Home > 2010s, All - Songs, All - Songs, Tracks & Music, Alternative & Indie, Genre > Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle – Gustavo (2013)

Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle – Gustavo (2013)

I think this is an astounding record.

The best of 2013 in my view.

A detailed meditation on the fall-out from employing an illegal Mexican immigrant to refurbish a house in the USA.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is rock’n’roll in the 21st century ……

The sparsest of drumbeats, occasional keyboard stabs and a lilting, spoken, vocal that extracts profundity from the mundane.

Oh, yes.

All the lyrics are posted below but I particularly like the lines:

But I hung up and I said I’m sorry
But I hung up and I felt uneasy
I hung up and my heart was heavy
I hung up and my back was aching

A perfect record, here’s the Youtube link then scroll down for the lyrics.

I wrote a check and I bought an old house
I got a TV and a worn-out couch
Hired a guy named Gustavo and his friends
To fix it up from the foundation
Oh god, those motherfuckers drove me nuts
With their electrical saws and mariachi music
But they really stepped it up man
And put their backs into it
But they lived pretty far away
They wanted to stay for a couple of months
‘Til the work got done and I said sure
Made ‘em a key and got ‘em a microwave

Gustavo was an illegal immigrant
He took the money that I gave him
And he went and spent it on strippers and casinos
And every once in a while with them I’d go
It gets boring out in the mountains, you know
Chopping wood, falling asleep to the TV snow
Making ground beef tacos
On the top of a potbellied stove
Eating noodles from a Styrofoam cup
Waiting for a ride that never shows up
Walking into town, browsing the windows
Looking at rifles, looking at ammo
At night when everything’s closed
In my wet boots, in my winter clothes

One night they were headed for Tahoe
They asked me along but I said fuck no
‘Cause I was tired and my money was tight
And they just laughed and said alright
And on the way back they got stopped
By a redneck sunnyside highway cop
Gustavo was drunk and had an ounce of pot
And spent the night on a jailhouse cot
They deported him back to Mexico
He called me collect from a Tijuana pay phone
Asking man, could you wire me money?
2500 for a border coyote
He needed work and he missed his family
But I hung up and I said I’m sorry
But I hung up and I felt uneasy
I hung up and my heart was heavy
I hung up and my back was aching
Picking up the work they’d left in front of me
The demoed walls and the pulled up floors
The busted up cabinets and the broken drawers
The kitchen sink was laying in the backyard
And I looked down and my hands were trembling
And I looked up and my roof was leaking

Now I still sleep on my beat-up old couch
In the living room of my unfinished house
I got a licensed contractor
But he quit cause his wife was dying of cancer
But what the hell, I’m just here trying to find answers
To find peace of mind, to get a piece of the rock
A place to put my mental clock
And my old guitars and gently rock
Back and forth in my front porch chair
Without a worry, without a care
I’m doing alright but I’m still not there

My house ain’t done, but it’s alright
Floors ain’t level, but I ain’t some suburban
Who cares about bathroom tiles
Straight lines and building codes and Chinese wind chimes
My house ain’t done, but it’s fine
Come out here from time to time
In December for the snow
And in July to watch the roses
My gardener asks had I seen Gustavo?
I just laughed and I said fuck no
Not since that night he left
His hair combed back, headed for Tahoe
My girlfriend asked had I heard from that guy from Mexico?
I said you mean Gustavo?
And I just laughed and I said no
Not since he called from the Tijuana pay phone
Really I don’t give much thought to Gustavo
I love to go out to the mountains, though
And in the fall, feel the breeze blow
And in the winter, watch the falling snow
And in the spring, love the rainbows
And in the summer smell the roses
White and red and yellow

 

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