Search

JILL COMES ALIVE! Homemade Bootleg


"Jill Comes Alive Official Bootleg" includes 17 of my biggest hits from a bunch of great shows through the years. A really swell collection!

Get it through the Internets or in the mail homemade in a cardboard sleeve.

I asked friends, family and some nice fans to pick among the many choices.

This is it!

Only available, for now, at the new Jillsobule.com store

1. Almost Great

Originally written with Robin Eaton for the musical “Times Square”, this song tells the story of hip, middle-aged, 1970’s NY radio DJ Johnny LaGuardia, who, despite his success, feels he could have done better if only he “had worked a little harder.” Since the song was scrapped from the script, I thought I would change genders and tweak the lyrics and make it my own. I related somewhat to Johnny.

It was recorded at Jackson Browne’s studio in 2015 in front of a live audience. I’m playing ukulele, Dave Palmer piano, Dave Carpenter bass, and the wonderful Sarah Watson adds harmonies. And, of course, our wonderfully compliant crowd, led by Jackson, sings the last chorus. Browne’s main man, Paul Dieter, captured it on tape. Brad Jones mixed.

Once I had my poems up

On the schoolroom wall

My teacher told my parents that

I had something special

And then she sent my essay to the Iowa Review

I didn’t win a prize

But got an honorable mention

Almost great, almost great

After I left college

I dropped out after two years

I left to NY City

For my musical career

I know it would have happened

But the band they got real jobs

They all got married, moved back to Omaha

Almost great, almost great

If I worked a little harder

I could of been a starter

Almost great

Once I had a true love

A poet just like me

Who actually has a book out now

A NYT best seller

I don't think it's very good.

I think I could do better

If only I could get myself together

Almost great, almost great

If I worked a little harder

I could of been a starter

Almost great.

Almost great, almost great

I hope it's not too late

Guess I'll give it one more try

Before I say goodbye.

Almost great

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

2. Jetpack

Recorded at Pittsburgh’s Club Cafe, maybe 13 years ago. We filmed the entire show for a potential DVD release. For some reason, I didn’t put it out – I think I my hair looked like someone gave it a bad perm. The song was written around the time I lived in Brooklyn and was seeing someone on the Upper West Side. It’s really a love letter to the city. Barney Lee recorded the show Brad Jones mixed it. One fun side note: A guy in the second row was there with his mistress. He had not realized that we were filming that night and begged us not to release the DVD. I wonder if we can still get him in trouble.

If I had a jetpack the first thing that I’d do

Is fly above the gridlock and come to you

I’d peek into the windows on 5th Avenue

To see how the other side lives

And if I had a jetpack I would strap it on

I’d get out of this one room and I’d be gone

To where there’s real houses and big front lawns

If I had a jetpack

I’d take you up with me

At last we’d both be free, past the statue of liberty

In my jetpack

If I had a jetpack, I’d fly above the bridge

I’d wave to all my friends who thought I’d never rise again

I’d fly over the stadium to watch my team win, watch my team win

If I had a jetpack, I’d bust into your door

I’d take you by the hand to the Jersey shore

And underneath the moonlight, you’d want me even more

Cause, I’d have a jetpack

I’d take you up so high

If I dropped you, you would die

But I want you by my side, in my jetpack

Oh, I don’t have a jetpack. I don’t even have a car

I just have this token and a head full of stars

I wish you didn’t live up town so far

Cause I don’t have a jet-------pack.

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

3. Where is Bobbie Gentry?

This performance was recorded by Live from Mountain Stage– my favorite NPR music show.

In 1981, Bobbie Gentry disappeared from the public eye and went all Garbo. She became as much of a mystery to her fans as the storyline of her spooky but wonderful song, “Ode to Billy Joe”. I am a huge fan who also happens to have been given an interesting collection of Bobbie Gentry memorabilia, including her set list from the Jim Nabors Show, a reel of old personal recordings, and a couple of her mother’s erotic pinup drawings. Don’t ask. Pat Bergeson sat in on harmonica, and Patrick Stephens recorded and mixed the song. Wherein we finally unravel the mystery of what was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Out in the desert where the sun slowly cures deep brown

She’s got a little shack, a pick up truck, parked out on the edge of town

It’s just what I imagine, no one knows where she be

Maybe she’s in heaven passing black-eyed peas

Where is Bobbie Gentry? Where is Bobbie Gentry?

Up in Alaska, Hollywood, or maybe in Japan

I bet that she’s still beautiful, goes barefoot everywhere she can

Does she still play guitar or write a song or two?

Maybe that is over, she’s got better things to do

Where is Bobbie Gentry? Where is Bobbie Gentry?

If I could just find you, I would love you then I’d leave you alone

If I could just find you, I would love you then I’d leave you alone

1967, Bobbie made it on the Billboard chart.

Ten years later disappeared and broke everybody’s heart

Does she ever go to Choctaw, ever go back on that bridge?

Well I was the baby who was thrown of the Tallahatchie bridge

Where is Bobbie Gentry? Where is Bobbie Gentry?

B-o-b-b-i-e G-e-n-t-r-y

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

4. Mexican Wrestler

This might be my most requested song. But no matter how many times I sing it, it still kills me. The song is really not about just one devastating heartbreak from the past, but rather an amalgam of several, including Robbie N. who asked me to go steady with him in sixth grade. After one week and with no explanation, he broke up with me. I never heard from him again until he reached out on Facebook two months ago. I just wrote back, “I always knew you’d come crawling back one day”.

Also from Mountain Stage, recorded and mixed by Patrick Stephens.

Sometimes I wish that I was an angel A fallen angel who visits your dreams And in those dreams I'd blow you a message that says You really want me Sometimes I wish that I was a wrestler A Mexican wrestler in a red vinyl mask And I might grab you, body slam you, and maybe cause physical harm But when we would land I might take pity on you I can crack all your ribs But I can't break your heart You will never love me And this I can't forgive That you will never love me As long as I will live Sometimes I wish that I was a beauty A beautiful girl who was still 21 And I'd turn your head as well as your buddies And I could afford to play hard to get We'd go to parties and you'd show me off And I'd go home with someone else You will never love me And this I can't forgive And it will always bug me As long as I will live You will never love me Why should I even care It's not that you're so special You're just the cross I bear You will never love me

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

5. Trains

From my 1995 eponymous album and one of my personal favorites. Can you name all the old movie references? This one is from the “bad hair” Pittsburgh show, recorded by Barney Lee and mixed by Brad Jones.

Tie me to the track with my ear to the rail But wait for the very last moment to save me Or we could fight on top like a Western, jump from car to car Not noticing the tunnel is approaching And when were in the tunnel, you become another person And we lay down and let the darkness enfold us Trains, I wish I was on that train I wish I was on that train with you Trains, there's something about a train That always makes me think of you On the Peking to Paris, you're a sculptor, I'm an heiress I'm running from my husband, you're running from the law But there's agents at the border so I hide you in my cabin Of course I let you spend the night not knowing who you are And when I let you out, you become another person And we lay down and let the darkness enfold us Trains, I wish I was on that train I wish I was on that train with you Trains, there's something about a train That always makes me think of you, think of you Wish I was on that train Wish I was on that train Wish I was on that train with you We're two hobos on the box car, you and your five o'clock shadow Me and my harmonica and a duffel on a stick Or you're a soldier coming back from the war I'm the lover waiting on the platform It's so steamy you're not sure it's me waving And when I close my eyes, I become another person And we lay down and let the darkness enfold us

Trains, I wish I was on that train

I wish I was on that train with you

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

6. America Back

Originally written for an immigration rights event, this song attempts to trace the history of American xenophobia from the very beginning. It became a bit of a “hit” during the last campaign season. The chorus, “When they say we want our America back, what the fuck do they mean?”, has been sung at political events, rallies, and fundraisers all over the nation. We recorded this at Joe’s Pub with my old NY band Dinah Shore Jr: Amanda Ruzza (bass), Alex Nolan (guitar), Alison Miller (Drums), Steve Gaboury (piano). Mixed by Daniel Piscina.

