Pony Face presents Nebraska

by Pony Face

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cobrasnakenecktierecords.bandcamp.com/album/pony-face-presents-nebraska

Pony Face continuously defy definition. In their short career the band have released an EP and two blissful, brooding albums; the second, Hypnotised, propelling them to the national stage in support of luminaries such as Paul Kelly, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ronaldo, Washington and Dean & Britta amongst others. And that there is the paradox of Pony Face; a band that is equally at home in the annals of indie rock and shoegaze as they are country and folk music, drone, psychedelia and other kaleidoscopic noise merchantry.

To the uninitiated Pony Face can appear unconventional, though on further unravelling of their songs and sonic textures draw links between the crystalline intimacy of Sparklehorse, the dark rock noir of Rowland S. Howard and the uniquely Australian feel of Dirty Three. So who better to take on Bruce Springsteen’s bleak and affected 1982 Tascam-recorded demo album Nebraska?

Pony Face were initially commissioned to perform Nebraska live as part of (former) St. Kilda institution Pure Pop Records’ classic album series (and the first show of the series to sell out the modest courtyard). Not content with exploring these stories of submission, annihilation and the light in the cracks in a one-off, three-piece show, they enlisted the help of some friends and collaborators to further traverse the sonic backroads and byways the songs drove them down. Enter Matt Walker, Biddy Connor, Jaye Kranz (Brighter Later), Shane O’Mara, Liz Stringer, Ladie Dee (Howl At The Moon) and Damian Fitzgerald; a heartworn cast to tease out the untold confessions of the Sheriff, Maria, Frankie, Ralph, Chicken Man and the State Trooper.

Long time collaborator, producer Casey Rice (Tortoise, The Dirty Three), was brought on board to co-produce the album, which was pieced together over six months in bedrooms and studios across Melbourne.

Pony Face’s Nebraska is a calculated, meditative reimagining of Springsteen’s towering masterpiece, taking the record down a path the E Street Band wouldn’t, couldn’t have travelled. Stevie Van Zandt, when urging Springsteen to release Nebraska as is, surmised that “the fact that you didn't intend to release it makes it the most intimate record you'll ever do. This is an absolutely legitimate piece of art."

Now, with thirty two years of contemplation of that statement, Pony Face present Nebraska.

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released 24 October 2014

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about

Pony Face Melbourne, Australia

Pony Face continuously defy definition. In their short career the band have released an EP and two blissful, brooding albums; the second, Hypnotised, propelling them to the national stage

There is a paradox of Pony Face; a band equally at home in the registers of indie rock and shoe- gaze as they are country and folk music, drone, psychedelia and kaleidoscopic noise merchantry.
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Track Name: Nebraska
I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton
Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died

From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska with a sawed off .410 on my lap
Through to the badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my path

I can't say that I'm sorry for the things that we done
At least for a little while sir me and her we had us some fun

The jury brought in a guilty verdict and the judge he sentenced me to death
Midnight in a prison storeroom with leather straps across my chest

Sheriff when the man pulls that switch sir and snaps my poor head back
You make sure my pretty baby is sittin' right there on my lap

They declared me unfit to live said into that great void my soul'd be hurled
They wanted to know why I did what I did
Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world.
Track Name: Atlantic City
Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night now they blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they're gettin' ready for a fight gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now there's trouble bustin' in from outta state and the D.A. can't get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade and the gamblin' commissions hangin' on by the skin of its teeth

Everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts that no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus

Everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold but with you forever I'll stay
We're goin' out where the sand's turnin' to gold so put on your stockin's cause the night's getting cold and maybe everything dies
That's a fact but maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Now I been lookin' for a job but it's hard to find
Down here it's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I'm tired of comin' out on the losin' end
So honey last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him
Well I guess everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your hair up nice and set up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City...
Track Name: Mansion On The Hill
There's a place out on the edge of town sir
Risin' above the factories and the fields
Now ever since I was a child I can remember that mansion on the hill

In the day you can see the children playing
On the road that leads to those gates of hardened steel
Steel gates that completely surround sir the mansion on the hill

At night my daddy'd take me and we'd ride through the streets of a town so silent and still
Park on a back road along the highway side
Look up at that mansion on the hill

