The Carnivaleros

Strictly Tabu | lyrics and credits


1. Strictly Tabu (instrumental)

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, accordion
karl hoffmann: bass
mitzi cowell: guitars
carla brownlee: tenor sax
dante rosano: trumpet
marco rosano: baritone sax
rick peron: trumpet
greg mackender: horn arrangements

2. Sheriff Joe

Sheriff Joe's a big bad lawman, was a travel agent man
Before he put his shiny badge on, used to book folks 'cross the land
But the big man wanted more action, ran for office, Hohokam land
The red-faced white man became a cowboy, of his domain of dirt and sand.

Sheriff Joe, Sheriff Joe, tell us how far will you go
With your love of the spotlight and your cheeks all aglow
Sheriff Joe, Sheriff Joe, will your reign ever end
Spreading terror in Maricopa, Apache Junction to Gila Bend

For the crime of coming north, lettuce pickers tossed in jail
Wearin' cartoon convict outfits, for the media to hail
Justice rides now in the back seat, sittin' next to you and me
Least for all in Maricopa with no chance to cop a plea.

Sheriff Joe, Sheriff Joe, tell us how far will you go
With your love of the spotlight and your cheeks all aglow
Sheriff Joe, Sheriff Joe, will your reign ever end
Spreading terror in Maricopa, Apache Junction to Gila Bend

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: vocal, drums, organ
karl hoffmann: bass
mitzi cowell: guitars
carla brownlee: tenor sax, sax solo
marco rosano: baritone sax
rick peron: trumpet

3. Supper Club Magician

What fell from his mouth was well salted and frank
His boarding house pass long expired
Three squares and a roof had passed him on by
And his dang dogs were blistered and tired

His last meal was pulled from a storm drain on Main
It could have been someone's old shoe
Shuffling cards, sleight of hand were part of his game
And fervent applause was his due

He was a Supper Club Magician, an illusion technician
Pulled rabbits for coins from the rubes
But his gambling debts drove him right over the hill
Disappearing act final and cruel

He seemed to look older than years fifty five
And to some that just might be true
He'd been flyin' and drinkin' and drivin' and cryin'
For twenty years twisting his screw

He wanted to rise on the ladder of fame
Share the spotlight with Teller and Penn
But pawnshops and racetracks kept calling his name
What might have become never been

He was a Supper Club Magician, an illusion technician
Pulled rabbits for coins from the rubes
But his gambling debts drove him right over the hill
Disappearing act final and cruel

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, piano, accordion
landis kearnon: vocals
karl hoffmann: bass
mitzi cowell: guitars
marco rosano: clarinet

4. Blue Saguaro (instrumental)

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, accordion
karl hoffmann: bass
mitzi cowell: guitars
carla brownlee: tenor sax
dante rosano: trumpet
marco rosano: baritone sax
rick peron: trumpet
greg mackender: theremin, saw, banjo ebow

5. Small Motor Repairman

He was a small motor repairman before he got the call
At the tender age of sixty painted talking art on all
The material he could find, scraps of cardboard, wood and clay
Houses, sidewalks, signs of bible verses rambling every day

He saw his sister Abby floating high up overhead
That early vision set the stage for a calling that would spread
To people all across the globe and perhaps the other side
He spoke of love and family, gave those who see a ride
With sacred art and rhyme from his prophetic dreams
To Georgia pilgrims flock and swoon to view his peculiar scheme

Five thousand paintings strong by the former preacher man
Found a voice that spoke to thousands more than any pulpit can
The spirit took in Howard's mind with no visual boundaries
And in his bargain found, to boot, his immortality

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: vocals, drums, piano, organ, banjo
karl hoffmann: bass
mitzi cowell: guitars

6. Leaving Nerja (instrumental)

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

One of my oldest friends and bandmate, Karl Hoffmann, has been living in Nerja, Spain since the late 80s. This song was written shortly after a visit there in the mid 90s and first appeared on my debut CD:Step Right Up! Karl and his wife have relocated to Tucson, Arizona in 2014 so it was only appropriate that the song has been revived with Karl on things you pluck and me on things you hit..

gary mackender: drums, accordion, organ
karl hoffmann: bass, guitar, baritone, mandolin

7. Party Girl

Party Girl, party girl, where you goin' tonight
Party Girl, party girl, with your cheeks so bright
Party Girl, party girl, dressed up to the nines
Party Girl, party girl, looking mighty fine
Heading down a country road secluded rendezvous
Pitch black night no shadows cast an undisclosed taboo
Party Girl, party girl, where you goin' tonight
Party Girl, party girl, with your cheeks so bright

Party boy, party boy, stranger with no name
Party boy, party boy, out to play the game
Party boy, party boy, made a secret date
Party boy, party boy, a téte-a-téte with fate
His fever's been a burnin' young men have their needs
Wants to see a party girl out by the river reeds
Party boy, party boy, stranger with no name
Party boy, party boy, out to play the game

Party Girl, party girl, where did you go to
Party Girl, party girl, whole town's looking' for you
Party Girl, party girl, she's been gone a week
Party Girl, party girl, car found in the creek
Teddy on her pillow posters taped up on her wall
Mom frettin' in the kitchen, Dad's not home at all
Party Girl, party girl, where you goin' tonight
Party Girl, party girl, with your cheeks so bright

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: vocals, drums, accordion, organ
karl hoffmann: bass, guitars
marco rosano: baritone sax

8. Pedal Steel Neighbor

She found him one morning
In his easy chair
It looked as if he was smiling
It seemed like he had not a care

I'd see him walk by in the mornings
We'd chat about nothing at all
His union suit all ironed neatly
And his cowboy hat standing tall

He played pedal steel in the evenings
He was young at age eighty three
He made playing music seem easy
With roots grounded deep as a tree

He's playing that steel now above us
For all of our loved ones to hear
Spirits waltzing and dancing the two-step
I feel that he is still near

He played pedal steel in the evenings
He was young at age eighty three
He made playing music seem easy
With roots grounded deep as a tree

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, piano
catherine zavala: vocal
karl hoffmann: bass
neil harry: pedal steel
mike purdy: acoustic guitars, mandolin

9. Flea Circus (instrumental)

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, percussion, piano, accordion
karl hoffmann: bass
mike purdy: guitars
carla brownlee: tenor sax, sax solo
dante rosano: trumpet
marco rosano: baritone sax
rick peron: trumpet
greg mackender: horn arrangements

10. Tin Foil Hats

We are all wearing our tin foil hats to protect our liberty
When we are wearing our tin foil hats
We'll be free, don't you agree?
We're free, don't you agree?

We are all wearing our tin foil hats you can wear one, too
We are all wearing our tin foil hats
'Cause they're watching me and you
They're watching me and you

We are all wearing our tin foil hats deflect rays aimed at our minds
We are all wearing our tin foil hats
We've been given the signs
We've been given the signs

We are all wearing our tin foil hats Reynold's Wrap wrapping our crown
We are all wearing our tin foil hats
Spread the word town to town
Y'know we ain't fooling' around

We are all wearing our tin foil hats beams rainin' down from the sky
We are all wearing our tin foil hats
Everyone else is a spy
Live in fear 'til the day we die

We are all wearing our tin foil hats to protect our liberty
When we are wearing our tin foil hats
We'll be free, don't you agree?
We're free, don't you agree?

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, percussion, accordion
catherine zavala: vocal
karl hoffmann: bass, guitars
mitzi cowell: guitars
mike purdy: banjo
carla brownlee: tenor sax
dante rosano: trumpet
marco rosano: baritone sax
rick peron: trumpet
tin foil hat youth choir: perla kiely, izzy branson, sophia, olivia and jovi darnell
tin foil hat senior choir: residents of copper canyon alzheimer’s care center

11. Panopticon Waltz (instrumental)

©2013 Gary Mackender, ASCAP

gary mackender: drums, percussion, toy piano, bass, accordion
mitzi cowell: guitars

Strictly Tabu


The material on this CD was written and tracked at Homestead Studio in 2013. 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

"...there is breadth and scope to the material, and its delivery, that puts this offering head and shoulders above its predecessors."

Jim Lipson, Tucson Weekly, April, 2014

"…Supper Club Musician is as achingly and beautifully sad as are the song's lyrics about a down-and-out magician headed for a dark end…"
Eric Johns, Zocalo Magazine, April, 2014