Promise and Prayer

by Trailside Rangers

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released October 28, 1998

Joe Wilford / Jason Byrne / Rowan Bishop
Extra Credit: Dale Nixon - Bass, Steve LaCerra - Percussion and verbal harassment.
Recorded in Brooklyn, NY at The Woodshop and End Result Recording in October 1998
Artwork and Design by: East Fourth Graphics
Produced and engineered by: Steve LaCerra
Photography by: Dave Bergeland, Michele Estey and Rowan Bishop
Promise and Prayer, Opaque, Gun Hill, Tough Enough, Three Days, Unfurl My Soul and Celebration written by Joe Wilford ©1998 Jericho Hill Music.
Seven Percent Solution and Remembering the Dead written by Rowan Bishop - ©1998 Celtic Cross Music.
All Selections BMI.

The Trailside Rangers would like to thank:
Duane Larson (MIA - Bass), Ray Los, Dave and Regina Bergeland, Jeff and Mike at Ultrasound Studios, Ralph at End Result Recording, Jayme Names, Alan Hyatt at PMI Inc/Joemeek, Natalie Stocker at Emtec/BASF, Tom at Nitengales, Matt Fisher at WDCE.


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Trailside Rangers New York, New York

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Track Name: Promise and Prayer
Young boy, young man your world reeling
Trying to decipher all these feelings you’re feeling
Struggling to read the page that’s turning
Ever and always looking out for a guideline
Trying to stay off the field on the sideline
Trying to save the bridges you forgot were burning

No you’re not – no you’re not turning back now
No you’re not – no you’re not giving up now
No you’re not – no you’re not just a kid now

Everyday every night every hour
Everyone that you see has the power
To influence and teach you stand there pleading
Someone to aspire and look up to
Someone with inner-strength and enough to
Withstand the blows of life without them bleeding

No you can’t – no you can’t turn away now
No you can’t – no you can’t fan the flames now
No you’re not – no you’re not just the same now

All the heroes and visions and lies
It’s no trick to discern their disguise
A fall from grace is not far when you’re
Already face down upon the Earth
The question is – will you stay there?

All the promise and prayer has been wasted
Every fruit from the tree has been tasted
Can it be that virtue is derided
Everyman I thought had an answer
Turned out to carry within him a cancer
Which each of them had long before invited

No I’m not – no I’m not just the same now
No I’m not – no I’m not giving up now
No I’m not – not I’m not turning back now
Track Name: Opaque
In the town that I grew up in
there was this girl I knew next door
her name was Eileen May Frances Winfield
I called her Ellie just for short
ever since I can remember
we were as close as kids could be
we fished for bull-heads at the culvert
she even climbed that big oak tree

I used to say “Hey Ellie May, won’t you come on out to play
I need you just to hold my hand and tell me stories all day long
hey Ellie May, I’ll just wait out here all day
until you come on out and run with me down through the trees”

Now she was a little older
a little smarter just the same
she used to quote me lines from Shakespeare
while I read aloud Mark Twain
and we savored all the good times
we stuck it out through all the bad
and through the early years of my youth
she was the only friend I had

I used to say “Hey Ellie May, won’t you come on out to play
I need you just to hold my hand and tell me stories all day long
hey Ellie May, I’ll just wait out here all day
until you come on out and run with me down through the trees”

Now around the time I went to high school
Ellie’s family moved out of town
and though we wrote each other every single day
I never, never felt so down

One day the letters stopped coming
and some of mine came back returned
so I took all those of hers that I saved
put them in the fire and watched them burn

How can time ruin friendships?
How can distance play a part?
How can fate be the dull blade that severs the ties
that bind out lonely hearts?

