Land Sea And Sky

by Blyth Power

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about

Blyth Power celebrate their 25th anniversary with their longest ever studio recording which at 63 minutes is almost as long as the amount of time fabled lost guitarist was actually in the band. Look out for some surprises on this recording, and let's see what the next 25 years have to offer.

credits

released August 28, 2009

All songs by Joseph Porter and arranged by Blyth Power

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Blyth Power UK

Since 1984 Blyth Power have been playing and recording original music, which although regarded by many as fitting into the folk rock catergory goes so much further. Based around the lyrics of songwriter Joseph Porter, the band's sound is unique, and there is an atmosphere to Blyth Power that adds a depth to the music, and makes them more than just another pop group. ... more

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Track Name: Fleurs Du Mal
Down on the street the trumpets blew
As a thousand bedraggled standards flew
But the drum beat’s pattern never changed
As a clamouring rose from the street outside
The council fell to their knees and cried
With the peasants we must treat without delay
But there are rights for man and a rule of law
There’s one for the rich and one for the poor
And one for a king that God anointed made

In consequence negotiations I disdain

Marie-Antoinette concurred
If they have no bread the Queen observed
And won’t eat cake feed them hay
But let them shout and let them starve
While they cut the world in half
To our chamber let us take ourselves away
Then hand in hand to the brandy cask
We matched each other glass for glass
Kicked off our shoes composed ourselves to pray

Then it was all night through and the livelong day
Beneath royal courtly charms we lay
And thanks for all our blessings gave
While the people fought the people roared
Shook their fists at the palace walls
Broke the door and the bars gave way
And they found us there in deepest dreams
Conscience clear in sleep serene
In the sunbeam’s blessed rays

Then a messenger came from the outer wall
Pressed his face to the marble floor
Excuse my intrusion majesties
But your guards are fighting hand to hand
In the western halls and the barbican
I deem it meet and prudent now to leave
But Marie-Ann the Queen and I
Sent him back to the walls to die
Took to our bed and dismissed the chambermaid
Track Name: Heart Of Me
See the light arise behind the chosen one
That misbegotten once I knew as brother friend and son
Whom destiny despises now his course is run
But when we were young I gave him his tongue
Like feathers thrown together on the breath of God
Nor spoiled him with kisses nor spared the rod
But patient with pentameters his poet’s feet shod
To tread the sod where his master trod
From lantern light to sun-up after curfew’s call
From St. Katherine’s Wheel in Southwark
To the churchyard at St Paul’s
To Thespia and Necropolis we made our landfall
We kept no score we shared them all

Come sweet breath flow strong
Flow deep flow free from the heart of me
Long life lief live long
Let me live long in life and laughter
In life and love and laughter linger on
Flow deep flow free from the heart of me
‘til my work is done
Flow deep flow free from the heart of me

But time begets infinity and the world must change
Where once we danced together now blows exchanged
As factions fell around us at the court of King James
We fought for gain we felt no shame
So each to his ambition we sacrifices gave
I through verse and gravity my fortune made
While he became a courtier his muse betrayed
She wept with rage she swore he’d pay
Then through Jacobean palaces her fury tore
Consigned him to the clergy a poet no more
And as I became her confidant she became my law
We swept we soared she wept no more

Swallows fly from everything you do
Angels keep their distance
Summer suns are glowing over everyone but you
Once you and I had fish to fry
But now there’s only bitter leaves to chew

She and I together then forever went away
In riches and in poverty in bed we lay
And never reminisce about the bygone days
About when we were young
Now menopausal virgins flock around him everyday
They cluster at his pulpit where to his keen dismay
The rotten hocks of their devotions at his feet they lay
They kneel they pray, they will have their way

Come sweet breath flow strong
Track Name: The Ass In The Oak Tree
Charles King of England ill fortune favoured thee
Who wore the crown and bore the sceptre undeservedly
Who left a son behind him that escaped across the sea
To return and raise the Scots against the parliamentaries
Lured south by guile and strategy
With Worcester standing by
Outmatched and outmanoeuvred
The prince was forced to fly
With many a mile to travel over many a mile to fly
Through many a hostile dawn
Concealed from many a watchful eye

Send the hounds around the hills
Make the people ring the bells
Search the houses and the fields
Reward the person first prepared to tell the tale
Where to seek and where to find the royal heir
Where to seek and where to find the Prince of Wales

