Black Eyed Man

Released February 11, 1992


1. Southern Rain
(Michael Timmins)

The flies have quit their buzzing.
Even Bear has stopped his barking.
They all sense something brewing
up the James and headed this way.

Bobby sips his morning coffee.
Says, have you finished with the funnies?
Looks like a storm's coming honey
guess we'll have to stay in bed today.

I've heard that into every life
a little of it must fall.
If there's any truth to the saying,
Lord, let it be a southern rain.

Marie was born in Macon, Georgia.
She met a west coast lawyer.
He plucked that sweet magnolia
and carried her to the hills of West L.A.

She says, I never thought I'd tire of a dollar.
But this life has grown so hollow.
Every night there's lipstick on his collar
every morning I wash it away.

She heard that into every life
a little of it must fall.
So she spends her evenings praying
for a little of that southern rain.

Cars alive on city streets
of sparkling black water
like waves beneath my window-
never break just roll away.
Tonight, this rain will be my lullaby:
these cars, my dreams
to carry me home to stay.

The wipers beat a rhythm.
Truck spray obscures my vision.
But I'm closing in on my destination
Two more hours and I'll be at your door.

And it will never cease to amaze me
how a little rain can drive folks crazy.
When I'd trade all my clear skies gladly
for your blue eyes, crooked smile
and a steady downpour.

I've heard that into every life
a little of it must fall,
but you'll never catch me complaining
about too much of that southern rain.


7. Black Eyed Man
(Michael Timmins)

Black eyed man he took the blame
for the poisoning of the well.
They found his shoes by the pulley.
They found his fingerprints all over the pail.

Black eyed man I'm warning you
the people around here
will not be fooled by a simple line or two.

Yes your honour I do solemnly swear
that I saw him late last night,
dancing barefoot, bathed in light
and reaching for every star in sight.
Yes I did go to him,
but completely against my will
and yes he did things to me
things of which I dream of still.

Black eyed man I'm warning you
what I say is what you'll do
to hell with love and truth.

I always meant to say I'm sorry
for all the things I said and did.
Sorry, I feel better now, do you?
But you promised me the sky
and fell short a star or two.
What else did you expect me to do?

Black eyed man he took the blame
for the poisoning of the well.
They found his shoes by the pulley.
They found his fingerprints all over the pail.
With a noose around his neck,
cicadas trilling everywhere,
he says to the people gathered round him,
it ain't the water that's not right around here.

Black eyed man I'm thirsty dear
be a love and bring some water here
drawn fresh from the well.


2. Oregon Hill

(Michael Timmins)

The hoods are up on Pine Street,
rear ends lifted too.
The great-grandsons of General Robert E. Lee
are making love with a little help from STP.
Their women on the porches comparing alibis.

Greasy eggs and bacon,
bumper stickers aimed to start a fight,
full gun racks, Confederate caps,
if you want some 'shine
well, you can always find some more,
but what I remember most
is the colour of Suzy's door.

And Suzy says she's up there
cutting carrots still.
And Suzy says she's missing me
so I'm missing Oregon Hill.

A river to the south
to wash away all sins.
A college to the east of us
to learn where sin begins.
A graveyard to the west of it all
which I may soon be lying in.

'Cause to the north there is a prison
which I've come to call my home,
but some Monday morning no country song
will sing me home again.

And Suzy says she's up there
cutting carrots still.
And Suzy says she's missing me
so I'm missing Oregon Hill.

Sunday morning, eight A.M.,
sirens fill the air.
Sounds like someone made the river.
Sounds like someone being born again.
Me, I'm just lying here in Suzy's bed.

Baptists celebrating with praises to the Lord,
rednecks doing it with gin.
Me and Suzy, we're celebrating
the joy of sleeping in
because tomorrow I'll be home again.

But Suzy says she'll wait there
cutting carrots by the window sill.
And Suzy says, Always think of me
when you think of Oregon Hill.


8. Winter's Song

(Michael Timmins)

She says, it's cold where you brought me
He says, darling, don't worry
you can stay in my arms
until the springtime comes.
We'll let the snow drift around us
and wait for the robin and the crocus
to tell us that our love has again found the sun.

Lone oak stands tall,
bare arms scratch the sky,
dry leaves cracking beneath our feet.
Hand in hand we've watched
the autumn fires burn -
Summer's dreams collapsing,
chestnuts in need of gathering,
the whole world lies rotting in the street.

Soon we will walk with collars high
like ramparts raised for the siege.
We'll bow to her beauty,
cower from her fury
sent as a judgement for a slight
long past forgotten.
Winter's love once again unrequited.
Winter's love once again unrequited.

She says, babe are you sleeping?
He says, no, wide awake and thinking
of a dream I just had about the two of us.
He takes his hand to her cheek now,
his lips to her brow,
their whispers pile softly
by the foot of the bed.


3. This Street, That Man, This Life

(Michael Timmins)

This street holds its secrets
like a cobra holds its kill.
This street minds its business
like a jailer minds his jail.
That house there is haunted.
That door's a portal to hell.
This street holds its secrets very well.

That man wears his skin
like a dancer wears her veils.
That man stalks his victims
like a cancer stalks a cell.
That man's soul has left him
his heart's as deadly as a rusty nail.
That man sheds his skin like a veil.

Lord, you play a hard game
you know we follow every rule.
Then you take the one thing
we thought we'd never lose.
All I ask is if she's with you
please keep her warm and safe
and if it's in your power
please purge the memory of this place.

This life holds its secrets
like a sea shell holds the sea,
soft and distant, calling
like a fading memory.
This life has its victories
but its defeats tear so viciously.
This life holds its secrets
like the sea.


9. The Last Spike

(Michael Timmins)

Mornings feel so damn sad these days
without the call of the 8:15.
That old familiar echo
has finally died away
leaving nothing but a chill
where there once was a mighty scream.

And I've watched the flat cars
take away our timber.
I've watched the coal cars steal our rock.
And now that we've got
nothing left to take we're told
that the wheels will stop turning,
the whistles will stop blowing,
these foolish dreams must stop.

Last year they closed down the post office,
took the only flag we had in town.
That old brick building
still stands like a cenotaph
to a vision lost and buried in
a very distant past.

And I've watched the flat cars
take away our timber.
I've watched the coal cars steal our rock.
And now that we've got
nothing left to take we're told
that the wheels will stop turning,
the whistles will stop blowing,
these foolish dreams must stop.

The longest train I've ever seen
was the train that you were on.
I walked you to the station,
we kissed and you were gone.
I dream at night about you coming home.
The train in the station,
your uniform on fire
as you step onto the platform
the band plays a little louder,
and as we embrace your cap falls off.
Oh, I guess these foolish dreams must stop.

Mornings feel so damn sad these days
without the call of the 8:15.
Looks like this town is finally
going to die away
leaving nothing but broken promises
where there once was small town dreams.

And I've watched the flat cars
take away our timber.
I've watched the coal cars steal our rock.
And now that we've got
nothing left to take we're told
that the TV station will be closing,
Main Street windows will need boarding,
that these foolish dreams must stop.


4. A Horse In The Country

(Michael Timmins)

The money would be pretty good
if a quart of milk were still a dollar
or even if a quart of milk were still a quart.
And the hours, well, I don't mind
how they creep on by like an old love of mine
it's the years that simply disappear
that are doing me in.

Guess I married too young,
yeah, nineteen was just too young,
but sometimes you meet someone
and your guts just burn.
It's not that I don't love him anymore
it's just that when I hear him
coming through that front door
my heart doesn't race like it did once before.

But I've got a horse out in the country.
I get to see him every second Sunday.
He comes when I call him,
yeah, he knows his name.
One day I'll saddle up
and the two of us will ride away.

This weather I could almost stand
if the sun would shine a little brighter
or even if the sun would shine at all.
But lately it just seems to me
that this life has lost its mystery
and these cold fall mornings seem to bite
just a little bit harder.

And all my friends have settled down
become their mothers and their fathers
without a sound.
Except for Cathy,
she bought a one-way subway ticket
and left us all behind.

But I've got a horse out in the country.
I get to see him every second Sunday.
He comes when I call him,
yeah, he knows his name.
One day I'll saddle up
and the two of us will ride away.

This town wouldn't be so bad
if a girl could trust her instincts
or even if a girl could trust a boy.


10. Cowboy Junkies Lament

(Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt Music ASCAP)

Baby hit the back door
breathin' real heavy
said the boys in the alley
wouldn't leave her alone.
Mama did her make-up in a terrible hurry
she finally got ready
but the boys were gone.
Mama don't you worry,
night's approachin'
there's a hole in heaven
where some sin slips through
just close your eyes and dream real steady
maybe just a little will spill on you.

Dark don't lie
Dreams come true
Could be a few will see you through

Old lady Rose, lookin' down her nose
at lonely Miss Lily hiding in the hall.
Lily's just praying for the trial to be over
lady Rose just waiting for the axe to fall.
Show me off on the way to town
the sky's still shiny
and the earth's still brown.
Tell the judge I'm ready for the vases
gonna dance in their faces
when the guitar sounds.

Won't be long
I won't be gone
Been leaning toward the shadows all along

Those in the know say so it goes
you plan on reapin', you better sow.
You plan on sleepin',
you better keep movin'
sleepin' ain't allowed around here,
you know.

Tell me please when the rolling's over
Me and my baby going to have some fun
Bury our backs in a bed of clover
Smile in style while the sun goes down

Snake eyes cry
Boxcars sigh
Seven's stuck in the middle
just wonderin' why

Dark don't lie
Dreams come true
All it takes is one or two
Maybe just a few will see you through


5. If you were the Woman, and I was the Man
(Michael Timmins)

If you were the woman and I was the man
would I send you yellow roses
would I dare to kiss your hand?
In the morning would I caress you
as the wind caresses the sand,
if you were the woman and I was the man?

If I was the heart and you were the head
would you think me very foolish
if one day I decided to shed
these walls that surround me
just to see where these feelings led,
if I was the heart and you were the head?

If I was the woman and you were the man
would I laugh if you came to me
with your heart in your hand
and said, I offer you this freely
and will give you all that I can
because you are the woman
and I am the man?


11. Townes' Blues

(Michael Timmins)

You're clean as
a widow woman's washboard, son,
stick it in the wind.
Put the mountains to your back
the great plains on your grille
time to take a little spin.
Boulder looks like the type of town
that I could spend some time,
but in Houston they got our name in lights.
You're clean as
a widow woman's washboard, son,
the slab is yours tonight.

Townes is in the back lounge
with his hands in his pocket
pulls out two dice and says, Let's get at it.

Salina in the headlights, snake eyes on the floor,
Al drops another twenty, Pete heads for the door,
Springer's feeling lucky, sits down for a spell,
Oklahoma City and he's lost his last bill
Jeff is in a bind waiting on sister hicks
seven comes a-calling
as we cross on into Texas.

Townes is in the back lounge
with a fist full of fives
he says, It's a little bit long
but I'm enjoying this ride.

Be careful with the dice
when you're surrounded by others
with boxcars in their eyes.
Never count your winnings at hour 23
of a 24-hour drive.
Remember that you're not the one
calling the tune
that's making those diamonds dance
or you'll be clean as
a widow woman's washboard, son,
and those are the facts.

Townes is in the back lounge
cursing at them bones
he says, ain't this fool ever heard of Raton.


6. Murder, Tonight, In the Trailer Park

(Michael Timmins)

Murder tonight in the trailer park.
Mrs. Annabelle Evans found
with her throat cut after dark.
Her pockets turned inside out
her dresser drawers turned upside down.
Anna's neighbour, Peg, identifies the body
lets out a hollow kind of sound.

Homicide is tying yellow ribbons
around her silver Airstream.
Red cherries slashing up the night
cutting through that cordoned crime scene.
There's been a murder
in the trailer park tonight.

Murder tonight in the trailer park.
Pack your things, Ann Marie,
we're heading west
we're going to make a fresh start.
I've been saving pennies,
been looking forward to this day.
No time for questions are you coming
or are you going to stay?

Crosstown at the Waterton
George Evans is sitting tall and tight,
buying drinks for all the regulars
bragging about how them bones
danced for him tonight.
There's been a murder
in the trailer park tonight.

Murder tonight in the trailer park.
Faceless man counting crumpled bills,
hotel neon fights the dark.
TV set in the corner, they're talking murder
on the late-night news
He turns down the sound,
waits for the sports,
he only wants to know,
did I win or did I lose.

There's been a murder
in the trailer park tonight.
Murder tonight in the trailer park.


12. To Live is to Fly

(Townes Van Zandt -Columbine Music ASCAP)

Won't say I love you babe.
Won't say I need you babe.
But I'm going to get you babe
and I will not do you wrong.
Living's mostly wasting time
and I waste my share of mine
but it never feels too good
so let's not take too long.
You're as soft as glass and I'm a gentle man
we got the sky to talk about
and the world to lie upon.

Days up and down they come
like rain on a conga drum
forget most, remember some
but don't turn none away.
Everything is not enough
nothing is too much to bear
where you been is good and gone
all you keep's the getting there.
To live is to fly low and high
so shake the dust off of your wings
and the sleep out of your eyes.

It's goodbye to all my friends.
It's time to go again.
Think of all the poetry
and the pickin' down the line.
I'll miss the system here
the bottom's low and the treble's clear
but it don't pay to think too much
on the things you leave behind.
I may be gone but I won't be long
I'll be bringing back the melody
and the rhythm that I find.

We all got holes to fill
and them holes are all that's real
some fall on you like a storm
sometimes you dig your own.
But choice is yours to make
time is yours to take
some dive into the sea
some toil upon the stone.
To live is to fly low and high
so shake the dust off of your wings
the sleep out of your eyes.

Please send corrections to Bob
Last update: February 14, 2005
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