Wheatfield With Crows

by Tim Harrison

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about

Wheatfield With Crows is a collection of some older material, which had not been released before, and some new. Wheatfield With Crows, reportedly Van Gogh's final painting, was the inspiration for the song of the same name as I was thinking of a group of friends, mostly actors, writers, and musicians, all of whom had gone their separate ways, and all of whom had contributed to my "canvas," my reminiscences of our time together. Permission was secured from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to use the painting as the CD cover. They sent me a slide of the entire painting sitting on two easels...it's quite a large painting, is rectangular, and therefore we had to crop for it to fit as a CD cover.

credits

released January 1, 2002

Tim Harrison vocals, guitars, mandolin, bass; Sahra Featherstone Celtic Harp; Tom Leighton accordion; Liane de Lotbiniere background vocals; Paul Mills guitar; Lisa Weitz background vocals; Chris Whiteley harmonica.

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about

Tim Harrison Nanaimo, British Columbia

Biography
Tim Harrison has worked as an artist, songwriter, and as a creator of arts events.. Along with founding the Owen Sound Summerfolk Festival,Tim has been Artistic Director of the Mariposa, Northwind, and Eaglewood Folk Festivals, and the Big Fish Music Fest.
Tim has released eight highly acclaimed recordings of original material and has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada.
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Track Name: Wheatfield With Crows
WHEATFIELD WITH CROWS
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue
Songs 1990

Wheatfield with crows
One more image as the palette overflows
One more step before the forks in the road
Separate us and we’re gone

Young rebels in the night
Drew thin lines around
what’s wrong and what is right
Clutching fingers grasped at straws and held on tight
Young lovers sang their songs

And there was music
The streets came alive
We ran into the dawn
Dreams of freedom drove us on
And there was glory
and it was holy
It was the moon and the stars
It was the world blown apart

Wheatfield with crows
Urgent talk in small cafes until they closed
Roaring poetry ‘round corners rolling home
Roof
-
tops echoed
buildings rang
And in the darkened rooms
Streams of streetlight bathed the
ir bodies as they moved
Slowly tracing Aphrodite’s pas-de-deux
Through the starry nights

Wheatfield with crows
One more image as the palette overflows
One more step before the forks in the road
Separate us and we’re gone
Track Name: Home Boys
Home Boys
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 2001


It was from England that I came
On a ship laden with blame
For the bloody, dirty need
Made by industry’s new greed

We came in from the country side
To find work in the city slime
Where fathers broke sons’ arms
So they’d fit the beggars’ charms

It was the work house for us all
And like cattle in a stall
Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons
Were separated and undone

The righteous thought it best
To rid London of its pests
So we were plucked for God’s bouquet
One hundred thousand sent away

And they called us home boys
A bitter irony
They called us home boys
As they put us out to sea
They called us home boys
As they broke our families
But Home Boy that’s no fitting name for me

And those of us who did not die
On the briny ocean wide
All landed over here
To Canada land of our fear


We were sent out then to work
For stoop labor and a perk
For the landowners who knew
That we did not get to choose

Bridge:

And I was sent out to Ontario
And worked a farm through the rain and the wind and snow
And what I learned put innocence to shame
For things that happened there cannot be given any name

And is this the only way
We can deal with poverty
Some live in wrack and ruin
And some live in luxury

The rich and poor they struggle
Though there’s lots to go around
Still we scatter one another
Just like dry leaves on the ground
Track Name: Elizabeth's Lament
Elizabeth's Lament
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 1982

It was coming on to New England night
She was driving down the Mass. turnpike
The leaves had turned to yellow-brown
The sky was grey, winter was coming down

She thought about the ones at home
A son she loved about to go
A daughter half way out the door
A man who didn't know her anymore

And the skies open up the turnpike slicks with rain
And the rhythm of the wipers on the windshield click her time away
And she holds the thought of security she'd bought
But the days go by and the Time runs out…a spirit is caught...

