To the last dead cowboy

waco_dedBloodshot BS006 Limited Edition Vinyl LP CD, 1995

SONGS:

Geronimo
Plenty Tough - Union Made
Harm’s way
Bully
If you Don’t Change Your Mind
Lake Of Vinegar
Too Sweet To Die
Sometimes I Wonder
To The Last Dead Cowboy
K.T. Tennessee
Whisperin’ In My Ear
Bad Times (are Comin’Round Again)
Red door
$ Bill The Cowboy

Lyrics

To sweet to die

to the devil and all his cockroaches
we’ll raise our glass today
but before we sip this poisened wine
we will kneel and pray

that bastard says come and get it
the drugs and the money’s right here
but where was he when I needed him
downtown drinking beer

oh we’re too sweet to die
we’ll be buried alive
the lipstick on my shirt says
we’re too sweet to die

you threw me out the limo
i fell and smashed my head
stumbled to the water
and sank to the river bed
down there with the roots and weeds
I was dragged along for a while
hair like shellery winters
night of the hunter style
but up up up oes love
down down down goes hate
you led me up the garden
and left me by the pearly gates

Bad times

we all knew things had to get better
if we kept acting rattional and sane
now i can see the clouds on the horizon
bad times coming round again

the sun ripens corn across the country
shares are rising on the stock exchange
people making hay while the sun shines
cos bad times are coming round again

bad times coming round
bad times coming round
bad times coming round again

you might need a drink
but you don’t need a weather vane
bad times coming round again

black slaves shipped here in their millions
worked and died til freedom was won
now you look around for that freedom
see it slipping down the barrel of a gun
white men in grey suits lose all direction
white men in hood are back again
ruinning in the 96 election
bad times coming round again

bad times coming round
bad times coming round
bad times coming round again
board up your window
it might be a hurrican
bad times coming round again

yuppies come and gentrify your neighbourhood
crusties say they fight it to the end
no one askes the black or the lationo
bad times coming round again

if you don’t change your mind

if you don’t change your mind I’ll change it for you
if you don’t really mind, I’ll take it from here

there’s no use resisiting
I’m coming your way
i’ve been confined for an eternity
going to roll into this sleepy town
going to turn this motel upside down

the old men are smiling across the road
makes ‘em feel like they’re in the 9know
you complained about this dusty town
you got your law and your order now

whisperin in my ear

i’ve smelled the glory and i’ve asked for money
i’ve seen the screenplay and i’ve been hooked
you’re going down now for a count of thirteen
just pretend you never looked

at the age of fourteen the city called me
called my bluff, called me a fool
now i feel like i’m ninety seven
and you’re still taking me at school

late at night as I sit drinking
i start to see things clearer still
though i’ll never be in your company
you’re always whispering in my ear

cold calling i a tuxedo
and cancassing in a sequined gown
those last minutes alterations
she’s gonna take me right to town

harm’s way

i slipped out the back door as the ambulance arrived
i would’ve liked to tell ‘em my story, but i know i would’ve lied
so i pawned my sister’s dfiamond ring, got on the greyhound’s back
i figured with a little leeway i must just get on track

and i’m just trying to stay out of harm’s way

by the time i got to chicago i thought i had something to sell
but the deal fell through as they alwas do
ce’es la vie what the hell
every time i think of my baby working in that old coalmine
i feel so goddam guilty i almost change my mind

red door

at the top of the stairs is a red door
she locks it behind her each night
i sit on the stoop at the druggists
and wonder who shut out the lights

at the top of the stairs is a red door
on the night stand sits a black phone
it’s been years since she disconnected
but there’s one more way to be alone

she used to drink sour mash whiskey
and dance on her toes until dawn
nobody knows why she went away
and where all the music was gone

at the end of the road is a dancehall
they boarded it up years ago
the laudanum drafts are all dry now
but there’s one more way to be alone

at the top of the stairs is a red door
someday I’ll tear that thing down
but for now i’ll just sit and wait for the daylight
and there’s no way to be alone

lake of vinegar

please don’t fall in love tonight
just go on home
a sober man gives up the fight
if he’s got someplace to go

