A Dying Man Can Sure Sing The Blues

by Muleskinner Jones

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06:34
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about

A long time in coming and something of a different approach for Mr. Jones. Features many more musical collaborators including an octogenarian choir, guest vocalists and a pair of duelling saxophones. The first recording on which Mr. Jones plays banjo. An unsettling compendium of the dark, deadly, ancient and strange that's still shot through with the usual black humour and sonic irreverence.

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released May 13, 2013

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Muleskinner Jones Bath, UK

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Track Name: Don't Open The Mail
Well I'd like to suck out the brain
Of the guy that invented work.
Why must I spend five days of my week
Busting my ass for some ignorant jerk? Ya see...
I feel sapped of all strength,
I feel more dead than alive,
I need the magical regenerative powers
Of the P45.

Hey boss man
Don't ya get the drift?
You can stick yer job
You can east my fist.

What is the world coming to?
Can't pay my taxes or union dues.
But I don't mind if we can't afford food,
Just don't open the mail cuz it might be bad news.

All day I plan what I'll do once I'm home,
Once I'm home I just east and sleep.
When I mention Howe Gelb, Dock Boggs or Bob Wills
My colleagues look at me like I was some kind of freak, so...
I think I'll move to the sticks.
Gonna learn me to bake corned beef pie.
Then I'll go make a shedload of records
That no-one will buy.

Hey boss man
Don't ya get the joke?
You can keep yer cash.
Hope it makes you choke.

What is the world coming to?
Can't pay my taxes or union dues.
But I don't mind if we can't afford food,
Just don't open the mail cuz it might be bad news

Well it could be a final demand
Or some kind of lawsuit.
It could be a notice of eviction
Or a decree absolute.
They could be disconnecting the gas,
Or doing me for evasion of tax,
It might be a bill and it might be a writ
But I'll never find out cuz I'm not opening it.

What is the world coming to?
Can't pay my taxes or union dues.
But I don't mind if we can't afford food,
Just don't open the mail cuz it might be bad news.
Track Name: A Dying Man Can Sure Sing The Blues
They marched us on the evening train
Through sheet mnetal winds and needle rain.
Four long years we'd spent at war
Though it felt like forty more.

We marched for miles without no shoes,
Til our feets was cut to ribbons
And the bones showed through.

And if there's one thing that I now know to be true
It's that a dying man can sure sing the blues.

It was a sticky stormy evening,
How the winds did howl,
When Slaughterhouse Bill and his boys came round,
Chewing their tobacco and spitting it on the ground,
Saying "What's your position boy?
Are you gonna fight to free the niggers?
Or fight to free the South?"

So I left the town and the girl whom I'd loved so well
And began a slow descent into hell.

And the one thing I'd learn before it all was through
Was that a dying man can sure sing the blues.

So cart that Goddam cannon cross the mire,
Where the bodies of the wounded are on fire.
It's been seven weeks since I ate beef or bread,
The air is thick with powder smoke and lead,
And the moonlight glistening
On amputated limbs
Marks the thin line twixt the living and the dead.

And the last thought that I thunk before the charges blew
Was that a dying man can sure sing the blues.
Track Name: Black River Wood
Rotten and forgotten the summerhouse lies,
Far from the gardens and prying eyes.
A nervous glance behind me as I apply
The finest paint and powder and go.
And go.

How in these tattered clothes and tangled hair
Could I have earned the love of one so fair?
Run a ragged razor cross broken skin,
Scrape these blackened fingers and go.
And go.

And there
We tumbled over
Damp earth and clover.
You let your hair down.

And there
It felt so good
Doing things we never should
In Black River Wood.
Black River Wood.

With the heavy sweetness of eraly June
Came a child growing inside my womb.
Lingering over the letter I'd leave for you,
Hide it in the hollow tree and go.
And go.

You'd give up the blessings of your privileged life,
Leave your wealthy husband and I my loving wife,
Make our way to London where together we would ride
Far across the ocean and go.
And go.

