I'd Rather Make My Living in a Song

by Conor Ryan Hennessy

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1.
Get a little water Sylvie Get a little water now Get a little water Sylvie Every little once in a while I mean it Every little once in a while Don't you hear me calling? Don't you hear me now? Don't you hear me calling? Every little once in a while Don't you see me coming? Don't you see me now? Don't you see me coming? Every little once in a while I mean it Every little once in a while Get a little water Sylvie Get a little water now Get a little water Sylvie Every little once in a while I mean it Every little once in a while
2.
Mr. Hennessy what's a bicycle, is it something I can ride? Is it Blue Tooth compatible? Can it Tweet, Share or Like? Does it need a stupid dongle? Can it even hold a charge? Said a little pug nose kid, with a tablet in his arms When I was just a boy, even more than I am now I'd ride myself to work, selling cigarettes downtown On a 1970's steel frame with Italian leather bars I'd laugh at all them fools in rusted Massachusetts cars She had 27 inch tires, the old European size Whenever I got a flat, the bike shop guys would roll their eyes Yeah but that bike got me freedom, and it got me my first job And that job got me a car, which in turn, got me a better job But Mr. Hennessy what's a bicycle, is it something I can ride? Is it Blue Tooth compatible? Can it Tweet, Share or Like? Does it need a stupid dongle? Can it even hold a charge? Said a little pug nose kid, with a tablet in his arms And Mr. Hennessy, what's a book? Is it something I can play? Does it plug into my Xbox? is it something I can play? Is it the robot that my mother bought that vacuums up our floors? Is it something I can play? Said a little girl staring into her phone I remember J.K. Rowling, pumping books out overseas We'd watch her crummy movies on big screens and on T.V.s And we never understood why our teachers got real sad When they saw all us kids reading British wizard trash Cause the good stuffs in the authors, who didn't have deadlines No - board of directors, no - all they had was time Flannery O'Connor never wavered, Dostoevsky never strayed From the funny sardonic truths we still encounter to this day But Mr. Hennessy, what's a book? Is it something I can play? Does it plug into my Xbox? is it something I can play? Is it the robot that my mother bought that vacuums up our floors? Is it something I can play? Said a little girl staring into her phone Well all the things I did, when I was just a kid Lighting Cincinnati fire kites in the landfill sandpit Making hairspray potato cannons out of stolen PVC Yeah, lighting shit on fire was the coolest thing to be So I must be getting older, cause I'm angry all the time I hate my stupid phone and social media alike And the only reason y'all came out was a stupid Facebook post instead of reading or riding bikes, we're all stuck staring into our phones But Mr. Hennessy what's a bicycle, Is it something I can ride? Is it Blue Tooth compatible? Can it Tweet, Share or Like? Does it need a stupid dongle? Can it even hold a charge? Said a little pug nose kid, with a tablet in his arms
3.
Two Problems 02:48
The skies are always whirling And the globe's been getting hot And there's something in the air that says we ain't exactly what we thought I been watching all them people At the bottom of a whiskey cup And they smile back and they plainly ask Ya think heaven's really up? I got a few problems, One's a bottle that's too full The other's when it's empty, And there ain't nothing left to pull Tommy Doyle was a good boy He'd drink just like he talked He'd sing and joke and gamble The way most of you all walk I got a phone call last weekend Conor, Tommy boy's been dead A Firebird took him back to God I think that's what she said I got a few problems, One's a bottle that's too full The other's when it's empty, And there ain't nothing left to pull Well they'll sell you on ashes to ashes And they'll sing about dust to dust And they'll brag about the gods they saw On the dollars that they trust And I ain't got the answers, I ain't even got the time I'm heading out, I'll see ya round And we both know that's a lie I got a few problems, One's a bottle that's too full The other's when it's empty, And there ain't nothing left to pull I've seen the angels grabbing pavement I've seen devils wearing suits A thousand surplus love affairs And found barely any truth Hens will cluck about the cars they want their jobs, and something else I can hear her squawking now about Her housing and her health I got a few problems, One's a bottle that's too full The other's when it's empty, and there ain't nothing left to pull I got a few problems, One's a bottle that's too full The other's when it's empty, And there ain't nothing left to pull Well the skies are always swirling And this globe's been getting hot And there's something in the air that says We ain't exactly what we thought
4.
