The Waitress

by Jonathan Byrd

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03:35
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06:09
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03:12
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04:04
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03:32

credits

released January 1, 2003

Robbie Link on bass and cello
Jason Cade on fiddle
David DiGiuseppe on accordion
recorded, mixed, and mastered at The Rubber Room by Jerry Brown

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Jonathan Byrd Chapel Hill, North Carolina

“One of the top 50 songwriters of the last 50 years. ” — Chicago Tribune

“...a folk singer with the heart of a rock 'n' roll band.” — K. Oliver, Free Times.

Preacher's kid, Gulf war Navy veteran, seventh-generation North Carolinian, guitar flatpicker, award-winning iconoclastic and spiritual songwriter. An American treasure.
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Track Name: The Waitress
She's pretty. She's amazing. I think I'm in love with her. I love the way she smiles at me over breakfast.
She's pretty. She's amazing. I love the way she calls me "Sir." She really listens to me. She's my waitress.

She's my waitress, if I need a cup of coffee. She's my waitress, if I want a slice of pie. She's my waitress. She'll come back until I've had enough.
She's my waitress, from her orthopedic shoes, she's my waitress, up to the chewing gum she chews. She's my waitress. She's the waitress I love.

She's pretty. She's amazing. Hey though she's had a brush with the law, it's been a while since her last arrest.
She's pretty. She's amazing. Everybody's got their little flaw. She's rehabilitated now. She's my waitress.

She's my waitress, oh she's poppin' percosets. She's my waitress, yes, and smokin' cigarettes. She's my waitress. Lord knows, that morning crowd is tough.
She's my waitress, from her orthopedic shoes, she's my waitress, up to the chewing gum she chews. She's my waitress. She's the waitress I love.

She's my waitress. Her brother's name is Billy. She's my waitress. You know he'd probably beat me silly (She's my waitress) if he knew what I was thinking of.
She's my waitress, yes and maybe someday if she's my waitress, I'll have the nerve to say, "Oh, waitress, you're the waitress I love."
Track Name: The Ballad of Larry
Larry is a veteran, I seen him at the store
A six pack of malt liquor- it’s the Prozac of the poor
A can o’ chili and a can o’ beans and a pack of cigarettes
Four cheap cigars- he writes a check
He climbs into his van, it’s a blue Econoline
They’re both on their last legs, if looks are any sign
There’s a flag on the bumper and, just to the right
A bald eagle with a nail file says, “it’s time to fight.”

You think you’ve got nothing to give
Look around how people live
Loneliness is poverty
Say, “hey,” say, “hey,” to me.

I had an old piano, it just didn’t belong
A couple missin’ keys that seem to be in every song
Even when I had it tuned, it didn’t sound that good
I was tempted to scrap the guts and burn the wood
I put it in the paper, a piano for free
If you can haul it, you can have it, and people came to see
Some folks played “Chopsticks” or “Body and Soul”
Always, they’d hammer in the empty holes

You think you’ve got nothing to give
Look around how people live
Loneliness is poverty
Say, “hey,” say, “hey,” to me.

“I heard you got a piano,” he said with suspicion
He was shakin’ from the cold and probably malnutrition
I said, “Hey, Larry, won’t you come on in
Can I make you some coffee?” but he wasn’t listenin’
He went to that piano like he’d seen an old friend
He drew his name in the dust, he told me where it was made and when
He said, “I haven’t seen one like this since I was a boy.”
His face was twisted into joy.

You think you’ve got nothing to give
Look around how people live
Loneliness is poverty
Say, “hey,” say, “hey,” to me.

Well, we talked a few minutes, then the coffee was hot
I said, “Hey, Larry, won’t you show me what you’ve got.”
He showed me what he had alright, with conviction and soul
He banged the barrelhouse blues, baby, he rolled like Jellyroll
He played songs of love and country, “from sea to shining sea”
And not once, not once, did I hear a broken key
A broken old piano and a broken old man
Rolled away smokin’ in a broken old van

You think you’ve got nothing to give
Look around how people live
Loneliness is poverty
Say, “hey,” say, “hey,” to me.
Track Name: Radio
I left out from Sylva with 12:30 on the dash
I had a Thermos full of coffee and a pocketful of cash