She thinks of her community
The Ladies to bridge, the Ladies to tea
Forced cocktail parties now and then
Where she cannot call a single soul a friend

And she wonders about the home routine
The daily Chores, the weekly Clean
Soap operas in the afternoon
At night the house gets silent far too soon

So she goes up and turns the bed sheets down
A quick kiss and the husband's gone
The shadows on the ceiling play
She wonders how it came to be this way

And the tires grip the road the rain keeps coming down
And the lights on the highway flicker by as she reaches town
Still she heads for home, her shelter from the storm
But the days go by and the time runs out…a spirit is gone...
Track Name: Innocent Eyes
Innocent Eyes
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 1983

Innocent eyes, innocent eyes
Never see a danger
Innocent eyes, innocent eyes
Always look To strangers

The sun comes up a day will start
A flame is lit to start the spark
Burning in the souls of the living
And you walk to Second Avenue
One more day to pay the dues
Of living in a world so unforgiving

Innocent eyes, innocent eyes
Never see a danger
Innocent eyes, innocent eyes
Always look to strangers

Celebrating the grey days
Living in all-night cafes
Moving with the joy and feeling able
You start to swing as the music sounds
But something makes you turn around
It's Machiavelli dancing on the table

Innocent eyes, Innocent eyes
Never see a danger
Innocent eyes, Innocent eyes
Always look to strangers

You look to find the human beat
You walk to forty-second street
Moving with whores and the hustlers
You stop to play a game of chance
One more time for a romance
Buying tickets to the heart from scalpers


Innocent eyes, innocent eyes
Never see a danger
Innocent eyes, innocent eyes
Always look to strangers
Never look to strangers
Always look to strangers
Track Name: The Parting Letter To Ophelia
THE PARTING LETTER TO OPHELIA
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 1990


Farewell my love Ophelia
The earth can make the rivers bend
What we wanted to be, our love could not see
And disappeared out to the ocean's end

Your father gave that you might follow
I know you tried hard to obey
But a young tender heart, tied too tight comes apart
And runs with no direction and no aim

And I know lies were told Ophelia
I wish there was some way to explain
That the world just spins, and over and over again
You have to choose to put love in

You have to know that I did love you
But in your arms I could not breathe
And there were times I confess I saw only your flesh
Our desires drove us further from our dreams

But you must look to yourself Ophelia
I wish there was some way to explain,
That the world just spins, and over and over again
You have to choose to put love in

And someday you'll trim your own sails
And chart a course to find your destiny
There'll be no captain's hand, to force or command
You'll only have your own god to obey

But you know how hard that is Ophelia
I wish there was some way to explain
That the world just spins, and over and over again
You have to choose to put love in
Track Name: Fortune And Men's Eyes
FORTUNE AND MEN’S EYES
Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 2004

When we fall in fortune and men’s eyes
And feel outside as people often do
Though we sometimes shake the angels with our cries
The morning comes and we start over new

When things go wrong no matter how we try
When it seems like good times might be gone
Hold on to old stories and embrace
One day at a time we travel on

And it’s you, you, you
Your faith like fire gives warmth the whole day through
The stars never rise, but I see your shining eyes
It’s you, you, you

When our past would rob the present time
And all our woes would try to slow us down
You’re like the sun to which all flowers bend
When the night is burnt away and the sorrows end
Track Name: The Song Of The Wandering Aengus
The Song Of The Wandering Aengus
Poem by William Butler Yeats
Music by Judy Collins via Will Holt via Richard Dyer Bennett via Yeats himself
apparently via notations in his “Speaking to the Psaltery” from 1907.
This arrangement I learned from Dave van Ronk

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lads and hilly lands.
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
Track Name: There But For Fortune
There But For Fortune
©Phil Ochs

Show me a prison, show me a jail
Show me a prisoner whose life has gone stale
And I'll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me an alley, show me a train
Show me a hobo who sleeps out in the rain
And I'll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me the whiskey stains on the floor
Show me a drunk as he stumbles out the door
And I'll show you a young man
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I

Show me a country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of buildings so tall
And I'll show you a young land
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I
You or I
Track Name: Joy Alright
JOY ALRIGHT
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs1988

It's hard when you stumble,
It's hard when you fall,
It's hard to pick yourself back up again
It's hard to care at all

