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Greg Brown — Dream Cafe
Album: Dream Cafe
Avg rating:
6.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2018









Released: 1992
Length: 5:47
Plays (last 30 days): 4
You were the woman in the blue mask,
Standin there beside your dress.
All the things I wanted from you,
I never could express.
I thought I saw you once in Munich,
But you slipped away.
I'm in the corner with the coffee
At The Dream Cafe.

For once I didn't say anything stupid-
My lover never once looked bored.
And soldiers come in smeared with lipstick,
Like the last day of war.
The band divided up the money,
But the drummer could not stay.
He said he's gonna meet us later,
At The Dream Cafe.

When you turned from the window,
In your worn out slip,
Put your eyes to my fingers,
While the ceiling dripped,
I just could not leave you.
I heard a motorcycle pull away.
Yes, I'll meet you after midnight,
At The Dream Cafe.

There's flowers now on Linn Street,
And the new moon just above.
They tore down all the houses,
Where we used to make love.
But, they'd been long abondoned,
When we went there, anyway.
And I can still smell the lilacs,
In the corner of The Dream Cafe.

We we've only been fighting ten years-
Do you really have to go?
Couldn't you reconsider,
And do it real, real slow?
I like living with you-
I don't care what you say.
I don't care who you meet,
At The Dream Cafe.

Your eyes roll back to midnight-
Lost in a fantasy.
I heard you cry out someone's name,
And baby it was me.
But later as we're walkin',
You seemed so far away.
Am I the man you thought you met,
At The Dream Cafe?

I've come down with a sickness-
I thought you were the cure.
But passion seems to promise more,
Than friendship can endure.
You spelled it out in black and white-
My eyes saw shades of gray,
And, so I sit alone tonight,
At The Dream Cafe.

Heat lightning in the mirror,
And the thunder cries out loud.
I can be to you-
You could be to me,
Just another face in the crowd.
The plane don't leave 'til midnight-
Come with me today.
They'll be plenty of time to be alone,
At The Dream Cafe
Comments (135)add comment
Iowa City represent!
Greg Brown once played a festival that my wife helps produce. My wife was at the merch table when Greg's agent/road manager/handler walked up to check-in. He had a handful of CDs to sell. My wife commented that this festival crowd was known for buying CDs and the handful was too few. The agent guy looked at her and said, "I do what Greg tells me and collect 10%." He turned on his heel and walked away.
seems like he is played every day, at least once. must be one of william's favorites.
 idiot_wind wrote:


Very insightful. 

There is a definite Dylan vibe and song structure here. 

Ah ha!!!!   Maybe it's a Highway 61  thing.   You see...Highway 61  runs right through Greg's stomping grounds. 

  


I'm getting Leonard Cohen.....
 nicknt wrote:

Unless you are Bob Dylan, an intimate song shouldn't be longer than 3 minutes.



Very insightful. 

There is a definite Dylan vibe and song structure here. 

Ah ha!!!!   Maybe it's a Highway 61  thing.   You see...Highway 61  runs right through Greg's stomping grounds. 

  
"Dream Cafe" sounds like the kind of thing you'd have to trademark before releasing the song, just in case it gets popular.  I wonder how many Dream Cafes popped up across the country in the 1990s.
 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

this guy sounds really contrived and then that made me start thinking what is contrived anyway? Isn't it all contrived? Mick Jagger in Superheavy or any of his other incarnations is pretty much pure theatre..
.. but to be fair he is playing a character called Mick Jagger that he spent his whole life creating. I guess Bob Dylan falls in the same category.. meaning the border between the contrived and the real gets pretty blurred... Tom Waits also springs to mind, all of them great artists.. 
so why the hell do I get bothered when this guy sounds contrived?



"why the hell do I get bothered when this guy sounds contrived?"

Because you are clueless?

IMHO Greg Brown's Dream Cafe is far from contrived.



Love these lyrics! RP is on a roll with smooth morning mix songs this Saturday.
 tonyinnj wrote:

Celebrating a Puritan Christmas? Well, that'd be no Christmas at all (and, sorry,
no Santa either...;-(

Tony in NJ
W.A.S.T.E.


