Fond Desire Farewell

by Debra Cowan

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about

Debra Cowan's newest CD Fond Desire Farewell, was arranged and produced by Dave Mattacks, who is best known for his work with the English folk-rock band Fairport Convention. Built on a theme of transformation through devastation, Fond Desire Farewell contains contemporary songs written by Richard Thompson, Bill Caddick, Nic Jones, Steve Tilston, and Ralph Stanley. Ray Davies's “Alcohol” has become a favorite among listeners as has Chris Moore's “Wall of Stone”. The traditional songs in this recording reflect Debra's extensive research of North American and British Isles ballad collections. Fond Desire Farewell was named "CD of the Week" by Rich Warren, host of WFMT's "The Midnight Special". Singer Linda Thompson said “...this is my kind of record. Beautifully sung and superbly produced.”

Dave “DM” Mattacks is one of the most sought-after drummers in both the United Kingdom and America. With Fond Desire Farewell, Mattacks makes his debut as the exclusive arranger and producer of Debra Cowan's third solo album, her first with a full band. His 40-plus years of experience in live performance and his impressive studio credits are evident in this recording. Mattacks has achieved a soundscape where Cowan's voice is related and responded to rather than just complemented or supported. In addition to himself behind the drum kit, as well as on hammered dulcimer, piano, and organ, Mattacks has assembled some of the best musicians that grace Boston's music scene: Duke Levine on guitar and mandola, Marty Ballou on upright bass, Joyce Anderson on violin, Billy Novick on clarinet, and Mike Barry supplying additional vocals.

Fond Desire Farewell is dedicated to Debra's late brother Michael Strassman, who died suddenly during its production. In her dedication, Debra states that a connection she shared with her brother included a number of groups that Mattacks had been affiliated with. She goes on: "After Michael's death, Dave and I began preparing these songs for recording. As we progressed, I was finding that they became more meaningful. Studying each song, the realization came to me that there were bits of Michael's 47 years in the stories that were being told. It's been a year since we said goodbye to my brother and I can say with certainty that this recording project was a large part of my healing."

credits

released April 28, 2009

Arranged and Produced by Dave Mattacks
[“Jealous Words” arranged and produced by Mike Barry and Dave Mattacks]

Engineered and Recorded by Mike Barry at Babyland Studios, Medford, MA

Foundation tracks [except “Wall...”, “Jealous...”, “Cruel...”, “Lili...” and “Salisbury...”] engineered and Recorded by David J. Minehan at Woolly Mammoth Studios, Waltham, MA

Mixed by Huck Bennert

Mastered by Marc Donahue at Sound Mirror, Jamaica Plain, MA

Graphic design and layout: George Striker

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about

Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

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Track Name: Yon Green Valley
For a young man courted me earnestly
It was with his wishes I did comply
It was his false vows and flattering tongue
He beguiled me love when I was young

In yon green valley we both went down
Where the pretty small birds come a-whistling 'round
Changing their notes from tree to tree
As the sun arose on yon green valley

As I sat down by my love's right hand
He swore by Heaven, by sea and land
That the rising sun he would never see
If ever he proved false to me

For eleven long months he proved true and kind
But a short time after he changed his mind
He changed his mind to a high degree
And he bade farewell to yon green valley

O hold him fast, don't you let him go,
For he his mine, and it's well he knows
Don't you mind of the promise you made to me
As the sun arose on yon green valley?

“I mind of the promise I made to you
But I'll have nothing more to do with you
My father's counsel I must obey
So it's goodbye, darling, I must away”

O if he's gone, then I wish him well
For to get married as I hear tell
My innocent babe I will tender care
Of his false promise let him beware

O am I married, or am I free
Or am I bound, love, to marry thee?
A single life is the best I see
A contented mind bears no slavery
Track Name: Wall Of Stone
Past the fences and over the hilltop
Up near the trickling stream
There's an old stone wall where I walked as a child
I returned to that place last night, last night
I returned to that place in a dream

There I spied a black crow a flying
Sleek were the lines of his wing
As he passed overhead dark and evil surely spread
“Here's where the living meet the dead” I swear he said
“Here's where the living meet the dead”

Memories, memories fill my soul
As I stand among these pines all alone
A thousand bygone yesterdays sing an eerie song
As I walk along this old wall of stone
As I walk along this old wall of stone

Dark clouds gathered the rain was a-falling
And what a vision I did see
'twas my own tombstone in the ground by the wall
And I heard my voice give a moan, give a moan
For tomorrow's was the date on the stone

Life is short and days are numbered
Cast not your will to the wind
For the day's gonna come when they slowly beat the drum
And they march your bones to the sun, to the sun
Then your days here on earth will be done

Memories, memories fill my soul
As I stand among these pines all alone
A thousand bygone yesterdays sing an eerie song
As I walk along this old wall of stone
As I walk along this old wall of stone
Track Name: Jealous Words
O sweet Rosie Lee
Like a sister to me
But you thought I was playing you smart

Jealous Words
Won’t lie still
In my heart

You saw us there dancing
And you thought us romancing
Suspicion has ripped us apart

