Stacks Image 34
Recorded 1990
Label: New Rose Records
 
Producer – Paul Roland
Written-By, Composed By – P. Roland*

Dr Syn Is Riding Again
Pharaoh
Candy Says
Triumphs Of A Taxidermist
Grantchester Fields
Meet Mr Scratch
Masque
The Mind Of William Gaines
Cocoon
I Dreamt I Stood Upon The Scaffold
Matty Groves
 
Extra Tracks
The Ratcatcher's DaughterThe Sporting Life
The Sea Captain

Dr Syn Is Riding Again
Jack 0’ The Lantern and Will 0’ The Wisp,
The Devil’s legion riding out of the mist,
Dr Syn is riding again.
Dr Syn is riding again.
Ask me no questions and I tell ‘e no lies,
We’ve rum and we’ve brandy and damn the Excise,
Dr Syn is riding again. Dr Syn is riding again.
There’s a note pinned to the chapel
“Service is at Eight”
But all the pews are empty
and the organist is late,
He’s watching for the redcoats by the cemetery gates
There’s no trace of the parson
and the sexton can’t be found.
Yet their footprints ring the pulpit,
steps leading underground.
And there lie his Bible, his collar and his gown.
Where’s the militia, the revenue men ?
A merry chase left them lost on the fen.
’X’ marks the grave that will never be blessed,
For only spirits are laid here to rest
 
(note: Excise/revenue men = customs officers; spirits = liquor)
 
Pharaoh
Once I ruled this land as Pharaoh.
I held Egypt in my hand,
And though my days they passed in splendour,
They ran through like grains of sand.
In my right hand the scourge of Horus,
Blessed lord with falcon’s head,
And in my left the seal of Isis
Who raised Osiris from the dead.
And when I died the priests prepared me
With scented oils and fragrant spice,
Before they bound me in white linen
For passage to the afterlife.
Then they bore me in procession
On a barge of burnished gold,
To the hill of Seven Jackals,
Beyond the WeIl of Souls.
When they sealed the inner chamberI
heard the Gods of Egypt weep,
O Amon Ra awake me!
For now one dares disturb my sleep.
 
Candy Says
Candy says “I’ve a friend that no one can see”
Candy says “No one can see her but me”
Candy says “She kept my secrets
As shimmering voices in a silver locket”
Candy says “I’ve a friend that no one can see”
Candy says “no one can see her but me”
”Candy it’s time you told your friend there goodbye”,
”Candy don’t you know little girls shouldn’t lie”
But Candy says that her friend is lonely,
Come the night she wants Candy only,
”Candy it’s time you told your friend there goodbye,
Candy don’t you know little girls shouldn’t lie”
Candy needs no one but the friend she has found,
Candy needs no one and no one comes round,
”Candy why don’t you play today?
”Says Candy “Make the world go away”
Candy needs no one but the friend she has found,
Candy needs no one and no one comes round.
 
Triumphs Of A Taxidermist
I’ve been up to no good, as Mother would say,
Indulge me awhile for I’ve quite a display,
A remarkable likeness, I’m sure you’ll agree,
My figure’s a triumph of a rare artistry.
I’ve a footman I’d lured from the servants hall,
In a pose to delight all who call,
And a charming old lady who was collecting for Scouts,
And the vicar who enquired if I’d seen her about.
I’ve a tableau to please the discerning eye,
A Harem, for one must diversify,
Enchanting believe me, and taken from life,
I was almost reluctant to take up the knife.
I’ve a salesman to whom I couldn’t say no,
whom I had to subdue as his attitude shows,
And my piece de resistance, the last word in art,
My first wife Ophelia from whom I couldn’t part.
 
Grantchester Fields
As I climbed Lynden Hill I came upon the cricket ground
in evening's gilded hour, The sun like honey ran
so I sought shade beneath the arms of a low embracing bower,
The grounds man tipped his hat, bid me 'good day'.
Like as wraiths they came to walk upon the velvet green, to play the noble game,
The grounds man tipped his hat, bid me 'good day'.
The grounds man tipped his hat and bid me 'stay'.
Old men watched from the pavilion reproached by ghosts of summers past and aching to be called, Recalling those who bowled with casual ease, whose honest crack would clear the boundaries.
A summons brought the outfield bowler, advised from every quarter as the batsman stalked his crease.
So Bob was bowled in his last innings, he started for the pavilion, turned, and sadly waved goodbye.
As blazered boys dared each to shake his hand their master asked "How does the scoring stand ?
"Then all too soon the stumps were gathered,
The grounds man claimed his bicycle and set off home for tea.
 
Meet Mr Scratch
I was an incredulous young man
‘till I chanced to meet the devil in the Strand
He offered me snuff, ‘it’s the best, my own blend,’
don’t be a dullard, take a pinch my young friend.’
He took me to dine in Seven Dials,
all that he does he does in style,
He chose partridge and quail
for ‘twas the season for game
and I feigning indifference
I ordered the same
Over brandy and smokes
he drew a contract of sorts,
it seemed quite in order
and he’d been such a sport.
Then to an address in Bluegate Fields,
‘an incentive’, he smiled, ‘to seal the deal,’
‘It’s favoured by swells
and other men of the world
Why, Madame Magenta is like a Ma to the girls’
He staked me at cards and then girls by the score.
Come morning we parted then I sneaked back for more
The devil he tempted me. Fair exchange is no crime.
What’s a soul my friend for the guarantee of a hell of a time?
 
Masque
When I dance I breathe again
when I dance I ease the pain
‘Sweet boy you have far to go’
purrs the drag queen impresario.
I masquerade as Harlequin
and so again the dance begins
But like Petrushka I am made of straw,
I wear the mask that Pagliacci wore.
And if I rage and tear the air,
will madness be awaiting there?
And if I break my strings will I fall?
Am I Pulcinella after all?
Courting the light like a butterfly Coppelia
enchanting as the mannequin she plays in this ballet,
And as we dance for the toymaker Coppelius
I find in mime the voice that she had stilled and locked away
But when they bring the curtain down
I find I am alone I am God’s clown.
And as we danced
I saw him watching from the wings
Charlatan the showman
with a blood red rose bouquet
And you, you were won
by the wooing oh so sweetly done
Cruelly cast unto the last
as the cast-off protege
But when they bring the curtain down
find I am alone I am God’s clown.
And now the dance is done
and the play so soon begun
‘Darling you were too divine,’
sighs Judas from the chorus line.
 
The Mind Of William Gaines
I calling on behalf of Dr Feather
for the head of William Gaines
Tell the warden I’ve a hat box
and I’ll take it on the train
My friend expounds a theory
on the working of the mind
And will chart the cranial contours
of the criminally inclined.
Now we’ll surely find what is on his mind.
This node denotes a tendency
towards profligacy and crime
Note the heightened membrane of the
cerefenal line
Pulsing in its clouded tank and very much alive
Soaking up the voltage its faculties survive.
It seems at last that our research
has taken a new twist
The brain has furnished us with schemes
which we simply can’t resist.
 
Cocoon
Step inside so good of you to come,
Step inside and see what I’ve become
My friend I have much to relate, so little time now remaining
Even now it may be too late, for I fear my faculties fading.
You recall on what I was engaged,
You recall the experiments I made
The results were quite unforeseen, the developments were disarming
The fungus when fed grew apace, the consequences alarming.
My friend, you ask why I despair,
My friend, raise the lamp if you’re prepared,
To look on the face you had known and see my features deforming,
The spores I am host to have grown
Within this cocoon that is forming.
And now, I fear the time has come
An end to that which I’ve become
Tell my wife of the work I’ve begun,
That I’m ashamed for the pain I have caused her
Then board up the house when I’m done and put my affairs in good order.
 
I Dreamt I Stood Upon The Scaffold
Last night I dreamt I stood upon the scaffold there to die
Dressed in all my finery to bid this world goodbye
The hangman stood before me in the black hood of his trade
Commended by the magistrate for the stout noose that he’d made.
His eager young apprentice then stepped back to bind my wrists
Urged on by the restless mob who jeered and shook their fists
Hawkers cried of hot meat pies, of gibbets and of gin,
While ladies strained for a better view, all anxious to begin.
Hangman, hangman, ten gold crowns gladly will I give thee
Hangman, hangman, ten gold crowns if you will only spare me.
The undertaker and the judge hunched like two black crows
Sat astride my coffin as they gambled for my clothes
And when at last I did awake and shook myself from sleep
I lay in rusted prison chains, the Chaplain at my feet
‘Arise my son,’ he said at length, ‘and walk awhile with me,
‘the hour it grows late I fear and the hangman waits for thee’.
 
Ratcatcher’s Daughter
As I walked out through Highgate to take the evening air
I came upon a beggar in the crowded thoroughfare
He leant upon the railings by Gray’s Emporium
And he played upon a fiddle and his monkey upon a drum
The air he turned burned sweetly ‘The Dancing Cockatoo’
‘A penny, sir’ for porter said he, ‘for I’m not long from Waterloo’.
‘I enlisted not for glory, nor medals on my chest,
My girl she loved a uniform and a French ball did the rest’
If she had been a colonel’s lady I could not have loved her more
But she was the ratcatcher’s daughter and I not long for shore.
I loved her like no other though other’s there would be
So I did for the ratcatcher’s daughter as the Frenchies did for me.
No more will she go dancing in her lace and finery
For I did for the ratcatcher’s daughter as the Frenchies did for me’.
 
(note: ball = musket ball; ‘I did for..’ = murdered)
 
The Sporting Life
I lived the life of a sporting gent,
the gaming tables and the fights
But when the toppers were abroad in blones
twigs did I take to flight
But when I saw a ripe young fop,
well budged with a lill to tease
I picked his suck, a kittle job and
then off easy as you please.
And though I’ll hang from the gallows tree,
the sporting life is the life for me
In Durham I fixed a wealthy gent
and ‘fore long touched him of his scrieve
The neatest snib I ever pulled,
‘Good day,’ says I and took my leave.
At Wickham Fayre my luck rang soft
I fleeced a gent who pulled a pop,
‘Surrender sir,’ says he to me,
‘or damn your eyes your for the drop’.
And now I’m sure for the gallows tree,
the sporting life was the life for me
I thrust my hand into my suck drew my pop
and cut him down
And now I’ll lead a merry chase
for Jack Ketch and his keen blood hounds
 
(note: This song is written in Regency slang and some terms need explanation. Toppers = police, blones twigs = girl’s clothes, well budged = drunk, suck = pocket, lill = wallet, kittle = easy, fixed = chose, touched = stole, scrieve = money,
snib= theft, pop = pistol, Jack Ketch = common name for a hangman)
 
Sea Captain
I am a sea captain far from the ocean
and on a still night I dream of the sea
Of waterfront taverns, of morning departures,
and of the tall ships which wait down by the quay.
I captained a schooner, the Lady Morella
with a cargo of cotton, spices and tea.
And I raced her from Falmouth to the straits of Formosa
In fine and foul weather to the South China Sea.
I still wake in the dog watch and hear the call of the bosun
‘Let go the lanyards and make steady the spars
And I peer through the darkness for the lines of my cabin
But the lamp light falls pale on the dormitory bars.
For I sleep in the mission, where the old men play chequers
Waiting for letters from their families in vain
But I’ve still my sea chest, my chart and my sexton
And I will go down to the sea once again.