June 27, 2011

Song: Henry K. Lee

Hot off the presses: the Ballad of Henry K. Lee, The San Francisco Chronicle's staff crime reporter. This song is sort of in the style of early Dylan-esque straight-from-the-news folk ballads, inspired by the Bay Area section of the newspaper. Every time I open it, I notice there's like five articles about depressing crime (usually in the East Bay), "2 Teens Shot in Hayward," "2 More Beheaded in Piedmont," et cetera. And those articles are always written by one man: Henry K. Lee. (Look, the top article today written by him is called "Putting baby in oven an inexplicable horror." You can't make this up.) So he began to achieve almost mythological status in my imagination: I picture him chain-smoking cigars in a grey office somewhere downtown Oakland, reporting the grisliest crime is a day job for him. This song was written for the Manna Tease to sing (please "like" us on Facebooks!) However, we deemed some of the verses too heavy for our shows, so I recorded this more intense version now for the youtubes, and when we redo it with Minnie Molly Mary, we'll replace the "raped her at school" verse with the lighter additional verses below.

Henry K. Lee

amin G F emin
Henry Harrison, (unrelated to the president),
amin G F emin
Arrested in Oakland, driving while intoxicated.
amin G F emin
In prison he acted up, flooded his toilet,
amin G F emin
And Harrison was restrained by an over-zealous deputy.
dmim amin
They tased him to death!
dmin amin
They tased him to death!
dmin emin
And the article in the Chronicle

Was written by Henry K Lee.

amin G F emin

Henry K. Lee, Henry K. Lee,

dmin amin dmin amin
The newspaper’s gritty as this naughty city.
dmin emin
If it’s crime & it’s grimy,
It’s covered by Henry K. Lee.

April in Alameda, at the animal prison,
A canine jailbreak, Max the Pit Bull’s gone missin’!
They hunted the hound to a motel in Reno,
And his owner Melissa Perry, booked for stolen property.
And they put him to sleep!
They put Max to sleep!
And the article in the Chronicle was written by Henry K. Lee.
Henry K. Lee, &c...

A grade school in Vallejo has secrets in its classrooms.
56-year-old Jerry Johnson taught Special Educations,
His young teenage aide had a developmental disability,
Incapable of consenting, with a child’s mental capacity.
He raped her at school!
He raped her at school!

And the article in the Chronicle was written by Henry K. Lee.

Henry K. Lee, &c...

Over-caffeinated at a coffee shop, I pick up the news,
The Bay Area section has its own special blues,
If I had a dime for each sad crime told daily
By Henry K. Lee, I’d buy me a ukulele.
How do you sleep, Henry?
What are your dreams, Henry?
I worry for you, Henry, & pray you’ll never write about me.

Additional verses:

Kathleen Millikin visited a holistic clinic:
There Edward Feng sold her, quote, “Six God Tablets.”
She suffered an earache and blisters and lesions:
These “Spirit Pills” had arsenic derived from toad poisons.
The doc was a quack,
The doc was a quack.
And the article in the Chronicle was written by Henry K. Lee.

©2011 The Manna Tease

UPDATE: Here's an mp3 of it, available for a dollar if you desire:

1 comment:

Kevin Fagan said...

The funniest thing is that our pal Henry is one of the nicest, mildest-mannered guys you'd ever meet!