Secret, Profane & Sugarcane lyrics

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Down Among The Wines And Spirits

Down among the wines and spirits
Where a man gets what he merits
Once he was written in letters of nine feet tall
Now he finds how far he's fallen
Since he set his mind on her completely
Oh well I guess that you mustn't have seen him lately
Walking around with a pain that never ceases
He starts to speak and then he falls to pieces

Down among the wines and spirits
Where a man gets what he merits
Lives with the echoing words of their final quarrel
The vacant chamber and the empty barrel
But as he picks himself up from a sawdust floor
Clicks his fingers to that swinging door
Suddenly he's calling out more, more, more
I'm twice the foolish man I was before
Down among the wines and spirits

Bubbles escaping from him from the rim of a glass of grape
She sails through his memory just like a ship of chaplet
As it started to sink he was drinking to drown his sorrows
That fill his nights and they empty his tomorrows
But as he picks himself up from a sawdust floor
Clicks his fingers to that swinging door
Suddenly he's calling out more, more, more

Speaks of invisible things he hardly credits
Down among
Down among
Down among the wines and spirits

(additional lines in early performances:)
Walking around with a head that is fit to burst
A heart full of hurt and a powerful thirst


Complicated Shadows

Well you know your time has come and you're sorry for what you've done
You should've never have been playing with a gun
In those Complicated Shadows
Well there's a line that you must toe
And it'll soon be time to go
But it's darker than you know in those Complicated Shadows

All you gangsters and rude clowns
Who were shooting up the town
When you should have found someone to put the blame on
Though the fury's hot and hard
I still see that cold graveyard
There's a solitary stone that's got your name on

You don't have to take it from me
But I know what I spake
You think you're like iron and steel
But iron and steel will bend and break
In those Complicated Shadows
Go!

Sometimes justice you will find
Is just dumb not colour-blind
And your poor shattered mind can't take it all in
All those phantoms and those shades
Should Jump up on Judgement Day
And say to the Almighty "I'm still stinking of sin"

But the jury was dismissed
Took his neck and they give it a twist
So you see you won't be missed in those Complicated Shadows
You can say just what you like in a voice like a John Ford film
Take the law into your hands
You will soon get tired of killing
In those Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Go!


I Felt The Chill Before The Winter Came

Well, there's a difference in the way that you kissed me
And there's a sadness in your eyes that you can't hide
Why do you tremble when I hold you?
I wonder if you feel the same
I felt the chill before the winter came

But it's easy to say that I won't give in again
I was just tempted for a moment and then some
But it's so easy when you love to lose to control
Now look here if you will
At the faithful man you stole

I felt the chill before the winter came
I suffered the guilt and then accepted the blame
I wanted you before you ever spoke my name

But I knew that we would go wrong
Just as they do in all in those old tragic songs
Did that melody haunt your mind?
Just like a linger of perfume
Now you're in someone else's arms, locked up in another room

Is there's a difference in the way that he loves you
Is there still sadness in your eyes, you can't deny?
Do you tremble and sigh when he holds you just like I do?
What were you thinking of to throw away our love?
And it's easy to say that you won't give in again
You were just tempted for a moment and half
But it's so hard when you desire to lose control
I don't know what this feeling is but it sure seems cold

I felt the chill before the winter came
I suffered the pain and then accepted the shame
I will have lost your love by end of this sad refrain?

I felt the cold creeping over my skin...
Still as the air until the wind rushed in
Still in control, holding on to my heart and soul
Only inches from sin


My All Time Doll

When I was away I needed you so
And now I'm coming home to stay
I won't wake in the night and reach for you
And turn on the light and to my dismay

You're not there
You're never around
Or is it me?
It's so hard to see
I flick off the switch
And stare in dark
And wait for you to appear

You're My All-Time Doll
I'm out of control
It's broken my mind
But that's not all that you stole

You're My All-Time Doll
You're all I adore
I'd swear to it now it but I already swore

My eyes are blinded with tears
But it's all my own fault
My lips taste of cruel words
My eyes sting with salt
But you can take the way I feel about you
And put it in a vault

You're My All-Time Doll

From near and from far
I've known many a girl,
Now... I'm closing in
My heart is beating
Like a whip on a hide
It's raining outside

You're My All-Time Doll
I'm out of control
It's broken my mind
That's not all that you stole

You're My All-Time Doll
You're all I adore
I'd swear to it now it but I already swore

Every time I rant and rail
Every time I try and fail
Any time I want to quit
And say, "That's the end of it"
When I stand and start to leave
You cool my brow, you tug my sleeve

You're My All-Time Doll

I'm walking, I'm pacing, my heart is racing
I swear that clock is running slow
It only speeds up for a moment or so
Each time it's time for me to go

You're My All-Time Doll
I'm out of control
It's broken my mind
That's not all that you stole

You're My All-Time Doll
You're all I adore
I'd swear to it now it but I already swore

In the far flung cry of a closing saloon
On the blank back side of that poisonous moon
I tried not to think about you
I thought I was immune..

You're My All-Time Doll


Hidden Shame

I'm sorry to say that you don't know me
I'm sad in ways you never understood
Each time I try to tell the ugly truth
You always let it pass you by
You said I 'd never tell you a lie
Just because I could

Did you really think I was a bad man?
You always said that Bad should be my middle name
But you don't know the half of it
You don't know how that name fits
You don't know my hidden shame

Chorus:
Hidden shame, shame, shame
And I can't get free
From the blame and the torture
And the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don't know me

Well, there's a different kind of prison
And it don't even have to look much like a cell
It's already on your mind
Boy, we can see it in your eyes
So, here's the bars and walls as well

Well, you know I'm never coming home, babe
You said you'd stand by me until I cleared my name
Sure it's easy to be strong
When you know the charge is wrong
But the days and weeks get long
When you've got a hidden shame

(repeat chorus)

I had a friend when I was just a boy
We were like brothers, we would run and hide
And we went walking on a high hillside
And I really don't how it happened
He turned to me and had this strange look in his eye
But not a single word was spoken
I must have pushed him, but I don't remember why
And all at once, he lay there broken
And I walked down without him and I buried it deep inside

(repeat chorus)

They say you always hurt the one you love
And I'm not saying if I did or if I didn't
It's just like shame, that kind of love is always hidden
They locked me up here for the ideas in my head
They never got me for the thing I really did

(repeat chorus)

You really don't know me
You really don't know me


She Handed Me A Mirror

Andersen:
She handed me a mirror
That she had gazed upon
The glass still held an image
The glass still held an image
But it was of a man
I turned from the reflection
To see who it might be
Is that poor vanity quite how she pictures me?

She handed me a mirror
Rather than tell me “no”
She let slip her handkerchief
Gentle laughter flowed
Just as her lips bestowed
The dashing word like “brother”
The crushing word like “friend”
If there was no beginning
How could this be the end?

She handed me mirror
So I could recognise
The distance from my heart to hers
The distance from my heart to hers
The pity in her eyes
She liked my pretty story
I thanked her for her song
And then I wrote a tale not very long to tell
"You are much more than pretty. You are beautiful."

She handed me mirror and I saw her instead
She handed me a mirror
She handed me a mirror
And that is all she did…


I Dreamed Of My Old Lover

I dreamed of my old lover last night
I wonder if I spoke out loud
And if by chance my husband overheard
He put my face back in the crowd

His eyes were clear and gentle then
He kissed the troubles from my brow
I long to fall to sleep again
And I wonder how he would look now

Would our kids grow sullen or grow strong?
Would their limbs bronze in solitude and sun?
I like the way it feels but then
I rarely dream of anyone

In the songs of shame and the tales of dread
Where they seal the lovers' lips with lead
And all the vines wind through their eyes
Oh but no one knows this passion now
Oh no one knows this passion now

So I keep this fancy to myself
I keep my lipstick twisted tight
I long to fall to sleep again
I dreamed of my old lover last night
I long to fall to sleep again
'Cause I dreamed of my old lover last night


How Deep Is The Red?

Lind:
Is this is not a pretty tale?
Is this not a riddle?
A bow shoots arrows through the air
A bow drags notes from a fiddle
But who is the beau of poor girl’s dreams?
That a king may send to battle

Is this not a pretty tale?
Is this not a riddle?
If red is the breast of soldier’s tunic hung with a silver medal
And red is the thorn that protects the rose, a deeper red than the petal
How deep is the red our redeemer bled, the debt of our sins to settle?
How deep is the red?
How deep is the red?
How deep is the red our redeemer bled?
How deep is the red?


