Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer Live at the dotmatrix project

by Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer

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On April 24th, 2010, Bruce Piephoff and Scott Sawyer, two old friends and veterans of the jazz blues and folk worlds, played together for only the second time in 30 years. the dotmatrix project was lucky enough to capture their performance at Studio B downtown Greensboro, NC.

Don Ravon & Jerrod Smith captured the multi-track recording of their set, and Don Ravon mixed down the final album.

DMP is proud to release Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer Live at the dotmatrix project.


released August 24, 2010

Recording Engineers: Dan Bayer & Jerrod Smith
Mixing Engineer: Don Ravon




Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer Greensboro, North Carolina

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Track Name: The Ballad of Robert Pete Williams (live @ DMP)
Robert Williams grew up in the south
He was not known for having too much mouth
When he killed a man in a barroom brawl
It was self defense but it was his fall

They sent him down to Angola State
Put him to work making license plates
For self defense they give him life
Thought the man had come at him with a knife

Some got six months, some got a year
Me and my buddy got a lifetime here
Everybody got to die for himself
If I don't get well, it's just as well I died
If I don't get well, it's just as well I died

In a laundry room with an old guitar
He'd sit and play to heal the scars
There he wrote Angola Prison Blues
Won work release and a pardon too

He traveled Europe and the States
His playing proved there'd been a mistake
He sang his songs, people laughed and cried
They could tell this man, he had not lied


Williams' hands were worth their weight in gold
But he died poor, 66 years old
Collecting and selling scrap iron at home
Singing the blues when he died alone

Track Name: Her Habit Was Strong (live @ DMP v2)
Her habit was strong
The habit of freedom and change
Living with wings, flying high
Above the land of stone

She was more fire than light
A trapeze artist piquant
A tigress in the night
A dancer, a trap of delight

She could act out any role
Charm the hobo or the prince
She could heighten and sustain
Her value with resistance

Her skin sea shell white
Her eyes of violet
Her dresses of red velvet
Enslaved the poets

She was prodded by sailors
With slow ritual and incense
With opium and cocaine
They offered chains at her expense

But her habit was too strong
The habit of freedom and change
Living with wings, flying high
Above the land of stone
Track Name: Empty Streets (live @ DMP)
Empty streets at the break of dawn
Watching my feet as they walk along
Ain't seen you babe, now it's been so long
I just couldn't get to sleep last night

I sent you a letter but got no reply
If I could just recall all the reasons why
Feel like my fingers just might touch the sky
Said I'll love you babe till the day I die

Genevers in the bar all night
Or drinking wine in the pale moonlight
The organ grinder, he played a happy song
But I just couldn't get to sleep last night

Van Gogh paintings dance inside my head
Am I sleeping or am I really dead?
I do not recall everything we said
But I'll love you babe(3 times)
Till the day I die
Track Name: Still Looking Up At The Stars (live @ DMP)
Too much to twist, I'm just a symphony of bones
But Missy Vile, she won't leave me alone
Down in this Carolina clay, I keep on dreaming large
Yea, I'm down in a ditch but I'm still lookin up at the stars

I got a biscuit eatin dog, I got a Harley that's a hog
Got a woman home all day sleeping like a log
Got new tires on my car, new strings on my guitar
Yea, I'm down in a ditch, but I'm still lookin up at the stars

Now it must be jelly, jam don't shake like that
That woman's jelly homemade
Man, she moves like a cat
That jelly so good make your tongue slap your brains out
Yea, I'm down in a ditch but I'm still lookin up at the stars

Now you learn how to whisper in a helicopter
Learn how to drink with a bottle of Fat Bastard
Learn how to think with a brain like a sieve
Learn how to love when you learn how to forgive
And I'm down in a ditch but I'm still lookin up at the stars
Track Name: Here I Have Lived (live @ DMP)
Here I have lived where the mountains tower up close to God in the western sky
Here I have lived in the steaming city where the hungry cry
Here I have lived where the thunder rumbles in the streets and underground
Where the poor boy seeks some solace in the poetry he's found
Here I have lived

Here I have lived with the criminal, the pauper and the hunted too
Here I have run to the sound of lightning down a dead end highway turning blue
Here I've slept with silent angels, here I've wrestled with the dark
Here I've come of age as a young man, here I've returned when I lost the spark

Here there are friends as old as I am
Here there are enemies older still
Here there are ghosts on every corner
Here there are many holes to fill
Here there are souls lost in the silence
Of an Indian summer's sky
Here there are old folks busy being born, young folks who have died
Here there are stories rich for telling in the diners and the bars
Here there's a cleansing of the conscience in a walk beneath the stars

Here I have lived in the steaming city with the beauty of the little lives
Here I have howled and cried to laughter, here I have lived
Here I will die
Track Name: You Got A Way (live @ DMP)
You got a way
Now don't you babe
To chase away these days
Of thunder and rage

In the willows
Swells the joyful
As voices from below
Scatter bones on the newly fallen snow

In chains of darkness
Fired in factories
Lie worlds of lonely
Wandering with hard necessity

But how we dance away the hours
Among the flowers
Stars and streams
And dreams of morning light
Track Name: I Hope You're Home Tonite (live @ DMP)
These streets are just a cop opera
But Caruso, he ain't here
And it's cold as a coal miner's ass
It's chilly winds that bring these tears
Over on the other side of town everybody's safe and warm
Getting scrubbed with soap therapy
All the good mouths guard the norm

And this strip's a lemonstration
Here in this neighborhood
And I fall right in there with em
Is that a slant six under the hood?

