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Knack for Negligence

by Eric Dahl

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1.
Shot to the Head © 1995 by Eric Dahl The days add up if I have it right the days add up to hours one hour of light after midnight tears our shrouds and brings the showers I could go a week without eating take a pretty good shot to the head but I know you're thinking of leaving guess I'll go back to the dead Taxi coming filled with doubt headlights shinin blue flame call my name drag me out pull out your love and take aim I could go a week without eating take a pretty good shot to the head but I know you're thinking of leaving guess I'll go back to the dead guess I'll go back to the dead Howled at the sky like up through a funnel barked at the traffic all day chased the blame down a dead-end tunnel trying to keep it away I could go a week without eating take a pretty good shot to the head but I know you're thinking of leaving guess I'll go back to the dead guess I'll go back to the dead guess I'll go back to the dead
2.
Ordinary Computer © 1995 by Eric Dahl Drivin through the city 4:30 on Tuesday Everybody’s down here with the same thing in mind Swimming in circles tryin to find a tear in the net Sometimes I give up and I park her by the railyards Walk down to the water leave it all behind Try to think about something that I want Something I gotta have something I might not get I’m just an ordinary computer. Never been programmed for a broken heart. Wouldn’t know if I had one, give me some data, tell me how does it start? Is it like all systems down, melt through the table into the ground? I work the Lazy B and right now it’s real borin If I gotta be bored I want this breeze in my face Lookin at the water shine watchin a train come down the line Nothing better to do. Somewhere in the sky there’s three years of my best thinking Part of a machine they shot into space Next time I’m gonna go I wanna see that window Where we all glide through I’m just an ordinary computer. Never been programmed for a broken heart. Wouldn’t know if I had one, give me some data, tell me how does it start? Is it like all systems down? Guess it all got started when I missed that time last winter, Came back after ten days they said, "Fill out this form." When I got the part that said "reason" I just stared at it Wrote down "unknown". I shoulda said: I went to see the Sonics cause I had a lot of money, Met a woman in the ticket line. They were talking bout when Gus used to take a pass from DJ, Rippin up the LA Lakers, headed down court all alone. Went to see the Sonics cause I had a lotta of money, We walked out of the ticket line. She said, “Let’s drive tonight to the ocean. Don’t you dream about open water?” Hell no I couldn’t phone. I’m just an ordinary computer. Never been programmed for a broken heart. Wouldn’t know if I had one, give me some data, tell me how does it start? Is it like all systems down?
3.
Breakfast in Bed © 1995 by Eric Dahl I barely knew her but I knew we’d be friends thinkin maybe more but that all depends the place was jumpin and the singer could sing I said I need a drink do you want anything? I almost fell down when she said what she said, “You just bring me breakfast in bed.” Breakfast in bed breakfast in bed lemon in her coffee just like she said breakfast in bed breakfast in bed what that woman loves is breakfast in bed. Maybe it’s lazy, maybe plain bad we made breakfast in bed every chance that we had even in the work week at the crack of dawn It should be lover’s leave steada this putting on. She said, “I’m calling in sick but I’m really not.” They said, “Whatsa matter baby, whattayou got?" Breakfast in bed I got breakfast in bed lemon in my coffee just like I said breakfast in bed I got breakfast in bed I got a bad case of breakfast in bed. Sometimes you blow it and you’re not sure how I said, “What’d I do?” She said, “It’s too late now. It’s over, you’re way off the track. I’m goin through this door and I won’t be back.” She was back in the mornin sayin, “I know what I said, but I can’t live without your breakfast in bed.” Breakfast in bed breakfast in bed lemon in her coffee just like she said breakfast in bed breakfast in bed what that woman loves is breakfast in bed.
4.
She didn’t have no black Rolls Royce, beat up Buick for a woman of choice, with a Cadillac voice that drove the barrooms wild. She never paid no country club dues, the holes in her socks, went straight through our shoes, but when she sang the blues, you knew you were a blessed child. Took me to Memphis when I was seven, no better music this side of heaven. Went to Chicago, listenin from the car as the night got cold. She said money isn’t everything. I can live without it as long as I can sing. Run up the tab let the band play, middle of the night I’ll just drive away. She didn’t have no black Rolls Royce, beat up Buick for a woman of choice, with a Cadillac voice that drove the barrooms wild.
5.
Steel Love 02:56
Steel Love © 1995 by Eric Dahl We got the pleasure and excitement of runnin scared from the start something in common just as strong as love fear of dyin like a chisel at your heart I wanna find out how steel love is made not just the act of love, dyin to get laid, talkin bout hard decisions for the long term is that why you stayed? I wanna find out how steel love is made. I climbed down the chain of accidents there’s no anchor there I’m not hard-wired for emptiness Is that what we share? I wanna find out how steel love is made. We got the pleasure and excitement of runnin scared from the start something in common just as strong as love fear of dyin like a blowtorch at your heart I wanna find out how steel love is made.
6.
High Voltage Line © 1995 by Eric Dahl If my boss calls could you get his name? Who's in charge of my boss? What kinda business has no one to blame when the profit just adds to the loss? The life she lives keeps pounding as the life she envisions plays along like a pickup band sounding ready to blow you away if they ever learn to play her best song. Her hand's on the door but she's not sure what's on the other side. She walks through with eyes that refuse to hide from a greedy ponce without an ounce of class or someone righteous who’s wrong or some fool trying for a piece of ass, such geniuses they can't get along. The life she lives keeps pounding as the life she envisions plays along like a pickup band sounding ready to blow you away if they ever learn to play her best song. Dreaming bout hotels on a foreign coastline doesn't help with the rent check at all. Do you remember that time? Do you remember the balcony? Oh wait, I gotta take this call. A list of the good times we never got back to would fill an appointment book. Sometimes she looks at me like I'm just another phone, ringing off the hook. I can take the strain of any hurricane in this tropic of fever and shove, hold her ice cold or warm, carry her through the storm, I can even hold back my love. Now I wanna play you a song, keep you dancing all night long, I know you been waiting and I heard what you said, could we start off quiet with my hands on your head? One sip of the long-awaited wine goes straight to my head like a high voltage line, straight to her head like a high voltage line, head to toe turn me around, gotta find some way to get my feet back on the ground. The days are long and crazy. The nights are short and strange. I can make it a week or to the end of the year, but somethings gotta change, somethings gotta change. Another sip of the long-awaited wine goes straight to my head like a high voltage line, straight to her head like a high voltage line. The song gets easy, we can do no wrong, singing hold me, hold me, all night long, hold me, hold me, all night long. The life she lives keeps pounding as the life she envisions plays along, like a pickup band sounding ready to blow you away if they ever learn to play her best song, her best song.
