Do not go where the path may lead, go where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emmerson
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Saturday

Haunted Christmas At the Viper Room Interactive Program

The  Melody Room


That the Viper Room is haunted is no Hollywood secret, but when the photo above was taken while I was playing my song about the notorious gangster Stag Lee Shelton, I looked more into the history of just who might haunt it...

It turns out that it was once The Melody Room, a Jazz Club that was Bugsy Segal and Mickey Cohen's gambling den and hang out before it was the Viper Room. Between the photo above and other phenomenon that took place, (some of which I will bring and show at the event), I became certain they would like their bar back... if only for a night.

So, of course, we're going to give them what they want. Join me on Sunday, Dec. 20th for some great opening acts and then, at 9:30, an evening of period songs, whiskey songs and songs about ghosts, gambling and crime from the 30s-present at what is still the best whiskey bar in town, the Viper Lounge. 

Tickets for the 9:30 haunted show are $20 at the door, discounts for advance ticketing available by responding to this email. Costumes encouraged (20s -50s)

Ghosts and Their Tales
In order of appearance...

...their stories/lyrics (when written by Liz), are listed below

Introduction... Death the Dealer, perormed by Kerry Goodwin
Death wears many masks.
Gasps and rasps scuttle
in my wake like flakes
of sound chipped off of sorrow
pouring bucket-full’s of borrowed
time. There are signs
before and after me. I come
and you become undone.
It’s really rather disturbing
to look at me.
Like the sun, 
I blind. 
Your mind
won’t last
in my grasp
Sometimes I’m beautiful.
Sometimes I’m merciful.
Sometimes I’m doubtful.
Sometimes I’m horrible, 
terrible, unbearable,
I’m un-scareable.
You won’t stop me, 
not with guns or gaze, 
not with water or blaze.
I come when I come.
 It’d be best if you forgave me.
I’m doing you a favor, see?

Songs by Voodoobilly... with Karin Dell and Chris Dooley... and some ghosts...
It Ain't Necessarily So, (with the ghost of Cab Calloway)
St. John the Gambler/Ain't No Grave, (with the ghosts of Townes Van Zandt and Johnny Cash who wrote and recorded the songs)

The Dealer as Devil... performed by Kerry Goodwin

It’s hard these days; it really is,
to be the Devil. You just don’t
have any idea. I feared
it would come, I did. I did.

God kept changing his mind, to start with.
That’s why I left you know, well, 
one of the reasons.

First, I was just a serpent, you know, the one in the garden?
That was ok. I mean, I knew everything and that was cool.
I didn’t lie; I didn’t say it would make them God. No, 
I said it would make them like God.
Oh God I could go on for hours about that one.
I better shut up. I lost an arm and a leg over that.

But then, then, I wasn’t so bad the next time the heavy stuff went down either.
No, I was cool as a cucumber. 
Job, some tortured man always takes center stage.
Good old Job and there I was, Satan, the adversary. 
I didn’t say do all that to Job. 
Nooooo, I just said, “I bet Job would give up
believing in this God business if all that went down.”

Then Jesus, well, Christ he just about put me out of business, 
though there were booms during the Crusades and Inquisition.
Now there’s irony. That’s what God is, ironic. Believe that.
You think it’s easy to find souls these days? Hell no. It ain’t easy.
People sell their souls when times are bad, sure
but way more of them actually
go through with it when times are booming. 
Boom towns, for example, 
80% Hell bound no question. 
But the Depression? Slim pickings. Slim pickings here too.

Anyone want to make a deal?

Stagger Lee Shelton, (who's shoot out in an illegal gambling den even the Devil couldn't save him from) 
John Hardy, (hung over a shoot-out over his last dollar about the time of John Henry's steam drill battle and in the same town)

The Dealer as Death Part 2... performed by Kerry Goodwin

They call me the Grim Reaper for a reason.
Imagine spending all your time
and when I say time, I mean all time, eternity, forever,
only seeing the end of things.
It’s boring. Imagine a life where nothing surprises you.
Life, (sighs/laughs). I miss so much by missing life.
I never get to be the life of the party.
I’ll never have a once in a lifetime experience.
I can’t bet my life.
I couldn’t do it to save my life.
No one ever tells me to have a nice life.

I hardly ever get any appreciation.
Why don’t you tell one another to have a nice death once in awhile?
It’s even more important you know.
By the way, I come here often.

Jesse James
Robert Ford

Dealer as Devil... performed by Kerry Goodwin

What do you see
when you look too close?
What will you be
when you’ve had an overdose of fun?

One thing is certain.
The closing curtain
won’t make you forget.
All of the regret
in you is here.
All of the fear
and the ugliness too.
It’s true.

We are not all shadows.
We are not all dreams.

Though conjured in screams
of near-madness
and all kinds of badness
we are not just ghosts.
We are most
actual.
We are your darkness, your sorrow, your pain.
We see you again and again and again
in dreams and on the street.
We are a complete
nightmare.

John the Conqueror (the ghost of a Southern folk hero and the Devil himself)
Nashville, (the ghost of Lonesome Liz past)
Whiskey Remorse, (the ghost of Lonesome Liz present, written (unknowingly I'm sure) by Del Amitri)



Lonesome Liz and the Ghost of Bugsy Segal


Selected Lyrics/Stories by Lonesome Liz with links to video and mp3s 

Nashville
Lonesome Liz's maybe true Outlaw tale... written in the most haunted house in Nashville with a little help from the ghost of an Americana producer...

Watch/Hear live from the haunted house in Nashville with special guests Eric Mellencamp and Cameron Bentley


Lonesome Liz's maybe true Outlaw tale... written in the most haunted house in Nashville with a little help from the ghost of an Americana producer...

I was tired of hidin', tired of fightin'
with the volitile kin of Jesse James.
I decided to call on a Senator's daughter
though it's really not like me to complain.

She came right away, took me out of Kentucky;
said, "Come on, we're goin' down to Tennessee."
I ain't left yet and I tell you they're lucky.
This town's full of Outlaws but sure needed me.

And I haven't slept since I got to Nashville.
There's a man from Memphis sittin' by me.
I ain't got nothin' but more time to kill.
There's somethin' about nothin' that's just fine with me.

They don't call my name, they just call me 'The Outlaw'.
They're right about that, 'cause what I didn't tell;
Cookeville's County Attorney was plottin' my downfall.
I was wanted for raisin' ten kinds of Hell.

Cookeville ain't Nashville and I had to be there.
Wish I could call my Daddy, but my Daddy's gone.
There's a whole lot of things in life that just ain't fair.
There's a whole lot of things that can really go wrong.

And I still hadn't slept since I'd got to Nashville.

I somehow got through it without a bench warrant.
With help from a posse and a good attorney.
Back to West Nashville ballrooms
and a house I'm sure's haunted.
And a man from Memphis sittin' by me.

I haven't slept etc.

I forgot to mention the Diplomat's daughter.
She's pretty as springtime in Tennessee.
I keep tryin' to warn her 'cause I think someone oughta.
She's in over her head but won't listen to me.

She's kinda tortured and she's kinda quiet.
She's kinda like you and kinda like me.
If she needed a drink, well I guess I'd buy it.
But what she really needs is to leave Tennessee.

And I still haven't slept etc.

I'm tired of endin'
back to the beginnin'
and a man from Memphis sittin' by me.
Back to West Nashville ballrooms
and a house I'm sure's haunted.
This town's full of outlaws
but it sure needed me.

I Was Drinkin' Beer When the Whiskey Took Over

Video live from Nashville with Jesco White and the Band of Lost Souls



Another from the ghost of Lonesome Liz past... mostly not a true story, (except for the beer/whiskey part...)

