"Kissing Willie"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989), 25th Anniversary Boxed Set: Potpourri - Live Across The World and Through The Years (1993), The Best of Jethro Tull: The Anniversary Collection (1993)

Breaking hearts in a market town
She eats filet of sole
And washes it down with sparkling wine
Nice girl, but a bad girl's better
Qualifies in both ways to my mind
But now she's kissing Willie
She shows a leg, shows it damn well
Knows how to drive a man
Right back to being a child
Well, she's a nice girl, but her bad girl's better
I can read it in her cheating eyes
And know that in a while, well
She'll be kissing Willie, (My best friend, Willie)
Willie stands and Willie falls
Willie bangs his head behind grey factory walls
She's a nice girl, but her bad girl's better
Me and Willie just can't help come
When she calls
Now she's kissing Willie
(My best friend, Willie)

"The Rattlesnake Trail"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

Got a hair shirt round my shoulder
Got a cold stew in my spoon
And I'm falling on my head
Lifting feet of lead now
It's got me baying at the moon
Well, there's a race on for tomorrow
I'm stretching out for what might have been
Going to come out from the night
Got my second sight, play rough
You know what I mean
I'm going for the kill, I'm going tooth and nail
Up that dusty hill on the rattlesnake trail
Got the law laid down to the left of me
Got the real world to the right
Heading up through the middle
With my cat and my fiddle
Yeah, looking for a fight
Going to ride hard in bandit country
On the blind side of the bend
Keep my nose to the wind
While the rabbit's skinned
Bed down at the journey's end
(Be a rattlesnake)
I'm going for the kill, I'm going tooth and nail
Up that dusty hill on the rattlesnake trail
The rattlesnake trail
I'm going on the rattlesnake trail
Going to be with wolves in winter
Run in angry packs by day
But when you give a dog a bone
He has to be alone, growl
Keep the other dogs away
See that thin moon on the mountain
See that cold star in the sky
Going to bring them down
Shake them to the ground
Put that apple in the pie (Be a rattlesnake)
I'm going for the kill, I'm going tooth and nail
Up that dusty hill on the rattlesnake trail

"Ears of Tin"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

In the late hours of a sunset rendezvous
Chill breeze against tide
That carries me from you
Got a job in a southern city
Got some lead-free in my tank
Now I must whisper goodbye
I'm bound for the mainland
Island in the city, cut by a cold sea
People moving on an ocean
Groundswell of humanity
Now the sum breaks through rain
As I climb Glen Shiel on the trail
Of those old cattlemen
Who drove their bargain south again
And in the eyes of those five sisters of Kintail
There's a wink of seduction from the mainland
Island in the city, cut by a cold sea
People moving on an ocean
Groundswell of humanity
Storm-lashed on the high-rise
Their words are spray to the wind
Blown like silent laughter
Falling on ears of tin
Take my heart and take my brawn
Take by stealth or take by storm
Set my brain to cruise
I can see the glow of the suburb lights
I'm fresh from the out-world
Singing the mainland blues
There was a girl where I came from
Seems a long time, long time gone by
Wears the west wind in her hair
She calls from the hill, yeah
She calls in my mainland blues
There's a coast road
That winds to heaven's door
Where a fat ferry floats on muted diesel roar
And there's a light on the hillside
And there's a flame in her eyes
But how cold the lights burn on the mainland
Island in the city, cut by a cold sea
People moving on an ocean
Groundswell of humanity
Storm-lashed on the high-rise
Their words are spray to the wind
Blown like silent laughter
Falling on ears of tin
In my mainland blues

"Undressed To Kill"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

Working on the late shift, first drink of the day
Pull a chair up to the table
Have to look the other way
What kind of place am I in?
And who's this over here?
Shaking through the silver bubbles
Climbing through my beer
Won't let it move me, but I can't sit still
Could you meet the eyes of a working girl
Undressed to kill?
Staring through the smoke haze
Plaid shirts in the night
Well, I'm making sure that everything
Is zipped up tight
Who's that jumping on the table?
Putting tonic in my gin?
Brushing silken dollars on her cold white skin
Won't let it move me, but I can't sit still
Could you meet the eyes of a working girl
Undressed to kill?
She could have been sweet seventeen
There again, well, so could I
There was a tear drop sparkle
on the inside of her thigh
Going to fetch myself a cold beer
I've got to get a grip
Find some place to touch down
Find a landing strip
Won't let it move me, but I can't sit still
Can you meet the eyes of a working girl
All undressed to kill?
Last one out is a cold duck
Padding down the road
I wait outside, my motor running
Got a warm dream to unload
Can I face her in the sunshine?
In he harsh real light of day?
She walks out with recognition in her eyes
I look away
Won't let it move me, but I can't sit still
Couldn't meet the eyes of a working girl
Undressed to kill

"Rock Island"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989), 36 Greatest Hits (1998)

