Drinking With Nick Drake

by Tom Flannery

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released December 31, 2002

All songs by Tom Flannery except * by Lorne Clarke
All songs copyright 2002 Tom Flannery (BMI)
except * copyright 1984 Lorne P. Clarke (Socan)

Recorded live at the Old Church in Lynn, Pennsylvania on 3/10/02
Tom Flannery – Guitar, vocals, harmonica

Engineered by Lorne Clarke
Produced by Tom Flannery

I am sitting in the centre of the old church, headphones on, listening to my friend, Tom Flannery singing about that rough kid from across the tracks that we all knew once… “Oh have you ever known any one like Teddy?” The old church is dark except for the stage lights and the dim glow from the recording equipment. The last ripples of wind from a winter storm are moaning high above and from time to time I think I can hear “Teddy” banging on a distant door.

We are mid session and I am once again amazed at the talent of this man. Known for his determination, Tom planned this session and was not to be denied. The winter storm that closed roads, caused localized flooding and more significantly left the old church without power right up to the moment the session began didn’t fit Tom’s plan. So here we are. Tom is ripping through one take after the other – complaining about having to wait for me to set up the recorder between songs. He’s on top of his game tonight and this CD is your ticket to that world where creativity and determination meet. Be sure to leave a note for your family, because you may not be back for a while.

— Lorne Clarke/March 2002

I recently heard the following exchange in the recording studio…
Artist – “So, what do you think of the guitar solo I cut?”
Engineer – “Oh, the guitar solo is great. It’s the song that sucks.”

Well, there are no guitar solos here….just songs that hopefully don’t suck. This is how they were written, and this is how I think they should be heard. Modern recording technology makes me nervous, and I always found the rough solo acoustic music of Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie far more interesting than anything Daniel Lanois ever got his hands on. Technology can surely overwhelm a song, but so too can a song obliterate the need for technology. That’s my take on it anyway. Slàinte.

–Tom Flannery/March 2002

“There could scarcely be a more appropriate or ideal context for these songs than this stripped-down, humble setting. It offers the strongest set of lyrics Flannery has yet penned, from the witty, irreverent talking blues of “Talking Stranger in New York Blues” to the poignant character and situational studies, each as complete and flawlessly drawn as a short story, that make up the album’s midsection”
— AMG All Music Guide
It’s such a rarity to get a CD full of intelligent lyrics combined with wonderful music. [Flannery has] certainly proved that a song can obliterate the need for technology. It has hardly left the CD player.
–WRIU Kingston, RI 90.3 fm



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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: I'm Gonna Stay
The grass grows through the cracks
screen door hanging from a string
and memories tracked on the front porch
still cover everything
he never said goodbye
things were easier that way
city lights might take some
but others chose to stay

With his hands he makes his way
cutting pieces from the ground
where dreams grow like the summer crop
and never make a sound
and family means more than X-mas trees
and walks down memory lane
interrupted without fail
to catch the early train

He said ‘I’m gonna stay
and that’s all I got to say
I like my chances on judgement day (2)

someone asked him one time
‘what’s the point my friend…..
this land owes you nothing
and you’re near the end’
he said a reflection in the water
lasts until you’re gone
it never takes hold
if you keep moving on

Pictures on the wall
dog sleeping on the floor
and the cool breeze sings him to sleep
through the unlocked door
I guess the world is closing in
but I think we got some time
the old man got drunk last night
and tore down the town’s road sign
it’s one and only road sign
Track Name: Jenny McLane
On the corner of Market and Linden
lived a girl named Jenny McLane
eyes as wide as the holes in the windows
smile cut from a store bought frame
Her daddy toiled 6 days at the paper mill
mother part time at the Wal-Mart store
30 years on the house and they were home free
17 down only 13 more

On the hill the nights grew darker
something you can’t put your finger on
hard lives they were getting harder
many in the neighborhood already moved on
But Jenny hung tough the kid you never hear of
had no time for the corner boys
or the pom pom girls with the plastic smiles
running around making all that noise

Jenny had plans despite the walls around her
she chipped away for all those years
high school mercifully nearly over
no more waiting on tomorrow’s tears
School day just like any other
bells ringing throughout the land
she never saw the look of detachment
she never saw the 45 in his hand

Like a flash it was all but over
12 counting Jenny laying on the floor
the papers said ‘this stuff has got to stop’
then moved on to the story next door
‘For Sale’ sign hanging in the yard
house went to hell no one asked what for
knees are battered from asking questions
they just don’t seem to care no more

On the corner of Market and Linden
lived a girl named Jenny McLane
eyes as wide as the holes in the windows
smile cut from a store bought frame
her dreams meant nothing to anybody
even less now that’s she’s dead
Track Name: Favorite Son
Had myself a drink or two about a week ago
how the hell I ended up here Lord I’ll never know
could’ve sworn I seen the wife just the other day
don’t see each other much but it’s always been that way

