Don't Quit - The Ross Cordaro Story (soundtrack)

by Tom Flannery

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about

soundtrack to the upcoming documentary film from Dunmore, PA director Liz Naro

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released May 7, 2017

all songs written by Tom Flannery
copyright 2017

Tom Flannery - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Joseph "Wiggy" Wegleski - guitar, mandolin, ukulele
Tom Borthwick - piano

recorded at Sound Investments
Old Forge, PA
produced by Wiggy
mastered by TB

NOTES – Myself and Liz have known each other since we were teens. Two Dunmore, PA kids who learned how to live and love and grow in a town that neither of us has been able to escape. Not that we’ve tried very hard (especially Liz, who still lives there, a touchdown pass from the football field) . She became the mother of 2 sons. I became the father of 2 daughters. My Mom still lives there. Liz’s brother runs a tavern in town. We bleed crimson. It’s just coincidence that blood is the same color.

As kids we drank beer beside roaring bon-fires and dreamed dreams to the soundtrack of battery powered boom-boxes. We traveled in packs yet still strove to be visible, while at the same time reveling in the comfortable anonymity that small towns provide. It was a pretty cool place to grow up in. Still is.

Ross Cordaro was paralyzed in a freak wrestling accident during a football practice in 1974. He was 14. If you’re from Dunmore, you know this. You just do. Nine months later, in front of thousands of fans on Thanksgiving Day, he walked out onto the field as an honorary captain of the Dunmore Buck football team. You don’t tell a Dunmore kid that he’ll never walk again. You just don’t.

The perfect Hollywood ending to the story. Except it wasn’t the end. And Dunmore is 3000 fucking miles away from tinsel town.

Make no mistake. What Ross Cordaro was able to overcome in 1974 was truly staggering. But in subsequent years, after brutal therapy, his health has declined. After multiple surgeries over multiple decades, Ross is once again confined to a wheel chair. He has suffered the tragic loss of his beloved brother Moochie, who died in a horrific car crash. He lost both parents. And his step-daughter perished, cruelly, in yet another auto accident. His eldest brother has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Shakespearean stuff. If it was fiction you’d think the writer ODd on pathos.

He’s loved and lost and done both again and again. He was dangerously close to being homeless for a time. And yet, armed with a poem given to him by his old football coach, he never quit. When he staggered, Dunmore was there keep him upright….coming together to raise cash when needed. Some friends helped Ross move into a handicapped accessible home. It’s what home is supposed to be. In LBJs words….a place where folks “know when you are sick and care when you die.”

Liz is Ross’s cousin, and her film is as much about small towns as it is about Ross. And it’s about bravery and loyalty on a scale that’s not even charted anymore…because if it was everybody would just presume some fool just fat-fingered the numbers.

And finally, it’s a story of friendship. And love.

Liz asked me for music. I feel bad because what I delivered is in no way standard soundtrack fare. People from Dunmore don’t know how to half-ass anything. So a few minutes of soundtrack music became 11 new songs, an entire project in its own right. For this I apologize….but I’d do it again. So….

Liz understands. Because she’s the same way.

I sat down one afternoon and sang and played live, all first takes. Some harp on top. Wiggy and Tom added their parts over a few nights. And that was that. It seemed right.

It’s more a lyrical song-cycle filled with vagueness, and doesn’t even try to tell Ross’s story in any sort of standard way. To tell the truth I have no idea how any of this stuff is going to fit into Liz’s film. But when I told her this she just told me to shut up and keep going. So I did. And here it is.

Ross, these songs are for you.

In a bit…

Tom Flannery
Archbald, PA
May 6, 2017

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Tom Flannery Scranton, Pennsylvania

"One of the most gifted songwriters to emerge at the turn of the century"
-- The All Music Guide

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Track Name: You're Stuck With Me
Well these streets are home and are filled with wonder
through and through and by and by
just when you think you're going under
a ladder descends from the sky
tales to tell and room to roam
secrets all the neighbors will plainly see
no need to finish my last sentence
'cause you know you're stuck with me

Might wash it down with a chaser
do it again 'till the well runs dry
girl across the bar well you'd have to brace her
start running away before you'd see her cry
drunken dreams will have to do you
in black and white that's all they're gonna be
two Tylenol and the morning paper
the color returns and you're stuck with me

I don't like these railroad tracks
'cause they never take me back
never take me back to you

Fork in the road both of them all mine
'cause we're gonna end up in these trees
wanna take 'em both at the same time
until we end up on our bloody knees
sometimes you knock and no one answers
but it's more of a question, not another plea
I got the patience of a girl with good intentions
look around and you're stuck with me
Track Name: Days and Days and Days Like This
If you can remember can you remember me
if I disappont promise not to flee
if you grown unsteady you can take my hand
if you can pierce the veil can you understand
days and days and days like this

