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gun-and-roses

In an alternate universe…

 

Guns N’ Roses officially disbands after Slash & Duff leave in the mid-nineties. The original members all go into self-imposed seclusion until 2016, when the lucrative re-union offers grow too large to ignore. Before the tour, the band hits the studio to pool all of their best ideas that have laid dormant over the last 20 years. This is that album (SPOTIFY playlist link at bottom of page)…

 

Some ground rules… All of the material had to come post-1996, & I included classic members only. Sorry Gilby. I wanted to include 12 songs and roughly match running time of APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION.

 

Every band member had to be represented somehow. As per later records, IZZY gets a showcase song with his vocal. DUFF does not, but his influence in VELVET REVOLVER is enough. As a show of good faith, I even gave the much-marginalized STEVEN ADLER pole position, his signature cowbell anchoring the appropriate lyric, “You got to fall before you rise.” That could be the mantra for the whole project.

 

Split into 2 sides as of vinyl as GOD (AXL) intended, the first ends with the slow burning BACK FROM CALI, & the next kicks off with the sirens of SUCKER TRAIN BLUES. The QUEEN-like THIS I LOVE ends the record on a somber note, with a tour de force vocal performance. They played it a lot on the tour, so it’s inclusion is justified. SLASH has been ripping it up on this one live.

 

Other than that, it’s just a rock record with some fast songs mixed with slower ones. Deep cuts mixed with sure-fire hits. What else could you want from the best hard rock line-up of all time?!!!

 

More about the author at…

www.marq-desouza.com

To begin, I’ll just say if you wanna get into VH, just get the whole discography. The original six-pack, plus the last record. There is really no ‘weak’ track on any of them, and it paints a full portrait of the band chronologically. Also, all their albums are really short. Like, barely a half hour each for the most part! Easy to get through. The latest album is surprisingly strong. I highly recommend it. It’s grown on me a lot. Every song is good, and built like a tank. No weak spots anywhere. Makes the last 20 years of Aerosmith even more sad. So this list is really just a bunch of my mumbled thoughts on (more or less) my favorites loosely in order. I stayed away from some the radio staples (Aint Talkin’ ‘Bout Love, Everybody Wants Some) just to give more room to the lesser known Waldos of their world. If you get the full-lengths , those singles will jump out at you anyway, this is meant to be more the esoteric ramblings of an unabashed fanboy. The album each song appears on is listed in parenthesis at the end of it’s entry. (1) VAN HALEN (2) VAN HALEN 2 (3) WOMEN & CHILDREN FIRST (4) FAIR WARNING (5) DIVER DOWN (6) 1984 (7) A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH

  1. PANAMA- Yeah, it’s a radio hit. The video was played to death. You already know it, but listen again closer than close. It’s slowly crept its way up to become my favorite VH song of all time. There is no better groove than the one they get into once those drums come in ‘full blastin’, top down.’ Diamond Dave, the model citizen with zero discipline.’ (6)
  2. UNCHAINED- ‘Non-stop talker, what a rocker’. I recorded this in my first band when we were about 14. No small achievement with its rhythmic twists & turns. It’s their go-to concert opener, from Roth to Cherone back (mercifully) to Roth. Even Sammy had to begrudgingly sing it nightly, no doubt wondering what in the devil ‘blue-eyed murder in a size 5 dress’ means. It’s ‘that’ type of song. Even when they moved it down the setlist, it demanded to be brought back to the start (me up?). A magic moment caught on tape from a band critically maligned at the time, but like the Toastmaster General says, “Most rock critics like Elvis Costello because most rock critics LOOK like Elvis Costello!” (4)
  3. SO THIS IS LOVE- ‘Check me out on the good side here,’ Dave recommends before launching into one of his best, most off-the-cuff, yet perfectly placed lyrics. ‘Catch that smile & I hit the roof’, which the band then does. One of my initial favorites back in the day, & still up there now. (4)
  4. DIRTY MOVIES – Ode to a pornstar. ‘who’s that babe with the fabulous shadow? so obscene but to me it don’t matter’ ‘her movies get down like you won’t find in her hometown’. Breaks down in the middle with Dave remembering when that girl was prom queen (an ad lib no doubt). Some rare electric slide from Eddie throughout, while the intro/middle is a study in bass-guitar harmonics. Some songs on this list could be interchanged for similar ones in the canon, but this one sounds like nothing else. (4)
  5. THE FULL BUG- Dave solo-acoustic in the intro, all big, black, & bluesy before the rock brigade crashes in. Features my single favorite Diamond-ism, directed no doubt as advice to some misguided groupie…‘Just remember when you follow through, bending over isn’t planned.’ (5)
  6. MEAN STREETS- That groove! No wonder Earth, Wind & Fire opened the ADKOT tour. Dave again proving to be the king of announcing (more like demanding) the impending guitar solo. ‘Dance baby!’ whip-cracking orders to Ed in this one before a maelstrom of note-dense fury. (4)
  7. I’M THE ONE- If I had to play someone just one VH tune, it’d be this. It encapsulates every element that made them California Gods. The guitar playing is super human. The drums do that double bass shuffle that almost no one else even tries. The harmonies are signature Mikey. There’s even a barbershop quartet breakdown after the solo. ‘We came here to entertain you, leaving here we aggravate you, don’t you know it means the same to me?’ basically summing up the band credo. (1)
  8. HANG ‘EM HIGH- One of my favorite Ed solos. A perfect example of the fact that somehow, when you can only make out bits of the lyrics, that makes it even better. A Spaghetti Western directed by Russ Meyer. (5)
  9. DROP DEAD LEGS- My favorite intro, bits of cowbell pole-dancing around electric guitar picking. The strongest production of all of their records. When Alex comes in, it’s a bone crushing, slightly behind the beat groove that won’t quit. Some nice falsetto from Dave. (6)
  10. HEAR ABOUT IT LATER – My favorite bridge, second favorite intro. I can’t believe they resurrected it for the last tour. I always thought it was forgotten by all but me. (4)
  11. … AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK – The first time they’d used keyboards on record. A Wurlitzer through a distortion pedal. Filled with Roth-asides, the best being, ‘Have you seen Jr.’s grades?’ just before the solo. (3)
  12. ON FIRE – Their heaviest rocker by far, & opener during the salad days. In a passing of the torch story, Ozzy Osbourne admits that warm-up act VH blew away Black Sabbath nightly on their tour of 1978, leading to the Oz leaving the group. I totally picture this being the song that made the Prince Of Darkness throw his hands up, & realize that the new guard was coming to take over. (1)
  13. LITTLE GUITARS – One of their sunniest melodies. A perfect pop track. Dave shows a tender side.  Nice drum intro that I’m surprised hasn’t been sampled to hip-hop death. Some pretty Eddie flamenco/metal (flametal?) guitars. (5)
  14. TOP JIMMY- Features Ed’s strongest rhythm playing, and the perfect example of ‘the brown sound’, (google it!). The song is about a legendary band that used to rule the Sunset Strip when the boys were just starting out. Dave requests, ‘shake it baby,’ just before the solo, & boy do they ever. (6)
  15. TAKE YOUR WHISKEY HOME –  Since no one can play electric like Eddie, he decides to play acoustic like Eddie. Dave being scolded for liking that bottle better than the rest. I don’t think they ever did it live. A shame. (3)
  16. LIGHT UP THE SKY – Best drum break they ever did (of many). A barn-burner if there ever was one. I don’t think I have a clue what most of the lyrics are, my friend Shane used to quote them to me, & I’m sure he was way off. (2)
  17. WOMEN IN LOVE- They just started playing this again recently after a 30 year absence. (2)
  18. HOT FOR TEACHER- Alex’ shining studio moment. On the most anticipated rock re-union tour of all time (sorry Sting) in 2007, Dave always made sure to emphasize the line ‘heard you missed us, we’re back,’ to thunderous applause. (6)
  19. I’LL WAIT – A non-wimpy keyboard song. Dave (& all of them) maturing. Evocative, sensual, sensitive. Too bad they (fired?) Roth (quit?) after this album, as it pointed the way to exploring new ground, but not losing power (as they ended up doing with Hagar the Horrible)  (6)
  20. SINNERS SWING‘Alright you sinners, swing!,’ commands the voice of degeneration. Dave later sings the F-word (to my pre-teen delight when I first got it). The older brother behind the kit imitating a jazzy Bam-Bam. A jitterbug for the Atari 2600 generation.(4)
  21. BEAUTIFUL GIRLS – Famous mostly for being licensed by Schmitt’s Gay Beer for the commercial starring Sandler & Farley. Some perfect BG’s by Michael Anthony. No other band makes music that rocks so hard, but swings so free. I think we’re gonna like it here. Ah, Yeah. (2)
  22. OUTTA LOVE AGAIN- The single greatest cowbell hit ever just before the solo. They unearthed this song on the last tour for the first time in over 30 years, much to my astonishment. Must’ve been the kids idea. (2)
  23. COULD THIS BE MAGIC – If I’m not mistaken, the only fully acoustic song in the cannon. Eddie sliding away while Dave channels his inner Al Jolsen. Love the ‘Edward…thank you’ that starts the solo. Also notable for the fact that it’s the only VH tune with a female singer on it (Nicolette Larson, who worked with Neil Young alot, was in the studio next door, and asked over on a whim) (3)
  24. BOTTOMS UP – My drum teacher, when I was a kid, told me his cover band opened with this song. I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever heard. An ode to drinking from the man who brings a 26 of JD onstage & says,”This aint ice tea in here. Who do you think we are, Quiet Riot?”. (2)
  25. BIG BAD BILL (IS SWEET WILLIAM NOW) – A jazz tune notable for the fact that Van Halen patriarch JAN plays Clarinet on it. (5)
  26. RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL- Track 1, side 1 of the most important hard rock debut platter of all time. With prominent placement like that, it must be good. A guitar solo so wacky, catchy, & great that Ed decides to play it over again later in the song. (1)
  27. HOUSE OF PAIN- They close out their biggest album with a re-worked demo from a decade past, apparently at Alex’s insistence. I have the original version produced by Gene Simmons (who sorta discovered them, making an albums worth of demos). The best VH outro ever. Listen to Ed and Alex lock in as it’s fading out. Bye Dave. One break coming up. Things would never be the same again after this, until… (6)
  28. ME WISE MAGIC- …they were the same again. This song made the previous decade seem like just a bad dream. (from VH greatest hits)
  29. ROMEO DELIGHT – Dave’s ‘taking whiskey to the party tonight, & looking for somebody to squeeze.’ A concert staple to this very day. (3)
  30. SECRETS- No distortion on the guitars, or not much anyway. An under the wire type song. Overlooked for the most part, though performed plenty of times. Philosopher Dave behind the mic, taking his cue from American Indian greeting cards.  (5)
  31. GIRL GONE BAD – The summit of musical virtuosity. Probably the track that has their best ‘band’ performance on record. There a very few musicians that could pull off any of these parts, let alone tightly together. (6)
  32. SHE’S THE WOMAN- Re-worked from a seventies demo. Wolfie changing bits a bit, getting writing credit on something began 16 years before his birth. Dave the, ‘knight in shining pick up truck, before the city tows my other apartment.’  In awe of a gal who’s doorbell says, ‘bring it, or don’t ring it.’ (7)
  33. STAY FROSTY- A sequel of sorts to Ice Cream Man from the ground zero debut. Play them back to back & it sure doesn’t feel like 34 years have passed. Dave, now in his mid/late fifties, giving us such advice as ‘if you wanna be a monk, gotta cook a lot of rice,’ & ‘god is love, but get it in writing.’ (7)
  34. BLOOD & FIRE- The Diamond manages to slyly work his most oft repeated stage banter into the lyrics. ‘Look at all the people here tonight.’  This track is a great example of them firing on all cylinders, from the writing to playing. Eddie using his stereo Ripley guitar, which can pan each string separately left or right in the mix. (7)
  35. DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY- The quintessential VH summer jam. Eddie strums Hawaiian Ukulele style, albeit through enough wattage to be heard all the way to the Marshall (amplifier) Islands. The middle breakdown is all coconut percussion under cathedral harmonics. MVP for me is the big bro, whose wickedly tasteful choice of where to choke the hi-hats make the song slightly stagger in the best beach-buzz sort of way. “Oooh, baby baby,” indeed. (2)
  36. YOU & YOUR BLUES- Rather than his usual stream of (barely) consciousness, I get the feeling that Roth really took pains to sculpt these lyrics . A pastiche of common phrase blues idioms aimed at dismissing those whose “bad mood’s permanent”. Dave’s pathos hits home in the chorus, where he reaches vocal registers as high as any from the perfect six-pack of original albums. Perhaps though, I’m reading too much into the whole affair, & it’s all tongue firmly in cheek. After all, like the great (front)man once said, “Joke ’em if they can’t take a fuck”. (7)
  37. IN A SIMPLE RHYME– Happy hard rock? That’s about the best way I can describe this jubilant jam that dates to the backyard party days. Not sure how they decided to dust it off for their 3rd LP, but so glad they did. Alex the (muppet) Animal does his marching band best with a complex snare/kick syncopated rhythm. Eddie layers more than usual (at least for the early days), overdubbing some rare 12 string guitar. Mikey almost gets lost in the murk, but still manages some octave-based, Entwistle licks. Diamond Dave carries the wordy vocal with glee, sounding even happier when his brothers-in-arms join in on the heavenly chorus. (3)
  38. SOMEBODY GET ME A DOCTOR- A concert constant to this very day, the brothers actually let their long-suffering bassist grab a bit of glory with the lead vocal during the Cherone-era tour. This is the kind of basher that had the snooty critics of the age throwing around terms like, “dunderhead neanderthals”, & “mindlessly juvenile.” All the while, the rest of us unruly rockers screamed, “MORE PLEASE!”. (2)
tom
see/hear Volume 1 here… http://wp.me/p28Skk-1N 

Listen to Volume 2 here & read descriptions below… http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpFZMU5hBh3sTCPUdQ_cG7HrxTixgCjtX

PICTURE IN A FRAME – One of my favorite vocals by anyone, ever. A traditional chord pattern with simple, direct lyrics. Could’ve been written by Willie Nelson, who covered it years later. The sax that appears mid-way lends an elegant touch. The occasional creak of piano pedals prevent it from being too smooth. Extraneous noise seemed a recurring texture of the MULE VARIATIONS sessions. The whole record has the feel of a hi-tech, digital field recording.

