No Fortunes

by Jon Patton

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All songs written during February, 2015 for February Album Writing Month


released March 7, 2015

Jon Patton: vocals, guitars, bass, mandolin, keyboards, pennywhistle (track 10), cigar box guitar, percussion, drum programming
Dave Benham: Native American flute (track 4)
Rick Veader: Pennywhistle (track 5)
Lexa Hartman: Bodhran (track 10), percussion and vocals (track 12)

Engineered, mixed, and "mastered" by Jon Patton in his living room.




baltimericana Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimericana is a place for me (Jon Patton) to stash my solo projects and collaborations with friends. I'm a writer, musician, and (unfortunately) day job schlub from Baltimore and the founder of Baltimore-based folk rock band Midway Fair ( Be sure to also check out Joe Scala (, who produced the Baltimericana EP. ... more

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Track Name: Oh Brother (Ain't It Hard)
It was bacon and eggs every Sunday morning,
Am C G
Then the lock got changed without a warning
Am C Am C
And it's hard to hear the sound of water when you drown
Am C G
It's hard to hear the storm rolling in

Am F Am F
Oh brother ain't it hard when you haven't got a dollar
Am G F > C
Ain't it hard every day to feel small
Am C F C
Ain't it hard oh brother ain't it hard

I used to call her up take her out dancing
But what used to be don't mean a damn thing
And it's hard to hear the sound of a song that you can't sing
Hard to hear the wind blowing in

Oh brother ain't it hard
When you haven't got a dime
Ain't it hard every day she ain't mine
Ain't it hard, oh brother ain't it hard

F G Am
I'm gonna find myself sailing one morning
F G Am C
Slip into the water from the landing
It ain't hard to hear the water when you're not afraid to sink
But it's still hard to hear a storm roll in

Oh brother ain't it hard
All this trouble and woe
Ain't it hard every day to let go
Ain't it hard, oh brother ain't it hard to let go
Ain't it hard, oh brother, ain't it hard
Track Name: Dry Town
(Chords are just A-D-E, basically a "long" blues progression.)

When you pass this way
Keep on walking
Go down to the river and walk on in
Down to the river
Lie in the bed
Wait for the rains to fill it again

Pull it from the ground
If the river won't flow
Pull it from the ground and fill in the hole
It's a dry town
Pay what you owe
The earth is gonna crack and swallow you whole

Pull it from the ground
Till it's thicker than blood
Pull it from the ground and bury them in mud
It's a dry town
Go on and get your gun
Pour salt on the soil when you're done

Bore a hole in the well
Drain it till it's gone
Don't be around when they're dying of drought
Down to the river
Lie in the bed
Wait for the rain to fill it again
Track Name: Dakota
Anna worked a register down in Tyndall
Just to keep away from the casinos
Her dad used to say they had worse to find fault in
But these days, what do old men know?
F Gm Dm
But the long drives meant more time away
Bb C Dm
Which was, in many ways, a blessing

Stopped at the diner on the way back from work
Stayed too late and her car's battery froze
And a guy at the counter offered to help her
One of those heading to oil fields in droves
Did she have a way to call someone, anyone?
anyone to take her back to the reservation?

It was getting late and a thick snow was falling
So it looked like she didn't have a choice
In the car he kept on about getting to know her
So she watched the road and tuned out his voice
She said she didn't like where it was headed, so of course
he tried to take what he wanted by force

The police couldn't arrest a non-native
And the only proof was her word, you understand
And at any rate at least she was alive
Still, a nurse offered to do a full exam
She assured her it was just a routine
But who wants their body to be a crime scene?

