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Album: My Name is Buddy

 

 

1. SUITCASE IN MY HAND

Ry Cooder

 

  (D) - (G) - (A)

 

Intro: D - G - D - G - A

 

(D) When I was still a kitten, (G) Daddy told me, (D) "Son,

There's just one thing that you should (A) know

As (D) through this world you ramble and (G) through this world you (D) roam

Just take this little (G) suitcase (A) when you (D) go

 

When the evening sun goes down and you're (G) tired of ramblin' (D) round

Just set her on the ground and climb right (A) in

You won't (D) ever have to worry (G) about the cold night (D) wind

When you got your little (G) suitcase (A) in your (D) hand."

 

CHORUS

Little (G) suitcase in my hand, I'm (D) rolling through this land

A mansion is much too big for (A) me

When the (D) stars come out at night (G) Everything will be alright

'Cause I (D) got this little (G) suitcase (A) my (D) hand

 

A hard-boiled egg's yellow inside

There's some in every crowd you will find

They're afraid to have to do an honest day's work

So they blame the workingman every time

 

But the harder they come, the bigger they fall

Just you hold your ground and take your stand

'Cause the free and independent life's still the best of all

When you got your little suitcase in your hand

 

Chorus

 

 

2 . CAT AND MOUSE

Ry Cooder

 

C – F – G – Am

or

G - C - D - Em

(if capoed up on 5)

 

Intro: C-F-C-Am-C-G-C (Actually taken from “Kelly, the boy from Killan”)

 

(C) I had an Uncle (Am) Charley, (F) back in my (C) hometown

Said, (C) “Don’t take no (Am) mouse to be your (G) friend

‘Cause they’ll (C) wait ‘til you’re (Am) asleep

And (F) steal your money and your (C) food

And (F) rat you out when the (G) police come (C) around

 

Later (F) on I started traveling, seeing (C) something of this world

And I (F) learned to know a thing or (G) two

Just (C) because you been (F) told a story (C) back in your (Am) hometown

Don’t (C) have to mean that (F) story’s (G) always (C) true

 

I remember it was winter and things were going bad

It rained and it snowed all day long

Nobody would feed me and I couldn’t find no job

In a factory or working on a farm

I was laying in my suitcase and the snow was falling down

 

I didn’t know what I was gonna do

When I heard a tiny voice out there in the dark

Saying, “Brother can I come in there with you?”

 

“Right here in my bag I got some real good cheese

And a crust of bread or two

If you let me come in there and get out of the snow

I’ll share what I got with you.”

 

Don’t take no mice to be your friend

Was the rule Uncle Charley always told

But the north wind kept howling and the snow kept blowing down

And I couldn’t leave him out there in the cold

 

He said his name was Lefty and he’d been out traveling round

The secrets of this world he’d share with you

Mouse traps are set left-handed get your cheese out from the left

We are many, Buddy, they are few

 

He said, “They’ll tell you lies to make you doubt your fellow man,

Like cats and mice just can’t get along

It suits the bosses Buddy, and it suits them fine

‘Cause it keeps us working folks from being strong.”

 

“There’s a better world a-coming, Buddy, which side are you on?

Don’t let the big men take it, Buddy, which side are you on?

It’s your country too, Buddy, which side are you on?

It’s time to take a stand, Buddy, which side are you on?

Boy it’s a fact mice ain’t no good—

Old Charley always said they’ll treat you bad,

But I’m here to tell you people and I want it understood

Lefty is the truest friend I ever had.

 

 

3 . STRIKE!