Cough, cough... better look at the history of the Christmas tree and mistletoe there, bud.

The Church moved the celebration of the birth of the Christ figure to the December solstice because all them pagans were ignoring that Christian bumpf and doing their own thing.  Superimposed the celebrations and then started teaching it was Christ all along. These were some SHARP propogandists!
 lizardking wrote:

This has become one of my favorite "agony" tunes.  Agony being my label for songs about "lost love."  My two fav verses are:

We've only been fighting 10 years, do you really have to go?  Couldn't you reconsider, and do it real, real slow?

...and...

I've come down with a sickness, I thought you were the cure. But passion seems to promise more than friendship can endure

 

 



Yes, it's really hard to beat -- his songwriting is genius on this, and his flawless transmission of the poignancy of the agony you speak of floors me, every time!  
 dinkydau wrote:

i'm hearing Randy Newman.




Funny, I'm hearing Greg Brown.
The only thing to make this song better than it is right now is if you added some Cowbells to the mix! šŸ˜œ
fyi...the dream cafe may actually  the Sanctuary restaurant in Iowa City, Iowa

Saw Greg play there once
Unless you are Bob Dylan, an intimate song shouldn't be longer than 3 minutes.
Grant new to me song and artist! Thanks!
 Cynaera wrote:
I don't know who this artist is, but every time I hear one of his songs, I grin a little bit and love him more. Money will be spent.

To address the Stingray comment below:  I sort of agree with the whole "Christmas is a tradition not a religion" thing. He has some valid points. I just wish he wasn't such a baboon's ass about it.

I'm off to the dump to shoot rats now.
 
Another classic from Cynaera.  Keep bumping them guys,  there are lots of her hidden gems below on every page.  RIP Anne. 
 anduinrosebud wrote:
moneygrip wrote:
Any suggestions at a first purchase Greg Brown album? many thanks
My favorite is "Poet Game" But anything from Dream Cafe through Covenant is golden.
 

One of my all time favorite albums is "Going Driftless", a compilation tribute to Greg Brown.  Performed by female roots royalty, song after song of sheer beauty.  
 talexb wrote:
This song has the same feel as that Marianne Faithful song .. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan. Intriguing.
 
They're both somewhat tragic/heartbreaking.
The opening line makes me think this was just done in the last year, when half the women I meet are wearing a blue mask. 
This song delivers the satisfied goods. 
This song has the same feel as that Marianne Faithful song .. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan. Intriguing.
 dinkydau wrote:
i'm hearing Randy Newman.
 

You must be listening to another station.
Yep yep yep ... Iā€™m there with you GB. Xxxx Greg Brown manages so very often to hit a very sweet spot in the heart. There's something about him that captures the fundamental essence of things
Greg Brown manages so very often to hit a very sweet spot in the heart. There's something about him that captures the fundamental essence of things.
Whoa!  Just got my heart broke @ the Dream Cafe!  
I see a scene of a cowboy on horseback ... a good piece that I didn't know, radio paradise always on the piece!
 lizardking wrote:

It's an adaptation of the pagan winter solstice celebration and the man known as Jesus WAS NOT born in December, though the SUN does RISE in the sky after the solstice so....seems way more like it's the pagan (i.e. Country Dweller) celebration than anything.  Heck, not until Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" it wasn't a very popular holiday....oh, this song is a 10 for me....LLRP!!
 
Celebrating a Puritan Christmas? Well, that'd be no Christmas at all (and, sorry,
no Santa either...;-(

Tony in NJ
W.A.S.T.E.
 Michael_Dean wrote:
I raise my glass to the poets who have so much to share! I rate this work at "10" along side Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Jackson Brown, to name a few. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
 
Definitely.
 jahgirl8 wrote:


Christmas is a tradition because it's a celebration of the birth of Christ. You're welcome to celebrate a tradition because you feel left out, but it's for Jesus, plain and simple.
 