Savage night on a misty island
Lights wink out in the canyon walls
Two old boys in a stolen racer
Black rubber contrails in the unwashed halls
And all roads out of here
Seem to lead right back to the rock island
I've gone back to Paris, London
And even riding on a jumbo to Bombay
The long haul back holds faint attraction
But the people here know they're o.k.
See the girl following the red balloon
Walking all alone on her rock island
Doesn't everyone have their own rock island?
Their own little patch of sand?
Where the slow waves crawl
And your angels fall
And you find you can hardly stand
And just as you're drowning, well
The tide goes down
And you're back on your rock island
Hey there girlie with the torn dress, shaking
Who was it touched you?
Who was it ruined your day?
Whose footprint calling card?
And what they want
Stepping on your beach anyway?
I'll be your life raft out of here
But you'd only drift right back
To your rock island
Hey, boy with the personal stereo
Nothing `tween the ears
But that hard rock sound
Playing to your empty room, empty guitar tune
No use waiting for that C.B.S. to come around
'Cos all roads out of here
Seem to lead right back to your rock island

"Heavy Water"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

I walked out in the city night
A burning in my eyes, like it was broad daylight
And it was hot, down there in the crowd
The stars went out behind a thunder cloud
Chatter in the air, like a telegraph line
Big drops hissing on the neon sign
Thumping in my heart
And it's hurting me to see
Smokestack blowing
Now they're pouring heavy water on me
She was a southern girl, we stared man to man
I move like a stranger in this strange land
She was a round hole, I was a square peg
I watched the little black specks
Running down her leg
Didn't seem to mind that dirty rain coming down
Shirt hanging open, she was wet and brown
Thumping in my heart
And it's hurting me to see
Smokestack blowing
Now they're pouring heavy water on me
What goes up has to fall back down
It's no night to be out dancing in a party town
When it runs hot and it runs so wide
Running in the street like a thin black tide
Chatter in the air, like a telegraph line
Big drops hissing on the neon sign
Thumping in my heart
And it's hurting me to see
Smokestack blowing
Now they're pouring heavy water on me

"Another Christmas Song"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989), Christmas Album (2003)

Hope everybody's ringing on their own bell
This fine morning, hope everyone's connected
To that long distance phone
Old man, he's a mountain
Old man, he's an island
Old man, he's a-walking says
'I'm going to call, call all my children home'
Hope everybody's dancing
To their own drum this fine morning
The beat of distant Africa
Or a Polish factory town
Old man, he's calling for his supper
Calling for his whisky
Calling for his sons and daughters
Yeah, calling all his children round
Sharp ears are tuned in
To the drones and chanters warming
Mist blowing round some headland
Somewhere in your memory
Everyone is from somewhere
Even if you've never been there
So take a minute to remember the part of you
That might be the old man calling me
How many wars you're fighting out there
This winter's morning?
Maybe it's always time
For another Christmas song
Old man he's asleep now
Got appointments to keep now
Dreaming of his sons and daughters
And proving, proving that the blood is strong

"The Whaler's Dues"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

Money speaks, soft hearts lose
The truth only whispers, it's the whaler's dues
I've been running on diesel
Been running on coal
Running on borrowed time, if truth's to be told
Two whales in the ocean, cruising the night
Search for each other
Before we turn out their light
Been accused of deep murder
On the North Atlantic swell
But I have three hungry children
And a young wife as well
And behind stand generations
Of hard hunting men
Who raised a glass to the living
And went killing again, are you with me?
Money speaks, soft hearts lose
The truth only whispers
It's the whaler's dues, can you forgive me?
Now I'm old and I sit land-locked
In a back-country jail
To reflect on all of my sins
And the death of the whale
Send me back down the ages
Put me to sea once again
When the oceans were full
Yes, and men would be men
Can you forgive me?

"Big Riff and Mando"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

Marty loved the sound of the stolen mandolin
Somebody took it on a dare in the night-time
Ran up to the radio, calling out to the wind
Now, bring it, bring it back
At least an hour before flight time
It was a souvenir
But it was a right arm missing
Swap a woodwork rhythm
For a humbucking top line
Big Riff, rough boy
Wants to be a singer in a band
A little slow in the brain box
But he had a quick right hand
Run left, run right, everywhere he look
Nobody watching, no
But that was all he took last night
Running on the power of a stolen mandolin
Steal a little inspiration, steal a little muscle
Will he wake in the morning
Wondering, was it really worth it?
So make a little deal, yeah make a little hustle
Ringing on the radio
Got a proposition for those English boys
I'll make the sing-song, you can make the background noise
One, two, three, four, one bar in
Give you back the mando
If you let this singer sing tonight
Marty loved the sound of the stolen mandolin
Big Riff took it on a dare in the night-time
Now it's four o'clock
And we're waiting at the sound-check
Looking for a face staring in from the sunshine
We got two strong lawmen
From the sheriff's office
They're going to lift Big Riff
Before he plays the first line
Big Riff, rough boy
Wants to be a singer in a band
Yeah, help him on the stage now
Put that microphone in his hand
Think hard, think right, nothing in his mind
So Riff did a runner
Be he left the manolin behind

"Strange Avenues"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

Rock Island (1989)

Strange avenues
Where you lose all sense of direction
And everywhere is Main Street in the winter sun
The wino sleeps
Cold coat lined with he money section
Looking like a a record cover from 1971
And here am I, warm feet and a limo waiting
Shall I make us both feel good?
And would a dollar do?
But in your streets, I have no credit rating
And it might not take a lot
To be alone just like you
Heading up and out now, from your rock island
Really good to have had you here with me
And somewhere in the crowd
I think I hear a young girl whisper
'Are you ever lonely, just like me?'