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Sweet Sad Parade

April 25, 2009 Comments off

“Sweet Sad Parade,” from Last Callers and Losers, by The King Canutes

Download the MP3 (6.5 MB)

And the snow late in the year it made me go so far from here
Now I’m back to see you dear

The hammocks and the half-drawn shades are beckoning in familiar ways
No one else compares to you but they’re just the way we were
And I miss you every day but I love this brand new blur

And even there the summer fades I kiss you here as if to say
Though they’re different names, these friends I’ve made we’re all the same sweet sad parade of

Last callers and losers, the cheap dates and the aim confusers,
The gin and tonic abusers, the leisure addicts and the kiss refusers

The King Canutes are Richard Alwyn Fisher and Keir Woods (vocals and acoustic guitars) with a shifting cast of other musicians. On this track: Scott Johnson (lap steel) and Jim Bentley (recording and mixing).

Process notes

Richard writes:
This is one of the tracks that I had written much earlier and Keir and I really altered it from its earlier incarnations. The lyrics got trimmed down and Keir added the doubled vocal and created the second guitar part. The original version of the Last Callers and Losers record was going to be more of a representation of our live show, just Keir and I playing and singing; the culmination of our collaboration together. When we began re-recording, we decided that we would make it bigger, fuller, a more collaborative process. Our original intention was still to leave “Sweet Sad Parade” as just the two of us. However, in the interim I had been collaborating with Scott Johnson on another project called The Winter Drinks, in which we played this song and he played the beautiful lap steel part. I was so set in my mind that we’d eventually go with the stripped down arrangement that I almost didn’t want him to play on the track at all, I’m forever grateful that he insisted. (See also “Let’s Mess It Up Again,” earlier in this issue. –Eds.)

Let’s Mess It Up Again

January 15, 2009 3 comments

album cover for Last Callers and Losers by the King Canutes
Cover art by Peregrine Honig (watercolor) and Drew Padrutt (design) — click
on image to see a larger version

“Let’s Mess It Up Again,” from Last Callers and Losers, by The King Canutes

Download the MP3 (6.7 MB)

It was cold for spring I pulled my coat around me as I walked you to your car
whistling a kiss is just a kiss, well, is that just what they are?
I would kiss you if I thought you thought that I could stand the strain
Do you really want another chance to mess things up again?

I was sleeping when you said hello, I thought it was a dream
about a ghost that I used to know back from the foreign war
Said you’d come to make it up to me, would I make it up to you?
You can smile all you want but it won’t count for yesterday no, no
It’s all right, I’m the same,
it’s all right, just the good remains,
I cried away the shame

Maybe days spent apart have done us good though I never thought they would
but the strings it took me years to untangle now I pull around me like a long lost favorite shirt
I remember staying up all night when your perfume made me drunk
Now, whose idea was it to leave,
I don’t recall (it’s all right)
and I don’t mind, it’s all right,
yeah it’s only time, it’s all right
Have we always known
that this time would come and go?

It was cold for spring I pulled my coat around me as I walked you to your car
Whistling a kiss is just a kiss, well, is that just what they are?
And I never will forget it, it’s like a picture, your face lit up in the neighbor’s headlights
he just sat there as you held me and we leaned against your car
I would kiss you if I thought you thought that I could stand the strain
Do you really want another chance

Let’s mess it up again, let’s mess it up again

and even if the finer things are behind us now,
the brighter days, you know
That it’s all right, I don’t mind,
let’s mess it up again, it’s all right

The King Canutes are: Richard Alwyn Fisher (vocals, acoustic and baritone guitars, writer) and Keir Woods (omnichord, backing vocals), with a shifting cast of other musicians. On this track: Scott Johnson (drums, percussion and slide guitar), Seryn Potter (vocals), Dana Kletter (vocals), Alex Cox (bass), Margaret White (violins), Anna Callner (cello), Jim Bentley (recording and mixing), and Scott Easterday (string arrangement).

Process notes

Richard and Keir had recorded the entire album in 2006, but their digital masters were stolen just before Keir left the States. They have spent the past two years re-creating Last Callers and Losers, with Richard in New York and Keir in Paris. Richard writes:

There were collaborations between Keir Woods and me initially on the arrangements. Scott Easterday did the string arrangements. The cover was a collaboration between Peregrine Honig and the designer Drew Padrutt, after Peregrine and I went back and forth on what it was going to be a picture of. Jim Bentley and I sent versions of mixes back and forth to Keir in Paris trying to get it sorted out to where we were all happy. It’s crazy collaboration all over this record.

We also can’t resist, in this time of interregnum in the U.S., quoting from the album description at CD Baby:

The band takes its name from King Canute, ancient king of England, legendary for failing to halt the onrushing tide. Two apocryphal stories exist for his motivations: One claims his arrogance propelled him to have his throne set up in the surf, where the unyielding waves famously swept him away. Others suggest his true motivation lay in proving to a sycophantic court the limit of a king’s power.

Alwyn and Woods trade in such dichotomies and ambiguities within their songs, where characters struggle with the ramifications of their decisions.