Further Down the Line

by Scott Cook

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released January 27, 2017

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Scott Cook Edmonton, Alberta

Canada's prairie balladeer Scott Cook has managed to distil the stories collected over years of near-incessant touring across Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia, and Australia into straight-talking, keenly observant verse. All the hard miles notwithstanding, he still believes that songs can change your life, and your life can change the world. ... more

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Track Name: Further Down the Line
Aren't some people just famous for being famous?
Isn't that about all that they do?
And couldn't the radio leave you feeling aimless?
Just a nameless person like you
But I sure heard the words Woody Guthrie sang
Even when they didn't quite rhyme
He knew the heart was the stuff, they'd ring close enough
Further down the line

I've painted houses, mopped floors, and washed dishes
Taught kids, cut grass and moved gear
Swung hammer, cleaned toilets and dug ditches
And I even sang songs to sell beer
But it was all for someone else's dream,
'Til I set out after mine
Said, "take this hammer, take it to the captain
Tell him I'm further down the line"

I crossed the Fraser, the Columbia, the Mississippi,
The Allegheny and the Ohio
Saint Lawrence, Susquehanna, Chattahoochee,
The Hudson and the Colorado
I saw the big rigs sleeping in the starry desert
Saw the snow piled 'round the Yukon pines
But I couldn't hang around too long in New York Town
Without lookin' further down the line

Some of the joints in New Orleans ain't pretty
But the waitresses'll call you "hon"
And a cop'll stay on the white side of the city
'Cause they paid for his hat and his gun
And there's a Gulf War vet by the overpass
Who says "Bro, can you spare a dime?"
Who's he kidding? These days a dollar won't be getting
You any further down the line, boys

I saw the stars and bars flying in Dixie
And doomsday prophets on capitol hill
I saw a fast food mall named after Walt Whitman
And Gettysburg ghosts wandering still
If our families are so broken,
How do we make a family out of humankind?
We still got promises to break
And miles to go before we wake further down the line

I saw the homeless and the houses sitting empty
I heard the explanations of learned men
Nowadays they'll rob you with a computer
'Cause it's faster than a fountain pen
And if smarter people haven't found a gap in the armour
Why do I keep trying?
I still believe there's a world dying to be born
Further down the line, friends
Further down the line

Aw Woody, I been through all kinds of weather
Been searching all the faces for a sign
As you know, love's hard to keep together
As the miles and the years unwind
And you never run out of blacktop
Nah, you just run out of time
That ribbon of songs keeps on winding along
Ever further, down the line
Track Name: Dogs and Kids
We staggered arm in arm here when we were younger
Tried everything they said we shouldn't do
And we took as many trips as we took lovers
But some of those trips, a dog comes back with you

And some of those trysts turned into tricycles
And my wild and reckless friends got safe and old
Wheeling little buddy homeward on the bicycle
With all the hope and joy and poop a bike seat could hold

Now the feral festival kidlets keep changing costumes
They run in a pack, and dig holes in the ground
And they like sleeping under the table just like the dogs do
So you watch your step when there's little ones around

And I'm a better person, when I'm hanging with dogs and kids
Got one thing on their mind at a time, can't keep nothing hid
Remind me we're alive, forgive whatever we did
I'm a better person, hanging with dogs and kids

So we talk about work, and what we're reading
Why the bastards keep winning, and where we'd move if they did
We talk about who went home with whom at the party last weekend
But eventually we just watch the dogs and kids

Chasing and sniffing and eating's all they're on about
They don't complicate their blues, they just moan
They don't think much about themselves, they just freak out!
If they got a bone to pick with you, it's probably just a bone

My buddy had a string of bad luck and bad choices
If it goes bad in court, one of us has to take his pup
He's trying to learn to listen to the right voices
Hope he don't have to miss his kid growing up

We were all bulletproof daydream manifesters
But all the bluster just boils down to love
Just wanna be a good uncle, be a good ancestor
I'm taking better care when there's someone to take care of
Track Name: Alberta, You're Breaking My Heart (with Benjamin James Caldwell)
Alberta, remember when
I held you as the room spun
At the harvest dance
You had plans to match my ambition
The ridge-lines of your body
Rose beneath my hands
Oh, kissing slow, whispering low
That we'll never part
Alberta, you're breaking my heart

Northern country, to forge a life
This oil town's grey and brown
But there's black gold to grab
My days are dirty, your nights are lonely
Turned to finding comfort
In a zip-lock bag
Baby, are you sober? Tried to turn it over
But it wouldn't start
Alberta, you're breaking my heart

