music/lyrics


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MUSIC/LYRICS

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

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

If you’re lucky, you find someone like this in your life.

I’ve been awake too many nights
Waiting for sleep to overtake me
Carried my load down that long winding road
The one that I swore wouldn’t break me
Time is going faster
Days slipping by
She’s here, and still I don’t know why

She my Angel in the Shadows
My hero on the run
Keeps me holding on
When all the hope is gone
I got caught up in the riptide
I was lost out at sea
She’s the Angel in the Shadows for me

I spend my days with a smile on my face
Oh, I keep my friends amused
But late at night, all the memories crowd back in
Of people, using and misused
And yes, I’ve been forsaken
And yes, I’ve been alone
And looking for a light to guide me home

She my Angel in the Shadows
My hero on the run
Keeps me holding on
When all the hope is gone
I got caught up in the riptide
I was lost out at sea
She’s the Angel in the Shadows for me

And if confusion follows me
And debt and worry keep me company
When nobody knows the pain inside of me
She knows

And when I think about it
The way things might have been
Mistakes made, again and again and again

She my Angel in the Shadows
My hero on the run
Keeps me holding on
When all the hope is gone
I got caught up in the riptide
I was lost out at sea
She’s the Angel in the Shadows for me


©2003 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

This classic song by Blind Blake has been covered by hundreds of artists. His playing style has inspired artists from Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna) to Ry Cooder to Leon Redbone.

Take a bit of time and look him up, and listen to some of his recordings. He only recorded from 1926 to 1932, and in that time he recorded 80 tunes. Those recordings had an enormous effect on future generations of guitarists.

There’s a great big mystery
And it sure is worrying me
This diddy wah diddy, diddy wah diddy
I wish somebody’d tell me what
Diddy wah diddy means

A little girl ’bout four feet four
She said Hitman give me some more of your
Dddy wah diddy, diddy wah diddy
I wish somebody’d tell me what
Diddy wah diddy means

I went out and walked around
Somebody yelled “look who’s in town”
Mr. Diddy wah diddy, diddy wah diddy
I wish somebody’d tell me what
Diddy wah diddy means

Got on a bus, put my hat on the seat
Lady sat on it, said “you sure are sweet”
Mr. Diddy wah diddy, diddy wah diddy
I wish somebody’d tell me what
Diddy wah diddy means

I said “honey, I’ll soon be gone
Just give me that thing you’re sitting on”
My diddy wah diddy, my diddy wah diddy
I wish somebody’d tell me what
Diddy wah diddy means


©1929 by Blind Blake, public domain.

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.

Stop That Dancing Up There is like nothing else written at it’s time. Funny, quirky, and clearly insane, yet not “cutsie” like some other novelty tunes of the period, it shows how far ahead of his time Gibson was.

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.

I was standing on the corner, in the middle of the block
I saw a lady standing there, sitting on a rock
As she began to talk, I ran as fast as I could walk,
I heard her shout “Look out! Stop that dancing up there!”

I was strolling through the park in the middle of the night
The night was very dark cause the sun was shining bright
I spied a lark and the lark began to bark,
“Stop that dancing up there!”

Some folks say that I’m insane
And just as goofy as can be
But they’re all wrong, I’m all right
Everybody’s crazy but me

I’m living in the cellar, on the 7th floor
I can’t go to sleep ’till I hear myself snore
Now the people downstairs say I’m an awful square
When I shout, “Hey, stop that dancing up there!”


©1943 by Harry “The Hipster” Gibson, all rights reserved.

You can see a video I made for this song (with full instrumentation) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6_TLaa-AVc

During one of the tours in the UK, I stopped and spent time looking at a war memorial. I noticed that, in WW1, there would be groups of people with the same surname – indicating that an entire male generation of a family had been wiped out.

Then, under the WW2 section, there would be some of the same surnames. I thought “what kind of courage did it take to go to war against the same enemy, in the same countries, that had decimated your family?”

My mom grew up in wartime London. I’ve never asked her about who she lost, and the few times I asked what it was like she would say things like “we would go down to the shelters, and the next day the houses that had been there were gone”.

But I wrote this to honor those brave men and women whose names are now etched in stone. One day, when you pass by a memorial, take a few moments and read them.

Every one.

On a little street, in this little town
There’s a wooden bench, where the men sit down
You can see the names there,
Etched in stone
Of the men who died with their helmets on
There’s my father’s name, he died much too young
But here I go, I’m my father’s son
And if I don’t return to you
Make sure my name is up there too

Well they said that his would end all wars
So he left my mom, for a noble cause
And he wrote and told her everything
And she keeps his letters tied up with string
And now I’m told to serve with pride
In the killing fields where my father died
And if I don’t come back to you
Make sure my name is up there too

Do you ever stop, do you ever see?
Will you walk on by, or remember me
Will you look up close, and read every one
Do you see the fathers and the sons?
Do you see the fathers and the sons?

