Pretty, vacant, and we don’t care

Watch the stars as they collide
Erase the dots in your eyes

What do the lyrics say we can’t hear
The singer and the song disappear

Pretty vacant and we don’t care
Pretty vacant and we don’t care

What’s your name the color of your hair
Saw you down at the LA fair

Have so much no need to share
Look at us oh what a pair

Pretty vacant and we don’t care
Pretty vacant and we don’t care

“Pretty, vacant, and we don’t care”
was part of an originals set played on
Live at 5 from the Portland Joe Zone last night,
and included:
Bury My Heart in the Muddy Mississippi
If You’ll Be My Love
Two Riders Were Approaching
Goodbye, Joe
She Shakes Me Out

If You’ll Be My Love

I’ll paddle out through sharks for you
live on Desolation Row with you
burn all my books for you
if you’ll be my love

I’ll walk the pirate’s plank for you
smoke a cigarette or two
join the National Guard for you
if you’ll be my love

I’ll sleep with deadly snakes for you
crawl through caves of spider nests
I’ll be a bee for your nectarine
but I won’t sting your sweet flower

I’ll barbecue my ribs for you
wash the dishes and take out the trash
change the cat litter and watch TV with you
if you’ll be my love

I’ve nowhere to go to take you to
no gold ring from Saks Fifth Avenue
I’ll write a letter of love to you
if you’ll be my love

Now these days I sing to you
memories of long-ago
don’t you think it’s time that you
let me be your love?

But you don’t want to live yesterday
and not necessarily for all time
and love seems so far away
in a song like some kind of oldie

The song “If You’ll Be My Love” performed Live at 5 (PST) from the Portland Joe Zone on June 20, 2020.

Note: the last two lines in the third stanza were substituted in the live version with these:

I’m a bee flying around your room
looking for the flower of your love



Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, where you going all tangled up in blue?
Gonna change my attitude, walk on down the avenue
Fly away on a magic carpet ride down to Graceland.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, what kind of mood you in with that cat-like grin?
I’m moving off the dark side of the moon
Going over to see Jerry Lewis at the Paradise.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, what’s that seaweed vine around your neck?
After months at sea I washed up on a beach
Now I’m drinking water from a coconut cup.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, who you seeing, hanging out with these days?
When the going gets tough, the tough get lonely, that’s what she said to me.
Gonna put on a tie and suit up for a career in the red dust.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, where you going with that book in your hand?
This here book is Penina’s Letters.
Going down to the water and toss the whole book off the jetty at D&W.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, why do you sing songs when we know you can’t sing?
This is my song to the world that’s always singing to me.
I’m taking voice lessons from a locomotive trapped in a tree.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, what’s that in your DNA?
Trains, uniforms, wheeled and track vehicles
Off the rack guitars and SWR surf films.
Goodbye, Joe

Hey Joe, been down to the cathedral lately?
You don’t need a church to pray.
Jesus said, two of you gathered in his name,
and he’ll take you home, he’ll take you home.

I’ll be performing “Goodbye, Joe” from the JoeZone, live at 5 (PST), tomorrow, Sat Jun 6, on Instagram: @joe.linker

She Shakes Me Out

She shakes me out, she jiggles me down
starts me dancing like a rodeo clown.
Twist to the left, twist to the right
never do we get too way up tight.

She stays so near, she goes so far
she ain’t no Facebook or Internet star.
She’s seen over here, she’s been over there
all night and day, everywhere.

Turn it up loud, turn it down soft
turn it all the way off.
She never says yes, she never says no
she knows when to say let it all go.

She don’t wear silver, she don’t wear gold
she’s never been bought, she’s never been sold.
She rides me high, she rides me low
she rides me fast, and she rides me slow.

Turn me loose, I have no choice
she rides me like a pet mongoose.
She be hep, she be cool
she never ever don’t be cruel.

She sings the old songs, fingerpicks a guitar
she don’t care if all the words go wrong.
She walks the streets, visits the sick
she don’t mind being in the thick of it.

She knows how to live, knows how to die
she looks me straight in the eye.
Color me blue, color me green
she’s the best thing I’ve ever seen.

