The Carnivaleros

Happy Homestead | lyrics and credits


1. Happy Homestead

The meek shall inherit nothin'
Long as nothin's what you're askin'
Hide out in your happy homestead
All day long

You can live under the radar
So that no man's got your number
Raise those chickens and the rabbits
And watch the world go by

So prepare to plant your garden
Put up your solar panels
Don't listen to Rush Limbaugh
Any mo'

Put your overalls on backwards
Brush your teeth with baking soda
Find a way to get your water
From underground


Then don't bitch about your wireless
When you get such bad reception
Shoulda thrown that thing away
Long time ago

'Cause your new life as an outlaw
Will repel all of your in-laws
They won't overstay their welcome
Any more

The meek shall inherit nothin'
Long as nothin's what you ask for
Hide out in your happy homestead
All day long

You can live under the radar
So that no mans got your number
Raise those chickens and the rabbits
And watch the world go by

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, organ, drums, bass, vocal
carla brownlee: bari and tenor sax
danny krieger: guitar

2. Bird of Paradise

I've been looking for the Bird of Paradise
To Fly over this here town
Many sightings been reported
Locals swearin' that they've seen her
Right here in this ol' town
If only she would choose me
Life would be so gosh darn groovy
Here in this ol' town
No more worries no more troubles
I'd marry my girl Bubbles
Here in my hometown

Please please Bird of Paradise
Come land right on my head
You can make your nest there
Consider it your bed
Please please bird of wonder
Make your self at home
Cause when you make your nest there
I'll never need my comb
Please please Bird of Paradise
I'll never ask for more
We'll both be sittin' pretty
On the throne of local lore

So slapped some glue on my forehead
Sprinkled sparkly sprinkles on there
Lure that bird on down
Wearing a lathe and a moo moo
Brightly colored ala' poo poo c'mon bird
Fly on down to town
We will make a life together
You know, birds of a feather
Right here in this ol' town
Just my Bubbles, you and me
Livin' high and mightily
Right here in this ol' town

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, vocal
chris giambelluca: bass
danny krieger: guitar
michael p nordberg: drums
nancy mccallion and catherine zavala: background vocals

3. Dashboard Jesus

There's a dashboard Jesus
Thunderbird 72
Polished wheels, big chrome bumpers
Leather seats, headrests too
Cruisin' down the Ajo highway
Fahrenheit 102
Tossin' out the empty bottles
Of cheap and watered down brew
Waving guns out of the windows
Shootin' saguaros thru and thru
Dashboard Jesus
Thunderbird 72

One more shrine out by the highway
Plastic flowers by the score
Tiny photos, seven day candles
Scattered 'round the desert floor
Several years have gone by now
Yet the memories seem new
Dashboard Jesus
Thunderbird 72

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, drums
chris giambelluca: bass
danny krieger: guitar, vocal
dante rosano: trumpet

4. Alejandro

Alejandro don't you walk into the desert tonight
Begged his wife the night he wanted to go
The road is strewn with signs of those who tried before you
Maybe this time make it out of Mexico

Well he heard life is better just north of the fence
Must be better than the dust of his hometown
Trade his country and his past to work so hard in the fields
With wages low just because his skin is brown

A dozen men strong all gathered round to go north
They paid a man who dropped them in the Organ Pipe
Said just north of here's the work that pays the wages you seek
With that hope they put their faith in one man's hype

The never ending sun heats up Sonoran desert dry
Hope against all odds this hell will be a memory soon gone by
Thought the answers to their prayers aligned with clear blue U.S. skies
The coyote headed south, his pockets lined with lies

Alejandro don't you walk into the desert tonight
Begged his wife the night he wanted to go
The road is strewn with signs of those who tried before you
Maybe this time make it out of Mexico

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, drums, bass, backup vocal
danny krieger: guitar
nancy mccallion: acoustic guitar, backup vocal
dante rosano: trumpet
catherine zavala: lead and backup vocal, mandolin

5. 900 Dogs

Well I been stuck in this here doghouse
With all the other dogs I don't know
To make matters worse there are several hungry hounds
With just a few cans of dog food to go.

There are 900 dogs and only three pounds of dog food to go

Well I thought I'd make a break
But I found out there's nowhere to go
Cause there's always several hounds just waitin' round the bend
Just to eat a little piece of your soul.

So try to keep your chin up
With your collar up 'round your neck
And don't let those hounds take a bite outta you
Or you will end up a total wreck.

There are 900 dogs and only three pounds of dog food to go

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, bass, vocal
danny krieger: guitars
carla brownlee: baritone sax

6. Dream of Modern Man

The homeless lay spread before our eyes
Sometimes we believe in our own lies
There are mostly rich and poor
Barely middle class no more
Now the struggle's for a piece of bread
Forget lawn tools in the shed

As we toil every morning, noon and night
No way on earth the Haves will see our plight
So pick up your guitar, and light up your cigar
There's nothing new under the sun
Just new distractions make us run

To buy a lot more shit we do not need
Lots of legal drugs to make our wallets bleed
If one more time I'm told
That my bladder's way too bold
Then all will know that in my pants I've peed.

When the jig is up might think of what you gave
Your fortune matters little in the grave
So share what you can spare
Get out of your easy chair
If you take yourself to task you'll find
As the years fly by there's little time

So catch and throw as hard as you can
You only get this one short life span
Make every moment count
Read books and scream and shout
It's the thousand year old dream of modern man

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, percussion, vocal
greg mackender: vibes, organ

7. Sally and John

Sally & John once were hot
Used to be lovers but now they're not
Live in my ol' neighborhood
Look at each other as strangers would

I used to love Sally way back when
We'd go out now and again
But she wanted John when John did not
So I watched, she waited on time she bought

John came 'round after awhile
Thought Sally was the one to make him smile
But John got restless as lovers do
Chasin' other women, had quite a few

Sally left John, couldn't take the pain
She won't do that all over again
So she stays home in her ol' place
Hardly goes out, never paints her face

So I think I'll go back home again
Look up Sally, some of my ol' friends
She might like some company
Perchance this time will work out for me

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, bass, vocal
nancy mccallion: acoustic guitar
catherine zavala: mandolin

8. Call Me On Home

Call me on home now
I hear the voices
I feel the thunder
I touch the lightning
Floating o'r the desert
In a Marc Chagall painting
With my brand new shoes on
I don't need to polish

I see the lights twinkling
Touch the clouds without feeling
All sensation disappearing
But my thoughts seem so clear now
I must have reached my deadline
In these early morning hours
Drank my morning coffee
Laid my clothes out on the bed

Now where was I going
I seemed in such a hurry
The light is getting brighter
But really cannot see out
Of my own eyes are blinded
Yet light is streaming in them
That somewhat looks like me there
Lying on the asphalt

Call me on home now
I hear the voices
I feel the thunder
I touch the lightning
Floating o'r the desert
In a Marc Chagall painting
With my brand new shoes on
I don't need to polish

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, organ, drums, vocal
chris giambelluca: bass
danny krieger: guitar
nancy mccallion and catherine zavala: background vocals

9. Dyin's Gonna Be the Death of Me

They tell us we can't eat this
They tell us we can't eat that
If we don't walk three miles a day
There's never gonna be a way

For us to live a long life
A meaningful and full life
If we don't follow certain rules
Most parroted by petty fools

But I know that there's one thing
For sure and certain one thing...
Dyin's gonna be the death of me

I hope to live a long life
A meaningful and full life
But I'm told that cancers on its way
And heart disease is here to stay

And our food supply is tainted
Organics overrated
Just try to walk the miracle mile
Grim Reapers got a great big smile

But I know that there's one thing
For sure and certain one thing...
Dyin's gonna be the death of me

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion
chris giambelluca: bass
danny krieger: guitar, lead vocal
michael p nordberg: drums

10. Angels In the Snow

Sometimes I hear voices in the night
They will whisper to me 'bout my plight
They say go ahead and shed those tears
Hearin' all those voices from all my yesteryears.

Round and round we go, angels in the snow
Dashing to and fro to stay ahead
Of the time we could not say
Of the price we could not pay
Of the sins we've tucked away and left behind.

The haze slips in gives them a chance to speak
I hear them when my daytime walls are weak
They tell me things that I already know
In my heart of hearts I just got to let them go.

Our stories go on back ten thousand years
Our little lives comprised of all our fears
Passed on to us by others in the game
The wheels go 'round through endless halls of shame.

Round and round we go, angels in the snow
Dashing to and fro to stay ahead
Of the time we could not say
Of the price we could not pay
Of the sins we've tucked away and left behind

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, organ, drums, bass, vocal
michael p nordberg: guitars
nancy mccallion and catherine zavala: background vocals

11. Black Cloud Over Oracle

There was a GLOW in the sky
It was a natural high
Feeling good just hanging around

One of those rare nights
People feelin' alright
No one's feet were touching the ground

There was music, laughter
Food and good friends
Not to mention lit up artwork abound

When all Hell broke loose
There were steps of the goose
As the sky came a tumblin' down.

There was a black cloud over Oracle
Touched the elderly and children alike
There was a black cloud over Oracle
One clear and distant Saturday night

Well we all heard the sound
People's heads turned around
As men in uniform headed our way

They were screaming and shouting
At the top of their lungs
Everyone must go away

Well it made no sense
This assault in the night
There was nuthin' that we could do

As they rounded us up
And herded us out
Storm troopers raiding the petting zoo

There was a black cloud over Oracle
Touched the elderly and children alike
There was a black cloud over Oracle
One clear and distant Saturday night

©2008 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: accordion, organ, drums, percussion, vocal
chris giambelluca: bass
michael p nordberg: acoustic and electric guitars
dante rosano: trumpet
citizens of oracle, az: background vocals
thanks to marx loeb for the line 'Storm troopers raidin' the petting zoo'
To read the story behind this song, click here!

12. The Wooden Leg

Tim had a wooden leg for years
As all who knew him knew
Chopped short quite neat below the knee
As cancer cells surged thru
His body needed 420
used daily for the pain
The Red Dog Hall kept him alive
And thought it kept him sane

Munchausen was his only guide
Munchausen made a lonely bride
Munchausen could not stem the tide
Took the answers to the other side

In Quantrell's town he laid down roots
Wrote the story of his lies
Passed tales around the campfire of
Suffering and strife
We all chipped in to help him out
Although he never asked
Worked side by side for all those years
Shared many of our tasks

Now sometimes on a winters night
Icicles click and glow
Down Massachusetts street is heard
Boots crunching in the snow

Munchausen was his only guide
Munchausen made a lonely bride
Munchausen could not stem the tide
Took the answers to the other side

©2008 Gary Mackender, lyrics, ASCAP,
Kelley Hunt Music, with EEs Music Publishing, BMI

gary mackender: accordion
kelley hunt: piano, vocal

13. Waltz con Connie

©2008 Gary Mackender, lyrics, ASCAP,

gary mackender: accordion, drums, percussion, toys
tony rosano: sousaphone

Happy Homestead


The material on this CD was written and tracked at Homestead Studio in 2007-08. Some of my favorite players in Tucson contributed their energy, time, and musical talents to this project.

Mixed by Craig Schumacher, WaveLab, Tucson, AZ, USA

"Homestead is what Carnivaleros music really is, 110% this time, and what that is, is infectious as hell, swingin' like a gin-swozzled junebug, and as sage as a grinning ranch-hand looking toward darkening skies."

Mark S Tucker, FAME, 2009

"This adds up to an album that can sound like the Mexican accented rock of Los Lobos, or at other times like Calexico, but more often like something of its own."
Review by Darius for Oliver di Place Blogspot, 2009