Shuffletown

Joe Henry - Shuffletown album cover

(1990) Mammoth


Songs

  1. Helena by the Avenue (4:05)
  2. Shuffletown (5:27)
  3. Date for Church (3:45)
  4. John Hanging (2:37)
  5. Spent It All (3:18)
  6. Easter (2:49)
  7. Land (4:01)
  8. Johnny the Conqueror (2:18)
  9. Drowning in the River Half Laughing (3:19)
  10. Charlevoix (3:03)
  11. Make the World Go Away [Cochran] (3:13)
  12. Ben Turpin in the Army (3:11)


Lyrics

Helena By The Avenue

Outside your crowded doorway
past the steel and mortar
the avenue before you,
you walk beside yourself and me.
How well do you hear me
and what do you recall
about the dust on everything you see?

If the morning leaves you
with just the afternoon
in the darkness of your room
Helena you will find,
avenues are most unkind.

The colors of your Sunday clothes
keep a place of ages
like the flowers placed in the pages
of your family word.
How many flowers gathered
have you carried from the valley
into the girded skyway
that holds you like a bird.

If the morning leaves you
with just the afternoon
in the darkness of your room
Helena you will know,
flowers are the first, to go

Outside of Spanish Harlem
your world is one suspended.
This is one that you intended
that you would leave behind.
How far will you run
before you discover
that your way back home
is what you left to find.

If the morning leaves you
with just the afternoon
in the darkness of your room
Helena you know why,
you couldn’t leave here if you try.

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Charlevoix

“Long ago” is just a whisper
From the eaves and the pines
To the rumble-wheels once bearing
Endless fortune from the mines;
Still the night is for the taking
When the day was barely warmer,
And the girls who hurry by
Cross laughing at the corner

But they all go
Charlevoix, they all go.

The foothills and the carriage
Keep a secret, if you wonder,
And push from right behind you
As you stoop to pass under
The marker that you dropped
By the bluff where you show her
The ending of a season
And the place to cross over…

But they all go
Charlevoix, they all go.

It might be none or any one of us
Who stay to see this through,
Who pulls a coat in closer
And who gives his arm to you;
But who of us wouldn’t follow
From the dusty hallway
Into the early afternoon
Which of us hasn’t always…?

And they all go
Charlevoix, they all go.

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© 1990 Joe Henry All rights reserved, do not reprint without permission