A Portrait of the Artist

by joe Wilford

  • Digital Album
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    Immediate download of 9-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire. Album art and individual track art is included. All music, art and lyrics can be downloaded straight to your IPhone as well.
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These songs are all a tribute to Tom Gallison - dear friend and brother. This entire album is available for download for just $1. Why so inexpensive? Because $1 covers all my costs - and I'd rather it be in your record collection that out here in cyberspace. It is also indicative of the creative genius that was Tom Gallison and that deserves sharing.



released February 12, 2004

All words and music © 2001 joe Wilford and Tom Gallison
Cello played by Annette Clark-Triplett
Steuben Theme Song © 1990 Tom Gallison
'Quality Time With Your Pal, Steuben' excerpts © 1990 Tom Gallison
Recorded @ ICE-Nine Studios, Johnson County Iowa 2001 - 2004




Joe Wilford Iowa City

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Track Name: Curtain Falls
Well there’s a picture I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye
It’s of you standing on a cliff with your arms spread wide
And it makes me smile ‘cause I can remember the look on your face

You went away so suddenly
we feel cheated inside
Listened to the rumors, the conjecture, the falsehoods and lies
And there’s just no explanation that is going to make it all okay

So the mystery intrigues us since we’ll never know
Whether it was something deep inside that you tried not to show
It’s not like the answer is on a paper in a cardboard shoebox
Labeled with a piece of tape marked “Why”

Still your notes and journals they don’t offer a clue
Sure there’s frustration and depression and the dark side of you
But we all have our own demons frothing at the mouth
Trying to rake and claw their way into our lives

And why, why I don’t really understand
Sound and fury signify nothing
You hear the curtain calls
And then the curtain falls
Track Name: You were like that
Well there were shots in the Jersey night
It was J.D. bathed in the dim lamplight
Of a barren apartment over the dentist’s office and shoe store

A scrabble board lies on the trunk
And we were 3 notches past drunk
We laughed so hard and loud when I scored 23 points with “plowed”

You were my strength, you kept me sane
From a life that threatened to be so plain
You were the best protection, using a magician-like misdirection

A diner on Route 22
The perfect place to write a song or two
On the back of a place-mat or even a napkin will do

There was Elvis, BBAC, The Big Book, Platinum Blonde
And I Died In Line At Bradley’s
Not to mention Deli Trek and the Dan Tanna Show
And driving ‘round till the sun in our rear-view mirror started to glow

Tom—You were like that
Nobody else was quite like that
Stubborn, passionate, uncompromising
Always saw your love for life within
Can’t believe I’ll never see you again
No memory can fill the void of a lost friend
Track Name: Tragedy
There were movie posters all over your room
They’re still on the wall
But the theatre programs, Hawaiian shirts and TV Guides
They’re in boxes down the hall

Shouldn’t be left here
Should’ve been gone
Shouldn’t be kept here
With an unfinished song
Think of all of the people
Saying God why me?
Staring into the face of

Creating brilliance from the bits and pieces
Of the broken rules and tattered style
Using channeled aggravation
And misplaced indignation
You made it all worthwhile

Should’ve been left here
To carry on
Should’ve been kept here
To harmonize this song
I try to find a good reason
What good would that do?
Should’ve been left here
Somebody like you

Flyers litter the streets; with their photographs and descriptions
Wind has set them free
The hope is gone if it ever even existed
Crumbled like brittle leaves

Should’ve been left here
Should’ve been gone
You should’ve been kept here
To finish this song
I think of all of the wonder
You never lived to see
On my shoulder I feel it

Head down in the pouring rain
Head down on the blackest day
Track Name: Steuben Plays Piano
It’s 4am in Garwood and a basement light is still on
Citation’s leaking oil in the driveway
And there are puppets on the lawn
The videotape is rolling
As Cigar smoke fills the air
Steuben plays piano
All sanity beware

His name is written there in chalk
Sprayed by the hose off the sidewalk
And there he goes again

Well what will it be this week
Will the Zeppelin go down in flames?
Or will the show shoot on location
At some remote town in Maine?
There’s a song written in tribute
To the covers of TV Guide
Steuben plays piano
The melody of jailhouse pride

What lies in the “Fun-Corner?”
A clapper hat as the headlines blur -
by from the New York Post

Aw, Steuben how we miss you
And your ever-zany ways
There’s no way we could forget you
Or those Qua-Qua Quality days
It’s time for “Pillow Talk” now
As the lit cigar explodes
Steuben plays piano
In the unfinished episode

The basement lies in darkness now
A brilliant life cut short somehow
Why did you have to go?
Track Name: Faintly Falling
At thirty-one it all came undone
Steuben—My friend
So young and so sprite living on the razor of life
Of a sudden came the end
An artist’s eye with a spark you cut deep made your mark
On the stage of men

Served your time in jail never once thought to fail
You forged ahead
With your camera you’d find so much quality time
Only to end up dead
The coroner said suicide but we all know she lied
That bitch wasn’t in your head

Now some Entenmanns cakes and all the video tapes
Are all that remain
You’ve been taken away
The final scene of this play
Nothing is the same

Though your spirit soars free
Off to create in eternity
You’re still not here

Your life wasn’t a joke
There’s no doubt about that
Amongst all the grief we feel for your loss
I know somewhere out there
You’d smile and still want us to laugh