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Slow Dark Train (1997)

by Vigilantes of Love

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
Tokyo Rose 04:01
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
Black Crow 04:11
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sitting 04:07
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
Willingly 03:51
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
Facsimile 04:12
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
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
Judas Skin 06:35
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


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/ 80 plus albums over a 30 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, "Lead On, Kindly Light" is a 23song double Cd released Feb 2020.
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