The Self​-​Improvement of Acoustic Ross

by Acoustic Ross

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about

A smattering of selections from the first three albums.
Mostly remixed and remastered.
Click track titles for lyrics, credits and notes about each track.

credits

released December 16, 2014

All tracks written, arranged & recorded by Acoustic Ross.
All vocals & instruments by Acoustic Ross except as noted.
Yes, it's another Twilight Zone reference.

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about

Acoustic Ross Tulsa, Oklahoma

Either Tulsa's funniest musician or its most musical comedian, Acoustic Ross has written & performed original AntiFolk/comedy music for 20+ years, releasing 5 albums, serving as house musician/MC in carnival sideshow, & playing nearly 400 shows in venues sizing from Cain's Ballroom to a school bus.

Check out www.acousticross.com/sounds.html for a handful of tracks not available here!
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Track Name: Swept Down the Plain
SWEPT DOWN THE PLAIN © 2004 Acoustic Ross

I came here from a land up north of the line
It looks like I might stick around this time
If you can get past my accent and this loud acoustic din
It’s a story about a guy not exactly fitting in

Where I grew up, we never had tornadoes,
but there was a basement in every house in town
Now I live in Oklahoma, where it’s the other way around
Well I don’t know which one is worse
But I do know ‘you all’ is two separate words

I’m a yankee, just a yankee
still a yankee, but I’m willing to learn

I’ve been kicking around this scene for six long years
All I found was cockfighting, Garth, and 3.2 beer
It could be worse – this could be Alabama
And I’m finally getting used to saying “Prague” and “Miami”

So it’s finally time to fish or get off the pot
I meet her at a show, she says ‘you’re cool’, I say ‘you’re hot’
And I see it’s time I stopped changing channels
I wanna be her knight in shining flannel

I’m a yankee, just a yankee
still a yankee, but I’m willing to learn

I’m a yankee, once a yankee
always a yankee, but I’m willing to learn

Just when I thought I should cut loose and head on back
She touched my chest and whispered, ‘where you been at?’
I might could git along just like a little doggie
But now I’m falling for this Okie from some town a little bit east from here

From a turnpike twisting through this native nation
I’m finally fixing to fix in on this fixation
Listening to that rockin’ Rogers radio station
Hey, is it me, or is “sooner” slang for premature ejaculation?

I’m a yankee, just a yankee
still a yankee, but I’m willing to learn

I’m a yankee, once a yankee
always a yankee, but I’m willing to learn

I’m a yankee, born a yankee
gonna die a yankee, but I’m willing to learn
Track Name: Pushin' 40 Mid-Crisis-Life Blues
PUSHIN' 40 MID-CRISIS-LIFE BLUES © 2008 Acoustic Ross

i was raised in a small ohio town
went to school where they shot those kids down
tv jobs in town after town, never intending on settling down
till i moved here, and my pace slowed down
i know i just rhymed 'down' with 'down' three times - i don't play by the rules
i'm better than i want to be at suffering fools
i'm not gonna change my life in a day
oh, calgon, take me away

i was brought up on music, and star trek too
three older sisters and i learned soon
to spend a lot of time in my room
if i was a comic then, my thought balloon would read:
this childhood thing is a drag
this growing up crap just isn't my bag
i wanna be older and wiser, fast
these formative years need to be in my past
i was awkward and sad, and development bored me
even then i wanted to be pushing 40

they used me as a human remote control
i thought that music might save my soul
so i locked myself away with my collection
and memorized everything from abba to zeppelin
i didn't care about style or forms, my favorite stuff never fit any norms
music was power, and if it was done right
i would listen and study it every damn night
metal and jazz and punk and new age and folk and funk
and i dreamed of the stage

i couldn't dance, but i had my own car
i stopped caring how lucky the kids with dates are
i got older in time and i bought a guitar
and i moved to the stage from the back of the bar
and i moved to missouri, a solo act
wrote some funny songs, most were just crap
moved on to tulsa, started building a life
while most guys my age were already taking wives
but following rules always did bore me
still just wanted to be pushing 40

