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"Space City"

"Space City"

If I could have one wish right now
I'd be about as half as tough as I pretend I am
Then I wouldn't care how empty this old house feels
I could take her things and take them far away from here
I could make sure no dirt ever got on her name
Cause looking at that stone wouldn't bring me so much pain
I could go into town wearing my finest clothes
I could turn these tears into blood and make it run ice cold

Space City's one hour up the road from me
One hour away from as close to the moon as anybody down here is ever gonna be
And somewhere beyond that big white light is where my heart is gone
And somewhere she's wondering what's taking me so long

My hands are as good to me as they've ever been
And I ain't ashamed of anything my hands ever did
But sometimes the words I used were as hard as my fist
She had the strength of a man and the heart of a child I guess
"Steve Mcqueen"

"Steve Mcqueen"

Steve McQueen Steve McQueen
When I was a little boy I wanted to grow up to be
Steve McQueen Steve McQueen
The coolest doggone motherscratcher on the silver screen

I'd drive real fast everywhere no one would ever catch me
And I'd kick your ass if you pissed me off so be careful what you ask me
And I'd never have an empty bottle or an empty bed
And as cool as Paul Newman is I bet Steve could whup his head

Steve McQueen......

Bullet was my favorite movie that I'd ever seen
I totaled my go-cart trying to imitate that chase scene
That Duster had six hubcaps, know what I mean
And I love the way they all flew off when it landed in that ravine

Steve McQueen......

I really loved The Getaway back when I was eight
That pussy Alec Baldwin sucked in the remake
And speaking of pussy, I guess Steve got it all
He fucked Faye Dunaway and he fucked Ali McGraw

Steve McQueen Steve McQueen
When I was a little boy I wanted to grow up to be
Steve McQueen Steve McQueen
The coolest goddamn mothefucker on the silver screen

[suddenly the scene turns slow and somber, as a campfire harp plays in the background]

I went to see The Hunter on my first date
The Hunter was the last movie Steve McQueen lived to make
They took my drivers license when I was just sixteen
The year Mesothelioma killed Steve McQueen
"Tales Facing Up"

"Tales Facing Up"

Me and my brother's old lady went out and got stinking,
she solved her curiosities about me by the railroad tracks.
She said I reminded her of him before he started drinking
and banging the babysitter every time she turned her back. I

We opened up the sunroof and smoked a big ole joint
and drank a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon listening to the crickets and trains.
Every so often she'd lapse into narcotic rambling.
Moon and mascara. I've always been a holy terror.
Temptations lurking every where. If your mind's in the gutter, Beware!
You'll find me there.

Me and a friend were talking after the funeral.
She said it should have been me but I'm still around and I been so wild,
I'm surprised I made it to the seventh grade, and all my dead friends have settled down.
My eyes were puffy and she asked if I'd been crying.
I said 'tears are for pussies' but who was I kidding.
So we stopped at the bar and drank them dry. Beer and tequila.
I've always been a thrill seeker. But thrills are a dime a dozen these days.
And I found a dime in the gutter today. Tails facing up. Still fucking up. Still fucking up.

A funny thing happened on my way to a strange way of thinking.
"The Boys From Alabama"

"The Boys From Alabama"

Well, they caught you smoking grass and the judge threw the book
I can see a little opportunism in your look
You can take it from me, boy
You can take it from a crook
I got friends on the inside and friends on the outside
They'll sneak up beside you so keep on their good side

I can see you standing there, staring down at your shoes
Thinking about your Mom and Dad and wondering what to do
Well you best look inside yourself, boy, we're all watching you
We got friends in jail who will see you through
Boy, don't forget, no matter what you do

Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
You know they won't let it slide
They might find your body in the Tennessee River
Or they might not find you at all
There'll be no place to run and hide
And your family ain't safe at all
Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
We're keeping an eye on you

