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The Missing Years

by John Prine

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03:28
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04:35
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credits

released September 24, 1991

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Track Name: Picture Show
A young man from a small town
With a very large imagination
Lay alone in his room with his radio on
Looking for another station
When the static from the mouthpiece
Gave way to the sound below
James Dean went out to Hollywood
And put his picture in a Picture Show.
James Dean went out to Hollywood
And put his picture in a Picture Show.

And It's Oh Daddy get off of your knees
Mamma why'd you have to go
Your darling Jim is out a limb
I put my picture in a Picture Show
Whoa Ho! Put my picture in a Picture Show

Hamburgers Cheeseburgers
Wilbur and Orville Wright
John Garfield in the afternoon
Montgomery Clift at night
When the static hit the mouthpiece
Gave way to the sound below
James Dean went out to Hollywood
And put his picture in a Picture Show.

(Repeat Chorus)

A Mocca man in a wigwam sitting on a Reservation.
With a big black hole in the belly of his soul
Waiting on an explanation
While the white man sits on his fat can
And takes pictures of the Navajo
Every time he clicks his Kodak pics
He steals a little bit of soul.
Every time he clicks his Kodak pics
He steals a little bit of soul.

(Repeat Chorus)

Yie Hi! Put my picture in a Picture Show
Here we go! A young man from a small town
With a very large imagination...
Track Name: All the Best
I wish you love
And happiness
I guess I wish you
All the best
I wish you don't
Do like I do
And ever fall in love with
Someone like you
Cause if you fell
Just like I did
You'd probably walk around the block
Like a little kid.
But kids don't know
They can only guess
How hard it is
To wish you happiness

I guess that love
Is like a Christmas card
You decorate a tree
You throw it in the yard
It decays and dies
And the snowmen melt
Well I once knew love
I knew how love felt
Yeah I knew love
Love knew me
And when I walked
Love walked with me
And I got no hate
And I got no pride
Well I got so much love
That I cannot hide

Say you drive a Chevy
Say you drive a Ford
You say you drive around the town
Till you just get bored
Then you change your mind
For something else to do
And your heart gets bored with your mind
And it changes you
Well it's a doggone shame
And it's an awful mess
I wish you love
I wish you happiness
I wish you love
I wish you happiness
I guess I wish you
All the best
Track Name: The Sins of Memphisto
From the bells of St Mary
To the Count of Monte Cristo
Nothing can stop
Nothing can stop
Nothing can stop
The sins of Memphisto

Sally used to play with her hula hoops
Now she tells her problems to therapy groups
Grampa's on the front lawn staring at a rake
Wondering if his marriage was a terrible mistake
I'm sitting on the front steps drinking orange crush Wondering if it's possible if I could still blush
Uh huh Oh yeah

A boy on a bike with corduroy slacks
Sleeps in the river by the railroad tracks
He waits for the whistle on the train to scream
So he can close his eyes and begin to dream
Uh huh Oh yeah

The hands on his watch spin slowly around
With his mind on a bus that goes all over town
Looking at the babies and the factories
And listening to the music of Mister Squeeze
As if by magic or remote control
He finds a piece of a puzzle
That he missed in his soul
Uh huh Oh yeah

Adam and Eve and Lucy and Ricky
Bit the big apple and got a little sticky
Esmeralda and the Hunchback of Notre Dame
They humped each other like they had no shame
They paused as they posed for a Polaroid photo
She whispered in his ear "Exactlyodo, Quasimoto"
Track Name: Everybody Wants to Feel Like You
I wake up to a clock that's ringing
Birds are singing on my telephone line
I work all day and I chase my woman
Why don't she chase me sometime?
Everybody wants to be wanted
I mean I ain't no scarecrow cop
I don't need no transalazation
I don't need no diddiley bop

Next time tell me that you want me
Put your little foot inside of my shoe
Next time tell me that you need me
Everybody wants to feel like you
I used to love you so hard in the morning
I'd make you stutter and roll your eyes
I put your mind on a brief vacation
To the land of the lost surprise

You got a heart that beats like mine love
You got a bell that rings so true
I get this feeling that I got to tiptoe
Round every little thing you do.
Track Name: It's a Big Old Goofy World
Up in the morning
Work like a dog
Is better than sitting
Like a bump on a log
Mind all your manners
Be quiet as a mouse
Some day you'll own a home
That's as big as a house

I know a fella
He eats like a horse
Knocks his old balls
Round the old golf course
You oughta see his wife
She's a cute little dish
She smokes like a chimney
And drinks like a fish

There's a big old goofy man
Dancing with a big old goofy girl
Ooh baby
It's a big old goofy world

Now Elvis had a woman
With a head like a rock
I wished I had a woman
That made my knees knock
She'd sing like an angel
And eat like a bird
And if I wrote a song
She'd know ever single word

Kiss a little baby
Give the world a smile
If you take an inch
Give 'em back a mile
Cause if you lie like a rug
And you don't give a damn
You're never gonna be
As happy as a clam

So I'm sitting in a hotel
Trying to write a song My head is just as empty
As the day is long
Why it's clear as a bell
I should have gone to school
I'd be wise as an owl
Stead of stubborn as a mule.
Track Name: I Want to Be With You Always
I lose my blues
Only when I'm with you
No one else can do
You're in my heart to stay
But when I'm gone and I'm all alone
I'll be singing this song
I want to be with you always

I'd be happy dear
If you could only be here
And always be near you
Forever and a day
Then we'd travel far to some big shining star
Just you and my guitar
And stay there sweetheart for always

I hope you feel the same
You really want my name
You'll be the one who's to blame
If it works out wrong that day
Cause my love is true, my love's only for you
I'll never be blue
If I can be with you always

I'd be happy dear
If you could only hear
And always be near you
Forever and a day
Then we'd travel far to some big shining star
Just you and my guitar
And stay there sweetheart for always.
Track Name: Daddy's Little Pumpkin
You must be daddy's little pumpkin
I can tell by the way you roll
You must be daddy's little pumpkin
I can tell by the way you roll
Why it's quarter past eleven
And you're sleeping on the bedroom floor

I can see the fire burning
Burning right behind your eyes
I can see the fire burning
Burning right behind your eyes
You must of swallowed a candle
Or some other kind of surprise

I'm going down to Memphis
I got three hundred dollars in cash
I'm going down to Memphis
I got three hundred dollars in cash
All the women in Memphis
Want to see how long my money will last

I'm going downtown
I'm gonna to rattle somebody's cage
I'm going downtown
I'm gonna rattle somebody's cage
I'm gonna beat on my guitar
And strut all around the stage

If you see my baby coming
Don't tell her that her daddy's in jail
If you see my baby coming
Don't you tell her that her daddy's in jail
She'd sell her little pumpkin just to raise
Her sweet daddy's bail

You must be daddy's little pumpkin
I can tell by the way you roll
You must be daddy's little pumpkin
I can tell by the way you roll
You never do nothing
To save your doggone soul.
Track Name: Take a Look at My Heart
I seen my old lady's boyfriend
He don't look nothing like me
'cept for a bit of confusion
Same kind she laid on me

You don't know what you're getting into
She's gonna tear you apart
You're going places I've been to
Take a look at my heart
Take a look at my heart

You're pro'bly sending her flowers
And talking to her on the phone
You're gonna get it together
And find yourself all alone

Do you think you can be her lover
And not become her fool
Do you think that you are the exception to the rule

You're gonna hate all her girlfriends
And everything that they say
You ask me how do I know this
They come around every day.
Track Name: Great Rain
Great rain great rain
I thought I heard you call my name
Great rain great rain
I thought I heard you call my name
I was standing in the station
Waving down an unmarked train

There's a fire at the junction
Why do you do the things you do
There's a fire at the junction
Why do you do the things you do
I was praying for mercy
And all he ever sent me was you

Jimmy bought the liquor
I bought the cups and ice
Jimmy bought the liquor
I bought the cups and ice
I tell you funny stories
Why can't you treat me nice

Great rain great rain
I thought I heard you call my name
Great rain great rain
I thought I heard you calling my name
I was standing by the river
Talking to a young Mark Twain.
Track Name: Way Back Then
Night is falling
We're doing the things we do
You are acting just like me
I'm acting just like you
Do you remember
When you were my friend?
That's the way I'd like things
Just like way back then

Baby's sleeping
Brother is on the run
I am out undoing
All the good I've done
If you loved me
Tell you what I would do
Wrap the world in silver foil
Bring it home to you.

Lately I feel
That I can't pretend
I may never ever see
The likes of you again
I take a walk, I come back home
Then I sit a spell
Watch the ponies dance around
The empty wishing well.

Night has fallen
I've said the things I did
The only baby sleeping
Is when I was a kid
Do you remember
When you were my friend?
That's the way I'd like things
Just like way back then.
Track Name: Unlonely
You make me unlonely
I feel like the only
person in the world
That ever had a girl like you

You make me feel wealthy
I almost look healthy
With you on my arm
Yeah together we could charm
This whole wide world

Once I was lonely
Nobody but me
My heart in a prison
Love set me free
God woke up
He heard my plea
He sent you to me
He sent you to me

You made me feel stronger
You made me love longer
Than anyone
Anyone in the whole wide world.
Track Name: You Got Gold
Is there ever enough space between us
To keep us both honest and true?
Why is it so hard just to sit in the yard
And stare at the sky so blue?
I've got a new way of walking and a new way of talking Honey when I'm around you,
But it gives me the blues when I've got some good news And you're not there to bring it to.

Life is a blessing, it's a delicatessen
Of all the little favors you do.
All wrapped up together no matter the weather,
Baby you always come through.
It's a measure of treasure that gives me the pleasure
Of loving you the way I do
And you know I would gladly say I need your love badly And bring these little things to you.


Cause you got gold
Gold inside of you
You got gold
Gold inside of you
Well I got some
Gold inside me too

Well I'm thinking I'm knowing that I gotta be going
You know I hate to say so long.
It gives me an ocean of mixed up emotion
I'll have to work it out in a song.
Well I'm leaving a lot for the little I got
But you know a lot a little will do
And if you give me your love I'll let it shine up above
And light my way back home to you.

(Repeat Chorus)

You got wheels
Turning inside of you
You got wheels
Turning inside of you Well I got wheels
Turning inside me too.
Track Name: Everything Is Cool
Everything is cool
Everything's okay
Why just before last Christmas
My baby went away

Across the sea to an island
While the bridges brightly burn
So far away from my land
The valley of the unconcerned

I was walking down the road, man
Just looking at my shoes
When God sent me an angel
Just to chase away my blues

I saw a hundred thousand blackbirds
Just flying thru the sky
And they seemed to form a teardrop
From a black haired angel's eye
That tear fell all around me
And it washed my sins away
Now everything is cool
Everything's okay

Everything is cool
Everything's okay
Why just before last Christmas
My baby went away
And I find it real surprising
For myself to hear me say
That everything is cool
Everything's okay
Everything is cool
Everything's okay

Why just before last Christmas
My baby went away.
Track Name: Jesus, The Missing Years
(Spoken)
Jesus.... the missing years
It was raining. It was cold
West Bethlehem was no place for a twelve year old
So he packed his bags and he headed out
To find out what the world's about
He went to France. He went to Spain
He found love. He found pain.
He found stores so he started to shop
But he had no money so he got in trouble with a cop
Kids in trouble with the cops
From Israel didn't have no home
So he cut his hair and moved to Rome
It was there he met his Irish bride
And they rented a flat on the lower east side of Rome... Italy that is
Music publishers, book binders, Bible belters, Money Changers,
Spoon Benders and lots of pretty Italian chicks.

Charley bought some popcorn
Billy bought a car
Someone almost bought the farm
But they didn't go that far
Things shut down at midnight
At least around here they do
Cause we all reside down the block
Inside at ....23 Skidoo.

Wine was flowing so were beers
So Jesus found his missing years
So He went to a dance and said "This don't move me"
He hiked up his pants and he went to a movie
On his thirteenth birthday he saw "Rebel without a Cause"
He went straight on home and invented Santa Claus
Who gave him a gift and he responded in kind
He gave the gift of love and went out of his mind
You see him and the wife wasn't getting along
So he took out his guitar and he wrote a song
Called "The Dove of Love Fell Off the Perch"
But he couldn't get divorced in the Catholic Church At least not back then anyhow
Jesus was a good guy he didn't need this shit
So he took a pill with a bag of peanuts and
A Coca-Cola and he swallowed it.
He discovered the Beatles
And he recorded with the Stones
Once He even opened up a three-way package
In Southern California for old George Jones

(Repeat Chorus)

The years went by like sweet little days
With babies crying pork chops and beaujolais
When he woke up he was seventeen
The world was angry. The world was mean.
Why the man down the street and the kid on the stoop All agreed that life stank. All the world smelled like poop Baby poop that is ..the worst kind
So he grew his hair long and threw away his comb
And headed back to Jerusalem to find Mom, Dad and home
But when he got there the cupboard was bare
Except for an old black man with a fishing rod
He said "Whatcha gonna be when you grow up?"
Jesus said "God"
Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?
I'm a human corkscrew and all my wine is blood
They're gonna kill me Mama. They don't like me Bud.
So Jesus went to Heaven and he went there awful quick All them people killed him and he wasn't even sick
So come and gather around me my contemporary peers And I'll tell you all the story of Jesus...The Missing Years
We all reside down the block
Inside at ....23 Skidoo.