it's not always fun and games in my head
some days i think i should put this to bed
i get what tom lehrer meant when he said:
when mozart was my age, he was already dead
you damn kids, get off my lawn
don't make me turn around this song
i wait and i wonder and i feel myself age
and i realize i'm ripening right here on stage
my thirties were chaos, but at least they didn't bore me
holy crap, now i AM pushing 40

my life was in turmoil, it was all my damn fault
the good times seemed like they'd screeched to a halt
so i gathered my gear and set out to record
a new record that i could maybe adore
and i brought in some friends, we were right on the verge
new ideas came up and a new sound emerged
suddenly i had it, one more new trick, a new 12-bar blues to make this thing stick
i'll put it up front so we get to it shortly
i'll sing about how i LIKE pushing 40.
Track Name: +3 Sword of Protection
+3 SWORD OF PROTECTION © 2008 Acoustic Ross

i wish that i could get my first tattoo
i wish i didn't have to work the drive-thru
i'll see you in study hall, bring your monster manual
i've got a new spell i wanna try out on you

you have the blackest hair i've ever seen
it sticks up above your dungeon master screen
i named a character after you in the script i sent the buffy crew
if it gets made i'll take you there with me

i've got a +3 sword of protection
dr. who tapes and a box of old x-men
my brother's lord of the rings and my very own x-wing
and seven of nine's autograph from the last convention

i wish that i could take you to the dance
i'd take my sword and you could bring your lance
but all that i can do is write elvish hymns to you
and use the klingon word for necromance

i've got a +3 sword of protection
dr. who tapes and a box of old x-men
my brother's lord of the rings and my very own x-wing
and seven of nine's autograph from the last convention

we made a pact and sealed it with our blood
together always our unending love
the tallest peak around, i tried to chicken out
you said come on and gave us both a shove
i broke my legs you broke a collarbone
our parents broke us up now we're alone
but when i'm up to snuff i'm gonna steal your father's truck
we'll take our stuff and find ourselves a home

i've got a +3 sword of protection
dr. who tapes and a box of old x-men
my brother's lord of the rings and my very own x-wing
and seven of nine's autograph from the last convention
shatner's autograph
sulu's autograph from the last convention
Track Name: *blushes*
*blushes* © 2008 Acoustic Ross

i was walking past your desk one afternoon
don't know where you were, you must've been in the breakroom
i always had an office crush on you
i had a latte in my head and i was humming a tune

i tripped and spilled my coffee on your desk
keyboard with double cream, my khakis a mess
to get a better look i quickly undressed
and started drying off with your whole box of kleenex

that's when you walked in and you let out a scream
i shouted 'what you think you saw you did not see'
i told the story ten more times on the way to the unemployment line
that what you think you saw you did not see
it's not how it looks

after a couple months i missed my old work friends
i thought maybe we'd catch up some random weekend
one night i saw you at the bar with your new boyfriend
six shots later i knew i was on the mend
six more shots later, six more shots later

i woke up in a park at half past noon
kinda breezy out, i'm not feelin too good
on my chest a brand new 'thug life' tattoo
that's when it occurred to me my pants were gone too

i quickly found a house on the next block
it looked empty, all the doors were locked
a tall oak tree, an open window way up high
i climbed and reached and much to my surprise...

that's when you walked in and you let out a scream
i said what you think you saw you did not see
i told the tale to no avail for 20 blocks to county jail
that what you think you saw you did not see

it's not that i'm complaining but your order is restraining
and what you think you saw you did not see
it's not how it looks
Track Name: Fault Country
FAULT COUNTRY © 2008 Acoustic Ross

don't let this be over
this is not how it ends
think about it a minute
can we still make amends?
i know that you're leaving, storming out in a flash
please just leave me some elvis and some old johnny cash

back in the beginning it was all sweet and nice
you were a zevon
i was a wainwright
we huddled together with one set of headphones
in one small apartment with one old gramophone

you were my bonnie and i was your prine
your john wesley harding
my own patsy cline
till that night in august at the start of the end
i brought home some son volt
you brought wilco instead