If 02:53
Well if I was a banker I'd be a bad one And if I was a doctor I'd be broke And if I was a lawyer, I'd have quite the reputation Of wearing patched up jeans and a torn up coat And if I was religious I'd be drunker And if I's a politician I'd die from smoke And if I didn't know no better I'd run off on the bum Without tellin' anybody that I know Oscar Wilde wrote bout living like an artist And how an engineer's all an engineer could be Well ain't it just a shame all them artists raised our rents up When all their engineering fathers paid their lease Well if I had a hammer I'd be famous For singing older songs I barely know To young urban professional, real go-getter types Ya know, them golden boys and gals like all you folks And if I played harmonica like Guthrie I'd be a sugarfree Bob Dylan without a growl I'd probably get more gigs, I'd probably kick against less pricks But I could never jump a train good anyhow And I once heard a drunk guy sing Irene goodnight In a way that made me wanna die on the barroom floor But when I turn my radio on and hear them billion dollar songs I wanna die in a different way for sure Well people think I'm joking when I'm singing But in between these punchlines there's a truth And when it's plainly said, well it kinda messes with your head Instead, exchanging glances, you'll call me uncouth But if I died a man of good persuasion And all the damage I done, was to only me Well when they laid my final bed, for that lonesome valley kind of rest Well that'd be the greatest thing to be Yeah that'd be the greatest thing To be
5.
I've got to know, yeah, I've got to know, friend Hungry lips ask me wherever I go All of my friends are a-fallin' around me I've got to know, yeah, I've got to know Why do your town lines segregate blood ties? Why do your bus routes delineate caste? How come there's gas and lead in our water? I got to know, yeah I got to know fast Why don't we spend more on homeless housing? How come there's homeless here anyhow? Fortunes are building, on wars and on killing And I got to know, yeah I got to know how I've got to know, yeah, I've got to know, friend Hungry lips ask me wherever I go All of my friends are a-fallin' around me I've got to know, yes, I've got to know What good work did you do, I'd like to ask you To take my good money right out of my hands? I built your big house to hide from my people Why'd you start hidin', my president? You've put us in jail and locked us in prison Crazyhouse jammed, and your hospital full Why did your cop shoot my unarmed protester? You have to talk plain, cause I got to know. I've got to know, yeah, I've got to know, friend Hungry lips ask me wherever I go All of my friends are a-fallin' around me And I've got to know, yeah, I've got to know People are dying without any healthcare Big money goes where death missiles fly Made by good workers paid in war dollars And I got to know, yeah I got to know why How come you're wealthy, healthy and well groomed? How come you smile when you spit in our eyes? This is the stuff of nightmares and movies And I got to know yeah I got to know why I got to know, yeah, I got to know, friend Hungry lips ask me wherever I go All of my friends are a-fallin' around me And I got to know, yes, I've got to know
6.
Hey 01:56
I saw an angel on the corner, sunshine in her face Her eyes all blue, blue and green and grey And I said hey And I aint too good lookin', but I'm some sweet womans child I asked her how she's doing, she just looked at me and smiled And she said hey Well that was way back then, this is this here now The truest love grows cold, we still see each other 'round And we'll say hey Give me fried fish when I'm hungry, Old Thompson when I'm dry A woman when I'm lonely, and heaven when I die And I'll say hey
7.
