All tracks written by Ralph Boyd Johnson except as noted.
© 2002 - Rumble Seat Recordings




Why would you and how could you

And what am I to believe

What with every minute of every day

Through every moment that slips away

She’s a mystery to me


Ain’t no blue eyed boy off that Delaware farm

Been a mile or two on the road to town

Know a hawk from a hand shake, the wish from the well

So I’d never thought I’d fall under her spell


But with every minute of every day

Through every moment that slips away

She’s a mystery to me


Got a little something that I can’t resist

An angelic touch and a magical kiss

A devilish heart that’s doing me wrong

Caught up in this trance, while I just keep holding on to her


Every minute of every day

And with every moment that slips away

She’s a mystery to me


(Repeat Chorus)



I hope the rain keeps up and just never comes down

Hard knocks, cold shoulders blew my four walls down

I’m a wreck amid the ruins of a bombed out house

Waiting for the roof to fall in all around


I believed we were meant to be

I was made for you and you were made for me

It all fit so perfectly

Right over my head and now I’m dug in deep


There ain’t much that a man can do

When the love of your life up and lowers the boom

Damage done the rubble’s strewn

I tell you that little package had a big bang fuse


I hope the rain keeps up and just never comes down

Hard knocks, cold shoulders blew my four walls down

I’m a wreck amid the ruins of a bombed out house

Waiting for the roof to fall in all around

Fall now


She thinks I’ll miss her she’ll never know

Yeah I may be lonely but I’m never alone

I’ve got these stairways and these empty halls

A bottle, a habit and my ever failing health


(Repeat Chorus)




There was Bullet Head Sam and some side-show freaks

Holed up in a hotel off a dead man’s street

Cookin’ up powder, they was cookin’ up schemes

Cookin’ up enough, to blow the buttons off the seams

Wired up, fired up, lockin’ the load

Fully automatic and .44 sure

Took the teller and the take and a life cut short

And an 8 by 10 a’hind death row’s door


And mama couldn’t hold him, had to let him go

In a cloud of dust, down a blind side road

Papa said mama, girl I told you so

See that there boy's just dying to go


Well the heart break hemi, was a white line streak

On a black top track, at haul ass speeds

Punishing the pace, he was a packin’ on the heat

Talking transcendental, at one with the machine

Wired up, fired up, a grand stand show

Crashing in the corner and about to implode

Drive train tumbled, the roll cage rolled

Nullified his number and the angels took hold


I had a premonition, like a vision what a sight

Saw the big book closin’ on my own sweet life

Howdy hallelujah heave ho Geronimo

Felt the good lord smilin’ as I stepped on board




Well that old snake handler he should have stuck seventeen

Weighin’ the anchor and a black jack chain

Rollin in red eye and dog faced mean

I’d come down to the pistol if a racket was rigged


Now everybody knows about the seventh son

Neck and neck at a hundred to one

But you line ‘em up and the pony’s gone

Hell it don’t matter what your are gamblin’ on


Love money the great beyond

Ya’ hit the deck runnin’ down where I come from

Bust your knuckles you can bite your tongue

But you hit the deck runnin’ down where I come from


In a drive by gang bang with the big machine

Gears start grindin’ you can hear the wheels screamin’

