The Songster Part 2

by Brooks Long

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about

Table of Contents

I. Incoherent rant
II. Coherent rant
III. What is The Songster Part 2, anyway?
IV. Blurt


I.

There is a great spewing revolutionizing our times. Every thought, emotion, ambition and whim is casually immortalized by the great glow of the nexus. Type, type. Click, click. New ones all the time and in the tangled jungle of the nexus you can either read or be read by friends you never would have had before. Yet here we sometimes see great warfare, powerful aggression, though without the sting of suffering because it doesn’t really matter, does it? And you read more words than your grandfather ever did, but what matters? Only the glow itself matters, says the glow. Can you remember how much every sound, every painstaking etching must have mattered at the beginning of language? Tree. Mother. Beast. Love. Out on some dangerous and golden African savanna, can you recall the value of meaning? What a struggle it must have been to get near the center of your mind’s focus, what a rush when you found others who had been trying to get at the same center, as if there were a center somewhere outside of the mind. Truth. Sometimes you sang it to each other. You felt proud, connected and mortally comforted when someone remembered your sounds. Oh dear, but here come the lies, and using the same sounds too. A lie is a non-thing that isn’t or doesn’t matter. Since there is more of nothing than there is of something, there are more lies than truths. Yet every lie desperately wants to be true. Today, there are many desperate people, people willing to pacify and be pacified, knowing they don’t mean what they say when they say they are searching for truth because they know they don’t have the time. Lies grow stronger and faster by the second, while truth comes by the same slow struggle it always has, its verification requiring a solitude the glow cannot provide. I am no better than you and cannot claim any truths to waste your solitude on, but I have been searching. Stay a while, away from the glow that we may soon find the substance and the center of the substance.

II.

Which is to say, The Songster Part 2 was, is and will be written away from our hyper-connected world and if there is anything of value in it, you will find it when you distance yourself from that world also. If you don’t have the time, believe me, I understand. There is so much happening these days, isn’t there? Hard to keep up with it all, much less slow it down. I wrote the above some months ago; you’d think something happened to my head. But just because a man goes crazy doesn’t mean he’s not saying some real shit; check out Sly & The Family Stone’s “There’s A Riot Goin’ On.”

The glow of a computer screen. You know, social media can be so wonderful, but ultimately it scares me. Yes, it is a place where we find engagements, births, graduations and occasionally thoughtful social discussion. But much of the time it is a place to blurt. And blurting is strongly encouraged on these sites; it is the quantity, not quality, of expression that generates attention. I can’t see this being good for anybody, most especially artists. The time it takes to step back, take a walk in the park, internalize and reflect is time that could have been taken to blurt twenty or so posts that would really do well for your “Likes” average. Yet no one needs social media attention more than an independent music artist and yet still no one needs to stay away from the blurting environment more than an artist. What the hell are we going to do? We owe it to our art and to the fellow artists who help us create to bring attention to the art; we also owe it to ourselves and to those who give us attention to make sure we are creating great art. You can’t take money or “Likes” with you to the grave, but great art rarely goes in the grave in the first place.

III.

On the way to an amazing Al Green concert in 2010, I got into a car accident that should have killed me. After that, I felt great pressure to release an album that would show totally who I was as an artist just in case I never got another chance. That was The Songster, which we’ll now call Part 1. But now it’s 2015 and I’m still not dead. I spent a few years literally believing I had to allow my passion to kill me; I sacrificed my finances, my relationships, my friends, my family and sometimes my own life, accidentally. Figured it was worth the risk; some sort of “beautiful suicide” notion. Stupid. I don’t care how many others have that notion; I don’t care how many times that notion has worked out for people. It’s stupid. Live your dreams, yes. Let them kill you? Fuck that shit. Anyway, I wound up on the side of the road again, this time after my own gig. Could have died. Again. But Geico Roadside Assistance and my dad came to the rescue, just like he did a thousand times as a kid. Later that night, he drove me to the train station so I could make the Wilmo Rock Circus. Backstage after the set, I told the guys something had to change and I needed time to do some figuring. That’s when I thought up The Songster Part 2.

