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Taking Up Serpents Again

by Curtis Eller

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1.
Taking Up Serpents Again In the key of F#m Just like Lon Chaney’s gonna climb down and haunt you in your sleep Just like any decent funeral’s gonna poor out in the street If it gets too cold this winter It’s gonna flood the place next spring Oo…you can bet it was a sure thing Yodel-ay-hee Yodel-ay-hee-ooo Just like that son of bitch gonna wind up in the Whitehouse everytime And the silver’s there just to keep you mind off the copper in your dime And the war between the states Was just a bell they had to ring Oo…you can bet it was a sure thing Yodel-ay-hee Yodel-ay-hee-ooo And I’m taking up serpents again I’m speaking in tongues unknown to men I thought the cracks through that heart was finally on the mend But I’m taking up serpents again Yes, I’m taking up serpents again Just like the horses trapped in the saltmine when the companysealed the place And after they serve the coffee there’s a stain running through the lace After flying through that fire There ain’t a feather left in that wing Oo…you can bet it was a sure thing Yodel-ay-hee Yodel-ay-hee-ooo And I’m taking up serpents again I’m speaking in tongues unknown to men I thought that was a letter I would never have to send But I’m taking up serpents again Yes, I’m taking up serpents again
2.
Hide That Scar In the key of D Johnny’s down in the basement Cuttin’ off that angel’s wings Rusty scissors and wood-glue And he’s tyin’ ‘em on with wire and string But you know…you’re never gonna hide that scar You know…you’re never gonna hide that scar You know…you’re never gonna hide that scar There’s dried blood on the concrete Feathers down in the drain By the time they figure out what happened It’s gonna be too late And you know…you’re never gonna hide that scar You know…you’re never gonna hide that scar You know…you’re never gonna hide that scar Well, I can see their faces when I show up at the gate They’re gonna shake my hand Lookin’ at me sideways like there’s Somethin’ they can’t put their fingers on What’s wrong? Jesus turn these glass wings into sand INSTRUMENTAL BREAK Step back from that turnstile… Matthew, Mark and Paul My heart is brittle as a spider And these ain’t my wings at all And you know…you’re never gonna hide that scar You know…you’re never gonna hide that scar You know…you’re never gonna hide that scar There’s champaigne in the gas tank And the driver turns around so he can shake your hand Cocaine for the children so they can stay up every night And watch the band…oh man Jesus, take me up there if you can Somebody turn these glass wings into sand
3.
Buster Keaton In the key of F Since they started in with the talkies you can’t get a moment’s peace But they’re talkin’ just to hear there own voices, well at least… …that’s what it seems like ‘Cause there’s nothing that I’ve heard that bares repeatin’ Won’t you come back to the movies Buster Keaton? It barely took a decade for those negatives to decay But what the Hell man, there was nitrate in the filmstock from those days …and I guess that’s the problem But I’m not tired enough to admit that I’ve been beaten Won’t you come back to the movies Buster Keaton? I wish that I was Buster Keaton when they took it all away Getting drunk every night on Irish whiskey Or maybe Fatty Arbuckle when the headlines finally declared “Well, I guess that it’s just a mystery But I’m not gonna be like Charlie Chaplin Jumpin’ on the first boat… To sail away before they have a chance to miss me No I’m staying here…here in New York City I don’t care how bad it gets They keep on making pictures but they’re worthless and they’re sad And they never will make up for the silence that we had… …and now we’re stuck with it And the kids are watchin’ T.V. while they’re eatin’ Won’t you come back to the movies Buster Keaton? Won’t you come back to the movies Buster Keaton? Won’t you come back to the movies…
4.
Sugar in My Coffin In the key of Gm They’re puttin’ water in the whiskey to keep the boys in line “You ain’t bustin’ up my place like you did last time” The drinks’re getting’ weaker with every round they serve The way they keep you sober is getting’ on my nerves When I’m dead and gone go I want some sugar in my coffin If I’ve gotta go I want some sugar in my coffin There ain’t no Elvis Presley from the waist down Or else I ain’t learned nothin’ from T.V. “He’s shakin’ like an animal, point that camera where I said We need this white boy goin’ crazy like a hole in the head” When I’m dead and gone go I want some sugar in my coffin If I’ve gotta go I want some sugar in my coffin I want sugar in my coffin, I wanna cut the bitter taste ‘Cause the President’s a liar…the county’s fallen in disgrace And if they’re ever comin clean they ain’t got no time to waste And if I gotta go…I want some sugar in my coffin Well I heard about the séance in the Whitehouse yesterday Has President Lincoln lost his mind? They caught him in the graveyard, rootin’ in the mud That’s the father of a nation with the sickness in his blood Won’t you listen to me Mister? I want some sugar in my coffin If I really gotta go I want some sugar in my coffin I want sugar in my coffin, I wanna cut the bitter taste But they hide it in your money And there’s cameras everyplace I been living with it just about as long as I can face And if I gotta go…I want some sugar in my coffin I want some sugar Mister I want some sugar Mister I want some sugar in my coffin
