A Poison Melody

by Curtis Eller

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  • 18 page lyric book featuring original illustrations by Jamie B. Wolcott. Includes a digital download of the full album
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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of This is Christmas Time (1972), Bury the Light, A Poison Melody, 54 Strange Words, Henry Kissinger's Dance Party: Live in the UK, Baudelaire in a Box: Songs of Anguish (EP), How to Make It in Hollywood, Saving My Heart for the Butcherman (single), and 4 more. , and , .

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1.
Radiation Poison Radiation poison That's what you get Moving in your bloodstream You just don't feel it yet Panic in New Mexico Don't you understand? Plutonium sickness That's what I am You wanna stop the bleeding You got to meet me where I live Down by the cooling towers Red hot! Don't you know I'm... Radioactive Truman left me with the keys Uranium plutonium gimme that disease The war is ending early That's the secret in my bones Hallelujah Nagasaki All the boys are coming home My heart is falling It ain't so easy to forgive Drop down, no warning Red hot! Radioactive! I'm radioactive... Talk about a lethal dose Radioactive... Better keep on your toes When you see me coming Keep your windows closed Radioactive... Everybody been exposed A Pentecostal fever To evaporate the seas 9,941 Fahrenheit degrees Burning through the atmosphere Hotter than the sun No cure for this affliction Nowhere you can run When did annihilation Start looking so attractive? Crawling outa the air raid shelter Dig it up! Radioactive! I'm radioactive... Talk about a lethal dose Radioactive... Better keep on your toes When you see me coming Keep your windows closed Radioactive... Everybody been exposed
2.
Another bullshit story about what happened in ‘63 How come it’s always Texas when there’s a murder on TV? You know that you’re in Texas When there’s a murder on the TV screen Don’t you know You get that signal everywhere you go From New York City to Mexico No soap radio No soap radio Another bloodsick maniac out on the campaign trail Like mercury in the water after the revolution failed A shadow in the doorway After the revolution failed Don’t you know You get that signal everywhere you go From New York City to Mexico No soap radio No soap radio No soap...no soap radio No soap...no soap radio Etc. SAXOPHONE SOLO I know that my days are numbered, I can feel my heart expand I know the venom is in my blood By the mark upon my hand The venom in my blood The mark upon my hand The venom in my blood The mark upon my hand The venom in my blood The mark upon my hand Don’t you know You get that signal everywhere you go From Texas to Ontario No soap radio Don’t you know You get that signal everywhere you go From New York City to Mexico No soap radio No soap radio No soap radio No soap radio Etc.
3.
Poison Melody Everybody knows All about my heart Where it ends and where it starts They know all about my heart There's that song again Playing just for me A poison melody A silver drop of mercury Like a Berlin ballad Familiar to my ear But there's a shadow in the harmony Confusion and fear And that sweet refrain Sweet sugar cane Is only a poison melody Playing just for me Every decent song Has already been sung They push your heart around Like they did when you were young And that sweet refrain A ball and chain Waiting in the chorus for me Can't you see That sweet refrain Sweet sugar cane Is only a poison melody Playing just for me
4.
Union Hall 04:18
Union Hall I got a true heart and I can prove it Meet me down on 12th street tonight I'm gonna stand my ground while this place burns down Officer, you wanna start a fight? I'm the type of girl that holds a grudge My heart don't bend, my heart don't budge I'm gonna trade my Buick for a Pontiac Faithful to Detroit 'til Jimmy Hoffa comes back I'm gonna call the police on my neighbors I'm gonna take my pistol downtown The Constitution said I can shoot what I want Everybody get down, get down That's the governor's voice on the radio That transistor radio from Tokyo Tell me mama did you love me at all? There's a riot breaking out down at the Union hall I love the USA I love the USA I love the USA Don't you love it? Don't you feel okay? Go on and sing hallelujah Jump up and clap your hands You better stay cool in this neighborhood You better not fuck with these Americans The kids on the streets got nowhere to start They ain't got no brains, they ain't got no heart Why don't you answer me when I call? There's a fire in the basement of the union hall I love the USA I love the USA I love the USA Don't you love it? Don't you feel okay? Somebody stop me I’m an American man I love the USA I love the USA I love the USA I love the USA
5.
These Birds 02:33
Everybody knew this was coming The birds fell out of the skies An nobody was surprised The heart was sure to break Everybody knew The skies are blank Although they're blue I barely remember you It came as no surprise When we finally heard 'Cause everybody knew This would happen to These birds
6.
Pay the Band 05:51
Pay the Band If you're looking For a heart that's true You come to the right place I can get one for you And if you're feeling all alone and blue I can make that cruel sun Shine down on you too But it's blood That you need There's just one thing that'll Make this poor heart bleed I ain't talkin’ ‘bout love Although that's nice too If you think that's all you need, well You must be confused The only gun that I know That can truly kill Come on sister Gimme that goddamn Greenback dollar bill Well it might sound ugly And it may seem cruel Money make the engine turn When there ain't no fuel Like morphine on the frontline It'll nullify the pain Or that special something Elvis has That drives the girls insane The way Brigitte Bardot knocks 'em out With just a passing glance If you can pay the band You can watch the people dance Don't you know you go to Pay the band if you wanna watch those losers dance A guy like me can get loaded And jump behind the wheel Everybody loves a wealthy man In a Cadillac automobile An intoxicated man Feeling truly free Everyday is the fifth of December 1933 All the roads are open Even the cops let you slide These American hearts come Equipped with a smoother ride You can walk around like Henry Ford On the banks of the river Rouge Tell the workers how they're gonna live And you know that they can't refuse You can bust the union if you've got A little bit of money in your pants If you can pay the band You can watch the people dance Like morphine on the frontline It'll nullify the pain Or that special something Elvis has That drives the girls insane The way Brigitte Bardot knocks 'em out With just a passing glance If you can pay the band You can watch the people dance Don't you know you got to Pay the band if you wanna watch those losers dance Everybody, clap your hands Hey you losers We come here to watch you dance
7.
Lenny Bruce 05:11
Lenny Bruce Have mercy...on this land Mercy...this is not what we planned There's a hollow place Where the heart used to be The absence left everyone Broken n misery What you want from me? There ain't no heart that could take this bitter stuff Oh mercy...mercy... Ain't we had enough? The angels... left the city Ain't there just one...who can spare a little sympathy? The cops turned up again In San Francisco last night night The jokes are the same But something don't feel right That old familiar light Shines down but there's nothing here to see Oh mercy...mercy... Ain't you got some for me? I'm fallen...like a bird with no wing Fallen silent...a phonograph with no spring They found him passed out On the bathroom floor The radio said Lenny Bruce ain't Coming back no more The future's such a bore And there's one thing that would set us all free Oh mercy...mercy...have mercy... Mercy on me Mercy...mercy...
8.
9.
Before the Riot The panic out in the streets Used to trouble my mind Until the good lord explained it to me If there's anything standing After the riot You can take anything you see I can do as I please And the birds in the trees must be Singing for me 'cause they know...
10.
After the Riot Jesus Christ is a white man Any blind man can see I know redemption will Settle upon me eventually Hallelujah I found out I got here just in time The faces on my money tell me Everything will be fine Look at that black smoke rising And all the blood in the street Here come the National Guard But I ain't losing no sleep Blackout in the dance hall Just when I hit the floor You say you don't love me mama Well I heard all that before The world is mine I am never alone The iron in my blood The calcium in my bones Let the chains of this cruel world Be melted down and recast A bell I can ring with my heart I am free at last All the slaves in China All the napalm in Vietnam A well of misery deeper Than the Grand Coulee Dam Every heart full of romance All the ships out at sea Sink into the darkness And you will never be free The world is mine My sweet broken home Won't you take me back? How can you leave me alone? Let the chains of this cruel world Be melted down and recast A bell I can ring with my heart I am free at last The world is mine I am never alone The iron in my blood The calcium in my bones Let the chains of this cruel world Be melted down and recast A bell I can ring with my heart I am free at last
11.
No Words to Choose I'm going back To my old broken home My old broken home My old broken home Everybody knows there's nothing there to hold me But I'm going back I'm going back To my old broken home My old broken home My old broken home Everybody knows there's nothing there to hold me But I'm going back Mama...mama... Don't you love me? Don't you love me no more? Mama...mama... Don't you love me? Don't you love me no more?