Midnight gas stop, tryin' to get home
The card read declined
Please pick up the phone
Are you using again? Where's the money?
Did you sell off our promise
With your beauty
Oh, is it just fate? Is it too late
For this frail work of art?
Alberta, you're breaking my heart
Alberta, you're breaking my heart

Alberta, remember when?
I held you as the room spun
At the harvest dance
Track Name: Careful With My Heart (by Heather Styka)
I'm a brave aviator in the stories that I write
A fearless lion-tamer baring it all every night
And there's nothing I won't tell when I'm behind my guitar
But when I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart
When I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart

You can say I'm reckless for the chances that I take
You can say I'm hopeless for all the losing bets I make
You know I'm hell on wheels, not afraid to fall apart
But when I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart
When I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart

I have slain dragons, but none wearing your clothes
With all your good intentions and your disarming prose
These words are a talisman to protect against love's start
When I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart
I might well be a fool, but there's one way I am smart
When I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart
When I'm standing beside you I am careful with my heart
Track Name: Your Sweet Time
I'm musing on you, baby, just a whiff of you inspires
I'm wishing I was with you, singing 'round the fire, drinking cheap wine
And I'm jonesin' for a little bit more of your sweet time

Your love's a foreign country, baby take the lead
I'm carrying no currency, I can't even read the street signs
But I'm searching the lanes for a hidden doorway into your sweet time

You can bring me home to dinner, I'd even meet your folks
I promise to scrub up and laugh at their jokes, you can even meet mine
If you'll do a little scrubbin' up too, in your sweet time

We're both born lovers, gal, that's understood
I know you got others but don't your hands feel good in between mine
And won't you keep a little room for me in your sweet time

There's a cruel wind blowing, I'm feeling like a ghost
This little flame I'm holding, if you guard it close it'll keep fine
Could you leave it burning in the window of your sweet time?

Some things you can't rehearse, some things you'll never know
I'll listen for another verse and pray whatever road my feet find
Leads me far and wide and back inside of your sweet time
Leads me far and wide and back inside of your sweet time
Track Name: If He Showed Up Now
If he showed up now, you wouldn't know what to do
He'd be flat broke as usual, filthy too
And the worst thing about it when he comes to town
Is the kind of people that he brings around
But all of your life you have called him your friend
And promised you'd stick by him right to the end
So you'd say, do us the honour, have something to eat
And he'd say, where were you when I was living on the street?

If he showed up now there'd be trouble, I bet
He'd be talking revolution, or did you forget
When you told him you'd follow him, he said, if you
Were anything like me, they'd kill you too.
You'd say, I've been calling you, haven't you heard?
I live by your name and I'd die for your word
And I'd fight to defend it in every detail
And he'd say, where were you when I was in jail?

If he showed up now, would you recognize him?
If he came as a pauper when you expected a king
Or as an illegal, scrounging for bills
Or a defenceless child in the Syrian hills
You'd say I've been fighting your cause all along
I studied your pages and sang out your songs
And it was in your name that I closed every prayer
And he'd say, where were you when I was sick and couldn't get care?
You'd say, if I'd known it was you I'd have come
I fought for your honour and all that I've done
It was under your banner in the name of the Son
And he'd say, where were you for the weakest ones?
Where were you for the weakest ones?
Track Name: Walk That Lonesome Valley
You got to walk that lonesome valley
You got to walk it by yourself
Nobody else can walk it for you
You got to walk that valley by yourself

Now there was a slave girl, Isabella Baumfree
Sold three times in her youth
She took her child and walked to freedom
She took the name Soujourner Truth

She took a white man to court and won
She said I'll do anything a man can do
I'll eat as much as any man, if I can get it
If black men'll vote, why can't I vote too?

She had to walk that lonesome valley
She had to walk it by herself
Nobody else could walk it for her
She had to walk that valley by herself

Now there was a priest named Father Berrigan
Tryin' to make sense of what Jesus said
He heard his country was burning children
He and his friends burned draft records instead

He said, now what if you really meant it?
Loved your fellowman like you love your Lord?
In Pennsylvania they destroyed warheads
Making plowshares out of swords

Dan Berrigan walked that lonesome valley
He had to walk it by himself
Nobody else could walk it for him
He had to walk that valley by himself

Now there was a soldier named Bradley Manning
Without a friend, so far from home
In a body that never fit right
Knowing things no one should know

Said what would you do with this information?
Wouldn't it help the world if it were known?
Got eleven months in Quantico, for starters
With the lights on, naked and alone

