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MUSIC/LYRICS

Hey Can You Guys Play...

HEY, CAN YOU GUYS PLAY…

Released: 2023

Taken from our previous releases, this is a compilation of great songs that we covered, most in our own unique style. Now, that’s not hyperbole or boasting – the ones we customized really are completely different from the originals, and probably from any version you’ve ever heard before!

But don’t take our word for it – listen to the samples below. Plus, this album has a brand new song that’s never been on any previous album. It’s Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, but you may not recognize it straight off!

If you’d like to get familiar with the Hitman Blues Band, and would rather start off with some familiar songs, this is the album for you.

LYRICS

Our take on the Willie Dixon classic

The gypsy woman told my mother
On the day I was born
You got a boy child comin’
He’s gonna be a son of a gun
He gonna make pretty women’s
Jump and shout
Then the world wanna know
What it’s all about
Because I’m him
Everybody knows I’m him
I’m the hoochie coochie man
Everybody knows I’m him

got a black cat bone
I got a mojo too
I got the Johnny Conqueror root
He’s gonna mess with you
I’m gonna take all the women
Lead me by my hand
Then the world gonna know
I’m the hoochie coochie man
Because I’m him
Everybody knows I’m him
I’m the hoochie coochie man
Everybody knows I’m him

On the seventh hour
On the seventh day
On the seventh month
The seven doctors say
He was born for good luck
Just you wait and see
I got seven hundred dollars
Don’t you fool with me


©1957 Willie Dixon. All Rights Reserved.

The Bob Dylan classic, done in the Hitman Blues Band style. This song is as relevant now as it was the day it was written.

Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam
Admit that the waters around you have grown
Accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If time to you is worth saving
You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
The times, they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
The times, they are a-changin’

Congressmen, senators, please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There’s a fire outside and it’s ragin’
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
The times, they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you won’t lend your hand
The times, they are a-changin’


©1963 Robert Dylan / All Rights Reserved

This was Kris Kristofferson’s first big hit, performed by Johnny Cash. It launched his career as a writer, and that led to his career as a performer.

This is our version – it’s nothing at all like the original, but I felt it was – at its heart – always a blues song.

Well I woke up Sunday mornin’, with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more, for dessert
Then I fumbled through my closet, for my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt
And I shaved my face and combed my hair and, stumbled down the stairs to meet the day

I’d smoked my brain the night before on, cigarettes and songs that I’d been pickin’
But I lit my first and watched a small kid cussin’ at a can, that he was kickin’
Then I crossed the empty street and caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin’ chicken
And it took me back to somethin’, that I’d lost somehow somewhere along the way

On the Sunday morning sidewalks, wishin’ I was stoned
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’, half as lonesome as the sound
On the sleepin’ city side walks, Sunday mornin’ comin’ down

In the park I saw a daddy, with a laughing little girl who he was swingin’
And I stopped beside a Sunday school and listened to the song that they were singin’
Then I headed back for home and somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin’
And it echoed through the canyons like the disappointed (disappearing) dreams of yesterday

On the Sunday morning sidewalks, wishin’ I was stoned
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’, half as lonesome as the sound
On the sleepin’ city side walks, Sunday mornin’ comin’ down


©1969 Kris Kristofferson, All Rights Reserved.

Robert Johnson’s classic, done as a solo by Hitman. As he was wrapping up the first album (Blooztown), there was an acoustic guitar in the studio. He picked it up and played this, and the engineer said “Why didn’t we put that on tape yet?” Hitman said “I didn’t know if it should be on the album. Is it any good?” In unison, the producer and engineer said “YES! TAPE IT!”

When a woman in trouble,
Everybody puts her down
Looking for her good friend,
They can’t be found
You better come on in my kitchen
Hey, it’s going to be rainin’
I know

The woman I love,
I stole from my best friend
Some fool got lucky,
Stole her ‘way again
You better come on in my kitchen
It’s goin’ to be rainin’
I know

My baby’s gone,
Ain’t comin’ back
Took all my money,
Headed down the track
You better come on in my kitchen
It’s goin’ to be rainin’
I know

Went up to the mountain

Far as I could see
Another man’s got my girl
Lonesome blues got me
You better come on my kitchen
It’s goin’ to be raining
I know


©1937 Robert Johnson / All Rights Reserved

Another famous traditional that Blind Willie Johnson recorded. Aside from changing the melody and chords, I wondered:
What if John of Patmos was writing the Book Of Revelations, and some of the other gods stopped by? And told him their versions of the end of times?

Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


John was writing, Buddha came by
Seven suns gonna fill the sky
Every creature will have to die


Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


Brahma laughed and shook his head
Many cycles until I’m dead
Keep in mind the things I said


Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


Odin said the worlds are nine
Ragnorok will come in time
Death will rise and I’ll face mine


Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


Mahdi came to take a look
Said “you’ve written quite a book”
When I appear you’re off the hook”    

     
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals

Who’s that? Who’s that?
John the Revelator
Who’s that? Who’s that?
John the Revelator
Who’s that? Who’s that?
John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved
Based on the traditional performed by Blind Willie Johnson

I heard this cut, written by the great hillbilly guitarist Louie Innis, performed by Wynonie Harris. It was on a fantastic compilation called “The History Of Rhythm And Blues, 1942 – 52” put out by Rhythm and Blues Records.

If you can find this collection, BUY IT. Not only does it have tons of incredible music, the book that accompanies it is a Masters course in R&B history, with lots of facts you won’t believe. It makes listening to the songs that much better, when you realize what that song meant in the history of music. Plus, they’re a cool company. My copy of the book fell apart, and they sent me a PDF version when I asked!

As for Wynonie Harris, well, here’s a quote from the book:
In an interview conducted after Harris died aged just fifty-four,
record producer Ralph Bass said of him, ‘Whatever age he was when he
died, just double it. That’s the way that motherf***er lived.’

Last month I went on a date
With good old Lucy Brown
We hit all the hot spots, we really tore it down
She’s five foot two with eyes of blue
Pretty as a queen
I didn’t know how pop was a city cop
And she’s just seventeen

Good morning judge, why do you look so mean sir?
No Mr. Judge, what can the problem be?
You don’t think I was part this affair?
It wasn’t me, it couldn’t be, I wasn’t even there

Last week I did my income tax
To save a little dough
I cheated just a little bit, I knew they’d never know
My wife said “you be careful
Don’t you mess around”
But I just laughed, they’re understaffed
It never will be found

Good morning judge, why do you look so mean sir?
No Mr. Judge, what can the problem be?
You don’t think I was part this affair?
It wasn’t me, it couldn’t be, I wasn’t even there

My wife and I, we separated
Just the other day
The last thing that she said to me was
“Buster, you will pay
You better send that check to me
Each week without fail”
I said, “Before I spend a dime
I’d rather be in jail!”

Good morning judge, why do you look so mean sir?
No Mr. Judge, what can the problem be?
You don’t think I was part this affair?
It wasn’t me, it couldn’t be, I wasn’t even there


©1950 by Jouis Innis, All Rights Reserved.

This is based on the famous tune that Blind Willie Johnson recorded in 1927. I changed the lyrics on the verses, and the general feel of the song, but I hope I kept the original emotion.

Nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
Now if I should die and my soul gets lost,
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

My mama taught me how to pray
My mama taught me how to pray
Now if I don’t pray and my soul gets lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

My daddy taught me how to think
My daddy taught me how to think
Now if I don’t think and my mind gets lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

My brother taught me to be good
My brother taught me to be good
Now if I choose bad and my life is lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

I should drink water and not wine
I should drink water and not wine
Now if I drink wine and my love gets lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

Nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
Now if I should die and my soul gets lost,
It’s nobody’s fault but mine


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved
Based on the traditional performed by Blind Willie Johnson

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson was a fellow at the Julliard Graduate School, but his actual playing style was a mix of boogie, stride, jazz, and ragtime – combined with, um, shall we say, “unorthodox” lyrics. He was a force of nature at the piano in both playing and performance. Having grown up near Harlem, he spoke the way everyone in uptown New York spoke – jive.

This song, while it gave him notoriety, also landed him on the music industry blacklist – putting his career into decline. But he kept performing, and actually switched to rock in the 1960’s, then hard rock in the 1970s.

Look online to find other great songs by Harry, as well as a biographical movie short called “Boogie In Blue”. And read the Wikipedia entry on him for more info.

