Jack Hardy — Lyrics for Rye Grass

Copyright © 2009 Jack Hardy Music

  1. Soundtrack
  2. Crime of the Century
  3. Rye Grass
  4. Tobacco Shed
  5. If I Were to Lay Me Down
  6. Ask Questions
  7. Rainer
  8. Prisoner
  9. Kansas
  10. Now and Then
  11. Little Dove

Soundtrack

A few bad apples rotten to the core
Something to blame the torture for
Keep it all behind closed doors
As American as apple pie
Apples and blame by any other name
The Garden of Eden would never be the same
Sometimes a snake is just a snake
Call it intelligent design

(chorus:)
Four score and seven years ago
Four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie
Bye-Bye American pie
Bye-Bye Blackbird

One bad apple in the Marine Corps
Corpus Christi Habeas Corps
Thumbs up and smile some more
That's what all those memos were for
Smoke-'em-if-you-got-'em praise the Lord
Pass the ammunition change the score
Body count was a different war
That's what we have contractors for

(repeat chorus)

Roll the apple of discord
That's why we pay the chairman of the board
To move headquarters and money off shore
Bridge Over Troubled Blackwater
Sittin' on the Dock of a Memphis court
Waiting to hear the commission report
'Tween the Bay of Pigs and barrels of pork
There's still time to lock up your daughters

(repeat chorus)

Crime of the Century

Headin' down to Railroad Avenue
Hang out at the Doc holiday saloon
Waiting for a train to take you away
Your few good friends came to say goodbye
Pitcher of beer and a pizza pie
Waiting for a train to take you away

Headin' out across state lines
Makes it a federal crime
When you're stealin' music back from the man
Singing it across the land
You headed out to save the world
Wound up drunk and chasing girls
Buddy can you spare a dime
For the crime of the century

Slap a quarter down on the track
Let the 4:19 squash it flat
Waiting for a train to take you away
Throw a silver dollar 'cross the Potomac River
Cross the Delaware in the dead of winter
Gets you on a quarter - squashed by a train

George Washington never looked so fine
But defacing money is a federal crime
So is stealin' music back from the man
Singing it across the land
You headed out to save the world
Wound up drunk and chasing girls
Buddy can you spare a dime
For the crime of the century

You made it to Chicago to Union Station
Got a union card you're a union musician
Waiting for a train to take you away
But times got hard and you're playing on the corner
Nickels and dimes and the occasional quarter
Waitin' for a train to take you away

Got an American flag lapel pin on
This land is your land my land is gone
Stealin' music back from the man
Singing it across the land
You headed out to save the world
Wound up drunk and chasing girls
Buddy can you spare a dime
For the crime of the century

Rye Grass

I would not take that road at night
Even if it just might save you time
No need to put trouble on your mind
Where the rye grass lies bent and broke

You have no idea of what has been
Where rye grass used to wave in wind
Trampled by hooves and hooded men
Where the rye grass lies bent and broke

  You might think this long ago
  Somewhere down south far below
  Some people are just plain slow
  To open their eyes

You could just take the road to the right
And be back home in bed tonight
To church in the morning halleloo
But the rye grass is singing too

I saw the length of rope pulled tight
I saw the preacher close his eyes
I saw the sheriff try not to smile
Where the rye grass lies bent and broke

  You might think this long ago
  Somewhere down south far below
  Some people are just plain slow
  To believe

No one reported what transpired
These were all people who were admired
That side of the wall the grass grows higher
Where the rye grass lies bent and broke

Hardly a trace of it now
That tree by lightening struck down
That field they have filled with cows
Where the rye grass lies bent and broke

Tobacco Shed

The Spigot Bar Money-Maker cigars
Connecticut's finest on a Friday afternoon
Sewn-in nametags Teddy Zeke and Carl
Outside in the parking lot some very used cars
Inside Miller High-Life and PBR
On a hot and forgotten Friday afternoon

Further downtown but not that far
In the bowels of the tallest building sits the Marble Pillar
Different kind of clientele different set of regulars
Smokin' Fidel's finest German beer and waiters named Charles
Temporary nametags they just forgot to discard
Like they try to forget everything on a Friday afternoon

'Longside the river on a road of dusty tar
The distant spires of Colt Industries a gift from the Tsar
Makers of the M-16 rifle and the pearl-handled pistols Custer took too far
In an afternoon of lost cause we ducked into a barn
Me and the girl in the calico dress so lithe and angular
In the Indian summer heat of a Friday afternoon

Eyes adjust to the dim light from the door left ajar
Pungent scent of tobacco leaves hanging from the spars
Curing in the cool shade for those Money-Maker cigars
And in that cool shade I was cured of something in particular
By the girl in the calico dress who's fingernails left scars
On a very unforgettable Friday afternoon

If I Were to Lay Me Down

If I were to lay me down
I would not could not sleep
The hours of impenetrable darkness
Into my room might seep
The candle low the dimmest hope
The lonely vigil I keep
If I were to lay me down
I know I could not sleep

If I were to pace the floor
I would not could not make sense
Of all of this earth-bound madness
That fights to add halfpence to pence
If love could slip poverty's grip
Without losing all innocence
If I were to pace the floor
I know I could not make sense

If I were to hear your voice
I would not could not endure
The lilt of your elegant sadness
That seems such a merciful cure
Soft and low building slow
To a crescendo a siren's lure
If I were to hear your voice
I know I could not endure

If I were to lie beside you
I would not could not resist
The hardness of all my defenses
Could be altered by your softest kiss
Your cold desire iron in fire
Could turn my heart into a fist
If I were to lie beside you
I know I could not resist

