Hal Shows

Hal Shows

 Tallahassee, Florida, USA

All sorts of roots rock wedded to surreal verse. "Hal Shows' songs are as rawboned as the best Creedence Clearwater Revival; they link personal frustration and political rage without wasting a word or a note." --Jon Pareles, New York Times


In 1980, after some years living in Italy, Hal Shows founded the celebrated post-punk rock band Persian Gulf, whose Changing the Weather was named Best EP recording of 1984, by dean of American rock critics Robert Christgau, in The Village Voice. Persian Gulf's unclassifiable brand of rock garnered acclaim in national papers of musical record such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Option, High Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and elsewhere, and the band toured consistently throughout the 1980's. Subsequent work with the band included Persian Gulf:The Movie (1986), and Trailer, released in the UK in 1987. In 1989, Persian Gulf disbanded in New York City. Mr. Shows has since released Birthday Suit (1990), a roots- rock record with international flavorings, and Lifeboat (1995), a song-cycle which was named one of The Top Ten Recordings of 1995 in The Tallahassee Democrat. Two compilations of his recordings, Whitman's Sampler and Cave Art Collective, were released in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Kitty's Collection, a benefit CD for a friend in need, and Psychedelics, a collection of experimental pieces, were released in 2001. Native Dancer, his latest work, issued in May 2003. Hal Shows lives near Chaires, Florida, with his family and a catdog.


As We Rise

Written By: Hal Steven Shows

As We Rise

It’s a dangerous world
but those who prey on strangers
in the end, all in all,
they always fall
On and on, over and over
as we rise

All the knives are out
but those who live by swords
one by one, in the end
claim just rewards
On and on, over and over,
as we rise

All the tea in China, all the oil there is
never made much matter to me
Every mother’s son must meet his maker round some bend
never mind the new machinery

There’s a mortal coil
from the mountain ranges
over Colorado
to the mouth of the Ganges
On and on, over and over,
as we rise

It’s still night
but I’m all awakened
for I dreamed a light
down a road we’re all taking
On and on, over and over,
as we rise

On and on, over and over,
as we rise

(Words and Music by Hal Steven Shows, 2005)

Then Came Wu

Written By: Hal Steven Shows

All was lost in our town
when an ancient seaplane silently set down.
Then came Wu--
Borne on wings--
and our worries turned to sweet imagining.

All eyes crossed at a sound
like a broadcast bubbling out of solid ground.
Then came Wu.
big as spring;
all our worries turned to sweet imagining.

Old Wu could smile so sly--
had a natural alibi--
His live show swings, and it doesn’t mean a thing.

Some got guns, some got saved
some grew silent; others left without a wave.
Then came Wu,
and summer was king.
All our worries turned to sweet imagining.

In a haze lit by stars
Reconstruction gangs were rolling dice for Mars.
Then came Wu
to clear the ring;
all our worries turned to sweet imagining.

From his high-powered hit garage
with his animal entourage
His live show swings, and it doesn’t mean a thing

When the first frost came down
Wu-man bowed back to his planet underground.
Then came Wu
shall I sing
as my worries turn to sweet imagining.

Then came Wu . . .
Then came Wu . . .

Egyptian Gas Station

Written By: Hal Steven Shows

I been drinking all night in a Red Sea bar
when I thought I’d better find me a hired car
that could take me down the coast to a hotel dive
I could maybe get a room and a lot of other jive

So I stood half-blind in the Arabian night
By an abstract sculpture under iodide light
when I spied a little taxi, an eighty-two ford,
probably do sixty with the pedal through the floor

My friend, I am honored; my friend, I am free
These are the words that he said to me.
We soon struck a bargain, we were trading smiles;
but we only made five of those eighteen miles

(Chorus, bridge)

The engine coughed twice then passed away
As we eased her over softly off the roadway
"Damn gas!," said the driver, jumped and ran,
I saw him disappear across the desert sand

Ocean on the left of me, desert on the right,
I’m all alone in the backseat light
Surely I’d come to a loss of words at last words at last
Couldn’t even steal the car cause it got no gas.

I could have made a scene and got mad as sin
but there was nobody watching so I thought again.
When I found myself looking for a cop to call
I knew that it was time for a good Pall-Mall.

(Chorus, bridge)

Then from the haze of the smoke filled car
I saw him coming through the night with a mason jar.
"More gas," said the driver, filled up the tank,
car cranked up, Allah be thanked!

He must have had it hidden for a rainy day
and besides it was written it would be this way
in the end I arrived at my destination
and the driver got to practice his occupation

And the night got along just the way it could
and the moral of the story is knock on wood
As a great man said in a whole other locus
you can’t trust your eyes when your mind’s out of focus

(Chorus, bridge)

Friend, I am honored, friend I am free,
these are the words that he said to me.
We soon struck a bargain, we were trading smiles,
And we finally made all of those eighteen miles

(Fade in recording;
Chorus out live)

Easy Street

Written By: Hal Shows

Working over websites
seeking out a short-term loan
My baby's in the back room
talking on the telephone
The sky is sunny
and the air is sweet
All my troubles are in retreat
It's all quiet on Easy Street

Stereo-talk about a war
so far away
I hear our boys hand them
hell to pay
In a land of
sun and sleet
foreign tongues will taste defeat
but it's all quiet on Easy Street

It's so quiet on Easy Street
you can hear the moon go down
It's so quiet on Easy Street
some nights I'd rather stay in town

It's so quiet on Easy Street
you can hear the seed-pines grow
It's all quiet on Easy Street
but I stay close to the radio

I'm so glad I
finally found a home
In a cul-du-sac
I call my own, all my own
So if you're looking
to beat the heat--
and your credit rating's neat--
Come on down to Easy Street

Black, Black (No Trade Back)

Written By: Hal Shows



Changing the Weather, EP, 1984
Persian Gulf: the Movie, LP, 1986
Trailer, EP, 1987
Birthday Suit, LP, 1990
Lifeboat, CD, 1995
Whitman's Sampler, CD, 1999
Cave Art Collective, CD, 2000
Kitty's Collection (Various Artists), CD, 2001
Psychedelics, CD, 2001
Native Dancer, CD, 2003

Set List

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