Observations On Friends And Friendship

Observations CoverAll songs by Nathan Beach and Grant K
© 2000 Bryan’s Cabin Songs, ASCAP

Recorded at The 1996 Top Producers Dinner and Awards Studio (Richardson, Texas)
Recording by Climate
Finished 24 February 2000
Self-released to CD-R
Special Friends Records (SFR12)
length: 33:15

Additional musician: Jay Trautman (guitar on 6), David Gordon Green (banjo on B-Sides track 1). A lot of these songs are rougher cuts of tracks put on Swallow All Letters. Recorded to eight track minidisc on a Yamaha MD8 starting in September 1999 at The 1996 Top Producers Dinner and Awards Studio in Richardson, Texas.

Free Download (MP3, 89MB)
Free Download (FLAC, 261MB)
Album B-Sides (MP3, 81MB)

  1. Rock and Roll in Dallas, Texas (5:13)
  2. Maybe Some Time (2:53)
  3. Show Me Your Fingers (2:15)
  4. To-morrow May Be The Day (2:26)
  5. Sally’s On The Phone (2:50)
  6. Observations on Friends and Friendship (2:15)
  7. Happy Birthday To Me (2:07)
  8. In The Harbor (3:06)
  9. Somewhere Toward The Back (3:39)
  10. Grey and Black Unswitched Tracks (6:37)
  11. To-day Is The Day (3:18)

Lyrics

ROCK AND ROLL IN DALLAS, TEXAS

rock and roll in dallas, texas
has got a different kind of beat
trucks are thumping down the highway
debutantes are out to eat (they’re on the street)

i was out driving just yesterday
in the downtown dallas streets
don’t you love it on the plains babe?
the concrete streets mark the way

that the cattle made their ways
up to the north end of the state
the yankees maybe play
but the rangers play it straight
i’ve got a biscuit with my egg
and white gravy on my plate
we’ve got rock and roll to play
and rock the southern states

the sidekicks are kicking it at reunion
the mavericks are shooting up some hoops
i think i just lost my car keys
i’ll be taking DART home to-night

we’re turning up the amps
and we’re dropping down the nuts
grant’s screaming on the (slide) guitar
and the garage door is up

rock and roll in the suburbs
where the old ladies tend to dance
pulling poodles down the sidewalk
and they’re having trouble with their pants

when they hear us play the rock and roll
and the garage door is up
hear us rock the suburbs
when the garage door is up
you can hear us on the highway
when the garage door is up
you can hear us in houston
when the garage door is up
we’re barely audible in el paso
when the garage door is up

MAYBE SOME TIME

(lyrics removed to protect the innocent)

SHOW ME YOUR FINGERS

have you changed my question
or asked another one of me?
i’ve abandoned my plans completely
to make you need me

show me your fingers
count them, darling
that’s how many times i’ve loved you
and nine time is enough that’s all i can do
i want something new

as i live alone in dallas
texas my love has never looked so cold
a snowflake falls uniquely
but when it lands we’ll see

show me your fingers
count them, darling
that’s how many times i’ve loved you
and nine time is enough that’s all i can do
i want something new

mr. clarke has got wine for you
only the best he knows what to do
mr. davis is putting on the moves
he’s sixty years old with so much to prove
mr. prather writes you a book
there’s no telling how long it took
mr. henty is picking his swords
he’s fighting in a duel over who gets you
mr. ford his name is ernie sings you one about how

the love is gone
love is dead
love is wrong
and you once said
that life’s too long
it never moves
but hear these words
they might remind you

TO-MORROW MAY BE THE DAY

i watched you turn dead
in that hospital bed
the nurse and your cat
a crutch and a hat

with pillow in hand
what put to your face
gloves on nightstand
a grimy suitcase

the collar was loose
i’d shucked off my boots
crackers and juice
and doctors in suits

looking at your rigid limbs
it’s difficult not to think
about the time i spent
laying on the couch
sleepless —
one eye on the door
one eye sealed shut
until the door opened
and in you came
whisky on your breath
death in your eye
your shallow skin
parched red
making making me
taste the fear
taste the pain
taste the love
we used to share
my dear
this is the day
i’ve always looked forward to
the day when i could say
i’m not going back there anymore
i’m not going back anymore

you’re very much alive
you’re breathing just fine
but to-morrow may be the day
you’ll never know, dear

darling there’s something here in this sack
the garden and the trees
and the flowers and the bees
they’ll never have a chance
they’ll never have a chance to grow back

SALLY’S ON THE PHONE

this happens every time you call my line
i’ve got plenty say
about the state of things in my life and the weather to-day
then i feel okay

you, see: i don’t feel so alone
when sally’s on the phone
and i’m asking her about the next time she’s driving home

sally marie is a sad girl but she smiled bright blue
when i told her the good news
about how all my friends are dead now except for her
so i don’t have to choose
between the stiff and fragrant corpses and her little hand
all fleshy and new
and with her long lost love like a spaceship in my empty mind
i’ve got something to do

you, see: i don’t feel so alone
when sally’s on the phone
and i’m asking her about the next time she’s driving home

and sally says:
i am a human being with doors and ceilings and floor like you
i’ve even got a kitchen and a cat named richard just like you
i know the names of your servants and have had mine renamed like yours
we’ve got the same initials, november birthdays, and brand of shoes

you, see: i don’t feel so alone
when sally’s on the phone
and i’m asking her about the next time she’s driving home

OBSERVATIONS ON FRIENDS AND FRIENDSHIP

i’ll ask you one question — what are friends for?
i’ll tell you the answer to that one
friends are for caring and helping
friends are able to accept when you have done wrong
friends are forgiving
all this adds up and makes you perfect
the many jams you have helped me out of
like the time when i was broke and i
smashed the glass bowl in the shop
did you call me clumsy?
no.
you just paid for the bowl
then refused to let me pay you back
and the time when I broke my arm
by trying to fly off the trampoline
did you laugh?
no.
you talked to me all the way
to the hospital
and held my hand
all this talk of how wonderful you are
is making it hard for me to tell you the bad news
my family is moving to california and
naturally i have to go with them
i don’t know how i will last without you there
to help me out of my messes
but i know that nobody will ever take up
the large portion of my heart that you own
you will forever be my friend
and i hope i will be yours too.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

(lyrics removed to protect the innocent)

IN THE HARBOR

some people like him but some folks don’t
rusty sails in the harbor flap just like
the a&r man who’s shaking his hand
as the bass drum thumps in the rock and roll band

she fell down the stairwell but tucked in her skirt
scabby knees in the hallway are red just like
the apple that fell from the tree to the dirt
she’s always wearing his favorite shirt

the razor takes a nick off the business man
he’s standing in the bathroom in just his knee-socks
while his wife is in cannes with an all-over tan
he’s back home eating chunky soup from a can

charmers on the edge of the lake
rusty nails beneath rake
shorty sings the songs in tune
cindy shakes the dust-filled broom
sockets sucked into the head
falling snow onto the dead

some folks like it but some folks don’t
when you tickle their clem with a thought so enlightening
it makes them think — imagine if they’d think
about the top 40 music out on the ice rink

SOMEWHERE TOWARD THE BACK

when your arm touched mine while in the bank line
you became a piece of my mind
synapse and cardboard the pieces shift and crack
i stuffed you in somewhere toward the back

pale white even grey the hand that shook the arm to-day
a fleshy mass filled with d.n.a.
or covered in lime in the casket next to mine
but you don’t have to worry about that for some time

you might slide your arm under the pillow to-night
to find some place cool and out of sight
but don’t forget to turn out the bathroom light
brush your teeth and floss with dent-o-brite

GREY AND BLACK UNSWITCHED TRACKS

where was i — it’s coming back
cars move past in grey and black
railway station unswitched track
sixty years without a clack
make friends in afternoon
morning now but won’t be soon
lungs blow out a pipe of steam
feet step down start to breathe
in a wind that can’t be seen
frenchman wants to intervene

concierge five foot three
bus to pier it drives past me
take a left or right you’ll see
bakery match company
walking down an avenue
baguette crust beneath my shoe
crosswalk little man is red
someone english has just said
thirteen high school children dead
tourist caps are on their heads

find the place with bed and sheets
reservation not until three
take the load off of my feet
read a map with lines for streets
winding thick the boulevard
spanish children in the yard
playing tag and pick up sticks
one will grow up and make bricks
one will grow up cut cow licks
one will die young cold and sick

pick the feet up to the road
no more hotel lobby moat
so much for this famous town
spend some hours walk around
spill the water on the walk
passing girls like to talk
do not let them see my hand
bandaged cut passing sedan
in the bus toward the lake
hear no words don’t understand

walking down bright alleyway
bushes line this sun-filled day
olympic games were underway
cars parked here i heard them say
need some food i hate to eat
must take body off of feet
swiss girl at the sandwich stand
lipped in french a crimson band
communicate embarrassment
saw the way her body bent

eat my sandwich near her
watch the churchyard saints interred
americans sit on the curb
hips in love i won’t disturb
walk back down the hill to take
time to think at the lake
should i take the train back home
bathers sunning in the foam
or go find a vacant room
shopkeeper brushes with his broom

[the end]
go to the back
past the tracks
open the door
just a crack
grey and black
unswitched track

at this house
girls stay in
aunt jane knocks
door opens
on the cot
on the porch
grey and black
unswitched track

neighbors tell
her daddy knows
socks on ledge
mended toes
apple tree
arbor leaves
grey and black
unswitched track

dew on grass
moonlit tub
rust on rake
worms and grubs
girlfriend in
the 4h club
grey and black
unswitched track

burn the barn
he won’t care
take the cow
he won’t care
take the daughter
he won’t know
grey and black
unswitched track

barbed-wire fence
in my jeans
wants to know
what it means
i say it’s not
what it seems
grey and black
unswitched track

where was i it’s coming back
cars move past in grey and black
railway station unswitched track
sixty years without a clack

TO-DAY IS THE DAY

blood in the sink there is no rival
but clean white sheets
to your friends in the bible
if you wash your face make it red
take off your socks before you get in bed
it’s not the day it’s night that i dread thinking
not this time not this way
as a hot bullet rattles in your empty head
not this time not this way
you’re maybe going to lose you life to-day

kiss me now or never again
brush your hair then count to ten
beige bath towel a fountain pen
and folding chairs and some vitamins
what will you say when it all begins?
not this time not this way
as a hot bullet rattles in your empty head
not this time not this way
you’re going to maybe make me mad to-day

i can see the strain in your eyeballs now
as you cross the room take a bow
sorry it just won’t work out somehow
a few more minutes the time allows
your naked legs it’s this night that i dread screaming
not this time not this way
as a hot bullet rattles in your empty head
not this time not this way
you’re maybe going to lose your life to-day

© 2000 Bryan’s Cabin Songs, ASCAP