The Memorial Hall Recordings

by Mark Erelli

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about

The Memorial Hall was built in 1884 to honor the men from Monson, Massachusetts who fought in the Civil War. Though it has its share of cobwebs and ghosts, its enduring natural acoustics breathe life into the barest whisper. As the Hall is composed of granite from the local quarry, so this album consists largely of tunes of New England origin. Songs can be polished to perfection in a conventional recording studio, but they may shine more perfectly than in real life. The goal of this album was simply to record life...cobwebs and all.

"(Captures) the feel of New England: the soggy, sullen days just before spring, the picture-perfect summer evenings and the chill of lonely autumn nights…an unforgettable portrait of the music, landscape and characters that define the Northeast. --The Hartford Courant

credits

released March 26, 2002

Produced by Lorne Entress

Mark Erelli - vocals, acoustic guitar
Sonny Barbato - accordion, Wurlitzer
Kevin Barry - acoustic guitar, 6 & 12-string electric guitar
Lorne Entress - drums, percussion, Celestaphone, reed organ, vocals
Jim Henry - mandolin, acoustic guitar & dobro
Jim Lamond - bass

With special guests:
Ben Demerath - vocals
Bruce MacKay - vocals

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about

Mark Erelli Boston, Massachusetts

Mark Erelli completed a masters in evolutionary biology just after his self-titled debut was released in 1999. He has won several prestigious awards, and has 7 records to his name, including collections of western swing, lullabies and songs of stirring social conscience. In recent years, he has gained notoriety as a mulit-instrumentalist sideman with artists such as Lori McKenna and Josh Ritter. ... more

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Track Name: Call You Home
There are seven sisters weeping
Down by the old oxbow
As the coffee colored river
Swells with melting snow

Soon a bittersweet new season
Will turn the gray to green again
And I'll have to find a way
To say goodbye to you, my friend

(Chorus)
I'm gonna miss you this I know
Though I'll be just another memory when I go
Will you forgive me all my sins
And gather me back in
Like the prodigal son no more to roam
Will you let me once again call you home

The sky is open like a chalice
All along the river road
Where the patchwork field tobacco barns
Shiver in the cold

I could drink it in for hours
And never take my fill
I tell myself that I'll forget
But I know I never will

(Chorus)

The wild birds take their passage
Across the vernal sky
Like an arrow loosed from God's own bow
So swift and true they fly

Lord, draw me from your quiver
Take away my tears
Shoot me o'er the seven sisters
Somewhere far away from here
Track Name: Every Goodbye
I've been called every bad thing, some I can't name
By judges and lawyers and folks I never met
But my mother she called me Walker Jermaine
She said go out boy and make your own way

So I tried making boxes out in Nashua
Yeah I tried laying traps up in Bar Harbor bay
But none of it held me and I got way
Yeah I got away good, just as gone as I could

(Chorus)
Every shuteye ain't sleep
I know it's so
Restless I ride in the linen
Every goodbye ain't gone
I know it's true
I'm counting out days, leaving only a few

I know it's not right to take what's not mine
I'm sure it's not right, I know stealing's a crimeBut I know what it's like to see a life going down
Like gravel in a grave, one grain at a time

(Chorus)

Well I been here so long I got stones for old friends
And I tell 'em my secrets and that's where it ends
The woman who named me, she's in the ground
But her Walker Jermaine just cannot be found
Track Name: What's Changed
Darlin' when we me you said I was the one
So I never thought the knot we tied would come undone
But lately you've been acting kind of strange
What's changed
What's changed

Not so long ago you couldn't get enough
I've still got all of those bad habits that you used to love
As far as I can tell I'm still the same
What's changed
What's changed

You're getting over me
Far too easily
We had a love so strong
But when I look into your eyes I see that you're already gone

I've spent my whole life falling in and out of love
And I swore this time I wasn't gonna fuck it up
If there's a reason why you're leaving please explain
What's changed
What's changed

