The Soul of Sundown*
The Magic Powder of the Valley Vulcan
Standing with the Detainees
Howling for the Highway Home
If You Owe You Will Pay
Ancient History Now
Arranged and produced by Alistair Murphy for Cromerzone Productions
Terry Stamp: Vocals & Guitar
Alistair Murphy: Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion & Vocals
Mark Fletcher: Bass
Laurie A’Court: Saxes
Rachel Hall: Violins
Diana Hare: Backing Vocals
Jeremy Salmon; Guitar on Highway Home & Rosalinda, Percussion on Christmas Eyes
Jim Avery : Guitar & Percussion on Flake
Harry Fletcher: Lead Guitar on Valley Vulcan
Ian Burrage: Cymbals on If You Owe
All songs Terry Stamp except * Terry Stamp and Jim Avery.
All songs © GSL Music, Los Angeles,
except Fatsticks Dick James Music.
The Soul Of Sundown
It was originally ‘Constitution Square’, but ‘Revolution Square’ really puts the knife in good. ‘I have not had a drink in me / Since my jail stretch in '83’: that's Jim Avery. He hasn’t had a drink since ‘93, but ‘83 has a better ring to it.
My wife used to be an avid reader, so every Saturday we would be in the library here in El Segundo. While she was looking for something new to read, I would browse around. I picked up a book about the California Modoc War. In it was this Modoc cat called Captain Jack, who the other Modocs more or less badgered into being their spokesperson. When he and General Canby were talking, Captain Jack pulled out a pistol and shot Canby in the mouth. Of course, all hell broke loose, and the Modoc Indians took refuge in a lava bed close by. The US Army could not budge ‘em for a while. Eventually Captain Jack was caught and hanged, with his head turning up in a bottle at various saloons where there would be a charge to view it. This story stuck with me, and a few years back the wife and I took the drive up to the Klamath Falls area, visiting Crater Lake. On our way back down to Reno we stopped at the spot where Captain Jack had shot Canby, and close by are the Lava Beds, still with largish pieces of lava rock made into walls erected by the Modocs as defence against rifle fire. And close to that is Petroglyph Point. Fantastic scenery, friendly folk. Once you get out of the cities here, you hit cowboy culture: pick-ups with shotgun racks.
The Magic Powder Of The Valley Vulcan
When we had the Los Angeles Rockmotor going in the mid-Nineties, I would introduce the band members on-stage. I’d be ‘Limey Valdez’, or whatever. I finally settled on ‘The Valley Vulcan’ for guitar player Steve Guzowski. This was one of the last songs we recorded, in 1996. It was just what I was doing at that time. It was at midnight those Sunset Strip clubs we played would start to warm up. I actually was looking for that Escort flasher unit. Marmaduke is a cat in the funny papers. And, yep, ‘the Eagle's flying’ is that old blues payday thing: money coming.
The places are all around Los Angeles and San Francisco. Rosalinda is just the name of someone at work. I do that in other songs, too. So, no big deal, but a loverly name.’ Voltaire Blues‘ This piece was an LA Rockmotor song, originally titled ‘Seventy-Five Volts’. I re-recorded it in 2005, changing the original chords and melody. I used a small acoustic guitar I picked up in an antique store for 30 bucks. I used it on ‘Rosalinda’, too. My uncle, Petty Officer George Stamp was killed on HMS Voltaire during the war. So I put that into the new title.Eddie and Louis turned up for a rockabilly blow around 1996-ish, I guess. It seemed to me Eddie was just outta jail. He was a tough one. He drove an old American classic, and Louis played a green Gretsch Country Gentleman. I could say they were rough and greenish, but I knew better than that. Eddie had something in his head and it was the band Hellbound Hayride, God love ‘em and protect ‘em. They’re an endangered species!’
The LA Rockmotor did a Christmas CD in 1994. Ten tracks, all with Christmas in the title. Alistair picked all the songs for this album, so I lay all the blame firmly on his shoulders. Ho, ho, ho.
Standing With The Detainees
There’s something weird about a helicopter light shining down on yer. All you want to do is get out of it. It’s as if you’re already in the slammer. I always liked the lyrical content of ‘High Hopes’. My parents had a bunch of Sinatra 78s. I kinda grew up on them.
Howling For The Highway Home
This track is a great one. Throws shivers up my poor old crumbling spine. It’s a Four Corners type of thing, geographically. You would pass Cedar City if you were coming from Las Vegas and wanted to visit the North Grand Canyon. Most of the places I mention in songs I’ve been to. That’s why I mention them: I can see ‘em, get the feel of ‘em. Like, if you’re standing in Cedar City, it’s usually damn windy. Never been to Texarkana, but it is mentioned in the Carter Family’s song ‘Cotton Fields of Home’. Have been to Boston, when we lived in Massachusetts. ‘Stars Fell On Stockton’ is an old Shadows instrumental. Must have been the UK Stockton, but it gives me a charge when I drive past Stockton, California on Interstate 5.That young nomad life was rife here in the States, just cats picking up and moving from place to place, job to job. Maybe not so easy today. Cats that lived that way were usually wanted in other States - draft dodgers, or whatever - but nowadays, with computers it’s easy to verify if someone is who they say they are. That’s kinda the song, right there.
If You Owe You Will Pay
My younger son took a police course while in college. At his graduation, I noticed the motto, ‘If you owe, you will pay.’ So I guess it comes across as a criminal thing. We all have them things we hide way back there and hope to hell they stay where they are, but someday they’re gonna surface, and you’re gonna have to deal with them. Songwriting is all cheap therapy.
Alistair asked me to re-record it, and I feel it came out good. When I originally did it in 1975, they had me full of juice. I really did not know what planet I was on, and recorded it slower than it should have been. The title ‘Fatsticks’ just hit me. I have no idea where it came from. It just tortured me. So I wrote the song around Jim Avery’s antics. When I ran into him and his friends, it seemed to me they lived a life that I had not really encountered. Just listening to those cats was fodder for lyrics. So that’s our little Jimmy for ya!
Ancient History Now
It’s not too tall a story. I sang in the choir at St Mary’s in Twickenham. A few years later, when I left school, I got a job at the boatyard across the river from there, on Eel Pie Island. We used to hang out there as kids, where the chain ferry was. Sometimes the Thames would float in the odd suicide, and would somehow remove the face. We were just kids, watching the police pull ‘em outta the water. When I was working there, the river would flood good. It would rise and completely cover the island. We would stand on the work benches and wait for it to go down. That’s when I heard the old timers talk about cats getting washed away. After that, I looked at the river differently. It had a life and eyes. It knew you.