(play intro chords)

Well they cut him down with a dozen men
In the filthy trench that they’d won again
And the men who killed him died there too
When the next assault came charging through
Will I fight the sons of the very men
Who slew my father way back then
And what will happen if I do
Will I find my way back home to you?

Do you ever stop, do you ever see?
Will you walk on by, or remember me
Will you look up close, and read every one
Do you see the fathers and the sons?
Do you see the fathers and the sons?

And if I don’t come back to you
Make sure my name is up there too


©2015 by Russell Alexander, All Rights Reserved.

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.

There’s an old joke among musicians that hell would be condemned to play “If” in a cocktail lounge – forever. No breaks or holidays, and you’d have to play that one song, over and over.

But what if the Devil was the musician, and was actively looking for new customers? What if it looked just like any corner bar?

How about stopping by for a drink? Don’t worry, you can leave any time you like…

Have some wine
Have some gin
Always open, walk right in
I’ll be here just playing to the crowd

Fish is fresh
Steaks are thick
Hardly no one comes out sick
I’ll be here just playing to the crowd

There might be a fight or two
But take that stuff outside
We’ve had lots of trouble here
But no one’s ever died (well they can’t)

Pretty girls and
Handsome men
Come inside you’ll fit right in
I’ll be here just playing to the crowd

Prices posted
Plain to see
Love and heartache come for free
I’ll be here just playing to the crowd

I can play the songs you loved
When you were young and free
Every dream you ever had
Still can come to be

Saints and sinners
Devils too
Angels dance the hoochie koo
I’ll be here just playing to the crowd

Stay an hour
Or through the eve
You don’t ever have to leave
I’ll be here just playing to the crowd


©2017 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

Mole In The Ground is a traditional American folk song. One of the early famous recordings was by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928. A friend of mine, who plays bluegrass professionally, told me it is considered one of the first two bluegrass tunes ever written, although I can’t find any verification for this. Bluegrass, as a genre, wasn’t referred to as such until the late 1950’s.

At any rate, I heard the song performed by Serious Sam Barrett and David Broad on their “Live At Cafe Lento” release (check it out, it’s great!) While I love the way they do it, I, *ahem*, “updated” it a bit.

I wish I was a mole in the ground.
Yes, I wish I was a mole in the ground.
If I was a mole in the ground, I’d sap that building down,
And I wish I was a mole in the ground.

Oh, Jenny wants a five dollar shawl.
Yes, Kimpy wants a five dollar shawl.
When I come o’er the hill with a fifty dollar bill,
‘Tis, “Baby, where you been so long?”

I been in the jail so long.
Yes, I been in the jail so long.
I been in the jail with to throw my bail.
That’s where I been so long

Jenny, let your hair roll down.
Jenny let your hair roll down.
Let your hair roll down every time I come around.
Jenny, let your hair roll down.

I don’t like a railroad man.
No, I don’t like a railroad man.
Well that railroad man, he’ll kill you when he can,
And drink up your blood like wine.

I wish I was a mole in the ground.
Yes, I wish I was a mole in the ground.
If I was a mole in the ground, I’d tear that building down,
I wish I was a mole in the ground.


© Traditional, public domain.

This is based on the traditional Irish folk song, “Seven Drunken Nights”, itself based on the Scottish folk song “Our Goodman” – from the 1770s! Seems this kind of thing has been going on for a loooonnnnnnggggg time. Since then, it’s been redone as “Four Nights Drunk”, “The Drunk Cowboy” (which is Russian!), and Delbert McClinton did his own version. There are LOTS of others, too.

This is the way I heard it, but I made various changes in items and days of the week, as well as the melody. Thanks to my lovely wife, Joanne, for doing the lady’s part – where she has to come up with an excuse each night.

I got home last Monday
I was drunk as a man could be
There was a car sitting in my driveway
Where my car is suppose to be

I said wake up, baby
Please explain all this all to me
Why’s there a car sitting in my driveway
Where my car is suppose to be

She said: honey, you must be crazy
If you’d open up your eyes you’d see
There ain’t nothing but a wagon
That my grandmother gave to me

I’ve been all over the world
I’ve been to the Gulf Of Mexico
I ain’t  never seen a wagon
With a fenders and headlights before.

