Lost Stories: Volume One

by Ben Rogers

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credits

released 03 January 2013

Ben Rogers - vocals, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, banjo. autoharp, piano, organ, and drum
Craig Mechler and Jenn Bojm - guest vocals on Kingdom Come

Recorded at Doll Bones Studios, Vancouver BC
And Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Additional recording at The China Cloud, Vancouver, BC by Mark Lawrence (Big In Japan Recordings)
Produced and Engineered by Ben Rogers
Mixed and Mastered by Matthew Rogers at Neighbourhood Studios, Vancouver, BC
All songs written by Ben Rogers except Kingdom Come (words by Ben Rogers, music by Ben Rogers and Johan Carlsson)

Front cover photo by Vishal Marapone
Designed by Harvey Lange

Thanks - Matt, Kristy, Luka, Hunter, Nancy, Papa Varda, Tome, Adi, Elliot, Bob, Hallow Moon, Jenn, Craig, Will, Stevan, Mark L., Mark Berube, C.R., Dave R., Keith, Jeremiah, Johan, Tobias, Max, Tom Talomaa, Alex, Maratone, Rick, Chad, Pete, Dr. Graff, and all the rest of you.

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Ben Rogers Vancouver, British Columbia

Murder stories, love stories, salvation stories, tragic stories, rich man stories, poor man stories, drug stories, blonde stories, blue stories, red stories, lost stories.

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Track Name: The Dealer
I was born in Carolina
Raised with a heavy hand
My mother was a-pushing up daisies
My father was a drinking man
The one night my beating never came
I learned why when I found him in the hall
All five years of his education
Splattered on the wall

So I packed my bags and I moved to the city
No way to make ends meet
I found a bag of grass in a gutter
And I sold it on the street
To a man who said, “You remind me of myself
When I started dealin’, why don’t you come with me”
And before I’d even touched the surface
I knew I was in too deep

Now everyone I know
Everyone I know is gone
Everything I done
Everything I done is wrong
Some people call me the Sinful Healer
I’m the dealer

The work got easier when the drugs got harder
I should have known it wouldn’t last
The golden opportunity to quit came shining
But I watched it turn to brass
I earned my keep from the people who would die
To kill their invincible pain
As long as all the bag brides and pimps and junkies
Had nothing to lose there’d be something to gain

Then all it took was one taste of my poison
And that was it
And I wound up like some bloodthirsty spider
Tangled up in its own web
Oh, temptation never fails
But it only lets you down
And addiction has you decomposing
Long before you’re in the ground

Now everyone I know
Everyone I know is gone
Everything I done
Everything I done is wrong
Some people call me the Sinful Healer
I’m the dealer

Tonight the smokestacks in Carolina
Are monuments to our glorious decay
I shiver and I shudder in the alley and I wonder
How it all turned out this way
I guess I don’t blame no one, I guess that I could change
But a crooked gun don’t shoot straight
Henpecking curbs for coins, I bridge the vein and pay the boy
And as he turns to leave I hear him say,

“Everyone I know
Everyone I know is gone
Everything I done
Everything I done is wrong
Some people call me the sinful healer”
Ah, but mine will be the face that he sees when he looks in the mirror
‘Cause I’m the dealer
Track Name: Once a Wife, Twice a Widow
Well Christ pulled into Bethany
To visit Martha and Mary
They said, “My friend, our brother’s dead
And in the ground he’s buried
In the ground he’s buried”
So Jesus raised the dead man
And all the town was merry
Except the woman to whom which
Lazurus was married
Lazurus was married

And she said, “It’s alright now
But in a little
I’ll be once a wife
And twice a widow”

Ulysses was the captain
Who beat the Trojan army
And he said to the gods as he lit his cigar,
“You can’t do it without me
You can’t do it without me”
So for twenty years he was doomed to ramble
And his wife thought he had perished
‘Til a beggar showed up holding a paper cup
And begged for her forgiveness
He begged for her forgiveness

And she said, “It’s alright now
But in a little
I’ll be once a wife
And twice a widow”

Gonna go down to the drugstore
And find myself a lady
I’m always looking for a-someone
Who’d be better off without me
Better off without me
Then I’ll fake my death and vanish
And maybe then I’ll sell some albums
And my wife’ll do the work and I’ll come back to her
Once she has made my millions
She has made my millions

And she’ll say “It’s alright now
But in a little
I’ll be once a wife
And twice a widow”
Track Name: The Cheatin' Kind
Railroad Bill he took my wife
Said, “If you don’t like it I can take your life”
I said, “You already did
You took that girl of mine”
Lord, the cheatin’ kind
Lord, the cheatin’ kind

When they tell you that they need some space
That’s ‘cause somebody else is in your place
I wanted a worried woman to ease my worried mind
Oh, but I wound up with the cheatin’ kind

She don’t bother leaving out the back door no more
She got nothing to hide, nothing to lose
She come home with cologne all over her
And she smells more like a man than I do

I been lying here like a colicing horse
A .45 rifle is a poor man’s divorce
It’s the only way to ease your mind
Of the cheatin’ kind
Lord, the cheatin’ kind

I showed up at her front door
She cried, “What the hell are you here for?”
I said, “I come to pay my respects to the dead”
And I blew a hole right through her chest

“Just one thing I ask before you die
Tell me how do you get to bed at night?”
“With somebody else,” she did reply
Lord, the cheatin’ kind
Lord, the cheatin’ kind

Well, the stone that she put in our bed
Now marks the piece of ground where here body rests
And engraved on it, the name I knew her by:
“The Cheatin’ Kind”
Lord, the cheatin’ kind
Track Name: Cowboys and Indians
Come gather round, let me sing you a song
About what little I know, it won’t take long
It’s a game I played when I was young
Called Cowboys and Indians

By means of plastic figurines
My brothers and I kept the country free
From the savages who tried to take our land
Them merciless outlaw Indian bands

Then one day momma she saw us playing
She said I got a story that needs a-saying
It’s a story that happened way back when
‘Bout cowboys and Indians

And she cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
She cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
She cried, “Oh-oh-oh”

On the border of New Mexico
In a jerkwater town that nobody knows
There was an Indian boy of Navajo blood
He was lookin’ for work under the noonday sun

He met a cowboy smoking on a stogie near
He said, “Hey Tonto, come on over here”
He said, “I’ll tell you what, if you can ride the saddle
I’ll pay you ten cents a day to drive my cattle”

Now the cowboy he had one lone daughter
Who milked the cows and fetched him water
And the Indian knew it was forbidden
To even look at her so he remained hidden

Until one day a calf got lost
And he followed its tracks down to the pond
Where the daughter was bathing and singing sweet
And the sound of her voice made his knees go weak

She sang, “Oh-oh-oh”
She sang, “Oh-oh-oh”
She sang, “Oh-oh-oh”

He took the feather from his hair and gave it to her
Saying, “You must be an angel and this must be yours”
And he laid her down in a field of corn
And there they stayed ‘til the light of morn

When the daughter she returned back home
She found the cowboy waiting all alone
He was standing out by the laundry line
He said, “You know not to mix the reds with the whites”

“And the same goes for you, no daughter of mine
Will be caught dead mixing with his kind”
He said, “I never should have trusted that Indian scum”
And he took to the fields carrying his gun

Now the daughter warned the Indian of his fate
He said, “My love, it’s much too late
Here are some flowers for you to borrow
So you’ll have something to put on my grave tomorrow”

And they cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
They cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
They cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
The cowboy came upon the boy at last
Who was trying to lasso that wayward calf
He screamed, “You goddamn Prairie Nigger!
You’re a dead man now,” and pulled the trigger

The cowboy he was never charged
Never shed a tear, never felt remorse
But in this country sometimes it seems
No one notices when the Red Man bleeds

Now the daughter would learn to love again
But none could compare to the Indian
Then my mother she began to cry
And the tears came streaming from her eyes

She said, ‘”My boy, now don’t you see
The Indian’s lover, that was me
And I think that it’s about time you knew
I gave birth to his child and that child is you”

And I cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
I cried, “Oh-oh-oh”
I cried, “Oh-oh-oh”

So now you’ve listened to my song
About what little I know, it didn’t take long
It’s the game I played when I was young
Called Cowboys and Indians
Track Name: Kingdom Come
In the middle of the daytime
In the middle of the nighttime
Can’t you hear me calling
To the kingdom come?

Well the keys to the kingdom
They broke off in the lock, boys
Been searching another way in
We didn’t think to try knocking

I thought I heard a sparrow
Sing the mockingbird’s song
And you begin to wonder if what they’ve been feeding you
Has been a lie all along

In the middle of the daytime
In the middle of the nighttime
Can’t you hear me calling
To the kingdom come?

Well my hair is going
From black to grey
Just like the smoke
From a dying train

And just as the thunder rolls, boys,
Long after the lightning flashes
The truth will appear swift and shining
Though it may be years before you understand it

I fell asleep in the shade of the Tree
Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
I let the world stitch up my wounds
But there was no thread on the needle

In the middle of the daytime
In the middle of the nighttime
Can’t you hear me calling
To the kingdom come?

