Larry John McNally | Adios Pony Boy

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Adios Pony Boy

by Larry John McNally

Ten new songs from master songwriter Larry John McNally, whose style has been called "Folk-Hendrix." Celtic singer-songwriter-guitarist. Literary lyrics with blues/jazz inflections.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Circus Part Two
3:51 $0.99
2. The Reeducation of L J M
5:02 $0.99
3. Romeo and Juliet in Belfast (feat. The Henry Girls)
3:02 $0.99
4. Shelter
2:51 $0.99
5. Carroll Gardens
4:21 $0.99
6. Black Is the Color
3:00 $0.99
7. I Put a Spell On You
3:05 $0.99
8. Paper Dolls
3:03 $0.99
9. Goodbye New York
4:11 $0.99
10. Looking for You
2:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This is the last of a series of albums I've made in Los Angeles over the past few years. Lately I've been writing songs in Spanish for a band I'm in called La Cienaga Collective.
Not sure when, or if, I'll be making more Larry John McNally albums.
Most of the tracks here feature Nichelle Monroe's vocals. She has become such a part of "my" sound that I can't imagine recording without her.
I'll break down the tracks one by one:

1. Circus Part Two- This is a continuation of the song "Thru With the Circus" from my album "Buddy Holly." I'm ruminating on the circus quality of gigging and the music lifestyle in general, all the way back to my teenage years driving to obscure gigs in obscure towns. There have been many long strange hours, driving through the night, adrift from "reality", or at least any typical kind of reality. I remember flying 12 hours to Tokyo, slogging through customs, train into the city, not quite sure what time it was, and barely knowing where I was. All for the 1 hour on stage nightly. All for the applause? Not sure. It all makes sense, most of the time.

Circus Part Two
by Larry John McNally

Welcome to my little world of mirth
one man wonder circling the earth
sword swallowers, freak shows , rough trade
a dog and pony show
in a nightly parade

Keep the box office happy
and you'll fly first class
but the ticket sales start to slide
& youll be out on your ass

thats why
I'm thru with the circus
what time is it, showtime
i tried to force it
but I guess i just dont fit

Stay away from reality
take them back to their youth
you must control the stage
make them fall in love with you

See, a lie must have a little bit of truth in it
or else, no one will believe its true
I pull a rabbit from my hat
and the crowd goes wild
after a while you know just what to do

thats why
I'm thru with the circus
Yeah, I need a safety net
sell the elephants and horses
take whatever you can get

when I first met Mary
she was sixteen with a fake ID
even then she was a hundred times
more street smart than me
Hey, I'm not Gods gift to women
I'm not the second coming of Christ
but the chemistry was right
and most nights
I'd bring her home once or twice

I'm thru with the circus

If we look like gods up on the high wire
well, gods know nothing 'bout love at all
man I swear the people came each night
just to see if we'd fall

Hey, I'm thru with the circus
I'm thru with the circus, yeah
i've lost my sense of humor
i wont miss it one bit
I'm crawling out of the snake pit
thru with the circus
We've seen it all
Let's go!

2. The Reeducation of LJM- Yes, my autobiography. It may be true that the most personal is the most universal. What a long strange trip it's been and I know now, that I know more, than I knew then.

The Reeducation of LJM

Black irish face #9, catholic white boy
what gets loved gets lifted up
and all that doesn't is soon destroyed
that way suburbia quiet breeze across the lawn
this way mayhem
guess where I ended up
so began
the reeducation of LJM
yeah, the reeducation of LJM

What exactly did I learn in school
I learned what I didn't wanna do
I found my way then I got lost
By then it was too late to ever get back to you

Everyone taking sides
I felt I had to choose us or them
Not knowing that they're one & the same
hard lessons
the reeducation of LJM
yeah the reeducation of LJM

Mad at myself and a little bit scared
I did what I knew I shouldnt do
And my life turned into a bad movie
The kind you wanna walk out of before it's through

I was given a gift
it shone for all the world to see
A perfect gem
So I hocked it and bought an electric guitar
beginning the reeducation of LJM
yeah the reeducation of LJM

A girl putting flowers around the room
Trying to brighten up the place
The strap of her dress slipping off her shoulder
The look of love all over her face

I can trace it all back to that summer
from which all my problems stem
her, july, and a whole lot more
the roots of
the reeducation of LJM
yeah the reeducation of LJM

me the poet at a loss for words
her face glowed like Mary of Bethlehem
I wouldn't walk away so easily
my first teacher in
the reeducation of LJM
yeah the reeducation of LJM

Maybe it goes on forever
Are you ready yes I am
to be continued
the reeducation of LJM

3. Romeo and Juliet in Belfast, featuring The Henry Girls- My friend Jennifer Kimball, who I used to perform with in New York, lived in Ireland for a year and befriended the lovely Henry Girls. Their voices and their harp, fiddle and whistle really made this song come alive for me. I could write a book about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. You can't be Irish Catholic and not at least be aware of the turmoil there, going back many generations. My father was Protestant and my mother Catholic. Believe me, that black cloud visited upon my house, growing up, from time to time. I remember going in and out of London at a time when there were bombings there. I was taken into the back room and interrogated a number of times. With my name, my face, and my lack of visible employment, I was marked the moment I got off the plane. The filmmaker Jim Sheriden has made some gorgeous and powerful movies about this subject. The movie "The Crying Game" is another one that brings home the personal side of what can seem like distant rhetoric.

Romeo & Juliet in Belfast

A protestant roofer came into town
Seeking a working wage
Not to get drawn in to any battles
Yeah, the need to challenge the world settles down with age

And there he fell for a catholic girl
with skin so soft and fair
and the velvet night of mystery
in her jet black hair
their fate was sealed just like all lovers
the mold was cast
Romeo met Juliet in Belfast

So will the world leave our lovers alone
No they will not
There are wounds unhealed and grudges
Hate's hard lessons dying to be taught
yeah, our roofer went home in a pine box
The Ulster banner flew at half mast
All because Romeo met Juliet in Belfast
yeah, Romeo met Juliet in Belfast

I feel rage inside
I dont know where to put it
All hell breaks loose
It takes a whole lot of drink to drown it out
And even then it's just a whiskey truce
But I still believe in love
I don't believe that nothing lasts
I believe in the love of
Romeo for Juliet in Belfast
Yeah, Romeo met Juliet in Belfast

4. Shelter- I play dulcimer on this track. I love the jangly Celtic flavor it adds, but my real inspiration here is gospel music.
Nichelle honors that, with her Mississippi roots showing beautifully.

Shelter by Larry John McNally

If the eyes are windows to the soul
then I see a lot of dark in there
I can see you're hungry
I can see you're scared

but something bigger than us brought us together
I love you and I'll love you forever
When everything is helter skelter
I'll give you shelter
When everything is helter skelter
I'll give you shelter

There's a revolution in your soul
scorched earth no surrender
break down the walls of Jericho
have mercy on a heart so tender

but something bigger than us brought us together
I love you and I'll love you forever
When everything is helter skelter
I'll give you shelter
When everything is helter skelter
I'll give you shelter

trust no one and you live in fear
its OK, rest a while I'll be right here
in winter's cold, in summer's swelter
I'll give you shelter

When everything is helter skelter
I'll give you shelter
I'll give you shelter

5. Carroll Gardens- Carroll Gardens is a beautiful tree lined neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. It was at one time an Irish working class neighborhood, though now more and more gentrified by the rising prices everywhere in New York City. I went there to rehearse one day and was captivated by the magic mood of the long rows of town houses and the ghosts of Irish brothers past. All this around the time my son was born. That is a magic moment from which I will never recover. Suddenly my heart and soul deepened and an eternal love opened up in me. Even though Angel is more of a Latin name for a child rather than Irish, it is a beautiful name for either a boy or a girl.

Carroll Gardens
Larry John McNally

I'm about to be a father
I'm gonna name my baby Angel
Whether it's a boy or a girl
I've got a lot of hopes for my child
Hey, man, hope's a good thing to have in this world

I'm gonna wipe the slate clean
For all the wrong I've done
I beg a thousand pardons
And an angel hovers over Carroll Gardens

So now I have this child to watch over
And all of a sudden self doubt runs thick through me
All anybody ever talked about
Was lullabies and fairy tales
No one said anything about how hard it can be

Still, I hold my son
While he falls asleep in my arms
And my heart unhardens
And an angel hovers over Carroll Gardens
Yes an angel hovers over Carroll Gardens

Hey, Eternity is looking up 3rd avenue into the twilight
Peace is, everyone safe under the same roof at night
Faith is a blade of grass
Growing up through the concrete
Hope is my ear against your chest
Listening for your heartbeat

For the moments that I've lost it
For the times I've been unkind
I beg a thousand pardons
And an angel hovers over Carroll Gardens
Yes an angel hovers over Carroll Gardens

6. Black is the Color- This is my rewriting of the old Scottish folk ballad. I saw Luka Bloom sing a very inspired version of it in Amsterdam one night. The next day I saw him in a coffee shop and he suggested I listen to Nina Simone's cover of it. It's a haunting song. Since it's in the public domain, I decided to take liberties with it and bring the sometimes dark, ambiguous aspects of love in to it. I love Nichelle's singing on this track and Lee Curreri's Mediterranean strings. Laura Nyro's song "By a Chinese Lamp Upstairs" was the inspiration for my production here.

Black is the Color
by LJM

Black is the color of my true love's heart
A raven's wing her jet black hair
Afternoon and her party dress
Still lay across my bedroom chair

I bring her coffee and hard candy
and stroke her hair, while she sleeps
She's difficult, man, she's hard to handle
and the same has been said of me

Always questions hidden in her conversation
and whether or not I answer them right
Will determine whether or not
she will stay the night

Yeah, Black is the color of my true loves heart…mmm...

Black is the color of my true love's heart
I understand her, she understands me
And love will win out in the end
or lose, whichever the case might be

Black is the color of my true love's heart
Yeah, yeah

7. I Put A Spell on You- in Los Angeles, you are around the film business on a daily basis. Someone told me about a film being made about Nina Simone. Many of these movies bounce around for years and never reach the screen. I went out and got Nina's biography and it is an intense story. She seemed to have a hurt and haunted soul. My mind began to wander and this song came forward. My friend Adam Levy was living in LA at the time and I sat down with him to finish it. There are many beautiful layers of depth in Adam's musicality. He was the guitarist in those first years of Norah Jones career.

I Put a Spell on You
by Larry John McNally
& Adam Levy

I put a spell on you
From which you won't recover
If you even think about
Taking on another lover

A fighter I was born
And no one fights to lose
I'll use the weapons of the spirit
To put a spell on you

Spanish moss and angel wings
And a lock of your hair
I light a crimson candle
Whisper a midnight prayer
I put a spell on you

I put a spell on you
And watched it fade from black to blue
At least I had what I wanted
For a moment or two

I put a spell on you

8. Paper Dolls- I wrote this song with Adam Levy as well. I had the imagery in my head for a long time and Adam fleshed it out perfectly. Have you ever been played by someone, played a role perhaps unwittingly, in their dramatic play? Yeah, haven't we all.

Paper Dolls
by LJM and Adam Levy

If these walls could talk
Hush now careful what you say
All alone in the dark
Scissors and paste
Then you can play

with your paper dolls
with your paper dolls

You cut a silhouette
No mouth, no ears, no hungry eyes
in names no regrets
and none of the pretty lies

with your paper dolls
with your paper dolls

let the world spin like a top
for all you care the stars could drop
into the sea
with no sound at all
you and your paper dolls
you and your paper dolls

what makes a man a man
I'm flesh and blood and a beating heart
You had your fun and then
You lost your head and tore me apart
just like your paper dolls
just like your paper dolls

let the world spin like a top
for all you care the stars could drop
into the sea
with no sound at all
you and your paper dolls
you and your paper dolls

9. Goodbye New York- Leaving New York was dramatic for me. I felt I'd found my true home there. But New York is expensive and not easy in any way. Times I've visited since, I still well up with emotion when I first see the city skyline, coming in from JFK.

Goodbye New York
LJ McNally

Goodbye New York, you fucking whore
I won't go quietly
No, I'm slamming shut the door
I loved you and you knew it
It didn't matter to you either way
Always there's someone waiting, willing to pay & pay
Takes one to know one you said
Yeah, I've been down there too, but
What if you sell out and it still doesn't sell
What a stupid thing to do

So goodbye New York
I don't need you anymore
I wont be back this time
No Im closing the door

Thin line between love and hate
Is more like a chain link fence
With razor wire across the top
As high as my rent
The very thing that attracts you at the beginning
Can get on your nerves real fast
How long do you let a thing drag you down
Knowing it can't last
So goodbye New York

Sometimes you almost seemed to let down your guard
A warm night in May
Winter finally over, everybody out walking
A beautiful glow on your face
You shone for me, you took me places
I'd never been
But our love was a holy war
Soon I began to descend

The sun shone like silver after the rain across the schoolyard
You're beautiful but you're too dirty, too hard
I can't give you what you need, let somebody else try
It's been a long day, I got no feeling left
And I don't like saying goodbye

So goodbye New York...

10. Looking For You- What exactly am I looking for? Everything, I guess. I've translated this song into Spanish and it seems to work in any language. The bridge was inspired by a visit to a bar in Venice, California one day, to look at a club for a potential gig. Someone came in waving a gun, and I snuck out the back door. Not sure what happened next. Plenty of angst and anger in American life.

Looking For You (spanish and english)
Larry John McNally

I'm looking for a place to cross the border
Estoy buscando un lugar para cruzar la frontera

I'm looking for a familiar face
Estoy buscando una cara conocida

A point of entry anywhere
I'm looking for a moment of grace
Un punto de entrada en cualquier lugar
un momento de gracia

I'm looking for my way back to a time and place
When love was true
estoy buscando un camino de regreso a un lugar
y el momento cuando el amor era real

Te estoy buscando

I'm looking for you
I'm looking for you

I'm looking for somewhere new to go
Yeah, summer's almost over
On the great lawn of Central Park
I'm looking for a four leaf clover
estoy buscando un lugar nuevo
ya casi se acaba el verano
en el "Great Lawn" del Parque Central
Busco un trebol de cuatro hojas

I'm looking for my long lost self
Who saw everything so clearly
Not the me who hasn't done what I wanted to do

busco mi ser hace tiempo ya perdido
que veia todo tan claro
no a quien no ha hecho lo que yo quieria hacer
Te estoy buscando

I'm looking for you
I'm looking for you

Someone upended the table
Now there's glass all over the floor but why worry

Alquien se tropezo con la mesa
vidrio roto por todo el piso
pero, para que preocuparse

Still I stay close to the exit door
In case I need to get out of here in a hurry

igual me hago cerca a la salida
por si hay que salir rapido

They say you're never coming back
But I laugh in their faces
They don't know you like I do

Dicen que no volveras nunca
pero, me rio en sus caras
Ellos no te conocen como yo

siempre y para siempre

Always and forever

Te estoy buscando

I'm looking for you



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