Why do children have to grow old?
Why do old friends always change?
How can something that once meant so much
mean less than anything?
Track Name: Gun Hill
I worked the coal mines down in Gun Hill Tennessee
I’ll never forget the sound of the earth as it caved in on me
there were about six of us trapped in an abandoned railway shaft
one mile deep in a mountain hell-hole, goddamn I had to laugh
I don’t know why…

“The dead men are the lucky ones,” I heard one man exclaim
when the air runs out we’ll join them quick or slow it’s all the same
I can’t begin to tell you how it feels
oh won’t you tell my wife and children this sad story
Daddy’s gone up the sky now
c’mon honey don’t you cry now, please

The first few hours we sat so quietly and still
listening for any signs of life up above in Gun Hill
we didn’t hear anything
then a man named Will brought our his mouth harp and he played
he said the Lord could hear his songs and surely we’d be saved
I don’t know why…Willie never prayed before

We took turns telling stories as our hopes began to dim
the darkness ever deepened and the air grew deadly thin
I cannot explain all that I have seen- is this a dream
unconscious to the world for hours
woke up to the smell of flowers
Gun Hill never smelled so goddamn sweet…
Track Name: Tough Enough
She’s built like a truck but the headlights they ain’t too bright
She’s gonna tear up the road and run you down in the heat of the night
And this girl she’ll surely make you sorry
And this girl she’ll surely make you cry
And when she makes short work of your egocentric world
You won’t be wondering why

She’s tough enough

She kicks like a mule and spins just like a spoke in a wheel
She’s fair but she’s mean she’s got a heart made of gold plated steel
And this girl she’ll eat your heart for breakfast
And this girl she’ll steal your life away
And when you’ve nowhere to run and your back’s to the wall
You’re gonna say what she wants you to say

She’s tough enough

Tough enough to make a stand
Any cause to distance herself from the common man
Tough enough to make a change
There’s nothing set in stone that can’t be rearranged
Track Name: Three Days
I used to follow her everywhere
“Anastasia,” I said
“Your name derived from the rising
Of Jesus Christ from the dead
She said, “Go away, you don’t understand me
You don’t know what I’m about”
There’s something missing in her life
I hope she figures it out…

Born on a Sunday in April
It didn’t mean much, I guess
Some kids are showered with love and affection
Some kids aren’t quite so blessed
Nobody knew much about him
But we could still not believe
The day he laid down by the tailpipe of his Ford and
Breathed a sigh of relief…

Dilsey’s sweaty palm gripped the cross around her neck
The tears streamed down her face
She had just come from the Church of Redemption
Where she redeemed her faith
She said she’d always been searching for something
It waiting just around the bend
“I seed the beginning a long time ago,
And now I see the end…”
Track Name: Unfurl My Soul
As I lay dying- descending into hell
I can hear them building the box
driving in the nails…

You cannot bathe me of my sins-oh no
A matter of words just the same- salvation too

Don’t try to save me - you can only forestall what must be
Life is preparing to stay dead
no shining light to see

Unfurl my soul…

I cannot love my mother- my mother is no more
death a constant familiar- life its sullen core

She cannot be if she is was- oh no
her eyes like two flames just blown out
and I said, “ Jewel, your mother is dead”

The odyssey continues
her only wish to be fulfilled
their motives are in question here
despite what she has willed

Unfurl my soul…
Track Name: Celebration
Jainey packed up her bags in the darkness
Crept down the stairs then she slipped through the door
She left a note on the kitchen table
“I’m sorry daddy, I can’t stay here no more

“Because I don’t know about this situation
I’ll never live up to your expectations
I want to see all I can see of this world,
I want to join up in the celebration”

Jeffrey-Lee sits up straight in his wheelchair
Ever since the war he just can’t stop a-drinkin’
“People see me stare and they say that I’m crazy
They don’t understand that I’m just a-thinkin’

“‘Cause I don’t know about this situation
I’m sick and tired of this degradation
I want to stand up and walk through this world
I want to join up in the celebration”

Cheryl cried as she loaded the pistol
Her baby died and her man he had gone
She held the cold steel right up to her temple
The pain was too much she couldn’t go on

Just then the phone rang and shattered the silence
A voice cried out to her “I’ve made some mistakes
Come with me we’ll start a new life together
I’ve got to have your love—no matter what it takes

“‘Cause I don’t know about this situation
Your love to me is such a revelation
I want to take your hand and walk through this world
Let’s join up in the celebration”

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