Black Fly EP

by Jennifer Crook

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1.
04:52
Simply take the road ahead That's what the old man said Try not to fret or care and you'll get there Two paths in the wood and I Took the one less travelled by Then I stood and wondered why the sky was falling Black fly in my wine I'll learn to pay no mind Some things just take their time Blackbird in my dreams You sing the saddest things Little birds will find their wings By morning Signs and wonders guide the way That's what the wise ones say As I stumble through another day in the darkness Where are the roses now? The buds remain upon the bough And somewhere far above the clouds the sun's still shining Black fly in my wine.. At first the mountain was too steep Then the river ran too deep Then I thought I could not go one step further When the world was full of doubt The tide went in and the tide went out And 'fear be banished' was the shout from every corner Black fly in my wine... © Jennifer Crook 2010
2.
Robert was a lawyer, made his daddy proud Never fitted in with the cocktail crowd He had the looks and the first degree And the sense to ask, well what about me? I’ve got a customary cosmo girl But there’s not much love left in my world I think I’m heading for a heart attack It’s a dead-end street along a one-way track He’s running to the hills, he’s running for his life He’s tearing up the bills, and paying off his wife Heading for the hills with a shovel and a knife Gone to build a handmade life Gone to build a handmade life He met a girl and they settled down And sold organic veg in town Every day trying to make ends meet Putting clothes on the kids and shoes on their feet It’s always harder than it seems - A shoestring life for a few small dreams The men in grey try to claim the land And the bricks they laid with their own fair hands Living in the hills is not an easy life And if you’ve got the will you’d think you’d have the right But after all the years, the struggle and the strife Nothing beats a handmade life Nothing beats a handmade life Pretty Pollyanna was a patchwork girl With dreams to see the big wide world So she gathered every shell in sight And strung them round the moon each night She grew and grew up to be five foot ten She could strut her stuff with the best of them She found her ticket in a suit and tie Of a wealthy man with a roving eye She’s running to the city she wants to get a life She’ll be sitting pretty if she plays it right But she traded all her treasures when he took her for his wife Forsaken was the handmade life And shiny things can look like gold if you don’t look too close Be careful now for what you sold might be what you need the most Too many years not keeping score If not for love what is life for? She begs the bottom of her G&T Where did the music go and all the poetry? She had a longing for the mountain air The sound of spring and her favourite chair She called her mother on the telephone Put the kettle on I’m coming home She’s running to the hills she’s running for her life She’s giving up the pills and the four-wheel drive She doesn’t care about the money if her heart survives Gone to build a handmade life She’s gone to build a handmade life… © Jennifer Crook 2010
3.
02:49
Apples falling on the grass Red brick houses, things that last Feed the birds and sweep the path Another day's begun Picking fruit and shelling peas Making endless cups of tea Keeping track of history As the day moves on Piles of papers, odds and ends Things to grow and make and mend Mother, sister, Granny, friend Loved by everyone Snow on Sunday, shoes for best Clocks and books and winter vests Better get yourself undressed Now the evenings come Take the candle, climb the stair A hundred brushes through your hair And don't forget to say a prayer Now the day is done Count your blessings don't be sad God bless Mum and God bless Dad And relatives I never knew I had God bless everyone God bless everyone © Jennifer Crook 2010
4.
05:22
You come around here in your chaps and your old fashioned clothes Stinking of beer, but your smile is still sweet I suppose Since you left town and I grew to be strong I’ve got bread on the table and a place to belong And I won’t give it up for some old-time song If that’s what you’re asking of me ‘Cos I’m too old to be following cowboys down dusty old tracks that don’t lead anywhere Too young to settle for memories of what used to be So please don’t ask me to ride by your side Or watch the sun set at the edge of the sky ‘Cos it’s too hard to kiss you and wave you goodbye when you leave He thinks of her often, like when he’s watching the swallows nest And when the moon rises as bright as her eyes he loves her the best When the owls start calling and there’s snow on the barn He thinks of the last time she lay in his arms “A little adventure won’t do any harm so why won’t you come out with me?” It’s true that I’ve wondered just what I did with my travelling shoes And some kinds of freedom can leave a heart bleeding and bruised So pick up your hat, get your boots off the floor, I don’t need to gamble on your love anymore ‘cos if your planning on keeping one foot out the door it looks more like losing to me So ride when you’re restless, sleep when you’re done, Live by your own rules, die by the gun, Drink when you’re thirsty and love just for fun But don’t think you're counting on me © Jennifer Crook 2010
5.
(free) 05:21
I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-gray, And Winter’s dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires.   The land’s sharp features seemed to be The Century’s corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy, The wind his death-lament. The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seemed fervourless as I.   At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited ; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom.   So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware. Words by by Thomas Hardy
6.
She took the ribbons from out of her hair like one untying a dream She said when I saw him I promised I’d wear my beautiful ribbons of green He asked me to stay on the first of May and we would go walking at dawn He’d take down my hair, in the woods we would lay, but now my ribbons are torn And I’ve danced round the maypole now so many years, the colours I cannot undo Nor can I begin to untangle my heart and shake off these ribbons of blue For he is in love with some other girl, he told me last night in my bed And won’t love another in all the wide world, so now my ribbons are red, she said, My ribbons are red I’ve danced round the maypole now so many times and woven the patterns so tight These pretty garments grow smaller each day and it’s too late for ribbons of white But a year to the day it’s the first of May and I will be dressed like a queen I’ll find me a worthier man for to wear my beautiful ribbons of green ribbons of green, ribbons of green, white, blue, ribbons of white, blue, red, ribbons of blue, red, white, ribbons of red, white, blue, ribbons of green © Jennifer Crook 2010

about

Recorded live with 'The Hawthorns' at Kensington Studios (Josh's house) on 13th July 2009.

Jennifer Crook ~ Singing, Guitar, Harp, Banjo

with The Hawthorns:
• Bethany Porter ~ Cello, Singing, Violin
• Maclaine Colston ~ Hammered Dulcimer, Singing
• Josh Clark ~ Percussion, Singing, ProTools

and Special Guests:
• Robert Harbron ~ Concertina, Mandolin, Guitar, Singing
• Miranda Sykes ~ Double Bass
• Emma Hooper ~ Viola



Black Fly: Written after a festival when I found a banjo in my hands, and a song in my head.

Handmade Life: I wrote this some ten years ago following a visit to West Wales. Some great musical motifs by Maclaine Colston feature in this new arrangement.

Apples: A song I wrote on the harp in memory of my grandmother. The tune is loosely based on the traditional Somerset song 'Searching For Lambs".

Cowboys: Often asked for at gigs (particularly by women!), this is the first time I've recorded this song with a band. Spot the 'country' concertina.

The Darkling Thrush:  One of my all-time favourite poems by Thomas Hardy, written on 31st December 1900. Bleak, but wonderfully hopeful. The arrangement just fell together - a great full band track.

Ribbons of Green (live concert recording): A tale of May Day and maypoles and mournful maidens...

and The Dream Waltz. A beautiful waltz by Cliff Stapleton that was introduced to us by Robert Harbron and seemed to fit perfectly.

credits

released February 22, 2010

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Jennifer Crook Bath, UK

"I urge you to give this a listen. This is contemporary songwriting and performing at it's best"****Maverick

"Heart-wrenchingly gorgeous music" Roots & Fusion

Telegraph***Best Folk Albums of 2014 (Carnforth Station)

“I’m really, really loving the new album ‘Merry-Go-Round’ - it’s beautiful” Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
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