Jealous Words
Won’t lie still
In my heart

With your interpretation
Of my reputation
You blinded yourself to the truth
To add some more weight
To your ramblings of late
Well, dear won’t you bring us some proof

How you cursed and you cried
When you locked me outside
You said I was bad from the start

Jealous Words
Won’t lie still
In my heart

O I knew when we met
You’d never forget
Each pothole and bump in the road
And if I left your side
What a blow to your pride
You’re that better than me, I suppose

O the doubt in me’s growing
And it hurts me just knowing
Another night’s sleep will depart

Jealous Words
Won’t lie still
In my heart

Jealous Words
Won’t lie still
In my heart

Jealous Words
Won’t lie still
In my heart
Track Name: Ruins By the Shore
Sometime between ice-ages they first appeared
Fell hungry on the beasts and fish they speared

Now all their bones are blackened
And their faces are no more
As we walk among the ruins by the shore

They worshiped gods and thought they'd never die
But now the spiders nest the tombs wherein they lie

And all their bones are blackened
And their faces are no more
As we walk among the ruins by the shore

They dreamed of golden cities raised into the air
But greed drew their simple hearts into its snare

Now all their bones are blackened
And their faces are no more
As we walk among the ruins by the shore

Kings, tyrants and their empires on the Earth held sway
Their belief in science took their souls away

And all their bones are blackened
And their faces are no more
As we walk among the ruins by the shore

We search the heavens and the silent sky
Hoping that life will fall on blinded eyes

But all our bones will blacken
And our faces be no more
As we lay among the ruins by the shore
As we lay among the ruins by the shore.
Track Name: The Rainbow
As we were a-sailing down by the Spanish shore
Where the drums they did beat and loud the cannons roared
We spied a lofty army, come bearing down the main
And it caused us to hoist our topmost sails again

Now there was a gallant damsel, a damsel of great fame
She was the Captain's daughter and Nancy was her name
She stood upon the deck me boys and loudly she did call
“O hoist up the colours and load the cannonballs”

“Now”, our captain said, “Be ready, boys, be ready and stand true
To face the Spanish army we lately did pursue
For to face the Spanish army lay along the ocean wide
And without a good protection, boys, we'll take the first broadside.”

Well, it's broadside to broadside these vessels o'er they went
A-sinking one another, it was their full intent
And at the very second broadside, our captain he was slain
And the damsel jumped in his place to fetch command again

O, we fought for nearly four hours, for four hours or more
'Til we had scarce a man on board our gallant ship to steer
'Til we had scarce a man on board to fire off a gun
And the blood on our decks like a river it did run

“O for quarters, for quarters!” these Spanish lads did cry
“You have had the best of quarters,” this damsel did reply
“You have had the best of quarters that e'er we can afford
You must fight, sink, or swim, me boys, or jump overboard”

And now the war is over and we'll take a glass of wine
You can drink to your true love, and I will drink to mine
Here's a health unto that damsel that damsel of great fame
And a health unto that royal ship, the Rainbow was her name
Track Name: The Night Owl Homeward Turns
The night owl homeward turns
As the dawn sweeps the sky
We must rise and gather up our flock
Push tears from our eyes
We will tread the secret pathways
The ancients did roam
For now comes the last time we’ll call this place home

And their longboats have been spied
Gathering on the strand
Where they hover like a pack of dogs awaiting command
With their iron and their fire
They will cut through the spray
And the word is that this time
Their intention's to stay

All the young men’s talk is brave,
They must make a stand
With their courage flowing from a jug
Old swords in their hands
How easy they embrace the old gods of war
And their blood flows the moral defending the shore

The night owl homeward turns
As the dawn sweeps the sky
We must rise and gather up our flock
Push tears from our eyes
We will tread the secret pathways
The ancients did roam
For now comes the last time we’ll call this place home
Track Name: Cruel Was My Father
‘Twas on a frosty morning the snow lay on the ground
A fair maid was walking a few miles out of town
A few miles out of town against the winter's frost and snow
She had a baby in her arms she had nowhere to go

O cruel was my mother she barred the door to me
And cruel was my father for I know he kept the key
Cruel was that winter's night that pierced my heart with cold
But crueler was the false young man who sold his love for gold

She came unto to a lonely grove and there she did kneel down
She prayed unto her Saviour dear for mercy on her soul
She kissed her little baby’s lips and laid it by her side
She raised her eyes to heaven above
And then laid down and died

Early the next morning this fair maid was found
Her little baby’s fingers were frozen to the ground
When her mother heard of this, she wrung her hands and she cried
It was for her father’s cruelty that caused them both to die

So come all ye pretty fair maids a warning take by me
Never try to build your nest at the top of any tree
For the leaves they will wither and the roots they will decay
And the beauty of a fair young maid it soon will fade away
Track Name: Salisbury Plain
As I walked over Salisbury Plain
There I met a scamping young blade
He kissed me and enticed me so
'Til along with him I was forced for to go

We came upon an inn at last
There for man and wife we did pass
He called for ale, wine and strong beer
'Til at length we both to bed did repair

“Undress yourself, my darling,” says he
“Undress yourself, and come sleep with me”
“Yes, I will,” then says she
“If you will keep all those flash girls away.”

