West Side of Town – by Tom Flannery
Wrote these lyrics a few days ago….then added a verse today and tweaked it some. Melody just kinda popped out. Not sure it’s done really, as I’m searching for notes in the middle of the song and ad-libbed a few lines. But it seems like a good place to stop and shout it out and see what sticks and what doesn’t. I guess this is what songwriters do. We sit slouched on the couch and search for stuff…
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Days and Days and Days Like This
That Ring It Don’t Fit Your Finger Anymore
So Far So Gone
Brand New Shoes
Will You Take Me Up
Don’t Let the Sun Hit You On the Way Out
Gonna Be Alright Joe
I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore
All songs written by Tom Flannery
recorded on August 10, 2011 in the Home Office
vocals, guitar – Tom Flannery
Cover photo by Alyssa Marie Flannery
Set Design by Kiera Rose Flannery
These songs are dedicated to my father and his courageous battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Joseph X. Flannery / 1927 – 2010. The most decent man I’ve ever known.
Listen to the entire record on the online Ipod Nano! Click below..
They Didn’t Give It a Name This Time
by Tom Flannery
Football season is finally here. I know this because Notre Dame has already managed to lose 2 games it should have won. It could be worse but the Irish have only played 2 games. So there’s a bit of silver lining.
On these glorious just-about-fall Saturdays and Sundays, it is quite possible to sink down in your couch at Noon, and if you have a superhuman bladder, not move anything but your thumb on the remote for more than 12 hours. As a matter of fact, I would recommend seeing how long you can last, if only to have something to talk about when you go back to work on Monday (Avoid liquids or you’ll never make it past the first quarter. Like most things, it’s all a matter of discipline).
The kids are back in school full-time. The house grows quieter earlier. The days are growing shorter little by little. There seems more urgency as we tackle the mundane tasks of the day. Summer malaise has worn off, and we feel like we should be working harder, or moving faster, or doing that little extra that we promised we’d do in July and August but never got around to doing. If we’re lulled into complacency Madison Avenue is always there to remind us that Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the proverbial corner. And of course, it won’t be long before we all start getting those dreadful catalogs in the mail with those impossibly good-looking real-life mannequins on the cover wearing red sweaters and scarves (no, “scarfs” is not the plural of “scarf”…I checked) standing in front of Xmas trees smiling manically at each other pretending that they look completely normal and that all of us look that way too.
People are already talking about 2012, especially Republicans, who are currently busy gouging each others eyeballs out for the right to get stomped in the next Presidential election…not because Obama is doing a great job because he isn’t, but because the Republicans have once again managed to corral a group of batshit-crazed ideologues who all look like they’ve overdosed on Botox. As I watch Rick Perry all by himself bringing the national IQ down every time he opens his mouth, I’m reminded of what the late great Texan Molly Ivins said. “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States … please pay attention.” That goes for anybody who thinks the earth is 5000 years old too, by the way. Folks are certainly entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.
Don’t get mad at me. I don’t make these people up. Look on the bright side. At least Christine O’Donnell isn’t running…although it might be interesting to have somebody in the White House who felt the need to spend money on a national ad in which she proclaimed, with a straight face, “I am not a witch”.
And Obama is not a foreign Muslim bent on destroying us all via creeping socialism….although you’d be forgiven for thinking so if Fox News is your cup of tea (excuse the horrible pun).
Obama is also not a great President, which I hoped he would be. He’s not even a particularly good one (his bank bailout and his retreat on Universal Health care lost me…..and unemployment has gotten so bad that Fox News has actually started to report on “new poor people”, which is ironic to say the least), but I dare say if it comes down between him and a guy who calls Social Security a “ponzi scheme”, I don’t think I’m gonna have any trouble deciding who to vote for.