Keeping an eye on you

Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
Better take it like a man
Ain't nobody gonna stick anything up your ass
If you remember who your friends are
We got good help down in Franklin County
They'll hunt you like a dog
You can take your fall or lose it all
The choice is up to you

I wouldn't piss off the Boys from Alabama if I was you
"The Buford Stick"

"The Buford Stick"

Now Sheriff Buford Pusser's gotten too big for his britches
With his book reviews and movie deals
Down at the car lot making public appearances
For breaking up our homes and stills
I know he likes to brag how he wrestled a bear
But I knew him from the funeral home
Ask him for a warrant, he'll say "I keep it in my shoe"
That son of a bitch has got to go
That son of a bitch has got to go

Now they lined up around the block to see that movie
And crying for his ambushed wife
Marveling about about shot eight times and stabbed seven
Some folks can't take a hint
They say he didn't take no crap from the State Line Gang
What the hell they talking bout?
I'm just a hard workingman with a family to feed
And he made my daughter cry
Said he made my daughter cry

"Watch out for Buford!" is what they keep on telling me
But to me he's just another crooked lawman up in Tennessee
He gets a new hot car to keep us on our toes
And that ridiculous stick where the press corp. goes
And some big time Hollywood actors playing him on the big screen

"Watch out for Buford! He's shutting down our stills and whores"
But it ain't like he's all that different from what was there before
It wouldn't take my man long to do the job
Just a partially sawed through steering rod
And I wouldn't have to worry about the good Sheriff anymore
Now the funeral's got'em lined up for twenty blocks
No one liked that SOB when he's alive
But the ruckus he began keeps a spreadin' like a wildfire
Not sure if I'm gonna survive

Hit an embankment doing 120 on a straight-away
The Lord works in mysterious ways
They'll probably make another movie, glorifying what he done
But I'll never have to hear them say
I'll never have to hear them say

Watch out for Buford
"The Company I Keep"

"The Company I Keep"

My Mama told me, your life is such a wreck
Your dumber than dogshit is what my Daddy said
I was just thirteen when they showed me the door
I keep their picture but don't look at it no more

My first wife told me, you need to get a life
My third wife told me to get another wife
I brought a bottle and the van's parked by that tree
So come on out with me, if you want to be number four

Sometimes I feel like shit
Sometimes that ain't half of it
Sometimes I'm so high I'm scared to go to sleep
Sometimes I'm lower than the company I keep

Ain't held down a job since 1984
I get by holding up convenience stores
I get by on liquor, guns and luck
But I'm scared to death which one might run out first

Sometimes I feel like shit
Sometimes that ain't half of it
Sometimes I'm so high I'm scared to go to sleep
Sometimes I'm lower than the company I keep

I seen my past in everything that I despise
I've seen my future and I'm scared to close my eyes
Is that my ghost that I see in my fears
Or just my reflection in my Mama's tears

Sometimes I feel like shit
Sometimes that ain't half of it
Sometimes I'm so high I'm scared to go to sleep
Sometimes I'm lower than the company I keep
Sometimes I'm lower than the company I keep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
"The Day John Henry Died"

"The Day John Henry Died"

I watched the rain; it settled in. We disappeared for days again.
Most of us were staying in, lazy like the sky.
The letters flew across the wire filtered through a million liars.
The whole world smelled like burning tires the day John Henry died.

We knew about that big machine that ran on human hope and steam.
Bets on John were far between and mostly on the side.
We heard he put up quite a fight. His hands and feet turned snowy white.
That hammer rang out through the night the day John Henry died.

When John Henry was a little bitty baby nobody ever taught him how to read
But he knew the perfect way to hold a hammer was the way the railroad baron held the deed.

It didn't matter if he won, if he lived, or if he'd run.
They changed the way his job was done. Labor costs were high.
That new machine was cheap as hell and only John would work as well,
So they left him laying where he fell the day John Henry died.

John Henry was a steel-driving bastard but John Henry was a bastard just the same.
An engine never thinks about his daddy and an engine never needs to write its name.

