The House Of Kin (San Francisco Recordings)

by Zephaniah Stringfield

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about

These recordings were made in the hat of our house. We lived there but briefly and passed through many ghosts while we danced. In that house our fevers remain, in hot and cold sweat where we flourished and fled. To those who looked, it was a dark and shining hour; If the fates will have it, an hour not to strike again. But in the gears of turning hands, one often finds a noble cause. Blame is ugly without mercy in the eyes of men. We can forgive most anything; a claim some Gods may envy, a shame to some as deep as sin.

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released April 4, 2013

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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: I'm Leavin' For The Cold
And, so I'm goin' to Minnesota in just one month's small time
I'm hopin' 99 below zero weather will help to sharpen up my mind
I've never been east this far, up and over to the north
But I hear the country is fair, over there, where the whole world turns to black and white

I guess I'm sayin' that I don't know
If the wind's gonna blow alone
Or if I'll be bouncin' down that road
Tumblin' fingers over toes back to my home
But if this candle in my head
Is gonna burn out on me some day
I guess it's best to light my way
While that flame is still burnin' on it's own

And, so I'm tryin' to spend some time with the ones I'll miss the most
Before I pack away my bags and leave this coast
Because I really don't know when I will be comin' back again
And by mid july, you know that my memory will be nothin' but a ghost

I guess I'm sayin' that I don't know
If the wind's gonna blow alone
Or if I'll be bouncin' down that road
Tumblin' fingers over toes back to my home
But if that candle in my head
Is gonna burn out on me some day
I guess it's best to light my way
While that flame is still burnin' on it's own

And, so I'm leavin' that compartment down in that ol' port town
Where I've been feelin' like you might expect the rain to feel as it falls down
But there ain't a drop of rain that is worryin' about where it will fall
So I must be movin' along, to sing a few new songs and tryin' to find something in the sound

I guess I'm sayin' that I don't know
If the wind's gonna blow alone
Or if I'll be bouncin' down that road
Tumblin' fingers over toes back to my home
But if that candle in my head
Is gonna burn out on me some day
I guess it's best to light my way
While that flame is still burnin' on it's own
Track Name: Hard-Wired
Just like a cold splash of water
Or gin straight from the bottle
She’ll wake you up and set your nerves on fire
And I’m hard wired to love her so

And it don’t really matter
What she takes or what I give her
We both know when a liar is a liar
And I’m hard wired to love her so
I won’t let her go

She looks just like the mirror
On the tail end of desire
That beats you blue and leaves you wanting more
And I’m hard wired to love her so

She’ll paint you up a picture
Like you’ve never seen before
Give you the key and throw away the door
But I’m hard wired to love her so
I won’t let her go
Track Name: A Song For A Doctor
When you're sittin' down hungry in the midst of Missouri
And you've just been through Arkansas, you've seen the mountain springs
And dusty Oklahoma's got you tied up with family
And you've just sprung the handle and you're back in Texas heat
Won't you thank your health?

You lived awhile in Washington, among the evergreens
And also up in Oregon, where you tried to play and sing
And in the California Bay, where your home will always be
And you've seen many a man crying, trying to find his release
Won't you thank your health?

Some days you felt good lord, some days were the worst you ever had
Gettin' sick in New Mexico in some one room little country shack
But you always had a friend who was there to watch your back
So here's hopin' there's a friend for every man
And won't you thank the health
Of any man who gave
A tired hand
To a tired slave
A slave to work
Or a slave to pain
A slave to books
Or a slave to rain
'Cause we all been slaves
And every whip's the same
'Cause we all been slaves
And every whip's the same

So when you're sittin' down satisfied, hidin' behind your change
And your tremblin' lips call out for to bring you another plate
You might wonder to yourself through the mask of age upon your face
If the choices you have made have compromised your fate
At least you got your health

And now you're back up in your room, tryin' your best to fall asleep
But there's a thousand nameless souls runnin' wild through your dreams
And there's something that they want from you, but it's something you want to keep
And you wake up in the mornin' and you're haunted by what you've seen
Won't you thank your health?

But I am just a lonesome man who has seen a lonesome road
Where for what felt a hundred years, I built upon my load
I hitched my failures to my back and I found that there was nowhere for me to go
So one by one these days, I have been shedding my ways of old
And I'm thankin' the health
Of any man who gave
A tired hand
To a tired slave
A slave to hope
Or a slave to shame
A slave to greed
Or just to the name
'Cause we all been slaves
And every whip's the same
Yeah, we all been slaves
And every whip's the same
So won't you thank your health?
Track Name: California, Take My Mind
Please don’t waste your time on me
We’ll only sit in misery
And watch the clouds as they go by
And watch the flowers grow

Well I thought I had me a shinin’ thing
It’s brilliance made my heartstrings sing
But it tarnished like a silver chain
Or like a band of gold

And I ain’t the first and I ain’t the last
To watch his time like an hourglass
I’m only waitin’ for that day
When I can climb down in my hole

But I guess I’ll move along again
Endure the world, embrace it’s spin
I never have been one to turn
And make my way back home

Oh, and I’m not the man that I used to be
Livin’ hard’s had it’s way with me
I’m on the outside lookin’ in
California, take my mind again
Scatter me in my old backyard
Show me somewhere where it ain’t so hard
But let me go when the time is right
I can’t stay here for my whole life

Black crows on the wing again
Through my window, I let ‘em in
One for every mile I’ve gone
They just keep comin’ on

And when the world returns to ash
I’ll be there to have my laugh
The procession of the noblemen
Will pass beyond my view

Oh, but I ain’t the man I used to be
Livin’ hard’s had it’s way with me
I’m on the outside lookin’ in
California, take my mind again
Scatter me in my old backyard
Show me somewhere where it ain’t so hard
But let me go when the time is right
I can’t stay here for my whole life
Track Name: The Other End Of The Line
This whole world is filled with poison, it’s poison all around
There’s poison in the smoke you breathe and poison in my songs
The antidote is just the same, turns poison in your veins
Apples ripen just to fall to poison on the ground

I checked into a motel to find the drawers were bare
No word of god to sanctify the poison in the air
If I had one, or maybe two, places left to turn
I’d leave this life I’m livin’ just so I could get there

But death it ain’t no answer, no place to call your home
Eternal peace is just a joke lyin’ fallow in your bones
Waiting for the magic word to set the chaos free
Your words they act suspiciously like they are sticks and stones

Once I thought I had it all, like we all seem to do
Only to find that in my mind was poison through and through
The lines you hear ain’t lying, but they’re poison to your ears
You’re learning things the first time only days before you knew

If you’re asking me to tell you why this world behaves
In such a way as to break you down every breaking of the day
I’ll tell you now if you desire how you can get your peace
Go get yourself a master or else find yourself a slave

If you think long and hard enough, it all will become clear
Damnation ain’t what lies ahead, it’s the truth that you do fear
You act the judge and penitent, you’ll find yourself alone
Unless you find some earthly thing to which you can hold dear

Goodness is a virtue that breaks apart your mind
You pick and choose from the few thrills that fill your time
At best they keep you moving, at worst they do the same
They hook you to the emptiness on the other end of the line