(Chorus chords)
I don't know if you should be mad or be scared
That it's so easy to find justice denied
I hear it's the same thing everywhere
all that changes is the reasons why
I hear it's the same thing everywhere
all that changes is the reasons why
Track Name: The Brigandine (Five Fathoms Deep)
Bm A Bm
I signed on to sail on a brigantine
A Bm
A fishing man on the Maid of Orleans
From Bristol to Conception Bay
To its final rest near to Harbour's Grace

A chilly wind's blowing on the quay
G Bm
And a red sun in the east
D Em
Our captain's buried in the icy sea
A Bmx v
He lies asleep five fathoms deep

Now, the Bonny Chance of the Maritimes
Was the devil's thorn in our captain's side
We paid our gold for seven years
To the fallen prize of the privateers

Now, our captain was an honest man
With an honest face but an iron hand
A refugee from the Easton press
Gave his hand at the wrist to pay instead

I had sailed with him to haul fishing nets
But the captain aimed to return the debt
So he fired his gun at the St. George Cross
And it was from his pride that the Maid was lost

Then Easton's ships ran the Maid aground
They cut our nets and we were tied and bound
They hung our captain bare from the martingale
Wrapped his frozen body in the mainmast sail
Track Name: (Someone Please) Have Mercy On Me
All my life, I've been a stranger
G Em C G
Ready to leave you all behind

G C2
Someone have mercy on
G D Em
those that travel here
Someone please have mercy on me

[I've been lost, on every road on earth
Following the wind since my birth]

What I've built, will turn to dust in time
Every man surely comes to die

Be careful, whatever path you take
Em C D
Steady among the beasts of prey
I've been among
C G Em G
the wolves and gone astray, so
someone please have mercy, I pray

But when I go to my final sleep
I will drive none to mourn nor to weep
Track Name: Bad Luck, Jack
Am Dm Am Dm
A tripwire got Charlie
Am E7 Am E7
And Joe fell victim to electricity
Tommy was stabbed in the kidney
I wonder now what's gonna get me ...

Dm Am Dm Am
We've had our share of bad luck, Jack
E7 Am E7 Am
So what's your excuse?
Dm Am Dm Am
We've had our share of bad luck, jack
E7 Am
All of us except ... you

Jane had herself a hhhhhheart attack
Alice overdosed on her Cadillac
Harry suffocated in a vat of shellac
So he sure as shit ain't coming back

Sam drank so much whiskey he drowned
But he only touched a drop when his woman wasn't around
Willie died screaming but no one heard a sound
Threw him in an elevator shaft downtown

So Will it be me? Will it be you?
I'm not gonna wait around to see what you're gonna do
Next time you see me you better shoot straight
Because if I see you first it's gonna be too late

We'll have our share of bad luck, Jack
That's a guarantee
We've all got our share of bad luck
All of us ... except ... me
Track Name: Gold Rush
If you go to California
Cm Eb Bb
On the Gila River trail
Eb Bb Cm Eb
You'll hear the ghost of a 49er
Eb Cm7-Bb Eb
Sing this lonesome tale

Cm Eb Cm7
I lost you in the gold rush
Cm Eb Bb(sus4)
Many years before
Ab Eb Bb Eb
There were no fortunes made for us
Cm7 Bb Eb
That matter anymore

Each night I lay down weary
Then wake to work my claim
But I'd give all the gold I search for here
To hear you call my name

I lost you in the gold rush
Dearest love of mine
There were no fortunes made for us
Worth leaving you behind

I dreamed of El Dorado
I always was a fool
Now all I want is one band of gold
My love to give to you

I lost you in the gold rush
And paid an awful cost
There were no fortunes made for us
Compare to what I lost
Track Name: I Thought You Were the Wind
I try to remember why
Bb F
Sage bushes smell so sweet
Dm C - F
After we spent those nights
Bb F
Camped out by the San Juaquin
We were halfway to Talare
Finding good work along the way
But that dried up just like the lake
F C - F
And one day we went our separate ways

Bb Dm
I thought you were the wind,
Bb Dm
the mountains, the rivers, and sea
Bb C Dm F
To me you were everything out of my
They wouldn't tame you, you said
Bb F
but you gave in all the same
I'll carry you here inside me
Bb C F
One more buried memory

And some days they would come out
And offer work of different sort
You said careful what you might become
Better poor than a deportee

