Robert Terry

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The Short Story The Listening Room The Lyrics

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The Short Story

Robert Terry is a guitar player, singer, and songwriter who grew up in Toledo, Ohio. In high school he formed a garage band and played in local rock venues sharing stages with Bob Seeger, Ted Nugent, and Joe Walsh when they all were just starting out. In the early 70's he formed an acoustic trio and toured throughout the southeast and midwest. Highlights included a gig with Richie Havens and a shared bill at the Village Gate in New York with the Chapin brothers. Since his arrival in Los Angeles in the mid-70's he has worked as guitarist, vocalist, or songwriter with artists as diverse as Michael McDonald, Paul Williams, and cajun accordianist Joel Sonnier. He has toured the world gathering the life experience, characters, and stories that have gone into his songs. His latest CD, Junkyard Serenade is an ecclectic mix of blues driven, stark, soulsearching, sometimes quirky stories about lunatics, liars, and fools with a hint of Dr. John, Tom Waits, and Randy Newman.

The Listening Room

The Lyrics

Here's a sampling of lyrics from the Junkyard Serenade CD

Insurance Money
She's got a hairless dog with one big glass eye
Livin' in a suitcase in the yard
And when you knock on her aluminum trailer door
You hear, "Tell me who the hell you are"
She got a boy named Jim drives a Studebaker Hawk
There's murder in his eyes for sure
And a long line of men no one's heard from since
And two husbands they've stopped lookin' for

Waitin' on insurance money
Waitin' on insurance money
She's waitin' on insurance money
Damn, why won't it come

She worked downtown at a discount store
It wasn't much to talk about
She saw a crack in the stairs, her eyes lit like flares
She planned that whole thing out
Well she staged her fall smacked her head in the wall
That's why she's got this real bad twitch
And with a fractured skull she took the owner to court
But he went belly-up that son of a bitch

Waitin' on insurance money
Waitin' on insurance money
She's waitin' on insurance money
Lord, why won't it come

A fractured spine takes a little more wine
There ain't no crime that ain't worth a dime
And one less toe for a little more dough
Whatever it takes to make the money show

On a full moon night that one eyed dog
Dug up parts of Ed and Dale
The jury said life in jail
You know damn well what came in her mail

Waitin' on insurance money
Waitin' on insurance money
She's waitin' on insurance money
Damn, why won't it come

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Queen Of The Roller Derby
She's got bullfrogs jumpin' from her pockets
Black sneakers on her little feet
And a ponytail full of brambles
Her overalls have holes in the seat

We got fish hooks hangin' from the clothesline
Catchin' crawdads down at the creek
And her old man works for the railroad
And a mama who don't ever speak

She gave Buck Dooley two big black eyes
He was dumb enough to call her a girl
She can punch you as good as any boy would
Me and her got our own little world

We got chrome hubcaps full of rainwater
We can climb up any old tree
We got a great big box full of spiders
A rusted Oldsmobile in the weeds

She said, "One day I'll be the queen of the roller derby"
But right now were the king and queen of the neighborhood
Someday she'll be the queen of the roller derby
And I knew somehow, someway she would

There's a witch that lives on the corner
She yells, "You damn kids get outta sight!"
So we poked ten holes in her screendoor
So the bugs would eat her at night

We found a shotgun up in the attic
And a box full of shotgun shells
In the junkyard we shot up a Chevy
When the cops came we ran like hell

She said, "One day I'll be the queen of the roller derby"
But right now were the king and queen of the neighborhood
Someday she'll be the queen of the roller derby
And I knew somehow, someway she would

Eat your liver, eat your spinach
She says, "But hotdogs make me strong"
"Watch out that's poison ivy"
I was scratchin' all night long
She said, "I saw my mama hidin' money
In the back of a picture frame
So bring a coat, a sack of apples
And tonight we'll jump a hobo train"

She said, "One day I'll be the queen of the roller derby"
But right now were the king and queen of the neighborhood
Someday she'll be the queen of the roller derby
And I knew somehow, someway she would

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Trouble In This World
I'm a shell shock survivor
I'm the monkey on your back
Tell your brother he's a lizard
Tell your daddy he's a hack
And your mama better stop playin'
Accordian at night
I 'm about to go insane
And I'm sharpening my knife
I'm a sniper in the window
I'll sneak in while you're asleep
There's a loose wire sparkin'
down your whole family tree
With your daddy's old dentures
always sittin' in the sink
Something in that kitchen
that's always gotta stink

There's several big pieces of the puzzle that are missin'
You might get what you want if you fall for what you're wishin'
There's trouble in this world
There's trouble that you'll get
I can hear the bones creakin' in the back of my neck

Your old uncle Chester got in trouble with the law
New he's livin' in the attic cuttin' onions with a saw
He's got something on his lip
No one knows what it is
Your little lizard brother says he smells like fish
That cemetery dog you found diggin' up a grave
Chewed up half the house then dissappeard out the gate
Now your daddy got fired
He's been livin' on the couch
Drank a whole case of beer 'til your mama kicked him out

There's several big pieces of the puzzle that's missin'
You might get what you want if you fall for what you're wishin'
There's trouble in this world
There's trouble that you'll get
I can hear the bones creakin' in the back of my neck

Your whole family oughta be in a lunatic asylum
Gotta get out of here before I end up just like 'em
Tell your mama stop smokin' those damn cigars
I'm gonna bury her accordian out in the yard
Somebody take that away from her
Oh mercy

There's several big pieces of the puzzle that are missin'
You might get what you want if you fall for what you're wishin'
There's trouble in this world
There's trouble that you'll get
I can hear the bones creakin' in the back of my neck

There's trouble in this world
There's trouble that you'll get

The Short Story The Listening Room The Top

Never Be
Summer days were long and lazy
Like our first date at the fair
On a ferris wheel, lights swirling
As the wind blew through her hair

We got married had two children
Life seemed too good to be true
But slow and sure the world went crazy
Like it has a tendency to do

They packed up all the factories
To the Far East and Mexico
We both took jobs for nothin'
They came and repossessed our souls

We would argue, I was drinkin'
I'd hear cryin' in the hall
The kids and her, they moved to Vegas
Out to her sister's in the fall

I can see her in the doorway
Yellin' to the kids
"It's time for supper time", how she always did
I see her in the doorway
Smilin' back at me
How it always was, but it'll never be again

I used to think I was so handy
But now life's full of broken things
A busted lawnmower on the workbench
That old garage door's broken spring

Rusty tools that won't fix nothin'
Ah, if they could only fix her heart
But my words were like a chainsaw
Cutting everything apart

I can see her in the doorway
Yellin' to the kids
"It's time for supper time", how she always did
I see her in the doorway
Smilin' back at me
How it once was, but it'll never be again

Now the streets are lined with litter
No one cares to keep them clean
And the cemeteries full of
Those who lived and lost their dreams

No I won't get sentimental
But I guess I often do
I'll put my head upon her pillow
And let these tears flow into blue

I can see her in the doorway
Yellin' to the kids
"It's time for supper time", how she always did
I see her in the doorway
Smilin' back at me
How it once was, but it will never be again

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A Sure Bet Is
I'll hang a sign from my head that says I love you
I'll sit up on that flagpole for forty nights
I'll stick a million dollar bill in your garter
I'll find the biggest bad-ass for you and I'll pick a fight

I'll drive a truck full of nitro through Death Valley
I'll walk a tightrope with crocodiles for a net
I'll drink a fifty gallon drum of liquor
There are some things for sure that are sure bets

A sure bet is you can't sing like Louie Armstrong
A sure bet is I'll never walk like the "Duke"
A sure bet is you won't be the Q ueen of England
A sure bet is I'll drop dead if you do
A sure bet is you won't throw curves in a world series
A sure bet is no man will walk on the moon
A sure bet is we'll never dance like Fred and Ginger
A sure bet is I got it bad for you
I got it bad for you, I got it bad for you

I'll find some blood and drink it down like a vampire
I'll crown myself the King of Central Park
I'll hold up every bank from here to Tucson
And if I can't have you tell the doctor to cut out my heart

I'll sell insurance on the side if I have to
I'll eat a pound of jalepenos just like that
I'll wear those funny shoes and learn to play golf dear
Maybe I went too far with that golf crap

A sure bet is you can't sing like Louie Armstrong
A sure bet is I'll never walk like the "Duke"
A sure bet is you won't be the Q ueen of England
A sure bet is I'll drop dead if you do
A sure bet is you won't throw curves in a world series
A sure bet is no man will walk on the moon
A sure bet is we'll never dance like Fred and Ginger
A sure bet is I got it bad for you
I got it bad for you, I got it bad for you

If I could only get an answer baby
Maybe find some kind of hint
Read a book or find some religious man
Who can tell me that love's a cinch
But you can put me on a list of a long line of hopeless fools
With these twisted lines of logic baby
I'll bet you know I ain't go a clue
Well I'm just countin' on a little luck
That you can find it in your heart
To help me search though all this garbage
And we'll take the trash out at the start
Well I ain't no perfect man you know
And sure bets are hard to find
But a sure bet is
I got it bad for you and baby that ain't no lie

I'll do a dance with the devil if I have to
I'll drink a voodoo potion every day and night
The truth is I can't do half what I told you
But who knows for you I'm fool enough to try

A sure bet is you can't sing like Louie Armstrong
A sure bet is I'll never walk like the "Duke"
A sure bet is you won't be the Queen of England
A sure bet is I'll drop dead if you do
A sure bet is you won't throw curves in a world series
A sure bet is no man will walk on the moon
A sure bet is we'll never dance like Fred and Ginger
A sure bet is I got it bad for you
I got it bad for you, I got it bad for you

The Short Story The Listening Room The Top

What The Scarecrow Sees
Young Jimmy Lester got his old man's gun
Went downtown kidnapped a rich man's son
Took him out in the field late that night
And the rich man's son never saw the daylight

Sixteen year old Mary Lee Ann
Went out with a boy where the cornstalks stand
And what they did they want no one to know
But we all know she got a few months to go

What the scarecrow see's
What the scarecrow see's
We all wish we could see what the scarecrow see's

Some big city punks robbed a big city bank
Out in a field in the dirt they sank
At least a couple thousand dollars in some farmer's ground
Well they got cought but the money ain't been found

Some years ago in a full moon light
Some high school kids had a drag race one night
One bunped the other but no one really knows
Except for that stick man that scares off the crows

What the scarecrow see's
What the scarecrow see's
We all wish we could see what the scarecrow see's

Old Henry Dugan well they foreclosed his farm
Then his old combine cut off his arm
Went and got his gun, shot his wife, dog, and son
And they found old Henry tellin' the scarecrow what he'd done

Well the scarecrow's just some rags and wood
He wouldn't talk even if he could
'Cuz the scarecrow knows he's just for scarin' crows
He keeps it all to himself that's just the way it goes

What the scarecrow see's
What the scarecrow see's
We all wish we could see what the scarecrow see's

Well the crops get cut but the scarecrwo still stands
His feet planted in the ground watchin' over the land
But if you dare to even go out there
The scarecrow waits and he don't care

He's just doing his job scarin' those crows
And no one knows what the scarecrow knows
And the fools of this world all pass him by
And we all wish we had the scarecrow's eyes

What the scarecrow see's
What the scarecrow see's
We all wish we could see what the scarecrow see's

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