In the summer all the lights would shine there'd be music playin' people laughin' all the time
Me and my sister we'd hide out in the tall corn fields
Sit and listen to the mansion on the hill

Tonight down here in Linden Town I watch the cars rushin' by home from the mill
There's a beautiful full moon rising above the mansion on the hill
Track Name: Johnny 99
Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late that month
Ralph went out looking for a job but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixing Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun, shot a night clerk, now they call him Johnny 99

Down in the part of town where when you hit a red light you don't stop
Johnny's waving his gun around and threatening to blow his top
When an off-duty cop snuck up on him from behind
Out in front of the Club Tip Top they slapped the cuffs on Johnny 99

Well the city supplied a public defender but the judge was Mean John Brown
He came into the courtroom and stared poor Johnny down
Well the evidence is clear, gonna let the sentence son fit the crime
Prison for 98 and a year and we'll call it even, Johnny 99

A fistfight broke out in the courtroom, they had to drag Johnny's girl away
His mama stood up and shouted, "Judge, don't take my boy this way"
Well son you got any statement you'd like to make
Before the bailiff comes to forever take you away

Now judge, judge, I got debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holding my mortgage, they taking my house away
Now I ain't saying that makes me an innocent man
But it was more and all this that put that gun in my hand

Well your honor I do believe I'd be better off dead
And if you can take a man's life for the thoughts that's in his head
Then won't you sit back in that chair and think it over, Judge, one more time
And let 'em shave off my hair and put me on that execution line
Track Name: Highway Patrolman
My name is Joe Roberts, I work for the state
I'm a sergeant out of Perrineville, barracks number 8
I always done an honest job, as honest as I could
I got a brother named Franky, and Franky ain't no good

Now ever since we was young kids, it's been the same come down
I get a call on the shortwave, Franky's in trouble downtown
Well if it was any other man, I'd put him straight away
But when it's your brother sometimes you look the other way

Yeah me and Franky laughin' and drinkin', nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
Man turns his back on his family, well he just ain't no good

Well Franky went in the army back in 1965
I got a farm deferment, settled down, took Maria for my wife
But them wheat prices kept on droppin' till it was like we were gettin' robbed
Franky came home in '68 and me I took this job

Yeah we're laughin' and drinkin', nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin', teach him how to walk that line
Man turns his back on his family, he ain't no friend of mine

Well the night was like any other, well I got a call 'bout quarter to nine
There was trouble in a roadhouse out on the Michigan line
There was a kid lyin' on the floor lookin' bad, bleedin' hard from his head
There was a girl cryin' at a table and it was Frank, they said

Well I went out and I jumped in my car and I hit the lights
Well I musta done a hundred and ten through Michigan county that night
It was out at the crossroads, down 'round Willow bank
Seen a Buick with Ohio plates, behind the wheel was Frank

Well I chased him through them county roads
Till a sign said "Canadian border five miles from here"
I pulled over the side of the highway and watched his taillights disappear

Me and Franky laughin' and drinkin', nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
Man turns his back on his family, he just ain't no good
Track Name: State Trooper
STATE TROOPER Transcribed and researched by SpringsteenLyrics.com

Album version

New Jersey Turnpike riding on a wet night
'Neath the refinery's glow out where the great black rivers flow
License, registration, I ain't got none
But I got a clear conscience 'bout the things that I done
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
Please don't stop me, please don't stop me

Maybe you got a kid, maybe you got a pretty wife
The only thing that I got's been bothering me my whole life
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
Please don't you stop me, please don't you stop me

In the wee wee hours your mind gets hazy
Radio relay towers gonna lead me to my baby
The radio's jammed up with talk show stations
It's just talk, talk, talk, talk, till you lose your patience
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
Whoa!
Whooo-whooo!