Ry Cooder

 

  (D) - (G) - (A)

 

(D) I got off the train one evening in a (G) little mining (D) town

I started walking up the main street when the (E) sun was going (A) down

 

When I (D) heard some voices singing, so I (G) went to see what (D) for

Might just be a birthday party, might be room for (A) just one (D) more

 

It was miners and their families, they had left the mine that day

Walked out for safe conditions, on strike for decent pay

 

And they sang about their struggle, and their spirit never failed

Keep your hand upon the dollar and your eye upon the scale

 

Union (G) miners stand to(D)gether, heed no (A) operator’s (D) tale

Keep your (D) hand upon the (G) dollar and your (D) eye u(A)pon the (D) scale

 

All at once police came running, they came running everywhere

They broke up that miners’ meeting, carried everyone to jail

 

But the miners kept on singing and they sang the whole night through

When the sun rose in the morning I had learned that miners’ song

 

The judge he asked to police captain, “What’s that red cat doing here?”

“Get all the reds off the streets, sir, was your orders loud and clear.”

 

They turned me out of the jailhouse back door, but I wouldn’t leave my miner friends,

I jumped back to the jailhouse window and I sang that miners’ song again.

 

CHORUS

 

 

4 . J. EDGAR

Ry Cooder

 

Capo on 1st fret: (D) - (G) - (A)

Don't try to get in tune with the CD. The recording is 60 cents flat (0.6 of a tone).

 

D G A D

e|------------------------------|

B|-----3------------------------|

G|-3/4---4-----2----------------|

D|---------3/4----4--2----------|

A|---------------------0-2-4-5--|

E|------------------------------|

 

[D] Down on the farm we had a pig,

J. Ed[A]gar was his n[D]ame

[D]He’d eat up all our victuals

And st[A]art back up a[D]gain

Just [G] like the vacuum cleaners

They [D] sell down in the [A] lane

[D]That’s how J. Edgar Hoo[A]ver got his [D] name

 

Now mama baked a cherry pie

And set it out to cool

So we’d have something good to eat

When we got home from school

J. Edgar climbed up on the porch

And ate up all that pie

When we got home that morning we heard our mama cry

 

Chorus:

J. Edgar, J. Edgar, just look what you’ve [G] done

You [A] ate up all the cherry pie that was for every[D]one

We made it through the dusters, and the hoppers [G] too

But God [G] help us J. [D]Edgar ‘cause not[A]hing’s safe from [D] you

 

 

We had an extra man named Bob,

He wouldn’t work a lick

He drank bad moonshine likker,

And it always made him sick

We rode to church on Sunday

And stayed a while in town

When we reached home at suppertime, poor Bob could not be found

 

He wasn’t in the parlor,

And he wasn’t in the lane

Drinking in the pantry

Or sleeping in the hay

His hat was in the pigpen,

That he always wore

Poor Bob won’t be drinking moonshine likker anymore

 

Chorus:

J. Edgar, J. Edgar, it just don’t seem fair

You ate Bob the hired man while we were at prayer

Let’s say a prayer for poor old Bob, and our country too

God help us, J. Edgar, nobody’s safe from you

 

God help us, J. Edgar, nobody's safe from you.

 

 

5 . FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW

Traditional, new lyrics by Ry Cooder

 

(G) - (C) - (D)

 

(G) Well, some folks like the summertime when (C) they can walk about

(D) Strolling through the meadow green is pleasant there’s no (G) doubt

But to me the wintertime (C) is the best of all

‘Cause I (D) found her when the snow was on the (G) ground

 

I traced her little footprints in the (D) snow

I found her little footprints in the (G) snow

I bless that happy day when (C) Nellie lost her way

‘Cause I (D) found her when the snow was on the (G) ground

 

Now the Ladies Garment Workers walked out last wintertime

One little union kitty was a dear sweetheart of mine

She walked around all winter, on the picket line

But I found her when the snow was on the ground

 

Now the union strike committee didn’t like me hanging round

Don’t interfere with sisters while the strike is on

Don’t go around behaving like a ring-tailed tom

But I found her when the snow was on the ground

 

Chorus

 

She’s somewhere out there marching with a union band

We’ll get back together when the pension check comes in

But every time the snow falls it brings back memories

‘Cause I found her when the snow was on the ground

 

Chorus

 

 

