who to love + when to leave / ...and the Havoline Supremes Reissue, 2005


In 1991, I moved from my native Connecticut to Austin, Texas to learn and play honky-tonk country music. When I got there, I found a fertile scene full of everything from staunch traditionalists like Alvin Crow to rabble rousers like Two Hoots and a Holler. I soaked it all up and soon began to play out with my own aggregation, which I called The Havoline Supremes. The band included ex-Wagoneers Craig Pettigrew and Tall Tom Lewis, who went on to play with Junior Brown, among others. Craig, in particular, taught me volumes and volumes about honky tonk music, much of it over the CB radio from his ’68 Impala to my ’91 Ford pickup on the way home from late-night gigs.

In the summer of 1992, I recorded 8 of my own songs with this band. I had a DAT made of the masters--a fairly momentous thing back then--and had cassettes made from the DAT. Then I would go to the copy shop, get my J-card copied onto cardstock, score, fold, and stuff them into the cassette boxes, and bring them back to the dupe house, who would then shrink-wrap them for me. That was the way it was done in those days. I sold a few hundred copies of that cassette off the bandstand.

Around that time, I started playing in Dallas. The scene there was incredible--if anything, more fertile than the scene in Austin. What it lacked in elder statesmen (this was a few years before Ray Wylie Hubbard had emerged from his hibernation) it way more than made up for in fresh, young, and often irreverent talent: the Old 97s, Liberty Valance, Killbilly, Tommy Alverson. After a couple of gigs at the long-defunct Three Teardrops Tavern, one of which got me a big spread in the Dallas Morning News, and a by-some-accounts legendary set at the KNON-FM 10 year anniversary show that found me trading licks with Bill Kirchen, my future in big D was secure. I moved into a monthly gig at Naomi’s, which, after the demise of the 3T’s, had become the home of Dallas honky tonk. One of the many bands I took to Naomi’s in those days included Roland Denney, who’d played with everyone from Jerry Jeff Walker to Nanci Griffith, and Terry Kirkendall, on loan from the Cornell Hurd Band. It was with them that I recorded Who to Love and When to Leave in 2 sweaty days at Merel Bregante’s ADAT studio in Austin in 1996. It’s live to tape, and gives a good representation of what we were up to on those smoky Texas nights a decade ago. I pressed up a few thousand copies of Who to Love and sold them off the bandstand, too.

Since then, my career has taken me far from the straight, flat roads that line the Texas honky tonk map. But as far as I’ve gone, I’m amazed at how much of the honky tonk still lives within me. I’m excited to reissue these 2 documents of an earlier time. Those were heady days, full of wonder and discovery. I think these 2 recordings capture that, as well as a little bit of what it was like to be smack dab in the middle of one of the most fruitful scenes ever to blossom in the Lone Star State. Enjoy!

mary cutrufello
summer 2005

miss you #3

on a road without a number followin’ a river with no water and no name
one blinkin’ yellow traffic light in this faceless town i guess that i’m the same
radio waves never hit this beach just like your love they’re fallin’ out of reach
and i miss you

there’s moonshine on the rangeland risin’ up into the dark all slow and lazy
young lovers in the fields tonight just thinkin’ ’bout them brush fires drives me crazy
feelin’ lonely and a little bit scared i’m makin’ good time but i’m gettin’ nowhere
’cause i miss you

said i miss you
nothin’s stayed the same since you been gone
and i’m so blue
i ain’t hangin’ out i’m just hangin’ on

well there’s a man who says he loves me sleepin’ next to me in this lonely motel bed
and i was tired of just pretendin’ i couldn’t make believe so i made love instead
but i ain’t no woman in red i got an empty feelin’ in this achin’ head
’cause i miss you

all the millers in milwaukee

well i walked into this bar the day you left me
said gimme a shot of somethin’ strong
my baby’s gone and i’m so lonely
i’m sober now but i won’t be for long

well the neon lights they shone down fair above me
and the jukebox played a sad old hurtin’ song
but i could not forget you loved me
and just like you the bottle’s done me wrong

all the millers in milwaukee
every bud in old saint lou
all the lone stars in the lone star state
couldn’t keep my mind off you
all the moonshine stills in tennessee
the whole damn daniels family
couldn’t hide the lies you told to me
and make your heart beat true

every night i try to drown the pain you caused me
in a sea of alcohol till closin’ time
but when they kick me out i’m only
a lonely fool with you still on my mind


you’ll be over her (before i’m even over you)

