Paradise Razed

by Blyth Power

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about

Having made such a six-cylinder cock-up of Pastor Skull, you might have thought that the band would have settled down and worked together over the next release. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You would be wrong. The production's great. It sounds fantastic, because the band went into Trinity Heights in Newcastle, and it was engineered and mixed by Fred Purser, with no interference from the band. Nice work Fred. Where things fall down again are in the selection and arrangement of the material. There is a predominance of acoustic/piano orientated songs. Tracks like Winter's Tale and Burning Joan merely bleat where they should roar, and the overall effect is of a band trying to sound like something it thinks it ought to be. The only song which really sounds like Blyth Power is Cold War Comforts. Let's face it - what's the point of having a guitarist like John Rutherford in the band if you're not going to let him do what he does best? The bottom line is, you can't make art by committee. Don't even get us started on the bizarre history of the title and artwork. Originally it was going to be called Make Do and Mend..
Still, with Fred's production, Steve Maden's artwork, Yvette Staelens' cameo vocals, Rachel Swindlehurst's Stonehaven, and the whole band pulling together on one song at least, it was a step forward. November 1994 was when it was recorded. Teacher gives it a C+ and says we can do better. Having said that, it's still way out in front of a lot of the gubbins that you read about in the folky rags.

credits

released January 27, 1995

Songs by Joseph Porter
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: Bacchus On The Wagon
Bacchus to the doctor went a griping pain to ease
A phlegm cup at his shoulder to afford some small relief
His bloodshot eyes were yellow and his beard was full of grease
And a foul wind in his belly brought him gasping to his knees

The doctor coughed politely held a scarf against his nose
Bade him hang his godhead up and take off all his clothes
Baccus sighed and rolled his eyes behind the screen disrobed
The doctor grabbed his stethoscope and prepared to diagnose

When the doctor looked him over and said it's worse than at first appears
Your kidney's shot to pieces and your liver's disappeared
Your lungs are filled with water you complain of diarrhoea
And unless you give up drinking you'll be dead within the year

Break the bottle smash the whisky jar and put your glasses down
Bacchus is on the wagon and it's rolling into town
Bacchus is on the wagon and the curtain's down for good
On your quarts and pails and yards of ale now the cork is in the wood

Then the grey nurse summoned by the bell
Saw him weeping with contrition
Begging heal me please physician make me well
With needles pins and bleeding bowl prepared

She said don't expect sympathy
If you can't take your medicine
You shouldn't bait the bears

Back went Bacchus to Olympus and when he broke the sorry news
The satyrs were dissatisfied the nymphs were not amused
The centaurs and the Lapiths had a sharp exchange of views
The watchmen and the border guards succumbed to self abuse

But it's too late to say you're sorry now it's useless to repent
Your yeasts refuse to quicken and your apples won't ferment
Your wines and beers and spirits are a Devil's sacrament
For which Bacchus' indigestion is a cure from Heaven sent

What of all those pretty acolytes that Bacchus now disowns
That naked through the summer lees beside him used to roam
They've left the Elysian fields behind and bought a Barratt's Home
Where they've settled down and married now with children of their own
Track Name: Signalman White
Down beyond Wyke Combe Bottom
Blackened bushes screen
In the darkness of the railway cutting
The signal cabin's gleam
There among the brass bells and buttons
And iron lever frames
The hand lamps and the smoking stove
And the passing diesel trains

Signalman White keeps a watchful eye

It was halfway through the night shift
The empty stock was due
And an engine down for Kingmoor bound
To stable and refuel
When the clocks and bells went crazy
The trackside wires rang
The marker lights flashed left to right
In the section diagram
I grabbed the shrieking phone's receiver
Pressed it hard against my ear
When my trembling hand regained command
I said who's calling here

Is that Signalman White? her gentle voice replied

Her tone was soft and her manner was mild enough
With childish laughter mocking me
But something else was there for which I was not prepared
Perhaps a hint of madness by her steady voice dispelled

