PARACHUTE TRAMPS

by John Isaac Watters

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    Comes in a jewel case with 6 page fold out sheet with handwritten lyrics. The artwork is a collage of images arranged by artist and filmmaker Mariana Blanco. The original images are photos taken by grandparents of my grandfather, my aunt and my mother.

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about

There are a number of recurring images in the nine songs that make up Parachute Tramps, the debut album from L.A. artist John Isaac Watters: bones, inscriptions, the sea, destruction. Things more slippery than images recur too: loss, redemption, aging, memories, the hereafter. Watters is a poet of remarkable vision, and, to a large extent, the considerable power of his first record is thanks to his ability to match absorbing lyrics to expressive melodies, wringing elusive ideas and emotions from vivid and often startling images.

credits

released January 1, 2010

All songs written by John Isaac Watters
Evangeline by John Isaac Watters and William GramlingProduced by William GramlingRecorded, Engineered and Mixed by Sheldon Gomberg at Carriage House Studios in Silver Lake, CA in July 2009
Assistant Engineer- Jeff HalbertMastered by Joe GastwirtArt by Mariana BlancoPhotographs by John and Royce LindMUSICIANSJohn Isaac Watters
Lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, hand clapsWilliam Gramling:Piano, marxophone, Hammond C3, pump organGavin SalmonDrums, percussion, hand clapsAndrew PerusiBass guitar, hand clapsAlex RhodesLead vocals, backing vocalsCeleigh Chapman
Lead vocals, backing vocalsCary ParkElectric guitar, baritone guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, backpacker guitarAnna SuCelloDave WilsonClarinetSheldon GombergBass guitarJosh PetrojvicTuba, hand claps
Joel WattersTrumpet

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Track Name: Canary Yellow
She flipped her coupe on a patch of ice/I took the cash and burned the tires/she always looked at me so nice/she called me her Cain and Able/she picked a daisy with a butcher knife/and laid the bouquet at the feet of power/she burned my fortress like a jealous wife/and kicked my shins beneath the table/I felt like playing in the garbage dump
I felt like burning brand new stereos/she brought them ice cold beverages out/her come the tractors now over the grassy knoll/they're gonna take her down like sledgehammers/they're here to bury her very dreams/its ten o' clock in Memphis, but its midnight in New Orleans//I want to be old and holding up/wool fingers caked in canary yellow paint/like clay-mation clapboard coffee cups/each and every little one of them fingers a saint/and when I say they do not dare despair/though shuffling through the criminal courthouse doors/honey you know you now have nothing left to fear for/that is not your bleeding blood on the floors/when all the scaffolds come crashing down/cathedrals sink back underground/and all the colors fall off of the flags/like leaves filling up the shopping bags/well that’s when I’m coming to town/I’ll dig you out of lost and found/give you a permanent address/give you a permanent address//
Track Name: Country Of My Mind
COUNTRY OF MY MIND

Oh the country of my mind it warrants all my time/Beneath the brooding blinds that make my mechanized eyelids start/And yes there was something round your lips, something hideous/I think I caught a glimpse of your face in my heart/And she told this to the man with the wool cap in his hand/She said, “How can you stand to be so un-understandable?”/She said tell me when you Wrote that letter/no matter what you meant/My love it was irresistible ///Say this when I’m dead/Say this when I’m dead as dreams and love/As breaking bread and bleeding blood/For all I’ve done is not enough/For all I’ve done is not enough///What man could read in life a poem- or think a thing so strange could bring/A girl into his home or somehow prolong his days?/A twig it trembles when a bird alights and earthquake in the dead of night/I wake to find she came and went without a trace.//And I tell this to the wind, who has been the best of friends/In mountain cold or highway road I’ve never been alone/And I whisper it disconsolate say speed death on its course/And feverish release my grip upon this earthly home/Then aching in the aspen groves upon a mountain made of stone/I finally found a home alone visceral and warm/And he held peasant hands to me full of singing leaves and trees/With broken hearts we both believed our backs against the storm/And I shouted, BE MINE! BE MINE! BE MINE!/And turned and leapt and left the cliff to dive into the sea/And as I fell she screamed I AM THINE! I AM THINE!/And I like to think she’s still thinking of me
Track Name: Epiphany
East of Arizona west of New Orleans/Found a bleached skeleton in a pair of blue jeans/A bloody belt of shells across a cage of ribs/Sings “Man is in love and loves what vanishes”/And I would sail around the world just to get her back/Lay ten thousand miles of railroad track./Sail around the world just to get her back/Man is in love and loves what vanishes.//Rise up dry bones, rise up and tell/Where home is found what makes us well./Rise up dry bones and dancing round/Defy the dust in which you are found//
Soon enough they’ll lay you underneath a tree/Like they’ll do to me, like they’ll do to me/It’s for you that I’ve been given this epiphany/My sweet lily, my sweet lily/Till the organist cacophonous /Scares the sparrows from the trees/And the belfries bells bang boisterously/As a bird wings on the breeze round me… round me!/Then my lily white will be reunited/With the only lover she’s ever really gonna need/And like the Mexican blanket in the living room /Ill keep her beating heart warm so she’s not lonely…not lonely!//
Track Name: Mexican Photographs
I was thinking of a sweet song sung by swinging a pitchfork prong
Sung by waking at the crack of dawn to walk along the sea

I was dreaming of a hot wind through a forest full of kindling
When a silent bolt of lightning lit a fire beneath my feet

You were mixing up a miracle screaming Im a train whistle
Careening like a cruise missile toward a private beach

Where we went whistling round the blue sea turning oceans into memories
Turning me into photography a journalist so free

When we begin, we enter in a blindly banging dissonance
In Mexican Photographs we can be parachute tramps and pick place to land

Picture please these green seas, or the train conductor screaming
Scrambling on your knees up white cliffs and dust

What a thought to think of us alone like a cabin built of bones
Like a hearth without a home a cathedral full of rust.

