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When all is said and done, there are maybe a score of songwriters today who combine deep insight into the human psyche with a broad grasp of history, religion, literature, American mythology & landscape - plus a real genius for writing both words and melodies. Only a score are ambitious in the sense that they constantly challenge themselves and their audiences, rejecting the chance to make a facile point or tug the sentimental heartstring. These are our poets, voices raw from prophecy and the rigors of love. I think JP Jones ought to be counted among them. "Long Blue Train" is a folk classic. --Hugh Blumenfeld


Salvation Street turns out to be one of the more popular CD's on Vision Company Records. It was recorded in the small home my wife and I were remodeling in 2000. We put Tom Ratelle at the engineer's station in the living room along with David Lang or Matt Neibels on the drums behind panels of hockey glass. French doors with glass panels separated Kurt Meyer (bass), Mike Barrette (guitar, with amp around the corner in the bathroom), and me and my vocal and guitar mics for the sake of mic bleed-through. Mike Fischman (acoustic guitar), Vinnie Pasternak (violin, viola), and Matt (assorted percussion) were scattered in the hall or up the stairway as needed. Everything was recorded live to hard disc. "Salvation Street" itself was the exception, recorded by Lloyd Salisbury at Flat Rock Recording Studio.  Lloyd also played piano on this track.


painting: Kerstin Zettmar

Barb Schloff-Arietta ("Nefertiti Smiling," "Salvation Street," Dante's Highway") and Les Sampou ("Long Blue Train," "That's Right," "Po Man") over-dubbed their vocal tracks. Les wanted to record a new (solo) CD at the time (Borrowed & Blue) so she stopped in mornings and we recorded her songs live as well, including bird chirps outside the window or the occasional passing car.

Dave Lang, Matt Neibels, Kurt Meyer, Vinnie Pasternak, and Mike Barrette also contributed vocal overdubs. I get the credit for "producing" the CD but the truth is that everyone involved gave their everything.  Brother Andy Jones made this CD happen from three thousand miles away --

Andy is the executive producer behind this CD and all the others since Voluntown.

One criticism that I sometimes hear about this record is that there are simply too many songs here. For those of us with a short attention span, I get it. I'd like to think that there's a payoff for hanging in through the variety of formats represented on this disc. It wasn't thoughtless or just because we had the songs available.

I was turned down by a "major music business" manager once who remarked in somewhat bewildered tones that I was a musical "chameleon." I chose to take it as a compliment, but the other side of a comment like that is that the writer/performer has no original voice but only adapts to the background.You get to decide for yourself. I'll let other writers confine themselves more or less to a single genre.

andyboy.jpg (12027 bytes)
photo: JP Jones

 Nefertiti Smiling

ah ah ah ah ah ah
--(ha ha)

copyright jp jones 2001
aug 9
newport

Salvation Street
well the sky it is bright
as an egyptian night
and the colors are heavy and deep
i'm makin no plans
as she's takin my hand
and the rain starts to leap
on the street
you shoulda seen all that lightning come
crashin around and
felt the foundations shake!
every soul in the place
stood transfixed and amazed
like the first of the days you awake
all the walls are turned transparent
standing in the heat
as me and my companion walk out
on Salvation Street


the air is saffron and silk
and the moon, it is milk and there's a
mystery star in the east
down on jericho mile
where the road meets the nile
and the pilgrims they gather to feast
all the fantastic stories
the power and glory when the
facts are so gentle and raw
everybody still tries
everybody still dies, baby
that aint the rules it's the law
voices float around the market
fall upon my hat
philosophy and kings but I don't
know about all that
ya almost feel the wings of angels
brush against your cheek
as me and my companion walk out on
Salvation Street


today I carry a prayer for everyone we meet
saints and sinners all around us
earth under our feet
nefertiti smiling and my vision is complete
as me and my companion walk out
on Salvation Street

copyright jp jones 2001
aug 9
newport

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Nobody Speaks for Me

man this stuff is easy the-- words roll right off my tongue
talk about your leaders-- now it's my turn to be one
no one listens anyway- I forgot what I was gonna say
democracy is here to stay
nobody speaks for me

