Lyrics

Hoe hi rez Fall

All songs written by James Harper 

 

POCKETS

Pocket full of change
A smoke shop at the edge of the reservation
Sitting on an old poncho
A life of constant change
Society took its toll but could never make him
Something he could never be
And now he’s on an Island surrounded by the Salish Sea
I lost another friend just about a week ago
Hopped a freight on a southbound train heading down to Mexico
Freight shifted at the end of the line and it took that friend of mine
Just a gutter punk taking the last track down
To who the fuck knows
Pockets is my name
I’ve traveled far with a steel guitar always singing
Singing about the good old ways
I’ve been here before
My body drifts through the years like a slow migration
Pulled by something yet unseen
And now I’m on an Island, surrounded by the deep blue sea
I’ll end it on an Island
And slip into the deep blue sea.

 

 

Fare Thee Well

Up the Nooksack, portaging canoes
Swift & shallow, our frayed tempers grew
Well worn river, resisted our moves but we
Poled, groaned and willed our way up to the
Icy headwaters of Clearwater Creek
To the roaring flow of its tributary
We pitched on the bank and to the river we sang
Fare the well, fare thee well, fare thee well

Come the dawn, we took to the woods
The thick underbrush tore holes in our wool
Through Prickly spines of green Devil’s Club
We pushed, clawed and found our way up to a
Sub-alpine meadow and the rocky snow line
Up the crooked old back of the great Mt. Kulshan
And looking back to the forest, in respite we did sing
Fare the well, fare the well, fare the well

We pitched camp on a cool mountain ledge
Far below us, lay the world that we fled
Ain’t no reason to climb that divide
Cept’ the pure joy of feeling alive
We set out under cover of the great northern lights
Past a sulphurous crater to the plateau we climbed
And from this breathtaking summit in a whisper we cried
Fare the well, fare thee well, fare thee well.

 

 

Darling I’m Gone

There’s a man on the corner
Downtown by the water
On 6th street & H avenue
He looks out on the channel
In a rust colored flannel and sighs

I regret my decision
My lack of precision
I packed up and left when I could
So if your god feels forsaken
Please tell him I can’t anymore

     Because darling I’m gone
     The feeling inside, realizing I’m alone
     Because Darling I’m gone
     A blink of the eye, all we are is flesh & bone

I renounced my religion
Embraced my perdition
The church can’t relieve me no more
If your god is a savior
I’ll sign all the waivers I’m done

If you were with me right now
If this cancerous cloud had not carried you away
Would you ask me to stay
Would you kneel down and pray for my soul

     Because darling I’m gone
     The feeling inside, realizing I’m alone
     Because darling I’m gone
     A blink of the eye, all we are is flesh & bone

If you were with me right now
If this cancerous cloud had not carried you away
Would you ask me to stay
Would you kneel down and pray for my soul

I’ll drink when I want to
I’ll smoke marijuana
To keep all my demons at bay
Not a man, not a martyr
Just a wisp of a father I know

Said the man on the corner
Downtown by the water
On 6th street and H avenue
Now I’ve made my decision
Please know I did the best I could do.

 

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Blood Orange Glow

Late last night as I fell asleep
Lightning struck 5o miles to the East
I slept without knowing my fate had been sealed

A wild fire is coming for me
A wild fire pushing in on the breeze

That morning I woke to smoke in the sky
A voice in my head very loudly did cry
I rushed over to my radio

A wild fire is coming for me
A wild fire pushing in on the breeze

All day I cleared brush away from my home
Ignoring the calls coming in on the phone
As ash started falling like snow to the ground

A wild fire is coming for me
A hell fire blazing up through the trees

When night finally fell I looked down from the hill
A blood orange glow in the valley below
And a westerly wind was bringing her in

A wild fire is coming for me
A hell fire blazing up through the trees

As this burning inferno upon me did set
I ran to my truck but the battery was dead
I kept to the floor and taped all the vents

This wild fire has found me at last
A hell fire sent to turn me to ash

From the heavens I heard something loud rushing in
Then water it dropped for the sky to my land
The sound of the steam burning off of my hood

A wild fire was coming for me
When the helitack crew came and kept it at bay.

