Move The Mess Around

by Jack Garton

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    Physical copy of Move The Mess Around on CD in gatefold digipack with photos by Lindsay Dakin and high quality print of painting by Herbert Draper, "Ulysses and the Sirens"

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credits

released August 23, 2016

all songs written by JF Garton (SOCAN)
all tracks MAPL
Performed by Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron
Produced by Steven Drake and Jack Garton
Recorded at Stone Canyon Studios, Vancouver BC, 2015
Engineered and mixed by Steven Drake

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Jack Garton Galiano Island, British Columbia

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Track Name: Straight Line
I heard about this place they call the straight and narrow road
it's paved and graded, silver-plated, cleared, surveyed and plowed
where all you cash goes in the bank, and only truth is said
and by nine o'clock each night you're fast asleep in your own bed
I'd love to walk there one day, God knows that I've tried
I'm just not used to walking in a straight line

Well I was driving home one night after another great show
bumped into a friend of mine, named officer Joe
his lights were flashing as he asked me, "Son, why you dashing so?
Why don't you come on over here and give this little thing a blow"
"I'd love to do that, Joe. God knows that I'm tryin',
I just can't seem to walk there in a straight line"

I met a girl one day, and I fell into her smile
we made that sacred promise to walk each other down the aisle
I swore I'd never falter, I promised to be true
that I'd meet her at the altar, and then stick to her like glue
well that's what I intend to do, God knows that I'm tryin'
I just can't seem to walk there in a straight line

I asked my mama, when I was a boy, "What's my special gift?"
she said, "Son, you're gonna be the one to give our brains and hearts a lift,
our heads are tired and fuzzy, those working days are long
and the rights are few and far between that make up for the wrongs.
I'd say this to you Johnny, even if you weren't my own,
someday everybody's gonna know your name, they'll flock to you in throngs
because we need a boy like you, who can sing a perfect song
that lifts us up to that higher place where we belong"
well, mama I'll get there one day, God knows that I'm tryin'

I just can't seem to walk there in a straight line
Track Name: Better Late Than Never
I tried to build you a house out of pieces of paper
brought you breakfast in bed, just in time for supper
you got to wait, baby
I know it feels like forever
but it's better when it's late
better late than never

I'll walk a thousand miles to see you once I get up off my seat
I'll bake you a loaf of bread but first I gotta plant the wheat
you've got to wait, baby
I know it seems like forever
but it's better when it's late
better late than never

I'll pay you back, dime by dime
I'm studying all night to try to pass the test of time
never state my reasons, I'm to busy with the rhyme
never reach the mountain top, all I do is climb

I fell asleep with you one night, and I'm still falling
I'm going deep with you baby, it just looks like I'm stalling
we got to wait
I hope this lasts forever
'cause it's better when it's late
better late than never
Track Name: Johnny
Johnny sailed the western sea with a flag in every hand
his bullets flying wild and free and his feet firm in the sand

Johnny loved his dear mother and he feared his father too
"Johnny," they said, "tell us, does it mean nothing to you?"

Then he thought upon his home and mother's gentle hand,
"No better love may ever come, but you must understand,

"Because I want it
Because I need it
Because I got to have it
But I don't want it all the time"

Johnny met a black-haired girl, they married the same day
held her precious as a pearl the day their baby came

she made his bed with feathers, that were soft beneath his head
she never loved another man, at least that's what she said

Then Johnny heard the drums of war, they were ringing in his ears
shouted backwards from the door over her daughter's tears

"Because I want it
Because I need it
Because I got to have it
But I don't want it all the time"

Johnny felt the bullet ripping easy into him
saying, "Jesus if you will it, I will never be the same"

sweat and blood and other water flowed out past his skin
overtop the sound of slaughter, you could hear his mouth complain

"Because I want it
Because I need it
Because I got to have it
But I don't want it all the time"

now Johnny sits behind a desk with papers in his hand
high above the vapours of this rich and burning land

Johnny looks at all this world as part of his reward
but the burden makes him bitter, so he shouts out to his Lord,

"Because I want it
Because I need it
Because I got to have it
But I don't want it all the time"
Track Name: Move The Mess Around
Richard and Heather moved in together
to a one-bedroom basement suite.
She was the stormy, creative type
but he liked things real neat.

One day when he threatened to leave her
she did what any of us would do.
She made some superficial changes around the place,
putting off what was clearly due

she just moved the mess around
she just moved the mess around
you can try to deny it but as sure as the rain comes down
she just moves the mess around
she just moves the mess around
things look a little better when you move the mess around

Tommy works for the oil-sand jerks
way up in Fort Macmurray.
His job is to clean up the tailings,
and to do it in a hurry.

