Music From Big Red

by Jim Page

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1.
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
2.
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
3.
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
4.
Mister Ondo 04:36
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
5.
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
6.
Pig Alley 05:46
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
7.
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
8.
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
9.
Didn't We 06:42
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
10.
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
11.
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 (chorus) 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 (chorus) 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 (bridge) 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 (chorus) 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
12.
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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Recorded at Big Red Studios, Corbett, OR, 2000
engineered and mixed by Billy Oskay

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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

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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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