I Saw the Future (But the Damn Train Hit Me Just the Same)

by Snipe Hunt

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about

A seditious mixture of rock/reggae/bluegrass/acid jazz/jump blues/Spanish electronica/singer-songwriter protest music.

Have you noticed a lot of nude emperors walking around, lately.....? Snipe Hunt has, and on this, their 3rd CD (following 2000's "Dirty Ditties and Cover Tunes"), the boys have rooted around in the bog and surfaced with a new handful of songs that dare to point to the president's.....oops, I mean "emperor's" transparent new clothes.

Now a duo of Walter Ehresman (vocals/lead and rhythm guitars/basses/drums and percussion/keyboards/mandolin/banjo/sampling/theremin/programming) and Vic Ramirez (vocals/rhythm guitars/percussion/MIDI guitar/deer antlers), Snipe Hunt has continued on with the rock and worldbeat influences of the first album and has entered new territory by writing songs in a whole passle of new styles: acid jazz; Spanish electronica, bluegrass, jump blues, and singer-songwriter acoustic material. As is always the case with the band, great care is given to the lyrics themselves.....and the sentiments here are strongly expressed, be they commentary on the cynical political manipulations of the current power structure or struggling with the loss of a dear friend. A seditious sense of humor rears its head throughout the CD, however.

Track 1, Snipe Know Your Enemy, acts as an introduction to the CD. Because poor planning will wreck your world, no journey out into the snipe bog should be undertaken without the proper training.

Track 2, Super Fine, is the first song Walter and Vic wrote together, and features a tight arrangement and production reminiscent of Matthew Sweet.

Track 3, Long Ago, is one of Vic's newer songs, and features his fine singing and some hammered dulcimer, played on an 8-zone electric percussion pad unit by Walter.

Track 4, The King of Paperclips (a petty tyrant sings the blues), is a song that generally speaks to those people who are given one small area of power and who abuse it utterly. This song has a bluegrass/ jazz-rock fusion intro and outro, with a reggae main body.

Track 5, Hind-Leg Dancin', is a big band jump blues exploring the Eternal Theme of "men are dirty dogs." The track features enthusiastic background vocals by the very-elusive Austin singing duo--The Hipwaders (the only outside performers on the CD).

Track 6 is the title track, and is a bluegrass number about the futility of male behavior.

Track 7, Shadow of a Love, is a sad song written in '96 by Walter, with the first version released on his '99 solo album "Handwedge From the Trap." Vic takes the lead vocal in this remake, along with most of the background vocals, and the song really shines as a result.

Track 8, Girl From an OK Town, is the first song Vic brought to the band, and is finally released here after being performed live for several years. The song features acoustic guitars, mandolin, and fretless bass (with Vic adding the organ part on MIDI guitar).

Track 9, All Possible Dances, is a song of Walter's, written about his experiences working in public service to protect the environment. With regularity, many of his colleagues would leave to pursue exponentially larger paychecks working for polluters. Because many of these folk had become his friends while they worked together, their leaving caused strongly mixed feelings. The song features all organic percussion, including Vic on deer antlers (and it doesn't get much more organic than that).

Track 10, Afilado A Pedacitos is an electronica Spanish-language remake of a song ("Sharpened to Bits") Walter wrote in '87 and recorded for his first solo album "Honor in the Swine?" ('89). Amidst a barrage of electronic beats and sounds, Vic sounds like a South American general up on the balcony in Buenos Aries, haranguing the crowd with all his medals clanking against one another. Lyrically, the song is about being so conscious not to be image-conscious that the behavior becomes self-defeating.

Track 11, Just Keep Your Eyes on the Ball, may be the album's best track. In an acid jazz style, the song compares the last year's Bush/Ashcroft, etc. diversionary tactics to cheap carnival hucksterism. It's all a shell game, advancing their anti-democratic agenda on the backs of the Sept. 11 dead by cynically using the disaster as a cloak for a whole host of unrelated policy goals. It's no wonder the rest of the world fears and hates America. Vic pulls a very smooth vocal out here to juxtapose against the strong lyrical content.

Track 12, Hey Freyja, is another song performed live by the band for several years before being recorded here. It's an emotional treatment of a Norseman's loss of faith.

Track 13, Everywhere I Look Around, is from Vic and was the last song recorded for the album. It's dedicated to a friend of his who died tragically in Mexico. Vic pays her a very touching tribute with this song, with Walter adding fretless bass and a little accordion part.