Open the old cigar box, grab a Joya de Nicaragua Things are running crossways, me and my gal are on the fringe And I'd rather blow some smoke, rather go to my bed and choke Than to listen to her talk, talk, talking, her talking makes me sick Well we quarreled about Havanas, fought over Cheroot And I know her as exacting, for she tells me I'm a brute And I've been her servant of love, for round now ten months clear But they've called me the priest of Cabanas, for round now seven years Well there's peace in a Larranga, calm in a Henry Clay But the best cigar an hour, is finished and thrown away Thrown away for another as perfect, perfect ripe and brown Now if I threw away my sweet heart I'd be run right out of this town So it's open the old cigar box, grab a Joya de Nicaragua Things are running crossways, me and my gal are on the fringe And I'd rather blow some smoke, rather go to my bed and choke Than to listen to her talk, talk, talking, her talking makes me sick Than to listen to her talk, talk, talking, her talking makes me sick Well my gal, she's pretty to look at, my gal she's a lovely lass But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest loves all pass And the light of days that have been the dark of the days that are, Well love's just as cold and stale, as what's left of a dead cigar So a million surplus women, will surely get the joke That a woman is only a woman, but a good cigars a smoke And the gloom of my bachelor days, is flecked with a gleering light of the stogies I have burned in this old boy's lucky life to the stogies I have burned in this old boy's lucky life to the stogies I have burned in this old boy's lucky life
8.
It was the 8th of April when I laid my eyes upon her, And she giggled and said Conor, Oh I've heard of you before I said darlin' ain't that pretty like yourself, your pretty witty Only darlin' what a pity, what you hangin' round here for She said she had a friend who was seeing a no good drinker And she came out for to see her, hoped she wouldn't stagger home I said that's my man Fitzpatrick, he's a good boy when he's after But before a drink he'll snap ya, leave ya laying on the floor Well at that her eyes did glow, and I should've played the coward But I felt a higher power and I took her by the hand And we had walked around the corner and she pulled a handgun on me Said Hennessy your wanted, and so is your drinking friend So it's 7 months in Dedham with the no goods, And 13 more if I keep proud I ain't sayin I wouldn't have done the same If only had I known, Well If I had only known I would've left that Boston town It was the 8th of April when I laid my eyes upon her, And she smiled and said Conor, Oh I've heard of you before Had I known what I know now, I would've split the whole damn town I can hear her voice still now, layin on the jailhouse floor
9.
She don't want me round no more, she don't want me round no more Sold my soul to the package store, she don't want me round no more Gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent Well I flew off the handle bout an hour ago I was screaming so loud, nearly smashed my phone Walked up Brighton, straight to the L And a half pint of whiskey put on it's spell When I got back, all my stuff's laying on the porch My guitar, my dreams and all them bottles '78 Puch with a torn up throttle, Lenovo Thinkpad, 2005, and my crushed up spirit layin' by it's side She kept the $300 Tiffany's bracelet She don't want me round no more, she don't want me round no more Sold my soul to the package store, she don't want me round no more Gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent Well I went up the street, I thought I had a friend Could I use your couch? Cause I could use the rest 'Said something bout a $100, I said It's dangling around the wrist of my woman now, bub He said if you don't got dollars, boy you don't make sense Well I huffed, and puffed and sorta roughed him up His gal came round started calling the cops I dropped my stuff and I started to run Cause I don't trust no man with no gun At this point all I had was my guitar She don't want me round no more, she don't want me round no more Sold my soul to the package store, she don't want me round no more Gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent I went to Tedeschi's all out of tobacco All I could afford was some rolled up hassle I went outside, lit a match on the curb I always blow smoke when I feel hurt Started singing this song in the baritone you hear now Sooner or later, a crowd gathered round Singing and hollering, boy what a sound Bums were handing me vodka nips And a girl eased up to me with ruby red lips Said come with me boy, I'll make you feel at home She don't want me round no more, she don't want me round no more Sold my soul to the package store, she don't want me round no more Gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent Well that girl I met turned out batshit crazy Loose in the tooth she had two eyes lazy 17 cats, jumping over bottles So I screwed the pooch, and went down to the Model It's that hipster bar right behind Twin Donuts There I met my girl and her bracelet I told I loved her, and how much I meant it She rolled her eyes and said: "Do you really?" I said "I'm homeless hon, I'd do anything" 'Slapped me 'cross the face and I move back home She don't want me round no more, she don't want me round no more Sold my soul to the package store, she don't want me round no more Gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent Now my hometown, just and intersection Four liquor stores to a church, you betcha Lots of trees and plenty of lakes And lots of time to make bad mistakes Wouldn't you know it there ain't a goddamn girl around Take it from me boys, it ain't worth it She want ya to go dancing you just twerk it She want more money man, you just fork it She want ya quit drinking man, you just cork it Cause I'm broke without a gal, and it's mighty mean Cause I'm broke without a gal. and it's mighty mean! She don't want me round no more, she don't want me round no more Sold my soul to the package store, she don't want me round no more Gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent Yeah, I gave her my heart, she's giving me a bill for rent
10.
