Song Lyrics


by Joni Mitchell

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The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn't sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here Carey
But it's really not my home
My fingernails are filthy, I got beach tar on my feet
And I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne

Oh Carey get out your cane
And I'll put on some silver
Oh you're a mean old Daddy
But I like you fine

Come on down to the Mermaid Café and I will
Buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down
Let's have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let's have another round for the bright red devil
Who keeps me in this tourist town

Come on Carey get out your cane
I'll put on some silver
Oh you're a mean old Daddy
But I like you

Maybe I'll go to Amsterdam
Maybe I'll go to Rome
And rent me a grand piano
And put some flowers 'round my room
But let's not talk about fare-thee-wells now
The night is a starry dome
And they're playin' that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon

Come on Carey get out your cane
I'll put on some silver
We'll go to the Mermaid Café
Have fun tonight

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn't sleep
Oh you know it sure is hard to leave here
But it's really not my home

Maybe it's been too long a time
Since I was scramblin' down in the street
Now they got me used to that clean white linen
And that fancy French cologne

Oh Carey get out your cane
I'll put on my finest silver
We'll go to the Mermaid Café
Have fun tonight
I said, Oh, you're a mean old Daddy but I like you
But you're out of sight

© 1970; Joni Mitchell

Footnotes to Carey

Joni introduced the song this way at Carnegie Hall on February 23, 1972:

I want to tell you about this person that I met. We walk inside the door and there was this guy standing there and he had a big turban on his head, you know. It was all white – kind of dirty white – and wrapped all around and around and around, in a big knot at the top and he had really wild red hair sticking out from underneath, and he had a little heart earring in one ear and a little gold loop in the other and he had real fierce-looking blue eyes and, uh, you know – the mark of Cain on his brow, you know – from thinking really a lot and he was real intense-looking and I said to him “Listen, you know. What should we do with this garbage?” And he took it out of my hand real abruptly and he looked me straight in the eyes and threw it over his shoulder all over the floor. He was the cook there and, uh, came his birthday I decided to get him something, so I bought him ten Mickey Mouse chocolate bars, which were a really big deal there because everybody was collecting the cards, you know, and had Snow White in Greek and the Seven Dwarves. He was really pleased because, out of the ten that I gave him, he had eight new cards, you know. They went up to 159, and I think there were, like, really odd ones that nobody seemed to have and all of a sudden this batch came in, you know, and he was the first one to have these. Anyway, it may not impress you, but he was very impressed. This is a song I gave him for his birthday. I said oh Carey, you’re a mean old daddy, but I like you...

Guitar Transcriptions of Carey

Carey has been recorded by 92 others

  • Åkerström, Cajsa Stina  (from "De Vackraste Ordern - Tio Visor " - 2005)
  • Alberstein, Chava  (from "45 Single" - 1973)
  • Aleksandersen, Frank (from "Stille For Stormen" - 1985)
  • Andersson, Theresa  (from "Vibes" - 1994) [buy at Amazon]
  • Anntones (from "Everything We Touch Turns to Hits" - 2005)
  • Barnstar! (from "Signature Sounds 20th Anniversary Collection: Favorites and Rarities from the Second Decade" - 2015) [buy at Amazon]
  • Beck, Mike (from "Mariposa Wind" - 2001)
  • Big Yellow Taxi (from "Unknown And Famous Songs Of Joni Mitchell" - 2006)
  • Borkowski, Evan (- 2005)
  • Bradley, Sharon (from "Hello In There" - 1982)
  • Bremnes, Kari (from "Folk I Husan" - )
  • Cactus Acoustic Duo (- )
  • Callaway, Ann Hampton  (from "At Last" - 2009)
  • Canadian Suite (from "Coast to Coast" - 2002)
  • Chateau Beach & Russ Kunkel (from "Rivage" - 2008)
  • Clark, Merideth Kaye (from "Blue" - 2016)
  • Clarke, Rona (from "Utopian Dream" - 1975)
  • Collins, Jo (from "Watercolours" - 1999)
  • Colter, Trish & Paul Reed (from "The Dance Never Ends" - 1997)
  • Davidson, Dianne (from "Mountain Mama" - 1972) [buy at Amazon]
  • Dee, Kiki  (from "Kiki Dee Live - Almost Naked" - 1995)
  • Donna Colton And The Troublemakers (from "Tryst" - 2007)
  • Dorothy Zerbe & The Savage Beast String Band (from "Live At Mt. Morris" - 2014)
  • Eden, Joanna (from "Joni & Me" - 2016)
  • Elsmore, Theresa (- )
  • Erelli, Mark (- 2004)
  • Faulkner, Lisa (from "Hearth" - 2004)
  • Flash Connection (from "Talk To Me" - 2006)
  • Ford, Dorian (from "Songs Trio Live" - 2007)
  • Gazarek, Sara (from "Return To You" - 2007)
  • Generation Jones (- 2010)
  • Goldman, Sharon  (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue: a 40th Anniversary Celebration" - 2012)
  • Grossman, Judd (from "I'm Innocent" - 2002)
  • Gypsy (from "There's Still Hope" - 2008)
  • Hadjidakis, Elpida  (- 2013)
  • Haime, Vera  (from "Came Upon A Child of God" - 2000)
  • Haselden, Ronald (- 2014)
  • Hawley, Sarah Jay  (- 2017)
  • Hawn, Goldie (from "Goldie" - 1972)
  • James, Morgan (from "Blue" - 2016) [buy at Amazon]
  • Jaye Evans with Louis Nahas (- 2011)
  • Jet + The Art Engine (- 2015)
  • Joni Anderson and the Kootenay Jack Band  (- 2015)
  • Klonakilty (from "Symbiosis" - )
  • Lapidus, Joellen (from "Joellen Lapidus In Concert" - 2005)
  • Larry D (from "Go Go Go" - 2003)
  • Lauper, Cyndi (from "An All-Star Tribute to Joni Mitchell (TV Broadcast)" - 2000)
  • Leora Cashe & The Ross Taggart Trio  (from "Another Side Now - The Songs of Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
  • Lindfors, Lill (from "Jag Vill Na Dig" - 1984)
  • Loren, Halie (from "After Dark" - 2010) [buy at Amazon]
  • Lorenzo Riccardi Band  (from "Lorenzo Riccardi Band " - 1990)
  • Lundell, Ulf (from "Längne Inät Landet" - 1980)
  • Maggie Hollinbeck & Graham Sobelman (from "Another Shade Of Blue" - 2014)
  • Malone, Tony (from "Drastic Measures 1979-1992" - 1992)
  • Margot Macdonald, Lea, Deeme Katson, & Grace Griffith (from "Strathmore Presents - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2009)
  • Marian Hoiting Kwartet (from "Celebrate The Heart" - 1999)
  • Marsyas  (from "V mýdlových bublinách (Live 1973-1978)" - 2012) [buy at Amazon]
  • Martin, Kathleen A. (- )
  • Martin, Sally  (from "Another Time, Another Place" - 2007)
  • Matthews, Julie (from "Festival Folk Sing Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
  • Mesland, Ron (from "Uiterwaarden " - 2007)
  • Mills, Josie (- 2008)
  • Murray, Martha Wilke (from "South of Somewhere" - 2010) [buy at Amazon]
  • National Prayer Breakfast (from "Loosies '15-16" - 2016)
  • Nereide (from "Nereide sings Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
  • Olsiewicz, Krystyna  (from "Encyclopediac 2" - 1999)
  • Rachel Z Trio (from "Moon At The Window" - 2002)
  • Radiator Hospital (from "Mall Of America" - 2013)
  • Random Maxx (from "Senseless Beauty" - 1999)
  • Raug, Pia (from "Saga" - 1979)
  • Real Time (from "Hell And High Water" - 2004)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue & Court And Spark - Live At Dizzy's" - 2011)
  • Sagorin, Jinny (from "It's For You" - 2004)
  • Sally Barker - Joni Mitchell Project (from "Conversation: The Joni Tapes" - 2010)
  • Sandbloom, Kevin (from "Sandbloom Still Blue" - 2011)
  • Santing, Mathilde (from "Both Sides Now" - 2016)
  • Schettino, Gemma (- 2004)
  • Simpson, Kathy (from "Vagabond" - 2011)
  • Smith, Sara (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 1974)
  • Sorenson, Sutton (from "Long, Long Time" - 2012)
  • Spinelli, Tony (from "Blue Rose of Memphis" - 2002)
  • The Beth Custer Ensemble (from "UnderCover, Faultline Studios and Kalx Present: Joni Mitchell's Blue" - 2012)
  • The Practicers (from "Smooth & Raw" - 2000)
  • The Rite Of Spring (from "Seaward Robin" - 1978)
  • Therapy (from "One Night Stand" - 1973)
  • Travels With Charley (from "Uncle Herb's Amusements" - )
  • Universal Honey (from "Back To The Garden" - 1992)
  • Usdan, Ralph (- 2006)
  • Vocal Point (from "Toad" - 1996)
  • What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? (from "Other People's Words" - 2009)
  • White On Black (from "White On Black" - 1974)
  • Will Taylor And Strings Attached (from "Back To The Garden: A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]

Comments on Carey

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matalamoon on

Sal and I were in Crete and thought about following Joni and Graham Nash's hippie troglodyte example and spend a night or two in a cave. The caves weren't very appealing, so we slept out under the Matala moon and starry dome. It was very lovely, apart from the fact that the wind was in from Africa and we didn't get much sleep.
At the harbour some 'freak' had painted in very large letters: 'George say ...Live for today . Tomorrow never come.' I agree time to ' toast to nothing' and get back to the garden.....

bethny on

If you love this song, as I do, you must listen to the Dianne Davidson version, recorded in the early 1970's but just made available for the first time on CDBaby in 2015.

I landed here while googling for the lyrics, didn't realize Joni Mitchell, one of my all-time favorite song writers, had written it. Now off to listen to the Joni version.

Dielle on

I love this song - from one of my favourite albums of Joni. Great tune, uplifting and great to sing too!

dalex99 on

The freaks were the people living in the caves and the soldiers they came now and then to throw them out. At least I think so, it's been so long. I too find this a beautiful song, usually happy to hear it again, sometimes choke up thinking of good times gone forever. However, carpe diem, no?

pmlevine on

oh please, no other comments on Carey?
beautiful melodious song; as a survivor of the 60's the line "let's have a round for these freaks and solders, let's have a round for these friends of mine" resonates in me for some reason.

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