Gloryland

by Kevin Gordon

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1.
05:03
Gloryland (©Kevin Gordon) You might be a preacher Broadcasting on a satellite Miss Mamie’s looking for an answer Watches your program every night Diamonds shine from your praying hands She sends you all the money she has Just to feel a little closer A little closer to gloryland You might be the president Take a lot of power in your hands Bend the laws to your advantage Drive your armies to a foreign land You say your cause is just Lie only if you must Just to keep them believing They’re on their way to gloryland People keep believing, people keep deceiving Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I my brother’s keeper? You might be a young man Out of work in a war-torn town Streets you walked as a smiling child Are blown to rubble, death and infidels all around You’re drinking thirst, eating hunger Praying to the east, and the mullah Is the only one you can trust Who gives himself in sacrifice Passes the gate to paradise . . . You walk into the market, cool wind across your face Virgin visions in your head & a bomb strapped to your waist Because it’s all waiting there, somewhere far from here It’s all waiting there, out there somewhere In gloryland
2.
Don’t Stop Me This Time ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI)/Gwil Owen(Turgid Tunes/BMI) Tall pines and blue skies I heard a song when the sound went by Knew I had to have it in my hands Bought an old guitar, Salvation Army store Banging it out in a garage band I got older, strapping that plank on my shoulder It’s miles and miles of the give and take Get home, fall back in the comfort zone Count the cash and stack the plates Feed the wolf and say a little grace Hold on, don’t stop me this time Don’t stop me this time There’s daylight ahead Straight whiskey and ripped jeans I stared at her staring back at me She was leaning on the balustrade What a giver, took me all the way in to the river The water’s warm, the current’s tame Washed by love, forever changed Hold on, don’t stop me this time Don’t stop me this time There’s daylight ahead Now the old man wants to know How I’ll get my children grown on a poet’s hope, and a pauper’s wage He said you’ve had your fun It’s time you grew up, son Time to put those dreams away Hold on, don’t stop me this time Don’t stop me this time There’s daylight ahead
3.
Colfax/Step in Time ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI) I played trumpet in the band In 7th grade, blasting out songs At football games and fall parades We’d ride the bus To the small towns like Winfield, Downsville, and Colfax— In purple jackets and white slacks We were the Braves— We were the Jack Hayes Braves Named after a dead administrator And the noble ideal Of the young Native American male-- School ambassadors Of popular song and good will Mr. Minifield Was our director, skin the color Of a brown paper sack, he was black Trying to teach us white kids to play But confronted every baton-breaking day By juvenile delinquents, like Danny Amos Who locked himself into Minifield’s office, With my Ted Nugent double album; Playing “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” Full-blast over the bandroom speakers And I remember Minifield, just sitting there Staring out into the air From the podium, smoking a camel Looking straight ahead Imagining himself Somewhere else, I’d guess Where he’d be getting paid More for less B.S. Tomorrow morning We’d be marching through What’s ahead from what’s behind Just another step in time Valerie Played clarinet 13 going on 35, sexy In a hard way, like a 1st cigarette, Bourbon spilled on a bare thigh-- (you could say she was ahead of the game) She’d barely speak to me So that 2-hour ride Felt like an all-day tense erotic dream, Staring out at the pine trees and red clay, And the country stores where inevitably An old dough-faced man would be standing outside-- Staring at us like his life going by And was that her leg, was that her leg Just brushing against mine? Riding on the bus Sitting next to Valerie Thrash Between what’s ahead, what’s behind Just another step in time The morning was cold The silver bell of my horn shining back Convex reflections of faces and hands And the yellow smear of the bus While I blew out my spit valve, Put the wax on my braces-- We were getting ready to play, Standing in line, moving in formation. First up, a Stevie Wonder song called Sir Duke, About Ellington (I didn’t know that then), Chameleon by Herbie Hancock-- Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang, K.C. and the Sunshine Band— Get Down Tonight-- That’s when I saw them at the end of the block Imperial Knights of the Ku Klux Klan In their white dunce caps And robes with red crosses Embroidered on Like gilded leaves on an automatic rifle Or an image of the suffering Christ Airbrushed on the side of a missile In broad daylight; Donald Lovelady said He thought they only came out at night— Like an apparition, Blood-real in the silver sun— Between what’s ahead, what’s behind Just another step in time They were handing out tracts To the Caucasian mothers and daughters And fathers and sons of Colfax-- Laughing and joking, kneeling down, Placing a gentle hand on a child’s blonde head Like santa claus, or the pope Like this was normal, like this was okay Another doo-dah day down in dixieland He didn’t say a word, Minifield didn’t turn his head-- Just kept marching Looking straight ahead Looking straight ahead Like there was somewhere better He was going But this was the only goddamned way to get there Today, with his baton in the air Looking straight ahead Straight ahead . . .
4.
Pecolia’s Star (©Kevin Gordon) I was raised up in the fields, hard work Was just like breathing Knowing nothing else Wanting nothing more Like morning brings the day, summer sun Brought the cool of the evening I’d watch the women sew and sing Behind an old screen door Tell me have you seen Pecolia’s star Eight points of diamonds All the colors in between You’d be safe and warm Under Pecolia’s star Shining for all the world to see Thimbles and thread, bag of rags, Scraps of laughter Mama’s quilt like a flag Of friendships unfurled She said, “This is something good From my hands to your hands, child-- This here will keep you walking Straight ‘cross a crooked world” Tell me have you seen Pecolia’s star Eight points of diamonds All the colors in between You’d be safe and warm Under Pecolia’s star Shining for all the world to see Since 1917 I’ve been a child of God Yes, I’ve been on that hill, a long time I don’t never want for nothing, or nowhere Stay right here with my people Just give me Mississippi You can have all the rest As long as I can see, I’ll be Trying to thread that needle With my mind on the Maker Working to do my best Tell me have you seen Pecolia’s star Eight points of diamonds All the colors in between You’d be safe and warm Under Pecolia’s star Shining for all the world to see
5.
04:40
Black Dog ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI) Good evening, neighbors Good evening, sidewalk strangers Good evening, police helicopter too Tonight, my darling reads of the Queen Children are lost in dreams, sirens throb down the avenue There’s a pulse pushing under my collar And that collar feels like it’s on the end of a leash And that full moon’s looking like my last silver dollar Hanging there in the black air and out of reach And all, all night long the black dog Keeps barking at the back door Wants to get out, wants to break away We’re married, mortgaged, Full of doubt, out of storage In a house that’s seen a century of dust and dreams How many men long dead have walked these halls thinking There’s another somewhere they’d like to see And all, all night long the black dog Keeps barking at the back door Wants to get out, wants to break away Sometimes my life feels fated Sometimes it feels like a random thing Between the lucky and the dead Twenty years in the same bed I swear I don’t know you like I should Are we all right, baby? Are we good? Can we keep it alive? When morning falls fat like a gavel When my beloved pulls the blind and the cord screams And white light falls upon our hero Sleeping off the pints of ale and the late late scene And all, all night long the black dog Keeps barking at the back door Wants to get out, wants to break away
6.
Trying to Get to Memphis (© Kevin Gordon) This guy came to the door last night Said, don’t you remember me? I cleaned your gutters last Fall Well, now the deal is, see, that’s my wife in the car there— And her daddy just died And my tank’s on empty and I ain’t got a dime I’m just trying to get to Memphis Just trying to get to Memphis So she can say goodbye Sure enough, there’s a red car with the motor running Out on the street— There’s a silhouette of a woman Sitting there, still in the passenger seat-- I’m looking in his eyes, he’s talking fast Looking for something behind them as he says: So you think You could help me out? I’m just trying to get to Memphis Just trying to get to Memphis So she can say goodbye The question I asked myself From behind a locked security door: What would Jesus do? If like me He’d never seen this guy before Give alms to the poor But the neighborhood watch captain said You give something to one, You’ll have them all at your door So I said: I tell you the deal is, man— I got no cash on hand But good luck to you Even if it’s not true that you’re Just trying to get to Memphis Just trying to get to Memphis So she can say goodbye
7.
Bus to Shreveport © Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI) I rode the bus to Shreveport When I was 12 years old My uncle Randy and his friend Hank Were going to the ZZ Top show Hirsch coliseum, man I couldn’t wait The worst sounding arena In the whole United States I was riding in the backseat We were in Randy’s Pinto Goin down Hearne Avenue We made a brief stop at a liquor store They asked me what do you want— Well, I’d never drunk before So they brought me a bottle of yellow wine I just stared at it on the floorboard Parked at the fairgrounds People were drinking, getting high I lifted up that old blue nun And tasted all she had to tell me Ticket stub in my pocket We got in before the lights went down Already there were rednecks and hippies Passed out on the ground And the little band from Texas Played it loud and like they should Stranger sitting next to me Smoking something smelling good He held it out for me to take Like a dare—I didn’t know If I should, if I could, so I just said no We stopped for a burger on the way back home A McDonald’s packed with late night refugees Drunk and stoned Laughing over a big Mac Everything was funny to me Outside I saw them waiting For Hank, Randy, and me Latino boys in black leather All just standing there Said Hank had broke in line In front of one of theirs One guy punched him in the face Two others tried to pin him down Hank turned and ran back inside They followed him right behind Jumped the counter knocking trays Of food on to the floor The crewcut manager dude Just yelled “take it back out the door” Hank ran back toward the car But they caught him and held him over the hood Under an oblivious starry sky They were beating that boy but good Randy tried to talk to them With reason and common sense It was about like a de-clawed cat Trying to climb a razor-wire fence Blood sprayed over the white hood Hank was passing out Randy pushed me back in the car, said Don’t look up, don’t get out He reached down under the seat, Pulled a black pistol out the dark Said “don’t you tell nobody, Don’t you ever say a word” Randy laid that .38 Across the roof of the car Said “everybody better get back, and let my man go” I was crouched down on the floorboard, Low as I could pray Seen a empty beer can under the seat And a book on the KKK Don’t tell--whatcha done Don’t tell--anyone Don’t tell-- Don’t tell--whatcha done Don’t tell--about the gun Don’t tell Don’t tell For the last time, don’t tell
8.
03:57
Nine Bells ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI) O my child Welcome to the world Such as it is Such as it is I ran through the woods The green and the wild Saw the river tearing at the bank Like the fear in my heart Fear at my heart There’s blocks of shadow Between bars of light Train on the trestle Heading towards the night And I feel like that-- Going where I can’t see But I know it’s there I know it’s there Sometimes I feel Like a confidence man And the truth is a secret And the truth is a secret Nine bells, and the blue sky rings Shadows wither from under the trees And I wrote this letter Wrote this letter Talking like you were standing here
9.
Side of the Road ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI)/Gwil Owen(Turgid Tunes/BMI) I was five years old, must’ve been October Saw a white field thru the windshield Mama pulled over Took me down there, so I could understand She pulled off a boll of cotton Pressed it to my hand By the road, by the side of the road We were standing by the side of the road Church in the country burned to the ground Congregation all gathered around Preacher in his robes Shining red in the sun Held a sign that said It’s god’s way everyone By the road/by the side of the road They were praying by the side of the road Down the road to Jericho, Jesus came Saw a stranger sitting in a tree and called him by name He called him down, took his hand-- What comes around Can change a man Baghdad to Basra, supply-line mission They were riding in silence, hoping and wishing For a little bit of luck just to bring them back home Who’s watching you pass, Lord you never know By the road/by the side of the road Who’s watching from the side of the road By the road/by the side of the road Who’s waiting by the side of the road
10.
Tearing It Down ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI) 14 years old and a jug of wine Parking lot, middle of June I was feeling a brand new kind of fine Threw that empty bottle to the man in the moon Laughing so hard when it hit the ground Tearing it down Watching it fall Like a hammer to the wall Tearing it down The ring on the finger on the hand that ran Down that young woman’s back Glowed in a no-tell motel room by the highway Where daddy ran it off the track When mama found out—I can still hear the sound Tearing it down Watching it fall Like a hammer to the wall Tearing it down In my hour of darkness The clock stops as the angels retreat Am I just another witness To my own defeat? Hey pretty mama with the red dress on Let’s take a ride out to the edge You make me forget about a good one back home Sipping tea behind my privet hedge So love me like you love me While we’re lying here-- Tearing it down Watching it fall Like a hammer to the wall Tearing it down
11.
02:53
One I Love © Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI)/Gwil Owen(Turgid Tunes/BMI) It’s hard to speak your mind these days They’re all trying to shut us up I’m a-gonna keep on shouting, baby Tell ‘em you’re the one I love You and me got no say In how this big world runs They can do their worst, but first I’m gonna tell ‘em you’re the one I love Every morning, baby, I Face the fire in the sky Feeling lucky just to be alive And I have to wonder why Why it’s never enough To tell ‘em you’re the one I love I’m gonna say it to you, talking on the telephone Whisper low as a mourning dove Whoever might be listening in I’m gonna tell ‘em you’re the one I love They might try to kill us, child With their bombs, bullets and guns They might try, but before I die I’m gonna tell ‘em you’re the one I love Every morning, baby, I Face the fire in the sky Feeling lucky just to be alive And I have to wonder why Why it’s never enough To tell ‘em you’re the one I love
12.
Don’t Take It All ©Kevin Gordon(Little Rain Music/BMI) Don’t take it all away Leave something behind-- Let it stay for awhile Somewhere in my mind Here where the kids would play Til the sun went down When I came back this time They were nowhere around I lost my luck now where’s my saving grace? Are you sure you came to the right place? Don’t take it all Without one more chance Though I know I might blow it Faster than a second glance Don’t take it all away Send your boys back home Say what you need to say Then leave me alone I lost my luck, now where’s my saving grace? Are you sure you came to the right place? Where the kids would play Til the sun went down When I came back this time They were nowhere around

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produced by Joe V. McMahan; features special guests Sarah Siskind, the McCrary Sisters, and members of Lambchop

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released February 14, 2012

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Kevin Gordon Nashville, Tennessee

Kevin Gordon is a Louisiana native whose latest releases, Tilt & Shine, Long Gone Time, & 2012's Gloryland, earned raves from the NY Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, and others. His songs have been recorded by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Hard Working Americans, Irma Thomas, & others. "Down to the Well", a duet w/Lucinda Williams, was featured on the Oxford American Southern Music Sampler. ... more

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