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We Are Going to Bremen To Be Musicians

by Geoff Berner

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04:36
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03:01
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credits

released October 16, 2015

Copyright (c) – Oriente Musik
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Oriente Musik
Engineered At – AfterLife Studios
Mastered At – Organic Music
Pressed By – Pallas – 37295

Accordion, Lead Vocals – Geoff Berner
Artwork [Cover Art] – Nikolai Kopeikin*
Bass, Vocals – Keith Rose
Clarinet – Michael Winograd
Design – Michael Vogt , Mquadrat Berlin
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Wayne Adams
Engineer [Recording Engineer] – John Raham
Mastered By [Analog Mastering] – Thorsten Scheffner
Mastered By [Digital Mastering] – Ryan Morey
Musician – Brigitte Dajczer, Diona Davies, Geoff Berner, Josh Dolgin, Keith Rose, Michael Winograd, Wayne Adams
Piano, Vocals – Josh Dolgin
Producer – Socalled
Songwriter – Geoff Berner (tracks: A1 to A3, B2 to B5), Traditional (tracks: A4)
Violin, Vocals – Brigitte Dajczer, Diona Davies
Vocals [Guest Vocals] – Joe Keithley* (tracks: A4)

Recording engineered at AfterLife Studios, Vancouver CA.

Analog mastering at Organic Music, Obing DE.

© + ℗ 2015 by Oriente Musik

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Geoff Berner Vancouver, British Columbia

Singer / songwriter / accordionist / novelist Geoff Berner's music combines klezmer, punk, political satire and Balkan dance rhythms. He writes sharp, literate songs that make you want to weep, laugh, grind your teeth, or kick out a window - often all at the same time. Having built a cult following with his weirdly compelling stage presence, G.B. has a strange ability to create fun chaos. ... more

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Track Name: Swing A Chicken 3 Times Over Your Head
1. Swing a Chicken Three Times Over Your Head

On my fortieth birthday,
I woke up in Poland,
(Accidentally)
I looked around and thought, “I better keep on rollin’,”
So we rolled right the fuck on outta Poland.
Alright.

Free Christiania,
That’s where my birthday ended.
My friends said “Where were you?
“We couldn’t find you.
“Why’re you bleeding?”
So I said,
As I bled,

I’ve been swinging a chicken
I’ve been swinging a chicken
I’ve been swinging a chicken
Three times
Over my head.

I hear that Superman’s a Jew,
(Or at least an immigrant.)
And Nosferatu, too,
But what do they do
When they screw
Up so bad,
It’s like a kryptonite magnet
That is dragging them to their death bed?
What do they do instead?
They say
If you need me…

I’ll be swinging a chicken,
I’ll be swinging a chicken,
I’ve been swinging a chicken
Three times over my head.

If you do enough living,
You’ll be faced with a decision
Between committing a sin,
And committing a different sin.
Then
You’ll want a shot at redemption.
You want a shot at redemption?
Don’t use a rubber chicken.
Because then the sin
Just bounces back in.

Now you take it by each wing,
And you sing.
You sing:
“Won’t you help me swing
“This frightened chicken.
“It’s all I ever had.”

Swing that chicken one time!
Swing that chicken two times!
Swing that chicken three times!
Alright!

I’ve been swinging a chicken,
I’ve been swinging a chicken,
I’ve been swinging a chicken,
Three times over my head.
Track Name: Dance And Celebrate
2. Dance and Celebrate!

As some of you know, I was raised a Jew
And actually I remain one, too.
There are many reasons, they are not few.
I’ll tell my favourite one to you:
It’s not what you think—it’s what you do.

So what does that mean?

It means when I’ve lost all the battles and I’m feeling low,
There’s an emotional place that I can go.
Does my God judge me for going there?
No.
I’ll tell you what it is and I’ll start…real…sloooooooowwww…

Let’s dance and celebrate
The misfortunes of people we hate,
It feels strange at first, but wait—
Once you get it,
You got it,
And then you feel great!
When there’s people killing children in my name,
And my guts are churning with the horror and the shame,
It soothes me to contemplate—
So let’s dance and celebrate.

