Welcome

Lone Gunman 

anywhere in america... hair trigger tempers flare...

anywhere in America... you can get caught in the cross-fire stare...

how in heaven do you stand a hope in hell...

f breaking this godless law-abiding spell?

it can turn on a dime... anytime... in America.

...

anywhere in America... haunts the ghost of a beautiful dream...

anywhere in America... you see it coming apart at the seams...

there's a lone gunman in the shadows; tremblin' with wicked rage...

stepping from the wings... suddenly he's center stage

he knows he's going to be on the late news and the front page

and he looks like you and me, and he could be...

anywhere in America.. tonight...

...

anywhere in America... you take your life into your own hands...

at the shopping mall, the public school hall... the corner porno stand...

(and these stories we've been told about 'the end of the world'; they're at hand

in an automatic assault scope sight... 

I wouldn't want to  be, among the 'fearful free' ...

... anywhere in America... tonight....

...well... this song is my response to the 'gun culture' south of the border, down Amerika way... the original line of 'lone gunman in the shadows' came to me one night in Dublin, many years ago... I was lying awake in a B&B, listening to the the sirens wail as the city quaked under threat of another bombing; but it was time spent in California one winter ('78?) that realy brought home the reality of a society inured and immersed in violence, and it certainly hasn't gotten any better in the intervening years; with 'mass shootings' having become commonplace. Far too many weapons, military grade instruments of 'mass destruction' sold with impunity... I fear it is too late for the U.S.A. to tun things around; particularly under current administration; and I fear what awaits Canada as the weapons seep across our all too porous border. love to all, d.

 

Assassin's Hotel 

'...(friends...let me tell you about a dream I had...)...

I dreamt Mark David Chapman met that coward Robert Ford

they became fast friends on Mark's very first day in hell...

Chapman talking trash, and expecting to be taken at his word...

he was the new 'fish' in the Assassin's Hotel...

...

... and Bob said: "Welcome, Mark... you'll see... it's a measure of our infamy that we

should be condemned to replay this tableaux, time and time again...

now every day at three, for eternity you will join me on yon gallows tree

and we'll take our turns... twisting in the wind..."

...

yea, the Assassin's Hotel... it's a blood rare slice of Hell...

where many a wayward soul may come by happenstance...

but like as not they'll stay... for the daily matinee...

don't we all love to watch a dead man dance?

...

and Bob whispered: "Tell me Mark; no lies...

did you see something in John Lennon's eyes;

beyond shock or fear; some glint of resignation?

me. I took the true coward's tack; when I shot poor Jesse James in the back;

to earn my share of scorn, of unborn generations..."

 

...(yea, the Assassin's Hotel...)...

...

I dreamt Mark David Chapman partnered up with that coward Robert Ford

kindred spirits they... two bad seeds in a pod...

and for evermore they'll dwell... down in the Assassin's Hotel...

beyond the purview of man or god.

 

...well... this is most certainly NOT a 'love song'... no love lost for either Chapman or Ford; though in an earlier version Ford quipped to Chapman:..." I shot a thief and murderer to earn my notoriety... you, sir... blew a hole in the heart of history...".. now I'm sure it could be argued that 'poor Jesse James' deserved a better fate, and I would contend that John Winston Lennon, for all his faults and foibles was entitled to leave this world in his own good time (and preferably after leaving us more music). I've been tempted to contact Chapman. at the 'correctional' facility where he still resides, after numerous refusals at parole. Ron Hynes wrote a great ballad from Robert Ford's perspective; 'Judgement' I believe it is called. Ken Tizzard does a fine job of that one (and many other Hynes compositions).  I don't intent to go out of my way to give Chapman any degree of satisfaction, miserable son of a bitch that he is (or was). He made his play for 'fame'; and in doing so, robbed a woman of her husband; two sons of their father; and the world of a man who should still be making music and comment on the human condition. love to all (well, most everyone), d.

 

 

Eye of the Beholder 

if beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I'm beholden to her... for giving back my sight

no matter how many times I might have told her

what she means to me; I never quite get it right...

it runs deeper than the well of our emotions...

wider than the gulf; of from now 'till then...

stronger than the pull of moon on ocean

truer than the steel rails... that once bound this land...

(it's a deeper, wider, stronger, truer love...)

...

we'd both agree that the honeymoon is over

on a good day we'd say...we know each other well

when we're trying to define just what we mean by 'lover'...

we're party to the secrets; that only time can tell...

intimacy transcending pride or passion

comfort culled from countless kisses; so much shared sleep and dreams

love transforms our very selves in it's sweet fusion

sets our souls on high; straining at the seams...

