Lyrics for Hacklebarney

Copyright © 1974 Greg Brown
  1. "My Pa, He Came Home Quiet as the Evening"
  2. "Hacklebarney"
  3. "On New Year's Day"
  4. "Bad Roads in Spring"
  5. "The Last Shepherd"
  6. "(I Sure Hope the) Tornado (Don't Come)"
  7. "Dancing 'Round and 'Round"
  8. "Driftin'" (Greg Brown and Dick Pinney)
  9. "How Black the Fields"

"My Pa, He Came Home Quiet as the Evening"

My pa, he came home quiet as the evening in his worn out shoes I could tell by his shoulders That he had the blues He said, "Son, you're mother's gone away. When she'll come back I could not say. Hey, will you play me a tune?" So I strummed some little song About how nothing lasts for long His lips were trembling. He looked old. He touched my arm. His hand was cold. When the song was done We watched the setting of the sun And heard the wild birds singing. It was so quiet in the house We spoke in our lowest voices As I thought of all the missing noises I knew I loved that man Even though I'd been afraid If I told a lie or come home late I always knew we had a place. Let's go cut a tree down! Pa, let's go cut a tree down! My mother lives in the city In a place that gives you all the things You need to live a happy hidden life My pa, in a few years He'll be moving to the mountains Moving to the crowded mountains Of our land


Woke up too early to Gramma calling me Gramp played that banjo Clean past midnight Walked out through the porch door And got spooked by a vulture I was only ten And singing "School's out, school's out, school's out" Then The sun comes first The rain comes at last Hope for the future Tears for the past Teacher lets the fools out to scatter Like dandelions in June And everyone and everybody Tries to shoot the moon Oh Cityslicker Dude What you gonna do? The chickens'll peck you The cows won't come home Well I'll be a hunter 'Til death makes me cry And ruins my day In a thorny rabbit thicket In south Ioway I seen a big buck Played my Sears guitar Kissed and felt my cousin Ruby lips and pony tail Got my heart broke Smoked a cigarette Hiding in the woods and singing "School's out, school's out for good"

"On New Year's Day"

Met a coffin In the night On New Year's day Hum a jazz song And turn away They said it was a young man On his way To the grave Hum a jazz song And turn away. There was no lover In his wake On New Year's day To hum a jazz song, hum a glad song, a love song And turn away So spread out woman Wide as the fields On New Year's day Hum a jazz song, a love song, a glad song We'll roll away.

"Bad Roads in Spring"

Middle of March and it's snowing Let me forget everything You can't always get where you're going Bad roads in spring I wanted to be on top of it by evening Catch the morning hours from behind But a big blizzard hit up from Denver You don't get too far drivin' blind The trucks passed us by out of Springfield Never a sign to our pleas Oh it's fine to look out through the windshield When it's rainin' and 32 degrees Middle of April at sundown Stuck in the country mud I have to sing Wait for the morning to come around Bad roads in spring.

"The Last Shepherd"

Men worked all day to sell me death And chain me to their time So I took a sheep and began to climb To my own heart and breath This must be the last good place The smoke can't rise so high I might be content to die Wearing a weathered face The song of the hills will break someday For the laugh of a businessman And the mad dogs will catch me if they can When my sheep are gone away.

"(I Sure Hope the) Tornado (Don't Come)"

Snaky clouds are boiling in the rambling west Fist beats thru my ribcage Gonna tear apart my chest I sure hope the tornado don't come Shadows leap, can't get away From the moving beast If I had me a fast car I would Gun it for the east I sure hope the tornado don't come I'd love to (love to) run out free Into the raging storm I'd love to love some women Who wave those can-ya-take-it arms I sure hope the tornado don't come They say it takes you in a whirl And you don't choose where to land Creatures of the dreams you bury Grab you by the hand Oh tornado I ain't ready to face 14 directions Oh tornado No! But the trees begin to tremble The grass begins to sing The radio fella's yelling He's not selling anything I sure hope that tornado don't come The mothers grab their children The dogs all turn around The ocean is in the sky Some fool has turned it unside down. I sure hope that tornado don't come

Dancing 'Round and 'Round

Hoots and hollers in the city Rivers rats all lay down low Pretty girls flash by in fast cars Past the taverns in a row Ring, ring you bells Ring all over the town Somebody's dyin', somebody's bein' born Somebody's dancing round and round Hoot and holler at the new banks and churches As I walk down to the bar Let my wool grow long for winter Try an' flag me down a car As the steeple is unloading And the pigeons swoop and glide And the burnouts stagger homeward Honey, could I get a ride?

"Driftin'" (Greg Brown and Dick Pinney)

Candy wrappers and small town dirt Under the dumb sun away we'll blow Old man down in a pop bottle ditch Lookin, for somethin, nobody goin' to throw Driftin' Like the sand or snow And all the people say they wanna know Where you gonna go The road is crowded and woods are all zoned But, there's plenty of room if you don't know where to go if you've got the ache But you ain't got the cure if you're fed up and hungry If you're Driftin' Like the cold salt sea Like that one weird song You just can't find no melody Everybody's talking 'bout the road and home Everybody's got a taste of love to loan Everybody's got a watch of dizzy time They say "how you doin' at your hustle?" I say "I'm driftin' Hiding in culverts from the rain Nervous as a young hobo Watching trains"

"How Black the Fields"

How black the fields at night in spring Careening thru the sky The farmer dreams what the year will bring Birds rest with open eye The few deer fly to the dancing place Orion falls from sight Oh rock me in the universe Rock me I 'til I sleep Rock me when I leave this place Rock me sweet and deep I think I'll walk until the sun Brings us another day Men quarrel with everyone They grow old and refuse to play But how black the fields in the early light The seed is on its way