So Signalman White don't look outside

She said she watches me daily
As she flits among the thorns
From high above the branches blown
And marching through the corn
I'm in over my head and underneath the hill
In the patterned ground
From the graveyard come by the temple sprung
And scattered by the plough
She said to me she loves me
And to lay my duties by
She said she'll wait by the kissing gate
Beneath the ghostly lantern light

So Signalman White your place or mine

Then the phone went dead and the box was quiet again
I stoked the fire to break the spell
Each passing train helps to send her on her way
With each brief encounter through the telegraph relayed

Signalman White keeps out the night

But dawn comes with a chorus
The blinding sun reveals
What midnight's mysteries magnify
And shadows black conceal
From the green of the fields unfolding
As the swallows stoop and fall
The note she left was a gentle threat
In charcoal on the wall

It said Signalman White
I'll be back again tonight
Track Name: Rowan's Riding
There was a young man from Spalding town
Riding along and alone he came
Stopped for a night at the Rose and Crown
Riding along on a roan

He called for a quart of strong brown ale
Riding along and alone he came
Took to his room where he rang the bell
Riding along on a roan

When the potgirl came to his room by and by
Riding along and alone he came
He tipped her a wink and slapped her thigh
Riding along on a roan

Kind sir she said have done have done
Riding along and alone he came
Then pulled out a switchblade sharp and long
Riding along on a roan

She slashed him first from his ear to his throat
Riding along and alone he came
Then made him a dame with a backhand stroke
Riding along on a roan

Do you follow me
If you follow me
Round where the Ouse rolls down to the sea
Until dawn light serenade me
It will soon be your night you'll see
Track Name: Carlisle
Karpov crosses the border
Into the centre he rides
Notching his sword on the pawn goes galloping by
Makes a mistake in manoeuvre
Over the castles collides
Opens a path for the King's red menacing ride

Cab light flashes the warning
Answered the signal replies
Reel in the steel in the storm's long colourless miles
Into the station this morning
Stark by the Citadel's scar
Lamplight colour conceals each vanishing star

When first I came to the border town
No manners had I learned no art to guide me
No Sankt-Marie to take me in and hide me
Wide-eyed alone there
I lay my pistols down my heart beside me
My painted ring to pay for and provide me

When I withheld from the rich what I stole from the poor
I soon the inside of the Citadel saw
Long nights impenitent sleepless and sore
Brought me back to the hardwood bench and the flagstone floor

But I fell in with a good man
Strong hands to take and hold me when I falter
Strong hands to lay the breast works and the mortar
To build me a home there
His manor for my mansion house and altar
A son to be and a brother to his daughter

But deep in my dark and insensitive soul
I planned my revenge while I pledged my parole
Smarting but smiling accepting his dole
I fell on my knees and promised him gladly I'd go

I rose early
Stealing through the silvers and the sables
I crept across the courtyard to the stables
I'm gone to the moss now
Packed my saddle bag as hard as I was able
I turned in to the wind and slipped my cable

Now Caius has sworn on his grandfather's gun
By Judas Iscariot justice be done
Says I slept with his daughter his dog and his son
Now he's roaring behind me to follow and find me
Bedevil and blind me and nail up my hide when he's done

So he followed my tracks with his hares and his hounds
But I turned back and was southerly bound
With the wind on my face and the rain coming down
And a quartz moon rising over the walls of the town

I'll lay my innocence down on every card I'll cast my hand in
Though my errors bring misfortune notwithstanding
That when I burn with Rome there
My banners cast my faith misunderstanding
Enamoured fall her fortress walls abandoned

Sandman smashes the lantern
Arc-lamp scatters the glare
To mix with the stained-glass window and colour her hair
Narcissus is sitting in silence
Untouched by her tears as she stands
Hanging her head in her sorrow and ringing her hands
Track Name: Ghilbert De Haace
As I rode out the bleak redoubt
Nor ever the weather did heed
By chance I descried an anguished cry
I went to intercede
There was the fairest of maidens
By a basilisk menaced she

Foul vilification imprecations
Down on its head she screamed
But her breasts were the colour of an angel's
With the poise of an Angevin queen
Her hair was shorn like a bushel of corn
Where the reaper has recently been

