Peter Case


Spell Of Wheels

Full Service No Waiting (1998)


Greg Leisz, lap steel, Sandy Chila, drums, David Jackson, bass,  Andrew Williams, harmonium, harmonies, production, Don Heffington, percussion,

The B section of this song was composed in 1976, the rest 19 years later.


Kansas City as the first snow of the year begins to fall

she’s at a Westport party drunk & leaning against the wall

Skip & Wolf come stomping in someone has a plan

Faceboy goes to fetch his clothes I go to lend a hand

we leave KC at midnight heading north on the interstate

snow is falling hard & fast we’re glad to get away

five kids in a beat up car kickin’ up their heels &

heading out into the dark beneath the spell of wheels

beneath the spell of wheels


across the land this car will roll

past places we’ll never know

flashing lights & highway signs

mark the miles & keep the time

beneath the spell of wheels

beneath the spell of wheels


it’s an empty stretch of pitch black road

& we’re feeling quite upset

the snow is falling harder now

we’re scared as we can get

’cause the black car that’s been chasing us

has rolled its window down

& when I see the shotgun there

I know we’re graveyard bound


high above us in the light

a thousand faces sleep in flight

down here the road turns like a screw

I’m on my way back home to you

beneath the spell of wheels

beneath the spell of wheels


now we’re sinkin’ low as we can go & waitin’ for the blast

Skippie jams down on the brakes that demon car blows past

we pull off on the roadside everybody pulls their knives

the black car keeps on goin’ & I guess so do our lives

we get to Minnesota spend the winter in monochrome

fall in with small time criminals just like the ones at home

watchin’ through the windows for what the night reveals

& waitin’ for the spring to come

beneath the spell of wheels

beneath the spell of wheels



© 1997 Peter Case and Joshua Case BUG Music (BMI)



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Here comes Blind Luck swingin’ his cane…



From 1995, this track from the Torn Again CD features Greg Leisz on lap steel, Don Heffington on drums, Jerry Scheff – a veteran of both Elvises – on a Hofner bass, and Steven Soles on vocals (and co-production, with Larry Hirsch and myself.) It was recorded (as were most of the album’s tracks) at Capitol Records Studio in Hollywood.

I co-wrote this song with Fred Koller.

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Blue Distance (from Flying Saucer Blues, 2000)

From the Flying Saucer Blues album.  I love this production, by Andrew Williams, that paints a picture, and captures the mood of the song. This track features Greg Leisz on lap steel, David Jackson on bass, Andrew on harmonium and harmonies, and Sandy Chila on drums. Though it never was promoted, and rarely received any radio play, this number has its fans, and its a frequent request at my shows.



The records for Vanguard, if you’re trying to keep score, are:

Peter Case Sing’s Like Hell   (folk, blues and country covers, 1994)

Torn Again (original songs with band, including Greg Leisz, Don Heffington, Jerry Scheff, Steven Soles, 1995) (produced by Soles, Hirsch, Case)

Full Service, No Waiting (the first of three produced by Andrew Williams, with Sandy Chila, Greg Leisz, and others, 1998)

Flying Saucer Blues (produced by A. Williams, 2000)


Beeline (prod. A Williams, 2002,  with  band inc. Sandy Chila, Joshua Case, Davey  Meshell)


These albums were some of the best I’ve made, and found many fans, but remained very obscure in the culture at large, maybe due to very little radio promotion. (Ok, I don’t usually go into this, but I’m trying to leave a trail here for people just getting into it.)  Full Service is my fave, being kind of a low-fi re-invention of my sound, once described to me as”Caseland music, country-blues plus Irish folk plus Spector-esque rock and roll plus me…something like that. And Flying Saucer Blues was Full Service vol 2 with expanded palette.

Beeline was the last record for Vanguard, and my last with Andrew Williams. It was twist on the sound incorporating electronic sounds into the mix.

I’ll feature songs from all these albums in upcoming posts, trying to draw a map to the area for first time listeners.



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Bumble Bee (out-take from HWY 62 LP)

This is the Memphis Minnie blues, from the HWY 62 sessions at Sheldon Gombergs’s Carriage House Studio, in Los Angeles, performed on a guitar Ben Harper had just laid on me, a perfect replica of Lead Belly’s Stella 12-string. Bumble Bee was the first song I played on it.

This song is Track 1 on a CD of blues, by Buffalo musicians, released to help homeless veterans in the Western New York area. Here is a link if you’d like to receive a copy, and help out a very good cause:


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