She Was No Good

She could be no good, I'm telling you
Gather round boys for a tale that is tragic and true
On the Mississippi riverboat, "Magnolia"
No one onboard was smelling too sweet
That precious one must have been stamping her feet
Dictating demands all well and fine
A few rods west of the Bridgeport line
But the veil was drawn and the halo slipped
Tippling tinctures and reciting scripture

Faces where slapped just as kid gloves were suffered
Vile threats were uttered and challenges offered
On the Cumberland riverboat, "E.W. Stephens"
Daggers were drawn on pistols pulled
Staggering ‘til dawn filled up with whiskey and rum
And several drunken players ran amok
Rampaging with the crew around the deck

And I received a blow that was unkind
It turned my cheek to the colour of gentian violet
I wouldn't say that this journey had quite been the highlight
Of the All-American Tour
Teetering on the edge of war
Out of the genteel Northern prosceniums
Filled up with imitation Europeans
Down along the river of rough damnations
By the blood-stained cotton and the slave plantations


Sulphur To Sugarcane

It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane
Everywhere I travel the pretty girls call my name
I give them a squeeze and they shoot me a wink
I buy their hard-headed husbands a long cool drink
You better come up smelling sweet 'cos you're a long time stinking
It's a little too late to complain
It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane

Now if you catch my eye and you find that it runs down your leg
It's like striking a match pretty hard upon a powder keg
They tell you from the borders to the waters of the gulf
If you take all the sugar you will end up in the sulphur
And you're burning
Hello baby I'm pleased to meet you
I wouldn't do you wrong, honey
I wouldn't cheat you, honey
When can I see you again?
Wrap you up in cellophane
It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane

It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane
When your eyes fill up with brine
'Cause you're drowning in wine
It's like the last days of Rome
With the despots and divine
And there's no place like home for a little doll from China
It's a little too late to complain
It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane

You can go west to Texas
Go east to Mississippi
You can run out of money
You can run out of pity
Throw open your purse until you're crying for mercy
Go to Alabama
Escape Louisiana
I'm digging like a miner North and South Carolina
And then if you continue you will end up in Virginia

The women in Poughkeepsie
Take their clothes off when they're tipsy
But in Albany, New York
They love the filthy way I talk
Until they gargle with the finest champagne
They can't get the grape and the grain
It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane

It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane
If I could find a piano
Here in Bloomington, Indiana
I would play it with my toes
Until the girls all take their clothes off
The women knock upon my door in odd and even numbers
But none of them as wild as I've discovered in Columbus
I gave up married women 'cause I heard it was a sin
But now I'm back in Pittsburgh, I might take it up again
Because they gargle with the finest champagne
They can't get the grape and the grain
It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane

It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane
Up in Syracuse
I was falsely accused
But I'm not here to hurt you
I'm here to steal your virtue
Down in Bridgeport
The women will kill you for sport
But in Worcester, Massachusetts
They love my sauce

The women in Poughkeepsie
Take their clothes off when they're tipsy
But I hear in Ypsilanti
They don't wear any panties
Once they gargle with the finest champagne
They hitch up their skirts and exclaim
It's not very far, sugar
It's not very far, sugar
Pour a little sugar on me, sugar
It's not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane


Red Cotton

I'm cutting up her pure white dress
That I dyed red
That I dyed red
I'm putting scraps in cheap tin lockets
What time erases and memory mocks
I'll send them over the ocean foam
Right into those gentle European homes

The slave ship "Blessing" slipped from Liverpool
Over the waves the Royal Navy rules
To go and plunder the Kingdom of Benin
Where certain history ends and shame begins
Dahomey traders paid in powder and shot
Line up their prisoners and they sell them in lots
They packed them tight inside those coffin ships
And took them to the brand new world of
auction blocks and whips

I'm cutting up her pure white dress
That I dyed red
That I dyed red
I'm putting scraps in cheap tin lockets
What time erases and memory mocks
I'll send them over the ocean foam
Right into those gentle European homes

White is the sheet on your fine linen bed
The blood stained red on each cotton thread
Merchants will gather at St. George's Hall
To unveil the kneeling slave who is carved upon the wall
So picture the scene on the Old Salt House docks
Where they loaded the iron shackles and locks
Between a sandstone crocodile, a barrel and a bale
You will see the nameless faces they were offering for sale

