Archive for January, 2003

postheadericon Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 2 & 3 – Reviews

From: Earshot

After a short stint with Canada’s favorite psychedelic country stars, The Sadies, the prolific ex-Mekon, Jon Langford is back with his Pine Valley Cosmonauts. The Executioner’s Last Songs: Volume II and III was designed as a protest project in order to bring attention to the injustice of capital punishment. Thematically the record is strong, both discs filled with songs of “murder, mob-law and cruel cruel punishment.” That said, however, despite the all-star cast of musicians from the bursting alt-country scene, the sheer length of the record can make listening to it in its entirety somewhat of a feat.

Don’t get me wrong though. There is a wealth of good stuff here. Kurt Wagner of Lambchop makes an appearance to sing Tom Waits’ “The Fall of Troy” as does David Yow of the Jesus Lizard ( ! ) to sing Roger Miller’s “One Dyin’ and A Buryin’.” The performances are solid throughout. Langford performs a rousing rendition of “Delilah” while Mark Eitzel of American Music Club offers one of the record’s finest moments with “God’s Eternal Love.” Even the tracks sung by lesser known artists are stellar as in the case of Pat Brennan’s “Death Where Is Thy Sting” and Gurf Morlix’s “Hanging Me Tonight.”
Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Mayor of the Moon – Reviews

http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2003-01-23/music_feature4.php

SADIES CHALLENGE

BY TIM PERLICH

rarely is the outspoken jon Langford at a loss for words. But even for the prolific Mekons mouthpiece, the release of The Mayors Of The Moon (Bloodshot) disc just months after delivering critically lauded new albums from the Mekons and his boisterous Waco Brothers is an impressive feat of productivity. Of course, Langford can’t take full credit for the righteously ripping Mayors Of The Moon disc, a collaborative project with popular local twang terrors the Sadies. He came up with the lyrics he growls with that unique “r”-rolling Welsh-Chicagoan drawl of his, but it’s the quick-picking Sadies boys who provide the galloping soundtrack.

According to Langford, only the tune Strange Birds was written with the frantic fingers of the Sadies’ Dallas and Travis Good in mind. The compositional challenge was less in the process of creation than in that of excavation. Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Jon Langford and the Sadies: Mayor of the Moon

Jon Langford and the Sadies: Mayor of the Moon
SONGS:
01 Drugstore
02 Looking good for radio
03 American pageant
04 Little vampires
05 What makes Johnny run?
06 Strange birds
07 Up to my neck in this
08 The mayor of the moon
09 Last king of the road
10 Shipwreck
11 Solitaire song
12 Are you an entertainer?
13 Never real
Musicians:
Bear: bass
Critter: vibes & perc
Dallas: gt
Jonny: voc
Snake: dr
Travis: gt
Pedal steel: Bob Egan

Voc on ‘Shipwrecked’: Sally Timms
Keyboards: James Gray
Back. voc On ‘Johnny run’: Ken Sluiter

Recorded at the Wodshed Toronto by Nick Homes
Executive Guru (and provider of fine port wine): Greg Keelor
Overdubs recorded by Ken Sluiter at engine Chicago
Mixed at The Woodshed with Nick at Western Sound Labs Chicago with Kengineer
Cover art: Jon langford, design by M. Greiner
All songs by Jon Langford/Sadies, Pigsville Publishing andm. by DePugh Music (BMI)
Georges Méliès’ 1902 short film ‘A Trip to the Moon’

postheadericon The Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 2 & 3

Pine Valley Cosmonauts: The Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 2 & 3
Songs of murder, cruelty, and mob-law done to benefit Artists against the Death Penalty for the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project
SONGS:

Vol. 2:
“Gallows Pole (trad)” — Tim Rutili with Sally Times, Rebecca Gates, Jo Walston & Jon Langford
“Louis Collins(J. Hurt)” — Dave Avlin with Dean Schlabowske
“The Fall of Troy(T.Waits, K. Brennan)” — Kurt Wagner
“Banks of the Ohio(trad)” — Otis Clay
“Homicide(MG Days, KR Lucas)” — Skid Marks with Sally Timms
“Green Green Grass of Home(C Putman)” — Kelly Hogan
“Death Row (R Bell)” — Rico Bell
“Gulag Blues (trad)” — Lu Edmonds with John Rice
“Horses (Langford, Timms, Croker)” — Chris Mills with Dean Schlabowske and Dave Alvin
“Strange Fruit (L Allan)” — Diane Izzo with John Rice
“One Dyin’ & a Buryin (R Miller)” — David Yow (live)
“Delilah (JB Mason, LD Reed)” — Jon Langford with Sally Timms
“Willie O’ Winsbury (trad)” — Charlotte Grieg

Songs:
Vol. 3:
“Bad News (JD Loudermilk)” — Alejandro Escovedo & Jon Langford with Dave Alvin
“The Ballad of Billy Joe (Charlie Rich)” — Rebecca Gates
“Dang Me (Roger Miller)” — Rhett Miller
“Forever to Burn (R Hobart)” — Rex Hobart
“Death Where Is Thy Sting (P Brennan)” — Pat Brennan
“Long Black Veil (D Dill, M Wilkin)” — Sally Timms & Edith Frost
“God’s Eternal Love (M Eitzel)” — Mark Eitzel
“Hangin’ Me Tonight (A Wolpert)” — Gurf Morlix
“John Hardy (trad)” — The Meat Purveyors with Rick Cookin’ Sherry
“Pardon This Coffin (R Miller)” — John Rauhouse
“Saviour (K Coyne)” — Kevin Coyne
“Green Green Grass of Home (C Putman)” — Dave Alvin
“Angel of Death (Hank Williams)” — Tom Greenhalgh
“Tom Dooley (trad)” — The Sundowners (live)
Musicians:

PVC are:
Steve Goulding: drumkit
Tom Ray: double and electric bass
Jon Langford: guitar & vocals
Drew Carson: mandolin
Celine: guitars, banjo, fiddle, electric sitar, dobro, lap steel, bazooki (& mandolin on Dang me, Banks of the Ohio, saviour)
Pat Brennan: piano, organ, mellotron & wurlitzer
with:
Barclay McKay: piano on Fall of troy, Ballad of Billie Joe, Delilah & electric pano on Gallows Pole & Forever to burn

Robert Coyne: gt on Saviour
Luliasn Hayman: gt & Amy Domingues: cello on Willie O’Winsbury
Chase Morrison: cello on Homicide
Ken Sluiter: bas keyb & mellotron on God’s eteranl love, bass on Forever to burn & back vc on delilah
Rico bell: harmonica on Death row
Rick Cookin Sherry: jug on John Hardy
Gurf Morlix: gt & steel on Hanging me tonight
Jamal Ruhe: dr, bass, toy piano & back vc and jon Rauhouse: steel & hawaiin gt on Pardon this coffin
Lu Edmonds: sa in Gulag Blues
Joe Camarillo & Eddie Carlson: live PVC drums and bass on One dyin & a buryin
Meat Purveyors are: Jo: vc, Billy Bob: gt, Cherry Lou: harm voc, Pete Purveyor: mandolion
Sunbdowners are: Don Walls: gt & voc, Bob Boyd: gt & voc, Curt Delayney: bass & voc
All songs recorded , mixed and mastered by ken sluiter at kingsize Sounds Labs, Chicago IL
with instrumental overdubs at Phlosswwerx, Chicago IL
Paintings by Jon Langford
The CD is dedicated to the life and work of Richard Cunningham

LINER NOTES:

“Here’s the Pine Valley Cosmonauts playing their old death vs. death card & raisin’ a little more hell & cash to help wean America off its life threatening death penalty dependency. We’re glad to report there’s been some progress. On hearing Vol. 1 Illinois Governor George Ryan spontaneously cleared Death Row whispering, ‘Shit! those bluegrass commies know their chops!’, leaving us in little doubt that this super-sized sequel portends oblivion for the hangman & abolition lurks behind the very next wave (heh heh heh). Well we hope so BUT there’s still a bunch of bitter prosecutors, bad apples and right-Canutes out there trying to stem this tide of history/humanity, chucking rocks at our righteous surfboard & pushing their puny anarchronistic bodies against the current.

“If support for the death penalty is a mile wide and an inch thick (as we have found) the PVC is just one plucky little chisel trying to scratch a way through by getting cash into the hands of organizations and individuals who’ve rolled up their sleeves & fought this thankless, contentious, un-glamorous, non-fluffy battle inch by inch and case by case for years, in the courts, out in the dark, in the wilderness & on death row, where no one’s supposed to care.

“Since completing THE EXECUTIONER’S LAST SONGS Vol. 1 in 2002, the PVC played outdoors and in through Texas, New York and Illinois all the time plotting Vol. 2. We invited more of our favorite singers & songwriters to contribute voices and reputations & were pleasantly trampled by hers of willing collaborators (hence Vol. 3). They came in person (on planes, in taxis, dragged out of motel beds while sleeping off a Chicago show) or did digital magic thru the mail. They suggested deathly ditties unknown to us, wrote site-specific new ones or quietly bent to our cruel and unusual will, each trusting us to drag this dark beast to closure. For that we thank you all.”

This album is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Dick Cunningham

postheadericon The Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 1

Pine Valley Cosmonauts: The Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 1
Songs of murder, cruelty, and mob-law done to benefit Artists against the Death Penalty for the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project
SONGS:
01 “Knoxville Girl,” Brett Sparks of the Handsome Family lyrics
02 “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” Rosie Flores lyrics
03 “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” Dean Schlabowske, Sally Timms, Kelly Hogan and Tracey Dear / Soundclip
04 “The Snakes Crawl at Night,” Janet Bean of Freakwater / Soundclip lyrics
05 “Tom Dooley,” Steve Earle / Soundclip (no, it’s no instrumental) lyrics
06 “The Hangman’s Song,” Christa Meyer and Tom Kelley of Puerto Muerto
07 “Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill,” Lonesome Bob
08 “Poor Ellen Smith,” Neko Case
09 “Miss Otis Regrets,” Jenny Toomey lyrics
10 “Judgement Day,” Johnny Dowd and Jon Langford / Soundclip
11 “The Great State of Texas,” Chris Ligon
12 “Sing Me Back Home,” Edith Frost lyrics
13 “Oh Death,” Diane Izzo lyrics
14 “Hanged Man,” Rick Sherry of Devil in the Woodpile
15 “The Plans We Made,” Jon Langford and Sally Timms / Soundclip
16 “25 Minutes to Go,” Frankie and Johnny Navin of the Aluminum Group lyrics
17 “Idiot Whistle,” Tony Fitzpatrick
18 “Walls of Time,” Paul Burch lyrics
Musicians:
PVC are:
Steve Goulding: drumkit
Tom Ray: double bass (ukelele on poor ellen smith)
Jon Langford: guiotar & vocals
Drew Carson: mandolin
Celine: guitars, banjo, fiddle, dobro, lap steel, bazooki (mandolin on pardon me & judgement day)
with:
Dan Massey: drums on tom dooley
Robert Lloyd: mandolin
Jon Rauhouse: banjo on poor ellen smith
Amy Domingues: piano & cello on miss otis regrets
Chris Scruggs: double bass
Chris Dettloff: drums on I’ll never get out of this world alive
Deanna Varagona: harmony vocals on walls of time
Ken Sluiter: backing vocals on don’t look at the hanged man
All songs recorded , mixed and mastered by ken sluiter at kingsize Sounds Labs, Chicago IL
with instrumental overdubs at Phlosswwerx, Chicago IL
Paintings by Jon Langford
The CD is dedicated to the life and work of Richard Cunningham

Lyrics:

Knoxville Girl

I met a little girl in Knoxville
A town we all know well
And every sunday evening
In her home I’d dwell
We went to take an evening walk
About a mile from town
I picked a stick up off the ground
And I knocked that fair girl down
She fell down on her bended knees
For mercy she did cry
“Oh Willy, dear, don’t kill me yet
I’m unprepared to die”
She never spoke another word
I only beat her more
Until the ground around me
With her blood did flow
I took her by her golden curls
And I dragged her ’round and ’round
Throwing her into the river
That flows from Knoxville town
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl
With your dark and roving eyes
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl
You can never be my bride
I started back to Knoxville
Got there about midnight
My mother, she was worried
She woke up in a fright
Saying, “Dear son, what have you done
To bloody up your clothes?”
I told my anxious mother
That I was bleading in my nose
I called for me a candle
And I called for me a bed
And I called for me a handkerchief
To bind my aching head
I rolled and thrashed the whole night through
All horrors I did see
The devil stood at the foot of my bed
Pointing his finger at me
They carried me down to Knoxville
And put me in a cell
My friends all tried to get me out
But none could grow my bail
I’m here to waste my life away
Down in this dirty old jail
Because I murdered that Knoxville girl
The girl I loved so well
I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

Recorded by Hank Williams
Written by Hank Williams and Fred Rose

Capo: 1st Fret Key: F# Play: F
Now you’re [F] lookin’ at a man that’s gettin’ kind-a mad
I had lot’s of luck but it’s all been bad
No [C7] matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world a-[F] live.

My fishin’ pole’s broke the creek is full of sand
My woman run away with another man
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

A [Bb] distant uncle passed away [Bb7] and [F] left me quite a batch [F7]
And [Bb] I was livin’g high until that fatal [Bb7] day
A lawyer [C7] proved I wasn’t born
I was only hatched.—[F]

Ev’rything’s agin’ me and it’s got me down
If I jumped in the river I would prob’ly drown
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

These shabby shoes I’m wearin’ all the time
Are full of holes and nails
And brother if I stepped on a worn out dime
I bet a nickel I could tell you if it was heads or tails.

I’m not gonna worry wrinkles in my brow
‘Cause nothin’s ever gonna be alright nohow
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

(ADDITIONAL VERSES)
I could buy a Sunday suit and it would leave me broke
If it had two pair of pants I would burn the coat
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

If it was rainin’ gold I wouldn’t stand a chance
I wouldn’t have a pocket in my patched up pants
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

SNAKES CRAWL AT NIGHT
by Charlie Pride

Chorus
Oh the snakes crawl at night,that’s what they say
When the sun goes down.Oh the snakes will play

I watched that car pull right up into my driveway
Saw the shadow slip away from my house
So I hurried straight and looked into her room
And I found out that it was my loving spouse

repeat chorus

So I waited in the shadows until morning
And the gun that I held was trembling in my hand
No I did not mean to give them any warning
For the devil on my shoulder had command

repeat chorus

Oh the trial in a little while was over
And they sentenced me to die right away
But before I leave this courtroom please your honour
There is something more that I would like to say

Tom Dooley

Chorus
Hang your head, Tom Dooley
Hang your head and cry
Killed poor Laura Foster (note 1)
And you know you’re bound to die

You took her on the hillside (note 2)
And begged to be excused
You took her on the hillside
Then hid her clothes and shoes

You dug her grave four feet wide
Dug it three feet deep
Rolled the cold clay over her
And tromped it with your feet

[chorus]

Took her on the hillside
Stabbed with a knife (note 3)
Took her on the hillside
And then you took her life

[chorus]
[chorus]

This time tomorrow morning
Where do you reckon I’ll be
Down in some lonesome valley
Just swinging from a white oak tree

You can take down my old violin
And play it all you please
For at this time tomorrow morning
It’ll be of no use to me

[chorus]

Miss Otis Regrets
(Cole Porter)

Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
but last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.
When she woke up and found that her dream of love was gone, madam,
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray,
And from under her velvet gown,
She drew a gun and shot her love down, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.
When the mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, madam,
They strung her upon the old willow across the way,
And the moment before she died,
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, madam……
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today

SING ME BACK HOME
Written by Merle Hagard

The warden led a prisoner down a hallway to his doom.
I stood up to say goodbye like all the rest.
And I heard him tell the warden, just before he reached my cell:
“Let my guitar playing friend do my request.”

