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 "While most artists I have worked with have a thousand things to say and only one way of saying them, [Jones has] one thing to say and a thousand different ways to say it..." --Ed Freeman, record producer (Tim Hardin, Don McLean, Tom Rush, etc.)

 
Voluntown was the inaugural release for Vision Company Records, a label designed by family and friends in 1991 to publish JP Jones songs and recordings. Some of the credits are unfortunately lost to posterity, particularly since the recordings came from a number of different sessions recorded over several years  from New York to Boston. All of this work was considered experimental at the time, experiments which vary widely in terms of success as far as I can tell. "Ruins of the Dawn" is an egregious example.  I've received standing ovations for solo performances of this piece and had numerous individuals say things like, "That song changed my life."  At least one club manager asked me point blank, "Please don't play that song tonight-- there are a lot of important people in the business here"-- whatever that meant.

"New World a-Comin'" is a similar problem child, overwrought to say the least.  A much better version, closer to the original concept, appears on Jeremiah. A curious note: on a Bill Moyers special in the late 80's/early '90's on PBS he was interviewing a poet (Maya Angelou?) who remarked that her grandchild(?) had written a song with the lines, "There's a new world coming and it won't be long/ where will you stand when the old one is gone?"-- virtually the same lines as in my tune.  Especially odd is the fact that I wrote my song several years earlier and had in fact sent a copy to Moyer's producer.

In spite of my misgivings there are a number of tunes that I am proud of and perform live to this day. 

photo: Lyn Tyler

Drums: Dave Lang, Tim Jackson, Mike Mansfield
Bass: Ed LaPerle, Richard Gates
All other instruments: JP Jones
Engineers: Lloyd Salisbury, Joe Cuneo, Michael Mansfield, Sue Forgive-Us-But-We-Can't-Find-You-Anywhere, John Pergamo
Assistant Engineers: Vinnie Bucholz, Charles Abbott, Sue T, Rob Sylvan, Chuck Taylor
Art Direction, drawings: Scott Menchin
Video Director: Michael Bianchi
Executive producer: Peggy Jones
Piano on 333 Drunkards courtesy Mama Connie's All Night Love Lines and Pleasure Emporium

Mastered by Harry Hirsch at Digital House.

 

You Gotta Come to Me

i walked for miles up a barefoot highway
i stood my ground before the hounds of hell
i been delivered to a higher power
ya die a couple times and ya live to tell

you gotta come to me baby
you gotta come to me
you gotta come to me now baby
you gotta come to me

shoulda seen me the way i want it
dialed up a prayer to the gods above
i dreamt a story up with your name on it
i turned a circle in the name of love

i know you how you want it
it takes all that you can take
you know the road i'm building
there's a step that only you can make

(Chorus)

(Bridge:)
i hear a wind that's windin down
i see a sun that's comin out
i feel a world that's turnin round
we'll show each other what it's all about

i'll tell ya how i think that you can do it
you climb a mountain where a saint has been
you send your heart out on a homing pigeon
you lean a little bit into the wind

you walk for miles up a barefoot highway
outrun a couple hounds from hell
you be delivered to a higher power
ya die a couple times and ya live to tell

(Chorus)

copyright jp jones 1986, 2003
brooklyn

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Still Lonely, Still Dreamin

i was born with a chip on my shoulder
things'd better get better
by the time i get older
i'm a little bit broken
and a little bit bolder
than i care to tell
hell hell hell

don't bother to explain
cause i heard it all before
there's gotta be a key in me
that's gonna fit a door
i always gotta lotta love
i always wanted more
and more and more

still lonely
still dreamin
still achin
for the meanin

every mornin when i wake up
baby maybe this is it
i get a vision of a vision
that'll never ever quit
and if we really go together
will we ever really fit to stay
hey hey hey

good-bye good-bye good-bye good-bye
somethin's gotta keep on
so that somethin can die
i don't believe in nothin
but i'm willin to try again
and again and again

(chorus)

i was born with a chip on my shoulder
things'd better get better
by the time i get older
i'm a little bit older and
a little bit bolder
than i care to tell
hell hell hell...

