Hobo Postcards

by Jeff Andrew

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An electrified patchwork of folk, punk, Celtic and old jazz. Tracks 2, 7 & 8 feature the legendary STROH VIOLIN (a rare and body-less violin with a resonator and a phonograph horn). Gang vocals and screaming tracked in Leeside Skatepark.

"A backroads troubadour with a few things to say by way of viscera, nerve and hard experience...basically a raunchy Bob Dylan with blood in his teeth." - FAME Reviews

"Think The Pogues at their most engaging, singing early Tom Waits." - Leicester Bangs


released September 5, 2011

This album is for Tempest.
1984 - 2009

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Corwin Fox at 30.06 Studio in Vancouver and TransOrbital Sound in Cumberland
Produced by Jacob Anger and Corwin Fox
All songs by Jeff Andrew (SOCAN)

Front cover painting by Thomas Buchan www.thomasbuchan.com
Rear cover and booklet photos by Dandy Denial www.flickr.com/photos/deesquared
Interior photos by Jonathan Dy www.jonathandy.com
Album layout and design by Juniper English www.rippledesign.info
Jeff Andrew plays a Tinker guitar, handmade in the Republic of East Vancouver www.tinkerguitars.com




all rights reserved


Jeff Andrew Vancouver, British Columbia

Fiddles, horns, double bass and subterranean percussion from the tunnels of East Vancouver. Songs from the road and beyond the grave.

"A backroads troubadour with a few things to say by way of viscera, nerve and hard experience...basically a raunchy Bob Dylan with blood in his teeth." - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
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Track Name: Wooden Dress
Wooden Dress

She was buried alive on a Saturday night
Wore that wooden dress into the ground
I was born in a box the very same night
Earth closed up without a sound
We broke through with the dawn to a cold morning light
October in that rusty desert town
Stole a can of gas and a little butane light
Laughing as we burned the whole place down

Lord, put me back
I’ve walked down every track
Seen this whole island on my own
Now the road’s wearing thin like the soles of my boots
Lord, put me back into the ground

They caught up with us that night by a fire in the hills
Drug us back to town through the midnight sky
With an oak tree and a rope they strung her up behind the church
Waiting around this time for her to die
I left them all that night to their shitty little lives
Grew up fast and lived to spite them all
They said she was a witch and we belonged in the dirt
Now they got nothing left except their walls


They were right about one thing: I been up here way too long
I’ve seen it all and now I miss the cold, cold ground
I’m at the end of the line and I can hear that lonely song
Earth closing up without a sound

Lord, put me back
I’ve walked to Hell and back
I’m afraid to close my eyes when I lay down
Now the road’s wearing thin like the soles of my boots
And I’m swaying like a tree without any roots
Lord, put me back
Lord, put me back
Lord, put me back into the ground
Track Name: Jersey Hill
Jersey Hill

My mama worked the night trade down there by the docks
Until my daddy up and left us to the junkies and the cops
When she died I swore I’d find him when my shadow grew long
And break him like a ship upon the rocks
So I hit the road running like a train off its track
Bound for Jersey Hill, they call me Westbound Kitty Scratch
I got my knife, I got my secrets hidden safe in my boots
Nothing but my banjo on my back

Scraping cross the country with no money and no plan
Flying signs and hiding in the park
St. Christopher, come find me on the wheels of a train
I’m just trying to make the badlands before dark

“My memory’s a curse and my future’s a crime”
Told me Alabaster Shandy on the Scarborough Line
Dirty kids under a bridge out by Desolation Creek
On the hunt for Bo Texino’s buried wine
They told me there’s a place where you can bury the past
Where the ground is soft for digging and no one ever asks
So I left ‘em by the light of the Katastrophe Star
Sailing like a ship without a mast


I had my chance with Crooked Henry by the old Riddle Tree
But some alleys are too dark, baby, even for me
I got patches on my back to cover the holes in my heart
And a tattoo of the moonlight on the sea
There’s a ghost out there waiting in the cold and the rain
Maybe I’ll go find him or maybe I’ll go insane
The Gods will hear me laughing from the top of Jersey Hill
When I catch that Westbound Train

Track Name: Please Let Me Sleep On Your Floor
Please Let Me Sleep On Your Floor

I couldn’t find nobody to put me up for the night
So I slept in an alley with the streetlights so bright
We take all this shit for you
Your world is so full of pretty things
My guitar doesn’t even have all its strings
But I’ll write a song for you (like O’Carolan)