CHORUS:

“Let him sing me back home, with a song I used to hear.
“And make my old mem’ries come alive.
“And take me away and turn back the years.
“And sing me back home before I die.”

I recall last Sunday morning, a choir from off the streets,
Came in to sing a few old gospel songs.
And I heard him tell the singers: “There’s a song my Mama sang.
“Could I hear it once before you move along?”

(Chorus)

Oh Death

Oh death
Oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year

Well what is this that I can’t see
With ice cold hands taking hold of me
Well I am death none can excel
I’ll open the door to heaven or hell

Whoa death someone would pray
Could you wait to call me til another day
The children pray the preacher preached
Time and mercy is out of your reach

I’ll fix your feet til you can’t walk
I’ll lock your jaw til you can’t talk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see
This very hour come and go with me

In death I come to take the soul
Leave the body and leave it cold
To drop the flesh off of the frame
The earth and worms both have a claim

Oh death
Oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year

My mother came to my bed
Place a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold
Death is a movin upon my soul

Oh death how you’re treatin me
You close my eyes so I can’t see
Well you’re hurtin my body you make me cold
You run my life right out of my soul

Oh death please consider my age
Please don’t take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command
If you’ll remove your icy hands

Oh the young the rich or poor
All alike to me you know
No wealth no land no silver or gold
Nothin satisfies my but your soul

Oh death
Oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year
Won’t you spare me over til another year
Won’t you spare me over til another year

25 MINUTES TO GO (Shel Silverstein)

They’re buildin’ the gallows outside my cell.
I got 25 minutes to go.

And in 25 minutes I’ll be in Hell.
I got 24 minutes to go.

Well, they give me some beans for my last meal.
23 minutes to go.

And you know… nobody asked me how I feel.
I got 22 minutes to go.

So, I wrote to the Gov’nor… the whole damned bunch.
Ahhh… 21 minutes to go.

And I call up the Mayor, and he’s out to lunch.

I got 20 more minutes to go.

Well, the Sheriff says, “Boy, I wanna watch you die”.
19 minutes to go.

I laugh in his face… and I spit in his eye.
I got 18 minutes to go.

Well…I call out to the Warden to hear my plea.
17 minute to go.

He says, “Call me back in a week or three.
You’ve got 16 minutes to go.”

Well, my lawyer says he’s sorry he missed my case.
Mmmm….15 minutes to go.

Yeah, well if you’re so sorry, come up and take my place.
I got 14 minutes to go.

Well, now here comes the padre to save my soul
With 13 minutes to go.

And he’s talkin’ about burnin’, but I’m so damned cold.
I got 12 more minutes to go.

Now they’re testin’ the trap. It chills my spine.
I got 11 minutes to go.

‘Cuz the goddamned thing it works just fine.
I got 10 more minutes to go.

I’m waitin’ for the pardon… gonna set me free
With 9 more minutes to go.

But this ain’t the movies, so to hell with me.
I got 8 more minutes to go.

And now I’m climbin up the ladder with a scaffold peg
With 7 more minutes to go.

I’ve betta’ watch my step or else I’ll break my leg.
I got 6 more minutes to go.

Yeah… with my feet on the trap and my head in the noose…
5 more minutes to go.

Well, c’mon somethin’ and cut me loose.
I got 4 more minutes to go.

I can see the mountains. I see the sky.
3 more minutes to go.

And it’s too damned pretty for a man to die.
i got 2 more minutes to go

I can hear the buzzards… hear the crows.
1 more minute to go.

And now I’m swingin’ and here I gooooooooo….

Walls Of Time

The wind is blowing ‘cross the mountains
And down on the valley way below
It sweeps the grave of my darling
When I die that’s where I want to go

Lord send the angels for my darling
And take her to that home on high
I’ll wait my time out here on earth love
And come to you when I die

I hear a voice out in the darkness
It moans and whispers through the pines
I know it’s my sweetheart a calling
I hear her through the walls of time

Our names are carved upon the tombstone
I promised you before you died
Our love will bloom forever darling
When we rest side
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