Golden Greats Vol. 5

by John Ralston

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1.
2.
02:22

about

Photography: Monica McGivern
Design: Jacob Kaplan
Camp Thunderbee Records

Silence of Sleep:
Deric Dickens, Dan Bonebrake and I tracked this over at Elegbaland with Marc Ward in January 2008. I recut the vocals sometime in 2012 while living in Abingdon, VA. Mixed here in Hitsville, Fla in 2015. It took a while to unwind. My favorite things on this track are Deric's absolutely masterful rendering and Dan Bonebrake's dancing bass line working as one. Some of my favorite playing from both of those guys. For those of you that recognize Deric's name, he also played the drums on the 7" I released with 24 Hour Service Station. And he is a phenomenal jazz drummer...check out his site www.dericdickens.com

Pearl:
This is a love letter to my buddy Jeff Snow: "My friend had a kick, snare, tom, cymbals, and van". There were many vans over the years and he was always the one that owned the van as his personal vehicle and kept us out on the road. And really, Jeff's parents too, who were tireless supporters of us as we started out on our trip through America. Jeff's first van in fact was a hand me down from John and Claudette. It's a thankless thing to be the guy in the band who owns the touring van that doubles as your own personal transportation when you aren't touring. I guess this song is my way to say "Thanks, Jeff. Would've never seen all the places we've been without you."

Started demoing this one on piano in 2007 at Elegbaland with my man Marc Ward. In 2009, I picked it back up with Jeff adding drums (again at E-Land). It stayed just drums and piano for a long time. Somewhere along the line, I ditched the piano.

Last week the song finally started to feel finished. I added some keyboard parts with Val's direction using my Alesis Micron for the fake brass/flugelhorn. Susan Snow added the violins you hear. The dabs of harmonica were added during mixdown, though mostly they sound like add'l violins.

When we decided to "tour" we didn't know it would turn into almost 2 decades of making music and living on the road. To quote Robert Hunter, "What a long, strange trip..."

credits

released 15 May 2015

Silence of Sleep:
Drums: Deric Dickens
Bass: Dan Bonebrake
Gtrs/Keys/Vox: JR
Recorded by Marc Ward at Elegbaland

Pearl:
Drums: Jeff Snow
Violins: Susan Snow
Gtrs/Keys/Vox/Bass/Harmonica: JR
Add'l Production: Valerie diValentin
Recorded by Marc Ward at Elegbaland

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John Ralston Lake Worth, Florida

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Track Name: Silence of Sleep
LYRIC SHEET:
I was walking in the silence of sleep. I was talking to myself in a dream.
Saw my ghost there in a clearing of trees. He was building a fortress of memory.

Been a long time coming here. I've been a long time. Been a long time coming here. It took a while to unwind the wires that bind this flesh to the bed of my life. But there's trapdoors I find.

It started raining tiny diamonds of relief. And mother nature loosed the grip of her teeth. Men were waking the jaws of metal machines. They started swinging with a butcher's belief.

Been a long time coming here. I've been a long time. Been a long time coming here. It took a while to unwind the wires that bind this flesh to the bed of my life. But there's trapdoors I find here. They are covered in vines, dear, that are riddled with thorns and the fear you can strike in a heart. Well, I think I'm gonna start.

I've been a long time coming here. I've been a long time. I've been a long time coming here. It took a while to unwind the wires that bind this flesh to the bed of my life. But there's trapdoors I'll find.
Track Name: Pearl
LYRIC SHEET:
Ten years ago we were making our plans to ride into the world. My friend had a kick, snare, tom, cymbals and van the color of a pearl.

So, we packed up to leave the city of our birth and our family trees. And what a long, lovely road for you and me!

I took some pictures - you took pictures too. But you can't fit this in a frame. I tried - and you tried - but no one gets it quite right. No one ever gets it quite as right as your own eyes.

So, we packed up to see the country you can't find on books or TVs. And what a long, lovely road for you and me.