The Honeymoon Agenda

by Mike + Ruthy

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    Our debut duo record now in it's third pressing. Full-color, four-panel certified green "wallet" with vegetable inks and matte finish. Beautiful photography by Cassandra Jenkins. Design by Ruthy Ungar.

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about

The recording of this collection of mostly-love-songs was inspired by our friend and producer, José Ayerve, who offered to record our first duo record for us as a wedding present. We are grateful to have such thoughtful and talented friends.

CD Review: Mike & Ruthy, The Honeymoon Agenda
by Peter Aaron, January 25, 2008

When most newlyweds take their honeymoons, they jet off to some sunny, all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. Not the Mammals’ Michael and Ruth Ungar Merenda. After receiving the wedding gift of recording time from producer Jose Ayerve, the young couple opted to spend their postnuptials at home in West Hurley making their first album as a duo. Be elated they did: This simply beautiful, organically crafted (and well-titled) session references the Mammals’ neo-string band tack and folk roots (fiddler and guitarist Ruthy is the daughter of famed fiddler Jay Ungar) and also brings a trough of more contemporary influences (brilliant covers of Tom Waits, Etta James, Bob Dylan, even Hella’s Aaron Ross).

This disc is a 40-minute expression of love, one that works on several levels. There’s the obvious tier of the couple’s love for each other: the near whisper of guitarist/banjoist Mike’s “All the Time” or Ruthy’s vocal caressing of the Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” which almost makes us blush and find somewhere else to be. Then there’s the duo’s amorous reverence for the folk tradition, which to them mandates reinventing—not coddling—the classics; Mike’s arrangement of “I’m Going to Get My Baby Out of Jail” overflows with dirty Neil Young guitars. But peel back another layer to find a love for the act of music-making itself and the warming hearth it represents for these folk-reared kids; Ruthy’s stepmom, Molly Mason, contributes bass to “Beg and Borrow,” the romping ode of an artist scraping by. Here’s hoping the couple’s anniversaries yield more records this good.

credits

released January 1, 2007

Produced + engineered by José Ayerve
at Humble Abode Music, West Hurley, NY
Mastered by Scott Petito at NRS in Catskill, NY
Photography by Cassandra Jenkins
at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock, NY

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Mike + Ruthy Woodstock, New York

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Love,

m + r

"Easily a new favorite" - Daytrotter
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Track Name: All the Time
I wanna fill the sky with you
I wanna be your one love truly and all the time
I wanna break free from this maze
I wanna be free to graze on you all the time

I wanna fall in love
I wanna call it love
I wanna haul up all this love with you all the time
I wanna be in love
I wanna see you in love
I be knee deep in love with you all the time

I wanna feel the night again
I wanna be your best friend I'll call you all the time
And times when we're alone
I wanna call you on the phone I'll bug you all the time

I wanna fall in love
I wanna call it love
I wanna haul up all this love with you all the time
I wanna be in love
I wanna see you in love
I be knee deep in love with you all the time
I be knee deep in love with you all the time
I be knee deep in love with you all the time
Track Name: Something's Got a Hold on Me
Sometimes I get a good feeling
I get a feeling that I never, never had before
And I got to tell you right now
I believe, I really do believe that

Something's got a hold on me
Oh, it must be love
Something's got a hold on me right now
Oh, it must be love

I never felt like this before
Something's got a hold on me that won't let go
I believe I'd die if I only could
I sure feel strange, but I sure feel good
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh
Baby, Oh, it must be love

Let me tell you now
Something's got a hold on me
Oh, it must be love
Something's got a hold on me right now
Oh, it must be love

I got a feeling, I feel so strange
Everything about me seems to have changed
Step by step, I got a brand new walk
I even sound sweeter when I talk
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh
Baby, Oh, it must be love

Let me tell you now
My heart feels heavy, my feet feel light
I shake all over, but I feel alright
I never felt like this before
Something's got a hold on me that won't let go
I never thought it could happen to me
My heart was heavy when in misery
I never thought it could be this way
Love's sure gonna put a hurting on me

Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh
Baby, Oh, it must be love
Yeah he walks like love

And he talks like love

Makes me feel alright

In the middle of the night . . .
Track Name: I'm Going to Get My Baby Outta Jail
I’m going to get my baby outta jail
I’m going to get my baby outta jail
She said she wasn’t guilty, and she wouldn’t pay no bail
I’m going to get my baby outta jail

I must have walked a valley on my floor
I must have walked a valley on my floor
Just waitin’ on her foot steps and a-knockin at my door
I’m going to get my baby outta jail

Just one more thing a-workin’ on my mind
One more thing a-workin’ on my mind
High court costs and lawyer fees ain’t something like a fine
I’m going to get my baby outta jail

I’m going to get my baby outta jail
I’m going to get my baby outta jail
She said she wasn’t guilty, and she wouldn’t pay no bail
I’m going to get my baby outta jail
Track Name: Short While
We're all ridin' on that lonesome train
Mind searchin' down a slow road
Cause Iron wheels burn rails too fast
Waitin' to ease a heavy load

Even trouble plagues a pretty girl's mind
And a rich man's Trump palace halls
So much on earth lasts a short while
Except these dreams and heavens call

Even trouble plagues a pretty girl's mind
And a rich man's Trump palace halls
So much on earth lasts a short while
Except these dreams and heavens call

We're all ridin' on that lonesome train
Mind searchin' down a slow road
Cause Iron wheels burn rails too fast
Waitin' to ease a heavy load

Iron wheels burn rails too fast
Waitin' to ease a heavy load
Track Name: Whimsical / Hysterical / Suburban
Me and Jane are one and the same we are one and the same tonight
She wears her hair in a bow I know her intensions are right
And her highest goal at least as I'm told it pertains to theory of flight
Oh but I am undone that's why I asked her not to come
I've been sad but I'm not the only one

We sit in the shadows we are teasin' the fire we are teasin' the fire and the light
And the king and the queen are parading around as if they own the night
And I exclaim "I could never be the same, I never could be fake if I tried!"
Well, the queen starts to hum, says, "Put my poison in my rum."
She's been high but she's not the only one

The rich and the poor they are one and the same they are one and the same with time
And the business men are humping the neon signs they are humping neon signs with delight
And I said to my friend, "Have you ever seen such a thing?"
He said, "If I were Hemmingway I'd write."
Oh, but he would not heed he must have had something up his sleeve
Oh he once was free but now he's just like me

The street smells like semen the air is a demon and it's making a firey blow
And I smell tobacco it's curlin' and streamin' I'm dreamin' I'm dreamin I didn't know
That fewer and fewer lists I believe in and some say it dies with the flow
Oh, but I, I am carnal and this will all come and pass tomorrow
I've been sad but it's only self pity / sorrow

Me and Jane we turn in the same way we turn in the same way we came
On her head is a crown she moves me with pain I am stuck on her like a stain
She says life is a highway it's a wide open highway and you're traffic if you don't change lanes
That's why I asked her to stay she said "That's something I thought you would never say"
She is pharmaceutical but hey, that's okay
Track Name: I'll Be Your Mirror
I'll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don't know
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you're home

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you

I find it hard to believe you don't know
The beauty that you are
But if you don't let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won't be afraid

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you

I'll be your mirror
Track Name: A Head is Better than a Leg
WE LINE UP AS WE ALWAYS LINE UP

SIGN THE BOOK TO PROVE YR HERE

SATAN, SATAN CAN’T TOUCH ME OR TALK

TALK TO ME, LIKE I TALK TO ME



A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN
A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN
A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN A LEG



FAMOUS IS AN ATTITUDE

50,000,000 WEAPONS CAN’T BE WRONG

SEX IS KILLING US TODAY

EVERYBODY WANTS MY MONEY

WHEN SHE LOOKS GOOD YOU LOOK GREAT AND



A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN
A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN
A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN A LEG

WE LINE UP AS WE ALWAYS LINE

SIGN THE BOOK TO PROVE YR HERE

I KNOW EVERY BODY KNOWS

BUT I DON’T KNOW EVERYBODY WE SING



A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN
A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN
A HEAD, A HEAD IS BETTER THAN A LEG
Track Name: Beg and Borrow
Beg and Borrow


I eat chicken and I boil the bones
To pay off my student loans
I don;t talk on mobile phones
I got all my original chromosomes

Well insured I’ll never be
At least not here in the home of the free
House catches fire go live in a tree
I’m a little, little fish in a great big sea

The poppies will put you to sleep
Will you find your way back out?
O, don’t breath too deep
And keep yr money near yr mouth

I’m gonna borrow, I’m gonna beg
I’m gonna beg and borrow
I’m gonna borrow, I’m gonna beg
I’ll pay you back tomorrow

I’d rather get my food from the farmers hand
Than the food scientist at the fast food stand
No bag, no box no rubber band
No I don’t need no middle man

I see my eye lids are droopin’
But they’re not quite shut
There’s a funny feelin’ down in my gut
Something’s wrong but I don’t know what
My hands are bloody but I’m not cut

The poppies will put you to sleep
Will you find your way back out?
O, don’t breath too deep
And keep yr money near yr mouth

I’m gonna borrow, I’m gonna beg
I’m gonna beg and borrow
I’m gonna borrow, I’m gonna beg
I’ll pay you back tomorrow
Track Name: For this Love
For this Love

I just wanted to feel her
Washing up against me like the shore
Never knew what this feeling was for
But it’s love

Tricks are turned and lives are split
So many good loves up and quit
I wont be that hypocrite
For this love

Love is soft but it’s hard to find
I hope you never change your mind
I’ll be cool and you’ll be kind
For this love

Doubted you for the thousandth time
Can’t believe yr still by my side
Nowit’s so hardfor us to hide
From this love

Every morning that we get to
I just gotta give thanks to you
Never knew if we’d make it through
This love
For this love
Track Name: Long Way Home
Well I stumbled in the darkness
I'm lost and alone
Though I said I'd go before us
And show the way back home
There a light up ahead
I can't hold onto her arm
Forgive me pretty baby but I always take the long way home

Money's just something you throw
Off the back of a train
Got a head full of lightning
A hat full of rain
And I know that I said
I'd never do it again
And I love you pretty baby but I always take the long way home

I put food on the table
And roof overhead
But I'd trade it all tomorrow
For the highway instead
Watch your back keep your eyes shut tight
Your love's the only thing I've ever known
One thing for sure pretty baby I always take the long way home

You know I love you baby
More than the whole wide world
You are my woman
I know you are my pearl
Let's go out past the party lights
Where we can finally be alone
Come with me and we can take the long way home
Come with me, together we can take the long way home
Come with me, together we can take the long way home
Track Name: Diamond Ring Rag
[Instrumental]