Good grief. I seem to have gotten all liberal and commie-like all of a sudden. Over the last few years I’ve largely given up on politics, so I hope you’ll forgive my rare detour. Somebody had to tell me who my congressman was the other day….and at the moment I’ve forgotten his name again. I could google it but it hardly seems worth it. Mark Twain once said, “There is no native criminal class except Congress”…..and Twain was way smarter than I am. I don’t want to spend a splendid fall day googling somebody I didn’t vote for anyway. But still, it seems vaguely important to have sane people in charge of our government, which should disqualify Texans and deranged Alaskans at least. But….well…..never mind. It’s not 2012 yet. Maybe we’ll be obliterated by a meteor before then…or that guy who keeps changing his prediction dates on the rapture will get lucky. Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day you know.
Yea….and maybe Notre Dame will finish 9-2.
In a bit…
The images are more powerful than any words. The chocolate-brown river. Small, ankle-deep creeks suddenly turned into torrents that can rip a house from its foundation. Boats on various Main Streets. These small river-towns with their wonderful names. West-Pittston. Tunkhannock. Meshoppen. Duryea. Shickshinny. And dozens more. From above they call to mind New Orleans in 2005. When rivers take over neighborhoods, it always looks the same. Water and roofs. Tops of cars. You’re trying to figure out where the river ends and the neighborhood begins. Grand homes. Modest modules. Trailers. No discrimination. Water doesn’t give a shit what tax bracket you’re in.
Today we’re all pretty stunned by what’s happened. In ’72 they called it Agnes. It doesn’t have a name this time. It happened too fast. No time for names. I’ve heard a few ideas from folks affected, but they might make the weather folks blush.
It’s sunny as I write these words. Blue skies. Isn’t that always the way? After bringing tens of thousands to their knees, Mother Nature wakes up the next day and acts like everything is normal.
And all of us know that it could have been a lot worse. If the rain hadn’t stopped…..maybe a few more hours worth….the Wilkes-Barre levee would have been topped. And then…..well it would have been Agnes II. As bad as this was, it was not Agnes. Small consolation for many, for some areas got hammered harder this time then in 72. Levees, flood walls….it becomes cruelly mathematical after a while. The water stopped in one place will find another. Surely better for 1 to flood than 100, but tell that to the guy who lost everything but the clothes he’s wearing. Then duck.
Watched hours and hours on TV. Became numb after a while. Bridges look like foot-paths laid over the water. A house in the river…..getting obliterated as it slams into a bridge. An eerie night-time boat tour through 8 foot waters in West Pittston. That Victorian house on the right? So pretty. How many years old must it be? How many children raised there? We’re told the elderly woman who remains refuses to leave. She’s on the 2nd floor. Alone and in the dark. Leave? Where would she go? “Home” is the ultimate 4 letter word.
Many lost everything. Some had microphones thrust into their faces. “How do you feel?” I’m not sure I wouldn’t have lost it. “How do I feel? Wonderful. Heading to f-ing Disney World.” But Wyoming County folks are battle hardened. I saw no tears. I heard no rants. Just steely determination. “Well, this is home and we’ll just have clean up the mess and get back to it.” With water in the 2nd floor bedrooms. Incredible. These people respect the river. But they ain’t gonna be bullied by it.
So we all move on, no?
It’s all in the rear-view mirror now?
In Tunkhannock, Main Street is currently filled with residents pushing brooms. Not the kind of folks who wait for the “official” clean-up to begin. Bureaucracies have their time frame, and these folks have theirs.
Surely we’ll all remember this for the rest of our lives. For my generation, the way our elders spoke of Agnes, we’ll speak of the flooding of 2011. And of course, many others will speak of both…..for they eye-balled the river both times. They expected no quarter. And they gave none. Stalemate.
The sun is still out. The ground is dry in some places. The grass all around is golf-course-green from the rains. The television stations have returned to their regularly scheduled programs. What comes next?
And is it truly over? Will it ever be for some?
What comes next?
Better days I trust. Better days.
I eagerly await Mike’s words on this. These are his roads. This is his backyard. These are his people. He deserves the final say here.
In a bit…
Added a new section for videos. Will put new demos up mostly….but maybe the odd old favorite or two.
This is the newest song added. “Maybe It’s True“. You know it’s special ’cause I’m wearing my lucky hat.