That string and its kite too

by Ricky Allan and Rodney Williams

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A collaboration between Piedmont blues guitarist and singer Ricky Allan and poet Rodney Williams

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released November 25, 2016

Elizabeth Cotten, Bob Dylan and Mississippi John Hurt

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about

Ricky Allan Moe, Australia

Ricky Allan is a solo Piedmont blues guitar player, singer, songwriter and musical educator from the Latrobe Valley. He plays with a lyrical and refined fingerpicking style and sings with a pure warmth unique in the field of blues. Ricky performs a mix of both traditional songs from as early as the 1920s, as well as his own original Piedmont inspired, heartfelt songs. ... more

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Track Name: Ricky Allan - You'll find my blues
By the river’s far bank
Flows what’s current
With echoes off these cliffs
I’m still silent
On the waves in that gulf
Floats my distance
In my sky-blue eyes
You’ll find my blues
No need to contrive
Some long-term sense of drive
Hard work made me thrive
Let us survive
Now my old designs
Look like some kid’s kite
Flying right out of sight
From this ball of twine
On some days all I do
Is let things slip right through
That string and its kite too
Far away from you
Beside the track ahead
Drifts my distraction
Round this corner to the right’s
My conscience
Low over our valley’s
My depression
In my sky-blue eyes
You’ll find my blues
Just look at these words, babe
See how blue I can be
Listen to these chords, girl
Hear the blues in me

Sing this once or twice, babe
Feel how blue I can be
Look me in the eyes, girl
Find the blues in me
Track Name: Ricky Allan - Last train home
Down in the back seats football fans
Are loud with beer – full of boasts
This train’s no Transcontinental
But their team’s gone coast-to-coast
Across the aisle sits a blonde girl
In the groove with her headphones
She’s typing away like crazy
On her own but not alone
With this late-night limited express
Not stopping in the town where I live
I’ll need to take a taxi back home
When I’ll get there is anyone’s guess
That tall dude by the carriage door
He looks too cool to believe
There’s nothing to keep his arms warm
Except those tattoos for sleeves
Up the front one couple’s on fire
They’ve been joined lip to lip
Due to set a V-Line record
Kissing non-stop for the trip
With this late-night limited express
Not stopping in the town where I live
I’ll need to take a taxi back home
When I’ll get there is anyone’s guess

At this stage a child starts crying
On this late train heading east
Please go back to sleep, sweet baby
And let others rest at least

Right through there’s been this older man
With his pencil taking notes
Feeling lonely in such a crowd
Crossing out most rhymes he wrote
With this late-night limited express
Not stopping in the town where I live
I’ll need to take a taxi back home
When I’ll get there is anybody’s guess
I can’t say when I last felt so alone
As on this late train east – this last train home
I can’t say when I last felt so alone
As on this late train east – this last train home
Track Name: Ricky Allan - Not sleeping with the enemy
When the armies of day, trudge through the night.
You can cry yourself to insomnia.
When the armies of day, trudge through the night.
Not sleeping with the enemy.

When there's nothing left to say, you can hide away.
From the black wolf that's howling at your door.
When there's nothing left to say, you can hide away.
Not sleeping with the enemy.

At night you lay still, chained tight
in you mind's cage, troubles trapped inside.
At night you lay still, chained tight.
Not sleeping with the enemy.

When the armies of day, trudge through the night.
You can cry yourself to insomnia.
When the armies of day, trudge through the night.
Not sleeping with the enemy.
Track Name: Tilly and Kate
In old Sydney town –
In the Twenties and Thirties –
You were found with a gun
You’d be found in a cell,
Unless a coin could persuade
That copper who’d caught you.
It was a tricky time –
No matter your side –
If your calling was in crime.

There were two rival gangs,
Each with women in charge –
Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh –
How they fanned their feud!
With deadly scores to settle –
And guns too hot to handle –
Either mob made a stand,
They’d be face to face
Cut-throat blades in hand.

