How to Make It in Hollywood

by Curtis Eller

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about

A ragged collection of show tunes, dance fads and rock & roll rave-ups whose lyrics are populated by two-bit prize fighters, Hollywood has-beens, lapsed gospel singers and forsaken pop-stars. Lace up your dancing shoes!
WARNING: THIS ALBUM CONTAINS NO GUITARS

credits

released January 31, 2014

Curtis Eller: Banjo & Lead Vocal
Louis Landry: Drums, Percussion, Organ, Piano, Accordion, Melodica, Harmony
Shea D. Broussard: Harmony Vocal
Dana Marks: Harmony Vocal

Upright & Electric Basses:
SHea D. Broussard, Joseph Dejarnette, Douglas Vuncannon

Album Artwork by Jamie B. Wolcott
Produced and Engineered by Joseph 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: Old Time Religion
Old Time Religion
In the key of Dm

Get ready for the blackout, Mama
Everything that you heard is true
Sacco turned his back on Vanzetti
What makes you think I'll keep dancing with you
It's dry wood but it don't burn
There ain't no more money to earn
I'm gonna cast my net in that empty sea

They're passing out the key to salvation
And you don't need a license to shoot that gun
But if I can't be Elvis Presley
I don't wanna be no one
I'm ready to start preaching to the converted
I wanna hang my rope from that Cadillac tree

I'm giving up my last chance
Backsliding at the church dance
I'm gonna split the congregation up
I gotta clap, clap these dirty hands

That old time religion (3X)
Drop down and set me free
It's high enough for the mountain
And it's deep enough for the sea
But that old time religion was never good enough for me

You ain't got no business hanging onto last year's seeds
There's a black spot in the honey and these insects don't breed
Lead paint...sugar cain...everything’s automatic
I'm gonna build my workshop down in the basement
There ain't nothing up in the attic

I'm giving up my last chance
Breaking up this romance
I'm gonna split the congregation up
I gotta clap, clap these dirty hands

That old time religion (3X)
Keeping me down on my knees
There ain't no marble in this garden
There ain't no roots beneath this tree
And that old time religion was never good enough...good enough...

That old time religion (3X)
Drop down and set me free
It's high enough for the mountain
And it's deep enough for the sea
But that old time religion was never...
good enough for me
Track Name: 1929
Here Comes 1929
In the key of A

Forget about the bad times, open up that gate
I'm saying goodbye 1928
Just gimme one good year, like Al Capone
Shake a little blood out of that stone
Shake, Mama shake. Jump up on that throne
Don’t you know the meat gets sweeter right down by the bone
Shake a little blood out of that stone

I'm gonna rip that stage up, sing my song
Hey, that’s Herbert Hoover! He gonna make this country strong
It's growing so fast you can hear it groan
He's gonna shake a little blood out of that stone
Shake, Mama shake. jump on this thone
This is gonna be the best year anybody's ever known
Shake a little blood out of that stone

”Hard times, hard times”, that ain’t my style
Here come 1929 and the kids are running wild
When that Cadillac come to my town
I'm gonna take one last look around and step out of this line
Hallelujah here comes 1929

But the girl can't help it, she just love that sound
When the band starts rockin' my baby gonna shake it…
---all up and down Wall Street with that saxophone
She's gonna shake little blood out of that stone
Shake, Mama shake! Jump up on that throne!
Head downtown and get yourself a real sweet loan
(if you know what I mean)
Shake a little blood out of that stone

I know this'll be my year I can feel it in my bones
I’m going down in that diamond mine, disconnect the phone
When that Lincoln pulls around again
I'm gonna grab that bumper if I can 'cause it's so fine
Hallelujah here comes 1929

Oh, look out here comes 1929, and I know that it's all mine
Hallelujah...halleluja...Hallelujah here comes 1929
Track Name: Butcherman
Butcherman
In the key of Bb

I’m going down to the butcher man
Wash my heart in the blood of the lamb
Take a number at the counter and…
…Touch the hem of his apron and shake his hand

I don’t want that filthy Chicago meat
Take me down to Delancey and Essex Street
Get that blood all over my feet
I’m taking my heart to the butcher man
Taking my heart to the butcher man (oh yes I am)
Taking my heart…

I take my baby to the butcher shop
My knees start shaking and they just won’t stop
When I see that blood on the counter top
I get so weak I just about drop

Tell Mr. Sinclair down in The Jungle dark
I’m gonna shine a light on the abattoir
I love you, baby just the way your are
But I’m saving my heart for the butcher man
Saving my heart for the butcher man (oh yes I am)
Saving my heart …for the butcher man

I got no use for that gospel mud, down hear in the river of blood
There ain’t no love for the preacher man
Nobody does it like the butcher can
Nobody does it like the butcher can
The butcher was always somebody you knew
The butcher was someone who cared about you
When the butcher says, “hey man, how do ya do”
Everybody sing Amen and Halleluijah!

