Pothole Heart


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Track List

  1. Too Late to Die Young
  2. Pothole Heart
  3. Grackle
  4. Gandy Dancer
  5. White Dog
  6. Gary Brown
  7. John the Baptist
  8. Sweet Vermouth
  9. Please Be Good
  10. Jesus 4 Prez
  11. God Knows
  12. There Is Time
  13. Mercury Lexapro

Personnel

  • Luke Spurr Allen - vocals, guitar
  • Bailey Smith - guitar, vocals
  • Alex McMurray - guitar, banjo, vocals
  • Steve Calandra - bass, guiro, vocals
  • Mike Andrepont - drums
  • Casey McAllister - piano, organs, guitar, banjo, mandolin, xylophone
  • Additional musicians are Helen Gillet, Andrew Gilchrist, Lydia Stein, Meschiya Lake, Tasche de la Rocha, Stoo Odom, Matt Perrine, Charles "Washboard Chaz" Leary, Alex McMurray

Lyrics


TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG: It’s too late to die young. It’s too late to die young. Throw your stones at the sun, you’re undone. It’s too late to die young. It’s too late to find love, it’s too late to find love. You’re grief, it fits like a glove when you curse God above. It’s too late to find love. It’s too late to die young. It’s too late to die young. No silver bullet in the gun to kill the beast that you’ve become. It’s too late to die young. You’re second wind is blowing thin; less a wind and more of a sigh. And what once was and what might have been are passing in the night. It’s too late to be brave, way too late to be brave. Well , you’re well past the age where heroes are made, It’s too late to be brave. It’s too late to die young, it’s too late to die young. This is tired, it aint fun, and don’t  you know that no one won. It’s too late to die young. (CHORUS) It’s too late for wedding cake (for birthday cake, for happy cake.) Die young, for goodness sake, for a well attended wake.  It’s too late for wedding cake.

It’s too late to die young. It’s too late to die young. All your songs have been sung, and all your deeds have been done. It’s too late to die young.  It’s too late to die young. It’s too late to die young. This is tired, it aint fun, and don’t you know that no one won. It’s too late to die young. It’s too late to die young, it’s too late to die young. No silver bullet in the gun, to kill the beast that you’ve become. It’s too late to die young.

POTHOLE HEART: You’ve got a pothole heart. It was there right from the start. First it swallowed up my car, then it swallowed up the stars, it only eats the tender parts. You’ve got a gutter for a mouth. I love the way you curse me out. But you broke my funny bone, with your goddamn sticks and stones. I took the eastside exit out of town. Oh Susanna! Sweet Susanna! Oh Susannah, don’t you cry for me. I’ve got  gravel for a brain, and I’m not feeling any pain. There’s never gravel enough to fill all the memories we killed dumping whiskey down the drain. You’ve got a puddle for a heart, and it’s been raining since the start. And you’ve drowned a million cars and ten trillion lovely stars, and that aint the saddest part, no no. (CHORUS). You’ve got a pothole heart. It was there right from the start. First it swallowed up my car...

GRACKLE: Grackle, bird don’t wake me up. I just fell asleep an hour ago. I feel scraped out, and old, and rough. As mean as Juarez, Mexico. Well, I went and spent up all my luck on them wine spodie odie odie ohs. Grackle, bird don’t wake me up. I miss my baby ever so. I’ve got a pillow full of nails. I’ve got a mattress full of fleas. Grackle, bird don’t wake me up. Man, why you so damn mad at me?

Grackle, bird, just let it go. Well, it seems you’ve got a lot to say about all the love I owe, and how I got no means to pay. Grackle, bird. Please shut up. I just fell asleep an hour ago. Well, it’s half past six and the sun comes up and a I miss my baby ever so. So, take them shiny wings and fly them way up town. To where my baby dreams. Where grown men go to drown and drown and Grackle don’t sing pretty, no. He’s got a song just like the Book Of Job. Grackle, bird, please let it go. Grackle bird, please let me go.

GANDY DANCER: Well, we came across the water. It took us thirty days. I met the hangman’s daughter beside her Daddy’s grave. And she took me by the hand. Goddamn. I was starving in the city, for a country boy am I. Well, I killed a man for money, I cannot tell a lie. And I spent two silver nickels on a glass of Irish wine, made my peace with Mother Mary, and America divine. Well, we worked across the country; about a dollar a day. I was a gandy dancer for Leland Stanford’s pay. And the blisters on my hands, goddamn. In a boxcar out of Lincoln, I knew the forman’s wife. Well, the foreman gave me notice, so I gave that man my knife. And I ran into the darkness, far from Mother Mary’s eyes. Hid my hands inside my pockets, I cannot tell a lie. Well, I landed in Salinas,1929. Just an old man in train yard, with old troubles on his mind. And I seen the hangman’s daughter, and a daughter there had she, and before they turned to dusk, I seen she looked like me. And I spent two silver nickels on a glass of Irish wine. Made my peace with Mother Mary, and America divine.

WHITE DOG: The man told me, do no despair. There’s a light that shines most everywhere. The light’s the lord. The lord is love. But your love has grown as cold as the farthest star above. The man told me that two is two. The night is long and the sky is blue and to spare the many, you must kill a few. Now, stand in line just like your poor daddy do. You keep calling my name again and again. There’s a white dog sitting in the road and he’s staring at me. He’s got sulfur on his muzzle and eyes as black as the sea. The man told me, be thee not afraid. For, with faith enough I shall be saved. But I have no faith, I am not brave, and worms will feast on my pauper’s grave. Well, the man told me to have no cares. Just follow them breadcrumbs up those crooked stairs. There’s a girl on the landing, just as fair as she can be. She has the mark on her brow, and bruises on her knees. You keep calling me home like a siren through the snow. There’s a white dog sitting in the road and he’s staring at me. He’s got sulfur on his muzzle and eyes as black as the sea.

GARY BROWN VS. THE ZOMBIES: Gary Brown from Middletown, he likes to take his gun to town. He likes to shoot them zombies down, man, he sees zombies all around. Now, Gary is a wee bit sick, but he’s got no script and no therapist for that thorazine for that nervous tic; he’s gone and lost his benefits. Gary, he got fired last year when he called his zombie boss a queer. Now, he substitutes his meds with beer, it helps improve the atmosphere. The Gun Show came to Middletown, it’s Christmas Day for Gary Brown. He got a semi-aut and a thousand rounds, he’s gonna shoot some zombies down. Now, they’re calling in the sniper squad, the lobbyists and their vengeful gods, the NRA, the PTA, and you and me. Well, the newsy boys have parked their trucks, they’re selling us all kinds of stuff, here in the land of opportunity.

Well, Gary Brown, he died today, with a bullet in the head from his own A.K. Yes, he had a dream it would end this way, on the playground where the zombies play.

JOHN THE BAPTIST: Bring me the head of John The Baptist, she said. On a thousand dollar pillow from a million dollar bed. Now, give me all his guts, I gonna paint the pantry red. She said, give me the fire that used to animate his eyes, in abusted mason jar that stinks of gasoline and lie and when he cries for mercy tell him all good men must die alone. Now, go and die alone. She said, give me all his paper, darlin, give me all his coin. Two bits to see the pin-head twins all twisted and conjoined and when he hollers uncle tell him nephew gird your loins.

Sally’s shift is over soon. Her Johnny’s in the DJ booth. Her daddy’s in the champagne room. Bring me the head of John The Baptist, she said. Just wrap it in some cellophane and stick it in the fridge and later I will sing to him and maybe even cry a little bit. She said, here’s a little apple, lover, here’s a little spell. Let’s be William Burroughs imitating William Tell, and I know that it is burning, but I have a bridge I’d like to sell to you. To that preacher boy and you. She said, bring me all his bones, please and that geriatric hide. I’d like to build a bass drum with the hurt he hid inside. And play it out for carnival and Sunday second lines.

SWEET VERMOUTH: This here country band, they won’t quit. They’re pretty good but they don’t draw for shit. And they’re drinking up my top shelf scotch for free. I should close this bar and steal the bank, ‘cause these lonesome songs by George and Hank are stealing what little breath is left in me. And all the goodtime gals are gone, yes they never stay here long, and I’ve been left alone with pensioners and thieves. And these goddamn cowboy songs, they keep stringing me along. Hanging me from yonder weeping willow tree. All the schnapps is full of flies, I guess they found their paradise. Me, I stopped looking so long ago. It’s been ten years now just today, that my Jenny ran away with a salesman from Taos, New Mexico. And all the goodtime gals are gone, singing someone else’s song, and I’ve been left alone with ghosts and tumbleweeds. And these goddamn cowboy tunes, they echo through this empty room, and I’m too drunk and scared to ever leave. Well I’ve drowned a thousand sailors and brawled a thousand sailors but it’s all a little hazy to tell the truth. And the closest to the wagon was a lead, half gallon flagon full of Coca-Cola, ice, and sweet vermoth. And all the goodtime gals are gone. Some grew old, some moved along. And I’ve been left alone with all that I believe. I pour the goddamn undertaker a double Seagrams boiler-maker. He pays his tab, he puts on his hat, but he don’t leave. Now I’m shouting out last call, but they’re no listening, not at all. They just smile at me and they nod, and they look away. I swore I’d leave this town come Fall, on my knees in that bathroom stall, but I know, and they know I’m gonna stay.