Get me out of this dirty old place, I'll get out of bed but not today Get me out of this town Sun goes up, sun goes down Haven't had a drink for three days now Get me out of this town Greener pastures, can be found We'll find them someday They're scattered all around Illuminated, atop of snowy ground We're gunna drown ourselves In whiskey, beer, and anything else Quit worry'n about your health Block it out, Don't think about it that'll help And it it'll happen all the same Greener pastures, can be found We'll find them someday They're scattered all around Illuminated, atop of snowy ground Months have passed now, Pain outlasts, how slowly can it fade? Seems like another life, So cozy and bright, as snow turns to rain Greener pastures, can be found We'll find them someday They're scattered all around Illuminated, atop of snowy ground Greener pastures, can be found We'll find them someday They're scattered all around Illuminated, atop of snowy ground
11.
I knew a girl, and she said it was her greatest dream to Buy a dachshund, and more out west, and Buy a condo, and I sort of laughed, and We're not together anymore (Cause) I'm not one to be early for a court appointed Little meeting, I can't make rent and When I do, well it's hardly on time And that's not an attractive quality to have How much would it take? To break the chains that pull the weight? Break the pains and soothe the aches? A whole lot more than you could pay A whole lot more than you could pay, Don't even act like you could fake A clever way to fix them things That make this earth go rock and shake No career in program management Could ever let you do that People like to tell me about the way they vote, and They really like it, they like the way it sounds to Vote correctly, and I'm not sure that they understand Just how voting really works Those same people, they'll talk about their jobs that They've acquired, the way in which they pay their bills Is endlessly important, as if they couldn't understand I'd rather die than pay another bill And how much would it take? To break the chains that pull the weight? Break the pains and soothe the aches? A whole lot more than you could pay A whole lot more than you could pay, Don't even act like you could fake A clever way to fix them things That make this earth go rock and shake No college education could ever let you do that I guess the point is, these problems y'all complain about Are never really solved, cause we're all just kinda flailin' round And Susan's got a wedding, and your car's been on the fritz And Boston's still a segregated town I'm not unhappy, no I'm not even that sad, I'm just, I'm sort of weary, of people who'd rather have a dachshund and a condo, a wallet full of greenbacks Than another drink my bar-tending friend
12.
