A Hand Full Of Songs

by Jim Page

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    Also a rundown on what the songs are about and how they came to be.
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1.
Questions and Answers in the morning when the dream dissolves and all that you recall is that it felt so real if it even was a dream at all and your lover and companion still asleep inside her own one maybe the same the same one that you just woke up from are there any answers yes there are answers but when you find the answers all the questions change there are those who demand to know the answers to it all like why they don’t fly off the planet and why the sky doesn’t fall they have the right to ask of course and someone will reply for each and every answer there’s a question standing by are there any answers yes there are answers but when you find the answers all the questions change you may question my integrity and question my desire like I question your intentions as you step into the fire it’s all open to investigation nothing is secure we may invest in our predictions but how can we be sure I asked you what your name was and I asked you where you’re from and you asked me where I lived and was I with someone and I asked if you like movies would you like to see one now you said why don't we go walking we'll find a way somehow and our walking went for miles and the miles went on for days through all contradictions of a million different ways until we reached our destination where the distance disappears and we are still together after all these years
2.
Put It Down 05:21
Put It Down we all live behind fences we all lock our doors nobody trusts antbody else if they don't know what they're trustin' 'em for everybody’s all got problems bad news on the wire somebody did somethin’ to somebody else set the whole place on fire (chorus) put it down it's only givin' you bad dreams think of all the good dreams that you’re leavin’ behind let it go try to write a better rhyme we got a lot to do and we don't have a lot of time I hear my neighbors they fight all the time they scream and they argue and they're crossin' that line but come tomorrow mornin’ I know just what I’ll see walkin’ around like nothin’ happened just like you and me I go down by the park bench watch the children play kinda remind me of myself back in my childhood days and the rules that we played by made enemies of our friends but we’re older now we no longer pretend you and me, babe we got some fences to mend we got some roads to travel so much distance between friends but if it means that much to you to mean this much to me then maybe we can make it if we keep tryin’ to see
3.
Landlord 05:02
Landlord yonder come my landlord collecting his rent with his greedy yellow eyes and his tongue all bent with his padlocked pockets and his bad luck nose come sneaking around my doorway and going through my clothes how could you treat me so cold you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul I got a rundown room on a dead end street it takes a lot of struggle just to make ends meet big money comin’ in all over town people like me are gettin’ shuffled around how could you treat me so cold you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul but hey you landlord I know you well you spend a lot of time hangin’ in a Trump hotel playin’ games with the money on the fat of the land I’ll put on a pair of gloves before I shake your hand how could you treat me so cold you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul you go watching through windows what you got no right to see knocking on doors when you got no right to be there your legs are weak, you been telling lies and some day somebody’s gonna get wise how could you treat me so cold you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul you’re gonna get evicted out on the street with no food in your belly no shoes on your feet you’re gonna walk around from door to door but nobody’s gonna want to see you anymore you’re gonna wake up at the crack of dawn you’re gonna look around and find that your land is gone you want to be cold as cold as you please come next winter we’re all gonna freeze how could you treat me so cold you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul yonder come my landlord collecting his rent with his greedy yellow eyes and his tongue all bent with his padlocked pockets and his bad luck nose come sneaking around my doorway and going through my clothes how could you treat me so cold you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul
4.
338 Dollars Dehind for Karen Lee Batts the snow is so beautiful it floats like the birds and it softens the sounds of discouraging words it’s Christmas and New Years snowmen and sleds beautiful children asleep in their beds she lived in a building where it wasn’t so bad they gave her medications for the voice in her head oh but life is so hard and what can you do they put her outside when the rent was overdue in the parking garage when the temperature froze hypothermia she took off her clothes and she lay down to sleep like a rag on the floor and she never woke up anymore that’s how it is, like it or not when barely enough is all that you got 338 dollars behind and that was the end of the line in this game of life some people stand tall some people are invisible and don’t count at all some people make big noise and some not a sound how can we live in this kind of town it’s an old story you’ve heard it before the rich get richer the poor stay poor and it’s only a song and it’s only snow until it gets cold and there’s nowhere to go that’s how it is, like it or not when barely enough is all that you got 338 dollars behind and that was the end of the line
5.
Jim's Song 06:18
Jim’s Song first time he came to Seattle he was ridin’ in a box car he was a little bit disheveled, he didn’t even have his guitar Vietnam was in the mirror, he was tryin’ to make it fade just another lost soul in life’s forlorn parade next time he came to town he was wearin’ a clean pair of pants and he was not alone this time, for life had taken quite a chance he had a wife and family, children one and two and they gonna make a go of it, that’s what they were gonna do and the wheel goes round and round sun goes up and down and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down so he wore his best dressed and he showed up to work on time and she got the kids to school and they saved up every dime they had pancakes with water for supper and cigarettes for tea and life was good, just the way it oughtta be but still there was that edge that just would not blunt his tongue could be a razor whether he wanted it to or not they say the truth will set you free but it’ll also get you fired and that’s when he got inspired and the wheel goes round and round sun goes up and down and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down so he took his guitar and he went downtown and he started to sing and autumn turned into winter and winter turned into spring and his voice got stronger and the songs began to soar and he found what he was lookin’ for and he sang about politics and he sang about love and there was nothin’ so low down that a song could not rise above and he sang to make you laugh and he sang to make you cry and he sang because a song could not tell a lie and the wheel goes round and round sun goes up and down and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down then one day America went to war against Iraq and every nightmare he ever had came back for every veteran of every foreign war there just was no sleeping anymore and when the streets filled up with people he was out there too he did everything he could think of to do sometimes he even thought he could stop it with a song if he could just get everybody to sing along but history is a cannonball and it just keeps rollin’ and you can’t unring that bell when that bell starts tollin’ and there’s only so much that anyone can take we just didn’t know how hard his heart would actually break and the wheel goes round and round sun goes up and down and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down he came a long way from that dirty box car to a wife and a family and a song and a guitar from an anonymous shadow on a downtown street to bein’ someone that almost anybody would want to meet somebody said, and it’s a word to the wise you can mourn if you have to but you better organize sharpen up your tongue to come out swingin’ ‘cause you never know when you might have to start singin’ and the world goes round and round sun goes up and down and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down yes, the world goes round and round sun goes up and down and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down settle down
6.
As the Wheel Spins and the rain blows against my window pane and then the thunder comes and the daylight wanes but it’s only the weather changing as the wheel spins and I know that when it it gets dark like this it’s gonna get light again and the sunrise makes the east get red and when it’s time to go it sets down in the west instead like the arc of a lifetime as it rises up to fly in out great imagination constellations in the sky and I know I made a mess of things I picked up that same big rock and I let it drop and by the time I figured out whose foot was underneath it was too late to stop and as I get older now I think back to when I was young and how hard it was to get over some silly stupid thing I done always tryin’ to live up to somethin’ I could never be always tryin’ to be somebody else somebody other than me but all my skies turn to blue now and all the fences open to let me in seems like there’s nothin’ I couldn’t do now thanks to you my friend and the rain blows at my window but I don’t get wet and I don’t care which way the wind blows ‘cause it ain’t caught me yet I turn up my collar and I go for a stroll I roll it up and I let it unroll just like a wheel when it spins here's to you my friend
7.
Nothing Rhymes With Orange you can see what they show you, you can hear what they say but it doesn’t make sense when you do it that way how many trees in the forest have to fall down and rot before we all understand if it matters or not the ones with muscle and flex of the fist are never as strong as the ones who resist it’s an old danger behind a new face ain’t there ain’t nothin’ new in the same old place so try to explain how it went down the drain but nothing rhymes with orange from out of the depths of the television swamp they came with the swagger and the brag and the pomp with the 10 second memory trained to forget so you never recognize who you already met and they stood on the field all wrapped in the flag saying “this is our country, it’s here in the bag” and they ran up a candidate all rolling in gold saying “there is your greatness, a sight to behold” and the money is there at the top of the stairs but nothing rhymes with orange some say “hold on now, give him a chance you can’t judge a snake by a cursory glance” oh but this reptilian familiar is known for the size of his hands and the gilt of his thrown for the wreckage that’s left in the wake of the storm and the poisonous bite of the terminal norm and there are no blinders will make it appear any better than it did this time last year so you cover your eyes from the blinding surprise because nothing rhymes with orange fear is a door that’s always locked up tight and it’s best not to open till the timing is right till you get all your plans and your ducks in a row step back and take cover, let the dynamite blow and there’s no turning back now, events are in motion tempers rising and so are the oceans it’s only a matter of time until then when either we sink or either we swim and the life lines that are thrown will be those of our own because nothing rhymes with orange
8.
Collateral Damage you loved your sweet country for all of your life like your mother and father before you and the land runs deep, so deep in your blood your flesh and your bone and your sinews descendants and ancestors, deep as it goes a relative circle as far as your eye it can all be undone in the flash of an instant mechanical thunder that bruises the sky goodbye to my relatives, all of my life never again will I see you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes collateral damage is all you will be from a faraway place where the language is strange they come with their angry machines and the clouds rain a metal that hurts when it falls and it shatters the ground, making everything scream and the children run crippled, the old people hide the babies are caught in the rubble debris but the strangers don’t know, you are only a number under-reported on color TV goodbye to my relatives, all of my life never again will I see you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes collateral damage is all you will be a mother is more than a number to a baby who now has to grow up on it’s own and a grandfather blinded and crippled at his age is more than just a statistical drone all of these people are human and humans are more footnote this cynical language of killing is killing us caught like a bone in humanity’s throat goodbye to my relatives, all of my life never again will I see you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes collateral damage is all you will be so if you see a ghost in the lonely wind blowing like shrapnel the sound of the rain and it’s speaking a language you don’t understand but you know what it means just the same it’s too late for innocence, all of that’s over now don’t say that you didn’t know when they come to collect for the damages owed the collateral may be your own goodbye to my relatives, all of my life never again will I see you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes collateral damage is all you will be
9.
Masters Of Lies you masters of lies who kill all the truth who spread all the hatred and poison the roots who hide behind TVs computers and spies I just want you to know I can see through your lies you suck up all the money and you leave us with crumbs expect us to be grateful but we’re not that dumb you feed on the poor and you leave them for dead and we know that your hunger can never be fed how fine are your mansions and your golf courses too how rich are your relatives you’ve got quite a few your money uncountable investments unknown you’re a mystery till your cover gets blown I know who you love and who you despise you love yourself first with a narcissist’s eyes and you despise anybody who calls out your game well I’m calling you now so take your best aim you were born into money so how would you know we’re just here to be used for your revenue flow like a fist full of numbers like something to earn but some of those numbers are starting to turn like a baby in swaddling you suck on your thumb but your thumb is a cell phone that’s how it gets done with your midnight explosions your rants and your bile is it any wonder we’ve become so reviled go out in the world see what who we are a laughing stock nation under a dangerous star armed and unstable with a tyrant’s design it’s come to this, yes it’s the end of the line and I hope that you fall and you fall so hard that you cannot be saved from your dead house of cards with your memory buried so no one will know how this once great nation could fall so low we will go on without you yes, we will survive on into the future our beauty will thrive with our face to the sun and our back to rain and no one will ever remember your name with our face to the sun and our back to rain and no one will ever remember your name
10.
Shadow in the room the news is bad, it always is, it shudders down the line people close their eyes and ears and leave their minds behind and the only answers taken are what they already know and the shadow in the room begins to grow the death toll mounts on either side for every face a name everybody points the finger says the other one is to blame and vengeance is a hungry thing it cannot be satisfied and the shadow in the room won't take a side the right of gods to give and take is taken for the law by those who stand to gain the most from such a fatal flaw and religion is to justify what would otherwise be moot and the shadow in the room is absolute there’s a meeting in a secret place you won’t find on any map where the world is a chessboard move the pieces up and back and the ones who gain the most are those who use the biggest guns and the shadow in the room knows how its done there’s another pretty pop star with easy melodies everybody loves the ballgame but it saps their energies and it’s better to be entertained than it is to have to think and the shadow in the room becomes distinct the shadow like an animal has been there all along an elephant or an albatross whatever fits your song whatever you won’t look at because it interrupts your game and it will never disappear without a name its the knot inside your thinking, its the shadow on the sun its whatever you have to deal with before you can get anything done its what your enemy's been trying to tell you all along and it’s the only thing worth singing in a song
11.
My Old Home Town in my old home town where there was a winding stream and we could walk for miles and miles beside the hills so green underneath the sky so blue when I was in love with you that’s the way the world went ‘round in my old home town but life goes on and we sing the song and the verses get deeper in time and the roads we take may make our hearts break but you have your way and I have mine and life goes on on and we sing the song and the chorus gets better over time and our voices rise as we harmonize but you have your melody and I have mine in my old home town where there was a winding stream and we could walk for miles and miles beside the hills so green underneath the sky so blue when I was in love with you that’s the way the world went ‘round in my old home town
12.
Same Train, Different Track the day Merle Haggard died I found a quiet place to hide let the songs paint pictures in my mind of a different place and time pictures of a broke down oil town where dust bowl memories abound prison walls on either side and a soul so deep and wide same train, different track you ride away, you don’t come back one road to disappear one song to sing it here one jukebox for your time sing me yours I’ll sing you mine in some honkey tonk saloon somebody’s always leavin’ soon we all have songs that we can sing just like the birds do in the spring they will help us carry on life’s hard enough without a song same train, different track you ride away, you don’t come back one road to disappear one song to sing it here one jukebox for your time sing me yours I’ll sing you mine in some honkey tonk saloon somebody’s always leavin’ soon yes, in some honkey tonk saloon somebody’s always leavin’ too soon
13.
Shady Grove 03:32
Shady Grove Shady Grove my true love Shady Grove my darlin’ Shady Grove my true love I’m goin’ back to Harlan I wish I had a big white horse shoulders deep and wide Shady Grove along with me around the world we’d ride we’d ride away to Israel ride away to Spain and everywhere the people sing “Oh the wind and rain” Shady Grove my true love Shady Grove my darlin’ Shady Grove my true love I’m goin’ back to Harlan it’s apples in the summertime peaches in the fall if I can’t have my Shady Grove I won’t have none at all Shady Grove my true love Shady Grove my darlin’ Shady Grove my true love I’m goin’ back to Harlan