Kings Cross and Paddington,
Tilly worked scores of whores.
With stand-over jacks –
And cops on the take –
Protection came at a price.
Sly-grog gave gangs cash
At six pubs had to shut,
Cocaine was the deal
Where Kate made her cut. …/2
In old Sydney town –
In the Twenties and Thirties –
You were caught with a gun,
You’d be caught up in strife.
If you showed too much cheek,
You’d have too close a shave.
Rivals in crime, both queens of hate,
Sydney knew no sharper pair
Than Cut-Throat Tilly and Razor Kate.
Track Name: Ricky Allan and Jodie Shulz - Twister sister
When I first saw she’d flown I can’t say how much I missed her
Once I knew just where she stood I never should have dissed her
If I’d sensed she wasn’t straight I never would have kissed her
Twister sister Twister sister

If I’d known she couldn’t tell me I never would have asked her

Once I’d seen her car draw level I never should have passed her
If only I’d not smiled As we drove towards disaster
Master blaster Master blaster
Intro
While she had herself a ball I never could have caught her

With private battles of her own I never should have fought her
When she swam against the tide she used strokes no one had taught her
Water daughter Water daughter …/2

Once I first saw her spark there was no way to resist her
As our fire began to cool things became a little sinister
Now she’s deleted my address I’m not sure how to list her
Mister blister Mister blister
Intro
Twister sister Twister sister
Master blaster Master blaster
Water daughter Water daughter
Mister blister Mister blister

When I first saw she’d flown I can’t say how much I missed her
Track Name: Ricky Allan - Tuesday song
You’re wondering if I love you
You’re looking for a pledge
You’re expecting some commitment
And all I do is hedge

You say I’m a distant person
Right out there on a ledge
After all our time together
That still puts me on edge


Now the atmosphere’s so awkward
How come it’s all so tense?
It’s much better not to rush things
I’ll plead in my defense

You might say that’s half my problem
I’m always so intense
Now you’re raising all these questions
And I take offence


Why ask me if I’m too fussy?
You know that I hate mess
Why ask if I like playing games?
You know that I love chess

Why ask me if this is Tuesday
As if I’d have to guess?
Oh, so that’s the only question
You’re sure I’ll answer yes!


You’re wondering if I love you
You’re looking for a pledge
You’re expecting some commitment
And all I do is hedge
Track Name: Ricky Allan - Down in the flood
Crash on the levee mama water's gonna overflow
Swamp's gonna rise ain't no boat's a gonna row
Now you can train on down to Williams Point
You can bust your feet and you can rock this joint
But oh mama ain't you gonna miss your best friend now
You're gonna have to find yourself another best friend somehow

Now don't you try and move me you're just gonna lose
There's a crash on the levee and mama you've been refused
Well it's sugar for sugar and it's salt for salt
If you go down in the flood it's gonna be your falt
But oh mama...

Well that high tide's risin' mama don't you let me down
Pack up your suitcase mama don't you make a sound
Now it's king for king it's queen for queen
It's a gonna be the meanest flood that anybody's seen
But oh mama...
You're gonna have to find yourself another best friend somehow
Track Name: Ricky Allan and Jodie Shulz - On Saturday
On Saturday morn
In the latest cafe
Without Ben she’s alone
Jen’s order the same
A low-fat latte
Sipped on her own
Her eyes, they blink back the tears
As she flicks her way
Through photos on her phone

For Saturday lunch
In a trendy hotel
Ben sits with the guys
Orders the same
Boutique ales
No words otherwise
All day he’s been so remote
His eyes on his phone
No effort to disguise

On Saturday Oh, Saturday Saturday

By Saturday evening
At the coolest scene
Jen’s out with the girls
Passing up on the same
Top-shelf cocktails
Already in a whirl
Dancefloor, she prays she won’t see
Her smooth-tongued heartbreaker
With product in his curls

Jennifer and Benjamin
Jenny and Benny
Jen and Ben

Late Saturday night
Back at her place
She gives up romance
Ends up the same
With lemon, lime and bitters
Jens final dance
Stopped dead by the doorbell
With a single red rose
Ben begs for one last chance
Track Name: Stagger Lee
Police officer, how can it be?
You can 'rest everybody but cruel Stack O' Lee
That bad man, oh, cruel Stack O' Lee

Billy de Lyon told Stack O' Lee, "Please don't take my life,
I got two little babies, and a darlin' lovin' wife"
That bad man, oh, cruel Stack O' Lee

"What I care about you little babies, your darlin' lovin' wife?
You done stole my Stetson1 hat, I'm bound to take your life"
That bad man, cruel Stack O' Lee

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Boom Boom. Boom Boom with the forty-four
When I spied Billy de Lyon, he was lyin' down on the floor
That bad man, oh cruel Stack O' Lee

"Gentleman's of the jury, what do you think of that?
Stack O' Lee killed Billy de Lyon about a five-dollar Stetson hat"
That bad man, oh, cruel Stack O' Lee

And all they gathered, hands way up high,
at twelve o'clock they killed him, they's all glad to see him die
That bad man, oh, cruel Stack O' Lee