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Tom T. Hall

I Witness Life

(# 40 top country album)

Mercury SR-61277
Jun / 1970

Produced by Jerry Kennedy

Cover image of I Witness Life

Tom T. Hall - vocal/harmonica (9)
Jerry Kennedy - guitar/dobro
Harold Bradley, Dale Sellers, Ray Edenton, Jerry Shook, Chip Young - guitar
Pete Drake - steel
Bob Moore - bass
Buddy Harman - drums
Hargus Pig Robbins - piano
Randy Scruggs - banjo
Charlie McCoy - harmonica
Arrangements by Cam Mullins
Recorded:
Apr/1969, Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville
Mar/1970, Monument Recording Studio, Nashville
Engineering: Tom Sparkman

1.

(# 8 country hit)

Salute To A Switchblade

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Me and Yates an army buddy o'mine
Were doin' three years in Germany at the time
We came upon these Frauleins in the bar
Yates said darf isch zee be-gleit-en they said ya

And darf isch zee be-gleit-en means can we sit with you all

Oh we must have drunk ten quarts of German beer
My conscience and my sinuses were clear
I asked that Fraulein if she was a spy
She said nein but do bis ain bissel high

A condition not uncommon to the American soldier

Well later on I went to be excused
When I returned I was a bit confused
Yates and his Fraulein had hit the air
Another guy was sittin' in my chair

A young soldier whom we shall get to know better

I said excuse me Mister that's my seat
I'd like to have it back sir if you please
That girl's a nurse and I've been awful sick
The man looked up at me and said mox-nix

Which means that he wad not overly concerned with my health

Next thing I knew he had a switchblade knife
Lord I didn't know that Fraulein was his wife
I took off through that Gasthaus like a fool
Behind me I heard the crashing stools

As the police would say he was in hot pursuit

Well the waitress yelled there's MPs on the way
That's one more reason I didn't want to stay
As I went out the window somethin' went switch
And I giggled all the way home knowin' he missed

At the time it seemed like a laughing matter

But next mornin' my coat was lyin' there on the bunk
And when I saw that coat it made me jump
That man had cut my coat right down the back
A little bit more and they'd been playin' me taps

And knowin' the sad nature of that song I would decline it

Well later on I heard that guy got stabbed
They sent him home and didn't that make me glad
On love and marriage I want to say one thing
Oh lady if you're married wear that ring

And the army has a new policy if you can't move it paint it
If it has a switchblade knife salute it
Not necessarily an incident one would want to write Mother about
Germany bein' full of good soldiers good people

**********

2.

Thank You Connersville Indiana

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

I rolled into Connersville in 1961
With what was left of my last army pay
I had a letter with me from a buddy livin' there
He said you stop and see me if you're ever up this way

Need I say he was surprised to find me at his door
With what I guess you'd call a silly grin
He said where are you headed and I said I'm headed here
His mama said don't stand there you'll catch cold just come on in

They gave me room and board I paid a very modest fee
Then I went lookin' for a place to play
If you've ever had a hat and didn't wear one then you'll know
The way a country singer made a livin' in those days

The menu printed on the window of the bar and grill
The man said we're too small to have a band
I said well I'll just pick and sing and pass my hat awhile
He said go right ahead but you just do the best you can

Well after seven hours of Cheatin' Heart and Wildwood Flower
I had me seven dollars eighty cents
I gave it to a waitress who was gonna have a baby
She said she needed just that much to help her pay the rent
[ dobro ]
Later on I formed a band and really hit the big time
Ten bucks a night for workin' at the time
We worked through winter gardens and some other choice nightspots
Looking back I'll have to say those were the good ole times

Summer came and me and ol' Mitch Mitchell fished White River
And caught those big ole juicy channel cats
Sometimes when I'm ridin' on the jet plane goin' somewhere
I get to thinking that I'd like to live a life like that

So thank you Connersville and thanks to you old Indiana
You took me in when I knew slimmer days
I won't forget you and I hope that you will not forget me
And you folks stop and see me if you're ever down this way

**********

3.

Do It To Someone You Love

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

The words I love you come easy
To the lips of a liar or a fool
If love talkin' is what you're thinkin' of
Then do it to someone you love

Do it to someone you love
Some little things to let them know they're all you're thinkin' of
This day and time a little thing you do could mean so much
So do it to someone you love
[ dobro ]
A smile comes easy to a strange hello
To someone that you never met
But an old love don't need that smile it glows with just a touch
So do it to someone you love

Do it to someone you love...

**********

4.

Ballad Of Bill Crump

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Now I'd hear a lot of tall stories since my business is writin' songs
And every now and then if you listen real close a good true one comes along
And this is the story of old Bill Crump from the North Carolina Hills
Nat Winston of Nashville knew this man real well

He built the church and he built the pews
He built the cradles and the furniture for the schools
Folks in Avery County say that he was better than good
Probably one of the reasons the Lord made wood

Now men have faults and Bill's fault was he loved to sip that corn
He lived ninety some years that way don't guess that was hurtin' him none
You could take him a picture from a catalog he could build anything he'd see
He could make anything that you could make out of the tree

One day Bill said mama I'm gettin' old I want you to measure me good
I'm goin' out to that wood pile and get myself some wood
And I'm gonna make me a coffin I want it to fit me fine
The way I figure it I've got about enough time

He built the church and he built the pews...

Now Bill worked on that coffin like he was gonna be there awhile
He'd show the folks and rub that wood and then stand back and smile
He used that body for ninety some years figured it had treated him good
And when he left it he put it away in some real fine wood

Oh right now old Bill's sleepin' in the hills of North Caroline
In his homemade coffin hand-rubbed walnut velvet lined
Now most folks use their heads and hands and just think of themselves
His body's there but his spirit is someplace else

Cause he built the church and he built the pews...

