Bootstraps And Other American Fables – CD


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Jangling Sparrows are
Joe Grey – Drums
Louis Stein – Bass
Paul Edelman Guitar/Vocals

Produced, recorded and engineered by
Amos McGregor at Marshall Sound Studio
“Marshall “Shoals”
Marshal, NC
Mastered by Derek Brown

Track Listing
(click song title for lyrics)


Estuaries run backwards sometimes
well it’s Saturday morning the cedar is bright
it should be a good day but you can’t shake off last night
Did things really go the way that they went
you’re picking up on signals God damn they get sent
I know, you got to get out from under yourself, I know yeah
you got to get out from under your self listen to me talkin
Estuaries run backwards sometimes

I woke up like a sandblasted infant
with the cragly finger of everything’s emptiness
poking on my forehead pushing on my chest
no day’s trial is going to match that test
I know, you got to get out from under yourself
listen to me talkin’


I know that we see ourselves through fixed eyes
lately I’ve been wondering
how’s it going to be when Eastwood dies
I want to feel good to my friend
but look away at your own expense. estuaries run backwards

I know that you feel that everybody stares
well let me put your mind at ease because you’re right
and trouble today is coming to play
and win or lose you show em your fight
I know you got to get out from under your self
listen to me talkin’
Estuaries run backwards sometimes

All That I Was Never Afraid

Well somebody wants told me experience was just learning to make your
mistakes rhyme
well if that’s the truth
then I’m a poem of attrition in a book on borrowed time
yes baby I know what it’s like
to see somebody in a different light
but if you’re wrestling with who I am
then you’re just trying to catch a buzz off, a buzz off a dram
so I guess there’s nothing for me to tell you
if you are hell-bent on seeing for yourself
cuz you can find the romance in anything anything, anything can be its own

I just don’t want to get tangled in a web
of all that I was never afraid

let the sunlight find it on the basement steps somebody somewhere is going
to relate
Baby it just ain’t that complicated
what you see is what you get
you keep saying you’re gonna leave this town
but baby you ain’t gone yet
baby it just ain’t that complicated
you keep saying love is gonna find me soon
but you know that’s an empty threat
all that I was never afraid


I’m a filthy Philly pigeon
You’re a divine exotic bird
you’ve got that old time religion
mama ain’t that absurd
so what did I ever do
to get on down for you
tell me what it’s even ever been
why did you even want to climb on in

the only four letter word she ever uses
is Paul Paul Paul
and anyone that knows me is gonna tell you
that’s the one that just might beat them all
Long, Tall, short, cold, I think you were oversold
but that’s alright

Hey! Hey! Harriet Tubman!

Hey hey Harriet Tubman all right
sleeping in the swamp grass, taking the fight
how can I talk to these people that I call my Countrymen
half em hem and haw on the heels of the turbin
the rest are getting drunk and they’re blaming the bourbon
they all Cry Freedom but none of them honey know you
cuz you’d’ve told him

Freedom isn’t what you think it is freedom isn’t want you want
come sleep in my shoes for the night
boy you’d be dead by Dawn
Just go home, go tune your TV’s on

Hey, hey Harriet Tubman alright
show us the way to your drinking gourds light
and maybe we could fumble through a Chorus or two of your railroad song
cuz people tend to listen when the quiet ones holler
you can grab my nation by the shirt collar Old Uncle Sam is starting to look a little like Old Uncle Tom
he needs reminding


hey hey Harriet Tubman
We were playing stickball but we had to disband
cuz somebody knocked it over into the promised land
and we were all too scared to go through the hedges to get it
but you, you homely, illiterate slave,
you weren’t even free to give what you gave
if that’s not a lesson for the ages then I just don’t know what is
come back and show us


Highway Jawn

Well, can’t you feel the highway and those distance city lights
that’s the Romance of the ramble
them Honky Tonkin nights
Hold your troubles out the window and let go with all your might
where the whiskey preaches loosely and the music is picking tight

You there on the barstool can we talk to you stranger
we new in town ain’t been around looking for danger
we’d like to know your city the way you know it’s sir
could you take us to your underground and could we please bring her

if the road don’t hold the answer, son then you ain’t listening
I understand about looking back at another could have been
but the rearview is for passing and the highway is listening

I ain’t got no more disillusions about the woman of my dreams
cuz it don’t take too long to see she ain’t ever what she seems
but Spanish hair and Irish eyes and Faded old blue jeans
and you’re right back in my Wheelhouse and my wheels can really scream


You leave the party like you just got paid you’re always wishing that you had stayed
cuz you want to show off how you’re made
but you are too precious to get played

well I know that you think I pawned you for something easier to play
it’s true I never knew what to do with you but that was yesterday
and tonight is busting out with maybes
I want to rosin up these dull and lonesome streets
I want to show you what I’m made of baby
we can get down to the sound of our own heart beats