6. SUNDOWN TOWN (the Reverend Tom Toad)

Ry Cooder & Joachim Cooder

 

(A) - (D)

 

Mine eyes have seen the beauty of a land bright and fair

My soul looked out and wondered, can we make the journey there

But I’ve lost my sight and I have to be led

I mean to work for justice ‘til I’m dead

 

Sundown town, sundown town

Don’t let ‘em catch you, Buddy, when the sun goes down

There won’t be no more friends around

Don’t let ‘em catch you, Buddy, when the sun goes down

 

I used to preach and I used to pray

Was the prayin’est man that you ever did see

But they ran my people off one day

Now there ain’t nobody round that looks like me

 

We used to sing and we used to shout

Was the shoutinest church that you ever did see

But I ain’t going to preach and I ain’t going to sing

And I don’t feel at home in this town no more

 

Chorus

 

If you black, you better get back

If you brown, don’t you hang around

If you red, you might be dead

If you ain’t white man, you just ain’t right

 

Chorus

 

 

7. GREEN DOG

Ry Cooder

 

Walking ‘cross the desert, it ain’t no fun

Too hot in the daytime, too much sun

Lefty says we’ll cross at night-time

Like my people have always done

Keep moving, quit nagging

Walk don’t run

 

I ask Lefty, why’d we bring so much cheese?

Coyotes Buddy, just you wait and see

Coyotes eat anything Buddy, long as it’s free

Suppose they want a little something extra Lefty?

Might be you and might be me

 

The desert’s dark and the desert’s deep, stars everywhere

Something like you never see sitting in your easy chair

Watch out Lefty, something strange is coming down

Look out! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a flying tin can

Got those coyotes on the run

 

Out steps a green dog, as green as he can be

Or maybe she, ‘cause when they’re wearing space suits

You can’t tell, ‘cause you can’t see

 

“In my world, toads are purple, mice are blue, and I declare,

a red cat is really something new

I’m so far from home, can you tell me what should I do?

“Do you think there is room for me in this strange land?

I’m sorry I scared your friends

I write poetry, teach astronomy, how about me?

“In my world everyone is a friend

Shaking hands, saying how do you do

Guess you’d notice we all look the same,

It’s so tame,

I’d rather take a chance here with you.”

Let’s ride, says Lefty, let’s see how fast this crate can fly.

Va-va-voom, says Lefty, watch the coyotes scatter,

Watch the towns go streaking by

Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino, just won’t do

Go west, you green dog, Hollywood’s the place for you

Green dog, green dog, green dog, you’re so rare

 

 

8. DYING TRUCK DRIVER

Ry Cooder

 

Capo on 5th fret: (C) - (F) - (G)

 

(C) We made our way up 99 in the (F) springtime of the (C) year

The San Joaquin was all in bloom and (D) songbirds every(G)where

We (C) chanced upon a workingman (F) lying by the (C) road

I judged him for a truck driver by the (G) clothes that he (C) wore

 

We drew some nearer to him then, inquiring of his name

“Well, here’s three little angels come down for to carry me home

Then, bear me up to Jesus now, my Savior I shall see

You ain’t no regular angels boys, but that’s alright by me.”

 

Then Lefty, stepping forward, addressed the dying man

Saying, “We’re no angels brother but we’ll do all we can.

What cowards set upon you, sir, and dealt the fatal blow?

We’ll pull out every working man from here to Ohio.”

 

“It was no vigilante gang, nor ranch boss thugs this time,

But the meatloaf special dinner I had on highway 99

A comely waitress served me there, she cooled me with her fan,

But fatal meatloaf has struck down this old truck driving man.”

 

Then Lefty reached down in his bag saying, “You ain’t dying friend,

Just take a drink of whiskey now, you’ll feel alright again.”

All through the night we lingered there and passed that bottle round

We hauled aboard at sunrise, lit out for Frisco town.

 

Now, the workingman must be well warned whenever headlines scream

“Your rights must yield, the bombs must fall to save democracy.”

