Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Greenpoint, Brooklyn

billwhite51's picture
Artist Favorite

Tags: 

Demo: 

Liner Notes: 

inspired by the month i spent hiding out in brooklyn in 1989, after i fingered the guy who ripped off the mob and tried to frame me for the embezzlement.

Lyrics: 

as long as youve got another butt in the pack
rolled up in in the sleeve of your t shirt
then youve got a friend in greenpoint
as long as youve got cold beers in the icebox
youve got a party going on
but when youve got nothing for your dirtbag neighbors
then youve got no friends in greenpoint
and if youre stuck in the ghetto of greenpoint
with no money for the subway fare
then youre stuck by yourself in greenpoint

you might die in the park on a hot friday night
and you might lie there dead until sunday
unless youve got a friend who discovers you there
and calls the police to remove you from there
and maybe even a doctor will make a quick check
and a good guess as to what caused you to die
on that hot friday night in greenpoint

but if youve got the cash to pick up the beer tab
then you might get a a girlfriend in greenpoint
if you dont mind that shes a stripper
who accepts flowers from men
you might even have a wedding in greenpoint
but me i have chosen to go without friends
they are too costly and most of them are finks
and they will follow you for pizza on two for one day
leaving you only one pizza to eat
and they show up at your house in the morning for coffee
and dont leave til they have smoked your last cigarette
and if you are lucky and have a job
they will wait til youve left in the morning
then come over and take what they want whlle your gone
yeah, life is a con in greenpoint

if your taking the train from manhattan
this is where all the white folks get off



Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.

Comments

kahlo2013's picture

I love the harmonica that helps kick this song off and I can envision that pack rolled up in the T-shirt sleeve and the last bit of beer money. The neighborhood and the people in it come magically alive in this great song. And your delivery adds just the right sense of poignant nostalgia. Well done!

cindyrella's picture

You know exactly how to take the listener right there! Great song!

Jerry Pettit's picture

Ah, no one writes a WTF "Liner Note" quite like you, Bill. (In honor thereof, I'm planning on dropping our "collab" on Monday--so stay tuned).

LOVE that wailing harmonica--that is the Bill White of harmonicas right there!!

I like that your vocal is fairly restrained for this song, but that the harmonica is throwing all the emotion out there itself! Great job!

coolparadiso's picture

I really like the music and structure on this one! The lyric is a sad indictment of a lot of society.

Technicolor Gramophone's picture

You really paint a masterful portrait here. Like a lot of your songs, this is like a short story put to music. "Life is a con in Greenpoint" ... great! The harmonica gives it a nostalgic feel, and the vocals couldn't be better. I particularly liked how you sang the stripper verse. Lovely song!

tjeff's picture

Hardscrabble stuff, such a down-to-earth portrait of a working-class Brooklyn existence. The tag line "...... in Greenpoint" is excellent and catchy. I was living in NYC in '89, most likely in LIC (I moved around a bunch).

dzd's picture

ah this proves my thoughts about your comm ave tune.......love it even though I know nothing about brooklyn, other than I've seen it and wanted no part especially what it is now with yoga studios and coffee shops everywhere, but I know a thing or two about life, great write!

and dont leave til they have smoked your last cigarette
and if you are lucky and have a job
they will wait til youve left in the morning
then come over and take what they want whlle your gone

such an amazing write all around....but damn, this rings so true
melody and delivery in this, great as always, but can see why you starred this one!
and you make a valid point about I need to get more than a plastic ass harmonica(at least to me hahah)

Gwyn Jones's picture

A superb write Bill...shot through with poetic eloquence and authenticity...top of the pile!

Tim Fatchen's picture

Rather you than me, Bill. This is a super-powerful song and possible to empathise with, but overwhelmingly, I'm glad I've never been there physically/metaphorically. The nightmare and the level of despair comes through strong.

katpiercemusic's picture

The spirit of the NY folk scene lives on... in Greepoint apparently. Excellent story telling this... it's got a wonderfully bitter flavor.

johnstaples's picture

Brilliant ballad you have created here Bill! I love that I learned something...about Brooklyn...about your time on the run there! That harmonica is excellent and the overall musical vibe is something Zimmerman would have been proud of! Great effect to describe something that would get you a friend (or enemy) in Greenpoint!

as long as youve got another butt in the pack
rolled up in in the sleeve of your t shirt
then youve got a friend in greenpoint

That verse is so vivid I can see it in my mind's eye! This is a really great song!