LYRICS

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1. Take it Out Back

 

Ashes from the wood stove filling up the bucket

Spilling out the top, so where am I gonna chuck it?

Take it out the back door to where I never mow

Find a little spot that no one’ll ever go to

 

Take it out back and dump it in the river

Take it out back and throw it in the woods

Take it out back and chuck it down the hillside

Keep the front yard looking good

 

That old tv - it quit on me brother

Ten years ago - I got me another

First one’s sitting out by the porch swing

With the fridge and the stove and a bunch of other things

 

Take it out back and dump it in the river

Take it out back and throw it in the woods

Take it out back and chuck it down the hillside

Keep the front yard looking good

 

That rusty old car - it’s got no motor

If it had any gas I’d try to explode her

Hubcaps, hoods, and old transmissions

Take ‘em to the river - gonna make for good fishing

 

Take it out back and dump it in the river

Take it out back and throw it in the woods

Take it out back and chuck it down the hillside

Keep the front yard looking good

 

The food in the fridge - it’s all turned green

And the chicken bones that have been picked clean

Some on the counter - some on the floor

Let’s take ‘em out the back door

 

Take it out back and dump it in the river

Take it out back and throw it in the woods

Take it out back and chuck it down the hillside

Keep the front yard looking good

 

2. The Boys in the Back Room

 

The boys in the back room

Who use to run the city

Anyway they wanted to

They were stealing from the kitty

Stomping out their cigars

Any place they wanted to

What you could go to jail for

They could do in front of you

 

The boys in the back room

Sat on the commissions

That were supposed to regulate

Factory emissions

Toxins in the air

Toxins in the water

These were our protectors

They were sanctioning the slaughter

 

The boys in the back room

Didn’t like attention

Drawn to their activities

Which the paper never mentioned

Thanks to the editor

Who was a good ol’ friend of theirs’

So was the police chief

And also the developers

 

The boys in the back room

Went golfing every Sunday

They had a game of pinochle

That happened every Monday

Tuesdays were the meetings

Where the public was invited

Where they went through all the motions

But no wrongs were ever righted

 

The boys in the back room

On Wednesdays traded favors

They had a secret handshake

And other such behavior

They fixed traffic tickets

Granted exemptions and waivers

Awarded city contracts

To associates and neighbors

 

The boys in the back room

Were desperate to hold on

Assassinating characters

Of whoever might’ve told on them

But the day did finally come

When they stood before a jury

Some were sent to prison

It was a one paragraph story

 

The boys in the back room

Who just used to make the rules

Any way they wanted to

They thought they still had the people fooled

3. Gone To Heaven

 

His uniform was baggy

He had gigantic feet

His hat was always cock-eye

And he had but a few teeth

And a schnozz as big as Baltimore

And a heart as big as Devon

Max Patkin made the children laugh

And for that he’s gone to Heaven

 

Max Patkin, he was Vaudeville

Last of the old time clowns

Funniest looking fellow

That ever went from town to town

With the kind of face that he himself said

Only a mother could love

With his loosey-goosey limbs

And his floppy leather glove

 

Max Patkin worked 3 innings

They let him coach first base

He’d call a meeting with the batter

And then kiss him on the face

Then he’d do his chicken walk

And then his geyser bit

Where he’d take a sip of soda

Tilt his head back and spit

 

Max would leave ‘em howling

Then be slumped upon his stool

With his back against a locker

Filling the whirlpool

Dirtied up and sweaty

Down to his stockinged feet

He’d give the clubhouse boy 5 dollars

To scrape the mud off of his cleats

 

The Clown Prince of Baseball

Did 5,000 gigs

For 50 years he shared the bill

With circus dogs & talking pigs

And by the 9th inning

He’d be back at the motel

With an early morning wake-up call

And the next night he’d be someplace else

 

The towels in every motel room

They all smell like chlorine

From the Rookie Leagues to Triple A

And all points in between

And all those hotshot prospects

Who ever were Big League bound

He saw ‘em on the way up

And some on the way back down

 

Oh, to be a clown these days

You’ve got to have thick skin

A flask in your back pocket

Or a bottle of aspirin

The drunks sometimes’ll getcha

Or the team that did not win

It’s tough to be a clown these days

You’ve got to have thick skin

 

Max Patkin loved the children

And the children, they loved him

His body would fall apart sometimes

But he’d patch it up for them

He never, ever, not even one time

Sold an autograph

A funny man, Max Patkin

He made people laugh

 

