Love and Streets

by Tom Flannery

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about

What folks are saying…

Tom Flannery’s songwriting chops are in peak condition. to paraphrase the now famous call at the end of the 1973 belmont stakes, taken by triple-crown winner secretariat, ”…tom flannery…is writing and recording….like a great machine”.

First it was “teen angst and the green flannel” from tom and the shillelaghs, the best original record i’d heard since “show and tell” from ed randazzo. now, on the heels of that, comes “love and streets”, a stripped-down, acoustic offering showcasing some of the best storytelling and wit this side of john prine and loudon wainwright.

Eleven songs, and the subject matter from track to track is wonderfully unexpected; the title cut, about desperate lives in desperate towns; “the show”, one of the best baseball narratives anyone’s ever written, period; “the indianapolis”, an epic folk tale of the tragic fate of the battleship that delivered the first atomic bomb during world war II: the wry “drunk driving”,about falling back on old habits and crutches, and “my lai” a riveting narrative about a g.i.’s firsthand account of the my lai massacre during the vietnam war in 1968 and it’s affect on his postwar existence. from start to finish, lyrically powerful songs with beautiful guitar figures and melodies to compliment the whole affair.

This one’s a must, just like “teen angst….” is. more great work from a prolific talent. tom flannery deserves major exposure.,,,can’t wait for the next one!
–Mike Naydock / OurTownRadio

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“With a nod towards Springsteen’s ‘The Ghost of Tom Joan’ and ‘Nebraska,’ Tom Flannery’s ‘Love and Streets’ offers a moody collection of story-telling numbers that showcase his ability to convey emotions and paint pictures with his music.”
– Alan K. Stout, 102.3-FM, The Mountain

credits

released June 1, 2012

Tom Flannery – guitar/vocals
recorded at the Home Office in Archbald, PA
produced by Tom Flannery
all songs written by Tom Flannery
copyright 2012 BMI
mastered by George Graham
cover photo by Aaron Condida

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about

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: Love and Streets
It's dark out here
on these tracks
once you step over
you don't ever step back
enough for free
for those gone blind
there's love and streets
across that line

Just one more score
to settle our debts
get as clean
as we can get
maybe plant a seed
in our piece of ground
ignore the past
when it comes around

we got love
and streets

Messed up sheets
cold and heat
heroin eyes
on the kids
you meet
broken windows
lies and cheats
the long gone junkies
on love and streets

we got love
and streets

Just one more shot
of satisfaction
turned itself into
a bad transaction
friends are scattered
we're sinking low
hard to keep moving
with nowhere to go
Track Name: The Show
Can't lift my arm to comb my hair
just one more game to get back up there
fastball dragging some at 85
slept in ice the entire 12 hour drive
we come overnight from Omaha
with that hanging curve sticking in my craw
out in front he ripped it down the line
and for me it was miller time

The kids they all call me old man
I try to help 'em when I can
sometimes I catch 'em when they stare
they're thinking what the hell were you doing up there?
about the show this much is clear
it's better up there than it is down here
went into Wrigley and I mowed 'em down
and I was the talk of Houston town

just one more day in the show
to savor when I go
if you let me grow old I'll do it gracefully
paint the corners black just wait and see
down here time moves so slow
just one more day in the show

I could make that radar gun dance
going every 4th day without a backward glance
6 and 2 by the end of May
everyone lining up to hear what I had to say
in Philly I landed funny off the mound
that's where I heard the popping sound
now it was cortisone and daily mass
with a fastball that couldn't break glass

Lost 7 of 9 throwing mostly junk
mopped up a few when my sinker sunk
then they sent me down hoping for the best
5 years on I still can't rest
I go Thursday night in Abeliene
with a lot of phone calls in between
my little girl says daddy when you coming home
I tell her sweetheart I just don't know

just one more day in the show
to savor when I go
if you let me grow old I'll do it gracefully
paint the corners black just wait and see
down here time moves so slow
just one more day in the show
Track Name: Suzie
Your dark eyes give nothing away
I never know just what to say
to compete with all the other guys
with their fancy cars and desperate lies
I'll never need an alibi, Suzie