The flag they fly, their stew of lies served up at voting time

Like poison under the gravy on highway 99

 

 

9. THE CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHGATE

Ry Cooder

 

  (D) - (G) - (A)

 

(D) You got no credit and (A) I’ve got no (D) cash

That bonus they gave us were (A) nothing but (D) trash

You been laid off at Goodyear, I been (G) laid off at Hughes

It (A) looks like a bad year, there just ain’t no use

“Cause it’s (D) Christmas in Southgate, you (A) been a true friend

I (D) ain’t never been much of a church going (A) man

But I’d (D) even give up drinking (G) whiskey and gin

If (A) Jesus and Santa ever get back down to (G) Southgate a(D)gain

 

Well, the telephone rang and it jumped off the wall

Says, we’re sorry, Buddy, but we can’t place your call

‘Cause Jesus don’t answer, Santa ain’t got back yet

what’s a poor old Red Cat got a right to expect?

So I called up my banker to ask for a loan

Said, it’s Christmas Eve, Buddy, there ain’t no one home

Then I called up my preacher and he said, We’re through

What the heck is a poor old Red Cat gonna do?

 

I’d work any job just to clear a day’s pay

Except for being President of the old USA

That’s dirty work, Lefty, no future, it’s true

I’d rather drink up my last nickel with you

 

Chorus

 

 

10. HANK WILLIAMS

Ry Cooder

 

(A) - (D) - (E7)

 

e|-----4--5-5--4------0-0-----------------|

B|-5-7----7-7----7-7--2---2---0-0-----2---|

G|--------------------2-----2-1-1-2-1-2---|

D|------------------------------------2---|

A|----------------------------------------|

E|----------------------------------------|

 

You been [A]over at the jukebox, mister, all this afternoon

Playing Hank Williams records for a d[E]ime

Well, I [A]may be just a cat to you, but I know that heartbreak [D]tune

And I’m proud to say Hank W[A]illiams was a [E7]real g[E6]ood f[E]riend of m[A]ine

 

I never asked for money or his autograph, you see

‘Cause I don’t need too much to get along

I just liked to sit there with him and keep him company

Who says cats can’t understand a real good country song?

 

Bridge:

You t[E]hink you know the man inside your li[A]ttle radio

[B]All the trials and heartaches he’s been t[E]hough

To y[A]ou he’s just a country star, to me he’s just a fr[D]iend

No you don’t k[A]now Hank Williams l[E7]ike I d[A]o

 

 

Interlude:

A D A E7 A

e|-----4--5-5--4------0-0-----------------|

B|-5-7----7-7----7-7--2---2---0-0-----2---|

G|--------------------2-----2-1-1-2-1-2---|

D|------------------------------------2---|

A|----------------------------------------|

E|----------------------------------------|

 

Some nights we’ll go out riding in his great big car

With the little radio that’s built right in

I’d sit up front there with him and his old guitar

And listen while the DJ played “Your Cheatin’ Heart” again

 

Spoken Verse:

“Well, Buddy, you know there’s something mighty strange about trying to live a life of fame, you see

It’s supposed to make me happy, all it does is worry me

Nobody else seems to understand the things that I go through

Only time I feel peaceful is when I’m riding round with you

 

Bridge:

You’ve heard it on the radio, Hank has passed away

In the back seat of that Cadillac, it’s true

To you he’s just a legend now, to me he’s still a friend

No, you don’t know Hank Williams like I do

 

No, you don’t know Hank Williams like I do

 

 

 

11. RED CAT TILL I DIE

Ry Cooder

 

(E) - (A) - (B)

 

(E) I’m a Red Cat till I die, I’m a Red Cat through and through

You can’t turn me yellow and you can’t make me blue

You can’t (A) make me do things I know it’s wrong to do

I’m a (E) Red Cat till I (B) die I’m telling (E) you

 

A bunch of sneaking deputies came a-snooping round

They grabbed me in the alley whilst I was laying down

They threw me in the wagon and then they ran me in

They locked me in the jailhouse with all my hobo friends

 

Saying, “Where’s that rat named Lefty? Where’s that frog named Tom?