With Matty Col and Tabitha I tracked the villain down
That all in a hollow oak tree in a forest glade was found
While his faithful old retainer
Stripped the branches all around
And searched for grubs and beetles
In the leaf mould on the ground
I advanced into the clearing I addressed the royal tree
I deplore the use of force I said to intemperate degrees
But there’s a cell in Worcester Castle
Measures seven foot by three
My orders are to place you there and throw away the key

To Matty Col and Tabitha I said now we’ll have some fun
And we beat and bit and kicked him
‘Til his royal senses spun
And his trousers stuffed with nettles ‘til his royal jelly stung
His face was caked and bleeding
His clothes in tatters hung
As he wept and begged for mercy sore amazed was I to see
The son of a king knelt grovelling before the likes of me
He offered his servant up for favours
Money his ransom for to pay
If we’d betray the axe of parliament
And send him on his way
Track Name: Follow The Band
Winter her fingers slender and pale
Pinching and squeezing attends to her freezing affairs
Hinting and teasing through long early evenings unveils
In the frost on the windows etched by her nails
Triptychs and pictures in intricate detail and scale
That all her affections declare

Under the roses after the thaw
The grass has grown thicker and greener than ever before
Time blew the dust from the garden in under the door
And superimposes in the cracks on the wall
A face I can barely remember the last time I saw
And a voice that I clearly recall

Follow the band follow the band all the way
Give me a trumpet and show me the measures to play
Follow the band follow the band all the way
Over the rooftops and houses and over the stray

By green fields grown over at the foot of the town
Wry quarryman’s eyes appraising the lie of the ground
As playfully braided the raindrops come spiralling round
Bracken and clover silently bowed
With love and esteem and affection laying him down

Down the avenue forming the funeral cars
In procession are waiting the mourners preparing to march
Lined at the roadside concealing their tattoos and scars
Will feel better come morning better by far
For Johnny come lately the music is ready to start
Cast off your halo we’ll find you a space at the bar
From the shop on the corner the way to the stars
Is winding uphill but the gradient isn’t so hard
And you’re welcome wherever you are

Now Winter rekindled is paradise gained
She was up and rose early and softly she went on her way
Says she’ll be back with the evening to see me again
The smell of her lingered and all through the day
With the sky through the window overcast leaden and grey
Touched by her presence I lay
Track Name: House Of War
Morning breaks the sunlight's gilded glare
Knife in hand and cold unyielding stare
Creeps up from behind the unaware
Sets the weak in motion and the sleeping sentry scares
But I've been up for hours and I'm prepared
To fall into squares

I saw Esau trying on the crown
I saw the lion and the lamb lie down
Together in the heather where the bracken is brown
In clean rows the bright rain flows
About the green svelte hills on the spires and the towers
The cracks in the crumbling wall
And the guard at the gatehouse door
At home in the House of War

Night time leads her agents down the range
Gnat bites try my patience and spiders escalade
Rats and mice direct their black brigade
And the seeping narrow trenches are secret shallow graves
Where shadows dance and spectres masquerade
And call out for aid

Ulstermen are marching out of bounds
Holy wars and trumpets shake the ground
Heat-seeking missiles shoot me down
Patient men in ski-masks wait in quiet foreign towns
But my full metal jacket keeps me sound
As I fall to the ground
Track Name: On Top Of My Lot
Pitiful the figure now you see
Backed into a corner out of hunger out of need
I am forced to kiss the gentle hand that feeds
And of charity to lick the very dirt upon her feet
And while the artist trapped inside me stifles screams
To every simpering syphilitic soul a sycophant I’ve been
Writing even begging letters to the Queen
When times were lean

To Apollo I offered a prayer today I’ve offered to be his bride
Promised the earth if he’ll bless the stage
Succour my art with a patron’s grace
And method and means provide
To Apollo I offered a prayer today I’ve offered to stand aside
If only his backers will save the day
I’ll give him artistic rein to play
And swallow my bleeding pride
To Apollo I offered a prayer today I offered to see him right
I offered him bonds I offered him stocks
Offered a seat in a private box
If only he’ll take my side

But I’ve just grown more bitter every day
Intermittent medication hasn’t helped to ease the pain
That every week and every hour of every day
Cuts me to the quick with every unsuccessful play
With every flaw in every plan with each delay
With every resolution shaken through my epigrams betrayed
I have sworn I have promised and I have raged
For that I crave

