Church Underground

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She stood spotlit in a plain print dress
Came howling out of the wilderness
There beat a cunning and murderous heart
Beneath that calm exterior

"You know my name
You don't know my mind
Don't doubt my eyes
They betray the past
And I've already forgotten
Much more than you will ever know"

And every word that I have spoken is true
Except for those that were broken in two

I'm trying to make peace after a long night of pretend
I need a pawnbroker or moneylender

Why do you do me down, Mister?
Sing "Hallelujah," Sister
Turn up the volume, just to turn it down
The trivial secrets buried with profound
It's enough to put a Church Underground

Deflowered young and then ever since
She's tried to wash off his fingerprints
So every charlatan and prince
Was made to feel inferior

She worked for tips in a 10-cent dance
Said moving pictures might pay perchance
10,000 one-way tickets to the sparkling coast
From the blank interior

Everybody's either talking in code
Or getting ready to explode

Then she was singing with five-piece band
But seems that no-one wants this sound

Why do you do me down, Mister?
Sing "Hallelujah," Sister
Turn up the volume, just to turn it down
The trivial secrets buried with profound
It's enough to put a Church Underground

The shaft of fanlight streaked with rain
Poured through the glass, punched through the pain
A holy picture hidden in the midden of that poisoned stitch
Her lonely voice was just a ruin in these riches

Must have been dreaming this all along
Could she be redeeming herself in song?
“I'm no-one's martyred, plaster saint
Below the grease, beneath the paint”

I'm rolling like barrel
Swinging like a gallows
I'm rising up fast like all hell and all hallows

Why do you do me down, Mister?
Sing "Hallelujah," Sister
I'll be damned or purgatory bound
Before those jokers ever understand
It's enough to put a Church Underground

Utopia, KS, 1915 To The Garden of Allah,
Hollywood, California, 1947

Church Underground
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byT Bone Burnett
MusiciansElvis Costello - lead and harmony vocals
Pete Thomas - drums, percussion
Dennis Crouch - double bass
Jerry Douglas - lap steel
Stuart Duncan - electric viola
Steve Nieve - piano, Hammond organ
Marc Ribot - electric guitar
Darrell Leonard - trumpet
Tom Peterson - baritone sax
Ira Nepus - trombone
George Bohanon - trombone
Maurice Spears - bass trombone
Horns arranged by Darrell Leonard
AlbumsNational Ransom, 2010
Length5:02

First known performance:
April 21, 2011, Melbourne, Australia
Last known performance:
October 22, 2017, Austin, TX
     (113 known performances)


National RansomNational Ransom album cover.jpg

Covers

no known covers

Internal links

External links