Brother Dave's Cave: Home There once was a hermit named Dave...
B.D. Stuff
Scribbles
Ditties
Doodles
Miscellany
E-Mail
Other Stuff
Et Cetera
Dark Spacer
Site Map
Spacer
Spacer 2
 
A circuit-riding preacher 
in the Great Midwest found a key to a rocket in his watch-pocket vest. A Shot in the Dark

       "Channeling is just bad ventriloquism.
       You use another voice, but people can
       see your lips moving." — Penn Jillette

When "channeling" first became popular, I was editing and illustrating an instructional book on self-directed job search. I was skeptical about claims of being able to channel past lives. But because I was writing about exploring various careers and one's life/work at the time, the fantasy of experiencing different positions and lifestyles through the centuries appealed to me. So I played with the idea.

Rather than a series of separate lives, however, I thought exploring one very long and ageless life would be interesting. Although "A Shot in the Dark" only alludes to the method of longevity, I figured my protagonist attained his youthful immortality from surviving a near-fatal dose of bad snake oil (as opposed to good snake oil) in the early 1800s. The recipe for that elixir has never been duplicated.

Anyway,... In my mind, my protagonist was a banjo-playing huxter in a medicine show, a paddle-wheel pilot, a riverboat gambler, a buffalo hunter, a circuit-riding preacher, a sound-effects man during the Golden Age of Radio, a circuit-riding preacher (again, but as a televangelist riding electronic circuits), a starship pilot, and a banjo-playing snake oil huxter (again, but on another planet across the galaxy, where the lizard-people inhabitants can really use good snake oil). Too complicated? Well, I think I've got a screen treatment around here... someplace. I guess I should write the script so I can share it with you and help clarify things.

There are lots of circles in this song. The whole thing arcs back on itself by having the last verse duplicate the first. The letter "O" and "oh" sounds are repeated prominately and deliberately. And, oh yes, there's the imagery, either explicit or implicit, of the banjo, moon, Earth, sun, stars, rolling wagon wheels, curved space, et cetera.

See the lyrics below, check out the Lead Sheet for words and music, or listen to a homemade MP3 song demo recording.

Because there's also a lot of internal rhyme and alliteration, it can be a real tongue-twister. So be forewarned: Don't try operating this song after taking certain medications, elixirs, or snake oils. — BD


Thin Line


A Shot in the Dark
Words and Music by David R. Lister


Years ago in a medicine show
I sold snake oil and I played banjo
Kept the crowds from thinnin' too low
Then at midnight led the horses out of town real slow
Moving on and laying low
Sipping some elixir, laughing crazy at the moon
Rolling on, but going slow

A paddle-wheel pilot on the Ohio
I was a riverboat gambler betting aces low
A wild and wooly hunter of the buffalo
Till I saw the blinding light of God
I was blinded by the light of God
I saw the blinding light of God

A circuit-riding preacher in the Great Midwest
I was helping the curst become the blest
Guess the Devil laid claim to all the rest
But, Christ, that's the way it goes
Jesus Christ, you know how it goes

In the triode's glow of a radio
I was the sound effects man for the weeknight shows
A knock at the door, a mean dog's bark
Footsteps on the floor and a shot in the dark
My eye on the script, my mind on the mark
My finger on the trigger
Through the static in your living room
I took a shot in the dark
I took a shot in the dark

On an endless flight through eternal night
One can live too long near the speed of light
When the sun grew old, it grew too bright
In the end the Earth must've died of fright
Then the sun grew cold when it lost its light
Through fire and ice, then the darkest night
The Earth just died of fright

A circuit-riding preacher in the Great Midwest
Found the key to a rocket in his watch-pocket vest
Guess the Devil laid claim to all the rest
But, Christ, that's the way it goes
Jesus Christ, you know how it goes

Years ago in a medicine show
I sold snake oil and I played banjo
Kept the crowds from thinnin' too low
Then at midnight led the horses out of town real slow
Moving on and laying low
Sipping some elixir, laughing crazy at the moon
Rolling on, but going slow

Sipping some elixir, laughing crazy at the moon
Rolling on, but going slow


A SHOT IN THE DARK.MP3

CURRENT MOON

lunar phases

Spacer 2
End Spacer 2
 


| LEAD SHEET SONG MENU |


Clear Pixel Spacer
Thin Line
Clear Pixel Spacer

| HOME | SCRIBBLES | DITTIES | DOODLES | MISCELLANY | E-MAIL | ET CETERA | SITE MAP |

Clear Pixel Spacer
Thin Line
Clear Pixel Spacer
Clear Pixel Spacer

© 2001-2012 David R. Lister • All Rights Reserved.