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Hey Sufjan, You Took Too Long So I Went Ahead and Made West Virginia

by Mr. Husband

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A lot of folks think that West Virginia is the west side of Virginia And that’s not correct no, it’s its own state No, that’s not correct See...in the civil war There was one big Virginia And the East joined up to fight with the South But the West wanted out to fight with the North So they made their own state A whole other state Now I grew up in West Virginia and my Pop worked at The coal-burning power plant where they burn the coal That you always hear about when West virginia comes up In politics Now I was a boy in West Virginia with a pick up truck And a little bit of land and farmers tan and a river where I swam Now I’m all growed up and I moved away But I visit when I can Signing La-La-La, down in West Virginia With the golden trout and the rhododendron And the old black bear, and the sweet fresh air Where it’s wild and wonderful Signing La-La-La, down in West Virginia Where it’s wild and wonderful
Round Bale Wrastlin’: We wrastle on the round bales piled three bales high If you fall from the top row you are definitely going to die It’s a total melee ‘til your little brother cries We wrastle on the round bales piled three bales high I don’t know why It just feels good to me I don’t know why We wrastle in the square bales in your step dad’s barn We hollow out a UFC-style hay bale octagon I try to drop an elbow and I almost break my arm We wrastle in the square bales in your step dad’s barn I don’t know why It just feels good to me I don’t know why
Meemaw 02:47
Meemaw warshed away in the ‘85 flood Peepaw couldn’t carry on without her love He jumped into the river and he never came up Cause Meemaw warshed away in the ‘85 flood The rooster sleeps in when the sun comes up The pigs won’t roll around now in the mud The cows won’t moo and the chickens won’t cluck Cause Meemaw warshed away in the ‘85 flood They ain't no pie on the windowsill The front porch swing just sits there, still The piano keys are all covered in dust Cause Meemaw warshed away in the ‘85 flood The garden’s only growing weeds The fruit just rots now on the trees A opossum moved into the attic And a squirrel lives in the truck Cause Meemaw warshed away in the ‘85 flood
West Virginia was founded by a man A man whose name was Morgan Morgan Yes, you heard me right but I’ll say it twice That man’s name was Morgan Morgan That always made me laugh in West Virginia history class When the teacher said “His name was Morgan Morgan” Like were his parents just that lazy? Or did the history books mess up? I found it hard to believe his name was Morgan Morgan But when you’re in Morgantown Or you’re Morgan county bound Just remember, this land was founded By a man whose name was Morgan Morgan
Now I was the son of a preacher man We had a little church by the river side And up against the river rock was piled high To keep the flood waters from comin’ in And on those rocks we would jump and play When church let out every Sunday But the river snakes like to lay on them So you had to watch out so you didn’t get bit And on Easter Sunday it was hot inside The old church didn’t have air conditioning So we opened up the door to let the cool breeze in And as Daddy gave the easter sermon A 10-foot snake come slitherin’ in Right down the aisle with the women and men To be a member of the congregation My momma jumped and my sister screamed And Daddy said something that you wouldn’t believe He said “That old devil snake has GOT to leave… One way or another if you know what I mean” But the old man, Clarence, who was 86 Picked up a raggedy broom stick and With a gentle hand, he swept that snake outside And none of us knew what this could have meant What had the snake come in there for? Was it God or the devil? Did he wanna get saved? Or just cool his belly on the wooden floor? Well I don’t know even to this day But anytime I see a river snake I think of those people down at the little church And all the other things the river washed away Singing Glory Glory Hallelujah Glory Glory Hallelujah Glory Glory Hallelujah
(Mountain dew and can of Skoal, get that pepperoni roll) Well Monday come but the bus never showed Radio was saying that the school was closed We drove into town and there standing in a line Was all the school teachers holding picket signs I didn’t know it was important, I just thought it was cool Cause me and all the kids didn’t have to go to school It seemed like fun at the time It was the 1990 West Virginia teachers strike
Mothman 01:19
I get cleaned up, you wear your special dress And we head down to that secret place We kissed when we first met And I get down on one knee And I pull out from my pocket Your grandma’s diamond ring And I’m about to ask those four words You’ve been wanting me to say And then the mothman comes Rips off both our skin And flys away
Well little partners, I reckon that about wraps up this here West Virginia album I feel like we gave ol’ Sufjan hell but it was all in good fun and hopeful he’s not too ticked off about it. If you’re a fellow West Virginian I hope you enjoyed hearing these tunes. Some of them were just a goof and some of them were as serious as a heart attack but either way I sure did enjoy writing them and singing them for you on this here record. If you’re one of the less fortunate who grew up somewhere less wild and less wonderful well...my sincere condolences to you. But I’m here to tell you, even if you can’t visit these old hills in the flesh, it’s not too late for you. It’s a state of mind or a feeling you just feel somewhere deep inside your heart Any time you stop and pat an old dog nice and slow you are there Or when you catch a whiff of the sweet autumn leaves in the evening air Any time you help your neighbor jump-start their car or you Catch lightning bug in an old dusty mason jar Any time you work so hard your supper tastes extra good Or you help your Peepaw haul a load of firewood No, We can’t all be west Virginians but we all need somewhere We can sit and listen to the peepers after dark So do not dismay if you live too far away There’s a West Virginia tucked inside your heart (Oh the hills, beautiful hills, how I love the West Virginia Hills. If by sea or land I roam, still I think of happy home and my friends amongst the West Virginia hills)


Dearest Listener and Good Friend,
I couldn’t possibly be happier to share with you this collection of songs which you are welcome to call “West Virginia” but the official title is “Hey Sufjan, You Took Too Long So I Went Ahead and Made West Virginia”.(1) My family has a long history in WV and I grew up there in a little town called Petersburg. My young life there was Idyllic in ways that seem impossible now and I wanted to bottle up some of my feelings and stories and put them somewhere safe, out of reach from the raging fires of time and change. Almost all of the songs are pulled directly from real memories and events and it was pure joy writing them. It is my dream that you will put this record on and have a little slice of the wild and the wonderful, whenever and wherever you may need it.

Your Eternal Brother and Fellow West Virginian,
Kenny Tompkins
AKA Kenny Husband
But That’s Mr. Husband To You!

Dedicated to every single friend I’ve ever had from West Virginia. Your spirit was with me on this here artistic journey.

(1) See Sufjan Stevens’ 50 States Project


released September 11, 2020

All Songs written, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Kenny Tompkins at home while doing other stuff

Cover by Kenny Tompkins with additional panels by Curt Tompkins. Cover image is a direct parody of Pink Floyd’s “The Darkside of the Moon” cover.

Samples and Radio Excerpts compiled from multiple sources:
-West Virginia: A Film History (documentary)
-Black Lung Disease Compensation Better Times A-Comin 1980 USDOL Employment Standards Administration (PSA film)
-”Phfft! You Were Gone" is an excerpt of a song written by Lee Roberts, performed by Pop Pop, Lucy, and Dakota.
-”Pepperoni Roll” excerpt is a parody written and recorded by K. Tompkins, based on “Tootsie Roll” by the 69 Boyz.
-”Oh the hills” excerpt is taken from the West Virginia state song originally written by Ellen King and H.E. Engle
-several sources of unknown origin were also used


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