i never get the message that’s washed up on the sand
i wake up in some strange place and there’s a bottle in my hand
i’m grateful for your company please sponge my brow
and soak me in cold water

there’s a taste so sour i can’t wash from my mouth
across the lake of vinegar i rowed my boat so far
but never caught her
the night was dark, she was nowhere to be found

i never got the message that’s washed up on the sand
i wake up in some strange place and there’s a bottle in my hand
take off my clothes and take me in
i’m sick and lonely, so in need of shelter

don’t let me be misunderstood again
so drowned in drink i nearly fell over the heels
to kiss the captain’s daughtrer
and now i can’t explain about a thing

k.t.tennessee

if i was you eaving,i’d leave in the morning
and not even wait for goodbye
no, don’t you just stand there fumbling your words
i don’t wanna see those packed up leaving eyes
cos you walked all over may heart last night
and we reached new heights of pain
don’t wait to hear my side of things
cos i’d be beggin you to come back again

you followed my lead, and you packed up your bags
took a train far away from me
to see if she knew where you might be
she said son i’ve lost Katie ever since she was nine
i think you better come in and sit down
you look a good man don’t blame yourself
i’ll tell you really why my little girl left town

oh, we don’t have toi say in our in our in laws
now there’s an old man who sits behind bars
seemed he always had the eye for pretty young girls
and my Katie she bears al his scars

so if i was you leaving i’d leave in the morning
and not even wait for goodbye
no, don’t you just stand there fumbling your words
i don’t wanna see those packed up leaving eyes
cos they’ve trampled all over your heart before
and there’s no way to switch off the pain
but there’s one man right here to take you away from fear
and i’m beggin for you to come back again

sometimes i wonder

you never believe me, even when i tell the truth
and as the lights are turned off in a humble home
a band plays out of tune
you never console me, even though i throw the fight
and you wonder aloud where we bother
to crawl to the same bed each night

that’s what she said
and without a tear
sometimes i wonder
what i’m doing here

my dear as you’re sleeping so you dream of the day
when the sun is so bright and the sky so clear
you can dodge what’s headed your way

to the last dead cowboy

i’m a careless, hopeless, hard drinkin man
frightened of the thunder and the cold
many times you’ve seen out there on the land
i’m a man who died long time ago
i’m a man who died long time ago

the trail is hard, but it leads everywhere
out in the desert glare i pull my hat down over my eyes
jyxpnotised by the image on the screen
that shirt so whíte and clean, silver pistosl at his side

take a trip to the wide open spaces
looking for the traces of the wild frontier’s call
riding out, feel the rain on your faces
through familiar places, thr truckstop and the mall

this country starts to look and sound the same
there’s a singerr on the radio and i don’t like his name

we’ll ride the range, paint the town red on the weekends
while the bankers and the lawyers drive our country to the wall
the four winds blow so i turn up my collar
buy a burger for a dollar, it’s the final cattle call

$ Bill the Cowboy

the last president of the United States that’s $ Bill the cowboy
standing under the gallows tree $ Bill the cowboy
a quite man with dignity $ Bill the cowboy
skulls and bones and history $ Bill the cowboy

finish the puzzle attach the muzzle
the white heat of techology
will you take a kiss from these yellow gypsy lips
will you take one last ride with me…

he’s the one-eyed jack in the pyramid that’s $ Bill the cowboy
from halloween to halloween $ Bill the cowboy
he’ll run from here to eternioty $ Bill the cowboy
standing under the gallows tree $ Bill the cowboy

Take one last ride, take one last ride with me
will you take one last ride with me
will you take a kiss from these yellow gypsy lips

Plenty tuff union made

from the country to the town
police and bosses held us down
back at the start when the ground was laid
plenty tough union made

i don’t think the king woke up one morning
said all people should be better paid (no)
things were bad but things got changed
plenty tough union made

plenty tough union made
one long struggle day by day
that’s how we got to live this way
plenty tough union made

risked a lot to live like humans
locked out, beaten and defamed
no one said it was gonna be easy
plenty tough union made

cowards cringe an traitors sneer
liker the class war never happened here
but don’t forget as the future fades
plenty tough union made

our rewards are not in heaven (ptum)
weak apart and strong together (ptum)
devided we fall, united we stand (ptum)
working woman and working man (ptum)
we’re not waiting for judgement day (ptum)