Mrs. Murphy couldn’t sleep
Her nerves were slightly off the beat
Until she solved her problem
With a can of Ovaltine
She drank a cupful most every night
And oooo how she would dream
Until something rough got in the stuff
And made her neighbors scream. OW!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Sure was a shame, don’t know who’s to blame
Cause the old lady didn’t even get his name
Where did she get that stuff?
Now she just can’t get enough
It might have been the man who wasn’t there
Now Jack, that guy’s a square

She stays up nights making all the rounds
They say she lost about 69 pounds
Now Mr. Murphy claims she’s getting awful thin
And all she says is, “Give me some skin.” Mop!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Now she wants to swing, the Highland Fling
She says that Benzedrine’s the thing that makes her spring.

Ah, spring it now .
There’s a second verse
It’s called, “Who put the Nembutals in Mr. Murphy’s overalls?
I don’t know

She buys a can of Ovaltine, most every week or so
And she always keeps an extra can on hand
Just in case that she runs low
She never, ever been so happy, since she left old Ireland
‘Till someone prowled her pantry,sure and tampered with her can. Wham!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Sure was a shame, don’t know who’s to blame
Cause the old lady didn’t even get his name

Where did she get that stuff
Now she just can’t get enough
It might have been the man who wasn’t there
No Jack, that guy’s a square

She never ever wants to go to sleep
She says that everything is solid all reet
Now Mr. Murphy don’t know what it’s all about
Cause she went and threw the old man out.  Clout!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Now she wants to swing the Highland Fling
She says that Benzedrine’s the thing that makes her spring


©1947 by Harry “The Hipster” Gibson, all rights reserved.

This became Son House’s signature song, and it was based on a number of songs that came before it. Our version, as usual, is NOTHING like his. But it gets the right mood, and can be scary as hell!

Woke up this morning, got a letter that read
Said, “Hurry, hurry, the girl you love is dead.”
Woke up this morning, got a letter that read
Said, “Hurry, hurry, the girl you love is dead.”

I packed up my suitcase, and took off down the road.
When I got there she was lying stiff and cold.
I packed up my suitcase, and took off down the road.
When I got there she was lying stiff and cold.

Kissed her forehead, right where she lay
I said “My love, I’ll see you on the Judgement Day.”
Kissed her forehead, right where she lay
I said “Oh my love, I’ll see you on the Judgement Day.”

There was 10,000 people at her buryin ground.
I didn’t know I loved her til they lowered her down.
There was 10,000 people at her buryin ground.
I didn’t know I loved her til they lowered her down.

There was just four women I love in my life
My mother, my sister, that woman and my wife
There was just four women I love in my life
My mother, my sister, that woman and my wife

Hush, I hear her calling my name
It ain’t too loud, just sweet and plain
Hush, I hear her calling my name
It ain’t too loud, just sweet and plain

Woke up this morning, got a letter that read
Said, “Hurry, hurry, the girl you love is dead.”
Woke up this morning, got a letter that read
Said, “Hurry, hurry, the girl you love is dead.”


©1965 Son House, all rights reserved.

Recorded in 1961, this quickly became a blues standard – but pop bands played it, too! A straight forward version of the classic, recorded live at Stonybrook University.

Boom boom boom boom
Gonna shoot you right down
Take you in my arms
I’m in love with you
Love that is true
Boom boom boom boom

I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
When you walk that walk
And you talk that talk
You knock me out
Right off my feet

I need you now
I mean right now
I don’t mean tomorrow
I mean right now
Come on, come on
Come on and shake it up

Come on and shake (shake it baby)
Shake it up baby (shake it baby)
You drive me crazy (shake it baby)
Shake it up baby (shake it baby)
Come on, come on (shake it baby)
Yeah, yeah


