Apardion: Songs of Aberdeen

by Kitchen Cynics

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1.
STRANDLOOPERS Oh when we come to a new shoreline we pull the boat high up on land Then we will hunt and gather firewood. We have no urge to understand. For we don’t need the shiny things to prove how much we love If we wanted shiny things we’ve all the stars above. All of our gods move through the heavens, sometimes we plot their course with stones There they will watch & keep us safe…’til they turn us back to bones For we don’t need the shiny things to prove how much we love If we wanted shiny things we’ve all the stars above We have got us three wild children, to help us make & help us mend Through fiery sparks I sense their wonder, they laugh ‘til long days end For we don’t need the shiny things to prove how much we love If we wanted shiny things we’ve all the stars above Oh we have moved through many landscapes and come the day we might well stay If only winds would cease from blowing and the snows keep well away For we don’t need the shiny things to prove how much we love If we wanted shiny things we’ve all the stars above
2.
THE OTTER & THE KINGFISHER We all made the journey across a rolling sea Faces turned into the spray, my four good friends and me We passed the rocks we passed the isles we passed the whirlpools We never knew for sure if we were wise or simply fools They told us that a water spirit would help show us the way We watched the waves but not a single fish we saw that day Then we travelled ever onwards across a rough terrain Through mountains and then forests, then mountains once again We crossed the ridges, we crossed the moors we crossed the valleys deep We knew not which of our beliefs to lose and which to keep They told us that a spirit of the air our guide would be We watched the skies but never any spirit did we see Just yesterday we found a place which promised to be kind We followed a slow river just to see what we could find An otter playing with her young as if in some sweet dream A kingfisher flew past our heads and pointed us upstream So now we have found our spirits of the water and the air And surely for a holy place this is as good as anywhere
3.
05:46
APARDION I am the best of the three young kings The others know, they know it well I made my raids on the foreign places And where I went their men all fell I sailed the seas and the waves bowed down The seas all know, they know my power I found the place between two fine rivers I burnt their huts, I burnt their tower I strode the paths of this Apardion I made it know, made it know my strength I shook my fist at the cowering people I strode its shores, I walked its length I killed the menfolk and most of the women But some now know, they know me well I broke their swords, I stole their riches I only left them their tales to tell
4.
AFTER THE FIRE We look to the past in despair We’ve scattered those days to the breeze The fire took the little we had for its own And left nothing for us to repair Nothing but ashes and sad memories Our present it is difficult now We’re living from day to new day But the hens they still peck and the pigs snuffle on We need to remind ourselves how We’re lucky we’re still here to love and to pray All that was rotten is now gone The fire took the dirt and disease Maybe it cleansed us of all of our sins Maybe we have our new dawn Here is a chance we must reach out and seize Now the future is where we belong And we hope that it shines good and bright We‘ll go to the forest to chop us the wood And we’ll build us a house that is strong Where we’ll kiss all the children of our children goodnight
5.
03:18
6.
THE ABERDEEN MINSTRELS It’s gone four o’ clock now, and I have my fiddle in my hand John has his pipes at his lips now and here come the rest of the band Each dawn has new stories it can tell And it pleases us well, to learn them as we follow the bell We are the Aberdeen Minstrels, and merrily do we go From door to door … from row to row We’ll waken up your wife, we’ll waken up the old so and so Though the paths are all dirty we’ll plod so manfully on And hope for rain to wipe filth all away & wishing the smell would be gone Each dawn has new stories it can tell And it pleases us well, to learn them as we follow the bell We are the Aberdeen Minstrels, and merrily do we go From door to door … from row to row We’ll give the thief a scare, we’ll tell the baker roll out your dough Sometimes the good folk get angry their language is rough I do fear But most of the time they are grateful and give us a gift at New Year Each dawn has new stories it can tell And it pleases us well, to learn them as we follow the bell We are the Aberdeen Minstrels, and merrily do we go From door to door … from row to row We’ll watch the wee mice run, we’ll see the flapping wings of the crow
7.
05:44
JON JUSTICE The Aiberdeen folk a’ ca’ me Jon Justice But that is really not my given name I am very good wi’ baith my hands And that has brocht me lots o’ wealth and fame If you ask me just exactly what’s my business I’ll tell ye things wid gar ye shak’ yer heid O I can set a fire beneath a man Or strangle women till they’re good and deid Oh I never lose any sleep Though I’ve seen them go to hell & heard their children weep By nicht I read wee bitties o’ the bible By day I read my Daemonology They help tae mak mi’ better at my job So come tae Headin’ Hill and you will see Katherine Fergus cast her spells for love’s sake And Margaret Ogg she cast her spells for hate Colin Massie turned himsel’ intae a hare, Though his leggies ran he did not escape his fate Oh I never lose any sleep Though I’ve seen them go to hell & heard their children weep Now I can say I’ve had a very good year With twenty witches gone all thanks tae me And every one of them deserved to die Except for maybe one or two or three Margaret Clarke said prayers to the Devil I’m told they caused a manny’s sorry death, But she still swore they were only nursery rhymes Until the flames they took away her breath Oh I never lose any sleep Though I’ve seen them go to hell & heard their children weep
8.
DRUMMER LOON Oh I was sat wi’ some ither young quines the spectacle for tae see Montrose & his men were a’ gaithered there, oot by the aul’ Brig o’ Dee Then ae grand officer and a wee wee boy cam’ proudly, sae proudly and they made their way so slow The sky was blue and their flag was white and no fear did either one show Then efterwards it was telt tae me that oor surrender had been saught Montrose he was showing some kindness tae us, and no bloody battle would be fought The wee wee loon was a drummer lad, so little, so little of this life had he seen But a shot rang oot and he was felled, his future from him was sadly ta’en Soon efter there came angry battle cries, and horrors upon horrors did we see And maist o’ oor men were cut intae bits apart from a few that did flee But the slaughter it didnae stop on the field, onwards, onwards they cam’ intae oor toon The streets were red wi’ poor folks bleed, they burnt a’ oor wee hoosies doon Every man caught whether auld or wee was cruelly hacked til they fell Their clothes were taken, their bodies piled high And their women folk were dragged right intae hell But I am hidden doon in corbie heugh, near the body, a wee body which is hangin’ from a tree I’ve nowhere to go, no-one left tae love…now there is nothing for me
9.
04:46
JANET’S GIFT When I met her down in Brechin at the fair, Janet was a very pleasing sight I bought a blanket from her then & there, & I wrapped it round us, I wrapped it round the both of us that night At first she was my lover and my toy, then her heart she tethered to my own I bought the ring that filled her full of joy, that sanctified the seeds, that sanctified the seeds which we had sown But the pestilence was breeding in her town and Brechin soon became a place of death And Aberdeen shut every entrance down, lest plague it take away, lest plague it take away a single breath My Janet could not see us torn apart, she crossed the River Dee by dead of night And soon I held her tired against my heart, and our future seemed, our future seemed so very, very bright But then she took a fever in her sleep, never for to make another sound And plague upon my family did creep…they were blown away, they were blown away like leaves upon the ground And death has got us shaking in his sieve, he surely does his worst by everyone While I steal the seconds I still live I cannot understand, I cannot understand what love has done
10.
PROVOST POSITIVE They say pride comes before a fall But we’re all proud of him He took the blows and stood up tall He went out on a limb The Jacobites tried to make him drink A toast which he quick refused So they poured their ale on the poor man’s head He was brave, and he was bruised He always does his best He’s a good man through and through Here comes Provost Positive now We all love Provost Positive now And so should you! And so should you! We know that he’s not a saint But we’re happy he is here His heart is big and never faint He has no time for fear King George’s men broke many laws Oh they did it just for fun But Provost Positive stood up strong And jailed them every one He always does his best He’s a good man through and through Here comes Provost Positive now We all love Provost Positive now And so should you! And so should you!
11.
ABOVE THE VAULTS On the shoulders of Simpson & of Smith you vaulted valleys You bridged the burns of bleachers, and of dyers Carriages proudly paraded past the sparkling mica Carrying men of backbone speaking truths, and the shameless, spineless liars Oh there were wild times with joyous crowds, most long gone some amber- stuck in jerky, faded black and white Others lurking in the atticed Super-8 in colour…see..there’s your sister! She died alone in bed one freezing winter’s night Mundane days of office workers converging on their hive Perhaps some frissons of excitement as some drunken warriors clash See the lovers holding trembling hands as they smile and walk the mat Hear the screeching of some tyres before the terminating crash Stories passed down, like granny fleeing the tram To shelter with the rest at the welcome Monkey-House As the Heinkel machine-gunned a path towards its ice-rink end She carried mother as a baby, all swaddled in her blouse
12.
THE TORRY FERRY Just last night I held my loving Annie in my arms The moon it almost filled the window frame She was soft and scented, and I partook of her charms And I thought that every night we’d do the same But the day arrived with the cruellest thoughts Its mood grew blacker still It conjured up a storm so dark and wild The wind did heathen dances all around the chimney pots The noise was loud enough to wake the child But Annie said “Love do not worry I will soon be back in Torry” Annie dressed all sober-like, and pinned her mutch on tight And I got up to fill her creel once more Though it was a holiday and hardly even light She must sell her fish on Fittie shore I waved the ferry off and wrapped the child in blankets three And wandered off to find some nets to mend Then I thanked God that I was not upon that angry sea And I prayed that ere I was the storm would end But Annie said “Love do not worry I will soon be back in Torry” Later on the shout came that the ferry had capsized Many lives were lost, I feared the worst Looking back, I know I should have knelt and closed my eyes Instead I raised my head to shout and curse So maybe it was all my fault God turned his back on me And never picked my Annie out to save Well now I’ve upped my anchor and I’m heading out to sea In the hope I’ll see her face beneath each wave For Annie said “Love do not worry I will soon be back in Torry”
13.
BEST LEFT ALONE There are some things are best left undisturbed Like the foot and mouth cows buried at Springhill Or the sudden urge which should be quickly curbed To confess your sins when there’s time to kill So let’s not look too close let’s never poke with a sharpened stick Leave the urge to dig and dig and let the poor cows rest in Mastrick There are some things are best just left alone Like the rustling sounds deep in the woods Or the broken tin of Argentinian beef It’s best just to ignore the damaged goods So let’s not look too close let’s never touch the thing that glows Buy some fish from the Golden Fry and leave the beef unsliced in William Low’s
14.
04:17
GOTHENBURG Me & the lass went tae Mastrick cos my folks had a big screen Tae watch the michty Real Madrid tak’ on wee Aiberdeen Weel the whisky it was flowin’ and the fitba’ wisnae bad And when Eric Black scored an early goal the hale place went half-mad Then Alex McLeish’s pass back got stuck in a puddle o’ rain Jim Leighton took their player doon, the referee said a pen! Efter they scored the penalty it could’ve gone either way The second half drew to a close, we had extra-time tae play When Mark McGhee got in a cross, John Hewitt connected richt A goal! And I jumped up and broke my mither’s livin’-room licht And at the final whistle we did sing & celebrate Wi’ some fish & chips and a bosie…..oh Gothenburg was great!
15.
BLACK-HEARTED BEAUTY Oh the oil has been good to many The ones who watched the black gold roll in But, like haar it made it hard to see The churches turning into nightclubs Pilgrims going to shopping centres To worship i-pad idols fervently Buy to let by greedy grabbers With Council housing sold forever Poor folk find it hard to simply be The city has the scars to prove It’s full of hard men who are full of hard hearts With granite fists they map the money’d route By scratching backs that are scratching backs And every car is an Austin-tatious With personalised number plates to boot They build the shoddy concrete buildings That hide away the ancient hearts But the concrete - it bears a golden fruit! And the oil has been cruel to many The ones who lost a child or father Or a lover gone some decades far too soon The companies still make their money With everything going on as normal This funeral should’ve been a honeymoon Golden treasure, silver city Black-hearted beauty you’ll be used And then discarded some dark afternoon