I was drinkin' beer when the whiskey took over.
Woke up this mornin' in jail in Hanover.
It's been a long time since I was sober.
I'm not sure what I did.

I ain't upset and I ain't complainin'.
There's a lot of names I ain't namin'.
Bein' behind bars is kind of drainin'.
Wish they'd just send me home.

If I knew what I didn't do
I sure wouldn't tell you.
I wouldn't be here
if I'd just stuck to beer.

I was drinkin' beer when the whiskey got to me.
Sorrow rained down and the Blues walked through me.
I ain't sayin' much but it ain't on me.
So my story goes.

That's what I say and I'm stickin' to it.
I might be here but I didn't do it.
I was gonna run but I figured screw it.
That's all you need to know.

I been in here too long.
I ain't done no wrong.
I wouldn't be here.
If I'd just stuck to beer.

I was drinkin' beer when the whiskey hit me;
then his memory, then the misery.
I'm pretty sure the Devil bit me.
Just leave me alone.

The Judge looked straight at me this mornin';
said he'd given me fair warnin'.
The whole damn thing is kinda alarmin'.
Wish they'd just send me home.

If I knew what I didn't etc.

Took 3 baliff's and a sherrif to hold me
when my lawyer up and told me
down the river those bastards sold me;
bottom line, I'm gone.

John the Conqueror

Listen to the Mp3 with Voodoobilly, produced by Danny Saber


Based on an old Southern folk tale... or is it a true story...

High John, John the Conqueror, John the Conqueror John (5x)

Well, well he conquered Hell.
High John, John the Conqueror.
Oh yes, he conquered Death.
High John, John the Conqueror,
John the Conqueror John,
John the Conqueror John.

He fell in love with the Devil's child,
did High John, John the Conqueror.
Devil asked him to stay a while,
High John, John the Conqueror,
John the Conqueror John.
John the Conqueror John.

Devil played all the tricks he knew
on High John, John the Conqueror
but his daughter kept him from his due.
Up jumped John, John the Conqueror
on the Devil's own horses John.
On the Devil's own horses John.

High John etc.

Devil didn't catch them when they ran,
not his child, not John the Conqueror.
If the Devil don't catch you, no one can.
He conquerored Hell, John the Conqueror,
John the Conqueror John,
John the Conqueror John.

I understand he rides them still.
High John, John the Conqueror.
With the Devil's child and always will.
Up jumps John, John the Conqueror
on the Devil's own horses John.
He rides the Devil's own horses John.

Oh yes, he conquered Death etc.

High John, John the Conqueror, etc


Jesse James

Watch/Hear it live from Loaded on Hollywood Blvd. with Voodoobilly
 


Do you hear me Jesse?
Nothin's quite the same
since back in the day when
we were robbin' trains.

I'm down here by Lost River.
I heard you know the cave;
heard you still ride through Bardstown;
heard you ain't quite in your grave.

Do you hear me Jesse?
It's all gone to hell.
I'm drinkin' whiskey with the Spirit of Dixie.
She says, "It's funny what time will tell."

Wish I could ride to Leadville
with you and your boys.
Wish I could catch that cat who killed you.
He left quite a void.

Do you hear me Jesse?
Do you hear me call?
I'm down here by Lost River
and it ain't no fun at all.

Listen to me Jesse.
Do you hear me, Jesse James?
I'm still on the run, I ain't got a gun
and nothin's quite the same.

I'm talkin' to you Jesse.
Do you hear me Jesse James?
I'm hangin' out with the Spirit of the South
and she whispered your name...
Robert Ford
Watch/Hear it live from Loaded on Hollywood Blvd with Voodoobilly  
=
I'm Robert Ford,
yes, the brave Robert Ford.
I turned down most of the reward.

When I shot Jesse James
I made myself a name.
Yes siree! It's me, Robert Ford!
You may boo, you may hiss,
but may I tell you this:
You don't know the whole story on Ford.