It's an adaptation of the pagan winter solstice celebration and the man known as Jesus WAS NOT born in December, though the SUN does RISE in the sky after the solstice so....seems way more like it's the pagan (i.e. Country Dweller) celebration than anything.  Heck, not until Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" it wasn't a very popular holiday....oh, this song is a 10 for me....LLRP!!
 Cynaera wrote:
I don't know who this artist is, but every time I hear one of his songs, I grin a little bit and love him more. Money will be spent.

To address the Stingray comment below:  I sort of agree with the whole "Christmas is a tradition not a religion" thing. He has some valid points. I just wish he wasn't such a baboon's ass about it.

I'm off to the dump to shoot rats now.
 

Christmas is a tradition because it's a celebration of the birth of Christ. You're welcome to celebrate a tradition because you feel left out, but it's for Jesus, plain and simple.
"But passion seems to promise more,
Than friendship can endure."

Unbearably poignant!
He lives in the SE boot heel of Iowa.  Where Highway 61 runs from the north country woods down south along the Mississippi.  

 
 Michael_Dean wrote:
What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
                                                                           - Leonard Cohen
 

I should have known this was not written by some RP listener. 
Vis a vis FM radio, there are 50, 75, 100+ fine, noteworthy, evocative, vastly talented, passionate, perception-altering musicians and bands here on RP we would NEVER hear on the air.  (And maybe I refer to only the American ones...) Greg Brown is surely one of them. Only many years spent observing other people and oneself  could inspire such a wonderful song, that would likely not otherwise reach our ears. 
I raise my glass to the poets who have so much to share! I rate this work at "10" along side Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Jackson Brown, to name a few. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
                                                                           - Leonard Cohen
 whomhow wrote:

Desolation Row? ;)

 
Exactly right -- but I like it anyway. As much. Maybe more. Dylan tends to this surreal, this is more real life. 
 lizardking wrote:
I dig this song! It reminds me of "Wild World" by Cat Stevens....something in the voice sounds like that feeling I remember from years ago, love lost, sent or pushed away. at some point realizing a moment in time can be a memory ever after, even if that moment is the bittersweet last time seeing the person whose absence makes you blue

 
This has become one of my favorite "agony" tunes.  Agony being my label for songs about "lost love."  My two fav verses are:

We've only been fighting 10 years, do you really have to go?  Couldn't you reconsider, and do it real, real slow?

...and...

I've come down with a sickness, I thought you were the cure. But passion seems to promise more than friendship can endure

 

 

I dig this song! It reminds me of "Wild World" by Cat Stevens....something in the voice sounds like that feeling I remember from years ago, love lost, sent or pushed away. at some point realizing a moment in time can be a memory ever after, even if that moment is the bittersweet last time seeing the person whose absence makes you blue
this guy sounds really contrived and then that made me start thinking what is contrived anyway? Isn't it all contrived? Mick Jagger in Superheavy or any of his other incarnations is pretty much pure theatre..
.. but to be fair he is playing a character called Mick Jagger that he spent his whole life creating. I guess Bob Dylan falls in the same category.. meaning the border between the contrived and the real gets pretty blurred... Tom Waits also springs to mind, all of them great artists.. 
so why the hell do I get bothered when this guy sounds contrived?


i'm hearing Randy Newman.
I know he's talented and all, but I just don't care for his work. His voice doesn't speak to me.
 Decoy wrote:
liking this a lot, but it sounds really familiar, like I've heard this as a cover before.

 
Desolation Row? ;)
liking this a lot, but it sounds really familiar, like I've heard this as a cover before.
Too country for my taste... thank God for PSD!
I really like this. I can't believe it's from 92!  I thought this was new.

(edit) I just read the lyrics. Would someone please come pull the knife out of my heart?
If Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen had a child together, it would sound exactly like this. {#Cool}
He's singing songs about living in Southeast Iowa...in the that strange boot heel area...near the Mississippi River.   
Fantastic song, great voice too  (maybe its for us mature folks)
About five too many repetitions of the "Dream Cafe " hook. 

Nice voice though.  
this album is a high water mark for GB - sorta finishes out the first part of his career which is more or less amazing one album after another.  This is a sad set of songs and there's a lot of loss.  but the honesty!  and the beauty!  wow.

