The Portable Kate Campbell

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The Portable Kate Campbell


Release Date: August 10, 2004

The Portable Kate Campbell was produced by Will Kimbrough and contains new versions of songs most requested by fans at Kate’s concerts.

The Portable Kate Campbell includes guest appearances by Nanci Griffith, Rodney Crowell, Kim Richey, Jeff Black and Jonell Mosser.

“A literate songsmith who’s as satisfying as barbeque and sweet tea.” Grade: A
–Bob Cannon, Entertainment Weekly


Wrought Iron Fences

Tangled vines cover the lattice
They creep and crawl around the house
Nobody lives there
Only ghosts hang around

I have seen hope and glory fade away
I’ve heard old folks talk of better days
And all that’s left to guard the remains
Are wrought iron fences

Sarah Mae bore two children
One died at birth and one at Shiloh
Now they’re on a hill long forgotten
Carved in stone

Years go by and everything changes
But nothing does

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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Moonpie Dreams

Once every May Day
We stayed at her house
With doilies on tables
And cats on the couch
She played me records
The ones he adored
The music they danced to
Before the war
And now sometimes I see her
And she seems so lonely
Standing there
In my moonpie dreams

He wagged his tail
When Jim let him in
He came from the next block
And they were best friends
He’d bring the paper
Without a tear
He knew his friend Jim
Would always be there
Now he waits at the back door
But it’s just him only
Sitting there
In my moonpie dreams

Now I look out my window
And wish you could hold me
You’re always there
In my moonpie dreams

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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Visions Of Plenty

I live south of Memphis in downtown Hollywood
And these fields are all I’ve ever known
Season after season I have worked to find a way
To buy a piece of land to call my own
Sometimes when that Delta sun comes beating down
Well I swear those rows of cotton shine like gold

Visions of plenty
Roll across my mind
Still my hands are empty
And the system’s going dry
I keep thinking ’bout my children
What’s left down here for them
Just a cotton field of dreams (just a billboard full of dreams)
And everybody’s dreaming
Everybody’s dreaming
Dreaming just like me

A sign went up for Harrah’s on Highway 61
Promising we’d all be winners soon
So every Friday evening I go and spin the wheel
Sometimes I win, most times I lose
These lights are so much brighter than I thought they’d be
And they make me think I’ll see my dreams come true

Kate Campbell / Tricia Walker
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) / Songs of Crossfield, Inc. (BMI)

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I feel a beating drum in my bones
And I know it’s calling me to go
Where the Spanish moss drapes the trees
And the bayou whispers to let it be

Come on, let’s go
Down the road to Rosaryville
Who knows what we will find
We won’t need much
On the road to Rosaryville
We can leave the world behind

It’s not easy marching out of time
When other voices tell you stay in line
Some will say it’s only wasted dreams
But they’ve never tasted wine so sweet

I see the big iron gates open wide
Follow your heart with me we’ll take a ride

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1998 Large river Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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Galaxie 500

We got her white from the factory
But daddy had her painted baby blue
She had a red vinyl interior
That burned my legs on summer afternoons
She took us down to Panama City
And we got sand all in the seats
And the year we went out west
She made it up Pike’s Peak

I could go anywhere in that automobile
My dreams came true behind the wheel
No road was too long, no mountain too steep
For me and my Galaxie 500

Mama said kids I’ll be right back
And left us in the K-Mart parking lot
On the radio we heard the news
In Memphis Dr. King had just been shot
So late that night I sat alone
Feet propped up on the big dashboard
And I cried myself to sleep again
Like every time before

When I came home from school one day
In the driveway sat a Datsun with two doors
And I never told a single soul
How much I missed that Ford

No road was too long, no valley too deep
For me and my Galaxie 500

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI)

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Crazy In Alabama

I heard Odessa’s mind was sick
That she was crazier than hell
The police caught her turning tricks
Down at the Blue and Gray motel
Odessa was the neighbor’s maid
She had ten mouths at home to feed

They bussed her kids to Birmingham
And put her in the county jail
Nobody seemed to give a damn
They say a white man posted bail
My dad said not to breathe a word
I told my brother all I heard

And the train of change
Was coming fast to my hometown
We had the choice to climb on board
Or get run down

It was crazy there were grown men fights
Over segregation and civil rights
Martin Luther King and the KKK
George C. Wallace and LBJ
And when the National Guard came in
I thought the world was gonna end
It was crazy in Alabama

Down at the corner Dairy Dip
They sold soft ice cream for a dime
White people ordered from the front
The side was for the colored line
We all were told they had their place
Because they were a different race