Hey, somebody out there, listen to my last prayer
Hi ho silver-o deliver me from nowhere
Whoa!
Whoaaa
Track Name: Used Cars
My little sister's in the front seat with an ice cream cone
My ma's in the back seat sittin' all alone
As my pa steers her slow out of the lot for a test drive down Michigan Avenue

Now, my ma, she fingers her wedding band
And watches the salesman stare at my old man's hands
He's tellin' us all 'bout the break he'd give us if he could, but he just can't
Well if I could, I swear I know just what I'd do

Now, mister, the day the lottery I win I ain't ever gonna ride in no used car again

Now, the neighbours come from near and far
As we pull up in our brand new used car
I wish he'd just hit the gas and let out a cry and tell 'em all they can kiss our asses goodbye

My dad, he sweats the same job from mornin' to morn
Me, I walk home on the same dirty streets where I was born
Up the block I can hear my little sister in the front seat blowin' that horn
The sounds echoin' all down Michigan Avenue

Now, mister, the day my numbers comes in I ain't ever gonna ride in no used car again
Track Name: Open All Night
Well, I had the carburetor, baby, cleaned and checked
With her line blown out she's hummin' like a turbojet
Propped her up in the backyard on concrete blocks
For a new clutch plate and a new set of shocks
Took her down to the carwash, check the plugs and points
Well, I'm goin' out tonight, I'm gonna rock that joint

Early north Jersey industrial skyline
I'm a all-set cobra jet creepin' through the nighttime
Gotta find a gas station, gotta find a pay phone
This turnpike sure is spooky at night when you're all alone
Gotta hit the gas, baby. I'm running late
This New Jersey in the mornin' like a lunar landscape

Now, the boss don't dig me, so he put me on the night shift
It's an all-night run to get back to where my baby lives
In the wee, wee hours your mind gets hazy
Radio relays towers, won't you lead me to my baby?
Underneath the overpass, trooper hits his party light switch
Good night, good luck. One, two power shift

I met Wanda when she was employed
Behind the counter at Route 60 Bob's Big Boy Fried Chicken
On the front seat, she's sittin' in my lap
We're wipin' our fingers on a Texaco road map
I remember Wanda up on scrap metal hill
With them big brown eyes that make your heart stand still

Well, at 5 a.m., oil pressure's sinkin' fast
I make a pit stop, wipe the windshield, check the gas
Gotta call my baby on the telephone
Let her know that her daddy's comin' on home
Sit tight, little mama, I'm comin' 'round
I got three more hours, but I'm coverin' ground

Your eyes get itchy in the wee, wee hours
Sun's just a red ball risin' over them refinery towers
Radio's jammed up with gospel stations
Lost souls callin' long distance salvation
Hey, mister deejay, wontcha hear my last prayer?*
Hey, ho, rock 'n roll, deliver me from nowhere
Track Name: My Father's House
Last night I dreamed that I was a child out where the pines grow wild and tall
I was trying to make it home through the forest before the darkness falls

I heard the wind rustling through the trees and ghostly voices rose from the fields
I ran with my heart pounding down that broken path
With the devil snappin' at my heels*

I broke through the trees and there in the night
My father's house stood shining hard and bright
The branches and brambles tore my clothes and scratched my arms
But I ran till I fell shaking in his arms

I awoke and I imagined the hard things that pulled us apart
Will never again, sir, tear us from each other's hearts
I got dressed, and to that house I did ride from out on the road, I could see its windows shining in light

I walked up the steps and stood on the porch
A woman I didn't recognize came and spoke to me through a chained door
I told her my story, and who I'd come for
She said "I'm sorry son, but no one by that name lives here anymore"

My father's house shines hard and bright it stands like a beacon calling me in the night
Calling and calling, so cold and alone
Shining 'cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned
Track Name: Reason To Believe
Seen a man standin' over a dead dog lyin' by the highway in a ditch
He's lookin' down kinda puzzled pokin' that dog with a stick
Got his car door flung open he's standin' out on Highway 31
Like if he stood there long enough that dog'd get up and run
It struck me kinda funny, seemed kinda funny sir to me
Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

Now Mary Lou loved Johnny with a love mean and true
She said "Baby I'll work for you every day, bring my money home to you"
One day he up and left her and ever since that
She waits down at the end of that dirt road for young Johnny to come back
Struck me kinda funny, funny yeah to me
How at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

Take a baby to the river, Kyle William they called him
Wash the baby in the water, take away little Kyle's sin
In a whitewash shotgun shack an old man passes away
Take his body to the graveyard, over him they pray
Lord won't you tell us, tell us what does it mean
At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

Congregation gathers down by the riverside
Preacher stands with a Bible, groom stands waitin' for his bride
Congregation gone and the sun sets behind a weepin' willow tree
Groom stands alone and watches the river rush on so effortlessly
Wonderin' where can his baby be
Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe