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lyrics

MAN IN FLAMES

I looked outside my window CHORUS
& there was fear in the air
& I was talking on the telephone His hair was on fire
to my friend who could not be there His body was in flames
& I opened up the doorway He was reaching out for Glory
& stepped out into the hall like a blindman gone insane
a little punk kid passed me by & I really tried to help him
he was bouncing off the walls But I knew it was too late
& the smoke was like a sandstorm so I ran back to my bedroom
& the fire alarm blared &I think I might have prayed
& I pulled my coat around my ears I hope he's OK
as I tiptoed down the stairs I hope he's OK
& the smell was really scarey I hope he's OK
& the light was really weird I hope he's OK
& as I turned the final corner I hope he's OK
I saw him really clear I hope he's OK
I hope he's OK
He was comin up the stairs I hope he's OK

I had a hard time breathing
I had not slept for days
The Citgo sign was blazing
& a scream formed in my brain
& my door was still wide open
& the building groaned with pain
I picked up the phone, dialed 911
"Get your ass over here right away"
& the cops were so efficient
as they scraped up the remains
& they asked us a lot of questions
as they stretched their yellow tape
His leg was gone & half a hand
& his face had disappeared
& he never let out a single sound
least not that I could hear

CHORUS

I looked outside my window, & I saw the saddest thing
That punk kid who tried to save him was standing all alone in the street
& he'd tried to beat the flames out now he just stared up into the sky
threw his shirt in a trashcan & then he started to cry
This man brought us together
This man who was dressed in flames
Our whole apartment building
& we never learned his name
The building superintendant
I saw him the other day
Complained of all the destruction
As he swept the mess away

credits

from HALF IN THE BAG, track released April 18, 1987
Half In The Bag (No Deal Whatsoever Records) 1993. Produced, engineered, arranged by Chet Cahill in his house in Malden. All these are Berlin's save Everytime I Fall by Michael Holland (one of my favorite all time songs). Who did this? Billie Best (spoken girl in Can't Get It Up), Randy Roos (4 guitars in Man In Flames - true story of a homeless man in Kenmore who burned alive in the basement of Eddy de Syon's apartment building), Chris Mehl (guitars, vocals), Joan Wasser (violin), Jane Balmond (piano on Everytime I Fall), David Barrett (sax on the song Blood of A Poet - about his brother Peter), Eddy de Syon (organ on Blood), Julie Woods (vocals), Nancy Adams (vocals), Brian Olson (vocals), Chet Cahill (everything else).

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Rick Berlin (now playing w/ THE NICKEL & DIME BAND) Jamaica Plain

A giant on the Boston music scene. His colorful songwriting + strong stage presence have influenced countless other artists since the early 1970s. He continues to make music w/ intelligence + integrity, building an international reputation around his knotty, singular piano playing, straight-from-the-heart singing and a style of character-based songwriting that's drawn comparisons to Waits + Cohen ... more

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