The Book Of Zephaniah

by Zephaniah Stringfield

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about

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Zephaniah Stringfield is a restless person.

We both grew up in Berkeley, where I could be content to stay forever. Zephaniah keeps moving from place to place. A few times he's talked like he was going to settle down, but the winds change and he's somewhere else.

Whenever he comes through town, he plays me his new songs. He's got that ability like Woody Guthrie had, to write a tune for every place he's traveled. It seems like he pulled them out of the sky or peeled them from off the walls. He can turn around a well-known phrase and make it his own. He can tell an old story like it just happened for the first time.

I hope you enjoy this collection as much as I do.

-Eli Wirtschafter, Radio Producer, Fiddle Player, And Friend

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credits

released August 4, 2016

Zephaniah Stringfield - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Piano, Toy Piano
Peter Oviatt - Banjo
Katie West - Upright Bass
Rachel Allai - Violin, Viola, Harmony Vocals
Mike West - Mandolin, Guitar, Percussion, Harmony Vocals
Ryan "RJ" Johnson - Drums
Bradford Hoopes - Hammond Organ
Douglas County - Thunder

Produced by Mike West

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at The 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor, Lawrence, KS, by Mike West

All songs written by Zephaniah Stringfield.

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about

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: Down Here At The Farm
Well, down here at the farm, people come and go
There's a murder in the town, just ten miles down the road
And the captain's calling mutiny, but it only goes to show
That he ain't no kind of captain, and he's calling out his own

He used to be like Noah, when the flood lines rise
Two of every animal, standing by his side
But when the flood winds shifted with the rolling of the tides,
He crawled beneath a burning bridge, mumbling, drunk and out of time

And Mathew, he won't toot his horn, but he blows it just the same
The hours go by, I'm sleep deprived, I'm high on novocaine
I'm working 'til the work is done, in autumn I'll set sail
But on the Irish Rover it's to heaven or to jail
So Davey Jones, don't wring my neck like you would a glove
Across the sea a maiden waits who swears that she's in love
And she is like my cages key and I am like her dove
Through the gates we will fly free, sea below and only sky above

I got me a river queen, squally as she drifts
She drives me to drink sometimes, Steelhead at my lips
Madness is as madness does, this river knows this best
But happiness is just the same, it's just the same, I guess
Track Name: Gift Horses
Well I'm sitting here stoned once again
And I'm picking at the ends of all these threads
Unraveling the seams of every single tie that binds
Sometimes it's just so easy wastin' time

So I start sniffing at the glue on my cigarette
And I'm trying to find out where the damn thing ends
I think I'll take a trip out to where nothing goes as planned
And wind my clockwork mind up once again

Oh-ho, but time don't give a damn if we fall apart
And livings just as easy as a dream
And there's nothing in this whole wide world like falling over your feet
So get up my friends, this ain't no time to sleep

And I'm trying to drive around in my broke down car
But I never can seem to take her very far
'Cause every time I make her sweat, she stinks like gasoline
And I don't mind dying, but I'm trying to keep me clean

So I start looking 'round for something that I can grow
But someone's poisoned all the seeds I sow
It seems the gift horses get fed, while all the farm hands just get bit
I'm just waiting to see where that flood is gonna hit

Oh-ho, 'cause time don't give a damn if we fall apart
And livings just as easy as a dream
And there's nothing in this whole wide world like falling against the wind
So get up my friends, this ain't no time to sleep

And I'm rocking back and forth in my rocking chair
And I'm trying my best not to breathe recycled air
'Cause I get a little motion sick, when I can't be alone
So for tonight, Honey, I ain't coming home

Oh-ho, but time don't give a damn if we fall apart
And loving's just as easy as a dream
And there's nothing in this whole wide world like falling head over heels
So get up my friends, this ain't no time to sleep
Yeah, get up, this ain't no time to sleep
Track Name: Sold Your Time
So you sold your time
And now your soul's mighty hard to find
You're thinking that trouble's just a state of mind, well buddy, you're right
But you're out of time

Oh, and it ain't real
When they say you gotta make a deal
You don't gotta get down and kneel, it just ain't right
To be so blind

You're like a dog who comes every time they call
But who is gonna catch you when you fall?
It ain't you
You keep on doing the things you do
You keep on filling up your shoes
With a man
Who sold his time

I hear the gambler moan
'Cause he's heard it all before
Every deal and every throw, he bets it all
But he takes his time