You can dump my bones with the undertaker
Take my long black hair to the wig maker
Tell my girl I would never forsake her
But I’m saving my heart for the butcher man
Saving my heart for the butcher man (oh yes I am)
Saving my heart…for the butcher man
Track Name: Battlefield Amputation
Battlefield Amputation
In the key of E

Lace up your dancin’ shoes little darlin’
I got bad news for Charles Darwin
Cut me a little slack, prohibition’s back
Listen brother, that ain’t my heart attack
I’m not gonna get pushed around
By that gospel choir with their sweet sound
Just another black heart bleeding in the street
Like the brains, brains they been hiding in the meat

Grant me a stay of this execution
Pull the plug on that electrocution
We need a worried man, someone sing this song
‘Cause I’m not gonna be worried long
Tell me someone gonna help me, please
Everybody’s crazy with the same disease
We just need a little pressure release
Step back hold my jacket and my car keys

Gimmee gimmee Validation
Gimmee Roosevelt’s voice on the radio station
I'm turning my back on this ungrateful nation
Last chance. Salvation. Battlefield amputation

I need something to relieve my pain
J. Edgar Hoover and pink champagne
Going downtown in that party dress
Pennsylvania Avenue, Hell yes
There must be something wrong with my money
Sweet Jesus let me taste that honey
I was born in Detroit in 1968
The city fell apart but I feel great

Spare me this aggravation
Get me back to my congregation
Gimme Rosevelt’s voice on the radio station
Last chance. Salvation…

Gimmee gimmee Validation
Gimmee Roosevelt’s voice on the radio station
I'm turning my back on this ungrateful nation
Last chance. Salvation. Battlefield amputation
Track Name: Three More Minutes with Elvis
Three More Minutes with Elvis
In the key of F

Three more minutes with Elvis
That’s all that we need
Handed down though the seasons
Like an heirloom seed
I don’t think I’m asking for a miracle
And I hope you don’t take this as greed
Three more minutes with Elvis
Ain’t that just what we need?

‘Cause there’s bad ink in the money
Like a child that was born in the war
A girl who never had sugar
A nation grown dark at the core
Don’t I give her all my money
Ain’t my love as true as before?
Three more minutes…that’s all I’m asking
I won’t ask for no more

Three more minutes with Elvis
Ain’t that the least you can do?
Just give me one decent sequence
One more song that rings true
Three more minutes with Elvis Presley
Ain’t that the least you can do?

Take all my records down to the Salvation Army
Let the radio stations all burn
Maybe I’m stupid…it’s the same old question
How come I never learn?
It seems like we must be owed something
And I don’t know where else to turn
I’m through with asking for favors
I think this is something we’ve earned

Three more minutes with Elvis
Ain’t that the least you can do?
Just give me one decent sequence
One more song that rings true
Three more minutes with Elvis Presley
Ain’t that the least you can do?
Track Name: The Heart That Forgave Richard Nixon
The Heart That Forgave Richard Nixon
In the key of Gm

Take a look at this heart, the heart that they found
Down by the river, in that frozen ground
Like a Cold War fever, it won't cool down
Take a look at my money. Take a look at this town
Took at that Cadillac stalled out on the railroad track
Boom Boom...Click click, I'm taking my money back

Let me hear that music. Turn out the light
Henry Kissinger gonna dance all night
Take a look at those hands in the baptismal pool
That dirty water running underneath the school
Hey Mama simmer down, these people don't mess around
Hey! Put the word out, this is my last night in town

Look out, don’t you know they got your number?
If they catch you in that water man, they're gonna pull you under
Here come that heart attack. I can feel the friction
This is the heart that forgave Richard Nixon

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK

Baby you got to know, right from the start
I do not have a forgiving heart
Don't you feel the fever when you touch my head
Take a look at that city. Everybody's dead
Listen to those people moan. Nobody to set that bone
Step in line with Oswald and you will never walk alone

Look out, don’t you know they got your number
If they catch you in that water man, they're gonna pull you under
Here come that heart attack. I can feel the friction
Well, don’t you know…these are the hands that signed the pardon
Another heart attack alone in the garden
Here they come to overturn that conviction
This is the heart that forgave Richard Nixon
This is the heart that forgave Richard Nixon
This is...this is…this is the heart
Track Name: If You're Looking for a Loser
If You’re Looking For A Loser
In the key of Bb