An’ your spine’ll crack if the knees are weak

Round here vengeance rules and muscles king


Now they’re blessing the ground on Belair Drive

And it’s down to zero on the lower south side

Spills out of the doorways on through the streets

And it’s one up and nearer my god to thee





She used to worry ‘bout me

Now she don’t worry ‘bout that

So far removed from the love we had

And I still kick ‘round this town

Like some ghost from the past

She used to worry ‘bout me

Now she don’t worry ‘bout that


And in the time it takes to tour Tofino

Well she’s over me

Sure to find once she’s made up her mind

How the rest is history


She used to worry ‘bout me

Now she don’t worry ‘bout that

And I still kick ‘round this town

Like some ghost from the past


She used to worry ‘bout me

Now she don’t worry ‘bout that

So far removed from the love we had

And I still kick ‘round this town

Like some ghost from the past

She used to worry ‘bout me

Now she don’t worry ‘bout that


Oh she don’t worry ‘bout that

Don’t worry don’t worry ‘bout that

No she don’t worry ‘bout that




Know Johnny knows a good time

And he likes his cocaine

But he gets shot all to hell

Down them ol’ back alley ways


And he’s a hard act to follow

Even harder to catch

Runs a hundred on the needle

An’ a little low on cash


Was in mighty fine shape

For the shape he was in

Got a high wire fever

An’ he wants a ride on the wind


Now Johnny likes the night life

An’ he got a lady or two

Johnny starts to walking

Ya’ hear baby sing the blues


An’ he’s a roaring steam engine

He’s one hired gun

Is one crazy muther

But he’s some mother’s son


Now holy’s to the bible

Like water through the land

And the ringing of a guitar

Puts Johnny on the mend


And its another six nights

Another back water town

An’ its eight miles a minute

And a another long distance call




A 1, A 2, A 1, 2, 3, A wow


Somethin’ ‘bout ya’ baby, say oh what it is

A swingin’ your sway, a shakin’ your hips

But heart to hearts faster than any speed I know

And it’s there in the air a spark set to nitro


Got your grease fire hot, got your ice house cold

Got you a motion moves a body and soul

Your Mama’s good looks, Papa’s billfold

I got your grease fire hot; you got your ice house cold

Got you a motion moves a body and soul


Loves the sweet smell of success

Oh la la, say de eau de cologne

Conflict without contest

Yeah your cheek and your talk and your manner of tone



Should serve some kind of warning

Stained with a colour marked with a sign

Some semblance and caution

Yeah a hint to heed word’s of advice

Black boots, silver buckle

Yeah Casino cool, a role of the dice

Heat wave in a heart beat

Yeah I say luck be a lady tonight


You got your grease fire hot, you got your ice house cold

Got you a motion moves a body and soul




It’s out of control

And it’s out of my hands

And the devil may care

But I don’t give a damn


And I’d have sent you a letter

Some forward address

But what do you write on the back

Of postcards from the edge


Ya’ I hitched the train a rumblin’

Tagged her whistling round the bend

Ridin’ wide and rollin’ box cars

Well there ain’t time to stop and think


Force of habit breeds a gambler

Don’t like working when I can

So I parlayed me some pistols

Into cold hard cash

And it went bang on the money

We divvied up at five to ten

Now you can reach me correspondence

Care of the Joyceville pen


(Tag Out)



Steady on oh precious child

And my father’s words are with me now

Twenty winters come and gone

Since that wreck on highway one


Where a white cross marks the day

A hymn was sung and a wreath was laid

The sky was blue and dressed in grey

And hopeless hands held for heart’s sake


And yester’ year and yesterday

Of ash and dust and common clay

For all the world and all it’s ways

There’s a road that winds towards heaven’s gate


Now it’s all covered wire and railway line

Red winged blackbirds stacked thistle high

Posted notes on nail thin shacks

And for sale signs gone to hell and back



And some washed their hands in muddy water

And some set their step at shadows length

I’ve been beyond reach and the point of reason

An exodus of flesh and faith


And yester’ year and yesterday

Of ash and dust and common clay

And for all the world and all it’s ways

There’s a road that winds to heaven’s gate

So steady on oh precious child



Mama’s little baby’s got no shoes on her feet

And mama’s little baby’s got no food on the plate

Well she’d run around scared maybe you would too

Every time they was hungry

They’d come looking for you

And when scarcely a breath of their lies were truth

I’ve seen more compassion from a serpent’s tooth


Mama’s little baby’s got no one there to hold

Ya’ mama’s little baby’s got no one there to hold her

Well they took her love from a tribal land

And they sold him off for the gold at hand

And they worked him to death in a slaver’s camp

And they buried his body back deep in the swamp


Mama’s little baby don’t wear no diamond rings

My mama’s little baby never had much of fancy things

Well she cried all night and she cried all day

Seemed no amount of cryin’ would make it right

Fell down onto her knees and she prayed

Singin’ Lordy Lordy won’t you give me strength

Lordy Lordy won’t you give me strength

Mum, Mum, Lordy, Lordy, won’t you give me strength






Well now ol’ Black Crow, know he never did have a lick sense

Given to gamblin’ driftin’ an whorin’ and such

Had a taste for the fire and it burn’em all up

What with the gamblin’ the driftin’ an the whorin’ and such


Now mama always did say it was just his way

And with one broken wing how he just never flew straight

How one man’s servant is another man’s slave

And how there was always the devil an’ ol’ whitey to pay


Prayed for forgiveness Lord he done prayed for strength

But there were mouths to feed an’ prayer don’t pay the rent

So pretty soon he went an’ done just what he did

Even after he swore he’d never do it again


Ya’ see way back when he stood six foot six

An’ like ol’ John Henry he had steel in his fists

Stateside come the men with the payroll and a pugilists

All button tied and so well dressed


They put his name to paper an’ he signed to it with an X

Never knowin’ how to spell he knew damn well what it meant

Could be twenty rounds or more could be your last breath

Hell it was dangerous work but the money was good


Went head to head when they fought that fight

But ya’ see ol’ Black Crow well he had a lot of hate inside

An’ he beat that man an’ he beat him hard

Funny how there’s something about blood always pleases a crowd


They headed north up a what they call a Satin Cross Roads

Where angels fear to tread an’ so the story goes

I’d be there on Hell’s Half Acre he’d stand toe ta toe

Takin’ on any takers worth a takin’ anything at all


Weren’t much for rules it’d be the best man win

They’d pound stakes in the ground rope ’er off round the ends

Be the smell of cigar smoke and the stench of sweat

Folks takin’ sides layin’ odds an’ wagerin’ bets


When up stepped this man with a diamond willow cane

An’ he’s a evil a eye and a shadow run cross his face

Said boys I’ll give ya’ a contest the likes a no man’s ever seen

And it’ll mean your weight in gold if’n ya’ should all agree


Now ol’ Black Crow he weighed two seven five

And he’d hold a king’s ransom the good Lord willin’ he’d survived

Had the butchers tools and a stone hammer right

And a searin’ left hand that had called many a fight


The die’d been cast and they done struck a deal

An’ from a crook in the river an’ from the sticks and through the hills

They came by wagon and by foot and by mule

To the edge of the clearing where the two giants stood


True to the word of the stranger that day

There in a corner across a canvas covered ring

Stood a hulk of a figure neither man nor beast

And if there’s demons afoot well then that’d be just what I’d seen


The leaves were fallin’ when Black Crow let fly

Wit that searin’ left hand an’ that stone hammer right

Could hear ribs a crackin’ jarrin’ skull and spine

And the roars and the cheers of the mob ringside


Then Black Crow went down not once but twice

An’ now his eyes had closed an’ he’s a’fightin’ blind

Weren’t no bell that could save him it’d take a higher might

There I seen growin’ men cower an’ I seen growin’ men cry


Knuckles were carved from peelin’ flesh off the hide

An’ after thirty nine rounds well I guess the Lord took his side

Cause ol’ Black Crow well he just laid down an’ died

Amidst the roars and the jeers of the mob ringside


Now we’re gathered here today to pay our respects