She said good knight how well you ride
Your baritone's pitched to please
But these are not matters of moment
If you'll kindly set me free
To the Dauphin of France I am affianced
And we will married be

Says I belle dame that's one and the same
But there's evidence plain to see
This beast is as big as the two of us
And more than a match for me
But I'll send your regards to the Dauphin
Should ever we happen to meet

Profit and favour Pope and saviour
Warrior priest or king
These are just some of the birthrights
That the stork forgot to bring
But he's left me my looks and my father's eyes
And I'm blessed with the family chin
Track Name: Milton's Schemes
Round the ragged rocks
Shifting in between the trees
Idle poetasters test their mettle
On the lilacs and the greens
The sparrow-hawks and starlings on the gallows
Stirring lightly in the breeze
And the mistle-thrush
Disturb the shepherd boy's dreams

Along the gravel walks
Across the garden and beyond
Dancing to the music of the flutes
Down the ornamental lawn
From the abattoir
The little shepherdesses swarm
And snap their fingers to the bleat
Of the shepherd boy's song

In the Valley of Death the Garden of Eden
The shadow of Cain
When I can walk with your hand on my shoulder
It's one and the same
And I am not ashamed to say

We believe he's going to hell
We believe they're stoking up the fires for him ready there
That his bed is made of nails
We believe he won't be spared
We believe it's better late than never that he'd better be prepared
Or they'll catch him unawares

We believe it's just as well
We believe that we've received an answer
To our letters and our prayers

Rich forbidden fruit
Down the kitchen garden grows
Naked men and women eating apples
Wander up and down the groves
The missionaries have gone away
With all the fishes and the loaves
And the shepherd boy
Was driven from the fold

When out of the East flew the Angel of Darkness
Skimming the waves
Gripped by the wind of his slipstream passing
I was afraid
That I would be torn I would be tempted
But I was betrayed
Now paradise regained won't clear my name
Track Name: Letter From Reiffel
In Germany it's cold today
The weather forecast gives wind and rain
Bullet holes round the window frames
Of last year's battles tell

But the battle lines are drawn again
Between angry lines of marching men
Across the coffee bars and the drinking dens
The gangster rivals square

Militant children break their chains
And in vinegar toast their national saints
In slogans scrawled with poster paints
Their vain ambitions air

The pine green hills have lost their colour now
The glass and concrete towers are grey
Indifferent sings the changing wind
And the streets are getting colder day by day
If I could I'd pack and take a train
I'd pick up my cards and for home I'd make away

Down spiral paths I groping went
And from byways paved with strange intents
Thrice daily postcards homeward sent
My passage so to share

Another day's bread unbroken lay
Among the coffee cups on the breakfast tray
The traffic jams on the motorway
Are more than I can bear

But now the terror gangs stalk through the acid rain
And Lucky Strikes light from a molotov flame
I'll wash my clothes and change my name
And comb my matted hair
Track Name: Burning Joan
I was a yeoman and I was a soldier
When I sailed from Dover the weather was fine
For Loval and Launceston Sir Thomas of Taunton
For Ranolf and Rudall my comrades and I

But I earned my spurs as a turnkey
For St George and a farthing a day
My battles were fought through the dungeons and vaults
My enemies battered with pulley's and chains

But shock-headed Joan was my beauty
She was my jewel and my prize
Scratching her tits in the blood and the shit
Plucking the lice from her thoroughbred thighs

Sometimes at her cell I would linger
To watch while she crouched in the straw
I'd be stroking her hair and she'd sullenly glare
But she never acknowledged my presence at all

So I shed no tears as the brazier crackled and rang
The arquebusiers and the flower of chivalry sang

Oh Joannie oh Joannie the tumbrel and the pony
Through the ranks of the yeomanry steer
The gallows is cold and the gibbet is lonely
We'll make things hot for you here

See I thought that I was her friend and protector
Compassion I readily gave
And oft of a while sympathetically smiled
As the callous inquisitors hammered away

