How I Learned to Drink

by Steve Key

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1.
HOW I LEARNED TO DRINK Billy got the bright idea -- hitchhike to the nearest town Find some guy to buy us wine Be back in camp by sundown We missed the dinner call -- counselor got kinda mean That bounty in our paper bag Tasted like Kool-Aid and kerosene Chorus: The night was colder than shame The moon was hazy grey and pink I was a lonely twelve year old kid And that's how I learned to drink I spat out my first tequila shot Shared some beers with a girlfriend under a bridge Jolted by the gin I tried at midnight From my grandpa's rec room fridge Bluffed my way through San Jose State Billy and I pledged Sigma Chi It was beer pong and jello shooters Tasted like Tang and turpentine (to chorus) Well the years passed with a whiskey flask Tucked in a drawer with my secret life Woke up one day in a hospital bed With my best friend was standing by Yeah, it was Billy -- who got the bright idea Of sending me back to summer camp The name and program changed a bit Now it’s called The Rehab Ranch So here I am for 28 days Those counselors get kinda mean I'm drinking coffee by the quart Tastes like river mud and livin' clean (to chorus)
2.
Whiskey & Me Verse 1 Out in the desert, you feed your regrets to the flame Reborn on the wind, everybody takes a new name I met a woman, a singer of sweet lullabies They called her Whiskey, and I never thought to ask why Chorus If wishes were roses, I’d have a dozen tonight A bouquet of hopes and dreams to set by her side If she was my lover, I’d sing a new melody No sad lullaby for the life of whiskey and me Verse 2 Straight up you sip and you savor the bite and the burn Distilled in the heart of a man who will never learn Foolish to think that woman could ever be mine ‘Cause if my love was Whiskey, you know I’d be drunk all the time Repeat Chorus Repeat Verse 1
3.
Wife Number Five (by Steve Key ©2019) Wife Number One was just for fun Wife Number Two could not be true Wife Number Three gave me a family Wife Number Four chased them all out the door So I'm glad I stayed alive for Wife Number Five Wife Number One was a Mustang Wife Number Two was a Subaru Wife Number Three drove an SUV Wife Number Four kept my Honda Accord But oh, what I get to drive with Wife Number Five If at first you don't succeed, try, try again Toss the dice and throw the rice and hope it never ends Wife Number One fried chicken Wife Number Two loved bar-be-que Wife Number Three only ate Lean Cuisine Wife Number Four said she wouldn't cook no more But I'm eating steak every night with Wife Number Five If at first you don't succeed, try, try again Just say yes, and until death, I hope we'll still be friends Wife Number One was a virgin Wife Number Two was not Wife Number Three liked it once a week Wife Number Four ran off with the girl next door But my love life has been revived with Wife Number Five Yeah, I'm glad I stayed alive for Wife Number Five
4.
Golden 03:12
Golden New and tender like the spring I was open to everything I was green, so green You smiled at me and I couldn't think I must've blushed a perfect pink Like a rose, unfolding slow Chorus: You were Golden And you made me shine And I thought that you were mine For a brief but precious time And I was Golden too Golden, like you You were silent, strong and deep A lake full of mystery You were blue, so blue And I was burning with your love Every night, never enough Burning red, oh so red (to chorus) But then you turned out the light And you left me in the night It was black, so black No more fire, only smoke No more colors when I woke Only white, cold and white (to chorus)
5.
Record Time (33, 45, 78) by Steve Key ©2019 I'm spinning like an old turntable Three speeds, goin' nowhere fast I hesitate at the door to the future Holdin' on to my bittersweet past Me and all of the percolators Me and all of the rotary phones Me and all of my vinyl records Warped and scratched and out of date -- 33, 45, 78 I got friends from the old hometown We used to work at the hometown news They got houses in a couple of cities I'm still singin' the hometown blues Me and all of the drive-in movies Me and all of the afternoon papers Me and the free-form radio Fading in and out of date -- 33, 45, 78 I hear talk about a great depression I hear the drummin' of the war machine I wonder if I'm stuck in the past Or if it all repeats, just like a CD I'm following the railroad line It's another job in another town I skip around in record time And try not to notice the candle burn down Me and all of the Rust Belt workers Me and all of the hot type printers Me and all of the family farms Auctioned off and out of date -- 33, 45, 78 Singin' oh-oh, the percolator Oh-oh, the rotary phone All of my vinyl records Warped and scratched and out of date I'm just a 33, 45, 78
6.
Hit That String (by Steve Key ©2019) I heard them in Hollywood when I was a teen Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee I didn't know better so I went backstage I said Mister McGee can you teach me to play Chorus He said, Hit That String, that's what you do with that thing Little boy, don’t you understand You gotta hit that string like a full grown man Brownie's uncle made him his first flattop From a piece of board and a marshmallow box Brownie was lame from polio But you give him a guitar and you watch him go (to Chorus) It was East Hollywood, on a dead end street Where I took my lesson from Brownie McGhee That old blues master showed me some things He said "Don't hesitate to make your guitar sing" (to Chorus) Many years later after I played I saw this kid hanging ‘round back stage He said "I play a little guitar too, Can you teach me to play the blues?" (to Chorus)
7.
Looking for a Hammer © 2019 by Vicki Landis & Steve Key She’s tough as nails, that’s what she’ll say But tough old nails can rust away And a nail sitting on a shelf ain’t good for much She keeps looking for a hammer and calling that love You’re a nasty dog but that’s OK In fact she kinda likes ‘em that way She comes home late at night feeling all beat up She keeps looking for a hammer and calling that love Oh I wish she’d say Don’t treat a tender heart that way Don’t leave her alone in the cold light of day She used to be somebody’s wife No harm no foul she says of that life But the harmless kind ain’t the kind she’s dreamin’ of She keeps looking for a hammer and calling that love I wish this time she’d say enough And send you off with your nasty stuff She’s a precious jewel and you’re a fool to treat her rough She’s tough as nails, that’s what she’ll say But is she tough enough to walk away Mend that hole in her heart until it all heals up No more looking for a hammer and calling that love
8.
Get Ready For The Fall (by Steve Key 2019) Pour out the iced tea, honey Put the quilt back on the bed I can feel that autum chill Snuggle up for the fall ahead Taste the apple fresh from the orchard Makes me think about Adam and Eve They survived the fall from grace And stuck together like fallen leaves CH Get ready for the fall Get ready for the fall We're headed for a cold snap, baby We gotta get ready for the fall I got a little money in the bank Right now there’s food in the fridge But there's talk about Christmas layoffs Sure seems so sacrilege Even if we've got to beg or borrow With paradise so far from view Your love is my salvation I'd take the fall for you CH Get ready for the fall, Get ready for the fall We're headed for some hard times, baby We gotta get ready for the fall BR When those clocks fall back Put some wood up on the stack Then crawl back in the sack Until spring comes back (Chorus twice)
9.
Wind Chimes 03:36
Wind Chimes by Steve Key ©2019 These days I can't tell anymore If it's the highway I hear or the ocean's roar They both send the winds to my door Listen to the wind chimes It's a short walk from my front door to the sea But most nights I sit at home by the TV On the front porch it's a symphony Listen to the wind chimes Sometimes I think of taking them down Late at night when I can't stand the sound When the blues torture me And the last thing I need Are those sweet little chimes all around You came to town on a warm, spring wind You talked to me like we'd always been friends I could hear a new melody begin It sounded like wind chimes Walking together and taking in a show Laughing and kissing in the very last row Holding you in the full moon's glow I could hear wind chimes Then we're talking long distance over the phone As you tie up some loose ends at your former home You tell me you miss me It's been cold and windy But that afternoon on the patio You could hear wind chimes I hear the ocean and that highway whine Sending the wind through those silly little chimes But now they bring you to my mind, sweet wind chimes Yeah now they bring you to my mind, sweet wind chimes
10.
Red Sky at Morning (by Steve Key ©2019) Red Sky at morning, no storm out at sea Red Sky at morning, and it's dark out on the beach It's the smoke choking out the sun from the clouds of tragedy Governor speaking out, on my TV Governor came to Ventura, to see what he could see He said "Wake up California to your new reality" Oh California, how you love to boast You're far away from hurricanes, blizzards and tornados But that ash is falling down, just like snow over the coast Red Sky at morning, no storm out at sea Red Sky at morning, and it's dark over the beach Smoke choking out the sun from the clouds of tragedy In southern California, they say it never rains All over California, they are praying for rain today But don’t let it grow more fuel for the flames Oh California, have another glass of wine Toast the ones who weren't so lucky this time Someday the earth will shake on the San Andreas line Red Sky at morning, no storm out at sea Red Sky at morning, and it's dark over the beach Smoke choking out the sun from the clouds of tragedy

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released November 18, 2019

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Steve Key Pismo Beach, California

Steve Key is an award-winning songwriter & performer, best known as the writer of "33, 45, 78 (Record Time)" recorded by country music star Kathy Mattea. He recorded for New York's Fast Folk, which is now part of the Folkways collection at the Smithsonian. Steve lives in Shell Beach and produces live music events under the banner of Songwriters at Play at many venues on California's Central Coast. ... more

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