Apollo has promised to name the day
He’s checking the moon and tides
He’s offered me all he’s offered me fame
The book of the film the computer game
And laurels from every side
Apollo has promised to name the day
As soon as the runes decide
He’s offered the lot he’s offered the whole
Offered me Kemp in a starring role
And even the critics to bribe
Apollo has promised to name the day
He’s offered a diamond mine
The belly to please the groin the gut
Serial rights a director’s cut
As soon as the contract’s signed

Now I must not demean or deride
All the vicious witticisms that my critics have designed
But with pity and with understanding mind
I consign my bitter enemies to a higher court in time
Where they will naked stand to tremble and opine
And submit themselves to judgement
Just as they have others tried
And be stricken out and crushed and dealt in kind
And cast aside

And since this dainty age cannot endure reproof
Slake not thyself with rage but quit the loathed stage
Soar high and aloof
Safe from the wolf’s black jaw and the dull ass’s hoof
Track Name: The Devil And Sister Helena
Sister Helena has cast off her veil
Hung up her habit abandoned her cell
She’s run away from the priory bells
Her vows and virtues forsaking
She’s rented a house on the Yarlington road
There in the ever-green garden to grow
Lichens and ivy and stools for the toads
And mosses for poultices making

So don’t tell me lies
If your alibi isn’t watertight
Tell me where were you on Saturday night
That’s when I saw you under the yellow street light
With the Devil and Sister Helena

Of Sister Helena the ladies believe
That her left foot is cloven she walks in her sleep
That naked by moonlight she dances with beasts
But no one can claim to have seen her
But there’s rumour there’s hearsay and travellers tales
That she’s taken in tomcats and cowry shells
For mustering magic and murmuring spells
To answer the Devil’s subpoena

Behind Flemish lace curtains they’re venting their spleen
They’ll be wagging their tongues as they’re pouring the tea
So it’s best if you’re not in her company seen
It just breeds conjecture and scandal
And you won’t be forgiven you won’t be excused
For they haven’t much patience they haven’t much use
For a bird in the bush because what’s sauce for the goose
Is a kick in the balls for the gander
Track Name: Naseby
Oh wherefore come ye forth
In all your triumph from the north
With your hands and with your feet
And with your raiment red
And wherefore doth your rout send forth a joyous shout
And whence be the grapes of the vintage that ye tread
Oh evil was the root and bitter was the fruit
And crimson were the juices of the wine-press that we trod
For we trampled on the throng of the haughty and the strong
Who sate in the high places and slew the saints of God

Where be your tongues that late mocked
At heaven and hell and fate
And the fingers that once were so busy with your blades
Your perfumed satin clothes your catches and your oaths
Your sonnets and your stage plays
Your diamonds and your spades

It was early afternoon of a glorious day in June
When we saw their banners dance and their cuirasses shine
And the man of blood was there with his long essenced hair
And Astley and Sir Marmaduke and Rupert of the Rhine
Like the servant of the Lord with a bible and a sword
Our Generals strode among us to perform the rites
When a murmuring broke out that swelled into a shout
From among the Godless horsemen
Down upon the Tyrant’s right
Their heads all stooping low their points all in a row
Like a whirlwind on the trees like a deluge on the dikes
Our cavalrymen have burst on the ranks of the accurst
And at a shock have scattered all the forest of his pikes

Fast fast the gallants ride in some safe nook to hide
Those coward heads we’ll set to rot on Temple Bar
And him he turns he flies shame on those cruel eyes
That bore to look on torture and dare not look on war
And the See of seven hills shall mourn her children's ills
And tremble when she thinks upon our English sword
And the kings of Earth in fear
Shall shudder when they hear
What the hand of God hath riven
For the houses and the word
Track Name: I Who Came In From The Cold
Dawn a secret shy and cold
In shades of grey bereft of gold
Stole across the border
Caressed awake and morning-eyed
She daily through the frontier glides
And her papers are in order
She left me with an empty room
By bottle glass and smoke consumed
When duty came to call her

Now the children on the stairways speak in whispers
In the stalag-light you’re never quite at home
With the watchers and the waiters and the listeners
On the wire-tapped phone

Scarlet poppies blaze in Autumn fields
Where idle soldiers kick their heels
Now no one wants to know them
Murals fade along the wall
Where cold war tourists come no more
Now there’s nothing left to show them

Don’t get sympathy confused with understanding
When bitterness is bred into the bone
It’s indiscriminate obtrusive and demanding
And it’s better left alone

