Stacks Image 34
Artwork [Graphics] – Nikos Loris
 
Producer, Composed By, Music By, Lyrics By – Paul Roland

Recorded 1988
Label: Lithon Music

Death Or Glory
Burnt Orchids
The Hanging Judge
The Great Edwardian Air Raid
Berlin
Captain Blood
Blades Of Battenberg
Madame Guillotine
Cairo
Werewolves Of London
In The Opium Den
Buccaneers
Gabrielle
 
Extra Tracks
Madame Guillotine
Madelaine
Happy Families
Gabrielle
Cairo
Death Or Glory
 
In the cruel half light the lines are drawn,
While the mist hangs low in the early dawn.
Then a cry goes up and the colours too,
And the Eighth Hussars ride into view.
Down through the ages, time after time,
The flower of youth cut down in their prime,
Each century - death or glory.
A flash of steel and the mounted Greys,
Cut through the smoke and cannon haze.
Musket breath and sabre blade,
Tear tunic cloth and ornate braid.
A reckless ride for lost ideals,
Ending on the thorns of steel
Wrap the flag, sound recall,
A trophy for the Mess Club wall.
 
Burnt Orchids
Lying by the river bank in summer’s evening glow
I heard the tower clock strike Five
in the playing fields below
‘Dance’, that’s what I say to you
‘Dance’ before your time is through.
Father grew orchids then in a humid conservatory,
He tried to teach me but I failed
each time and he became displeased.
I nurtured then from a tiny seed a belladonna bloom
And at the garden party he smelt its strange perfume.
 
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)
 
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.
 
Berlin
It seems long ago and not yesterday
that I stood at the gates of Berlin
When the 20s began to this eager young man
all roads led to Berlin
The artists, the plays and the dark cabarets
and tea at the Adlon Hotel
Paris would pall, had nothing at all
compared to the call of Berlin
Farewell Berlin, farewell Berlin.
How we laughed in those days
in the clubs and cafes
then we lost our hearts and our minds
It seems long ago and not yesterday
that I turned my back on Berlin.
 
Captain Blood
The London road is treacherous and carriage wheels sink swift in mud
And many men have rued the day they crossed blades with Captain Blood
Newgate gaol had held him once, but not for long and ne’er again
They say he knew Dick Turpin well like Tyburn knows rogues and highwaymen.
Beneath the inn’s oak panelled floor he heard the militia pounding upon the door
He sealed the sheaves with seal and red waxen stud
Entitled them ‘the life and times of Captain Blood’.
 
Blades of BattenburgThrough the iron gates a carriage rolls, To the house, a mansion old.We are the blades of Battenburg, Downstairs our whispers are faintly heard,We are the blades of Battenburg.Twilight glints & trees have torn fingers spreading across the lawn.
The halls are white, their shroud is cold,
The vaults are sealed, their tales untold.’Neath a portrait of a brave young man An old woman still in her bridal gown.
 
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.
 
Werewolves of London
Cloaked in gloom in the smoking room
Hunched in the claw of the easy chair,
Beneath the drapes in the moonbeam’s plume
A gentleman of leisure craves the night air.
Taking a leaf from Burke and friend
he hails a cab to the East End
The hansom cab driver’s unaware
of the changing disposition of his fare.
The London bobby’s not so slow,
he’ll follow where the gaslight glows
Down to the waterfront, they’re closing in,
We know who you are and where you’ve been.
The Werewolves of London in winter’s cathedral cowl
The wind winds through the organ while werewolves of London howl.
When the moon is full and high, high above the trees
I know I won’t feel lonely, you’re out there, waiting for me.
 
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.
 
Buccaneers
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)
 
Gabrielle
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.