 

SCOTCH BROOM

For seven years I’ve been searching
Weathered hands salt and brine
Crossed a body filled with gods dark desire
Pulled along by its tides

I never meant to desert you
I lost my way long ago
An empty hull, drifting hither and fro
Washed ashore on this Isle

Along the shores where grows the Scots Broom

Foraging and hunting, root and bone
Bed of peat & soil, we gather wood and stone
From this world we know, into the deep unknown
Guided by the stars and by the moon and sun

One eyed dancer, clad in silver
Wolf skinned warrior, helmed in gold
Frey will lead you, to the alter
Odin looks down from his throne

For seven years I’ve been searching
A hinterland fraught with foe
For every shore I have raided in war
I carve a notch in my oar

Like these shores so full of Scots Broom, we will spread.

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THE OYSTERMAN

The jolly fat friar sat warm by the fire
His stomach was empty and so was his purse
The innkeepers sister was serving Mcfister
With oysters and stout, and that made things worse

The smells from the oven were drifting above him
Pushed by his hunger and pulled by his thirst
With a deep throated chuckle he loosened his buckle 
With a grin and a twinkle, out he burst…

For a pint of stout, and a loaf of bread
and a dozen savory stones he said
I’ll toast to your health, and I’ll wish you well
and I’ll bless this lodge wherein you dwell..

The innkeeper smiled and said to him my old friend
Sing us a song and I’ll feed you tonight
So the jolly fat friar got up from the fire
and sang out this song with all of his might…

Oh god bless the oyster and god bless the oysterman
Cursed with his cold hands and feet all his life
God bless the oysterman, son of an oysterman
But most of all bless the oysterman’s wife
Whether cold from the shell or hot by the fire
Where their tiny lives expire in a puff of sweet steam
Whether cold from the shell or hot from the fire
They will strengthen mans desire
and whet the maidens dream.
*written by Donald Harper

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Neah Bay

Just another day in Neah Bay
Rain coming down sideways
Cold waves crashing in
Just the way we like them

Drank a cup of mushroom tea
Sitting on a rot out tree
Old friend next to me
Gazing out on to the sea

     So grab your board and hit the surf
     Just try to make the best with what you get
     There’s no one here to bat an eye
     If you’re a little bit short of a parlor trick

My 66 VW Campmobile
Parked out along the bank
Sitting underneath a tattered tarp
Water dripping in through its seam

Throw another piece of driftwood
Down into the burning coals
Feel it’s warmth upon your face
Giving comfort from the cold

     And though I’ve seen a hundred shores
     This one permeates into my sole
      A fable written in the sand
     Now I have whispered a verse of the promised land.

 

 

TILL THE BREAK OF DAY

Turnips in the Springtime and cabbage in the Fall
A piece of fat to chew on and hardships for us all
When harvest time is over and we’ve reaped and thatched our share
In woolen vest you’ll find me without a worldly care
         
And there I’ll drink, drink, drink and dance the night away
Forget about my worries until the break of day

My darling wife and children, my lady of the night
I’ll miss you in the end all were the apples of my eye
This fabric of my skin is wearing thinner every day
But until I meet this maker I will not forsake my way

        I don’t know how long
        Till the dark it overtakes us and stills our lungs
         I don’t know if it’s true
         But I’d like to think my life will carry on when this one’s through
             
So let us drink, drink, drink and dance the night away
Forget about our worries until the break of day

             
The priest up in the church is spinning tales that make us fear
You don’t make any sense to me, your message isn’t clear
So you’d better fear me Holy priest when I come knocking on your door
There’ll be no space between us to protect you or you lord

        I don’t know how long
        Till the dark it overtakes us and stills our lungs
         I don’t know if it’s true
         But I’d like to think my life will carry on when this one’s through

So let us drink, drink, drink and dance the night away
Forget about our worries until the break of day.

