Stacks Image 34
Acoustic Guitar – Paul Roland
Artwork By – Harvey S. Williams
Balalaika – Pete Ridley
Bass – Brian Heffernan, Brian Marshall
Cello – Nick Payne
Drums – Matt Vinyl, Paul Madden
Engineer – Chris Ashman, Paul Madden
Keyboards – Brian Gould
Mandolin – Pete Ridley
Mixed By – Brian Marshall
Organ – Brian Marshall
Percussion – Paul Madden
Recorder – Jeremy Mortimer, Pete Ridley
Viola – Piers Mortimer
Violin – Pete Ridley
Vocals – Paul Roland

Recorded 1987
Label: Bam-Caruso, Pastell

Witchfinder General
Madam Guillotine
The Great Edwardian Air Raid
The Hanging Judge
Still Falls The Snow
Matilda Mother
In The Opium Den
Twilight Of The Gods
Witchfinder General
Where the plague has scourged no crops will grow,
Even ravens feed from the gallows pole,
A fallow land bled by civil war,
Where all are prey to the inquisitor.
He comes to carve to cure the beast,
With the burning zeal of a perverted priest,
His pageant like a funeral cortage,
Heralding a grim and new dark age.
From the churchyard to the village square
Where the priest intones a mocking prayer,
Innocents are dragged screaming through the streets,
To feed the flames and Puritan conceit.
Madame Guillotine
Madame Guillotine
she walks in majesty,
Vile jesters fawning at her feet.
Madame Guillotine
her chamber music-screams,
Dark suitors kiss her talon hands.
Where tattered banners fly her falcon circles high,
Searching out its prey amidst the ruins.
Madame Guillotine,
cadaverous, obscene,
And yet she is again with child.
Moss chokes the crumbling tower
in this her Autumn hour,
Amongst the empty battlements
she waits.And when her kingdom falls
courtiers and suitors all
Will pass like a procession in the night.
The Great Edwardian Air-Raid
We stood upon the heath, the astronomer and I,
Counting parasols, watching couples cycle by,
Suburban streets were still when someone cried aloud,
And at that moment I looked up the war machines broke cloud.
A low hum filled the air as they turned towards the town,
Their bombs destroyed the bandstand and sent statues to the ground.
Craters marked the common, rubble, smoke and flame, Someone fired a pistol in anger and in vain.
Stunned we walked to Maida Vale and on reaching my front door
The astronomer said without a qualm “You know this must mean war”.
Airships filled the skies above our heads,
the sky was dark and fires blushed it red,
Airships filled the sky, blacked out the sun,
The old world died, a new age had begun.
The Hanging Judge
The hanging judge woke at midday
with fetid breath and tombstone decay.
Stubble scratch, cold floor feet.
He cursed the whore twixt his crumpled sheets.
The Hanging Judge gin to fix his gouty leg
and twitching ticks,
Belching broad he greets the day.
”Today” says he “is a hanging day”.
Fortified with a glass of port he raps
the bench “Silence in court”,
His birdlike clerk hovers by,
“Guilty as charged, hang ‘em high”.
(note: tombstone decay = rotted teeth; ticks = fleas)
Still Falls The Snow
Where falls grey veils of snow
upon the spires of old Moscow
There furtive faces press
to the windows cold caress
Mad eyes view within,
silent the wind-up waltz begins.
Satiated the mastiffs sleep
coiled by their master’s feet and fire
And still falls the snow.
She comes to me when darkness falls
I hear her name, she softly calls
I cross to the window and tear the curtains open wide
A woman is waiting there on the other side
Gabrielle why do you haunt me so
Gabrielle I need to know.
The rhapsody she used to play
Rising again as if to say
Though time has passed and I have gone
The love we shared is still as strong.
In a churchyard grey and overgrown
Where rooks perch upon the headstones
And cry in cracked and mocking tones for no one.
The mourners clad in black and lace
File through this God forsaken place
To lay to rest their master's mortal husk.
Dust to dust, last of his line, With all the ritual of his time,
Walled within the vault for centuries.
Beneath the dying sun, Still the rooks cry for no one.
When the mourners file away,
the black, plumed horse drawn hearse will stay
Until the undertakers have drunk their fill.
I still recall the night I went to sea,
The Press Gang and the crack they gave to me,
No goodbyes, no farewell upon the quay,
No kiss from my sweet family.
Haul away, haul away my boys,
You’ll not see your ma’s again,
Haul away and curse old Captain Jack,
The hardtack and the grubs that live therein.
At first light I with my back against the gun,
Blinked into the sun there to see,
Captain Jack with a sickly jaundiced skin,
Barnacle pox and the foulest grin.
For four long months we sailed the seven seas,
At the mercy of the breeze, no charts have we,
I fear I won’t see Portsmouth e’er again,
A Buccaneer am I now to the end.
(note: hardtack = biscuits; barnacle pox = pockmarked skin)
In The Opium Den
Three stone steps lead down into heaven,
Three stone steps to the Opium Den,
Ecstasy waits coiled like a snake,
Draw from the hookah and the serpent will awake.
In the palm of a young peer prostrate upon cushions
A phial of liquid-fluorescent solution,
Ecstasy waits coiled like a snake,
Draw from the hookah and the serpent will awake.
Caressing a carved pipe with long bony fingers,
Delirium blossoms in cool vivid colours,
Ecstasy waits coiled like a snake,
Draw from the hookah and the serpent will awake.
Twilight Of The Gods
Once the gods looked out from their halls in high Valhalla
All the gods were masked,
armed with blades forged in Valhalla
Once the gods rode out on their mounts of charnel black
Whom the gods had slain would glide aflame to high Valhalla