I got home last Tuesday
I was drunk as a man could be
There was a coat hanging in my closet
Where my coat was supposed to be

I said wake up, baby
Please explain all this all to me
Why is there a coat hanging in my closet
Where my coat is supposed to be

She said: honey, you must be crazy
If you’d open up your eyes you’d see
There ain’t nothing but a blanket
That my sister gave to me

I’ve been all over the world
I’ve been to the Gulf Of Mexico
I ain’t never seen a blanket
With a collar and buttons before

I got home last Wednesday
I was drunk as a man could be
There was a hat sitting on my dresser
Where my hat is supposed to be

I said wake up, baby
Please explain all this all to me
Why is there a hat sitting on my dresser
Where my hat is supposed to be

She said: honey, you must be crazy
If you’d open up your eyes you’d see
That ain’t nothing but a wash bag
That my brother gave to me

I’ve been all over the world
I’ve been to the Gulf Of Mexico
I ain’t never seen a wash bag
With a brim and a feather before.

I got home last Thursday
I was drunk as a man could be
There were boots underneath my bed
Where my boots are supposed to be

I said wake up, baby
Please explain all this all to me
Why are there boots underneath my bed
Where my boots are supposed to be?”

She said: honey, you must be crazy
If you’d open up your eyes you’d see
That ain’t nothing but a breadbox
That my father gave to me

I’ve been all over the world
I’ve been to the Gulf Of Mexico
I ain’t never seen a breadbox
With heels and laces before.

I got home last Friday
I was drunk as a man could be
There was a head lying on my pillow
Where my head is supposed to be
I said wake up, baby
Please explain all this all to me
Why are there a head lying on my pillow
Where my head is supposed to be?”

She said: honey, you must be crazy
If you’d open up your eyes you’d see
That ain’t nothing but a pumpkin
That my mother gave to me

Well, I’ve been all over the world
I’ve been to the Gulf Of Mexico
I ain’t never seen a pumpkin
With eyebrows and a beard before.

Yes, I’ve been all over the world
I’ve been to the Gulf Of Mexico
Now you can take your pumpkin, and your breadbox, and your wash bag
And head right out the door!


©2017 Russell Alexander/All Rights Reserved

I wanted to end off with a little tune – and here it is. Don’t read too much into it – it’s not a death song, or an epilog. It’s just – a little tune before I go.

I’ve been thinking
What to do
When time is running low
Just a little
Tune before I go

And I’ve been wondering
What to say
Something you don’t know
Just a little
Tune before I go

Kings and queens
And silver spoons
It all comes down to this
When the hourglass runs out
The scythe will never miss

I’ve been thinking
‘Bout the road
It may be high or low
Just a little
Tune before I go

Trying hard
To understand
The meaning of it all
What will be
The final act
Before the curtain call?

I’ve been thinking
What to do
When time is running low
Just a little
Tune before I go


©2017 Russell Alexander/All Rights Reserved

THE WORLD MOVES ON

Released: 2016

The World Moves On, performed by the New York based Hitman Blues Band, contains seven new original songs, one cover (done in the Hitman Blues Band style) and five reworked original songs. These reworked tunes have the Hitman Blues Band horn and backup vocalist sections added, and have been remixed and remastered.

The players feature such luminaries as Kevin Bents (Spin Doctors, Boz Scaggs, Phoebe Snow), Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, B.B. King, Joe Cocker – to name just a few), Bobby Forrester (Ruth Brown, Lena Horne), Ray Alexander (George Shearing, Stan Getz, Mel Torme), and Richard Crooks (Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen), to name a few.

The Hitman Blues Band plays modern blues, which can be high energy, slow and soulful, or happy boogie. It’s modern blues – blues of the 21st century.

Click the order button below and get your instant download copy of “The World Moves On”. 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

“The Hitman knocks this one out of the park.” – SMOKEY MOUNTAIN BLUES

LYRICS

When I was (much) younger, I faced a choice as to which direction I would take. I chose one way, some friends chose the other.

For the ones that are still alive, they find themselves older, usually in trouble, and unable to understand why their lives went into the crapper. They still make the same mistakes, and probably always will.

As Dicken’s ghost of Marley says in “A Christmas Carol”, they forged their chains link by link. Maybe at some point they’ll get a visit from three ghosts…

Well if I knew now what I didn’t know then
I wouldn’t be back in this place again
With blood on my face and a drink in my hand
And a gun in my back from a one night stand

I’m a bad bad man
I can’t deny it
I’m a bad bad man
That’s just the way I am
I’m a bad bad man
Why try and fight it
Love a bad bad man

Well if I go home they’ll be waiting for me
I’ll get big numbers and never be free
I’m getting too old to stay in this game
There’s no one but me I can say is to blame

I’m a bad bad man
I can’t deny it
I’m a bad bad man
That’s just the way I am
I’m a bad bad man
Why try and fight it
Love a bad bad man

I look at the houses, the yards and the kids
I know I’ve done things their folks never did
I’ve had that big money, been beat up and broke
Seen good times and bad times all go up in smoke

I’m a bad bad man
I can’t deny it
I’m a bad bad man
That’s just the way I am
I’m a bad bad man
Why try and fight it
Love a bad bad man


©2016 by Russell Alexander, all rights reserved.

Have you ever seen a beautiful girl, dressed to kill, who gave you a dirty look for staring at her?  Did you wish you could express what it feels like?  We’re all in that club.

Baby, are you hungry?
Well, I’ve got some chocolate right here
It’s thick and rich, it’ll scratch your itch
But let me make it perfectly clear
You can’t have none
And you’re bad, bad, bad, ’cause you want some
You can’t touch it
And you’re bad, bad, bad, ’cause you want it
And if you can’t understand
Well, that’s what it’s like to be a man

Baby, are you thirsty?
Well, I’ve got some soda right here
It’s bubbly and brown, it’ll cool you down
But let me make it perfectly clear
You can’t have none
And you’re bad, bad, bad, ’cause you want some
You can’t touch it
And you’re bad, bad, bad, ’cause you want it
And if you can’t understand
Well, that’s what it’s like to be a man

If a man’s just a man, well that’s all that I am
And girl, you’re keeping me on the run
When you bump and grind, I just lose my mind
But then you say it’s only in fun

Baby, are you tired?
Well, I’ve got a mattress right here
It’s comfy and soft, you can drift right off
But let me make it perfectly clear
You can’t have none
And you’re bad, bad, bad, ’cause you want some
You can’t touch it
And you’re bad, bad, bad, ’cause you want it
And if you can’t understand
Well, that’s what it’s like to be a man


©2003 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

Don’t come off all innocent like. You make my old hormones rage, and then ask a provocative question…

It’s a fun, silly song. I started off thinking I would write this in a Ralph Kramden interpretation (“Ooooh, don’t tempt me. One of these days, Alice – bang! Zoom!) but it didn’t sit right with me. This version is more more my style.

She comes up to me
Smile on her face
Coos “can you think of a
Nice warm place”
Wears her dress
Front cut low
Asks me where
I’d like to go

Don’t you tempt me baby
Honey you’ve been warned
Don’t you tempt me baby
I’m barely holding on

She got big brown eyes
Long blonde hair
And if it’s dyed
Well, I don’t care
She wears her skirt
Way up high
Asks what I’d like
To do tonight

Don’t you tempt me baby
Honey you’ve been warned
Don’t you tempt me baby
I’m barely holding on

She wants her coffee
While she lies in bed
And I’m running late
But she turns my head
Her voice is warm
Her lips are soft
When she turns me on
I can’t turn off

She wears a grin
Like a Cheshire Cat
‘Cause she always knows
Where my mind is at
I can talk
But it’s understood
She’ll say “put those lips
Where they’ll do some good”

Don’t you tempt me baby
Honey you’ve been warned
Don’t you tempt me baby
I’m barely holding on


©2016 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

This seems to be a relationship song – it’s not. It’s about quitting your job! Sort of a modern blues version of “Take This Job and Shove It”. But hey, if it applies to a relationship you’re getting out of, feel free to use it as your theme song!

Don’t look for me tomorrow
I’ll be moving on today
Don’t look for me tomorrow
I’ll be moving on today
I’ve had my share of sorrow
Thinking I’ll be on my way

Well I’ve had enough of trying
Will you notice when I’m gone
Well I’ve had enough of trying
Will you notice when I’m gone
All the double talk and lying
Thinking I’ll be moving on

You say how much you need me
But you only do me wrong
You say how much you need me
But you only do me wrong
No one else will free me
Oh, I’ll be moving on


©2016 by Russell Alexander and Mike Porter (music), Russell Alexander (lyrics), All Rights Reserved.

When a relationship is almost at the critical mass point, there should be some kind of buzzer to let you know. Maybe people can play this song, as a not too subtle hint.

This is your two minute warning
You’re very nearly out of time
You want some love and compassion
You’ve taken nearly all of mine
This is a tough situation
‘Cause I’ll love you till the day I die
This is your two minute warning
Before goodbye

This is last chance condition
You can’t expect that I’ll hold on
I’ve tried to keep the attraction
But you’ve beat it ’till it’s almost gone
This is a bad situation
‘Cause a broken heart can never mend
This is your two minute warning
Before the end

When it all began, I was under a spell
Now I can’t understand, how it started so well
Baby, whatever happened to us?