it was clear from that moment
it was falling apart
i broke out the buzzcocks
you tore out the heart
i fired the pistols
you shot out the lights
till, like richard and linda, we ended the fight

now i'm all alone in this bedroom tonight
and i've learned a lesson about music and life
for each upbeat single there's another sad tune
but for each broken record there's a johnny and june

don't let this be over
don't let this end rough
we agreed on todd snider
couldn't that be enough?
if i can't stop you leaving, throwing me in the trash
please just leave some elvis and some old johnny cash.
Track Name: Rough Weekend
ROUGH WEEKEND © 2008 Acoustic Ross

i went out drinking last saturday night in the same bar i always visit
my friend tony's band was putting on a show, i didn't wanna miss it
i got kinda drunk after a couple hours, so i figured i should leave
but when i got to the back, i nearly dropped in my tracks
i saw something made me wanna heave

it was the manager of a boy band i used to be in
i should have given him a kick in the gut
we were bigger than backstreet when he threw my ass out
now i'm bigger than jabba the hutt

i stumbled back to my car, parked behind the bar, started reaching for my keys
i dropped them in the snow, started searching high and low, and i got down on my knees
i saw shiny black boots in front of my face, it was officer fang
he said
'what are you doing you slobbering drunk?'
i said
'nothing!'

he kicked me in the teeth, took away my keys, and told me i could sleep in jail
but when he turned his back i made my attack
i took off down a snowy trail

i had a rough weekend
i had a rough weekend
i had a rough weekend once again.

i went back to my place, splashed some water on my face, and i threw up 5 or 6 times
i slept the whole next day till my girl stopped by
and we drank ourselves some red wine (hair of the dog)
she got loosened up and told me
'don't get mad, but i think i'm in trouble'
i said
'there's just one thing, then, that we oughta do, is get married on the double'
and i thought to myself
'what else could happen to make my weekend rougher?'
my girl answered that one, she said
'just hold on, cause i've got another lover'

i had a rough weekend
i had a rough weekend
i had a rough weekend once again.

well i took off running for my car - which i forgot, it wasn't there
(it was still back at the bar in the first verse)
i got into hers, it's a little blue thunderbird, and i headed straight for nowhere
i was moving pretty quickly when the lines got squiggly and i couldn't see where to go
and the snow didn't help cause it just wouldn't melt and i skidded right off the road
i crashed into a ditch, shouted son of a gun, i thought it was the end
but the story ain't over till the fat guy sings about his rough weekend.

i had a rough weekend
i had a rough weekend
i had a rough weekend once again.
Track Name: Make It Crispy!
MAKE IT CRISPY © 2010 Acoustic Ross


DEATH
will be defied
let the Crispy Family be your guide
this will be a ride like none you've ever tried

amazing feats will be... feated
now please remain seated
tonight...
make it crispy!

SWORDS
(of many sizes)
will be swallowed
fire codes (mostly) followed

something gross, something grotesque
a little vaudeville and a little burlesque

our lovely assistant brought her favorite straitjacket
wait till you see what we do with a tennis racket
tonight...
make it crispy!

we loaded up our staple gun
and we strapped all this stuff to the strongman
to bring this show to you right here tonight

KNIVES
will be flung
songs will be sung (mostly by me)

pins poked into places
normal people don't poke pins into

it's not a magic show
it's real, it's art
this show's not for the faint of heart
tonight...
make it crispy!
Track Name: Talkin' Don't Pick on the Big Guy Blues
TALKIN’ DON’T PICK ON THE BIG GUY BLUES © 2004 Acoustic Ross

Well since my baby left me I’ve found a new place to dwell
It’s down at the end of lonely street in a house with my old buddy L
L. Ron Presley, that is (no relation)

So when Tom asked me to play this show, I thought “sounds like fun,
but I don’t know any Elvis songs, guess I’ll have to write my own”
So I asked L. Ron to help me out, he said “I don’t know what the fuss is all about,
they call him The King, but I never saw no crown”
He said “all I remember’s the way he died, out on that highway doing 95
With his wife, Jayne Mansfield, at his side”
I said “Ron, you might be thinking of someone else…”

So I called my Mom to see if she might have some thoughts regarding E
I said “Mom, the show’s only seven days away”
She said “oh, I remember Elvis, yup, that ‘Candle in the Wind’ song really sucked
But that boy was the Liberace of his day”
I said “Mom, hang on, that’s Elton John, you’re starting to sound a lot like Ron,
Doesn’t anyone remember ‘Blue Suede Shoes?’”
She said “what’s Marlin Perkins have to do with this?”
I said “could you put Dad on the phone?”