everyone is on their own and fallin' thru the cracks
someone pulled the plug and it aint never comin back
the archer is on-- the american heart
wizards on wall street-- the modern art
whistle a tune on lucifer's harp
nobody speaks for me

everyone is famous in a disembodied voice
everything is up for grabs if you call that a choice
ghosts appearing on my t v set some
oscar winner or the president some-
body tell me what the hell it all meant
nobody speaks for me

man this stuff is easy-- i can do it in my sleep
the day is ripe for dreaming when the darkness is this deep
a hundred huxters in the hall-- ten thousand breeches in the wall five
billion people on this ball
nobody speaks for me

copyright jp jones 2001
feb 17
newport

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Dante's Highway

take a look at this book I'm writing
take a look at this heart a mine
don't I give you the feel
in like I
knew you from all time?

step by step it's gettin clearer
soon we'll understand
walk a little while and be my mirror
so I'll know just what I am

I'm a climber on 
Dante's mountain highway
underneath a sun
takin things on my way
like they just begun
every day is a gift from 
my creator
shinin down on me
every day I write a little more
in my masterpiece

every page is a revelation
every word is a song
every heart in my estimation
knows the right from the wrong

everybody I know is trying
everybody I see
everybody wanna be somebody
everybody, even me


I'm a climber on 
Dante's mountain highway
underneath a sun
takin things all my way
like they just begun
every day is a gift from 
my creator
shinin down on me
every day I write a little more
in my masterpiece

Lord, give me the grace to hear it
whenever you call
somedays I think I'm near it
then again I could fall

every face that appears before me
looks like the face of god
ev'ry traveler tells a story
ev'ry tongue confesses love

I'm a climber on 
Dante's mountain...

copyright jp jones 2000
november 18
newport

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While I Was Living Out an Ordinary Day

on the wall above the city i was keeping watch
i would guess my consciousness it musta jumped a notch
cut down by coincidences
naked, free, without defenses
while i was livin out an ordinary day

i tried every lover's ploy to make her turn my way
i cried like a little boy and i died every day
when i knew i could not go on
she turned and said, what took ya so long
while i was livin out an ordinary day

i learned my song from mercury, i worshipped at the well
burned by shame, the words just came, i prayed for rain, it fell
angels wrote it in a book
the whole world took another look
while i was livin out an ordinary day

down full moon road stars exploded over brenton bay
a comet passed, my future flashed, my past was blown away
a planet raced through endless space
i saw my calling face to face
while i was livin out an ordinary day

a curtain on the world fell open, for an instant i could see
i was born again again and life looked good to me
gathered by the hand of grace
the scattered leaves fell into place
while i was livin out an ordinary day

heart ablaze i stood amazed and gazed into the flame
the blinding sun no human tongue has power to proclaim
the center of the circle of 
relentlessly unfolding love
while i was livin out an ordinary day

i awoke to rolling thunder wedded to a sense of wonder
echoes come from heaven's drum and took my breath away
creation made her new connections
time stood still in all directions
while i was livin out an ordinary day

copyright jp jones 1997
april 11, 1997
newport

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Almost Satisfied

sunlight on the shingles
wrinkling up the street
my eyes are cool and dry upon 
the early morning heat
time is standing still
and i am standing on my feet
feeling almost satisfied

strung out on my memories
ghosts of what i used to be
when it seemed i understood
all this confusion perfectly
now the hopes and fears
throughout the years has shattered
scattered far and wide
leaving me almost satisfied

the lovers from another life
phantoms from my head
have all faded like the colors
of the pages i have read
now my pages all are empty
and my metaphors are all dead
i'm just standin here almost satisfied

in the sunlight in the curtains
in the shadows in the leaves
i see the faces of everyone
that i have tried to please
eventually it all comes down
to me upon my knees
almost satisfied

my visions all like children
young and starry-eyed
one by one have taken flight
and left me high and dry
so i cast them to the water, too
trusting they'll be born back on the tide
and find me here almost satisfied