7.
Untitled for Kurt Cobain © 1995 by Eric Dahl The bag lady's soakin inside a flowered plastic coat tryin to sweat away her winter cold and the Reverend Orca with one clouded eye is still savin delusional souls but there's a new orphan ghost from the rainswept coast dangles his feet in the air out past the edge of the Desimone bridge the one that doesn't go anywhere Not an emblem not a symbol he's just one of our own it's a little more lonely with each fallen bloom you wonder what if this one had grown They told it on the air it's folded in the papers they musta sold another million CDs but everything I heard they just didn't get it it's not as simple as a kick in the knees when the edge of every knife knows the same question about life maybe you don't wanna get too clear so everybody's gay somethin's in the way stupid, contagious, and near Not an emblem not a symbol he's just one of our own it's a little more lonely with each fallen bloom you wonder what if this one had grown. The bag lady's soakin inside a flowered plastic coat tryin to sweat away her winter cold and the Reverend Orca with one clouded eye is still savin delusional souls but there's a new orphan ghost from the rainswept coast dangles his feet in the air out past the edge of the Desimone bridge the one that doesn't go anywhere Not an emblem not a symbol he's just one of our own it's a little more lonely with each fallen bloom what if this one had grown what if this one could have grown.
8.
Crescent Moon © 1995 by Eric Dahl Outside my window the usual night is going on risky sidewalks in the streetlight you're lookin out with your barefeet on the floor don't you know the drunks yell like that every night Ease up darlin don’t think twice once is enough in a cosmos this small I don't see why you need to suffer through each layer of nothin at all Those two talkin in the tavern last night are bout as thick as two short planks maybe you could save them from their dumbest desires if that was your callin — no thanks. Ease up darlin don’t think twice once is enough in a town this small I empathize when anybody falls down specially those that don't know where they're goin I feel compassion for most every kind of creature compassion is a crescent moon growin compassion is a crescent moon growin Ease up darlin don’t think twice once is enough in a room this small.
9.
Knack for Negligence © 1995 by Eric Dahl Take back the picture you drew of me might need to start a fire take back the fine clothes you threw at me go build a bridge through the mire I got a knack for negligence a few facts from the past that confuse me still towering accidents each accident an act of the will Two different roads outta the city tonight I used to think they’re the same one from the dark goes straight to the light the other’s an escape called takin the blame You drew my eyes like I could see through walls for a while I believed I could what a bitter surprise when a woman find’s out her lover’s eyes are made of wood. If I could be your Jericho and the walls came tumbling down would you ignore my window with its scarlet cord put my dreams all to the sword and deny the killing ground? I got a knack for negligence a few facts from the past that confuse me still towering accidents each accident an act of the will I got a knack for negligence.
10.
Millicent 03:51
Millicent © 1995 by Eric Dahl and John Hawk The streets are goin dark daylight’s almost gone thinkin maybe I better not, but I keep walkin on down here on my own finding what I’m looking for. Millicent, I‘m innocent but this punishment, it’s heaven sent. You left me on my own, findin what I’m looking for. This guy comes up and says, “You want one a these?” I said, “I’m so high got my feet up to my knees.” He says, “What are you on?” I said, “Brother, I’m on – my own, down here all alone findin what I’m lookin for.” And these two gorgeous tropics come drifting up the street sayin, “Honey don’t you wanna get offa your feet?” I say, “I’m on my way to the office.” They say, “Ever hear of an office party?” I say, “That sounds sweet but I’m down here on my own findin what I’m lookin for.” They both stick their tongues out at me. Millicent, I‘m innocent but this punishment, it’s heaven sent. You left me on my own, findin what I’m, looking for. Came to an open doorway music pourin on the street walked right up shuffling my feet looked in the window a crowd of blue-lit people churnin I said: I wanna live forever— down here on my own findin what I’m lookin for. Millicent, I‘m innocent but this punishment, it’s heaven sent. You left me all alone, down her on my own down her on my own findin what I’m lookin for.
11.
Buzzin' 03:14
Buzzin © 1995 by Eric Dahl and John Hawk At the end of the driveway on a run-down farm flyin with your friends round and round the barn flew up to my place for a change of scene crawled through a tear in the window screen so different inside you’re startin to itch smells like a house to make a poor fly rich Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzzin all through this life. Crawled on the forehead of a day-old child buzzed in his schoolroom as the kids went wild tasted his girlfriend smokin in bed walked on the eyelids of whoever was dead guess you were there for most everything I even got to like the way that you sing Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzzin all through this life. You don’t have a job like a honey bee you’re not pretty like a butterfly just a tiny, greedy, dirty old friend waitin till the day that I die waitin on the ceiling as I close my eyes help me with my wings so I can join the flies Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby Buzzin till the day that I die. After Anotonio Machado’s ”Las Moscas”
12.
Up on the Block © 1995 by Eric Dahl At a time of flat broke privilege When I lived out in the wheat fields, You were a friend like I’d never known from a three-star city, wrong part of town. I never knew the walls could come down, till they were lying there on the ground. You said, “You be my stable one, as I try to forget the men and boys waiting in the rain, wherever I walk. Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done, Shades each promise like background noise, up on the block.” Why I was reading the books I was reading I don’t know today. Can you imagine explaining to your lover bout Catherine of Sienna when the devil had his way. He filled her with visions of the worst carnal acts Like pages and pages from our magazine racks. Catherine pushed it all away saying, “A strong heart is blind.” Now they’d just say she’s losing your mind. You be my stable one, as I try to forget the men and boys waiting in the rain, wherever I walk. Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done, Shades each promise like background noise, up on the block. Sometimes you get off easy after a term of delusion, A year or a month or a day. But sometimes there’s no illusion, you’re just losing a friend, We both knew you wouldn’t stay. He came for you one evening in a shining black car, One front tooth had a gold inlay star. We still walk in the wheat fields, through hills of shimmering brass, through a million bushel resurrection of tears like grain, sown here in the pain of the past. You be my stable one, waiting in the rain, wherever I walk. Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done Shades each promise like background noise, up on the block, up on the block, up on the block.

about

This album is Eric Dahl’s first recording in a professional studio, produced after he wrote 10 songs over 10 days, culminating with an elegy for Kurt Cobain written the day after Cobain’s death was announced. The overall outcome was a highly acclaimed first CD, Knack for Negligence (1995), produced with John Hawk. The songs are tales about the Pacific Northwest, ranging from the disaffection of a Boeing engineer (“Ordinary Computer”) to a love story set in the wheatlands of the Palouse (“Up on the Block”). The performances feature bandmates Terry Martin (Vocals) and John Hawk (Electric Guitar).

Chris Nickson of The Rocket wrote: “Eric Dahl has turned in one of the best CDs by a local singer/songwriter that I have heard in a long time.” Gene Stout of the Seattle PI wrote: “Eric Dahl, a native of Colville, explores the rural and urban sides of Northwest life with the keen eye of a poet-psychologist. On this CD, his debut, Dahl’s striking voice, slightly raspy and heavy with melancholy, maneuvers through 12 story-songs of troubled lives.” Sharron Wooton of The Herald wrote, “If it sounds vaguely familiar, there is a good reason. Dahl relies heavily on Northwest images from the wheat fields to Kurt Cobain and the Sonics. But his songs aren’t parochial in a limiting sense. There are the broader themes of relationships, the complexities of life, and childhood. In fact, one of the best lines on the introspection scale is: “Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done, shades each promise like background noise, up on the block.”

credits

released July 1, 1995

PERFORMERS
Eric Dahl – Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
John Hawk – Electric Guitar
Terry Martin – Backup Vocals (Ordinary Computer)
Kasandra Woodring – Backup Vocals (Up on the Block)
Greg Hauth – Drums
Bill Hawk – Bass Guitar

PRODUCTION
Produced by Eric Dahl and John Hawk
Engineered by John Hawk
Recorded and Mixed at Post Valley Studies – Seattle
Mastered by Doug Seipp at Martin Audio – Seattle
Photography by Michael Fajans
Graphic Design by Leslie Hoge
Printed in USA © 1995 All Rights Reserved
All songs © 1995 by Eric Dahl except
“Millicent” and “Buzzin” by Eric Dahl and John Hawk
Published by Yew Lane Music (BMI)

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Eric Dahl Seattle, Washington

His music ranges from acoustic neo-rockabilly to thoughtful and reflective with a voice somewhere between Johnny Cash and Lou Reed.

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