by Frank Gayer Martin

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released June 1, 2006



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Frank Gayer Martin Glenwood Springs, Colorado

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Track Name: Memphis Train
Memphis Train
©2002 Frank G Martin 12/19/02

I’m traveling north
On a train bound for Memphis
I have but one purpose
To visit my sister
And purchase a gravestone
Inscribed with my father’s dear name

He died up in Memphis
While I finished high school
And lived with my brother
I’ll always remember
He told us he loved us
And he would return one day

On that Memphis train
I’m on my way
Memphis train

Well I’m from Louisiana
A farm near Morganza
My brother sells lumber
They ship up the river
I’d make a good a doctor
But they say there’s war on the way

Now I work for the railroad
With clerks and the porters
Who carry the baggage
For sons and for daughters
Of the last southern gentry
Who know what it’s like to own slaves


My father taught English
To emigrant children
That washed up in eddies
Of the great Mississippi
Up from New Orleans
To backcountry hills made of clay

They called him a dreamer
He worked as a cooper
He spoke French and German
And was trained with a camera
He married Amanda
Now ten children carry his name
Track Name: Sixteen Tons
Sixteen Tons
©2005 Frank Gayer Martin

That nine pound hammer, you make it ring
Down in the pit, I hear you sing
About the trouble I made when you were mine
You bring it all up sixteen tons at a time

Load up that train with number nine coal
There’s plenty more down in the hole
Stack it up deep and high
You’re never gonna let that memory die

You dig like John down in that mine
You keep bringing it up in the back of my mind
Swinging your hammer, driving that steel
Letting everybody know just how you feel


That nine pound hammer, you make it ring
Down in that pit, I hear you sing
About the hole in the ground and the deep, dark despair
But sooner or later, you’re coming up for air
Track Name: Instead of Here
Instead of Here
@2005 Frank Gayer Martin

Liza’s in the kitchen
Baking up the bread
It’s early Sunday morning
But something’s in the air
She spilled the flour in the coffee
But she don’t really care
I’m hoping in a year
I’ll be there instead of here

Liza’s just laughing
At the thing I gotta say
Please marry, oh Liza
Marry me this Saturday
She don’t answer, but her blue eyes
Never once turn away
I’m hoping in a year
I’ll be there instead of here

I’ll be home in a year
Oh Liza, that’s what I hear
I gotta make it one day at a time
In my mind I get away
Visit you every day
It’s the only peace I find

Liza’s still sleeping
‘neath a quilt of shining stars
And I’m watching her breathing
In the hour before dawn
It’s all so peaceful
And my trouble is afar
I’m praying in a year
I’ll be there instead of here

Liza, oh Liza
Promise me you won’t forget
That boy who adored
Only you and made you laugh
I’m sorry ‘bout the letter
It surely is my last
Was hoping in a year
I’d be there instead of here
Track Name: Silver & Gray
Silver and Gray
©2002 Frank Gayer Martin

Cutting the cane was his last chore
He swung hard and opened death’s door
Down he fell in the front yard
By the ’59 Buick that still won’t start

He looked up at clouds
All silver and gray
The silver light, it called
And the gray promised rain

He saw John run, but John’s too late
No sirens wail down in the canebrake
No siren’s moan would shoo birds away
It’s better, he thought, it’s better this way

There’s life hereafter, it’s on the other side
The sad part is leaving, saying goodbye

He’d been a preacher, a sinner and a working man
Time for fishing when he finished, that was the plan
The last words John heard him ever say
Were “take the minnows and go fishing and I’ll be okay”
Track Name: Killing Flu
Killing Flu
@2003 Frank Gayer Martin

1918 - was in boot camp
I woke up one night, my sheets were damp
My veins were ice, couldn’t get warm
I only felt worse by the break of dawn
Sergeant took one look at me
Shook his head and bade me leave

Mercy, mercy true
Save me from the killing flu

They laid me down in a wooden cot
In a row of ten by fifty lot
We had some shade, but no relief
When a soldier died, they just rolled his sheets
Then came men all dressed in white
Carry the body into the light


My temperature ran a hundred and three
By the second day, I could barely breathe
On the night of the third, they knew I’d go
They rolled my sheets and tagged my toe
When the sun came up and I awoke
By the grace of God, my fever broke


Of all the soldiers in World War I
Who never came home, their duty done
There’s many more who never left
And the Spanish Flu was their death
Track Name: West Texas Stars
West Texas Stars
@2005 Frank Gayer Martin