Why don't millenials buy up more diamonds? Why don't they're parents just give em some gold? Don't they know that precious metals Retain their value right till ya choke? Why don't they know how to play the stock market? Why don't they build up their own house of cards? And pull from the bottom, and watch them all fall down Black ones and red ones, all broken hearts Why don't they drink less, and save up their money? They'd be go-getters if they went without vice Why don't they lend out their hard worked at money? And gain a percentage from children and wives? Why don't they swindle their friends and their family? And get them to borrow and owing them more? Why don't you people just get with the program? Shake down your people, get'em real poor Why don't millenials buy up more diamonds? Why don't they're parents just give em some gold? Don't they know that precious metals Retain their value right till ya choke? Why don't they know how to play the stock market? Why don't they build up their own house of cards? And pull from the bottom, and watch them all fall down Black ones and red ones, all broken hearts I've met go-getters for evil or virtue And I've met the broken with a similar chance They'll buy and buy to appear like go-getters Go-getters all laugh and they charge in advance Why don't you start up a business for profit? Why don't you seize what's rightfully yours? Go to the bank and laugh all the way They're selling a joke and the butt of it's yours Why don't millenials buy up more diamonds? Why don't they're parents just give em some gold? Don't they know that precious metals Retain their value right till ya choke? Why don't they know how to play the stock market? Why don't they build up their own house of cards? And pull from the bottom, and watch them all fall down Black ones and red ones, all broken hearts These questions I'm asking all beckon an answer You'll hear them answers, just round all the time Radio, internet, jokes on the T.V. The laughing gets louder the higher you climb Ladders get kicked down as soon as they're put up Glass ceilings get smashed and promptly installed Imagine the good we could accomplish If ya helped up another instead of watching'em fall Why don't millenials buy up more diamonds? Why don't they're parents just give em some gold? Don't they know that precious metals Retain their value right till ya choke? Why don't they know how to play the stock market? Why don't they build up their own house of cards? And pull from the bottom, and watch them all fall down Black ones and red ones, all broken hearts Pull from the bottom, and watch them all fall down Black ones and red ones, all broken hearts
13.
What was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? Tell me, What was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? When you grow up inner city, it's awful hard to find work Around public transportation, so you'll need a car that works Without a car that works, it's awful hard to get a job Or get yourself a home, or escape a landlords jaws Tell me what was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? Tell me, What was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? It's hard to get an education when you've got to pay them bills The way those college kids work, Jim it makes me mighty ill They'll regurgitate an answer, at 40 grand a pop With a smile on their face that says they've never met a cop Tell me what was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? Tell me, What was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? I've got friends who went to college, I've got friends who peddle drugs I've got friends who live in mansions, I've got friends in prison walls I've got friends who teach psychology, friends in H-V-A-C If you don't know 'bout that last one, you're more privileged than you think Tell me what was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? Tell me, What was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? There's problems all around you, I don't wanna make you scared Just wanna level head ya, maybe make ya more aware You won't find it on the news, you won't find it in your phone You'd only get an answer if your family lost their home Tell me what was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage? Tell me, What was their names, tell me what was their names? Did you lose a friend on the minimum wage?
14.
I awakened to dryness, and the leaves were all a dying the potted plants gone mellow, and yellowed a waxy corn And my woman was all gone and the bottles like bled corpses And sang to me their uselessness in extraordinary form But the sun was still good though, and my landlady's note Cracked in fine and undemanding yellow What was needed then was a comedian of sorts An ancient style, absurdist painful fellow Sure, cause pain's absurd, sure cause it exists Nothing more I shave with an old razor The man who had once been young and said to have a genius But the tragedy of leaves, the dead ferns, and potted plants And I walked that triple decker, with all my money spent And the landlord execrating, sending me to hell With her fat and sweaty arms, screaming for that rent Because the world, had failed us both
15.
My B.U. belle, I love her well My B.U. darling, my B.U. belle When the sun don't shine, well I'll make her mine My B.U. belle, my B.U. Belle She's a real good student, Jack that's a fact She'll take her schooling, and croon right back All them answers, all them truths My B.U. gal, whats a boy to do My Harvard belle, I love her well My Harvard darling, my Harvard belle When the sun don't shine, well I'll make her mine My Harvard belle, my Harvard belle She'll take her classes, and come back home She'll give me lectures with a whimper moan About women's studies, and intersectional thought And I've got the syllabus to that young girls heart My Simmons Belle, I love her well My Simmons darling, my Simmons Belle When the sun don't shine, well I'll make her mine My Simmons belle, my Simmons belle My B.U. belle, I know her well And my Harvard darling, and my Simmons belle When the stars do shine, I'll make em all mine My Boston belles, my Boston belles
16.