Wow!

 

You are playing old Greg Brown. That good ole Iowa boy. But you need to play GB when he's got Bo Ramsey playing slide. Bo also plays slide for Lucinda Williams.


Likey.         
Greg always works, even the darker stuff.
Thanks RP!  Another great morning song from an amazing songwriter!  {#Sleep}
Can't tell if it's Greg Brown or Peter Himmelman on first listen.
Great lyrics making up for a pretty bland delivery. made you listen and like it !
an attractive piece with super lyrics ("we've only been fighting 10 years, maybe we can reconsider"), fits this sunny Mother's Day afternoon as I slow drink a cool porter, and think of my other, my son's mother. Still smiling long after this song ends.
Unlike other commenters, I'm having a hard time figuring Greg Brown out. I've heard two songs on RP (this one and "Who Woulda Thunk It") that I like quite a bit. But they don't seem at all typical from the other things by GB that I've managed to hear. Anyone able to clarify this for me?
Hmm, a new voice! Kinda like a livelier Jesse Winchester. That's definitely a good thing!
I don't know who this artist is, but every time I hear one of his songs, I grin a little bit and love him more. Money will be spent.

To address the Stingray comment below:  I sort of agree with the whole "Christmas is a tradition not a religion" thing. He has some valid points. I just wish he wasn't such a baboon's ass about it.

I'm off to the dump to shoot rats now.
boring
Mmm, nice!
Hello RP-Listeners!

I wish all of you "MERRY CHRISTMAS",
wherever you are - whoever you wanna be!

Christmas is a sweet-naive tradition -
not a religious event! 

I like it anyway!

Still - I hope Bill takes the chance
to rock the christmas-tree to pieces tonight!

"Happy Christmas
your "BAD SANTA",
aka STINGRAY
-from Cologne/Germany-
PS
Sermon of the day (promise: I'm serious):

The "Three Wise Men" - Melchior, Balthasar + Caspar
are buried in a golden sarcophage in"our" dome, the famous 
"Cologne dome" - the third highest church-building
in the world - right in the very centre of town, next to the Rhine.
A gothic building of extra-class!

Have a look:
https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Koelner_Dom_bei_Nacht_1_RB.JPG&filetimestamp=20060517174554

The "grave" for the non-believers:
https://www.koelner-dom.de/17450.html?&L=1

+

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrine_of_the_Three_Kings

"Passion promises more
Than friendship can endure."
what a line!
"We've only been fighting ten years—do you really have to go?"

Not big on the song, but that's a very clever line.

One of my favorite authors named his personal site The Dream Cafe. I wonder....{#Think}
One of the few GB albums I don't have.  Nice to hear it.  Love this guy!
Lyrics are the best part of this.

"whine, whine, whine dream cafe, whine whine whine" — Sorry y'all, but I'm feeling impatient today.

I'd give it a 'Ho-Hum'... but honestly, I don't want to hum this repetitive, unoriginal musical 'doodle'.

-2-
I'm hearing Jackson Brown, David Lindley days.
Greg Brown really has the art of painting vignettes down tight. I love his song about putting summer up in Mason jars for a winter's evening.
 dreaminofsailing wrote:
I like this. His voice reminds me of Leonard Cohen.
 

!!!!
I like sleeping with Marie
She is one sexy girl full of mystery
She says she doesn't love me but she likes my company
For now that's good enough for me

Always glad to hear Greg Brown!
 Antigone wrote:

Um, 12:30 is the time the song was played, not how long the song is.

 
ohh shezzz sorry my bad.....it just felt that way........

 dBdwg wrote:
Oh for the love of God!!   12 minutes and 30 seconds..........why???
 
Um, 12:30 is the time the song was played, not how long the song is.

Oh for the love of God!!   12 minutes and 30 seconds..........why???
 dreaminofsailing wrote:
I like this. His voice reminds me of Leonard Cohen.
 

????????????????????????????????????????

As I said last year:  This one is growing on me.
9 > 10


In the words of the immortal Joe Strummer: f*ckin' long, innit? {#Sleep}
 Erie-T30 wrote:
Still think it sounds like Mark Knoffler
 
agreed!