a sea of living mirrors
flickers and reflects
there is nothing to remember
nothing to forget
i've got no one to run to
i've got little to protect
i'm just standin here
almost satisfied

the rose of light unfolding
burns me with the ache
of knowing what you're giving up
for everything you take
now i feel like a new-born baby
like the sun about to break
standin here almost satisfied

the distant city ripples
into the liquid light
i can almost see beyond 
the silken veil of white
the smile of the universe
shining blinding white
ringing, singing, almost satisfied

a child's voice melts in the air
bells are shimmering
except for some small melody
i don't need a thing
i've awoke inside this mystery
and i've let go of the string
standin here almost satisfied

the strings of time tremble
make a sleepless lullaby
all the choirs of the morning
whispering behind the sky
make it simple, make it sing
make it make me almost cry
make it make me
almost satisfied

copyright jp jones 1975, springfield
1995, june, newport

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Mole in the Ground

I wish I was a mole in the ground
I wish I was a mole in the ground
anyone could come and see my up side down
anyone could come and see me underground

I wish I was a frog on the well
I wish I was a frog in the well
deep and dark and dirty like no tongue can tell
deep and dark and dirty beating on my bell

I wish I was a dog on the street
I wish I was a dog on the street
loping in my three piece suit on my furry feet
loping in my three piece suit across the peat

I wish I was stone in the lake
I wish I was a stone in the lake
shinin in the moonlight with no heart to break
shinin in the moonlight with no heart to break

I wish I was a rag on a bone
I wish I was a rag on a bone
blowin in the wind up where the wild winds moan
blowin in the wind somewhere out all alone

copyright jp jones 2000
october
woodstock

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This Is How I

this is how i
this is how i

this is how i tie my shoe 
o yeah
this is how i tie my shoe 
o yeah
this is how i tie my shoe
more or less the same as you
this is how i tie my shoe 
o yeah

this is how i make my music
this is how i
this is how i make my music
this is how i
this is how i make my music
i can play if you can use it
this is how i make my music
this is how i
this is how i

this is how i pay my ticket
this is how i pay my ticket
this is how i pay my ticket
shine my heart up for a minute
so you can see yourself within it
this is how i
this is how i

this is how i ease my sorrow
this is how i ease my sorrow
find a good day i can borrow
think about today tomorrow
this is how i ease my sorrow
this is how i
this is how i

this is how i hold my head up
this is how i hold my head up high
this is how i hold my head
among the living and the dead
this is how i hold my head up
high
this is how i

this is how i move on down that road
this is how i move on down that road
dream my dream and think of you
sing this song if i get blue
this is how i move on down that road

copyright jp jones 1989
brooklyn

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Tiger Woods

a Georgia sun is setting low
behind the pines
a tiger on the tee
four hundred yards
more or less to go
and a walk into history

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
you got the name
you got the game
you got the goods
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
you sure do got the goods all right

just a kid like any kid
born to drive that thing a mile
doin’ what the masters did
pumpin’ fist, little Buddha smile
fade it in on a dog leg right
draw it back to the pin so tight
line it up like a rifle sight
add ‘em all up 
and let the big dogs bite

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
you got the cups
you got the bucks
you got the shots
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
I gotta get me some of what you got!

from the Scots who know
what the game can teach
from the boardroom down to 
the city streets
from Augusta’s greens 
to the Pebble Beach and
and no one else even
within reach of

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
that country club will
never look the same
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
it’s a whole new big big BIG ball game
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
you show ‘em how the fair way really lies
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
you sure do got the goods
all right!

copyright jp jones 2001
june 14
newport

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Tuesday AM
(Now It's Up to You)

 
I dreamed I saw bob dylan with 
a brand new coat of paint
he said, i'm glad to see you still alive
you're lookin' like a saint
up popped elvis, they embraced me
with their steely eyes of blue
they said, we all made a difference
and now it's up to you