I was laying in a bed with a gal I met I asked her how she made her rent she said her parents did that Well I guess they got troubles too I guess they got troubles too boys, I guess they got troubles too I guess they got troubles too girl, Them wealthy student, bourgeois blues I was walking up and down on a Linden Street, I was waving at them broke kids and they waved back at me Cause I guess they got troubles too I guess they got troubles too boys, I guess they got trouble too I guess they got trouble too girl, From Linden Street, until B.U. I was getting off the train down by Tremont street I saw the MBTA police smack a woman to her knees But I guess they got troubles too I guess they got trouble too boys, I guess the police get trouble too I guess the police, they got trouble on their mind They got trouble in me and you I was laying in a bed with a gal I met I asked her how she paid her rent she said her parents did that Well I guess they got troubles too
17.
Well I woke up this morning with cigars and a whiskey Woke up this morning with cigars and a whiskey Woke up this morning with cigars and a whiskey Lord, lord, lord I'm feeling fine Well I traveled this world over, a thousand miles or more And whiskey and cigars for breakfast well I had never thought before But I woke up this morning with cigars and a whiskey Woke up this morning with cigars and a whiskey Woke up this morning with cigars and a whiskey Lord, lord, lord I'm feeling fine Well I woke up this morning and my gal made breakfast Woke up this morning and my gal made breakfast Woke up this morning and my gal made breakfast Lord, lord, lord I'm feeling fine Well I traveled this world over, a thousand miles or more And I never saw that woman cook, so today's been a pretty good score Yeah, I woke up this morning and my gal made breakfast Woke up this morning and my gal made breakfast Woke up this morning and my gal made breakfast Lord, lord, lord I'm feeling fine Well I woke up this morning, put my eight hour shift in Woke up this morning, put my eight hour shift in Woke up this morning, put my eight hour shift in Lord, lord, lord I'm feeling fine Well I traveled this world over, a thousand miles or more And a boy without an eight hour shift, well he's off to jail for sure Yeah, I woke up this morning and put my eight hour shift in Woke up this morning, put my eight hour shift in Woke up this morning, put my eight hour shift in Lord, lord, lord I'm feeling fine Well do hope this world will get better And we can all enjoy life's simple pleasures We'd all get breakfast and work eight hours Lord we'd all be fine And I've traveled this world over, a thousand miles or more And if we worked together people, well we'd accomplish a great deal more We'd all be waking in the morning with cigars and a whiskey Waking in the morning with cigars and a whiskey Waking in the morning with cigars and a whiskey Lord, lord, we'd be allright
18.
Sometimes I'm better off, others I'm absurd For example last Friday I was bombed And when I get to drinking I get thinking of the ways I'd rather make my living in a song Cause a song it has a point, a tight meaning and an end And in the end everyone applauds And lately I've been thinking if I'm living to my end My ending might as well be just a song Nine to Fivers like to laugh and cry and shout and scream out loud And their cars all need a good kick in the tires They've got reason in their scheming in their dreams for better jobs yeah, their dreaming just depends on getting hired Getting hired locks you down, in a quiet clammy town And the years roll by in silent, staggered groans And by the time they've realized their dreams have come and gone They wonder what it is they could have known But their songs all have a point, a tight meaning and an end And in the end everyone applauds And when they wake up early, to get to work on time They're wondering how much working is too long The God we all trust, or know to not exist Has a funny way of telling us the truth It's written on our dollar bills we use to get a grip In a market not affording many fools And the market never lies, it just soars and roars and rises Until it burns and crashes on us all And when we pick it up again, the Brahmin make a toast All for one, to us is worth them all And their songs all have a point, a tight meaning and an end And in the end everyone applauds And they check up on their bank accounts, and hum along in time And omit the parts about em being frauds Sometimes I'm better off, others I'm absurd For example last Friday I was bombed And when I get to drinking I get thinking of the ways I'd rather make my living in a song

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released October 9, 2017

Photo credit: Bill Moschella

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Conor Ryan Hennessy Boston, Massachusetts

Songwriter. Brighton, MA.

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dockhenny@gmail.com

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