Release Date: 2003
Label: Lotos Nile Music
UPC: 803020113527

Jeff Black acoustic guitar piano
harmonica banjo vocals
Byron House bass
Craig Wright drums and percussion
Michael Webb bass on "Holy Roller"
Jody Nardone piano on "To Be With You"
David Jacques bass on "To Be With You"

Produced By Jeff Black
Recorded and mixed on the fly by the legendary Billy Sherrill
except for "To Be With You" recorded by Gary Paczosa
Photography Michael Wilson
Design Michael Delevante
additional layout and design Jeff Black

All lyrics and music written by Jeff Black
Songs published by Lotos Nile Music BMI
except "Bless My Soul" published by
Coburn Music BMI/ Jeff Black Music BMI
"Gold Heart Locket" and "Same Old River"
published by Warner/ Tamerlane BMI

Jeff Black plays
Epiphone Masterbilt Banjos
Paige capos, Morley Pedals, Impact Picks
Palomino Blackwing and Blackwing 602 pencils



Singer/songwriter Jeff Black offers a set here that at the very least lives up to the latter part of its title, with vivid spiritual/metaphysical imagery, passionate vocals, and big-picture themes. Black conjures a Randy Newman vibe on stark piano ballads like the inspirational "Slip" and recalls a youthful Springsteen on the biting "Bastard." The softly percolating "To Be With You" is naked in its romanticism, while the understated "Cakewalk" finds its hope and beauty in subtle nuance and life experience. A thinking-man's balladeer with farflung perspective, Black's "Same Old River" is all point of view, while "Holy Roller" is fiercely observational funk, and the stoic fatalism of "Sunday Best" and newfound optimism of "Higher Ground" are nothing short of brilliant. Top to bottom, this stuff is special. Black is an artist of substance.


Music Fan

Jeff Black is yet another songwriter whose career was sidetracked by record-company foolishness. After Arista released his superb debut, "Birmingham Road," in 1998 (with help from some of the guys in Wilco), the label dropped him, leaving his followup disc orphaned (it's due for release later this year, finally). In the meantime, he's released "B-Sides and Confessions Volume One," an intimate, soulful and thoughtful collection of stripped-down music. As noted, the title is only half right. These are confessions, but they are not B sides. Black is a rarity, a poet who produces quietly compelling sing-alongs that, upon closer reflection, challenge you to think. No wonder artists as diverse as Ellis Paul and Vance Gilbert, who recorded his "What Do I Want" for their latest disc, and country stars Blackhawk, who made his "That's Just About Right"a number one hit, have covered his songs. But none of them have Black's most appealing asset: his soulful, experienced voice with enough of Tom Waits' grit to establish credibility. That voice and his songs combine to make this a disc that demands you hit "repeat all" on the player when loading. Black has a knack for choosing just the right instrument to frame his words. His breathy count off and acoustic strumming open "Same Old River," a song that finds Black imagining himself as, variously, an indian, a pirate, slave and an outlaw. "I'd rob a trian bound for glory, baby, if I thought I needed a ride." he sings in outlaw mode. "Sunday Best," a heartbreakingly beautiful song about loss, opens with Black at the piano. "To Be with You," a mature, honest love song, marries Jody Nardone's piano and Craig Wright's shuffle. "Down in my evening chair, I've got you there to pilot me straight through to show me what it means to be with you," Black sings. "Gold Heart Locket" surprises with a banjo for its backbone (think something out of the Mark Knopfler catalog). And "Bless My Soul" returns to fingerpicking to highlight Black's ruminations. With "B Sides and Confessions, Volume One," Black has created one of the most affecting -- and best -- singer/songwriter albums of 2003 or any other year in recent memory. It's filled with rare treasures that linger long after the music stops. If you can, pick up "Honey and Salt" from his website. It features several more stunning songs, including "One Last Day to Live" and the title track.


close your eyes
and let things happen
in a natural way
let it roll down through the ages and
don’t let it slip away
away old trouble
don’t let no one tear you down
you’ve got eyes now go and dream it with
the strength that you have now

I’ve seen spirits in the wild wood
I’ve seen cause go spilling out
I’ve drank more drink than i’ve needed to
just to find my heart
in a dark old memory
in my life there’s a breaking day
and I swear that I will make it through
somehow someway
somehow someway

shadowbox in the full moon light
call you out to defend my name
time is on my side old friend
I’m on my way
I’m on my way

I know clarity lives in a light house
on a hill outside of town
she don’t come to see the poor folks at all
I guess we best just drag her down
down by the river
for my witness I will wait
I will catch you with my canepole dream
I won’t let it slip away
no i won’t let it slip away


Same Old River

I wish that I could be an indian
on a painted pony so fast
no one could ever catch me
or get caught up in my past
I’d ride and cross many rivers
use many moons to tell time
and I’d tell all the young warriors
many moons ago this was mine
all mine

same old river
same old sea
same old water rushing over me
same old moon
same old sun
same old race that we’ve always run

I wish that I could be a pirate
and sail the ocean blue
way before the big liners
started sailing there too
I’d bury most of my treasure
so I wouldn’t leave a big hole
and the only real sense of pleasure I’d get
is that I would sail free in my soul

I wish that I could be a slave y’all
it really wouldn’t matter what kind
I’d sing a song for fallen angels
and try to be free in my mind
then when no one was looking
I’d drop my harness and plow
I’d find my old contemporaries
and wipe the shame from their brow

I wish that I could be an outlaw
riding from the laws of time
an old vigilante against the seasons
that I can’t help but rewind
I’d always keep my revolver
steady and fast at my side
and I‘d rob a train bound for glory
if I thought I needed a ride


Holy Roller

get back you holy roller
let the poor boy through
he’s got a message for you
let the devil play his dues
he’s coming up with his hat in his hand
salvation army band
baby play that tambourine

farrakhan and jerry falwell
were playing tic tac toe
make your mark and pass the plate boys
i’ve got your sweet xo
somebody’s going to get the fatback buddy
we all got to swim big muddy
best meet me on the other side

alright mr. goody two shoes
I know where you’ve been
I know all about redemption
I know all about sin
wash your hands and wash your face
let’s all gather around and sing a amazing grace
we all ride the same train


Sunday Best

wheels go round and round it seems
like we never stop to rest
saturday was beautiful
all dressed in our Sunday best
people came from miles away
just to say goodbye
little Sara was so afraid
she hid behind a smile

we drove down to the liquor store
for a mask and a trampoline
i’d been there a thousand times before
but it did not seem the same
the house was full of people
all day then they were gone
all the rooms seemed smaller than
they did when I was young
what are we gonna do
was never said out loud

we’ll get up in the morning
and we work all day
we’ll come home in the evening
there’s nothing more to say
except for thank you man
for the gifts you bring
the Lord respects me when i’m working hard
but he loves me when i sing

I dreamt about him
for six nights in a row
little pictures of him smiling down
on our lives in a flash of gold
he looked so young and strong
all tan brown from the sun
a red and black checkered flannel shirt
but his watch and his ring were gone
what are we going to do
was never said out loud


To Be With You

I may be borderline
but all joy is mine
anytime i choose
the last couple of years though
I’ve had my share of tears
and found a lot to lose
but the blues can’t last
too long time moves too fast
and leaves the past behind.
here in my reverie
sweet memories
of what I’ll find

down in my easy chair
I’ve got you there
to pilot me straight through
to show me what it means
through these crazy dreams
to be with you

take a look in here
I have no fear
I’m flying high above
these gridlock street s
where the horizon meets
this timeless love
that I’ve forever known
but only as of late I‘ve sown
I guess what they say is true
we all have a destiny
and the one for me is
to be with you

when the moon is down
and the sky is low
when a little earthquake
shakes a domino


Gold Heart Locket

all night long I’ve been riding riding
I should have been there by now
but these old county roads
got a lot of deep holes
and the rain keeps pouring down
the bridge is washed out and the rising rising
waters of the river rush by
and I’m up to my fenders in mud
and to my witness above
I’m really stuck this time

I’ve got a gold heart locket on a silver chain
clinched tight in my fist in the pouring rain
and the only road back home again
is all but washed away
I’m going to cross that river tonight
no matter what it takes
although I might die trying
my true love will remain
in a gold heart locket on a silver chain

open it up and she’s lovely lovely
eyes of hazel green
but I close it up fast because the rain gets past
and lays a tear down on her cheek
I promised her once that i would never ever
break her heart again
so lord take me there
in a silent prayer
and her locket in my hand

the last thing I remember I was fearing for my life
she was calling out my name from over on the other side
I reached out to hold her
but the break was just too strong
now the silence just gets colder
as the river rages on



traffic is a constant
up and down the avenue
there is a whisper through the window from the wind
and as the shadows make their way across my neighborhood
the afternoon sets in
I am thinking of the woman
who loves to lay in the sun
and on who lately time has pulled a trick or two
she would be the first to say her work is never done
nothing good comes easy

I’m a tired old romantic for the good old days
when we survived by feeling closer to the fold
I woke up in a dream
I saw your face
I looked up and we were getting older

it’s a cakewalk to the patio
in the distance i can hear the radio
why is it so hard to let things go
god we’ve got too much to carry now
let her lay back and let the sun get hot
bring it on man with all you’ve got
paint these blues over with one good shot
and at the speed of light slow things down
like we’re driving through some little town

now what’s this feeling
that you hold on to
it’s hard to push familiar things away
but if we make into something that makes us feel better
then that’s good enough for me today
I want to take this point in time and hold it
up to the light so i can see clear through
I want to shape this into something to ease your mind
now let’s don’t be confused

we don’t ask for much from down here under the sun
maybe that’s been the trouble all along
I want to smile a little more
I want a little less control and
I want you to hear this song


Bless My Soul

I know why the blackbird sings
his strange and mournful song on a summer’s night
I know why the spirit brings
us back into this world until we get it right
i’m on a roll
and i begin to see the light
bless my soul
I’ve been around so many times

I know why the baby cries
it’s way into the arms of a mother’s love
I know why true love survives
and it is more than the red hot fire of another’s touch
i’m on a roll
and I am not afraid to fight
bless my soul
on a long hot summer’s night

I see fair to warn you
that there’s nothing here to stop me
from drowning in the darkness
of the things I can’t control
the angel near my heaven
who I know will always haunt me
is constant and convincing
I’ve a long long ways to go

I know why the day is long
when there is no one to talk to about my dreams

I know when the evening comes
that I will know the song of desire that the blackbird sings
I’m on a roll
and I am not afraid to fight
bless my soul
I’ve been around so many times



fair thee well old joe clark
we’re going to miss you
I heard you left last night on the danville train
all they ever did around here was use you
hell I can’t exclude myself
i’m just as much to blame

bastard child is running wild
ain’t got no name

say goodbye to that nashville girl she’s an angel now
nobody could have saved her
nobody even tried
we just let them drag her out to sugartown
face down in all that candy is where she died

bastard child is running wild
we ought to be ashamed

the pan american is flying tonight
throw out your line and baby hold on tight
all I really know is that
I’ve got to get paid
I’ve got to get paid

kiss my ass you corporate whores
twist and shout
press my shirt and shine my shoes
I’ve got a lot of fields to plow
baby work it on out
when you ain’t got nothing
there’s nothing to lose

bastard child is running wild
never be the same


Higher Ground

There’s a star shining over Jordan
Looks like we’re going to fall to fortune
In ribbons rings and bows
Riding on a light so clean and fine
It’s going to change some things around here I know
Ever since last October
I been thinking the whole thing over
And I’m feeling fairly sure
That we’ve got someone on the inside now babe
I think they’re going to show us how they
Transcend all that’s pure

Oh look here what we found
Higher ground

Full moon and the rivers flowing
Pretty soon the roosters crowing
Better open up the door
Catch me in a dream I don’t care
I want to hold the world to my share
And ask for a little more
I believe we can see forever
And all we leave behind together
May be washed away with time
I really want it to mean, to matter
Silver gold wood and leather
And heaven on my mind

Oh look here what we found
Oh look here what we found
Higher ground


All lyrics and music written by Jeff Black
© Jeff Black | Lotos Nile Music BMI
except "Bless My Soul"
Published by Coburn Music BMI and
Jeff Black Music BMI
"Gold Heart Locket" and "Same Old River"
Published by Warner / Tamerlane BMI
All Rights Reserved