Old Black on the Elk

by Bird Watcher

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credits

released October 2, 2015

Julian Booker-Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Melodica, Percussion
Andrew Ciampa-Electric Guitar
Ashley Cubbler-Vocals
Ben Rosen-Bass, Fender Rhodes
Mark Rybaltowski-Drums
Jesse Soifer-Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Melodica
Dan Wisniewski-Electric Guitar

Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Jesse Soifer / Galactic Cat Audio
Mastered by Dave Downham at Gradwell House Recording
Recorded at The Blockley, Ardmore Music Hall, Retro City Studios, and our homes
Design and Artwork by Sam Hamilton

Special thanks to Holly Turner, Karrin Randle, Fred Hartman, Camille Davis, Sean Svadleneck, Chris Perella, the Hepner family, Adam Axel, Tom Howley, Dan Comly, Adam Murabito, Brendan Lafferty, Forrest Wright, Andy Bree, Bud Fulginiti, John Vettese and Julie Miller of The Key, and our families and friends for their endless love and support.

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about

Bird Watcher Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bird Watcher is a live recording and performance project begun by singer/songwriter (and host of WXPN's "Sleepy Hollow") Julian Booker and producer Jesse Soifer in 2013. They have since enlisted guitarists Andrew Ciampa and Dan Wisniewski, bassist Ben Rosen, drummer Mark Rybaltowski, and vocalist Ashley Cubbler. Bird Watcher will release its first full length in September, 2015. ... more

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Track Name: To Keep Up with a Masterpiece
Sketch a scene, / skin it back / and release-- / play it for me, / Mr. Record Man // It's a tune, / all alone in a room, / a Camden piece, / a herald in my dreams // Dedicated to me / last Wednesday night, / I nearly screamed / a harmony / on the "fadeaway" line // And "Time Out of Mind," / this can be a lowdown life, / but can't you see / it means more than you think // As I take a drink / with my mojo hand, / I begin to speak / to an empty room, / for the record is through // and out on the street / a summer night's din is the scene, / as I repeat / to keep up with a masterpiece
Track Name: All You Suburban Mothers, I Depart Thee!
I suspect / there is much in the way of debauchery / on the night's last local, / thumbing through dirty / movies. Who am I? / I am nothing in the way of authority, but these abandoned hotels / are the model of / luxury // Hey baby, / I once knew a poet / who wrote all day / and gutted fish at night. Well I suspect / he had much in the way / of psychology--in bus stations and Screamin' Jay Hawkins // You and I do balance / on the soft, welcome weight / of our home; all the open-mouthed wonder / of the road // All I see is the dead shark / in the dunes, on the local, / sixteen minute late. / Well I suspect there is much / irresponsibility in a hunter's hesitation / and uncertainty
Track Name: Spinning Feel
It's a pity: / this twenty-first century city; / an ascetic plea, / the Monday night moans // over "Naima" on the hi-fi, / I intone / the mantra of an ex- / Catholic boy all alone, pushing away the fits / at my fingertips // A sleeping scream, / a tape-delay frenzy, / I mark the weeks--have you heard / each tone // of Molina in the headphones, / pale, sick and alone / shedding all our old skin, / driving each other home--It's resurrection, kid, / are you listening? // The climax is / just the beginning, with a sheet of sound, / talkin' long dark blues // old ways and lost days / stripped dead from the bone, / magnolias and sopranos / engulf me alone / to keep us closer still, / spinning "Feel"
Track Name: Casa de Felipe
My love / on the mighty Mississippi, / I will marry you / under a harvest moon. / Caught drugged-up in / New York City, I couldn't let go / of you // I keep your letter in my / back pocket, / just a word or two // Water-sick runaway, / keep our voices low / and no one will hear / my love, an early morning love // These Curro Fuentes Big Band 45s / just to get you through / the rain on this "hurricane" / afternoon
Track Name: OKeh 06351
Fearing monotony, / I long for routine / in different places, faces-- / one or two, I love. // Second sleep dreaming / of "Basin Street Blues," / epiphonic treasury, / I long for just / one or two // I absorb / when I can't analyze, / to take more in is to keep from / losing control // Shooting and cutting, / "Champion" Jack Dupree, / been singing to no one since / the turn of the century. / Six-and-a-half up / with ten left to go, sometimes all it takes / is the wrong man to steal home // It's no "Chico" Ruiz / and I will make it through / listening every day to Gram's / "A Song for You" // It's the crawlin' king snake / that sets me free / taking all these / bad whiskey blues and / turning them to poetry
Track Name: That Twilight Hell
There's a time between / sunfall and moonrise / when my brain / loses sight of itself / and I have to call it back for / a moment to keep track / of where its been / in that twilight hell // look out for that nightlife
will take you to sin city / and some backwater towns / before you can rise / you'll be washed up--another kid / with just another sound // there's a time / in the late morning daylight / when the sun hits the / top of the sky / when I just can't stand up and be / the man that I dream of / with a million songs and nothing but time // look out for / that A.M. will make you / think sleep is / the only refuge / from a day full of failing / and the fractured feeling / that there's not / a thing you can do // and now is the time I always / sing of my great love and / the good folks in life / and I'll do my best / until the day that I die / but I just can't help from crying // because the artist is just a gambler / sometimes he's up
and / sometimes he's down / writing his way to be more than / another kid with just another sound
Track Name: Suite, Pt. 1 (Happy House)
I've been a rich man / from the start, a forty pound heart / finds empty corners / in this town--thick-set with stars // I'll be your old man / until the end, / discover masterpieces, exploring wilderness. / I'm always searching / for the start--here it is. // I'm here / with heavily-attentioned ears, / I walk with / no destination. // I've been my own man from the start.
Track Name: Suite, Pt. 2 (Untitled)
I've seen my darkest hour / over and over again, / I'll overcome my darkest hour / with help from you my friend. // Come over and sing with me-- / gifts beneath our tree, / come over and sleep with me-- / this life we are building. // Late at night--me deconstructed, / will you hold me in place? / Hold me all at once, / hold it forever. // I've seen my darkest hour / over and over again, / I'll overcome my darkest hour / with help from you my friend.
Track Name: Suite, Pt. 3 (Black Mountain Lethargy)
I walk / in the cold March rain / to ease this: my soliloquies-- / everything is everything. // I sing, imagining / a Thursday night in 1963--uptown, / wandering. // The idea is to die to be re-born in a stronger life.
Track Name: The Great West
Us reactors / undergo change-- / we transform, we stay the same // My reactions, / you deserve them all, / twenty two songs: levels analog // If the great west / heals a bit / then let's take it / for the turnstiles // Take my strength / symbiotically, you've said / time moved too fast / in the '60s // You duet / and I'll save space, / and we'll rust / face to face // The quantity / of quality's raised, you praise: / "the kids are great for me" // If there's one thing / you can give to me, / Old Black on the Elk / is all I need
Track Name: There is a Time
Written by Rodney Dillard / Mitch Jayne