Bully
(by Bedlam Rovers)

feet don’t fail me now
from mouth to floor
choose the pedal and stick there

and the shoulders have no head
and i have no core and long to pull over and sleep there

in the flesh it’s awrinkle I didn’t expect
when did the journey become such a chore?

the bully’s been picking fights
pinching and chapping hides
and leaving nasty clues on dressing rooms walls
and that’s not all

trust a tall shepherd when ypu’re lame and bleating
been bruised so badly it’s not worth reperating
are my cheeks red?
and i forgive you for everything

that respectable suit hangs ragged and loose
it’s ahazard it fits you
and the pupil shines without distractions and dots and lines
painted rosy and damn that must get you
careful what you’re backed into

down like a hawk to peck you to pieces
questioned wach action and kept you from speaking
are my cheeks red?
i forgive you for everything…
but i’ll forgive you for everything

Review:

The Waco Brothers are an alternative-country side-project led by Jon Langford of indie-rock band the Mekons and also including Steve Goulding of the Mekons, Dan Schlabowske of Wreck and Tom Ray of the Bottle Rockets. Langford especially is no stranger to country - his love for the music led him to steer the Mekons in that direction. The album is punchier than the Mekons albums, but the fusion of indie-rock toughness and country melancholy is the same, as are- biting political lyrics. The album begins with a fine galloping instrumental called “Geronimo” before careening into the militant, working-class anthem, “Plenty Tough - Union Made.” Other highlights include the title song, a symbolic portrait of the country’s virtues perverted through capitalist excess, Langford’s take on the Republican “Revolution,” “Bad Times (Are Comin’ Round Again)” and the rollicking sing-a-long, “$ Bill the Cowboy.”Not everything works - love and heartbreak aren’t the Waco Brothers strong suits, as songs such as “Sometimes I Wonder” and “K.T. Tennessee” prove. But there’s plenty more country kick and lyrical bite here than Music Row churns out in an average month.
- Don Yates

With the release of this album, the line in the sand has been drawn; it is time to round up the ignorant and the ignoble. Hard Country’s fiercest line-up (Jon Langford {Mekons}, Dean Schlabowske {Wreck}, Tom Ray {Bottle Rockets}, Steve Goulding {Mekons, Poi Dog Pondering, Graham Parker}, and Tracy Dear {The World’s Greatest Living Englishman}) has forged 14 songs designed to make any last stand one helluva party. A perfect excuse to raise your glass and curse your boss.

What do a bunch of old, limey punks have to do with country music? Let’s let Herr Langford answer: “It’s so direct and honest, it’s almost painful…All the songs are about sex and death and drinking. If you listen to early George Jones, it’s simple, three-chord stuff where the subject is everyday life…It could be the Buzzcocks.” LP includes an 11×17 poster insert with Langford artwork and lyrics. Features such now famous manifestos as “Plenty Tough, Union Made,” and “Too Sweet To Die.” Pick it up and yell along, because, like us, you’re made as hell and you’re not gonna take it anymore!!!!!

“Any true Mekons fan will recognize Jon Langford’s bloke bluster and speed-twang guitar runs poking out of this outfit…Redneck roots for rootsy old reds.” Eric Weisbard, SPIN

“Mutant country-rock that’s somewhere between a lark and a lost cause. The Wacos are capable of music more sincere and moving than they’ll ever get credit for…A heart-breaker like ‘If You Don’t Change Your Mind’ has the makings of a honky-tonk classic.” Dusty Miller, Option

“The Waco Brothers play ‘hard country,’ which seems to mean country rock without the slightest influence from the Eagles….They do particularly well describing how alcohol can help with crushed aspirations.” Go to the top Charles M Young, Playboy (yep, that’s right, the Wacos graced the same pages as a scantily clad Pamela Lee–chilling, isn’t it??).

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