“Those flash girls you say you need not fear
For you'll be safely guarded, my dear
I'll maintain you a lady so gay
For I'll go a-robbing on the highway”

Early next morning my love he arose
So nimbly he put on his clothes
Straight to the highway he did set sail
And 'twas there he robbed the coach of the mail

It's now my love in Newgate Jail do lie
Waiting each moment for to die
The Lord have mercy on his poor soul
For I think I hear the death-bell do toll
Track Name: Lili Marlene Walks Away
Joseph is the legless soldier selling souvenirs of the war
Outside a bombed out church where no one wants to worship anymore
Beneath the houses and the ruined flats
Women and children crouch like cellar rats
“Give us our daily bread” they pray
Lili paints her nails, puts on her nylons and prepares to walk away
Lili Marlene walks away

Jesus is the old woman begging on the corner of the street
Where little children sell themselves to anyone for a bite to eat
A piece of chocolate or chewing gum
A candy bar or any little crumb
“Our Father, where art thou?” they pray
Lili combs her hair puts on her party dress and turns to walk away
Lili Marlene walks away

Maria is the virgin on the mattress in a backroom up the stairs
Disciples come in queues at night to kneel between her legs and offer prayers
A pack of cigarettes buys innocence
A jar of coffee for the sacraments
“Forgive our trespasses” they pray
Lili checks her lipstick gives her brightest smile and quickly walks away
Lili Marlene walks away

How to buy the milk to feed his baby growing in her every day
A quick encounter on a dustbin lid along a lonely alleyway
Against a barrack wall at dead of night
Communion underneath the broken light
“Thy kingdom come to us” they pray
Lili smoothes her stockings in a state of grace and slowly walks away
Lili Marlene walks away
Lili Marlene walks away
Lili Marlene walks away
Track Name: The Snow Is On the Ground
Cold winter is come with its cold chilling breath
And the verdure's all dropped from the trees
All nature seems touched by the finger of death
And the streams are beginning to freeze
When the hills and the dales are all covered with white
And Flora attends us no more
When you are enjoying a good fire-side
Will you grumble to think on the poor?

When the north wind's ascending and chilling the ground
And the sportsmen again shooting go
And the happy young lads o'er the rivers can slide
And the icicles hang at your door
When our lips and our fingers are trembling with cold
And the rivers are froze on the shore
When the bright twinkling stars they proclaim the cold night
It's the time to remember the poor

When the poor harmless hare is tracked to the woods
With his footsteps indented in snow
And the robin red breast he approaches your cot
And in danger the traveler goes
When your minds are annoyed by the wide swelling flood
And the bridges are useful no more
When your bowl warms with something reviving and hot
Will you grumble to think on the poor

Soon a day it will come when our Saviour we'll see
All nations shall join in one voice
All the world shall unite to salute the sweet 'morn
All the ends of the earth shall rejoice
When grim death's deprived of his killing sting
And the grave rules triumphant no more
Saints, angels and men hallelujah shall sing
That's the time to remember the poor
Saints, angels and men hallelujah shall sing
Then the rich must remember the poor
Track Name: Alcohol
Here's the story of a sinner
He used to be a winner
Enjoying a life of prominence and position
But the pressures at the office
His socialite engagements
His selfish wife's fanatical ambition
It turned him to the booze,
And he got mixed up with a floozie
She led him to a life of indecision
The floozie made him spend his dough
She left him lying on Skid Row
A drunken lag in some Salvation Army Mission
It's such a shame

Oh demon alcohol,
Memories I cannot recall
Who thought I would say
Damn it all and blow it all
Oh demon alcohol
Memories I cannot recall
Who thought I would fall
A slave to demon alcohol

Barley wine, pink gin
He'll drink anything
Port, Pernod or tequila
Rum, scotch, vodka on the rocks
As long as all his troubles disappear
But he messed up his life
When he beat up his wife
Now the floozie's gone and found another sucker
She's gonna turn him on to drink
She's gonna lead him to the brink
And when his money's gone
She'll leave him in the gutter
It's such a shame

Oh demon alcohol
Memories I cannot recall
Who thought I would say
Damn it all and blow it all away
Oh demon alcohol
Memories I cannot recall
Who thought I would fall
A slave to demon alcohol
Track Name: The Darkest Hour Is Just Before the Dawn
The sun is slowly sinking
The day is almost done
Still darkness falls all around us
And we must journey on

The darkest hour is just before dawn
The narrow way leads home
Lay down your soul at Jesus' feet
The darkest hour is just before dawn

Like a shepherd out on the mountain
Watching his sheep down below
He's coming back to claim us
Will you be ready to go

The darkest hour is just before dawn
The narrow way leads home
Lay down your soul at Jesus' feet
The darkest hour is just before dawn

The darkest hour is just before dawn
The narrow way leads home
Lay down your soul at Jesus' feet
The darkest hour is just before dawn
The darkest hour is just before dawn