"dirty folk"

by Mark Westin

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1.
Open mike 03:54
In every little city in a dingy bar There’s an overweight Adonis with a blues guitar There’s an overage Madonna who’s a half step flat There’s the next insert a name here in a stupid hat You can meet ‘em any Monday in a nervous dream Like a cavalcade of losers on the winning team Every one of them would live or die to feed the beast It’s the weekly competition to see who sucks least It’s open mic, open mic Everybody’s great at open mic All the clothes and the hair are so outta sight And everyone’s a millionaire at open mic There’s a Yankee in a cowboy shirt who’s so sincere Singing songs in southern accents that assault the ear There’s an artsy fartsy poet who can’t even play But that doesn’t stop her getting up there anyway It’s a masochistic ritual for the friends who come After just a couple verses well you just feel numb While the girlfriends in the corner like to sit and squeal Over who looks more professional and who’s more real At open mic, open mic Everybody falls for you at open mic You were the best one you were so psyched And everyone’s a visionary open mic This one’s a little too whiny And that one’s a little too slick And everyone’s always so shiny And nobody ever says dick At open mic, open mic We’re one big happy family at open mic I’ll forget you tomorrow but I love you tonight Cause everyone’s a superstar at open mic Open mic, open mic Everybody’s great at open mic The rockin’ rollin’ future on display all right And everyone’s a poster child at open mic
2.
Well they bulldozed the ancient city when they leveled the hilltop flat Bones and pottery shards just a couple of yards From the tank where the man in the gun turret sat Yeah they dug up a thousand years or two and they dug up a whole lot more Of the torture and pain that they use to explain Why they’re fighting a hundred year war And the ancestors’ graves and the answers they gave Blown away in the desert sand Everybody’s come out just to scream and to shout Take a side at the bible’s last stand Well it used to mean something to someone, but everything’s so different now We can justify slaughter for oil or water No matter how sacred the child or the cow It don’t matter just what you believe in, to survive you believe what you can But when they force you to run from a book or a gun Even suicide seems like a reasonable plan And now nothing that’s spiritual matters it seems All true faith’s been replaced by a brand You got nothing to lose, still your life’s what you choose To depart at the bible’s last stand You were told to liberate your mind from the western world You were taught your faith could take you anywhere you want to go But the western world’s the only world there’s ever gonna be my friend And everybody’s Christian now son don’t you know (I sing with the voice of one who walks with death each day I sing with the voice of one who knows all hope is gone I sing with the voices that will not be heard again But still I sing) Well they bulldozed the constitution when they leveled our consciousness flat If you’re Muslim or Jew you don’t pray like they do And they don’t like those funny hats Yeah they buried the ancient scriptures in a place where they’ll never be found And said don’t be surprised at the gospel revised That our soldiers are handing around And the word of the lord’s been deleted And replaced by an earthly command Of the righteous and strong who will never be wrong As they fight for the bible’s last stand So it’s man versus man in the ending It’s a trigger a pin and a hand Everybody’s come out on the sidelines to shout Taking odds on the bible’s last stand
3.
Every local has its own philosopher The guy who’s got the lock on how it works He’s never left the neighborhood but he can read the signs And parse his way through all the cosmic quirks He knows as much as any Steven Hawking The fellas all shut up when he starts talking But if you start to feel epiphany Just take a walk outside to go and see The genius at the local round the bend Who’s got his own ideas how things will end And think of this as mouths begin to run When all of these fine gentlemen are called to save the universe They’ll be too shitfaced drunk to get it done
4.
We were so happy you and me When we got married we just felt so free We both made money We spent our checks I called you honey We had wild sex But now I’ve given up your nipples so the baby can sup Kids screw everything up We used to travel To Spain and France I loved adventure You loved to dance Our tans were golden Our clothes were fine We ate the oysters And drank the wine But now I’m pouring apple juice in an unbreakable cup Kids screw everything up Kids Why’d we do it, why’d we have to go through it Kids Sucked our savings down the drain Kids S’posed to love ‘em but we really wanna shove ‘em Kids ain’t nothing but pain, pain, pain I had a six pack You had an ass I had a motorcycle And you had class We had a passion that we could not deny We made a baby and it all went bye-bye We used to run with the big dogs now we’re raising a pup Kids screw everything up
5.
Hey hey stranger come on in You look kinda familiar, I think I mighta known you when You’ve been out there in the wild looking hard and looking long Trying to see your life within the confines of a song And it’s taken you to places that you didn’t want to be And it’s sometimes left you stranded for the price of being free Just a prodigal son coming out of his hole Searching for something that approximates a soul Sit down stranger you don’t have to say no more Everybody that you’re looking at we’ve all been there before There’s been many different mountains there’s been many different ways But somehow we all end up here at the end of all our days And we know you must feel broken and we know you must feel beat But you’ve seen it through the scars and bars and haven’t met defeat You just keep riding the highway and paying the toll Searching for something that approximates a soul They say it’s already here and that may be so But till you’ve been over there, there’s no way to know So long stranger I know you have to go The life beyond the edges is the only life you want to know We’re always moving onwards though we don’t know what we’ll find And sending back dispatches for the ones who come behind From a gutter filled with all the pretty dreams that didn’t sell And the visions still unrealized decomposing where they fell We’re all mining out the diamonds from our own lumps of coal Searching for something that approximates a soul From the fragments of existence well it just might make us whole Searching for something that approximates a soul
6.
See the skinny girl staring at her conscience, caught between confession and shame In a land of fear you better make your voice heard, just point a finger and place the blame It’s not a crime to let emotions take you over to the point you say what you really feel It’s clear the day and age of rolling in the clover is over for the long run When all is said and done It’s all right to be angry at your neighbor, It’s all right to be bad It’s all right to abandon your compassion, It’s all right to be sad We all fight ‘cause it’s what the papers tell us, We all fight what we knew It’s all right to be shallow to be jealous, It’s all right to be you, to be you See the flabby man hand upon the good book, swearing that salvation’s within Before you go that way you better take a good look, and you may find you prefer to sin I know the pull is strong to straighten up and fly right when it feels like something you’ve gotta know But tell me how you figure cashing in on Jesus is more noble than a paycheck from the fella below, when It’s all right to be angry at your neighbor, It’s all right to be bad It’s all right to abandon your compassion, It’s all right to be sad We all fight, doesn’t matter what they tell us, We all fight what we knew It’s all right to be shallow to be jealous, It’s all right to be you, to be you It’s not a time to ask for answers or for reasons at least not if you want to stay whole When all the dirty words like treachery and treason have a meaning for the first time They’ll pull you outta line See a fragile globe slipping through your fingers, see a flag that’s tattered and torn See a stranger’s face cracking in your mirror, shattering reflections from before you were born It’s way too early to be looking for conclusions and it will be for the next hundred years But now the real world’s ripped away the last illusion that we’re actually the good guys We better all get wise It’s all right to be angry at your nation, It’s all right to be bad It’s all right to demand an explanation, It’s all right to be sad We all fight never showing that we’re nervous, We all fight though it’s true And one night if our sanity preserve us, We just might make it through Me and you We just might make it through
7.
You’re like a stir fry from a cheap Chinese takeout A bad plate of ribs that don’t come from the south You’re like a pizza with too much pepperoni I need grease remover baby get you outta my mouth You shot the arrow and it blew me wide open You took no prisoners baby right from the start You made me fall and I fell for it all I need grease remover baby get you outta my heart I learned to live with the lies l learned to live with the pain But now I opened my eyes I’m getting rid of the stain And I can’t complain You took my love and you took me for granted You took my time you took control You took me in and now you’re hard to get out I need grease remover baby get you off of my soul
8.
Corruptible 04:08
Everybody is corruptible, buddy And it ain’t nice But everybody is corruptible, buddy When I name the right price And I’ll laugh when you say than you’ll never be sold ‘cause I’ll get you for less when you’re desperate and old Everybody is corruptible, get in line It’s just a matter of time Everybody is corruptible, sweetheart That’s no lie Everybody is corruptible, sweetheart When you meet the right guy It’s not wrong to believe in the love that you found But baby don’t be naïve come back down to the ground Everybody is corruptible this is true Now honey how ‘bout you? I ain’t a cynic, and I ain’t a saint I’m just watching it all go down You got your values well isn’t that quaint Now get out of my way while I take this town Everybody is corruptible, father Do the math Everybody is corruptible, father Once you stray from the path ‘Cause we’re only as strong as our one secret vice When you’ve given in once might as well make it twice Everybody is corruptible, always was Human is as human does
9.
He’s cute and he’s funny he smells really good He comes from the best part of the neighborhood He’s nice and polite he’s a well brought up boy Certain to bring any young woman joy He never makes the conversation tense He’s mister freakin’ white picket fence He always remembers and he always calls He never sits naked and scratches his balls He’ll listen for hours while rubbing your feet He always says something that sounds really sweet And when you’re down he’ll come to your defense He’s mister freakin’ white picket fence And every woman dreams she’s gonna get him I’d like to find a single one who’s ever really met him He’ll clean up the dishes and take out the trash He’ll do all your laundry and lay out the cash He’ll visit your grandma at least once a week If you’re asking me kinda sounds like a freak He’s not a bad guy just a little dense Somebody gotta teach him common sense He needs your help so don’t spare one expense For mister freakin’ white picket fence
10.
Outta time 03:48
People tell me the end’s getting near every day I’m beginning to have my doubts They been raising alarms now for forty odd years You would think that the clock had already run out While the one fella claims that he’s right But he’s getting no help And he’s losing the fight And the next fella’s left standing tall When he tells us there’s no one to fight with at all Cause we’re fine Everything’s fine And we’re not outta time Someone told me democracy always works best When the folks get to put in a hand And I’ve heard aristocracy’s also been blessed Cause at least everybody knows just where they stand But the weavers of worlds start to spin up the threads Of the finest deceptions that money can buy And the ones we elect lose the touch of their hearts As their fingers get tangled And caught in the lie That we’re fine Everything’s fine And we’re not outta time Well I wonder if anywhere out in this world There’s a person who knows the whole truth Would he stand and salute as the flag is unfurled Or throw stones at the wall with the wisdom of youth Would he always stay calm and secure With the faith in his heart That there’s nothing to fear Or go scream in the streets at the top of his lungs That we never should take it on faith when we hear That we’re fine Everything’s fine And we’re not outta time

about

Here's what Mark has to say about "dirty folk":

"The original idea was to do a record that was as live, immediate, and one-take as possible, warts and all. I'd sacrifice technique for energy, emotion and pure balls.

That's the spirit in which I recorded. But when I got to the mix phase I suddenly found myself filled with conflict; what order should the songs go in? Should I turn up the guitar or move the vocals to one side? Which song had the most commercial potential?

And then I remembered what I was doing this record for. As a gesture of respect to all the artists who influenced me musically and personally, who shaped my worldview and taught me how to express it. The artists who spoke through their songs about the way life really works. About politics, society, religion, humanity. You know, all the 'difficult' subjects. All the ones that require individual thought to comprehend. All the non-commercial ones.

I realized I had to leave my record alone. I wrote the songs as best I could and sang 'em as best as I can. And I'm leaving behind a document for future generations to know that life on this planet in 2K wasn't all manufactured, processed and focus-grouped before being implanted into the willing brains of a love-starved public.

I made the record I wanted to make - unvarnished, immediate, real. As a tribute to the artists before me who did the same in their time. The artists who attempted to say something - whether or not anyone was listening, whether what they were saying was in vogue at the moment, and even whether what they were saying made any sense at all. The artists who searched for truth in all its myriad forms and struggled to bring their discoveries to a wider world. In short, the artists who MATTERED. I don't claim to be their equal; I'm just walking some of the same roads they did and reporting on how the view has changed or stayed the same."

credits

released January 1, 2007

All rhythm guitar and vocal tracks were recorded live at the same time.

Mark Westin: Lead vocals, guitars, keyboard, percussion, ambient noises
Steve Schiller: fiddle, "The bible's last stand"
Suzanne Hockstein: voice, "The bible's last stand"

Produced, mixed and mastered by Ray Balconis at Studio Ray NYC

All songs by Mark Westin/Spinach World Music/BMI

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about

Mark Westin Newburgh, New York

Mark Westin's songs have been described as:

"A different way of looking at the world that's refreshingly bizarre."
"...not afraid to take on sacred cows..."
"if Harry Nilsson and John Prine wrote together..."

Mark's been gigging and writing a long time, and he's a wordsmith of a very high order. His songs are diverse, eclectic, darkly humorous, and for real.

Listen and decide for yourself.
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