I'll give you all that you need
patch you up when you bleed
pick you up when you fall
bang my head against a wall
treat you like a paper doll, Suzie

Why do you look down at me
when you're sitting on someone else's knee
laughing when you used to smile
out of fashion back in style

Tonight my bed was spinning 'round
like it was gonna leave the ground
too much beer and thinking through
filling days without you
just tell me what I need to do, Suzie

Why do you look down at me
while you're sitting on someone else's knee
laughing when you used to smile
out of fashion back in style
Track Name: Road Weary
When the wind blows cold upon your face
and the rain pelts down like steel
when you're running dead in last place
and the pain is all too real
another step will break you down
and send the crowds all home
who's got time to look around
when you want to be alone

I'm road weary baby
weary of the road
shoes hanging from my feet
ready to explode
I'm road weary baby
simply bought and sold
spying from the rear-view
and scared of being old

I want an easy chair
I Wanna sit down
I wanna rest in there
float before I drown
I want an easy chair
I Wanna sit down
I wanna rest in there
float before I drown

If I say I'm sorry will it bring you back
or will you still catch the next train
will you stay in tune or keep intact
the memories in the frame
the dust still covers everything
that we try to wipe away
but like a bird that learns to sing
it'll be back the next day

I want an easy chair
I aanna sit down
I wanna rest in there
float before I drown
I want an easy chair
I wanna sit down
I wanna rest in there
float before I drown

I want an easy chair
I wanna rest in there
I wanna sit down
float before I drown
I want an easy chair
I wanna rest in there
I wanna sit down
float before I drown

I'm road weary baby
weary of the road
shoes hanging from my feet
ready to explode
I'm road weary baby
simply bought and sold
spying from the rear-view
and scared of being old
Track Name: A Fighter
The noise the smells the blood on the floor
searching without knowing what you're looking for
some dish it out some take it slow
cause they ain't got nowhere else to go

Old man in a young man's game
bottom of the card...still the same
once got as high as number 3
by taking a dive no one could see
that was sweet
what was sweet
that was sweet

Didn't sleep that night...but blew my purse
couldn't decide which part was worse
the gamblers the whores the wannabe mob
or the hands that actually do the job

See...I once killed a man all remember when
he went down and never got up again
dropped his left with every jab he threw
I did just what I was trained to do
yes I did

my mother said "son....you lost your way"
I said "mamma...you don't understand
the world made me this way
the world made me this way"

Flowers to the funeral and all that stuff
they didn't blame me but I still called their bluff
needle in the arm bottle on the nightstand
tattoo on the same right hand

So whadda you got at the end of the day
with a guy on the ropes that you won't put away
the Arum's and the King's fed up to here
with a former sure thing who disappeared
he disappeared
oh he disappeared
disappeared

I just threw up my dinner in a garbage can
always before they tape my hands
head on crooked but my chin on straight
might go down early but I stay up late

I tried other things but that ain't for me
5 O'clock whistle and the wait and see
"A Man" it says on Sonny's tombstone
I don't want to shrivel up and die alone
no I don't

my daddy said "son....your soul's on fire"
I said "daddy...you don't understand
The Lord's a liar
The Lord's a liar
The Lord's a liar"

So lay your money boys...place your bets
on desperation and regret
got a whispered promise of a big payday
if I carry this bum...so let us pray

Block it all out...it's just him and me
ignore the taunts and the debris
if this town has a name I forget it still
but you'll hear from me....I know you will
I know you will

got a boy of my own with questions now
I tell him...."son you won't understand
until it hits you somehow
until it hits you somehow
until it hits you somehow"
Track Name: The Indianapolis
Who on earth knows why
some men live and some men die
he was a better man than I
or would have been...we were boys
We were nearly twelve hundred souls
watching how war takes it's toll
it hates to watch the young grow old
it seeks and destroys