So, I sing the praises of God's glory
As a blue cetacean floats in the basement
An elephant on the second storey
They queue all day to see him
In my American Museum

But the Lord will judge us with fire and thunder
As man continues in all his blunders
It's only money
It's only numbers
Maybe it is time to put aside these fictitious wonders

But man is feeble
Man is puny
And if it should divide the Union
There is no man that should own another
When he can't even recognise his sister and his brother


The Crooked Line

Life isn't a game won or tied
Lost by either side
Then some people's idea
Of the straight and narrow didn't appeal to me

If you were my life's companion
As it seems you may turn out to be
I'm contemplating
How I hope I'll find you waiting
At the very end of this crooked line

Love isn't a trial of strength and weakness
Through light into darkness
Then some people remark
The worthwhile fire never started without that spark

If you were my life's companion
As it seems you may turn out to be
I'm contemplating
How I hope I'll find you waiting
At the very end of this crooked line


Changing Partners

We were dancing together
To a dreamy melody
When they called out "change partners"
And you waltzed away from me
Now my arms feel so empty
As I gaze around the floor
And I'll keep on changing partners
Till I hold you once more

Though we danced for one moment
And too soon we had to part
In that wonderful moment
Something happened to my heart
So I'll keep changing partners
Till you're in my arms again
Oh my darling I may never
Change partners again

Though we danced for one moment
And too soon we had to part
In that wonderful moment
Something happened to my heart
So I'll keep changing partners
Till you're in my arms again
Oh my darling I will never
Change partners again

Oh my darling I will never
Change partners again


Femme Fatale

Here she comes, you better watch your step
She's going to break your heart in two, it's true
It's not hard to realize
Just look into her false colored eyes
She builds you up to just put you down, what a clown

'Cause everybody knows (she's a femme fatale)
The things she does to please (she's a femme fatale)
She's just a little tease (she's a femme fatale)
See the way she walks
Hear the way she talks

You're written in her book
You're number 37, have a look
She's going to smile to make you frown, what a clown
Little boy, she's from the street
Before you start, you're already beat
She's gonna play you for a fool, yes it's true

'Cause everybody knows (she's a femme fatale)
The things she does to please (she's a femme fatale)
She's just a little tease (she's a femme fatale)
See the way she walks
Hear the way she talks


What Lewis Did Last

The smoke from the battlefield drifted away
As Corporal J. Lewis deserted the fray
He ran from the bullets, evaded arrest
He told his companions I must get my rest
He told his companions I dream every night
The faces of men I've dispatched in the fight
Their shades will approach me as I lie so still
They offer their hand but they wish me no ill
They're shaking their heads now at something they know
For there is another who still haunts me so

Her name was Naomi, her life it was brief
She was plain, she was homely and destined for grief
She coveted riches, believed in my prize
She fell to her end, in the water she lies
There were no farewell kisses, no tender embrace
She was guilty of something beyond avarice
She entered the waters and down she did flow
But they gathered her up and it troubles me

It's not the account of her pitiful death
It's not her last pleading for her final breath
But when I consider how she once beseeched me
Her face has no features, her tongue has no speech
So I'm here to tell you what Lewis did last
Ahead of the firing squad and trumpet blast
He broke through the glass for a lock of her hair
He dug up her grave but the coffin was bare


Dirty Rotten Shame

I recall the good old days
But thankfully they've gone
Now the ponies are all broken nags
That stumble as they groan
And throw the jockeys from their throne
When there are ditches left to dodge
And lions left to tame
But it's nothing but a dirty rotten shame

It's a dirty rotten shame
That when you're frivolous and strong
It isn't youth, its fearlessness
That has been wasted on the young
The cruel are in the cradle
And the bishop's in the bag
It's nothing but a dirty rotten shame

Now I sound like a millionaire
That brags of rags and jewels
A snarling pup is wild enough
But as his anger cools
He's left to sharpen useless tools
That tear and graze in fine affrays
But few are worth the name
It's nothing but a dirty rotten shame

It's a dirty rotten shame
And that is not an idle boast
When all your courage and your strength
Will leave you as you need it most
When there are lamps to dampen
And cauliflowers to flip
It's nothing but a dirty rotten shame
It's nothing but a dirty rotten shame

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Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Secret Profane & Sugarcane album cover.jpg
studio album by
Elvis Costello
ReleasedJune 2, 2009
ProducerT Bone Burnett
LabelHear Music
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