Slow Dark Train

by Vigilantes of Love

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The swan song for Capricorn.
It dawns on you just how "expendable" you are...
Slow Dark Train was a visceral, "it's all gone South type" album. Suffused with desperation & garage-band sensibilities, Chris Bland (bass,) Tom Crea (drums) and myself toured heavily behind a record that was doomed to begin with. The label told us as much. They would put very few resources into it.
Such desperation became the "stuff" of a great rock & roll record.

The whole 3 album deal, over 3 years, with "band in a van" touring constantly with no real strategy was soul sucking to say the least. we heard that mantra a million times over the years during & after.

Yes, there were particular people who were suppose to be watching out for us. Managers, agents, label folks, the usual suspects In one way or another all failed either due to incompetence, lack of concern or both. Like I said: It dawns on you just how "expendable" you are...
As a song writer, all of that emotional and physical terrain went right back into the songs and the spirit of what I thought my music should be about: a certain telling of the truth to ones-self in hopes that God would show His face. I'm convinced He does in those do-or-die situations,...but I'm not sure if we recognize it when He shows up...
~ bill

produced by: Bill Mallonee & "Danny Horrid"


released June 3, 1997

Bill Mallonee: guitars, vocals, harmonicas, piano
Chris Bland: bass, vocals
Tom Crea: drums, percussion
Phil Madera: organ, penny whistle


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Bill Mallonee

Bill Mallonee is an Americana artist w/ 75 plus albums over a 25 year career. Voted by Paste Music Magazine #65 in their "Top 100 Living Songwriters" poll. He was the
founding member of Vigilantes of Love. He has worked with Mark Heard, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, & Peter Buck from REM.
His most recent work, "The Rags of Absence" released in Jan. 2017.
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Track Name: Locust Years
here's one more raw emotion to contend with
one last bullet to defend the fort with
i was drowning in complacency's cheap perfume
yeah licking my wounds

yeah one more specimen one with real potential
if the suit fits well you're looking quite presidential
i picked your face out of some police photos
yeah steps of the wicked overthrown

come have your way with me
come have your way with me
there's nothing left
there's nothing left to see

salome's over-weight she broke jacob's ladder
where the corpse is honey you know the vultures gather
yes i've always been taught that love was worth keeping
yeah truth worth believing
Track Name: Tokyo Rose
well am i defecting
well i don't know
fell under the spell
yeah of tokyo rose
all those hot nights in the jungle
with the rockets red glare
i heard all of those bombs
yeah they were everywhere

come and check out my condition
honey i'm in love with your transmission
i waited up for you every night
i hear your voice and my jungle's bright

i once bought a magic marker
the kind with permanent ink
i wrote down all my bad thoughts
i've got 'em all i think
in every bathroom stall
on every vacant wall
highly classified information
yeah i exposed it all

everybody wants
to be unopposed
we leave the straight and narrow
for the lowest of roads
we all need somebody
to lie to us i suppose
that's why everybody needs
yeah a tokyo rose
Track Name: Black Crow
you can do anything with this
well if not i don't blame you
i'm all over the pavement
and here's the remainder

black crow yellow sky
red-eyed raven telegraph line
your rabbit's foot got left behind
and here's the remainder

i'm breaking down i'm breaking down
i thank God there's no one around
to see me when i get like this
don't tell a soul about my predicament
don't tell a soul about my predicament

yes i've got no credentials
falsified my reports
altered my appearance
in the passport

your honor this leg is hard to stand on
it's been giving me nothing but grief
yes i dwell in this wreckage
but the rent is cheap

earth and sky will soon wear out
Your words will not decay
yeah You come with glorious shout
and tears be wiped away

thought i killed the sin of pride
hundred rounds i must have spent
everywhere i turn my eyes
i'm all over the pavement

it whispers from the furnace
offers a disclaimer
justifies every falsehood
and hands you the remainder
Track Name: Only A Scratch
taken for granted
taken to task
i lost my bearings
i dropped my mask

over the limit
under the curse
got sick on the main course
but here's the dessert

you can almost hear a pin drop
where it hurts the most
you can feel the hammer fall after
dad finishes his last work

and i know i'm reeling
life goes so fast
i know i'm bleeding
but it's only a scratch

and all of your maps
are torn and rent
surveyor's findings are of
dubious content

with all that you swallowed
you're starving like before
the entrance to your dream home
looks like a prison door

you can almost hear a pin drop
where it hurts the most
you can feel the hammer fall after
dad's ugly work

say that you're dreaming
the third time down fast
and i know i'm bleeding
yes but it's only a scratch

so come all ye weary
ones that languish
come ye disconsolate
and sore distressed

i heard my dad's voice
near the river of pain
near the river of love
they were one and the same

you can almost hear a pin drop
where it hurts the most
you can hear the hammer fall after
Dad finishes His best work

and i know i'm reeling
life it goes fast
and i know i'm bleeding
yeah but it's only a scratch
Track Name: Taking On Water
yes you're a big ship
loaded down with a whole lot of baggage and freight
life's a luxury liner
cutting through each circumstance and wave
now the cold icy waters
have sent the captain with his bottle off to bed
yeah the temperature's dropping
the radio is dead

taking on water
going down fast
yes under the breakers
send an S.O.S.
tell all the passengers
to spend what they wanna
taking on water

call it catastrophe
or the hand of the good Lord reaching through
call it a tragedy
there will be no last minute interviews
got to be a bit heavy-handed
when you're swimming in the shark infested seas
yeah to get my attention
off of my treason and mutiny

yeah call me irresponsible
but baby call me undeniably true
well at least for the moment
when i first set my eyes on You
got a big hole in a small heart
asking You no begging You to fill
gonna take some radical surgery
but You know my nasty will
Track Name: Points of My Departure
i know a man who wept a song about a mess he's made
when bound up by the lashes of denying
you know the chasm between what's done and said
but you can't blame a man for trying

come to me like when the rain falls
like the arrows from the archer
let the wind behind the stars call me from
points of my departure

happens to the best of us these inconvenient things
happens to the rogue kings and queens
the heart has its poison she keeps hidden away
'til someone holds it up to the clear light of day

drowning know they're sinking
dead know they're not breathing
and i will take this song and be forever grateful
at least as much as i am able
Track Name: All the Mercy We Have Found
gotta keep a sharp eye on your heart the company it keeps
you know the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
these days people will swallow about anything to relieve their starvation
i see a whole lot of ghosts on the day of their capitulation

think about my ship run aground
all of the people i let down
yes and the mercy we have found
yes and the mercy we have

i'm not saying my hands are clean
Lord knows my guilt and i'm not faultless
i've numbered and addressed and confessed
these skeletons in my closet

ah please draw near would You bathe and caress
these equal parts faith and hopelessness
equal parts joy and gloom
all wrapped up inside this empty tomb

if you borrow heavily from the thief in an effort to save
what you spend on your false self you got the devil to pay
Track Name: Version of The Truth
spend your life search the world over
jump head first into your savage disorder
scratch your head after every wrong choice
can lose your life trying to find your voice

front porch when the storm came through
took down some trees tore off some roofs
exposed all my grubby little roots
hurricane force seen the proof

my fist too tight tongue too loose
up on my soap box with my poor excuse
everybody's got their version of the truth

record business nothing to regret
only sales projections and figures not met
i hear you did something for me long ago
well what was your name again and how much do i owe you
Track Name: Sitting
sitting under my blue sky of deception
the colors run every time it rains
wrought brought forth fashioned from inception
my own hands and i take all the blame

as the light goes out
darkness with her bated breath
waits out on periphery of the camp fire
decadence and violence we do best

burned out face down in the gutter
lowest point i could find to ground zero
roll back alibis and skies are crushing
do we paint with much too black a brush

rock and roll what is it any more
youth profound or profane to endure
passion in the back seat or at the foot of the cross
going going gone and finally lost
Track Name: Willingly
watch the sun play on your hair
as we stare
across the fields of nurture
weeds that grow up in my heart
now i will start
to pull them by the roots

yeah consider my last remark
but don't leave me out here in the dark
where i go
a stone cast in the undertow
where i go willingly

hold the promise bright and sure
keep your heart pure
as the shovel turns the earth
elements will have their say
grace hope and pain
yes tended faithfully

yeah circumscribe that last remark
carve it deep down into my heart
where i go
a stone cast in the undertow
where i go willingly

steel yourself against the night
yeah desperate times
men will do their desperate deeds
just before the sky's erased
i see Your face
all over the fields of nurture

yeah big kiss for everyone
i grab you and try to hold on
cause i know
i jump into the undertow
where i go willingly
Track Name: Facsimile
yeah they're closing down the line
it's almost quitting time
they're plotting their next crime
as the evening descends
it's amazing what you'll sell
when you're not doing all that well
the stories you will tell
to make you a friend

yeah you worry 'about your looks
and from the magazines and books
you get a chic little hook
if you've got the wealth
it's amazing what you'll buy
if you think last chance went by
you weave a new set of lines
to cover yourself

'cause love is just a plea
deepest point of need
we take a reasonable facsimile
most of the time

ah sure you'll take a risk
but then the scanty evidence
can be used against you
at any old time
they'll read you your rights
in the heat of the night
and what you thought you held so tight
slips right through your hands

there's been a raging debate as of late
and a storm of controversy
faith pins her corsage
on easter morning's new Mercy
we know the terrain well
but You kicked down the gates of hell
prison cell's opened
threw away the key

yeah dragging out of bed
got a big noise all in your head
living and the dead run
in the clear light of day
it's amazing what you've sold
always leaves you feeling old
less wiser and more cold
as you try to make your way
Track Name: Hang on Every Word
feelings in reverse
now i hang on every word from you
too fast on the curve
now i'm straining every nerve
come through come through

you can only play the victim
for just a short amount of time
your own wounds you'll have to lick them
till the ambulance arrives

given all i've heard
hang on every word

hanging by a thread
walking here among the dead
pleased to meet you
what's with my chemistry
my falleness that strangles me
what am i crawling towards

you can only play the hero
till your mask begins to slip
and the fist on your bravado
starts to lose its sacred grip

wife ask the other day
"where's you joy did it slip away"
i could say nothing
even though i am a son
how quickly i've forgotten
but i'm yearning i'm yearning

you can only play the star
till the real truth comes to light
all those hungry tabloids
got you in the check out line overnight
Track Name: Judas Skin
what is it you need to hear
it's on your lips and in your ears
if too much static or unclear
still still He holds you dearly

hound of heaven on your trail
keen sense of direction and smell
knows your need before you do
and when you bleed He does too

on my own again
on my slow dark train
how is it i am found
in my judas skin spinning down

what is it you need to know
you don't already understand
when You offer me a drink
i just keep You at arms length

what is it that i fear
why is it i don't trust
hiding out becomes career
what am i covering up

what is it you need to find
love Your Spirit working overtime
when i come out of my spin
and i see You're still my friend

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