song list for Ain’t Comin’ Back (this year), by Fred Bailey
All songs ©BEE, 1993-1997, (ASCAP)
Snatches from the lyrics of each song have been added here in an effort to tempt your ear and tickle your fancy. You’ll notice that the themes center around a few scattered observations from my own life — and hopefully might even relate to some of your experiences.
AIN’T COMIN’ BACK (This Year) [3:55]
As you’ve often heard, there are really only two kinds of people in the world. In this song, it’s them that come back and them that don’t. As usual, one is trying to make fruitless explanations (and amends) to the other.
But I ‘preciate that letter, I don’t know what else to say.
Here’s a new address that you can file
Or throw the damn thing away.
But these five-year reunions,
Man, they knock me on my ear!
And one ‘a these days I might come back,
But it ain’t gonna be this year.
ANOTHER UNKNOWN SOLDIER [5:52]
Those honored graves at Arlington are only serving as symbols of so many more, scattered to the four winds and lost forever. I think this particular unmarked grave near my home out in the Great Plains may well be one of the Buffalo Soldiers. But no one knows.
Grey hills along the Cimarron,
Run south as far as the Staked Plains.
Blue sky above the mournful dove,
Horizon trackless miles away ….
Commanche and the Cheyenne roam there,
And Cavalry from Fort Supply.
One of my earliest memories is sitting in the old Chevy and fearfully watching my Dad make a slow, cautious climb up the tower of an abandoned windmill. He carried a length of barbed-wire cut from the remnants of a near-by fence. He carried no motivation other than to prevent a once-useful mechanism from destroying itself in the ceaseless prarie winds.
Turn around once again, keep turnin’ around.
There’s a cool promise waitin’ down deep in the ground.
You can hear the thin squeal of the dry rusty steel,
But she’ll never pump anymore water.
CLAYTON COMES TO TOWN [3:32]
Garrison Keillor had his old bachelor Norwegian farmers around Lake Woebegon. Where I grew up, we had these old bachelor burnt-out cowboy types. I just herded a few of ’em together and named him Clayton. The rest is almost true.
He hit the railroad crossin’ like some kind ‘a shootin’ star,
Took the corner wide and slid up sideways to the bar.
Us kids all lined the gutter where we knew that he’d step down,
Just to see Ol’ Clayton comin’ into town.
THE DUNES OF LISDOONVARNA [5:12]
Backpacking up the western shore of County Clare, I camped out on the beach and was promptly caught in a nasty 3-day blow rolling in off the North Atlantic. Many times, it seemed like my body weight was all that kept the tent from blowing away. The experience afforded plenty of interminable hours for historic reflection. And the blues.
And the wild Atlantic winds of Lisdoonvarna,
Roared like no winds I’d heard before.
Raging seas returned to Lisdoonvarna
And tried to mount the dunes outside my door.
DELAWARE COUNTY LINE [4:08]
Urban sprawl has got to be one of the nastiest things happening to this country today. We are busily yielding up beautiful vistas and history to be sacrificed on an altar of indiscriminate breeding, all the while prattling about zoning ordinances and the newest shopping mall.
When we’re out on a Sunday morning
In the hot July sunshine,
Whackin’ and ‘a-mowin’ and ‘a-blowin’
Hear them Black & Deckers whine!
. . . . . . . .
But I’ve been thinking about them days
When sturdy settlers cleared it all.
God, there’s miles and miles of suburbs
Spreadin’ round the Super Mall….
THE CHEROKEE KID [5:20]
Maybe this song might play some small part in helping us all keep fresh the memory of an American humorist ranking right up there with Mark Twain. I’d bet that the first proper name I learned as a toddler, outside of the immediate family and neighbors, was probably the name of Mr.Will Rogers.
The center of his gravity was always in the plains,
And he “never met a man he didn’t like”.
From the land of the Chickasaw,
With a big wad of gum in his jaw.
He claimed that Congress wrote all the jokes,
But then of course, they called ’em “laws”.
. . . . . . . . .
And the rescue boats sent flyin’ down
The desolate Bering shore-line found
The wreckage of the Lockheed — nothing more.
SING ME THE SKY [3:50]
Maybe this song is just to celebrate the heady rewards of being both an experienced international hitch-hiker, as well as an FAA Certified Flight Instructor. If you’d come fly with me I could show you the full-circle rainbow. ‘S true!
Sing me the high and sing me the low,
High up in the sky and down the road low.
WHO COULD EVER SAY? [3:12]
While there’s no doubt that small rural communities don’t lack much in the way of neighborly support for those in trouble, still failures can occur. For someone in psychic distress the cracks are wide, and the fall is very deep.
Who could ever say where their minds had gone astray?
And who could ever say from where they came?
For who was there to stand where they might’ve lent a hand?
But we never saw the trouble in their minds.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But on ‘a-lookin’ back I know Ol’ Tom was in some kind-a fix.
No one knows where Jeanie was when he loaded his Ought-Six.
That night around the drillin’ rig was lit up bright as day.
The Sheriff found his tracks where he’d low-crawled all the way
WELCOME HOME [2:15]
While with the 1st Cavalry in Viet Nam, I often fantasized about just somehow getting rid of the whole damn U.S.Army for some solo enjoyment of the tantalizing freedom symbolized by my big green flying machine — the CH-47 Chinook that I called “Ol’ Stewball”. These days, I can stand on the curbside watching a homeless Namvet push his grocery cart, and say, “yeah, maybe sorta like that”. A vast difference, indeed!
And some you’ll see walkin’ point in the alleys way downtown
Pushin’ grocery carts with dirty flags ‘a-hangin’ down.
Trundling their fortunes up and down the city streets,
Survivors of the war, forever wounded by the peace.
Just where is it that your mind goes while you watch a butterfly? This song starts with boyhood, covers my whole life and then blasts off through a few million light-years of space/time. Come along?
But that circus out behind our house, it stars the butterfly,
And the future’s just a history of what might flutter by.
Small wings like these can only tease and not disturb the air,
And our Starship’s really just two folding chairs.
FARGO STABLE FIRE [3:02]
Mob violence and Judge Lynch cannot be excused by looking at them through the prisim of history, but to study the circumstances is still a worthwhile effort. Besides, it’s so much safer at such a distance.
The Sheriff shoutin’ orders jerked the folks out of their dream,
The possee pounded down the street, I heard a lady scream.
Keeping low and cautious everybody gathered ’round,
Every able-bodied man and half ‘a th’ kids in town.
THE WIDOW McDAID [4:13]
That summer in Ireland, I was just another guitar-slingin’ American hitch-hiker, looking for Guinness, songs and history. It’s still hard to believe that I was invited to spend the night with the family of one of the Bloody Sunday Martyrs. And I was completely unaware, until …
But her memory’s sewn into a sampler
And embroidered so visitors know
Of the hopes that expired, when the paratroops fired
On the sons of the Widow McDaid.
Don’t you wish condoms were available for some of life’s other tempting freebies? Would that I could give the world some kind of protection from the preachers, peddlers, politicians and all the other charlatans who are ever clubbing around to give us something for nothing!
It looks real fine, I ain’t ‘a-lyin’ and I realize it’s free.
“Protection” is the modern way of dealin’ with your friends,
And “not without a condom” ‘s ’bout the only way to win.
Regarding the non sequitors in these lyrics, sometimes Okies don’t make good sense.
Regarding the producer’s disclaimer, sometimes grammar don’t make good sense.
— the Artist
Regarding both disclaimers, sometimes creative types don’t sense good make.
— the Editor
Regarding the preceding disclaimers, ooh-ah, ooh-ah, ooo.
— the Fred-ettes