[Jandek] Ready For The House - A New Transcription

Paul Murray paul at mempal.demon.co.uk
Sat Sep 3 08:46:00 PDT 2005

Now that all his albums are available on CD,  Jandek's lyrics need to be 

transcribed anew.

Here goes then - the first in an ongoing series;



(Corwood 0739) 


A new transcription by P.A.M. via the lyrics at the Seth Tisue 

website www.tisue.net/jandek


Naked in the Afternoon (1/1) 

I got a vision,  a teenage daughter 

who's growing up naked in the afternoon

I know a brother close to his mother 

who stays out late in the evening time

I keep repeating,  it takes a beating 

to grow up naked in the afternoon

you are a cowboy if you wear those boots 

you are a cowboy when you wear those boots

big time in the city, big time in the city

big time in the city, big time in the city

I got a letter 

I read in the paper 

it said a man was shot to death 

and said a cow gave poison milk

big time in the city when you wear those boots 

I keep repeating, it takes a beating 

to wear those boots in the afternoon

you call it a question

you call it a colour 

well, I got a letter 

I think it's a vision 

big time in the city 

I got a vision 

I know a brother close to his mother

after the morning 

you've had your rest and time to go naked in the afternoon 

take off your hat and take off your coat 

big time in the city 

you've had your rest 

Uh, I got a letter 

you are a cowboy 

read in the paper 

big time in the city 

it's time to go naked in the afternoon



First You Think Your Fortune's Lovely  (1/2) 

Everything's so restless 

the wind has come again 

blowing me so far 

I think I see a star

first you think your fortune's lovely 

and you fly out through the door 

Granmama, I feel so lonely 

my rapture's painted on the floor 

the roads lead all to Jacob's kitchen 

I'll sit and [------------]* at the table 

sitting blank- eyed by the door 

Oh Lord, do you really think I'm able 

well I chose this life completely 

when you took away the charm 

set your mind on breaking burdens 

said you done no one no harm 

I feel a bit like floating water 

headed for the rocks at bay 

crash upon some ocean liner 

comes upon my lonesome way 

thought I'd see your eyes a-flashing 

thunder in your hair 

I burnt a match for your complexion 

the lights went out and you weren't there 

seated by the ranch I'm owning 

staring at the cellophane 

somebody came in for a question 

I poured a glass out in the rain 

the reason I have been accepted 

is that I failed to come on strong 

found a chair beside a window 

found a place where I belong 

inside myself there is no question 

just the jangle of our brain 

three times four is twenty-seven 

only fragments still remain 

I curse the day I found my freedom 

you took the mirror from the wall 

placed it in a single suitcase 

pointed down a hollow hall 

you said you see your true direction 

and I'll be there behind the sun 

and I'll go with you in the springtime 

when all your travels have been done 


* The lyric is unintelligible. 

What Jandek actually sings at this point sounds like  "I'll sit and blue-mouth at the table"  which doesn't quite make sense 

(even allowing for the improvisatory feel of  Jandek's vocals on this album).  The line, as recorded, is most-likely a slip of the 


My guess is (taking into consideration the following line) that Jandek was probably trying to sing something akin to 

"I'll sit a blue month at the table"  or  "I'm sitting blue-mouthed at the table"


Therefore the lines should read:


"I'm sitting blue-mouthed at the table,

sitting blank- eyed by the door

Oh Lord, do you really think I'm able..." 



What Can I Say What Can I Sing  (1/3) 

What can I say? 

What can I sing?

You always knew 'bout everything 

What can I show? 

What can I do? 

Is it all for me? 

Is it all for you? 

Well I don't know, 

we'll have to see 

everyone needs, 

'cept you and me 

and then sometime I'm not so sure 

there'll never be another cure 

the early morning sun shines through 

and all my thoughts are shades of blue 

oh I don't know, 

I'll have to go 

oh I don't know 

the reason for 

I already left 

it's no surprise 

I saw it in your raining eyes 

adrift a dream 

a time we spent 

much more than that 

forever was all that we meant 



Show Me the Way, O Lord (1/4) 

Would you show me the way, O Lord 

show me the way 

I got an ace to tell the time 

I got my face all red with wine 

I got my eyes above all men 

I don't even listen to them 

would you show me the way, O Lord 

show me the way 

I'm walking on a planet 

I take everything for granite**

the stars are falling 


and I am calling for your caress 

would you show me the way, O Lord 

show me the way 


** Jandek sings the word "granted" to rhyme with "planet" so that it comes out as "granite".

However, I prefer the line


"I'm walking on a planet 

I take everything for granite..."




"I'm walking on a planet 

I take everything for granted..."


as the granite=stone=cold analogy fits in with the theme of the surrounding lines (the emotional coldness of the author 

is mirrored by his environment) 


"..I got my eyes above all men 

I don't even listen to them..."


"..the stars are falling,


and I am calling for your caress..."



Know Thy Self  (2/1) 

You think I got time for you? 

you're just somebody in the snow 

I don't even know 

why I think about you 

somehow I just keep seeing you around 

everybody's coming and going 

I thought I'd stay for a while 

it had to be you threw me out 

I didn't know you were so cruel 

but thanks for all the gifts 

hang on silver branches 

and now we're all out here 

and your eyes find me in the glass 



They Told Me About You (2/2) 

They told me about you

they told me about you

sneaking up on me 

I'm crazy about you

I'm crazy about you

forever to tie

forever do mine 

take it up and lock it 

arrange a new day 

placate a new way 

gangrene in two legs 


and I'm up on pegs 


a month or so 

wrestle with a wandering 

see the lights up in the sky 

vagrant in your cripple eye 

wandering's been creeping by



Cave In on You (2/3) 

A stick would do the trick 

a dog would jump all over you 

a mine cave in on you 

jump out the window , hit the floor 

tap, tap, tapping at your door 

In the moonlight behind the sun 

a blind man's coming, he's the one 

to read about you 

to say your name 

my blind man 

I'm glad you came 

blind man 

blind man 

be the one behind the moonlight 

in the sun 

you tell my fortune 

wait, you are my fate 

my hands are bleeding 

am I too late

too late 

too late

blind mans coming

you walk outside 

a moon is low 

round the corner 

an eskimo 

gently tapping 

whispers your name 

says "hi, how are you? 

from the blind man I came

to read you a message..." 



They Told Me I Was a Fool (2/4) 

You got real fancy instincts 

but your mouth is so large 

I think I see a hundred people in it 

I guess you like it that way 'cause you're a flop 

and there ain't no more wringer-washers 

to roll your fingers through 

I see your insides aren't the same since 1951 

you're dying inside a window 

I saw your face all cut with glass 

and underneath the window 

the hands you dug your grave with 

you could have built an empire 

he would have helped you now, you know 

you're going to fetch the wind 

on a unicorn 

feet all dangling down 

wish them well at the market place 

I fear a fiery face is staring from the future 

it's not the way 

they told me I was a fool 

well, it's your friend and mine 

heading down on a line

the sky is black 

in a blue night 

the weather is true or so it may seem 

carnival tricks in the corners 

the floor is made of tracks 

that follow your footsteps



European Jewel (2/5) 

You sure are cool, a european jewel 

I dig you most 

a letter came, it's not the same 

the ink was blue 

a relative stopped by to say 

he saw you, hey 

a walkin' down a lonesome town 

some time ago 

he said you had a mouth so bad 

the lips were rotting off

you dropped a tear to end his fear 

you seem quite well

it's a long time spell 

I'm wondering where you got an infection

there's bugs in my brain 

I can't feel any pain 

just a shaking sha- 


[song ends abruptly] 
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