Another Autumn Song Addendum


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When i was a boy i was taught to keep my solemn vows, but I could never take kindly the words from those who spoke, who massed in assembly, who would look at me and say what have you got to give, what have you got for us today.

Their words in my ears were always hollow and clear, always new friends never stayed near, new seasons would approach and devastate, never did i care to make another date, because the seasons squandered were never so pure as the first ray of hope with which they appeared.

Now the dove coos and flaps his wings in the setting sun, the earth a frozen grove of abandoned fun, the rifle chases away what we have done, takes away a piece of me for everyone.

Steeple bells chime as if they are one, speaking through vibrations clear as day, a mindspell’s all a life seems to be the instant those vibrations cease to ring.

Now i get the attention of those who are looking for attention but offer me nothing, want to add me to the roll of their commercial suffering. they use politics to play their tricks, abandon their souls for a common mix.

(more scratch lyrics to Autumn Song)

the lyrics go with the music, and if you don’t hear the music vowel phonemes replicate too quickly. the intro to autumn song has alternate light picking which is enunciated with a hammer upstroke. the drums are supposed to lay the foundation for this. i feel the need to explain why i am choosing short, childlike rhyming sequences.

The Passing Day


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90 days since you’ve been gone, broken branches in the trees, my heart’s been buried while my foot’s upon the breeze, every day slow goin’ down, the hour is working me, a chain of fallen petals keeps pulling me.

And that’s okay, that’s what it’s about, life’s no story if you’ve got nothing to talk about.

The passing day’s no longer missing a certain angle, a search for the clue, it always keeps you guessing about what is new, People’s voices talking like the cold wind blows, each telling his story and what he knows.
(scratch lyrics rjh bbc)

What Put the Lines On the Old Man’s Face


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In the punishing peace
Ghost heroes’
Practiced chants
Bloom and shrivel

Children divided
with words and
encumbering devices
Their lives framed
From cradle to cloak

Men from the grave
Claiming children
With drunken stories
Teaching them
To chide things
They never learn to see

Like blind seers teaching
With each passing hour
Of each passing day
Always to look forward
To something new,
Something stimulating,
Never knowing,
Never seeing,
How came the lines
on the old man’s face.

Ronald Hoffman from The Ballads of Barnabas Collins

Let the Sparrow Fall


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When i was a boy I shot a sparrow with my shotgun, blew his head right off, watched him fall to the ground. Now, I may not be all right where i’m thinking, i blew my heart out when i saw his body, i didn’t expect to see anything at all.

Many wheels cover the garden, many years, many faces just shadows on the wall, in my spring i turned the earth over while the fence needed mending, buried my seed too deep in the row. Now the wind is screaming bad intention threatening me with the dark and snow.

Though I cover my eyes I can’t pretend I wasn’t that bird on the fencerow, the sound of peace in a winter grove just before i leveled my shotgun and blew my head off, blackened and bleeding, no tear to salt my angry woes.

Shhh. easy now, you rest your head, their child, no need to bleed your spirit, no need to point the finger, that bird in the bush cleansed your passions and sickened your woes. Going forward on the path you will stumble, and on his wings that bird will carry your spirit back to the fold.

scratch lyrics to Let the Sparrow Fall by Barnabas Collins aka rj hoffman

Bottom of the Hourglass


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the winter came before the rain could soak the salt from my eyes, the seasons changed but the sores remained beneath the burning ice. what is glory if spent too soon, we gave it up before we knew our time could last. Now nothing remains on the bottom of the hourglass.

the leaves lie where the apples fall, pulling worms from the sun, lying frozen from life and abandoned. melting away, undone, give life to the ground that churns the dead to life, springing forward, a leap to light, to be devoured, turned to seed, or be taken.

i swore this song would never be my last, child, but now i aint so fukkin sure, there’s a fire racing toward the buzzing in my ears, and they might not stop the bleeding.

sorry if you arent used to this, i try not to look away too far, always just a bit off the mark, what’s the matter with the other person’s eyes is that he sees what he brings, i see what is being led from afar.

scratch lyrics from Bottom of the Hourglass by Barnabas Collins

Mother’s Song


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She sighs and a teardrop trickles down her cheek, she knew it all along, but life goes on and you need to think that there’s nothing wrong, she kept the truth, and now she takes it to her grave, she knew it would be more than a son could take. How would it feel to know, that your dad was a mistake, that you were no one’s choice, given angry and mean by a brother with no responsibility.

He could see it in her eyes, her son, in the stooped way she moved about, there were once people who cared, and people who gave, a place where she called home and where sisters and brothers came. But Christmas again comes and goes, no stories told, life as a dream with the past flickering shadows wherever she goes. It’s as if time stood stunning and mean…until the last day of the dream.

God bless you, mommy, said the boy through the man, and it was all he could do to keep from running somewhere, some place, any place he didn’t have to be a man, maybe get lost in a dream, give in, be taken by the wind, just keep rolling over and never coming to. But each day he wakes with a start, and life begins anew, and again he thinks to himself “please dont waste another dream.”

scratch lyrics Mother’s Song bbc rjh

Fire in the Dark scratch lyrics


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remember when we told you that you were my son, well, that was all said and done, this is now, this is you and this is where we are. your mother knew an uncle and she didnt know about you, didnt dream about it didnt see that this is where we are this is where we would be, but your mother knew her uncle the same time she knew me.