 

Bonnie & Clyde

I
I want to loose control
And with you by my side
Then everyone will know

You
Out on the run with me
We never had a chance
And now the world will pay

I’ll put the barrel on them
You drive the getaway car
And we’ll race them to the Texas line

I believe in you, I believe in you with all my love

Free
This isn’t you and me
When the law came around
And tried to drive us away

Jail
It made me mean as hell
Stripped this body free
Of all humanity

You fetch the trigger men
I’ll case the joint we’re in
And we’ll take this to the bitter end

I’ll be leaving you, I’ll be leaving you with all my love

Time
It isn’t on our side
If they catch us in our stride
We bid this world goodbye

Lead
Will spill into the air
Will riddle us with holes
Will leave us dead and cold

You strum that old guitar
I’ll sing of what we’ve done
And we’ll play it till our story ends

Abyssinia, abyssinia again my dear.
 
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SHADE OF BLUE

You and me are dangerous
Like a cold and shallow current or a precipice
Bad ideas are forming like a cloud
And I don’t remember how but I lost you in the crowd

Born at night, dead by day
Just a slow and endless burning of an effigy

Soon I’ll lay you down into a bed of straw
Soon I’ll break you down and catch you when you fall

Katmandu, by candlelight you flew
And I can’t remember why I still sing to you
The wind it blew, and the mountains moved
Still there was nothing I could do to change your shade of blue

I catch you in the night, release you come the day
Don’t know the reason why I never asked to stay

Soon I’ll lay you down into a bed of straw
Soon I’ll break you down and catch you when you fall

You abandoned me, slung out by the killing tree
Now I can’t believe my eyes so I’ll shut them bye & bye
Honey can’t you see, you’re the pollen that I need
And no matter how I try I can’t wash my hands of thee

I’ll stalk you in the night, a shadow come the day
A hedonistic feeling of desire & shame

Soon I’ll lay you down into a bed of straw
Soon I’ll break you down and catch you when you fall
Soon enough I’ll reap the pearl that’s hidden in your jaw
Soon enough I’ll leave this world you’ll miss me when I’m gone.

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DAY DRINKING

I’m just a product of an inbred music scene
Makes me kind of wonder what my life it could have been
Had I seen the sun come up on a different town
Oh but I clown I’ll come a runnin’ at the strummin’ of that six string sound

My girl she left me for that methamphetamine
It’s a sinful pleasure that takes hold and make you wish
That you’d seen the sun come up on a different town
Oh just the sound of her voice turns me upside down
     
     And now I’m, day drinking in the land of the midnight sun
     Yeah I am, day dreaming of a time when I still was young
     So let us, pour another cause the day has just begun
     Yeah I am, day drinking in the land of the midnight sun

We’re just a different type of folk it seems to me
Seen a lot of people come and go not fit to be
Apart of this life, apart of this town
Just a little to rough and tumble for their likes and it’s low state bound
Oh just a little too rough and tumble for their likes and it’s low state bound

     And now I’m, day drinking in the land of the midnight sun
     Yeah I am, day dreaming of a time when I still was young
     So let us, pour another cause the day has just begun
     Yeah I am, day drinking in the land of the midnight sun
     Yeah I am, day drinking in the land of the midnight sun

So hold on
Hold on
To all that’s wrong
In this story of America
There is soil and there is song
In this plight called America
There is right and there is wrong, so wrong
So hold on
Hold on
To all that’s wrong.

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POUNDING SURF

Where sword ferns and eelgrass abound
Like the high tides pull on the sound
A wholly unknown we have found
A spring so pure, welling up from the ground
From light and shade a chanterelles’ golden brown

A heavy rain settles in
A comforting sound resonates off of tin
A pounding surf in my head
There is no cure, can bring back the dead
When night and day begin to gently sway

Words have never come easy
Like a ghost I’m not here
A single stone, cast alone ringed with white
To wish you here.

