1890 (2011 Remix)

by Curtis Eller

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1.
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
2.
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
3.
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
7.
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
8.
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)
9.
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
10.
1890 05:14
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.

about

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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Curtis Eller Durham, North Carolina

Curtis Eller is a banjo player, songwriter and rock & roll singer who's songs describe a dreamlike vision of American history where all points in time have collapsed into one. A twenty-year show business veteran, Eller has developed a devoted international following with his band, The American Circus. ... more

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