When we begin in death my friend to understand all of our suffering
And enter in at long at last we can be parading tramps and pick a place to dance
We are parachute tramps
We are parachute tramps
We are parachute tramps
We are parachute tramps
We’ll pick a place to dance
We’ll pick a place to dance
We’ll pick a place to dance
We’ll pick a place to dance
Track Name: Evangeline
Evangeline how your heart beats still
I can barely wager a guess
I remember the mission bells
I remember your cotton dress

I laid you in your prairie grave
dug for you neath six feet o' grass
I remember your footsteps soft
At night I still hear them shuffling past

We married young in a carousel
I rode an elephant down the aisle
A circus tent in Jerusalem
On an alligators back we crossed the Nile

You placed a gold chain round my neck
And sealed it there with a whispered kiss
Lashed to the mast like the Hesperus wreck
There are some things I will always miss

We waltzed through all the fancy doors flung open
Melted before us like paraffin wax
We traversed the whole wide world
Carrying nothing by weightless hope on our backs

No we've returned to our prairie home
And I have passed through the final door
It's locked to me for a few more years
when I'll meet you on that heavenly shore
Track Name: Jericho Creek
I grew tired of waiting in depots
watching the wheat grow alone
staring through cracking telescope lenses
along the long road that leads to our home

so I took for the city
on a whim you’d forgive me
but lost all hope in a dark concert hall
whilst the singer was screaming a blue whale symphony
what the words were now I can barely recall

will you still play hope comes easy on the gramophone
as you scratch our worried names on a bleached whale bone
oh and I got memories stashed up my typewriting sleeves
I’ll be all elbows and knees, begging please, on the cracking windowsill
well you must be just over the hill
you must be just over the hill

now I’m tough as a tiger
trained and treacherous
every wintry evening in Evelyn’s kitchen
she'd try and lecture us

and I’ve been worn down
and worn thin
but ill not be giving up or giving in.

will you still play hope comes easy on your violin
though the bones within your fingers are wearing thin
can I hunker down peacefully in the house on Jericho creek
I’ll be all elbows and knees praying please on the cracking windowsill
well you must be just over the hill
you must be just over the hill
Track Name: Trumpeteer
He’s just a lowly Trumpeteer
a tin pan tympani unclear
he’ll tell you the truths round somewhere here
and blow his brains out finding it

she’s as pretty as a chandelier
heart of gold skin crystal clear
but he’s afraid to ever get near
lest she die from hearing him!

So he spends most days down on the pier
the oceans only balladeer
and he spends his nights just drinking beer
in Prince o' Whales tavern

well momma she was a submachiner
papa he’s just a freight dock cleaner
but they share a bed and a nice rice steamer
in Prince o' Whales tavern!

now I’m gonna be your Trumpeteer
honey you be my chandelier
hang in my heart
ill blow in your ear
and when it all goes down we’ll be dancing

well the queen of England and the king of Spain
die polizie got nothing on us again
and when it all goes down
well be hangin ‘round
in Prince o' Whales tavern!
Track Name: Beauty Came
Thanks for your trust in me I’m all alone you see
And I’m feeling old.
I have no memory its only warmth I see and
You’re all I hold

Beauty came into my life, but vanished as the sun went down
Had some other place to be
On the other side of town

Beauty came into my life but vanished as the sun went down
Had some other place to be
On the other side of town

You sat right next to me
I finally felt free
But you got up to quickly and I grew cold

You wandered down the stairs
The darkness held you there
I sank into despair as I grew old

Pale beauty like a candle
Flickering upon the mantle
With a breath it’s gone so quickly
Leaves and death and dying quickly

Beauty came into my life, but vanished as the sun went down
Had some other place to be
On the other side of town

Beauty came into my life but vanished as the sun went down
Had some other place to be
On the other side of town
Track Name: Modern Times (Men Still Die)
She said to me
Illinois
was as cold and dry
as her mothers humor
and her fathers eyes
That the lake was blue and dark and deep
as her restless nights and her fitful sleep
and as she stood to go she seemed to leap
from the world shed known there in her seat
And I would give my teeth
to the tongue tied girl
with her head in her hands
at the edge of the world
I would give my peace
for an end in war
They took me in
and made me stay
an invalid in a hospital bed
and they etched my name in a clear glass pane
between my whitewashed room and the grey hallway
As they read me poems in somber tones
I grew older than I had ever been
my eyes clear as a cold winters night
my heart empty as an angry beggars tin
And I would give my chin
and raise it high
across battle fields and landmine wires
in these modern times all men still die
And I would give my teeth
to the tongue tied girl
her head in her hands
at the edge of the world
I would give my peace
for an end in war