Radio, radio- it’s just me and you again
You are the midnight preacher; I listen to the wheels spin

(W)NCW out of Spindale kept me goin’ until three
I want to thank you for gettin’ me a little east of Hickory

Radio, radio- it’s just me and you again
You are the midnight preacher; I listen to the wheels spin

Just this side of Iredell County, I can get the BBC
There’s some station they call country, but it don’t sound country to me

Radio, radio- it’s just me and you again
You are the midnight preacher; I listen to the wheels spin

I’ll even listen to a preacher for a while if he’s good
Bringin’ Jesus down from heaven to lay his hands upon my hood

Radio, radio- it’s just me and you again
You are the midnight preacher; I listen to the wheels spin

5:30 in the morning; the sun is waiting in the wings
I put my head down on the pillow as the birds begin to sing

Radio, radio- it was me and you again
You are the midnight preacher; I listen to the wheels spin
Track Name: The Snake Song
A snake is like a memory; half is gone before you see
Gone before you can think to run, a snake is like a memory

I’d like to shake hands with a snake
I don’t care what you people say
‘cause if I had my take between a dollar and a snake
I’d take the snake anyday

A snake is like a memory; half is gone before you see
Gone before you can think to run, a snake is like a memory

I’d go to church with a snake
We’d sit back on our tails and sway
Eternity don’t make that much difference to a snake
Forever is a hot summer day

A snake is like a memory; half is gone before you see
Gone before you can think to run, a snake is like a memory

I’d go to town with a snake
We’d hang out in the parking lot
Snakes don’t care that much for chain stores and such
But they appreciate a nice big sunny spot

A snake is like a memory; half is gone before you see
Gone before you can think to run, a snake is like a memory
Track Name: My Generation
My generation is livin in the poorhouse
My generation is doin fine
My generation is under the white house
What’s yours is mine; what’s mine is mine
My generation is lyin’ from the pulpit
My generation is savin lives
My generation is preyin in a snake pit
and waitin for the good Lord to arrive

Do you see what I see? We’re all one big family,
from the problem child to the prodigy
We got drugs, we got guns, and we got all kinds of fun
but most of all, we’ve got it easy

My generation is starin at the tv
My generation is addicted to fame
My generation wants reality
or a picture that looks about the same
My generation is talkin on the cell phones
connected from coast to coast
My generation doesn’t wanna be alone
as long as we don’t get too close

Do you see what I see? We’re all one big family,
from the problem child to the prodigy
We got drugs, we got guns, and we got all kinds of fun
but most of all, we’ve got it easy

My generation is the surest
My generation has no fear
We’re all savin the rain forest
and cuttin down every tree ‘round here
My generation is makin a difference
My generation is throwin some rocks
My generation is makin a tomato
that looks real good and tastes like the box

Do you see what I see? We’re all one big family,
from the problem child to the prodigy
We got drugs, we got guns, and we got all kinds of fun
but most of all, we’ve got it easy
Track Name: Small Town
This here used to be a small town, you could walk from east to west
there were dirt roads and woods in my teens
but they paved the roads for people and laid the woods to rest
with big orange barrels and earth-movin machines

this highway used to be a hay field and woods beyond the hill
and we’d go fishin in the creek below
folks came to the south land to hear the whooper will,
but how it really was, they’ll never know

somebody sold the meadow; somebody sold the woods
now I can’t afford to live in my old neighborhood
it used to be you could not keep a secret in this town,
but in a city full of strangers, your secrets are safe and sound

Go ask the governer; I tell you what he’ll say
“we did it for the people of this great state”
not many of those people are still livin here today
except for the ones who owned the real estate

they all sold the meadows; they all sold the woods
now I can’t afford to live in my old neighborhood
it used to be you could not keep a secret in this town,
but in a city full of strangers, your secrets are safe and sound
Track Name: Tape Full of Love Songs
Morning broke like a bottle; it was 90 degrees
I had my hand out the window and the sheets between my knees
I called for Angelina, “Angelina, please,
Pour me a cup of coffee and bring me my keys.”

I didn’t get my keys and I didn’t get my Joe
I got a hard realization that came heavy and slow
She must have left in a hurry, ‘cause she left her stereo
With a tape full of love songs that she made two days ago

I know she loved me, though she left me high and dry
With a tape full of love songs to remember her by

I went down to the pawn shop with all that I could take
‘Cause half my rent was gone and the other half at stake
I sold her stereo, though it caused my heart to brake,
But I popped the tape and kept it, just for old time’s sake

I never listened to it; it just gave me the blues
So it rattled in the glove box, with a flashlight and a fuse
Until one day I saw Angelina on the news
She was busted stealing diamonds from a mall in Syracuse

I know she loved me, though she left me high and dry
With a tape full of love songs to remember her by

I couldn’t believe my eyes, no, I couldn’t believe my ears
Angelina was a crook, and I laughed myself to tears
I went down to the car and I leaned across the gears
I played that tape I’d never listened to, in all those years

Angelina’s voice came on real soft and slow
She said, “I’m in trouble, baby, and I really have to go
I want you to know I love you and I know you need the dough,
So I stashed a bunch of diamonds in the back of my stereo.”

I know she loved me, though she left me high and dry
With a tape full of love songs to remember her by- to remember her by.
Track Name: Stackalee
Now- Stackalee, he was a bad man, he wanted the whole round world to know
He toted a 32-20 and a smokeless 44
Well, Stackalee, him and Billy Lyons, they was gamblin’ early one day
Stack losed his money and he throwed the cards away
Now, Stackalee, he told Billy Lyons, “Billy, I’m sure gonna take your life
You have won my money, but you know you fouled the dice

Well, Billy Lyons, he told Stackalee, “Stack, please don’t take my life
I have two little chillun’ and a poor little weasley wife
One of them, Stack, is a boy, and the other is a girl”
“If you love your chillun, you will have to meet them in the other world.”
Well, Stackalee, he told Billy Lyons, “Billy, I thought you was a gamblin’ man
But you passed leads in the seconds, and you done fouled you hand.”

Well, Stackalee, he shot Billy Lyons, way down on that barroom floor
It was early in the mornin’, about fifteen to four
Billy’s momma, she come runnin’ saying, “Lord, please have mercy on my son
He’s been murdered, Lord, and never even had a gun
Now- Stackalee, he was a bad man, he wanted the whole round world to know
He toted a 32-20 and a smokeless 44
Track Name: Being with You
the sun is shining today; the sun is shining in high
lower and lower as winter is nigh
in the field across the road; in the field fallen lay
the yellow leaves on red clay

I like being with you
I like being alone

I am feeling free; I am feeling strong
Nobody miss me, when I’m gone
I am thinking of you; I am thinking of me
and how it feels to be free

I like being with you
I like being alone
Track Name: Fiddle and Bow
I heard my neighbor's rooster crow early in the day.
I heard his axe beyond the hill and now I'm bound away.
Some men like the city life. Some men like the town.
Me, I'm bound for the lonesome hills where I can settle down

with the fiddle and the bow and the firelight's glow. You can hear that lonesome sound.
I'll leave behind all my trouble in mind and go the whole world round.

Well the red squirrel leaves and the grey squirrel stays. The eagle nests alone. A hundred miles from a wagon trail is where I'll make my home.
I've seen the old men whittlin' wood. I've seen the streets of town. A hundred miles from a railroad tie is where I settle down

with the fiddle and the bow and the firelight's glow. You can hear that lonesome sound.
I'll leave behind all my trouble in mind and go the whole world round.
Track Name: Rosie
Rosie, oh Rosie, tell me who was here last night?
Wasn’t nobody but the preacher man, makin sure I was alright.

Preacher man, oh preacher man, tell me where were you last night?
I was down in the valley a-prayin’ and savin every soul in sight.

Brother dear, now brother dear, tell me what did you see last night?
I saw that handsome preacher, headed up the mountainside.

Preacher man, oh, preacher man, your lies I now see through.
All your words of glory just hide the things you do.

Rosie, oh Rosie, tell me where was your man last night?
The preacher’s been murdered down on the mountainside.

Deputy, now deputy, my man was here all night.
We’re sorry to hear about the preacher and how that poor boy died.

Lover man, now lover man, only you and me know.
It’s a long road to Lynchburg, if ever you should go.