And when I meet my maker
When I shake my Devil’s hand
I will tell him not to wait for you
For you’re bound for the Promised Land

In the middle of the daytime
In the middle of the nighttime
Can’t you hear me calling
To the kingdom come?
Track Name: Jailbird Song
Well the sun’s coming up for one last time
and I tilt my cap for to rest my eyes
And the mountains shrug with artillery fire
And each falling bomb you can hear them sigh

After thirteen years in the prison brig
The warden said they’re a-springin’ me
He said, “The jails are too full and the army’s runnin’ short
Of men like you they need to win this war”

“So here’s your pay check
And here’s your rifle
And a one-way ticket to Vietnam”
Where the boys were singing
Star Spangled Banner
But I got the words all wrong
All wrong
And sang a jailbird song

Now, the government can afford to fight a war
But they can’t seem to spare a dime to help their poor
So they load them up with guns and a force-fed pride
And send them straight to the firing line

I went to prison ‘cause I robbed a man
I did a year for every dollar I stole from him
Then I went to war and killed thirty men
And got three shiny medals for killing them

Oh, how I long for
To meet my maker
And he will surely judge me for all I done wrong
And the heavenly hosts
Will sing Hallelujah
But I won’t sing along
Oh, no
I’ll sing a jailbird song
Track Name: The Devil's Crop (500 Mile Blues)
Lord I’m 500 miles from my home
500 hundred miles from my home
Lord, Oh Lord, in the cotton and the corn
And I’m 500 miles from my home

I was just a lowly foreman working on a mill
I was just a lowly foreman working on a mill
I left my home and left my wife in the spring of ‘49
To work a-panning gold on the plains of Placerville

Hard times got so hard it seemed they would not break
Hard times got so hard it seemed they would not break
My tom was full of clay and the boss he cut my pay
Said, “You’ve one week before I send you on your way”

You can mould it but it will not break
You can mould it but it will not break
If you beat it, it will hold but men ain’t made of gold
There is only so much a man can take

So with my own bare hands I started digging my grave
With my own bare hands I started digging my grave
I was just about six foot down when something in the ground
Started shining like the sunshine’s golden mane

So I loaded up my coffin with the gold
I loaded up my coffin with the gold
I turned around to see the boss a-holding a gun on me,
He said, “Better drop it there or else I shoot you cold”

I drew my pistol and I shot him through the chest
I drew my pistol and I shot him through the chest
“The gold is mine,” I said, “but you can keep the piece of lead”
And I left his bones to bleach and headed west

I spent most o’ my money in the gambling den
I spent most o’ my money in the gambling den
Woke up one morning to find myself locked up in a prison cell
Nothing to go my bail I was wishing I was dead

I’s found guilty and they sentenced me to death
I’s found guilty and they sentenced me to death
By the time the rooster crows I’ll be hanging from the gallows pole
And the sun will rise the colour of my sins

Money is the root of all evil I been told
Money is the root of all evil I been told
But the seed from which it grows is made of greed and the lust for gold
It is the Devil’s crop that only fools will sow

Now I’m 500 miles from my home
500 miles from my home
Lord, Oh Lord, I wish I never had been born
And I’m 500 miles from my home
Track Name: Lay It Down
“Gunshot wound to the head,” they said
They love the way it crucifies
The junkie arch angel and his pale horse were dead
They love the way it crucifies
They all bought tickets to the funeral
Champagne vigils they kept
They love the way it crucifies
And with cemetery suntans
They mourned him with sex
They love the way it crucifies
And his oppressors rejoiced
While they ate his disease
They love the way it crucifies
With horny headaches adoring
His jailed masterpiece
They love the way it crucifies

So farewell my friend
Farewell my love
Where you’ve gone I cannot follow
No one takes your life
You lay it down

Mary Magdalene selling vials
Filled with his tears
She loves the way it crucifies
The first time she loved him
He’d been dead seven years
She loves the way it crucifies
A narcotic grin she struts
She casts lots on his clothes
She loves the way it crucifies
And she rules with an iron tampon
Wearing his crown of thorns
She loves the way it crucifies
And she hides ‘neath shadow
Of his ghost to look lost
She loves the way it crucifies
With her imitation meat clutching
Her arm candy cross
She loves the way it crucifies

So farewell my friend
Farewell my love
Where you’ve gone I cannot follow
No one takes your life
You lay it down

After 3 days he stopped the bleeding
And was laid to rest
They love the way it crucifies
And they elected his enemies
To reign in his stead
They love the way it crucifies
And they erected his crucifix
So that the whole world could see
They love the way it crucifies
From where his prayers went unanswered
To the backroads of Aberdeen
They love the way it crucifies
And I miss him so much
Though he’s never left my side
I love the way it crucifies
And I await his return
I watch for the signs
I love the way it crucifies
So farewell my friend
farewell my love
where you’ve gone I cannot follow
no one takes your life
you lay it down