“Luck Of The Draw”
These things we do to keep the flame burning
And write our fire in the sky
As you get older, your dreams dissipate. What seemed within your reach keeps getting further and further away. In high school everybody’s in your business, graduate and suddenly nobody cares. You’re on your own. The only thing keeping you going is your gumption. You can go to work for the man, enter a hierarchy barely different from school, but there’s no club for artists, no game… You’re creating your own.
And it seems almost no one is paying attention.
This Paul Brady composition first appeared on the Bonnie Raitt album of the same name. It’s so haunting you’re both drawn in and repelled. It’s like an episode of “thirtysomething,” a drama not made for Lifetime. Where you just work hard and maybe…nothing happens.
Tomorrow’s letter by the hall doorway
Could be the answer to your prayer
Ain’t that the truth. It’s the carrot that keeps us going. Without it, we wither and die.
“Trick Or Treat”
And then Paul Brady got his shot. Oh, he had a whole career in the U.K., he was a staple in Ireland, but in the U.S. he was unknown.
Gary Katz, the legendary Steely Dan producer, was hired to helm the project. And the more you listen to the album, also called “Trick Or Treat,” the more you love it. It becomes your favorite. It sticks in your brain.
But the entrance point is “Trick Or Treat.” The best Bonnie Raitt track you’ve never heard.
Alas, it’s a duet, but Bonnie sounds so three-dimensional, so sexy, you’ll fall in love with her, even if you know nothing about her, even if you’ve never seen a photograph, never mind seen her in concert.
Sometimes the things that you say
Can hurt me so bad
You know that it’s true
Sometimes your love lifts me up
So high I could cry
Can’t live without you
EUREKA! THAT’S IT!
You might call it volatility, I call it life. Yin-yang, push-pull, attraction-repulsion. One day you hate ‘em, the next day you love ‘em.
And the track has got this breezy feel, like the train is hurtling at sixty miles per hour and the engineer is unclear where they’re going or if they’re gonna run out of track, but you don’t care!
Sometimes I fill up your cup
So your river flows
You know that it’s true
Sometimes my love makes you pay
Though baby, I swear, I’m not wanting to
Self-knowledge! Instead of saying, “It’s you, not me.” she admits she’s complicit. Wise. Alive, but not weary. That’s what the miles of life give you, wisdom and insight.
Like a knock on the door
Open it up
What do you see?
Could be a trick or treat
Bitter or sweet
Which one you gonna be?
Whew! We’re not talking about manic-depression, we’re not talking about Sybil, we’re talking about life. You never know what you’re going to encounter when you walk through the front door.
You no compass, baby, me no map
No one to show us where they laid the trap
Everybody’s looking for answers. But they’re usually going to the wrong place. Books, movies, friends, relatives. Whereas some things you can only learn by yourself.
There’s no compass or map in life. You make it up as you go.
Trick or Treat, baby, that’s the game
One day passion, one day pain
You can try to change the rules, but…
Trick or Treat make you the fool
It’s relentless. It constantly flows forward. It’s a rushing river that could swallow you or give you a ride that will thrill your pants off. They call it life.
Throw off your armor, jump in and enjoy!
“Can’t Stop Wanting You”
Hot words on a summer night
You ‘n’ me having a fight
One drink and it all come out
Before I knew what we were fightin’ about
This relationship has faded in the rearview mirror. But I’ll never forget it. That’s what we had in common, alcohol. It started off so much fun, and sometimes it would lead to the night of our lives, with drunken sex and laughs in bed.
And other times it would devolve into something out of a bad movie. Where not only past hurts were dredged up, but our entire histories, down not only to our birth, but our ancestors.
But breaking up was nigh near impossible.
Because one part of me couldn’t stop wanting her.
“Paradise Is Here”
You say you wanna live some
Move out into the fast lane
You say you need excitement
To make you come alive
Some place a million miles from
The shadows that surround you
The fact that my wife left defines me.
Before I was different. Trusting. Believing people were good.
But now I’ve got more questions than answers.
You think you’re in the groove, doing o.k., and then your betrothed rolls over in bed and asks “Can this marriage be saved?” You think it’s a joke, but it’s deadly real.
What is she looking for? What entices her about the vast world out there without you?
You fight for her to stay, but she goes anyway.
And when she wants to come back, you can’t return to where you once were. What you once overlooked is now a dividing line.
I look for your attention
You’re lost out in the future
Where lovers ask no questions
And shadows never fall
Some pilgrim bound for paradise
Relationships are hard. And I’m never going to go on autopilot. I’m gonna fight it out. Not to prove I’m right, but to establish and maintain connection. A marriage ring is no guarantee your partner will wanna hear what you have to say.
But paradise is here
It’s time to stop your crying
The future is this moment
And not some place out there
But it didn’t matter what I had to say. She was gone. Pleading just makes it worse. When they’ve turned against you, nothing you can do or say can make them come back, if they do, it must be at their own insistence, based on their own revelation.
You talk about your new plans
To move on up the stairway
You dream about the high life
That’s waiting for you there
A world of fame and fortune
That’s just around the corner
The irony is that’s my life, not hers. But it took me a decade and a ton of psychotherapy to believe in myself, to not believe I was inferior and lived in her absent shadow.
But I don’t need no high life
To make me feel like a real man
And I don’t need to reach for
No castles in the sky
Just put your arms around me
That’s what we really want. Not fame or fortune, just a significant other who wants to ride shotgun on the endless highway of life.
“The Long Goodbye”
I know they say if you love somebody
You should set them free (so they say)
But it sure is hard to do
Yeah, it sure is hard to do
Easy for Sting. Easy to say.
But so hard to do.
And I know they say if they don’t come back again
Then it’s meant to be (so they say)
But those words don’t pull me through
Cos I’m still in love with you
That’s what they don’t tell you in books. That’s what’s not represented in the media. The stars jump from bed to bed, but the truth is we’re just animals, desirous of bonding and categorically unable to forget. What do they say, sleep with someone once and it creates an indelible bond, it changes everything forever?
I believe that.
But when you go on to have a relationship…
After it ends, you don’t forget them, unlike a mediocre meal they stay in your brain, you can’t eradicate them from your memory.
Sometimes I ask my heart did we really
Give our love a chance (just one more chance)
But I know without a doubt
That we turned it inside out
Sometimes you’ve got to call it quits.
But that’s easier said than done.
And if we walked away
It would make more sense (only self defense)
But it tears me up inside
Just to think we still could try
How long must we keep riding on a carousel
Goin round and round and never getting anywhere?
Our eyes roll at our friends who can’t give it up.
But even worse is those who don’t even try.
Here’s my one piece of relationship advice. If you want to become entangled, find someone who understands commitment. Whether you stand in front of clergy or not. You want someone who’ll hang in there through the good and bad, who’ll stay connected through the rough times as well as the easy ones. Because being apart is usually so much worse than being together.
This is the long goodbye
Somebody tell me why
Two lovers in love can’t make it
Just what kind of love keeps breaking a heart
No matter how hard we try
You’re gonna make me cry
Come on, baby, it’s over… Let’s face it
All that’s happening here is a long goodbye
Yes, sometimes it truly is over. The pain exceeds the pleasure. You just can’t go through it again. All the drunken adventures are eclipsed by the hangover. But that doesn’t make it any less painful.
And I’ve included two takes of “The Long Goodbye,” the more produced one and the more naked one. And isn’t it funny the less you’ve got on a track the more honest it becomes.
And Brooks & Dunn had a hit with “The Long Goodbye,” no one could miss with such a great song, and that’s been Paul Brady’s bread and butter for decades.
But you should know the source.