copyright jp jones 1988, 2005
brooklyn

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Johnny Golightly

got a million miles up his sleeve
paper heart and soul to advertise
does not need one reason to believe
got the endless promise in his eyes

johnny golightly laughing
in your mirror mask
aim me in my future
and shoot me through my past

rings of desire unfolding in the air
feels no guilt and knows no right or wrong
blood stains of the wounded everywhere
show me how you hide inside the song

johnny golightly crying
tell me what you saw
in your magic kingdom
from both sides of the law

and is there any one next to your heart
anything to hold you here on earth
to me you shine just like a baby sun
wheeling through the silent universe

johnny golightly
flicker like the flame
johnny golightly dancing
shake your tambourine

copyright jp jones 1978, 1995
springfield

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No Lights on the Water

no lights
on the water
no sound
on the shore
no word
from my baby
not mine
any more

no clouds
in the night sky
no moon
through the trees
no reason
to be here
no reason
to leave

no sea birds glide
cross the harbor
as far as the eye can see
the morning as close
as a lover
my eyes
as wide
as the sea

no lights
on the water
no sound
on the shore
no word
from my baby
not mine
anymore

copyright jp jones 1977, 1994
7/7/77
nyc

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These Kids Today

these kids today
hey hey hey
got a lot on their mind
these kids today
hey hey hey
got a lot on their mind
you get some big ideas
you get a long way to climb
thse kids today
hey hey hey
got a lot on their mind

it all could change now
in just the wink of an eye
no life-time policy
against the falling of a sky
you could say something
but you don't even try
these kids today
hey hey hey
got a lot on their mind

(Chorus)

welcome to the planet
make any move you'd care to make
whoever ran it
someone could make the same mistake
you too can stand it
you just won't like the ache
these kids today
hey hey hey
got a heart that could break

these kids
these kids these kids these kids
thesekidsthesekidsthesekids
these kids today
today

across the desert
over the mountains we fly
into the city
under the lights from on high
you get the picture
you get no alibi
these kids today
hey hey hey
got the stars in their eyes

(chorus)

copyright jp jones 1987, 2004
april 10
brooklyn

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Down in Voluntown

oh listen up
if you're goin down down
down in voluntown
when your heart is hot
but your dreams are drowned down
down in voluntown

when the stakes are high
and the chips are down
when all the camp is armed
for another round
when they drag the lake
but no hope can be found down
down in voluntown

there's a hole to hide
and a road to run a ways down
down in voluntown
you can save your life
or you can shoot your days down
down in voluntown

oh the bride came out
in her wedding gown
but her eyes were blank
and her hands were bound
and the guitars played
without a sound down
down in voluntown

yeah i had a dream
and i took a walk down
down in voluntown
all i could do was scream
but i could not talk down
down in voluntown

and the people ran around
with their heads hung low
with a broken heart
from long ago
rushin off to be late
for the showdown
down in voluntown

there's a sayin here
that goes around down
down in voluntown
that what goes up's
gotta come back down down
down in voluntown

but your dream was right
and the day will come
when the whole world knows
that the world is one
but you know it's still
easier said than done down
down in voluntown

copyright jp jones 1988, 2005
brooklyn

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What Never Was

no letter came
again today
i guess there's
nothing left to say
the days are short
the nights are long
i don't know where
i now belong

so now i know
love with a twist
at least i had
the guts to wish
we hardly kissed
how can ya miss
what never was

(Bridge:)
you were right
i was wrong
it wasn't real
and now it's gone
too late to cry
or carry on
what never was

(Bridge:)
no no door knocks
and no phone rings
a pebble tossed
that leaves no rings
a mockingbird
all evening sings
what never was

so this old world
remains the same
some people still
think love's a game
you played it cool
you played it sane
i played the fool
you're not to blame

it takes an open
heart to grow
it takes a broken
heart to know
what love has done
what makes us one
what never was

copyright jp jones 1990, 2007
voluntown

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333 Drunkards

three hundred thirty drunkards
knockin upon my door
three hundred thirty three drunkards
knockin upon my door
drinkin till my well's gone dry
comin back for more

three hundred thirty three lovers
rollin over in my bed
three hundred thirty three lovers
rollin over in my bed
talkin in their sleep and
eating up my head

three hundred thirty three mothers
goin through my mail
three hundred thirty three mothers
goin through my mail
publishing my secrets
donating everything to yale

three hundred thirty three policemen
combing their pistols through my hair
three hundred thirty three policemen
combing their pistols through my hair
handin me a summons for
speedin in my rockin chair

three hundred thirty three believers
recording everything on tape
three hundred thirty three believers
recording everything on tape
screamin out for justice and then
beggin for a break

three hundred thirty three drunkards
whinin all night long
three hundred thirty three drunkards
whinin all night long
pissin on my carpet and then
askin me what they done wrong

