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Sunflower with lyrics



 Genre: Alternative Rock

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It's been a long time coming but Richard Marris and I have actually finished a song ;) Only 8 months since the last one.......

Richard wrote the lyrics and melody. It was inspired by his Route 66 road trip a couple of years ago. He wanted to explore the music and places behind the iconic road and is writing a book about his experiences and some of it is below.

Richard sings, plays acoustic guitar, bass, and the outro solo.

I did the rest.

And here is how Richard describes what is behind the song.

CORAL COURT ST. Louis, MO (a Shangri la solution)

When you reach MARLBOROUGH look out on your right for the white fence and ornate brick entrance of Oak Knoll Manor. This is all that is left of the stylish, louche, notorious Coral Court Motel. Go on YouTube and look at the trailer for Shellee Graham’s 2004 documentary ‘Built For Speed’, it’s a knee trembler! The place was built in 1942 in ‘the Streamline Modern style’ with glass brick and yellow glaze brick walls. Each bungalow had its own garage, with remote control doors and was set well back from the road, away from prying eyes. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  I hope not.

Yes, this was St. Louis’ foremost ‘no tell motel’. Have a look at the quotes on coralcourt.com: ‘It’s a dark, sleazy place with bad memories,’ says Marie. ‘I lived in my van and delivered flowers. She was high society and very married. I had never been to the Coral Court, but I’d heard about it since high school. It became a Shangri-la solution, 10:30 to 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday,’ counters Bob. I wonder if Bob and Marie….? Hmmm. 

It’s thought that the Motel’s policy of hiring rooms by four or eight hours was originally for the benefit of tired truckers but many who took advantage of it evidently didn’t waste much time sleeping. Bumper stickers were seen around St. Louis stating ‘Your place, my place or Coral Courts’. All sorts of fun went on behind those glass bricks: poker, parties, and even ‘time and companionship only’. Employees preferred to remain anonymous and there are rumours of a tunnel under 66 allowing them a discrete commute as well as a swift exit.  Another local remembers there were two check-ins; one for families and one for the many Mr and Mrs Smiths. Original owner John Carr is also reputed to have had ties with local gangsters and to have owned an upmarket brothel in midtown St. Louis before opening his motel. In 1955 his son Bobby Gene was found stabbed and shot to death in the trunk of his car in Illinois…

The Coral’s notoriety was assured when in 1953 Carl Hall stayed there shortly after he kidnapped and murdered 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease, son of a millionaire Kansas City car dealer. Alcoholic petty criminal Hall and his prostitute accomplice Bonnie Heady, were captured in St. Louis and shortly thereafter executed by gas chamber.  The case was worldwide news and the swift administration of justice was abetted by federal laws enacted in response to national outrage engendered by the Lindbergh baby kidnap and murder in 1932. More Southern Gothic; this time written by Capote rather than Williams.

The business declined after the death of its original owner John Carr in 1984 and closed in 1993 when its buildings were declared unsafe. For the next couple of years the site was plagued by souvenir hunters breaking in and breaking off anything they could carry. An added attraction may have been the fact that $300,000 of the Greenlease ransom money was never recovered…

Despite determined attempts to save the buildings, they were demolished in 1995. No stash of ransom money was found, which isn’t surprising as Hall had made some very unwise alliances before he was caught. He befriended a cab driver who worked for local gangster Joe Costello. Costello tipped off a couple of friendly cops and it’s unlikely any money that didn’t make it to the police station found its way back to the Coral Court.   (Graham) (The Federal Bureau of Investigation) (Tremeear, 2011)

The Ozarks (Trailer parks, titty bars)

Back by the Freeway at EXIT 153 in Doublentendre, Mo (just outside BUCKHORN) we photograph an Adult Store sign, next to a large, upright bowling pin. A couple of hundred yards before that is a sign directing you to the Church of the Nazarene. It's an ingenious alignment of roadside furniture. Somewhere around here there is also a Backdoor Adult Book Store. You can write your own jokes for that one; I’m going nowhere near.

In 2010 Missouri State Senator Matt Bartle said, ‘One need only take a short trip on any of Missouri’s major highways to see that the proliferation of smut shops is out of control.’ That was just after legislation had been passed controlling nudity, opening hours and imposing age limits on adult entertainment in the state (Lieb, 2010). Missouri’s nudity laws may, actually, be more titillating and entertaining than a desultory lap dance from a 40-something single mom in a bar by the I-44 … whatever that’s like. Allowable cleavages are strictly demarcated and the word turgid is bandied about.  Turgid. (Greenbaum, 2012)

Just before the sharp left across the Freeway is a demolished business (which used to feature an alarmingly-named ‘Meat Grocery’). To complete my descent to the dark valley of the soul from the beautiful forested hills I’ll point out that this is where a 2010 police raid uncovered $10 million worth of cocaine and methamphetamine (KSPRabc33, 2010). Watch the classic Winter’s Bone, starring Jennifer Lawrence, for more authentic Ozark recipes.

A few weeks before we hit the road a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch detailed how Missouri had slipped to third in the US charts for methamphetamine busts, after a decade as number one.  Jefferson County, just south of 66 in St. Louis and bordering on Pacific, is the state’s hotspot for seizures of labs and dumpsites.  Although superficially encouraging, Jefferson police believe the figures are indicative of changing enforcement methods and local production being undercut by Mexican imports. The drug’s grip on the Show Me State shows no sign of easing (Thorsen, 2014). 

Hell's Half Acre (where the Sunflowers can't cover the scars)

We are now in Hell’s Half Acre’ – it’s what the world looks like when it’s turned inside out. Front Street, as this stretch is known, includes a railway overpass with brown concrete railings that was built in 1922, predating 66 (Bridgehunter.com, 2010).

A faded mural adorns the side of a corrugated shed; a strangely touching piece of homespun prettiness in the grit. The sunflowers are the Kansas state symbol and the legend KS RT 66 13.2 refers to the number of miles from Stateline Liquor to the Oklahoma border.

… In the latter half of the 19th century this part of Kansas was sparsely populated by hunters and farmers struggling to make a living from the gravelly soil of the region. Local Native Americans had long known of the lead that lay strewn around the local area but in 1877 al German farmer invited two Joplin mining companies to bid for the mineral rights on his land.  Soon those companies were vying with each other to sell mining lots and their rivalry resulted in two rapidly-growing mining camps; Galena to the south, Empire City, above Short Creek to the north. The rivalry between the two towns eventually led to Empire City attempting to build a stockade to keep its residents in. Today it’s a quiet rural suburb of Galena (Genuine Kansas, 2007).

With the tens of thousands of miners came boomtown business and – as with Joplin – industrial-scale vice. Bordellos and saloons sprung up all around the area, with the wildest action to be found on ‘Red Hot Street’ the road between the rival settlements (Main Street north from 66, I imagine). As the Galena Sentinel put it, ‘Along this street were clustered haunts of dissipation and prostitution. Most frequented places were the Round Top, the Hickory Tree, The Log Cabin and Dick Swapp’s Place. In saloons the lewd and the reckless were congregated at all hours, intoxicated by wine, lulled… by siren’s charms to commit deeds undreamed of under other circumstances.’

In the case of Nancy Wilson (aka Ma Staffleback) and her notorious family, those deeds included murder.  When, in 1897, a miner named Frank Galbraith came a calling to demand a visit with one of Nancy’s girls a fight broke out. Nancy went at him with a corn knife before her son Ed and husband Charles joined in. Galbraith ran away but a shot to the hip meant he didn’t get far. Ed slit his throat and then he and Charles stripped him of all valuables and threw him down an abandoned mineshaft. Nancy wiped the blood from the knife on her apron.

