Bearing Torches: The Rottingdean Session

by Franz Nicolay & The Cut Ups

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about

In November 2013, I did a two-week UK tour with The Cut Ups (www.thecutups.com) from Exeter as a backing band (I also played keys during their set). On the last day, we got up early and into a studio outside Brighton to record the set live in the studio. This is the result, with no edits, overdubs, or re-takes. Thanks fellows!

credits

released March 13, 2014

Recorded November 23, 2013, by Mike Lord at Retreat, Ovingdean, Brighton, UK.
Mixed by James Frazee in Brooklyn, NY.
Art by Jamie Morrison.

Franz Nicolay: Vocals, guitar, accordion
Jon Curtis: Vocals, guitar
Dan Heron: Guitar
Jack Hyde: Bass
Reza Mirehsan: Drums

All songs by Franz Nicolay (Eggshell Armor Music, ASCAP/PRS) except "Born To Cry" by Dion DiMucci (Bronx Soul Music, ASCAP).

Copyright 2014 Franz Nicolay & The Cut Ups, all rights reserved.

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Franz Nicolay Brooklyn, New York

To us, the beautiful - and to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out.

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Track Name: The Hearts Of Boston
Betty Botter bought a bottle of bitters from the bar
Major Matt, he mixed his mild martinis in a jar
This doggerel is my private hell, these words whose meanings never gel
I’m gonna find you, wherever you are

Never trust a man without a horror story
Eros, the rose and the sore
The hearts of Boston lie for me
The hearts of Boston have a hurricane to answer for

If I started walking I’d be almost there by now
I’m on the world stage
From the Tel Aviv swamp to the deserts of New Orleans
You can’t read your lines if you can’t find your page

In my rage and shame I cursed
“Bad god, no offerings”
I’m a magi with bad apologies
No scented candles, no shiny things

Never trust a man without a horror story
Eros, the rose and the sore
The hearts of Boston, they lie for me
The hearts of Boston have a hurricane to answer for
Life never labels the last time you do something
I swear, I can always do more
i’ve taken enough charity already
And the last thing I need is once more to lose something

I drove to your door in a dusty Honda
Or an orange Saab, or an Austrian Mazda
I don’t mind being wrong as long as long as no-one else is right
The hopes and fears of all the years are here with us tonight

Never trust a man without a horror story
Eros, the rose and the sore
The hearts of Boston, they cry for me
The hearts of Boston have a hurricane to answer for
Life never labels the last time you do something
I swear, I can always do more
I’ve taken enough charity already
And the last thing I need is once more to lose something

It was action-packed in the cul-de-sac
the dust blew forward and the dust blew back
You and I were under attack
With a parachute bag for a burlap sack

‘Cause you required some danger
So I acquired a gun
You married a stranger
All I could do was run, run, run
You required the danger
I acquired a gun
You married a stranger
All I could do was run

Ten years of hard labor is a hard time
But fifty years of disappointment is a hard time too
I met a man who got his 5-year-old a Bocephus tattoo
It got out of his hands, and this got out of mine too

When you required some danger
And I acquired a gun
You married a stranger
All I could do was run, run, run
You required the danger
So I acquired a gun
What transpired was anger
Then all we were was done

Never trust a man without a horror story
Eros, the rose and the sore
The hearts of Boston are terrified for me
The hearts of Boston have a hurricane to answer for
Life never labels the last time you do something
I swear, I can always do more
i’ve taken enough of your charity already
And the last thing I need is once more to lose something

Which is the right life? The quiet life or the night life?
If Cole Porter didn’t know, how can I be sure?
The hearts of Boston are gonna lie for me
‘Cause the hearts of Boston have a hurricane to answer for.
Track Name: To Us, The Beautiful!
To us, the beautiful!
And to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out
We all want something beautiful
We all want something to yell to the crowd about
And I got something that’ll make you yell it loud

I only dream about the fights and the frustrations
Names for the nameless
And how to shame the shameless

The devil is an author
Tries to edit every page
Interrupts the entrances
Steals the stage light

The devil’s not an author
Only edits what is there
Carnal acts and charnel ends
Nobody cares

To us, the beautiful!
And to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out
We all want something radical
We all want something to scream and shout about
I want something that’ll make me yell it loud

Money’s not the root of evil
It’s the dowsing rod of evil
Finds your true self and brings it to the surface
Gives it a face
Gives it purpose

To us, the beautiful!
And to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out
We all want something meaningful, but casual and sensual and juvenile
But actually valuable, fanatical, palpable and tangible and tragic
We just want to be magic
We just want to be magic.
Track Name: Did Your Broken Heart Make You Who You Are?
I put on a record
It was called “Sad Songs For Sullen Lovers”
I listened to it once
It took me all day to recover

I put on a record
It was called “Sad Songs for Savage Lovers”
Called you up, Told you what I thought
And then I ran for cover

I put on a record
Called “Dirty Songs For Sad Lovers”
It wasn’t long before you called
And said “Please, please come over
And tell me
Did your broken heart make you who you are?”