To Tinian we were bound
to deliver the end from above the ground
never knew a thing never heard a sound
get her there on time
then we pushed for more
and torpedoes from the ocean floor
cut us in two with a mighty roar
in war nothing's a crime

captain said "boys we gotta go"
900 jumped into the water below
those that could not see still could hear
when the Indy disappeared

We thought they'd come when the sun it rose
but the sharks they gathered and the world it froze
10 footers from the tail to the nose
well this was not war
Some boys thrashed and some lay prone
some were bit in half some left alone
all we had to give was flesh and bone
tell me what are you fighting for?

For 4 days we died
some floated away when the night flew by
others with madness in their eye
I can still hear the sounds
calls for loved ones in the air
and whoops for things that just weren't there
the chattering teeth and the Lord's prayer
with the devil all around

That PV-1 finally came
called the PBY and the ships the same
you learn about luck in war
'cause we weren't what they were looking for

317 survived
so there's that many men asking why
how do I live when I've watched men die?
where did they all go?
you may seek to blame
state your case...make your claim
stick your goddamn brass up in a frame
because you'll never know

Now I'm an old man
still never got further than the sand
dreams can bring me back and force my hand
like it was yesterday
Put a seashell to my ear
grandson says "pappa what do you hear?"
I'll turn so he can't see the tear
someone tell me what to say

captain said "boys we gotta go"
900 jumped into the water below
317 survived
so there's that many men asking why

Who on earth knows why
some men live and some men die
he was a better man than I
or would have been...we were boys
Track Name: My Lai
That old rocking chair creaks like a bitch
gotta hunt down some 3-1 oil
screen door hangs by a rusted hinge
and my dog ain't been too loyal
she's been spending her time at neighbor's
guess she gets a better deal down there
the sun just sits like a hangman's noose
whenever I sit and stare

I've gone 60 but feel much older now
youth passes like a novel's page
I watched my buddies dying
and my heart turned stone with rage
War makes sinning easy
and with orders you must comply
so I became just what they wanted
on that morning in My Lai

Came home to a farm that looked different
from when I left to go to war
the drought had left it only brown
where there'd been green before
so I took my medals and struck out
and went searching for a home
and the faces all came with me
like a greaser and his comb

My Lai My Lai My Lai My Lai

Big city chewed then spit me back
I guess she didn't like the taste
how can a man live day to day
and not be given time to waste?
I looked up some boys who came back
but it all seemed different now
all we knew to talk about
was to ask each other how

The ties that used to bind me
didn't hold me down no more
when the soil underneath you feet
is someone else's floor
you're like a bird forgetting how to fly
tell yourself again and again
that this world don't owe you nothing
but the chance to make amends

My Lai My Lai My Lai My Lai

I've buried wives and children
and memories in the ground
watched the paint start peeling
and my belly getting round
empty bottles in the hallway
empty scrap books in the drawer
would things have turned out different
if I never went to war?

MY eyes ain't what they used to be
and I can't hear too good
spend my days with a pen knife
whittling a piece of wood
Preacher says my soul's on fire
and only God can douse the flame
but I remember when I did my killing
that I did it in his name

My Lai My Lai My Lai My Lai

I'm too old for forgiveness
can't undo what I've done
with the back of my weathered hands
or the waving of a gun
my liver she up and left me
and my heart's on the next train
all I need is the strength to stop the blood
from running through my veins

I remember the little children
and the women who held them tight
and the smoke rising from the village
that turned morning into night
my eyes just rolled back in my head
and with all that that implies
I too was KIA....
that morning in My Lai

My Lai My Lai My Lai My Lai
Track Name: Drunk Driving
Passed the legal limit
about 15 years ago
now there's a bottle between my legs
and I'm moving real slow
I'm drunk driving
drunk driving
ain't no way
I can face this road alone
I'm drunk driving