And there
We tumbled over
Damp earth and clover.
My heart was racing.

And there
It felt so good
Doing things we never should
In Black River Wood.
Black River Wood.

And there,
As you caressed me,
Told me you loved me,
I felt the pistol.

And there,
You could have been sleeping
(If it weren't for the bleeding),
You looked so good
In Black River Wood.
Black River Wood.
Track Name: Song Of The Rain
With tear-stained eyes and with dust in my mouth
I loaded the horses and headed down south.
Mile after mile cross the high desert plains
Ears still a-ringing with the song of the rain.

I searched many days, and I searched many nights,
Til finally I found him, just barely alive,
Dying from thirst and half gone insane,
Like some lunatic ranting the song of the rain.

And though he'd betrayed me and done me great wrong,
I stayed by his side until he was strong,
Then as friends did we turn to ride homeward again,
Singing together the song of the rain.

But our steeds grew too weak for the climb,
So we entered the Anderson mine
And sheltered a while from the cold,
As the furnaces raged down below.
And there in the dark
'Mongst the rats and the coal,
I struck the back of his head with a stone,
And casting his body into the flames
I screamed at the heavens the song of the rain.

And now in a strange place of pain do I dwell,
shunned from the gates of both heaven and hell,
And if you should pass through these valleys again
You'll hear my banshee howling the song of the rain.
Track Name: Too Many Horses (A True Story)
Old Jacob went out to the barn
With a sack of feedcorn under his arm,
Then stood aghast at what he saw
Six horses dead upon the floor.
And on the wall was scrawled a note,
And this is what the killer wrote...

There's far too many horses around,
They're taking over this damn town.
There's far too many horses around,
I'm gonna take those bastards down.

Little Emily took her bag of hay
To the stable where her pony lay,
But her beloved horse could not be fed
Cuz someone had cut off its head.

And all the walls were daubed with red,
And this is what the message said...

There's far too many horses around,
They're taking over this damn town.
There's far too many horses around,
I'm gonna take those bastards down.

Yeah they said this town was dull
But it's gone down in history,
Because there's nothing pedestrian
About this equestrian mystery,
And the nick-nack shops and the restaurants
And the bars have got it made,
Cuz a serial killer's good for the tourist trade.

And when the coppers finally get their man
It's old Jacob pulling an insurance scam.

There's far too many horses around,
They're taking over this damn town.
There's far too many horses around,
I'm gonna take those bastards down.
Track Name: Bad Timing
Seventeen years and never knew her father,
Brought up by an Uncle 'cuz her mother was a drunk,
Forced to work the mine, cutting coal and stacking timber,
And for the best part of the winter she'd never see the sun.

Six days since war broke out across the border,
Dancing in the street when they saw the soldiers come.
They looked so fine in those uniforms with the brass buttons
Polishing their muskets, rattling their drums.

Three minutes of heavy-handed groping,
She'd hardly call it pleasure and she'd hardly call it fun,
But when the deed was over she almost felt like she was wanted,
Blissfully unaware that she's just conceived a son.

Nine months of nausea and heartache,
Her soldier never wrote and her soldier never came,
Turned out by her family and abandonded by her friends,
Though to hold that baby in her arms was more than worth the pain.

Seventeen years and never knew his father,
His mother slowly dying from the coal dust in her lungs,
Begging on the street, getting colder getting thinner,
And he will not last the Winter lest he takes in with a gun.

Six days since they carried out the robbery,
And left a copper drowning in a pool of his own blood.
They tracked him to a barn where he was clutchin at a rosary,
He was praying for forgiveness and crying for his mum.

Three minutes and the jury had decided
That he was just as guilty though he'd never fired the gun.
Yeah they said he was a killer, though he'd never pulled the trigger
And then left it to the judge to see that justice would be done.

Nine months till they carry out the sentence,
The judge shows no emotion as the prisoner is hung,
Blissfully unaware as he sinks into his pillow
That the child he's sent a-swinging from the gallows was his son.