SUCH A SCREAM – “The plow is red, the well is full/Inside the doll house of her skull/A cheetah coat fills up with steam/She’s such a scream.” “Shovelling coal inside my dreams.” Trading the wasp wing shaker buzz, & garbage pail percussion of the studio version for tight, full-band syncopated sax-funk, this concert take goes right into James Brown at the Apollo territory. From studio album to live album, you can time-warp the entire history of the blues, from African Voodoo chant right straight through to the Checkerboard Lounge. If that ain’t enough, the lyrics cut & paste in the best Burroughs tradition. Tom would later work with the Beat master on THE BLACK RIDER stage production, which actually featured William S. on lead vocals for a tune on the soundtrack album. Singing about removing your skin, & dancing around in your bones, he actually sounded more terrifying than Waits. No mean feat.

SHINY THINGS – Another short one. One of my favorite melodic pieces, back porch banjo mirroring the exquisite vocal line. I like how each section starts immediately after the previous one, not letting the bar play out. I rarely pay attention to lyrics unless something grabs me, & this song starts so curiously. “The things a crow puts in his nest/They’re always things he finds that shine best.” I heard that, & had my ear glued to the speaker. You could go anywhere with an opening line like that. Of course, Tom the romantic declares his one true wish in the final lines, “To be king there in your eyes/To be your only shiny thing.”

BLIND LOVE – This is as close to classic country & western as Tom gets. Keith Richards wastes little time introducing himself on the electric twanger, in full FARAWAY EYES mode. His tattered vocal peeks through occasionally as well. This whole track sounds like it could’ve been a late seventies/early eighties Glimmer Twins out-take.

YESTERDAY IS HERE – Quite the beguiling set of lyrics. It’s all set to a whistle-able, Disney-in-hell melody (a hellody?). Fun fact: The title was given to Tom by the main Munster himself, actor Fred Gwynne.

I’M STILL HERE – OK, after much deliberation, I’m proclaiming this the saddest of all Tom Waits songs. Clocks in at under 2 minutes, with some subtle orchestration nicely bubbling under the piano halfway through. The tag line, that universal lament, “You haven’t looked at me that way in years…” I almost lose it on that final title phrase, where his voice pushes the higher notes. He sounds almost too heartbroken to reach them.

JESUS GONNA BE HERE SOON –  This is the centre-piece of my play list, & one of the most puzzling songs in an already mercurial catalogue. Lyrically, at first it seems an irony-free, gospel-blues in the Blind Willie Johnson vein. Upon further study though, cracks in the armour begin to appear. A weariness in which the singer must trudge on convincing himself that salvation is just around the corner, though nothing in this long,hard life has given any indication for that to be true.
I couldn’t resist sharing 3 unique versions, as this song morphed from studio to the stages of the world.
First up is the album recording, stripped down to mostly gut-string bass & vocal. Then a live take (WATCH THE VIDEO IN THIS ONE).  Tom tosses glitter in to the crowd, & does his doom dance along to a Booker T. style, Stax shuffle. The stage is covered in sawdust, so that when he stomps, a cloud arises. In 1999, this was usually the second song sung from the stage, after he entered from the rear of the venue shout/singing the kick-off number, THE BLACK RIDER, through a bullhorn. I wish I could’ve included the delirious Vancouver version here, but this is almost as good.
The final version here is also live, but the accompaniment has a new dominating guitar line, backed by a Louisiana swamp dirge.

TIME –  A rare instance where lyrics also work as on-the-page poetry. Instant classic-just add music. More than a hint of mid-sixties Dylan, what with name checks of a parade of odd characters. A weeping Napoleon, the invisible fiance, & Matilda, among others. “The wind is making speeches, & the rain sounds like a round of applause.” “Memory’s like a train, you can see it getting smaller as it pulls away/& the things you can’t remember tell the things you can’t forget, that history puts a saint in every dream.”

GREEN GRASS – “& if the sky should fall, mark my words/We’ll catch mockingbirds.”  The melody is a subtle, minor key variation on the New Orleans funeral march, FLEE AS A BIRD/DIDN’T HE RAMBLE. That songs title is even quoted within the lyrics here, sort of like Dylan tipping his hat to the ST. JAMES INFIRMARY in BLIND WILLIE MCTELL. Fitting, as the subject matter seems to be Tom talking to a former lover visiting his grave. This live take has him reaching down to perhaps his lowest register vocal ever. Love that down-the-spiral-staircase melody. A rare (unless you like Guns N’ Roses) whistle-solo. How can you go wrong when your opening line is, “Lay your head where my heart used to be.”?

DOWN THERE BY THE TRAIN –  No sinner is beyond redemption in this solo-piano gospel. A cavalcade of history’s most reviled figures meet up for a ride into heaven. Tom testifying “I saw Judas Iscariot carrying John Wilkes Boothe.”  This song first appeared in a stellar take by Johnny Cash on his Rick Rubin produced comeback. In interview after interview, you could hear just how thrilled even a grizzled old vet like Tom was. The Man in Black sings the Black Rider. “I’ve never asked forgiveness & I’ve never said a prayer/I’ve never given of myself I’ve never truly cared/I’ve hurt the ones who loved me I’m still raising Cain/I’ve taken the low road and if you’ve done the same…”

THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING  (Not Me) – I always picture this song taking place a few hours after BAD LIVER & A BROKEN HEART (see pt 1 of play list), another song from the same record. A short, but perfect evocation of that blur of a night out at the dive bar. This insane TV performance is from a parody talk show hosted by Martin Mull & Fred Willard, complete with mock interview chock-full of one-liners. Vintage 70′s in every garish way. Must be seen to be believed. “The carpet needs a haircut, & the spotlight looks like a prison break.” “You can’t find your waitress with a Geiger counter/& she hates you & your friends & you just can’t get served without her.”

IN THE COLISEUM – The only version that counts, as far as I’m concerned, is the astounding concert arrangement from the 1999 tour. The setting is ancient Rome, where women, “control their men, with razors & with wrists.” Marc Ribot laying down the most unorthodox lead guitar lines behind the vocal. The lyric, “This one’s for the balcony, & this one’s for the floor,” seems a tailor made audience pleaser. The follow-up line, “As the Senators decapitate the Presidential whore”, umm, not so much! Again, Vancouver 1999 is definitive for me, ranking as the concert I most kick myself for missing. This doesn’t hit the heights of that, but it is from the same tour.

FALL OF TROY – Assuming this was some sort of ancient history lesson, I used listen through without much thought, as it’s on the massive ORPHANS box of rarities, & that’s a lot of material to digest. Turns out, it’s at least partly about someone named Troy! Then one day, I found this great radio performance (possibly it’s only ever live airing), & I could not get the first or last lines out of my head. “It’s the same with men as with horses & dogs. Nothing wants to die.” “My legs ache, my heart is sore, the well is full of pennies.” A sudden, ominous minor key chord ends the proceedings. An American tragedy sketched out with the finest of detail. “It’s hard to say grace, & to sit in the place/Of someone missing at the table/Mom’s hair sprayed tight/& her face in her hands/Watching TV for answers to me/After all she’s only human/& she’s trying to find her own way home.”

DEAD AND LOVELY – Film noir jazz. This has one of those melodies where you can tell exactly what’s coming next, but that in no way diminishes the impact. One of his best recorded ensemble pieces, his son Casey on drums. The bridge brilliantly inverses its lyric on the reprise, with Tom first warning, “never let a fool kiss ya” , before sounding the equally wise, “never let a kiss fool ya.”

JOHNSBURG, ILLINOIS – A few things set this song apart from being just another tear-jerker. First, its brevity. At a buck & a half, it is the shortest song on my list. Second, it’s specificity. Tom’s wife Kathleen is actually from the title city. Her impact on his career , especially as a co-writer, should not be underestimated. Finally, that slightly dissonant resolution on the piano during the final phrase is unexpectedly jarring (in a good way). More from Tom. “It’s just like a feeling of a sailor somewhere in a cafe, who opens his wallet & turns to the guy next to him & shows him the picture while he’s talking about something else & says: “Oh, here. That’s her.” & then closes his wallet”

CONEY ISLAND BABY – If you want a carnival waltz that sounds like it’s being played from a scratchy 78 through a 1920′s phonograph, then look no further. “When she’s with me, I’m the richest man in the town.” A woman so perfect that, “the stars make wishes on her eyes.” That bridge is just perfect, with his voice slightly breaking at the high notes. “She’s a princess in a red dress. She’s the moon in the mist to me.”

GOD’S AWAY ON BUSINESS/MISERY IS THE RIVER OF THE WORLD – Apocalypse now, cabaret style. I see these as sister songs, from the same record. As nihilistic as it gets, but after all, “If there’s one thing you can say about mankind, it’s that there’s nothing kind about man”. ”All the good in the world you can fit inside a thimble, & still have room for you & me.” Our sages advice? “Everybody row!”

I’LL SHOOT THE MOON – Let’s cap this off with something silly. A romantic huckster’s plea. I thought this was a cover until only recently. A cross between ALL OF ME, & MINNIE THE MOOCHER.  Wonder what happens if you call that phone number?!
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Kathleen Brennan, Tom’s wife, & indispensable writing partner since the early 80’s, has classified Tom as writing two types of songs, Grand Weepers & Grim Reapers. I’ve tried to put a good mix here. Some real brawlers, ballers, & bastards (to use another TW self-description).

I kept off any of his “hits?” by proxy like OLE ’55 (The Eagles), DOWNTOWN TRAIN (Rod), BAD AS ME (Tom Jones), DOWN IN THE HOLE (recorded as theme to The Wire by a different artist each season), or his signature track, TOM TRAUBERT’S BLUES (probably his best known song, despite the incongruous title). Those are all highly recommended, & you can search them out too.

This is by no means a list of my favorites in order. Looking at my list for Volume 2, I’m just as excited! I’ve saved some of the best for later.  Playlist is the link directly below…

HOLD ON –  Busting out of a town whose motto is… “If you live it up, you won’t live it down.” Some great wisdom throughout… “If you share my bed you share my name”. “You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops.” On the MULE tour in the late nineties, he would elongate the final word of the devastating line…“I miss your broken china voice, oh how I wish you were still here with me.” Shivers every time. “St. Louis got the best of me.” He sure names a lot of places in his songs. When asked why… “Every song needs to be anatomically correct: You need weather, you need the name of the town, something to eat – every song needs certain ingredients to be balanced. You’re writing a song and you need a town, and you look out the window and you see “St. Louis Cardinals” on some kid’s T-shirt. And you say, “Oh, we’ll use that.””

ON THE NICKEL – A Hobo’s lullaby written for a little seen indie film of the same name. This live take is from when it was relatively new. This song just floors me.

FISH & BIRD – The sad tale of a love affair that can never be realized. Don’t cry though, when it’s clear out, there’s a whale on the moon, & a bird on the tide. Another nominee for saddest song. Orchestrated so well. Is that a triangle I hear in there? And one more thing… If Tom Waits calls a whale a fish, then goddamnit, it’s a fish!