5.
Coney Island Blue In the key of F You can still hear Al Joson on the jukebox at Ruby’s On the boardwalk between Stillwell and Eighth But the music sounds small, and the pictures on the wall Make you feel like you’ve missed the parade The photos from the old days like a star that's grown cold But the faces just don’t raise a spark And the Cyclone still shake, but the sound that it makes “Don’t no one remember Luna Park?” CHORUS How I wish that I’d been there In 1903 after dark When they would light the place up like the daytime Don’t no one remember Luna Park? And the ashes from Dreamland ad Steeplechase Park Have long disappeared down the coast And the memories are faint as that blue and red paint And they break like the bones of a ghost And they cover it over with that Coney Island blue Don’t no one remember Luna Park? CHORUS How I wish that I’d been there In 1903 after dark When they would light the place up like the daytime Don’t no one remember Luna Park? Don’t no one remember Luna Park?
6.
Stephen Foster (Dear friends & Gentle Hearts) In the key of E This is the room where Stepohen Foster Died And this is the song that finally broke his pride It’s a 37 cent sentimental piece His fingers shakin’ on the keys The melody somehow escapes me my memory has run dry Elvis Presley gonna thank me for what I done And nobody works up a crowd, not like Al Jolson Won’t you bring a dead man one last drink There’s a shot glass over on the bathroom sink It’s dark on the Bowery and cold as the Alabama sun CHORUS This is the town where Stephen Foster died This is the town where Stephen Foster died The melodies fade and the years grow faint And the kids ain’t wearin’ the black grease paint Like they did back in 1845 I got a heart that never has been broke And it’s black from the memory of the Pennsylvania smoke When I’m gone you can forget this mess Well, what’s one angel more or less… Dear friends and gentle hearts? CHORUS This is the town where Stephen Foster died This is the town where Stephen Foster died The melodies fade and the years grow faint And the kids ain’t wearin’ the black grease paint Like they did back in 1845 This is the town where Stephen Foster died
7.
Two Of Us 05:03
Two Of Us In the Key of Bbm When the earth opens up And swallows you down All the light from the moon And the stars will be drown And when the light in your eyes flickers and fades away You'll find that it's too late because When the lights go out they stay When you wake up down here And a light fills the room This light that you're seeing by Is a thread from the devil's loom Cause he sews his world up in fire And I really don't care who you are You'll stand before him blackened and burned And you can't tell the skin from the scar When your skin turns to ash and falls away in the wind And your heart clenches in regret Of all the sin you've sinned And the swarm of dust mites that fill the air Will cloud the sun from your sight And the dust and the ash will grow less everyday And all your days will be night But...the... Moon and the stars will grown birghter And the blindness in your eyes will fade away And the fire will grow paler and the black will melt away And the chains on your feet will decay and that which is not will suddenly be When there's two of us instead of only me
8.
Amelia Earhart In the key of F The wind turned on Amelia just after sunup And this radio’s been actin’ up all day She disappeared in a cloudbank and the static never cleared Well, at least you never have to die this way. They say she turned up again in 1940 Goin’ by the name “Tokyo Rose” Just a sweet voice on the airwaves floatin’ out of Japan But that doesn’t seem to likely I suppose I wish I was Amelia Earhardt I wish I was Amelia Earhardt I wish I was Amelia Earhardt Like a tombstone worn smooth by the years I wish that I was Amelia Earhardt ‘Cause Charles Lindbergh lived his life in fear The ones that stay to long run up on trouble Like the Lindbergh Baby somewhere down the line They’ll bust into the house at night while everybody’s sleepin’ And make off with that babe everytime I wish I was Amelia Earhardt I wish I was Amelia Earhardt I wish I was Amelia Earhardt Like a tombstone worn smooth by the years I wish that I was Amelia Earhardt ‘Cause Charles Lindbergh lived his life in fear
9.
When the red red robin comes bob bob bobbing along
10.
Stagecoach 02:46
Stagecoach In the key of E Hey…hey Mary I never seen it snow Like it did last night I heard the runway’s icing over And I hope You will forgive me But I lied about the stagecoach And I never have been west of Chicago And there’s a half dead full moon on the kitchen floor I never felt so cold before And even New York birds got the sense To stay out of Michigan This time of year Don’t you know that I can’t sleep when you’re not here

about

"There ain't no Elvis Presley from the waist down, or else I ain't learned nothing form T.V."

credits

released October 23, 2004

Curtis Eller: Banjo & Lead Vocal
Joseph "Joebass" DeJarnett: Upright Bass
Chris Moore: Drums
Marilee Eitner: Accordion & Harmony Vocal
Liisa Yonker: Harmony Vocal
Gary Langol: Lap Steel, Piano
Joe Exley: Tuba

Album Artwork by Jamie B. Wolcott

Recorded and Engineered by Brian Fulk
Mastered by Joseph "Joebass" DeJarnett

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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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