Darlin' if you're really gonna say goodbye
And there ain't nothing I can do or say to change your mind
Just one piece of information in exchange
What's changed
What's changed

What's changed
What's changed
Track Name: Fine Time Of Year
Take what you want, see to it
You dust all your memories away
Cause I can't find the strength to do it
Can't remember what should go or what should stay

(Chorus)
But it's a fine time of year to do it
And it's a fine time of year to let me know
Well it's a fine time of year
To watch you disappear
It's a fine time of year to let me go

Well you got a way with unmarked boxes
There's something there that you could call your own
I can't find a pleasant way to put it
So I'll just leave it in the closet and be gone

(Chorus)

Now there were times back in the day babe, we'd pull it all together
Weather every storm that ever came our way
Oh but now here you are, packing boxes and books and dishes
All your wishes coming true for you today
Track Name: The Drinking Gourd
When the sun goes back
And the first quail calls
Follow the drinking gourd
The old man is waiting for to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

(Chorus)
Follow the drinking gourd
Follow the drinking gourd
For the old man is waiting for to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

The riverbed makes a mighty fine road
Dead trees to show you the way
And it's left foot, peg foot travelling on
Follow the drinking gourd

The river ends between two hills
Follow the drinking gourd
There's another river on the other side
Follow the drinking gourd

(Chorus)

I thought I heard the angels say
Follow the drinking gourd
The stars in heaven gonna show you the way
Follow the drinking gourd
Track Name: Blue-Eyed Boston Boy
He was just a blue eyed Boston boy
His voice was low with pain
I'll do your bidding comrade mine
If I ride back again
But if you ride on and I should fall
You'll do as much for me
Mother at home is awaiting the news
So write her tenderly

She is waiting at home like a patient saint
Her fond face pale with woe
Her heart will be broken when I am dead
I'll see her face no more
Just then the order came to charge
For a moment hand touched hand
The answered "aye" and away they rode
That brave and devoted band

Straight way was the course to the top of the hill
The rebels they shot with shot and shell
Ploughed furrows of death through the toiling ranks
And guarded them as the fell
There soon came a horrible dying sound
From the heights they could not gain
And those that doom and death had spared
Rose slowly back again

But among the dead at the top of the hill
Was the boy with the golden hair
And the tall dark man that rode by his side
Lay still beside him there
There was no one to write to his blue eyed girl
The words that her lover had said
And mother at home is awaiting her son
She'll only find he's dead

While mother at home is awaiting her son
She'll only find he's dead
Track Name: Dear Magnolia
Dear Magnolia, I lend you my ear
Whisper your stories and secrets hidden here
Of a South that rose, of a South that fell
Your days of glory, your days of hell

We'll weep together, praise to the Lord
Raise up our voices and lay down our swords
To the souls we've lost, to the souls we've found
Though they never stop asking us
Did you really have to take us down

(Chorus)
Heavy-headed blossoms
Fragrant as they fall
I have wandered through the door
Of everything you stand for
Heavy-headed blossoms
Gracefully reveal
That which I had always felt was missing
Like the rolling dreams of a wagonless wheel

Your sweet survival has given rise
Unto your wisdom and yet you realize
Though your arms are long, and your reach is wide
Within your deepest scars
There are some snakes still hiding

So Dear Magnolia, I pledge my return
To the hills between us on which fires still burn
There we'll stand our ground 'til the moon above
Comes shining through the smoke
In the name of love
Track Name: Summer Night
You've traveled the river
From end to end
Never found a true love
Anywhere you've been
Never broke a heart
That wouldn't mend
On such a lovely summer night

Hands in your pockets
As the band begins
Stand by the window
A touch of locust in the wind
This might be just one more town
You'll say you've been in
On such a lovely summer night

You take your chances
When you start to roam
Waiting for slow dances
Then you ask to walk her home
And if she says, Please stay
You'll say, I might
On such a lovely summer night

