Cowboys In Flames

wac_cowBloodshot BS015 CD, 1997

SONGS:

See Willy Fly By
Waco Express
Take Me To The Fires
Out There A Ways
Dollar Dress
Out In The Light
Cowboy In Flames
Fast Train Down
Wreck On The Highway
Dry Land
Do What I Say
White Lightning
Big River
The Death Of Country Music

Lyrics

SEE WILLY FLY BY

In this suburb of Babylon, they don’t like to wait
They kill the messenger ‘cos the message was late
Kill the child starving at the gate
Predicting the rain of the state

See Willy fly by, in the by and by
In the never you mind, in the wait and see
In the us and them, in the them and us, in the them and me
He’s the exception that proves the rule
All your dreams are a lie
Now much will you swallow when Willy flies by?

There’s something rotten round here, nobody forgot
All the rest on the bottom, white men still on the top
Walk and talk with Suzie, shoot to cripple and main
Shoot to kill again and again and again

Gonna build me a house, on a mountain so high
Sit in my car and stare up at the sky
The dream is a lie, put it to the test
One man rising up on the backs of the rest
On the backs of his family, all the duds and the Does
‘Til the sun melts his wings and down we all go

See Willy fly by, in the by and by
In the never you mind, in the dollar store light
In the there you go, in the wait and see
In the us and them, in the them and us,
In the should have been me
He’s the exception that proves the rule
All your dreams are a lie
See trains all leaving without you, when Willy flies by

OUT THERE A WAYS

You’re just out there a ways
It’ll be alright
You’re just out there a ways
With your flagging career
And your peeling veneer
You’ve still got it
You’re just out there a ways

There’s always big, big money
Big, big thrills
Big, big clean-up
And big, big bills

Out there a ways
You’re just out there a ways
It’ll be alright-you’re just out there a ways

(Repeat chorus)

You’re a recent divorce from your menagerie
You’re still standing
You’re just out there a ways
You’re the queen of the ball-warts and all
Hang on tight
We’re going out there a ways

(Repeat chorus)

Out there a ways
You’re just out there a ways
It’ll be alright
You’re just out there aways

WACO EXPRESS

Everybody’s on the bandwagon again
Get on board the Waco Express again
She’s got thirteen gears twelve in reverse
A funky mess in a silver purse
Everybody’s on the bandwagon again

The reason why you don’t tell me you love me
The reason why you don’t tell me you care
The reason why you just tower above me
Is darlin’ you’re scared

Everybody wants a sure thing these days
Nobody wants to go out on a limb these days
Everytime I see you asking for more
You turn into a puddle out on the floor
Nobody wants to go out on a limb these days
(Repeat chorus)
(Repeat 1st verse)

TAKE ME TO THE FIRES

When my time expires
Take me to the fires
And we’ll all go
The only way we know
Thanks, I’ll live my life now
Not tomorrow
You won’t see my face
In so higher place

Oh dear father, please listen to me
I’ve not long to live, standing on this cliff
One side the land lays, but these jagged old rocks
Are so way for a good man to go
Offer so redemtions, there’s no takers near
Just you mind your manners, we’ve got company here
I’ve had a feeling about those crusty old men
I’m not sure if they’re angels or ghosts
(repeat chorus)
You can’t stake no claim on my last name
When it’s time to go, just throw me in that hole
And there I gladly lay, cuz this world wears me out
With all these offerings of false gold
The dogs want my money, the vultures want my eyes
From where I’m standing I realize
One side the land lays, but those jagged old rocks
Are starting to look real good to me
(Jump you bugger jump!)

(repeat chorus)

I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the light
I’ve felt those flames
Throw another one on
We’re going down
I’ve seen the lights
I’ve felt those flames

COWBOY IN FLAMES

You feel disgusted and confused
Manipulated and abused
You’re not the reason, you’re just the means
It’s a brutal little lesson in being free
40 days & 40 nights, out of mind is out of sight
Talking trash, conspiracies
Handing all your weapons to your enemies

I claw at another door and everything will slip away
> There’s so much money washing round out there
Can’t a little bit come my way?
Uh Uh Uh Oh! PUNISHMENT PUNISHNMENT!
Earthbound & heaven seat
Brainwashed, lobotomised
Cowboy in flames, bombs in the sky

General Custer’s on the trail
His last letter’s in the mail
It’s propaganda, it’s marketing
Oooh General Custard died for your sins
And the good old rock where we once stood
Has got too old to be much good
And the good old ways are sick and lame
Third world on horseback
Cowboy in Flames

DOLLAR DRESS

She is dancing with death in the Dollar Dress
There’s a box in an attic in a run down northern town
There’s a key on the shelf so you can look inside
There’s a song that will pick you up and spin you round
A photograph and a letter left behind

Can you prove you’re alive? Do you know where you’re been today?
Sown into the fabric of your life, washed and mended, worn away

She is dancing with death in the dollar dress

The hooter sounds and the whole town shakes again
A line of ghosts clock out at the factory gates
Cousins, sisters and brothers are spirited home
They block the streets and make the traffic wait

Will the flag still fly, if the wind don’t blow today?
It’s sown into the fabric of your life, washed and mended, worn away

OUT IN THE LIGHT

As the night wears on - it gets so black
As the night wears on - it gets so black
There was a time you shined like chrome
What turned you into such a hack?

