The King's Birthday / Maarit's Waltz

from by Ray Cooper

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There is a photo in the town museum of Malmköping where I live, taken in 1885. A crowd stands outside the town hall, dressed in their best clothes. At the end of a day like this there would certainly have been a dance, a chance for young couples to pair up. I wondered what happened to that girl in the centre of the picture?
In those days choices were limited, maybe hers were limited to the boys in the photo.


The King's Birthday / Maarit's Waltz
(Ray Cooper)

Her name was Karin
And on the King's birthday
She put on her best bonnet for the town parade
You can see from this photograph
From a very different time
She wants you all to know this is her prime
For she was a beauty of renown
In this small market town
She's a marriageable age
She turned sixteen today

Now that she's blossomed
She can spread her wings and fly
If only to the pine tree tops nearby
She's on the threshold
Of all that is to come
She can feel her power she can be someone
She might have that chance to choose
To be a tradesman's wife
And to wear the apron blue
Or she might just fly away

And the boys came down, they lined up to stare
In their new suits and hats that they wear
Ill fitting suits for ill fitting lives
The choices are here, we all compromise
And the band played a waltz for the King
The courting began we're caught up and caught in
If your luck is true and you catch the right eye
You live with that choice for the rest of your life

Her name was Karin
And long ago she bloomed
Like so many others a little too soon
You can see from this photograph
How she stood out from them all
Even though she faded long ago
And lost her lovely looks so young
Or rather passed them on
To another who will come to another town parade
On another King's birthday


from Palace of Tears, released August 29, 2014



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Ray Cooper UK

Ray Cooper is a singer/songwriter and multi instrumentalist currently residing in the depths of Sweden where he moved in 2000. He left Oysterband in 2013 after a year in which they picked up 3 BBC2 Folk Awards and appeared live on the "Later..with Jools Holland' show. Since then he has carved out a successful solo career. ... more

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