Track 14, HWY 149, is as close as Snipe Hunt gets to the "three-named guy" (Townes Van Zant, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Lee Harvey Oswald, etc.) style of songwriting. This song is about world weariness and the urge to just stop fighting the good fight and retreat to a place out in the woods (if the woods are still there, rather than being logged out by greedheads). The highway in question runs from Gunnison, Colorado to Lake City, which is a tiny little town Walter used to vacation in many, many years ago.

According to the band, the photo shoot for the CD was interesting. Walter states ".....we were over in Manor, Texas, and it was so hot that the tar was bubbling out of the railroad ties and sticking to our clothes. The rails burned our skin through our jeans, and we had a guy there to yank us off the tracks in case a train came. He kept asking us how much money we had on us..... We had a friend of ours, a girl from India by way of Tanzania, taking the photos, wearing traditional clothing. The locals didn't know what we were up to, but they knew they didn't cotton to it. They kept backing the truck up for another look, shaking their heads and giving us the stink eye....."

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PRESS:



Local Flavor, 11/02: "Grab this one right now...it's great! Long known for clever lyrics and unusual arrangements, this band has come of age.....This disc is diverse (as any Snipe Hunt album should be). Styles range from bluegrass and acid jazz to reggae and Townes Van Zandt-style singer/songwriter cuts. Sweet, sad love songs and twisted social commentary provide the subject matter for these lyrics. However, this release by our favorite clever boys is entirely listenable. The diversity from one cut to the next is not startling...but delightful. From the funny boot camp-style intro through 'Super Fine'.....to the unforgettable 'Girl From an OK Town', the very personal 'Everywhere I Look Around,' and the Murphy's Law cut 'I Saw the Future (But the Damn Train Hit Me Just the Same),' this disc will leave you hungry for much more of the wild taste of Snipe Hunt."



Indie Texas Music Newsletter, 11/02: ".....is a 14-cut tongue-in-cheek treat. Diverse....with Vic's very fine vocals in the front. The title cut is a funny bluegrass song, but you'll also hear a bit of reggae, a touch of jazz, some electronica influence, a song in Spanish, and several outstanding singer/songwriter cuts....Most are by Walter, but his long-time partner Vic Ramirez...penned some of these tunes."
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DISCOGRAPHY

Snipe Hunt: "We'll Be Right Back!" ('99); "Dirty Ditties and Cover Tunes" ('00); and "I Saw the Future (But the Damn Train Hit Me Just the Same)" ('02).

credits

released September 1, 2002

p. 2002 Walter Ehresman & Vic Ramirez

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about

Walter Ehresman San Miguel De Allende, Mexico

Called "the quintessential Austin DIY artist" by famed local disc jockey Charlie Martin , Walter Ehresman was an eccentric presence in the Austin music scene from the '80s until his 2015 move to Mexico. A prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and recording artist...and a restless musical spirit, always looking for something new, expressed with fearlessly honest lyric-writing. ... more

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Track Name: Snipe Hunt - (Intro) Snipe: Know Your Enemy
--when preparing to go on a snipe hunt, it's important to Know Your Enemy!


(Snipe Hunt gunsight logo by Scott Brannock)
Track Name: Super Fine
Super Fine
(© 2000 Vic Ramirez/Walter Ehresman)

You think your fine…you know you’re super fine
You better beware
You’re running alone out there
And you better take care

You’ve got your phone it’s glued all over your face
You’re strutting around
You’re running the human race
And you’re stuck in last place

You walk the line
You think you’re super fine
You better run away

It’s time….time
It’s time….time
I know it’s time…time
There’s a world out there
And it’s a waiting for you to find time

You think you’re fine
You cut in from behind
You’ve got it all wrong
You shouldn’t be in this song
Cause you ain’t got that long

You walk the line
You think you’re super fine
You better run away

It’s time….time
It’s time….time
I know it’s time…time
There’s a world out there
And it’s a waiting for you to find time

It’s a disease
You fall down to your knees
You’ve got to be sure
Are you gonna be the cure
Are you really that pure

You walk the line
You think you’re super fine
You better run away

It’s time….time
It’s time….time
I know it’s time…time
There’s a world out there
And it’s a waiting for you to find time

Time…..
Time, time, time
Time…..
Time, time, time
Time…..
Time, time, time
Time…..
Time, time, time
Track Name: Long Ago
Long Ago
(© 2002 Vic Ramirez)