No License or registration
insurance...plates...or tags
but I got an AM radio preacher
and functioning air bags
I'm drunk driving
drunk driving
ain't no way
I can face this road alone
I'm drunk driving

Troopers and local cowboys
hiding among the elms
woman's a calvary cross
with a task to overwhelm

Jesus saves the fallen
the wretched and the sick
but he knows that I'm a liar
with my promises to kick
I'm drunk driving
drunk driving
ain't no way
I can face this road alone
I'm drunk driving

Gotta get to where I'm going
and leave when I arrive
when hands they start to tremble
I know that I'm alive

Haven't killed anybody
they haven't tossed the key
judge sees me back again
gonna let me cop a plea
I'm drunk driving
drunk driving
ain't no way
I can face this road alone
I'm drunk driving
Track Name: I Hate To Get Up In the Morning
Again sleep has said farewell
the alarm clock can go straight to hell
bringing along what terrifies
the others hanging out to dry
to the warm covers that I'm safe behind
I've got myself in quite a bind
if you give me this I'll owe you one
let me stay what's done is done

But the struggle is worthy is what they say
but of course they're not around today
just truckers, whores, and paper boys
spreading pride and spreading joy
grant us all your daily toil
and just a dab of mid-eastern oil
tell me what's a grown man to do
I think I might have the flu

oh I hate getting up in the morning
'cause my mind's in overdrive
from lack of sleep and watching sheep
begging to stay alive
begging to stay alive

I see the same men on my rounds
they'll work for food or coffee grounds
beat up wheelchairs pant leg free
from a southeastern asian spree
but at least their name ain't on a wall
or at Walter Reed just down the hall
give thanks and praise now go away
got no time for you today

I once had it all....the American dream
fenced in yard...a 42 inch screen
2 car garage and a hardwood floor
locks on the windows and bolts on the doors
but the mill closed down without much fuss
remembered their investors they forgot about us
those relief checks only go so far
cruising in your mother's car

oh I hate getting up in the morning
and putting on a shirt and tie
like a whore in church I feel besmirched
so lonesome I could cry
so many distractions
to wrap my arms around
drugs and booze and walking shoes
to kick you when you're down
to kick you when you're down

But no statistic or wanted fool
talking smack from some bar stool
is gonna find a way to break my stride
I'm gonna make it to the other side
where Mexicans will tend my lawn
and nanny my kids when I'm gone
gotta love the land of the brave
where poor men fight and Jesus saves

oh I hate getting up in the morning
'cause my mind's in overdrive
from lack of sleep and watching sheep
begging to stay alive
there's just so many distractions
to wrap my arms around
drugs and booze and walking shoes
to kick you when you're down
to kick you when you're down
Track Name: Away
There ain't much to do 'round here
smoke some dope and drink some beer
and look in the mirror when the music plays
hoping the guitar'll take you away
take you away
take you away

If you know your Daddy you're the chosen few
alimony always overdue
mamma flying and about to land
from the back of another stranger's hand
take you away
take you away

Where can I go
what will I see?
When no one's looking down on me

I was gonna get myself a car
and point it to a distant star
like the wise men did back in the day
before someone took the babe away
took him away
took him away

Where can I go
what will I see?
When no one's looking down on me

There ain't much to do 'round here
smoke some dope and drink some beer
and look in the mirror when the music plays
hoping the guitar'll take you away
take you away
take you away
Track Name: Love Is a Four Letter Word
Accusations fly
deeds are implied
and sorry is seldom heard
yet the choice was clear
and now all you hear
is that love is a four letter word

Think you've had enough
think you've had it tough
and like to sprout wings and fly like a bird
yet the sky takes it's toll
on a lonely bitter soul
when love is a four letter word

Love is an anchor that holds your place
and keeps you from drifting away
but the captain on the bridge
takes all the pain you give
because love is a four letter word

Been through this before
now you're back for more
some things a man will never learn
bring your salty tongue back in
this is where it all begins
love is a four letter word