(Chorus)
what'll i do with all these roses
comin up in the rain?
how am i gonna keep my spirit
from goin down the drain?
what you got to show em,. kid?
now there's nothing left to say?
elvis has left the building
and bob dylan's in FLA

I hopped upon my pony 
and I rode her to the shore
the colonel was in the kitchen
albert met me at the door
i said, please, kind sir, if i could
have a moment of your time
he shrugged his shoulders
turned his back so
i followed him inside

(Chorus)

pulled my book out of my bag
and my harmoni-key
colonel said, it might be loaded
son, don't point that thing at me
he put his bare feet on his desk
cigar between his toes
i tuned up my guitar
and put my capo on my nose

the phone kept ringin off the hook
his favorite lamp was in his lap
he stroked it absent-mindedly
while answering the cat
he said, now sing your song
gotta make some calls
to ny and la
oh, and elvis has left the builing
and bob dylan's in FLA

stood there holding my guitar
and strummin on my fly
i watched him playing with his food
from the corner of my eye
just then he noticed where he left
his loaded lit cigar
he shouted, holy smoke, my foot's on fire!
so i stomped down good and hard

(Chorus)

woke up tuesday am
put my pen against the wall
nothin much was comin
so i used my usual scrawl
the phone commenced to ringin
so i had a cup of tea
can't imagine what they wanted
for the life of me

(Chorus)

crawled down to the station 
and they put me on the air
wonder how i sounded sitting
in my underwear
the dj said i was the biggest jerk
he ever did rightly see
don't mean to be difficult
it just comes naturally

what'll i do with all these roses
comin up in the rain?
how am i gonna keep my spirit
from goin down the drain?
used to hang out in the real world
now it's all become a dream
used to be a poet
now i just say what i mean

copyright jpjones, 2001
january 3, newport

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You Belong to Me

lookin at all the faces
runnin on down the road alone
every one wants attention
every one searching for a home
i never could believe too easily
you showed me the way
it ought to be
you turned me around
when you said to me
you belong to me...

when all the others turn me off
all of my thoughts return to you
i'm on your side forever after
whatever you are going through
every time you long for
someone to be weak or strong for
someone to sing your song for
the one who keeps knockin
on your door
you belong to me...

none of your love has gone to waste
nobody else could take your place
i could face everything this way

whenever you are lonely
if ever you have lost your way
on any night you wonder
how you will face just one more day
i know you're gonna make it
dreamers can never fake it
reach out and take it to be true
i never could have made it without you
you belong to me...

copyright jp jones 1984
october
hilton head

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Thas Right

Baby come over and lay beside me
Coffee on the stove and it's getting hot
Cream in the cooler for the queen bee 'side me
Honey from my sugar in the honey pot

thas right
thas right
I'm a gonna take a my time with you-- thas right

Big buttery moon hangin in the window
Couple a coals a glowin red
We could lay around listen to the wind blow
A couple a ducks in a feather bed

Thas right
Thas right
I'm a gonna take a my time with you-- Thas right
Thas right
Thas right
I'm a gonna take a my time with you-- Thas right 

Takin the time to think things over
Takin the time to get it right
Lay your pretty head upon my shoulder
Baby abide with me tonight

I got the arms that long to hold you
Got the karma, got the time
Got a little secret I long to show you
Come a little closer and read my mind

Thas right...

Baby come over and lie beside me
Plenty a room in the eiderdown
Pretty damn deep in the end of Friday
drop yer shoes let yer hair hang down

That's right...

copyright jpjones 2000
november 6, newport

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Back it Up

back it up baby I don't need all the criticism
you stick the needle in and twist it with precision
how come you're the one who knows what I'm missin' missin'?
back it up baby I can't hear if you don't listen-- listen:
you keep sayin you're a friend of mine
back it up and get on back in line

back it up baby I'm not your willin' villian
you can't make a livin makin' a killin' killin'
I'm sorry that I had to prick your bubble, bubble
I'm sick 'n' tired a hearin' everything double double
you keep sayin' you're a friend of mine
back it up and get on back in line

