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Lyrics of Tommy Thompson

"The Ace With The Sweaty Brow"
"Black Smoke Passenger Train"
"The Face In the Mirror"
"Hot Buttered Rum"
"I've Got Plans"
"Merchants Lunch"
"The Ballad of Jack McCoy"
"Regions of Rain"
"Twisted Laurel"
"The Wall of Time"


"CHUCKIN' THE FRIZZ", "HARD TIMES", "MEETING IN THE AIR",
"MERCHANTS LUNCH/TWISTED LAUREL" & "STOLEN LOVE"

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"The Ace With The Sweaty Brow"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson and Mike Craver
from
TWISTED LAUREL/MERCHANTS LUNCH - Red Clay Ramblers CD FF70055

for sheet music for "THE ACE" (piano, vocal, instrumental chord charts)

Got a date with a high toned girl
The one that wears that bouffant curl
She means business when she flirts
So I polished up the Chevy with the fender skirts
Hopped in the car and stepped on the gas
I was layin' down rubber on the ole bypass

Out her window she did creep
We headed on out for Lover's Leap
Made a detour by the barbeque shack
Put twelve cold beers on ice in the back
Found us a spot in the Twilight Zone
When the light of the police shone

(And he said:)
"Oh, you jack leg, you
I got the goods on you
And your sweetie too, I caught in your car
With the stars in your eyes and your brains in the bottom of your shoes
You're a hot dog, ain't you now
You're the bulldog's big bow-wow
Got fuzz on your face, you're the ace with the sweaty brow

We headed on out for another spot
just down the road from the "Dash and Dot
Saxophones croonin' on the radio
And the moon was hangin' low
Fingernails tappin' on the windowpane:
It was her great big boyfriend Wayne

(And he said:)
"Oh, you ice cream, you
I got the goods on you
And my sweetie too, I caught in your car
With the stars in your eyes and your brains in the bottom of your shoes
You're a hot dog, ain't you now
You're the bulldog's big bow-wow
Got fuzz on your face, you're the ace with the sweaty brow

Sittin' in her parlor
Drinkin' Coca-Colas
We were spinnin' the wax
She put her hair up in rollers
She was filin' her nails on the davenport
When I thought she was ready for a little sport
Tripped on the rug
spilt my Coke in her hair
Split the seat of my britches
Put my foot through a chair

(And she said:)
"Oh, you Milk Dud, you
I've had enough of you
And your Chevy II
Go home in your car
With the stars in your eyes and your brains in the bottom of your shoes
You're a hot dog, ain't you now
You're the bulldog's big bow-wow
Got fuzz on your face, you're the ace with the sweaty brow


"Black Smoke Passenger Train"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson (bridge by Bland Simpson)

The tracks were just a mile away when I was four and five years old
And I could hear the whistle blow & see the black smoke rise and roll
Rise and roll black as coal and rolling 'cross the rooftops of our town
In the summer time my dad just home from work would take my hand
And walk with me that peaceful mile to where the two of us could stand
Hand in hand boy and man and watch that ole evening train go down

It's bye bye black smoke passenger train God speed your last long ride
As over the mountain and cross the plain
And blow your whistle on the Great Divide

A cloud of birds would curl above the old abandoned factory
And pour itself like lazy smoke backwards down the tall red stack
My daddy said "Watch the birds go to bed"
In the chimney by the green mountain side
The sunlight made our shadows long and hurt my eyes when I would gaze
Down the tracks where I could see that train from some old scary place
Mean and old, grey and cold, and so far away it made me cry

It's bye bye black smoke passenger train God speed your last long ride
As over the mountain and cross the plain
And blow your whistle on the Great Divide

Where does it come from where does it go
You got to catch the train and ride boy
If you wanna know

The engine passed at six oclock and so we stood there man and boy
Until the iron horse run by steam and steel and smoke and whistle noise
Split the air -- laid us bare and struck us dumb as railroad ties
We watched the coaches clatter by with smiling porters pouring tea
For diners on the dining car who never once looked out at me
Fancy women squeezing lemons and blind to West Virginia rolling by

It's bye bye black smoke passenger train God speed your last long ride
As over the mountain and cross the plain
And blow your whistle on the Great Divide


"The Face In the Mirror"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson
from
HARD TIMES - Red Clay Ramblers CD FF246

I wish I had a dime for every time you said
Nobody loves you and you wish that you were dead
So many times you've told me "Nobody cares"
Right now I'd be a millionaire

I know someone who loves to hear you run your mouth
Someone who's always with you when you go out
Somebody loves you, someone who's true
Yes, dear, that someone is you

But nobody loves you like you dear
No heart beats as fond or as true
There's nobody dearer than the face in the mirror
Don't ever let yourself be blue

You've got so many charms that no-one else can see
Perry Mason couldn't find your secret quality
You've got some special vision, to see with great precision
What's hidden from the likes of me

