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“Jones creates songs of world-weary grace and beauty. The vision is dark and diaphanous with disappointment, failed love, put off dreams and atmospherically brilliant evocation. He’s a staccato stiletto to your heart.” - Mark Gresser - Music Matters Review




Basic tracks for Ashes were recorded at Flat Rock Studios by Lloyd Salisbury in the summer of 1999. A number of tracks had MIDI sounds added as atmosphere. Drew Wanacht played drums; Ed Laperle and Kurt Meyer, bass; Mike Fischman, banjo; Everett Brown, accordion and mandola; Vinnie Pasternak, violin, viola, and electric rhythm guitar ("Don't Feel Guilty"); Steve Tavares, congas, gong, claves, tambourine, dumbek, djembe, triangle, windchimes, and bowed cymbal.   Scott  Rencourt (Dream Edit Studios) recorded "To Be a Man" live in one take. All the other noises I am responsible for.

I recorded "Reincarnation Blues" at home, in a closet.

Mastered by David Correia at Celebration Sound.

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photo: Paul Silver Photography


What Took Ya So Long

had a good rap
had it down pat
took the cake, jack
got the gold
had the best lines
had the best times
had it all except for the soul

pull that wagon
beat on the body 'n'
drive it into the ground
now you're achin
for somethin sacred
and it's a secret all over town

[chorus]
what took ya so long
what took ya so dog gone long
now yer comin around
what took ya so long

you were clever
you would never
carry any regret
in a hard light
in a good fight
you would never see ya sweat
pause for a comment
pose for a camera
cool and quiet as clay
but some tough luck
turned the heat up
and you're a little warmer to day

[chorus]
what took ya so long
what took ya so dog gone long
now yer comin around
what took ya so long?

[bridge]
nice ta see ya
you look a little nervous
i heard about the trouble you're in
you just stumbled on a sense of purpose
and i couldn't help from rubbin it in
just a little

[chorus]
what took ya so long?
what took ya so dog gone long?
now you're comin around
what took ya so long?

let's assume man
you're a new man
another human
outta the blue
in the ruins
with a few friends
who knew you when
you knew it too

laugh like the devil
ache like an angel
cry whenever it shows
learn to be kind
in your own time
but in the mean time i'd
still like to know...

[chorus]
what took ya so long?
what took ya so dog gone long?
now yer comin around
what took ya so long?

copyright jp jones 1998
february
newport

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Black and Blue

everything around me looks
more or less normal
can't shake the feelin
that somethin's gone horrible
why am i always the one
to feel this sorrow
everybody livin
like there's no tomorrow

wake up in the mornin
eyelids shakin
can't get to sleep for all
the drugs i'm takin
thought it was over
but my heart keeps breakin
i'm lyin in the ashes
and i keep on rakin

[chorus]
if heaven don't shake
her golden bell
if i don't get a break
from the wishin well
if the cure don't take
and time don't tell
gonna dig down deep
where the ashes fell
take another drag and
paint my wagon blue
all black and blue

every day the world gets flatter
we're born with a voice
but what does it matter
bury my soul
on a pentium platter
mice go numb
fat cats get fatter

one of these days
i'm gonna learn my lesson
can't tell if it's mine
or the world's depression
it's all up for grabs
with a corporate blessin
down in silicon valley
outta smith and wesson


[chorus]
if heaven don't shake
her golden bell
if i don't get a break
from the wishin well
if the cure don't take
and time don't tell
gonna dig down deep
where the ashes fell
take another drag and
paint my wagon blue
all black and blue

on the ghost of a boat
named abraham lincoln
little boys busy with their
tech no thinkin
there's a hole in the bottom
where the girls go drinkin
we paddle like mad
but we still is sinkin

i will set my raft out
on the river after dark
i will hold my tongue
listen with my heart
and if there's any light left
from a passin star
i will find my way by the grace of god

[chorus]

copyright jp jones 1999
2/24/99
newport

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To Be a Man

the telegraph is out
the bridge is blown away
a wicked wind is ringing in my ear

children's voices shout
and then are swallowed in the rain
Father, Father, I am sick with fear

all night long
the river screams
in broken bones
and shattered dreams
and no one here
knows what it means
to be a man

the army came through yesterday
and poisoned every well
and marched the old men
downward to the shore

little boys with weapons
wander through a living hell
Father, I can't hear you any more

no pretty words
no prayers remain
a gaping hole
that has no name
fills up with rage
fills up with shame
to be a man

Father, have you fallen
I'm so hungry for your kiss
did they strip you of your
pride and passion, too?
could you see it coming
did you suffer more than this?
Father, I was so in love with you

and still the rains
come down
churning water
black and brown
no where to stand
but muddy ground
to be a man

the stillness of my mother
the stench of rotting moss
the horrifying silence
in the blood

how do I tell my brother
that I have lost
the body of my father in the flood

out of the caves
under the drum
across the grave
of my own son
beneath the waves
of blood I come
to be a man

copyright jp jones 1995
june
newport

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Bring a Gift

gather from your garden
all the sadnesses you saved
bring them with you when you come
to lay them in their grave
say good-bye so kindly to the
dying of an age
gather from your garden
all the sadnesses you saved

meet me in the mornin where
the world begins again
up upon the hill against a
silhouette of wind
take the path of patience
feel the grass against your shin
meet me in the mornin
where the world begins again

bring the book of
all the longing
written in your soul
bring a gift of silvery
bring your gift of gold

drop a bucket deep into
the well of mystery
taste the darkness on your lips
all cold and bittersweet
let the water stain the earth and
save a cup for me
drop a bucket deep in to
the well of mystery

bring the book of all the longing
written in your soul
bring a gift all silvery O
bring your gift of gold

wander in your solitude
and hear the silence sing
make a bed beneath the stars
where memory can ring
light a candle so your soul
will know you're listening
wander in your solitude
and hear the silence sing

bring the book of all the longing
written in your soul
bring a gift of silvery
bring your gift of gold

meet me in the mornin where
the world begins again
up upon the hill against a
silhouette of wind
take the path of patience
feel the grass against your shin
meet me in the mornin
where the world begins again

copyright jp jones 1998
newport
3/10/98

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Adios Columbus!

in the sea of life's little tragedies
you're baptized
your shoes are water proof
but your faith has capsized
i'd buy you a crown of thorns
if i knew your hat size
what do ya think we treated jesus
like that for?
you don't have to pretend
this trip is worth it anymore

lady love on your arm
turned you into a user
when lady luck smiles
you still can't afford to refuse her
she's such a beautiful
beautiful beautiful beautiful loser
but she's heard that line
from guys like you
forty-four times before
you don't have to pretend
this trip is worth it anymore

your lover rode out of town
shaking her fist
once you could rob her blind
now you can't steal a kiss
you only know it wasn't
supposed to go down like this
take the red bandanna from your mouth
and drop your six guns to the floor
you don't have to pretend this trip
is worth it anymore

you could hammer on your heart
till freedom rings
you could turn the world around
with words of strings
how you gonna fly in such a
heavy set of wings?
shut your feathers and your glue away
in a silver drawer
you don't have to pretend this trip
is worth it anymore

so your heart is true, so what
you'd still do anything to succeed
with a book of instructions
and a set of impossible needs
it's all you been told
it's only what you choose to believe
tune up your holy mandolin
my lonesome troubadour
you don't have to pretend this trip
is worth it anymore

mother earth may be flat
but your sails are all unfurled
in all the bedrooms of the mind
there is no new boy or girl
there's no one left to leave behind
this is the new world this is it
take my hand and come dance with me
up this faithless shore
is worth it anymorewhere you won't have to pretend this trip

copyright jp jones 1977, 1994
springfield

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Some Sunny Day

it's never easy
to do what's true
you're always busy
so much to do
i can't keep up with
the likes of you
some sunny day
you'll have to pay

you leave your garbage
at my front door
you scrape your boots
off all across my floor
you cast a shadow
from shore to shore
some sunny day
you'll have to pay

you travel light now
no flies on thee
you left your honor
hangin on a tree
you buried holy
integrity
some sunny day
you'll have to pay

the world is wicked
you can't be blamed
the senseless sorrow
the dirty rotten shame
you love the darkness
you play the game
some sunny day
you'll have to pay

nobody warned you
you could not hear
the words went in and
out the other ear
it's not your problem
least not this year
some sunny day
you'll have to pay

copyright jp jones 1994
october 21
newport

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Sandy

sandy
you tried to warn me
about the highway
and about the long cold road
and now i see my
my life before me
a thousand miles
and a million faces
down the line and
out of my control

it gets so lonely
when you're a loner
and eternity just ticks away
a minute at a time
and all your hunger
when you were younger
always reachin for the one thing
you could never really find

sandy
whatever happened
to all the people and the places
we let slip away
to make one dream come true
and as for me i
i look out my window
and i let these restless memories
wash over me
and down the road to you

now don't you worry
if you're a loner
your spirit can be wounded
but it never can be killed
some how i know it
deep down inside me
every longing of the human heart
shall one day be fulfilled

copyright jp jones 1980, 1996
norwalk

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Stand in the Fire

O come all ye maidens so tender and fine
with eyes like an ocean and kisses like wine
let your hearts be courageous, entrancing and kind
but there's no chance of making a fool out of mine

come all ye young rebels so angry and fair
with stars in your eyes and the wind in your hair
you who have given up all hope and care
what have you got to teach me who's already there

come stand in the fire
receive your new names
stand in the fire
and walk in the flames

ye victims of time and of cold circumstance
tell me your stories of abandoned romance
me heart it is scoured of all pity and shame
with no chance of breaking or taking the blame

(instrumental)

come all ye young poets so tired and true
and pull a new vision from out of the blue
when all you can paint is a world you can see
of greed and despair what's in it for me

come stand in the fire
receive your new names
stand in the fire
and walk in the flames

come ye who do crimes against god, against man
who wound with your tongue and do harm with your hand
who cry out for mercy from your hidden heart
and deny all that's sacred when it's all that you are

yes come ye unfaithful, ye cowards and rakes
fanatics and addicts and seekers of grace
and stand in the fire within and above
that burns all illusions and leaves only love

copyright jp jones 1997
newport
10/3097

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Don't Feel Guilty

set me free your honor please
i just suffer from an ancient disease
been too long out on my own
take my gun and send me home

i see the way that you look at me
you can't feel good when i feel free
i'm never the way that you want me to be
but i
don't feel guilty

yeah i hurt somebody on down the line
yeah i fuck up from time to time

you got all the friends that you can afford
you got your mom and you got the lord
tried em all and i just got bored
and i
don't feel guilty

(bridge:)
you know i might not
ever see your face again
but then again we might have been
but then again we might have been
but then again we might have been
best of friends
might-a been best of friends
might-a been

set me free from your heart of stone
get off my back
you got a back of your own

i'm perfectly me
i passed the test
i'm no better off or worse than the rest
i do my worst and i do my best
and i don't feel guilty

set me free from your point of view
i don't believe in the things you do
you don't need me
and i don't need you
and i
don't feel guilty

copyright jp jones 1981, 1997
brooklyn

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Reincarnation Blues

once i was a gambler
yeah i was tight with lady luck
you could say a millionaire
give or take a million bucks
when i bet on fortune i found she cheats
found myself back on the streets
and i found i had
the blues

that just goes to show ya
where success is at
you can take what ya need to get there
the gettin there can take it back

once i was an old man
who figured he'd seen
everything there is to see
iwas standin on the shore line
seein the sea
one night the waves snuck up the beach
dumped the past out at my feet and
i had the blues again
that just goes to show ya what
the wise guys find
you can be just as smart as you think you are
and still you can be blind

once i was a woman
and i liked the way
that men would look at me
but i had one thopught
that drove me nuts
i wanted to see
what it is they
see
then one night my dream came true
i saw me and i looked just like you
and you had the blues again
that just goes to show ya
what were all made of
when there's niothin that comes between us
there's nothing but true love

once i was a farmer
and i had a house and lived upon the hill
woke up in the mornings with the sun dancing

on my window sill
but the skies will rain and the winds will blow
and i can find love where ever i go
and i can get the blues too now and then

that just goes to show ya
if you're all alone
when there's no place that will came you
the whole world is your home

last i was a prophet
tellin everybody they'd better get hip
preachin on the corners
believing every word of it
but my box of faith filled up with doubt
one night the bottom dropped out
and i had the blues again

that just goes to show ya
what it's all about
ya can't believe in anything
till there's nothin you can not doubt

now i'm just a traveler
who has stopped along his journey here to play
i can see for miles
but i cannot see no way back to yesterday
i stand at the crossroads broken hearted
longing for the place
where it all got started
and i got the blues again

that just goes to show ya
what the journey costs
sometimes you cannot find yourself
till you realize you're lost

copyright jp jones 1975, 1992, 2009
1/6/75
springfield

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By a Thread

we're as helpless and harmless
as leaves in the wind
as cold and as cruel
as the sins we have sinned
filled with the peace
that we search for so much
crazy as the truth
that lies just out of touch

all of it hangs by a thread baby
all of it hangs by a thread
when the truth is spoken quite plainly
all of it hangs by a thread

we're as blind as our eyes
we're as deaf as our ears
as gay as our laughter
as sad as our tears
as young as our hopes
as old as our fears
here for the moment
and gone with the years

(chorus)

it's more beautiful than all
our wildest of dreams
it's stranger than fiction
it's just what it seems
and we're the mirror reflections
of all we dream of
tied throughout time
by a thin thread of love

(chorus)


copyright jp jones 1975, 1994
july 30
nyc

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