Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key

Billy Bragg & Wilco. Thousand/Bugeye Jim

I lived in a place called Okfuskee
and I had a little girl in a holler tree
I said, little girl, it’s plain to see,
there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

She said it’s hard for me to see
how one little boy got so ugly
Yes, my little girly, that might be,
But there ain’t nobody that can sing like me
Ain’t nobody that can sing like me
way over yonder in the minor key
Way over yonder in the minor key
there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

We walked down by the Buckeye Creek
to see he frog eat the goggle eye bee
To hear that west wind whistle to the east,
there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Oh my little girly will you let me see,
where over yonder where the wind blows free
Nobody can see in our holler tree
and there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Her mama cut a switch from a cherry tree
and laid it on the she and me
It stung lots worse than a hive of bees
but there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Now I have walked a long long ways
and I still look back to my tanglewood days,
I’ve led lots of girlies since then to stray
saying, ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Paul Robeson he’s the man
That faced the Ku Klux Klan
On hollow grove’s golfing ground
His words come sounding!
And all around him there
To jump and clap and cheer
I sent the best, the best I had
My thirty thousand

The Klansman leader said
That Paul would lose his head
When thirty five thousand vets
Broke up that concert
But less than four thousand came
To side with the Klan!
But around Paul’s lonesome oak
(My thirty thousand)

A beersoaked brassy band
Did snortle around the grounds
Four hundred noblest souls
(Westchester’s manhood)!
They looked exactly like
Fleas on a tiger’s back;
Lost fish in the waters of
My thirty thousand!

When Paul had sung and gone
And the kids and babies home
Cops came with guns and clubs
And clubbed and beat them!
I’d hate to be a cop
Caught with a bloody stick
(Cause you can’t bash the brains out
Of thirty thousand)!

Each eye you tried to gouge
Each skull you tried to crack
Has a thousand thousand friends
Around this green grass!
If you furnish the skull someday
I’ll pass out the clubs and guns
To the billion hands that love
My thirty thousand!

Each wrinkle on your face
I know it at a glance
You cannot run and hide
Nor duck nor dodge them
And your carcass and your deeds
Will fertilize the seeds
Of the men that stood to guard
My thirty thousand!

If I get up and let you in
I lose my house and my home again
If I get up and try to come
I get sent back to the land I’m from
Back to the land I’m from

The cloud came low and the rain did pour
I hear your hand touch on my door
The rain has quit and the light of the moon
Shows you standing in my room
Standing in my room

Bugeye Jim, I can’t come
I can twist and turn, but I can’t come
I can ache and I can burn, but I can’t come
I woke up this morning with an aching brain
Hear you tap on my window pane

I look at you with a heavy head
I hear you sit down on my bed
The storm gets worse and my heart feels bare
I feel your fingers comb my hair
Feel you comb my hair

The mud it runs and the waters rise
I feel your hotkiss on my eyes
The rain it rained and the world did stir
I sing to you my lovesick word
I sing to you my lovesick word

Bugeye Jim, I can’t come
I can twist and turn, I can’t come
I can ache and I can burn, but I can’t come
I woke up this morning with an aching brain
Hear you tap on my window pane

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© Billy Bragg 2019