“Drunken Poet’s Dream,” Hayes Carll

Written by March 14th, 2011 at 10:15 am

Ray Wylie Hubbard and his wife Judy tell people they found Hayes Carll on their doorstep in a little basket. Hubbard, an elder statesman of Texas songwriting, has been schooling upstarts like the Houston-born Carll for years. “It’s really kind of cool, ‘cause I can just intimidate them for whatever reason,” Hubbard joked to American Songwriter about writing with a new generation of Texas songwriters.

For “Drunken Poet’s Dream,” which appeared both on Carll’s highly-accoladed Trouble In Mind (2007) and three years later on Hubbard’s own A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C), the Texas songwriters teamed up for what could surely be classified as a “degenerate love song.” Wine, naked women, mescaline, and gambling – it’s got all the trademarks of a classic debauched Texas blues song.

While the writing process began as a common effort, the song took on a new life in each songwriter’s hand and the two versions of “Drunken Poet’s Dream” have structural and idiosyncratic differences as well as complete lines and verses that differ. “We had the melody and [Carll] kind of changed it up a little bit too,” says Hubbard. The pair used the software tool Masterwriter and worked on the revisions over e-mail, which Hubbard jokes he preferred to “being in the same room with Hayes.”

Hubbard jumps into the chorus after the first verse and replaces Carll’s third chorus line (“She brings me roses and a place to lean”) with “And then I’m gonna rhyme that with gasoline.” “Wine bottles” become “whisky bottles” and “dominoes” become “Oreos” under Hubbard’s direction. “We were throwing out lines. We had the first verse and the chorus and then kinda after that it took on a separate identity of whoever was writing at that point. Whatever I wanted to say, that’s what I was gonna say,” says Hubbard. “It’s like the song will tell you when it’s the right line so it doesn’t matter who wrote it.”

Hubbard, who wrote ‘70s classics like Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother,” says working with younger songwriters like Carll in a loose, collaborative style has been productive. “That’s been really fun for me. They’re songs that maybe I wouldn’t have written otherwise.”

Ray Wylie Hubbard will co-host a series of small songwriting workshops in the Texas Hill Country in March and April. For more info, visit www.raywylie.com.

Hayes Carll, who lives in Austin, just released the new album KMAG YOYO and will play at South By Southwest in 2011, including a headlining show at the Billy Reid & K-Swiss Shindig, co-presented by American Songwriter.

“Drunken Poet’s Dream” (Hayes Carll version)

I got a woman she’s wild as Rome
She likes to lay naked and be gazed upon
She crosses a bridge and then sets it on fire
Lands like a bird on a telephone wire

Wine bottles scattered like last nights clothes
Cigarettes, papers, and dominoes
She laughs for a minute about the shape I’m in
Says, “You be the sinner honey, I’ll be the sin.”

I’m gonna holler and I’m gonna scream
I’m gonna get me some mescaline
She brings me roses and a place to lean
A drunken poets dream

There’s some money on the table and a pistol on the floor
Some old paperback books of Louis L’Amour
She says, “Honey, don’t worry ’bout judgement day.”
All these people goin’ to heaven, they’re just in our way

I’m gonna holler and I’m gonna scream
I’m gonna get me some mescaline
She brings me roses and a place to lean
A drunken poets dream

And all my life I laid around while the colors all turned blue
Closed my eyes and finally found it brought me back to you

I got a woman she’s wild as Rome
She likes to lay naked and be gazed upon
She crosses a bridge then sets it on fire
Lands like a bird on a telephone wire

Written by Ray Wylie Hubbard and Hayes Carll

“Drunken Poet’s Dream” (Ray Wylie Hubbard version)

I got a woman who’s wild as Rome
She likes being naked and gazed upon
She crosses a bridge then sets in on fire
She lands like a bird on a telephone wire

I’m gonna holler, and I’m gonna scream
I’m gonna get me some mescaline
Then I’m gonna rhyme that with gasoline
It’s a drunken poet’s dream

There some money on the table and a pistol on the floor
A few paperback books by Louis L’Amour
Whisky bottles are scattered like last night’s clothes
Cigarettes, papers, and Oreos

My harmonica’s got a busted reed
My lips are chapped and about to bleed
She says that’s nothing when she was a kid
She danced with the dead at the pyramids

I’m gonna holler, and I’m gonna scream
I’m gonna get me some mescaline
Then I’m gonna rhyme that with gasoline
It’s a drunken poet’s dream

Now I’ll never pay back my student loan
Smelling like Coors and cheap cologne
She tells me not to worry about Judgment Day
She says, “Dying to get to heaven’s just not our way”

I’m gonna holler, and I’m gonna scream
I’m gonna get me some mescaline
Then I’m gonna rhyme that with gasoline
It’s a drunken poet’s dream

I got a woman who’s wild as Rome
She likes being naked and gazed upon

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