PLEASE BE GOOD: Please don’t crash the car and die. Please don’t get a D.U.I. Please don’t make your mother cry exchanging lies for lullabies. Please don’t drug like Daddy did with coke and pills and dope he hid inside his arms, inside that house, as quiet as a little mouse. Please don’t learn to talk just yet or waste your breath on cigarettes; you’ll burn holes in Mother’s favorite chair. It makes her mad! It makes her scared! Please don’t play with guns and knives, taking other baby’s lives. Please grow up to be kind and strong and to tell tour mother that nothing’s wrong. Please don’t ever learn to drive, you’ll go to fast, you’ll crash and die. Stick to crawling, stay alive. Please don’t make your mother cry. And don’t you drink, boy! Don’t you start! You’ll break your mother’s little heart. She’s suffered quite enough of you with your paper bag and your model airplane glue. Please don’t learn to read or write, books will give you sleepless nights. School will fill your mind with lies, with science, skirts, and alibis, geometry and charts and pies, Sigmund Freud and patricide, too many words, too many thoughts. Now, go and count the toys we bought you. Please don’t feed the alligators. Their teeth leave bloody, ugly craters. They’re in the swamp where you were born.  You’re three years old, boy. You’ve been warned.

JESUS DIED: Jesus died too young to run for president. Jesus died too young to run for president. Jesus died too young, you see, he was only 33. Jesus died for you, my friend. He died for me. Jesus died too young to run for president. Should we blame the government? Or those swarthy hordes of proletariat? Or Judas Escariot? Or Pontius Pilate? Perhaps it was an accident? Jesus died to young to run for president.

Jesus died to young to find the remedy for tall the sickness and the sorrow in society. He was a gifted diplomat, but he was no Kennedy. I knew John Kennedy. That man was a prince. Jesus died too young to run for president. Jesus died to young to run for president. To drive the creationists from the revival tent. To outlaw all the landlords and refund all the rent. He gave up his oxygen for Lent. He gave up everything for Lent. Jesus died too young to run for president. Jesus died too young, was he just another Mama’s boy suffering splinters from all his little wooden toys? He sacrificed his happiness for all our petty joy, so please repent. Jesus died too young to run for president. 

GOD KNOWS: God knows this got old, but we’ll do just exactly what we’re told. And is God just a jealous man with thinning hair and shaking hands? And through the woods we go, come falling stars, come falling snow. And your song, soft, so low, is the only song I’ll ever know. And God, he has his plan. But he talks too fast and I can’t understand a word. And does it make you mad when they talk about the Father and the Son? I guess they did you wrong when you was young. And through these city streets, these fallen kings so mild so meek. And their light, so bright, so brief is the only light I’ll ever seek. And God, are you just? And will you do just exactly what you must? And are you humbled by them hobbled little holy ghosts? Yes they’re turning out the pocket’s of their father’s favorite coat. And through the woods…

And God, he has his plan. And he will do just exactly what he can, and we will do just exactly what we can. 

THERE IS TIME: Last night we drove down a narrow highway I’d never seen before. And our baby boy, he laughed and pointed out the darkened window. And something strange and bright flashed across the clear November sky. You know it’s true. You saw it too, didn’t you?

Well, you’ve heard this one before, from the mountains to the shore, not this time, maybe next time. And you sang your lullaby to the sad-eyed suicide and said, “Take some time, please take some time.” And Meghann, should we go on a trip to Sacramento for old time’s sake? Well, you married me today, seven years ago today. And what a time. Last night you dreamed we took a holiday to Mars. In a souped-up, gas efficient, futuristic rocket car. And our baby boy lay sleeping in your ever loving arms. This Mississippi river flows to the Gulf of Mexico. It takes its time.

MERCURY LEXAPRO: Your daddy ran the mine. Your mother took her time. You were first and last and so, Mercury Lexapro don’t despair, you’re going to fly us out of there. They met outside a bar, beneath a blanket of stars. She touched his moon-white face and said, “Our child will conquer space and save us all from the darkness of the fall.” Your daddy won the war, but your mother wanted more from him. Every letter that he wrote to her, she folded into boats and set adrift on the river black and swift. Well, you built your first from scratch underneath that overpass. Forty foot high, you were fourteen years old. Mercury Lexapro, it’s ok. Your’e going to fly us home today. Your daddy mows the lawn. Your mother puts her helmet on. Commencing count-down, I suppose. Mercury Lexapro, don’t be afraid. You’re going to carry us away.