Hey, Where Mah Shed Done Gone?
by Memphis Evans

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There's so much to say about "Hey, Where Mah Shed Done Gone?". I love it.

1. I make up little songs all the time about what I'm doing throughout the day. I'll be feeding the cats and I'll sing "Who wants food? Kitties do, kitties do!" I've made up lots of songs about going to the bathroom. Humming and singing to myself like this is a habit I learned from my parents. (sidebar: When I was a kid I thought Jug Band Music by The Lovin' Spoonful was my dad's original song.)

So naturally when I tore down my shed to make way for an expanded garden I sang "Hey, where mah shed done gone?" as I carried the shed parts to the rented dumpster. Then I sang the whole chorus and I stopped what I was doing and ran inside because it made me laugh and laugh and I didn't want to lose it. I was listening to Sandy Denny a lot at the time and the verses owe a debt to her reading of the traditional, public domain (whew!) song "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor".

2. My beloved cat Victor had died in the night that sunny fall morning. He died in his sleep in his favorite chair after a long, good life. When I met Victor he was ornery; what most people would call a mean cat. I love that kind of cat because I feel like I can earn their trust with reliable, consistent calmness and kindness and good food and other respectful cat behavior. I don't belive in mean cats, only cats that haven't been treated right. Victor and I became good friends who understood one another or at least behaved in a way that we could be calm and kind around each other. "Shed" is sort of about the shed but it's also about my friend Victor.

3. Back in the '70s and '80s there were commercials in the middle of tv shows. When the commercial break was over, the show would generally start again with an exterior shot of, say, the sitcom family's house and an instrumental version of a line or two of the show's theme song. "Shed" has so thoroughly become part of my consciousness that I often walk into a room unconsciously humming "Ba. Ba. Badap dap da. Badap dap da daba dap dap daaaaa" to the tune of the first two lines of the chorus, then start whatever scene is going to happen in that room.

4. When I sing this song at the elementary school, I leave out the verse that mentions the Lovecraftian god Cthulhu because you can't sing about religion at public schools and that is okay.

5. The ending of this song is the fullest expression of my longstanding desire to have other people take over singing the chorus while I change to improvising a new melody and lyrics that extrapolate from the existing song. I first noticed this in The Beatles' reading of Please Mr. Postman. I tried it in Behind the Curtain from old man will travel and to some extent on I'll Actually Love You Forever.

6. I have the Doc's Kids guys to thank for the phrase "keepin' spot". It was used to describe something in the most convoluted way possible. To describe, for example, that you were going to throw a bunch of empty milk jugs into the woods, you would say "Time to fill up the chucked milk jug keepin' spot." Or to describe the place where you set your cat's food, you would say "the eatin' kitty keepin' spot". I love it.

7. Last thing I'll say, specific to this recording, is that Pete usually plays a wonderful banjo solo after chorus 3. That is...not what happened here. I am proud of the madness I created but I am also eager to return to Pete's virtuosity in person. Also, Karl sent me a file just labeled "Shed Surprise". My faith in him is such that I put it right into the session without even asking what it was. That faith was rewarded with the one ingredient I never knew this song needed.

Lyrics:

One day I was standin' in my shed
Next day it fell down around my head
Naw, wait a tic, that ain't quite right
Maybe it got stoled away while I was sleepin' through the night
now I sing

Hey, where mah shed done gone?
It was right cheer now it ain't no more
Hey, where my shed done gone?
It had four walls and a roof and a door

I ain't one of these kooky guys
But it seems like I heard lights up in the skies
May have been a servant of Cthulhu
Yeah, you think I'm crazy now but just wait 'til it happens to you
and you sing

Hey, where mah shed done gone?
It was right cheer now it ain't no more
Hey, where my shed done gone?
It had four walls and a roof and a door

Oh wait, now wait, here's something here
Suddenly I'm paralyzed by fear
These are my tools, and my coverall
But if I took it down myself, oh why can't I recall?
and why sing

Hey, where mah shed done gone?
It was right cheer now it ain't no more
Hey, where my shed done gone?
It had four walls and a roof and a door

Now I just stand and think and stare
A new shed might look good right chover there
Stuff needs a keepin' spot, ye ken
I'd start my new shed right now but fer what if this all happens again
and I sing

Hey, where mah shed done gone?
It was right cheer now it ain't no more
Hey, where my shed done gone?
It had four walls and a roof and a door

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