Cenotaph Tapes

by John Carroll

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about

Performed by:
John Carroll (Guitar/Vocals/Midi)
马倩云 Ma Qing Yuan (Piano)
周大韵 Zhou Da Yun (Cello)
张博 Zhang Bo (Violin)
Lee Davies (Melodica)

All lyrics, music and artwork created by John Carroll

All songs recorded and mixed at home in Ya Shi Yuan, Hangzhou, China in January 2014, except piano on ‘Seagull’ and ‘The Ornament’ recorded at 湖畔琴声 [Hu Pan Qin Sheng], Hangzhou.
Field recording of new year fireworks on 'Where the Deers Leap High' recorded in Ya Shi Yuan, on the eve of the year of the horse 2014.

Mastered by Denis Blackham in the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Distributed by Medic Records, China

Info - www.lllmediclll.com
Press - lllmediclll@hotmail(dot)com
E - johncarroll@126(dot)com

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Reviews:

'Truly a diamond in the rough'
- That's China Monthly, China (03/2014)

'High calibre sentiment and expression...a combination of carefully crafted songs with lasting melodies, faultless lyrics, richly delivery vocals and a masterful touch on guitar...words that cut like knives, phrases filled with pathos and stories to make you feel at one with the powerful images the songs evoke.' - FolkWords, UK (04/2014)

'...A very distinct sound, as if you can read the room with some kind of perceptible braille...i'm not going to give this album a number out of ten, as it's worth more than that'
- That's China Monthly, China (05/2014)

credits

released April 12, 2014

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John Carroll Hangzhou, China

John Carroll is an artist from Limerick, Ireland who lives in Hangzhou, China.

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Track Name: Road Prayer
May you yield before a cross
May your wagon see the sign
Sticking in the mud
Protect you when it’s high.
When the sun is in your eyes
A cloud will give you sight
Many men are blind
But they say it’s just at night

When the ground beneath our feet
Is faster than the wind
Let the rider take you far
And bless the hands you greet.
If hooves should touch the tar
Against you on the road
Be rescued by Saint Christopher
Our patron traveller

And if night should fall upon you
When shadows crawl and stare
Let the headlights penetrate them
Like the wielded sword of prayer.
There’s a million birds and briars
To send you on your way
The carcasses of a calling crow
A path where not to stray.

As the engine croaks and whistles
It’s crude old heart of oil
The beating valves and rusted chains
Lament the Shannon soil.
All the frequencies between us
All the wires, crests and waves
The homeward call of family
That drives you out again.

On a joyride going north
Where the drunken trees agree
The music should be louder here
But your shotgun’s fast asleep.
And you’ll know the daylight’s closer
When the vampires shield their eyes
If they snatch you from the shelter
A chariot will rise

If you’re burnt out in the ditches
Where the homeless piss and cum
Don't blame it on the passenger
Til you tell him what you've done.
Send a prayer to the road
Jack your gypsy deals
Let it be the envoy
For love upon your wheels.
Track Name: If I'd Known
If I’d known one day
That I’d never look back
At the people and the places
The taverns and the steeples
Of Limerick;
‘You don’t know what you’ve got’, she said
‘You don’t know what you have’
But music’s never been much to her
It’s always been a fad

Faraway in China
The world’s a different place
I’m trying hard to understand it
But every day’s a race,
I've been losing touch with home
And it's a different kind of death
You accept it for a friend
Or you’re on the dole again.

The faces that I once called friends
Barely contact me
While the new life that I’m building
Comes with firewalls and proxies
The best friend that I've got
Is the taxman, I’m sure,
He’s still got time for me,
He’s always knocking on my door

I've always had the time for you
And you’re always on my mind
But I left you for the unknown
With the horizon far behind,
If I ever come back to you again
Well, things won’t be the same,
But I hope you’ll think of me
With affection, my friend.

Her eyes were always wide
Near Sarsfield Bridge by a full moon
And she’d light up Poor man’s Kilkee
Til the tawny hours would come
And we always had the music
A place you couldn’t see
But we found it there in Limerick
It's the only other part of me.

The longer that I stay here
I look at my photographs
And I realise you’re not stagnant
But I can’t help thinking back,
To the distances we’ve travelled
Our past collecting dust
And an homage to the arseholes
That never gave any time to us

Every second I delay now
Well, something hits me hard
That where she’s headed I won’t be
A-howling in the dark,
If he’s combing back your hair
If he’s looking you in your eyes
Well I hope you’ve finally found your love
Without promise or disguise

If I’d known one day
That I’d never look back
At the people and the places
The taverns and steeples
Of Limerick

If I’d known one day
If I’d known one day
Track Name: He's The Road
He’s the road of my life
Makes it hard to have a wife
There’s a drought when he’s wrong
Doesn’t know which path he’s on

Tell him when the alley’s dark
Tell him when the stray dogs bark
A barren desert in the wind
Don’t mean much without a friend

He’s a partner with my hand
A drunken night that never ends
When I’m broken and depressed
He’s a bottle on the shelf

He’s the road

He’s the road of my life
Makes it hard to be a wife
There’s a drought when he’s gone
Doesn’t know which path he’s on

He’s a curse that wages war
Doesn’t know what his words are for
There’s a deluge when he’s won
Doesn't know where he started from

Tell me when our struggle ends
My independence ropes a bend
A barren desert in the wind
Don’t mean much without a friend
Track Name: You used to be my Brush
You used to be my brush
and I was on canvas
Nothing more than an outline
Nothing less than a shadow

You taught me how to lift myself
From the tea stain on this grimy page
Sometimes I slip back again
But mostly, I’ve learned to paint

You used to be my cane
When I was hardly able
Nothing more than a whip,
Nothing less than a stroke of good luck.

You used to hold up seashells
To your ears just for the feeling
But now the feeling's gone
Now, the feelings gone
Track Name: Seagull
Seagull, seagull
I’m falling down
Into my maker’s arms
If you drop like a weight
The wind won’t change
For a man on a rope
And a man can choke

Starling, I sing
To break you in
To mother nature’s call
When the water’s high
I’ll sink and die
Like a fading light
But the moon’s still bright

I’ve seen a crow like this
On a crucifix
To carry your cloud away.
If you drop your head
You'll lose your breath
In a puff of smoke
My asthmatic throat
A man’s on a rope
And a man can choke
Track Name: The Ornament
I’ve held an army charging on the borders of unrest
They settled in my fingers and weigh upon my chest
The ornament she’s wearing is a dried up shriveled fruit
A trinket that he kept for her to moan around her throat

There’s a dam a-holding water near it’s spilling to the brim
The boats go by and carve the sea for slices of her skin,
But he left her like a lion’s mane the rusty autumn skin
I beat my body like a drum, deadened as you sing

The folly and the shrapnel that carries on the waves
Collecting in the fishing nets and clogging up the drains
All the quavers bent and broken,
And the notes awash with scorn,
Squalling gulls a-calling at a father come and gone

Long before I got here, the place where we once met
You had long abandoned love, a dim and failing threat
And he left her like a lion’s mane, the rusty autumn skin
I beat my body like a drum, deadened by your hymn

The cupboards shift and shuffle as a house and heirlooms fall
Browning all the pictures in your wallet as you call
A steady oak that whistles through the wind and creeping roots
You bronze the shoes and memories that hang around the noose

There’s a dam a-holding water near, it’s spilling to the brim
The boats go by and carve the sea for slices of her skin,
And you left me like a lion’s mane, the rusty autumn skin
I beat my body like a drum deadened as you sing
Track Name: Where the Deer Leaps High
When comes our time to turn the wheel
We prey will turn where the deer leaps high,
We crossed our fingers like winding barbs
They cut right through your promises.

We prey will turn
Where your steering leads

When you’re looking back, and your days are few
Will you still be there? where the deer leaps high,
We were so regretful of our old winding days
Tearing at our conscience, tearing up our brains
Track Name: Greyhound Wears A Muzzle
As I wait for the starting whistle
Frost was turning black, black, black
And clouds come from my nose
The greyhound wears a muzzle
The greyhound wears a muzzle
Cast the beasts out of him
Cast the beasts out of him
Bayonet Bayonet
Bayonet Bayonet

As we race towards the starving thistles
Frost was turning black, black, black
And clouds come from my nose
The sea she wears a muzzle
The silence sweeps her womb
Cast the beasts out of her
Cast the beasts out of her
Bayonet Bayonet
Bayonet Bayonet

The boy who blew the whistle
Frost was all around, round, round
And clouds come from my nose
A human wears a collar
A human wears a collar
Cast the beasts out of him
Cast the beasts out of him
Bayonet Bayonet
Bayonet Bayonet

As I wait for the final curtain
Frost was turning black, black, black
And clouds come from my nose
The greyhound wears a muzzle
The greyhound wears a muzzle
Cast the beasts out of him
Cast the beasts out of him
Bayonet Bayonet
Bayonet Bayonet
Track Name: Desperation Looms
I celebrate
All the changes that I’ve made,
I’ve feared the worst
Cos I know how failure hurts,
I’ve turned a corner
That no one else can see
I’m feeling hopeful.

I want to go, go, go
When desperation looms,
I’m reaching out
Cos I found a kindred soul
That’s looking right through me -
Invisible,
That’s not so obvious at all.

Should I applaud?
Now that things have turned around,
The aches and pains
Still scatter round my brain,
It’s misleading -
Meandering my thoughts,
I’m feeling doubtful.

You understand
When there’s no one else around
To listen in,
And I know you feel the same
That crooked path that turns
Leads me on my way,
All things seem hopeful.
Track Name: Parlour Blues
I looked at you one morning
From a ditch above the wall
You were a cow
Your bell rings when I fall
The pastures and the fields where
Your pattern's black and white
We’re dots upon the landscape
But our friendship lasts for life

You looked at the stars and
And you said they looked the same
You were a cow
For the abattoir a gain
The parlour and the maiden
Her signals were so clear
We’re specks under the sunlight
But our friendship lasts for years

Since the world came down
Forgot about the teenage culture call
When you’re drugged up on a mountain of being bored
And it seems too late to turn back now
Like years
Since the world came down around us
Forgot about the teenage culture call
When you’re drugged up on a mountain of being bored
And it seems too soon to turn around

We watched a late night movie
All the actors looked the same
You were a cow
Didn’t notice anyway
The pictures and the memories
I hung along the wall
Reminded you of something
But our friendship said it all