An’ to pray for his journey through the shadow of death

Say a eulogy on his behalf

To set the stone an’ to make amends


Now there’ll be them that’ll claim it was all just a myth

Folklore legends tales from the crypt

Me, I swears the thunder over head

Well that’s just a ol’ Black Crow an’ he’s a catchin’ his breath



Dedicated to Sally, Ryan and Leah


Well he said y’ know, it’s a hell of a thing

And I said ya’ Steve, I know it’s a bastard

To which he replied

Well he said you know, I cut my teeth on the saw blades edge

What with chores and chopping wood

I must’ve split kindlin’ ‘cross half this land

But it made my hands strong and I honed a keen eye

And it gave me an arm, a pitchin’ arm

Curve ball, fast ball, inside ,outside, over and under

If you were steppin’ up mister, you were stepping down

Devilish good looks, hmmm

It’s a wonder more girls weren’t sweet on me

Well it was the bottom of the ninth and I was given the go

Tied on runs and sliding for home

Caught a belly full of gravel, popped a knee and snapped a bone

And it still sets me to grieving today having to give up that ghost

So I buried those dreams of pennants and the big leagues

And I took me a job as an assistant to a veterinarian

And let me tell you my friend, things were different then

‘Cause there was cow pies and horse flies

God’s creatures, all shapes and all kinds

Had us catterwallin' kittens and bicuspid hounds

Foul mouthed parakeets and bowlegged hogs

Was pigeon-toed turkeys and bulemic bullfrogs

Enamored emus and punch drunk turtledoves

So you get what I mean when I says things was odd

But I liked the logo on the door of that half-ton Ford pick-me-up truck

Three squares a day in the restaurant of my choice, push button country radio

And sending a little something back to the folks at home

Then autumn winds had brought about change

Pipeline was hirin’ and men was making good wage

Thought a fellow might get a leg up take a stand and learn a trade

So that’s just what I did and I worked hard and I played hard

Drank hard and I lived hard and let me tell you my friend

Things were different then

Was ‘bout 21 when I made my bed, settled down, had a daughter named Leah

Looked like an angel in her mother’s arms

Grew up to be a lady, whoo baby

But her mother and me, well, we were just kids ourselves

And what with making a mortgage and setting up house

Was just one of those things I guess that just never quite worked out

So I left my heart with Leah and I called the road my own

An I traveled like a gypsy, town to town, woman to woman, job to job

Was drinkin' two fisted then all revved up and gone

And I weren’t quite right for the next couple of years

Ya’ looked at me sideways, hell, I’d pin back your ears

Had a terrible temper and no sense of fear

A kicking' and a gougin’ in the mud and the blood and the beer

And it was kind of like pouring over an old Shel Silverstein tune

When out of the blue and into my life after all those miles and after all this time

Came a realization when I realized it was love at first sight

‘Cause that Sally gal, well, she looked like a paintin’ you see

She’s oh so soft and velvety yeah it was love at first sight all right

Least it sure seemed to be that way for me

So I saddled up the old horse and I put a shine on this tarnished armor

And I swept that gal off her feet, was a small flowery wedding

And one of the biggest things that ever happened to me

Because when my gal pal Sal so lovingly took my hand

Well I also became Ryan’s stepdad but it’s thicker than blood

An now he calls me his father and I call him my son

And I would not dare to guesstimate the odds of a circle becoming so complete

But I felt an urgency and a powerful need to share my hopes, aspirations and schemes

And to show how my devotion runs soul river deep 

So for 15 years we grew as a tree, spreading out branches and throwing off leaves

As happy as birds in a nest not that we didn’t have to lean to sway with the breeze

Then I caught a cough, was a lingering thing grew short of breath round early spring

Summer came and went, thought it might be the heat

Ran a battery of tests confirmed our darkest beliefs

Well it was inoperable cancer and it’d be months to weeks

And he said you know it’s a hell of a thing

And I said yeah I know Steve it’s a bastard

So we sat a spell and we reminisced of the precious things to which are blessed

And how it’s in every day and in every moment and how quickly we forget

An’ now I know as being a man of wintery seasons, half loco and mostly wanderin’ without reason

That men like Steve well, the’re rare gems indeed

So now he’s gone to that old pipeline in the sky

Probably working with my grandfather, could see him sittin’ up nights

Writin’ revisions and love letters back home

Raisin’ a glass and bullshittin’ till dawn

So here’s to a man show you how to live and die

Walk tall, talk straight and look’ em in the eye

Can’t say so long so I won’t say goodbye

I’ll just walk tall, talk straight and look’em in the eye

Yeah ,I’ll be damn sure to walk tall, talk straight and look’em in the eye

Steve was born in Macklin, Saskatchewan September 28, 1949

Love ya bro