But she never returned my affection
Nor ever my homage received
And since in my dreams as she spatters and screams
I secretly doubt she was thinking of me

As the flames licked her arse and her belly
For she never a glimmer betrayed
So I cast off my conscience I joined with the band
And I fiddled while Joan burned away
Track Name: Winter's Tale
Dead letters and mysteries
Are piled high on the floor
They fill up the tables and line the walls
Biographical histories
Don't fill me with awe
Philosopher's words just puzzle and bore
And I don't have time to read them all

Of the great heroes of fiction
I have nothing to say
That as paragons strut from page to page
Through great graphic descriptions
Of love and terror and pain
To ride home as victors forever the same
But I never read to the story's end

When the camera lies and the colours are wrong
Tragedy brings out the gallery's laughter
The minster bells ringing all night long
Hammer it home
I'm left with the swish of the leaves and the wind in the rafters
The winter's tale untold

Beneath Sistine ceilings
Scratching out in the clay
Long working nights make for sleepless days
Paint splatters congealing
Round the brush in my hand
And won't follow the pencilled lines as planned
It won't make the walls of Jericho stand
Track Name: Cold War Comforts
Black Watch wear my token on their sleeve
Princes send me roses poets send me wreaths
Rich men walk beside me in my dreams
But in the grey light of morning they'll be gone
Through softening shadows stealing with the dawn

Though I can feel the warming sun's display
I could sleepy eyes unopened pass the balance of my days
Drowsing in this blue tobacco haze
But there's a world through the window rolling past
I've tried to stop it turning quite so fast

With my cold hard reason undermined
In this cold coach station I've been wasting too much time
Because your cold war comfort suits me fine
To these tea stained tables I'll be bound
And it's no Camp David waiting round

Salt seeds by subtle serpents sown
Of your funeral pyre I'm innocent all the rest you'll never know
So take me as you find me then or go

It was cold outside at seven-thirty in the morning
I stumbled to the hallway when the telephone rang
I asked him what he wanted
He said to call right round send you over on the underground
He'll meet you at the station at the journeyman's friend
He told me you'll know him when you reach the other end
He said you met him by the ticket hall once
Said you'd try to meet again

So when grey clouds strolling down the breeze
Bring you a blacker silver lining than you thought could ever be
I'll have blue skies unbroken over me
And there's no bed of roses no flashing blade
There's no laughing party here today
Track Name: Cry Carrion
Artemis her arrows spent inclined to take her ease
So to fetch the missiles sent Androgyno and me
Thus we worked the morning long beneath the cherry trees
To gather all the arrows up ingratiatingly

She cried Carry on

It struck me in the morning as the wind began to turn
And the trawler men prepared to set the nets adrift astern
That though the sniper's marksmanship is harder to endure
The wounds are rarely fatal and it's swift to find a cure
That lover's sighs extemporise in song and so withstand
But Artemis' venom needs a laying on of hands

Cry Carry on
Embrace the bullet bite the bomb while she puts her armour on
Cry carry on
Take the bait wait your turn to hold the candle 'til you burn

Artemis her arrows spent inclined to take her ease
Her rooks about her shoulders and her bow across her knees
We perforce as promise have carried out the task
And all the arrows laid before her as she idles in the grass
That she may arm herself anew steady-eyed to aim
The shaft against the supple yew and shoot us once again
Track Name: Stonehaven (Version)
A thirsty noon breaks through your curtain call
The clock-face winks a weary eye
Empty letters to your dreamscape shatter through
And I'm the stone and the statue standing by

In Manor House there lived a lady once
From the broken bank she made her plea
For all Stonehaven knows my fortunes I will share
With the one who'll mend my broken wings for me

To her Manor House door there came a travelling man
Close your eyes and count to three
In the wind and the rain to walk and the southern moon to ride
And that's the last of her we'll ever see

The North Sea heaved when it heard your wedding bells
The grey skies wept upon the beach
But who am I to tell the waves which way to turn
And who are you to tell me what I can see

How came you then this sad song to tell?
How bore you children then that never could conceive
How narrow minded and malicious I can be
And how came you here tonight without his leave?