maybe you forgot what payin' your dues is
you got more lines than a man got fuses
oh go ahead -- keep on talkin'
don't mind me if I keep on walkin'

well you send real tuff with you're huffin' and puffin'
you can't stand to see a man get away with nothin'
you believe all that crap if it helps
and I'll go back to believin' in myself


back it up -- if you mean what you're sayin' sayin'
back it up -- if you're not just playin' playin'
back it up -- I'm a man not a hobby, baby
back it up -- or take a seat in the lobby bobby
you want a taste of the big big time
back it up or get on back in line

copyright jp jones
2000
october 27, newport

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Po Man's Writer Blues

stole my riffs from the records and the radio
stole my style from a guy who stole the show
stole my colors from the lord's own rainy bow

(chorus)
po man
po man
po man's writer got to learn to pick and choose
po man's singer got nothin but the blues

stole my words from the dictionary
stole my voice from a blind canary
borrowed my moniker from a cat named jones
walk around in a sack of borrowed bones


pick my roses from the neighbor's yard
pick my noses with a credit card
got my psychosis with a loan from the FDA
I'm high as Gandhi's kite in the USA


got my face from my daddy's genes
got my hair-do from the magazines
got my smile from a gal who loved me so
if ya ever been loved like that then man you know

copyright jpjones 2000
october 23
newport

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Long Blue Train

some men choose a life
of steadier things
one man takes a wife
another one wings
mamma don't you weep for me
i'm lonely but i shall be free
one man lives in strife
another man sings
taken by surprise
my angel redeems
the aching in my eyes
waking up in my dreams
to an echoing despair
to a promise in the air
i shall weave a prayer
without any seams

on a long blue train
blowing through the darkness
with a destiny like thunder
in the rain

the shuttle splits the dark
the pattern descends
places in my heart
faces i've been
flash across the glass
from the future to the past
till all are free at last
to inherit the wind
all my brothers behind bars
every babe in the womb
husband of the stars
bride of the moon
homeless or betrayed
holy or depraved
from the cradle to the grave
are laid on the loom

(chorus)

exiled for the crime
of stealing the ring
from the architects of time
scholar and king
o and the tyin of the strands
and the shiftin of the sands
and the dancing of my hands
on whispering strings
come ye ghosts of heaven and hell
explode in my blood
goddess of the bell
dagger and dove
each one rides with me
from the city to the sea
on a wheel of mystery
engines of love

(chorus)

rejected now or received
my vision will shout
with my heart upon my sleeve
shattering doubt
and the tattoos that it took
on the flesh of the living book
no one overlooked
nothing left out
and in the cycles of rebirth
pulse of the drum
heart beating of the earth
song of the sun
every nation on the stage
every turning of the page
every passion of the age
calling to come

(chorus)

father of my song
river of light
carry me along
into the night
and the poets gone before
sisters on the shore
all of this and more
burning and bright
and my love mamma shall be 
bold to all women and men
and no one shall shame or 
scold the child again
and the story shall be told
of the wedding of the flesh and soul
and the rose it shall unfold
forever amen

on a long blue train...

copyright jp jones 1990. 2007
3/25/90
voluntown

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What Called Me to This

i wanted a life
like anyone would
my share of the pie
maybe do a little good
gave it my best
stood where i stand
who in the world
did i think that i am?
high on the prize
will like a fist
stars in my eyes
what called me to this?

ahead of my time
too late for the game
desperate desires
comin up in the rain
workin the crowd
politics of the soul
all the fame in the world
couldn't fill up the hole
walk in the rain
walk in the wind
shed every thought
shed every skin
destiny's drums
who am i to resist?
whatever comes now
what called me to this?

i wanted a life
like anyone would
my share of the pie
maybe do a little good
gave it my best
stood where i stand
who in the world
did i think that i am?
say what you will
do as you wish
whatever comes
still i insist
nothing is real
nothing exists
nothing but love
what called me to this?

copyright jpjones, 2001
may 20, newport

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Music and performances 2016 JP Jones. Site Design, Publishing  2016 Vision Company Records. All Rights reserved.