Prayer Street Blues

by Jeremy Joyce



Laments, Ballads, Tales

Rivers in Love, Bank Robbers, Runaways, and Mystics.

Recorded in New Orleans on Prieur street which I once mispronounced 'Prayer' street. Mostly before construction started across the street and made recording impractical.

Recorded Between May 2014 - April 2015


released December 31, 2015

All songs, playing, and recording by Jeremy Joyce.



all rights reserved


Jeremy Joyce St. Louis, Missouri

Singer / Songwriter / Guitarist. New Orleans Based by way of STL and NYC

From Philadelphia.

Jazz. Blues. Roots, Folk, etc


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Track Name: Marie Marie Marie
She was such a young girl
Her cheeks were red and bright
Tears were streaming down them
On our wedding night

Just fresh out of High School
We had a little fun
To the state of West Virginia
We were on the run

Now I work for the coal company
I run a big machine
Since I’ve been a miner
I never got clean

Blasting off the mountain tops
Digging out the vein
To the heart of Appalachia
To load it on a train

Marie, Marie, Marie don’t you cry for me
I stole you from your home, back in Tennessee
If I was an angel, straight to you I’d fly
No angel I know ever worked that company mine

Protesters line the gates
I don't look em in the eye
I tell myself I do it
For Marie and I

But she’s hiding her phone from me
She won’t tell me who she calls
Says she’s going crazy
In these trailer walls

Her yellow hair beside me
As she turns away her breast
The coal dust in my lungs
That will bring my death

Dear lord please forgive
Though I really don’t know how
I took Marie out of Tennessee
Just to cut your mountains down

She came to me so softly
She came to me so sweet
Black hair running down her back
No shoes upon her feet

She took me to her room
Into her bed I fell
And all the secrets of
The mining operation I did tell

Equipment sabotaged
Systems being hacked
Each night that we’re together
Another way that she attacks

Marie still waits at home
Though I know it’s not for long
Only so far a man
Can go when going wrong

I am at her door with lilies
As she greets me with a kiss
I can feel my heart racing
When she bites down on my my lip

I push her away from me
Petals falling to the floor
The company security
Busts right through the door

I hear her call me traitor
I hear her cry in pain
As they dig into her harder
She’s calling out my name

I sent Marie to Tennessee
I sent Marie back home
God save West Virginia
God damn this dirty hole
Track Name: Jackson Girl
That Mississippi river, she runs fast and she's cold
She goes to the place my heart wants to go
Somewhere out of Memphis they turn out all the lights
I've still got one hundred fifty miles to drive

When I get down to Jackson, when I get around Jackson way
Some folks gonna look at me kind of strange
I don't mind standing out in her part of the world
I'm just trying to find my Jackson girl

She doesn't mind the East Coast, she doesn't mind the West
But with a Mississippi heart she loves her home the best
She goes to Church on Sunday, does as she should
She's so sweet she kinda makes me feel no good
My Jackson Girl

I met her in Saint Louis and I wished that she was mine
She had the kind of beauty that makes a grown man cry
Makes a young boy jump and shout, makes a poet sing
Makes the winter wish he could change himself to spring

We danced in the bar, out into the summer night
I had an ‘87 Dodge, we took a real long drive
She stayed with me a while but I really should have known
Her big ole Jackson heart was pulling her back home
Track Name: The River King
When the moon is at its highest
On a riverboat flectin' gold
There plays the ancient gambler
each chip is another man’s soul

Where the dead with the living
A pretty woman with corpse-like eyes
She lost a game on the River King
Now soulless she will never die

I sit down with the ancient
Had him prove me the game was fair
Show me the face of my one true lover
When I look she's a standing there

I was a poor boy, no land, no money
So I traveled this country side
Until I met a girl from Kentucky
With a face like a diamond shines

In the heat of the summer we swam in the river
She held me close and then she'd swim away
She swum too far and the current drug her
Down to the bottom where her body now lay

A gold coin on the table, something written in Latin
They say its age is two thousand years
I hear a voice call from beneath the water
A skeletal hand begins to deal

The river King has the Ace of Spades showing
Tell me boy, what's it gonna be
Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds
Why you paired with this lonesome old three

He says quit now and keep your soul
Leave my kingdom and live out your days
But you've never known love like a girl from Kentucky
Oh lord won't you send me an eight

Then I awake from a dream next to my woman
In old Kentucky where the warbler sings
Was there ever a current that swept her away
Ever a boat named the River King
Track Name: Two Rivers
There was one was a river wide and fast
Carving through the mountain pass
Her water deep her current strong
Still she sang a mournful song

Starts above what do you see?
Will another river run to me?
I’ve only got one way to go
Where my raging water flows

There once was a river never still
Who ran the grain and factory mills
The big boats they once rode along
Still he sang a mournful song

All you fish who swim in me
What other waters have you seen?
What other rivers have you swam?
I’ll never cross these muddy banks

Life just rolls on
Sometimes love’s wrong
All water meets somewhere
I’ll meet you in the air
If it take me one hundred lives
I will find my way to you
We will dance at the end of time
We are the seekers of the truth

When a river sleeps, what does she dream?
Does she turn to flesh for he?
Her bare feet touch the leafy ground
Where she lay her body down

She says I am not this honey flesh
And I am not this trembling breast
I am the river running wild
Never mother, never child

Can a river feel alone?
And want for what he’s never known?
A body born of bone and skin
And a heart to beat within

I am not these lips upon
Your dewy flesh in the budding dawn
I am the river never tame
No man will know my name
Track Name: The Last Cowboy
In a dirty city in a lonely bed
ain’t no place for to rest my head
I’ll take the earth and a starry sky
So it’s out the window and away I fly

Fying West at a steady speed
Away from what I don’t really need
Away from a world made of steel
Ruled by the automobile

Yippee kay yay oh, yippee kay yay yay
Ain’t no work out on the range
Yippee kay yay, yippee kay yay oh
Bury me down in the Oh-Kee-Oh

If I wasn’t born a man somehow
I’d like to be a horse with his mane flowing down
I would not buck and I would not throw
A good cowboy off of me oh no

But I ain’t a horse, lord I was born a man
Born to run free in your green green land
Run em through the valley out to the meadow
singing kay yay yay yippee kay yay oh

Had a good girl about five foot six
she made her living doing pony tricks
I guess it’s been about five years now
That I had to lay my little Janey down

Janey O’ Janey, I’m a coming soon
Drawing a bead on the harvest moon
When I get to heaven you can hear me say
Yippee kay yay oh, yippee kay yay yay
Track Name: The Pensacola Queen
She got lost in the big top
couldn't find her way back home
Just wandering round that dirt lot
Till she was standing all alone

She wasn't much for hearing
From a firecracker accident
Not a call she heard or a loving word
So the searchers came and went

She could feel her body moving
when she awoke the next morn’
A gypsy family took her in
And just felt that she belonged

Nobody there spoke English
So there wasn't too much to say
She watched the power lines just a fall and rise
Three hundred miles away

Seventeen years old
Hair down to her knees
She could ride bare back, she would walk the wire
She could fly from them trapeze

She could sell you about a hundred dollars
Of things that you don't need
She could throw a knife within an inch of your life
Make you check if you bleed

Many men tried to bed her
All of them had failed
One day a mime put it to his mind
That he might prevail

She cut off a piece of his finger
Threw it in the lion's cage
And at the scene they all agreed
A queen was born that day

The image on the poster
A scepter in her hand
A leopard coyly by her feet
Leashed by a golden strand

To many town she traveled
Performing defying feats
Men professed their love
But none were worth the queen

Until somewhere outside Wichita
Under a pile of matted hair
Was a roving street performer
Who was both strong and fair

Some love is born of words
Some love is born of lust
Some love is like a flower
And one day turns to dust

This love was born in Kansas
By the side of a country road
When she opened the door of her diesel truck
To let that young boy roll.

for many years they loved
but never were they wed
like a dog who begged for meat
But she only gave him bread

Never on her finger
Would she wear his pawnshop ring
Never take a husband
Never have a king

So dreaming in the arms
Of a Dark Eyed Dancing Girl
His Boyish broken heart
Had a plan unfurl

Where she kept the cash
When she took her rest
How deep to plunge the dagger
Into her royal breast

Standing in the Moonlight
The August air hung still
The unsheathing of the blade
The final breath before the kill

But hotter than a Summer kiss
The Leopard’s teeth cut hard
Colder than the Queen’s grey eye
His blade he fell upon

Blood pooled on the trailer floor
Through the window stars fade
A Spanish girl stood at the door
With the Queen who laid in wait

Her leopard at her feet
Her maiden softly crying
The love born at the side
Of the country road is dying
Track Name: The City Lights
When Jack he was just seventeen
His mama said you’re a little green
But I know it’s been a long
Time you want to get off the farm

I’ll always be your mama still
Jackie boy just don’t get killed
This world it ain’t a toy
I’ll always love you Jackie Boy

I know that you want to see the city lights
Keep the farm close to your heart, say your prayers at night

He was riding on the megabus
All he had wasn’t all that much
Stuffed into a duffle bag
He was boppin’ to the Beaumont Rag

At a stop in Illinois somewhere
A Backpacker with Auburn hair
Passed by every open seat
Young Jack’s heart skipped a beat

She sat right down and said hello
Can you tell me where this bus goes
I’m riding all the way out West
By the way my name’s Suzette

And he said
Away I ride
But I would go anywhere with you tonight

They stopped in a small MidWest town
Thought they’d take a look around
Missed the bus and then they thought
Well I guess this was our final stop

Found a room it wasn’t great
Cooked a meal on a hot plate
Laid sleeping bags out on the floor
Couldn’t really ask for more

With the first kiss they felt a spark
The second kiss the lights went dark
As Suzette laid young Jack down
Tornadoes tore trees from the Ground

Jack lost his virginity
Suzette came and when she screamed
Lightning strikes revealed the shape
Of their teenage twist of fate

The wind blew out the windows and the rain came in
Falling in love with a French Canadian. Girl.

Suzette slung beer at a local bar
Jack sold scrap steel and picked guitar
Painted portraits for five bucks a piece
To make Suzette a New Year's’ feast

At Three AM on New Year's’ morn
They ate their dinner on the floor
Suzette cut a lock of ruby strands
And placed them in to young Jack’s hand

He made her hair into a pin
So he’d always have some of her with him
She vowed to never take it back
And said she’d always love her Jack

They drank and danced barefoot to songs they sung aloud
Making wishes for the year that was coming down.

But Jack spent too much time alone
He kind of wished he could go back home
Suzette worked six nights a week
As Jackie boy was feeling weak

He started putting shit up his nose
But you know how the story goes
He was longing for the farm
The first time he banged it in his arm

Jack’s heart skipped a beat before but now it wouldn’t start again
His skin was turning blue when Suzette came in
She drug him to the shower, ran cold water on his chest
But his eyes never opened; he never took another breath

He died there in the shower
his clothes all soaking wet
She thought back to the rain
on the first night that they met
and they made love on the floor

in The Rain
Track Name: Arkansas Bill
[Verse 1]
Nadine was a waitress working to pay the rent
She had a kid, got some money from the government
Her baby daddy weren’t nowhere around
She never left her home town.

[Verse 2]
Bill was from Arkansas, got in trouble with the law.
Shot a man to death in a roadhouse parking lot
Seven days on the run
With a hot Crown Vic and a smokin’ gun

[Verse 3]
Bill had a temper, he’d lose it quick
Nadine could take a punch, but she wouldn’t take shit
She grabbed the pistol from his side
And straddled him with her Missouri thighs

[Verse 4]
He ain’t felt that way before, at least not since the war
He finally had something worth living for
Nadine laid the Smith and Wesson down
They made hot hot love on the cold ground

Nadine did a little work on the side
That’s how she met Arkansas Bill and went on one last ride

Bill didn’t have nothing in the world
Until he pulled of 29 to meet a Kansas City girl

Arkansas Bill

[Verse 5]
They changed cars and plates in about a dozen states
They thought that they could make it last
Bill kept a guitar, said he was a singer
And he didn’t drive too fast

[Verse 6]
They’d stake out a place for a couple of days
Working on a plan
Like Bill shooting Nadine with a blank
And then her sneaking around back

[Verse 7]
In New Mexico, Nadine played dead
Laying on the floor
She spots an off duty cop, reaching for his Glock
to point it at Billy boy

[Verse 8]
Now Nadine loved Bill more than any woman
Ever loved an Arkansas man
Five shots to the chest, the cop didn't have a vest
And out the door they ran


[Verse 9]
Bill'l left three fingers were blown clean off
Running for the car
So they headed South for a border town
To find a doctor that wouldn't talk

[Verse 10]
They met up with some narcos
Bought armor, C-4, and guns
They'd do one last job, move to Nicaragua
Then they'd never have to run

Arkansas Bill

[Verse 11]
They walked into the bank, dressed real nice
Handed the teller a note
Well that teller nearly cried by look in Bill's eyes
And Nadine took off her coat

[Verse 12]
She wore twenty pounds of C-4
She wore a smile ten miles wide.
She wore a pretty red dress, and let out a laugh.
Said I ain't afraid to die

[Verse 13]
You better give me all your money
You better give me all your gold
If you give me any trouble
I'm ready to explode

[Instrumental Break]