(it's a deeper, wider, stronger, truer love...)

...

if beauty is in the eye of the beholder

this beauty I've been holding, I am blessed by and indebted to...

carry me through 'till I am wise or older

buttressed by this love; a fortress for me and you...

running deeper than the well of our emotions...

wider than the gulf... of from now 'till then

stronger than the pull of moon on ocean...

truer than these steel strings... beneath my hands...

( it's a deeper, wider, stronger, truer love...)

 

    ...well.. this is one of my  more favourite of my many 'love songs'... perhaps for the defining love of my life, the mother of my son; a relationship of more than thirty odd (some very odd) years... now as long gone as the boy himself... and yet 'love is alive ...magic is afoot' (as Leonard Cohen did opine all those years ago in 'Beautiful Losers' )... and in my 'twilight years' (or at least this later, if not last 'act' of my life); love continues to grace me with its' presence (and presents; the gifts that stop us in our tracks and have us rejoice in being human)... yes,  I am an old 'romantic'; but romance has been good to me, and who am I to question a little love at this stage of the game? (" at this stage of the game.0..... this game of the 'stage'...becomes more and more real.... like these lines upon the page...")... love to all (even, perhaps especially; to those that have graced me with their love through the years...) d.

 

 

Tell Me That You Love Me 

tell me that you love me... tell me that you care...

tell me that you love me... I need to hear it again and again...

...

darlin' I know that we can't always live in...

the heat of the moment, the heart of the song

the flush of passion... can't hold out that long...

I need to know that when we're making love

it's a gift for the future.. a rock to stand on...

an anchor to hold us; through tempest or storm...

...

...so tell me that you love me... tell me that you care

tell me that you love me... I need to hear it again and again...

...

here we are, all wrapped up in the moment;

with a gift for the future, a song unsung...

and it's perched like a whisper; on a waiting tongue...

it's not just marking time; this clocking our progress

the hours and the minutes; the dusk through the dawn

the waking dreams that keep me hanging on (you keep me hanging on...)

...

 so tell me that you love me... tell me that you care...

tell me that you love me... darlin' ... I will be there...

    ...well... this most certainly a 'love song'; and though it is 'past it's due date' , I'm hoping that it's 'shelf life' will stand the test of time... I've had the great pleasure of singing it at a few weddings over the years; most recently my nephew Brendan Sutton's marriage to the lovely Valerie. Originally the only song recorded on my old Gibson ES-335 12 string electric guitar,  ( now long gone ); though for Brendan and Valerie's nuptuals, sung acoustically in the doorway of a little restaurant in Ottawa on my Martin D-35 12 string; (never to part). love to all (so long as it may last), d.

 

Think it Over 

you're asking me to 'think it over'... seems that's all we ever do

I don't want another lover; ...if I can work this out with you

times it's hard to believe; the things we put each other through

still, I ain't asking you to leave... and I'll stay if you want me to.

...

think it over and decide... get on board, or let it ride...

I don't want you to feel you're tied... or stay if you ain't satisfied...

think it over and be sure... before you walk out of that door

make sure you know the odds and score...

you may not see me anymore.

...

step out and have yourself a drink... check out the men in the room

have a dance or two and think (you better think about it, babe...)

you could be single again, real soon...

if one of them should strike a flame... rekindle things you think we've lost

go on, then,, shift the blame... I stand prepared to pay the cost

...(think it over and decide... repeat chorus...)

...

love needn't be a running battle... as of late, things just ain't right...

do you feel you're standing in my shadow...

or am I just between you and the light?

... ( think it over and decide... repeat chorus and fade...  )

 

     ...well... I guess this is also a 'love song'... but from a different point in the relationship; a line drawn in the sand... very much a 'honky tonk' piece; in the Waylon Jennings tradition... it was the 'B' side of the 45 rpm recording featuring 'Love Ain't Blind' (1987?); and I recall taking great pleasure when someone fired up both sides on the jukebox as we were setting up for a gig in one of the many little joints that are long gone, now... I was fortunate to 'come of age' in the last gasps of country music as it once was... 'six nights and a matinee.. we were honky tonkin' night and day...'... 

 

 

Love Ain't Blind 

if you could tell me, what's on your mind, darlin'

maybe I could be of some assistance...

they'll all try to sell you that old line about 

'love being blind', baby... we could prove that all nonsense...

...

I believe that love is... wide awake and hoping...

and it's staring us down with it's eyes wide open...

love ain't blind... love could see us through these times...

...

if I could hold you... slip into your dreams, darlin'

maybe I could make this all make sense...

no matter what they've told you;

love's not always what it seems, and I...