I'll take my million bucks and buy you a nice farm
Out in the desert where you can't do any harm
Wouldn't you love to be a loner in lonely Arizoner
You and you alone with all your charms

'Cause nobody loves you like you dear
No heart beats as fond or as true
There's nobody dearer than the face in the mirror
Don't ever let yourself be blue


"Hot Buttered Rum"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson

from
"CHUCKIN' THE FRIZZ" CD FF089

When chimney smoke hangs still and low across the stubbled fields of snow
And angry skies reach down and seize the sorry blackened bones of trees
In the dead of winter when the silent snowbirds come
You're my sweet maple sugar,honey, hot buttered rum

When dreary Christmas decorations line the streets and filling stations
And dime store Santas can't disguise their empty hands and empty eyes
In the dead of winter when the tinsel angels come
You're my sweet maple sugar, honey, hot buttered rum

When gloves and boots and woolen parkas bring cold comfort to the heart
And bitter memories freeze the tongue and words of love are left unsung
In the dead of winter when the cold feelings come
You're my sweet maple sugar, oney, hot buttered rum


"I've Got Plans"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson w/ Lenny Rogoff
from
TWISTED LAUREL/MERCHANTS LUNCH - Red Clay Ramblers CD FF70055

I been staying up too late, well the morning aint for me
Daylight never brings much company.
With the ladies of the night, I play the game of chance
Loosin' quarters to the jukebox, buying songs to watch'em dance.

When I grow up, I'm gonna settle down,
Cause chasin' midnight ladies ain't the funnest game in town.
Oh, they disappear like dreams, I wake up sleeping in my jeans...
I'm lonesome tonight, but I got plans.

Could be I'll pan for gold, write a novel, or join a band.
I could sell produce from a roadside stand.
Sturdy wife to share my joys, a pair of healthy strappin' boys
They'll lend a helpin' hand, we'll make a fortune off the land.

When I grow up, I'm gonna settle down,
Chew honeycomb and drive a tractor, grow things in the ground.
Oh, the dream that's in my eye is just tomorrow's enterprise
I may be broke tonight but I got plans.

Haul the proceeds to the bank, and I'll soon have lots of dough
I'll buy me a villa down in Mexico.
While the maiachis play, I'll go fishin' every day
I'll cast a net so gaily on some sunny Latin bay.

When I grow up, I'm gonna settle down,
I'll take a course in business at the night school here in town
Ah, but that'll have to wait, 'cause tonight I got a date
We'll have a drink, and keep on talking 'bout my plans.


"Merchants Lunch"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson and Mike Craver
from
TWISTED LAUREL/MERCHANTS LUNCH - Red Clay Ramblers CD FF70055

for sheet music for "MERCHANTS LUNCH" (piano, vocal, instrumental, chord charts)


(chorus phrases are in parenthesis)
I took a walk (he was walkin' up and down Broadway)
I was hungry (had an eye out for a swell cafe)
I was searchin' (he was soundin' for a bite to munch)
I found a spot (he took a table at the Merchants Lunch)
Oh the Merchants Lunch, it was an ocean of gloom
It looked like half past midnight in the afternoon

Down by the bar (a rat-faced manager was pouring suds)
For the boys (Trailways cowboys in their Good Will duds)
And the girls (a pride of peddle-pushin' pinball queens)
Chewin' gum (in sweaty combat at the Wizard machines)
But the queen of them all, lookin' big as a fort
Was Broadway Brenda and her derelict court

I ordered a blue plate special and peered out through the room
Just to see what kind of citizens inhabited this gloom
And the hapless visages I saw were innocent of cheer
Though mirthless laughter filled the air inspired by wine and beer

From these helpless accidents of Fortune's careless aim
Broadway Brenda rose upon her queen-sized six foot frame
I looked away to shun her eyes but I knew it was too late
A hand fell on my shoulder as my gaze fell on my plate
I looked her up and over (and she did the same to me)
Her teeth were green (as green as garden peas)
She shaped her hair (with dishpan fingertips)
An earthquake of excitement shook her Krakatoan hips
Her hands went to her bosom, a hush fell on the crew
An acre of Brenda lay exposed to view

These fevered words she whispered as I gazed upon the scene:
It's the custom here at Merchants Lunch to entertain the queen
I grabbed my hat (and in an instant he was on his feet)
I was sober as a judge down at the county seat
I kept my diesel up to 80 way past Baton Rouge
Made it back to Beaumont for the "Evening News"
I own a wide-load rig (he pays thousands in tax He's gonna keep it it Texas)-- I ain't leavin' for snacks
(He's a driving fool) the interstate belongs to me
But I'm never going back (into the state of Tennessee)
Oh the Merchants Lunch, it was an ocean of gloom
It looked like half past midnight in the afternoon.


"The Ballad of Jack McCoy"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson)

You Scorpios and Libras, Aquarians as well
You helpless earthbound mortals whose fate the stars compel
You Capricorns and Cancers, I'll sing you of the night
How saucy Jack McCoy did save the starry heavens bright

Now Jack became an orphan at the moment of his birth
For the labors of his borning laid his mother in the earth
His dad then wed a widow wife and cursed be her name
For the way she treated Jack McCoy it was an awful shame

Now the widow kept a rooster running free about the house
She swore that he possessed the soul of her long departed spouse
She talked to him and called him "Roy" and fed him ham and grits
While Jack McCoy ate table scraps and cleaned up rooster shit

One night as Jack lay dreaming of a plate of chicken stew
His feast was interrupted by a "Cocka-doodle-doo!"
Jack scrambled to his attic window naked as a rock
Silhouetted in the moonlight on the chimney stood that cock

The stars were shining brightly, what stars there did remain
Old Roy'd been pecking out the stars like corn or any grain
He'd just gobbled out the North Star when Jack crawled out through the night
And grabbed that chicken by the leg and swung with all his might

Jack swung that chicken 'round his head in elliptical course
The stars returned to heaven by the centrifugal force
The rooster crowed for midnight and the rooster crowed for day
And the rooster crowed for mercy when he crowed his life away

Just then the dawn was breaking on that cold outlandish night
The stars blinked twice, in thanks to Jack, and vanished in the light
And the villagers who gazed upon the rooftop of McCoy
'Midst a cloud of chicken feathers saw a smiling naked boy

And now you've heard my story how Jack did save the stars
Several minor asteroids plus Mercury and Mars
Jack still proudly wears the scars of the blows he got that day
And the rooster's now a rock star making millions so they say


"Regions of Rain"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson)

from IT AIN'T RIGHT - Red Clay Ramblers Flying Fish Records FF334, 1986

I lie on my bed in the Palace Hotel
Frightened as hell on the 17th floor
Some cops on my ass over one lousy joint
And I wait for a knock on the door

Tonight we'll slump down in the back of the cab
The cop likes to gab
I'll buy him a beer
And maybe a bribe in the cover of night
Will buy me a flight out of here

Outside my window a storm's on the sea
Where I'd like to be, skippin' over the foam
Ships in the harbor face into the weather
Like cows in the meadow back home

It never stops raining in French Cameroon
So fly me away on a plane
As high and as dry as the winds on the moon
And far from the regions of rain

This once was a pearl of a tropical town
But things have gone down, and people are dying
Once I had money and plenty of girls
Now my head's in the mouth of a lion

A person could vanish with never a trace
I bury my face in my pillow and dream
I'm facing the same jungle justice that tried
And murdered the fallen regime

It never stops raining in French Cameroon
So fly me away on a plane
As high and as dry as the winds on the moon
And far from the regions of rain
Far from the regions of rain


"Twisted Laurel"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson
from
TWISTED LAUREL/MERCHANTS LUNCH - Red Clay Ramblers CD FF70055

Just across the blue ridge, where the high meadows lay
And the galax spreads through the new mown hay
There’s a rusty iron bridge, cross a shady ravine
Where the hard road ends and turns to clay
With a suitcase in his hand there the lonesome boy stands
Gazing at the river sliding by beneath his feet
But the dark water springs from the black rocks and flows
Out of sight where the twisted laurel grows

Past the coal-tipple towns in the cold December rain
Into Charleston runs the New River train
Where the hillsides are brown, and the broad valley’s stained
By a hundred thousand lives of work and pain
In a tar-paper shack out of town across the track
Stands an old used-up man trying to call something back
But his old memories fade like the city in the haze
And his days have flowed together like the rain

And the dark water springs from the black rocks and flows
Out of sight where the twisted laurel grows


"The Wall of Time"

music & lyrics by Tommy Thompson

I took a walk the other day along the old highway
Now it's hardly ever used since the new road came through
No one was there to smell the pine or heed the yellow caution sign
But I searched the gravel bed and found a perfect arrowhead

(chorus:)
One road is built upon another and follows every curve and climb
Every turn in the track takes you back, takes you back
Every trail leads through the wall of time

In the age of ice and snow when the cold began to blow
With an acorn in her mouth a furry creature headed south
Naturally she left a scent and others followed where she went
Followed blindly head to tail and left a faint and scratchy trail

(chorus:)
One road is built upon another and follows every curve and climb
Every turn in the track takes you back, takes you back
Every trail leads through the wall of time

As the years went by the narrow path grew smooth and wide
Became the common thoroughfare for the deer and the bear
And it was not so long ago when a bowman's aim was low
He found his arrow where it sped but lost a perfect arrowhead

(chorus:)
One road is built upon another and follows every curve and climb
Every turn in the track takes you back, takes you back
Every trail leads through the wall of time


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