Remember the garden of Eden?

Before eve hung out with that snake

You could walk down the streets not worry bout thieves.

All the kids could go trick or treating

Then those foreigners started coming in

Like the Germans in 1790

Then the Irish arrived, the potato blight.

The neighborhood started changing

Life was better, we lived right

Life had a paler shade of white

When they say, "we want our America back"

Our America back, our America back"

When they say, "we want our America back"

Well, what the fuck do they mean?

Before there was Ellis island

And that statue we got from the French

That whore's still alerting, with strangers she's flirting

Inviting them into our beds

The guineas, the coolies, the wetbacks, the reds

The Jews, now those terrorists

And who let in the woman who looks after my kid

And the one who is cleaning my mess?

Life was so righteous, life was so clean.

Send em all back including me

When they say, "we want our America back"

Our America back, our America back"

When they say, "we want our America back"

Well, what the fuck do they mean?

Before the gays had their agenda, before the slaves were free

Before that man from Kenya took the presidency

When they say, "we want our America back"

Our America back, our America back"

When they say, "we want our America back"

Well, what the fuck do they mean?

(jill sobule)

7. Houdini’s Box

This is another from Mountain Stage and was written as I was starting a new relationship and right in the middle of a Houdini biography. I think the song scared off my potential suitor. Recorded by Patrick Stephens and mixed by Brad Jones.

The box sites on the bridge The crowd is waiting The chains are locked upon my chest There's no heart breaking

I've done this show a thousand times This trick's so easy As they lower me into your waters There's no escaping

There's a secret passage out of here But I don't want to reappear I just want to stay with you in here

In Houdini's box We'll close the lid And tie the knot In Houdini's box

The clock ticks by the bed I hear you breathing I should be out the door But I'm not leaving

I've still the scars from my last escape I nearly drowned beneath the lake Stayed down too long dreaming about you

In Houdini's box We'll close the lid And tie the knot Houdini's box

I'd take such good care of you I'd brush your hair, untie your shoes There's nothing in the world I wouldn't do

In Houdini's box Houdini's box We'll close the lid And tie the knot In Houdini's box Houdini's box Houdini

The box sites on the bridge The crowd's still waiting

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

8. The Last Line

A story about two cocaine-addled lovers. I don’t think it ends up well. I, myself, was never into stimulants (it’s redundant for me). However my college boyfriend was the dorm dealer. For my birthday, he surprised me with a party, and a big 19 written in coke on top the glass coffee table. I was hoping for a sheet cake. Mixed by Brad Jones.

Far away, another time I was yours and you were mine Entwined we spiraled down so far together Smoke and mirrors and rolled up bills We had it all and then more still But it was not enough to last forever It was the last line It was never as good as it felt as it burst For the first time Oh but how we tried Up to the last line Hopes and dreams and promises We talked of real estate and kids We stayed in bed all day and half the night But blinded by the disco ball Locked inside the bathroom stall You yelled at me You thought I lost the vial It was the last line You were never as sweet as you were When we kissed for the first time Oh but how we tried Up to the last line

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

9. Lucy At The Gym

Lucy is the name I gave to the very anorexic looking-woman who could always be seen on the same Stairmaster at my gym, no matter what time I went. One day she didn’t show up. I worried.

In my early 20s, I too had issues and spent three weeks at the Glendale Adventist Eating Disorder Center. There are so many stories to tell. I’m actually thinking of doing some kind of musical on the experience. The clinic and the people running it were bat-shit crazy. The head nurse befriended me and kept offering me drugs the entire time. She also gave me the scoop on what the psychiatrist and social worker were writing down about me. I guess I told them that I was a fairly well-known singer-songwriter (in Denver). I wasn’t bragging, just explaining what I did for a living. The doctor put on my record that I suffered from delusions of grandeur and pretended to be a real musician. He also had a signed Tom Selleck Magnum PI poster in his office.