You hold her close, yeah
Look her in the eye
You make her laugh
Then sing that one song to make her cry
And maybe this is that one town
Where there's no goodbye

You take your chances
When you start to roam
Waiting for slow dances
Then you ask to walk her home
And if she says, Please stay
You'll say, I might
On such a lovely summer night
On such a lovely summer night
Track Name: Devil's Train
The devil's train is long and black
It rides on rails of tears
It's headed for destruction now
With a drunken engineer

Oh see the greatness of the crowd
That waits beside the tracks
They're leaving on that devil's train
And never coming back

(Chorus)
Oh Lord please stop that devil's train
Before it is too late
And teach them how to bow their heads
Before they seal their fate

The devil's train will take you to
A land of groans and pain
You'll spend your days in sorrow if
You ride that devil's train

Oh listen to that whistle scream
Like echoes from the blue
The throttle's wide and spouting steam
She's on her way to doom

(Chorus)

The devil's train is long and black
It's beautiful to see
It offers you temptation but
It brings you misery

So come and ride that glorious train
Where happiness is free
It's on its way to heaven now
To spend eternity
Track Name: Ichabod
So fallen, so lost, the light withdrawn
Which once he wore
The glory from his gray hair gone
Forevermore

Revile him not, the Tempter hath
A snare for all
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath
Befit his fall

Oh dumb be passion's stormy rage
When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age
Falls back in night

Scorn, would the angels laugh to mark
A bright soul driven
Fiend-goaded down the endless dark
From hope and heaven

Let not the land once proud of him
Insult him now
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim
Dishonored brow

But let its humbled sons instead
From sea to lake
A long lament, as for the dead
In sadness make

Of all we loved and honored
Naught save power remains
A fallen angel's pride of thought
Still strong in chains

All else is gone from those great eyes
The soul has fled
When faith is lost when honor dies
The man is dead

Then pay the reverence of old days
To his dead fame
Walk backward with averted gaze
And hide the shame

Credits:
Track Name: Theresa
Down on this row there ain't much to do
So I close my eyes and dream about you
You and that guy I met once or twice
That's alright honey I just hope he's treating you nice

Things here ain't so bad, I've made some friends
They make me laugh but I can't pretend
When the night gets cold, and I get blue
Honey I just wanna hold onto you

(Chorus)
Oh Theresa, Theresa my dear
I stand accused and I'm guilty I fear
We've lived our lives in a corner called Hell
Now you're out there and I'm in this cell
And if you can't be here by midnight
If all of your connections fail
Say a prayer for me, finger your rosary
For I will have left this jail
I will see the cell door open
I will hear the tolling bells
And if you can't be here by midnight
Darling I'm wishing, I'm wishing you well

Everyday I recall how I got to this place
I woke up one night with a gun in my face
I saw a badge, I saw blue
That boy couldn't have been more than 22

I heard you scream, I grabbed his gun
You broke free and he started to run
Back of the head and it wasn't clean
Meanest thing that I ever seen
Track Name: Goodbye
Darlin' it's the end for you and I
We've both seen this coming for some time
I could say I'm sorry
But you'd not believe it
You could say you'll change
But honey I'd be dreaming

To drag this on too long would be a crime
There's hard words to be said and tears to cry
The faster we begin
The sooner we can end

So help me find a way to say goodbye

Parting's such sweet sorrow
But there's always tomorrow
Another chance that you'll get lucky
Though the odds they're not so grand
You'll find someone to love or even someone you can stand

You and I we owe it to ourselves
To put this sad affair back on the shelf
Pull the shades down tightly
And lock up as we leaveJust one more kiss goodbye
Before we throw away the keys

Darlin' lose that twinkle in your eye
Take your hand remove it from my thigh
'Cause one more time will only lead to one more time and then
Next thing you know we'll have to go through all of this again
We already know how the story's gonna end

So help me find a way to say goodbye