Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hike up your little skirt and show the lyrics to me

A sister from Texas suggested a 'great lyrics' post. Since my favorite lyric to sing at this moment is this one from Martha Wainwright said to be about her not-so-dear ole dad, Loudon ...

Oh you bloody mother fucking asshole (hear the full song here)

... I turned it back over to her for suggestions. She pulled some good AND popular ones.

It's like meeting the man of your dreams/And then meeting his beautiful wife - Alanis Morissette

Does she inject you, seduce you and affect you like the way I do? - Melissa Etheridge

Hike up your skirt a little more and show the world to me - Dave Matthews


For me, you could quote Bob Dylan all day and by default create a best of lyric list.

Steal a little and they throw you in jail/Steal a lot and they make you king - "Sweetheart Like You"

I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind/You could have done better but I don't mind/You just kinda wasted my precious time/But don't think twice, it's all right - "Don't Think Twice It's All Right"

And she aches just like a woman/But she breaks just like a little girl - "Just Like a Girl"

I must admit I felt a little uneasy/When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe - "Tangled Up in Blue"

You always hear about Dylan changing up the musical arrangements in concert, but rarely, if ever, the words. When Dylan first recorded "Tangled Up in Blue," key elements (point of view, setting, character occupations) were different. He then re-wrote and re-recorded the song. That new version became the lead track of Dylan's second best album, Blood on the Tracks.

Here's that original version from the NY Sessions: "Tangled Up in Blue"


At 9:10 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

Well, let's see--two immediately come to mind---

Van Halen's "Why Can't This Be Love?"--"Only time will tell if we stand the test of time."

Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight"--"I feel a hunger/It's a hunger."

Just as Dylan is an endless source of good lyrics, the entire 1980s is an endless source of crap ones.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

A pervy co-worker enjoyed doing a twist on the lyrics of "Just Like A Woman":

"She takes just like a woman, yes, she does/She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does/And she aches just like a woman/But she tastes just like a little girl."

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Luke said...

Send lawyers, guns and money:
The shit has hit the fan.
-- Warren Zevon

I'd pull up a whole host of lyrics from the '70s, but I'd get ridiculed for their schmaltz factor. I'd also offer up pretty much the entire John Prine pantheon. Steve Goodman, too. Dylan's pretty tough to top. And then there's that guy, Stringbean or something like that. He has some killer lyrics. Where to begin?

But I'm a bit worried about Bankston: does he have anger issues?

At 10:56 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

Hey--my co-worker came up with that line--not me!

He also told the story about Roman Polanski and his friend. The friend said, "Roman, how could you possibly have had sex with that 13-year-old?"

And Polanski said, "Ah, but she had the body of a 12-year-old!"

At 11:23 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

Like me, you may barely remember the group Harvey Danger for their one hit, "Flagpole Sitta," but a friend turned me onto to other songs of their's including this one, "Pike St./Park Slope."

He told me it's like every conversation he's ever had with any girl he's dated.

It's works best as a whole piece, so here's the whole thing, rather than snippets:

Drive across the country, tell your story walking.
No one's keeping you captive in the town that let you down (so sorry).

Blame it on the television, blame it on the company;
Don't blame it on the fundamental fact that no one owes you something.

"I've come about my share, I only want what's fair.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not greedy.
Like everybody else, I wanna pay my dues.
(I only want someone to tell me who to make the check out to.)

Maybe we could run away and start a little repertory moviehouse or something."
She said, "Sorry but I think you might be just projecting
(but here's the dough)."

Pike Street to Park Slope, Brooklyn.

"A community of dabblers who are vain and fond of biting backs
('We hate it when our friends become successful')
And a different school whose energies are spent evading income tax...
And silicone enhancements by the breastful.

Maybe we could run away and start a little repertory moviehouse or something."
She said, "Sorry but I think you might be just projecting on to me.
Why don't you try LA?"

"Well when you like something, it's an opinion
But when I like something, it's a manifesto."
(Pomposity is when you always think you're right arrogance is when you know.)

"Maybe we could start a little independent repertory moviehouse or something." she said,
"Sorry but I think you might be just protecting your investment or else assigning blame."

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Satisfied '75 said...

"crooked straight she's filthy innocent, I'd rather cut myself than forget about her"

end of the show - bloodkin

At 7:56 AM, Blogger tastho said...

Speaking of Martha, she said at a show that the song was definitely about her father and that it was just the truth - that sometimes Loudon could be a real asshole when they were kids and she said that he'd written plenty of songs about them, so she felt it was only fair...

Scott Miller:
I can picture her walking the path to her home. Her shoes wet with dew and her hair all uncombed. She crawls back to bed into his waiting hands. Loving that girl was too hard on a man.

