Lost Stories: Volume One

by Ben Rogers

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1.
05:32
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
2.
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”
3.
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
4.
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
5.
05:04
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?
6.
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
7.
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
8.
9.
(free) 04:48
“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
10.

credits

released January 3, 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

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