Texas plains whoever named ‘em they sure got it right
I’m as bored as a twister running thru the night
ain’t got no crowd to watch me as I bring the house down
so what the hell’s the use of even coming round

Endless mountains call me now
they want their favorite son
got myself some leaking fuel
but I’m still on the run

Job it got the best of me so they kissed my ass goodbye
town could not contain me put me on the other side
tracks had the same pennies on ‘em from way back when
that midnight train just flattened them again and again


Had myself settled down time and time again
but them scrap books can’t hold me down I always reach the end
Daddy rode the rails out of town during the strike of ‘62
he only looked back once, to say ‘son you’ll follow too’

My brother took ‘em thru two states before they brought him down
had himself a smile when the spread him on the ground
Sheriff wiped his own brow and thrashed around for air
said ‘I’ll walk that sonofabitch myself to that sizzling chair’


So I’ll watch the sun go down deep in the Texas sky
seems to take so long but I’m not one to ask why
I’ll leave that shit to all those who’ve got the time
I was never raised to be the worrying kind

Track Name: Talking Stranger in New York Blues
Bob Dylan dropped by my house
two cigarettes hanging from his mouth
fell asleep in my easy chair
dropped his goddamn ashes everywhere

Left a picture of his kids on my book shelf
said he never gets a chance to express himself
so he snored and snored the whole night thru
and Bob don’t snore like me or you

Alan Lomax lived with me
kept unplugging my new TV
slept with an ax underneath his bed
to keep me pure is what he said

Well he ate me out of house and home
drank all my beer monopolized my phone
played Leadbelly records all the time
put his name on all that was mine

I’m a stanger in New York

Met a record exec in an evening gown
who said she really liked my sound
then she called security
wiped his cocaine on my shirt sleeve

Threw me out into some street
named with a number they think that's neat
corner of 50 something and 100 and what
taxis all keep their yellow doors shut
and all those Afghani taxi drivers are saying
"we don't pick up no folk singers anymore….
Why don't you go back to Minneapolis?"

I said I don't live in Minneapolis Mr. Afghani taxi driver
I'm from Scranton Pennsylvania
and he said "Scranton Pennsylvania? I thought Harry Chapin made that place up?"

No it's real. I got the bananas to prove it…
Track Name: Centralia
I come from Centralia
hear what I say
I was born and raised
and I'll die here someboday
that wind still blows
through this dirty little town
and that's sure good enough
to keep me hanging 'round

from the darkness of this highway
looks like the sun fell down
decided she liked it here
buried herself in the ground
she watches over me
just like my daddy before
but she brought a government man
to my back door

he said you gotta leave sir
but we're gonna make it worth your while
we got this government briefcase
with money stacked in a pile
it's for your own good
this place is gonna burn down
and who wants to live
in a mining ghost town

well some took the offer
I guess I don't blame 'em much
money is even hotter
than burning coal to the touch
but some hunkered down
as these walls closed in
can't burn me out my friend
from the places I've been

I said I worked this vein
and she knows me good
she promised me a living
right where I stood
I always treated her right
so she'll do the same to me
she go on back up to Washington
and leave us all be
Track Name: When the Rains Came
The river it knew my name
And not many men could say the same
but it’d lose its soul when the rains came
lose its soul when the rains came
River’s edge ain’t no place to be
unless you was born a man like me
work just crumbles beneath my feet
work just crumbles beneath my feet

Valley was warned as far as I could tell
with announcements the good Lord makes so well
nothing to buy but a lot to sell
nothing to buy but a lot to sell
seems the river had it way many years before
with water breaking down granddaddy’s front porch door
he stuck his regiment’s flag in the muddy shore
said you ain’t taking another inch anymore

He said the river takes notice if you make a stand
as it wears down a young farmer’s land
it remembers faces as it rolls by
it remembers faces as it rolls by
Daddy brought me to the roof in 72
with the rain soaking us both thru
he said ‘son I think it’s gonna spare us this time’
I think he’d been nippin’ at granddaddy’s wine

I guess five wars will turn a family hard
mamma said ‘pay no attention to that boat in the yard’

The river it knew my name
And not many men could say the same
but it’d lose its soul when the rains came
lose its soul when the rains came
Track Name: Lonesome Valley
Lonesome valley she calls my name
leads me back home once again
saint or sinner you can't hardly tell
who's got time for heaven or hell

Lonesome valley she spreads her wings
she circles 'round me and so she brings
constant sorrow and kisses sweet
these contradictions, they hurt my feet

Lonesome valley
she sets me free
she brings my baby back to me
this fiddle music with it brings
lovers hanging from a string

Lonesome valley and played out mines
play tricks on you all the time
ghostly voices down below
singing sweetly because they know

oh the dead don't leave here
they just hang around
there's a party raging underground
saint or sinner you can't hardly tell
who's got time for heaven or hell
Track Name: The Killing Land
Redemption will play her hand and I’ll play mine
but she’ll raise me and raise me till she leaves me blind
that cell door is cold when it slides on by
like the coal train stealing the sun from the sky