Been agitating lately and spreading great alarm.

The cows walked out this morning, now the hens won’t lay,”

Said, “You’re going to wreck this country and it ain’t the American way.”

 

I said I ain’t no strikebreaker and I ain’t no stoolie rat

Won’t squeal on Tom and Lefty, won’t say where they’re at

You can’t scare me copper, and I don’t care what you do

I’m a Red Cat till I die I’m telling you

 

Now, you think you’re hard-boiled, you’re just yellow inside

My daddy always warned me, now I know he’s right

You’re just cowards hiding behind a little tin star

The people are starting to realize what a bunch of clowns you are

 

I might have been a banker without the least excuse

I might have been the President, but tell me what’s the use

Might have been an FBI man but I ain’t no Peeping Tom

Might have been a deputy and put my white sheet on

 

But I’m a Red Cat till I die, I’m a Red Cat through and through

I won’t fight your rich man’s war and kill poor folks for you

You can’t make me do things I know it’s wrong to do

I’m a Red Cat till I die I’m telling you

 

 

12. THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH

Ry Cooder & Joachim Cooder

 

Verses are G - F - C

Chorus is Bb - Eb - F

 

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night standing in the prison yard

They were taking poor Joe, chained and bound, to a Utah firing squad

He turned and looked at me right then, saying, “Don’t you be misled,

They’re trying to tear our free speech down, and Buddy, they ain’t near quit yet.

See they framed me on a killing charge, you know I wouldn’t lie to you

But the only crime here that I have done was three chords and the truth

 

Three chords and the truth, three chords and the truth

The only crime that Joe Hill done was three chords and the truth

He sang his good old union songs, he got his message through

But they couldn’t stand to hear a workingman sing three chords and the truth

 

Old J. Edgar Hoover liked to hear the darkies sing, till one man changed that all around

Paul Robeson was a man that you couldn’t ignore, that’s what drove old J. Edgar down

He called up his New York Klan boy-friends, saying I got something good for you

Get right down there to Peekskill, New York town, and kill three chords and the truth

 

Three chords and the truth, three chords and the truth

The only crime you ever got from Paul was three chords and the truth

If this is the land of democracy, I got one question for you

Why wasn’t Paul Robeson set free on three chords and the truth

 

They took Pete Seeger before the law and put him on the witness stand

But he stood right up to tyranny with just a banjo in his hand

Such a righteous banjo picker watching out for me and you

That was just a man who wouldn’t back down on three chords and the truth

 

Three chords and the truth, three chords and the truth

The only crime Pete Seeger done was three chords and the truth

He sang his freedom songs real good, still getting his message through

Better check out old Pete Seeger on three chords and the truth

 

 

13. MY NAME IS BUDDY

Ry Cooder

 

My name is Buddy, don’t you pity me,

Don’t you pity me, don’t you pity me

Just because I ain’t so big you think I’m small

Well, you think I’m small, now you think I’m small

You go around with your head up in the clouds

You just tall, that’s all, you just tall, that’s all

 

Now, if you like your tree, better watch out for your tree

Watch out for your tree, Lord, that tree ain’t free

The birds won’t be round just to keep you company

Keep you company, keep you company

 

If you like your little backyard, better watch out for your backyard

Don’t let ‘em put a toll road right through your backyard

 

You go around with your head up in the clouds

Head up in the clouds, your head up in the clouds

Well, you ain’t so big, you just tall that’s all

 

Now this land was made for you and me

Better watch out for your land,

Better watch out for your land

 

 

14. ONE CAT, ONE VOTE, ONE BEER

Ry Cooder & Joachim Cooder & Jared Smith

 

Hey bartender, what you say?

I’m gonna get drunk on election day!

Want one glass of bourbon, one glass of rye

Come on, set me up Joe, don’t pass me by!

My money’s alright but my feet’s got sore

See I been trying to vote, ‘bout an hour or more

I tried but I didn’t get nowhere

Joe, I just don’t think they’re doing this voting fair and square

 

Better make it one cat, one vote and one beer

Bartender, one cat, one vote and one beer

 

See, I went downtown to the voting room

‘Cause I wanted to get my voting done soon

the man said, “We’re gonna have to do a little checking on you!”

come back a little later on and said,

“Well, Buddy, you know, your vote just can’t go through

says you been dead, ten years back, we’re sure not gonna take a vote off a dead red cat!”

“What you say?”

“Step aside now, you’re interfering with the election process, that’s a crime”

“The crime is you!”

“Well, Buddy, voting is something I just don’t think you’re going to do”

 

chorus

 

now, I’m gonna drink a little gin and some mellow wine

then I’m gonna try that voting machine out just one more time

‘Cause democracy is in our hands, but it’s slipping through our fingers just like sand

I’m worried for you, sure worried for me, watching the election coming round on the TV

Voting is closed, we already lost the race

Might as well meet me down to Little Joe’s Place

 

chorus

 

 

15. CARDBOARD AVENUE

Ry Cooder

 

(A) - (D) - (E)

 

(A) Well, thank you for the drink my friend, (D) that’s al(E)right with (A) me

Let’s (E) drink to the (A) workingman wherever he might (E) be

Remember what he (A) stood up for and the (E) struggles he went through

Then, (A) let’s take a (D) little stroll down (E) Cardboard Ave(A)nue

 

Down on the street where I live, when evening comes around

No TV or radio, never hear a lonesome sound

Except some poor joe crying, Lord, can I make it up to you?

But he never gets an answer down on Cardboard Avenue

 

Here’s my little heartbreak hotel, now don’t you be let down

When the ghost of Hobo Bill comes a-shuffling round

He might pause by your side, saying, Buddy can you spare a dime or two?

Then he’ll just drift off into the night on Cardboard Avenue

 

I hear the whistle blowing now, must be the Red Ball train

We’ll see you in the North Country, when the springtime comes again

Just ask the workingman, wherever you might be

The whereabouts of Reverend Tom, Lefty Mouse and Buddy

And if he asks you, were you in the fight, did you join the strike of 1932?

Just tell him that you knew us down on Cardboard Avenue

 

 

16. FARM GIRL

Ry Cooder

 

Capo on 2: (Am) - (C) - (F) - (G)

 

We ran out of cheese in Galeta Town

As we sat right down by the big oak tree

Little farming town by the deep green sea

Watch the tide roll out, watch the tide roll in

 

Farm girl walking along,

Singing a song by the big oak tree

Farm girl how would you like to be

Friends with a poor boy like me

 

Mama always says strangers can be friends

Come along with me it’s almost suppertime

We don’t have too much, set yourself right down

Tell me who you are, tell me where you’ve been

 

Then Revered Tom he says, “Thank you for this day

I had never dreamed that we’d get this far

Bless this little place, everybody here

There’s a brighter side, I can see it clear

 

Farm girl, walking along,

Singing a song by the big oak tree

Farm girl how’d you like to be

Friends with a poor boy like me

 

Farm girl, walking along,

Seen some hard times in the country

Farm girl, still got the time to be

Friends with a poor boy like me

 

 

17. THERE'S A BRIGHT SIDE SOMEWHERE

Traditional, new lyrics by Ry Cooder

 

Capo on 2:   C - F - Am - G

 

There’s a bright side somewhere

There’s a bright side somewhere

I ain’t gonna rest until I find it

There’s a bright side somewhere

 

There’s more love somewhere

There’s more love somewhere

I ain’t gonna rest until I find it

There’s a bright side somewhere

 

People got a good job somewhere

Got a lot of good friends somewhere

Got a little suitcase, got a little family,

Over on the bright side somewhere