Light turns away and bang its head
against the wall on your side of the bed
congregation's gone strangers take their place
and all that's left is fear to fill the empty space
after days and days and days like this
everybody gone
no one left to miss
days and days and days like this

Is it true what they say
that loves gets in the way
makes people hang around
when they shoulda left town
days and days and days like this
suddenly it dawns
ignorance ain't bliss
after days and days and days like this

Chalk on a chalkboard pencil on a pad
scratch away the lovers that each of us has had
leave tunnel vision and a human touch
nothing really matters
it doesn't matter much after
days and days and days like this
after all this time
betrayed with a kiss
days and days and days like this

Is it true what they say
that loves gets in the way
makes people hang around
when they shoulda left town
days and days and days like this

Time arrives...then it gets confused
about which clock it's supposed to use
so while it ponders what's at stake
there's these little pills I'm supposed to take
after days and days and days like this
after all this time
betrayed with a kiss
after days and days and days like this
Track Name: Let Me Catch My Breath, Babe
Let me catch my breath, babe
Let me catch my breath, babe
Let me catch my breath before I look at you

I might catch my death, babe
I might catch my death, babe
I might catch my death without a look at you
without a look at you

Never gonna stop trying to run
you're the finish line and the gun
gifts from everyone
you're the color in my eyes
that hides behind surprise
looks through everyone

Gypsy woman told me it's true
the world owes me nothing but you

By the grace of something
By the grace of something
By the grace of something I get to see

It's like standing tall, babe
It's like standing tall, babe
It's like standing tall the way you look at me

Let me catch my breath, babe
Let me catch my breath, babe
Let me catch my breath before I look at you
Track Name: So Far So Gone
We're so far so gone
we got not place left to go
so far so gone
resin up the bow
changing lanes or changing veins
dressed up or wearning chains
playing dead or playing games
we're so far so gone

We're so far so gone
words get in the way
like road blocks and street signs
in front of what we mean to say
Martz Buses and steam trains
black and whites and beer stains
chipped paint on window panes
we're so far so gone

break:
So far so gone
no need to kiss and tell
trying to soothe a thirst
from a dried up wishing well
so far so gone
sleeping on the floor
hearing my own breathing
don't suit me anymore

So far so gone
all things must pass
rings from reflections
in an empty whiskey glass
making hay or making change
forgetting someone's name
wanting all to stay the same
but we're so far so gone

break:
So far so gone
on the wrong side of town
picking up the pieces
of facades falling down
so far so gone
another for-sale sign
in another broken window
that used to be mine

We're so far so gone
no use looking back
at demons or reflections
or something with a knack
for mystery or something new
things that are still left to do
or lies that could well be true
we're so far so gone
Track Name: All I Wanna Do Is Come Home To You
Wanna come from a place where everybody knows you
wanna come from a place where everybody shows you
the sinners and the sin
the truth and the spin
can we begin again
all I wanna do is come home to you

Wanna lay my burden down sleep like it's a snow-day
tempt me with silver but I'm still saying no way
maybe not glory-bound
but I'm gonna stick around
my dirty piece of ground
just tell 'em that I'm coming home to you

My heart might be in pieces
and my head might hurt like hell
but if I'm gonna love and have my fun
I'm gonna do it well

So gather round you troubadours and traveling foot soldiers
I might be getting better but I'm still getting older
sometimes it ain't the miles
it's a lifetime of smiles
that graced you all the while
all I wanna do is come home to you
sometimes it ain't the miles
it's a lifetime of smiles
that graced you all the while
all I wanna do is come home to you
Track Name: I Call On You (You Call On Me)
I call on you..you call on me
like chalk on the sidewalk
it's there for all to see
face to face hand to hand
blood-brothers eye to eye
the more that I remember
the more I wanna cry

One step forward two steps back
progress in the end
is measuring the impact
that you've had on all your friends
we grow older but not wiser
the bonds they rarely hold
like the ones we made as children
when are hearts were filled with gold

I call on you
you call on me
I call on you
you call on me
save a seat on the train
these tracks will set you free
I call on you
you call on me
I call on you
you call on me

If home is where the heart's supposed to be
I got a timebomb ticking inside of me

I call on you
you call on me
I call on you
you call on me
save a seat on the train
these tracks will set you free
I call on you
you call on me
I call on you
you call on me

I call on you..you call on me
like chalk on the sidewalk
it's there for all to see
face to face hand to hand
blood-brothers eye to eye
the more that I remember
the more I wanna cry

