Rita Ballou
L. A. Freeway
She Ain't Goin' Nowhere
A Nickel For The Fiddler
That Old Time Feeling
Texas 1947
Desperados Waiting For A Train
Like A Coat From The Cold
Instant Coffee Blues
Let Him Roll

Rita Ballou

She could dance that slow Uvalde
Shuffle to some cowboy hustle
How she made them trophy buckles shine, shine, shine
Wild-eyed and Mexican silvered,
Trickin' dumb ol' cousin Willard
into thinkin that he's got her this time

Hill country honky-tonkin Rita Ballou
Every beer joint in town has played a fool for you
Backslidin' barrel ridin' Rita Ballou
Ain't a cowboy in Texas would not ride a bull for you

She's a rawhide rope and velvet mixture
Walkin' talkin Texas texture
High-timin' barroom fixture kind of a girl
She's the queen of the cowboys
Look at old Willard grinnin' now boys
You'd of thought there's less fools in this world


So good luck Willard and here's to you
And here's to Rita and I hope she'll do ya right all night
Lord I wish I was the fool in your shoes


L.A. Freeway

Pack up all your dishes.
Make note of all good wishes.
Say goodbye to the landlord for me.
That son of a bitch has always bored me.
Throw out them LA papers
And that moldy box of vanilla wafers.
Adios to all this concrete.
Gonna get me some dirt road back street

If I can just get off of this LA freeway
Without getting killed or caught
I'd be down that road in a cloud of smoke
For some land that I ain't bought bought bought

Here's to you old skinny Dennis
Only one I think I will miss
I can hear that old bass singing
Sweet and low like a gift you're bringin'
Play it for me just one more time now
Got to give it all we can now
I beleive everything your saying
Just keep on, keep on playing


And you put the pink card in the mailbox
Leave the key in the old front door lock
They will find it likely as not
I'm sure there's somethin' we have forgot
Oh Susanna, don't you cry, babe
Love's a gift that's surely handmade
We've got something to believe in
Dontcha' think it's time we're leavin'


Repeat 1/2 of verse 1

She Ain't Goin' Nowhere

Standin' on the gone side of leavin'.
She found a thumb and stuck it in the breeze.
She'll take anything that's goin' close to somewhere.
She can lay it down and live it like she'd please

She ain't goin' nowhere, she's just leavin'.
She ain't goin' nowhere she can't breathe in.
And she ain't goin' home, and that's for sure.

She's not sitting and cryin' on her suitcase.
She has no second thoughts by the road.
But she's feelins than need some reparin'.
And she did not give a damn that it showed.


And the wind had it's way with her hair.
And the blues had a way with her smile.
And she had a way of her own.
Like prisoners have a way with a file.

Chorus twice

A Nickel For The Fiddler

Well it's a nickel for the fiddler. It's a nickel for his tune.
It's a nickel for the tambourine kind of afternoon.
And it's a high holiday on the 21st of June.
And it's country music in the park and everybody's ruined.

Instrumental break

Well it's fountains full of dogs and kids.
And it's freaky apple pie.
And it's the ones who came to play.
And the ones just passin' by.

And it's coats of many colors.
And it almost makes me cry.
Lord it's ice cream on a stick.
And it's somethin' you can buy.

Instrumental break

Well it's a fiddler from Kentucky,
Who swears he's 83.
And he's fiddled every contest
From here to cripple creek.

And it's old ones and it's yound ones.
And it's plain they half agreed
But it's country music in the park,
as far as they can see.

Instrumental break

That Old Time Feelin'

And that old time feelin' goes sneakin' down the hall,
Like an old gray cat in winter, keepin' close to the wall.
And that old time feelin' comes stumblin' up the street,
Like an old salesman kickin' the papers from his feet.

And that old time feelin' draws circles around the blok,
Like old women with no children, holdin' hands with the clock.
And that old time feelin' fall on it's face in the park,
Like and old wino prayin' he can make it 'till it's dark.

And that old time feelin' comes and goes in the rain,
Like an old man with his checkers, dyin' to find a game.
And that old time feelin' plays for beer in bars,
Like and old blues-time picker who don't recall who you are.

And that old time feelin' limps through the night on a crutch,
Like an old soldier wonderin' if he's paid too much.
And that old time feelin' rocks and spits and cries,
Like and old lover rememberin' the girl with the clear blue eyes.

Repeat verse 1

Texas 1947

Now bein' six years old, I had seen some trains before,
so it's hard to figure out what I'm at the depot for.

Trains are big and black and smokin' - steam screamin' at the wheels,
bigger than anything they is, at least that's the way she feels

Trains are big and black and smokin', louder'n July four,
but everybody's actin' like this might be somethin' more. . .

. . .than just pickin' up the mail, or the soldiers from the war.
This is somethin' that even old man Wileman never seen before.

And it's late afternoon on a hot Texas day.
somethin' strange is goin' on, and we's all in the way.

Well there's fifty or sixty people they're just sittin' on their cars,
and the old men left their dominos and they come down from the bars.

Everybody's checkin', old Jack Kittrel check his watch,
and us kids put our ears to the rails to hear 'em pop.

So we already knowed it, when they finally said 'train time'
you'd a-thought that Jesus Christ his-self was rollin' down the line.

'Cause things got real quiet, momma jerked me back,
But not before I'd got the chance to lay a nickel on the track.

Look out here she comes, she's comin',
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

Big, red, and silver,
she don't make no smoke,
she's a fast-rollin' streamline
come to show the folks.

Look out here she comes, she's comin'
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

. . .Lord, she never even stopped.

She left fifty or sixty people still sittin' on their cars,
and they're wonderin' what it's comin' to
and how it got this far.

Oh but me I got a nickel smashed flatter than a dime
by a mad dog, runaway red-silver streamline. . . train


Deperadoes Waiting For A Train

I played the Red River Valley
He'd sit in the kitchen and cry
Run his fingers through seventy years of livin'
And wonder, "Lord, why has every well I've drilled gone dry?"

We were friends, me and this old man
We's like desperados waitin' for a train
Desperados waitin' for a train

He's a drifter, a driller of oil wells
He's an old school man of the world
He taught me how to drive his car when he was too drunk to
And he'd wink and give me money for the girls
And our lives was like, some old Western movie
Like desperados waitin' for a train
Like desperados waitin' for a train

From the time that I could walk he'd take me with him
To a bar called the Green Frog Cafe
There was old men with beer guts and dominos
Lying 'bout their lives while they played
I was just a kid, they all called me "Sidekick"
Just like desperados waitin' for a train
Like desperados waitin' for a train

One day I looked up and he's pushin' eighty
He's got brown tobacco stains all down his chin
Well to me he was a hero of this country
So why's he all dressed up like them old men
Drinkin' beer and playin' Moon and Forty-two
Jus' like desperados waitin' for a train
Like a desperado waitin' for a train

The day 'fore he died I went to see him
I was grown and he was almost gone.
So we just closed our eyes and dreamed us up a kitchen
And sang one more verse to that old song
(spoken) Come on, Jack, that son-of-a-bitch is comin'

We're desperados waitin' for a train
Was like desperados waitin' for a train.

Coat From The Cold

I found comfort and courage from bottles of whiskey.
I swear to you friends these old high times sure seem risky.
I have backed away gently from those who tried to burn me.
and blocked up my ears that no one should learn me.

But the lady beside me is the one I have chosen
to walk through life with me
like a coat from the cold

I have flown like a bird from every cage that confined me
and broken every one of the ties that bind me
I have danced me around some sad ol' sad ol situatioons
and taken my share of those sweet invitations


Instant Coffee Blues

He washed all the road dirt from his face and from his neck
And sat down at her table and she picked up his check.
And she took him home for reasons that she did not understand.
And him, he had the answers but did not play his hand.
For him he knew the taste of this wine very well.
It all goes down so easily but the next day is hell.

Morning - "Man was I drunk," she wispered in the shower.
While he lay there and smoked his way there through the final hour.
And she felt wholly empty like she'd felt it every time.
And he was feelin' just the same, 'cept he was tryin' to make it rhyme.
Time was of the essence so they both did their best,
to meet up in the kitchen feelin fully dressed.
She just had to go to work, and he just had to go.
And she knew where and he knew how to blow it off and so.

They shot the breeze quite cavalier to the boilin' of the pot.
And sang the Instant Coffee Blues and never fired a shot.

And him he hit the driveway with his feelin's in a case.
And her she hit the stoplight and touched up her face.
So you tell them the difference between caring and not.
And that it's all done with mirrors, lest they forgot.

I said it's all done with mirrors, of which they have none.
To blend the instant coffee blues into the morning sun.

Let Him Roll

He's a wino, tried and true.
Done about everything there is to do.
He worked on freighters, he worked in bars.
He worked on farms, 'n he worked on cars.

It was white port, that put that look in his eye
That grown men get when they need to cry
And he sat down on the curb to rest
And his head just fell down on his chest

He said "Every single day it gets
A little bit harder to handle and yet. . ."
And he lost the thread and his mind got cluttered
And the words just rolled off down in the gutter

Well he was elevator man in a cheap hotel
In exchange for the rent on a one room cell
He's old in years beyond his time
Thanks to the world, and the white Port wine

So he says "Son," he always called me son
He said, "Life for you has just begun"
And he told me a story that I heard before
How he fell in love with a Dallas whore

Well he could cut through the years to the very night
When it ended, in a whore house fight
And she turned his last proposal down
In favor of being a girl about town

Now it's been seventeen years right in line
And he ain't been straight none of the time
Too many days of fightin' the weather
And too many nights of not being together

So he died. . .

Well when they went through his personal affects
In among the stubs from the welfare checks
Was a crumblin' picture of a girl in a door
An address in Dallas, and nothin' more

The welfare people provided the priest
A couple from the mission down the street
Sang Amazing Grace, and no one cried
'Cept some woman in black, way off to the side

We all left and she was standing there
Black veil covering her silver hair
And 'ol One-Eyed John said her name was Alice
And she used to be a whore in Dallas

Let him roar, Lord let him roll
Bet he's gone to Dallas Rest his soul
Lord, let him roll, Lord let him roar
He always said that heaven
Was just a Dallas whore.

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