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Dan Bern:Estelle Lyrics

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Estelle

This song is by Dan Bern and appears on the album Dan Bern (1997).

Original video
I was painting a still life this morning
Of a throat lozenge sitting on a copy of Tropic of Cancer
The only thing weird about it
Is that a year ago,
I never thought I'd paint anything again

I decided I wasn't ever gonna paint again
It didn't bother me too much
Warhol's dead
David Hockney's still alive
I don't need to paint

I painted over ten thousand paintings
Sad ones, funny ones, dark ones and light ones
I've done haystacks
And rich old ladies by their pools
Wearing nothing but a scarf

I've painted everything there was to paint
Now it was time to sit back
Give interviews, get on the internet
Hang out at club med
Take stock of what I've done

You know, the best friend I ever had was a dog
It sounds like a cliche unless it's happened to you
Some days that dog was the only reason I even got out of bed

That dog went everywhere with me
And then I heard the crack addicts
Were stealin' dogs and selling them for animal research
It sounded like an urban myth to me
Like the mouse in the Coke bottle
But I started leavin' her at home after that

You know, Paula was my wife for a while
She ran off to Paris with the great grandson of Van Gogh
A cartoonist who did fashion graphics for Le Monde

When Paula left she took my dog
I never saw her again
Except in the court during the custody battle
She won and got to keep the dog
And I didn't speak to anyone for months

You know sometimes it feels
Like there's so much that you need
Sometimes the world is upside down
Sometimes it seems
Like the only thing you need
Is holdin' someone's hand as you walk through town

I started hanging around with Dino
He used to run a poker game back east
Now he sells cappuccino to his old pals
Tommy Chicago and Jimmy the Wig and the Ugly Rose

You know the best person I ever knew
Was a Mormon woman named Estelle
She still calls me drunk every few months
And asks me stuff I don't want to talk about
You can't talk to her long unless you're drunk yourself
Then we go all night

She goes, "Why baby, why baby, why baby, why
Have you turned your back on love?
You had so many chances
Why have you let 'em all go by?"


Well, one morning I was sitting in front of Dino's place
with Jake the Shears, a guy from Philly
Who gives free mohawks
There were a couple of young painters
I was hopin' to come by
So I could give 'em some advice

Yeah, I was sittin' there updating my list of enemies
When this girl walks in and the universe kind of stopped
Turned out she drank the same tea as me
It don't take more than that to start a conversation sometimes

She believed collage was the greatest of all the arts
And was busy pasting pictures of horses
Next to ads for laundry soap
Next to Mohammed Ali
She had a turquoise in her ear
And said Rachmaninoff was always in her head

Later that day I was trying to describe her to Jimmy the Wig
I couldn't find any words
And I realized I'd started to sketch her chin
Somehow it didn't look right
I scratched it out and tried it again
I filled an entire pad
I threw it away, I never even came close

For six days I sat at Dino's place
The rain wouldn't quit and no one came in
Finally on the seventh day it cleared
And in she walked

I asked her to sit with me
And I bought her a cup of tea
And I asked her to model for me sometime
That afternoon I was at a canvas
She was wearing a yellow dress
I swore if she let me, I'd get it right

I've painted over ten thousand paintings
Sad ones, funny ones, dark ones and light ones
But sitting there, it was like I couldn't even
Write my own name

I apologized and said, "It's been a few months
If you have patience, I'll get the hang of it again"

In the next few weeks, I painted her hundreds of times

If I get the nose right, the chin's too long
If I get 'em both right, the face is too thin
But I keep after it and one day
I get it all right

I painted a still life this morning
Of a throat lozenge sitting on a copy of Tropic of Cancer
The only weird thing that was funny
Is I never thought
I'd paint anything again

I think I might go visit Estelle
Those Utah mountains are good for the soul
I'll bring my brushes and some Jack Daniels
And we can make up for lost time

She said, "Why baby, why baby, why baby why?
Have you turned your back on love
You had so many chances
Why do you let 'em all go by?"


She says, "Why baby, why baby, why baby why?
Have you turned your back on love
You had so many chances
Why have you let 'em all go by?"


Sometimes it seems like there's so much that you need
Sometimes the world is upside down
Sometimes it seems like the only thing you need
Is holdin' someone's hand as you walk through town

Written by:

Dan Bern

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