Odds And Ends

by Zephaniah Stringfield

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03:03

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released June 22, 2015

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Zephaniah Stringfield Taos, New Mexico

Performing with raw intensity and moving dynamism, Zephaniah Stringfield sings stories about his travels from the SF Bay Area to New Mexico and beyond, weaving biblical references and archetypes of traditional folklore with stories of highways, girls and greyhound buses. ... more

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Track Name: Mercury's Oath
As I roam and as I ramble
Make my way across the vine
There are many paths I have not trod on
But I trust that I’ll cross them in time

And I cannot walk on water
And I can’t turn whiskey to wine
And I can’t lift a mountain
Oh, but lord, I’m gonna try

I’ve seen rain and I’ve heard thunder
I’ve seen the skies turn back to blue
Sometimes I am so sick of changing
But I know that that will be changing soon

And I can walk just like coyote
I can sing like a mockingbird
I got eyes like a painted portrait
There ain’t no lie I haven’t heard

So you can keep your devilish flattery
I can’t condemn the sins of man
Every fate has it’s misfortune
They’ve long gone hand in hand

And you can sit just like a statue
Watch the world just roll on by
But I’ve got the breeze around my ankles
And lord, I’ve got to fly
Track Name: Angels and Doves
We tried time after time
Breaking dish after dish
Drinking grails full of wine
Making mess after mess
Of the wishes we Wasters of Wagers made for our love
Somewhere angels of daydreams are crying O’er the life of a dove

We told lie upon lie
Striking brick against brick
We laid the tales taller
And built the walls thick
In the mansions we Masons of Mistrust made for our love
Somewhere angels of mischief are playing with the life of a dove

We counted card after card
Playing trick after trick
Stealing heart heart after heart
Burning stick after stick
In the fires we Martyrs for Madness made for our love
Somewhere angels of mercy are praying for the life of a dove

We met trial after trial
Tipping scale over scale
Speaking like witches
Banging nail after nail
In the coffins we Miners of Mishap made for our love
Somewhere angels of justice are marching for the life of a dove
Track Name: The Selkie's Song
I went down to stare at the sea
And asked the howling wind to carry all the breath from me
I fell like a fish
Face down in the Sound
And suddenly I found that I could breathe

But the tide was as cold as a grave
And I’m in bitter mourning of our better days
I long for to hear
Your words soft and clear
As the slow rise and falling of the waves

So honey won’t you speak warm if you can
Give me an anchor on which I can stand
And I’ll rise from the deep
To walk upon the land
If you would only lend me your hand

And darling, if you refuse
If you think that this is all some colorful reuse
I’ll strip to my skin
And away I will swim
And leave you with nothing of use

But for a thin length of twine
I twist around your wrist to remember me by
And when you cast it out
Put your heart on the line
If you’re lucky maybe I will take a bite
Track Name: I Should Have Never Seen Her Go
I should have never seen her go
Turn her back out upon my door
And when the night surrounds me she’ll be hard upon the road
And tending to an empty home
Suddenly I’ll know
Even for the lies we told swept up in the storm
I should have never seen her go

I could have been her harbor
I could have been her shore
But what am I to be between a hard place and a stone?
In the grey and shapeless dawn
I wonder what’s in store
For a man with no forgotten past who knows one thing for sure
I should have never seen her go
Track Name: Freightline Ships
If all the freight line ships in the Frisco Bay
Started sinkin’ from the weight of their loads
Tell me Captain would they make it home?

When my body breaks on me my spirit will rise
Said the Maker’s son before he died
And when my the angels call for me I’ll be satisfied
Standin’ with my father by my side

But in the ocean walls and graveyard halls
Beneath the burnin’ sky
You can hear the men begin to cry

All this time I told you that I ain’t afraid to die
Now the day has come I will not lie
Heaven don’t look easy it’s just one big factory line
And lord I just can’t seem to find the time

And we ain’t gonna spend another day
Waitin’ to see if you will pay
Workin’ for a check that don’t arrive
Grindin’ down the hours of our lives

Down in the city streets the people sleep
With the sun shinin’ right in their eyes
Waitin’ for someone to sympathize

Countin’ all the days away until some great saint arrives
To point their painted prows towards the light
And heaven knows I need a friend when all my lights have died
But I don’t need to kneel to see the sky

So I ain’t gonna spend another night
Hopin’ that things will turn out right
Praying just to pass the time
Wading through the hours of my life
Track Name: I Never Know'd
I never know’d
How fast the waters flowed
Until I broke the dam
Until I broke down the dam

Your love came rushin’ in
It was too much for me to swim
And so I sailed upon the waters of the rivers of your heart

Oh, but I never know’d
How high the water rose
Until we burst the banks
Of our riverbed

And it’s over my head
The waters that I tread
The waters of the rivers of your heart in which I drown

I never know’d
How quickly it could go
Until the winter wind
Came whippin’ in again

And when the rivers freeze
I’ll be down upon my knees
In the icy waters of your heart so cold

And I never know’d
How slow your love could flow
Until the river froze
Bitten by the wind
At the burstin’ of our banks
When I broke down the dam
Of your heart so cold
Track Name: Comin' Back Around
Aren’t you just a little wary of the needle in the hay?
What's to stop the water boiling when there’s no one to be found?
Doesn’t it get lonesome forging other peoples’ minds?
I’m bound again to comin’ back around

I’ve been seasick before, but it’s never all that bad
Once the poison bubbles over the contrast feels like fire
Take that rusty feeling shake it all out of your limbs
I’m comin’ round to pump up all your tires

I know it ain’t that easy telling tit from tat
But there ain’t no use in keeping eyes if you won’t even see
You’ll find out that it works out when it’s over anyhow
I’m comin’ round so don’t you worry about me

The bricks are showing cracks in all the corners of the walls
The pipes are hissing snakes suspicious gardeners deny
This place is just about the same every time that I sit down
I’m comin’ back around to change my mind
Track Name: A Reason To Go
Everybody’s talking to their honey sweet
Everybody’s lovin’ but me
Me, I’m sittin’ lonely in the corner of an old piano bar
The closest thing I got to a baby
She’s up north a hundred miles
Oh, but a hundred miles ain’t nothin’, you got a reason to go

I’m just a tired old barroom jack and she’s my midnight run
We’ve been singin’ love songs for too long
And how long she has been away, I don’t know
I could grab my bag, pack my only hat
Take off in the mornin’ with the sun
Because I do believe that I have got myself a reason to go

Mattingly and Eli can put the trouble out of mind
If only for a moment with their song
But the company of men is beginning to wear thin
I feel that it’s a drag and I can’t see what’s the use
In tellin’ yourself that you ain’t got the time
Sometimes you just find yourself itchin’ with a reason to go

Out upon those worried streets away from which you hide
There’s a vendor on every corner of your mind
Sellin’ front-row tickets to the real-time midnight alley circus show
And you can see the blue-eyed sirens and all the masks of modern times,
The doctors and the highwaymen
And though nothin’ is for free, all you will be asked is for a reason to go

But don’t let me mislead you, best you take your time
Reasons turn to curses chosen blind
And these things come and go away just about as easy as they please
You might find one tomorrow starts to haunt your yesterday
Today is like the men inside these bars
Whose elusive chances always find themselves a reason to go

And so me I’m headin’ up to meet my honey sweet
To see if we can’t settle up a deal
Trade away our tickets for a
So start liftin’ up those lips, because I’m bound to make you smile
I’ve been makin’ you frown for too long my babe
And every slip of downturned lip that your smile has ever hid whenever you were feelin’ low
Can always be forgotten when you’ve found it a reason to go
Track Name: Bit O' The Blues (Hambone Radio Recording 6/21/15)
I have been thinkin’ about wastin’
away, away, a-way
And I have been drinkin’ but I can’t seem to taste
today, today, to-day
There’s cigarette upon my breath, biringin’ me closer to my death
But I am a-knowin that death is days
away, away, a-way

So I, I, I
I’ve been livin’ with hope
Fillin’ my pipe with smoke
Thinkin’ of ways to be free
And ways that I can cope
‘Cause life ain’t really that bad
Least not more than I can take
And everybody needs a bit o’ the blues, I say

So I have been waiting for a freight to roll
on by, on by, on by
And I’ll hop on that train and I’ll ne’er look
behind, behind, be-hind
This whiskey’s goin’ to my head and I’m startin’ to think I’d be better off dead
But this way of thinking will soon pass
on by, on by, on by

So I, I, I
I have had cause to wonder aloud
Sittin’ out in the night, just starin’ at the clouds
People tell me I don’t know what’s allowed
But I think I know by now
I just find your laws a little too proud
They don’t leave enough room to be loud
And I choose not to follow anyhow

So I, I, I
I’ve been movin’ around
Just roamin’ from town to town
Lookin’ for a place to stay
Where I can stick my roots in the ground
But you ain’t got me beat
I’m still standin’ on my own two feet
And everybody needs a bit o’ the blues, I say
Track Name: Black Eyes And Snow
I should have never seen her go
Turn her back out upon my door
And when the night surrounds me she’ll be hard upon the road
And tending to an empty home
Suddenly I’ll know
Even for the lies we told swept up in the storm
I should have never seen her go

I could have been her harbor
I could have been her shore
But what am I to be between a hard place and a stone?
In the grey and shapeless dawn
I wonder what’s in store
For a man with no forgotten past who knows one thing for sure
I should have never seen her go

I sit and drink my coffee
And turn to face my name
Call out to the voices that answer back inside my brain
And curse the Gods of Love and War for always keeping score
For every Jack must have his sword and every Rose, her thorn
And I should have never seen her go

She could have been my Mary
Merry mother of my child
A girl with eyes like Edelweiss, pure as snow and wild
Born upon the silent wind away in which she’s flown
A seed that I will not define, neither reap nor sew
Still, I should have never seen her go