Recycle #2: Song Lyric Fragments (’09 and ’12)

Happens all the time… “Driving in my car, smoking a cigar…” (Wait, that’s a Cream song.) Anyway, so, I’m driving in my car listening to tunes — Note: Not smoking a cigar — and a lyrical gem enters my ears.

Last night it was Elvis (he of the Costello variety): “She’s filing her nails while their dragging the lake.” Perfect. Makes the song. Costello’s entire oeuvre just comes gushing through. (The rest of the song isn’t bad, either.)

Anyway, I’ve written blog posts devoted to this very topic. Here I’ve combined one from 2009 and one from 2012.  Here’s the intro to the 2009 post, followed by selected lyrical gems from both posts:

More than a few students and colleagues have accused me of thinking in rock lyrics. What can I say? “I’m guilty. And I’ll be guilty for the rest of my life.” (Randy Newman: “Guilty”) So, I thought I’d lay some of my favorites on you, leading off properly with Randy Newman. Hey, I could do this whole thing on Randy Newman — Good Old Boys alone, even! I mean, there’s never been a better opening to a song than: “Milk truck pulls the sun up” – (“Living Without You”). On with the show.

– “Cuz I hate to tell you son, but that train don’t stop here anymore.” – The Band from “Mystery Train” (Off The Last Waltz ’76 w/Paul Butterfield).

– “As I was motor-vatin’ over the hill, I saw Maybelline in a Coupe de Ville” – Chuck Berry from “Maybelline” (1955).

– “…but reality, it’s not for me, and it makes me laugh.” – Beach Boys from “Disney Girls” (1971).

– “If you’ve never stared off into the distance, then your life is a shame.” – Counting Crows from “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” (1999).

– “Even the bad guy gets a bullet in the end.” – Dire Straits from “Once Upon a Time in the West.” (1979).

– “I ordered some Suzette…  I said, ‘Could you please make that Crepes?’” – Bob Dylan from “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” (1965).

– “She came from Providence, the one in Rhode Island.” – The Eagles from “The Last Resort” (1976).

– “I got the wishin’-I-was-downtown-waitin’-on-a-Greyhound, Continental Trailways Blues.” – Steve Earle from “Continental Trailways Blues” (1987).

– “He’s an artist, a pioneer. We’ve got to have some music on the New Frontier.” – Donald Fagen from “New Frontier” (1982).  [He = Dave Brubeck]

– “We stopped over in Santa Fe; that bein’ a point just about halfway…” – Grateful Dead from “Me and My Uncle” (1969).

– “When the bankers swarm like locust out there turning away our yield.” – Nanci Griffith from “Trouble in the Fields” (1987).

– “…with those windshield wipers clappin’ time” – Kris Kristofferson from “Me & Bobby McGee” (1970).

– “At the beach in Indiana, I was 9 years old; I heard Little Richard singin’ ‘Tutti Frutti’ from the top of a telephone pole.” – John Prine from “I Ain’t Hurtin’ Nobody” (1995).

– “If you’re walkin’ ‘round thinkin’ that the world owes you somethin’ cuz you’re here; You goin’ out the world backwards like you did when you first come here.” – Staples Singers from “Respect Yourself” (1970).

– “…Cuz tonight I’m gonna take that ride, cross the river to the Jersey side.” – Tom Waits from “Jersey Girl” (1980).

– “It’s a boy Mrs. Walker, it’s a boy” – The Who from “It’s a Boy” (1969).

– “Dad, get me out of this!” – Warren Zevon from “Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money’ (1978).

– “Your mind’s on vacation, but your mouth is workin’ overtime.” – Mose Allison from “Your Mind’s on Vacation” (1962).

– “Too many dirty dishes in the sink for just us two.  You got me wonderin’ baby, who’s makin’ dirty dishes with you?” – Albert Collins from “Dirty Dishes” (1986).

“I’m gonna pull my pony up and hitch my wagon to your star.” – John Hiatt from “Real Fine Love” (1990).

“I heard Leadbelly and Blind Lemon on the street where I was born. Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters singin’ “I’m a Rolling Stone.” – Van Morrison from “Cleaning Windows” (1982).

“I’m like a magnet; You’re like a piece of wood. Can’t get together; Don’t make me feel so good.” – NRBQ from “Magnet” (1972).

“There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.” – John Prine from “Sam Stone” (1971).

“Well, there’s Basie, Miller, Satch-a-mo, and the king of all, Sir Duke. And with a voice like Ella’s ringin’ out, there’s no way the band can lose.” – Stevie Wonder from “Sir Duke” (1976).

“The large print giveth and the small print taketh away” – Tom Waits from “Step Right Up” (1976).

(Rock) Onward, Malcolm Gauld