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Op Shop and Elsewhere

by Erik Cameron

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Sailor Brown 04:50
Bad Sailor Brown, that's a burden that you tow around They think you're strange, that you're a monster, that your ways must change But they won't move an inch or lift a finger to help you make it last So where was your voice, your evil choice, when your die was cast That's a long, lonely road for you to make back home. Sir, were you born to walk the fringes, the town crown of corn? Or did you see the face of evil when you were sent to sea? You will never know the heated halls where the good ones go 'Cause you will be outside looking in, for your eternal sin That's a long, lonely road for you to make back home.
This is your chance, 'cause baby I'm leaving for a long, long time You say it all while you can Or don't say a word and just leave it all on your face And pray that I understand Well either way You just make Damn sure you don't regret that day Monday will come just like it always did before Just like it did last week The bakery and the butcher will all be there And when your favorites speak It'll seem so real And feel the same 'Til one of them calls my name (So call my name) This is a train bound for anywhere there is to go Please have your tickets in hand This is a change and it's bigger than we've ever known But home never was the land Where the bricks were laid They fell from the sky Into shapes for us to find
I've been called foolish by everybody close enough to know Mean as Judas, and hungry like a dog on a bone I'll get my hand back on the plow There's still time I hear those drums beating now There's still time Might have been mistreated, but I've done some mistreating too Long as I'm breathing, there's got to be some good left to do I'll get my hand back on the plow There's still time I hear those drums beating now There's still time
All of those moments, captured on cameras There was a time when they happened So search your journals and old memories For something to set you laughing Me, I remember every time He and I got to no good With alcohol flowing a little too freely You'd tear up the neighborhood But he's gone away now, oh, ain't you heard That he is pushing up daisies down in the Illinois dirt Johnny, your voice is ringing in my ears I'm wondering what you are doing Sing me a dirge from two thousand miles A story of love and of ruin For our dear friend who will never again Drink to the finer things Like old album covers and lips of lovers And all that a long life can bring 'Cause he's gone away now, oh, ain't you heard That he is pushing up daisies down in the Illinois dirt
Simple World 05:20
Breakdown, in the produce aisle It's a wonder you never smile Your eyes are as big as saucers though Your hands are cold It goes to show that you're Heading down a dark road And what for, I just don't know This only leads to tragedy You can't do that Can't I see all you want You just want a simple world You just want the lines to rhyme But no, the orbit's elliptical The mail, it never comes on time Throw the windows wide, and open the wine Take us a little time, what's on your mind Tell me about your life, and the places you've been And why you're so serious, just roll it to me Try it, giving up on love What do you think you're made of You can't cut that out like calories, As you see fit, as you please, all you want You just want a simple world... Throw the windows wide...
Well if he lost that good fight Well if he lost that good fight Well if he lost that good fight Who was I talking to last night He had a hood on his head He had a hood on his head Holes in his hands, and he's breaking bread Standing at the foot of my bed I know I'll be justified I know I'll be justified I know I will be justified 'Cause they rolled the stone to the side He's gonna lead me somewhere fine He's gonna lead me somewhere fine With two white horses standing in a line I'm just waiting for his sign I'm just waiting for his sign
So Mean 03:01
The skyline is awful bright And welcomes your gaze all night One shake in the water line The reflections they'll play so fine Every inch has a gospel to preach From the Point to the Montrose Beach A cry for community Crimes of opportunity I tell you, the sound of sirens was soothing A city sound, a city happening to me Stranger comes, he says, man, what are you doing Imagine that, acting like he knew me The Pride of the South Side was on For all of the Hyde Park dons Too young and too hype to say You better put the needle away Sometimes you stare so low That mistakes are all you see Sometimes you stand so tall You wonder did you make them at all I'll see you on boulevards of lightness Meet me there whenever your chest feels that tightness We belong to the world of impossible things, you and me Inverted shapes and endings that weren't to be So make way a path for the fool I tell you he's coming through His only superpower Is to forget on the hour