about

Alan Davidson (aka Kitchen Cynics) surely seals his laureateship of the city of Aberdeen with the release of his new album Apardion, a loving homage to the city which made him.  Taking its title from the old Norse name for the settlement at the mouth of the Don, Apardion offers a series of song-form episodes from the history of the sophisticated city of glittering granite – a turbulent and eventful history indeed.  Listeners are led from the times of the early hunter-gatherers, through a mediaeval turmoil of fire, plague, skirmish and diablerie, to the contemporary glory of that much-loved Victorian thoroughfare, Union Street, all in inimitable Kitchen Cynics style.  Apardion a successful blend of the aesthetically appealing and the informative – edutainment, if you will – its gothic psych-folk arrangements framing oft-sombre narratives leavened by Alan's dry and earthy Doric wit.  Highly recommended for all music lovers, Aberdonian or otherwise!

ALASDAIR ROBERTS

credits

released July 10, 2017

All songs written and performed by Alan Davidson except Gayle Brogan who plays left-hand piano on Harlaw and low whistle on Apardion, Gordon Gray who plays fuzz guitar on Gothenburg. Album design by Barry Snow.

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Fitlike Records Aberdeen, UK

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We are a collective of North-East Scotland artists and musicians with a shared interest in working for each other to achieve something cool, unique, funny, rancid, and/or beautiful. We like beards, bees, beer and guts…oh, and acoustic guitars
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