about

“A Handful of Songs” is a poignant collection of songs, which continues Page’s keen observation of the world around him. As Page tells it, “I had a handful of songs that I wanted to record and all the musicians and the studio time was booked. Then Trump was elected and the world shifted and I wrote a few songs in response to that. I believe that artists have an obligation to speak out, to not be silent. I put the political pieces in the middle so that the listener could walk into a room full of music, get into the stories, and then have the reality get real, then emerge slowly back into the daylight. In that sense it’s like a journey through our times.”

credits

released October 5, 2017

all songs copyright Jim Page, Whid-Isle Music, BMI
except Shady Grove, traditional with new words and arrangement by J Page
recorded April 11, 12, 13, 2017
at Studio Litho, Seattle WA
mixed at Garey Shelton Studios, May 2 and 3.

Jim Page – acoustic guitar and vocal
Orville Johnson – acoustic & electric guitar, mandolin, electric bass and dobro
Mark Ettinger – acoustic bass
Jon Parry – fiddle
Grant Dermody – harmonica
Barry Sless – acoustic guitar

This project produced itself with input and critique from all parties. Engineered and mixed by Floyd Reitsma. Special thanks to Katy Keenan and Ava Lani.

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Jim Page Seattle, Washington

Named by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine as “One Of The 50 Most Influential Musicians In Seattle History.” Originally from California Page has called Seattle and the Pacific Northwest “home” since 1971. Songs covered by The Doobie Brothers, Christy Moore, Dick Gaughan, Michael Hedges, and Roy Bailey. Utah Phillips: “If you’re ever going to get the message, this is the messenger to get it from.” ... more

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