I lived my life half asleep among the pimps And broken pigeon wings Down on my street, if you can cover your own drinks You count yourself a king I loved one girl when we were just sixteen years old But I missed all of the signs Skin of porcelain and a mouth of silver forks and tines Fingertips of gold Left me when she heard I was a fake Our story went an apple, a snake, And our fig leaves in the wrong place I have to laugh To think of the faces we'd make Last October, my friend he stole a million bucks The teller fell to his gun Up at Martha's I heard him whispering that I That i had been the one When I saw that parked police car I tried to run, but didn't get far Here I thought I was the man to meet Conquistador of Killingsworth Street I protest that I am much abused Through rye whiskey shots, but what else is new They say this time I am sure to hang Oh what the hell I always sang blue
Back when we were cold, Chicago winters had stuck to our bones Those were the days when nothing happened and everything's gray I'd ride the train to look at buildings, to kill some time Never complained, and never felt like anything was mine We met downtown, a day of protest, of sight and sound She's catching flakes of snow that's falling, her tongue to the sky My stomach aches and now I know that I'm in for a ride That's all it takes, and I'd surrender my property and pride You, with the clothes head to toe, every guard against the turn of the world---lose the shoes, it's the summer of love come again. We weren't born yet in '67, no memory of the feeling slipping sour... Then summer came, the thunder rolled, the ozone cried She'd say my name like she knew something, something I didn't And I'd ride the train to look at buildings, to kill sometime She's just a shape, a warm body, and I'm in bed alone You, with the clothes...
Martha's 04:43
I live alone in a flat I own with all of my old postcards It's not too far from Martha's bar where I try not to think too hard 'Cause feelings fade to the past you've made in a house full of things that you bought And rivers flood while the heart pumps blood and I choke up just at the thought People always said that I didn't care that I don't understand a thing, and that's wrong But that's how they'd convict an innocent man by telling you the things that you knew all along Remember the time, for your freedom and mine, when they crushed the communist way? The system's a con, so let's turn on and let the stereo play People with the time to move the money around Say that I fell off the face of the Earth When all their favorite strippers are friends of mine Crumpled dollar bills are all they're worth How can they say that I threw in the towel When they've forgotten everything they can't steal The lipstick bitterness of my first kiss Smell of a Seattle rain, that's real So did you come to commiserate, or call me a creep Or just to watch the old man drink himself to sleep? Well Martha, just wake me when you fill my glass again This johnny-come-lately, he thinks he's my only friend Someone tell Jesus his road machine has got to stop 'Cause there's still a FIRE in this old beat up life of mine by the drop.
Poor Boy 01:33
Baby it's me at the window, I lost my ride So let me come inside I trampled the garden, got cuts on my hands and fell Into the wishing well Hit my head on the pennies, I blacked out cold Without a hand to hold I saw you and me, I saw marvelous things down there Come out of thin air Baby, It's me at the window, you'll have my hide But let me come inside I was a fool, I felt wrongs that were never there But I can change I swear Why is there blood in my hair, did I fall again? I was just on the mend My memory's coming and going, I can't stand up So give me all your love
Well she's long and she's lean, like the girly magazine Told her to be in order to keep her man But daddy lived in Prague, mama burned her bra They wonder what went wrong with the plan Only time will tell, 'cause there's only room in hell For her or them but not both at once Or maybe none at all, and they'll all walk that hall That seems to end in light, from what I am told


This compilation began life as Op Shop and Elsewhere (11/2010) and Miska's (3/2011). Now all in one place where they belong, covering '09-'11. See the liner PDF for original covers and photos.

All tracks recorded live in Chicago, IL. Tracks 1, 4 and 8 from the Op Shop, Chicago, IL 4/10; 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 10 from Miska's, 3/11; 5 and 11 from Burkhart's Underground, 1/10; 12 and 13 from the Carriage Lofts 2/09 and 8/09 respectively; 14 from The Store, 8/11.

Thanks to Steve, Ben, Jason, Doug Bistrow and Karlis Kandero for being my music friends; Kailyn, Harold and Gemma for photos; Karlis, Laura Shaeffer and Fred Burkhart, for providing such great environments; and many thanks to (audibly) awesome audiences.


released January 31, 2015

All songs by EC, except 12 (traditional arr. John Fahey, rearr. EC)
Steven Gilpin: vocals on 1
Live sound by Ben Saller, Jason Horwitz and EC
Cover photo by Kailyn McCord
Photography by Harold Gabel and Gemma Petrie


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Erik Cameron Chicago, Illinois

Music, words, whiskey and dog. Guitar parts and pickles and print. Brackish beer. Born on Cinco de Mayo.

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