about

"A Poison Melody" is the latest and most ambitious phonographic recording by Curtis Eller's American Circus. Fans of the group have come to expect a hallucinatory, historical landscape populated by corrupt 19th century politicians, faded Hollywood stars, two-bit prize fighters and frequent, inexplicable visits from Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon. The latest batch of songs finds the cities of the United States in flames and her streets red with blood, as the specter of the 1967 Detroit riot casts a hazy shadow on a young century. The lyrics read like ransom notes painstakingly assembled from an alphabet clipped from depression-era broadsheets. Dust off that phonograph needle and get ready for another strange and unsettling platter!

credits

released May 30, 2019

Curtis Eller: lead vocals, banjo, resophonic tenor guitar
Dana Marks: lead & harmony vocals
Stacy Wolfson: harmony vocals
Hugh Crumley: electric & upright bass
Jack Fleishman: drums, percussion
Steve Cowles: tenor saxophone, flute
Danny Grewen: trombone
Danny Abrams: Baritone saxophone, clarinet
William Dawson: vibraphone
Tom Merrigan: piano

Recorded & engineered by Dave Tilley at Bogue Sound Studios & Studio M
Mixed by Joseph Dejarnette at Studio 808A
Master by Mike Monseur
Photography by Alex Maness
Artwork by Jamie B. Wolcott
Big Muddy by Pete Seeger
Original songs by Curtis Eller

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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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