How can we find, find what what need?
And where shall we go, and when do we leave?
What price ghsould we pay, and is the price a fair one?
Or should we just lay down and die?
Track Name: The Homesick Soldier
Sixty-thousand good men gone
At the battle of The Somme,
Buzz-bombs and bullets mowed the poor buggers down.
An ocean of blood
For six miles of mud,
And they're still pulling bones from the ground.

And I wish I was back home in England for Christmas,
Where the hollies and the hawthorns grow,
But I'm stuck here in a ditch on my belly,
With canned beef, trench foot and snow.

Thirteen-thousand good men slain
At El Alamein,
Thick clouds of flies like some biblical plague.
Sick from the heat,
There's nothing to eat,
And all round them the stench of decay.

And I wish I was back home in England for Christmas,
With a glass of good ale in my hand,
But I'm huddled in a hole in the desert,
With a mouth full of blisters and sand.

And this one's for all of the fathers,
Yeah this one's for all of the sons,
Who died all alone in some shithole far from home,
Thinking this war would be the last one.
Track Name: Little Dead Riding Hood
Little Dead Riding Hood
Stole her mother's clothes,
Headed off into the woods
Clutching a red rose,
Slept among the leaves,
Drunk on Grandma's gin,
Howled out loud at the moon
As the worms crawled cross her skin.
And never knew the trouble she was getting in.

Little Dead Riding Hood
Stole her father's axe,
Took the road into town
Under a cloud of vampire bats,
Felled the old oak tree
That crowned the town square,
Disappeared into the mountains
On the back of a grizzly bear.
And all the while she's acting like she didn't care.

Little Dead Riding Hood
Stole the woodcutter's keys,
Headed off into the big city
On the back of his Harley D.
Got the Big Bad Wolf,
Tied him to the rails,
Waited for the 10:02 to cut him in two
And dumped his dismembered body
Outside the county jail.
'Tis pity that she'd never live to tell the tale.
Track Name: Hour Of The Blood-Orchid
Cut the lights and bolt the door,
Kneel and pray to your chosen heaven.
There's fresh fuel on a roaring fire
Yet the room's gone deathly cold.
The barn owls howl a lonesome tune,
Twisted branches crack the moon,
A figure draped in crimson robes
Amidst the standing stones.

From the narrow streets of Clerkenwell
To the rank canals of Camden Town,
In chambers deep below the ground
They pass the blood-orchid round.
I swear before my final breath
I shall avenge my brother's death,
They strung him up from Blackfriars Bridge
And left him for the crows.

Something stirs within the gloom.
Pray the laudanum kicks in soon.
For I have seen my future in the entrails of a beast.

I rode my horse through driving rain
To Avebury and Salisbury Plain,
My double-barreled shotgun took the lives of many men.

Through eldritch halls and nameless tombs
Whose windows gaoped like open wounds,
I neither slept nor ate and I grew weary, I grew thin.

And there below that unholy ground
I cut their precious orchid down,
Its blood pooled on the floor and burned like acid on my skin.

So now their time on earth is short
And my life has not been for nought,
Though I'll never more see kith nor kin, nor know another Spring.
Track Name: Mid-Life Misanthropy Blues
Don't care for silver, don't care for gold.
Don't care for silver, don't care for gold.
Well they might shine bright,
But on long Winter's nights
They'll not keep my bones from the cold.

Don't care for whisky, don't care for gin.
Don't care for whisky, don't care for gin.
You might blaze through the night,
But come morning light
You'll rue the sorry state that you're in.

Don't care for children, nor for a wife.
Don't care for children, nor for a wife.
See they'll whine and they'll moan,
Take all that you own,
Leave you nothing but heartache and strife.

Don't care for family, don't care for friends.
Don't care for family, don't care for friends.
They might stick by your side
While things are alright,
But they'll all let you down in the end.

So go tell Sally the goose is dead.
Go tell Aunt Sally the goose is dead.
Yeah the goose is dead 'cuz I cut off his head,
Now I'm having his feathers for my bed.