A final addendum on the Cracker Big Dirty Yellow period in Oregon Hill. nov 1989 – feb 1993.
We named our house and the demo tape of 20 songs we delivered to virgin Big Dirty Yellow.
There were a few good out takes from that period that never made it onto later records. Yes some were on the fan club CD “Bob’s Car” but that was a limited edition CD. Here they are:
Mary my girlfriend and then wife, originally lived near the corner of china and pine street. That’s the “china” i’m singing about. Everything else is fairly silly and nonsensical. Note Johnnys beautiful high falsettos. I think we may have vari-speeded them. That is slowed the tape down so he could sing them lower. Them put the tape back up to speed for the mix.
One of Johnny’s bakersfield influence Country rock tunes. The mics are really far away on every track so you can hear the “sound” of that house. You can also hear traffic and birds if you listen carefully.
Like i said many of the people in oregon hill came out of the mountains of western Virginia and West Virginia. One of our neighbors was from somewhere out that way. He could play this really spooky minor key mountain fiddle. He was quite good. He and his friend Josh who played accordion worked up this track with us.
Mountain music? truthfully the melody was greek inspired. At the time Mary was working at this Greek Restaurant (Stellas when it was on harrison where edo squid is now). Johnny and I would hit the bar there about closing time. This melody sort of came out of listening to all this traditional greek music. We just gave it a more mountain arrangement. We were in Oregon Hill after all.
Another simple instrumental that came out of those demos. It was called Hans’ lament because Johnny’s son Hans was probably only 3 or 4 then. Every time Johnny picked up the mandolin Hans’ wanted to take it from him. So if Johnny attempted to play an entire song it would usually end up with Hans crying.
Ah Miss[G] Mary won’t you[C] please[G] come home from[D(7)] China.
Bring a[G] bottle of whisky and a[C] tin cup[G] for your[D(7)] teeth.
[Em] Don’t you sneak[D] into the[G] back door[C] wearing some[D(7)] disguise.
[Em] Knock on the[D] front door in[G] view of the[C] Temperance[D(7)] Guild.
Ah Miss Mary won’t you please come home cause I miss ya.
Your old spinster sister don’t always give good advice.
Look at her she’s in love with that drunken bandy-legged sheriff.
He’ll unzip her pantsuit, but never leave his fat wife
Ah Miss[Em] Mary won’t you[B] please come home from[C] China.
[A] Come home from[G] China.
[D] Come home from[C] China[Am6].
Now that fake old beatnik poet the volunteer fireman.
He don’t care if you come, he don’t care like I do.
He’s in love with his dog and all his volunteer fireman.
And he is afraid to let the end of his versus rhyme.
REPEAT CHORUS x2