I'd like to say a few words in love's defence...

...

though I'm convinced... that love ain't blind...

love's under no obligation to be simple or kind...

no, love ain't blind... love will see us through these times...

...

if you could tell me... what's on your mind, baby...

maybe I could be of some assistance...

     ...well... this song dates back to the 'Bandanna!' days... it was a popular 'slow dance' number, and appears on the 'Seven Songs' recording, which was six tunes from a F.A.C.T.O.R. grant, produced by Prairie Oyster's Keith Glass at Andy Thompson's Northumberland Music Studio... the seventh song, 'Tell Me That You Love Me' on that effort, was from a CKPT 'Homegrown' radio contest, also recorded at Andy's. This is one of many 'love songs' that haven't had a whole lot of play in my world of late. Times and situations change; but a song is never just meant to just pertain to certain individuals and relationships,  I suppose. 

...

 

Man of a Thousand Songs (Ron Hynes) 

he's got a crimson red tattoo,,, keeps it hidden up above his T-shirt sleeve

it's a broken heart, and the inscription reads: "No Love songs, If You Please"

but he don't really mean that, no, it's only cheeky tongue...

he stands up and sings for them every night; he's 'The Man of a Thousand songs'...

...

he knows the street like he knows his last name, he knows the city from the wrong side out

he knows that time is cruel; and any man's a fool; to hide the truth behind his mouth

he knows 'The Duke of Earl'; he knows 'My Girl'; and 'The House of the Rising Sun'

and the opening line on the marquee sign; he's 'The Man of a Thousand  Songs'...

...

he knows an old hotel, where the desk clerk will sell you;

your soul back; reasonably cheap... and this guy you can call,

when you're crawling the walls; and the whole town's asleep...

he don't promise what he don't deliver; he keeps it all in the 'easy keys'

he don't dream beyond his expectations; he's got the 'stance' down to a 'T'...

he's got a friend in a backstage alley; got just the thing to make the night move along;

and the opening line on the marquee sign...

he's ' The Man of a Thousand songs..."...

...well... this is the last song I've recorded that falls into the back half of the category: 'Songs I wrote or wish I had...'   in my humble opinion, not only Ron Hyne's greatest composition, but the definitive tune to address the daunting task of standing in front of a crowd with nothing but a guitar and a song... I 'opened' for Ron at the venerable Ship Inn in St. John's once, and had him as house guest when he last passed this way; but never got to know him well... I have had opportunity to get acquainted with his last manger, Charles Macphail; prior to his relocation 'down east'. There is a great biography 'Wonderful Grand One Man Band', but both it and my copy of the documentary 'Man of a Thousand Songs' have gone missing. Both highly recommended, though. Ron is most often associated with his popular tune 'Sonny's Dream'; but I prefer the 'darker' material; like 'Killer Cab' or 'The Ghost of Dana Bradley'.. check him out, good people... Ron Hynes was 'the real deal'; and now he's gone... love to all, d.

For the Sake of a Dollar (William Patrick Bennett) 

once there was a miner... who held down his job...

'tll one day he was struck down... by the fate of his god...

now his wife, she did morn him... 'till the collectors came around

and they stole all his possessions... before they'd bury him down

...

now his wife and his children... pay the rent with their tears...

they live alone with one another; wake each night with their fears...

and the money ain't nothin'... to the rich men in town

but for the sake of a dollar; they let the whole family drown

...

now the old man had wrote out... all the things he had saved...

said he's saved them a gold mine... but it was all in his head...

and one solemn child.... who had been born that year

was brought up with the memories... of the feelings and the fears

...

now his wife and his children... pay the rent with their fears

they live alone with one another... wake each night with their fears

'cause the money ain't nothin'... to the rich men in town...

but for the sake of a dollar; they let the whole family drown.

...

now the bartender's arm shook... as she poured one more round...

said she'd heard many stories... and was I long in the town?

I paid up my dollar... and  I laughed as I did...

said: "I'm one of the family... though I've long kept it hid...

...

and I'm older and wise, now... I've travelled around...

I've slept in many a dark city... I've been jailed in small towns...

and my father would tell you... if he'd lived to this day...

that if life be a gamble... then blood be... the stakes...

          well... this is the only song of Willie's that I have recorded (on The Brave Work); though there are many I consider 'favourites', and a few more I'd sing on occasion. When I was headed up to David (Hollis) Morgan's studio to lay down the tracks, I called Willie about a line I was unsure of,(for the life of me I can't recall which), and his response was to go ahead and sing it the way I heard it... so I guess I did. I don't generally mess with another songwriter's lyric; but that was pretty much the way Willie was... humble and accepting... and songs are fluid in nature, I believe... the last time I put 'Ode to Willie P," down, there was a serendipitous switch of wording; and it will stay that way (until next time, I suppose). Today is 'Blue Valentine' at The Garnet, here in the 'Patch; and folks will gather to sing his songs and remember him. love to all, d.

 

...

...

Honky Tonk Heart 

each night you cake the make-up on, stare into your bedroom mirror

slip into your high heels, and feather out your hair

you head on down to the local lounge; and you're always tere by nine

to get a seat close to the stage, where you stay 'til closing time.,,

 

you'll be making eyes at the guitar man; you're not ashamed to be caught staring

he's like to do the same himself, with those  skin tight clothes you're wearing

he\s lonely and bored, out on the road; he slips you an offstage wink

as soon as the band takes their first break, he'll ask to join you fr a drink

 

and your honky yonk heart keeps bouncing back, time and time again

where a wiser woman might wait a while, you just wade right in...

t's another man, anther country band, one more week long romance

you'll think he's singing just for you...while he's watching all the women dance

 

you've had your share of shallow affairs; a long string of one night stands\

it's been five years of the night life, since you took the ring off your left hand

ypu'll only half believe the lines, you've heard so many men before

still you look for better times ...behind those swingin' doors...

 

(and your honky tonk heart keeps bouncing back, time and time again...)

 

he's been working that backwoods circuit, waiting on that one big break...

wishing there ws some sure fire short cut, to frget a man's mistakes

it's the whisky talkin' when he whispers words of love into your ear

but you're well used to second best; it's all you need to hear...

 

 

(and your honky tonk heart keeps bouncing back...(...

 

     ...well... this song was my 'take' on the scene that I spent many nights (and afternoons)n playing the taverns and beer parlours where I learned hat little it is I know about \the music business'...  my time spent learning and pursuing  the 'honky tonk life' mst successfully (and that is a very relative term) wit my country dance band 'Bandanna!'... it could be seen as  rather chauvinistic (and I'm sure it would be by some)' t seemed a reasonably accurate amalgam of many people (both audience  and band members) that I encounteredi in my travels. I've heard women describe touring  bands as \easy pickins' in that a week or two was as long as they would be in town. It was all a little over (or under) whelming for a folkie cowboy such as myself; with a few notable exceptions; and some precious few regrets. Leonard Cohen's line from 'Night in Santiago' comes to mind..."Although I've forgotten half my life; I still remember this...' I  do remember a couple of the gals that sparked  this lyric. I forgot the  middle verse to this song this morning; but then I don't think I'd sung it this century.

 

 

 

Spadina -Heart of this Town John (Johnny Pearl) Burshaw 

the summer was passing... the leaves on the ground

closing it's gates... and moving uptown

I looked for tomorrow... when I came here today

but I'm in no hurry... to find my way.

...

Spadina... heart of this town...

did you leave someone waiting... no place to lie down?

...

I am a poor boy... college I've none...

but I've worked in your factories... and I've lived on the 'bum'...

this town is so cold... when you're out on the run...

shall we stand in the doorway... and wait for the sun?

....

Spadina... heart of this town...

did you leave someone waiting... no place to lie down?

 

,.. this song always reminded me of my brother Peter, who spent most of his life just a step away from 'the street' in Toronto...rooming houses in Parkdale,  catching an extra meal at The Good Shepherd; attending a friend's funeral in 'potter's field'... in and out of 999 Queen Street for ongoing mental health issues... we finally became close in his later years, and I was at his bedside when he 'crossed over' (see 'Jesus, My Brother'... and the comments to that)... time spent with my brother always reminded me of just how fortunate I was in my own life. He was very supportive of my musical interests, and I would play old country songs for him when I'd go to visit, he could always tell me the month and year that they were released. Not too very long before he passed, he tasked me to write him a song; and only gave me the title: "Just Another Rainy Sunshiny Day'... I didn't get around to that before he died, and in the intervening  years have only come up with this much:

             it's just another rainy sunshiny day

             clouds of my own making, keeping blue skies at bay...

             I suppose, I surmise; that these tears in my eyes

             come with just another rainy sunshiny day

 

...perhaps it will show up in a more complete form further down the page(s)... as this project catches up with itself, and I've managed to transcribe all of the complete lyric to the songs posted from the three recordings included for free download on this page. I'm trying to do a little every day, but I have to admit that playing with computers most certainly takes a backseat to playing guitar; and it's high time I did a little of that. later, d.