 

 

HOE & HARROW

A cold rain’s falling on my face today
There’s a rattle in my lungs that won’t go away
From the swing of my hatchet to the tree that I fell
Gonna raise me a shelter that’ll hold against hell
Raise me a shelter that’ll hold against hell
And as the seasons fade to an ashen grey
Oh lord I’ll be on my way

Once reason sent me astray
Cold water wash over me, indigo
Hoe and harrow, bent by the land
Oh father, lend me your hand
Now to reap the seeds that we sow

With the children asleep in their soft warm beds
I’ll drink from the well that resides in my head
There are lumbering gods that demand to be fed
And a pain in your eyes but no words will be said
And as the nights grow long and the days they fade
Oh lord, I’ll be on my way

Once reason sent me astray
Cold water wash over me, indigo
Hoe and harrow, bent by the land
Oh father, lend me your hand
Now to reap the seeds that we sow

There’s a cold wind blowing on my face today
And a feeling inside that this pain’s here to stay
But I’ll work while I’m able, and sleep when your fed
Cause’ you’re the pretty little ballad that keeps playing in my head

You’re the pretty little ballad that keeps playing in my head
Over and over like the tides endless ebb
You’re the pretty little ballad that keeps playing in my head
I give thanks for the reasons and the words that aren’t said
I give thanks for the reasons and the words that aren’t said

Once reason sent me astray
Cold water wash over me, indigo
Hoe and harrow, bent by the land
Oh father, lend me your hand
Now to reap the seeds that we sow.

 

 

LITTLE SISTER CAN YOU HEAR ME

Little sister can you hear me
I’ve awoke with such a fright
There’s a figure in the shadow
And I can’t turn on the light
There’s a paralyzing fear deep inside of me tonight

In my dream I was an Indian
Out along a coastal shore
From the fog I saw a movement
And that movement changed the world
From the mist emerged an ship with two masts and a sail

We’re living on the edge of the world we know
Slipping off the edge of the world we know

I ran down into the village
Tried to tell them what I saw
There’s a monster on the water
Like a whale but dark and tall
And voices on the wind seem to howl when they call

In my dream I was a captive
On a ship about to sail
Heard a shot burst in the distance
Heard a baby start to wail
And this is where I wake with a heart full of hell

We’re living on the edge of the world we know
Slipping off the edge of the world we know.

 

 

Civilian Conservation Corps

Don’t know how it started, Never finished school
In a country facing hard times, had to look for work
With nobody hiring, had nothing left to do
‘Cept run and join the CCC, to do what I could

I joined the CCC

Hadn’t traveled far, when that train pulled in
3000 miles to a far and distant land
There to work in a camp, with my fellow man
Learn to use some tools boy, learn to use your hands

I joined the CCC

Lifting rocks, dirt and wood
Pounding nails, Tearing wool
Blister, Sprains, Sweat and blood
Winch & rope, Pulley’s on

I joined the CCC

For 6 months I labored, many skills I honed
Living under the stars & howling at the moon
Made a dollar a day, but I sent it all away
To my mom & dads home, there to keep the power on

I joined the CCC

When my stint was through, I finished up with school
Had to heed the call & fought in World War II
When my boots hit ground, I knew just what to do
Owe it all to the CCC, made a man out of me

I joined the CCC

 

 

l’obscurité

Addiction, Come comfort me
When all my intentions, I can no longer see
Addiction, Are you my friend
And will you stay with me, Till I reach the end

I hear the pull of your voice, enticing me in
Your breath is like bourbon, your whisper like wine
I feel the touch of your hand, and the warmth of your skin
And a slight disposition, to taste what you give

Je suis vos désirs, Je suis vos péchés
Je suis l’obscurité, et nous nous reverrons

Addiction, what have you done
You say that you miss me, but I’ve hardly been gone
Addiction, you know you’re my friend
But if you come over, I can’t let you in

How you patiently wait, for the lost to return
A cold invitation, so cold it will burn
Just a twist of your tongue, and a slight of your hand
And I lose the temptation, to take you to bed

Je suis vos désirs, Je suis vos péchés
Je suis l’obscurité, et nous nous reverrons

I am your desire, I am your sins
I am the darkness, and we’ll meet again