well there’s a girl who’s lying next to you
and when she wakes up in the morning she’ll be blue
’cause when you told her that you loved her
she believed that it was true
i’m not a stranger to the things
that she’ll be going through

well she’ll reach out and find that you’re not there
then she’ll speak your name into the morning air
and then her tears will start to fallin’
just the way my tears still do
tonight there’s just my broken heart
tomorrow there’ll be two

and you’ll be over her before the sunlight hits the dew
you’ll be over her and off to find somebody new
you’ll be over her and her heart will break in two
and you’ll be over her before i’m even over you

just the whiskey talkin’

you walked out but babe i saw it comin’
it didn’t hurt at all when you were gone
i didn’t spend no sleepless nights a tryin’
to understand just where our love went wrong
never tried to fight the truth by runnin’
and i don’t wish that you’d come home again
i don’t waste my time and tears a-cryin’
and i don’t play no game of let’s pretend
and i ain’t took the bottle for my friend

sometimes i believe the things i’m sayin’
sometimes i believe that you do too
but it’s just the whiskey talkin’
sayin’ i’m over you
keepin’ me from breakin’ down and cryin’ the whole night through

now i don’t spend my time in here a-drinkin’
and i don’t spend my dimes on old george jones
i don’t see your face in every headlight
and i don’t follow you car down every road
and on the off-chance you had been a-thinkin’
that you might come back home one day to me
i think you ought to know i’m doin’ all right
ever since the day i set you free
i’ve just about forgot your memory

sometimes i believe the things i’m sayin’
sometimes i believe that you do too
but it’s just the whiskey talkin’ sayin’ i’m over you
keepin’ me from breakin’ down and cryin’ the whole night through

never met a bottle didn’t change my way of thinkin’
or lead me to believe i could change yours too
but it’s just the whiskey talkin’ sayin’ i’m over you
keepin’ me from breakin’ down and cryin’ the whole night through

keepin’ me from breakin’ down and cryin’ the whole night through

need somebody to love

you walked into my favorite bar ’cause you knew that i’d be there
you told me ’bout the girl that shattered your world and you knew that i would care
and you looked so broken hearted baby that i wanted to stay with you
but it was only ’cause i was lonely and not because you were blue
baby you’re a good man
i wouldn’t want to hurt you
aw but i need some
need somebody to love
i need a little romance
baby i’ve been hurt too
yeah well i need some
need somebody to love

don’t tell me about you and her ’cause i’m a-thinkin’ ’bout you and me
i know it’s wrong we been friends too long to be lovers easily
now you can pick what sits behind door number two babe or you can choose one or three
if you choose wrong i won’t be sad for long
the consolation prize is me


’cause everybody needs some lovin’ now and then
right now i need some lovin’ from a friend

lookin’ forward to missin’ you

i’m leavin’ here today
leave this northern town behind
gonna put you on a high shelf in some
backwater corner of my mind

well you know i’d like to stay
but even fools like me ain’t blind
’cause darlin’ when you said you loved me well i
know you were only bein’ kind

and i’ll never ’never walk the places we ain’t walked’ again
and pretty soon i won’t remember it was all pretend

i’m lookin’ forward to missin’ you
feelin’ nothin’s nothin’ new
i’ll play the girl with the broken heart
tear my little world apart
i think that’s what you’re supposed to do
and i’m lookin’ forward to missin’ you

maybe one day i’ll be strong
and i won’t need no foolish games
baby i used all the big words but i
didn’t want to call love by its name

but it gets easy now i’m gone
i’ll make believe i’ll feel the pain
it’ll work for drinkin’ whiskey and i
won’t know the difference when it rains

i’m sheltered from the heartache that a real love might have made
sometimes i think there’s more to love than the hurtin’ that i saved

i’m lookin’ forward to missin’ you
gonna dress my love in blue
tell myself this love was real
feel the hurt true lovers feel
i wanna do just what they do
and i’m lookin’ forward to missin’ you

well it’ll make my heart grow fonder if i
start my boots to wanderin’ and
i’ll forget the might-have-beens that
never could come true
i’m lookin’ forward to missin’ you

make me cry

on a road as straight as a section line
by the railroad track in the bright sunshine
with a pickup truck and a long way to go
i’m slow turning on the radio

well now i ain’t gonna think about what you did
i held my love up high i couldn’t keep it hid
well there’s just no way that i can make you mine
but you ain’t gonna make me cry this time

you ain’t gonna make me cry this time i’m
takin’ my love on down the line
i used to bawl like a baby
fall for your lines
but you ain’t gonna make me cry this time
you ain’t gonna make me cry this time
you ain’t gonna make me cry this time
you ain’t gonna make me cry this time

i ain’t gonna stay in this heartbreak town
with the things we did hangin’ all around
gonna drive away leave it all behind
and you ain’t gonna make me cry this time

sworn to pride

well i could head out on the highway
’cause you know i like to drive
sing it like a love song
with a tear in my eye
or i could find me a freight train
like an old blues song
"well i woke up this mornin’
and my good man was gone"

but i know
when the night comes down
well i’ll be all alone
yeah with no one around
and my feet on the ground

well i could drink me a bottle
of the finest red wine
dance on the tabletops
wake up feelin’ fine
or i could find me a man
for one night of love
leave in the mornin’
with the stars still above

but i know
when the mornin’ comes round
i’ll be cold at some diner
tryna lose what i found
get my feet on the ground

well it’s an easy betrayal
when you’re cold inside
well don’t you know i’m tryna find somebody to hold me baby
but i’m sworn to my pride

won’t you hand me my jacket
hand me my shoes
lend me the bus fare babe
don’t you tell me none of your blues
take me down to the station
put me on that greyhound
take me back out to laramie
get me out of this town

’cause i know
when the sky fills with clouds
and the air smells like rain
well i won’t make a sound
with my feet on the ground

johnson motel

old blind johnson ran a cheap motel
long time ago and we knew it well
every wednesday evening you and i’d be there
i reckon he knew but man he just didn’t care
what we were there to do

’cause you had fallen in love and back out again
but somewhere in the middle man you gave her a ring
then it was three years of marriage
three young kids
three more reasons for this thing we did
in the night
all alone
draw the curtains and disconnect the phone
and you swore
you would find a way to leave and you’d be mine

in the johnson motel
there’s a long black veil of secrecy
nobody knows darlin’ nobody sees
except for you and me in the johnson motel
in our lovers’ jail of secrecy
they can’t disapprove they can’t disagree
with what they cannot see
in the johnson motel

well it’s been a long time since i moved away
things got heavy and i just couldn’t stay
but that letter i got you started so long ago
must’ve hid in your pocket for god only knows
i knew what i had to do

now the roof is saggin’ and the walls are too
i sit on this bed and i wait for you
three more minutes now after
three long days
three are the boys i sent away
in the night
on the road
days get shorter and it’s turning cold
but you swore
you would find a way to leave and you’d be mine

lovin’ you beats all i’ve ever seen

well colorado city is a mighty long ways south of laramie
my pickup truck’s been showin’ signs of knowin’ who to love and when to leave
hot fillin’ station coffee on the dashboard there’s a vision in the steam
ooh and lovin’ you beats all i’ve ever seen

well flyin’ in from denver saw your picture in the inflight magazine
and your name upon a billboard down in austin as the traffic light turned green
out here you’re just a sad old whisper half remembered from a dozen dancehall scenes
ooh but lovin’ you beats all i’ve ever seen

well i heard that you were tendin’ bar in jackson hole and waitin’ on your dream
singin’ in a cowboy band to fill the hours and spaces in between
well i thought that i might lend a hand ’cause i can still play guitar pretty mean
ooh and lovin’ you beats all i’ve ever seen

well cold west texas mornings make me think about the leavin’ side of me
a week of shows for rodeo is all i know about where you might be
colorado city is a mighty long ways south of laramie
ooh but lovin’ you beats all i’ve ever seen

ooh yeah lovin’ you beats all i’ve ever seen

a promise i made

you’ve got to understand me when i tell you
that i have never been this far before
i see the line you want me to cross over
it’s somewhere just in front of your front door
i’m burnin’ with the fire we’ve built together
and it scares me just to think of what might be
but even if we only share this one night
well i don’t need no guilty memory

