1890 (2011 Remix)

by Curtis Eller

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05:14

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Completely remixed and remastered in 2011 from the original 2-inch, 16-track magnetic tapes by Joseph "Joebass" Dejarnette!

"Wow! Curtis and I just remixed and remastered this masterpiece! If you like Curtis, or banjos, or rock n roll, or tape hiss or Rickenbacker basses through Ampeg SVTs, or banjos reamped through Fender Super Reverbs in the hallways of old farmhouses or gospel singing interrupted by glass breaking, or details about circus accidents in 1889, or good songs, I highly recommend you go buy this right now!!" --Joebass

credits

released October 23, 2000

Curtis Eller: Banjo & Lead Vocal
Elizabeth Walsh: Electric Bass, Piano, Organ & Harmony
Adam Budofsky: Drums
Liisa Yonker: Harmony Vocal
Michael Plunkett: Snare Drum & Maracas
Rob Curto: Accordion
Gary Langol: Pedal Steel
1890 Chorus: Jamie B. Wolcott, Maureen O'Boyle, Pegine Walrad

Cover Art by Jamie B. Wolcott
Analog to Digital Transfer by Mr. Al Tharp
Remixed/Mastered by Joseph "Joebass" Dejarnette

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about

Curtis Eller Durham, North Carolina

Curtis Eller's American Circus is a brutish, inelegant rock & roll outfit specializing in gospel music for atheists and dance fads for amputees. Mr. Eller's banjo driven compositions describe a dreamlike vision of American history where all points in time have collapsed into one. Abe Lincoln, Buster Keaton and Joe Louis rub shoulders against a backdrop of circus disasters and sweatshop fires. ... more

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Track Name: Washtenaw County
Washtenaw County
In the key of C minor

Hey Charlie shake my hand
I’m takin’ off for the promise land
Look here man, I got my hat on my head
My feet in my shoes are heavy as lead
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12…13
Oh…Virginia, you gotta get me outa here
Yea…Virginia, you gotta get me out

Well I been hearin’ ‘bout World War II
Airplane engines and combat shoes
Tiny little people crawlin’ in the grease
And I’m signed on to a one-year lease
But I’m not hangin’ around no more, I never called this home before
Oh…Virginia, you gotta get me outa here
Yea…Virginia, you gotta get me out

I’m down in the left lane Keepin’ my hands on the wheel
Getting’ out of Washtenaw County and diggin’ in my heals

Wee, the kids are hangin’ around in a broken down paper mill
And the Huron river don’t act alone and a passenger train can kill
Ooo..that’s Michigan Avene for you
You know it only leads outa town

Oh…Virginia, you gotta get me outa here
One way or another , man, well you gotta get me out

I’m down in the left lane Keepin’ my hands on the wheel
Getting’ out of Washtenaw County and diggin’ in my heals
I’m down on the beltway around Washington DC
Getting’ outa Washtenaw County
I’m getting’ outa Washtenaw County
I’m getting’ out of Washtenaw County
And I’m gonna burn down Ypsilanti
Track Name: Following This Ghost
Following This Ghost
In the key of E flat

I remember thinkin’ it was over
And that man of mine would soon be comin’ home
But nowadays you can’t depend on nothin’
And I never can get drunk in this house all alone
And the falling of the shadows wakes me up when I need you most
And I’m so tired of following this ghost

The picture frame on the fireplace has rusted
And Abraham Lincoln can go to Hell
Well, for all I care this civil war is just murder
And your yellowed face don’t hardly ring a bell
And the rumors out of Richmond echo down in the morning post
And I’m so tired of following this ghost
O…I’m so tired of following this ghost

My nights all burn up in this heat and turn to steam
But I know they’re drinkin’ on that battlefield
And prayin’ every night just makes me mean

I’m not askin’ much I’m just saying that I can’t stay up
And if this thing is ever done
Don’t bother and wake me up to say who won

PEDAL STEEL SOLO

And the summers are longer every year
And the wind don’t blow down the southeast coast
And I’m so tired of following this ghost
O…I’m so tired of following this ghost
Track Name: Call Off The Investigation
THe Killers hands were all that the photograph revealed
The evidence gonna take time to bloom
But the image has been doctored and the negatives are scarred
We will never know what happened in that room
Questions like those are hardly worth the raising
It ain't too late to call off the investigation
No it ain't too late to call off the investigation