The times changed on Max Patkin

Along came Rock & Roll

They blare it from the speakers now

If ever there’s a lull

And some guy in a chicken suit

Is circling the bases

With a corporate logo on his back

And in 1 or 2 other places

 

If there’s a St. Peter

Sitting at the gate

He probably saw Max play sometime

And wiped clean Max’s slate

That corny old routine

Dated back to 1947

Max Patkin made the children laugh

And for that he’s gone to Heaven

 

4. He Came To Our Town

 

He came to our town

For maybe an hour

The streets all got swept

And they planted some flowers

Babies he kissed

To the people he waved

And he stopped

At a Civil War General’s grave

 

He struck just the right pose

He hit just the right chord

When he spoke of the family

And then of the Lord

He addressed the concerns

Of the common man

And he spoke of the glory

Of this mighty land

 

He had just the right color

His smile was fixed

His wardrobe assembled

From a bagful of tricks

He had gobs of make-up

Caked on his face

Starch in his collar

Every hair was in place

 

His wife stood beside him

His daughter did too

And behind them, a flag

With the red, white, and blue

Balloons from the rafters

Fell to the floor

Oh, Happy Days

Were gonna be here once more

 

He could sell you a war

He could revoke your rights

And still come off as your friend

In the camera lights

He’ll run negative ads

If he has to to win

He’ll go back on his word

He’ll shed his old skin

 

He said all the right words

Quoted Bob Dylan songs

He sounded hip

Even though he quoted them wrong

His closets were cleaned

And his history revised

So his record would be spotless

To most people’s eyes

 

I wasn’t touched

By this guy in the least

He was no savior

Nor was he the beast

I have to admit

That they staged a good show

It was all reminiscent

Of four years ago

 

He came to our town

For maybe an hour

The streets all got swept

And they planted some flowers

Babies he kissed

To the people he waved

And he stopped

At a Civil War General’s grave

 

And after an hour

They whisked him away

Things went back to normal

Over two or three days

The homeless returned

To living outside

And the flowers that got planted

All wilted and died

 

He came to our town

For maybe an hour

The streets all got swept

And they planted some flowers

 

5. In The Country

 

I love it in the country

At night you can see stars

You can pull somebody’s leg

& tell ‘em “Look, there’s Mars”

And they can pull your leg right back

& tell you yeah they know

And that that one there is Neptune

Yeah that one hanging low

 

I love it in the country

When people wave hello

When you’re driving by them

People you don’t even know

I can’t help but smile

Where in the city maybe I could

& as I head on down the road

I can’t help feeling good

 

I love it in the country

Listening to the birds

You sit out there long enough

You start picking out the words

I swear I heard what sounded like

The Gettysburg Address

From a little Lincoln Sparrow

With a white patch on its breast

 

I love it in the country

There’s a different set of laws

Where the only answer that you’ll get                     

Sometimes is “just because”

Where it’s do unto others

And it’s live & let live

You screw up on that stuff

Folks are real slow to forgive

 

I love it in the country        

The things that people say

I might could write a book on it

& I might just will some day

Ask a simple question

Somebody might bend your ear

You ask for directions

You can’t get there from here

 

I love it in the country

My neighbor raises sheep

Pigs & cows & chickens

On a hillside where it’s steep

At night you ought to hear it

When the bulls have been let out  

I lay in my bed thinking

How I’m glad I’m not a cow

 

And how I love it in the country

At night you can see stars

You can pull somebody’s leg

& tell ‘em “Look, there’s Mars”

6. 3rd Dead Cat

 

When you get off of the interstate

When you get off of the interstate

When you get to the end of the ramp

Turn left & then go basically straight

 

You’re gonna go several miles

You’re gonna go several miles

You might start to wonder after a while

But you’re gonna go several miles

 

You’ve gotta go over the gap

You’ve gotta go over the gap

You might not find it on just any old map

You’ve got to go over the gap

 

There’ll be a field of corn

There’ll be a field of corn

It’s at the end of that field of corn

That is, if the weather’s warm

 

Look for the 3rd dead cat

It’s just past the 3rd dead cat

Just past the one that’s especially flat

It’s just past the 3rd dead cat

 

Turn right at the gravel road

Turn right at the gravel road

Soon as you see it you’re just gonna know

Turn right at the gravel road

 

If you get to the church turn back

If you get to the church turn back

Do a U-turn if you get to the church

The one with the historical plaque

 

Go up & around the red shack

Go up & around the red shack

Take a look at what they’ve got out back

As you go up & around the red shack

 

Drive right through that pack of hounds

Drive right through that pack of hounds

They’ll all get up from their lying down

To play chicken with you so don’t go around

 

Now that gravel road’s gonna split

That gravel road’s gonna split

Keep left where the gravel road splits

So you don’t go off in the ditch

 

At all of the forks keep left

At all of the forks keep left

Don’t go right at any of the forks

You might end up an unwelcome guest

 

Brace yourself for the hill

Brace yourself for the hill

Take a deep breath & summon your will

Brace yourself for the hill

 

All the way to the top

Go all the way to the top

Don’t forget to breathe, put down your pop

And whatever you do, don’t stop

 

You’ll find the key on the ledge

You’ll find the key on the ledge

There’s wood on the porch, beer in the fridge

You’ll find the key on the ledge

 

It’s just past the 3rd dead cat

It’s just past the 3rd dead cat

The one that looks like a welcome mat

It’s just past the 3rd dead cat

7. Restless Kid

 

I was a restless kid

I was a restless kid

I’ll probably never mention

Some of the things I did

I was a restless kid

 

On a slingshot I was good

On a slingshot I was good

There were some people

Back in my neighborhood

Who didn’t think I was so good

 

I wasn’t nice to my sister

I wasn’t nice to my sister

Of all the people I’ve ever done wrong

I can’t forget to list her

I wasn’t nice to my sister

 

I had a bb gun

I had a bb gun

I shot a friend of mine in the leg

From her brother I still run

I had a bb gun

 

I was no teacher’s pet

I was no teacher’s pet

Substitutes especially

Some might not have forgiven me yet

I was no teacher’s pet

 

I knew how to destroy

I knew how to destroy

I invented some new ways

After all, I was a boy

Who knew how to destroy

 

I had a frisky pup

I had a frisky pup

I would do my homework

And she would chew it up

I had a frisky pup

 

I can still taste the soap

I can still taste the soap

Irish Spring especially

And the kind that came on a rope

I can still taste the soap

 

I was a restless kid

I was a restless kid

I’ll probably never come clean

About some of the things I did

I was a restless kid

8. Bonehead Merkle

 

September 23rd

19 Hundred & Eight

Cubs against the Giants

Giants at the plate

Bridwell came to bat

There were two outs & two on

It was the bottom of the 9th

The infield it was drawn

 

Two weeks left in the season

It was a classic pennant race

The Giants had a one game lead

And the Cubs were giving chase

Polo Grounds were rocking

Score was tied at one

Moose McCormick was on 3rd base

He was the winning run

 

Which brings us to Fred Merkle

Whose name would soon be cursed

He was the other runner

He took his lead off first

Bridwell drilled a line-drive

Out into right-center

McCormick could’ve walked home

And the Giants were the winners

 

The Polo Grounds erupted

Thousands rushed the field

The players all ran for their lives

Fans right on their heels

& Merkle was halfway to second

By the time McCormick scored

But then Merkle made a bee-line

Straight for the clubhouse door

 

Now the door to the clubhouse

Was in the outfield wall

Merkle never did touch 2nd

And the Cubs retrieved the ball

The throw back to the infield

Reached the wrong couple of hands

& Giants coach McGinnity

Threw the ball up in the stands

 

And after a long deliberation

The Ump ruled Merkle “out”

It would take too long to clear the field

Of the unruly crowd

And since night games were unheard of then

And it would soon be dark

He called the game a 1 - 1 tie

And would have to sneak away from the park

 

Giants manager McGraw argued

That this Rule 59

Never was enforced

And so why should it be this time?

But only two weeks earlier

It ran on all the wires

The same play happened to the Cubs

And to the very same umpire

 

But none of the New York papers

Deemed the story fit to print

And so it was that thanks to them

Their team was ignorant

But all throughout the Baseball world

And elsewhere people knew it

A runner has to touch his base

And Merkle didn’t do it

 

So the matter was turned over

To the Baseball powers-that-be

Who upheld the Ump’s decision

& they ruled prophetically

That if the season were to end

With the Cubs & Giants tied

They’d have to replay “The Merkle Game”

So First Place could be decided

 

Well, they replayed “The Merkle Game”

And fee-fi-fo-fum...

The Giants lost the pennant

And Merkle was the bum

The papers let him have it

They gave it to him good

They ran the kind of headlines

That only New York papers could

 

They dubbed him “Bonehead” Merkle

They made up Merkle words

One might “pull a Merkle”

And “to Merkle” became a verb

Some would yell “touch 2nd, Bonehead”

When he stood on first

Little kids yelled “moron”

And the older kids much worse

 

It haunted him his whole life

Until 42 years later

In front of 35,000

Former Merkle haters

Back there at the Polo Grounds

For an old-timers game

There was a long standing ovation

When they announced Fred Merkle’s name

 
 

9. How Beautiful She Looks

“How beautiful she looks” - I heard people say

“Her hair is majestic, perfect that way...

Oh, what a looker she was in her day”

And that’s how she’ll be remembered

 

She picked out her casket, the music, the preacher

The dress she would wear, and the highlights to feature

The words on her headstone, and the silk underneath her

And I promised I’d make her up pretty

 

Her head in my hands, they were trembling so

This hair that I combed, that would nevermore grow

I put a bow at the end of the braid

Keeping the promise I’d made

 

“How beautiful she looks” - I heard people say

“Her hair is majestic, perfect that way...

Oh, what a looker she was in her day”

And that’s how she’ll be remembered

 

Why was she taken, so young, and this way?

I doubt if I’ll learn before my dying day

And who’ll do my hair, and who’ll make up my face...

A stranger, or someone who knew me?

 

“How beautiful she looks” - I heard people say

“Her hair is majestic, perfect that way...

Oh, what a looker she was in her day”

And that’s how she’ll be remembered

10. Schmoozing

 

Hey, isn’t that so-and-so?

Over there at the table

Isn’t she the head of Such-and-Such Productions?

Sitting there with what’s his name

From what’s that record label?

Excuse me while I make my introductions

 

Schmoozing, schmoozing

Check out the smooth technique I’m using

Schmoozing, schmoozing

Smiling, shaking hands, and boozing

 

Everyone who’s anyone

& others not invited

Were gathered for the party by the pool

I’m a friend of so and so’s

That’s all I had to say

They said any friend of so and so’s was cool

 

So I’m schmoozing - schmoozing

Watch me work the room, I’m cruising

Schmoozing, schmoozing

Smiling, shaking hands, and boozing

 

Your name tag’s flipped around

How can I tell if you’re important?

General pleasantries I will exchange with you

My cheek muscles are tired

How ‘bout that rain we had last night?

I heard there was a chance of rain this evening too

 

Schmoozing, schmoozing

Remembering all these names is so confusing

Schmoozing, schmoozing

Smiling, shaking hands, and boozing

 

Have you tried the bean dip?

And who’s party is this?

And is everyone a songwriter here?

Who’s the big cheese over there

Everybody’s sucking up to?

And hey, man, where’d you get the beer?

 

Schmoozing, schmoozing

I wonder whose expense account they’re using

Schmoozing, schmoozing

Smiling, shaking hands, and boozing

10. 40 Years

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Y’ mean you can turn out like that?

Not too big for your britches?

And not too big for your hat?

 

Let me tell you about Jack Williams

He’s got at least 500 songs

Now some of ‘em might end a little too soon

But not a one of ‘em is too long

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Traveling all around

You might not have ever heard of him

But I betcha he’s played your town

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Y’ mean you can turn out like that?

Not too big for your britches?

And not too big for your hat?

 

Mel Bay would’ve been jealous

Jack would’ve done him proud

He probably knows a lot more chords

Than ought to be allowed

 

One time Dickie Betts was down

Nursing a broken hand

So Jack that night played lead guitar

In the Allman Brothers Band

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Y’ mean you can turn out like that?

Not too big for your britches?

And not too big for your hat?

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Man, that says a lot

I like him both for who he is

And as much for who he’s not

 

No leather jacket, no rhinestones

No make-up on his lips

He surely ain’t no dancing fool

Wiggling his hips

 

And something else about Jack Williams

He’s a gentleman through and through

As Southern as a whippoorwill

And boiled peanuts too

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Y’ mean you can turn out like that?

Not too big for your britches?

And not too big for your hat?

 

40 years of Jack Williams

He’s made the best of friends

All along his travels

Everywhere he’s been

 

And on the Edisto River

These friends from far and wide

Gathered for to pick & grin

And to eat & to be outside

 

Celebrating 40 years of Jack Williams

A man I’m glad to know

We’ve had our conversations

Then it was time to go

 

40 years of Jack Williams

Y’ mean you can turn out like that?

Not too big for your britches?

And not too big for your hat?