Lost Blues & Forgotten Ballads

by William Lee and the Modern Primitives

/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.
    Purchasable with gift card

      name your price

     

1.
2.
3.
04:48
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
04:48
9.
10.
11.
12.
07:00
13.

credits

released September 9, 2009

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

William Lee and the Modern Primitives Nashville, Tennessee

William Lee is the nom de guerre of William B. Sealy.

The question of humanity—it's loss through privation of the spirit, it's corruption by seemingly unsurmountable forces, and it's redemption and salvation by acts and actors of disproportionate courage—is a pervasive theme throughout Lee's work. ... more

contact / help

Contact William Lee and the Modern Primitives

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: Without Hope, Without Fear Blues
Some hope for many, and many hope for none
And both say those who fight with fear are fighting everyone

One wields an earthly power over those who are lowly born
While the other argues over the function of that which has no form

So is that the arrangement?
So is that the arrangement?
So is that the arrangement, I see?

I come to see small Mary sitting by her phone
Eyes tight as two clocks, mouth made right to moan

Well, she stands and winks a smile when she sees my ugly face
And laughs into cut flowers put in a transparent vase

So is that the arrangement?
So is that the arrangement?
So is that the arrangement, I see?

Don't you think? (What to think?)
And don't you do? (What to do?)
And don't you see? (what to see?)
But don't you suspicion dear mothers, you may bring home quite another
That feels nothing for its sisters or brothers and nothing will be discovered
When they seize the world, a world without hope or fear

I go to the workhouse where we manufacture the tone
But it's hard to think about it when you're working over Orwell's bones

But at least it makes me sad to think I no longer have a home
And it makes me kind of angry to think that everyone must be alone

So is that the arrangement?
So is that the arrangement?
So is that the arrangement? I see.

Don't you see? (What to see?)
And don't you hear? (What to hear?)
And don't you need? (What to need?)
But don't you suspicion dear fathers, you may have fathered no son or daughter
And even you are subject to slaughter to the ones who are born and take on the form
The form of a world, a world without hope or fear
Track Name: Can't Fight the Devil
No you can't fight the devil, 'cause the devil too strong
No you can't fight the devil, 'cause the devil too strong
Good Lord you know that's where I was wrong

'Cause the devil is a weakness that no one sees
Oh that devil is a weakness no man or woman sees
Until they're brought low by their own knee

When I first met the devil the sun refused to shine
When I first met the devil the sun refused to shine
Well the next time I met the devil she was a friend of mine

Now men if you beat your women you beat your own self in
Now men if you beat your women you're beatn' your own self in
And women if you beat on your men you suffer from the same sin

Now if you meet the devil tell you what to do
Now if you meet the devil tell you what to do
Better start looking for that angel and stop looking for that devil in you

Now can't fight the devil 'cause if you do
No you can't fight the devil 'cause if you do
That weak now little devil sure gonna come to fight for you

I've heard it said many times blues is a worried hearted disease
Well I've heard it many times blues is a worried hearted disease
But when you get that devil life just turns out mean
Track Name: Lord Help Us
As I went down to the valley to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord show me the way

Come on sinners let's go down
Come on down, don't you want to come down
Come on sinners and let's go down
Down in the valley to pray

You go with those who go easily with you
You never give a good heart its due
You've never spent the night in the light of what it's like to be true

You seek wisdom yet keep company with fools
You commit the crimes of which you accuse
You claim the victim yet your heart's the victim of your own abuse

Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do
Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do

I chain myself and claim that I'm free
I don't know how around others to be
I challenge others for their wants while I deny my own needs

I set the lock but have forgotten the key
I ask a blind man what it's like to see
I conceal the truth from myself that no one could be as blind as me

Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do
Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do

Well I tried to be a good man, but there are no good men around
Hey hey well I tried to be a good man, but there are no good men around
Guess I'll try to be a good man in my way any how

They call the game and they hold all the cards
They're never near but always far
They make us till the earth and tell us to strive for the stars

They build the prisons yet live outside the bars
They take it easy and give it out hard
They may not be to blame but we believe they are

Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do
Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do

Well I tried to find my heroes, but my heroes could not be found
Hey hey well I tried to find my heroes, my heroes could not be found
The only heroes are lying six feets beneath the ground

We stay hungry as long as we're fed
We toss and turn in an unmade bed
We wake to find the world does not match the words that we've said

We push hope while we're filled with dread
We have left feet and we have no head
We believe our path is right but we know we are easily misled

Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do
Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do
Lord help us 'cause we don't know what we do
Track Name: Paulper One-Eyed Jack
Roamed and a rambled came upon a day
Found the days have made a man of me
Keep on roaming, that's how I grew to be
Now come on honey don't you want to run with me?