I asked this guy I knew from work, frankly he’s usually kind of a jerk,
But he really knows his music so I figured what the hey
He said “make sure you mention Lisa Marie’s ex-husbands, now she’s up to three,
But that middle one Jacko, he’s weird enough for eight”
I said “the music’s what I’m interested in”
He said “what, you mean ‘Beat It’ or ‘Billie Jean?’”
I knew I shouldn’t have come to him in the first place
(frankly, I was starting to get a little bit discouraged)

I went up to that big old record store
The one that’s on the second floor of that bookstore where they also sell overpriced coffee
There was just one clerk there who looked kinda hip
I said “take me to where Elvis lives”
She said “you looking for later stuff or early?”
I’m thinking finally, progress! “Early please!”
She says “that’s my favorite too” and leads me to a rack and hands me a CD
On the cover he’s got the slicked-back hair, guitar and... glasses also there
She says “his song ‘Veronica’ really means a lot to me”
Elvis Costello. I really shoulda seen that coming. (You should have too.)

I was starting to get a little tense
Three days away and still on the fence about which way I want this song to go
That’s when Woody G appeared to me, he said “talking blues, boy, gotta be”
And I knew right then, you don’t tell Woody no
He said “stick to the hits, skip the scandal
A little respect – this ain’t Tony Randall, it’s the undisputed King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Save all the jokes about his weight, and the drugs, and the craziness
For Brian Wilson’s birthday.”

Woody said “say what you want about the Vegas trip, this guy had a hundred top 40 hits
I think he’s entitled to a little eccentricity
Yeah, and managers come and pharmacists go, and pretenders to the throne you know
But Elvis never dangled a baby off a balcony” (Woody’s got a point there)

So if you’re lonesome tonight, need a hunk of love
Return to sender and rise above black velvet paintings and rhinestones all around
Yeah, forget Graceland, forget the flicks, Ed Sullivan shooting from the hip
The thin one, the fat one – just remember the sound
Cause that’s the Elvis who’s never gonna leave the building.
Track Name: Just the Thing
JUST THE THING © 2004 Acoustic Ross

This old guitar has seen better days
I broke half the strings trying to play ‘Purple Haze’
It’s kinda hard to play acoustic guitar up behind your back
But these low ceilings made it easy to put a crack in the neck

So I swung it around like Cobain or Townshend on stage
Smashed it down on the floor like Loudon on a drunken rampage
Next morning I saw the debris, I felt regret and I snapped
But I thought, hey, I’ve got just the thing for that

It’s stringy, sticky, and it smells like athlete’s feet
The only thing in my toolbox, what else would I need?
Got a roll in every room and one around my wrist
It’s the only standing order on my shopping list
It keeps the world together and it doesn’t suck
Primer color like an elephant, but it’s made by ducks
Can’t get enough of the gray stuff

This old house has been through a lot
Eighty years old and now everything is going to pot
The leaks in the ceiling have now also ruined the floor
And the crickets and the spiders ran my dog right out the door

The outlets are shorted, my computer’s developed a glitch
I’ve got birds in the belfry and the yard really stinks from the ditch
The window’s still broken where the burglar he break the latch
But I’m pretty certain I’ve got just the thing for that

If makes me feel much better in uncertain times like this
It binds us all together, keeps us safe from terrorists

This old heart has seen better days
since we went our proverbial separate ways
I can still feel the spot where you tore those ventricles out
You were the light of my life even after we burned out

I almost never think of you at all anymore
Only when I’m at home or at work or when I’m outdoors
You left a hole in my life but I’m keeping it under my hat
Cause I’m reasonably certain I’ve got just the thing for that