The song is from another Mountain Stage show and was recorded by Patrick Stephens and mixed by Brad Jones.

By the way, Lucy showed up a week later, back on the stairs. I was relieved.

Lucy at the gym She's there every time I go, And I don't go that often, so she must live at the gym I stare at her ribs they show through the spandex Her little legs are working, she's going somewhere She's climbing up the stairs And when she reaches the top her dreams will be there

Lucy at the gym Lucy on the scale for the third time Through thick and thin, Lucy's at the gym She's staring at the clock and like the 2nd hand she never stops She's Lucy at the gym

When she takes a shower, after all the hours Does she have a place to go? Is there someone waiting Or is Lucy all alone?

I'm at the gym and Lucy's not there It's got me kinda worried so I imagine the worst She's made it up to heaven And when she met her maker, he said "come right in" "I'll show you around the gym" "Everyone's beautiful and thin" "And here there's no sin, And your life can begin Lucy at the gym"

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

10. Good Life

A positive love song about the apocalypse. The movie “Earthquake with Charlton Heston might have been an influence.This was another one recorded at Jackson Browne’s studio with Dave Palmer on piano, Dave Carpenter on bass, and Sarah Watson on harmony vocals. Mixed by Brad Jones

Tomorrow the ground may shake Like they said it was bound to happen one day And the Hollywood sign will fall The final call

Well, don't you fret and don't be blue You had me and I had you

It was a good life It was a good, good life

Tomorrow we could all be gone When the Russian gangsters sell the bomb And the waves come roaring from the sea A hundred-foot swells over Venice Beach

Well, don't be scared, and take my hand We'll swim into the Promised Land

It was a good life It was a good, good life It was a good life It was a good, good life

Tomorrow a tiny cell might grow In everyone and it's not the cold Or the hole in the sky will open wide The aliens land on the 105

If it comes to that What can we do? You loved me and I loved you

It was a good life It was a good, good life It was a good life It was a good, good life

I said a boom, boom, crash, crash Underneath the overpass Burning buildings, flying glass A good life

On the day the earth stood still We won't have to pay our bills As the mud slides down the hill A good life

And we won't have to make our beds Break out the booze and like I said Let's have a ball before we're dead A good life

Let the pyres rise above We'll go down in our sweet love It was a good, good life

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

11. Supermodel

Again at Joe’s Pub with Dinah Shore Jr. This song was originally given to me to sing for the Clueless Soundtrack. I added the “I didn’t eat yesterday…” bridge. Mixed by Dan Piscina .

I don't care what my teachers say I'm gonna be a supermodel. Everyone is gonna dress like me, Wait and see

When I'm a supermodel And my hair will shine like the sea. Everyone wants to look like me

Cause I'm young and I'm hip and so beautiful, I'm gonna be a supermodel

I wish that I was like Tori Spelling, With a car likes hers and dad likes hers. And I show them how, how it was done. That’d t be fun, that’d be fun.

And I’d write my school report on how I love my jeans, why I love my jeans. And oh, on my locker door it is the coolest thing That you’ve have ever seen.

I'm young and I'm hip and so beautiful, I'm gonna be a supermodel

I didn't yesterday, I'm not gonna eat today I'm not gonna eat tomorrow Cause I'm gonna be a supermodel

I'm young and I'm hip and so beautiful, I'm gonna be a supermodel

12. Karen By Night

In the late 1980’s I moved from Denver to New York City. My first job was selling shoes at Barney’s where I once sold a pair of Prada boots to Barbra Streisand. I slightly exaggerate Karen (who was actually my real boss) in the song. However, she really did like to go into men’s leather bars in drag with a gold grill on her front tooth. This is from the Pittsburgh show.