The Songster Part 2 is not an album, but a continually expanding collection of songs that will be added to every few months or so for the rest of my life since I am now under the assumption that life could be quite long. It is a promise to myself that I will uphold my life-long commitment to song craft no matter what the future holds in store. Is The Mad Dog No Good still going? Of course! As long as it still makes sense. And as of this writing, I am very grateful that it still makes sense. But you know how it goes. I just don’t want some snot-nosed kids asking, “How come Grandpa Brooks never has any food for us?” “Don’t ask questions, honey. Just tell him he looks great for his age and that the band’s gonna make it.” I’d rather them come over, get some good, possibly nutritious food and play them some records. “This is Sam Cooke. The ‘e’ is silent. Yes, you can have another cookie. Did your parents let you have a Facebook account?” Then after they went home, I’d pick up my guitar, turn on my futurized recording machine and maybe that’s when I’d finally, after all those years of trying, finally make my masterpiece.

IV: Blurt

I wouldn’t consider these songs demos, but my main concern is not production, as you can probably tell. On my home recordings I had fun, but I’m sure a million things were done wrong and since The Songster Part 2 is my own little corner of the world, I will happily keep them wrong. Lo-fi, they call it. But if anyone wants to spruce any of these tunes up proper, be my guest! It’s every songwriter’s dream that people will keep singing the songs. For me, as long as the songwriting is presented well enough, I’m satisfied. So yes, now that I think about it, these are a bit like demos. But I hope they connect.

credits

released 16 January 2015

The many samples at the beginning of “Baby Train” are a collection of some of my favorite beginnings to some of my favorite albums. (You’ll also find Mr. Calhoun Tubbs, one of my first musical influences on one of my first favorite TV shows.) If certain interested parties happen to find out about it, I hope they may take the complement rather than my non-existent funds.

All songs written by Brooks Long except “The White Flag Of Love” written by Brooks Long with assistance from LaFayette Gilchrist. Much love, brother.

All songs produced by Brooks Long except “Freddie’s Walking Home,” “Apologize,” and “Volcano Tax” [featuring a terrible overdub by Brooks] produced by Shea Springer at Sweetfoot Studios in Easton, MD and “Delivered” produced by Nate Safren.

All instruments played by Brooks Long except drums on “Freddie’s Walking Home,” “Apologize,” and “Volcano Tax” by Shea Springer and percussion on “Delivered” by Arschel J.C. Morell, Jr. and Dan Samuels

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about

Brooks Long Baltimore, Maryland

Melding the traditions of vintage R&B and Blues with the pen of classic singer/songwriters, Brooks Long brings the old school into the 21st century in a style all his own. Whether by himself or with his backing band, the funky, righteous Mad Dog No Good, he brings to his live shows the kind of passion, energy and humor rare in today's music scene. ... more

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Track Name: Baby Train
Baby Train (Long)

To be quite objectable, body was just a miracle
Steppin in them heels, boobies, booty and no residual
Smile is individual, swagger indivisible
Baby do be takin her vitamins and her minerals
She brushed against my body, ooh it felt so good
She started making trouble in my neighborhood
I said “I got the kinda lovin that could peel off your paint.
I been waitin at your station, won’t you open your gates”

Baby, baby train
Baby, let me ride
Baby, baby train
Baby, let me ride

I said, “Why your name is Train? It ain’t lustful, is it, cher?”
She said, “I like vehicles. They can take you anywhere.”
So I took her out to London, I took her out to France
I went trans-continental medieval on that ass
Well, drop my suspenders, put my hat on the floor
I been waitin at your station, won’t you open the do’

Baby, baby train
Baby, let me ride
Baby, baby train
Baby, let me ride

When you do The Locomotion I like the way you Twist
When it’s time for The Percolator, I think you get my jist
Ms. Tony say “How you wanna carry it?” What’s up, what’s up with you, Miss?
But I ride a mail train baby, you don’t want no part of this.
When you’ze an artist like me, honey, you don’t look back
You keep your hand on your blade and your blood on the tracks
But I’ma keep my stride til the day I die
I been waitin at your station, won’t you let me ride

Baby, baby train
Baby, let me ride
Baby, baby train
Baby, let me ride
Track Name: The Songster, Part 2
I'm the songster and I'm back in town again
I'm the songster, from the town I never left.