copyright jp jones 1990, 2007
voluntown

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Ruins of the Dawn

in the streets and in the beds
the dream is over the gods are dead
the orphans of your innocence are crying
in the ruins of the dawn
the final angel passes on
against the grey the birds of prey are flying
while the refugees with wasted vision
fill the roads of blind ambition
where the shadows of the slain are lying
some'll sing and some'll mourn
for the new world bein born
for another world that's dyin

the children of a faithless age
went out free came home slaves
dressed up in the latest rage and fashion
while in the doorway half-undressed
leans the goddess of success
before whose feet we sacrifice compassion
and on the walls the writing shows
in times like these anything goes
but nothing really happens

don't it make you wonder
baby what you missed
when all your hopes
and all your dreams
all come down to this

husbands wives and lovers
turning on each other
tear the lives they've made apart
the fools we are we tell ourselves
that true love lies with someone else
when we don't even know our own heart
in the name of growth we break
the promises we freely make
our own mistakes we can't even forgive
then we wonder why it is
that all we see is emptiness
and hardly any reason to live

yesterday's idols
empty phrases and titles
images lie shattered in the rain
ya start out too smart to be deceived
and end up down on your knees
to glamour power money sex and fame
we measure what a person's worth
by who ya know and who ya hurt
and whether you're of any use to us
thus we've made it come to pass
that nothing's holy nothing last
and nothing's to believe in or trust

(Chorus)

from the arts to the colleges
we idolize money and worship knowledge
and bow down before the almighty word
while outside the gates the voices crying
still are hungry still are dying
still are aching and still are not heard
prophets promise answers
movements grow like cancers
that wouldn't have a chance but for our greed
as if blindness were a virtue
we swear that it'll hurt you
to think of anything but your own need

while the suffering that's obvious
we say is no concern to us
in false humility we confess our limitations
in litanies of faithlessness
it's gods of doubt that we profess
as if in cynicism was salvation
while the gurus and the pious preach
the self-acclaimed messiahs teach
of inner peace that's over-all transcending
whatever words may cross our lips
it still looks like it's ego trips
are what we care the most about defending

(Chorus)

the martyrs of society
from negligence and brutality
are finally crucified against the wall
the fringes of humanity
wearing our insanity
mirroring the violence in us all
and in the darkness burning bright
self-righteous armies of the night
wage private little wars for their beliefs
till there is no light there is no love
there is no help from god above
there is no joy there is no peace

till there is no one no matter where ya turn
whose faith in life has not been burned
in the ruthless flames of your conceit
from criticism and suspicion
outcast and with poison vision
your love runs naked through the street
from the dawning of the human race
from the bedroom to the market place
from nation down to family friend and lover
you'd think one thing that we could change
is the way we always play this game
of bringing down this pain upon each other

(Chorus)

so fan the fires higher of your
runaway desire till ya
can't tell if life's a blessing or a curse
must make the charts must make the grade
must stay on top and must get laid
and when you do it only makes it worse
you go through lover after lover
from one thing to another
and nothing seems to satisfy the thirst

and this is the way it's bound to stay
until there finally comes a day
you realize it does not pay
to hurt someone who's in the way
to lie to cheat to run away
from marriages that go astray
to mindlessly maintain belief
that war is made to save the peace
to take the life of anyone
for any reason in the sun
to justify a violent cause
by saying that it's nature's laws
to ask for faith from someone else
when you can't even trust yourself
until the day you finally see
the choice is up to you and me
from fear and hate and cruelty
to love and creativity
it's your responsibility
you make your own reality
and that's the thing that must come first

don't it make you wonder
just what you will do
if the things that you believe in
really do come true

copyright jp jones 1976, 1993, 2010
october
springfield

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New World a-Comin

there's a new world a-comin
and it won't be long
where will you stand
when the old one is gone
the sun will be blindin
the oceans will rise
and it won't do no good
to be blamin the skies

no man can erase it
no woman can hide
we fall or we face it
all side by side

the end of an age
we betrayed with a kiss
killin off that thing
and grabbin at this
the limits of power
the harvest of greed
when one keeps for his pleasure
what his brother just needs

(chorus)

there is no insurance
there is no defense
you won't get ahead
at your neighbor's expense
the earth it will tremble
the wild winds will roar
and we'll stand together
like never before

(chorus)

no nation can save us
no church holds the key
now it depends
upon you and on me
with a gun to our heads
and our backs to the wall
now it's nature's revenge
that embraces us all

(chorus)

will we wake up in time
to find what it's about
when the changes this time
must come from inside out
lay down your heartache
and pick up a song
there's a new world a-comin
and it won't be long

copyright jp jones
1988, 2005
voluntown

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