CHARLIE PARR

 

Love is an Unraveling Bird's Nest

Let it rain, my house won’t collapse
Let the wind blow just as hard as it likes
We’ll hunker down and watch between the boughs
We’ll bend and sway with the storm
And in the morning we’ll see the sun

In the winter we’ll all be gone
I’ll fix the broken door when we come home
And gather up all the unraveled parts
And put them right again and sweep away the leaves
And all of the dying snow

Love’s an unraveling birds nest
Falling to straw upon the ground
And carried by the wind until
It’s scattered all around
You might never notice it
But when it’s forever gone
Love’s an unraveling birds nest
Falling to straw upon the ground

When the fires come we’ll surrender and move on
We’ll gather our branches in another town
And find our place in the highest part
And to our new neighbors we’ll nod and shake
And borrow and share and give away
It’ll all come back to us one day

If the seasons come to an end
Can you even imagine that?
When the wheel won’t turn again
That’s when we’ll be still

Our love is a bird nest on the ground
Unraveling and soaking wet and stepped on
We’ll put it in a high tree that sways
And all the broken parts will be replaced
So we can look through the boughs for all our days
And watch the wheel turn

To A Scrap Yard Bus Stop

There's someone out there; out in the snow
I think that I knew her; a long time ago
In her only outfit; frayed cap and gloves
She is a monument; a tribute, a cause

It must be the bus stop; there through the snow
The wind whips right through her thin winter coat


She pulls a cart behind her; there are tracks in the snow
that lead to her possessions; tied up just so
I know that I knew her, but I can't say how
long time before anyway; the way she is now

There's someone out there; but I can't make her out
Salvation Army shoes on; sole all walked out
I know that I knew her; we were in love
Long time gone anyhow; there comes the bus

It must be the bus stop; there through the snow
The wind whips right through her thin winter coat


The crowd pushes past her; no one looks twice
She looks through her window; and I catch her eye
She doesn't know me; and she looks away
The bus slowly disappears; through the snowy haze

On Stealing A Sailboat

Me and my buddy Ed
We was walking down by the dock
One day and looking at all the boats down there

“I wish I had a boat”
Says Ed I laughed cuz he’s always broke
I said “you can’t afford to float”

Can’t even afford to float, just drifting away from the shore

So we’re down near the end
Where all the sailboats are tied
With their masts all bobbing in the air

Ed says “I could sail one of those
You don’t even need a key”
But I didn’t think it was that easy

Doesn’t look that easy, drifting away from the shore

But Ed told me I had no experience
In the matter and he untied a boat
And proceeded to jump inside

I followed him in but
I think it was a bad idea
Cuz now we’re drifting away from the dock

Drifting away from the shore, drifting away from the shore

So Ed cranks the levers
Pulls the tiller and yells at me to row
But there aren’t any paddles
And someone on the dock
Is yelling at us he sounds pretty mad
And I begin to regret taking a walk with Ed

Wish I’d stayed to home, drifting away from the shore

Then Ed screams “let’s beat it”
And jumps over the side
Starts swimming like a fool for the shoreline

But I can’t swim
I never learned how
I wonder if it hurts to get shot

I bet that’s gonna hurt, drifting away from the shore

Suddenly I’m surrounded
Angry people yelling through a bullhorn
I didn’t even know the police had a boat

On the way back to the dock
I saw Ed climbing onto the rocks
And hauling ass down the sidewalk

Don’t ask me to go walking again, Ed, drifting away from the shore

Asa Jones' Blues

Asas' in the alley, pickin' change up off the ground
Boys behind the liquor store drop their money all around
He's on his hands and knees in the garbage and the snow
Pickin' up the pennies, buy him a 40 in the store

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues


Frank's behind the counter selling cigarettes and beer
Yelling out to Asa, get your fat ass outta here
You wanna get a drink, leave my customers alone
You want get drunk, gonna have to get there on your own

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues


Eddie's in his room with his head against the glass
Looks like the only survivor of a horrible plane crash
Weighs 90 pounds, wet or dry, has never shaved his face
Pays 60 bucks for his room, hardly ever leaves the place

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues


Earl lives underneath the porch of that ramshackle house
Like a billygoat gruff he'll come up to curse and shout
He wears a woman's coat that he got out of the trash
Pockets full of rags and socks stuffed with contraband

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues


Earl's behind the liquor store lookin' for money in the snow
Panhandlin' the patrons til' Frank comes out the door
Got a bat held in his hand and he lays it on Earl's head
Cursin' him out and then notices that he's dead

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues


Frank throws the body in the dumpster of a drugstore two doors down
Wipes the bat off with his shirt, sees nobody hangin' around
Back at the store he tells Asa to take a 40 on the house
Gives him the shirt off of his back and says now get out

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues


Police caught up with Asa about seven blocks away
Earl's blood on his shirt and he couldn't think of a thing to say
He took the bottle in his hand and he broke it on the ground
Waved it in the air and they laid big Asa down

Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, lay 'em down, down, down
Lay 'em down, lay 'em down, boys,
You got Asa Jones' blues

Mag Wheels

Now the first car he had
He got from his Dad
It was a ‘62 Dodge
But it had a thrown rod
But he could pretend
That it ran again
And he’d drive all around
14 miles into town

He had a Galaxy
2 hubcaps and 3 on the tree
But in his mind it was fast
And he’d mash down on the gas
And he’d pop out the clutch
So that the tires would squawk
And he’d drive all around
14 miles into town

Now the other kids are gone
And he’s left all alone
He’s both old and young
He feels misunderstood
Like he did when was 15 years old
And all he wanted in the world
Was a set of mag wheels

He and Beth bought a van
And they put a bed in the back
And they’d camp out in the pines
And listen to the loons in the night
They painted a mural on the side
But it never looked right
Still they’d drive all around
14 miles into town

He found some one afternoon
At a garage sale in June
They were aluminium slots
But the lugs didn’t match up
So he had to leave them behind
And it always bothered his mind

He drove his little car to the job
And he parked it in the lot
And he never gave it much thought
I guess it didn’t mean very much
From point A to point B
That was all that he needed
And he never drove around
Just that 14 miles into town

Now the other kids are gone
And he’s left all alone
He’s both old and young
He feels misunderstood
Like he did when he was 15 years old
And all he wanted in the world
Was a set of mag wheels

Annie Melton

Lay down your head, Annie, you're going home
You should of been gone long ago
You should of been gone long ago

When Tom walked back from the Civil War
There waited two women by his door
There waited two women by his door

So you killed poor Laura and buried here nigh
In a shallow grave on the mountain side
In a shallow grave on the mountain side

For love's jealous ways, Tom took the fall
and headed out for Arkansas
headed out for Arkansas

Oh, Annie Melton, Tom's dead and gone
Hung for the sin you have done
Hung for the sin you have done

Hang your head down, Annie, hang your head and cry
Make two marks before you die
Make two marks before you die

Long have you lived, this blood on your head
While the flames of Hell burn 'round your bed
While the flames of Hell burn 'round your bed

Lay down your head, Annie, you're going home
You should of been gone long ago
You should of been gone long ago

Heavy

I know it’s heavy, she said
But you gotta go
And take it with you
Down the road
My legs were burning
My back was on fire
I was on my knees
In no time at all

Heavy
But you gotta go
It’s heavy
Just bring it home


All of my relations
Live in my blood
And see through my eyes
At all I done
I carry them with me
All along my way
If I only listen
To what they say
It might get easier
Or maybe not
Teach me to be grateful
For what I got

(ref)

The past ain’t over
It’s happening now
I can wade in it’s water
Anytime I want
And learn some lessons
And right some wrongs
Make me stronger
When I lift that stone

(ref)

The future ain’t tomorrow
It’s happening now
Listen to the changes
Feel it in your power
And I know it’s heavy
But I gotta go
And take it with me
On my way home

(ref)

Jubilee

Are you ready, are you ready
For the year of Jubilee
Are you ready, are you ready
For what is bound to be
Are you ready to be reunited with your mother and your son
Are you ready, are you ready
For Jubilee to come?


Are you prepared to leave your desk behind
and work out on the land
to accept your little paycheck
from a farmer's calloused hand?

Are you ready to turn in the keys
to your mansion and your lot
and share the excess of your wealth
and all that you have got?

Are you ready, are you ready
For the year of Jubilee
Are you ready, are you ready
For what is bound to be
Are you ready to be reunited with your mother and your son
Are you ready, are you ready
For Jubilee to come?


Will you leave behind your friends
when you move onto that hill
and gaze down upon them as strangers often will
are you prepared to make decisions that will surely cost a life
and turn your back on the mourners, children, and wife?

Are you ready, are you ready
For the year of Jubilee
Are you ready, are you ready
For what is bound to be
Are you ready to be reunited with your mother and your son
Are you ready, are you ready
For Jubilee to come?


Are you ready to take your share
and share around the rest
make sure that none go hungry
or have no place to rest
will you knock down all the highest to fill in all the low
so put your pack upon your back it's the year of Jubilo

Are you ready, are you ready
For the year of Jubilee
Are you ready, are you ready
For what is bound to be
Are you ready to be reunited with your mother and your son
Are you ready, are you ready
For Jubilee to come?
Are you ready, are you ready
For Jubilee to come?

Cheap Wine

all these old ladies
come in here and buy cheap wine
ain't no better than all these bums that
come in here and buy cheap wine


leanin' against the counter
on a gloomy day, snow fallin'
clear the sidewalks and the entry way
for all the old folks
and the bums and hustlers and rude kids
can't stand the sight of any of 'em
wish I could sell this place and
wish I could buy a boat and just
float away

all these old ladies
come in here and buy cheap wine
ain't no better than all these bums that
come in here and buy cheap wine


oh I know I ain't got it so bad
I can go home at night and sometimes sleep
quit drinkin' when I want to
no one here to bother me
but there's no one here to bother me and so
I keep the liquor store open past curfew some nights
so I don't have to go home

all these old ladies
come in here and buy cheap wine
ain't no better than all these bums that
come in here and buy cheap wine


I never meant to do anything wrong
or do any harm
I framed that kid but he wasn't so bright
and was drunk all the time
anyway they killed him not me
I've got a business to run
I've got property here
and he had nothing

all these old ladies
come in here and buy cheap wine
ain't no better than all these bums that
come in here and buy cheap wine


But I'm better than all this
crazy derelicts can go to hell
I'm better than this I make my own way and
sometimes I can sleep at night
I'll open the store an hour before daybreak
and put all the labels facing out
I'm so tired of all these labels
why don't they just say it — cheap wine

all these old ladies
come in here and buy cheap wine
ain't no better than all these bums that
come in here and buy cheap wine


leanin' against the counter
on a gloomy day, snow fallin'
clear the sidewalks and the entry way