Archive for the ‘Tom Russell’ Category

This Blue-winged Bird   1 comment

Eastern Bluebird (August 8, 2012) Image by kenne

He had a blue wing tattooed on his shoulder
Well, it might have been a bluebird, I don’t know
But he’d get stone drunk and talk about Alaska
The salmon boats and 45 below
 
He got that blue wing up in Walla Walla
Where his cellmate there was a Little Willy John
And Willie, he was once a great blues singer
And Wing & Willie wrote him up a song
 
     (They sang,)
     “It’s dark in here, can’t see the light
     But I look at this blue wing when I close my eyes
     And I fly away, beyond these walls
     Up above the clouds, where the rain don’t fall
     On a poor man’s dream”
 
— from Blue Wing by Tom Russell
 
 

Another Existential Moment — Charles Bukowski   Leave a comment

Charles Bukowski

Tom Russell has great respect for Warren Zevon’s work, but probably none more than “Carmelita,” which he combines
with Charles Bukowski’s, “Crucifix In A Deathhand,” on his Modern Art CD. By putting the two together, Russell
demonstrates his appreciation and understanding of Bukowski’s words and the lyrics of Warren Zevon. It just so happens
that “Crucifix In A Deathhand” is my favorite Bukowski poem.

Crucifix In a Death Hand

yes, they begin out in a willow, I think
the starch mountains begin out in the willow
and keep right on going without regard for
pumas and nectarines
somehow these mountains are like
an old woman with a bad memory and
a shopping basket.
we are in a basin. that is the
idea. down in the sand and the alleys,
this land punched-in, cuffed-out, divided,
held like a crucifix in a deathhand,
this land bought, resold, bought again and
sold again, the wars long over,
the Spaniards all the way back in Spain
down in the thimble again, and now
real estaters, subdividers, landlords, freeway
engineers arguing. this is their land and
I walk on it, live on it a little while
near Hollywood here I see young men in rooms
listening to glazed recordings
and I think too of old men sick of music
sick of everything, and death like suicide
I think is sometimes voluntary, and to get your
hold on the land here it is best to return to the
Grand Central Market, see the old Mexican women,
the poor . . . I am sure you have seen these same women
many years before
arguing
with the same young Japanese clerks
witty, knowledgeable and golden
among their soaring store of oranges, apples
avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers –
and you know how
these look, they do look good
as if you could eat them all
light a cigar and smoke away the bad world.
then it’s best to go back to the bars, the same bars
wooden, stale, merciless, green
with the young policeman walking through
scared and looking for trouble,
and the beer is still bad
it has an edge that already mixes with vomit and
decay, and you’ve got to be strong in the shadows
to ignore it, to ignore the poor and to ignore yourself
and the shopping bag between your legs
down there feeling good with its avocados and
oranges and fresh fish and wine bottles, who needs
a Fort Lauderdale winter?
25 years ago there used to be a whore there
with a film over one eye, who was too fat
and made little silver bells out of cigarette
tinfoil. the sun seemed warmer then
although this was probably not
true, and you take your shopping bag
outside and walk along the street
and the green beer hangs there
just above your stomach like
a short and shameful shawl, and
you look around and no longer
see any
old men.

– – Charles Bukowski (Source: Oldpoetry.com)

There’s a video on YouTube of Russell in a live performance talking and singing about Charles Bukowski, Warren Zevon, and Dave Van Ronk that will give you a better feel for this morning distraction.

— kenne

Folk Singer   Leave a comment

Tucson Folk Festival 2013“Folk Singer” — Photo-Artistry by kenne

Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall? by Tom Russell on His Album Wounded Heart of America (2007)

 

“Maybe it’s not about happy ending.

Maybe it’s about the story.”

— Albert Camus

A Solute To The Common Man   Leave a comment

The Common Man-Art-IMG-4747-72“The Common Man” — Photo-Artistry by kenne

Poetry and Music Soluting The Common Man.
Julian Tuwim’s poem nails it.
In my younger days,
I worked with many a Harlan Clancy —
Tom Russell writes and sings
about in the album “Folk Hotel,”
referencing Aaron Copland’s anthem,
“Fanfare for the Common Man.”

In those early days,
the winters could be harsh,
and having spent many
a Christmas in the cold north,
I end this trilogy to The Common Man
with Merle Haggard,
“If We Make It Through December.”

— kenne

The Common Man

When plastered billboards scream with slogans
‘fight for your country, go to battle’
When media’s print assaults your senses,
‘Support our leaders’ shrieks and rattles…
And fools who don’t know any better
Believe the old, eternal lie
That we must march and shoot and kill
Murder, and burn, and bomb, and grill…

When press begins the battle-cry
That nation needs to unify
And for your country you must die…
Dear brainwashed friend, my neighbor dear
Brother from this, or other nation
Know that the cries of anger, fear,
Are nothing but manipulation
by fat-cats, kings who covet riches,
And feed off your sweat and blood – the leeches!
When call to arms engulfs the land
It means that somewhere oil was found,
Shooting ‘blackgold’ from underground!
It means they found a sneaky way
To make more money, grab more gold
But this is not what you are told!

Don’t spill your blood for bucks or oil
Break, burn your rifle, shout: ‘NO DEAL!’
Let the rich scoundrels, kings, and bankers
Send their own children to get killed!
May your loud voice be amplified
By roar of other common men
The battle-weary of all nations:
WE WON’T BE CONNED TO WAR AGAIN!

Julian Tuwim

 

 

 

 

Tim Russell writes, Harlan Clancy
“. . . out there in the middle of Ohio,
a place you’ll never likely go . . .
Euro tourists never make it there . . .
the America of the shit jobs, farms,
remote ranches, wrecking yards,
inner-city brothels, shooting galleries,
used car lots, and back street bars that
still have Narco corridos, or Otis Redding,
or George Jones on the jukebox.” 

A Labyrinth of Wild Flowers   Leave a comment

Flowers (1 of 1)-8 Art II blogA Labyrinth of Wild Flowers — Image by kenne

I’ll give to you a house of mirrors

A thousand eyes, they belong to you

A labyrinth of wild roses

I know you’ll find your own way through

— from Box of Visions by Tom Russell

f9cae68082d10598d91f5e18cd9fad28Tom Russell with Iris Dement — Box of Visions (Audio)

She Is Reaching Out Her Arms   Leave a comment

Reaching Out Her Arms (1 of 1) blogImage by kenne

She is reaching out her arms tonight,
Lord, my poverty is real
I pray roses shall rain down again,
from Guadalupe on her hill
and who am I to doubt these mysteries?
Cured in centuries of blood and candle smoke
I am the least of all your children here,
but I am most in need of hope.

She appeared to Juan Diego,
she left her image on his cape
five hundred years of sorrow,
cannot destroy their deepest faith
so here I am, your ragged disbeliever,
old doubting Thomas drowns in tears
as I watch your church sink through the earth,
like a heart worn down through fear

      She is reaching out her arms tonight. . .

— from Guadalupe by Tom Russell

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