This is Appomattox Courthouse
April 1865
The last confederate holdout
To keep a hopeless dream alive

To trade the true heart of Virginia
The grace of Robert E Lee
To that drunken, Union bastard
Would’ve been too much for me

Cut to 1965
Here come a young Cassius Clay
A sane man would’ve known better
Than to walk into that fray

But everybody’s seen that photo
And we can’t forget the day
Sonny Liston hit the canvas
I can’t believe it went that way

So if you’re looking for a loser
Another heart that’s gone astray
Just another worn out fighter
Who don’t know when to walk away

If you’re looking for a loser
You need only look to me
I’m Sonny Liston
I am Robert E. Lee
I’m Sonny Liston
I am Robert E. Lee
Track Name: Moses in the Bulrushes
Moses in the Bulrushes
In the key of D minor

Well, the lightning struck the surface of that swamp
And that monkey got his hands on a bottle of wine
And he tied that bulldog up in my backyard
And that monkey get a hangover every time

But you know there’s a white cloud crouching over the valley
And the night time was never as dark as you thought it would be
Elvis was born down in Tupelo Mississippi
But there’s a fossil up in Memphis, Tennessee

Well don’t you know…
I’m backsliding in my Sunday best
Without a mark over the door
That angel passed

The baby’s curled up next to the old man’s shotgun
And that little girl, she's gonna grow up just like me
I guarantee that nobody’s gonna fuck around with my baby
And grandpa’s in the living room watching T.V.

But you know there’s a black crow circling over the North Pole
They got the satellite hooked up but the signal just won't take
And the graveyard ain’t got room for my skeleton
There’s storm clouds rolling in but they just won’t break

Well don’t you know…
I’m backsliding in my Sunday clothes
Without a prayer to fill them wings
That angel rose

And it’s just like Moses in the bulrushes
That Memphis train is burning coal
And we’re gonna have to watch that little girl grow old
Yes, we’re gonna have to watch that little girl grow older everyday
Yodel-ay-hee-ooo
Track Name: Busby Berkeley Funeral
Busby Berkeley Funeral
In the key of Bb

I do not have to worry because I know what’s in store…
When the angels crowd around and cast their shadow on my door
And there will be no sorrow, when they call the final dance
I don’t mind…I made arrangements…in advance …

I left instructions for my funeral with the camera crew
Take me down to MGM, they’ll know what to do
Tell those Hollywood angels the time as come to gather ‘round
And there will be no sweeter sound

I want Marlene Deitrich singing “Lilly Malene”
When they send me to the front line, and if it’s got to rain
Give me Gene Kelly dancing so I can rise above my fear
Hey look, "The Gang’s All Here"!

There’s Carmen Miranda to wash away my blue
Esther Williams drinking champagne by the swimming pool
Hey that’s Rudy Vallee singing in that sweet baritone
Somebody get on the phone and get me…

Harpo Marx up on the bandstand
I need a Hollywood miracle, a brand new show
A Busby Berkeley funeral, don’t you know….

I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral
So these blonde haired angels see just how we roll
Swing down Hollywood, save my soul
Call out the chorus girls to dig that hole
I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral when I go

Hey Mana, you heard me right
I want a rainbow shining down on me in sweet black & white
Crank up the camera and let Sam Goldwyn know
It’s time to let me go
When this old heart grows weak and slow
Kill the house lights and hit me with that celluloid glow

I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral
Tell Cecil B. DeMille this is my legendary role
Swing down Hollywood, save my soul
Call out the chorus girls to dig that hole
I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral when I go
…Don’t you know

I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral
So these blonde haired angels see just how we roll
Swing down Hollywood, save my soul
Call out the chorus girls to dig that hole
I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral
A Busby Berkeley Funeral
I want a Busby Berkeley Funeral when I go
Track Name: Thunder & Beehives
Thunder & Beehives
In the key of G#

Like a memory, like the moon like a shadow
This is not my case to plead
It will pass by like Roosevelt’s funeral
And we can take everything that we need

And I will hand these songs down to my daughter
Let them blow like the wind through the reeds
Like “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”
Nobody owns this, these are last year’s seeds

Nobody owns this
I don’t mind a garden full of weeds
Nobody owns this, we can take what we need
Nobody owns this, these are last year’s seeds

I hear voices in these old, dead transistors
Like a room in my heart that won’t bleed
Like thunder and beehives
Nobody owns this, these are last year’s seeds

Nobody owns this, we can take what we need
Nobody owns this, these are last year’s seeds
Ooo…ooo…ooo…these are last year’s seeds