So don't lose your sense
Everybody gets the same old test
Nobody gonna cheat ol' death, you'll get your rest
Don't waste your time

You're walking on a line that's infinitely thin
Flashing like a feather in the wind
It ain't you
You're far too good to play the fool
You better get yourself out soon
Before you find
You sold your time
Track Name: Going To North Carolina
Ride the bus, it's a big old bus, It's a Greyhound bus
Look at us, we're kicking dust
We're bound to bust
I'm going to North Carolina

There's a janitor and an Englishman, a fugitive
And a veteran, I'm just another man
On the lamb,
Going to North Carolina

And when the going get's you down, lowdown
Same old clowns in every town
Go ahead and drown another round
Then pick your pieces off the ground
Go on, go on, go on

Ride the mule, cut the fool, love again
Start anew, me and you
And the Devil too
We're going to North Carolina

The greenery, like innocence, I'm born again
In a sense, that's my two cents
And I'm all spent
Going to North Carolina

And when the going, it get's rough, so rough
And you think you've had enough
You better slough off all that rust
Pull your head out of the dust
Go on, go on, go on
Track Name: Cuckoo's Nocturne
It seems we let the days take us away
The sandman took one look at us and ran
Some days leave us working hard and some days leave us plans
But the days that we do nothing take as much as they can

Sometime when the night is oh so young
I wonder with the days what I have done
But if there was a wasted day, I've marked it off my list
It don't mean nothing, it's not important and it will not be missed

And I don't think the saints are gonna come
And I don't think my race will ever be run
And I don't think all that much about the setting sun
I saw it coming since it's dawning, just like the other ones

So darling, won't you spend the night with me?
We can dream, but we won't go to sleep
And if in the early morning hours of the sun's reprise
You're still calling like a cuckoo, I'll be satisfied
Track Name: I Should've 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
That even for the lies we told, swept up in the storm
I should've never seen her go

She could've 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 has flown
A seed that I cannot define, neither reap nor sow
And I should have never seen her go

So, I sit and drink my coffee and turn to face my name
Call out to the voice that answers back inside my brain
And curse the Gods of Love and War for ever keeping score
Not every Jack should have a sword, nor every Rose a thorn
And I should've never seen her go

I could've been her harbor, I could've been her shore
But what am I to be between this hard place and a stone?
And 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 should've never seen her go

I should've never seen her go
Track Name: Late Harvest Wine
Late harvest wine, oh late harvest wine
The sweetest of fruits always hangs on the vine
So love takes it's place at the back of the line
Singing save me for later, I'm your late harvest wine

The streams in the springtime, they tasted so fine
In the aching hot summer, we barely got by
And I've grown so thirsty now my cup has run dry
And all I can dream of is late harvest wine

But oh, how long must I wait?
It's bringing me sorrow with every new day
And oh, how long must I pine?
For a taste of the grapes of our late harvest wine

It sits on a shelf with the sun in the sky
It's buried beneath us where darkened hearts lie
It's ringing a bell and it's counting the time
But it ain't the time yet, for our late harvest wine

Late harvest wine, oh late harvest wine
The sweetest of fruits always hangs on the vine
So love takes it's place at the back of the line
Singing save me for later, I'm your late harvest wine

The streams in the springtime, they tasted so fine
In the aching hot summer, we barely got by
And I've grown so thirsty now my cup has run dry
And all I can dream of is late harvest wine
Track Name: Pitfall Gals
Best keep your mind on your memory 'fore you start mixing up your lies
You won't be sure which threads you gave me when you sewed up your disguise
The ones I tied around your notion left you waste deep in my mind
And left me floating 'round this fateful ocean wasted as I gnawed off all the bait upon your lyin'

You tie your shoes when you love me so you don't trip and fall
Well, I know this road is rocky and it get's us one and all
But I can't account for nothing babe, all I can do is try to hear your call
And I've been waiting 'round this telephone forever and I ain't heard nothing at all

Oh, but I have been around, I've been around this whole town
And I am coming back around just to tell you what I've found
I found a sweet little angel, she gonna turn me right back around

Oh, but I have been around, I've been around this whole town
And I am coming back around just to tell you what I've found
I found a sweet little angel, she gonna turn me right back around