Knocked on the doors but no one was home.
the juke joints were closed, the jukebox was sold.
Left town again traveled the tracks
went to the rocks and the rocks answered

"Jack, you the songster and you're doomed to carry-on.
You the songster. We've been watching since you'ze born."

It's the same old song
but with a different meaning since you've been gone.
You remember the tune?
I remember it too.

I'm the songster, playing a game that's ages old.
I'm the songster. Never understood the rules but I won't fold.

Out in the sea, taking some laps
breathing some air and giving some back.
I never cared much for the land.
At least in the sea you know where you stand.

I'm the songster so please don’t be too mean
I'm the songster. I’m an extraordinary machine.

Hanging with the snake, among the trees.
Bent down a branch. Picked from the leaves.
Started thinking too much. It melted my brain.
It was either blame it on her or admit I had gone insane.

I'm the songster. I've said the dumbest things on earth.
I'm the songster. Shut me off before the next verse.

Cain slew Able.
Seth knew not why.
So he built himself a house
and hid himself inside.

I'm the songster. I be glancing at the moon.
I'm the songster, How it comes and goes too soon.

I seen two wolves scrap 'neath the sky.
One moved on, the other had died.
All day and all night I stand on my guard.
I've had a couple of wolves in my yard.

(Interlude)

Just cause I'm here don't mean I'm tough.
Don't mean I ain't scared just because I don't run.
If I should fade and nobody knows,
if I've done well, as you walk from my bones

tell them I was the songster and I sang some melodies.
I was a songster and I heard them in my dreams.

Somewhere not too far, way deep inside the deep, there’s an undying glow we can feel but can't see.....
Track Name: Freddy's Walking Home
Freddy’s Walkin’ Home

I’m patrolin the town, lookin ‘round for a crime
The cuttin’ the budget, but they won’t cut mine
Cause my eye is sharp, mess around if ya wanna
Lawbreakers beware, I got to fill my quota

Freddy don’t you do know back talkin’
You know you ain’t supposed to be drunk walkin
Freddy’s walkin home

I see a man all a-bumblin’ down the street
Either a light-skinned colored or a tall Chinese
Can’t tell for sure, but it sure don’t matter
I can smell a troublemaker like shit on a cracker

Freddy don’t you do know back talkin’
You know you ain’t supposed to be drunk walkin
Freddy’s walkin home

He say, “Why’d you pull me over? Ain’t even in my car.
Figured I was too drunk after I closed my bar
I’m a businessman with a reputation
Are you done yet with this investigation?”

I said, “Shut up, Freddy.
Shut up, Freddy.
I’m locked and loaded and my hands are steady.
You just think about runnin, you’ll be dead already

Shut up, Freddy.
Shut up, Freddy.
Got backup on the way and they ready too
What you know ‘bout a murder June of ’92?

Freddy don’t you do know back talkin’
You know you ain’t supposed to be drunk walkin
Freddy’s walkin home
Track Name: Lonely Prayer
There's an occurrence occurring
somewhere in this town.
I'm gonna sniff it out.
I'm gonna track it down.

These drivers are crazy
Out 'chere on this road.
What's so important?
where they're tryin to go?

I made a lonely prayer
to some angels there.
I poured out my soul
but they don't care.

I broke danced at the bar.
I spun on my head.
I did the "Run from the Feds."
I did the "Getaway Car."

Now, who here among you
know what they wanna know?
They gonna make you talk.
They gonna make you walk home.

I made a lonely prayer
to some angels there
I poured out my soul
but they don't care

I told the truth too much.
More lethal than a touch.
I tried to leave this town
But the bridge fell down.

Like the moonshine
across pavement sweat,
there's a darkness too bright
to ever forget.

I made a lonely prayer
to some angels there
I poured out my soul
but they don't care
Track Name: Is Tonight Too Soon?
Been too long, I need your taste
Though it’s been a single day
We did it all, but I want more
Lets warm up the kitchen floor

We burn with passion so lets feed the fire
When the flames mingle the heat rushes higher
I have question before it consumes
I know I might be rushing, but

Is tonight too soon
To call again?
Is tonight too soon
To get some lovin’ in?

I never do what you make me do
I need it bad and you need it too
I’m a match you lit just the other day
I’ll blow your mind. Don’t blow me away.

Take your temperature cause your burning up
That’s no fever, we’re falling in love.
We’re dancing with the coals on your feet.
Where there’s smoke, there’s you and there’s me

We burn with passion so lets feed the fire
When the flames mingle the heat rushes higher
I have question before it consumes
I know I might be rushing, but

Is tonight too soon
To call again?
Is tonight too soon
To get some lovin’ in?

I never do what you make me do
I need it bad and you need it too
I’m a match you lit just the other day
I’ll blow your mind. Don’t blow me away.

We reach the peak, your nerves they excite
I’m climbing up your fahrenheights
I can’t believe the things that you said.
What sweaty things go one in your head?

The bang, the pow, the explosion
A trillion things set in motion
We breathe a while, not to be rude
I know we just finished, but

Is tonight too soon?
Track Name: The White Flag of Love
(Brooks Long/ LaFayette Gilchrist)

I give in, you win the war
Just please, oh please don’t beat me no more
I love you, babe, but my love is sore
So I’m waving the white flag of love

Waving, waving
Waving the white flag of love
Waving, waving
Waving the white flag of love

Don’t know what I came here for
Don’t get up, I’ll lock the door
I’ll give you all the space you want and more
Cause I’m waving the white flag of love

Waving, waving
Waving the white flag of love
Waving, waving
Waving the white flag of love

Crazy talk about peace
Crazy talk about love
Crazy talk about voices heard
I ain’t gonna talk that talk no more
I ain’t gonna talk that talk no more

If my tears like rain could spread
The mud would bloom in no man’s land
But with this cloth I’ll wipe them off
As I’m waving the white flag of love

Waving, waving
Waving the white flag of love
Waving, waving
Waving the white flag of love
Track Name: Eli, 2:45am
Just come from the bar
where I almost fought man
over some long-leg
I half-hearted tried to bed.

Now, here I am
outside the front door
Let me in, it’s cold
or ain’t I welcome anymore?

I see you fixed the window.
You rearranged the place.
You painted the bathroom
that color I hate.

Maybe I am drunk,
but I do want you back.
Isn’t that enough
or is it too much to ask?

Dog was sick Tuesday.
Last night she passed.
I got fired from the firehouse
for sniffing some gas.

If I don’t love you,
why I am I back?
Why you keep asking
dumb questions like that?

Tell all your sisters
I’ve changed very well.
If they don’t believe it
they can all burn in hell.

Maybe I am drunk,
but I still can’t see why
when I try to kiss you
you start to cry.

You cleaned out the fridge.
You drank all my beer.
It’s almost like
I never lived here.

You got a light?
Cause I need a smoke.
I’ve been thinking some things
Some things you should know

I’m sorry for everything
that I’ve done to you.
What you let me do it for?
What’s the matter with you?

Maybe I am drunk,
but there’s laws in this land.
No matter who he is
gotta stand by your man.

Been to the doctors.
It’s cancer I’m told.
Don’t seem like a terrible
important thing to know.

Appointment on Friday.
They won’t see me there.
I’d rather spend time with
someone who once cared.

Don’t look at me like that.
I’m down on my knees.
I need you so bad, baby.
My soul ain’t at ease.

Maybe I am drunk,
but something ain’t right
when a man’s got to live,
then the man’s got to die
Track Name: Apologize
All I have to do is apologize
and I can have whatever I want
All I have to do is apologize
and I can do whatever I want

You know that I still love you
Despite what I say and do
All I have to do is apologize
All I have to do is apologize

All I have to do is apologize
And I can pull the wool to your eyes
All I have to do is apologize
And I can burn your city alive

We know that mistakes were made
We’ll find those weapons some bright day

All I have to do is apologize
All I have to do is apologize
All I have to do is apologize
All I have to do is apologize
Track Name: Baby Gon' Be Funky
(Long)

Back when I first met you
The day you was born
You kicked your little feet and I know complete
a funky baby boy was born.

Nurse, you see this baby?
This baby right here?
Nurse, you see this baby?
This baby right here?

Baby gon' be funky

Wait til you learn how to walk, baby.
I'm gonna teach you how to stride.
They gonna teach you ABCs and your 123s.
I'm gonna teach you how to talk a jive.

Teacher, you see this baby?
This baby right here?
Teacher, you see this baby?
This baby right here?

Baby gon' be funky

Don't you tell your momma.
She never would understand.
But I burned you two or three Funkadelic CDs.
They gonna turn you to a funky man.

Son, look in the mirror.
This mirror right here.
Son, look in this mirror.
This mirror right here.

You were born to be funky

Here's my baby
Baby gon' be funky
Track Name: Volcano Tax
Great people of Kalapana
There’s been rumors going ‘round
Everybody say we aim to tax you
For the lava in the ground

Now would that make any sense?
Would we do a thing like that?
But the truth is, if we don’t do something
Gonna have to be cutbacks

Y’all know bout that mountain you there
Y’all know it’s bout to blow it’s lid
Now we ain’t got to rebuild if you don’t want
But we kinda figured that you did

Might flow down to your power plant
All your businesses and schools
In fact, no might about it
Only question is how soon

Gonna head down to your houses
Gonna melt your front screen door
Gonna burn up all your pictures
but you can always take some more

And y’all people gonna go crazy
Gonna be chaos throughout the land
And if we can pay no police
Somebody’ll kill you where you stand
Might be the police

And that’s if your survive
A good many of y’all won’t
Some people try not to think about it
But I don’t

No more running for office
No one around but me
Finally, the whole island
In perfect harmony

But since you got to be here
And I got to share the world with you
Seem like that old Volcano Tax
Is the best thing we can do
Track Name: Delivered
When your river can’t find the ocean
When you’re two times out of ten
When you’re very last dollar
Is your very last friend

Late in the midnight hour
After you finally reached the end
Then the pain you thought was sleeping
When it rises up again

Delivered

When the light at the end
Is the sunrise come again

When you’re peeling back the layers
Maybe you peeled them back too much
When it chews you up at breakfast
And spits you back out at lunch

When you thought that you could fly
Because you dreamed it up in bed
Then the blues in your sky
Starts to rain upon your head

Delivered

When you alight in the night
And you remember an ancient dance

Remember, remember, remember

When you’re running through the forest
Shackles on your feet
But your eyes are fixed on a star
and you won’t accept defeat

Maybe they think that you are sleeping
And you won’t wake up again
Then the magic in your soul
Starts to twitching up again

Delivered

When the light at the end
Is the sunrise come again
Track Name: She Knows (Her Song)
The fire just won’t die
I try to try but I
I feel her in my bones ever deeper

If we never meet again
Or if she needs me as a friend
I won’t forget the peace it was to hold her.

And if her voice went cold
The love’s already shown
There’s nothing left to know except the future

She knows

She’s always on my mind
My heart beats out of time
Until I put my mind and heart together

There’s magic in the street
And magic in the beat
I will not shut my eyes to the wonder

All magic is pure
All that’s pure is real
My love for her is pure and simple magic

And now it’s time to turn
Turn and face the world
Her gentle smile I’m keeping in my pocket

She knows

She knows she knows I love her, but that’s not all she knows
She takes her truths out and wears them for party clothes
I was alright before I met her and then I knew for sure
But now she gone and alright ain’t good enough any more
Only thing she don’t know, girl got magic in her
Rabbits fallin out of hats all over the Goddamn place and cookin up four course dinners
If this is a dream, you can’t wake me, I aim to be around a while
I haven’t felt this whole since I was an uncorrupted child
I’d call her name in my soul if there was no number for to dial
I’d touch every blade of grass, I’d walk the moonlight mile
She’s worth a million priceless things and she’s just as beautiful as she looks
And she just looks so good.

I’d drink the naked rain, I’d jump a thousand moons
I’d burn a thousand candles, I’d climb up Mount Ventoux
“The life that we call blessed is to be sought on a high level
and straight is the way that leads to it.” That’s the only way to beat the Devil.
I was stranded in the alley when she pulled her ladder down
I told her on the fire escape I was gonna pay her back somehow
Now, this is her song, but I know she likes to share
So take it with you. I hope she takes it everywhere
And while she’s taking things, well she could take me too
If I were in her boots, that’s just what I would do
I know she knows she knows. She knows I know it too
She knows I know I know. I know she knows I know it too