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me

Tell you how Father Time made a man of me
All you ladies and you gentlemen may disagree
All your calcified children might make three
But come on honey I know you want to run with me

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me

Don't know your youngster and he don't know me
Now honey now, don't want to, honey now, run with me
Your youngster can't see your forest for his tree
Now honey now, don't you want to, honey now, run with me

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me

Work in the daytime, at night I'm free
Don't owe nobody, nobody owes me
Stick by my side find yourself free
Now come on honey I know you want to run with me

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me

Roamed and a rambled came upon a day
Found the days have made a man of me
Keep on roaming, that's how I grew to be
Now come on honey don't you want to run with me?

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me

Got me by the head, got me by the nose
Got me by the fingers got me by the soul
All you got to do is just wiggle your toes

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me

Come and stick by my side now darling
Come see what it is you can see
You know if you come by my side now darling
You know you want to run with me

Run with me, run with me, run with me, run with me
Track Name: Song of the Gypsy Davey
Come with me, come with me to the wide and open sea
We will leave our clothes heaped upon the shore
We'll be free we'll be free I'll find you and you'll find me
And the things we did not need we'll need no more

Seek and find, seek and find the world rewards a seeking mind
Open paths will lead you to open doors
You'll be safe from all thoughts grave they'll be many miles away
As your graceful head will sleep on foreign shores

And we will be our own country as we wander joyously
Our happy hearts will be our happy home
To the lees we'll drink this tea of life and liberty
And our love will buoy us where we may roam

In my time I will find my own peace of mind
When it comes it will come as a relief
Just as all the time that's gone after many months alone
When you're finally cured of your disease

Come with me, come with me and we'll see its majesty
Upon its carpet we will lie content and prone
Come with me, come with me upon new born feet
Far from our old lives we will have flown

Come with me, come with me to the wide and open sea
We will leave our clothes heaped upon the shore
We'll be free we'll be free I'll find you and you'll find me
And the things we did not need we'll need no more
And the things we did not need we'll need no more
And the things we did not need we'll need no more
Track Name: Portrait of a Lady
She has a wicked smile she pulls from a scowl revealing straightened teeth
Through dark glass she stares and cuts through the air like a knife caught in relief
And she may hate the robber, but she'll love the thief
You may say you cannot love her but I have belief

Because when she opens her eyes she shows you the sky it's dark and it is deep
What she tries to hide though you see them shine is that they are known to weep
And everything you give away is everything that you should keep
And this is what you will discover when you see her, when you see her

See her, see her, see her

When we meet in this place I can feel your distaste though it could just be my nerves
In reality you don't even see me, the thought probably never occurred, we exchange polite words
Though I did observe, though no sound was heard, an exhaled surge, like the beating wings of a birds,
That sounds as the strings of a zither, though it may take a little courage
If you would only see her

See all around you, see the leper at your feet
See you can't lose if you have nothing to defeat
Except what you need, accept what you need

You say you can't be at home after all that's been done, with anyone that resembles me
But if nothing's been said how can it all be decided? Is this how we'll let it be?
You could see me as clear as when I look into my mirror
But you won't see me my dear until you see her, until you see her
See her, see her, see her
Track Name: Last Chance Blues
Why don't you give it chance? Why don't you give it a chance?
Life could be such a random dance if you'd just give it a chance

Let go of that world on a string, you could see it dance and sing
And all of its halls would ring if you'd just give it

A chance to come and a chance for it to go
A chance to get up from your bathroom floor
A chance forget a chance to know
A chance to open up your hands and feel it

Why don't you give it a chance? Why don't you give it a chance?
Give it more than a passing glance, what don't you give it

A chance to notice, a chance to ignore
A chance to open up your own doors
Or for a door to be closed
A chance to open up your eyes and see it

I don't know why you keep your self in the dark
You make yourself out to be such an easy mark
To swim with the fish you must swim with the sharks
Just as in the song every instrument must play its part
Why don't you open up your ears and hear it?

Why don't you give it a...? Why don't you give it a...?
Why don't you give it a...? Why don't you give it a...?

Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down
Sometimes you're up down turned around don't know where you're goin'
Don't you think that maybe I've been there too?
But you know I love living my life anyway

First you say yes, then it's no
Then it's yes no maybe then I've got to guess, well
Don't you think in the end I may not care?
But you know I love living my life anyway

Oh it's good to love living your life anyway
And you should love loving your life anyway

Why don't you give it a chance? Why don't you give it a chance?
Give it more than a passing glance, why don't you give it a chance?
Track Name: Evangeline
Woke up this morning with time on my mind
She's a women, she is a friend of mine
She places the calls and I spend the dimes
Spent my time on that line

But oh that mistress time she sure has pretty eyes
Can't find the reason, can't find the time for a girl called Evangeline

Met her in a dream she had pink cigarettes
She said here's one for all of your regrets
Held out my hand, she held out her thumb
Ain't it funny how those dreams come undone

For little Evangeline though she sure's got a pretty mind
Can't find the reason, can't find the time oh darling Evangeline

Woke up this morning with time on my mind
She's a woman, she was a friend of mine
Time's got holes the sizes of dimes for a girl called Evangeline
For that Girl called Evangeline
Evangeline, Evangeline, Evangeline
Track Name: Ballad of Lost John
This is the ballad of lost John

Now some say lost John come from England
Others say it was Washington D.C.
Some say down in the Mediterranean
People secretly suspicion it was Marin County

Well this is the ballad of lost John

Some say he lost his head over a woman
Others say it was the catcher in the rye
Or maybe it was the prophet Mohammad
Or just that place we call America, America, America

Well this is the ballad of lost John

Saw lost John trying to jump that little black train
Started singing poor boy to that engineer, down in the Valley
This is how he sang it to him

Mister engineer let a poor boy ride this line
Well mister engineer let a poor boy ride your line
Well I'd like to let you buddy but you know this train ain't mine

Sang him up another chorus

Said, would you let me ride for every single dime?
Would you let me ride for these few little thin now dimes?
Well I'd like to let you son but you know it's just not your time

So lost John came up to me, we went up through the trees
That moon was high, we went past the rivers and past the streams
He had some food hid up there, some lobscouse and honey
We heard that train whistle blow, here how it blow

We were sitting on a rock there me and lost John
The wind began to blow
Started to sing my song, here how it go

I was born in the country but now I live in town, I live in town
I was born in the country but now I live in town
That's no reason now to put a poor boy down

I carried your heart now from Knoxville to Memphis Tennessee, to Tennessee
Well I carried that heart now from Memphis all the way to Los Angeles
Just so I could be made a poor fool out of me

Where goes my lovely? Where goes my love?
Where goes my lovely? Where goes my love?
I thought I was holding her hand, I was only holding her glove

It's hard, ain't it hard
Well it's hard, ain't it hard
You go to your good gal's house she's got her good man to bar you

Where goes my lovely? Where goes my love?
Where goes my lovely? Where goes my love?
She looked on me with those eyes of a hawk, you Know I had those eyes of a dove

This was the ballad of lost John
Oh so lost and far far gone
Howling in that wilderness since time begun
Oh yes so this is that ballad of lost John
Oh won't you send up a little prayer for lost gone John
Oh he been howl'n out in the wilderness for all you lost children
Track Name: Poor Future Blues
It's on me, it's poor me, nobody have pity on poor me
You've got to have now pity, pity on poor me
She may stay, she may go, she'll back don't you know
By and by, lording won't you by and by

It's on me, it's poor me, nobody have pity on poor me
You've got to have now pity, pity on poor me
You may go, you may stay, you'll be back some sweet day
By and by, Lordy, by and by
Don't the moon look pretty just shining through the trees
I can see William Lee, oh but he can't see me
You may stay, you may go, you'll be back through that door
By and by, lordy won't you, by and by

I can't see my future I can't tell my past
Well I can't tell my future I can't tell my past
Lord it seems like every minute sure gonna be my last

Well minutes seem like hours hours they just seem like days
Well minutes seem like hours hours they just seem like days
I sure wish these people would quit their low down ways

Well I got a woman she stands five foot four from the ground
Well I got a woman she stands five foot four from the ground
Well she's tailor made and she ain't no hand-me-down

Well I got a woman now she's lightning when she smiles, lightning when she smiles
Well I got a woman now she's lightning when she smiles
Five foot and four inches and she's just good hugging size

It's on me, it's on me, nobody have pity on poor me
You've got to have now pity, pity on poor me
You may go, you may stay, you'll be back some sweet day
By and by Lordy, Lordy by and by
By and by Lordy, Lordy won't you by and by?