’cause a promise i made
is a promise i’ll keep
the vows i took that day weren’t made for breakin’
a promise to him
is a promise to me
the things i say ain’t easily forsaken
the pleasures of this night
will not last until the day
so i’ll stand by the promise i made

i’ll admit i’m tempted just to take you
it’s a road i’ve walked down many nights before
but ever since we took that walk together
i don’t go down that old road no more

man that he’s become

he had the wife and the kids and the job and it all fell to pieces
the moment that he saw her in that bar
’cause that girl was born with eyes
that wouldn’t let you tell no lies
and suddenly he wondered how he ever got this far

well the night grew warm and old and then it turned to morning
the warning sounds started ringin’ in his ear
he’d only wanted a blind man’s touch
but just the same he saw too much
there wadn’t nothin’ to see in there but truth and fear

so now he’s runnin’ from the man that he’s become
the life he’s trapped within
and the world that’s come undone
he don’t even need to see that risin’ sun
the damage is done
and he’s runnin’ from the man that he’s become

she had nothin’ to lose or to gain when she looked him over
she just wanted to leave with a man who was lonely and strong
she had a feeling it might be him
she took him home and took him in
but she left him alone with his own heart a little too long

he couldn’t find a way not to know what he knew now
he couldn’t find the words to say nothin’ at all
so he kissed her once real slow
and then he turned his head to go
and she watched him leave through the light at the end of her hall

i didn’t even get to lose you

i didn’t even get to lose you
i couldn’t be the one to cry
i never really got to choose you
even though i told myself
for years that you’d be mine

you have been stolen from your wife
and everyone thinks i’m to blame
well i won’t say i haven’t tried
but there’s a new girl in the game
i’m not the one who wore your ring
and i knew your marriage was a lie
but i was wrong about one thing
i didn’t catch your wand’rin’ eye

sweet promise of love

well i came in here
not lookin’ to find me nothin’ special
just neon and beer
not lookin’ to do me too much wrong

but you’re lookin’ so invitin’
you’re lookin’ at me with your eyes of lightnin’
suddenly i don’t know why i’m fightin’
i’m just holdin’ on to your

sweet promise of love together
sweet promise of love tonight
sweet promise of love together
a promise can’t be broken
if it’s only for one night

well i found my life
curled up in the corner of a lonely station
and i can read the signs
they say the train’s a long time gone

so i’m sittin’ here a-drinkin’
make a little pool for my heart to sink in
don’t wanna do no more thinkin’
i’m just holdin’ on to your

sweet promise of love together
sweet promise of love tonight
sweet promise of love together
my heart can’t be broken
if it’s only for one night

legends of the horseshoe lounge

i can’t believe you’re still comin’ here
after all we’ve been through; after all of these years
and i often wonder why i’m here myself
i guess i’ve forgotten; i guess it’s just as well

sometimes you’re right when you start out
sometimes you’re wrong when you’re done
sometimes you just can’t remember
sometimes it don’t matter none

there’s one thing for certain ’ there’s two kinds of fools
one loves too many and the other too few
i’ve learned enough to know about me
i’m exactly the fool i tried not to be


by the time you get to dallas i’ll be gone
by the time you get to dallas i’ll be gone
there won’t be no crawlin’ back there’ll be no hangin’ on
by the time you get to dallas i’ll be gone

you called me from a pay phone and i knew just where you were
somewhere down in austin with that guitar-playin’ girl
you told your lies and i just smiled i said i missed you so
but i won’t be waitin’ up when you get home

there’s been too many nights of cryin’ waitin’ by the door
seems like every time is longer than the time before
there’s no need to make believe you could ever treat me right
so i’m packin’ and i’m leavin’ here tonight

walk of shame

there’s a lonely darkened driveway
that leads to your back door
and i know the way for i’ve been here a hundred times before
there’s no light upon the back porch
and the dogs are silent too
for they know that every night i walk this walk of shame to you

and i’m in your arms again
everything we do feels right
but i know i must be leavin’
long before the mornin’ light

in my heart i feel the teardrops
of the man who waits at home
he knows i’ve found another and he’ll soon be all alone
and when i come home tomorrow
and i tiptoe through the door
he’ll know that i’ve been walking down that walk of shame once more

black maria

black maria don’t you cry
you’ll feel better when the sun shines
and I’ll let you look me in the eye
and I’ll look back at you
deep inside my mind

black maria comes to call
whenever I get feelin’ lonely
runnin’ down some empty highway
walkin’ down my empty hall
the curtain’s drawn upon my window
there’s no one waitin’ there for me
’cause the man that waited while I sped on through the night
was just black maria’s fantasy


