations cuts
Somebody says, this guy is nuts
He puts on a blindfold before he throws
How he does it, no one knows


The target spins and everyone grins
They know he’s going to miss her
What they don’t know is long ago
He buried her twin sister

Track Name: Sawing a Lady In Half
(Craig Robertson 11/05)
G Gdim D7
He comes on the stage with a smile
G Gdim D7
He has teeth like a Nile crocodile
Am D7 Am D7
He does some small tricks and some prestidigitation
Am D7 Am D7
His lovely assistant causes quite a sensation
Em Bm
As she climbs in a coffin and pulls down the top
And he takes out a saw
And someone yells “stop!”
(but he doesn’t)
G C7 D7
(Chorus) He’s sawing the lady in half
G C7 Cm D7
He makes a small joke and everyone laughs
Am D7
there’s nothing to fear
Em Bm
It’s all done with mirrors
Am D7 G
Sawing a lady in half.

He saws and she screams
And it’s all in good fun
He pushes both halves apart when he’s done
And his lovely assistant wrinkles her nose
And, across the room, she wiggles her toes


The cut is so clean, there’s no blood or no gore
No messy liquids run out on the floor
The ladies all faint and the men all turn green
It is the most wonderous thing that they’ve seen…
Track Name: Walking Lions
(robertson 12)

I went down to the fairgrounds
The circus was in town
They were takin animals off the train
And walking them around

All except the lions
The lions came off last
They were taken to another field
They were taken to there fast

Why are they doin that? I asked
One tired roustabout
He looked at me awhile and said
Can’t you figure it out

You don’t walk lions with the monkeys
You don’t walk lions with the bears
You don’t walk lions with the horses
You just walk lions over there

I work as a doorman at a nightclub
I watch everybody’s eyes
Not everybody gets in
Though everybody tries

Some tell me big long stories
Some tell me big long lies
But I don’t really listen
I just look for the jungle in their eyes


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