Please let me sleep on your floor
Please let me sleep out on your front porch
It looks like rain tonight
You know I won’t make a mess
You know this is your blessing
And you know I’ll be gone in the morning

I’m trying to get home but nobody will listen
I haven’t eaten all day and there’s food in your kitchen
I can smell it
If I could ask you just one little thing:
Please answer the doorbell when it rings
And don’t be afraid of me


It was so cold in the city last night
So I’m out here in the country ‘cause I don’t want to fight
With the world anymore
I’ve worked and I’ve worked and I got nothing to show
The voices keep shouting and I don’t know
Where to go anymore

Track Name: PG Hotel Room
Prince George Hotel Room

I believe I seen magic in the light of your eyes
I believe I seen heartache in the dark of your cries
When you kissed me in the moonlight with the creek running dry
When you hitched up from Hundred Mile just to say your goodbye

I found the stars in that Prince George Hotel Room
I fell in love in that Prince George Hotel Room
We laid it out in that Prince George Hotel Room
Then we said goodbye

In a tent by the river with the wind blowing strong
In a field by the mountains where the freight train rolls along
When you laughed in the sunset and I felt I belonged
When I lost you in the Prairies and I knew you were gone


Now it’s five long years I been out here on my own
Five long years with a backpack for my home
Midnight in the truck stop and an aching in my bones
Sad eyes can’t find me and I know I’ll die alone

Track Name: What's Going On In The Alleyway?
What's Going On In The Alleyway?

What’s going on in the alleyway?
What’s going on in the alleyway?
What’s going on in the alleyway?
Don’t ask! Don’t ask!

It’s a surefire way to beat the heat
At night we can do it in the street
The rich like to watch, they don’t want us to stop
Catch an evening show and tip the cops


You dreamt it as a boy and now it’s real
They beat you down until you couldn’t feel
You’re young, you’ll do well and we’re already in Hell
Ignore the voices and stay put until it sells


We’ll give you more than you could ever steal
We’ll grind you like a butt beneath our heel
The nights here are long and you have to be strong
Survival’s all that matters, right or wrong


What’s going on in the alleyway?
You can watch if you like, but you have to pay!
What’s going on in the alleyway?
Don’t ask! Don’t ask!
Track Name: The Wandering Dead
The Wandering Dead

I rolled in on the Midnight Ghost, howling like a dog
Werewolf Moon in the downtown night, drifting with the fog
I met the Goddess of the Damned, pushing a three-wheel cart
First she bummed a cigarette, then she broke my heart
Then the city crept over me, closing like a fist
I woke up in a strange place, covered all in mist
There were hobos lined up on the road, crucified in the street
Sacrificed for the suburbs, dying on their feet
Barbed-wire windows to the sky, landmines on the ground
Voiceless cries from the Ancient Pit, lost and never found
I stepped out into the Void, down a ladder greased with blood
One-way ride to the Catacombs, breaking every rung
And talking to myself

From the empty space inside
It don’t do no good to hide
We are the Wandering Dead

Sister Mercy came and went, found me in a hole
Asked if one day I’d repent – I just told her “No”
The People tried to build a home beneath a long-dead neon sign
The City came and broke it down, beat them back in line
Lives tossed into a garbage truck, bloodstains on the floor
Shelter from the winter storm, cops to bar the door
Hypocrisy on the Lake of Fire, feeding a river a lies
Running down from the Highest Ground, through the gutter to the sky
A Gilded Palace for the rich, bedbugs for the poor
You toss your sins into the street and then you slam the door
So you can take your fucking Games and shove ‘em up your ass
Try living out of a shopping cart, sleeping on broken glass
And talking to yourself


I sang the Gospel of the Renegades at the Skid Row soapbox show
Broken souls beneath the power lines, gathering like crows
The soldiers came and broke us down like cardboard in the rain
Blistered fire in their fingertips, centuries of pain
An Empire built on Stolen Land, a war against the poor
Left to die beside a barrel fire, to burn forevermore
I heard it all through the hotel floor, a story as old as time
Bodies buried in the city walls, the old bones never lie
So when the Sun burned through the sky, rising to the East
I hit the hammer one last time, praying for release
Then I heard the voices rising up, crying out in turn:
“Know that one day all of this will crumble and burn!”
But I’m talking to myself

Track Name: When The Whistle Blows
When The Whistle Blows

Throw down the lashes, tear open the blinds
See the magic in the moonlight unfurled
Every question has an answer hidden somewhere in your mind
Don’t shut your windows to the world

Climb down the drainpipe, meet me by the tracks
There’s a circus setting up in the field
Be careful of the shadow trailing closely at your back
If you’re broke then you must learn how to steal

The highway is a carnival of whiskey and smoke
Leave your troubles to the wind and the rain
If you learn how to run you will never grow old
When the whistle blows it’s time to catch the train

When you’re thinking it’s time you took a closer look at crime
Don’t forget that there are ways around the law
That wants you to stay here, a prisoner of the dime
Just walk away and leave your shackles where they fall

These hills are old but they’re still full of gold
The summertime will never leave you blue
There’s treasure in the alleys and the cobblestone road
You can find it if your heart is true


When you’re in the last bar of a 12-bar blues
And you can’t find the turnaround
We’re writing the story with the soles of our shoes
The change is in the merry-go-round

So throw down the lashes, tear open the blinds
See the magic in the moonlight unfurled
Every question has an answer hidden somewhere in your mind
Don’t shut your windows to the world

Track Name: Voice In The Floorboards
Voice In The Floorboards

An old hobo hiking down a road with no name
No past but the dirt in his nails
The steam trains are gone but the tracks are still there
At night he hears the songs in the rails
Wrought-iron brickwork and crumbling hotels
The story of a working woman’s bed
The piano’s a birdcage and the taps have run dry
But the good times still ring in Molly’s head

I am the voice in the floorboards
I am the smoke in the walls
I am the ghost of an old lonely building
In my time I swear I’ve seen it all
Now I wait for the big wrecking ball

Great wars were fought in this factory town
By the women breathing death in the mills
Over pennies a day and a child’s right to play
The gunshots rained down from the hills
Strikers, Militias, Wobblies and Priests
They all scratched their names in my walls
Now their blood turns to dust when we bury the past
No more stories when the last hotel falls


The years fall like leaves from the branches of time
My walls shake with the Songs of the Dead
Their stories ring out like an old sailor’s rime
When I’m gone there’ll be silence instead
So take the plugs from your ears, put your head to the floor
Trade your plastic for leather and steel
Listen for the voices of the ones who came before
They’re still there if you know how to feel


The poor go to war but the rich go to Hell
One day it’s all going to burn
Dead soldiers leave nothing but stories to tell
In their graves I can still hear them turn
Silence is gold for the ones at the top
They’ve buried the Living Memory
Now the gravedigger’s hands can make the great machine stop
Take the shovel and set yourself free

Track Name: Highway Girl
Highway Girl

Broken shades and a twisted heart
Wrap-around moon and we’re back at the start
Werewolf howl and the road goes down
Gas tank’s empty but we make it somehow

She’s my highway girl, my highway girl…
What she wants is what she gets

I found her in the alley on the run from the cops
She rode me from the valley to the mountaintops
I step on the clutch, she pulls on my stick
Machines are between us but the blood is so thick

She’s my highway girl, my highway girl…
Killing all my cigarettes

Little blue spike in the electrical storm
Eyes in the fire and a shadowy form
Cracks in her hands and a circular scar
Running to find the California Stars

She’s my highway girl, my highway girl…
She’s here and then she’s gone

Fire in the sky and the mirror’s turning black
Chasm up ahead but there ain’t no turning back
Learning how to fly ‘cause the road’s about to crack
We’re gonna leave the whole world behind


Barbed-wire staff in the skeleton camp
Dancing by the fire with the mystery tramp
Seen her at night at the edge of the cliff
Never gonna fall, she’s just gonna drift

Track Name: I Want You To Haunt Me
I Want You To Haunt Me

Crow foot, raven foot, snakeskin memory
Bring the storm to the people and the people to the sea
Midnight and the moonshine and the mourning makes three
I want you to haunt me

Circus in the shadows and a unicycle train
Sailing down the gutter in the pouring rain
When God throws in the towel and the Devil’s gone insane
I want you to haunt me

From the bottom of the ocean to the far side of the grave
From the edges of the highway to the dark side of the cave
From the sins of the master to the secrets of the slave
I want you to haunt me

Blood on the water and a siren on the sea
Tattoos on the sky, we write our own mythology
A bottle full of poison and a dime store mystery
I want you to haunt me

Meet me in the attic, I’ll be calling out your name
In a five-pointed circle, come on and burn me into flame
When the Church is out of aces and the Goddess takes the game
I want you to haunt me

When we spill out of our eyes and throw the dirt upon your grave
When you whisper dirty secrets to all the souls that you saved
When you’re coming in low we’re gonna hide out in the cave
I want you to haunt me…
Track Name: Spider Without A Web
Spider Without A Web