I call on you
you call on me
I call on you
you call on me
save a seat on the train
these tracks will set you free
I call on you
you call on me
I call on you
you call on me
Track Name: Start All Over Again
You get tired of pushing to solve the crime
waking up on a dime
wind blowing you to and fro
forgetting where you need to go
edges and corners all razor blades
head on fire and the bed unmade
take the freebie and take the pain
learn to start all over again

Happy liars sad but true
never ask what they've done to you
when you get a chill saying goodbye
stop looking them in the eye
that needle can take you by the hand
try to make you understand
get your ass out of the rain
learn to start all over again

Slip and slide
mystery ride
to and fro
I just don't know
I just don't know
I just don't know

I think I knew you once before
peeking in through the kitchen door
when friendship was a state of mind
that we found ourselves in all the time
never be better than it was before
tracking memories on your floor
old and wise or young and vain
learn to start all over again
old and wise or young and vain
learn to start all over again
Track Name: We Deserve Better Than This
Wanna see if I can still make you smile
see if maybe we can rest awhile
head down to the lawer’s to deface our wills
share a 6-pack and a sleeping pill
cause we deserve better
we deserve better than this

Nine to five on an assembly line
if it weren’t for nickels we wouldn’t have a dime
love ain’t enough to keep you warm
when the furnace blows in a winter storm
cause we deserve better
we deserve better than this

How many years we count the days
how many friends lost along the way
lies underneath the bed
slaps upside the head
cause we deserve better
we deserve better than this

They say you get dealt a hand
and it you play it the best you can
well that SOB dealing from the bottom of the deck
I’m gonna find his ass I’m gonna wring his neck
cause we deserve better
we deserve better than this

My clothes don’t fit me anymore
so I’m wearing what my old man wore
refund missing my hair gone gray
one should leave but we’ll both stay
cause we deserve better
we deserve better than this

Everybody says to move real slow
but they don't care and they don't know
that I got no patience for the setting sun
this is how we do it where I come from
cause we deserve better
we deserve better than this
Track Name: I Don't Feel the Same Way Anymore
Used to be young now I'm old
used to be shy but now I'm bold
you go your way I go mine
stand for nothing or stand in line
key to the highway or the door
I don't feel the same way anymore
anymore anymore anymore
anymore anymore anymore

Living hard or living long
smart enough to know when you're wrong
dance all night pain all day
turn it up I'll blow you away
call the game without the score
I don't feel the same way anymore
anymore anymore anymore

'Cause if she don't love me know after all this time
like spending a dollar to save a dime
like a punch-drunk fighter just one more round
giving up is giving ground

Not living at all sparks no regrets
I ain't done with all you yet
forgive the sinner not the sin
that's the kind of world we're living in
all these wheels scuffing up your floor
I don't feel the same way anymore
anymore anymore anymore
anymore anymore anymore
Track Name: When Every Song Sounds Like You
Jump inside my radio
play it hard or sing it low
I got nothing in my head
'cept waking up in your bed
on a lonely mystery ride
with emptiness by my side
there ain't nothing I can do
when every song sounds like you

Piano or an old guitar
the melody it won't go far
it knows it's all been done before
an open window or a busted door
grafitti on a city wall
phone number on a bathroom stall
I can't sing my way through
when every song sounds like you

Sounds like a laugh sounds like a tear
like a day that lasts all the year
exactly what I need to hear
just like you whispering in my ear

What happens when what you love
throws shadows like the stars above
it can burn to the touch
those who think too much
made for fools who still believe
in what's up a magician's sleeve
all alone when it takes two
when every song sounds like you

Sounds like a laugh sounds like a tear
like a day that lasts all the year
exactly what I need to hear
just like you whispering in my ear

Jump inside my radio
play it hard or sing it low
I got nothing in my head
'cept waking up in your bed
on a lonely mystery ride
with emptiness by my side
there ain't nothing I can do
when every song sounds like you
when every song sounds like you
when every song sounds like you
Track Name: Peaceful Water
If I'm gonna drown make it peaceful water
bring my son and bring my daughter
hold my hand then let me go
I can't be late I got one more show

Peaceful water tames a rocky shore
barred windows behind an unlocked door
long straightaway then a pin-point curve
bring it on if you've got the nerve

Raise a glass or raise a Fender
on a crusade or a bender
carve your name in the wet sand
I'll sweep it up with my right hand

What do you got at the end of the day
with a bunch of words you'd never say
time wasn't right or the moon was wrong
never forget it's a three minute song

Raise a glass or raise a Fender
on a crusade or a bender
carve your name in the wet sand
I'll sweep it up with my right hand

In peaceful water that's where I'll be
with eyes closed I don't need to see
the hurt we bring on each other
bless up my sister and my brother
bless up my sister and my brother

The hurt we bring on each other
bless up my sister and my brother