That’s why I sit at the bar and I dream of the day,
that I get the means to mean what I say. I’m gonna leave this town, in a cloud of dust, with a fifty cent lighter and a whiskey buzz.

You big, big girl you are the one. That the whole world depends upon. But when you’re gone, I have more fun. I rise and shine. Goddamn the sun.

Now this beer is colder than the shoulder you would give me if I were to tell you the truth.

I wore my brother's clothes because our house it was cold, with a cry of "pennies make dollars."

The back porch where we first kissed is where we said so long. I headed out to find what it is that makes a man want to come back home.

You better say Manassas if you say Bull Run. Or in Virginia you won't get along with anyone. But just across the river you can change your tune.
Like all the politicians there in DC do.

It used to be pretty on the Eastern Shore. Now it's more New York down to Baltimore.

Sneak out to the car for to smoke a little wood.
Makes the band sound better and the girls look good. Just two sips from a Fort Marx jar keeps the bass sound round and the banjo sharp.

I've got a plan to be such a man. That you will see that I was worth having.
And by living well it'll put you through hell.
Knowing that once you had totally had me. And right from the start. It's falling apart.

I blow by cops who lie in wait, on off ramps on the interstate. I’m passing everybody like they’re stalled. The engine screams beneath the hood.
The radio plays something good and I don’t care about anything at all.

My old man could be your dad’s old man.
He lied about his age to fight Japan.
It wasn’t long before he came back home.
He had some help from the atom bomb.

Back in Allentown where my dad worked.
They’d drink a cold one before they changed their shirts.
And every drunken word was his command.
The standing order was to understand.
That he don’t care about nothing else, only what he’s got to tell himself.
Where everybody does the best they can. My daddy raised a boy and not a man.

I was young and hungry when I left home.
Hungry just for something to be hungry for.
I had to prove that I could make my way, no matter who it hurt or price I paid.
I didn’t care about nothing else.
Only what I had to tell myself.
Its looking back I start to understand.
My daddy raised a boy and not a man.

Now when I look into my father’s eyes.
We both see someone we can recognize.
He sees a young man who has lost his way.
I look at him, I swear I see the same.
Now I don’t care about nothing else, only what I have to tell myself.
Hey everybody, do the best you can.
My daddy raised a boy and not a man.
I am a Highland County boy and William is my name.
I farm those rocky hills before the Jackson is the James.
Well my brothers they all joined ‘the cause', but I was left behind.
Too old to hold in Mama’s arms, and much too frail to fight.
But I remember the day they marched away, they sang down Richmond Road
“Ol’ Lincoln’s bound like ol’ John Brown for the long end of a rope”

Well one died at Manasass, sir, and one at Malvern Hill. And after making it through that, Archer he took ill. Charlie’s lost—but not confirmed, when they fought at Cross Keys,
the last sight that they had of him was crawling through the weeds.
A letter said a shower of lead had hit the men down low. And they danced around like ol’ John Brown
On the long end of a rope.

The spark of plow to rock is now the only fight I’ve known.
And the songs of victory that they sing don’t help the seeds I’ve sown.
‘Tis wickedness and self conceit that is the bane of man.
So the farmer and the land compete as God’s first reprimand.
There’ll be a day when the Blue and Grey will hear the trumpets blow.
And they’ll dance around like ol’ John Brown
On the long end of a rope.

And don't even get me started on Guy Clark.

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple classics....

"the long arm of the law slides up the outskirts of town"
-- Clubland - Elvis Costello

"someone said that someone got filled in
for saying that people get killed in
the result of this shipbuilding"
-- Shipbuilding -- Elvis also

"redness, richer than a rose
blooms against the backdrop of somebody's white clothes
bitter little girls and boys from the
Red Army Underground
they'd blow away Karl Marx if he had the nerve to come around"
-- Grim Travellers -- Bruce Cockburn

At 11:37 AM, Blogger princessmalin said...

i turn my microwave on/and i cook my chicken rav-i-oli ... -- Old 97s.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger CHW said...

Being the proud Canuck that I am, I have to say that the Tragically Hip's Gordon Downie is one of my all-time favorite lyricists. A few samples...

"Growing up in a biosphere/with no respect for bad weather/there's still roaches and ants in here/so resourceful and clever" -- Titanic Terrarium

"Morning broke out the backside of a truck stop/the end of a line a real, rainbow-likening luck stop/where you could say I became chronologically fucked up" -- Locked in the Trunk of a Car

"If I die of vanity, promise me, promise me/they bury me someplace I don't want to be/you'll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously/away from the swollen city-breeze, garbage-bag trees/whispers of disease and the acts of enormity/and lower me slowly, sadly and properly/Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy" -- At the Hundreth Meridian

At 2:14 PM, Blogger tj1972 said...

