1. One By One

From the recording Red Beet Records - 2008


(Peter Cooper/Dave Hixx) Well Known Music/SESAC and Dickey Dice Publishing/BMI/admin. by BUG Music

I met Richard Goerke in a New York City bar, and he explained to me with very little patience that he loved Johnny Cash more than I do. I argued at first, then shrunk back down when he got up in arms about this. I asked Richard when it was that he had learned to love Johnny Cash, and he told me that he learned to love Johnny Cash when he was in prison. I asked why he was in prison, and he said it was because “they” said he had done this terrible thing. I asked why “they” had said that, and he said, “Because I did it, damn it!” I was glad I’d shrunk down a while back. We talked for hours, and the best part of the story wasn’t what he did but why he did it. Or maybe that’s the worst part of the story. For sure, though, it’s part of the story. Thanks to Dave Hixx, the world’s greatest songwriting tour manager (or tour managing songwriter), for help in getting all this down the way it may have happened.


I ain’t no honky-tonk hero
But I’m honky tonkin’ all the same
Been coming here for years, double Jack rocks
Don’t you act like you don’t know my name
You know my name
Larry, you know my name

And I’m tired of all your bullshit
Yeah, you heard me right
If you’re gonna throw me out again
It ain’t gonna be without a fight
I ain’t afraid to fight you
I think I’d do alright

And the jukebox sucks
And the girls dress like they’re working for some pimp
I ain’t no VIP but I ain’t no circus chimp
That’s how you treat me, Larry
Like a circus chimp

Let me tell you something
Me and Hamp had the run of this place
Me and Hamp and Ashley Fly
Now they’re gone without a trace
It’s like they were never here
It’s just me left in this place

And my wife is dead
And my oldest boy don’t talk to me at all
And you never knew Junior
He got shot down in the gulf
Friendly fire, Larry
Friendly fire

The jukebox, man, it just bangs and pounds
Turn it down, turn it down a lot
I ain’t one of your sweet young things
But I ain’t no afterthought
That’s how you treat me, Larry
Like an afterthought

And hey, hey... if we’re all God’s invention
And not the other way around
I’d like to ask Him
About the way it all goes down
I’d want an answer
For how it goes down

I’d say, “Did you put me here to love these people
A little more every day?
Teach me how to love them
So you could take them all away?
One by one.
One by one.”

Come back here, man
I’m dry, you can see I’m dry
What? No. And I won’t take a cab
Hey, look me in the eye
And mark my words
I’ll leave
But I’m gonna go out to my car
I’m gonna get in my car
And I’m gonna drive it through the window of your bar
And there’s gonna be screams and glass
And you’re gonna have to tear up some tabs
And then I’m gonna walk right back
And pour myself a double Jack
And when the cops come
They’re probably gonna ask you for my name
You know my name
Don’t you, Larry?
You know my name