For example:

Old Joe Stalin for some reason thought
That there was some kind of Jewish Doctors’ Plot,
So he had some of them exiled,
And the rest of them shot.
He wanted no Jewish doctors, and that’s exactly what he got.

Ok right, well,

Here is the part where we come to the joke,
‘Cause that’s when he had a massive stroke.
People said “What’s wrong, Joe?” but he never spoke.
A brain specialist might have helped him,
But he’d gone up in smoke.

Let’s dance and celebrate
The misfortunes of people we hate,
It feels odd at first, but wait---
Once you get it,
You got it,
And then you feel great!
Oh, schadenfreude needs no translation,
So I guess I’ll take it as a reparation,
I’ll take it out on a date,
Where we’ll dance and celebrate.

When my girlfriend is acting all detached,
And it feels like there’s no way to re-attach her,
It helps me to reflect upon
The pathetic decline of Margaret Thatcher.
Ariel Sharon! Ariel Sharon!
His death lingered on and on.
Ariel Sharon! Ariel Sharon!
His death lingered on and on.
And on, and on, and on and on and on.
Supercalimagilisticexpeetalimocious
I hope that Stephen Harper dies of muscular sclerosis
In a
Northern Ontario
First Nations
Reservation
Health centre!
Or just a ditch.

Let’s dance and celebrate
The misfortunes of people we hate.
It feels funny at first, but wait—
Once you get it,
You got it,
And then you feel great!
Oh bad things happen to good people, it’s true,
But at least they also happen to assholes, too,
Sometimes that’s all there is to consolate,
So let’s dance and celebrate.
Track Name: When DD Gets Her Donkey Everything Will Be Alright
3.When DD Gets Her Donkey, Everything Will Be Alright

I don’t know if you’ve noticed,
But lately it seems to me
Almost as if things are not running
Exactly how they ought to be.

It’s almost as if the falcon
Can hear the falconer just fine,
And the falconer’s telling the falcon
To leave most of us to die.

But before you start worrying,
Scratching at your skin all night,
Remember: When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright,
When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

There’s other people who have noticed
Things are not quite right too.
These people, they’re doing
Almost everything that they can do.

Some people are hoping
For a real good revolution.
Other people, they’re just hoping
To die and go to Heaven.

Revolutionaries in Heaven
Eat at Schwartz’s, and fuck all night,
And when DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright,
When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

The donkey will protect the chickens
From the predators of this land,
The polar bears shall all return
To shake the donkey’s hand.

The donkey will kick and bray
And the children will evolve
Into donkey-human creatures
Full of intelligence and love.

Humanity shall awaken
From its long, idiotic night,
Because when DD gets her donkey
Everything will be alright.

When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright,
When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

So get yourself a drink,
And go and dance with a cutie.
Luxuriate in the terror
Of the violin’s risky beauty.

And when it’s time to pass the hat
At the end of the night,
Remember: When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright,
When DD gets her donkey,
Everything will be alright.

The donkey
Is the fundamental key
To making
Everything
Turn
Out
Right.
Track Name: Condos
4. Condos

My city has been in a housing crisis
For fifteen years or more,
Middle class families can’t afford to live here,
And there’s a ten thousand dollar fine
For being poor.
They said if we let them build all these condo towers,
The market would pull down the rent,
Now we’ve got the most expensive city
On the whole damn continent.
Our Mayor says he wants Eco Density,
And of course it’s a sin not to be Green,
But when Mayor Happy Planet says Eco Density
What does he really mean?

He means
Sunday, condos
Monday, condos
Tuesday and Wednesday
Condos,
Thursday, Friday,
A few more condos,
Saturday, for a change,
Condos.

What happened to a thousand culture buildings and counting?
They knocked them down to build some condos.
And the social housing on Little Mountain?
Get rid of it!
(We need more condos.)
The Ridge, Richards, the Capital,
That’s a special kind of condos—
The kind of condos that you call
After the thing that you knocked down to make the

Sunday, condos
Monday, condos
Tuesday and Wednesday,
Condos,
Thursday, Friday,
A few more condos
Saturday, for a change,
Townhouse condominiums.