"Sometimes I get all wrapped up
cause I don't know who to be
but you know when to be my security blanket
and when to uncover me
so let's just sit out on the back porch
and unravel everything
someday these will be our old days
let's make them worth remembering"
- Kind of Perfect, Kacy Crowley

At 4:35 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

Let's not forget Prince--

"Erotic City"--
"If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time
Thoughts of pretty u and me, Erotic City come alive
We can fuck until the dawn, making love 'til cherry's gone
Erotic City can't u see, thoughts of pretty u and me

Everytime I comb my hair
Thoughts of u get in my eyes
U're a sinner, I don't care
I just want your creamy thighs

"U Got The Look"--

You've got the look (You've got the hook)
U sho'nuf do be cookin' in my book
Your face is jammin'
Your body's heck-a-slammin'
If love is good
Let's get 2 rammin'

And yeah, with Elvis Costello, you could do pages of his lyrics too.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Doobie said...

Face down, ass up, that's the way we likes to fuck. Make it doo-doo brown, doo-doo brown.

- 2 Live Krew

At 5:54 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

"(Don't Put Your Daughter On The Stage), Mrs. Worthington"--Noel Coward---

Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington,
Don't put your daughter on the stage,
One look at her bandy legs should prove
She hasn't got a chance,
In addition to which
The son of a bitch
Can neither sing nor dance,
She's a vile girl and uglier than mortal sin,
One look at her has put me in
A tearing bloody rage,
That sufficed
Mrs. Worthington,
Mrs. Worthington,
Don't put your daughter on the stage.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

And then of course there's this:

French girls they want Cartier
Italian girls want cars
American girls want everything in the world
You can possibly imagine

English girls they're so prissy
I can't stand them on the telephone
Sometimes I take the receiver off the hook
I don't want them to ever call at all

White girls they're pretty funny
Sometimes they drive me mad
Black girls just wanna get fucked all night
I just don't have that much jam

That's either from the Rolling Stones or the book-on-tape of Bill Clinton's "My Life"---I forget which.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger sasefina said...

Got your little secret no I will not tell
You're trying to sober up in the highway motel
And my hands are covered with your smell
You begged me to stay and sing you a song
I dance dirty for you cuz it turns you on
And I'm a little bleeder with white pants on

And if you weren't so old I'd probably keep you
If you weren't so old I'd tell my friends
But I don't think your wife would like my friends

I've got a hit for everyday of the week
I gave you something of mine that was so sweet
That I've been holding on to since I was sixteen
You call me Danny and I call you Mable
You passed out so I flicked through cable
And I stole your gold watch off the bed-side table

- "Westby," Kathleen Edwards

And speaking of Wainwrights:

Cigarettes and chocolate milk
These are just a couple of my cravings
Everything it seems I like's a little bit stronger
A little bit thicker, a little bit harmful for me

If I should buy jellybeans
Have to eat them all in just one sitting
Everything it seems I like's a little bit sweeter
A little bit fatter, a little bit harmful for me

And then there's those other things
Which for several reasons we won't mention
Everything about 'em is a little bit stranger, a little bit
A little bit deadly

It isn't very smart
Tends to make one part
So brokenhearted

- "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," Rufus Wainwright

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Luke said...

There seems to be a certain, um, theme running through the posted lyrics, one not really hinted at in TripleJ's original observation. While I'm all for that particular theme -- and for focused debate on any topic -- I'm curious as to why this topic has (d)evolved to where it is...and whether TripleJ, in his infinite wisdom, would like to further clarify the whys and wherefores of his posting-provoking postulation?

At 8:02 PM, Blogger TripleJ said...

Someone hand Seldom_Seen a beer. My intent is to learn, not teach.

And that has been done: Crowley, Edwards, Old 97's, Zevon and Costello, I already love and have agreed appreciation. Others - Scott Miller, Bloodkin - I will now give some due time.

And it seems like every year - yet another Canuck gets me closer to truly appreciating Tragically Hip.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

A Wainwright of which I'm particularly fond:

"The Art Teacher"

There I was in uniform
Looking at the art teacher
I was just a girl then;
Never have I loved since then

He was not that much older than I was
He had taken our class to the Metropolitan Museum
He asked us what our favorite work of art was,
But never could I tell it was him
Oh, I wish I could tell him --
Oh, I wish I could have told him

I looked at the Rubens and Rembrandts
I liked the John Singer Sargents
He told me he liked Turner
Never have I turned since then
No, never have I turned to any other man

All this having been said,
I married an executive company head
All this having been done, a Turner - I own one
Here I am in this uniformish, pant-suit sort of thing,
Thinking of the art teacher
I was just a girl then;
Never have I loved since then
No, never have I loved any other man

At 2:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

from another of the great canadians: the rheostatics: "someone in class called me a loser, so i decided to skip the day...."
from a song called record body count-check them out if you've never heard them.


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