...Or Would You Rather Get a Job?

5. Railroad Bill

Lyrics and Music: Andy Breckman 1990 Andy Breckman

Vocal and Guitar: Mike Agranoff
Recorded live at the Folk Project Fall Festival, Stillwater, NJ Oct. 8, 2000

1
Now Railroad Bill was a hard-livin' man.
He used to take his whiskey two at a time.
And everyone agreed he was the baddest engineer
T that ever drove for the Santa Fe Line.

2
His name was known from the folks back home
To the tippy-top of Telegraph Hill.
And all the little boys when they were sneaking cigarettes,
They used to dream about Railroad Bill.

3
Now one fine day Bill was walking along,
When he saw a kitten stuck in a tree.
When he saw what was the matter, he ran to get a ladder
To set that kitty cat free.

4
And Bill said, "No. I ain't gonna do it.
I ain't gonna climb up no tree!
This is a stupid stupid song, and no folk singer
Is gonna make a fool out of me."

5
I said, one fine day Bill was walking along
When he saw a kitten stuck in a tree.
When he saw what was the matter, he ran to get a ladder
To set that kitty cat free.

6
Bill said, "No, I ain't gonna do it.
I ain't gonna do what you said.
This is a stupid stupid song, and as far as I'm concerned,
That cat can stay there 'till it's dead."

7
I said, "Wait a minute, Bill, you can't argue with me.
For God's sake, I just made you up!
I got the pen in my hand. I want you up in that tree,
And I want that cat unstuck!"

8
And Bill said, "No! I hate cats!
I ain't gonna climb for no cat!
Why don't you have me save some beautiful girl
Who's been tied down on the railroad track?"

9
I said, "Well, maybe there'll be room in the 8th or 9th verse,
But right not I want you up in that tree.
I'm the writer, goddamn; I got the pen in my hand,
And you're supposed to listen to me."

10
"Listen to you? Why should I listen to you?
You should be listening to me instead.
I'm a railroad man, and if I was real,
I'd separate your face from your head!"

11
"Why, you ungrateful brute!" I said, "You've pushed me too far!
I'll show you I can do as I please."
Just then an earthquake came and shook the whole terrain
And brought Railroad Bill to his knees.

12
And then a tidal wave broke and everything got soaked,
And Bill was almost completely washed away.
And then a big green monster from the planet Neptune landed
And bit Railroad Bill on the leg.

13
I got the pen in my hand. I can do what I want.
I'm a bright new young talent on the rise.
So get your ass up that tree, or I swear you ain't gonna
Get out of my folk song alive.

14
He said, "You don't scare me.
You may be funny, but you don't scare me.
And if you don't leave me alone, I'm gonna tell everybody
W here you stole this melody."

15
But before he could speak, his tongue fell out,
And he could not make a sound.
And then he jumped on top of me and he grabbed me by the throat
A nd he pulled me to the ground.

16
And then he punched me in the stomach and punched me in the face real hard
And I think he almost broke my nose.
Just then a lightning bolt came out of nowhere and hit him right between the eyes
And killed him instantly.

17
Well, the cat came down from the tree,
Had a bowl of warm milk, and went to sleep for the night.
Railroad Bill is survived by a wife and three small children.
Dear God, I love to write.