music

When We Were Big

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All songs © Boris McCutcheon/Cactusman Records (ASCAP) except:
10. “Mole in the Ground”, traditional
11. “Pumpkin Farmer of Half Moon Bay”, © Mark Ray Lewis, Outside Agitator (ASCAP)

  1. Hitch a Ride
  2. Beautiful Prison
  3. Idiot Lights
  4. Clumsy Kiss
  5. Slow Diablo
  6. Sad Mountain
  7. Santa Rosa Plums
  8. Gift Horse
  9. Fine Suede
  10. Mole in the Ground
  11. Pumpkin Farmer of Half Moon Bay
  12. Hurt
  13. Meet Me
  14. Diablo Waltz

Album credits

Hitch a Ride listen to a sample

Hitch a ride on my wagon
God’s country is wide, God’s country is wide
doesn’t matter if your feet are draggin’
honey there’ll be rainbows over canyons

There’s no end to this curse
when both of us are withered the sky bursts
we find death and we find rebirth
you can drink lots of whiskey if I don’t drink it first

Hitch a ride on my wagon
God’s country is wide, God’s country is wide
doesn’t matter if your feet are draggin’
honey there’ll be paintbrush for the pluckin’

Dreamt I saw you on a magic horse
feeding me coffee on a creaking porch
I dreamt that we had it made
but we were just high on fool’s lemonade

There’s no end to all this work
when both of us are withered the sky bursts
we find death and we find rebirth
you can drink lots of whiskey if it don’t drink you first

McCutcheon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jeff Berlin: drums
Steve Grams: upright bass
Craig Schumacher: microrgan

Beautiful Prison listen to a sample

This moment after the storm
birds have taken swollen forms
Their flock’s dark petals merge with light
underneath the newborn baby sky

But I’m stuck in my beautiful prison, my beautiful prison
I can hear them wings a-flappin’ from 3 miles away
stuck in my beautiful prison all day

One step away from being white trash
hey shit-bird better clean up your act!
‘Cause you don’t really own anything in this world
I wanna be the master of my own universe

But I’m stuck in my beautiful prison, my beautiful prison
I can hear them wings a-flappin’ from 3 miles away
stuck in my beautiful prison all day

Sometimes I find a little peace of mind
where the sticks and leaves they have no roving eyes
It don’t matter how you feel
how deep you dig none of this is real

McCutcheon: vocals, guitar
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: tenor banjo of unknown origin, resonator guitar, backing vocals

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Idiot Lights listen to a sample

If you’ve got a good thing don’t let it slip away
if you’ve got a good thing don’t let it slip away
She could have been your queenie, oh but she’s a million miles away

If you’ve got a good thing don’t let it slip away

Stranded in needles, she’s talking in riddles
stranded in needles, she’s talking in riddles
the burnt perfume of this bleedin’ rig; hit the deck I think I’m gonna wig!

If you’ve got a good thing don’t let it slip away

Broken bones, twisted steel
broken bones, twisted steel
it’s all behind me like a real bad meal

if you’ve got a good thing don’t fall asleep at the wheel

I once saw a wedding on a stormy day
I once saw a wedding on a stormy day
the groom didn’t hold on tight enough to the bride and she blew away

if you’ve got a good thing don’t let it blow away

Idiot lights, idiot lights
idiot lights shining all night long
like a bitter song, all night long, into the dawn

If you’ve got a good thing don’t let it slip away!

McCutcheon: vocals, ’53 Martin acoustic guitar
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, lap steel
Pete Weiss: Gibson electric guitar

Clumsy Kiss listen to a sample

I did not mean to shatter your faith
you can build the first church in outer space
you can go to Paris and work for a firm
you can do anything you want, babe but it might make me squirm

No expectations, no laughs with the girl from paradise past
she’s playing patty-cake with the devil
and the ghost from paradise past

My passionflower, my passion killer
I’m very sorry darlin’ wouldn’t let me deliver
you asked me to marry, you slipped a hot strawberry
over my finger like a wedding ring

I went to visit the rainy woman
she read me my fortune and she cooked me dinner
her tent flap closed as the stars did hiss
I anointed your mischief with a clumsy kiss

McCutcheon: vocals, Fender Telecaster, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, Malibu acoustic guitar
Pete Weiss: ’53 Gibson, acoustic guitar
Nick Luca: Wurlitzer, effects

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Slow Diablo listen to a sample

Instrumental

McCutcheon: Fender Telecaster, whistle, vocals
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, whistle
Craig Schumacher: Hammond B3

Sad Mountain listen to a sample

Happiness hijacked
hardly do we ever turn the other cheek

An eye for an eye what is that smell
and why do we put each other through hell

When between us our heart should be big enough
to sail this sweet ship I think we had enough

She called me from heaven on a cellular phone
beyond that sad mountain of steel and bones

Yes between us our heart should be big enough
big enough

Such a reverence for the dust
he held his hand just like a cup

An eye for an eye what is that smell
and why do we put each other through hell

When between us our heart should be big enough
to sail this sweet ship I think we had enough

She called me from heaven on a cellular phone
beyond that sad mountain of steel and bones

Yes between us our heart should be big enough
big enough

Roses bloom on a canyon floor
they bloom without ending, without a cure

McCutcheon: vocals, guitar
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass
Steve Grams: upright bass
Nick Luca: Hammond, piano

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Santa Rosa Plums listen to a sample

Sat and listened to the rain on the barn
watched a salamander escape from harm
Sun was gone but I did not care
I was hunkered down with the ploughman’s daughter

I can see, I can see you’re givin’ up on me, givin’ up on me
and I can smell the Santa Rosa plums rottin’ in the sun, rottin’ in the sun
Let this be a warning to you don’t put a farmer on standby
’cause farmers get snaky when their soft fruit gets ripe
farmers get snaky when their soft fruit gets ripe

In the darkness of the barn
you reached out to me with your eyes and your arms
We were bound for waterfalls
I was feeling like an old man, had to lean on my shovel to stand

I watched a bull chase a calf up a hill that strayed
couldn’t find no safety in the liveoak shade
We were bound for waterfalls
I was feeling like an old man, had to lean on my shovel to stand

McCutcheon: vocals, ’52 Martin acoustic
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, Fender Telecaster, backing vocals

Gift Horse listen to a sample

Shallow, shallow, deep, deep, deep
I love to watch her when she’s fast asleep
The deep is for keeps the shallow is for fun
you got to count your blessings before they’re gone

Because the deep is for keeps the shallow is for fun
I thought you were the one
Skip a stone for me my little Lucy
I feel lucky to be with thee

She said I’ll buy you horses and we’ll start a little farm
and my golden wings will shield you from any harm
Tremendous peaches, it’s been a good year
forgive me darlin’ I was wet behind the ears
When I looked that gift horse in the eye I could not help but cry

Because the deep is for keeps the shallow is for fun
I thought you were the one
Skip a stone for me my little Lucy
I feel lucky to be with thee

She’s not just another flash in the stream
there’s so many secrets she hasn’t told me
but she’s told me enough and I’ll let it be
and skip the perfect stone for Lucy

McCutcheon: vocals, guitar
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, electric guitar
Tim Gallagher: pedal steel
Nick Luca: keyboards

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Fine Suede listen to a sample

Gas men on radios in widow women’s canyon
every bush has burrs and thorns, it’s a maze of cattle guards
The wind sneaks through the pack rat holes, where Benito grinds his teeth
nightmare sweat and chiggers tear at his paper sleep

Oh, but you really gotta love it man
sittin’ sidesaddle on the can
playin’ hard in a kitchen band
You gotta laugh or be damned!

Seen every bad western this lonesome coal town has
fought over the easy chair, tore that damn thing in half
Eleven men and one woman in a tarpaper shack
any fool around this town can realize the math

Are you fine fine suede or the toughest leather ever made?
’Cause life is gonna rub you man, life is gonna rub you man

First one up is Dulce, she’s got a lazy eye
she wakes me up with bacon and eggs and her green chili pie
She says life should be a simple thing, to build a house of mud and straw
we’re pushin’ up the canyon in the cold widow dawn

McCutcheon: vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, backing vocals
Pete Weiss: electric guitar, backing vocals

Mole in the Ground listen to a sample

traditional

I wish I were a mole in the ground
I wish I were a mole in the ground
mole in the ground I would root that mountain down
I wish I were a mole in the ground.

Kimpy wants a nine-dollar shawl
Kimpy wants a nine-dollar shawl
I come over the hill with a forty-dollar bill
she says darlin’ where ya been so long?

Well I’ve been in the pen so long
I’ve been in the pen so long
been in the pen with the rough and rowdy men
well I’ve been in the pen so long.

And I don’t like a railroad man
I don’t like a railroad man
‘cause a railroad man he will kill you when he can
and drink up your blood like wine.

Wish I were a lizard in the spring
wish I were a lizard in the spring
lizard in the spring I would hear my darlin’ sing
wish I were a lizard in the spring.

Oh, Kimpy let your hair roll down
Kimpy let your hair roll down
let your hair roll down and your bangs all curl around.
Kimpy let your hair roll down.

McCutcheon: vocals, acoustic guitar
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass
Craig Schumacher: microrgan

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Pumpkin Farmer of Half Moon Bay listen to a sample

© Mark Ray Lewis, Outside Agitator (ASCAP)

Vines ripe and left, bright orange fruit to see
public came but they left over half for me
Diesel’s cold but ether helps a glow form
she starts right up, ready to wipe it clean

That’s when I can’t, I can’t forget to be
thankful, thankful to Thee
That’s when I can’t, I can’t forget to be
thankful, thankful to Thee

I’ve got 40 acres of regret to see
profit loss has been on show for free
But with the moisture right in the morning light
hydraulic lifts up the three-point hitch

Some carve faces, some carve them desperately
put a candle inside as if that were really life
I leave them blank to sit so quietly
expecting nothing, never turning away

Drop the disc down onto a level ground
watch it churn like an ocean gone brown
Pumpkin leaves and tendrils turning under me
an empty slate, ready for the cold

McCutcheon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass

Hurt listen to a sample

Why can’t the whores blow the dandelions?
Why do the girls always pass me by?
Why can’t the whores blow the dandelions?
Why do the girls always pass me by?

I was hurt in an unusual way
I was hurt in an unusual way
I was hurt, hurt in an unusual way
I was hurt in an unusual way

Excuse me son why ain’t your apron on?
Excuse me son I’m gonna get sick on you.
Excuse me son why ain’t your apron on?
Angelic pig gristle is gonna land on you.

McCutcheon: vocals, Fender Telecaster, mandolin
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: p bass, mandolin, baritone guitar, backing vocals
chorus
Boris: megaphone
Brett: trumpet
Pete: harp
Craig: tambourine (on 1 & 3)
Jeannie: the Jameson

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Meet Me listen to a sample

I reeled when I saw her, saw her today
plum blossoms pointed, pointed me the way

Meet me where I stand, meet me in the sand

The moon was a canvas stretched out across the sea
shining on the savage delight in you and me

Meet me where I stand, meet me in the sand

Captain Kidd came rolling ‘cross Taurpaulin Cove
lookin’ for the brothel and a place to spend his gold

Meet me where I stand, meet me in the sand

He said “I’ll take you places, I’ll take you very far
freer than a bird and guided by the stars”

Meet me where I stand, meet me in the sand

So I yelled at the shepherd and I scared off her flock
“My life here ain’t nothing and I’m stuck upon this rock!”

Meet me where I stand, meet me in the sand

She said “You’re quiet in the fields you are not here with me
Tell me something darlin’, anything please…”

Meet me where I stand, meet me in the sand

McCutcheon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass
Pete Weiss: Moog, effects

Diablo Waltz listen to a sample

instrumental

McCutcheon: Fender Telecaster
Jeff Berlin: drums
Brett Davis: bass, resonator
Craig Schumacher: vox continental

Woods Hole peepers
Laura’s chicks

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