Follow Me Down

So you think it might be time for you to land a handsome gent
for helping you at the grocery store or setting up your tent
you know you make a wake of boys as you’re walking from the bar
with your tight, milky flanks and your hand-me-down car
but no matter what you do there’s an insatiable itch
you had it all sewn up but I guess you missed a stitch
so now you’re looking at me like I might be your latest fad
because I lear like a painter and I smile like a dad
but are you going to follow me down

follow me down the rabbit hole
we bite the hand that feeds us
we take back what they stole
Follow Me Down The Rabbit Hole
we’re drinking with our demons
and screaming at our souls
Follow Me Down

well it doesn’t seem so difficult to land a boy now does it
and well you know that you could have your pick
cuz getting things was never really hard for you now was it
it’s keeping them that seems to be the trick
and you seem to have a blind spot right in front of your face
so you’re throwing darts at random hearts to see who’ll take your case
now you privilege me with a basket full of secret looks
well that’s pretty good, darling, but I’ve also got some hooks


so put your feet up on the dash and let your skirt drape carelessly about
and keep gazing out the window like there’s nothing that you can’t live without
but you better keep my number even after you grow bored
cuz when your music turns against you you’re going to want someone to help you with the chords


True, Fine Now

Well the ring of time echoes in the blinds like a ride at Coney Isle
colors flying by at the speed of knowing why
and the faces that collect into a pile
but we won’t wait for the photos to come back
or the neon signs so plied with midnight drops
like a well-intended politician with lace curtains by the window where he stops
it’s a true fine now

well I got your message on my phone with Notions that you could spare
I melted back into my day I was so vaguely aware
but our love is bigger than this time
it’s bigger than this time we live in
cuz it lands on every morning like a wordless prayer and it’s shining sin
it’s a true fine now
that’s how you meditate on all that makes you

Joshua Chamberlain

Well back in 1917 my grandpa used to play
with an old man from the neighborhood just a few blocks up the way
the folks would all go picnic on the in the park just after Mass
where the couples strolled the day away and the kids ran in the grass

Joshua Chamberlain, come back down
your country needs a man like you back around
Joshua Chamberlain, follow the smoke our bosses are demons and our leaders are a joke
Oh yeah, savior of the Union
oh yeah, take your guns to town

He had a handlebar mustache that spread so wide across his face
and gleamed across the open field to pour such silent grace
my grandpa used to run to him, used to hug his leg
old Joshua would say you’re getting big for goodness sake


well, the echos shoot back through a sometime shadow of a glare
even I can see them coming like a mighty tide of terror
imbue to us exactly what you felt on that Round Top
put it in our water sir feed it to our crops


Label's All Mine

My property cuts through the middle of the swamp
it’s about five of them old slave cabins from the street
if you can make it 50 yards up to your knees
you’ll be picking off leeches from your feet
but I can see you for my back porch
I got my Louisville Slugger
you’re trying to sneak into my Whiskey Still
you a Ballsy little mother

I got the County’s finest shine
it goes down like honeysuckle wine
and then it rolls you from behind
it’s the County’s finest shine

Don’t think I don’t know about you
you’re some kind of sugar booty boy you’ve been bojangling your shoes
trying to play yourself off coy
you some kind of basketball star
I guess you think you’re fast
but you better stay out of my yard
I’ll put some Buckshot in your ass


I got a couple three pitbulls
and I don’t much feed em
they like to chase the neighbors ponies and when they catch em, they eat em
I’ll send you screaming to your mother you’re messing with my bread and my butter
I got the County’s finest shine
and the label’s all mine



O bootstraps, I wish I could reach you now
I just came from the well, I left more than I took from the well
I used to wipe her cheeks, now I wipe my brow
O bootstraps I wish I could reach you now

oh honey, don’t be hard to please
we want to feel like kids cause we once never did before
so if I got to be buried, bury me in the leaves
and oh honey, don’t be hard to please


they say time will tell, time will tell,
that’s what I hear from the man on the hill
he’s old and he’s wise, he says people all want the same things,
hey yea, time will tell, time will tell,
that’s what I get from the man on the hill
but can I really trust in someone who’s still waiting?

O faith, how deep do you go
can you show me the humble Glory of sacrifice
if I have to ask I’ll probably never know
but oh Faith, how deep do you go


oh buddy,please don’t make me ask.
you know I give what I have, if that’s nothing, that’s what I have
you’ve known me a while and you’ve seen this face in the past
so O buddy, please don’t make me ask
o bootstraps I wish I could reach you now

All songs © 2019 – Paul Edelman


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