I put on a record
It said “Love me once, then leave forever”
We are so pure
We can learn both joy and rage together

You took off the record
And said “What’s your rush?
As if things won’t break in their own time
Without you there to push them

Forget about the record
Forget about the song
Let’s concentrate on what we got right
And what we’re still doing wrong.”

Did your broken heart make you who you are?

You are capable of anything, aren’t you?
You learned it from someone
Someone learned it from you
Cruelty is a virus
I know, it’s in my blood too
You think you know someone
But you never know what they will do

Did your broken heart make you who you are?
Can your broken heart tell me more about who you are?
Then tell me all about it
If your broken heart can tell me more about who you are
Then go ahead, tell me all about it.
Track Name: Marfa Lights
We stood out in the field all night
But we never saw the Marfa lights
Stared up at the stars all night
We couldn’t see the Marfa lights.

Bath salts under basalt pillars
In the darkness outside town
Where the feed store was half fallen down
Red paint flaked off, red leaves gone brown
And the sap had all been boiled down.

Feed the paw
Eat the garlic raw
Defend the truth of what you saw
Stay above the law.

We stood out in the field all night
But we never saw the Marfa lights.
Stared up at the stars all night
But we couldn’t see the Marfa lights.
We’re gonna have to sit through our lives twice
First a tragedy, then a heist
First a comedy and then a farce
First the film and then the theatre arts.

A rat ate my t-shirt while I slept
That’s fine, I got too many black t-shirts
A white rat can have one
And play like he’s Chaplin for his rat friends.

To the girl in short skirt
Black tights and the Converse
Toes turned in, hugging herself with one hand
A drink in the other, like it’s a burden

Well, everybody’s hurting, I know
Everybody’s thwarted, I know
Everybody’s working toward a bigger kind of love
Everybody’s cursing their lot
Everybody’s full to bursting, and gonna pop
Ready for the breaking & burning
And certain of a bigger kind of love.
Track Name: Felix & Adelita
She called him Felix
Which meant “lucky” to her
He was a middle-distance runner
She didn’t take him seriously
But shifted in her seat when he walked by

He thought her plain
But sensual in some way
She licked the corner of her mouth thoughtfully
Wore her skirts above the knee

He told her a story about a pair of green and gold yarn gloves
That he’d been given
It was with a sting of recognition
She realized he’d given those gloves to her
When he left it had the feel of a little tradition

Lash solitude to the wind
But when you leave again
Leave something of you with them
Tie your fishing lines to the fence posts
And do your best to reel them in

The candle flickers
You measure morals by unsturdy things
Tear leaves off of the sycamore
Pin down the butterfly’s wings

“I never knew it got this cold in August
Here in Tuscon”
“Only in the evening
There’s nothing here to hold the heat
The sun goes down
It floats off and is lost

Anyway, you’ve got a jacket
Tell me where you got that necklace.”
He looked across the parking lot
At the path under the highway
At the mouth of it a man slung bags of cans across his back
He coughed, and he turned back to the table

She told him a story of a hand-embroidered pillow
She’d been given
It was with a sting of recognition
He realized she’d given him that pillow
When she left it had the feel of a little tradition

So lash solitude to the wind
But when you leave again
Leave something of you with the
Tie your fishing lines to fence posts
And do your best to reel them in

The candle flickers
You measure morals by unsturdy things
Tear leaves off of the sycamore
And pin down the butterfly’s wings
Track Name: The Day All The Leaves Came Down
She was a cold case
Of Celtic descent
And Celtic dissent was in her blood
She saw the human race
Like so many islands
Laid out for a flood

She was a cold day
With a stern resolution
To leave nothing that could be left unsaid, said.
“Come on,” she’d say,
“It’s a weak constitution
That lets the dead past bury its dead.”

It took all day to walk across town
The day all the leaves came down.
Up to my knees in orange and brown
The day all the leaves came down.

At the Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church
We kissed in front of Jesus & some dead rebels
In a motel run by a cowboy Elvis
Fetid, foul & feckless, a half-man of letters.

He said, “I am not a tree that will constantly bloom in spring”
She said, “That’s your excuse for everything
Saying love the sinner, hate the skin
You can be kindred without being kin.”

It took all day to walk across town
The day all the leaves came down.
Up to my knees in orange and brown
The day all the leaves came down.

Which is the right life? The quiet life or the night life?
Which is the brightest?
The morning or the night light?
Which held you the tightest?
Your first love or your third wife?
From the chill dawn to the humid night.

It took all day to walk across town
The day all the leaves came down.
Up to my knees in orange and brown
The day all the leaves came down.
Track Name: Frankie Stubbs' Tears
Trees are cannibals
They eat their own
Turn the hearts of oak and bark to loam
And limestone
Poor forked radish
Feet set in bone
Concentrate on things you’ve left unfinished
And unknown.

Be of good heart. Our songs will all be silenced.
So what? We’ll go on singing.
Put out the pilot light
And gather up the bottles
The beer will trace the hollows
The remnants of the waters
Of Frankie Stubbs’ tears

You make forgetting look like fun
Standing out there with your coat undone
The centerpiece of the mise-en-scene set in the setting sun
Sight unseen, you could be anyone
The light in your hair and your hands in your jeans
You could be anyone

CHORUS

These are the ways
These are the ways we remember
This is the passage of life through our minds
This is a memory, a weakening pearl in a chain
This is how mysteries form on a grain of sand

Fear is an animal
That feeds alone
Remembered once in haste and once in calm

CHORUS
Track Name: Open With The Wrestlers
If you’re wondering how to open
Open with the wrestlers
Dressed in their shiny little briefs
Some kind of polyester vest
Tied across their hairless chests shiny with the attention.

And if you’re wondering how this skinhead got in
Someone let him
And he’s circling the stadium
With his Nazi friend and they’re radiant
And everyone stares straight ahead and just lets them.

And if you’re wondering how our stupid hearts
Let themselves get torn apart
Every survivor learns this lesson
About seeing ravens circling
Feeling the shifting of the winds
As the tides pull out of the basin.

So this is elemental action
So this is one becoming two
So this is opposites retracting
So this is left, what once was blue

Maybe these days we won’t run and twirl
Unfurl our curls of smoke that touch the stars
Until we’ve given up our sense of wonder, sense of touch
So swirling summer songs won’t sound so far.

And if you’re wondering how our stupid hearts
Let themselves get torn apart
Every survivor learns this lesson
About seeing ravens circling
Feeling the shifting of the winds
As the tides pull out of the basin
As the tides withdraw from the basin.

I walk these streets
Like a one-man parade
Lurching & bragging &
Seasick on cheap champagne
It’s a long ride
From here to my city
But it’s only money
It’s only a dime at a time

And if you’re wondering how our stupid hearts
Let themselves get torn apart
Every survivor learns this lesson
About seeing ravens circling
Feeling the shifting of the winds
As the tides pull out of the basin
As the tides withdraw from the basin.

And if you don’t know how to close, close with the archers
And the judges in the mercy seat
Stopping stray arrows with their feet
And signalling the changing of the partners.
Track Name: Jeff Penalty
east bay ray seemed like a pretty nice fellow
but that one guy from philly, i wonder if he knew what he was getting into
it was the greatest karaoke show that i had ever seen
who could blame him? certainly not me.

they hit “holiday in cambodia” and 500 people screamed
and he gave us a nice compliment before “moon over marin”
there were wisecracks in the upper deck from people in the scene
but it sure looked like we all still wanted to believe

so i’m sorry jeff whats-his-name if we didn’t take you serious
but the punks all still sang along when we got to the chorus
i’m sorry jeff whats-his-name if we didn’t take you serious
but the punks all still sang along, still sang along, still sang and they went
whoa…

what happens to the road crew when the contractor goes down?
who takes the helm when the captain moves to higher ground?
those rangy old sled dogs still know which way the race should go
all those rudderless old sailors can still tell which way to row

did you pack up your kit bag and leave your troubles by the road?
well, i’ve tried to outrun problems, man, the problems they followed
johnny appleseed didn’t need to tend the seeds that he had sowed
the other farmers grabbed the reins and they got by on their own

i’m sorry jeff whats-his-name if we didn’t take you serious
but the punks all still sang along when we got to the chorus
we all still need a leader to support us
but the prow needs a ship when he gets into deeper waters
we all still need a leader to support us
but in a pinch a hundred punks can still do the job for us
They go whoa….
we sang along.