Fond Desire Farewell

by Debra Cowan

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1.
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
2.
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
3.
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
4.
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.
5.
03:59
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
6.
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
7.
‘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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
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
11.
03:39
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
12.
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
13.

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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