It’s stringy, sticky, and it smells like athlete’s feet
The only thing in my toolbox, what else would I need?
Got a roll in every room and one around my wrist
It’s the only standing order on my shopping list
It keeps the world together and it doesn’t suck
Primer color like an elephant, but it’s made by ducks
Can’t get enough of the gray stuff
Track Name: Over You Now
OVER YOU NOW © 2002 Acoustic Ross

I stole your car and blew up your house
but I think I’m over you now
I stalked your friends and I ate your dog
but I think I’m over you now

I watched you at school for a week or two
until I knew that it was true
That this was love and we had to be together
in spite of you

I painted your name on the walls of the school
but I think I’m over you now
I sent a few notes, I sent a few bombs
but I think I’m over you now

I followed you home and I followed you in
and I watched from under the bed
I sent you my ear, I sent you my arm
and I taped everything you said

I painted my name on the back of your car
but I think I’m over you now
I shaved my head and burned down my house
but I think I’m over you now

I burned you in effigy
(into my flesh)
and I kidnapped your mom and dad
I went to jail, I flunked my test
and now I think I’ve got it bad

Now the shrink says I’m obsessive, but I don’t know
I guess I just fall in love too fast
So if you still want me I’ll be out in 8 years
maybe we can have another blast

Well I hung myself in prison so I could get out
and I’m just a spirit now
I’m gonna haunt your house for the rest of time
I guess I’m really over you now

And I’m watching over you now

And I’m hovering over you now

I’m really over you now
Track Name: Nothing Ever Happens
NOTHING EVER HAPPENS © 2002 Acoustic Ross

I lost a toe in a bar fight
My drug-addicted ex-wife is a porno star
She got abducted by the mother ship
and my evil twin stole my car

My sister’s been dating a sasquatch
He treats her really bad and you should smell those shoes
The people around me make daytime TV look like the 10 o’clock news

My uncle spontaneously combusted
the spirit of grandma just won’t leave us alone
I’m pretty sure my kids are children of the corn
and the CIA tapped my phone

My neighbors are plotting against me
Mom got pregnant by her former ex-husband
My teeth and hair all fell out today
and I got kicked out of a one-man band

Now I used to wish that I could be famous
and I waited for a sign
When I wished for a life that would put me in the tabloids
this isn’t what I had in mind

They airbrushed me out of the yearbook
the psychic hotline isn’t taking my calls
I lost my job at the asbestos plant
and I’ve got this rash on my back

My girlfriend got killed by the Blair Witch
My feminine side just wants to be friends
I wrote a hit song that misused the word “ironic”
And this one has a kinda crappy end.
Track Name: Pieces of Me
PIECES OF ME © 2002 Acoustic Ross

It’s time I got my ass in gear
I don’t have the stomach for this business
It’s been six weeks since you were here
And now my heart’s not in this

I’ve got one foot in the grave
but the rest of me might be saved
Baby I go to pieces when you’re around

Butterflies in my stomach, both hands on the wheel
What happened to my nerves of steel?
My foot in the door, my lips are still sealed
My head up my ass is still technically head over heels

I grease my hair with Crisco*
I left my heart in San Francisco
Baby I go to pieces when you’re around

(EKG solo)

I bury my head in the sand
and all my combat’s hand to hand
Baby I go to pieces when you’re around

Now I’ve got my head in the game
Got my nose to the grindstone, and I’ll shoulder the blame
It’s all in my head, but my head’s in a vice
I’d lift a finger, but it wouldn’t be nice

So you can kiss my ass in traction
my body of work is out of action
Baby I go to pieces when you’re around

I asked you to remember me
you thought I said “dismember me”
Baby I go to pieces when you’re around

You took my hand
You stole my heart
You buried the rest in a box in the yard
Baby I go to pieces when you’re around.