Won’t you tell me why
It looks so apealing
It looks so disguised
Won’t you tell me why
It loses it’s charm when its
Out In The Light

Shiny new car on the showroom floor
Shiny new car on the showroom floor
There was a time you ran so hard
What turned you into such a bore

(repeat chorus)
My love is an anchor, my heart is a stone
My love is an anchor, my heart is a stone
Should ever you wander far and wide
Hope you have the good sense to find your way home

FAST TRAIN DOWN

On my way out on a westbound train
Well it gets in my blood - it gets in my brain
They say all that you need is a dollar and a dream
But a lifetime is such a long time to wait

From the shores of the Atlantic
To that evil desert town
Unseen forces pull us forward
And I’m riding that Fast Train Down

Spent thirteen years in this old warehouse
The boxes come in and the boxes go out
I caught my first glimpse of sunlight today
When I pinned my hopes on the westbound train

The conductor holds his wallet
while the steward eyes his watch
Unseen forces pull us forward
As I’m riding that fast train down

You pull on the arm and the wheels turn round
Press on the handle and it all swirls down
Push on the button someone comes to ease your pain
And you rattle them bones - you’re at it again

So count your winnings, count your losses
Pawn your trumpet, hock your crown
Unseen forces pull us forward
And I’m riding that fast train down

DO WHAT I SAY

Do what I say don’t do what I do
There’s already one of me and we don’t need two
Drinking all night and sleeping right through the afternoon
Oh! Do what I say don’t do what I do

Saturday night, sunday morning I’m staring at the door
Sitting here waiting ’til you stumble in around about half past 4
You’re in trouble, you’re seeing double
Is there on of me or two?
Looking at you, looking at me, looking at you

I called home I got the ansafone I said “don’t wait up for me”
When I got home full of PBR it was only half past 3
The bed was empty, the sheets were cold, you forgot what I told you
Oh! Do what I say don’t do what I do

I don’t think it’s asking too much that you be here for me
You say it’s all double standars & hypocritical old bollocks
We drink hard all night ‘cos we work hard all day
You say you’ll do what I do but you won’t do what I say

THE DEATH OF COUNTRY MUSIC

My body is a temple safer than a prison
But I’ve done some demolition and in a world gone wrong
The Death Of Country Music rattles round the planet
So we light a flame and fan it deep int the night
Where the city casts its shadow we leave the straight and narrow
And tomorrow and forever seem so far away
Where the dancefloor’s overcrowded and the music’s getting louder
People do some breathing while they’re cheating death

Tonight the west is sleeping and the desert will be creeping
Inch by inch across the continent
And the bones of country music lie there in their casket
Beneath the towers of Nashville in a black pool of neglect
So we cast our nets in the water, dragged the pool and caught ‘em
Grind ‘em up and snort ‘em, deep into the night
And we spill some blood on the ashes
Of the bones of the Jones and the Ca-ashizz
Skulls in false eye-lacher whast riders in the sky!

REVIEWS:

Led by the Mekons’ Jon Langford and also containing a number of other indie-rock refugees, this insurgent-country band comes on like rowdy drinking buddies who also happen to be committed leftists. The Wacos bring plenty of punk attitude to their boisterous performances, while laying bare the pain inflicted by corporate and government power.
The Wacos carry along their militant politics with equally hard-hitting music that sounds like a rowdy Texas honky tonk taken over by committed punk rockers. Their raucous, invigorating sound makes an appropriate vehicle for the scathing attack on government abuse in the album title song, and the portrayal of the deadening working-class grind in “Fast Train Down.”
Along with their own originals, the Wacos also turn out three spirited covers of country classics. Occasionally, the band’s raggedness limits their effectiveness. In particular, some of the songs could’ve used stronger vocals. And there’s also an unsuccessful attempt to resurrect the overused Bo Diddley beat in “Out In The Light.”
Still, the Wacos’ second album is an often-stirring document of hard-hitting music and politics.
- Don Yates

These days Leeds punk-rock intellectual and prophet without honour Jon Langford is ensconced in Chicago’s alternative country rock scene, The Waco Brothers being but one of the red-faced Mekon’s many musical outlets. If The Clash had followed through their Joe Ely fixation, they might have made an album like Cowboy In Flames. On See Willy Fly By and Take Me To The Fires Langford’s guttural growl sounds so much like Joe Strummer it’s almost unsettling. A suspiciously pseudonymous ‘Deano’ lends his gentler vocal tones to the less strident songs, and even the occasional Tex Mex stylings are dispatched with enough energy and conviction to silence any sarcastic Yee-hah!s.
Stewart Lee -Q

The latest chapter in the saga of Los Hermanos Wacos. Here’s a wicked little skunk tossed into the tent of bloated, co? r?rrupt excesses. Making good on their promise (or was that a threat??) of their first record, the Wacos deliver a slab brimming with grim romanticism, and joyous, near ecstatic, drunken stomps. Join the cause as they strip the fat and greasepaint off country music’s carcass and build a pagan temple out of its bones. In addition to the anthemic (and we don’t bandy that word around lightly) originals, there are scalding versions of “White Lightning,” “Wreck On The Highway,” and “Big River.” We think you’ll agree, “Cowboy In Flames” is a sure tonic to wash the taste of disgust out of a parched nation’s throat.

“Possessed by the demon of rock’n'roll, haunted by the ghosts of old country music…to make matters better, the group’s originals are so consistently inspired they come across as instant classics.”
Paul Verna Billboard

“They may be pillaging country’s grave, but in the Waco Brothers’ hands, such Go to the top desecration becomes an act of reverence.”
Greg Kot Chicago Reader

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