How to Make It in Hollywood

by Curtis Eller

supported by
Aaron J. Shay (he/him)
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Aaron J. Shay (he/him) One hell of an album. Nostalgic and experimental and creative as hell. A marvelous piece of banjo Americana. Favorite track: Three More Minutes with Elvis.
trackonrepeat
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trackonrepeat Clever lyrics, tons of fun to sing along to, very theatrical and sometimes chaotic. I'm pretty in love with it. Favorite track: If You're Looking for a Loser.
Matt Waring
Matt Waring thumbnail
Matt Waring More banjo-toting lunacy from Curtis Eller. Much more of a full band vibe this time around though. Everything sounds fuller and louder, in a really good way.
Christopher Mather
Christopher Mather thumbnail
Christopher Mather Curtis takes on the full band sound with a fire in his banjo. The songs are beautiful and crazy all rolled up together. Expect yodelling and howling mid verse.

favorite track. old time religion
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1.
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
2.
1929 03:22
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
3.
Butcherman 03:14
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
4.
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
5.
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?
6.
The Heart That Forgave Richard Nixon In the key of Gm This is the 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 Get lost
7.
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
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

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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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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