We spent hot summer afternoons
At the public swimming pool
Where the privileged and the few
Played on their island of cool blue
Brown children watched outside the fence
It never made one lick of sense

But the train of change
Was coming fast to my hometown
We had the choice to climb on board
Or get run down

My momma yelled child get inside
Drew the drapes and locked the doors
We watched the marchers passing by
Felt the rumble heard the roar
They all held hands they sang and wept
And freedom rang in every step

Cause the train of change
Was marching through my hometown
We had the choice to climb on board
Or get run down

Kate Campbell / Kenya Slaughter Walker
© 1995 Fame Publishing Co. Inc. (BMI) / Multisongs (SEASAC)

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A Perfect World

Shadows fall across the land
Prophets say the end’s at hand
More bad news everywhere I turn
But in your arms it’s a perfect world

Rebels rage and lions roar
Everyday it’s a brand new war
Lines are crossed and bombs are hurled
But in your arms it’s a perfect world

When your love wraps around me tight
I believe in paradise
There’s one place where my heart’s secure
Here in your arms it’s a perfect world

Homeless hearts on every street
Desperate eyes of poverty
No refuge left on God’s green earth
But in your arms it’s a perfect world

Kate Campbell / Mark Narmore
© 1995 Fame Publishing Co. Inc. (BMI)

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Bus 109

They forced it on the county school board
And made a lot people mad
They planned to bus us off across town
And things got really bad

That’s when the private schools were started
And they opened in a rush
But daddy said come September
You’ll be riding bus

109 bus
109 bus
You’ll be fine (I’ll) (We’ll)
On bus 109

I met Lavonna Jones in gym class
She said my hair had no curl
We played basketball together
But came from different worlds

Lavonna lived down in the projects
Compared to her I had so much
You know my life was changed forever
All because of bus

One day Lavonna came to my house
What people thought didn’t matter to us
When the lines were drawn by colors
We crossed the line on bus

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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Porcelain Blue

She is standing in the garden silently astute
Waiting for the sun to come and kiss away the dew
How can she be so translucent from my window view
I can see her heart clear through in porcelain blue

You can find me in the city where the music grooves
Surrounded by a misty brew of magic and voodoo
Lying in my bed in the sultry afternoon
I can hear those saints go marching through in porcelain blue

I will follow in that number
And I hope to meet you there
Blessed Mary please don’t slumber
Pray for us who need your care

Staring at this vase searching for my muse
If lovers die together are they forever fused
I’ve heard love’s eternal and I wonder if it’s true
Underneath this crescent city moon in porcelain blue

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell
© 1998 Large River Music (BMI)

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Tupelo’s Too Far

I can see Saltillo Street
And the house where I was born
I can hear gospel songs
From the church on Sunday morn
Saturday nights around the radio
Life was simple then
But this road I’m on won’t take me there
You can’t go back again

I wish I could take route 78
And be there in no time
Rest beneath the sweet gum trees
Leave all my cares behind
But Tupelo’s too far

I never dreamed I would be
A king much less a star
And I never knew that what I loved
Could also break my heart
I always thought if I just sang
Everything would be alright
And I don’t know what went wrong
But I’m lonesome tonight

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI)

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When Panthers Roamed In Arkansas

I miss Elvis in the movies
With his dyed black hair
Wish that I could find an ice cold
Double Cola somewhere
If I had a time machine
I’d go back when panthers roamed in Arkansas
And buffalo made their home in Tennessee

Every afternoon I’d watch
Dark Shadows on TV
Scared to death that Barnabus
Would take a bite of me
If I were a vampire
I’d fly back when panthers roamed in Arkansas
And buffalo made their home in Tennessee

Frogs are disappearing
Through the ozone hole
I can’t find one song I like
On the radio
They didn’t have these problems
Way back when panthers roamed in Arkansas
And buffalo made their home in Tennessee

If I knew a Jeannie
We could live when panthers roamed in Arkansas
And buffalo made their home in Tennessee

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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Deep Tang

Rust hills
Red clay
Steel mills
Deep tang

Lime stone
Iron veins
Loose coal
Deep tang

Beneath the haze
Your skies once blue
Now deep tang

Smoke stacks
Orange flames
Gray slag
Deep tang

Burnt sun
Brown rain
Black lung
Deep tang

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI)

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Bud’s Sea-Mint Boat

He lived his life a civil service man
Designing toilets for the space program
He believed if we could go to the moon
There’s nothing on earth a man can’t do

So he ordered a ton of sand and clay
In his front yard he built a frame
Most folks said it’ll never float
Still they came to see Bud’s cement boat

A dream is anything that you want it to be
For some it’s fame and fortune but for others concrete
Sometimes you just gotta follow your heart
No matter where it leads

He gave up fishing and most of his friends
Worked all night and every weekend
But he didn’t mind the sacrifice
Cause he’d build a boat that’s one of a kind

Well the neighbors thought it was a real eyesore
They’d say hey Bud what are ya building that for
And knowing they would never understand
He’d just smile and say because I can

Well he got laid off in seventy-four
And they don’t go to the moon anymore
But down around the Alabama coast
She still floats Bud’s Sea-Mint boat

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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Rosa’s Coronas

Como estas? My name is Rosa and like my mother before me
Everyday I roll cigars and they’re the finest in the world
To pass the time the reader reads about the violence in America
And I pray for my daughter and her baby girl

Late one night they took a boat ninety miles from Havana
To escape the only life I’ve ever known
She could have been just like me, a well-respected working woman
Who believes in her country and her home

And I wonder as I roll where will each one go
Will they land in the hands of kings and presidents
It’s an art, it’s a skill, and some would even kill
Just for one of Rosa’s coronas

It’s everywhere in the news that John Paul is on his way
And for years I’ve longed to see the Holy Father’s parade
We’ve been told not to go or production falls behind
But I know the quota won’t be made that day

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1999 Large river Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

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See Rock City

She put a map and a tube of lipstick
In an old Winn Dixie sack
She pulled her Firebird out of the driveway
Without ever looking back

By the time she got to Georgia
It was nearly half past eight
She bought a ninety-nine cent breakfast
At the Stuckey’s by the interstate

And she don’t know where she’s going
And she’s really not sure why
But she’s got to try and find a way
To live before she dies

She might see Rock City
She might see Ruby Falls
She might change her name to Marilyn
And drop her southern drawl
She wants to climb Lookout Mountain
And see all seven states
She wants to feel the wind through her hair again
Before it gets too late to see Rock City

Well she stopped in Chattanooga
And called her mama’s beauty shop
She said I won’t be home for supper
Give my love to Bo and Pop

And her mama knew the reasons
Without even asking why
A woman’s got to try and find a way
To live before she dies

She might see Rock City
Oh she might buy a souvenir plate
She wants to feel the wind through her hair again
Before it gets too late to see Rock City

Kate Campbell / Walt Aldridge
© 1995 Fame Publishing Co. Inc. (BMI) / Rick Hall Music Inc. / Watertown Music (ASCAP)

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Her voice was the first I knew
She always liked popular tunes
You know she’s from Kentucky too
My mother sings
Sounds like to me
Rosemary Clooney

Can’t miss the start of the race
I wanna hear the song they play
I think of her on Derby Day
My mother sings
Sounds like to me
Rosemary Clooney

Smooth as silk
Rich and deep
With just a hint
Of Whiskey

Her voice was the first I knew
She really could play those St. Louis Blues
And you’d know if you heard her croon
My mother sings
Or could it be Rosemary sounds
Like my mother Sue

Kate Campbell
© 1998 Large River Music (BMI)

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Look Away

I can still recall the night
Lightning burned the mansion down
We all stood in out pajamas
On that hallowed southern ground
When the flames had turned to ashes
Only blackened bricks remained
And sixteen stately Doric columns
There beneath a veil of gray

And it’s a long and slow surrender
Retreating from the past
It’s important to remember
To fly the flag half-mast
And look away

I was taught by elders wiser
Love your neighbor, love your God
Never saw a cross on fire
Never saw an angry mob
I saw sweet magnolia blossoms
I chased lightening bugs at night
Never dreaming others saw our way of life
In black and white

Part of me hears voices crying
Part of me can feel their weight
Part of me believes that mansion
Stood for something more than hate

Kate Campbell / Walt Aldridge
© 1995 Fame Publishing Company Inc. (BMI)
Rick Hall Music Inc. / Watertown Music (ASCAP)

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Through seven CDs, Campbell has been something of a musical Eudora Welty, chronicling Southern life with an eye for illuminating detail and a knack for creating memorable, sometimes wacky characters.  On these two releases, she revisits 30 tunes from her catalog, breathing new life into oughta-be-classics like Portable’s elegiac “Moonpie Dreams” and Sing Me Out’s wry “Jesus & Tomatoes,” in which Campbell bribes the Almighty’s lawyer with a BLT sandwich.  Take your pick – either collection serves as a tempting appetizer to a literate songsmith who’s as satisfying as barbeque and sweet tea. Grade: A
–Bob Cannon, Entertainment Weekly

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click on any date for more information

  • August 1 – 7

    Kate will be teaching songwriting at SummerSongs at the Ashokan Center
    Olivebridge, NY


    City: Olivebridge

    State: NY

    Website: Website

    More Info:

    SummerSongs East at the spectacular Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, NY

    Registration Options

    $579 for the weekend (Saturday, August 1 – Tuesday, August 4)

    $899 for the full week (Saturday, August 1 – Friday, August 7)

    Savings Opportunities!

