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Make Right The Time

by Danny Schmidt

Hang tight the nightingale Sings though her body’s frail Songs where her feathers fail To make right the time The Earth’s on a string of beads Just one prayer on the rosary A single voice, a single: “Please, Make right the time” Every moment has a face Eyes of purpose, lips of place To know and speak of only grace And to make right the time
Tick Tock 04:57
Oh clear water -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock A little bitter but I ain’t bothered Gonna keep mine stocked -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock The gift of life in a plastic bottle Fill my glass from the tap like they asked, and it tastes just fine Safe for now, now it’s just a matter of time Love my brother -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock Brown skin now you’re bound to wonder Gonna keep my trust -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock And not blink at the sound of thunder A little understanding and kindness’ll do the trick Hope there ain’t nothing, nothing that makes him tick Will they check my pack -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock What’s a ball game without your flask But the line’s too long -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock Gonna miss the lineups and the first at bats It’s just a wait, play it safe at the gate, 'til they check you through Hope they don’t catch me but partly I hope they do Halloween -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock Ghosts and fairies in a sugar rush dream But I just can’t stop -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock My mind’s racing with this one damn scene Markin' blood on the door posts at night and they hope it takes But I hope Willy Wonka’s guards they’ve been stayin' awake CNN -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock A target list guessin' which one’s next And a hundred cops -- tick-tock, ticky-ticky-tock Intel and a ten foot fence All’s quiet on the front but the front’s just the last defense You gotta know what they’re tryin’ to blow Oh, and you’ve got to know . . . when
Today 05:25
The mirror in the morning's an uncomfortable stare Cause the rising and shining can cast quite the glare But kickback the cobwebs and peel back the skins Cause the armor of night's the purveyor of sins There's an army of lost souls don't know quite where to fight There's an enlightened archer claims that all shots are strikes refrain: Tell me why does the breath rise And fall with your best tries And where goes the color when the notes trail away You know silence is so soft And my soul is bankrupt From paying the price of tomorrow . . . today If you always march mindless straight out towards the sun You will burn yourself blind right back where you begun And if you drink enough silver you can see the mirage Of ghosts pitching pennies in the corporate garage But if your drums match the beat of your heart in the hills You will look on the place from whence god sends the chills refrain I can't tell you why but it seems love is true Cause I feel there's a cable which ties me to you From belly to belly, from cause to effect The threads of transcendence have woven their nets Is it catch me oh catch me, or please cut me loose Or is it we all fall together encased in cocoons refrain
Sunny Days 04:22
Sunny day, sunny days Don’t you trick me into stayin’ Don’t you lay me in the cornfield Just to take the corn away Sunny day, sunny days Don’t you trap me in your rays Either let me loose or promise not fade Quiet storm, quiet storm If the future holds to form From nowhere comes an island Where the winds are calm and warm Would you trade another day at sea For a gentle kiss right now? Well tomorrow’s just as soft as lips allow Sunny Days refrain Crystal clear, crystal clear I’ve been deaf about a year With wads of paper money in my head That plug my ears But last night the room was empty And the wooden walls were pure And the tunes so sweet I thought I’d found the cure Sunny Days refrain In the end, in the end It’s the fear to face your friends And you can only try your best And then just try and make amends But today I was bathed in kindness And wrapped in silk to dry And the sidewalks rubbed my feet as I walked by Sunny Day refrain Pack you bag, pack your bags With your footprints and your rags 'Til the weight of all your yesterdays They make your shoulders sag And be wary of the offers To carry off the weight And the sometimes lips of Sunny Days that brush across your face
Cleopatra 05:04
She told me that her name was Cleopatra when we met And I didn’t mind at all though she was lying I suspect I told her I’m the emperor of all that I survey “You can call me Alexander” -- well, she said that that was great Going round, this old mobile, going round It’s just as easy talking up as talking down She told me ‘bout a boyfriend who’d proposed in middle school And stories of her family I could tell she wished were true It was Christmas in the Catskills and Easter on the cape And Mama married money, and Daddy by mistake Going round, this old mobile, going round It’s just as easy talking up as talking down And I told her ‘bout the time I got arrested in the park For kissing after curfew and then for talking smart And as they drove me to the station house, in cuffs and in conceit I found a quarter bag of weed that’d been stuffed down in the seat Going round, this old mobile, going round It’s just as easy talking up as talking down I told her ‘bout the incident with fireworks and doves And she told me about Somoa and lilikoi and love And we compared our notes on marketplaces, Brownsville and Bombay And how the story of your life is always yours to trade away Going round, this old mobile, going round It’s just as easy talking up as talking down But when things got quiet, she got far And I caught a tiny glimpse of Cleopatra’s heart Curled up in candlelight at home And her fingers smelled like cigarettes and another night alone There comes a time in every barroom night when the light starts getting strange And the shadows and the highlights start to cross and start to change In the hollow of her cheekbones hid both fantasy and flight As she kissed me on the lips and disappeared into the night Going round, this old mobile, going round It’s just as easy talking up as talking down
Ain’t no more china -- just silver spoons on paper plates It’s the price you’re made to pay for being late Pull up a barstool -- the twins can take the piano bench Slide a little tighter now, and don’t complain It was quite the scene when Maybelle got to Abilene Cause kids they say the damnedest things Like “Mama’s got a baby in her belly comin’ soon” And the dinner stopped dead, they all turned their heads And Papa spit his water ‘coss the turkey and the bread It boils down to blood -- yeah, in the end It boils down to blood -- yeah well, it’s boiled down again It’s just a conversation -- the lady at the bar looked bored So he stumbled on to share a few choice words A hand in his pocket -- and one hand there on her knee A hand on his shoulder -- oops, that makes three He could hear it first before he felt the bottle burst Hank Williams sayin’ it could be worse The jukebox singing softly ‘bout the family and the curse And it was more than luck when the boots let up It’s his brother standin’ over with the shovel from the truck It boils down to blood -- yeah, in the end It boils down to blood -- yeah well, it’s boiled down again It was damn near midnight -- who the hell would knock this late Answered in a dumb and angry daze Standin’ out in her bathrobe, arms tied across her chest And all her eyes could say was: “Casey’s left” Well come in girl, we’ll set a pot of tea to boil I guess we’ll burn the midnight oil Damn the man can’t handle when he’s got a thing too good And she cried all night -- she was askin’ why Well honey I don’t know, but honey I know we’ll be alright Cause it boils down to blood -- yeah, in the end It boils down to blood -- yeah well, now let’s boil it down again
The Winds 03:27
Walking in the winds A spot of springtime weather A precessional of friends Now strike the band to play Walking in the winds Do you take this man forever? I don’t know about forever . . . But I’ll take him everyday. Walking in the winds Been living just a half a life Aloft but now descends It’s the grounding of the self Walking in the winds Do you take this girl to be your wife? Do I take this girl to be my wife? No, but I take her for herself. Walking in the winds It can toss you quite a distance So tie fingers onto hands When you feel the grip is strained Walking in the winds Do you love this man in sickness? Do I love this man in sickness? Is there any day that’s sane? Walking in the winds Through the mud and through the mortar Mold your house with just your hands Warm the walls with company Walking in the winds For richer or for poorer? For richer or for poorer? Man, the whole world just turned free. Walking in the winds Might just stumble onto treasure Through every curve and bend There’s a cave to stop and look Walking in the winds Plan your dreams together You best plan your dreams together ‘Fore they’re running underfoot. Walking in the winds Don’t let the daylight linger You can claim the trip begins Break the glass and sing the song Walking in the winds The ring upon the finger Slip the ring upon the finger Man, it’s been there all along. Walking in the winds When all the lipstick stains have dried Smeared prayers across your lips Yeah, now go and kiss the bride We can only bless the time And hope for gentle weather And that the will to grow together Just grows stronger in the wind.
Kings lose, princes fall, and queens lose their heads And the paupers laugh cause they're better off than dead Cakes are empty, castles cold, and wine’s thick with lead But the beans are soaked and the piñata's full of bread refrain: Bells ring, angels sing -- their harmonies in ninths The honky-tonk witches punch makes children of the night Paper trade, promenade, the bear swings its claws Cause when you dance on air you're bound to fall Guns don't argue and the badge don't lie, the man knows no bounds But now the hunter's hunted -- set loose the hounds Priests and rabbis fight to see who'll play the host While the Goddess dances with fathers, sons, and ghosts refrain Streets grow wrinkled, buildings bend -- outlived their good But the blood's still flowing back to the woods The crowd's gathering, come make your way -- just read the trees But come empty-handed -- this party's free refrain Come make your way. Come set the stage -- Where the filthy rich and the filthy poor Can dance upon a level floor And spin like children been released 'Til all that's left is dust Where the power ties and the petty crooks Can turn back all the ledger books And all the locks fall away to rust
Closing Time 04:52
Time will tell if it’s prophecy When Babel fell, did the babble cease? The first world’s bank is the third world’s crime And it all adds up at closing time History is a rich man’s tale A row of lamps on the paper trail But the lights have dimmed and the trading’s died And they’ve closed the books on closing time Now border fence got raised again And we all lament that the line’s so thin But the neighborhood is tucked in tight And lock your gates, it’s closing time Tell me this, when you’re on the street Do you look for hints in the eyes you meet? Or do you look away and say “Just fine” And hurry home at closing time Now the Golden Years with their edges brown Just one loose gear’ll grind the whole chain down And grown men cry just to grease their minds When they’ve lost their sense of closing time
Already Done 05:44
It was silent in Manhattan when the mountains tumbled down With waves of dust that scoured the streets 'til words themselves were drowned It’s a book of moving Polaroids: Jumpers jump and eyeballs bleed. A trail of tears to Jersey. The skyline on her knees. It’s already done. There’s a hole in Pennsylvania where the White House might've been Cause bad men learned to fly grenades but good ones pulled the pin And the Allegheny sings her prayers, a heroes' mass, a single grave Confetti ‘cross the forest marks the ticker-tape parade. It’s already done. Well I guess I never really understood the rules of war And who exactly it’s ok, or not, to go and burn Terror flies it’s flag up high -- this side white and that side black But terror’s just the timing -- who kicked first, and who kicked back It’s already done. If there was hope down in the rubble I’d hoped that it was this That in our vulnerability we’d open up our fists And lay hands upon the ruined and lay wrench upon the come unfixed And though we cannot heal them we shall see no more get sick It’s already done. Already done when I heard “less than human” come from the lips of our president Already done when I heard some guy shot some guy right through his turbaned head Already done when I heard eyes for eyes might somehow help us find our dead It’s already done when I heard our boys say the same words their boys said. If you’re gonna fly your flag my friend be mindful how it’s made And see it’s got six billion stars and stripes of every shade And hang it in the door frame until the door itself’s repaired 'Til all the grieving’s come its course and there’s no one left that’s scared
Sleep tight oh nightingale It’s only just the winds that wail Familiar tunes and foreign tales To make right the time They bring me dreams of jasmine tea To sip through all indignity Fragrant as to say for me: Make right the time For the gone and to the moved Unresigned and unapproved I offer only this to you: Make right the time


released May 23, 2003


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Danny Schmidt Austin, Texas

Named to the Chicago Tribune's "50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years," Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, with lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. ... more


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