Old men sleeping in the alley
Women sunk in doorways deeper than the blues
They push carts past love they do no know
Still they wake up in the morning
Trying to find something new


Chorus And there's tears alright
There's pain alright
There's fears alright
But you can find Joy alright

You get hurt alright
You get torn alright
You get worn alright
But still there is Joy alright

Some folks they try to fool you
To you think that you've done wrong
They try to take your world and turn it upside down
They try to make you sing their song

But when you stand out on your own highway
Just shake the dust off of your shoes
Brush your coat and turn your face into the wind
Cause we're all just passin’ through
Track Name: Maps Of Paris
MAPS OF PARIS
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 1985

Well I thought I'd been travelling
But I've just moved from town to town
Looking for some kind of love
That wouldn't keep me down, that wouldn't put me down
I guess I've been chasing some kind of dream
And I never seem to come out clean
Till you came along and my world has been redeemed

Cause I'm studying maps of Paris
And I'm lookin’ at maps of France
I want to watch you strut down the Rue de Voltaire
And I want to watch you dance
I love to watch you dance
I'd forgotten what love can be
Forgotten what it's like to be complete
I was wondering why it is that people meet at all

Bridge:

I'd put my life upon a shelf
I'd built shrines to the past
I was trying to remember the good times
And thinkin’ bad ones were the only ones that last

But now I'm studying maps of Paris
And I'm lookin’ at maps of France
I want to watch you strut down the Rue de Voltaire
And I want to watch you dance
I love to watch you
We'll sit in some all-night cafe
And listen to the hot club till the break of day
And the rest of the world
Can just go on its way
Track Name: The Stars Above
THE STARS ABOVE
©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 1982


In the hollow havens of the bottom line
We’re swinging back and forth in time
Hungry for something that we cannot see
Stranded in the doorway to eternity

In the city streets you listen for the sounds
But the poets and the prophets all went underground
Bank towers loom over steeple spires
And the status quo smothers hearts of fire

I’m going looking in the stars above
I’m going looking in the name of love
I want to hear the mermaids’ melody
I hope they sing it loud for me

Sunlight chases shadows across suburban skies
You hear the stories, the rumours, and the alibis
Still every dawn in creation yet
Lets you make a life if you don’t forget

I’m going looking in the stars above
I’m going looking in the name of love
I want to hear the mermaids’ melody
I hope they sing it loud for me

In the hollow havens of the bottom line
We’re swinging back and forth in time
Hungry for something that we cannot see
Stranded in the doorway to eternity

I’m going looking in the stars above
I’m going looking in the name of love
I want to hear the mermaids’ melody
I hope they sing it loud for me…and you
I hope they sing it loud
Track Name: Song Of Thanksgiving
SONG OF THANKSGIVING
Tim Harrison and Second SONG Avenue Songs 2002

When the Northern Wind blows in
And the earth tips from the sun
When the harvest is complete
And all the work is done
Then we know we’ll feel the chill
And we know the snow will fall
‘Til the woods are filled
And then is the time we make our Thanksgiving

When all the things that can
Would try to pull us down
And our darkest hour’s at hand
And we’re spinning all around
Then the winds will change again
And we know that hope comes back
From where it’s been
And then is the time we make our Thanksgiving

And in this world of speed
It’s hard just to be
And the things we really need
Are always hard to see
And I know we’re flyin’ blind
But maybe we’ll find our way if we try
And now is the time we must make our Thanksgiving (repeat line
Track Name: Sea Fever
SEA FEVER
by John Masefield
musical setting ©Tim Harrison and Second Avenue Songs 2002

I must down to the seas again
To the lonely sea and the sky
And all I ask is a tall ship
And a star to steer her by
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
And the white sail’s shaking
And a grey mist on the sea’s face
And a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again
For the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
That may not be denied
And all I ask is a windy day
With the white clouds flying
And the flung spray and the blown spume
And the seagulls crying.

I must down to the seas again
To the vagrant gypsy life
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
Where the wind’s like a whetted knife
And all I ask is a merry yarn
From a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
When the long trick’s over