©1961 John Lee Hooker/All Rights Reserved

Not My Circus, Not My Monkey

NOT MY CIRCUS, NOT MY MONKEY

Released: 2020

This album contains ten new original songs, and one cover (done in the Hitman Blues Band style). Featuring captivating vocals, blistering solos, and a rhythm section pushing a consistently intense groove, it also boasts captivating lyrics ranging from light hearted to tragic. The recording starts off with “Not My Circus, Not My Monkey”, a line you’ll probably be using regularly from now on. This is followed by the tongue in cheek “Buy That Man A Drink”, as it’s far from an act of charity. Then comes a complete re-working of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, including all new lyrics that stay true to the spirit of the original. Keeping with Mr. Johnson, there is “John The Revelator” performed in a unique Hitman Blues Band style – and imagining that other gods stop by and reveal their own end-of-times scenarios to John. The heart wrenching ballad “No Place Like Home” offers somber reflection, and then comes a version of Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” like you’ve never heard it before. The groove infused “You Can’t Say No” is followed by the light hearted come-on of “Walk With You”, which sets up the attempt to explain overpowering love in “You Don’t Understand”. The album takes a turn back to the late 1950’s influenced “Everybody But Me”, a comic take on hipster loneliness. The closing tune is the anthem for every artist who pushes on no matter what, “Go Down Fighting”.

LYRICS

Paul Gilmore turned me on to this saying, which has now become my “go to” phrase. It might become yours, too…

I met this lady with a winning smile
We had some drinks and then we talked awhile
She leaned in close and whispered in my ear
“I hope my boyfriend doesn’t show up here”

She said her ex had kind of lost his mind
On top of that, he was the jealous kind
Special forces, till they kicked him out”
Then she looked around to see if he’s about
She said “be ready, things might get funky”
 I said,
“Whoa, not my circus, not my monkeys”

Monkey see, monkey do
Monkey see, but I’m not you

I got a burger from the all-night stand
This guy walks over with an open hand
He says “hey buddy, can you spare some change?
I haven’t eaten and I’m feeling strange”

I said “pick something” but he shook his head
“if you don’t mind, I’d rather have the bread” Um hm,
 “if you could spare just a little more
I’ll take you someplace where we both could score”
Now, I’m no angel, but I ain’t no junkie,
 I said,
“Not my circus, not my monkeys”

Monkey see, monkey do
Monkey see, but I’m not you

I like to think that I’m a caring man
And we’re all part of a bigger plan
But sometimes when it’s said and done
You got to grab your things and run

The general contractor had a worried frown
He said that ceiling’s got to come on down
But all his crew  had a day of rest
And he was trying just to do his best

He pointed up, pointed way up high
Where even pigeons were afraid to fly
Asked me to climb up there and risk my skin
I said “Buddy, I’m just here to plug stuff in
I’d like to help you, but I ain’t that spunky
Not my circus, not my monkey”


©2020 Russell Alexander, Paul Gilmore / All Rights Reserved

There’s a routine for loudmouth hecklers:
One more drink, and that guy’s gonna lose his last brain cell. Hey bartender? I’d like to buy that man a drink. I thought it would make a charming song.

There’s a guy who’s yelling and acting wild
Looking for trouble and getting riled
One more drink, hit the spot
He’ll lose what little brain he’s got
I’m gonna buy that man a drink
I’m gonna buy that man a drink
I got money out
To buy that man a drink

Rude to the ladies and the men
Barkeep tells me he’s the boss’s friend
His brain’s so damaged from wine and gin,
One more drink gonna do him in
I’m gonna buy that man a drink
I’m gonna buy that man a drink
I got money out
To buy that man a drink

Everybody’s got a point of view
Being drunk doesn’t make it true
Call his friends at 3 am
To say he loves them, again and again

Fancy clothes expensive shoes
Screams while I’m trying to sing the blues
One more drink, scotch or rye
Kiss his last brain cell goodbye
I’m gonna buy that man a drink
I’m gonna buy that man a drink
I got money out
To buy that man a drink


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

This is based on the famous tune that Blind Willie Johnson recorded in 1927. I changed the lyrics on the verses, and the general feel of the song, but I hope I kept the original emotion.

Nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
Now if I should die and my soul gets lost,
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

My mama taught me how to pray
My mama taught me how to pray
Now if I don’t pray and my soul gets lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

My daddy taught me how to think
My daddy taught me how to think
Now if I don’t think and my mind gets lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

My brother taught me to be good
My brother taught me to be good
Now if I choose bad and my life is lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

I should drink water and not wine
I should drink water and not wine
Now if I drink wine and my love gets lost
It’s nobody’s fault but mine

Nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
Now if I should die and my soul gets lost,
It’s nobody’s fault but mine


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved
Based on the traditional performed by Blind Willie Johnson

Another famous traditional that Blind Willie Johnson recorded. Aside from changing the melody and chords, I wondered:
What if John of Patmos was writing the Book Of Revelations, and some of the other gods stopped by? And told him their versions of the end of times?

Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


John was writing, Buddha came by
Seven suns gonna fill the sky
Every creature will have to die


Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


Brahma laughed and shook his head
Many cycles until I’m dead
Keep in mind the things I said


Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


Odin said the worlds are nine
Ragnorok will come in time
Death will rise and I’ll face mine


Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


Mahdi came to take a look
Said “you’ve written quite a book”
When I appear you’re off the hook”    

     
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals

Who’s that? Who’s that?
John the Revelator
Who’s that? Who’s that?
John the Revelator
Who’s that? Who’s that?
John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved
Based on the traditional performed by Blind Willie Johnson

Many people regard the house they grew up in as “home”. And so it remains for awhile, but after both parents pass on, the heart and soul of it is gone. The same may be true when you lose a spouse and the place that you belonged to is now an empty shell.

And this was home
The place where I became
What I am today
The place you couldn’t stay

And this was home
They say you can’t go back
The colors run to black
And now I know

There’s no place like home
Not in this world
Not anymore
There’s no place like home
No bridge left to burn
No return
Now you’re gone
There’s no place like home

And this was home
The harsh doorway light
The uncertain nights
With no dawn in sight

And this was home
I hear your refrain
The echoes remain
But now I know

There’s no place like home
Not in this world
Not anymore
There’s no place like home
No bridge left to burn
No return
Now you’re gone
There’s no place like home

There is a hope within
That we may meet again
But who can say if that will be?

There’s no place like home
Not in this world
Not anymore
There’s no place like home
No bridge left to burn
No return
Now you’re gone
There’s no place like home


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

The Bob Dylan classic, done in the Hitman Blues Band style. This song is as relevant now as it was the day it was written.

Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam
Admit that the waters around you have grown
Accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If time to you is worth saving
You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
The times, they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
The times, they are a-changin’

Congressmen, senators, please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There’s a fire outside and it’s ragin’
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
The times, they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you won’t lend your hand
The times, they are a-changin’


©1963 Robert Dylan / All Rights Reserved

People go to fortune tellers to learn the future – maybe hoping they can change it. But one thing Greek tragedies tell us – repeatedly – is that your destiny cannot be changed. That may or may not be true, but one thing is for sure:
When life comes calling, you can’t say no.

Whoa, oh,oh, oh, oh
Whoa, oh,oh, oh, oh

You can’t fight it,
You can’t fight it
When life comes calling
You can’t say no
You can’t stop it
You can’t stop it
When life takes over
You can’t say no
You can’t say no

You can’t dodge it
You can’t dodge it
When fate comes calling
You can’t say no
You can’t lose it
You can’t lose it
Fate will find you
You can’t say no
You can’t say no


You find out
As you go
You’ll get through
But you can’t say no

Whoa, oh,oh, oh, oh
Whoa, oh,oh, oh, oh

You can’t stall it
You can’t stall it
When time comes calling
You can’t say no
You can’t slow it
You can’t slow it
When time comes calling
You can’t say no
You can’t say no


You find out
As you go
You’ll get through
But you can’t say no


When the blues comes calling
When the blues comes calling
When the blues comes calling
Well, you know
Too well, you know
Yes, you know


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

This is a silly, fun song. We’ve all been there – you see an attractive person, and unless you’re a horrific jerk, you play it cool. Dinner? Maybe. Dancing? Perhaps. But first, how about just taking a walk and getting to know each other?

You are a beauty
An innovator
You might have heard I’m
An operator
A whiskey hero
A hot mess
Well I don’t drink anymore
But I don’t drink any less

Just one thing I wish that you and I could do
Here’s my hand I want to take a walk with you

Down on the Main Street
Or by the lakeside
Out by the ball field
And watch the home pride
It doesn’t matter
If we’re together
Talking ‘bout life
Or talking ‘bout the weather

That’s the thing I wish that you and I could do
Here’s my hand I want to take a walk with you

People don’t change
But they can change their minds
Leave old habits and sins behind
I’ve been low
But never down
The thought of you brings me around

I’m not implying
I’ll make advances
I’m only trying
I’ll take my chances
Let’s cut the cards
And spin the wheel
Walk down the lane
I can tell you how I feel

