Telegrams Elapsing

by Boxcar Aldous Huxley

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credits

released January 6, 2015

Alex Bertram–Powell: Harmonium, voice
Steven Brett: Clarinet, voice
Mike Britton: ‘La Batterie’, voice
Zuleika Gregory: Lead voice, saw, baritone ukulele
Simon Holmes: Euphonium, baritone horn, voice
Liam Kirby: Lead voice, banjo, trombone, banjolele
Greg Phillips: Horn, voice
Johanna Ziegler: Tuba, voice

with flugelhorn by special guest Mr Nathan King.

All music written by Boxcar Aldous Huxley, except for 5 (traditional).
Lyrics by Liam Kirby.

℗ and © Boxcar Aldous Huxley 2013. All rights reserved.

Recorded and produced by Mr James King at J&J Studios, Bristol on 30–31st January and 3rd February 2013, and mixed 6th April 2013. Mastered by Shawn Joseph at Optimum Mastering.

Illustrations by Alex Bertram-Powell.
Designed and typeset by Steven Brett.

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Boxcar Aldous Huxley Bristol, UK

This is music rooted in the past, but not a past that ever actually happened. One might hear Balkan melody, Old-time banjo and Brass Band pomp wrapped up in Tin Pan Alley melodrama. These are songs that speak of such esoteric topics as abandoned funeral trains, Messianic visions in the Canadian wilderness, and ill-fated amateur space exploration. ... more

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Track Name: The Last Vestiges of a Bygone Diver
One hundred and fifty miles from whence I came,
and the road seems longer on the way back home again.
Though the children in the streets all sing a song of Diver Bill,
they can never know the things I’ve seen; I only hope they never will.

Ten feet beneath the city’s cobblestones:
above me a cathedral creaks and groans
as it slides into the mire, and to arrest it rests on me.
This is God’s work, I suppose, though it bears the marks of Purgatory.

Hold me under!
Wrap me in white, weigh me down tonight.
Sunk like a stone!
Dead to the world, blind-eyed and alone.

Strung out on a tether with the air so thin,
I’ve a bastard behind the eyes
and I fear my lungs are caving in.
And the weight bears on my shoulders
as the lead sewn in my shoes;
oh, you’re a long way from home, William,
and yours is a losing battle.

Hold me under!
Wrap me in white, weigh me down tonight.
Sunk like a stone!
I saw a face from fifteen years ago.

Oh, my boy, at least you’ll never grow old,
lain out bedraggled and drowned, dusted with coal.
I saw his father beside him, just like him, lost to a merciless tide.
I held my breath for their mothers and lovers, ashen-faced, waiting outside.

And if I never break the surface again,
oh, what a glorious service it’s been.

Hold me under!
Wrap me in white, weigh me down tonight.
Sunk like a stone!
Dead to the world, blind-eyed and alone.
Track Name: On the Necessary Traits of the Industrious
She will come hollering to stop the rot,
and wish you what McKinley got—
Oh, we will cower and cringe!
A hatchet held a high, a sinner in her sights;
don’t take a drink in this town,
lest Carrie Nation cut you down!

When all your taverns, taprooms and saloons
lie splintered in the Kansas dust,
I will have done as much as I could do,
and gone as far as I must.
Your liquor-stained lips will never touch mine,
while stills still spill across the state;
though I expect no gratitude
for salvation from a drunkard’s fate.

From a Vaudeville stage, I will hawk my reputation,
spinning out a thousand tales of bar-room hatchetations.
How I had my way and tore that building down!
But gone are the days when men would say,
“don’t take a drink in this town, lest Carrie Nation cut you down.”
Track Name: The Slow Decline of the London Necropolis Railway
When the last train rolls out of Brookwood
the gates shut heavy behind.
Though our eyes gleam white,
they betray all our secrets and sorrows tonight.

Out on Westminster Bridge, there’s a man
all blackened and bruised,
and we meet by the side of the road
and silently sell him his coal back, unused.

Our railway’s history’s a dark and storied one,
and for an engine room, a crematorium!
Did you taste the acrid smoke upon your tongue?
Did you sweat to schlep the empty boxes one by one?
In our squalid masquerade we played our parts.
I, the engine driver, stoked the furnace with a heavy heart.

Here’s to you, my final infernal, my passenger true.
When the smoke clears, only we here will know
where this railway line’s leading to.
Track Name: Sparks Over Eighth Avenue
I was barely a boy when you had your day;
a crowd rose up around to see you on your way.
Now forty years later the carnies are cursing your name
as Luna Park goes up in flames.

Nikola Tesla would have loved you so.
I saw your grey skin blistering in Edison’s celluloid show.
Like a white dove, like a lost love;
a parting look to leave me lost,
a shock that shook my innocent bones.

The crackle and tangle of wires hung low;
the boiler room was pounding a tattoo below;
I’d have sworn I saw Edison’s ghost through the dust and the gloom,
there in Tesla’s lonely room.

And the sparks flew over Eighth Avenue!
Track Name: Leaving Columbia
The dancefloor’s really heating up tonight,
a slow waltz on a heart of anthracite.
Tarmacadam stuck to our shoes,
drunk on a simmering gasoline perfume.

We are suspended here where the schoolyard used to stand,
and the trees are slowly roasting from the inside.
Always thought this seemed a lovely place to die.

Say you’ll stay one more summer;
I can face the days with no other.
Though we’ve nothing here, exiled where we stand,
we are castaways, shipwrecked far inland.

An empty town of plaster shells,
a ragged troupe of ne’er-do-wells
stand guard, pledged to remain to the end:
Pennsylvania will never see our kind again.

Say you’ll stay one more summer;
I can face the days with no other.
Though we’ve nothing here, exiled where we stand,
we are castaways, shipwrecked far inland.