What’s the plan for the Georgia Viaduct?
Well, they’re gonna knock it down and build some condos,
And why’s the city four hundred million dollars on the hook? -----They’re fucked!
They paid some guys to build Olympic condos.

And what about the sacred burial site?
Not as sacred as condos,
Till the Musqueam Nation actually put up a fight,
And that’s how you stop the condos.

So what’s going to happen now, for God’s sake?
Are we just going to let them build more condos?
Or could there be a time when we finally put the brakes
On Vancouver’s mad sickness for

Sunday, condos
Monday, condos
Tuesday and Wednesday
Condos,
Thursday, Friday,
A few more condos,
Saturday, for a change,
Market artist live/work studios.
Track Name: Es Brent
5. Es Brent

Berner verse:
It’s burning,
People, it’s burning.
Can we at last agree now that it’s burning?
At least we can stop wondering
What it was like at the downfall of Berlin,
Awaiting the fury of Nemesis Army
While the radio tells us to carry on calmly,

And you stand and look askance now,
No one ever learns,
And you stand with folded hands now,
As all around you burns.
Track Name: Thank You, No Thank You
7. Thank You, No Thank You

It seems we Jews have found some brand new friends.
God knows we can use all we can get.
I know you shouldn’t judge a person by their fashion sense,
Or just because you think you smell something funny on their breath,
But these new friends they are a special kind--
They used to say that we pollute their blood, and worse.
They used to kind of hate us, until they changed their mind,
They suspected that we were more skillful lovers
(true of course).

But now they march around their rallies
With a Star of David in their hand
They don’t even throw it in a bonfire at the end.
I suppose we should be grateful now they hate some people more,
I was raised to be polite, so I say “Thank you, nat-
Zhonalist
Scumbags
For your support.”

I say
Thank you,
Thank you,
Thank you,
But no thank you,
No thank you,
No thank you,
No thank you,
Thank you thank you thank you thank you
A dank a dank a dank a dank
A takka takka takka takka takka takka takka takka takka
Boom.

And then there are those Christians born again,
You know they used to call us Christ-killers but now,
The sons of Sherriff Clark were on the Road to Washington
When they converted Izzruhl
To their sacred cow,

But it’s all just to serve their comic book of prophecy,
You see
For Jesus to return it is imperative that we
Be the center of a war that will destroy the world entire,
Then they’ll laugh and dance and sing as we fall,
With the Six Million,
Into their lake of fire,

Singing,
Thank you,
Thank you,
Thank you,
But no thank you,
No thank you,
No thank you,
No thank you,
Thank you thank you thank you thank you
A dank a dank a dank a dank
A takka takka takka takka takka takka takka takka takka
Boom.

Have you ever been invited to a party,
You look around and think “I feel so wrong here,” and then
You whisper to your soul, “Oh soul, where are we?
“And why do all these assholes act like we belong here
“With them?”

And you think about what your mom said about
The company you keep,
You are lingering by the cheese dip,
So depressed you wanna weep,
Well maybe that’s the time when it is time to contemplate
Why we’re getting so much love from all these people
More famous
For their ability
To incinerate,

And say
Thank you
Madame le Pen,
Thank you,
UKIP,
Thank you
Geert Wilders,
But no thank you,
No thank you,
And
Thank you,
Mr. Blocher
Thank you
Siv Jensen
Thank you
Mr. Breivik,
But no thank you,
No thank you,
And
Thank you,
Stephen Harper,
Thank you,
Sarah Palin,
Thank you Netanyahu,
But no thank you,
No thank you,
No thank you,
No thank you,
Thank you thank you thank you thank you
A dank a dank a dank a dank
A takka takka takka takka takka takka takka takka takka
Boom.
Track Name: When Chanukah Comes To Town
8. When Chanukah Comes to Town

Oh,
Well,
The Christians irritate us with their Christmass-ness,
It seems like every year,
And then the Pagans must remind us they invented this.
Ok! We get it. It's clear.