That’s the thing I wish that you and I could do
Here’s my hand I want to take a walk with you


©2020 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

Yes, love is grand. But sometimes one partner may not understand how much they affect the other one. It can be a positive, or a negative – or both…

You
You don’t
You don’t know, what you do to me

Chained to the blues
Till I met you
Drowning on dry land
It’s a cold and angry world
When no-one understands

I’m just a low born
Love torn
Struck by a hole in my heart
I’ve been put down
Pushed ‘round
You keep me from tearing apart

You don’t understand
Me
You don’t know, what you do to me

When you smile
My legs go weak
And all my anger fades
But when we fight
My heart might break
If my love should be betrayed

I’m just a low born
Love torn
Struck by a hole in my heart
I’ve been put down
Pushed ‘round
You keep me from tearing apart

You don’t understand
Me
You don’t know, what you do to me


©2020 Russell Alexander/All Rights Reserved

I wrote this as a jazz song in 1998, with lush strings (and a more explicit title). After doing it as a trio, I was encouraged to make a blues version for this album. I think everybody has felt like this at some point in their lives, so here’s the good news – it won’t stay that way.

I see it in their faces
The smiles when they come in
They don’t have to tell me
I know where they’ve been
It’s not a secret
In fact it’s plain to see
I can’t find the reason
Everybody’s getting some but me

The old man on the corner
The young man in the rain
The bagboy at the grocers’
Who does nothing but complain
They’ve all been seeing action
I’m lonely as can be
What is their strange attraction
Everybody’s getting some but me

Spring is full of love I hear
But it’s a mystery
Wrapped in chains and leather
Does she wait somewhere for me?

The girls I know all tell me
I’m really quite a guy
And if they weren’t married
They might give me a try
I’m feeling so abandoned
It’s almost by decree
My hand is no companion
Everybody’s getting some but me
Everybody’s getting some but me


©1998 Russell Alexander/All Rights Reserved

One day I was feeling sorry for myself and took the luxury of wallowing in self pity for about five minutes. Then a voice in my head cut in and said “Shut the f**k up, asshole. You made your choices. If you’re going to go down, go down fighting.”

And I thought, “hey, that would make a good song.” I hope you like it.

Too old
Too late
Missed my chance
Out of date
Must be foolish
Or naive
Past my prime
Better leave

I hear them say that I can’t win
But if this is the end
I’ll go down fighting
I’ll keep swinging
In the silence
I’ll be singing
I go down fighting

Success
Passed me by
Not cause I
Didn’t try
Slowing down
Feeling pain
Can’t go through it
All again

But every time I want to quit
I say if this is it
I’ll go down fighting
I’ll keep swinging
In the silence
I’ll be singing
I go down fighting

Knock me down a thousand times
I’ll give it one more try
I’ll go down fighting

Out of touch
Out of time
Say I’m out
Of my mind
I’ve been hurt
Been misled
Still the dreams
In my head

Every time I get denied
Shout my battle cry
I’ll go down fighting

No quiet exit from the scene
I’ll stand my ground and scream
I’ll go down fighting
I’ll keep swinging
In the silence
I’ll be singing
I go down fighting


©2020 Russell Alexander/All Rights Reserved

Playing To The Crowd

PLAYING TO THE CROWD

Released: 2017

Playing To The Crowd, performed by the Russell “Hitman” Alexander of the Hitman Blues Band, contains five original songs and six covers of tunes he loves.  This ranges from Harry “The Hipster” classic song “Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine” to an updated version of “Mole In The Ground”, considered one of the precursors to bluegrass.

Hitman’s humor shines through on songs like “Aging Out”, bemoaning the ravages of getting old, and what is apparently a very wicked gentleman “Playing To The Crowd”.  He’s so good, you may never leave his establishment…

Click the order button below and get your instant download copy of “Playing To The Crowd”. You’ll see why reviewers from Blues In Britain, Blues Matters, Bluebird, Cashbox, and many others gives rave reviews like “The Hitman Blues Band will make you glad that music exists!” – MusikReviews

“ A fun, solo outing by Hitman showing off his acoustic chops and off-beta! ” – BLUES TODAY

LYRICS

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson was a fellow at the Julliard Graduate School, but his actual playing style was a mix of boogie, stride, jazz, and ragtime – combined with, um, shall we say, “unorthodox” lyrics. He was a force of nature at the piano in both playing and performance. Having grown up near Harlem, he spoke the way everyone in uptown New York spoke – jive.

This song, while it gave him notoriety, also landed him on the music industry blacklist – putting his career into decline. But he kept performing, and actually switched to rock in the 1960’s, then hard rock in the 1970s.

Look online to find other great songs by Harry, as well as a biographical movie short called “Boogie In Blue”. And read the Wikipedia entry on him for more info.

Mrs. Murphy couldn’t sleep
Her nerves were slightly off the beat
Until she solved her problem
With a can of Ovaltine
She drank a cupful most every night
And oooo how she would dream
Until something rough got in the stuff
And made her neighbors scream. OW!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Sure was a shame, don’t know who’s to blame
Cause the old lady didn’t even get his name
Where did she get that stuff?
Now she just can’t get enough
It might have been the man who wasn’t there
Now Jack, that guy’s a square

She stays up nights making all the rounds
They say she lost about 69 pounds
Now Mr. Murphy claims she’s getting awful thin
And all she says is, “Give me some skin.” Mop!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Now she wants to swing, the Highland Fling
She says that Benzedrine’s the thing that makes her spring.

Ah, spring it now .
There’s a second verse
It’s called, “Who put the Nembutals in Mr. Murphy’s overalls?
I don’t know

She buys a can of Ovaltine, most every week or so
And she always keeps an extra can on hand
Just in case that she runs low
She never, ever been so happy, since she left old Ireland
‘Till someone prowled her pantry,sure and tampered with her can. Wham!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Sure was a shame, don’t know who’s to blame
Cause the old lady didn’t even get his name

Where did she get that stuff
Now she just can’t get enough
It might have been the man who wasn’t there
No Jack, that guy’s a square

She never ever wants to go to sleep
She says that everything is solid all reet
Now Mr. Murphy don’t know what it’s all about
Cause she went and threw the old man out.  Clout!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?
Now she wants to swing the Highland Fling
She says that Benzedrine’s the thing that makes her spring


©1947 by Harry “The Hipster” Gibson, all rights reserved.

Getting old ain’t for sissies. All those injuires you forgot about grab you by the hand and body slam you. You take drugs to stay alive, instead of living to take drugs.

And they don’t even give you a buzz.

And you have to get healthy if you don’t want to end up with an aide helping you to go to the bathroom. Exercise, eat right, stay fit. Party time is over.

Maybe just one scotch.

Or two.

Woke up one morning, I was feeling down
Called up the doctor, he said “come around”
You’re not as young as you used to be
We haven’t seen you here since ‘93
When I got there they handed me a stack
“Fill out these papers and then bring them back
There’s lots of things about you we don’t know
Just write it in and then away we go”

They checked my pulse and it was 109
They check me back there where the sun don’t shine
They checked my liver and they checked my tongue
They told me “Mister, we’ve just begun”

Don’t bother me, I don’t have the time
This aging out is weighing on my mind
Don’t bother me, am I doing fine
This aging out is getting too unkind

My back is aching, I can’t see my toes
My stomach’s growing like my ears and nose
My hair is sprouting where it shouldn’t be
My knees feel like someone is stabbing me
Fell off a bike when I was 24
I said “I’m fine” and then I rode some more
My body hid it for a long long time
Now it’s reminding me I wasn’t fine

I’m taking Ambien and Synthroid too
A bunch of Klonipin to see me through
Lasix and Lipitor, I don’t know why
None of this garbage even gets me high

Don’t bother me, I don’t have the time
This aging out is weighing on my mind…

They’re saying that I have to cut out meats
Stop drinking coffee and don’t touch the sweets
A glass of wine is cool, but only one
Be sure to stop if it starts getting fun
If I should do cocaine my heart will fry
Don’t drink a scotch unless I want to die
Count up my calories and hit the gym
It would be easier to pack it in

I used to party out from bar to bar
Now I get sleepy from a PBR
Look in the mirror at the man I see
Who is that geezer looking back at me?

Don’t bother me, I don’t have the time
This aging out is weighing on my mind…

Hey you kids, get off my lawn
They don’t write good songs anymore
These kids don’t know nothin’


©2017 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved