Story 1997-05-18 Nice, France

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thank you, this is a song about a fellow who gets out of prison and uh….is trying to find his way back into his family and back into his (someone yells) yeah, I´m gonna need quiet if I´m gonna be able to sing tonight….someone can translate for me (chuckles) anyway, everybody´s struggled with a little straight time…..´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you….here´s a song about the price of insight (?)….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Murder Incorporated´
´´In the States we got a….part of our population whose lives and dreams are considered expandable….we got murder incorporated…..´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´It´s Hard to Be a Saint in the City´
´´Alright, voici un chanson pour mes vieux amis (chuckles)….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´It´s the Little Things That Count´
´´I was in this, uh….in this little bar outside of a city that I can´t name and uh (?)(chuckles) but uh, I stopped in, uh….I´d gotten lost on the way to a friend of mine´s house and I stopped at a little bar to practise my new-found maturity and call ´em and let ´em know that I was gonna be late….I go into this little bar on the corner and I don´t have any change and I ask the bartender for change and he says….´Well, we don´t give any change around here´….(?) ´Do you mean, uh, that nobody in the bar gives change or the whole community got together and said ´Fuck ´em, no more change´ ?´ (?) but anyway, there´s a waitress watching this and she comes over and goes like this and she´s got a quarter, you know, and I go to the payphone and I put the quarter in and dial the number but it seems I´m just a little bit outside the area code and I need 50 cents… I said ´Gee, you know, this is a 50-cent call´, she says ´Oh, that´s too bad but, uh, give me a ride home and I´ll give you another quarter´….(?) (some people start clapping) no, not necessary, just working in here so….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´
´´Yeah, alright, speaking of tongues….I said speaking of tongues (chuckles) let me get this right because the other night, uh, I think I said are there any women with red horses in the house, I don´t wanna (chuckles) I don´t wanna get that wrong again, it´s not ´chevaux´, it´s ´cheveux´ (chuckles)(says the phrase in French)(chuckles) I guess I didn´t get it right (chuckles)….this is a song about cunnilingus, a sexual act very popular in the United States (cheers) thank you, thank you very much…..uh, not much to say about it, probably invented right here (?)(chuckles) according to the pay-channel on my hotel TV (chuckles)….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Two Hearts´
´´(?)(chuckles)….thank you, my friend, for the correction (chuckles) uh, this is for my red headed woman…..
(….) Two hearts are better….(some guy: ´Than one´)….I can do it (chuckles)….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridge´
´´Here´s a song….I wrote for the Tom Joad-record and uh (?)….uh, in the mid-80´s, there was a group of homeless Vietnam Veterans that, uh, set up a camp in the San Gabriel mountains ….and uh, to get off the streets of L.A….uh, this is a song about….one of them, uh, San Gabriels is a mountain range in-between the Mojave desert and the San Fernando Valley and this is a song about one of them who had a grown daughter that he´d never seen and she growed up and 20 years later she comes looking for her dad, this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you, alright, this….this is a song about men, hommes, uh, women….femmes….love, l´amour….sex, sex….(?) I don´t know, tres difficile….(?)….ok, this is a song about one of those relationships where, uh, you almost made it, had, had a lot of good things going on, might´ve made it (?) if you weren´t so busy fucking it up all the time (chuckles) but uh…. anyway, I didn´t write about men and women for….about 30 years….wrote about, uh, men in the cars, that worked out pretty well for me so I stuck at that for a while….then I wrote about the men in the cars looking at the women….had a good run with that one too….then I wrote about the men and the women in the cars….but not talking that much…..that went pretty, that went down pretty well also….so then I took the men and the women out of the cars….that´s where I fucked up (chuckles) anyway, this is one of those relationships that almost made it but in l´amour, ´almost´ never counts, this is called ´Dry Lightning´….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Long Time Comin'´
´´Alright, this is a song, this is a new song, it´s a happy song….I don´t like to write those much any more….haven´t had a lot of luck with them….uh, I´ve found in general the public doesn´t like them so, uh….and they come back later and they bite you in the ass and….and you know, ´Take that, Mister Happy Song Writer !´ (chuckles) but this is a song that I wrote in spite of myself, what can I say, and uh….uh, I guess it´s a song about sort of having, having a chance to not do unto others as has been done unto you (chuckles) that´s a good lesson to learn, how to not do unto others as has been done unto you…..and when you have your kids and, uh, your, uh, family, you get a chance to put that into practise and I guess that´s what this is about….so wishing you happiness (chuckles)…..´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you very much, this is Kevin Buell….my compadre and the only member of the Tom Joad-orchestra (chuckles) it´s a little lonely out there but, uh, these next four songs are set in the Southwestern part of the United States, uh…..about six years ago, I was on a trip out there with some friends of mine and I was in this little Arizona town and, uh, I like to go off the interstates and I like to take these little state and county roads and was in one of these four-corner desert towns where there´s a gas-station and a motel and a grocery store and a bar, of course, all the necessities for human life to, to do well out there (chuckles) and I was in one of those motels, I like to say, where you can lay down at the end of your bed and if you open the door, reach out and touch your motorvehicle in the parking lot (chuckles) but, uh, it was late at night and these two Mexican men came in from the west, they were driving a (?) truck and one was a young kid, one was a guy about my age, I guess and he told me, you know, he looked at our motorcycles and started talking about….his younger brother who died in a motorcycle accident… about six years later, I was writing this song on the Central California drug trade, about two brothers and, uh…..his voice was in my head so I dedicate this to him every night, my mysterious friend, wherever he might be, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you, this next, this next song is set on the San Diego-Tijuana border, you get a lot of young guys in southern California that come out of the army and they go to work for the California border patrol, a confusing job….it´s an issue that was badly abused in the last Ameican election, there´s always been people coming across our southern border and doing jobs that nobody wants to do, for a pay that nobody wants to take, at the behest of American businesses and in return they´d, uh, their kids´d get some medical care and a chance at a better education but, uh, this is a song about a young border patrolman….who´s trying to figure out where that line really is down there…..this is called ´The Line´….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh….song about kids, I think once you have your own kids, you become extra-sensitive to anything, anything about children, I always say that kids got this window into the grace that´s in the world and they, uh, bring that with ´em and that´s the birthright of every child is that, that place and sort of the parents´ job, I guess, is kind of to let them live in that and protect them until they´re old enough to protect themselves….this is a song about kids that don´t have anybody to do that for ´em and that grace gets violated and, uh, they´re lost and on their own like you and I (?) would be at that age….they come across the border from, uh, Tijuana, across the Tijuana river and onto the streets of San Diego and, uh, end up in this place called Balboa Park….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´I grew up….in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of, I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of talk about culture or, or the place that culture was supposed to play in your life, wasn´t a lot of talk about books or films or….and, uh, the first thing I remember that had a real impact on me was the Top 40 radio, when I was a little boy, my mother was still a young girl and she liked that rock and roll music and she´d have the radio on in the kitchen every morning when we came down for breakfast and I started to, as I sat there in my little Catholic school uniform, my green tie and my green pants, I started to feel like I was hearing a secret message that, uh….´There´s a party going on´, all those records seemed to be saying, ´and you´re missing it, little boy´, you know (chuckles) ´Don´t go to school !´ (chuckles) but uh (chuckles) but, uh, those records really filled me with, they were the first thing that really gave me a sense, that was able, that was able to reach into me in a sense that there was a world beyond my little town, that there were other lives to be led beyond the lives that my friends and my family had lived and, and for a long time all that beauty and all the sex and all that fun and, and the soulfulness of those records sustained me, they still do….when I got to my late 20´s and a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and I went out and I got the Steinbeck novel and there was something in that film and in the book that affected me the way that those records did and I´ve returned to it many, many times for inspiration….it was something in that idea of somebody risking something for an idea that was bigger than they were, a story of a man who was educating himself and trying to save himself and, and then in turn trying to salvage his community….it was a heroic idea, an old-fashioned, uh… was a heroic idea so this is a song about the hope that people carry when there´s no longer any reason to hope, it´s about ….that element of hope that makes us human, I guess, and, uh, how in the end people fall back on hope and love and faith and family ´cause that´s all that there is….so I wanna do this for you tonight, I hope I get this right (speaks French)….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´You Can Look´
´´Alright, this is a song I´m going to do tonight because Elvis* is in the building, baby !…..´´
(* Elvis Costello was in the audience)

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´Thank you very much…..this is a song about, uh….brotherhood and sisterhood and faith and trying to put together the kind of….community you wanna live in….alright….here we go….´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Growin´Up´
´´I´ll do this especially for my young fans tonight…..´´

18.05.97 Nice, France, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you….this is, I need (some people are yelling) sssh, aah, merci (chuckles) this is a, uh, song that, uh….it´s the last song I wrote for the Tom Joad-record, it´s a song based on an incident that happened in the Gulf Coast of Texas in the mid-80´s….where, uh, at the end of the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese immigrants that settled in the Gulf Coast of Texas and went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen….so this is a song about, uh… matters what choices you make, this is called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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