Peter Mayer’s “Japanese Bowls”

When I first heard this song on a 2011 episode of “A Prairie Home Companion” and the blogged about it, I had no idea that people would love the song so and respond to the post.. I’m so happy that people like it.

I’ve had some comments from people who have had trouble downloading Jearlyn Steele’s performance. It’s still available on the PHC website. Just click on Segment 3 of the audio icon. I believe it’s also on one of Steele’s CDs available in the Pretty Good Goods Catalog.

I also tried additional YouTube searches. Here’s performance of it by Peter Mayer himself, with background on what inspired the song. Enjoy! Also check out some of his other songs.

Here’s a video with lyrics:

The Sounds of Sickness

Everyone in my household is coming down with something. I don’t have it as bad as described in the following song, but I have been trying to laugh to keep my spirits up while keeping warm, drinking tea, and grabbing for nearby Kleenex. I never liked Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence,” but I thoroughly enjoyed this NPR parody from “A Prairie Home Companion” several years ago. Stay well, everyone, and enjoy.


The Sound of Sickness lyrics
Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hello darkness, my old friend
I have gone to bed again
Because a virus came in to me
And I’m feeling tired and gloomy
And my head hurts and I’m achy and I’m hot
And full of snot
I hear the sound of sickness


I have a fever and I ache
Because I made a big mistake
When I taught my class in Sunday school
And those kids began to sniff and drool
While I was teaching them the parables of Jesus
I heard their sneezes
And all the sounds of sickness


I came home and went to bed
And felt a throbbing in my head
And I’m getting the idea
I will soon have diarhhea
And I can’t go out for fear I might explode
And drop a load
And hear the sound of sickness

And in the drugstore light I saw,
Ten thousand people maybe more.
People shivering in their V-necks
Buying Benadryl and Kleenex.
And Vapo-rub and aspirin (AH CHOO)
God bless you.
It is the sound of sickness.


“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
How it feels to be laid low
Why am I the one who’s fated
To be so awfully nauseated
And something like silent raindrops fell
And what a smell
I hear the sounds of sickness


And the people bowed and prayed
For relief and for first aid
For they had it without question
Awful nasal congestion
And fatigue and achiness, the whole bit
They felt like crap
And heard the sounds of sickness


And heard the sounds of sickness.

FN (PLUGGED UP): This is Fred Newman. I’m not going to make it in to work today.

And heard the sound of sickness.

The Sound of Sickness
—originally: “The Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon © 1964 Paul Simon
—new lyrics: Garrison Keillor © 2007 Maia Maia Music (BMI)