Music From Big Red

by Jim Page

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Recorded at Big Red Studios, Corbett, OR, 2000
engineered and mixed by Billy Oskay


released May 14, 2000

All songs by Jim Page, Whid-Ilse Music, BMI
except "Quiet Desperation" by Floyd Red Crow Westerman

Jim Page: vocals and guitar
Billy Oskay: fiddle
Mark Ettinger: bass


all rights reserved



Jim Page Seattle, Washington

Named by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine as “One Of The 50 Most Influential Musicians In Seattle History.” Originally crom 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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Track Name: Everything Is Round
the sun goes up and the sun goes down
and all the many planets out spinning around
hangin’ on to a little green piece of ground
everything is round

all around the lost and found
tubular bells they make a tubular sound
and the rollin’ balls go rollin’ around
everything is round

you can fantasize a straight line
you can try it if you may
but I guarantee that straight line
is gonna turn around some day

there’s a crazy man beatin’ on a big skin drum
and everybody waitin’ for the kingdom come
while every other kingdom just comes undone
everything is round

starting from the mother earth
learning what a circle’s worth
returning to the place of birth
everything is round

you can calculate the answer
you can call it “M C Squared”
but if space and time are truly curved
then there are no squares out there

if god could speak he’d have to say
forget about the judgment day
there’s no straight and narrow anyway
everything is round

entropy and institution
a convoluted evolution
revolving every revolution
everything is round
Track Name: Bound For Outta Town
Brother Long John and Sister Annabelle
downtown by the handout and the hollowed out hotel
bought a one way ticket from the old soldier
went walkin’ down the skidway with a bag across their shoulder

they were bound for Ketchikan
bound for out of town

Dangerous Dan, the one they call Hard Nose
with his underwater eyes and a mortgage on his clothes
asked Fat Albert for a phone booth and a dime
Albert said he’d like to help him but he did not have the time

he was bound for Ketchikan
bound for out of town

the pawnbroker foreclosed, runnin’ over time
the poet and the reptile done clean run out rhymes
rock and roll and hard turpentine
make the loose professional walk the crooked line

bound for Ketchikan
bound for out of town

multi sexual, anything goes
eyeshade makeup and carnival clothes
hunger unappeasable and never satisfied
keep you always on the run with never no place to hide

not even in Ketchikan
or bound for out of town

private prejudicial clubs keep outsiders in their place
everything from bad manners to the language of your face
those who know the value are those that’ve been denied
respecting all but the dead for they’ve already died

and be buried in Ketchikan
down and out of town

hail to the hero, a long time
come home to meet the stranger woman, mother of his son
honor and salute you with 21 shots of lead
if you get lucky hero you might catch one with your head

and be bound for Ketchikan
bound for out of town

contract licensees and ID cards
they check the hotels, they check the railroad yards
and the refugees, their first time on the street
all sell their shoes to make it easy on their feet

they are bound for Ketchikan
bound for out of town

now the dangerous majority are tired of all this talk
guards don’t help, don’t trust no padlock
those that want to get out better get out while they can
better start walkin’ while you still got a leg to stand on

and be bound for Ketchikan
bound for out of town
Track Name: Shadow On My Shoulder
there’s a shadow on my shoulder
been there for days
somethin’ in between us
too difficult to say
thing about a secret
it gets a life of it’s own
dog you on your footsteps
until you’re never alone

it’s alright
there’s no reason to blame
everybody’s had a hard one
you don’t have to be ashamed
it never really mattered
was such a beautiful start
but now there’s a shadow on my shoulder
keepin’ us apart

our love was like a window
I saw the sun alive in the sky
our love was like a mirror
no where to run from the look in your eye

now I’m watchin’ while the rain falls
from out my window sill
I never really knew you
I guess I never will
life is kind of funny that way
you know you never really know
but now there’s a shadow on my shoulder callin’
I guess I better go

our love was like a window
I saw the sun alive in the sky
our love was like a mirror
no where to run from the look in your eye
Track Name: Mister Ondo
one afternoon as I came home
to the building where I lived alone
I met an old man on the stairs
as he paused to catch his breath there

his face was drawn and pale
his hand was clenched to grip the rail
he had a long way to go
and his name was Mr. Ondo

I offered him my helping hand
my steady legs to help him stand
“my room’s upstairs and straight ahead
I’m not feeling very well,” he said

we reached the door, he turned the key
he turned around to look at me
and I saw myself in years to come
“thank you” he said, I said “you’re welcome”

and we all have so far to go
don’t we, Mr. Ondo

time passed by and all too soon
there came another afternoon
when I was home alone once more
with some one rapping at my door

it was Mr. Ondo looking well
holding out a dollar bill
as so eagerly he bowed his head
“this is for your help” he said

I refused but he would not relent
and then I saw how much it meant
a dollar for the man inside
for that was how he wore his pride

and pride is all that you’ve got left
when they’ve all gone and you’ve been left
at home alone in a winter’s chill
so I took his dollar bill

and we all have so far to go
don’t we, Mr. Ondo

I never saw him after that
the place was sold and that was that
we all had to pack up and leave
and he’s passed on I do believe

but sometimes when all is said and done
and I see myself in years to come
I think how fragile this humanity
I hope some one does the same for me

and we all have so far to go
don’t we, Mr. Ondo
Track Name: Quiet Desperation
my heart is in the mountains
my soul is in the land
I’m stuck here in the city
there’s so much I don’t unedrstand
there’s a quiet desperation
comin’ over me, comin’ over me

I gotta leave, I can’t stay another day
there’s an emptiness inside of me
I feel too much loneliness out here
there’s another place I’ve got to be
another place I’ve got to be

I long for you Dakota
smell of sweet grass in the plains
I see too much meanness
I feel too much pain
there’s a quiet desperation
comin’ over me, comin’ over me

I gotta leave, I can’t stay another day
there’s an emptiness inside of me
I feel too much loneliness out here
there’s another place I’ve got to be
another place I’ve got to be
Track Name: Pig Alley
down along Pig Alley everything is in a fog
there is nothing moving anywhere except a hobo dog
with its nose stuck in a boiler that been busted 30 years
when from around a darkened corner a young cowboy appears
just got into town, it’s the Pike Street Kid
and the dog and him go off together down along the skid

the professor, he’s out looking out of curiosity
he wants to find some real people for the university
he finds a couple underneath a bench, half buried in the lawn
when a policeman comes up and wants to know what street he’s on
the professor says he’ll tell him but first he needs a hand
and together they go digging in the Pig Alley sand

from out of nowhere Pagliacci, who is very well depressed
comes with all his shoes untied though he is otherwise very well dressed
juggling a load of empty boxes as he fumbles for his keys
but they slip right through his fingers, he falls cursing to his knees
a midget monk comes up running with a huge iron cross
screaming at the top of his lungs, “Jesus is the boss!”

they’re growing winos in the cellar, underneath the street
trained to wear tuxedos and politely how to eat
Prince Charming, the graduate, had just finished the course
and holding his diploma he rides away on a big white horse
and he marries the pretty country girl who dreams of being a queen
but winds up washing dishes in the Pig Alley canteen

on the beach below the pilings in a well pitched camp
there lives Gentleman Jim with his band of trusty tramps
living almost entirely on dumb luck
still the gentleman’s got enough put aside to buy them a pickup truck
and the sun is shining brightly as down the road they drive
some of the very few to ever get out alive

there are many who have come here just to spend the day
to walk along the boardwalk to explore the alleyways
but its only one of a thousand who is ever allowed to leave
the rest have grown to the pavement and been stapled down by their sleeves
you can see them on the curbings with their pockets full of glass
they will hook you by your heels as you try to walk past

so come on down take a look, have the time of your lives
you only live once, so says the Jack Of Knives
treat yourself, feed your eyes, enjoy it while you can
see if you can beat them at their own sleight of hand
everyone is very friendly, they will all take you home
and you will never again ever have to be alone
Track Name: Stranger In Me
I took a bus to Broadway to see the street lights shine
the rustle of the windy breeze and the shadows in my mind
feelin' like a stranger in my own home town
I knotted up my collar and I walked it around

oh stranger can't you see
there's a stranger in me
open up the door
don't be a stranger anymore

lately I been thinkin' about the holes inside of me
and what it takes to fill 'em up and keep 'em company
everybody needs to know the difference it can make
but such a stubborn disposition is a hard one to break

last time I saw your face you were turning it away
my mouth was empty, there was nothing I could say
with you away in your world and me away in mine
we coulda crossed it over but we never took the time

standin' at the crossroads, whichever way you go
some one will be waiting, maybe some one you should know
everybody is a stranger here, we're wrapped in our disguise
reflecting faces from the mirror of our eyes
Track Name: River Of Rage
he walked into the cafeteria
he had a gun in his hand
he walked in like a time bomb
triggered to command
he fired 41 rounds
that’s how the story gets told
he killed his mother and his father too
he was 15 years old

the doctors they pondered
they puzzled and schemed
they analyzed his body language
and his camouflage dreams
they said his town was so normal
his street was just fine
all those unanswered questions
they’re the most dangerous kind

river of rage
river of rage

blame it on the music
it’s easy to do
blame it on the internet
and the TV too
blame it on the devil
that’s what he’s for
but all the blame in the world won’t put life back into
those bodies on the floor

it’s a trickery world
it’s all mirrors and smoke
and the promises that they made to you
well they were just a joke
when you find you’ve been lied to
and the lie wasn’t true
you gotta get mad at somebody
but you just don’t know who

river of rage
river of rage

it’s in our blood
and in our memory’s dream
warriors fighting
gun metal gleam
the smell of the powder
the sound of the sword
the anger of god as he rages through
where the grapes of wrath are stored

America the beautiful
they say these colors don’t run
everywhere we went
we just walked in with a gun
we blew ‘em to pieces
we bombed ‘em into dust
then we raised up our children
and they turned out just like us

river of rage
river of rage

don’t know if I can explain it
but at least I have to try
there’s no love and compassion
in a mechanical eye
society’s failing
it’s society’s guilt
and the monster that kills us
will be the monster that we built

the face in the mirror
it’s coming so clear
it’s our future at stake now
and all that we hold dear
if this is our story
we can write a new page
or we can drown in the waters
of a river of rage

river of rage
river of rage
Track Name: Didn't We
November 30th, ‘99
history walkin’ on a tightrope line
big money pullin’ on invisible strings
gettin’ into everything
so deep, it’s hard to believe
it’s in the food and the water and the air you breath
and the chemistry, the bio-tech
the banker with the bottomless check
the corporations and the CEO’s
and the bottom line is the profit grows
the money talks, you don’t talk back
they don’t like it when you act like that

but didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we

November 30th, ‘99
it was a Tuesday mornin’ when we drew the line
it was the WTO comin’ to town
and we swore we’re gonna shut it down
and they stood there with their big police
they had the National Guard out to keep the peace
with the guns and the clubs and the chemical gas
but still we would not let them pass
and they raged and roared and their tempers flared
and there were bombs bursting in the daylight air
and they’d run us off, do us in
but we came right back again

yeah, didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we

November 30th, ‘99
millennium passing as the numbers climb
and the people came from everywhere
there musta been 50 thousand out there
there were farmers, unions, rank and file
every grass roots has it’s own style
there were great big puppets two stories tall
there were drummers drummin’ in the shoppin’ mall
there were so many people that you couldn’t see
how that many people got into the city
and the WTO delegates too
but we were locked down, so they couldn’t get through

yeah, didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we

November 30th, ‘99
lockdown at the police line
and they’re hittin’ you with everything they got
but you ain’t movin’, like it or not
and they’re tyin’ your wrists with plastic cuffs
and they’re loadin’ you up on a great big bus
and they’re takin’ you down to the navy base
pepper sprayin’ you right in the face
try to break you down, try to get you to kneel
but you got the unity and this is for real
and they can’t break a spirit that’s comin’ alive
that’s the kind of spirit that’s bound survive

didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we

the media loves on the glitter and flash
and the newspapers talkin’ out a whole lot of trash
about the violence of the people in black
and how the cops were so tired they just had to attack
and the secrets hidden in that deep dark hole
that they call City Hall may never be told
the mayor’s out doin’ the spin
the police chief quit so you can’t ask him
well they can swear to god and all human law
but I was there and I know what I saw
and the visible stains’ll wash away in the rains
but this old town’ll never be the same