Chelsea Manning had to walk that lonesome valley
She had to walk it by herself
Nobody else could walk it for her
She had to walk that valley by herself

If you got to walk that lonesome valley
You got to walk it by yourself
Nobody else can walk it for you
You got to walk that valley by yourself
Track Name: Fellas, Get Out the Way
There's a whole lotta uppity women
Still ain't satisfied with the deal
We let 'em ride right alongside
Now they wanna take the wheel
And the fellas keep sayin' we got this
'Cause that's the way that it's always been done
Don't the scriptures say a woman should obey
Didn't a man write every last one?
We can take a little lesson from history
All the priests, generals and kings
There's just nothing like long experience
When it comes to making a mess outta things

Fellas, get out the way!
Fellas, get out the way!
We had our turn, we've had our say
Fellas, get out the, get out the way
Fellas, get out the way!

Now they want choice, and pay equality
Wouldn't believe it how they rant and rave
Back in the day we'd just knock 'em on the head
And drag 'em on back to the cave
And we're still flexing that privilege
Though we find ways to ignore it
And ever subtler ways to say
She must've been asking for it

I thank God that She made women
Every time I'm in a crowd of guys
They might do just fine without us
Without them, we'd be Lord of the Flies
Whoever said it's bros before hos
I can tell you that's a load of malarkey
If there's any hope for this whole show
We got to bring on the matriarchy

I got a guy friend who's 30 years married
He backs her up however he can
He says, happy wife, happy life
Seems to me he's a reasonable man
I got a gal friend who's tougher than me
If you cross her there'll be hell to pay
When I hold the door it ain't chivalry
Nah, I'm just getting out of her way
Track Name: Kitchen Dance Party On
Well, it might start out with Tuesday night mojitos
Squeezin' out that mint and lime
Til' someone drops the needle on that Temptations vinyl
And it's kitchen dance party time
Or you just might be cookin' up some curry
With some funky funky Nina Simone
'Fore you know it you're bippin' and a-boppin', poppin' and a-lockin'
Kitchen dance party on!

We don't need no big sound system
We don't need smoke and laser lights
We don't need to show ID or wait in line to go pee
At the kitchen dance party tonight
So don'tcha be a kitchen dance party pooper
Come on and grab a good time before it's gone
We're just banana bread bakin', booty-ooty-ooty shakin', gettin' our
Kitchen dance party on!

When you're goofin' with such goofy, goofy people
Sometimes it's been known to spill out in the yard
If the neighbours get uptight, you gotta fight for your right to
Kitchen dance party hard
Oh, and even though my face hurts from smiling
Won't you play another Stevie Wonder song
We're just a-bumpin and a-grindin', yellin' out "rewind!" and
"Kitchen dance party on!"

Have you heard that new Boogie Patrol record?
That band's so hot, man, they're flammable
We'll go off to that stuff, come on, cue it on up
For these kitchen dance party animals
And we'll boogie like our backs ain't got no bone
Someone get Chelsea Johnson on the phone!
Tell her we're oompin and a-loompin', shakin' our sum'un sumpin
There's a kitchen dance party on!
We just a-twistin' and a-jivin', fist-bumpin' and high-fivin',
Kitchen dance party on!
Kung fu fighting and uprockin', chicken dancin' and duck walkin'
Kitchen dance party on!
Track Name: Learning To Let Go
They're all done sweeping up
And the chairs are stacked for going
While there's drink left in our cups
Here's to when they were overflowing
And all the good times gone
And the urge to tarry on
But I'm hungry for the starlight
Out beyond the neon glow
And that's how I'm learning to let go

Good friends, haven't we've had some times?
And I've wished that they could linger
Oh, but don't they feel sublime?
As they run through your fingers
Like the last golden dregs of day
Or a love you can't make stay
When no amount of wanting
Will ever make it so
That's how I'm learning to let go

All the sights that filled my eyes
All the wild lands I wandered
All the sweetest things I tried
All the sweet time I squandered
All the loves, the closest ones
And the should'ves and the might have dones
Will be scattered like our money
Like our good friends laid low
That's how I'm learning to let go

I've seen my big ideas come and go
Seen my father in the mirror
And I'm fading into everyone I know
As the young ones come in clearer
May their hearts be wide and true
May they find comrades like you
And the good seeds that we planted
May they live to see them grow
That's how I'm learning to let go

I've heard about a land beyond the sky
Where the righteous go in the end
But I don't know how I'd rest there by and by
Without all my wicked friends
And the land calls to me
Someday she'll take all of me
And feed me to the flowers
That lie dreaming 'neath the snow
That's how I'm learning to let go