Now, one and one and one makes three, but then along came you and so back came me. your mama didn’t want you to see her the way you see me, she just wanted you to be something more than she could claim to be. So we blacken shadows on the walls so we can peel free, see the light of day, there’s nothing more to say.

remember, you’ll never belong to no one, never know a man who could deserve to call you son, so you walk your way, go where you gotta go, no one to ask you why, no one to tell you no. maybe one day a lady will show you why you need to give a damn, why you need to care, why you need to be a man.

scratch lyrics Fire in the Dark by Barnabas Collins rhj

Autumn Song scratch lyrics


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button your coat and drink your wine.
dont get too much older before you find
another day’s closer then another day gone
soon you won’t remember this autumn song

October sun is closer in the field
days are getting colder and it’s harder to feel
a heartbeat in rhythm with the frozen blast
that the wind unleashes from the hourglass

So where’d we place the seeds of fortune
back when we had to hide our misfortune
the power that withstood the ringing bell
rushed us headlong towards our inner hell

you open the door and stop to stare
at the places you’ve been, the people who care
and the years seem to peal them all away
turns places to salt, faces to clay

scratch lyrics to Autumn Song by Barnabas Collins aka ronald jay hoffman

The Dove That Saved Ted Nugent


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…and the dove helped the wood dragon chop his way through a swampy oblivion.

On the way they met Ted Nugent in a swamp hunting Fred Bear, but ol’ Fred was with us because he said the nuge was unworthy to receive the spirit on account that he liked to shoot at penned in animals. And it had been decreed by the spirit of man that ol’ Ted live like insane Nebuchadnezzar, chewing grass like a cow but thinking he was eating meat.

Well, Whitey, the dove, he doesn’t give up on anyone, and he decided that if Ted could shoot him off my shoulder, or knock him off he could regain his senses before he died and not have to be a toilet attendant in the middle east for 5 lifetimes to reclaim his soul.

Now, since that meant I would have to lose Whitey for this lifetime i decided, you know, fuck ol’ Ted. And by the look on Fred Bear’s face I could see that he was in agreement. So Fred dodged into a hollow to draw ol’ Ted in, and when he went to shoot his arrow Fred disappeared and reappeared behind him and decapitated him with one swipe of his eternal paw.

After we proceeded onward for 49 days i noticed Whitey talking with his feathered friends, and so i asked Fred Bear what Whitey was talking about and he said that Ted Nugent came back to life as a hawk and was looking to kill Whitey in revenge because you know, Fred Bear was too bad ass for him so he decided to go after the easier kill.

Well, we came to a clearing in the pines and i spotted a hawk in the trees, and the hawk just started following us, keeping his distance. and one day i took my eye off him to navigate a sink hole and Ted swooped down and grabbed Whitey off my shoulder. But before terrible Ted could sink in his teeth into Whitey, Fred Bear let out a roar that could be heard for a thousand lifetimes, and it startled Ted so much that he dropped Whitey.

And when Whitey landed back safey on my shoulder Ted turned back into human form…and i punched him in the mouth and his dentures sort of hung there by the screws as looked at me and laughed. So i kicked him in the groin but it was like kicking a girl in the groin…he didnt even flinch. He made a leap at Whitey and lightning crackled all around us. Ted started shaking and yelling “no no no!” and a loud voice came from the ethereal distance and said “Ted, it is time for you to stop this nonsense. what is your problem? I gave you the gift of guitar as an adolescent and this is what you have become? What happened along the way, son? didn’t daddy pay enough attention to you as a boy? Now, I want you sit over there on that log, shut your mouth and watch and learn from Barnabas. You have over forty years of making up to do with the gift I gave you which you threw into the swamp as a 20 something year old. Oh, and for my sake, quit claiming knowledge of things you cannot begin to understand, like spirituality and guitar.



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get your ear muffs get your warm gloves and don’t forget to say please and thank you, never i hate you, never need to hate. smile is fortune, the devil’s misfortune is he forgot say, please and thank you now he’s on the outside calling you outside to play.

there’s a sliver in his hand, an apple in his eye, churning the rhythm pulling me under. with a string bow and a wide open field he cant reach me he’s got to pull me near. It may not seem so precious to me as i walk a while hating to sneeze, the mouse on the wheel can’t stop to feel the pressure that has me breaking

the slackened shoulder ten years older than it used to be can’t withstand the weight of the man who’s sat casually sucking in my breath, with the rhythm in my chest. as a man on high he sings like a battered trumpet, an earth child strumpet, his voice no longer brings…

truth ringing clear, a sound barrier to the gods’ poison spring and their unholy things. their cheapness we bear, their sins we repair while we bless them for everything. And if truth be told when heaven unfolds i believe the path will lead nowhere. the lives that we gave to keep our remains won’t mean anything

scratch lyrics to Carousel RJH bbc


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