Jewish children saw the others open presents,
It made them sad and blue.
So their parents found a minor Jewish holiday,
So they could open presents too.

It's a tokenistic cultural compromise
That depresses me with a sigh,
But the little ones seem to like it,
So I guess that that is why---

I--
'm ambivalent about Chanukah
When Chanukah comes around,
The feeling's not a cute
It's chronic of
A thinking which is probably unsound. (UN-SOUND!)
I don't mean to ruin the party,
I'm sorry if I'm bringing you down. (Down, down)
But I'm ambivalent about Chanukah,
When Chanukah comes to town.

Do you know the story of Chanukah?
I wonder if you've ever known.
Well, the Jews resisted Greek civilization,
Till the Greeks just got tired and went home.

A tradition of religious independence,
Which we pass to the fruit of our loins,
Or a festival of violent fanatics,
Punctuated by chocolate coins?

Like the glory of G-d's creation,
At the start of a brand new day,
Some times I could just take it or leave it,
And that is why I say--

Hey!
I'm ambivalent about Chanukah
When Chanukah comes around,
I reach for a great gin and tonic
A
Thinking which is probably unsound (UNSOUND!)
It's not the shallow indifference of the atheist,
It's more Spiritual and profound.
I'm ambivalent about Chanukah,
When Chanukah comes to town
--You know I mean it!--
I'm ambivalent,
It's not an equivalent,
I know it's irrivalent,
But oh well--
What the Hell.
Track Name: Don’t Feel So Mad At God When I See You In Your Summer Dress
9. I Don’t Feel So Mad at God When I See You In Your Summer Dress

You know me—
I’m one of those who Believe,
But still I
Shake my fist at the sky.

Why couldn’t the Lord
Have worked a little harder?
Made me a little bit smarter?
Made a little less murder?

But I don’t feel so mad at God
When I see you in your summer dress.
Not so mad at God
When I see you in your summer dress.

Your summer dress
Has been suspended
In the winter closet,
But now that’s ended.
Now you’re swinging,
And it is clinging,
Oh God damn it
Fits you perfect.

I don’t feel so mad at God
When I see you in your summer dress.
Not so mad at God
When I see you in your summer dress.

When your hair was pink,
I spent my last five bucks to buy you a drink,
When your hair was blue,
I crossed the Rockies in a K-Car to be with you,
When your hair was black,
You’d give Siousxie a jealous heart attack
When your hair was brown,
You turned me into slightly less of a clown,
When your hair was blonde,
(You prob’ly think I’m just gonna go on and on)
Now there’s silver in the gold,
Some days I’m even almost at peace with the old
Bastard.

I don’t feel so mad at God
When I see you in your summer dress.
Not so mad at God When I see you in your summer dress.
Track Name: We Are On Our Way To Bremen
10. We Are On Our Way to Bremen

We are on our way to Bremen--
That’s where we’re going to be musicians.
People say we’re too used up to be allowed to live,
But we’ve still got a caravan of fucks to give.

And so we’re on our way—
We’ll speak of Death another day,
Let’s have a sacred feast
With what we’ve stolen from the thieves.

The Donkey does our fearless leading,
Realism is something he’s not needing.
People talk like they understand the world but they may find,
When he kicks them in the head, it’s liable to change their mind.

And so we’re on our way—
We’ll speak of Death another day,
Let’s have a sacred feast
With what we’ve stolen from the thieves.

The Rooster says he can predict the future,
But actually, he’s just a rooster.
If he could read his own entrails, he would see
The comfort-giving chicken soup that is his destiny.

And so we’re on our way—
We’ll speak of Death another day,
Let’s have a sacred feast
With what we’ve stolen from the thieves.

The Dog is full of moral confusion,
But the Cat lives under no illusion.
The Dog did his killing out of loyalty and for pay,
But the Cat knows why he would have done it anyway.

And we’re on our way,
We’ll get there any day
Now,
Let’s have a sacred feast,
With what we’ve stolen from the thieves.

We are on our way to Bremen
That’s where we shall become musicians.
They’re going to make a statue of us in the square,
To commemorate the fact that we were never there.