Then when I heard you were in San Luis
Years after you left for good
I was headed the same direction
I thought you'd be proud if anyone would

This time of year there's not much field work
But I still asked at the campos first
Then I'd ask around in the bad parts of towns
When I'd start to suspect the worst

Then at last someone knew you
Said you'd been earning the worst kind of pay
I'd held out hoping we'd reunite but now
at best I could visit your grave
Track Name: 1851 (Allons Enfants)
So it seems our people have at last grown civil
Last revolt the streets were running red
I suppose it could be worse than barricades and riots
This time you let the king keep his head
I'd've fought the good fight in that hopeful july
In my youth when they marched on the Bastille
Every generation invents its future and the past
But the old learn that time becomes a wheel

Cm Eb Cm Eb
Allons enfants … alas that you're still children
Gm Bb F
I think I've had enough of these wars
Bb Gm
There are many way to end a revolution, my friends
F Eb
You can live if you lay down your swords

I too want freedom, please don't think that I don't
But soon enough someone wants to lead
If you pull out the keystone, then the frame falls apart
Freedom's no good to the deceased
Do you remember your brothers, the Italians in Piedmont? --
You deny that they're brothers but they are --
How many fought for money? How many for a vote?
and failed despite correcting your flaws

We traded king for a commune, then bourgeoisie for what?
It's Emperor Napoleon again ---
Can you possibly think that we're any better off?
Even you must see that nothing here has changed
What you see now as victory the mighty can abide
Their patience will be your hangman's rope
I'm sorry if you wanted encouragement and cheers
But it's decades since I'd any cause to hope
Track Name: The Field of Agincourt
King Henry was a righteous king in Monmouth he was born
And demanded of the French they pay a price for all their scorn
He asked the hand of Catherine and all their gold in store
But they refused him when asked the crown King Charlie wore
G D A Bm
King Henry was a righteous, but a proud and noble lord
D A/C# G/B A G/B A/C# D
So in fourteen hundred fifteen's spring, King Henry went to war

He lay in siege a month and day
at Halfleur by the sea
And to his men who feared to die
cried once more to the breach

And he delivered a challenge to
the Duke of Aquitaine
But to fight King Henry face to face
the Dauphin would not agree

And though the year and days grew short
he marched his armies north
To Calaise and then to ford the Somme
at last to Agincourt

In the dark before the battle joined
he walked among his men
And knew his brave though sickened band
all feared to face the dawn

But Henry said their cause was just
and said he would not yield
And if any man had no heart to fight
they were not upon that field

King Henry led himself the main,
Camoys the lefthand force
And the Duke of York the vanguard took
on the field of Agincourt

Then the men-at-arms came through the mud
in heavy morning rain
And the bowmen and the king's own sword
beat them back again

And the cowards attacking from the rear
they slew the baggage train
And Henry ordered in return
his prisoners should be slain

But when the day came to a close
the histories do record
King Henry won the victory
on the field of Agincourt
Track Name: The Last of My Kind
Imagine everything was gone:
Not just those you love or hate
or are indifferent toward
but the world itself was changed
No cities, roads, or books
Your language forgotten in time
Your world dust and fossilized
I am the last of my kind

Imagine you're a relic:
An object of ridicule
they describe you as backwards,
when they remember at all
reconstruct you in museums
Making educated guesses
about why you became extinct
discussing how things have progressed

See how primitive he is!
See how unlike us!
The sloping forehead,
the stupid digits
The primitive weapons
The worthless tools
The broken teeth
The ragged fingernails
The dirty skin and hair
The malnourished cheeks
The thick, tangled beard
The hulking muscles
and uselessly keen eyes
But could he speak like you and me?
Grow crops to survive the winter?
Could they even strategize
ways to defend themselves
from any worse than rain and wind?
From foes without and within?
I could tell you that's all lies
It is, isn't it?
I am the last of my kind
I am the last of my kind
I am the last of my kind