I made my mind up not to fall
I didn’t need no one to hold me
I said I had to do things my way
lord if I’d do anything at all
sometimes I find a man who don’t know
we only see what we will see
and he’ll console me for another little while
till black maria comes for me


black maria comes to call
whenever I get feelin’ lonely

thunderbird town

got a brand new thunderbird said 1955
pull up on your corner say do you wanna take a ride
’cause you know it’s gettin’ dark
you know there’s somethin’ goin’ down
so won’t you climb into my thunderbird
i’ll take you down to thunderbird town

well you can see the rocky mountains risin’ from the prairie sea
tell your girlfriend see ya later now and spend the night with me
’cause she’ll keep you all night waitin’
hemmin’ up her weddin’ gown
so won’t you climb into my thunderbird
i’ll take you down to thunderbird town

you can’t catch a girl in a v8 ford
can’t catch a girl in a v8 ford

well you know my reputation ’cause it’s spreaded all over town
when i offered you my number should have never wrote it down
now you call me up long distance
tell me bring that t-bird round
so won’t you climb into my thunderbird
i’ll take you down to thunderbird town

sad songs and waltzes revisited

on a greyhound from rock springs to laramie
with my stetson and mem’ries in hand
i’ll let the west wind take care of me
maybe ride all the way to cheyenne
i guess i’m through thinkin’ ’bout leavin’
i guess i’m through dreamin’ ’bout gone
in rock springs there ain’t no one grievin’
for a trav’ler who’s still trav’lin’ on

and i’ll buy an old pickup
and pick up my pieces
and find me a good cowboy band
and i’ll sing your sad songs and waltzes
your good hearted woman
and your good-timin’ man

i got a heart ain’t beatin’ for no one
got a soul that don’t know what it’s worth
my body’s a hard and a slow one
with a love that don’t care if it hurts
’cause sometimes the cowboys are liars
and sometimes the pickers are true
and too many smould’rin’ old fires
leave me lonesome and wishin’ for you

love’s to blame

i was not born in this town
but that ol’ highway wore me down
days roll by and turn to years
i don’t know why i’m still here

he told me he loved me so
but there were things he’d never know
then one day i said i’d stay
but he’d already turned away

i don’t know why i gave in to love when it called my name
now i’m lonely the highway don’t know me and love’s to blame

i swore i’d hit the road again
and i would not recall a thing
but every time i tried to leave
love came tuggin’ at my sleeve

i don’t know why i needed to hear someone call my name
now i’m lonely the highway don’t know me and love’s to blame

last night i was fast asleep
pray the lord my soul to keep
but i woke up to that highway sound
i knew i’d never leave this town


mary cutrufello and the havoline supremes (1992)

all songs written by mary cutrufello
© 1990, 1991, 1992 mary cutrufello
published by cutrufello music bmi

mary cutrufello vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
craig pettigrew bass
tom lewis drums, percussion
kevin owens pedal steel

mike hardwick acoustic guitar 1-1 and 1-4
randy carson fiddle 1-2

recorded at the hit shack austin tx august 17-20, 1992
engineered by jay hudson
produced by mary cutrufello and jay hudson
cover photo by jack newkirk

thanks to mom, nan & cecil, becky, the murdocks, jack
newkirk, rick mitchell & claudia perry, the cool clubs of
houston, d/fw, corpus, sa, and the hill country, and all
the havoline supremes past.

special thanks to craig p. for vision etc, eric danheim
for the pickin’, johnny bush for the singin’, and pete
n’ dwight for makin’ it work!


who to love and when to leave (1996)

engineered by merel bregante
recorded live to adat at
cribworks digital audio, austin, tx
mastered by jerry tubb at
terra nova digital audio, austin, tx
there are no lead vocal or solo guitar overdubs on
this record
mary cutrufello: lead vocals, guitar
roland denney: 5-string upright bass, bvox
terry kirkendall: drums
special guest appearance by merel bregante as
the engineer

’1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 mary cutrufello bmi
EXCEPT love’s to blame
by mary cutrufello and steve earle
’1995 mary cutrufello bmi / wb music corp / south
nashville music ascap
naomi’s photo by allen lalonde
mary photos by libba gillum
art and layout by mary cutrufello

THANKS to mom, nan, cecil, + the murdocks; holly
gleason; merel bregante; roland + terry; all pickers
past; steve baker; chris wall; dave benson + cb
howell; one world, sand mountain, and rockin’
robin guitars; allen speaker and power audio (ask
for hoss); gil baldwin at gilbert guitars; steve earle;
jimmie dale gilmore

SPECIAL THANKS to carrol and carl collyer and
all the naomi’s crazies; and everyone else who
waited way too long for this. also to rick-o loftus for
pickin’ up my pieces

this collection
© 2005 mary cutrufello
photo by jack newkirk
for lyrics, images, and other cool stuff