Now Nightfall leads her labour gangs
Uneasy east of no man’s land
Where dangerous men are working
Step we gaily onward so the voyeurs and the panders go
To peep behind the curtain
Where Karpov ceding endless games
Caught and forced to mate again
Lays down beneath his burden

They have gallows-hands to clap you on the shoulder
And tarot cards to show you where to go
If you’re worried that your welcome’s getting colder
As the fire burns low

But I’m tired of evasions of dangerous liaisons
In station after station after station
And I’m tired of waiting of indetermination
In station after station after station
Impatient for the last train
That will take me back to where someone is waiting
Track Name: The Mermaid
It was Friday night when we set sail
And our ship not far from land
I there did spy a fair pretty maid
With a comb and a glass in her hand

Then up spoke the little cabin boy
I was bound for Botany
But if you can’t tell a yard from a mizzen or a spar
Then you never should have run away to sea
No you never should have run away to sea

Then up from the poop of our gallant ship
Cried the helmsman plaintively
Some rum or some spice or some coffee would be nice
Or a little dry bread if you please
But I don’t want the butter or the cheese

Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship
Through his lantern jaw spoke he
I have daughters to spare and they are beautiful and fair
And tonight they a-sleeping will be
They’ll be sleeping with anyone they see

Then up spoke the bronzed bare-chested figurehead
Lashed to the prow was she
If you don’t get a grip on your leaky little ship
You’ll be lost forever said she
Until you’re tossed up together by the sea

Then three times round went our gallant ship
Three times round went she
Three times three times round went our gallant ship
And she sank to the bottom of the sea
Then we sank to the bottom of the sea

And the raging seas did roll
And the stormy winds did blow
There were we jolly sailor boys sitting up aloft
And the landlubbers lying down below
Track Name: It Probably Won't Be Easy
Phillip Duke of Anjou
I'm happy to kneel beside you
To witness the burden you bear
Silently bowing in prayer
My painted plasterwork peer
Has been down on his knees for six hundred years
The courts are reviewing his case
And they want me to stand in his place

And it probably won't be easy
What if they see right through me
What then can the ticket inspector do
I'm willing to come to terms with you
But it probably won't be easy
What if they don't believe me

The defenders of Burghfield mill
Fell to Ireton’s disciplined drill
I was a bystander there
I averted my gaze and muttered a prayer
Ireton said to me
You are temperate pious and clean
So if your conscience stands in accord
We will be happy to have you aboard

Now where's the man with the smile
In a two bedroomed flat in Carlisle
Or does he move in circles we know
From Hammersmith Broadway to Greenwood Road
Is Dickon his familiar still
Does his ghost stalk Burghfield mill
Does he court Jehovah with lies
When he turns up the eggs of his eyes

Now he gets up with the sun
To shovel his sixteen tons
And the frost is as stolid as nails
To splinter the sleepers and shatter the rails
Remember whatever the cost
You’ve got to burn all the bridges you crossed
Because the Devils you’ve yet to behold
Are better by far than the Devils you know
Track Name: Land Sea And Sky
The boat touched the land
The spangled stone strand that rimmed the bay
From the deep mid-Atlantic
Salt flecked the foam and the spray
There were red-coated soldiers there
Waiting to take me away
And sea pinks and boulders on hand to attend our parade
Land sea and sky all my horizons defined
Land sea and sky
Here on my island are all my uprisings confined
Makeshift meals come and go
With the ebb and the flow of the tide
Brought by garrulous guardsmen to garrison duty assigned
Last year’s campaigners haggard and hung out to dry
On the ragged stone ramparts
That are pock-marked and speckled with flies
Land sea and sky all my horizons defined
To land sea and sky before my arrival resigned
Land sea and sky
Before my arrival more able and wiser was I

The first sea lord has closed the channel ports
Behind the barriers our battered groups withdrew
Now towards points north the telegraph reports
Our slate grey ships are on the move
Land sea and sky along the horizon they slide
Land sea and sky along the horizon
Storm clouds are rising tonight

The home fleet weighed and Nelson Hood and Drake
On station set to seaward once again
Now all around the coast the armour-plated ghosts
Of ironclads are rattling their chains
Over land sea and sky from all four horizons arrive
Land sea and sky from all our horizons
For our survival provide

The dreadnoughts lay in rows
Across the breadth of Scapa Flow
From Rammersey to Hoy and Barrow sound
All my old friends were there Superb and Temeraire
Ramilles Ark Royal and Renown
Now the land sea and sky to all four horizons are mine
Land sea and sky to all four horizons
Turn into diamonds and shine