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Lili Marlene Walks Away

from Fond Desire Farewell by Debra Cowan

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© Bill Caddick

Bill Caddick's songs have been on my radar ever since I heard June Tabor's renditions of “Barmaid's Song” and “Unicorns”. I heard “Lili” a few years ago and was struck again by Bill's imagery in the lyrics and the melody he composed.


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


from Fond Desire Farewell, released April 28, 2009
Arranged and Produced by Dave Mattacks

Debra Cowan: Vocals, Acoustic guitar on “Wall...” “Night Owl...” “Salisbury...”, English Concertina on “Rainbow”, “Night Owl”
Dave Mattacks: Drums, Cymbals, Percussion, Piano, Pump Organ, Hammered Dulcimer, Wurlitzer Piano, Toy Piano
Duke Levine: Acoustic Guitar, Mandola, National Guitar, Octave Mandolin Marty Ballou: Upright Bass Joyce Andersen: Fiddle

With: Billy Novick: Clarinet and Wolf Ginandes:Tuba on “Alcohol”
Additional Vocals: Mike Barry on “Rainbow”, “Lili...” and “Yon Green Valley”
Ruth Peterson, Mike and Julie Barry on “Darkest Hour...” Mike, Julie and Liam Barry on “Lili...”


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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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