This is a hard conversation
But it’s one we should have had before
It seems like harsh confrontation
Is all we ever have anymore
Say you’ll work with me baby
Tell me that you’re gonna try
This is your two minute warning
Before goodbye


©2003 by Russell Alexander, all rights reserved.

Everything changes. Neighborhoods and entire cities come and go. People die. Values change. And like the 60’s song says, you may look at people and think “Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?”

But the world moves on. And, somehow, so do we.

Well, I knew this day was coming
Each beginning has an end
But it’s just too hard to face it
It’s so easy to pretend

Smiling faces caught forever
Living in a photograph
While the sun is dropping lower
As we hit the second half

And the world moves on
And the center is gone
And I can’t hold on
So the world moves on

Oh the good times I remember
I didn’t recognize them then
Now the buildings all are falling
And they can never rise again

And did I ever really thank you
Did you know how good you’ve done
I sing the blues after midnight
While shadows
Build up one by one

And the world moves on
And the center is gone
And I can’t hold on
So the world moves on


©2016 by Russell Alexander and Mike Porter (music), Russell Alexander (lyrics), All Rights Reserved.

Give an inch, somebody might take a mile. Until you have a nice, calm discussion about things…

Surprise, my baby, I know you been around (2x)
You’ve had it free and easy I’m gonna put the hammer down

Seems you just come home, then you’re going out again (2x)
Don’t you try and kiss me, I don’t know where those lips have been

Friends have been talkin’, you’ve been seen all over town (2x)
Well the good times are over I’m gonna put the hammer down

Don’t you make excuses, you know I gave you everything (2x)
Don’t you hear that hammer whistle? Don’t you hear that hammer sing?Well I may be a fool, but don’t you think that I’m blind (2x)
Gonna bring that hammer down, Lord, I’m gonna take what’s mine


©2002 by Russell Alexander, All Rights Reserved.

The whole song is a metaphor. Do you stay? Go? There’s always that pull – what’s over there? Something better? Something terrible? What are you going to decide?

There are two trains running
Runnin’ down the track
One pulled into the station
The other ain’t coming back

There are two birds flying
Flying from the storm
One of them rides the lightning
The other is safe and warm

Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
It’s do or die

Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on
We’re going to the other side

There are two roads winding
Winding through the mist
One will bring you safety
The other you can’t resist

Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
It’s do or die

Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on (we’re at the crossroads)
Come on
We’re going to the other side

There are two doors waiting
For you to try
One leads to the bedroom
The other leads to goodbye

Now there’s one train running
Running,  down the track
Will it ever pull into the station
Can it ever really come on back


©2016 by Russell Alexander and Mike Porter. All Rights Reserved.

It just keeps coming up. He’s got this, but he wants that. She did this, but wants to do the other. I’m happy just to play the blues, but a car that’s less than half my age would be nice, too.

Fun tune to record, and I got to hear my dad, Ray Alexander, stretch out a little bit. Johnny sounds like he’s playing an upright bass on this, but it’s actually a Fender.

Well a bug can’t lift a twig, for a dog it’s nothing big
But he don’t want to
And the dog can’t grab a cat, a raccoon can do all that
But he don’t want to
And I dream of you at night, while you hold your baby tight
But he don’t want you

You can see it in his eyes, from the way he tells you lies
That he don’t want you
He stays at work too long, and you beg him to come home
But he don’t want to
Girl I’d be so good for you, I know you could love me too
But you don’t want to

I got a black book full of numbers, of girls I’ll never call
They only make me think of you, you don’t think of me at all

A pig can’t eat a cow, that old bear could show him how
But he don’t want to
Now that bear can’t reach the bees, an eagle can with ease
But he don’t want to
Baby it’s a shame, your man calls someone else’s name
But girl I want you

He doesn’t love her, but she doesn’t care
I’m in the middle with my heart up in the air
It’s true, it’s like the old catch-22
‘Cause love is taking numbers
But the order’s gone askew


©1999 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

If you’re lucky, you find someone like this in your life.