‘cause didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we

it’s the greatest story ever told
David and Goliath, how you be so bold
standin’ up to the giant when the goin’ gets hot
and all you got is a slingshot
well they tell me that the world’s turned upside down
you gotta pick it up and shake it, gotta turn it around
you gotta take it apart to rearrange it
I don’t want to save the world I want to change it
don’t let ‘em tell you that it can’t be done
‘cause they’re gonna be the first ones to run
just take a little lesson from Seattle town
WTO and how we shut it down

yeah, didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we
Track Name: Clear Blue Sky
funny how life goes, just when you think you know
it’ll hit you so sudden, you never even see the blow
and all the things you’ve been missin’, they seem to crowd around
the way the shadows get longer when the sun goes down

and it’s only one drop of water in a clear blue sky
but it’s enough to say good-bye

you see the minstrel on the sidewalk singin’, you hear the cowboy song
you see the old road traveler passin’, lookin’ for a place to belong
you see the bird do an aerial dance, you see the wing in the sunlight glisten
there’s music everywhere if you know how to listen

and it’s only one drop of water in a clear blue sky
but it’s enough to say good-bye

oh and all of us, we are more than we appear
all of that life, all of those years
standin’ on a beach head, where the land and the water part
and all that really matters is what you hold in your heart

oh friend of mine, how can I say
when your last great breath of life took my words away
laughin’ ‘cause we have to, laughin’ in the face of it all
somewhere forever, on the other side of that wall

and it’s only one drop of water in a clear blue sky
but it’s enough to say good-bye
Track Name: If You Love the Water Let It Rain
when the good rains finally came we stood out under cover
watched the dry earth drink it up like a long lost lover
we opened up our senses to let it in
felt so good to feel that way again

if you love the water let it rain
let it wash away your pain
there are reasons to explain
if you love the water let it rain

a long time ago when the world was young
innocent life beneath the summery sun
desert flowers and the wild plantain
waiting for the weather to bring the rain

if you love the water let it rain
let it wash away your pain
there are reasons to explain
if you love the water let it rain

time is such a fleeting thing, you know it comes and it goes
it ebbs and it flows, waterfalls and rainbows

there was a time we kept ourselves apart
surrounded by the dryness in our hearts
but life is a natural mystery, they say
so I guess we'll just let nature have it's way

if you love the water let it rain
let it wash away your pain
there are reasons to explain
if you love the water let it rain
Track Name: Corner of His Eye
for 53 years they were married
raised a family in San Jose
then they moved up to the north country
to spend their golden days

there were trees to grow and lawns to mow
coyotes in the hills nearby
and sometimes when the weather was right
there was an airplane to fly

there was joy and there was sadness
and life in all it's run
and on the other side of life
there was a time that had to come

she died one winter’s afternoon
when a freeze was on the ground
it was like her spirit just lifted up
and never came back down

and all around the hill sides
there was a silvery ringing
like every coyote in the world
was singing

he took her ashes up
in that little plane he loved to fly
and he let them go
as he said good-bye

and he was alone
in the middle of eternity
until one night
and this is how he told it to me

I saw her and I touched her
for a brief moment the other night
it was strange, left me happy - glad!
it was a sleepless night

and as I lay there trying to sleep
I must have drifted off but in my sleep I was still awake
when suddenly she was standing there by the side of my bed
kind of startled me, and she said

"Pa, it’s all right, it's me, Mom"
her voice was clear and strong
we touched for an instant
then she was gone

she looked great
just like she did 20 years ago
when we first came up here
she looked great!

life goes on
though sometimes it takes a little while
now when he thinks about her sometimes he cries
and sometimes he smiles

he’s married again
to a woman with a loss of her own
and there’s joy and there’s sadness again
in that little home

and sometimes at night
when the coyotes cry
he thinks he sees her
in the corner of his eye

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