I'm a stranger on this snake
A biodegradable clown
Strolling by the newstand
With Delta of Venus Erotica unbound
As the ghosts of disco mania
In their downsized foreign cars
And the granny squad from the donut shop
Are all circling the bar

And midnite's just a falling star
Cause I'm still in love with you
And the moon just makes me crazy
Cause there's too much crime to do

I'll drop a quarter in the pay phone
And I hope you're home tonight
Cause I'm over feeling wounded
And too lonesome to pick a fight
I admit that I am selfish
A lot of times I'm wrong
But I need a few uptempo
Vibes to move me on

And midnite's.....
Track Name: Ringmaker (live @ DMP v2)
The trains are whistling through the combat zone
For old Milwaukee, blind men stumble on stones
Lost in the city's love that's never known
But still has grown and grown

And crawling from the caverns of her mind
Sweet Gina smiles like a steam dream in overdrive
For the mood master, the sitting duck
Taking roots to give his wings time to grow

But ringmaker, let me love you
My dream takers, I still love you

And Catherine of Arrogance gives you the key
Sayin' "Meet me at midnight on the corner of McGee"
Giggles in turnstyles with innocent smiles
Sayin' "Momma's having an affair with a priest"

So the least you can do is turn black and blue
Then come down to little Esther's for some angel stew
There's little black sheep baby boys and girls
Leave the Lord's reward on the drawing board


So we sat up all night drinking cheap red wine
Talkin about Charleston and the CIA
And star witnesses for the prosecution
And the confused and watchful novocaine solution

Mutually serving each other doubts and digressions
Heavies building armaments woven in words
Till the morning came patiently, slowly as a virgin
Trampled by madmen racing about


And side by side in the cement and salt
Poets and peasants leave footprints at starting blocks
Some frowning judgments on the sick and insane
Relaxed as icebergs and praying for rain

While others stare from sockets of fire
Or skate in bubbles still higher and higher
From dizzy cubicles with two left hands
Hermits open all night making plans


Balanced in constant confusion and smoke
The Queen City's high heeled liberation spoke
To the steamy jungle village and kid he shuffles
Rolling with the punches and going with the hunches

And breaking backs in between snacks
Like pigeons on my roof the darkness attacks
In barrels and blues and cemented sacks
Billy clubs, handcuffs, blue lights in packs

Track Name: Notes From Knoxville (live @ DMP v2)
Angel leans on blades of grass
Roses in one hand in a glass
We walk the halls where the cuckoo flies
West into our dreams
On magic moonbeams
God bless out loved ones, each and every one

It's a pall mall for a freeman's song
On the borderline where we sing along
Escape clause to paradise
Hanging on with a smile
Another year in exile
And God bless our loved ones, each and every one

Sooner or later they'll give up on us
We'll walk where we want or take the bus

From the streetlight be back before dawn
Before the boys break your back, please be gone
Paradise is free, ground yourself like a tree
Please be waiting there for me
And God bless our loved ones, each and every one

You gave me just what I needed
You arrived just in time
To open my eyes when I was so blind
We'll leave this poverty behind
And God bless our loved ones, each and every one


From Brightwood to Boston, San Diego to Tennessee
Say a prayer if you please, say a prayer for me
I'll fly to you across the sea
And God bless our loved ones, each and every one

And I'm dizzy with changes, tired of rearranging
Little brother Alvin's face, his memory has been erased
They steal his olives and cheese
He'll bite the sheets but not on his knees

Track Name: Pyramid's Pace (live @ DMP)
Before us the owls, so loudly they sleep
In silken avalanche and circumspection
They twist and they turn, full circle with the churn
Of masquerading saints in introspection
Queen Anne's lace, Promethean grace
In the shadowed sideshows
Pyramid's pace in painted face
To the twilight temptress' doze

And the dying giving breath to pale visions they have left
Their buildings float in mist, eclipsed by your kiss

Injury from without and welfare from within
O subterranean prince of discontentment
Still your eyes they shine through the tears and the wine
To the drops of dancing rain upon the river
Your Parisian subway songs and looks that look at nothing at all
The golden clocks that coldly stair from shelves of miasmal cares

Devoured by the wolves, one heart has gone to rest
Friends betraying friends, the lies have done their best

So safely within the bounds of tradition he will seek
Revenge upon your body and your soul
And that restless wanting that no language can explain
Finds him trying on old Sunday clothes
For the goddess of reason exterminating rum with social disease
In the name of modern man the general welfare is deceased

And the dying giving breath to pale visions they have left
Their buildings float in mist, eclipsed by your kiss
Track Name: Old Crow (live @ DMP)
The old crow was scratching and screaming
Around 3 am
Like a bandanaed boxer
He was wailing a hymn
We was pumpin aluminum
We was feelin no pain
I was pinchin myself in hometown rain

The sun hung like a red balloon out on ole 85
Through the hailstones I hurried to the cafe feelin alive
It was warm, loose and high, I was surrounded by friends
I knew damn well we would meet once again

There was music from the Rootboy and the Sentinel Boys too
And some jazzgrass and some jazz and some plankton and some brew
And a lady dressed in white, wearing a shell
With a rose in her hat and some stories to tell

So we walked on the street by the Belstone crowd
And swam like fish when things got too proud
Wild memories returned over coffee and shrimp
Till time came to leave with more memories to scrimp

Now the lady's in France, I'm back at work
There's another one I love when shadows don't lurk
And a ways down the road, couple of hours away
There's an old crow calling, come on now and play