I’ve been awake too many nights
Waiting for sleep to overtake me
Carried my load down that long winding road
The one that I swore wouldn’t break me
Time is going faster
Days slipping by
She’s here, and still I don’t know why

She my Angel in the Shadows
My hero on the run
Keeps me holding on
When all the hope is gone
I got caught up in the riptide
I was lost out at sea
She’s the Angel in the Shadows for me

I spend my days with a smile on my face
Oh, I keep my friends amused
But late at night, all the memories crowd back in
Of people, using and misused
And yes, I’ve been forsaken
And yes, I’ve been alone
And looking for a light to guide me home

She my Angel in the Shadows
My hero on the run
Keeps me holding on
When all the hope is gone
I got caught up in the riptide
I was lost out at sea
She’s the Angel in the Shadows for me

And if confusion follows me
And debt and worry keep me company
When nobody knows the pain inside of me
She knows

And when I think about it
The way things might have been
Mistakes made, again and again and again

She my Angel in the Shadows
My hero on the run
Keeps me holding on
When all the hope is gone
I got caught up in the riptide
I was lost out at sea
She’s the Angel in the Shadows for me


©2003 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

I debated whether to put what this song is about online. But here goes:

Unlike most of my songs, this didn’t happen to me, personally.

Thank G-d. I hope it never does.

It’s about a couple I read about. Married for 50 years. She was dying, in incredible pain, and nothing could be done. He took it upon himself to do the hardest thing anyone ever can – he helped her to pass. And a few hours later, he went to join her.

This may be what he thought of during the hours in between.

Jenny goodbye, Jenny goodbye
Jenny my love, we’ll be together tonight

Well I see that highway
I see that train
And I get to thinkin’
About an end to pain

Jenny goodbye, Jenny goodbye
Jenny my love, we’ll be together tonight

And our love was true
And our love was right
Now she’s gone
And I’ve lost the light

Jenny goodbye, Jenny goodbye
Jenny my love, we’ll be together tonight

Oh the hours are draggin’
The world’s in a mist
At the last she whispered
“Give me one more kiss”

Jenny goodbye, Jenny goodbye
Jenny my love, we’ll be together tonight

Our friends ask about you
They can see how I’m torn
Why does fortune hate me
Wish I’d never been born

Jenny goodbye, Jenny goodbye
Jenny my love, we’ll be together tonight

(I’ll be right on by)


© 2016 by Russell Alexander. All Rights Reserved.

Yes – it’s a blues love song.

I think it’s pretty self explanatory. If you have any questions, ask your significant other.

You
You took my breath away
Even as I
Walked out the door
But you know
That I’ll be back
‘Cause after all
I’m all about you

Oh by tomorrow
I’ll be right by your side
I’ll never leave you
God knows I’ve tried
You make me whole
And I can’t control
How I feel
I’m all about you

Say that you’re mine forever
Tell me you’ll stay by my side
It’s not my pride
I thought you knew
I’m always I’m all about you

It’s always so clear
But I miss it, now and then
That having you here
Is my life

Say that you’re mine forever
Tell me you’ll stay by my side
It’s not my pride
I thought you knew
After all, I’m all about you


©2016 by Russell Alexander and Kevin Rymer (music, Russell Alexander (lyrics). All Rights Reserved.

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.

BLUES ENOUGH

Released: 2011

Blues Enough, performed by the New York based Hitman Blues Band, contains eleven new original songs. With the addition of the horn section, this opened up the band to a whole new group of fans!

The Hitman Blues Band plays modern blues, which can be high energy, slow and soulful, or happy boogie. It’s modern blues – blues of the 21st century.

Click the order button below and get your instant download copy of “Blues Enough”. 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

“…This album is just so much fun!” – AMERICAN BLUES SCENE
“Superb album!” – LE CRI DU COYOTE (FRANCE)

LYRICS

Okay, so I got shanghai’d into judging a “King Of The Blues” contest. I was given a list of qualities to check off – ability, presence, originality, versatility, and there, at the end of the page. In capital letters. Bolded (sorry Arlo, couldn’t resist). Question 5 – Blues Content.

Is it blues enough for you?

The criteria sheet must have been written by a frustrated music critic…

Got a black cat bone
Got a mojo in my hand
Got a black cat bone
Got a mojo in my hand
Got the blues so bad
I can hardly even stand

(Chorus)
Is that blues enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it do enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it make the score
Do you want some more
Is that blues enough for ya?

No time to play
‘Cause I work my self to death
No time to play
‘Cause I work my self to death
And I’m running so fast
I can’t ever catch my breath

Is that blues enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it do enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it make the score
Do you want some more
Is that blues enough for ya?

Hard hard times
Don’t know what I’m going through
Hard hard times
Don’t know what I’m going through
Slept on the cold hard ground
By the age of 22

Is that blues enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it do enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it make the score
Do you want some more
Is that blues enough for ya?

Do I show enough pain
Do I bend the strings right
Is the bass too loose
Are the drums too tight?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?

Is that blues enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it do enough for ya?
Is that blues enough for ya?
Does it make the score
Do you want some more
Is that blues enough for ya?


©2011 by Russell Alexander, all rights reserved.