EARTH DIED SCREAMING – The apocalyptic kick-off track on Tom’s best album, Bone Machine. It’s like a voice coming up from under hell, horses (of the apocalypse) clip-clop sounds the percussive accompaniment. “The great day of wrath has come, here’s mud in your big red eye/The poker’s in the fire & the locusts take the sky.” 

TAKE IT WITH ME – Framed by an absolutely gorgeous piano melody line, this 1999 song seems to magically take us back to Tom’s early solo-troubadour days. This might be my favorite ballad of his. Imagine being so lonely that you’ve… “worn the faces off all the cards.”  The line about champagne is actually quoting Anton Chekhov’s last words. The final verse is genius, as each line contracts in on itself like a lyrical Babushka doll until all that’s left is his woman’s heart. Upon release of the record, an interviewer teared up describing the effect of this song to him while sitting in a diner. Tom’s response? Holding up 2 pieces of toast in front of his eyes, so he couldn’t see her cry. He always seems to go for a true grand piano sounds, slightly murky, not too bright like the electronic kind. Listen for them, & you can hear the piano pedals loudly through the whole thing. Yeah!

DIAMOND IN YOUR MIND – Not on any official album, just a hard to find bonus track on the mammoth ORPHANS vinyl box set. This song was donated to Solomon Burke for his comeback record about a decade ago. Tom did it live with the Kronos Quartet for a charity show that was also recorded. That’s the version here. complete with crowd sing-along, & a joke in the intro. Some great lines too. “Everything is sacred, nothing is profane/Money is just something you throw off the back of a train.”Plus, the crowd pleasing (listen to his perfect timing on the phrasing)… “She’s like a wrecking ball that’s no longer connected to the chain.”

ALICE – Title track of the soundtrack album based on the stage play telling the story of Lewis Carroll’s obsession with the real-life young girl upon he would cast into literary Wonderland. “There’s only Alice.” The skates on the pond spell her name, but trace it twice & you’ll fall through. When he compares her hair to,“meadow grass”, I thought he was saying “metal grass”, which is actually cooler (make mental note for future lyric). “How does the ocean rock the boat?/How did the razor find my throat?”

INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM – This is a song only Tom could’ve written, sounding like a demented Oompah Howlin’ Wolf. He said at his Rock Hall induction (after a great intro from Neil Young) that, to him, songs are just… “interesting things to do with the air.” This song floats dreamlike out of nowhere, light as a feather, then fades back into nothing, making you wonder if it was really here at all. Always a concert favorite.

BLACK WINGS – A spaghetti-Western flavored character study of a mysterious phantom figure who floats through history, rumored to have… “killed a man with a guitar string!” “When the moon is a cold chiseled dagger/& it’s sharp enough to draw blood from a stone/He rides through your dreams on a coach and horses/& the fence posts in the moonlight look like bones.” “Well they’ve stopped trying to hold him with mortar, stone, & chain/He broke out of every prison/Boots mount the staircase, the door is flung back open/He’s not there for he has risen!”

DAY AFTER TOMORROW – The second greatest anti-war song ever written (see Iron Maiden, “Two Minutes To Midnight” but that’s for a future list). Protest street cred given by Joan Baez covering it. Takes the viewpoint of a weary soldier so close to coming home. He misses the mundane everyday tasks of life, like raking leaves & shovelling snow, but over here… “I just do what I am told/We’re just the gravel on the road.” Full of hopeful anticipation, but knowing only the lucky ones make it back. “How does God choose? Who’s prayers does he refuse?”

EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL – “A man has only one thing on his mind.” Pure devil lust set to a nice Bossa Nova bounce. Unexpected modulation half way through. Tom has said… “I like a beautiful song that tells you terrible things.” This one lists the lies of the world through a misogynistic pessimist’s eyes. Advice on just who to believe in a world that…“don’t care what a soldier does in town/It’s all hanging in the windows by the pound.” Tom only wants to hear his woman… “purr & moan.” After all, she’s… “got another man that brings the money home.” Some of my favorite lyrics of his, which is saying something.

BAD LIVER AND A BROKEN HEART – Never heard a better song about wallowing in alcoholic self pity as this one. Expertly crafted. Too many great lines to quote all of them. “She was sharp as a razor, soft as a prayer.” “I’ve got my own double-cross to bear.” “You can pour me a cab, I just can’t drink no more, ’cause it don’t dowse the flames that are started by dames.” Preach Tom, preach. More from the man himself… “I tried to resolve a few things as far as this cocktail- lounge, maudlin, crying-in-your-beer image that I have. There ain’t nothin’ funny about a drunk. You know, I was really starting to believe that there was something amusing and wonderfully American about a drunk. I ended up telling myself to cut that shit out.”

WHO ARE YOU – The first Tom song that really sank its hooks into me, & still perhaps my favorite vocal performance. He has said that it’s the bitter things you say to an ex you run into at a party. “Are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?” “I did my time in the jail of your arms.” “Excuse me while I sharpen my nails.” “I fell in love with your sailor’s mouth.”The lyrics in this, to me, line up perfectly with the mid-sixties acerbic Dylan of “She’s Your Lover Now.” I can even hear him singing it with the thin wild Mercury backing from Blonde on Blonde. Of course, Tom grew up putting Dylan lyrics on his bedroom walls, & later said…“For a songwriter, Dylan is as essential as a hammer, nails, & a saw are to a carpenter.”

GOING OUT WEST – Ok, let’s rock. Popular music has a long history of bragging songs, from ‘Hootchie Cootchie Man,’ to ‘I’m Too Sexy,’ to, um, what’s that one rap song? Oh yeah, all of them. In this junkyard blues, A lifetime loser looks to California’s promise of glitter dreams come true. He’ll do well out there, knowing karate AND voodoo! He’s no extra, he’s a leading man who can…“really drive a bed.” Even his parole officer would be proud of him! This 2008 live take has the funniest background vocal I’ve ever heard (not on the studio take).

WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND – I picture this song set in some remote, frozen, ice covered town. Could there be a chorus more sad than… “I can’t stay here and I’m scared to leave, just kiss me once and then/I’ll go to hell, I might as well be whistlin’ down the wind.” “The places that I’m dreaming of, do they dream only of me?” When he sings… “I’m not all I thought I’d be, I always stayed around,” it gets me every time.

WHAT’S HE BUILDING IN THERE?  Speculation runs wild with nosy neighbours. Of course, eventually you will become that creepy neighbour yourself. This spoken word piece tries to assemble a character portrait of the weirdo next door. Take it away Tom… “It’s about thinking we have a right to know. ‘Y’know, he drives a blue Mazda and doesn’t get home until three in the morning. He was karate-chopping his own shrubbery last night – in his underwear. So we put all those things together and we make up a story about someone that bears no resemblance to the truth, and then we make it a serial. And that’s what happens with the media. We love looking at each other through keyholes. They ought to make keyhole-glasses, they’d sell a million of ’em, because that’s how we prefer looking at each other, down on our knees in front of a keyhole.”

IF I HAVE TO GO – Another contender for his saddest song. “Until I send for you, don’t wear your hair that way. If you cannot be true, I’ll understand.” “I’ll leave my jacket to keep you warm. That’s all that I can do.” One of my favorite vocal melodies, & he nails it.

COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE – This live take is a one-man gospel choir tour-de-force. Mavis Staples, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, &… Tom Waits? YES! “Does life seem nasty, brutish and short/The seas are stormy and you can’t find no port.” My favorite line being… “Come down off the cross, we could use the wood.”

YOU CAN NEVER HOLD BACK SPRING – Picked because Tom sounds just like Louis Armstrong on it. Great lyrics. “The blushing rose that climbs/spring ahead or fall behind/winter dreams the same dream every time.”

JUST THE RIGHT BULLETS – From the Brechtian stage collaboration with William S. Burroughs & Robert Wilson, “The Black Rider.” Sounds like something from Germany in the ’30’s. Who else writes songs like this nowadays?! Love that staggered, drunk rhythm.

TAKE ME HOME – Written & recorded for the Coppolla flop ,”One From The Heart”, for which Tom received an Oscar nod. Most of that album was duets with the unlikely Crystal Gayle. This one is Tom alone. Does more with less than 2 minutes than most writers do with 5. “The world’s not round without you.” Aww!

LAST LEAF – This isn’t a personal favorite, but I put it on because it’s another in a long line of collaborations with Keith Richards. Tom sang on the Stones, “Dirty Work,” album, appeared onstage with them last year, & has written at least an albums worth with Keith. Back in the day, Tom said about hanging with Keith…“Sometimes you finish the song not the bottle, sometimes it’s the other way around.” You can hear how weathered they both are on this duet. Not really even harmonizing, just croaking it out with full mileage audible. This song is from Tom’s most recent album. A few tracks before this one is a song slyly called, “Satisfied,” where he barks… “Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards will scratch where I’ve been itching!” while Keith spirals signature Tele licks behind him. Two pirates living it up. LAST LEAF though, finds the survivors pledging not to go down without a fight. “I’m the last leaf on the tree/The autumn took the rest but they won’t take me.”