More Greg Brown please. Especially "By Myself" and "Kokomo".
Outstanding singer/songwriter, right up there with the best story song writers. 
This one is growing on me:  Dream Cafe, is it anywhere near the Field of Dreams?
"Is this Heaven?  No, its Iowa."  {#Smile}


Does this song ever end?
Sounds like a drunken Mark Knopfler.  Not good.
good to hear this guy again - haven't heard him since a prairie home companion a few years back. a memorable bass.
Buddy just saw Greg Brown playing in St. Paul MN a few weeks ago. He book-ended his show with 2 songs from this album. This song and "You Drive Me Crazy." Pretty cool to pull material from work you did 16 years ago.
musikalia wrote:
Funny, to me he sounds exactly the opposite. Absolutely mediocre and unremarkable. Nothing original about that.
Someone calling this songwriter mediocre defines a juvenile ear. Comment again in about twenty years.
This might be his most "produced" song, he generally just goes it alone with a guitar. Great live performer.
moneygrip wrote:
Any suggestions at a first purchase Greg Brown album? many thanks
My favorite is "Poet Game" But anything from Dream Cafe through Covenant is golden.
A little less stacato and it would be a nine.#8
cycleman wrote:
Greg is a real original....
Funny, to me he sounds exactly the opposite. Absolutely mediocre and unremarkable. Nothing original about that.
\"I\'ve come down with a sickness, I thought you were the cure. But passion seems to promise more, than friendship can endure.\"
I like this. His voice reminds me of Leonard Cohen.
Really dinging this a lot.
:nodhead: Gee this is a nice song... I'm liking it more as time passes. Time to buy something...
First time I've heard this... Really good song!
This is just a great song.
Any suggestions at a first purchase Greg Brown album? many thanks
scottc wrote:
Thanks Bill. I have a large collection of Greg, but nowadays I seem to listen to you more...am I becoming lazy? So hearing Greg is always great.
...same here...can't ever get enough Greg Brown...
Thanks Bill. I have a large collection of Greg, but nowadays I seem to listen to you more...am I becoming lazy? So hearing Greg is always great. Red House Records folks...Greg's label. (Well he doesn't own it.)
Cambot wrote:
If Bill Bragg had been born in the U.S. - and went to the Chris Isaak school of singing....and was possesed by 'The Boss.'
'Billy' Bragg, that is.
If Bill Bragg had been born in the U.S. - and went to the Chris Isaak school of singing....and was possesed by 'The Boss.'
Sounds like Jay Bennett, he having been kicked out of Wilco a couple years ago.
THANK YOU!!! More Greg Brown would be wonderful. Some Karen Savoca would be good, too.
mmm I love Greg Brown, play more please
Still think it sounds like Mark Knoffler
Adam wrote:
Canned Goods.
No way -- This is not processed food!
gstark33 wrote:
Greg Brown is great - what's the song about his Grannie's peaches? Summer In A Jar - I think... marvelous storyteller. Great human being. He took a year off to vounteer for Habitat For Humanity - swinging a hammer. Now he's married to Iris De Ment. It's hard to go wrong with Greg Brown
Canned Goods.
Greg is a real original....he's from outside of Iowa City, IA....sister in law used to see him play live all the time in the late 70's...he was a hard worker then....and still is today. One of my favorite tracks off this album is Laughing River
Greg Brown is great - what's the song about his Grannie's peaches? Summer In A Jar - I think... marvelous storyteller. Great human being. He took a year off to vounteer for Habitat For Humanity - swinging a hammer. Now he's married to Iris De Ment. It's hard to go wrong with Greg Brown
Originally Posted by mattcol99: maybe Mark Knopfler ?
I thought Mark Knopfler too, as I was scrolling up. You beat me to it. Not as rough-around-the-edges-cool as Mark though.
Originally Posted by BedHead: Great song from a voice that doesn't sound like anybody elses.
maybe Mark Knopfler ?
Greg\'s voice reminds me a little of Randy Newman on this song. Only this song though. This guy is GREAT!