Long ago, when life was easy
I saw you..And things were not the same
No one left to tame
No one else to blame
No one could see
Things would somehow change
Again
And no one would know but

You and me
Alone together
I could see
A world set up with you in someone’s life
Who finally got his wife
Who finally got his world
Someone dearer
I grew nearer than you knew…in time

And no one could tell but
You and me
Back in no where
Just to see
The years fall by like beats we feel inside

And no one was left but
You and me
Alone together
Tried to be
The one you think of when you hit the ground
Waiting to be found
Waiting to be brought up
No defenses
Knock your fences down…and out

An nothing to want but
Long ago
When I was dreaming
I saw you
And now your mine.
Track Name: The King of Paperclips (a petty tyrant sings the blues)
The King of Paperclips
(© 2000: lyrics--Walter Ehresman; music--Ehresman/Ramirez)


Since I steppin’ onto the ground, I and I know
myself wasn’t cuttin’ it;
Gotta walk about 10 feet tall--only way I know
that everybody seein’ it.
Don’t be lookin’ at my dominion--quiver in your boots all
ye who will enter here;
I’m the master of my domain (except, if you must know, in the
night where no one can hear).

[chorus--repeat twice]
All hail the king of paperclips,
the ruler of one small thing;
All good people must pass through here
and endure the pain he brings.

I can’t go behind your closed doors--I’ll never see the
things that go on in there;
Never let me into your circles--just because I suck don’t
mean that this deal is fair.
Every time I see my reflection, there’s a moment where
I know just what I see.
Then the feeling fades into anger, and I spit on
everything that comes near to me.

[chorus--twice]

[break--reggae toast]
I hear him comin’ in a rub-a-dub style,
with the heart of a chicken and the tone of a child;
And he walks upon the Earth like a gerbil gone wild,
and he climbs up on his high-chair as the people passin’ by;
And he makes a big ripple in the puddle in the spoon,
while the players on the gameboard sing a more important tune,
and he’s only got a moment for to piss on your shoe,
and the highlight of his kingdom ain’t a thing to me and you.
Oh, no.
Track Name: Hind-leg Dancin'
Hind-Leg Dancin’
(© 1999 Walter Ehresman)

Man is a dirty dog, you must agree;
Man is a dirty dog, you must agree;
All you cats you know just what I mean.

Every guy would rather fight than switch;
Every guy I know would rather fight than switch;
The old hound dog ain’t gonna learn new tricks.

[chorus]
We’re gonna do some hind-leg dancin’ tonight;
We’re gonna do some hind-leg dancin’ tonight;
Don’t think about tomorrow, and everything’ll be alright.

Rover’s just got one thing on his mind;
Rover’s just got one thing on his mind;
If you turn your back, you’ll feel a cold nose from behind.

A lady just can’t take him anywhere;
A lady just can’t take him anywhere;
That canine feel will rise to take its share.

Man is a dirty dog, you must agree;
Man is a dirty dog, you must agree;
And if you lie with dogs, you’re gonna wake up with fleas.

[chorus]
Track Name: I Saw the Future (But the Damn Train Hit Me Just the Same)
I Saw the Future (But the Damn Train Hit Me Just the Same)
(© 2000 Walter Ehresman)

Walking out of Juarez, I was wishing that I’d worn some other shoes;
Kept lookin’ past my shoulder, heard my friend say “Hey, I think I see somebody blue!”;
Though blood was on my flipflops, I was thinkin’ I could find another gear; and
I knew before we done it that we shouldn’t try to charge up all that beer.

[chorus]
I saw the future, but the damn train hit me just the same;
I knew about them prairie dogs, but I still hobbled out of that race lame;
And I bet Nostradamus never stepped in piles he’d “seen” before that day;
Still I saw the future, but the damn train hit me just the same.

I felt my third eye open when that girl said I’s the best she’d ever seen;
I prophesied disaster as I slowly slid my hand upon her knee;
My crystal ball was crystal clear about the way this pendulum would swing;
But just because you know it doesn’t mean that you can do a gosh-darn thing.

[chorus]

You’d think I’d be good at playin’ dodgeball as I navigate this life;
The brochure touted benefits for everyone whose got the “second sight”; but
although my eyes are open and I see each speedbump several miles ahead;
I’ll still hit ‘em goin’ full-speed as I stub my toe where angels fear to tread.