She heats my beans, toasts my buns
and I hardly ever get the runs.
She shoots pool, shoots the shit
she ignores all the rules of it.

She hits a home run, lays down a bunt
she lays it all on the line.
She knows how to fly, knows how to fall
knows how to climb this here wall.

She knows how to pray, knows how to sin
she always knows the shape I’m in.
She knows how to work, knows how to play
knows to go home at the end of the day.

She knows how to give, knows how to take
she knows how to ask if there is some mistake.
She knows how to swim, knows how to sleep
she knows how to make that midnight creep.

She knows how to laugh, knows how to cry
not every guy in a suit is a spy.
She likes a tete-a-tete with a cat or two
down by the water.

She likes it slow, takes it easy
drinks a bourbon in the salsa garden.
The sun makes her happy, but rain makes her glad
Her blue eyes seldom cry.

She forgives, she forgets
she’s got rooms to let.
I do her dishes, scrub her pots
change the diapers, that’s my lot.

The bells of Saint Mary’s, down by the sea
the waves they did cry.
The day she got married, on the radio
angels they did fly.

She took a walk, on the mild side
she went to bed, and fell asleep.
She shakes me out, jiggles me down
I get up in the morning like a working clown.

“She Shakes Me Out” is a song I wrote and performed on my show “Live at 5 from the JoeZone” on Instagram on Monday, May 18 (now deleted). I used the chord progression:

Bb7  Bb9  Bb7b9  Bb9 
Eb9  Eb7b9  Eb7  Eb7b9 
Bb7  Bb9  Bb7b9  Bb9 
F9   Eb9   Bb7   F9

Tune in to Live at 5 from the JoeZone most nights (PST), a pandemic quarantine social distancing live video hour (or less) of music, talk, stories, and such to help pass the time and ease the mind.


Two Riders Were Approaching

Two riders were approaching
on hogs and wearing leather.
“Let’s stop here,” said one to the other,
“for a cool drinking beer.”

They passed the time on songs
that ofttimes rhymed.
On the trail or in the big city.
They parked the hogs in the gutter.

At the bar the one he uttered,
“What’s that you got in the vat?”
“Saltwort Ale,” the barkeep did tell,
combing his beard with a hand.

“Two lights for us, my friend,
the day grows warm and thin,
the dust is finding its corners,
the dogs want shade and water.”

“No light here,” the barkeep says,
“and we don’t serve no rhymesters.”
“But we are the two riders,
two riders who were approaching.”

“This here’s a craft brew pub,
not some seedy tavern.
Take your hogs and dogs across the tracks,
go see John Wesley’s mother.”

The two riders went back to riding.
On the trail where we last heard their cry,
they were still approaching.
Two riders were approaching.

“Yippi-yi-yo,
yippie-ki-yay,
we’re gonna go
our own way.”

Yippi-yi-yo,
yippie-ki-yay,
we’re gonna go
our own way.”

“Two Riders Were Approaching” is a song I wrote and performed on my show “Live at 5 from the JoeZone” on Instagram on Saturday, May 9 (now deleted). I used the chord progression Am Dm E7 Am. I changed a few words and lines here, and I discarded here a few of the lines sung live, as follows:

“…where the hodads hang their hats”;
“The hogs are hot and tired”;
“I don’t care if you’re the four horses of the apocalypse.”

If I ever play “Two Riders” again, I’ll probably change it some more.
Meantime, tune in to Live at 5 from the JoeZone Saturday nights (PST), a pandemic quarantine social distancing live video hour (or less) of music, talk, stories, and such to help pass the time and ease the mind.

I wrote this song, as I explained on “Live at 5,” to celebrate the latest Bob Dylan recordings, his first with all original songs in eight years. The title of my song, “Two Riders Were Approaching,” is the penultimate line in the Dylan song “All Along the Watchtower.” As I asked my audience, “Have you ever wondered what happened to those two riders?”

Photo: Pic I took of a photo at the Oregon Historical Society “Barley, Barrels, Bottles, and Brews” exhibit in 2019: two musicians and a bartender at the Cowdell Saloon in Antelope, Oregon, 1913.