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WHO IS BETTER THAN US?
Who better than us know what it’s like to be lonely?
We got our freak flag flying so high, it might fly away
I know we all have a voice, but do we all have a say?
Tired of the haystack and of being the needle
Wanna set whole realms of fire with a hot ardent zeal
Apocalypse then, apocalypse now, apocalypse soon
It’s always happy hour some where, it’s always high noon
There’s a lot more of us here, than there are of you
In the margins of the alley, in the valley of the chosen few
MORE THAN A PRICE
A scrapbook or the trash bin, where do all these memories belong?
Time heals some things painlessly, but other things they just bruise on
Electric dreams & un-hatched schemes, every promise riddled word
Have gone the way of the dodo bird
A career’s worth of chaos, built up in just a few short years
Damn this river, freeze then shiver from full force of tears
Was it something I did? something I inherited? all this wet heat that fueled my heart
Has gone the way of the horse and cart
More than a price, that’s what I paid for this
It’s something I can’t get back, something I can’t pay twice
More than a price, that’s what I paid for this
Turned me as tough as nails, made me as cold as ice
More than a price, that’s what I paid for this
Turned me as hard as hail, made me as cold as ice
Think I’ll move out to the country, try to get away real far
Out from under the shadows of a useless, senseless war
It’s all red tape, all dangled bait, any cutting to the core
Has gone the way of the dinosaur
Relativism, is not my type of philosophy
You’ve got to judge it based on your company
And I’ve worshipped idols, who’ve died upon their own sword
Not gonna be a slave to this crave any…
SOLITAIRE BOUND
You and me, we could be so happy together
But I know that all of this wouldn’t last forever
Two of us, we are just like stars in the sky
Way too high to come down and brave stormy weather
Been alone, heart of stone, all cards to the vest
But this weight that you feel, it just needs off of your chest
I can help, been there myself, these scars you conceal
As you ache for the daylight that the sun’s warmth can heal
So if you’re tired of waiting and watching these wheels spin around
You ain’t going nowhere
Just solitaire bound
Had a dream it would seem our lives were entwined
And they rhymed like the verse of a riddler’s crime
Could this really be a dance with fate?
Do you really want to take the chance of waiting too long
For the quicksand vine?
Time builds its cages
Adds to the prison inside
Are you the warden?
Or are you just a con?
Who traded their freedom for pride
You and me, we could be so happy together
But I know that all of this couldn’t last forever
Here we are, come so far, now every step
Is a light year away from those distant regrets
BLACK JACKETED BABE
Hey black jacket babe, are you really so tough?
Content with the rings from your cigarette puffs
What did you expect from me, yet another dead end?
I don’t recall saying that I needed a friend
You swore you’d never get caught, that most lives are a trap
Won’t accept second place, don’t wanna see no one’s back
But you need someone strong, a good man on your arm
To compliment all of your liquor store charm
Hey black jacket babe, every note I meant
From each strum of my strings to every stroke of my pen
You said words are a lie, it’s only pain you can trust
I used to believe that, but I had faith in us
You gave a royal speech, from the monarch’s throne
Espousing the virtues of living alone
These are curious times, my friends don’t understand
Just why you’d pour fire on a burning man
Our hand it was forced, a wedge driven between
I came off weak, but you came off mean
I’d trade all I have, for us to re-live
You could dull your edges, & I could forgive
Hey black jacket babe, did I leave you no doubt
The words loser, lover and loner, are just one letter out?
You’re a song with no bridge, your chorus incomplete…
Hey black jacket babe, is there somebody else?
Are you there with him now, while I’m here by my self?
An imaginative mind can be like a curse
Whatever you’re doing, I’m picturing worse
Hey black jacket babe, maybe we weren’t bound for glory
But the wound cuts deeper to think I’m unworthy
With you it was always the hardest to take
To see this connection you were unwilling to make
Kept your lips shut tight, while the lights were dimmed low
Wouldn’t let me in places I wanted to know
There’s not an inch on you that I wouldn’t have devoured
But the days were like minutes and the weeks like hours
You could never decide what you were interested in
But you were sure it was something that I couldn’t have been
Time’s healed the scar; still you never had a clue
When it came down to the wire, what I’d have done for you
Hey black jacket babe, I hoped you were proof
Of a flickering star, in the twilight of youth
Each memory I trace, defines bittersweet
Did you really exist, or was it just my conceit?
Is the obvious loose, like a rattling chain?
A hangman’s noose, cutting off air to our brains
I’ll ask one last time, give me all that you got
I know you can sing, now i wanna hear you talk
END OF THIS SONG
December days are near again
I’m not standing too tall
As the sun trades shifts with the moon and the snowflakes start to fall
Here I sit reflecting upon so many things
Like that mystery groove, & how I can prove I’ve got the voice and I can sing
I’ll take this funny feeling and spin it into gold
Throw indecision to the flaming pit
Either show my cards or fold
But I can’t wait too long
I only have until the end of this song
I know I’m not in your league
Or even the same sport
For every cute-ish line I toss your way
You got a wittier retort
Admit that there’s no reason
Why you and me can’t rhyme
I’ve trawled the many uncharted miles
Off the great wall of your pride
And I can’t wait much longer
My love grows so much stronger
I’m spinning like a skater, on a sheet of frozen rain
If the ice melts, from the heat felt
I’ll meet you at the bottom of the drain
You know my little missy dear, every time that we’re alone
My heart runs wild like a bastard child who’s out searching for a home
But I can’t wait too long
We’re already at the middle of this song
Your hell it hath no fury
To the touch it’s nice and hot
The little boy in me wants to tug on your curls
The man in me has far more devilish thoughts
Don’t expect the world from me
Or even simple answers
I’m on time, my house in order, got semi-good looks, do I have to also find the cure for cancer?
ABSOLUTE DUTY (to someone like you)
My pain is plenty, my friends are few, do you think I could matter to someone like you?
With hard times behind me, in which ditch will you find me?
I’ve got loose lips from sips of cheap wine
A master of disguises, deception and surprises
But for you I would walk a straight line
My fantasy swims, in a river of sin
My carnal thoughts know where we’ll travel
And every place I will trace on your skin
I’ve carved out a theme of slight of hand schemes
But it’s come time to settle this game
It’s down to the end of this poisonous pen
There’s barely enough ink left to write my name
A light’s on the horizon
I’m dragging around lies and
I’ve gambled all the fortunes that I’ve made
All for you down to the edge of this blade
My compadres in the clink sure still like to drink
Imprisoned with prisons inside
Disregard the disgrace and I’ll show you my face
In the light of your eyes I won’t hide
Somewhere there’s a cure for the bad things that were
Every innocent soul that’s been shattered
Every heartache my loved ones have endured
My hands are busy, but my aim’s still true, do you think I could matter to someone like you?
LEARN TO LET GO
I made a line graph of the last 5 years, high was good, low would represent loss
But I ran out of paper, the pen hit the table, going vertically down not across
I aint no joker, not a face made for poker
Can’t force myself to not give a toss
But I know, that I’m gonna have to learn to let go
I was stuck in a rut, thankfully there’s a but, there were still signs of life to me yet
So I jumped like a rabbit from a hat of bad habits, to this day it’s a promise I kept
Still I thought I’d wake up, be completely unstuck
Instead I’m bogged down in all this regret
I move too slow, and I’m gonna have to learn to let go
It was all crystal clear from the view in the mirror that sometimes even good looks deceive
I needed to thaw, so I had to withdraw, from the ugly & everyday freeze
The shadows my friend, gonna use it to mend
Come back at a million degrees
I swear to god I’m gonna glow, but I’m gonna have to learn to let go
So suddenly I testify to the committee of lost years
Reliving every train wreck, broken friendships, endless tears
The stadium’s packed, all the odds they are stacked, the bets say my chances are slim
But I’m gonna fight, use all of my might, so don’t be suprised if I win
My trainer’s got ice and a lot of advice, he says
Be a man take this punch on the chin
Just like a pro, I’m just gonna have to learn to let go.
Oh, will I ever be happy? Oh, If I can just hang on
The dreaded lonely nights will be gone
LIGHTER THAN A FEATHER
Lighter than a feather, that’s the key phrase of the day
You had no reason to trust me, but you did anyway
I’ve done so wrong to many, lucky I always knew the right thing to say
Now that I’m feeling better, I’m back to claim the prize
An heirloom of a mojo hand, and a pair of serpent eyes
There are no hidden secrets, of which you would be surprised
Lighter than feather, as you kissed me on the cheek
For a guy so ready to rumble, it sure left me weak
I’m a relic from a bygone era, who’s surely reached his peak
I can recite sermons on wasted youth
Or stand helpless before you and show you living proof
Some might say it’s over kill, but I just call it brutal truth
Lighter than a feather, absolved of any crime
So much to measure up to, such little precious time
Why would you cross this ocean, when I can barely cross your mind?
I’ve given up the battle, to them I cede control
Take your best shot; go try to find the tyrant in the hole
I’ll help to look tomorrow, but today is much too cold
Lighter than a feather, tickling the air
Delivered straight up to heaven on a whispered prayer
I have so much inside I’d like to say to you, but can I bring myself to share
Some things you learn and other things you just feel
Like a drinking man yearns for the cracking of the seal
All your secrets are like covered skin that I want you to reveal
Lighter than a feather, balanced on the steps
Such a shock to the nervous system of one who’s plumbed such lonely depths
I’ve signed all living documents and covered all my debts
Will ahead be stormy weather, forcing us apart
Will the lies from your tongue become truths in my heart?
I took a path to darkness that led straight from the start
Lighter than a feather, in me you can trust
But investigate my priors and frisk me if you must
I’ll accept any punishment, any sentence you see just
I’ve got you in my sights, and your name is in my book
Ever since you shot me that oh so hard to read look
So go ahead take a chance right now, it’ll be the best one you ever took
Lighter than a feather, but still a fool no more
I’m been waiting for a howling wind, to come knocking down your door
You said to let you know when, but I kept on wanting more and more and more
BAR FOR THE BROKEN HEARTED
I’m going to open up a bar for the broken hearted
Sling all the drinks for the people just like me
A place where the dear folks can mourn their departed
Who’ve given up hope of living ever happily?
We’ll get a bouncer to keep out all the happy couples
Don’t need reminders of lives that might’ve been
You order a single; I’ll pour you a double
You’re the king; tonight the bottle is your queen
I was sober, but that’s over
Yes I was sober, but that’s over
It was fun while it lasted, but now I’m off getting blasted
So I’m going to open up a bar for the broken hearted
Sooner or later I know she’ll come around
To see the place that her wicked ways have started
It’ll be the hottest spot, the busiest place in town
Now it’s always been a dream of mine to have a place to call my own
But in this room so full of like-minded souls, I can’t imagine feeling any more alone
We all pace this dance floor solo, keep our affections guarded
Inside we cry a lullaby, a song for the broken hearted
RENEWAL
Everything’s looking up from the deep of this well
But is it the womb of re-birth, or the bottom of hell?
I look for the day, where I won’t look for order
Renewal seems just around the corner
Used to take the shortcut, rob Peter pay Paul
Aspire to the vanity of the rich, be the wicked belle of the ball
I thought to be king you had to be cruel
And the tighter the fist, the longer you’ll rule
At a very tender age, I headed out west
A meal of decadence, I sucked from the breast
The lessons were hard, & I sure took my licks
But my tongue still wags, & my clock still ticks
I made a vow to my ego, never to be confined
Every treasure to be hoarded, forever to be mine
But the minutes turned long, every day like a year
Till I couldn’t recognize, what looked back from the mirror
If you let it, this life can grind you to dust
Lead you down alleys, of despair and disgust
Forgiveness remains for the righteous and wicked
For the lovesick and hated, for the healthy and sicked
When I look in the eyes, of my child I can see
That most of him is perfect, and the rest of him is me
For everything you must fight, even your own history
Which has already happened, isn’t that crazy
There are very few things I have any clue what I’m doing
Every man has that right to be his own ruin
Every bargain is made from a weakened position
Diagnosed with a case of the human condition
When I close my eyes quick, movies play in my head
Soundtrack drenched in the blues, musicians long dead
At an auction I bid for some worthy advice
From Mohammad, the Buddha & Jesus Christ
I ain’t got thick skin, but I’m pretty well dressed
About little things, I’m a lot of obsessed
But I’m working my way to get out of this rut
No more punch lines, punch-drunk or punched in the gut
There’s a fine line to walk when pursuing romance
Either jump in too soon, or you miss the chance
When I get through the door, things go right up in smoke
They either think I’m a jerk, or they don’t get my jokes
From the time I could think, I believed in a voice
But they made me believe my belief was a choice
The angles can change but no matter the view
The truth doesn’t need me, and it sure don’t need you
People ask me my hobbies, I tell ‘me suicide prevention
100 percent success rate, with a client whose name I can’t mention
I tell him or her that the best comes tomorrow
So it’s first light I seek, and daybreak I follow
I’ve gone where the boat simply drifts with the tide
If you want to jump on, need no ticket to ride
There’s always a risk of a surprise attack
I’ve sailed through that storm, but I’m thinking about going back
Something’s gone very wrong, with the world today
Can’t be fixed by a faith, or how hard you pray
I don’t mean to be harsh, or to sound the alarm
Where others see hope, I can only see harm
The hardest thing to accept is that yesterday’s gone
You can’t go back and change it no matter what you did wrong
But right now is forever and it’s in your command
Every moment is a promise in the palm of your hand
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Prey Becomes Predator
Through the dawn
The walking wounded blaze through thick and thin
We soldier on
Soon this dying ember may be gone
You’ll never see me again
So you’re in?
How about a friendly game of truth or dare?
I’ll begin
The answer to this question you might share
Just may redeem me
If you could be anyone you could be
Would you be me with all the weaknesses you’ve seen?
Could you turn things around?
Make me a contender?
Instead of a pretender
Make me see
Make me believe
Prey becomes predator
Hear the sounds
The bells are chiming darkly down the road
As they toll
Seven outcast angels sing us home
We all stop to ask them
Daddy Doom
I’ve come to paint the town
Though you may not know it to look at me
I once wore many crowns
And the Kingdom
I held the keys to every room
Where I’ve been I dare not tell
Though it’s picturesque in spring and fall
The rest a private hell
Where my legions of demons
They all call me Daddy Doom
And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned
It’s not everything can be forgiven
And that every scar I’ve earned
Has been a fair trade for this living
I carry around this grudge
It’s pocket sized and travels light
I give a wink and nudge
All the rowdies
Are all in on the joke
Or I assume
So leave backwards and in haste
Cover up the stumble drunk who falls
Not another second waste
On these tails that are tall
When they’re all about Daddy Doom
You Haven’t Changed At All
Seared in time with perspective shifting
The butters fly, the burden’s lifting
Surreal real photographs
My mind has ripped in half
You weren’t well you had to leave us
Turned to drugs and then to Jesus
A cure for every ill
In prophets or in pills
Now you’re back to claim what once was yours
But I see through the chain that holds this door
Think back to the days of tears
Grenade like fingers in my ears
I had to pull the pin
To let the truth rush in
Read all the books, sat in on lectures
Just to be your sole protector
But therapeutic words
Just breadcrumbs for the birds
A skeleton, I danced upon your strings
Waiting for the flesh your breath might bring
All our investors needed proof
Some fixed star of our loves truth
But the sound of singing swans
Said you were already gone
A slow descent I watched you lose control
Suck the very marrow from my soul
Had to sail through a sea of illusion
To make sense of things
What your tomorrow might bring
Closure comes but can we settle
The words still come out like smoking metal
So bat your eyelash and smack those luscious lips
Any lust you stir has been eclipsed
 When I Was A Child
You said I knew you, I said you knew me too
That we were willing to ride this train through
But in the end where did it get us
Another wilted head of lettuce rolling down the aisle
Life is a rainbow, but I was stuck in a drought
We did the rain dance, trying to bring the storm out
But when it hit, didn’t see it coming
Started running from the thunder wondering why?
We think we know good from bad
Laying down the cards with the wrong hand
Sometimes I think I knew more when I was a child
If I was vain/lame would you tell me?
Or do you have humble pie/a rocking chair to sell me?
I may be thousands of things, but I’ve never been mild
In every tale you get a word from the wise
We took the low road to be the first to watch the sunrise
But we were rooted in the diluted
That road was washed out almost from the start
But I’m a genius in my own weird way
I always saw us as either magnets or clay
Guess I was so wrong to think a love song