You must think the world is your oyster and you must be the pearl
Oh, but you ain't no natural wonder, you're just a made up little girl
With a silver dagger in your mouth on the day you entered in this world
And men who fall against your lips around your painted fingertips will twirl

Oh, but I have been around, I've been around this whole town
And I am coming back around just to tell you what I've found
I found a sweet little angel, she gonna turn me right back around

Yes, but I have been around, I've been around this whole town
And I am coming back around just to tell you what I've found
I found a sweet little angel, she gonna turn me right back around
I found a sweet little angel, she gonna turn me right back around
Track Name: Heavy On The Road
Well, I've been heavy on the road
Through the desert where I roamed
Many faces did I see
But now I'm a-comin' home
Now I'm a-comin' home

Now I'm a-comin' home
Yes, now I'm a-comin' home
The face of grace, I never saw
So now I'm a-comin' home

I've seen the sanity of man
Crumble in my hand
In the caverns of my mind
So now I come home when I can
Yes, I come home when I can

I come home when I can
Yes, I come home when I can
The canyon shakes and I take escape
And I come home when I can

I get bored when I'm alone
And I blame it on you, babe
You stole away my heart
And left me searching to be saved
Now I'm searching to be saved

I'm searching to be saved
Yeah, I'm searching to be saved
Bless your heart, you tore mine apart
And now I'm searching to be saved

So, if you've got the time
I'd like to talk awhile
About nothin' in particular
I just need a friend sometimes
Yeah, I need a friend sometimes

I need a friend sometimes
Yeah, I need a friend sometimes
The ones I made are so far away
And I need a friend sometimes

So, I've been heavy on the road
Through the desert where I roamed
Many faces did I see
But now I'm a-comin' home
Track Name: The Selkie's Song
Well I went down to stare at the sea
And I 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 for 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
And give me an anchor upon 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 just some colorful ruse
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'll twist around your wrist to remember me by
And if you cast it out, throw your heart on the line
And if you're lucky honey, I will take a bite
Track Name: Leaving My New Mexico Home
Well, I can't say where or when I'll be going next my friends
But, I never meant to stay here very long after all
And that long and dusty road keeps begging me to go
It's got a handle on my soul, where I'm bound I do not know

But, I'm leaving my New Mexico home
Where I go next, I know
I'll dream of my New Mexico home
Yes, I'm leaving my New Mexico home
Where I go next, I know
I'll dream of my New Mexico home

And that same old mystery keeps calling out to me
I'm just a drop in a big old sea, just a pin-prick on the globe
I've been wandering since my birth, but it's a big old earth
And home is where your heart is, I believe I've heard it told

And so, I'm leaving my New Mexico home
Where I go next, I know
I'll dream of my New Mexico Home
Yes, I'm leaving my New Mexico home
Where I go next, I know
I'll dream of my New Mexico home

Out here in the sage and sand, standing where I am, I can
See the space go stretching out for lightyears up above
And this land of enchantment is necromancing
All them dead ideas that were buried in my head

And still, I'm leaving my New Mexico home
Where I go next, I know
I'll dream of my New Mexico home
Yes, I'm leaving my New Mexico home
Where I go next, I know
I'll dream of my New Mexico home

Yes, I'll dream of my New Mexico home
Track Name: When I Die
Well, I've been down in the mine, spending all my time
Looking hard for gold in the clean hard stone
And I can see the light above and it shines on me sometimes
Down on my hands and into my eyes
And when I die, on the day that I die
If I'm surrounded by gold, it'll mean about the same
As the pounding sound of rain
As I sit dry before the flame in the slowly fading comfort of my home

And so I'm building a box in which I'll keep my lot
All my watches and my jars, my compasses and claws
And I can lock it if I want, but time will someday find me
Down in the dirt and break down my shrine
And when I die, on the day that I die
If I'm surrounded by brass, it'll mean about the same
As my lover's fading touch
As I realize the rush is far better when I'm sleeping on my own

But oh my, my mind is raw down to the bone
Wondering what I'm always worried for
And I know no eyes can see the long road
Leading me to knock on Heaven's door

So when I finally go, drop me far down in my hole
And give me to me my pick so I can find what's hid
Beneath the cobble stones on the other side of death
I will get my glory prize when they lay me down to rest
When I die, on the day that I die
If I'm surrounded by my dreams, well, it won't mean a thing
Let the coliseums ring
And the blackbirds sing
And the cold wind scream
And the gold just gleam
And I will not take it with me when I die