Picher, OK (Spit blood into water, drown in River of Red)

A couple of miles to the east of 66 is the town of Picher. Lead and Zinc was discovered here around the turn of the 20th century. Its lead was in three quarters of the US shells fired in both world wars and its zinc rust-proofed the nation’s suburbs. In the 1920s the town had a population of around 20,000. Merlyn Mantle met Mickey when she was a cheerleader at Picher High School in the late 1940s.

The mines played out in the late 1960s, leaving the town ringed by an estimated 178 million tons of waste. The groundwater pumps were turned off and the tunnels overran and poisoned the local Tar Creek. Children scrambled, high school athletes trained and families picnicked on the chat.

Teenagers swam in the streams, wondering why their skin burned and hair turned orange.  Picher people still describe themselves proudly as ‘Chat Rats’. Meanwhile, underground, the water was eroding the shafts and tunnels and huge, deep sink holes started to open up all around the community.
Blood tests in the 1990s showed 63% of the town’s children were lead poisoned. Cancer rates were higher than the national average, while academic results were lower. 

Since 1983 the Federal Environmental Protection Agency has been spending millions on cleaning up the 40 acres of devastation while also buying up properties so that residents could move out. In 2008 a tornado hit the town, causing fatalities and speeding up the exodus. In 2009 municipal operations ceased, leaving a dwindling handful of defiant, resentful residents. By the time you pass it may be completely deserted (Paynter, 2010).


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Delivering flowers, drove up in my van
Skinny eighteen barely a man
She caught my eye gave me absolution
Kept it discrete, we took a Shangri-La solution.

Out on the highway
Behind streamline modern
Car’s tucked away; Everything’s ok
No need for concern

In a room by the hour, there’s no need for a name
Then we found out her old man knew the same
Kicked in our door, witnessed our collusion
Put the gun in my mouth; smashed my teeth, blood, contusion

Spit blood into water
Drown in rivers of red/lead
Lives slip away
Subside and decay
Shot to the back of the head

You and me on this dirty highway
True love looking for a place to hide
Some place to disappear
No one can find us here

Out where the sunflowers can’t cover the scars
Ozark trailer parks, titty bars
Look at the signs, they say get down on your knees and pray
Lord keep us safe on this dirty highway

Song Stats
Hits: 937
Comments: 26
Fans: 23
Plays: 59
Downloads: 8

Uploaded: Apr 04, 2018 - 07:40:45 AM
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2018 - 03:49:32 PM Last Played: Jul 17, 2019 - 05:42:36 PM
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Calchas said 561 days ago (April 5th, 2018)
A brand spanking newbie by one of my favorite MJers!

Excellent tune with a vital message.

As always, you rock right well my friend!
Check out my latest song called LET IT GO
DWL said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
Thanks Mike :)
It's Richard's song really and I've just grabbed his coatails.

Thanks for stopping by.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
Calchas said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
set of coat tails!
Check out my latest song called LET IT GO
Warren Smith said 561 days ago (April 5th, 2018)
Get your kicks!
A cavalcade of songs documenting a journey along the famed Route 66 sounds like a wonderful and challenging project. Or perhaps what I mean is that it is wonderful because it will be challenging? Plenty of raw material to work with!

I enjoyed reading the text. However, you forgot to post the lyrics.

You two make a great team - this sounds great!
Check out my latest song called Toe Jam
DWL said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
A few kicks to come
When Richard's brain kicks into gear (groan) there's no stopping him. How many songs we ever finish is another thing...

I've just asked Richard for a final version of the lyrics as I realise the one I have has changed.

Many thanks for the listen and comment Warren.



Check out my latest song called Revelation
bud said 561 days ago (April 5th, 2018)
I got so into reading
that I had to go back for a second and third listen. Great track - I like the arrangement and atmospherics tricking it out. Excellent guitar solo and tone. Is that a Les Paul?
Check out my latest song called mixer 2
DWL said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
Thanks Kev
It's quite a story isn't it?

Richard played a customised Yamaha 600 with Di Marzio pickups.

I'm not sure about the effect he used. I will check that out.

Thanks for the comments.



Check out my latest song called Revelation
grah3am said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
Good one, Dick
I wonder if an exploration of the M62 would yield anything as interesting?
Check out my latest song called Pretty Penny
DWL said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
I tried for years
to come up with a song about the A66 but somehow Darlington doesn't have the same kudos as Oklahoma City and San Bernadino..

Thanks for the listen and comments.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
Vic Holman said 560 days ago (April 6th, 2018)
travel magazine approved
quite the article. very cool.
You & Richard did a great job. it has a kind of restrained edginess just ready to breakout. it all seems perfectly fitting.
Check out my latest song called Life In A Car
DWL said 559 days ago (April 7th, 2018)
Thanks Vic
Richard did a great job with the story and I'm pleased the edginess came through.

Thanks for stopping by.



Check out my latest song called Revelation
Dean-Resonator said 559 days ago (April 7th, 2018)
Great song and a ripping yarn. Well played Guys.
Check out my latest song called Quiet Town
DWL said 559 days ago (April 7th, 2018)
Ripping yarn?
Yes, I like that!

Many thanks for taking the time to listen and comment.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
pablatone said 558 days ago (April 8th, 2018)
good tunes gents.
Check out my latest song called Nathan Browne
DWL said 557 days ago (April 9th, 2018)
We appreciate the listen and comment.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
KCsGROOVE said 557 days ago (April 9th, 2018)
very cool song
has a bit of an oldschool vibe (maybe early Pink Floyd)
cool guitarwork and vocals
excellent collab
enjoyed it
Check out my latest song called MUSIC (acoustic)
DWL said 557 days ago (April 9th, 2018)
Coming from Mr Cool himself
we'll take that compliment!

Thanks Cees, much appreciated.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
Loob said 557 days ago (April 9th, 2018)
Dark lyrics.
Nice work on the coattails! Love the production!
Check out my latest song called Complex Simplicity
DWL said 553 days ago (April 13th, 2018)
Thanks mate!
I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
Philip18 said 556 days ago (April 10th, 2018)
Excellent arrangement. Big sound. Can we have the lyrics (I find it helps to get the flow of the narrative)? Impressive work from both of you!
Check out my latest song called Refuge
DWL said 553 days ago (April 13th, 2018)
Thanks Phil
I've asked Richard for the lyrics so hopefully I can post them soon.

Thanks for the listen and comment.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
PeterB7858 said 550 days ago (April 16th, 2018)
Cheery little number, you two. Great idea for a series of songs. First of 61...? Have you considered canvassing the song to the Missouri Tourist Bureau? :-) Titty bars and crosses. Ain't it grand. Love the lyrics and the "grime" you both manage to imbue the song with. Fine work. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called The Parting Of The Ways
DWL said 548 days ago (April 18th, 2018)
Thanks Peter
Some nice insightful comments! Much appreciated.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
FEEL said 544 days ago (April 22nd, 2018)
Nice collab. love the way the acoustic guitar is shadowed by the driving electric in the back ground. Great delivery on the vocals and love those lyrics. I feel this need to play while I'm driving. I've been on some of Route 66 many times and will definitely have to reach for a copy of this next time.
Check out my latest song called A Second Life with Scott Carmicheal
DWL said 542 days ago (April 24th, 2018)
Thanks John!
A slow meaningful drive I think.

Richard writes a mean lyric without a doubt.

Thanks for the listen and comments.


Check out my latest song called Revelation
VicDiesel said 461 days ago (July 14th, 2018)
That's a lot of story. Well presented.

Me being less lyrics driven would have mixed the vocals slightly down but I'm not faulting this production.
Check out my latest song called Frippery
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Name: Dick langford
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11 years here (at time of writing!) - it doesn't seem that long ago I wrote "it doesn't seem that long ago I wrote 5 years"... Older but no wiser. The musical projects that make up Amokopera (The Lottery of Life, Celebrity Torture, and Dist... [see more]

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