My Primitive Joy

by Michael Tarbox

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credits

released February 16, 2010

Michael Tarbox, with:

Scott McEwen, string bass, drums, piano
Jimmy C. Clark, pedal steel, trumpet, violin
Robby Cosenza, drums
JJ Murphy, drums

Produced by Scott McEwen
Recorded at Fry Pharmacy Studios, Nashville

tags

tags: folk rock Boston

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all rights reserved

about

Michael Tarbox Boston

Michael Tarbox's work with The Tarbox Ramblers melds primitive blues, gospel and Appalachian music in a visceral take on traditional sounds. The band has been praised by Rolling Stone, NPR's All Things Considered and more. Tarbox's new solo album works its crazy magic by way of the dark corners of once-and-future Americana, fevered rock ‘n’ roll and the celestial navigations of ‘60s Brit-folk. ... more

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Track Name: At Dusk
At dusk I hear the wild birds calling
As night whispers on the stones
We paid what we owed to darkness
Now darkness leaves us alone

Coming here each a stranger
Knowing well the stranger's art
What a shame if we as strangers
From this place should depart

The poverty of souls lost to knowing
The nameless sum of all that's lost
Innocents betrayed at the altar,
All gone in the dust…

Still in gathered evening
Silence falls on the moor
I hear a sweet voice singing
And wonder who it's calling for

Sweet dreams now enfold you
Their comforts shall be yours
As we drift beloved
Towards the shifting shore

This world in all its danger
Soon may fall away
Still in dreams I found you
I hope you'll always stay
Track Name: November Song
WHEN THE COLD WIND
BLINDED THE SKY
WITH FLOODING BIRDS
THEN WE TURNED OUR THOUGHTS
TO OUR WEDDING WORDS

THE PAINTED VALLEYS
WE MADE OUR MARRIAGE IN
GAVE US NEWBORN SOULS
SO WE COULD START AGAIN

THE BAND GOES ON FOREVER
BOUND IN MYSTERY
WE’LL PART NEVER

WHEN CONFUSION CURSED OUR DAYS
WE LIVED ALONE
BUT SOMEHOW AS WINTER CAME IN
WE FOUND A HOME

A TWINED BEAMED ARC
TWINNED OUR GHOSTED SOULS
BOUND BY SEPARATION
MADE SOMEHOW WHOLE
THE BAND GOES ON FOREVER
BOUND IN MYSTERY, WE’LL PART NEVER
Track Name: My Primitive Joy
Sometime last spring in the Cascade Range
When the first warm winds did blow
I watched a river burst its banks
And flood the fields below

On the ridge looking down
I got drunk on red red wine
It was so good you know I thought somehow
This sweet world could stay mine

But I awoke so alone
And darkness traced the trees
And I felt as I left that place
A wild and patterned grief

Then freed of all sense of pain
Listening for a human voice
I wound my way back through the rain
Forgetting... my primitive joy

I was making love with Cassie
She looked me in the eye
And said you must not be afraid
Don't look away if our love should die

"What do you mean?" I said
She said I think you know
Love marked in time in time may go

The she smiled and said
Don't fall in love
With what fools enjoy
But I'd already fallen back
Dreaming... about my…
Primitive joy

They say each muttered prayer
From each loosened tongue
To heaven finally flies
That each tender care and dream unsung
Must have a home on high

But we are born bound in time,
Slaves to mystery
And so I wonder
If these hopes at last will abandon me

And I'm a fool and I'm in love
With what time destroys
Yet somehow still I'll rest with you
My secret soul,
You, my primitive joy
Track Name: Beautiful Girl
I knew a girl, she was a world
Contained and complete
In her dream was a gleam
There were jewels at her feet

She wrote the names of the poets
High up in the sky
In her hand was a talisman
Against false words that die

Yes she was a beautiful girl
She tried to be someone else
An undisguised foot soldier
In undeclared war on herself

She knew the downtown martyr
With his roses for the poor
He spoke like a holy father
As she huddled in his door

Her mother said what's wrong with you
Her sister held up her hand
“Tell us what’s wrong with you,
We don't understand…”

Ensnared in deep slavery
In each form and abyss
She lived beneath the storm
Beyond each stranger’s kiss

Her days grew to cruelty
No she couldn’t quit
She walked the streets a bleeding beast
She never got over it

Yes she was a good girl
Tender beneath her pain
She bargained hard for her sanity
And vanished like the rain

I knew a girl, she was a world
Contained and complete
In her dream was a gleam
There were jewels at her feet

As roses reach forever
In wild sprays untamed
I'll seek her face forever
And always call her name
Track Name: Whose Fault But Mine?
Whose fault but mine?
I was blind, I fell behind
The silver bells that chime
Through every street back and forth in rhyme

Yes I hear them sing and they sing for me
In half-remembered dreams they sing for me

Whose fault but mine?
I looked up from my windowsill
And every sun aligned
In every sky over Mission Hill

Are all these strangers only passerby?
I thought I knew them well but my senses lie

Whose fault but mine?
Phantoms rise and in shapes converge
All down the line
They're gone again in a spiral surge

Soot in sunlight – oh my soul I am reclaimed
Despite all I thought I am reclaimed

Whose fault but mine?
I was blind and I fell behind
The seven bells that chime
Down River Street back and forth in rhyme

Whose fault but mine? Whose fault but mine?
Track Name: Let Me Know How To Find You
Let me know how to find you
Should circumstance blind you
Or false friends prove a mirror most unkind

Let me know how to see you
Should circumstance free you
But doubting you’re still confined

If the wind whispers a curse
Or silence proves worse
Won’t you speak though it’s a dream

In the twilight streets that glimmer
I hear your sweet songs shimmer
As radios fade and even dust must gleam

When strangers make you pay a price
For the lies they call advice
Whose certainties hypnotize your heart

Let me know how to find you
If there’s no one left behind you
And you see the end must start
Track Name: Darkness Is A Rider!
Darkness is a rider
Bane to good hope
In every mother's son
Darkness is a rider
Granting absolution
Where crime there is none

Paranoia camera moving in
The angle couldn't be much tighter
As every stranger's face gapes inside a grin
Remember darkness is a rider

Darkness is a rider
With raw beating heart
Through your window he'll start
Darkness is a rider
He'll pluck your mystery
With cruel cunning art

Give me release, or some kind of peace
My burden could be so much lighter
For you who made my soul also made the beast
Whose darkness is a rider

Darkness is a rider
Drawing curtains close
Against the ghost of the sun
Darkness is a rider
Granting absolution
Where crime there is none
Track Name: Whose Face?
Whose face at the window?
Whose hand on the door?
There's light, there's light, there's light
From the ceiling to the floor
Whose face at the window?
Whose hand on the door?
There's light, there's light, there's light
Like never before

Innocent again, beyond dreaming
Innocent again, not beyond blame
So your deathless soul climbs to its heaven
You're free, yes, just the same

The silence of the dark steals upon you
Its warm heart beats like a drum
Whisper your secrets now they are fleeting
Nightfall now has come

The mirror of this world reflecting
The savagery of both flesh and sky
Gives you up, now rest, sweet pilgrim,
Forever - peace - bye and bye
Track Name: Who Is My Brother?
Who is my brother?
Who burns in the street?
Ignored and despised
Who secretly weeps?

Whose fear is unyielding
To dreamlike regret
Who pain feeding on him
Must more pain beget

Is my brother lost to me?
Who sang along the shore
Of the river running backwards
To heaven's gated door

It was he I loved the best
His joy still I scorned
And so betrayed my brother
Whose hopes died unborn

Who is my brother?
What is his need?
Whose heart with self-loathing
And sorrow does bleed

Who is my brother?
Whose face I can't forget
Whose city is burning
With fear and regret?
Track Name: Have You Been To The City?
Have you been to the city
Whose light bathes her in gold?
Green hills swarm around her
Her secrets to enfold

Whose daughters sing forever
Across the great divide
Have you been to the city
Stranded and denied?

Have you been to the city
In lilac Easter time?
Children drift in daydream white
Along the Palatine

They're bearing gifts forever
Numbered, without name
Have you been to the city
Losing in a loser's game?

Have you been to the city
Inside a stranger world?
You give yourself so easily,
Senses unfurled

What called you on forever,
Mystery unbound?
Were you there in the city
Thinking you had been found?