I'm not a bad man.
You gotta understand.
It had been a long time since the War.

He had outlived his time!
He was no longer in his prime!
It had been a long time since the war!

Don't you think it's good he met his end
at the hand of a friend?
Yes siree! It was me! Robert Ford.

You gotta understand.
I really liked the man.
I was giving him a hand, Jesse James.

Oh sure, he had a wife,
but what kind of life
was bein' the wife of Jesse James?

I tell you this, it's said
she anticipated lead
in him night and day anyway!

Don't you think it's good he met his end
at the hand of a friend?
Yes siree! It was me! Robert Ford.

When I shot Jesse James
I made myself a name.
Yes siree! It's me, Robert Ford!

Stag Lee
Watch solo video live from an Outlaw Amish Barn in Kentucky:

 

Over 200 versions of this song exist I decided to ask Stag what the  real story was...

A lot of people have told you about old Stagger Lee.
I think it's time you heard it from me.
He was mean and he was hard.
He met the Devil in a Voodoo graveyard.

Devil gave him a banjo, Devil gave him a hat.
He said, "Even I can't get you if you're wearing that."
He was bad, he'd do you wrong.
You know he shot his own wife for cooking eggs too long.

He had a woman so fine just lookin' made you holler.
Best gambler in town, they called her Stack O' Dollars.
They never lost a game in the underground mine
place run by that fool boy Billy de Lyon's.

'Till Stag started losin' one cold, stormy night.
He and Billy, Lord, they had a fight.
Billy shot a seven, Stack O' Dollars said she'd pass.
Stag said to him, "You done shot your last."

They each had 'em a .44. Stack stood lookin' at the door.
She said, "What would you do if that Devil walked in here?"
de Lyon's tried to act like he won't scared.
Then, Boom! Boom! Boom! With the .44
there was de Lyon's lyin' dyin' on the floor.

The Sherrif was there gamblin', the Deputy was too.
Billy said to them in the last breath he blew,
"Deputy, Sherriff, why it be
you arrest everybody but Stag Lee?"

They took their badges and laid them on a shelf.
They said, "If you want to get him, go get him yourself.
Go wait for him in Hell. He ain't gonna stay in jail.
Devil's posted Stagger Lee's ever-lasting bail.

Billy had a pretty widow, once he was in the ground,
it won't too long before old Stag came around.
He took off his black boots, took off his black tie,
wouldn't take off his black hat 'cause he won't about to die.
Till that de Lyon's woman took that hat right off his head.
She snuggled up with a Gatlin' gun and shot him dead.

He went down to the Devil and the Devil, he smiled.
He said, "Boy, you lost your hat. You're going to fry awhile.
"And stuck to you like a shadow, morning, noon and night
is gonna be de Lyon's cryin' took my life won't take my wife."

John Hardy's Hanging Ground

Watch/hear it live from Kentucky



John Hardy was hung for killing a man afer he'd bet his last dollar and lost in an illegal gambling game held in a mine near Hinton, WVA. Witnesses said he sang a beautiful, haunting song just before he died. 

I'm on my hanging ground.
I'm on my hanging ground.
I've travelled this wide world around.
Now I guess he's gonna hang around.

There's a man glad to see me go.
There's a man glad to see me go.
Another says he loves me so
that he'll follow.
But I don't know where I'll go.

Was my last dollar I'd played.
I pulled my gun when he pulled a straight.
I laid him in his cold, cold grave.
I laid him in his lonley grave.

Guns they don't tell no lies.
Guns they don't tell no lies.
I can't help but cry.
'Cause I'm bound to die.
And I'm on my hanging ground.

I almost got away,
hopped on a West bound train
to where no one knew my name.
Sherriff got me anyway.
Now I'm on my hanging ground.

I'm on my hanging ground.
I'm on my hanging ground.
I've travelled this wide world 'round.
Now I guess I'm gonna hang around.

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