Crazy Mary with Michael, Anne, Jamie & Paul


Song Notes by Jamie
Michael wrote Crazy Mary early in his career. He based it on a woman
in his urban neighborhood of South Orange, New Jersey. They called her “The Cigarette Lady.” She stood on the corner offering inedible candy and sweets to Michael and his sisters, as they took walks with Aunt Mamie. Mamie insisted they politely accept, waiting til they were out of sight before telling them they could throw it away.

I’ve always pictured a reclusive Boo Radley type in Mary, and imagined her buried in a small town cemetery, like where I grew up in Crystal Lake. The inspirations for Michael’s lyrics always surprised me.

We performed Crazy Mary in musical revue Scarlet Confessions in 1999, at Victory Gardens Theater. It’s recorded here in a live broadcast on WFMT’s Folkstage. Host Rick Warren rebroadcast that program honoring Michael Smith on August 8, 2020.


Anne, Paul and I will reprise it Sept 26 Folkstage Tribute to Michael, missing him greatly.

Listen here to Crazy Mary

Crazy Mary

In the lamplight burning low
And dimly thru enchanted woods
She rocked beside the fire
That was never lit
And as we ran on by
Pretending to be frightened
We would shout and laugh at Crazy Mary


Crazy Mary from Londonderry
Lives next door to the cemetery
How many lovers have you buried
Crazy Mary from Londonderry
Lives next door to the cemetery
Crazy Mary from Londonderry
We would shout running scared
Across the green and golden paths
That led us home
Away from Crazy Mary

She would never answer us
Just smile thru the window softly
Wild-eyed and wild-haired
But we were sure that in the dark of night
She cursed us soundly
Casting spells and stuff
To turn us into donkeys

So they went the summer years
Each one more fleeting than the last one
Rushing down the green and golden paths
And soon the woods were not enchanted any more
For we had grown
And we’d forgotten Crazy Mary

So it comes that older now
We stand upon this windswept moor
The lonely stone before us testifies
That Crazy Mary rocks and smiles
And dreams her dreams somewhere
But not where little kids can follow after

And on the stone these words: dear friend
Please write me down as one who loved
The raven-haired and laughing lads
Who swore that they would marry me
But soon their sons came running by
And here I lie forgotten, Crazy Mary

In the lamplight burning low
And dimly thru enchanted woods
We think about the sins that we commit
Along the green and golden paths of growing up
We light the fire
And say a prayer for Crazy Mary
Crazy Mary from Londonderry…

Music and Lyrics by Michael P. Smith, ASCAP
Recorded at WFMT studio

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