Well, the officers attendant they were always polite
And happy to refill your mug
"I'm gonna clock out early now that the paperwork's in order"
You'd think that hole was already dug
"A schedule like that's gonna eat up my whole vaction...
I got half a mind to call off the investigation
I got half a mind to call off the investigation"

BRIDGE
Well that sound in the basement's just the termites digging in the wood
THe rafters grow thinner and the floor starts too sag
You promised you'd always let me know....
But to night your heart will grow a hood

There's an old steamer trunk in the corner
I know the lock is rusted through 'cause I tried
All the letters that he wrote but never had the guts to send
Some strings will never be tied
Bloody footprints on the floor of the NJ transit station
And an anonymous phone call would've salvaged this whole operation
But he was headed out to Newark with a standby reservation
Yeah he was sleeping on a bus outa town
When they started the investigation
Track Name: 1000 Feet of Throat
1000 Feet of Throat
(in the key of Em)

There's something about the people hanging around this place
There's something about the people that could knock me off my face
And I'm never gonna turn my back on this town again
No I'm never gonna turn my back on this town again

There's something about the shadows moving across the ground
ANd somebody's got the time enough to hang everyone in town
Somebody in this place has got a thousand feet of rope
And if you line up everyone in town there ain't one inch of hope
And I'm never gonna turn my back on this town again
No I'm never gonna turn my back on this town again

HARMONICA SOLO

Well half of the people in this town have already closed their eyes
And nobody's feet are touching the ground and they're putting on neckties
Well nobody says a word about the ropes around their necks
Everybody knows who won this time, ain't no need for a ballot check
And I'm never gonna turn my back on this town again
No I'm never gonna turn my back on this town again
No I'm never gonna turn my back again...

YODEL-EY-HEE
Track Name: The Bravest of Climbers
The Bravest of Climbers
In the key of F

I ain’t going no further
This expedition ain’t taking one more step
Days of climbing and nothing to show but a nosebleed
And the base of the ascent is littered with the bones…

…of every mule that ever was abandoned
And every dog cut loose from the harness, free to roam
And the cast-iron runner left to rust in the snow
And it’s three hundred feet to the top
And the bravest of climbers gave it all up and went home
Yea, the bravest of climbers gave it all up and went back home

Oh, darling, why did you tell me you would meet me
When you had no intention of seeing this clear
You know, I’ve stopped hoping for the weather to break
And my boots are no match for this cold
And the bravest of climbers got no business being op here
No, the bravest of climbers got no business being up here

PEDAL STEEL SOLO

Well, news of the stormblows through the streets of anchorage
And the first blast of snow strips the bark from the trees
Well, the radio went dead and the mission was abandoned
And it’s just like he never was here
When the wind stats blowin’…
…I’m gonna sit down in the snow and wait to freeze
When the wind starts blowin’
I’m gonna sit down in the snow and wait to freeze
And my car keys and my ribcage is all I will leave
Track Name: Queen of Detroit
Queen of Detroit
In the key of C minor

Well the grass was breaking up the concrete and the stone
That’s when she stumbled into town
And nobody was goin’ anywhere
So they went and shut the monorail down

And there’s wheelchairs rolling down the meddle of the road
And cornfields on Rosa Parks Avenue
And a pair of dark eyes in the second story window
And everytime you move they follow you

But Mona walked into the town with nothing but her shoes
And said” I’ll never look you in the eyes but I’ll always tell the truth”
And the devil woke up in a cold sweat down in Toledo

Well we all remember Mona she’s the Queen of Detroit
And she’s donna drive us all downtown
Where the reigndear swim across that filthy river
And the stray dogs have overrun the town

She’s got a copper feather from the wing of an angel
And it’s floating in a field of black
She got the means to sink Belle Isle like an anchor
But that monkey in the hat ain’t coming back

But Mona walked into the town with nothing but her shoes
And said, “I’ll never look you in the eyes and I’ll never tell the truth”
And the devil woke up in a cold sweat down in Toledo