Would be the way to bridge the distance to your heart
So if you think this dream is really dead
You better hide back in your shell instead
You better tuck right in, you better tuck right in
So here we are now, has it all been a joke
I want the real you, but it’s all mirrors and smoke
But I ain’t dead yet, in fact I’m dead set
On making all the actors jealous of your part
Bulletproof
Existing in the shadows of a best forgotten dream
But I held sway while the Hound dogs bayed
T urning whispers to a scream
Traded lies for eyes
And I traded teeth for truth
Turned this shell
Hard as hell
Now I’m bulletproof
Demanded absolution for things better left unsaid
But I was wrong and too far gone
Underworked and overfed
As the cookie crumbles
Said goodbye to my cruel youth
I took that clown
And I wore him down
And now he’s bulletproof
I’d like to leave you something
More than a nosebleed on your mirror
You’ve been so kind
And you even signed
On days when I couldn’t hear
The morning light is breaking
Through a sliver up on the roof
My canker smile is stretched out to a mile
As I lie here bulletproof
Glimpse Of Her
Years have gone by like a snap of the finger
Though her feelings may have changed, mine only linger
Just to get a glimpse of her
You should have caught us, we were really quite a pair
I called it the ultimate, she just called it an affair
Just to get a glimpse of her
I wonder if she wonders if I’m even still alive
She knew I had a hurting heart the second she said goodbye
Just to get a glimpse of her
Seduction is a funny game and I’ll master it somehow
But I’m running out of precious time and I need it now
I wonder what time has done to her face
How much of me the intervening years and new gentlemen have erased
Just to get a glimpse of her
At the end of the day, you know you’ve had it rough
If you have to stop and think too hard
Hey, have I ever really been in love
There was a time when even the most mundane was magic
You were mine and life was all apostrophed
But it’s fine, the script turned tragic
They take away your sidekick and they leave you here to bleed
When we first met I was in the belly of this beast
But my future is gonna rise just as soon as I add the yeast
Just to get a glimpse of her
I still believe in loves redemptive power
If I didn’t, I swear to god that I’d be gone within the hour
Just to get a glimpse of her
I tried to mask it, I tried to hide it
When addiction came along I thought I’d hop aboard and ride it
Just to get a glimpse of her
In this game of solitaire I still have a place to strive
We all know that love’s the pain that makes your life alive
Some Money, Somehow
Hear a marked man’s dying plea
They want more from me than misery
A broken hand or a shot up knee
Loaded Glock, shell-shocked, crowbar spree
My broken promises all over the floor
I’m barricading padlocked doors
I see my future and it’s filled with gore
Dead end, no friends, what the hell do I do now?
I gotta get some money, somehow
Money changers at the gates of sin
Threw me out now it’s sink or swim
Some people say I should turn myself in
Got nothing to lose and nothing to win
Had to do it I was under the spell
Greed is king on the road to hell
Blow the whistle, ring the final bell
Had it made in the shade until I broke the sacred vow
Maybe I’ll fake my own suicide
Hit the low road, try to hide
Become a mercenary on anyone’s side
Find and old lady, try to make her my bride
Thought I committed the perfect crime
Filled my cup with someone else’s wine
Sometimes life can take a twist of lime
It’s bittersweet and now deceit has taken it’s final bow
Razorburn
How could I resist the glory train that went on by
I was in a picture frame doing my damndest not to cry
Then I dreamed Ezekeil, by a gleaming glow of bronze
His face was reaffirmed by razorburn
You can relocate the grave, but it’s still a place where dead bones lie
Or waste away your prime, shoving a camel through a needle’s eye
But I’ll still be in the game, travelling A to Z
It started as a germ, razorburn
Samantha’s seventeen, a student of philosophy
Seems like a million years ago I believed in immortality
Still a kiss can make it worth all the toil in the dirt
I’m crawling like a worm, through razorburn
Speaking of the way, the spirit fights the hand
I tore my flesh away in a life sized frying pan
Because Leonard Cohen said, “everbody knows”
But I’m still trying to learn about razorburn
Savannah’s like a doll, made of porcelain and wax
Either that or I’m a monster or a pyromaniac
But I know that there’s two sides to every bloody war
I finally get my turn with razorburn
All You Had To Say Was Hi!
Didn’t know your name before you walked in the door
So I called you star when I saw you shoot through the floor
I asked your friends what made you tick
How you like to get your kicks
They all said you’re decadent to the core
You were standing by the condom coin machine
Looking for some change inside your jeans
But I could break a bill for you
Show you how to use one too
Treat me right and I’ll be your rubber queen
You got the right fuel to make my motor fly
All you had to say was hi
I get hypnotized
You make my temperature rise
I’ve made a mess of love every time I’ve tried
So many skeletons in the freezer that I’ve got to hide
But passion’s not a body count
We went full tilt, the lights went out
Since that point it’s been a bumpy ride
I read your fortune, it’s written in my eyes
I get high, I get high, I get high
This kind of thing I normally don’t do
It’s just that I felt I knew you
And your eyes were so puppy dog true
Like an ocean of emotion, I wanted to swim it for awhile
Lose myself in your smile
Wrap my legs around you like glue
And little could I have guessed when I got dressed
Today I’d play a leading man in a script straight out of a Penthouse Letter’s dream
Starring a B-cup movie queen
Directed by Cecil B. Demented
On a 3-D movie screen
I got a craving you gotta satisfy
I may scar your body not your soul
I love to love but also need control
My fingertips are full of sin
If you be good, we both could win
I’m digging deep so jump into the hole
Lucky Man
Everybody says I’m a lucky man
Just because I come across so well
Except for you I seemed to break you down
It took me way to long to understand
Just why you started treating me like hell
I’ve lost again now what I thought I’d found
That day I swore was gonna be the day
I’d take a deep breath and let go
And I’d admit what you’d already know
That you always make me lonesome when you go
But I know your love deserves a better fitting
No ragged vagabonds or thieves
And not some boy as immature as me
You took the bait when I was kidding
Next thing you’re asking me to leave
So who was wrong? I think we’d disagree
Right now I’ll tell you what you’re thinking
And lay the truth right on the line
We were never meant to be so intertwined
Now you got no petty reason to be unkind
Since I last saw you days go by
Like picket fence posts on the highway
I used to count, now I don’t even try
Some truth’s are too hard to deny
Once you cross that certain state
Our fate was sealed before we said goodbye
So don’t you worry about me calling
I get your message loud and clear
But I think that given time you’ll want me near
In the meantime you can find me over here
Some Guy
I don’t wanna be some guy who makes his living lying
I don’t wanna be some guy who always has to pretend
Seven long years I waited for a life I thought I was fated
Nothing now can make up what was lost
Combing my hair to one side
Trying so hard in vain to hide the dreams that freedom cost
I’ve learned not to really care how words vanish in the thin night air
It’s in the wind
Went through emotions like paper towels
All the motions of adjectives and vowels
Where do I begin?
Because I’m not some dress up doll in the window of your local mall
Because I’m not some local loser, driving around in a rented cruiser
I don’t wanna be some guy who’s always in denial
I don’t wanna be some guy, a model citizen
Where Did All Your Wit Go?
Where did all your wit go?
It used to slash and burn
Left me here in a flaming wreck
But now that tide has turned
Where did all your wit go?
Still wanna take me on?
Your soul’s as strong as withered straw
You broke the moral laws
Where did all your wit go?
It left you in the dust
All your wicked prophecies turned out to be a bust
Where did all your wit go?
Your coat and hat don’t hide
The gut and heart that’s missing
Or your mistress from your bride
Where did all your wit go?
I doubt it’s in the sky
The birds would not be airborne
Too poisonous to fly
Where did all your wit go?
Your begging bowl is dry
Caught on to your agenda
Of deceit and dirty lies
Given power by fools who serve only to protect their tyranny
So I escaped and made a fire to burn the past, protect, and to preserve
What I believe
Where did all your wit go?
Have you lost your huckster’s pitch?
You’d bottle and sell your mother’s milk if it would make you rich
Think of the corruption
You’ve left your fellow man
To steal bread from your brother’s mouth
You’d proudly give your hand
For years I had to stand alone while even shepherds stand among their flock
And even built my tombstone, and wrote my will with nothing left to give
On a painted rock
Where did all your wit go?
Looks like it cracked the mirror
Cut you in half, and now God’s wrath
Is finally what you fear
Where did all your wit go?
Have you looked inside your heart?
Are you feeling retribution yet?
For the lives you tore apart
Where did all your wit go?
It caught you by surprise
To one moment be worshiped
And the next to be despised
Where did all your wit go?
Looks like it left you pain
Right when all your politics
Were about to be ordained
Following the prophets words, a promise truth will one day rise above
A crow as black as coal was seen flying into the sun, but he returned
And was a dove
Where did all your wit go?
It once led many men
But all your greed did was mislead them
Into the lions den
Where did all your wit go?
It’s like a fugitive
It must have fleed when God decreed
You had no time to live
The Monologue Is All That Remains
Was I asleep?
In some carnivorous nightmare
Where my body had no form at all
Threw a scream
At zero gravity darkness
Hit the edge of some internal wall
I swallowed hard
I stepped forth from the fire
Where a loop of endless process plays
In my palm
The whole world is imploding
While my heart grows madder by the day
I turned the tide
On this psychic projection
For every norm I lost a real concern
Now I ride
Accompanied by no shadow
Pushed along by winds that burn
So here I stand
Amid these spiraling visions
I surf the rush through every coursing vein
Here I’m bound
By no rules of engagement
Where the monologue is all that remains
Divided Highway
I came into this world so invisible and free
No broken thoughts of things not to be
I was graced with kind eyes, though laced with surprise
Who knew that soon I would fall?
The years passed on by, my loneliness grew high
Stuck here on the ground with a dream in the sky
All the children would play, they would call out my name
But I could not go there at all
There’s too big a price, living false paradise
My hand of fate rests with a roll of the dice
And the hymns of God speak to the frail and the weak
But my ears were deaf to the song
How I longed for a time when every reason would rhyme
And every destination wouldn’t seem like a climb
But my past is a chain, like Abel to Cain
Haunted by what I’ve done wrong
The only real love I knew was always with you
From daydreams to nightmares you saw me through
But now it’s back to dark days, and without sunlight’s rays
What hope do I have to survive
So the sky is still gray on this divided highway
No one I’ve met since can convince me to stay
There’s no place I want to be, no face I want to see
Except yours, tonight by my side
asbd cover
born again then buried alive
Here we go again, collecting permanent bruises
And through the wind, attract the bomb diffusers
This merry’s-gone down, eclipsed the pretty sounds
Born again then buried alive
Born again then buried alive
The lepers leer as they drag me to the spotlight
They clap and cheer my bulimia and frostbite
They accept the cross just when all hope is lost
Life’s river is gin and me I’m a diving drunk
Sailed through sin, but now that boat is sunk
Live wire sticking out to start the execution
They list my flaws, reject my contributions
So sick of politics, it’s the same old parlor tricks
No more cheap words
No more singing birds
The final trumpet will soon be heard
Then it shall wipe away every last tear
I’m post apocalyptic now
Sunlight scared and drop dead gorgeous too
i am tragedy
  I let my guard come down when victory couldn’t have been more far away
But I got out somehow, been searching since for my Independence Day
And that time on the bottom comes in handy now
All the pain in this life makes me proud
My dreams are bottled up and I just want to drink them every night
But truth is so corrupt, now I’m juggling with a stick of dynamite
Was it not good fortune to be sitting at home alone?
When the war outside became full-blown
Look at me I am tragedy
Living out this bad comedy
Living out this fool’s destiny
The cheque was in the mail but the postman went berserk and burned the bag
So I turned to nightingales to lift me up and to wave my battle flag
But am I in denial or just a hostage to disease?
With a blindfold dying on my knees
I can feel the karma breathing down my neck
Like a blowtorch what did I expect
Got no expectations, I’m just out here on this road
Like a long lost western episode
benzedream
I’m seeing stars through a salmonella gleam
When yesterday moved forward I was cut off at the stream
Are you surprised to see me still alive?
If I didn’t like your honey, I wouldn’t have shook your hive
Did I forget to remember to forget?
I thought that crying would help but all it did was make me wet
In the mirror, all I see is rearview eyes
Focusing on yesterday trying to rearrange the lies
Medicine has come so far, now it’s done with laser beams
And Benzedream
Somebody leave and bring back the olden days
I always thought that someday I would go out in a blaze
But now I’m here, can’t even ride a wave
My ministers trying to get me to admit that I’ve been saved
In my spine, I got a bone they call regret
I hate guitar, I’d have gone so far if I learned the clarinet
I’m getting well, with mother mercy’s touch
I tried to steal her Buick but I couldn’t reach the clutch
Everything your mother said was true, does it make you wanna scream?
Benzedream
only grown
I sinned from the cradle
Almost to the grave
You prayed at the table
Composing concertos on the xylophone
Did you build the pyramids?
Or did I just paint this world?
Inside of my eyelids
As we slept on the banks of Sierra Leone
I’m missing the limelight
Your tenderness brings
I realize this dark night
My love for you has only grown
Angels in chains
Forty nights of rain are all the same
You didn’t have to sympathize with my lies
By the weeping willow
At the edge of my bed
My heads on my pillow
Filming a scene in the forbidden zone
I needed your blessing
To dream it complete
But since you’ve been missing
My love for you has only grown
sixteen years
The clown has got a bloodstain, still everything’s a joke
How come I never feel the fire behind the smoke?
It’s like I want the tent to come down
So I can shout into the rain as it comes down
Sixteen years and I still got nothing to say to you
Sixteen years and all I wanna do is still fight
I grew some nasty habits, let go of just a few
You need some real excitement when repetition sticks like glue
The house is still a mess, but I ain’t got no company
Just infomercials on to tell me what I need
The ghosts you left to haunt me have all ended up dead
There was a shoot-out in the carnival inside my head
I even killed your mailman for delivering you junk mail
And wrote sonjatas for you with my leisure time in jail
Destroyed me with a secret
Took years to recognize me now, and how
We went to extra innings and you knocked one from the park
I saw you running fast and disappear into the dark
So why did you come back? Did you miss my sympathy?
Or did you plan to steal back my heart in a shoplifting spree?
16 years and all I’m left with is still spite?
just can’t keep from crying
I just can’t keep from crying sometimes
I just can’t keep from crying sometimes
When my world is filled with sorrow and my eyes filled with tears
I just can’t keep from crying sometimes
It was me who found the body, bloody sheets in bed
Best friend and lover, bullet in the head
Fell down on my praying ground like a broken valentine
Now I just can’t keep from crying sometimes
Police they found a shotgun behind my favorite bar
And they found a bloodstain in the front seat of my car
I told them I didn’t do it, but they thought that I was lying
Now I just can’t keep from crying sometimes
Radio she gave me playing some ancient tune
Re-reading the front page of my hometown’s old tribune
I wish that I could burn it, move back into the
wasteland kiss
The sympathy of Abel, the fire of Cain
My smoky eyes lead trails to a faintly burning flame
Just standing at the sidelines while pretenders play the game
How did it come to this?
Wasteland kiss
You’re younger when you realize, the devil makes the deal
The singer on the radio has to tell me how to feel
Took thin air and illusions and turned it into steel
But it’s like I don’t exist,
Wasteland kiss
I fall into a tailspin with every woman’s touch
Opening my mouth now is like leaning on a crutch
I’d trade what others cherish for what I need so much
A meaningless tryst
Wasteland kiss
I’m headed to the light now to set up for the show
When the paint is drying is as close to peace as I know
Your heart is like a map room, so show me where to go
To get up from the abyss
Wasteland kiss
we never kiss anymore
Revelations come to me at traffic lights
We’re in the red, I’m not that bright
Shot the past, studied frame by frame
To find a turning point to lay the blame
When yesterday moved beyond the mirror
I put a bid in to the auctioneer
From which perspective does your truth most come?
Do I need diagrams or sailors rum?
The truth will hurt less if I sing
Pretend I’m a real troubadour
Drown it in Singapore slings
We never kiss anymore
You want a man, but I’m a machine
Living through disco balls and thorazine
Nothing to me that’s concrete
Except where art and misery meet
How did my arithmetic get so undone?
It used to be one plus one was one
But all the metaphysics we defied
Are the same laws now under which we’re tried
I’ve got to put my heart back on my sleeve
If I could just pick it up off the floor
This night is a baby, don’t leave
We never kiss anymore
Show me an angel’s face and I’ll paint it
That’s all I ever really asked of you
Crossing sentimental wires seemed to taint it
Now the fire’s too far to re-light the fuse
I’ve got to put the truth back on my sleeve
I’ve got to drown like a real troubadour