They say one who hates what he don’t understand
is missing the soul of a God fearing man
well that’s the way it is
that’s the way it is
down here in the killing land
down here in the killing land

Time comes when a man just can’t take no more
gotta lay it on the table and keep two feet on the floor
yet when they take you down that hall they say your legs give way
and you finally hit your knees and they drag you while you pray


I hope you find some peace
and you have no doubt
I’m gonna run through my veins
and drain this poison out

Oh the Lord could turn His head it wouldn’t be no surprise
considering what I’ve done I was built to despise
but I’m told He’ll be with me when they strap me down
and that’s the kind of man I want to die around

Track Name: Have You Even Known Anyone Like Teddy?
We swore allegiance to the end with a wicked grin
with the sun burning holes
in the valley of sin
Teddy came from bad seed that’s what he used to say
his Daddy left with the credit card
and his sister on the way

He had eyes that made girls cry and a nose that looked right down
on anyone or anything
that tried to outsmart this town
he had a smile that’d light up a room with fists that’d clear one out
no man could keep him down
of course many had their doubts

Have you ever known anyone like (3)
anyone like Teddy

Sometimes the roads all lead to where you don’t want to go
but you hear someone calling
who it is you’ll never know
so I caught the midnight train Teddy there to say goodbye
finally said ‘farewell my friend
I sure wish that I could fly’


Teddy used to drop in but my wife she had her say
he still looked wild around the eyes
and she was not brought up that way
so things were quiet for a time then them makeshift walls came down
Teddy’s knife in the foreman’s chest
and the mill burnt to the ground

I told my wife I know he’ll come she said it’s him or me
heard his footprints on the porch
and I turned to watch her leave
with the dirt caked on his face he looked 16 once again
wrapped my arm around his neck
said ‘we best be moving on my friend

Track Name: Drinking With Nick Drake
Drinking with Nick Drake is such a chore
he’s always got to sit closest to the door
and when it comes that it’s his round
empty pockets staring at the ground

Drinking with Nick Drake it ain’t much fun
he yells if the shades don’t hide the sun
he says "if you want me to sing for you
look the other way is what you gotta do"

I know he’s a genius and all that stuff
but I think enough is enough
Tired of dragging his limey ass around
with the same ghouls stepping in the same ground

Drinking with Nick Drake I do it still
I said I’d stop but I never will
never sure what he’s going on about
but maybe someday he’ll scream and shout

"you want a piece of me here I am
I’ll take you all at once I don’t give a damn.
I’m 6 foot 3 and handsome as well
ain’t no place for me this hell"

Oh Nicky boy be glad you’re dead
alive and they’d ignore you instead
say "there’s a guy we don’t understand
to hell with him lets go see a band..
a real rock and roll band like Jethro Tull or something.."

Drinking with Nick Drake I do it still
I said I’d stop but I never will
Hit the road in his bug and then we pray
to chase that black eyed dog away
Track Name: Was I You Yesterday?
You were never here so you don’t know
the horrors of war where the poppies grow
and now we march down your main street
to the sound of our own shuffling feet

You live in your head you can’t understand
drowning in mud out in no man’s land
CNN and the evening news
and another pair of boardroom shoes

was I you yesterday?
was I you yesterday?
was I you yesterday?
something slipped along the way
something slipped along the way
was I you yesterday?

Now you hang your flag and you beat your chest
singing along with all the rest
when I say Somme and Passchendaele
you scratch your head without fail

Now I’m old and light is growing dim
and I contemplate my childhood sins
If everything remains the same
then I’ll know I died in vain

Track Name: Belt Buckles
Of what I’ve seen I cannot tell
no words exist to pass it well
but the eyes of a child need to understand
what drove a man from his beloved land

They hear me speak with gentle tongue
they hear the songs that need be sung
they see the eyes but not the soul
for that won’t come until they’re old

River rolls by without a sound
trying not to disturb this sacred ground
that keeps a child warm at night
and keeps them belt buckles tight

Potato was life then it was gone
did what it could then moved along
seemed to carry the good Lord with it too
maybe he had other things to do

So sleep my child under peaceful skies
for I’ll comfort you when you shake and cry
oh pray tell me years are few
but the good Lord has returned in you

Track Name: Harry Truman
Harry Truman Harry Truman
can't go on without you in
without you in my life
you dropped the bomb then went to bed
you slept the sleep of the newly dead
Harry Truman make me your wife

McCarthur looked you up and down
you kicked his ass right out of town
a mans man with a sensitive side
but when Bess and Margaret call your name
they bring with them a ball and chain
give me hell...take me for a ride

President Harding knew just what do do
he kept a girl in his closet to....help him govern

Independence can be dull
here is something for you to mull
over in your mind
I can show you the world
c'mon Harry give it a whirl

Harry Truman Harry Truman
can't go on without you in
without you in my life
you dropped the bomb then went to bed
you slept the sleep of the newly dead
Harry Truman make me your wife