It's on me it's poor, won't you have pity on poor me?
It's on me it's poor, won't you have pity on poor me?

It's on me, it's on me, nobody have pity on poor me
I ain't got nobody have pity on poor me
Don't the moon look pretty shining through the trees
I can see brother Lee but he can't see me
She may go she may stay, she'll be back some sweet day
By and by, mamma, won't you by and by?
By and by, mamma, won't you by and by?
Track Name: Blues for Day
"It's hard not to give a shit man."
Blind man spits at the sun,
'Cause he can't stand the heat of it
Sightless shadows cannot run

Some times it seems a cabaret, though, running the night long

Where the bare and naked tender ladies play
those lonesome now blues for day

I left him on that hot now, on that Arkansas now, on that Arkansas road
I got the oil I needed, oh yes the oil I needed for that broken down ford
Drove on to California, my trouble there was more

Well trouble came a knocking, knocking on my awful front door
Trouble came a knocking, yes a, on my old front door

I hear the animals cry outside my window
The coyotes howl and the owls do crow

All the animals were talking with a voice only they did know
All the animals were speaking with a cold voice oh so unknown
All the animals were talking with a cold voice only they did know

You know by that good lord, I've been alone
I've got the blues lord, those blues for day
And that devil moon sure won't let 'em pass away
And all that I've seen beneath the sun, it's all too much to say
I've got the blues Lord, those blues for day

Oh that cold blue moon won't let 'em now, won't let 'em now pass away
Oh that blue moon sure won't let it go on, pass on there weary way
Oh Lordy won't you let that blue moon go on and pass along its weary way
Oh but I know you won't let that moon go on and go on and pass away

No it's not easy, howling free at the moon
Knowing full well, the sun will beat you down soon
No it's not easy, howling free at the moon
Knowing full well, the sun will beat you down soon

Well it's the taste of menís' feet that cut this corn what makes this whiskey true
Knowing full well the sun will come out and beat them down too
It's not easy howling free at the moon
It's not easy howling free at the moon
It's not easy howling free at the moon
It's not easy howling free at the moon
Track Name: Mary Ann
Saw a mother with her child the other day
Waltzing through the sand
On the beach where I had been lying
What they could not see was that I could not stand
Oh Mary, Mary Ann
Oh Mary, Mary Ann
Mary Ann

The mother looked at me so severely
So I sent them both a vacant empty glance
Luckily with her mother the child did not agree
She sent me that smile that can't be chanced
Yes that smile that cannot be chanced
Yes that smile from Mary Ann
Mary, from Mary Ann
From Mary Ann

You know the world just takes its time from me
My friends they all have better plans
All the time I found I ever really needed
Found in that smile from Mary Ann
Yes in that smile from Mary Ann
In that smile from Mary Ann
Mary, From Mary Ann
From Mary Ann

The sun's heat is carried off by a gentle breeze
I can see her mother's skirt wave like a flag
She's standing in the languid and lapping sea
Calling "Mommy" and her mother she calls back
Yes her mother she calls back
She calls "Come on Mary Ann"
"Mary, Oh come on Mary, oh Mary Ann"
"Come on Mary, oh Mary Ann"

So now I've found the strength to get up and stand
And face once more that western sun
It's not so harsh with that southern breeze a blow'n
And as long as it smiles on me
Smile on me and Mary Ann
Smile on me and smile on Mary
Oh smile on Mary
Oh Mary Ann
Oh smile on Mary, Oh Mary Ann

There is no such thing as nothing I do believe
There is no such thing as nothing I do believe
Well there is no such thing as nothing I do believe
There is no such thing as nothing I do believe
I do believe
Track Name: Children of Tomorrow
Born out of nothing
Unknowing of joy or sorrow
How they have always come
Children of tomorrow

Coming to make their claims
Which hold all joys and sorrows
See their sons and daughters there
Children of tomorrow

Looking for a chance to take
While finding only one to borrow
Driving memory and fate deep beneath the waves
For those children of tomorrow

Now childs of the earth may bring nightmares
But others may come with their dreams that aren't so hollow
But haven't we all been fed on those dreams
Of those children of tomorrow

Now I was not born yesterday
And I may not be born tomorrow
But haven't we all been born from
Those children of tomorrow

If you like William Lee and the Modern Primitives, you may also like: