About: 'Ol Willy Joe

Stand Together

Ray Burns & the DeComposers - Ol' Willy Joe
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Ol' Willy Joe
Jeffrey Powel & Ray Burns

Ole' Willy Joe no place to go,
Lives in a pallet shack, out in the cold,   
When he wakes, shakes off the dew,
Hollars; "Oh Dear Lord, need socks for these shoes",


He walks the town blowin' his harp,
He plays for free and he plays with heart,
But no one stops or drops a dime,
To buy him food or pass the time,


Oh Lord  - hear me callin’
Oh Lord - I’m callin’ your name
Oh Lord - Show me the way,
To where people save a man before he slips away.

People don’t see Willy on the street,
No suit and tie, no bath in a week,
He's got dirty clothes and nappy hair,
Feelin’ lucky just to rise to the mornin' air.


Ole' Willy Joe got nothing to show,
No fancy car or a mansion home,
No job or money, no friends to see,
He’s got no one to keep him company,

2nd Chorus

Hear me calling
I’m calling your name
Show me the way
That takes me home before I slip away.


Whole day spent, but the times are lean
Saltine Crackers and a can of beans.
Not so much but it fills the pot
And He’ll gladly share what he has got.

Ole’ Willy Joe is out most days
While people cooking supper goin’ their own ways.
No one would think to call him in
To let a man go hungry ought to be a sin.

2nd Chorus





The words and music for this song reflect a collaboration between Jeffrey Powel and Ray Burns. The guitar noodle is something Jeff wrote over thirty years ago but the guitar part had never been associated with any lyrics. He brought the part to Ray who thought it conjured up a story about a man with nothing but the clothes on his back. This man has no certainty in his life. He doesn't know what each day will bring, with no job, no home, and no money in his pocket. He roams the town with both the odds and the elements against him. With little more than lint in his pockets, and a harmonica in his hand, he keeps his faith and spirit alive in spite of walking nearly invisibly amongst the better heeled inhabitants of the town. And though he wakes up cold each day, he is glad to be alive and breathe fresh air. And in spite of his lack of possessions, he has a generosity in his heart that comes from having truly experienced what it is to be in need. If only everyone could have his passion for life, and realize what a gift each breath is.

This song is yet one more example of the power of the collaborative effort of the DeComposers. Ray sang the song and then chorus, with it's gospel feel, was added by the DeComposers invcluding Jeff Powel, Steve Thomas, William Limbach, and Chris Rininger. Steve also fine tuned the percussion as usual.