[chorus twice]
Track Name: Shadow of a Love
Shadow of a Love
(© 1997 Walter Ehresman)

He keeps it in that special place,
'cause he can't bear to see her face;
He opens it up anyway,
At least 100 times a day, and
all the years that brought him here just
fall away when she appears;
He folds it back up, turns away,
he's got a few more miles today to go--
it's just the shadow of a love we'll never know.

It's hard when you feel things so strong, but
every time you speak it's wrong--
the words they tangle up inside,
you've got to show what you must hide; and
she rode that string as best she could, much
longer than he thought she would, and
in the end, when things went bad,
she raged about what they might've had, but no--
it's just the shadow of a love we'll never know.

[chorus]
He's remembering a feeling
that for most of us will never come at all;
Just four aces in the dealin'; so if you get that hand...
you better take it all.

He checks into a cheap motel;
The dingy sheets, the musty smell;
The snow it flickers on the screen--
white noise drowning silent screams, and
he thinks about a thing so rare;
He turns to look but she's not there.
He pulls the picture out again,
it's faded now, but not to him--it glows;
It's just the shadow of a love we'll never know.

[chorus]
Track Name: Girl From an OK Town
Girl From an OK Town
(© 1998 Vic Ramirez)

Met a girl from an Oklahoma City
Fell in love in the afternoon
She was young and was oh so pretty
I let her know
But I guess that I spoke to soon
I think…I should’ve known
I guess I let her see more than I should have shown

Colleen’s eyes were intimidating
She could see through my very soul
A native girl with hair that shimmers
She captured me
I’m a prisoner with no parole
Too late…to try to run
I guess…I let her get closer than anyone

I don’t think I can call her mine
That might come in a different time
She isn’t even beginning…
To show me there’s a chance for us together
Take another lifetime to forget her
I don’t want to lose the things I’ve found
In a girl from an O.K. town

My mind was racing a thousand miles a minute
To try and get her to change her world
Or at least find a place for me in it
A little spot…on a wall in a far off room
I think…I spoke too soon
I may as well be a man in a far off moon

I don’t think I can call her mine
That might come in a different time
She isn’t even beginning…
To show me there’s a chance for us together
Take another lifetime to forget her
I don’t want to lose the things I’ve found
In a girl from an O.K. town

I see a girl from an Oklahoma city
Fall in love with her every time
She’ll never know and I guess it’s such a pity
I’ve fallen…fallen…fallen
Fallen down
For a girl from an O.K. town
Wore my heart on my sleeve
Now it’s hit the ground.

All for a girl from an O.K. town
All for a girl from an O.K. town
Track Name: All Possible Dances
All Possible Dances
(© 2002 music-W. Ehresman/V. Ramirez; lyrics-W. Ehresman)

The Carpmeister has always been such a good friend to me;
So I queried him ‘bout why he seems amused by all he smells and all he sees;
He said “My boy, I insert distance between all that nasty stuff and me;
‘Cause if I didn’t, I’d be tempted every day to employ Rule 303.”

And I know that what he’s sayin’ is the only way to keep your sanity;
And I know some jobs need doin’, even though they desecrate morality;
But I gotta keep things simple when you’re talkin’ ‘bout my walkin’-‘round creed;
So if I will not shake your hand, then it’s the price I pay for no hypocrisy.

[chorus]
Truth, trust, and honor I take so seriously;
But otherwise I dance between the lattice of possibility.

When the whistle blows, the Sheepdog and Coyote stop to have a cup of tea;
So when the trial is over, should I take the killer’s lawyer for coffee?
And when your friends cross over, how can things remain the way they used to be?
And when the dust has settled, is there anyone left standing next to me?

[chorus]
Track Name: Afilado A Pedacitos (Sharpened to Bits)
Sharpened to Bits (English lyrics)
(© 1987 Walter Ehresman)


Got to pick
that proper station--
don’t get caught
messin’ ‘round.
Cultivate the look that says
“I gave it no attention”;
‘long as it seems that you don’t care;
Get that funky stuff out of your hair.

Conversation
on the latest thing--
all the people
see you scoff.
Look into your window and I
see you watch Madonna,
I don’t know if it makes no difference the sound is off
(‘cause you)

[chorus twice]
Gotta keep that image sharp, hey!
Gotta keep that image sharp, oh!
Gotta keep that image sharp, hey,
Sharpened to bits!

(bop badda doo da, did did did did, etc.)
Hey, god, don’t whittle that thing off!

[fast instrumental break, with scat]

See a trend
say “Fuck it;
I’s got no
need to know.
It’s a full time job
ignoring all the shit that goin’ down;
You won’t see that shit on me (oh), me’s the only thing I’s got to see see see!”

“To tell you the truth,
I’ve got my personal own trend;
You may see that once, but
you will see me again (‘cause I)”

[chorus]
Track Name: Just Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Just Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
(© 2002 Walter Ehresman)

[intro: calliope music, with barker]
Step right up! Step right up! Yes, you sir; step on out of your Suburban. Everyone’s a winner! Just follow the ball, sir; win something nice for your lady friend. Anyone can do it. Just keep your eyes on the ball.

They never dreamed that it would be this easy;
They would’ve bet that you were not this dumb;
So many millions to those advertising gurus–
they could’ve saved it all and bought more guns.

If they had only known the things you’d swallow–
think what they could’ve done in Ronnie’s day!
Wrap every poison in the Stars and Stripes;
The only measurement--the flag you wave.

[chorus]
It’s just like showin’ dogs a card trick;
It’s just like selling god to seniles;
Just like takin’ candy from a baby
then saying that you didn’t just to watch that trusting smile.

[break: calliope music with barker]
Yes sir, step right up ladies and gentleman; See the Office of Homeland Security. That’s right.....kill the patient to save him. Everyone’s a winner. An Expedition in every driveway. See the Office of Privacy Surveillance. Step right up. See the Department of Environmental Economics. Step right up, don’t be shy....Everyone’s a winner!

They’re getting giddy with this misdirection;
They’re getting greedy with this subterfuge;
They’re getting sloppy with these rank diversions;
They’ve bet the farm that you will not see through.

[chorus]
Track Name: Hey Freyja
Hey Freyja
(© 2000 Walter Ehresman)

Freyja; those dead heroes at your side;
Sacrifice to you,
and even still my well runs dry;
We all tied our hopes to you,
forgot the blank look in your eye.

Hey, Freyja, does it ever bring you down?
The sacred things to you
cannot exist in one go-round;
The riptide contradictions
tearing all your temples down.

[chorus]
Oh.........
Hey Freyja.......
Track Name: Everywhere I Look Around
Everywhere I Look Around (© 2002 Vic Ramirez). For Betsy, in memoriam

Turn your eyes away
It’s safe to sleep right now
Don’t worry about the lives around you
They’re going to be just fine
We won’t worry about tomorrow
Cause I know you will be found…

Everywhere I look around
Everywhere I look around

Turn that smile on me honey
That’s the way you’ll be seen
You used to be the one who shined that light
On our darkest scene
I know you’re gone
But I know you can be found…

Everywhere I look around
Everywhere I look around

But you’re not setting on us, baby
They’ll be no fading away
I’ve got you right here besides me
Oh God, I want you to stay

No one here understands the reasons why someone
Should be taken so young
Everybody stops to wonder where you are
They’ll talk about tomorrow
Without you in their lives

Everywhere they look around
Track Name: HWY 149 (plus hidden track)
HWY 149
(© 2002 Walter Ehresman)

Heading south from Gunnison, on Highway 149;
Hopin’ that the pass don’t freeze ‘fore I get to the other side;
Lake City ain’t so small as it once used to be,
But it might just far enough to refuel my sanity.

These ain’t times for thinking–you can see it on TV,
in the paper, on the movie screen; this ain’t no time to be
asking questions of a kind where the answers slow you down,
and fill your mind with X-ray eyes every time you look around.

[chorus]
Our lives are managed by
bloodless accountants,
amoral climbers,
silk suit assassins,
and teflon bureaucrats.
Climbing through the aspens–
soft breezes blowin’,
doesn’t stop the knowin’
that all of this is goin’ soon
just to keep some bastard fat.

I remember as a child, climbing through these silver trees;
Poking through forgotten mines; tossing lines into the stream;
And when I scrambled to the top, raised my head to look back down–
there was no sign Man’s blighted hand ever touched that virgin ground.

There’s somethin’ ‘bout the mountains; there’s somethin’ ‘bout the air;
When the tenth lie of the day is heard, I find my memories wander there.
So I packed the truck, shut off the lights, put on Willie for the ride,
and I cleared my mind of sadder truths out on Highway 149.