Karen, she's my boss at the shoe store We sell to the rich on Madison Avenue I come in late from Brooklyn on the F train Karen says "honey, make this your last time" But we like her, she's firm but approachable Dresses in style, pretty conservative We ask her, "hey, come out with us after work" Karen she always declines

And we talk about Karen by night We imagine she must lead a very dull life With just a cat and a book by her side We know her by day but we don't know Karen by night

In the stockroom searching for a 9B I overheard Karen whisper on the phone She said, "Meet me at the club There's a shipment coming in And I can't pull this one off alone" Well, I didn't know what to think Was my mind playing tricks? Was there more to this Karen then realized? I had to know so I followed her home I could not believe my eyes

And then I saw Karen by night The leather comes out under the moonlight Takes off her Chanel and hops on her bike Looking like young Marlon Brando Karen by night

Saw her leaning on the bar with a drink in hand And a cigarette dangling from her bright red lips She looked like she was looking for someone Like she was looking for a fight Then a young blonde buck walked in She grabbed him by the collar Kissed him hard on the mouth And slapped him on the cheek Then I thought she spied me in the corner of her eye So I ran outside, but all night all I could think about was

Karen by night

The next morning, I'm late as usual Karen's there fresh as a daisy She says with a smile, "You look like hell And where were you last night?"

Karen by night Imagine she must lead a very dull life With just a cat or a book by her side We know her by day but we don't know Karen by night The leather comes out under the moonlight Takes off her Chanel and hops on her bike Looking like Marlon Brando Looking like young Marlon Brando Wish I could be more like Karen by night

Looking like young Marlon Brando Not like the old fat Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now Karen by Night

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

13. The Resistance Song

I use to have this reoccurring dream where I (usually as a young man) am in the forest bravely fighting and hiding from Nazis. It was always quite exciting. Each of my records, for some reason, has to have at least one song that mentions WWII or fascists. From, I think, a Joe’s Pub show.

I had this dream we were in the resistance Somewhere in France fighting traitors and fascists You were my mistress, yes, you were a woman But I knew it was you by the shape of your mouth And you called me Maurice and I had a thin mustache I played clarinet in a decadent band Until we

Hid in the bushes We shot from the bushes Made love in the bushes Like there was no tomorrow

In my real life, I'm a cocktail waitress Dodging men's hands Instead of bullets And you're a bass player In a band that got a deal. Dealing with assholes instead of explosives Still we’re grateful to be alive Together fighting side by side As we

Hide in the bushes Shoot from the bushes Love in the bushes Like there is no tomorrow

La la la la la, etc

We promised if one of us left or died We'd meet again in another life And we'll

Hide in bushes Shoot from the bushes Love in the bushes Like there is no tomorrow

(Jill Sobule)

14. I Kissed A Girl

The original.

My first, much anticipated, kiss with a girl occurred during my Junior Year Abroad in Spain. Her name was Ivanita Hooper. After a long night of sangria and flamenco, we went back to her place where we engaged in a couple of hours of really awkward flirting. Eventually Ivy leaned over and made the first move. It was everything that I had imagined and waited for. Ivanita, as it turned out, was the lesbian cad of Sevilla. I found out that she had seduced and slept with every other girl on the program that semester.

When “I Kissed a Girl” came out in 1995, it was the first top 20 hit record ever to explicitly mention and celebrate anything gay or lesbian. To this day, I still get emails from folks saying that the song helped them when they were coming to terms with their sexuality. The one thing I will mention about the Katy Perry/Dr. Luke song of the same name, is that a bunch of 14-year-old girls accidentally bought mine. This, I believe, was from Mountain Stage.

Jenny came over and told me 'bout Fred” He's such a "harry" but you know what he said? Dumb as a box of hammers But he's such a handsome guy.

And I opened up and I told her 'bout Larry And yesterday how he asked me to marry And I'm not giving her an answer yet I think I can do better!

So we laughed, compared notes We had a drink, we had a smoke, she took off her overcoat

I kissed a girl.

She called home to say she'd be late He said he'd worried but now he'd feel safe I'm glad your with your girlfriend Tell her "hi" for me.

And then I looked at you You had guilt in your eyes But it only lasted a little while And then I felt your hand above my knee.

And we laughed at the world They can have their diamonds and we'll have our pearl I kissed a girl.

I kissed a girl Her lips were sweet. She was just like kissing me Kissed a girl won't change the world But I'm so glad, I kissed a girl!

I kissed a girl! For the first time I kissed a girl And I may do it again! I kissed a girl. I kissed a girl.

(jillsobule/robin eaton)

15. Angel/Asshole

There are countless songs of heartbreak and break ups, but no one really ever writes a sympathetic or comforting song for the person that breaker-upper. I tried my hand at it. This was from a bootleg that I can’t tell you were it came from. Dave Palmer is on the keyboards.

You are the angel I am the asshole I am the one that caused a trillion tears And no one wants to hear But I feel bad I waited for the right time Whatever is the right time To tell someone that you don't love them the same And I know it sounds so lame But I feel bad All our friends Take your side They don't understand my crime And I'm serving my time As you grow more beautiful You are the good one I am the bad guy I'm not the one the poets write in blood for I'm not worthy of a song But I feel bad I've been dumped Kicked to the curb Oh yes it hurts But it always passes Then you grow And then you'll know That you're better off alone

Without the asshole You are the angel Believe me when I say, I feel so bad

(jill sobule)

16. Rock Me To Sleep

This song, from the Happy Town CD, was written with my pal Richard Barone in some shitty hotel with Princess Diana’s funeral on TV in the background. I started thinking about my dad. On another note, Richard recently reminded me that we once shared a limo with Donald Trump and his second wife on the way to the MTV awards’ after-party. Who would have ever thought?

Six in the morning Been up since three I wish I had somebody to rock me to sleep The sun won't be melting these snowy white sheets Wish I had somebody to rock me to sleep Rock me to sleep Rock me to sleep Wish I had somebody to rock me to sleep

The book on the bed stand The little TV The drink and the ashtray Keep watch over me The long dark shadows of the sycamore tree Wave and keep me company Keep me company Company The long dark hands of the sycamore tree

Take me in your arms and hold me 'Til I close my eyes 'Til the streetlamps die And the traffic rumbles

Rock me to sleep Rock me to sleep I wish I had my mother I wish I had my father back I wish I had my baby, I wish I had somebody to rock me to sleep

(jill sobule, Richard Barone)

17. (Bonus Track) San Francisco

This came from my conversation with a masseuse as she was kneading me with her elbows. Margaret Cho loved the song and made a video for it. She filmed me in Los Angeles singing in my backyard, and then when to San Francisco where her extras were actors from a famous fetish porn site. But the video is not dirty at all.

She shuts the door behind me, waits for me to get undressed She ask if I need water, I can barely understand her I think she asked me what I do and I said that I'm a singer She laughs and claps her hands And then she begins And she sings: "I like to go to San Francisco I like to go Put flowers in my hair I like to go to San Francisco I like to meet Some people there" She looks just like a sparrow, but she's strong just like a wrestler She kneads and pulls and climbs on top It hurts, but I will try to take it Ask her if she's ever been Been to San Francisco She tells me that she can't leave They won't let her leave She sings: "I like to go to San Francisco I like to go Put flowers in my hair I like to go to San Francisco I like to meet Some people there"

And in Golden Gate Park She'll throw a Frisbee She'll bring a dog And she'll meet a boy And they'll fall in love And she'll feel so free Still walk on his back Wonder 'bout the place I'm in and how they treat the girls I know that it's legitimate But still it makes me wonder She gets up to leave And I put back on my clothes I tip her well, she bows to me I really hope one day she gets to go "...To San Francisco I like to go Put flowers in my hair I like to go to San Francisco I like to meet Some people there" (Some people there)

“Jill Comes Alive” was mastered by Husky Huskolds.

Many thanks to Marykate O’Neal, Kim Dickens, Danny Goldberg, Brad Jones, Dan Piscina, and Yves Beauvais.


© Jill Sobule