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Tom T. Hall

In Search Of A Song

(# 8 top country album)
(# 137 top pop album)

Mercury SR-61350
Aug / 1971

Produced by Jerry Kennedy

Cover image of In Search Of A Song

Jerry Kennedy - guitar/dobro/sitar
Harold Bradley - guitar/banjo
Ray Edenton, Chip Young - guitar
Pete Drake - steel/slide dobro
Bob Moore - bass
Buddy Harman - drums
Hargus Pig Robbins - piano/organ
George Tidwell - trumpet
Charlie McCoy - harmonica/vibes
Arrangements by Cam Mullins
May/1971, Mercury Custom Recording Studio, Nashville
Engineering: Tom Sparkman


(# 1 country hit)
(# 42 pop hit)

Year That Clayton Delaney Died

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died
They said for the last two weeks that he suffered and cried
It made a big impression on me although I was a barefoot kid
They said he got religion at the end and I'm glad that he did

Clayton was the best guitar picker in our town
I thought he was a hero and I used to follow Clayton around
I often wondered why Clayton who seemed so good to me
Never took his guitar and made it down in Tennessee

Well daddy said he drank a lot but I could never understand
I knew he used to picked up in Ohio with a five piece band
Clayton used to tell me son you better put that old guitar away
Ain't no money in it it'll lead you to an early grave

I guess if I'd admit it Clayton taught me how to drink booze
I can see him half stoned a pickin' out the Lovesick Blues
When Clayton died I made him a promise I was gonna carry on somehow
I'd give a hundred dollars if he could only see me now

I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died
Nobody ever knew it but I went out in the woods and I cried
Well I know there's a lotta big preachers that know a lot more than I do
But it could be that the good Lord likes a little picking too
Yeah I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died



Who's Gonna Feed Them Hogs

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

I met him in a hospital about a year ago
And why I still remember him I guess I'll never know
He'd lie there and cry out in a medicated fog
Here I am in this dang bed and who's gonna feed them hogs

Four hundred hogs they're just standing out there
My wife can't feed them and my neighbors don't care
They can't get out and roam around like my old huntin' dogs
Here I am in this dang bed and who's gonna feed them hogs

His face was lean and his hands were rough
His way was hogs and his nature was tough
His doctors tried to tell him that he may not live at all
But all he ever talked about was who's gonna feed them hogs

Four hundred hogs they're just standing out there...
[ piano ]
Four hundred hogs comes to eight hundred hams
And that's a lotta money for a hog raising man
Four hundred hogs comes to sixteen hundred feet
The market's up and there are people a waitin' on that meat

Well the doctors say they do not know what saved the man from death
But in a few days he put on his overalls and he left
That's all there is to this small song but waitress 'fore you leave
Would you bring me some coffee and a hot ham sandwich please

Four hundred hogs they're just standing out there
His wife couldn't feed them and his neighbors didn't care
They couldn't get out and roam around like his old huntin' dogs
There he was in that dang bed and who's gonna feed them hogs



Trip To Hyden

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Tossed and turned the night before in some old motel
Subconsciously recalling some old sinful things I done
My buddy drove the car and those big coal trucks shook us up
As we drove on into Hyden in the early morning sun

Passed the hound dogs and some dominique chickens
Temporary looking houses with their lean and bashful kids
Every hundred yards a sign proclaimed the Christ was coming soon
And I thought oh man he'd sure be disappointed if he did

On the way we talked about the forty miners
Of the thirty nine who died and one who lived to tell the tale
We stopped for beans and corn bread at the Ed 'n' Lois Cafe
Then we went to see the sheriff at the Leslie County jail

They took us to the scene of that disaster
I was so susrprised to not find any sign of death at all
Just another country hillside with some mud holes and some junk
The mines were deadly silent like a rat home in the wall

It was just like being right inside of a shotgun
The old man coughed and lit a cigarette that he had rolled
Back in town I bought a heavy jacket from the store
It was sunny down in Hyden but somehow the town was cold

The old man introduced the undertaker
Who seemed refreshed despite the kind of work I knew he did
We talked about the pretty lady from the Grand Ole Opry
We talked about the money she was raising for the kids

Well I guess the old man thought we were reporters
He kept reminding me of how his simple name was spelled
Some lady said they worth more money now than when they's a livin'
And I'll leave it there cause I suppose she told it pretty well



Tulsa Telephone Book

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Have you read any good telephone books lately
If you ain't then let me recommend one
I've already read that Tulsa telephone book through thirteen times
If you don't know any last names it ain't much fun

Readin' that Tulsa telephone book can drive a guy insane
Especially if that girl you're looking for has no last name
I got to find her and tell her I don't want our love to end
So I'm readin' that Tulsa telephone book again

Well I was in Tulsa and didn't have anything going
She lived in Tulsa and didn't have anything on
She said my name is Shirley and I said my name is T
I woke up the next morning and she was gone

All of the Tulsa operators know my voice now
And they got to know how long I've been alone
If you meet a girl named Shirley with some ribbons in her hair
Would you tell her that she's wanted on the phone

Readin' that Tulsa telephone book...
I'm readin' that Tulsa telephone book again



It Sure Can Get Cold In Des Moines

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

The Iowa weather was thirteen below
I had come to Des Moines for a radio show
I awoke in the evening from a traveler's sleep
With notions of something to eat

The old elevator slipped down past the floors
My head and my eyes said you should have slept more
The man at the desk said the restaurant was closed
Outside it was fourteen below

The lounge was still open so I walked in
In place of my food I had two double gins
I looked round the room as a tourist would do
That's when I saw a girl in the booth

She sat there and cried in the smoky half dark
The silent type crying that tears out your heart
Her clothes were not cut in the new modern way
And her suitcase had seen better days

Nobody asked her what caused her such pain
Nobody spoke up yet no one complained
Without even asking I knew why she cried
Life is just like that sometimes

The man at the desk said it's fifteen below
The bellhop said yeah man that's cold that's cold
I went back to my room and I wrote down this song
Oh it sure can get cold in Des Moines



Little Lady Preacher

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Oh the little lady preacher from the Limestone Church
I'll never forget her I guess
She preached each Sunday morning on the local radio
With a big black Bible and a snow white dress

She was nineteen years of age and was developed to the fault
But I will admit she knew the Bible well
A little white lace hankie marked the text that she would use
She breathed into that microphone and sent us all to Hell

She had a guitar picker by the name of Luther Short
A hairy legged soul lost out in sin
She would turn and smile at Luther when the program would commence
With a voice as sweet as angels' she would break out in a hymn

I was pickin' for her too with what we called the doghouse bass
I clung to every word that passed her lips
She was down on booze and cigarettes and high on days to come
And she'd punctuate the prophecy with movements of her hips
[ piano ]
The Lord knows how I loved her he was there each time she preached
But old Luther took her home each Sunday morn
Looking back I still recall the way it hurt my tender pride
I longed to be a hero but they're made not born

Sometimes old Luther showed up at the studio half tight
And smoking was a thing he liked to do
She never said a word to him but said a prayer for me
I told her in a way that I've been praying for her too

One Sunday her old man showed up and said that she was gone
Said she and brother Luther had a call
I can see me standin' in that studio that day
I had to face the heartbreak unemployment and all

I don't know where they are cause I ain't seen them people since
Lord if I judge 'em let me give 'em lots of room
I know Luther Short and he's a hard old boy to change
And I've often sat and wondered who it was converted whom



L.A. Blues

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

I got off the airplane 'long about 7:30 in LA
What a drag to realize that everything's so different and so same
All my California friends are searching for their minds
And it's been right there in their heads all the time

LA blues LA blues you want me to be like you
Ha ha there ain't no way
[ harmonica + guitar ]
California Charlie met me at my room when I got in
We toasted country picking and the help of all our good and mutual friends
Before the morning came we put a handle on the world
And decided that we'd give it to the squirrels

LA blues LA blues you want me to be like you
Ha ha there ain't no way
[ harmonica + guitar ]
Soaking up that sunshine and eatin' eggs and bacon over light
Sleeping through the daytime and contemplatin' sin thru'out the night
Please hand me my hat and darling give me back my things
Ole T's got a bunch of songs to sing

LA blues LA blues you want me to be like you
Ha ha there ain't no way
[ harmonica + guitar ]
I like California and I wouldn't want to put it down no way
But I heard what you're thinking and it ain't exactly what I want to say
Someday California I'll come roarin' back to you
If you don't fall in the ocean before I do

LA blues LA blues you want me to be like you
Ha ha there ain't no way



Kentucky Feb.27.71

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

There were signs beside the road like Jesus Saves
And relieve yourself the fast and gentle way
I was looking for an old man who lived way back in these hills
Who just might have a story I could tell

Pretty soon the blacktop disappeared
I felt the car change to a lower gear
I took a drink of liquor just to chase away the chill
I was twenty seven miles from Olive Hill

Ahead I saw the bridge where I turned right
A dirt road led straight up a mountain side
I pulled up to a farmhouse I thought I had seen before
An old man and his dog were at the door

They told me this old-timer knew this land
I told him sir I just don't understand
Why the kids in this state just grow up and move away
And leave the land where they were born and raised

He said son you can't make it on this land
Unless you're happy working with your hands
There ain't no kids today that want to stay and work it out
They wanna see the things they hear about

He said I cleared this old farm off myself
And I'd work it now but time has got my health
Then staring out the window resting in his easy chair
He told me what I'd really come to hear

Said you know son people used to tell their kids
My I don't want you to have to work the way I did
They don't and some will tell you that it's a shame
But you have to think before you place the blame

I guess we must've talked a half a day
Then I told him that I'd best be on my way
He shook my hand and said I'm glad I met you Mr Hall
But I guess there ain't no song here after all



Million Miles To The City

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Yeah I remember it now we were kids back then living down on the farm
We were told that the city could only bring us harm
How far is the city somebody said you know that's a great big town
And Barbara said why it's a million miles and the story got around

It's a million miles to the city from the hills and the valleys we know
It's a million miles to the city and some day we all wanna go

There was a town near by but a town is a town and A city well that's somethin' else
Our daddy had been to a city but he never was much help
Why the buildings're taller than oak trees ah but we knew better than that
Ain't nobody could climb that high the cities were wide and flat

It's a million miles to the city...

Well now time has passed and we have grown and traveled far and wide
The cities have changed the kids we were we see it in each other's eyes
Lord I'd love to go back to those hills again to the boy I used to be
Where the leaves in the wind and the whippoorwills were part of the land like me

It's a million miles to the city...
It's a million miles to the city...



Second Handed Flower

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

I was working in Miami for a day or two
I decided I'd look up a girl that I once knew
I bought some flowers and went to see a girl I used to know
The lady at her door said she had married long ago

Times will change and towns were changed there I was alone
And suddenly I wondered would Susie be at home
So with the flowers in my hand I walked toward her gate
Someone touched me on the arm and said you'll have to wait

Then I noticed there were people standing in the line
And some of them were holding pretty flowers just like mine
They explained that Susie had been in an awful crash
Doctors said that she had just a little while to last
[ ac.guitar ]
When I walked into her room I felt the sense of shame
But I heard Susie whisper I'm awfully glad you came
She had been the girl that I had always gone to see
When someone that I cared for had been untrue to me

I handed her the flowers and she gently kissed my hand
She said don't be embarassed you know I understand
I said goodbye and as I bent to kiss her fevered brow
I heard her whisper thank you for the second handed flowers



Ramona's Revenge

Tom T. Hall

© Newkeys Music, BMI

Ramona lived just down the hill from us
She kept the house her mama drove the bus
An old yellow school bus
Ramona had a handicap the neighborhood knew well
Ramona couldn't speak or couldn't spell

Which put Ramona at a considerable disadvantage among the more fluent

Although she couldn't write and couldn't talk
Ramona really had a pretty walk
A four letter figure
Because she couldn't write or speak nobody asked her out
But Bad-Eyed Thompson hung around the house

He was what you might say a familiar figure in the neighborhood

I guess their handicaps were common ground
For Bad-Eyed Thompson always hung around
He could squint that eye and spit tobacco thirty feet
Ramona always grinned and stomped her feet

Because Ramona considered that to be one of the better local acts

One day Ramona found herself with child
She couldn't speak her mom was goin' wild
Confusion reigned for half a day as one could understand
The county judge came down to take a hand

And I think it should be noted here in the interest of justice
That the judge was acting a strictly unofficial capacity

The neighbors gathered round Ramona's porch
The judge said understand this is not a court
Ramona stood as all the breathless neighbors gathered round
Then she closed one eye and (pttt) spat upon the ground

And it's a familiar old saying that birds of a feather will flock together
And justice will be done


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