On the morning of the crash, she woke up in the rain
Broken down outside a Montreal café
So she tattooed her face and she slid under the stairs
There was nothing left for them to take away
With a handful of broken glass and her extraordinary care
She wrote her name in blood and left it on the wall
With the secret hobo signs and nothing left to lose
She hopped a train and rode away into the fall

If you don’t make it to the West, I’ll come find you in the East
Meet me down at Bramasole’s and we’ll hitchhike out to sea

The leaves are falling down on that last October night
Full Moon came a day too late
In the shadow of a streetlight, smoking in the rain
She stands before the curtains of her fate
Jackson’s in the alley calling out for Sneaky Pete
Gumshoe Banshee plays a gin waltz on the saw
The seas are rough and stormy and the hour’s getting late
For a girl without a net to break her fall

I fell through an endless sky, but I never hit the ground
In that dream she heard my cry, spun a web of sound
I fell into her moonbeam eyes, softly as I slept
“No great dreamer ever dies,” cried the spider as she wept
“We just open our eyes instead”

At the burned-out gates of Heaven, there’s a purple rose in flames
To guard the doorway to what’s left of the machine
With a single drop of moonlight, she spun her glistening strand
And we danced upon a spiderweb of dreams
In the morning there’s no story like a cold and lonely bed
She grabbed her pack without a word and hit the street
It ends with a question, like a murder in the rain:
She wrote the words out in the dust beneath her feet

Track Name: Midnight Train
Midnight Train

I went bust up in Dawson, Vancouver was worse
I got lost in the alley on the way to the church
The truth I used to see through the cracks in the sky
I left it in the ditch on a road full of lies
I burned down the house my grandfather built
Look back on my youth through a tunnel of guilt
Now it’s getting near midnight in this old hotel bar
I can stumble upstairs, my room ain’t too far

She said “Before I could sing, I had to learn to dance
You’ll never find your way out if you don’t take a chance”
The ghosts of my old world are calling me down
I’m still up here searching for the Rose I never found

I’m gonna take the road to nowhere, leave it all behind
Set fire to the ashes, won’t be nothing left to find
Break down in the mountains, ditch the truck and face the rain
I’m gonna ride the Midnight Train

At night I lay dreaming of the world where I was born
Barefoot by a streetlamp and a melancholy horn
Rexroth’s at the window, old Jacky’s at the bar
Corso’s at Vesuvio’s with another stolen car
The coffee shops are crumbling, the taxis are made of sand
There’s a girl by the bookstore with trainsmoke in her hand
Then I wake up in the moonlight with steel toes on my feet
Whispered memory fading like the shadows in the street

The night’s turning dark and the summer’s gone cold
When the first snow falls I’ll be out on the road
I’m too old to hitchhike but I still got my truck
I’ll be a lonely old rubbertramp with a worn-out clutch


I seen the far side of Heaven and all the Hells in between
In the smoke from a cookfire and a rusty can of beans
Midnight on the water and a star above the ridge
I found my father’s ghost sleeping under a bridge
A man in the alley told me things would be okay
If I lined up all my problems and shot ‘em all away
Now the highway is a cold moon, rising in the East
On a Prince George hotel room and an old timber beast

I see a clearing in the path and a house up in the hills
You said you’d come and find me but I know you never will
Thunder in the trainyard and a clanging steamship bell
A secret on your red lips I know you’ll never tell

Track Name: Hobo Postcards
Hobo Postcards

Burning neon lights, star-eyed country nights
I traded eyes with a Somerset Dame
But I let it all break down, that night in Chinatown
Ten years and every place just looks the same

It’s cold and I got nowhere left to go
I pray, but the churches are all closed
The sidewalk calls, I make my bed of stone
I’m gonna ride the broken staircase to the ground

I been lost, I been found
And the rain’s still coming down
I been all around the world
Now I’m going home

Hooded eyes on the corner, a manic voice in the cold
I drag the past like a rusty ball and chain
I hopped a train to Heaven but St. Peter locked the gate
Now I only believe in God at night when it rains

Your face on the night we said goodbye
Your tears were red, you had bloodstains in your eyes
Lightning fell and the Earth begin to cry
Thunder of steel and that high, lonesome sound


Your team is chasing nightmares, just let go of the reins
Take the junk you’ve found and build a home
There’s no truth but in things, you must commit to the swing
Let the blade find its own way through the bone

Do you remember that little shack at the edge of town?
Where the river bends and the tracks are broken down?
Meet me there when the frost is on the ground
Winter’s coming and it’s time to build us a fire