    $50 discount if signed up before 6/1/15 with full payment ora $200 deposit. You will have the option to reserve with just a deposit on the payment page.

    Receive an additional $25 discount for each newbie you bring to camp! (Reimbursed to you when they come to their first camp.)

    Note: Private rooms are available, $40-$80 per night.

    Join us this summer for the 17th anniversary SummerSongs songwriting camp and camper reunion, where we will again explore many aspects of songwriting, music, singing & the music business. Listen and learn from nationally known artists, attend workshops & concerts, network, perform, collaborate, swim, jam, and relax at a beautiful summer camp in the Catskill Mountains of New York…and enjoy the best “camp food” you’ve ever had. Classes will include songwriting, song arranging, performance/stagecraft, harmony singing, co-writing, guitar, keyboard, creative process and more, and you’ll have many opportunities to share you music in song circles, coffeehouses, concerts, and feedback sessions. Class descriptions (below) and bios (to the right) are being added as we receive them. ALL levels are welcome! So come, join the creative musical family at SummerSongs.



  • August 19-21

    Tour Ireland with Kate - Pre-tour Dublin Excursion
    Dublin, Ireland


    City: Dublin

    State: Ireland

  • August 23-September 1

    Tour Ireland with Kate
    Counties of Cork, Kerry, and Clare, Republic of Ireland


    City: Counties of Cork, Kerry, and Clare

    State: Republic of Ireland

    Website: Website

    More Info:

    This Tour is SOLD OUT.  2016 dates will be announced soon.

  • September 3-5

    Timpanogos Storytelling Festival at Mount Timpanogos Park
    Orem, UT

    Address: US 189

    City: Orem

    State: UT

    Website: Website

  • September 12

    St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
    Bay Village, OH

    Time: 3:00pm

    Address: 468 Bradley Road

    City: Bay Village

    State: OH

    Phone: 413.531.5083

    Website: Website

    More Info:

    This event is a celebration service for a new ministry.  A concert by Kate will follow.

    Call the church for more information.

  • October 3

    Trinity House Theatre
    Livonia, MI

    Address: 38840 West Six Mile

    City: Livonia

    State: MI

    Phone: 734-464-6302

    Price: $15.00 / $12.00 for members

    Website: Website

  • October 15

    Ashland Coffee and Tea
    Ashland, VA

    Time: 8:00pm

    Address: 100 North Railroad Ave.

    City: Ashland

    State: VA

    Phone: 804-798-1702

    Price: $15.00 in advance/$20.00 day of show

    Website: Website

  • October 17

    Perkasie Patchwork Coffeehouse
    Perkasie, PA

    Address: 320 West Chestnut Street

    City: Perkasie

    State: PA

    Website: Website

  • October 24

    The Orpheum Theatre
    Memphis, TN

    Time: 7:30 pm

    Address: 203 S. Main Street

    City: Memphis

    State: TN

    Phone: 901-529-4221

    Website: Website

  • October 25

    Faith Hope Love House Concerts
    Brownsville, TN

    Time: 7:00 pm / doors open at 6:30 pm

    Address: 808 Hatchie

    City: Brownsville

    State: TN

    Phone: 901-268-3395

    Price: $15.00

  • November 7

    Woody Hawley Concert Series / The Clay Center / Walker Theater
    Charleston, WV

    Time: Doors open at 7:00, concert begins at 7:30

    Address: One Clay Square

    City: Charleston

    State: WV

    Phone: 304-561-3570

    Price: Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on line at, by phone at 304-561-3570, in the lobby of the Clay Center during business hours, or at the door on the night of the performance.

    Website: Website

  • December 12

    Linden Tree Coffeehouse
    Wakefield, MA

    Time: 8:00 pm

    Address: Unitarian Universalist Church at 326 Main Street

    City: Wakefield

    State: MA

    Phone: 781-246-2836

    Website: Website

  • see all tour dates