Jack’s Tracks on 91.3 Rez Radio at 4p.m.! Kenny Rogers and the First Edition’s “Ballad of Calico”! Sung by Kenny, this album was mostly penned by Michael Martin Murphy. Listen on line at Rez Radio 91.3
The album begins with the instrumental "Sunrise Overture" then goes into "Calico Silver" about a man leaving his farm after a drought to a take a job in the silver mines near the town of Calico. "Write Me Down" is about the people who were forgotten over time. "The Way It Used to be" is about day-to-day life in Calico. "Madame De Lil and Diaboilical Bill", the saloon keeper who scares her boyfriend out of town when she finds out he's stealing from her.
Side Two begins with "School Teacher", the teacher who faces being an old maid (The teacher, Virginia Merritt, was actually 24 years old at the time and married soon after she left Calico). "Road Agent", about a dead road agent. "Sally Grey's Epitaph" was based almost verbatim on a gravestone in the town cemetery. "Dorsey, the Mail-Carrying Dog", the dog who delivers mail for the disabled postmaster. This song has each member of the group bark like a dog (which is broken by them laughing). The last song suddenly ends with the last phrase "your carrying dog" cut off.
Side Three begins with the missing phrase appearing and immediately going into the first song, "Harbor for My Soul". "Calico Saturday Night" is an instrumental, followed by "Trigger Happy Kid" about a young boy who idolizes gunfighters. Side Three closes with "Vachel Carling's Rubilator", a song about a con man who creates a machine which takes over the town.
"Empty Handed Compadres" is about prospectors who returned without anything. "One Lonely Room" is about a man who never leaves the town after it becomes a ghost town. "Rockin' Chair Theme" is a brief instrumental leading into the next song, "Old Mojave Highway" about the road itself which crossed the desert (now the pathway of Interstate 15). "Man Came up from Town" is about remains of early man later found in the mountains. The album closes with "Calico Silver (reprise)" in which the silver runs out and the town becomes a ghost town.
All lyrics by Michael Murphey; music by Larry Cansler and Michael Murphey
"Write Me Down (Don't Forget My Name)"
"The Way It Used to be"
"Madame De Lil and Diabolical Bill”
"Sally Grey's Epitaph"
"Dorsey, the Mail-Carrying Dog"
"Harbor for My Soul"
"Calico Saturday Night"
"Trigger Happy Kid"
"Vachel Carling's Rubilator"
"Empty Handed Compadres"
"One Lonely Room"
"Rockin' Chair Theme"
"Old Mojave Highway"
"Man Came up from Town"
"Calico Silver (reprise)"