ALAS ALACK

Credits

Chris Bonner (bass, drums)
Cynthia Hopkins (accordion, guitar, saw, vocals)
Karen Waltuch (viola)
Philippa Thompson (violin, clarinet)
Recorded and Mixed by Chris Bonner, NYC
Mastered by Chad Clark at Silver Sonya, Arlington, VA

Lyrics

1. Tender Mercies

You don’t believe you should be loved
so you’ve constructed defenses against it
You’ve built an armor out of wounds and scars
from one who hurt you when you were just a little kid
But your disguises are very thin
and just beneath them is sensitive skin
So if you want me, here I am
here’s my sordid past, here’s my well-kept secrets, here’s my sins
there’s nothing to trust, there’s nothing to forgive
there’s only your hands, there’s only your skin
and the tender mercies falling down on them
Oh love, oh love, won’t you allow love to show you how
to allow tender mercies to rain down?
I know it seems hard to believe
there can be mercy in the midst of misery
I know it’s easier to shut it off
cuz nothing gained means that nothing can be lost
But you’ve known suffering oh so well
that if you miss her I’m sure she’ll take you back again
So if you want me, here I am
here’s my bad habits, here’s my longing, here’s my willingness
there’s nothing to trust, there’s nothing to forgive
there’s only your hands, there’s only your skin
and the tender mercies falling down on them
Oh love, oh love, won’t you allow love to show you how
to allow tender mercies to rain down?

2. Never Binding

I have found a treasure deep within and
I am gonna give it all to you
it’s gonna shine out of your pearly vision
it’s gonna bathe you in a radiance
I bet you never knew we were the same one
but I’ll clip the vein that ties we two
so you’ll be free of my weighted presence
so you’ll fly out on your own two wings
and you’ll see then how these things
never disappear but only change their tune
Never mind the blood, the skin, the darkness
never mind the lack of anything
in your mind’s eye you will see me smiling
in your heart of hearts I’ll be there too
so this love of ours is never binding
and it’s lighter than hot-air balloons
for the brain is just the weight of God and
us beside the ocean it contains
so my love don’t be afraid
I will bathe you in a single drop of rain

3. Pants! (I Wear Them)

I’m doing the best I can with my undies and my boots
but I can’t fully operate til I get back my pants
what you pretend to be to the world is what you become
Well you jump back, turn around, think you got the lowdown
you can’t have dignity runnin with your pants down
You lack mobility, consciousness and speed :
you yell and you scream, you hold the precious documents –
but I wear the pants!
(Who wears the pants? I wear the motherfucking pants!)
I’m running down the road with my booty hangin out
and in that kind of situation no one listens to the words
coming out of your mouth,
they’re all lookin at the place where your pants oughta be!
Well you bow down to those giving you the runaround
you can’t have dignity running with your pants down
what you show them is what you will be
You set it down, you hold the dictionary – but I wear the pants!
(Who wears the pants? I wear the pants!)
I’m doin the best I can with my undies and my boots
but I can’t fully operate til I get back my pants
what you act like you are is what you become
You try to suss out how to get a hand out
you mold yourself to the etiquette you’ve figured out
I got a leg up honey, my head’s buried in the sand
you yell and you scream, you hold my resume
but I wear the pants! (Who wears the pants? I do!)

4. Lullagoodbye

who’s gonna lay down your sweet head?

who’s gonna tuck you into bed?

when I’m gone, when I’m gone, when I’m gone

who’s gonna love you like I do?

who’e gonna lace up your little shoes?

when I’m gone, when I’m gone, when I’m gone

yes I know we’re all gonna die

and no one can explain to you why

but it’s true, it’s true

and there’s not a thing I can do

so who’s gonna lie right by your side?

who’s gonna hum a lie-dee-lull-a-by

as I fly, as I fly, as I fly

you can do a dance

you can make romance

all on your own

when you are alone

I have seen you in the darkness of your room

making crazy sounds all by yourself, but

who’s gonna be there when you cry?

who’s gonna wait while the tears run dry?

as I fly, as I fly, as I fly

yes I know we’re all gonna die

and no one can explain to you why

but it’s true, it’s true

and there’s not a thing I can do

who’s gonna lay down your sweet head?

who’s gonna tuck you into bed?

when I’m gone, when I’m gone, when I’m gone

5. Weed the Garden

And so I’ll begin to believe in beginning again
I’ll begin to begin again
And I will begin to believe I’m beginning again
that this tall glass of water, this newfangled creature
will wash away all of my sins
And I’ll sweep my sorrows away with the dust
my memories I’ll trim and discard with my haircut
and my former failures I’ll pour down the drain
with yesterday’s coffee and last night’s rain
And am I just dreaming or am I overcome
by the notion that good luck is finally come
that all hope isn’t lost, all love isn’t sad,
that my belly’s not soft, that my head isn’t balding
and that things are not so bad
Cuz I see a light up ahead and I know
if I just trim the fat then this chicken’ll fit in the oven
Yes I’m gonna change, now you wait and see :
I’m gonna become a brand new me

6. Dust to Dust

It’s the fleeting things that are my riches,
it’s your pretty eyes and your long lashes
It’s your loving lips, your tender hands,
your tattoo of a rose with bleeding thorns.
Now it’s a lonely way I’ve felt all day
with a book in my hands full of well-laid plans
and it’s as before when I was all alone
and I’d read until I couldn’t read anymore
till my head was tired and my eyes were sore.
Surely you’ll be gone when I’m on my sickbed
surely you’ll be gone when this love is dead
and you’ll never know how you changed my mind
and taught me how this world can be such a good time.
So I won’t wait and I won’t stall
I’m much too tired and my will is much too small
I’ll lay out my neck for the axe to fall.
My darling’s bones will crumble someday,
from dust to dust we all must stray
but while they’re here, my God I pray,
those bones I’ll cradle while I may
Though flesh and blood will pass,
my word will remain – my word will stay

(co-edited with Thomas Hopkins and Chris Bonner)

7. (I Work On My) Daddy's Farm

Oh, I work on my Daddy’s farm

My friends can’t cause me alarm

Cause I know just what I will do:

I’ll marry the girl with the pearls in her hair

And then I’ll be rich, and I won’t care…

8. It Is Not a Question

It is not a question of whether or no my love,
but of where we’d like to go
On a journeying or a silly thing, or a walk down by the ocean
You are blue my love, you are filled with love,
and I call for you like a child
Perhaps we will, my love, become two turtle doves
and live our lives in branches
Should we decide my love, to shed skins and turn
one to a frog, the other water
It’s all the same, my love, though it my change, my love
and though the changing may come hard
For I am here my love, and you are there, my love
and yet we are together

9. Country Boy (lie with me one time)

I was wrong to let you slip through my fingers
I should have known this longing for you would linger on
long after my pride had died, and my fury burned down to an ember
And now I’m left with nothing but an aching wish
for your hands upon my tender skin, your lips against my mouth
So though I know it must be way too late to ask
honey won’t you come lie with me again?
Well it must be the heat that’s gone to my head
I keep dreaming you’re right here beside me in bed
I keep feeling your weight on my back
and then I turn to find it’s nothing but a lack
Oh believe me, I never thought I’d feel this way
I’m all stripped down and my heart is slain
and my head is on fire with love
It’s not right, it’s just plain desire
Come on now, honey, this won’t hurt a bit
won’t you come on and lie with me again?
I’m not asking for forgiveness, I’m not making any promises
I know we can’t forget what we’ve been through
I know there’s no such thing as starting anew
but there is something we two can do
Oh my worn and ragged country boy
with your broken heart and your side-ways mind
and a sadness so deep in your eyes,
I want nothing more than to love it away
Well you look like you could use some peace and rest
just to close those pretty eyes and lay you down
It’s cool here and the bed is all laid out
So if you’ve got nothing better to do,
honey won’t you come lie with me again?

10. Little Black Train

(traditional spiritual)

Oh, the little black train is coming
get alla your business right
better set your house in order for
the train may be here tonight

11. It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

It’s so hard to say good-night in the dying of the light
it’s so hard when you know that what you’re saying is good-bye
Now if I thought I’d see you again,
if I thought we could still be friends
then to say good-night would not be hard
cuz it wouldn’t mean good-bye
So engrave my name on this barroom chair
I ain’t gonna go nowhere
I don’t want the night to end if it means I won’t see you again
Stretch your hands out, time, so long
you delay the coming of the dawn
pull the window-shades down so low
that the night will go on and on…….
Don’t tell my love it’s time to go
bartender, keep his glass well-filled
make him forget himself until
he thinks he loves me still
Oh, I know, I ought to let him go
he don’t love me anymore
I should love him like the clouds love the hills
but my love’s as heavy as stone
So bartender let my love lay down
and I’ll buy us all another round
If we stay here til we all pass out
then we won’t have to say good-night
if we stay here til the end of time
then we won’t have to say good-bye

12. Nothing But a Lack

Call me a fool call me a hopeless mess
call me shackled to my loneliness
but I’ve been through the psychology
and it just don’t change the way I feel
So honey if I don’t come back this time
please know that it is no one’s fault but mine
I just can’t see my way clear to riding
a sinking ship, but more than this
honey I just want to be alone, I just want to be alone
No I’m not in love with anyone
and my fury’s all been spent and done
so there’s nothing you could do or say
that would make me change my mind and stay
So honey if I don’t come back at all
please don’t ask me why, please don’t come calling
cuz I’ve got one foot out the door
and the other on the gas pedal begging for more
saying I just want to be alone, I just want to be alone
If I could, I’d search this whole wide world
and I’d bring you back the perfect girl
I’d have her woo you til your heart stood still
I’d have her love you like I never will
So if this time I don’t return
please know that there’s no lesson to be learned
there’s just an aching in a heart that’s slain
and all that I can hear it saying
is “I just want to be alone, I just want to be alone”

13. Do You Remember?

Let me be a stone again, let me remember way back when
was my heart ever hardened
Once I was opening, soft as the grass,
calm as the breeze with an eagerness
Longing for love and all the time dreaming
of what my life could become
I was a stargazer, dressed up in my costumes
when did fear take over?
When did my bones grow old, and loneliness become my home?
Too sad to sleep, so I said :
one two three four do you remember?
one two three four do you remember?
one two three four do you remember falling down upon the floor,
do you remember dancing?
It goes right to my bones, my bones will dance,
walk hand in hand with a thousand miles apart
Let’s walk hand in hand, so far apart,
and I will run a thousand miles to meet you
Come on come on come on
come on come on come on
come on come on come on
Forget what, forget not