So he puts 'em in great big piles
down by the Athabasca river.
Now those toxins are accumulating
in the local babies' livers.

he just moves the mess around x2
you can try to deny it but as sure as the rain comes down
he just moves the mess around x2
things look a little better when you move the mess around

God said to Noah, "Come here, let me show ya
the mess around this place.
Arrogance and isolation
have taken over the human race"

God confessed, "I did my best,
no one can say that I didn't try"
but the mess he was trying to clean up
has already stained Noah on the inside

God just moves the mess around x2
He can try to deny it but as sure as the rain came down
God just moves the mess around x2
things look a little better when you move the mess around

Every time I sit down to write new songs
I try to write masterpieces.
Songs to save the world with,
yeah I'm kinda like a lyrical Jesus.

But by the time I step up to the mic
my expectations have been so ground down,
I just take what's left, swing it around
and hope it makes a pretty sound.

I just move the mess around x2
I can try to deny it, but whatever I try it's as sure as the rain comes down
I just move the mess around x2
things look a little better when you move the mess around x3
Track Name: Ulysses
Ulysses went on a little trip
in a tiny sailing ship
the sea outside him frothed and roared
tried to pitch them overboard

came to a place before too long
famous for a special song
it does this thing to everyone
the moment that you hear it sung

it makes you think again about your life
you bondage and your daily misery
your job, your kids, your town, your house, your wife
and all that's in your mind is to be free

Ulysses smelled the salty air
and noticed something different there
bodies rotting in their clothes
breathed their air into his nose

those were the bodies of his friends
who met their unexpected ends
all because that special song
made them think their life was wrong

and he said,
"Boys, grab a rope. Tie a knot that just won't slip.
Tie my body to the mast of my ship!"

'Cause if you open up your ears
to follow that song wherever it steers
the howling of that sweet sweet sound
will drive your will into the ground

if you open up your eyes
to peek beneath the sweet disguise
you will see an open wound
that stretches out across this land

if you open up your mind
to leave your boring thoughts behind
pretty soon you'll want to
have something to hold onto

and I just can't stand it when my friends
complain to me they wish that they were free
what a sad, unsatisfying end
to drown yourself in a sea of possibilities

I say,
"Boys, grab a rope. Tie a knot that just won't slip.
Tie my body to the mast of my ship!"

well Ulysses and his faithful crew
passed the test, they made it through
'cause there's only two things you can do
when that song calls out to you

you can block your ears and start to row
or you can stand up tall and listen
either way you're gonna have to know
how to put yourself into a prison

you just say,
"Boys, grab a rope. Tie a knot that just won't slip.
Tie my body to the mast of my ship!"
Track Name: Two Drops of Gin
what happens to lovers
the night they first meet?
who can say
what makes it so sweet?

time seems to gather
the night becomes deep
everything feels possible
and nothing feels cheap

it was no exception
when I met my girl
that night a new song
came into the world

our talk flowed like water
our kisses like wine
and the gin she kept hidden
was the spiritual kind

it was two drops of gin
at the bottom of the glass
then two drops again
'cause the first two go so fast

'round the time we were trying
for a child of our own
I left for a while
on a trip out of town

then one night I stumbled
out into the dark
the gin I was drinking
put a hole in her heart

it was two drops of gin
at the bottom of my glass
then two drops again
'cause the first two go so fast

I came home expecting
she needed protecting
so I made it my
secret to keep

then one night she found
I'd been fooling around
and she sang
our baby to sleep

with two drops of gin
at the bottom of her glass
then two drops again
'cause the first two go so fast

o lord of imprecision
o breath on the deep
watcher of secrets
that men try to keep

let us drink the spirit
that flows from the source
lead us not into perfection
but save us from divorce

with two drops of gin
at the bottom of our glass
then two drops again
'cause the first two go so fast

two drops of gin
and this ship is sinking fast
two drops again
'cause the first two never last
Track Name: And The Train Used To Come Through Here
well it's true I was running away from you
but in a way you were running away from me too
sometimes it's real sometimes it's fake
sometimes it's just too real to take

so I ended up in that lonely town
drinking flats of beer, trying hard to drown
listening for that missing sound

and the train
and the train used to come through here

it left behind a trail of steel
winding through the wounded hill
the mountains flushed like dusty roses
and the bags of snow went up our noses

lines of progress stretching out into space
those lines blew a hole right through this place
to chase the glory, to chase the grace

and the train
and the train used to come through here

there were hearts of silver, hearts of glass
hearts of pills and hearts of grass
hearts that drive the highways fast
and float above the road

in an F-350 fuelled by beers
we drive until our conscience clears
shoot to kill the birds of fear
and find yourself a girl

Tracy kissed me hard one day
then she turned and ran away
our love was just a gasp for breath
and her smell still haunts my nose

from Boston Bar all up to Smithers
sons on fire and worried mothers
teams of temporary brothers
working on the hills

there were scars of pain, scars of pleasure
more scars than I care to measure
each one deep and deeply treasured
written on my skin

and the train
and the train used to come through here

it's true I never came home to you
the man who came back wasn't the one you knew
you were taking medicine to kill the pain
waiting for the day when you could feel again

I could say I felt graceful in that sun
I was taping up my fingers and learning how to run
but it wouldn't make up for the things I've done
you were the crime scene I was the gun
but I guess that never stopped anyone

and the train
and the train used to come through here

it's true I was running away from you
but when you clear cut the mountain you sure get a good view
Track Name: 700 Years
I never knew it would feel like this
this must be what it feels like when a bird lands
so high up on a skinny little tree that the whole tree bends

I can't see the future but I
can usually see when I'm going the wrong way
and when I met you I knew this was the right way
but this was going to be the long way

it's hard to see what I'm aiming for
most of the time it's just a mist in the distance

I know it's a long way off
it will take all my time to get there
but I think I have just enough time to spare
to hold you just like this for another 700 years
700 years

I've heard about Adam, Cain and Abel
Abraham with Isaac on the sacrifice table
and I know when you're a dad sometimes you're not able to tell
what's really the best thing for your son
in the long run

some dads run away, some dads are mean
some dads try to crush your dreams
some dads just make embarrassing scenes, but I
think they're all trying hard, I mean
I think we're all trying as hard as we can

'cause I never learned as much from the words of the prophets
as I learn from the sound when i turn on the faucet
any high horse I'm on, I have to get off it
when the warm water splashes up around our legs

and I sit with you in the bath
a million miles from heaven's wrath and if I
think carefully, do the math
I think I'll hold you just like this
for another 700 years
700 years

in another cool 700 years
we'll be talking like this over a couple of beers
we'll be long dead, forgotten and gone
while the sons of our sons of our sons live on

and most of what I don't know I can safely say
I still won't know on that long day
'cause i never knew it would feel like this

this must be what it feels like when a bird lands
so high up on a skinny little tree that the whole tree bends

no matter the memory
no matter the strain
you will always be my son
everything will re-arrange
but the one thing that will never change
is you will be my son
still in 700 years
700 years

you'll still have my love
Track Name: Two Things
If you tie you heart to two things
one is on the ground, and the other one has wings
you might pull too hard upon those tiny, tight heart strings
and you might pull that tiny, tied up heart apart

If you try to run real fast two different ways
two different ways, two different ways
If you try to run real fast two different ways
you'll be standing in the same damn place for days

If you start howling at two moons
two moons, two moons
If you start howling at two moons
you'll be waking up in the middle of the night at the break of noon

if you start talking out of both ends
both ends, both ends
if you start talking out of both ends
you'll say twice as many things, to half as many friends

if you start praying to two gods
two gods, two gods
if you start praying to two gods
your chance of a stupid answer is twice the odds

If you tie you heart to two things
one is on the ground, and the other one has wings
you might pull too hard upon those tiny, tight heart strings
and you might pull that tiny, tied up heart apart

if you think it would be fun to have two wives
two wives, two wives
if you think it would be fun to have two wives
well, it's not

if you want to get buried in two different graves
two different graves, two different graves
if you want to get buried in two different graves
i can do it for you, but we're gonna have to cut you in half

If you tie you heart to two things
one is on the ground, and the other one has wings
you might pull too hard upon those tiny, tight heart strings
and you might pull that tiny, tied up heart apart
Track Name: Swim Across The River
they say the sun is hot, and the river is cold
but I don't believe that much of what I'm told

they say most of what you hear isn't really true
so I don't know if this will mean that much to you

I wrote it in a letter when I was 20 years old
said, "I don't give a shit about all this fool's gold"

folded it up, sent it to my father
and he said, "Son,

never swim across the river
to get a drink of water"

they say it's not what you say, it's what you do
so what does that say about the people saying that to you?

it's been a long, long time since I became confused
and all those nights I pretended to have the blues

didn't make me feel much better

and I still swim across the river
to get a drink of water

this is a missing poster for all the time I've lost
pinned half-assed to the tar on a telephone post

now it's acid to acid and dust to dust
better bring in the harvest before the frost
you'd think I'd learn by now what it can cost

well I might learn later
or maybe never

not to swim across the river
to get a drink of water