This hurt is a baby, don’t leave
We never kiss anymore
we won’t die!
We’ve taken so many hits over so many years
Spilled as much bad blood as bitter tears
Sticking together like superhuman glue
Smarter than a martyr, better looking too
Packed a lot of bullets on a suicide trip
Talked on pins and needles and my tongue it slipped
Some said that we were junk, tried to punch the drunk
Blew me a kiss with a fist
We won’t die
Still hard on the boulevard
We won’t die
Play our cards close to the lie
We won’t die
Sometimes I think I’ll end up in a padded cell
Pennyless and thirsty in a sober hell
Chiseled, stoned, grizzled, alone
Depressed but still well dressed
Dangerous times call for dangerous crimes
Hypocrite split my lip, stripped and whipped
This bare knuckle shuffle got my feathers all ruffled
But my battleship still won’t tip
i’m your superman
You are my fantasy but is it never, ever meant to be?
I got a secret identity
I am your superman, can’t you see?
Waiting for the day to break
For another chance I’ll never take
This disinterest that I try to fake
To another lonely day I’ll wake
I can tell you’ve been out with the wrong kind of guy
I can’t wait to pilot your friendly sky
I’m like a matador trying to dodge this crush galore
Don’t go locking your bedroom door
I’ll be rowing this boat ashore
If you can hear these words give a little sign
A cute wink, or maybe press your wet lips against mine
We’ve been friends but now that time has passed
The final nail’s been driven in at last
I dream about you every night on my lovesick satellite
How your silhouette invades the light
I got to say that’s quite a sight
personal questions
Please stop asking me these personal questions
I got nothing left to say from places down below
Please stop asking me these personal questions
Disowned this heart long ago
If you keep asking me these personal questions
Gonna hop a jet plane to South America
Throw my baggage in the rain forest
Burn everything that I ever saw
Gotta keep it hid away
Buried deep inside of a rhapsody
Gotta keep it hid away
Someplace they can never see
Sits so bitter in my stomach
Lies like poison on my tongue
So quit asking me these personal questions
Got too much building up without you throwing bones
Please stop asking me these personal questions
I’ll tell you everything that I know
keep your gunpowder dry
Sheriff Abram waited on the front porch because he thought that Zeke was lying
Zeke got his uzi out and lit the torch, now the sheriff’s on the sidewalk dying
The retribution of the boys in blue is getting louder in the sirens sigh
Threw on my cammo, brought the ammo out, today’s as good as any day to die
Keep your gunpowder dry
Keep your enemies dear
Raise your rifle high
Blow your conscience clear
Don’t believe a word I say
This time I’m being sincere
Something’s funny about the way Zeke looks, it’s like a see a part of him exploding
Got no time for psycho-babble now, we’ve got an arsenal that needs re-loading
If I had one wish, I’d blow out the stars and give our cover just a little more darkness
Mr. Moon is bright tonight with a shit-eating grin, mother nature can be god damn heartless
Grew up dirt poor in a backwards town, gravely ill and depressed
Survived on sewage while rich folks dogs drank toilet water that a priest had blessed
Still have those visions of daddy enslaved, and mama being raped by sadness
There’s nothing worse for a kid to go through than seeing his parents descend into madness
There’s a comet dragging across the sky, maybe I’ll hitch a ride to Alabama
Take the bus out to a Montgomery grave, the one I promised I’d see to my grandma
How did things here ever get so bleak, even rock n’ roll has been overturned
Kids kill each other for a pack of lies, while an effigy of Big Bird burns
Got married young like they said I should, put away silly dreams and tried to settle down
Got drafted overseas until friendly fire blew my top, now I walk around with this metal sound
Things were swell until the V.A. dried, had a funny feeling we were doomed to failure
Spent so much money when disabled Jenny was born, the bank came and re-possessed the trailer
Haven’t seen the kids in almost 20 years, they must be older, I know I am
Do all my shopping from a catalogue of hurt, courtesy of Uncle Sam
My wallet’s empty except for a family picture that was taken right before the storm
I rub my eyes before every time I look, but I swear my wife is growing devil horns
So I developed this kind of unifield theory on haywire and why things are always going wrong
Seems someone put cyanide capsules in the apple pie from about the 1950’s on
Flying saucers landing, dead presidents standing, terrorists demanding,pharmaceuticals designed to make us hollow
There’s a shadow casting far and wide and it’s you next that it’s gonna swallow
So I don’t drink water that ain’t been boiled first, and I never touch the telephone
Saw 666 typed straight across the top of my one and only credit loan
Disaffected, rejected, infected with a rage that I can’t stifle
Read the bible now wearing a bullet-proof vest, through the scope of a hunting rifle
I met Zeke at the imploding point when the divorce was almost finalized
He said the future was a coming plague, an apocalypse in disguise
He twisted scripture like pretzel dough, until it seemed like he was singing my song
We got a compound for the chosen two, where Charlton Heston movies play through the dawn
Brings me back here to the end of times, this whole record is about to expire
A bullhorn’s voice shouts, “you’re gonna fry in the oven of a holy hell-fire!”
I’ve failed at everything I ever did, and even everything I didn’t do
At least I’ll be outside of Heaven’s Gate for the final turning of the screw..
marqdesouza_temporaryredemption_advancecd
a letter from john
Somewhere I’ve never been, that’s where she took me
Someone I’ve never seen, she mistook me
But I was just the victim of a jezebel’s revenge
I wish these tears would turn to wine again
I tried to dive right into the holy grail
Added speed and heroin and made a cocktail
Then the moon turned into blood and it’s death became the wind
I wish these tears would turn to wine again
I would let you rescue me if you climbed out on the ledge
Reached out your hand to me and made a pledge
They tried to kill me with pills, it was helter skelter
I hid in Beverly Hills in a homeless shelter
Will I see Delilah there or maybe Mary Magdalene?
I know this rust will turn to gold again
if i promise you…
If I promise you jewels, one day you’ll get diamonds
Engraved on a ring a poem that’s rhyming
If I tune this guitar, then soon it’d be chiming
Nothing would stand in the way
If I promise you kisses all sexy and wet
Get your lips ready ’cause that’s what you’ll get
If I’m Romeo then you’re Juliet
But I forget how they ended that play
If I promised you dancing then that would be odd
I never like prancing I feel like a fraud
But if that’s what I told you the crowd would applaud
We would dance until we fell through the floor
If I promise you danger we’ll swim with the sharks
If I warn about water then get in the ark
I’m a guy of my word, a man of my mark
Don’t see how you could ask for more
So why’d you try to lie and cram all these words in my mouth
Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve scrammed like a bird heading south
Never promised you marriage, don’t dust off your gown
Get out of the carriage that goes into town
My tacky sombrero don’t go with your crown
Your red doesn’t go with my grey
I promised you fun, did I deliver or not?
I’m a fly stuck to tape, this time I got caught
Now I gotta go, but I’ll miss you a lot
And I’ll see you on some rainy day
whatever happened in heaven?
Hallucinations, screaming, running through my head
Crumbled cookie dough from you house of gingerbread
Through the lighthouse fog the shore was far to swim
Go to the drugstore please and refill my medicine
Do you want me to say it?
Do you want me to say that things are alright?
Chamomile tea, a bath before I sleep
In my room the laughing gas begins to seep
Hold your headstill babe so I can see you smile
Before the demons come to chain me to denial
Whatever happened in heaven?
To make the angels cry so many tears?
Whatever happened in heaven?
To make the minutes roll along like years?
don’t go shooting horses
You can find me anywhere
Anywhere you go at all
I will follow you until
The heavens start to fall
I’m not the way they make me out
I’m full of fear, filled with doubt
It’s been so long since I described
These nervous butterflies
When I met you I was dead
Thoughts of anger ran my head
It took some time to see your charms
To hear your voice in my guitar
The bitter dust that covered me
Was shaken almost instantly
I can’t believe I came so close
And never overdosed
So don’t go shooting horses
’till you know the ride is done
I may not be a king among men
Good luck’s friend, ten out of ten
But I know how to make you smile
And turn your tears to crocodiles
I’m so lonely it’s a shame
There’s no pictures inside my frame
But at least your light is there
To save me from despair
I’ve been living a lie all this time faking smiles
Now I’m trying to decide just how to tell you all the while..
Did I find a friend in you?
A neighbor on this avenue
You can hide your secrets here
I’ll make sure that they’re always near
But all this song is meaningless
All in vain, all unlessv I say out loud what I know is true
I’m singing this for you
here’s a song for you
So you think you can shut her out like she was never there
You’ll go back to your boring world, all cupboards bare
Nobody ever sends you postcards from the vintage days of loneliness
You could look in her eyes for answers but she’ll just look away
It don’t matter if she frowns or smiles, it all feels the same
There’s no god above with puppet strings waiting to make your worlds as one
And there’s no mountaintop with wise old men who will tell you where to run
They’ve got no clue
So here is a song for you
Take all these words and make them true
She’s got a heart like yours it needs somebody too
The emotional walls you raise they hurt you too
Always hid behind mirrors you made, she can’t get through
So much more than you ever show, if she only knew
Maybe you need some time to find yourself but time is all you’ve had
You’ve been so comfortable in misery to find joy so close at hand
I think you’re due
So here’s a song for you
All of the things you think just do
Maybe the words will give you strength to make it through
Love never came easy to me
i don’t speak french
If your lonely give a shout
‘cause I know what you’re talking about
We are both in the same boat
And the falls are just up ahead
All our friends play connect the dots
I just stand around and watch
Meanwhile my stomach’s all in knots
From daydreaming in my bed
My tongue is tied, I’ve tried hard not to flinch
No words in the English language can express
And I don’t speak French
Salad days are in the past
Now my ship is sinking at the mast
Need commitment that’ll last
But it’s so hard to find the words
As for you I don’t know much
Except imagining your touch
But this dreaming is my crutch
I live in another world
My thoughts made it to the game and then got benched
I smashed my teeth in with a monkey wrench
I don’t speak French
I can sing it all in lines
Even make the meaning rhyme
Still I wish I had a dime
For every time I stood silently
Got no fear of the unknown
But put us in a room alone
I’ll be cross-eyed, I’ll be stoned
But I swear that’s not me
I sailed the English channel and got drenched
I smashed my teeth in with a monkey wrench
And I don’t speak French
elijah fed by ravens
Don’t wanna laugh no more, I’m searching for something real
Don’t wanna laugh no more, I’m searching for something real
When I stand naked in the mirror, wanna have something to reveal
Right now I got a thousand faces, and every one of them is alone
Right now I got a thousand faces, and every one of them is alone
Whenever one of them look back, they turn right into stone
I live with love inside my heart, but that don’t make me soft or weak
I live with love inside my heart, but that don’t make me soft or weak
‘Cause love is violence wrapped in beauty, even when it turns the other cheek
My flesh is always frail, and always ready for a shock
My flesh is always frail, and always ready for a shock
But my sight will never fail, I got it nailed to a rock
I was trapped and hidden, 3 days and nights I feared the worst
I was trapped and hidden, 3 days and nights I feared the worst
But like Elijah fed by ravens, you came and satisfied my thirst
Had a woman I call lover, she wore compassion like a mask
Had a woman I call lover, she wore compassion like a mask
She said if you want the void cemented, all you got to do is ask
dirty limericks
My Play opened in the dark of a new decade rising
I turned into a chameleon at dawn
She was waiting with a gift, but the seal it was broken
And her bloody claws they told me something’s wrong
But I’m fooled by shiny toys, and I’ll break them ’til I’m screaming
I laid down to be her bridge across the pond
But she lied just like they all do
There was no one I could call to
My mama said ,”Boy, will you ever learn?”
I found some piece of mind in the solid rock of boredom
And I almost gave my hand away for good
But I woke up with a bang! converted back to lightning
Traded all my steel back to wood
I wasn’t meant to be no wise man I carry guilt around not gold
I’d shred those phantom letters if I could
But it’s OK ’cause she’s gone now
Don’t see her ever calling
She knows I’m past the point of no return
You swam all the five great lakes, ran the great wall of China
Threw out all you Cracker Jacks to get the prize
And you ruined you beauty, but somehow I still love you
You’ve got dirty curls and baby bloodshot eyes
But for all your talk of zen, you can’t hide your shady habits
You’re prayers are dirty limericks in disguise
But you’re here and that’s what matters
When the rest of them have splattered
I’ll stay until the judge says courts adjourned
a negative prayer
We fell out of a whiskey dream to the bloody sidewalk street
Advanced disease, we’re on our knees and trying to be discreet
A party’s on, the booze is gone, there’s something in the air
It’s thicker than blood, stains like mud, it’s the power of negative prayer
What miracles responsible for romantic destiny?
The cupid’s ace in leather & lace by the garden of Eden’s tree
The fur is fake, the wedding cake sits by the marching band
They play on your fears while drying your tears, ain’t celebration grand?
It’s the power of negative prayer
It’s the hour of negative prayer
Come back to me insanity, let sleeping fables lie
I’d like to get a letter to mother goose before I die
The world is crumbling underneath a giant’s angry shoe
Put all your eggs in one basket case and you’d be edgy too
A banjo’s strumming, slumming lovers songs for nickel tips
A promise fell like a dead man from his cemetery lips
The crowd stirs as the singer slurs his words and nearly swears
I’m in the last row squeezing coal with a shovel of negative prayers
killing you
Your bag of tricks is heavy, it’s filled with bricks and stones
You fell asleep in traffic sucking on a soupbone
But I know your sad voice breaks, when the sky gets blue
Too much happiness is killing you
A cinematic scene, a light bulbs flicker death
The steam of Irish whiskey trying to bate our breath
Who’s idea was this anyway? the slaughterhouse said boo
I live for this disease that’s killing you
And you hurt my eyes wide open
Now I’ll never sleep again
I had the balls to be your lonesome scapegoat guy
I had to sleep face down, you would have milked me dry
I know the words to sing. and all the scary tunes
Every strum of my guitar is killing you
You wanna fly and sting just like a bumblebee
But when you hit the grill it will be killing me
bleeding on the inside
Felt her kiss to the roots of my teeth
She left her felt so I wrote underneath
Of the tissue with tears barely dried
I’m only bleeding on the inside
And these chemicals rack my brain
I’m a patient not a name
Send you pictures from life’s other side
I’m only bleeding from the inside
My handlers say that I’m a little intense
Got political ideas on every side of the fence
Glue pennies to the floor at the morgue
It just doesn’t make sense
A disease they can’t quite place
Hold the eight ball and the ace
Swing against the rising tide
I’m only bleeding on the inside
Through the zig-zag, jet-lag times
And the bitter street-wise rhymes
Way too cute for suicide
I’m only bleeding on the inside
secrets that i know
I got bored with life and lost my appetite
So I went to Paris to be a parasite
Hung out with Morrison and a talkative Marceau
They told me all the secrets that I know
I was a salmon swimming back against the stream
Can’t decide what’s worse, needles or caffeine
Einstein’s working overtime to break my genetic code
I won’t tell him all the secrets that I know
I’m in a sugar shack in the outback of Madrid
Serving time for a crime I never did
The judge sentenced me to life on death row
I wouldn’t tell him all the secrets that I know
raze the living dead
A pretty girl in tears,
A handstand by a clown
My channel surfing mama’s got
The biggest wave in town
But I can’t really trust her
Think I’ll hit the road instead
Tell the boys on Beale street
We gonna raze the living dead
I asked questions of her body
She answered with her soul
Incomplete before the sun went down
By the morning I was whole
Then night came knocking down the door
And put a pistol to my head
There’s other slot machines in Vegas
Where we can raze the living dead
The drugs were working overtime,
Hills were wearing shades
We passed a nuclear family
In the American parade
It was like a Norman Rockwell nightmare
Just like my buddy J-Man said
Reload your wrecking ball
We’re gonna raze the living dead
what could we do?
I’m making this up on the bus in the rain
The morning you told me goodbye
Last I saw you sleeping while I would be weeping
But still to upset to cry
It was all so supreme but I know what you mean
When you said that we shouldn’t have rushed through
The clock can’t be wound to before we were found
What could we do?
How did it all start? not a fool with my heart
Usually wait to fall in
But it all felt so right on that innocent night
Didn’t seem like it was such a sin
You grabbed hold of my hand when I stumbled and ran
Together we walked along through
But when all of your dreams come apart at the seams
What do you do?
Why did the mood turn so blue?
You didn’t even give me a clue
Now I’m stuck to depression like glue, it’s true
Now the bus is at home, I’m getting out in the rain
To walk the few steps to my door
But I know that real soon my heart’s gonna swoon
And my ego will be nice and sore
You could tell me I’m dumb
Right now I’m too numb
Didn’t think the consequence through
Guess I wouldn’t trade it though my mind’s trying to fade it
What could we do?

the power of negative prayer album cover

cheap words like happiness

So you went to private school
Memorized the protocol
Gave some nickels to the poor
Until they tore the Berlin Wall
Then your chips were all cashed in
On the bible that you read
At the Vegas Holiday Inn
The blackjack dealer said

Cheap words like happiness
Will let you down

There was nothing left to say
In the revenge of Kalamazoo
All the alligators proved to you
That all I said was true

And that’s why I’m still the king
I bring a sense of attitude/deja vu to all I do…

Who’s gonna sing you songs
When you get the V-chip blues?
Just like Nixon at the Alamo
You’ll be forced to use

the king of unrequited love
We strolled Parisian county fairs
Without regret or care
For heaven or the stars above
It’s old but ended up in shades
Crowned me king in the parade
The king of unrequited love

In Spain box-office broke the record
In London rode double-deckers
In Maine skeet-shooted doves
I’ve dined with expatriates and rebels
Who told me of the levels
Between the gods and devils
I’m the king of unrequited love

amaretto
Back in Amarillo
I keep a picture by the seashells
Name is Amaretto
Smart enough to win the Nobel

Where to find the magic healing touch?
When you’re skipping double-dutch

Amaretto phone me when you land
Whether you’re in Belfast or Japan
Every telegram you send to me
I’ll go in the yard and plant a tree

Working in a steel mill
Memory is off from five to two
Scarfing down the diet pills
Less I have to feel the way I do

Do you believe in fairy tails?

carousels
All I got is coming apart at the seams
When I wake it’s all been a dream
All those things I just can’t explain
There’s no clouds but it’s starting to rain
There’s no sense in playing this game
When our intentions are one in the same
So sneak on in into my room
I’m gonna make your flowers bloom

I see you coming back to me
I dream you riding carousels
Around the setting sun

Now I might not be no Einstein
But I also ain’t no Frankenstein
I stayed with you while the water was drawn
Until all the bubbles in the bath were gone
I know we’re of different kinds
You like Flinstones, I take strychnine
You don’t say thanks when I splurge, or mourn while I dirge

I see you coming back to me
I dream you riding carousels
Mad of stick of cinnamon

I see you coming back to me
I dream you riding carousels
Shooting plastic waterguns

I can see the beauty in a chocolate chip
Now I wanna feel it through your fingertips
Nice to see you showing up for school
When all the boys can do is drool
I know sometimes that you double cross
Makes me mad like a rhinocerous
But I’m willing to waive the fine
Let the band play ragtime

I see you coming back to me
I dream you riding carousels
With buttons all undone

outliving james dean
I remember the day that I outlived James Dean
I still have to beat Rimbaud and John F. Kennedy
I was sad but I was glad
For good fortune that I had

I remember the day that I outlived James Dean
I smothered my diary with a quart of kerosene
I asked why and searched the sky
For an answer way up high

satellite technology
Louder you’re fading
A voice on a tin-can wire of love
I’m dedicating
A poem on the sonar waves above
Is it so bad you never want to come back to me?
I will find you through satellite technology

I know remorses
They send me bad karma in the mail
For shooting the horses
When the pony express was thrown in jail

Do you feel safe?
Did someone make your dreams so self-assured?
I’m writing you a song
I’ll send it with a singing bird

sirens & snakes
In the alley where the rats play
Came the finale of the screenplay
Behind the church yard far from his word
All the wild cards drink liquor

Senoritas look for paradise
In beat up Chevrolets with pairs of fuzzy dice
They want to drive far but they ain’t going nowhere
They won’t be astronauts, they won’t be millionaires

Still a dream is all it takes
To keep you from burning alive
But look out for sirens and the snakes

All the gang lords are loading pistols
Their poor mothers pray to Jesus made of crystal
In the alley the deal was going down
To see which smoking gun will wear the power crown

Two little school girls from the sixth grade
Went out for ice cream at Reggie’s old arcade
They had to rush home ’cause it was getting late
They took a shortcut and walked straight into hate
Now in the alley there’s a tombstone
A bed of flowers near a broken ice cream cone
The kids play hopscotch out on the broken pavement
Near the body chalk outline engravement

losing time
It’s time to break this spell and figure out why I ain’t feeling well
The psychics on the phone they can’t really tell
I dumped my gal last night I blamed it on voodoo and kryptonite
The sex it was OK, but I’m used to dynamite

I guess I can’t forget your lips wrapped tight around that cigarette
But I still got my pictures and videocassettes
It’s never quite the same, and in the end I always kindafeel ashamed
But I can taste you on my tongue every time I breathe your name

And I’m all into you
But it’s losing time

I’m stopping this charade before I get the notebook and the razor blade
‘Cause I can’t hide my misery with parties and parades
You’re silent in your charms like the statue in the Louvre that ain’t got no arms
The mistress of your era, a goddess from the stars

I take cabs to watch you dance with the money I was gonna use to move to France
I got bruises on my neck from the dog chains of romance
I’m on your trail like a private eye, buzzing round town like a Spanish fly
I’m the twin that makes you whole, your sexy Gemini

This ship is sinking fast
We’ll save the women and children last
Take a spaceship to the sun first class

mistaken for an angel
I was out of control
Like a Saint without a soul
When the Lord came to me
Expecting big apologies

But I told her there’s only one I owe
While my eyes were danced on by a crow

When the weather warning came in from the coast
The light house tower was ocean overdosed

I was blinded I was pale
Fingertips were numb from reading braille
Vicious rumors turned you into a cliche
And the piano keys all turned a shade of grey

You peddle flesh now but one day you were mistaken for an angel

The rooster’s crowing cock a doodle doo
At the house of Capulet and Montague
The graceful swan has taken quite a dive
Left you barely breathing, but alive

made of glass
I couldn’t find your eyes
Behind the painted mask
But then again that’s no surprise
You’re made of glass

You sweat the sunlight out
A real iconoclast
And filled the zealots all with doubt
You’re made of glass

I’ll dedicate a toast
Cause you’re a protoplast
And I hope the most that you’re the last
You’re made of glass
I burned a lot of pride

And smoked a lot of grass
But was it fun or suicide?
You’re made of glass

I needed you to know
That you’re the queen of crass
You’re making devils in the snow
You’re made of glass!

we are the meat
Life is what I do when I’m not dreaming
But that’s not too much time at all
I need to find a hobby rewarding and redeeming
But all the numbers have been called

We are the meat
We are the ones devoured
I’m not a coward, but I’m not too happy now

We all grew up under a legend’s shadow
Graffiti vomit art on fresco walls
History’s down on me I’m like a widow
Who never even saw the wedding hall

We are the meat
We will be trapped under jaws
We haven’t broken any laws
Or shot the sacred cow

untitled heartbreaker
It was there in plain black and white
So plain
The net worth of my name
Gossip spread by Visa

In the town of vicious lies
The town
I wrecked the evening gown
Drew a mustache on the Mona Lisa

It takes time to make things clear
Full of hope and fear
I’d like to know the way
To bury yesterday

gonna love you
Girls only like guys who treat them cruel
If you’re the exception that proves the rule
Give me a call on the telephone wire
And let me know if your love’s for hire

I’m gonna love you
Whatever it takes
I’m gonna love you
’til my loving breaks

I’m a veteran at this game
Want in for free just mention my name
I’ve lived through red scares and bulletbras
Now I’m making you my brand new cause

I got no reason to be here
You got no reason to stay
If you let me set up my drums I’ll play

I’m gonna hold you like you long to be held
Squeeze your breath away
If you let me buy your drugs I’ll pay

slipping through
Was I just another notch on your bedpost?
Flaming camels were burning in my head this morning
Tripping over the stem of my red rose
On the floor by the trash must be some sort of warning

Some people embrace misery
Some people just can’t see
When happiness is there you’ve got to grab it
Now you’re all alone but once you had it

Were we not in the same conversation?
Did I not tell you your life is yours mine is mine?
Still you think this is some sort of training
For a war where emotions are weapons in mind

Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my heart
Slipping through the love we tore apart
Slipping through my doorway
Back to the unknown
Back to where we both were so alone
Slipping through my good side
Right into my noose
Revenge for all the pride that you seduced

Don’t see how you misread my intentions
But I guess it’s my luck that you’re too good to try
Thanks for putting me back in the garbage
Where I live just to lick up your whimsy like wine

Some people deny alchemy with ambiguity
They kiss you on the mouth and steal your breathing
Leave you asking why until you’re seething

venus demilo clocks
Little darling don’t cry
All your seasons will fly
I will declassify
All the documents you need
I will take you places
Show you funny faces
Under the steeplechases
Where the horses all run free

Venus De’Milo Clocks
In a Mona Lisa Lounge
No wonder you’re so confused
Waiting for the sky to fall down

I was so mistaken
Numbed my heart from breaking
All the money-raking
Couldn’t buy me a clue

Underneath the streetlights
I’ve been in the streetfights
Those were scary nights
But the sun is breaking through

unhooked
My best friend was a poet
Blew his brains out in Frisco
At a Bohemian nightclub
Just outside of a steel door

He wrote hymns in an ashtray
Masterpieces in matchbooks
My eyes can’t put together
All the atoms he unhooked

I’d trade it all for a back door
Don’t need my neighbors to see me
They got their nose on the window
The shape I’m in ain’t no envy

If I was somebody different
They wouldn’t give me a second look
But my skeleton’s shaky
Kinda totally unhooked

Can’t remember the last time
I dressed up for and evening
Took a girl to a moonlit park
Where her voice was the ceiling

I find the more time binds me
Into a narrow outlook
Got nothing to say to no one
Just kinda totally unhooked

the devil rules this world
I’ve got a lot of light but right now it’s a little dim
I’ve got a lot of love but you’re giving yours to him

What did he do except be cruel I wonder as I stray
It’s true the devil rules this world it’s always been that way

They put the blindfold on me and sent me down the tracks
I longed for less confusion where magic wasn’t black

Guilty just of loving you for that I paid full price
It’s true the devil rules this world, fools call it paradise

Never sat completely still with the needle in my brain
Fought for all the gravity and truth this hurt did drain

Now I’m fighting sentimental thoughts right down the garden line
It’s true the devil rules this world from hell to Eden’s vines

take my resignation
Will someone take my resignation
I’m on the way to San Antone
I’ve been outside my skin forever
Waiting for my inner voice to phone

All my regards are bound for Texas
Where something waits for me in jail
I’ll let my scars do all the talking
And hand the deputy the bail

My thumb is out there on the highway
Haven’t seen a sign for hundred miles
Will someone tell me where I’m headed
Will someone please give me a ride

So here is a grab bag of 25 great John Hiatt songs. Keep in mind that I own maybe only half of his albums, & none from his early days. I have a fondness for his late nineties/early 2000’s run as evidenced by this list. I left off a few of his most famous standards such as HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME (covered by a gazillion artists), ANGEL EYES (a #1 hit for Jeff Healey), & ACROSS THE BORDERLINE (a co-write with Ry Cooder that even Dylan has covered often). Those are essential too, but these ones below just sort of stuck out for me.

  1. WHEN WE RAN – Unfortunately, bad 80’s production mars John’s studio release, so instead, try to grab the astounding version from Linda Rondstadt. It’s from one of her mid-nineties albums. Great song about the perils of NOT taking any chances. “Could have been the kiss of my life, could have been the death of me/Could have been that I was just too scared to wait around & see/Could have been a guardian angel, could have been the wicked one/Besides the buttons on our shirt, what else did we leave undone?”. So many chords! Nice modulations throughout.I have a killer bootleg of him doing it solo-piano in concert that I can try to share with you down the line.
  2. MASTER OF DISASTER- Nearly the same progression through the whole song, but the chorus is sung much higher. Very simple, & it feels like it just keeps building and building. Live versions have the sax replaced by blistering slide guitar. Great motifs with some very evocative lyrics that seem to me to be about a musician with some substance abuse problems, which he was (hardcore) for many years. “Bleeding tongue/8-ball pounding in my lungs/Ship to shore/Can’t see the coastline anymore.”
  3. LIPSTICK SUNSET- “There’s a lipstick sunset smeared across the August sky/There’s a bittersweet perfume hanging in the fields, & the creek is running high.” “Pretty as a picture, red & blushing just before the night/Maybe love’s like that for me/Maybe I can only see/As you take away the light.” Killer slide by the incomparable Sonny Landreth, one of the best players in the world.
  4. REAL FINE LOVE- “I never went to college, I did not have the luck/Rolled out of Indiana in the back of a pickup truck/With no education higher than the streets of my hometown/I went looking for a fire just to burn it all down.” I first heard this song when I had to learn it on drums for a wedding gig.
  5. SOMETHING BROKEN- I’ve covered it live. It was around this time that he was diagnosed with polyps on his throat, & was told he may not have long to sing. He wrote up a storm in that time. I have the acoustic (him & a mandolin player) live off the floor demos from that period & they often surpass the album takes.
  6. HOW BAD’S THE COFFEE?- “& how good’s the pie?/If you call me honey, honey, I’m gonna cry/A whole lotta sugar, little pinch of salt/You cut my bitter with your sweet talk.” A paean to a lovely waitress at the local greasy spoon. John laments those days before America became an endless strip mall. When every town had it’s own unique truck stop diner that served up horrible coffee that you drank anyway, & awesome, homemade pie. I have a live, solo finger picked version that is outta this world.
  7. THE RIVER KNOWS YOUR NAME
  8. MY OLD FRIEND- “Like A Rolling Stone was playing on the radio…”. Pure nostalgia.
  9. THE MOST UNORIGINAL SIN- I’ve covered it. Willie Nelson has covered it. Sounds like it could’ve been penned by him too in his pre-outlaw days.
  10. THE TIKI BAR IS OPEN- “I know a drink ain’t no solution, I ain’t had one in seventeen years/But if that tiki bar is closed tonight, Well, I might just disappear.” He is a big NASCAR fan & wrote this in dedication to the recently passed on Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  11. ONLY THE SONG SURVIVES- “We rolled that Camaro like a cowboy’s cigarette, out on the highway in a puddle of beer.” An odd lyric, but a semi-true story that happened to John & his wife.
  12. THING CALLED LOVE- Of course, Bonnie Raitt made John a mint with her cover, but his is still definitive. It’s got that push/pull rhythm that is hard to do authentically. Plus, when he sings, “it just worked out that way,” & goes into falsetto, it sounds like David Lee Roth!
  13. COME HOME TO YOU- “There’s a meanness inside and it shivers my bones/That’s the thing about mercy, I guess/There is no man so wicked that he cannot come home/Nor so good that he passes each test.”
  14. LINCOLN TOWN- Acoustic on the album, but at the concert I saw, he opened the set with it in full-band electric mode.
  15. CARRY YOU BACK HOME- Such great falsetto singing. He often just comes up with a fairly cliched title, then fills it in with a very simple melody. He managed to replace Sonny with an equally good lead player.
  16. PERFECTLY GOOD GUITAR- As in, why would you smash one! Great lyrics with very unique subject matter. “It started back in 1963/His momma wouldn’t buy him that new red Harmony/He settled for a Sunburst with a crack/But he’s still trying to break his momma’s back”
  17. WONDER OF LOVE- A relatively new song that reminds me of what I feel THE ROLLING STONES should be capable at this late stage. Perfectly crafted, executed delicately. Imagine Mick singing these mature, heartfelt lyrics, Charlie doing his loose-groove ,’shine a light’ type beat, Keith handling southern style rhythm, & Ronnie scratching out those Tele lines. They could come up with gems like this if they put their hearts & minds to it, or more importantly, actually WORKED! Until then, John is doing it instead. Great song with some interesting, sculpted chord choices.
  18. HANGING ‘ROUND HERE- Very much structured like “The Weight”. “It’s an old man’s dreams that a young man fears.”
  19. AINT NEVER GOING BACK- A gut wrenching blues. He usually puts a few blues on each record, though I generally stayed away from those on this list.
  20. 30 YEARS OF TEARS- I’ve covered this one too, around my 30th birthday.
  21. OLD DAYS- A very autobiographical track re-living his early career when he “played for practically free”, naming specific famous names that he’s toured with, even mentioning Vancouver.
  22. CROSSING MUDDY WATERS
  23. MEMPHIS IN THE MEANTIME- “Sure I like country music, & I like mandolins/But right now I need a telecaster through a vibro-lux turned up to ten.”
  24. ROCK OF YOUR LOVE- About as sappy & sentimental as you can get, but it’s good.
  25. SOMETHING WILD- Try to get the Iggy Pop take. He does the best version of this (helped by the powerhouse of Kenny Aronoff on drums, & Waddy Wachtel on guitars). “Sometimes I don’t even move a muscle/Baby, while you lie awake all night/I think I’ve got 9 lives in these corpuscles/ Girl, you know sometimes I don’t think right.”