**********

5.

All You Want When You Please

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

I'm sittin' here lookin' at some mighty hard times
Money ain't growin' on trees
A little while ago I was rollin' in dough
Singin' all you want when you please

All you want when you please girls
All you want when you please

The wind blows up this road all summer
In the evenin' it cools one and all
If you like a good breeze you can have all you please
If you don't get blown away in the fall

All you want when you please girls
All you want when you please
[ dobro ]
My money's all gone and my breeze died down
My bloom of youth's gone to seed
I sit here and cry for the days all gone by
When I sang all you want when you please

All you want when you please girls
All you want when you please

Well the meat's all lean and the bread's all done
And the cook rides a big white horse
You just come like you look and if you get your picture took
You can tell 'em you was at the Mardi Gras

All you want when you please girls
All you want when you please

**********

6.

Chattanooga Dog

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

There's a fairground down in Chattanooga
Where a kiddy train runs up and down the track
There's an ol' black hound that always hangs around
And he chases that train down and back

And I've been chasin' you like that Chattanooga dog
Even though I know you don't care
I've been chasin' you like that Chattanooga dog
And it ain't gonna get me anywhere
[ banjo ]
Well I'm thinkin' that you're like that ol' train
Anybody gets a ticket to ride
I'm like that pup I won't ever give up
I'd do anything to be by your side

I've been chasin' you like that Chattanooga dog...
[ banjo ]
Ev'ry day when the kids come for playing
To ride that ole kiddy train once more
There's that ol' faithful hound with his tongue hangin' down
And runnin' till his feet get sore

And I've been chasin' you like that Chattanooga dog...

**********

7.

Girls In Saigon City

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

There's a place called Da Nang Village
Cross the ocean far away
In deep concern for one young woman
That's where I abide today

Today I got a dear-John letter
From that young woman in the USA
When I was called I knew I'd lose her
It don't matter anyway

There are girls in Saigon City
Waiting there with open arms
On my leave I may go see them
In this other world called VietNam
[ guitar ]
Stateside girls should take this warning
Be faithful cause you can't tell
On the streets of Saigon City
They have many things to sell

There are girls in Saigon City...

**********

8.

Hang Them All

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

There's a murderer in your town Mister
There were seven unsolved last year
There's a murderer in your town Mister
How long has he been livin' here

If they hang 'em all they get the guilty
If they hang 'em all they cannot miss
If they hang 'em all they get the guilty
Been a lot of problem solved like this

There's a thief in your town Mister
This morning my milk was gone
There's a thief in your town Mister
How long has this been goin' on

If they hang 'em all they get the guilty...

There's a cheater in your town Mister
Last night I saw him in a bar
There's a cheater in your town Mister
Is that the kind of people you are

If they hang 'em all they get the guilty...

There's a hypocrite in your town Mister
I think I caught him in a lie
There's a hypocrite in your town Mister
Are you gonna let that go by

If they hang 'em all they get the guilty
That's what you say we ought to do
If they hang 'em all they get the guilty
But remember they're gonna hang you too

If they hang 'em all they get the guilty...

**********

9.

Coming To The Party

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Well I'm comin' to the party tonight
I've been wrong so long I get right
I'm gonna let my hair down and don't you think I might
Cause I'm comin' to the party tonight

Comin' to the party tonight
And I'll find someone new to hold me tight
She thinks I'm home crying won't she be surprised
Cause I'm comin' to the party tonight
[ harmonica ]
Well I'm comin' to the party tonight
New arms a new love a new life
So don't you shake my tree if you don't like your peaches ripe
Cause I'm comin' to the party tonight

Comin' to the party tonight...

**********

10.

America The Ugly

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

There was a man came to see the USA from a foreign land
To photograph the progress of dear old Uncle Sam
He got off the boat in New York went down to the Bowery
I know what the man went to photograph and to see

There were hopeless hungry livin' dead
Winos who sell their souls for a bottle of a cheapest red
That's the picture that he wanted and that's what he got they say
America the ugly today
[ guitar ]
He went to the Appalachians and he saw what we all have seen
Where people live on bread and soup fat back and pinto beans
He saw the hungry children and he photographed the ragged clothes
I guess we're gonna try to tell him that it ain't so

There were good men standin' around with nothin' to do
Pregnant young women who didn't even have a pair of shoes
The man got his pictures and what are we goin' to say
America the ugly today
[ guitar ]
Then he went to the medicare centers and he saw the old people there
It seems that the young generation just didn't want 'em in their hair
He saw the poor man workin' it out while the mighty rich lives high
And my friend that brings a gleam to the enemy's eyes

There were some folks had plenty and some had none at all
The enemy knows when a heart gets hard the country is bound to fall
If we get heads and hearts together we won't have to hear them say
America the ugly today America the ugly today

**********

11.

That'll Be All Right With Me

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

It's not my sun man and if it's not shinin'
When I wake up tomorrow mornin'
Hmm that'll be all right with me
They're not my birds man and if they're not singin'
When I wake up tomorrow mornin'
Hmm that'll be all right with me

I don't believe I'm where I'm goin'
I find many a mile
If you don't like me help me to change
I'm still looking for a style
[ dobro + harmonica ]
She's just a woman if she should be gone
When I wake up tomorrow mornin'
Hmm that'll be all right with me
Well I'm not a brave man but I'm not a slave man
If all I ever am is free
That'll be all right with me

I don't believe I'm where I'm goin'...

**********



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