Move The Mess Around

by Jack Garton

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lo-fi ROBOT Boy Why do I love this album? Well, because it's freakin' awesome, that's why. (Stomps foot defiantly) Favorite track: Johnny.
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1.
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
2.
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
3.
Johnny 04:27
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"
4.
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
5.
Ulysses 03:33
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!"
6.
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
7.
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
8.
700 Years 05:17
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
9.
Two Things 03:40
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
10.
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

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

Coming from Galiano Island in the Salish sea, Jack Garton's pursuit of foot-stomping beautiful songs has taken him as far as Europe, Canada's arctic, and the Southern USA, playing his unique combination of trumpet and accordion. Parts writer, composer, player and showman, Jack's show is a roller-coaster tour through roots music in the folk and blues traditions. ... more

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