Just a month ago we left Waco
Thumbing our way to find work
Chasing combines at harvest time
And covered in West Texas dirt
Louis and me are brothers, you see
And we’re saving up all of our pay
And when the men go to town
We’ll be sticking around
Even though it’s Saturday

Tonight the bands play in Amarillo
You won’t find me in rowdy bars
And I’ll lay down on the panhandle
Beneath West Texas stars

If these fields were seas and we had sails
We could sail for days on end
But it’s sorghum and wheat as far you can see
Waving back and forth in the wind
Well, I worked all day beside Pedro
So I had lots of time just to dream
About a West Texas girl who spun my world
And promised her hand just to me


When the silos are full we’ll go back to school
With money tucked in our shoes
And if Louis has plans, he won’t understand
I’ve got one thing left to do
There’s a turn I’ll take near Dumas
And my darling won’t be that far
And If my timing is right,
I’ll make it by night
And we’ll walk beneath West Texas stars
Track Name: Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan
© 2005 Frank Gayer Martin

Being buried ain’t so bad
It ain’t like I’m really dead
Just a bunch of nothing left to do
Pushing up real estate
Laying like a head of state
When nobody’s left to visit you
But Sunday night was quite a shock
Just before nine o’clock
Sea walls and the river levy blew
Flooding my sarcophagus
Leaving all the crypts a mess
And blowing off the mausoleum roof

When Hurricane Ivan blew in the island
We were all flying on a hurricane wind
Ghosts like to party, screaming like banshee
And we’re never going back
To the graveyard again

I thought it was the judgment day
Called for Jesus right away
Look the other way and let me through
Just a life of petty crime
I took yours and you took mine
Now everybody’s gonna get their due
Then the ghost of Angeline
Such a sight I’ve never seen
Flying like a sheet up in the wind
Pulled me up to her side
Flew so high, I thought I die
But nothing’s gonna kill me again


In the prior century
Had thing for Angeline - so fine!
Now we’re just bones and hair
But we don’t really have a care
Flying high, so high
Well, the wind slowed by degrees
We wound up in a tree
Arm and arm, hiding from the light
Hoping for the wind to change
Praying for the driving rain
And hurricane rides in the sky
Track Name: God is Great
God Is Great
©2005 Frank Gayer Martin

If you’ve got a kalishnakov
Or a RPG or just a rock
And a good strong arm and a faith in God
He will guide your hand, He will mark the spot
For a roadside bomb and a place to watch
And burn the fuse lit in the mosque
By the cleric’s call for a solemn vow
Praise for martyrdom, death to infidels

God is great, God is good

If you’ve got a young recruit
With an M-16 and sharp salute
And a radio to call a strike
From high above in the dead of night
At the speed of sound from the ships at sea
Under beck and call from D.C.
Where the president prays for victory
And bows his head in humility

God is great, God is good

If you’ve got a refugee
Full of rage and loyalty
Strap some dynamite tight to her ribs
And pray that she’ll have strength to live
Long enough to shout Allah
In a crowd of Jews in Jerusalem
And feel the heat and see the light
That beckons her into paradise

God is great, God is good

If all these martyrs pass through heaven’s gate
How can heaven be so full of hate?
Track Name: You're Shining
Your’re Shining
©2002 Frank Gayer Martin

What made you smile I’m grateful for
What made you laugh, I’m even more
If it’s here just hold it fast
Because I see now at last

You’re shining…

What brought you here I would bless
What brings you near I would possess
If I could capture in my hand
I’d turn it loose and see if then

You’re shining..

No darkness here, no shadows there
I swear I see it in the air

You’re moving on, it’s time to go
You say farewell and yet I know
The light of day the clouds will dim
But not my memory of when

You’re shining
Track Name: Always, Always
Always, Always
@2006 Frank Gayer Martin

Off the street, up the steps, through the door
In a room you find little more
An old woman, and someone’s children
Always, always, always

In the light of the kitchen dinner’s cooking
All she has is enough for one more
Oh, grandmother makes you welcome
Always, always, always

Always, always, always, a place at the table
Always, always, always, a kind word to hear
Always, always, always, a pillow and a blanket
Always, always, always, you will find here
Always, always, always, always
Always you will be welcome here

Make a space, set a place at the table
Near a brother, a sister or a stranger
All who hunger now are family
Always, always, always

Now your father may be lost to the bottle
And you mother works a shift all night long
We’ll say grace now, you are safe here
Always, always, always