Johnny's Cafe

by John Fischer

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about

John’s 1979 album, “Johnny’s Cafe,” is undoubtedly his most ambitious. Light records pulled out all the stops and Clark Gassman got creative, melding complex arrangements (John’s only album with a horn section) and a variety of styles that provides lasting listening pleasure. The impeccable engineering of Jack Joseph Puig is obvious on every cut, and this version has been remastered with love by the original producer, Dan Collins.

Musically, there are flashes of Billy Joel, Steely Dan, and Stephen Bishop, but throughout, John’s lyrical balance of truth and real life provides the integrity. From the title cut, “Johnny’s Cafe,” to the “Talking Faces” inside, to “Midnight on Mainstreet” when the city shuts down, it’s a lyrical walk through the life of one man as he pulls back the curtain on life at Johnny’s and beyond. We are thrilled to be able to reintroduce you to “Johnny’s Cafe;” it’s a gem.

credits

released October 29, 2015

Produced by Dan Collins
Arranged by Clark Gassman
Engineered by Jack Joseph Puig
Drums by David Kemper
Saxophones by Don Menza
Additional guitars by Rick Vito
© 1978 by Lexicon Music, Inc.

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about

John Fischer Laguna Beach, California

Singer/Songwriter, Recording Artist Summary
Recorded 12 albums of original music with the album, Cold Cathedral, considered to be the first Nationally released contemporary Christian recording of the decade.

Many of John’s songs are published in hymnbooks, church and camp songbooks and performed by respected artists worldwide.
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Track Name: Johnny's Cafe
Go spend the day down at Johnny’s Cafe
All kinds of people there with plenty to say
If you’ve got nothing to say to folks at Johnny’s Cafe
You’ve got nothing to say at all

Walk in any day and you find a slice of life at your table
One man leaving his wife another wishing he was able
An old man trying to forget a young one looking for a label
And the stories they tell you can’t tell if they’re true or they’re fable

And the lady pouring coffee she knows the regulars by name
And if she doesn’t know you she calls you Honey just the same
And we all love to hear it
Even if she has to fake it
‘Cause it’s nice to think that someone really cares
Someone cares

Go spend the day down at Johnny’s Cafe
All kinds of people there with plenty to say
If you’ve got nothing to say to folks at Johnny’s Cafe
You’ve got nothing to say at all

Half a mile down the road you’ll find a church with a steeple
And on Sundays the pews are full of well-pressed beautiful people
There’s a leading politician whose wife is a musician in the choir
And a corporation head who is trying to get a little bit higher

And the preacher pouring sermons he knows the regulars by name
And if he doesn’t know you he’ll shake your hand just the same
And we all love to hear it
Even if we have to fake it
But it would be nice if someone really cared
Someone care

Go spend the day down at Johnny’s Cafe
All kinds of people there with plenty to say
Now if Jesus were here I think we’d find Him today
Down at Johnny’s Cafe
Track Name: One Lane Road
It’s a narrow way this one lane road to life
It’s not a super highway but they say that the traffic’s light
Well I never did like crowds anyway
And the company sure is nice
Walking with you on a one lane road to life

Well there’s another way but I chose to stay
Instead of going by the broader one
Over there are many voices
Here there’s only one
And the one I hear ringing in my ear
Is the gentle voice of truth
And it keeps on getting clearer
‘Cause I’ve hear it since my youth

It’s a narrow way this one lane road to life
It’s not a super highway but they say that the traffic’s light
Well I never did like crowds anyway
And the company sure is nice
Walking with you on a one lane road to life

Well I’d like to say it’s an easy way
But if I did I’d tell a lie
For the road is quite demanding
And the personal price is high
But the love you gain is worth all the pain
And all along you glimpse the prize
When you’re looking at your neighbor
And you see the Savior’s eyes

It’s a narrow way this one lane road to life
It’s not a super highway but they say that the traffic’s light
Well I never did like crowds anyway
And the company sure is nice
Walking with you on a one lane road to life
Plenty of room on a one lane road to life
Track Name: Nothin' in this World
There ain’t nothin’ in this world I’d rather do than to live this moment
And to live it and to know it with an open heart to you
There ain’t nothin’ in this world I’d rather sing than the song that He sent
And to keep it singin’ even when I wonder what I’m goin’ through

It’s easy to think it would be better if I just knew this or that
But the moment I think it is a moment gone and I can never get it back

There ain’t nothin’ in this world I’d rather do than to live this moment
And to live it and to know it with an open heart to you
There ain’t nothin’ in this world I’d rather sing than the song that He sent
And to keep it singin’ even when I wonder what I’m goin’ through

How often we hope for a new tomorrow and throw today away
When there really aren’t any new tomorrows there’s just another today

There ain’t nothin’ in this world I’d rather do than to live this moment
And to live it and to know it with an open heart to you
There ain’t nothin’ in this world I’d rather sing than the song that He sent
And to keep it singin’ even when I wonder what I’m goin’ through
Track Name: Circle of Blessing
A deathly debut
This child I never knew
The blow was dealt and so deeply felt by my wife
But we’re learning what it means
This gift we’ve never seen
For the place of death can again have the breath of life

And now there’s one in heaven
And another one waiting in the miracle of the womb
So You’ve given and so You’ve taken
It all belongs to You
All Your gifts we try possessing
But it never seems to do
So send them round on the circle of blessing
They all go back to you

The hard rain it falls
The same on us all
And how you do depends on your point of view
One man will curse,
While another says It could be worse
‘Cause he lifts his cup whether full or empty to You

And he knows there’s one in heaven
And another one waiting in the miracle of the womb
So You’ve given and so You’ve taken
It all belongs to You
All Your gifts we try possessing
But it never seems to do
So send them round on the circle of blessing
They all go back to you
Yes send them round on the circle of blessing
They all go back to you
Track Name: Talking Faces
I know an old man
He sits here every day
You don’t know what he holds inside
But if you did you’d hear him say

I fought my way through World War I
And stayed for World War II
I know it’s all meaningless history to you
But in all my seventy-eight long years
I still haven’t found the truth
I am the old man

There’s also a lady
She pours coffee every day
She likes to keep them happy here
But there’s so much she needs to say

My husband left two weeks ago
And I don’t know what to do
I know I’m not the only one
And I don’t mean to bother you
But after twenty years of marriage
I’ve got no one to see me through
I am the lady

Then there’s the young man
Stops in once a week
He’s got all kinds of fears inside
But he’s too shy to speak

I just got busted by the law
And I’ll have to go to jail
I know you don’t really care
But my old man won’t pay the bail
He’s bound to disown me
When he finds out I have failed
I am the young man

Talking faces in common places
Talking faces in common places
Talking faces in common places
Talking faces
Track Name: Pawn in the Game
Two hundred years ago
When our nation was starting to grow
Life, liberty and happiness
Were the things we wanted to know
But happiness became the king
And took over everything
And in pursuing happiness
We lost the very thing that would make us blessed

We lost the Lord
No wonder we’re so bored
We’re just a pawn in the game

The West is not to be
In the book of prophecy
We sold our crown to the pleasure clown
For an inexpensive fee
And it isn’t very far
From a plastic credit card
To a number on your head before you can be fed a loaf of bread

Keep looking to the east
And watching for the beast
We’re just a pawn in the game
(What a shame)

Many years from now
I can hear them saying how
America came and America went
Turned under by the plow
While other nations stand
With orders in their hands
To turn the course of time under the force of the evil one’s command

We gave away the right
To be a nation of the light
Now we’re a pawn in the game
(What a shame)

Keep looking to the east
And watching for the beast
We’re just a pawn in the game
(What a shame)

And nobody can afford
To not be reaching for the Lord
We’re just a pawn in the game
We’re just a pawn in the game
(Pawn in the game what a shame)
(Pawn in the game what a shame)
(Pawn in the game what a shame)
Track Name: Right on Time
Well the light in the world may be dim
But the light of Christ has always been
He will shine
Right on time
And just when you think your hope is gone
And you’re feeling like you can’t go on
He will shine
Right on time

Well you can read your morning paper
Catch the latest depressing news
While commentators on the radio
Give their own confusing views

Well the light in the world may be dim
But the light of Christ has always been
He will shine
Right on time
And just when you think your hope is gone
And you’re feeling like you can’t go on
He will shine
Right on time

You can try to guess when He’s coming
Check the latest prophetic whim
Or simply follow that light each day
That will lead you home to Him

Well the light in the world may be dim
But the light of Christ has always been
He will shine
Right on time
And just when you think your hope is gone
And you’re feeling like you can’t go on
He will shine
Right on time
He will shine
Right on time
Track Name: Hard Line
When I first started to follow you
I thought it would be easy to do
All the songs that I sang along gave me a rosy hue
But I’m finding life a lot different
Than all the sweet songs that we sing
‘Cause I learn that at every turn
Your road’s the hardest thing

You drive a hard, hard line
Thought I’d have an easier time
Oh you drive a hard line
Guess I gotta change my mind

I find myself loving people
Who in turn are loving to me
But what you ask is a greater task
To love my enemy
Like the one who has hurt me
And cut me down to the shreds
That’s the guy I’m supposed to try
To love instead

You drive a hard, hard line
Thought I’d have an easier time
Oh you drive a hard line
Guess I gotta change my mind

When I examine my actions
My life seems decent to me
But one look of lust
And you say I’m thrust into adultery
And if I’m hating my brother
And putting him down in my head
The angry thought is like a rifle shot
He’s as good as dead

You drive a hard hard line
Thought I’d have an easier time
Oh you drive a hard line
Guess I gotta change my mind
Track Name: Blessed is the Man
You ask a lot
But what I quite forgot
Is that You always ask for more than I can give
So I’ll come back
Knowing what I lack
To receive the very life I need to live

Blessed is the man who knows his need
Blessed is the man who knows how to plead
‘Cause in the pleading he will find
His pride had made him blind
For by seeking the soul is satisfied
And by knocking the door is opened wide

You ask me more
Than I’m ready for
But then I’m never quite prepared to follow You
So I’ll show up
If you fill my cup
With the very strength I need to follow through

Blessed is the man who knows his need
Blessed is the man who knows how to plead
‘Cause in the pleading he will find
His pride had made him blind
For by seeking the soul is satisfied
And by knocking the door is opened wide
Track Name: Midnight on Main Street
Midnight on Main Street
The shades are all drawn tight
And tranquilized the daylight eyes
Try to sleep away the night
While out on Main Street
The midnight matinee
Slips into open air in the light of neon day
But the Broadway pleasure seekers
And the Madison Avenue sleepers
All find themselves at midnight
Crying out for love
‘Cause here on Main Street
Everyone’s the same
Midnight on Main Street

Four a.m. on Main Street
And the only sound
Is the street cleaner coming ‘round
To sweep yesterday down
And I’m left standing
Staring at an empty stage
Wondering what lies ahead
When the daylight turns the page
And the players resume their places
While the drama goes through a thousand paces
Will I take my part or will I walk away?
Morning on Main Street
Who will care?
Morning on Main Street