Sam “The Bluzman” Taylor was a beloved figure, not only on the New York blues scene, but around the world. He was generous with his time in teaching young musicians the ins and outs of the blues, and was a tireless entertainer.

Towards the end of his life, he kept performing. Often racked with pain, barely able to stand, he would come out on stage and play with the same energy and vitality that he always did – only his band knew how seriously ill he really was.

He was, and is, an inspiration to all performers of every style. The audience always deserves the best, and Sam always gave it to them.

When the crowd would start to cheer
That’s the Bluzman
When the music filled your ears
That’s the Bluzman
When your troubles left awhile
And everyone would start to smile
And you just couldn’t help but clap your hands

That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman
That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman
Oh the magic he would use
Then he’d tell you, “That’s the blues”
That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman

With his cap and his guitar
That’s the blues, man
Kept us yellin’ from the bar
“That’s the Bluzman”
Tell me, how can you feel down
When the Bluzman came to town
And he’d smile as he came on with the band

That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman
That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman
Oh the magic he would use
Then he’d tell you, “That’s the blues”
That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman

Now when things don’t look so bad
That’s the Bluzman
And through it all, you’re feeling glad
That’s the Bluzman
And the band begins to cook
You might want to take a look
‘Cause you just might see a glow up on the stand

That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman
That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman
Oh the magic he would use
Then he’d tell you, “That’s the blues”
Do your best each time you try
Or Sam be givin’ you the eye
When pain is more than you can stand
Just take your cue from Sam
That was Sam Sam Sam the Bluzman


©2010 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

Things going wrong there, Sparky? Ever think you might be making the same mistakes over and over?

Welcome to the club. But a bartender told me “Look, you don’t build a house on sand. You don’t tie a stone to a kite. If you want to catch fish, you got to go fishing where the fish are!”

Well I was feeling down cause I was broke again
I took a look around to figure where I’ve been
I read some magazines, I watch some interviews
And then my old bartender says “Son,
What you got to do”

Is go fishing where the fish are
Just go fishing where the fish are
Why do you drop your pole
Into an empty hole
Just go fishing where the fish are

You may be looking for money, you may be looking for fame
But you’re trying to get uptown on a downtown train
Now you’ve got the experience, and you’ve got all the facts
But you don’t seem to notice that you’re on the wrong track

Is go fishing where the fish are
Just go fishing where the fish are
Why do you drop your pole
Into an empty hole
Just go fishing where the fish are

Fishing where the fish are
Fishing where the fish are
Fishing where the fish are
Fishing where the fish are
Oh, oh,
Fishing where the fish are

You’ve been running and racing, you’ve been tearing around
And you don’t stop to notice if your feet on the ground
You’ve watching the sky studyin’ every cloud
But what you really want is lying right on the ground

Just go fishing where the fish are
Just go fishing where the fish are
Why do you drop your pole
Into an empty hole
Just go fishing where the fish are


©2010 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

There are a few definitions of “Backhand Drive”.

Get your mind out of the gutter – we’re using up all the room there already.

My baby said she loves that backhand drive
My baby said she loves that backhand drive
When she shifts I’m bound to lose my mind

She never keeps me waiting at the gate
She never keeps me waiting at the gate
My baby makes old Lazarus stand up straight

She shift it left
She shift it right
She drives all day
And rolls all night
My baby said she loves that backhand drive
When she shifts I’m bound to lose my mind

She rides it fast
She rides it slow
Any way I want to go
My baby said she loves that backhand drive
When she shifts I’m glad to be alive


©2011 by Russell Alexander /All Rights Reserved.

If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you know that it’s not just your heart. It feels like every part of you is shattered.

It’s not just my heart
That’s broken
It’s every piece of me

It’s not just my heart
That’s broken
I fell apart
When you walked out on me

There were so many times
I held you
And you told me things were alright
But when you thought
I was sleeping
I’d hear you crying in the night

I know you tried
You tried to love me
And I know that I
Was hard to understand
I didn’t show
How much I really needed you
Until you had to find another man

I hope you found someone
To make you happy
I wish that I had been that man
I ever find another love like you gave me
I’ll never lose that love again


©2011 by Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved.

Is it the way she moves? The way she talks? The way she smiles?

It’s everything she does…

Baby love the way you move
Baby love the way you move
When I see you walk
I want to have a talk with you (Wanna sit and talk with you)
Everything you do
Makes me fall in love with you

Baby love the way you sigh
Baby love the way you sigh
When you lick your lips it
Makes me want to kiss them dry
Everything you do
Makes me fall in love with you

Baby love to hold your hand
Baby love to hold your hand
When I feel your touch it
Thrills me just too much to stand
Everything you do
Makes me fall in love with you

Baby let your hair hang down
Baby let your hair hang down
Getting close to midnight
Time to let your love light out
Everything you do
Makes me fall in love with you
Everything you do
Crazy deep in love with you


©2011 by Russell Alexander, All Rights Reserved.