And he’s drivin’ up north in the passing lane
And the sun was shining but the streets are full of rain
When the Devil takes a human wife there ain’t no ring

But Mona put the car in park and walked out of the sticks
She said, “what’s the best exit to pick up 696
And the devil woke up in a cold sweat
Yea the devil woke up in a cold sweat
Down in Toledo
Track Name: The Execution Of Black Diamond
The Execution Of Black Diamond
(in the key of Bbm)

October 12th is hotter than Hell in Texas
I guess elephants just go bad this time of year
And Clara James had no idea what hit here
Well, we could’ve done something if we had our shotguns here
But Corsicana, Texas is a town without no shade
And we never should’ve let that freakshow pass through here

And you got to send a telegram off to P.T. Barnum
Because somebody’s gonna take the blame and it might be you
Send a telegram off to P.T. Barnum
‘cause that old man always knows what to do

I sear to God I never seen nothing like
That fender folded up like valentine
And the trainers broke their necks but they couldn’t do nothing about it
The elephants gonna be himself just one time
And the day will fall upon and the Autumn will start to burn
You can wash your hands but this stain is worse than wine

And you got to send a telegram off to P.T. Barnum
Because somebody’s gonna take the blame and it might be you
Send a telegram off to P.T. Barnum
‘cause that old man always knows what to do

(INSTRUMENTAL BREAK)

Well they marched Black Diamond through the streets of Corsicana
But they could not chain that ghost up to the trees
He shook hi head and he stumbled after the first shot
But it was 49 before the elephant fell to his knees
And there’s a funeral born in the circus like a stone baked in the bread
Even the bullets wilted in shame like a nest of bees

And you got to send a telegram off to P.T. Barnum
Because somebody’s gonna take the blame and it might be you
Send a telegram off to P.T. Barnum
‘cause that old man always knows what to do

And you got to send a telegram off to John Ringling
And send a telegram off to Mr. White
And send a telegram off to the Sells Brothers Circus
‘cause that old mother fucker always knows what to do

(YODEL)
Track Name: Hornets in the Daisies
Well I won't say Halleluiah
And my bible's full of money
Open up that church door if you please
Because, man, I'm coming in
And I ain't gonna wipe my shoes
Lord, you can't keep a sinner on his knees

Well I don't know how to tango
And there's hornets in the daisies
But tonight I'm handing snakes like they was car kets
I heard the floodgates crashed last night
And that boy fell asleep at the switchplate
And now they're baptizing anything that breathes

Ooh, I would bust that lightbulb with a hammer
crawl down in the basement and pull that fuse
Oh Lord, whatever force is required
Well, that's exactly what I'll use...

YODEL

Oh well those trumpet valves have rusted
And the angels lost their pride
Don't you know they're raking 'em in like a pile of dead leaves
Now there's bunk beds for us up in heaven
And even I got a friend in Jesus Christ
I always knew he was waiting up there for me
Track Name: 1890
1890
In the key of F sharp

Well the lions were all growing dizzy from starvation
But they drag 'em around in chains for a false sense of danger
And their staggering walk goes unnoticed in the bleachers
But from a front row seat you can make out the hunger
As they roll through the numbers like they did in the old days
But it's only a matter of time

YODEL

Well the steam engine buckled like a telescope just south of New York
And it seems like the horses are always the first ones to go
But a burden like that don't fall easy from the saddle
He was kickin' like and engine when they laid him in the gravel
And when the blood stopped pumping and the spirit passed over
Twenty-nine horses were lost

And I'm hoping this is just a run of bad luck
And maybe next season the crowds'll be better
And the spanish web will turn in the spotligh
And the blood will return to my heart

And here's hopin' things pick up in 1890
Here's hopin' things pick up in 1890
Here's hopin' things pick up in 1890


And those arthritic angels can't open that bottle
And their knuckles are swollen and bruised from the tryin'
So the whiskey's gonna have to wait too!

And here's hopin' things pick up in 1890
Heare's hopin' things pick up in 1890
Here's hopin' things pick up in 1890
Etc.