Bill Hicks - Singer, Songwriter, Fiddler
Notes on the songs of The Perfect Gig from the first edition insert

There are too many songs to print 'em out in a booklet given my budget and the state of most people’s eyes these days.  Oh for the days of the LP, with its now seemingly gigantic format.  All that vast space! You can read and even print the lyrics if you go here, and each song title is linked to its lyrics.  Some folks like to read the songs...some don't.   The photos on that page are by Bren Overholt, taken at the gig.  Bren also designed the page, and the whole website (which Libby and I share with the ghosts of Ramblers past).  Here’s a little bit about the songs.

1. The SOB in the Carvel Truck   This is pretty obvious--a portrait of a guy who trusts solid ground even more than happiness.  Libby said “it’s the guy in the Carvel truck who’s alive.”  She’s got it.  I like both of the characters tho. 

(click the title for the lyrics in an extra page--just close it to be back here)

2. Deer Hunter Blues  Guys have this fantasy that hunting is really getting back to nature and how it was, primordially speaking. 

3. Polar Bears on the moon  I had a calendar of polar bear photos a few years back and the shots were like a moonscape.  I like how the story has more in it than the narrator knows.

4. By Half  The paradox of halves, thanks to some Greek skeptic philosopher memorialized by Plato.  And to Dr. Johnson’s refutation of Bishop Berkeley--who performed the refutation by kicking a stone and aggravating his gouty toe.

(click the title for the lyrics in an extra page--just close it to be back here)

5. The Evidence  We had a storm come thru here in ‘96 called Fran.  I’ve got enough firewood on the ground to last the rest of my life probably, particularly as global warming is kicking in.

6. Wet July  The antidote to the previous song maybe, the reverse emotion.  And how things don’t turn out like you might think usually, Kerouac being a case in point.  And how it all goes by too damn fast, which you learn if you live long enough.  Warning to DJs (hopeful thought)--there’s one of the bad seven on here, the one that starts with S.

7. When Change Is No Longer Possible  Having seen the end this past summer for a week or two in UNC Memorial Hospital under the surgeon’s knife, this one appeared on my computer.  The “four little girls” died in a Birmingham church in 1963.

(click the title for the lyrics in an extra page--just close it to be back here)

8. Were They Happy?  A street bum in Savannah sells roses made of palm fronds to tourists, fabricating them on the spot with a razor blade that adds a certain sinister dimension to the transaction.  I bought two.

9. Noir Bubble  A French movie from 1959, looking back at a noir classic from Nelson Algren.  Lefty, Pancho’s sidekick, is in here too I think.

10. Water Lights  We live in two places, up here in central NC and down on Ocracoke Island, across the Pamlico Sound.  The ferry trips across offer beauty and time for reflection.

11. BridgesI think this is about the romantic allure of nihilism, and about exasperation.

(click the title for the lyrics in an extra page--just close it to be back here)

12. Play "Rocky Top"  I wrote this song in l979 as a response to the endless requests the Red Clay Ramblers would get for the Osborne Brothers classic.  We recorded it then in a live album we did at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill for Flying Fish Records, called Chuckin’ the Frizz.  I'm told that the magic of the real “Rocky Top” actually worked for Leroy Savage.  Damfino.

13. Exposure  Been there, done that.

14. The Perfect Gig  Perfection might be kinda like time travel, but it’s a fun story. 

15. La Senorita of the Launderia  Por favor de no permitir a los niños, montar en o hugar con los carritos.  Same as it ever was.
(click the title for the lyrics in an extra page--just close it to be back here)

16. Uncle Charlie’s Revenge  Libby and I recorded this on our Copper Creek CD, South of Nowhere (available at fine music stores everywhere and on line at, and I wasn’t planning on doing it again, but I just like the electric guitar version here.  And the idea of throwing a fiddle up in a tree and then shooting it down continues to be hilarious.

17. Last Call  Budweiser came out with “millennium Bud” when 2000 rolled around.  Bud and Clint discuss the implications over a coupla pints in the club car as the 20th Century Limited rocks and rolls across the black Colorado night towards the Rockies.  As the camera pans back we see that it’s O-gauge, Lionel.  At the end of the song, Mr. Mouse of the Cave does the announcing and we all have a beer. 

So there’s the lot of em.  When I left the Red Clay Ramblers in 1981 I think I felt that my voice, as a writer and even as a singer, was left behind.  I focused on fiddling, on my life as a father and stone mason and husband.  I became "responsible," a serious person full of adult concerns.  By 1995 Anna had grown up into a thriving, remarkable teenager, and Libby had abandoned work in offices as a lost cause and begun to build her artistic self in her glass work.  We continued to play music all through these years, and Libby frequently suggested that I try writing a song again.  And about 1997 or so I did!  Indeed, they poured out of me in a flood, to the point that I've felt I needed to make this CD just to make it known that I am a songwriter and singer as well as an instrumentalilst.  Enormous thanks are due to Libby and to Anna, who each encouraged me over and over, who saw the little flickering flame in my writer's heart even when I didn't--who kept saying I didn't have to spend all my energy breaking rocks and slinging mud.  Thanks as well are due to the many folks who accepted my songs when I performed them--who blew on the embers.  This list isn't really listable--but in particular I'd like to single out Susan Dodd, whose reaction to my song "Island Rockers" in a concert on Ocracoke was extremely heartening (Libby and I recorded it on South of Nowhere"), Bren Overholt, Rob and Sundae, Tom, Betty and Nathan, and the proprietors of the numerous small venues who have afforded me stage space in which to make the songs come alive as performance.  I'd also like to thank the very professional help of Rich and Jonathan at Barefoot Press in Raleigh, whose work you hold in your hands. 
--Bill Hicks
Silk Hope & Ocracoke NC
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