So pack your bags, we're headed west and L.A. ain't no place to rest.
You'll need some sleep to pass the test, so get some on the flight
And say your prayers John Henry Ford 'cause we don't need your work no more.
You should have known the final score the day John Henry died.
"The Deeper In"

"The Deeper In"

By the time you were born there were four other siblings
With your Mama awaiting your Daddy in jail
Your oldest brother was away at a home
And You didn't meet him til you was nineteen years old
Old enough to know better, old enough to know better
But you took to his jaw line and long sandy hair
How he made you feel like none off the others
And the way he looked at you touched you deep down in there.

So you jumped on his bike and rode into the sunset
But the sequel it started with the next morning sun
And the dew on the bike seat and you all a glow
From the love he put in you and a life on the run.

Now, the District Attorney said He might of forgiven
You had lots of reasons to turn out this way
But He'll throw you in jail for them four little babies
You made and delivered along the way

Last night you had a dream about a Lord so forgiving
He might show compassion for a heathen he damned
You awoke in a jail cell, alone and so lonely
Seven years in Michigan
"The Fireplace Poker"

"The Fireplace Poker"

The Reverend had his wife done in by a guy I knew in High School
He and a friend should do her in and make it look like a robbery
"Here's money son, go buy a gun and shoot her in the head
No one who dies, testifies, make sure that she is dead"
The heathens were paid a thousand bucks to eliminate someone
Plus they were paid five hundred more to get themselves a gun
The guy I knew had a hunting knife, "Why bother with a gun?
She'll still be dead, why sweat details, as long as it gets done"
The Bible said that Jesus bled for the sins of the rest of us
The Reverend has his wife done in for fifteen hundred bucks
They knocked upon the door and said their car broke down
and asked if they could use the phone for a ride back into town
They stabbed her several times and left her there for dead
Bleeding and crying out and gasping for breath
and they went out the very next night and bragged about it
The Reverend came home from work and found the Mrs. dying
Life was falling from her grasp but still she lay there trying
No one will ever know what she told him or know what he told her
Cause the Reverend did his wife in, fifteen whacks, fireplace poker
The headlines screamed out "Brutal Murder, small town preacher's wife"
The crime rocked all of Colbert County as each new fact came to light
It seems the Preacher had a girl he counseled on the side
Now the shit was coming down and she was scared to lie
The preacher came home from the funeral and found Policemen waiting
The heathens, it seems, got coked up and drunk and did a lot of communicating
Life is cheap for a couple of creeps but this here is the smoker
Their prints were found all around the room but not on the fireplace poker
The Preacher's son brought his father home and followed him inside
Shots rang out in the Tuscumbia night. Was he alone when he died?
"Don't call the son for questioning, that bullet was deserved
Better call it suicide, justice has been served"
Better call it suicide, justice has been served
"The Flying Wallendas"

"The Flying Wallendas"

And they fell from the skies with the greatest of ease
And they landed on the ground under tents and trapeze
And they were told that they fell with such beauty and grace
That The Flying Wallendas would be the name on their case

And the fine folks of Akron would forever be saying
That they flew through the air like the wings of a prayer
But they all walked away amidst the gawking and stares
And the children revisited their fall in nightmares
But they never would stop and they never surrendered
And they lived like they died, The Flying Wallendas

They could dance on the wire through the fire and the storm
John Ringling had seen Karl in Cuba perform
He raised up his kids for performance and stardom
They performed center ring at Madison Square Garden
With a seven man pyramid folks lined up just to see 'em
Till they fell from the sky at Detroit's State Fair Coliseum

And they fell to the ground with the greatest of ease
Three didn't get up from the blood in the breeze
But Karl wouldn't be stopped from his home in the skies
Till he fell from the wire in San Juan and he died

In Sarasota as a child my grandparents lived next door
To the surviving Wallendas and their amazing wild stories
I was stun and astounded that the old lady who was out
Pruning her orange trees had flown to the heavens and back