* sorry, I very apologize for this line.
Track Name: 83 Ribbons
83 RIBBONS © 2002 Acoustic Ross

I’ve got 83 ribbons
every color from here to there
One for every concern
but I never know which one to wear
I say just what I think
(at least what I think I think)
I stand for my beliefs
I stand for everything

I got the first ribbon for AIDS awareness
two was for abstinence
Three and four, pornography
(one for and one against)
Five and six, drugs and alcohol
seven fur, eight for the environment
Nine is anti-smoking
ten ten ten ten for everything everything everything everything
(Eleven for plagiarism)

Everyone’s gotta believe in something
but I can’t make up my mind
Everyone’s got a cause to fight for
and all of them are mine
I've got a song in my heart and my heart on my sleeve
and I know one thing for sure:
My cause is bigger than yours.

I buy a lot of records
but only if they’re benefit
I donate my parents’ money
but all of it’s nonprofit
I’m Sinead, I’m Sting, I’m the Cranberries
I’m Rage Against The Machine
I know my side will win one day
cause I’m on every team

Everyone’s gotta believe in something
but I can’t make up my mind
Everyone’s got a cause to fight for
and all of them are mine
I've got a song in my heart and my heart on my sleeve
and I know one thing for sure:
My cause is bigger than yours.

I’ve got one each for the Bill of Rights
which brings it to 21
A green one for the rainforest
the blue one’s got something to do with guns
There’s one for every state in the union
nine for the Supreme Court
The last one’s for independence
cause I’m against any kind of support

Everyone’s gotta believe in something
but I can’t make up my mind
Everyone’s got a cause to fight for
and all of them are mine
I've got a song in my heart and my heart on my sleeve
and I know one thing for sure:
My cause is bigger than yours.
Track Name: Idiot
IDIOT © 2002 Acoustic Ross

I sent a big check to a TV preacher
Don’t play the game, I watch from the bleachers
I hate teachers
cause I’m an idiot

I don’t rock the boat
I don’t wear a coat
I don’t even vote
cause I’m an idiot

I’m an idiot and I like my life just fine
I’m an idiot, won’t you be mine?

Spent all my money on a really nice casket
Put all my eggs and then dropped the basket
A tisket, a tasket
I’m an idiot

I o.d.’d on sugar
I’ve eaten a booger
proposed to a hooker
cause I’m an idiot

I’m an idiot and I like my life just fine
I’m an idiot, won’t you be mine?

A box of rocks, I’m dumb as an ox
I don’t get the joke, hooked on secondhand smoke

Believe everything I see on TV
I don’t read books
I watch movies I don’t understand
cause I’m an idiot

Put another crack in the Liberty Bell
They took me away, put me in a cell
I’m going to hell
cause I’m an idiot

I bought a big mansion
just outside of Branson
I got kicked out of Hanson
cause I’m an idiot

I’m an idiot and I like my life just fine
I’m an idiot, won’t you be mine?
Track Name: Time for One More
TIME FOR ONE MORE © 2002 Acoustic Ross

One last song and then I’ll be on my way
One last song then I can get on with my life
I’ve had enough of this lukewarm appreciation for one night
I’m packing up, I’m heading out

One last song and then we’re all on our way
One last song then we can pay our bills and leave a tiny tip
You call this entertainment? Yeah right
Sounds pretty much like crap to me

There’s two guys who do covers but they get the words all wrong
There’s three guys who do improv
thank God the sets are only ten minutes long
Then there’s that guy who sings that stupid “Idiot” song
I saw this once before, but that time they had a gong

One last song and one more wasted evening
No free drinks, no cash, no audience at all
except the boyfriend of the waitress who I thought was cute
Oh well, I’m packing up, I’m moving on

One last song
I wonder where the gang from work was?
I guess it’s better anyhow
Forgot the words again, a string broke, and I dropped a pick
And I drank too much coffee and played too fast

There’s two girls who were pretty good
and they played my favorite song
There’s one kid who reads poetry and pronounces ‘angst’ wrong
Then there’s that guy who sings that stupid “Idiot” song
I saw this once before, but that time they had a gong

One last song and then we’re all on our way
One last song then we’ll forget about tonight
It’s thrilling, disappointing, painful, and endearing
And I won’t be back until tomorrow night.