The lost people – they’re all around us. Yes, we’ve got problems – not enough money to pay the bills, lousy job, maybe nobody to love. But come with me and meet your neighbors on the streets of downtown.

Take a look at Tommy
On the empty sidewalk
Picking up bottles for a five cent win
His suit is ragged
His hair is shaggy
You’d never know what a fine man he’s been

Now you tell me you got nobody
And you’re looking for a sign
Come and take a walk with me
Through the streets of downtown
And I’ll show you
Some old friends of mine

Her name is Sandy
But she doesn’t know it
She won’t answer if you call out loud
She screams with laughter
She cries with anger
Picks up her shopping bags and gets lost in the crowd

There’s nameless people
In the heart of downtown
Was somebody’s lover, was somebody’s child
In the heat of summer
In the cold of winter
You pass right by them
But can you spare a dime?

There sits Leon
By the VA Center
He fought for his country
Left his soul in Vietnam
He thoughts are shaky
His limbs are aching
They don’t see the hero
Just another shabby man


©2011 by Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved.

She drives you crazy. His family is nuts. She doesn’t appreciate the finer points of beer. He doesn’t know how to take it easy.

But life’s too short to not love you.

I say red and you say black
I go forward and you step back
You say stop if I say go
You’re quick to say what I don’t know
I go left and you go right
I like day and you like night
If we can disagree we do
But life’s too short to not love you

I speed up and you slow down
I pass through, you go around
I drink beer and you like wine
We still have a crazy time
You like fancy, I like plain
I think your family’s are all insane
No matter what I think it’s true
Life’s too short to not love you

Can it work, do you suppose?
You got a ring right through my nose
You get mad and I walk out
From blocks away I hear you shout
I’m always right, I’m always wrong
You tell me just to go along
And still it’s just my point of view
Life’s too short to not love you


©2011 Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved

We may not look it, but we’re a pretty classy bunch. No more hanging out in the dives with 25 cent “leftover drink” specials, and the mystery meat free lunches.

Nope, we’re moving on up. We’re hanging out with a better class of bums.

I won’t be down at Lonnie’s
Won’t walk through Harry’s door
All the dives and sleazy bars
Won’t see me no more

I’m with a better class of bums
I drink a fancy kind of booze
I’m smoking big cigars
And drive expensive cars
But I still can’t get to you

The girls way down on Main Street
Will have to do without
They’ll have to find some other guy
‘Cause they won’t see me about

I’m with a better class of bums

Sammy at the news stand
The tears run from his eyes
He’s got piles of trashy magazines
‘Cause I only buy the Times

I’m with a better class of bums

I met up with your mama
I swept her off her feet
Your papa likes to call me Son
And your sister says I’m sweet

I’m with a better class of bums

How can I impress you
What else can I do?
I’ve shaved and bathed and dressed so fine
With patent leather shoes

I’m with a better class of bums


© 2011 by Russell Alexander. All Rights Reserved.

You lost her. Sure, you had your reasons. Mainly, the reason is that you’re an idiot. If you were deaf, dumb and blind at least you’d have an excuse…

If the sun
Had gone away
If after all this time
There was nothing left to say
I would beg your pardon
You would vindicate
But I must have been
Deaf, dumb and blind

If I couldn’t hear
The words you said
If I was all alone
Trapped inside my head
I could defend myself
Wouldn’t have to beg
But I must have been
Deaf, dumb and blind

But my words are spoken
The light hurts me so
My ears hear you tell me
Pack up and go

If my days
Were at an end
And I was leaving
Without a love or friend
I could take it
But don’t make me face again
That I must have been
Deaf, dumb and blind


©2011 by Russell Alexander / All Rights Reserved.

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.

PALE RIDER

Released: 2008

Pale Rider, performed by the New York based Hitman Blues Band, contains twelve new original songs. This is the CD that got the band into touring Europe!

The Hitman Blues Band plays modern blues, which can be high energy, slow and soulful, or happy boogie. It’s modern blues – blues of the 21st century.

Click the order button below and get your instant download copy of “Pale Rider”. 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

“Strong singing, a great sounding recording and precision playing!” – BLUES REVUE
“Biting leads, tasteful organ, great slide – a fine vocalist with impressive writing. Recommended!” – BLUES IN THE NORTHWEST (UK)