If I were to fall in love
I would not could not love you
Your kiss of religious betrayal
The lies that you swore were true
I swore back then never again
Would I trust what you say more than do
If I were to fall in love
I know I could not love you

Ask Questions

The dust bowl is flooded the northwest is dry
Someone strike a match to shed us some light
But all that is burned is a cross in the yard
And a flood in the ninth parish ward
Climb up the hill to the capitol
Dare to hold them accountable
        Ask questions

Jefferson the patriot fearless and bold
Takes Sally Hemmings when she's fourteen year old
Who cannot resist who cannot deny
The way his descendants now have to try
Climb up the hill to the capitol
Dare to hold them accountable
        Ask questions

(chorus:)
And history has eyes history has ears
History finds secrets that are buried for years
Exploded explained exposed and explicit
History will judge us either stupid or complicit
And we know we are not stupid
        Ask questions

Remember the Maine, Lusitania too
The Gulf of Tonkin and Peal Harbor Two
Where there's a will there's a way to go to war
And a profit without honor no more
Climb up the hill to the capitol
Dare to hold them accountable
        Ask questions

Joshua believes in heaven and in hell
Polishes his trumpet in a dessert motel
Gambling and whoring till his time comes around
And the towers come tumbling down
Climb up the hill to the capitol
Dare to hold them accountable
        Ask questions

(repeat chorus)

Rainer

Rainer crossed the floor then he opened the door
Then he opened a can of beer told her
Look here one thing more I wont let you do it here
Not in sight not of anyone here tonight
I wont fall apart I wont let you break my heart

Rainer walked outside on the porch
In the light of the paraffin lamp said I
Take it all in stride for the price of a postage stamp
That you can send it to someone who might give a damn
But I wont fall apart I wont let you break my heart

(bridge:) 
Now that you mention it there might be a slight crack
I tried hard to mend it like (how) I tried to win you back

Ain't it just like Rainer to go take out his gun
Say to no one this here's my friend you can
Take it all apart but it goes back together again
Makes a sound shoot out every street light in town
But I wont fall apart I wont let you break my heart

(repeat bridge)

(How an out-of-mind)
Rainer chewed gypsum weed then he crossed the street
Said I'm just plum loco now but there ain't no heart on my sleeve
Like that rusty Desoto car says for sale
I might spend the night in jail
But I wont fall apart I wont let you break my heart

Prisoner

There's a valley filled with poppies
There's a mountain etched in blue
There's a memory that hollers
Where it echoes I love you

Does not look like this island
That is walled in by the sea
With the only sound the warden
Who is yelling at me

  Little bird that I see flying
  Do you know how far I've flown
  Do you know how low the valley
  Well I have sunk below

And the warden takes the prisoners
One by one to this room
Where their every hope is broken
'cept that death will take them soon

And there's no one to ask questions
And there's no one to reply
To ask why I was taken
On the fourth day of July

  Little bird that I see flying
  Can you even hear me cry
  Through the walls of this prison
  Where I will surely die

And the crescent moon is shining
Marking time as passing by
And it's seven years and counting
Since I bid you all goodbye

In my dreams I'm dreaming of you
In my dreams I can fly
And I holler I love you
And the valley replies

Kansas

The cattle drives all had to end
They had to end in Kansas
The railhead towns all bored a hole
In the pockets of your soul
But oh sinner man oh sinner man
You got no home in Kansas
The only truth could be said of you
Is you're just passing through

If you could speak but a single truth
It would be you weren't born to Kansas
You lied 'bout your age growing up
Lied on the way down too
But oh sinner man oh sinner man
The ladies you stole while in Kansas
As if they believed a single thing
Just humored you that's what they do

You traded a 16- hand quarter horse
For a pint-size painted pony
Thought to blend in when you crossed those plains
Like you thought you could ride those trains
But oh sinner man oh sinner man
The telegraph travels faster
The lawmen all have shotguns now
And the boxcars all are cold

It was wintertime when you packed it in
The blizzards roared through Kansas
Took a day job shoveling coal
Working wages broke your soul
But oh sinner man oh sinner man
Where you going to run to
No one believes your stories now
Even when you tell the truth

Now and Then

Now and then is just the difference between
Two points in time now and then
Now and then could be a lifetime ago
Or could just be today now and then
And here where we watch that river day after day
You'd think that it is never changing
But change is the just the silence between why and when
That fills the space 'tween now and then

Now and then people try to write about where they're going
And where they've been now and then
Or they write endless verse 'bout how things stay the same
To shield themselves from any kind of change
But here where the river flows both ways with the tide
You always know there are two ways to decide things
Now and then you have to put down your pen
And just live in the space 'tween now and then

Now and then is not the same as before and after
Or the here-after-noon of what you said
What you say and do either rings true
Or dies in the silence 'tween now and then
I hear there are those who don't know how to forgive
And cannot live but drown in that river of now and then
I love you now I loved you then
And I'll love you in the space 'tween now and then
I'll love you in the silence 'tween now and then

Little Dove

And so you fly little dove
And so you fly
You don't know why little dove
You don't know why
The water is wide little dove
The water is wide
So far to fly little dove
To the other side

In time you'll know
But for now it's touch and go your way

You might as well try little dove
You're on your own
Above the rising tide little dove
The vast unknown
The clouds on high little dove
Cloud your view
They billow white and full
You fly in blue

As winter slows
Ice melting froze on the branch you seek

The children cry little dove
The children cry
Their plaintive plight little dove
Of fear and fright
Those who bide little dove
The fire and fight
They cannot cry little dove
Nor sleep at night

You must show them how
Not then or when but now

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