The Carnivaleros

Tallsome Tales | lyrics and credits


Click on the podcast link above for episodes for every song on the CD!

1. Liquor, Vice, and Sin

It was early in the morning all the bars were shut up tight
Sidewalks were a glistening, not a taxi found in sight
Dog barking at a lamppost but nobody was there
Old man propped up in the alley with a thousand yard stare
One more night to roll the dice and gamble for the win
One more night in paradise of liquor, vice, and sin

The wailing of the trains as they thunder thru the night
Devil kicking up the dust under a dimly lit street light
A broom was slowly being pushed from sidewalk to the street
A distant siren chases ghosts of folks you'll never meet
One lone man was dragging rubber barrels to the bin
Eight grinning cats jumped out as the bottles tumbled in
One more night to roll the dice and gamble for the win
One more night in paradise of liquor, vice, and sin

Wake up in the morning and wonder where you are
There's a stranger next to you and a beat up old guitar
Burnt out candles by the bed some soggy cigarettes
A couple empty bottles several classic rock cassettes
It seems like I've been here about a hundred times before
As I slowly find my clothes and make my way towards the door
One more night to roll the dice and gamble for the win
One more night in paradise of liquor, vice, and sin
One more night in paradise of liquor, vice, and sin

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, organ, toy piano, percussion, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass, guitars, background vocals
Joe Fanning - baritone, ukelele, background vocals
Björgvin Benediktsson - background vocals

2. Let's Dance!

Walkin' down on 6th Street, done paid my daily dues
Could feel some crazy rhythms in the soles of my shoes
A barker grabbed my arm and shouted come check out the show
They'll kick your ass across the floor, they're playing the Zydeco
Well, I hadn't heard those sounds before so I thought I'd take a chance
The music grabbed a hold of me, come on let's dance!

I died and gone to heaven, my body drenched in sweat
The backbeat was relentless, the squeezebox reeds were wet
The bottom on that bass guitar could make a grown man weep
As the drummer kicked it in to gear and started digging deep
Well, I hadn't heard those sounds before so I thought I'd take a chance
Let the Zydeco wash over me, come on let's dance!

Gary Mackender - accordion, organ, percussion, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass, guitars, background vocals
Joe Fanning - electric guitar, background vocals
Les Merrihew - drums, background vocals
Björgvin Benediktsson - background vocals
Carla Brownlee - bari and tenor sax
Mike Coyle - trumpet
Michael Oliver - trombone
Greg Mackender - horn arrangements

3. Rudy Got Caught Again

Rudy got caught in the barbed wire again
He was running from the man with a bottle of gin
They took back the bottle but left him on the hook
So he could think about all the things he done took
Rudy got caught again

He'd been flirting with the law since the day he turned ten
About the same time his pappy got sent to the pen
His days turned into nights and his nights turned into days
Might take an act of God to change his wicked ways

In his dreams he was a different man
Had a home, some kids, and a wife
But that path was never meant to be
A life of crime was his only life

Now he's serving five to ten in the federal pen
He was in the right place but the wrong time again
He swears he didn't know after all of this time
His buddies in the bank were committing a crime

Rudy got caught in the barbed wire again
He was running from the man with a bottle of gin
They took back the bottle but left him on the hook
So he could think about all the things he done took
Rudy got caught again

Rudy got caught in the crossfire
Rudy stumbled over the tripwire
Rudy thought he was a high flyer
Rudy got caught again
Rudy got caught again

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass
Joe Fanning - electric and acoustic guitars
Björgvin Benediktsson - harmony vocals

4. Young Danny Lee

Young Danny lived at the edge of town
Only fifteen years was he
While lending a hand to his father Jack
Climbed up the roof to see
Time Stood still as if transfixed
By the knife of memory
In a room below Jack raised his gun
And shot young Danny Lee
O, he shot young Danny Lee

A cold wind on the prairie
The day young Danny died
The small Kansas town was turned upside down
For he was his father's pride
O, he was his father's pride

Old Annie Danny's mother
Healed animals by trade
His father Jack a stoic man
Had nothing much to say
His brother and two sisters
Too young to understand
Moved on through life not knowing
What Danny might've been
What Danny might've been

On the edge of that small Kansas town
Tucked back all dark and gray
The husk of their house still remains
As if they walked away
The furnishings all smell of mold
Their clothes in disarray
Dead vines all scattered 'cross the roof
Where Danny Lee did lay
Where Danny Lee did lay

A cold wind on the prairie
The day young Danny died
The small Kansas town was turned upside down
For he was his father's pride
O, he was his father's pride

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion
Catherine Zavala - vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass
Joe Fanning - acoustic guitar, mandolin

5. Justified Fitting End

Was you sent or did you just went
Asked the preacher 'cross the table from me
I told him it was neither I was backed up to a wall
Certain things are meant to be
I had to kill my father he was beatin' on my mother
Some old fences just will not mend
It was an unexpected, loosely-jointed, understated, overrated,
Jaded but sophisticated, justified fitting end

My Ma was a-raisin' my sisters and me
In a shack on the edge of town
She always did her best to keep food on the table
Even though Pa was not around
But he'd show up now and then in the heat of the moment
Reeking of a backwoods still
He'd been in a rage every day gone by
Since they laid him off down at the mill
He knocked us all around but my Ma got it the worst
Only so far a body can bend
Until his unexpected, loosely-jointed, understated, overrated,
Jaded but sophisticated, justified fitting end

There was a time things weren't so bad
When we were knee high to a man
But that must've been just a child's perception
Don't remember when they got out of hand

Now I'm doin' time on the local state dime
I did what I had to do
My Ma would've died and the bruises on my sisters
Were a spectacle of black and blue
I’m a peaceful man most every day
But when the trouble just would not end
I had to do something 'cause my ma and my sisters
Had not the strength to fend
If I had to do it over it would come out just the same
Some old fences just will not mend
It was an unexpected, loosely-jointed, understated, overrated,
Jaded but sophisticated, justified fitting end

Gary Mackender - accordion, organ, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass
Les Merrihew - drums
Joe Fanning - electric guitar
Mitzi Cowell - slide guitar
Björgvin Benediktsson - harmony vocals
Carla Brownlee - bari sax
Mike Coyle - trumpet
Michael Oliver - trombone
Greg Mackender - horn arrangements

6. The Purple Door

Gary Mackender - drums, organ, piano
Karl Hoffmann - bass, percussion
Ed DeLucia - guitar


7. The Die Was Cast

That Man you think you fell in love with
That man you think is here to stay
Can't see your house is made of glass
Dreams only of his past
Can't take you where you want to go
Long ago, the Die Was Cast

There was a time he said he did love you
There was a time that movement seemed so slow
But the cards came tumbling down when he told you
Cut your losses, I love you no more

Don't expect him to lay down beside you
Don't expect him to say it's all okay
At best all he can give to you
Is a fraction of his past
Can't take you where you want to go
Long ago, the Die Was Cast

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass, guitar
Joe Fanning - acoustic guitar, mandolin

8. Why Not Marry

We've been sweethearts since we were twelve years old
So why not marry me
Our secrets are unlocked all our stories told
Why not marry me
We can live in the house that my folks passed down
Be so fine just you wait and see
Would be a good life I'd provide for thee
Why not marry me

Yes, we've been together for all these years
But I cannot marry thee
I know your sisters and your brothers, aunts and uncles, too
I cannot marry thee
I know you want to settle in our little hometown
With a wife raise a family
But I have to move along need to see this world
I cannot marry thee

Sometimes a friend's just a friend
And we carry on
Lovers come and go like time
It's hard to find a friend
That will stick to the end
Won't cross that line
We'll both be fine

It's been so many years since you left this town
You never did marry me
You traveled o'r the world didn't let you down
Never did you marry me
I'm living in the same house in my little hometown
Laid down roots like an old oak tree
But I've loved you every day since you went away
Never did marry me

Yes, I've traveled here and there seen this big old world
Never did I marry thee
I feel like I've been on a tilt-o-whirl
Never did I marry thee
But I miss your little house on the edge of town
It's taken years of trial and error to see
That I've loved you every day since I went away
I might still marry thee
I might still marry thee

Sometimes a friend's just a friend
And we carry on
Lovers come and go like time
It's hard to find a friend
That will stick to the end
Won't cross that line
We'll both be fine

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, percussion, vocals
Catherine Zavala - vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass, guitars
Joe Fanning - electric and acoustic guitar
Don Armstrong - banjo

9. To Be Home Again

I left my home when I was just seventeen
I knew all there was to know
I packed my bags and drove as far as I could
No one to tell me where to go

Got me a job selling gas and cigarettes
Graveyard shift was all I could find
Married the first gal paid attention to me
No one to tell me I was blind

Oh to be home again
It was heaven to me
It was my sacred ground for years
Been gone so long
Makes it hard to see
Just what that home meant to me

Thirty years of trying to make my ends meet
Creditors been knocking at my door
My wife and kids walked out on me a lifetime ago
Grief and sorrow burns me to the core

I had not seen my folks for all these worn out years
But there was nowhere else I could turn
They took me in with open arms and love to spare
Asking for nothing in return

Oh to be home again
It's heaven to me
I've found my sacred ground right here
It's taken o so long for
Me to see
Just what my home means to me

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, organ, piano, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass, guitars, mandolin
Joe Fanning - electric guitar
Don Armstrong - banjo
Björgvin Benediktsson - harmony vocals

10. The Scarlet Oak

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, piano
Karl Hoffmann - bass
Heather Hardy - violin

11. Belinda Bonita

T'was at my best friend's wedding dance I first laid eyes on her
I walked right up asked her to dance such was her allure
We moved across the floor with a ballroom dancer's grace
I knew that she would be mine when I felt our first embrace

Belinda Bonita o come dance with me tonight
Belinda Bonita o until the morning light
There is no one else who can take your place
You're my only heart's desire
Belinda Bonita o come dance with me tonight

We pledged our love eternal exchanged our wedding rings
We felt like we were floating high as if we both had wings
We glided down the aisle o'r the threshold we did pass
Our new life lay before us I love my darling lass

I came home after work one day not all that long ago
Belinda's bags and clothes were gone I looked both high and low
Not a farewell message could be found have I gone completely mad
Or was Belinda just a dream of a love I never had
Was Belinda just a dream of a love I never had

Belinda Bonita o come stay with me tonight
Bonita Belinda o until the morning light
There is no one else who can take your place
You're my only heart's desire
Belinda Bonita o come stay with me tonight
O come dance with me tonight
O come stay with me tonight

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, percussion, vocals
Karl Hoffmann - bass, baritone guitar
Joe Fanning - acoustic guitar, mandolin

12. The Telling Kind

Gary Mackender - drums, accordion, organ, piano
Karl Hoffmann - bass, lap steel, baritone

All songs ©2017 Gary Mackender except The Die Was Cast ©2003


Tallsome Tales


Listening to Tallsome Tales you'll hear 9 songs of bad luck and love along with 3 instrumentals. Release date is March 21, 2018 but you can pre-order your copy now by clicking the Store link above.

Engineered and produced by Gary Mackender and Karl Hoffmann, mixed and mastered by Karl Hoffmann.

All Songs ©2017 Gary Mackender, ASCAP