The Living Record

by Christa Couture

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1.
Well you remember the 70s much better than I You were alive then, for one thing It was the end of that decade when I arrived And you were here in Michigan I crossed the border this morning with no trouble at all Picked up a car at the airport She said “well isn’t Canada part of America now?” And was surprised when I told her no I am lost in the city but don’t take pity on me I am lost in the city but don’t take pity For every colour of Autumn and every leaf that’s got ‘em There’s a weight that falls away Yes there’s an inkling of freedom and an offering of reprieve In the woods here of Michigan Every mile of the highway puts a mile behind me A mile between me and the pain Were that true I would drive until the land turned to the water of Lake Superior I am lost in the city but don’t take pity on me. I am lost in the city but don’t take pity When I drove through Saginaw I sang “well we’ve all come to look for America” Though I’ll be in that house on the hill, trying to distill cadence and colloquy Where the rain and I will get acquainted both laughing and naked Well you remember the 70s much better than I You were alive then, for one thing It was the end of that decade when I arrived And you were here in Michigan I am lost in the city but don’t take pity on me
2.
Good Bayou 03:17
I was headed for a night on my own – just me and the town alone When I literally ran into him outside Tom Waits at the Orpheum and that southern drawl it drew me in That boy from down the Bayou We struck up a conversation at that – just like you would strike a match Just like you would to start a fire between two souls sitting at the bar Where with every word the flames crept higher That boy from down the Bayou We were dancing at The Yale when we kissed – 12 bar blues can lead to this But southern birds have to fly home, I said we better leave well enough alone But he called my name and I called his own My boy from down the Bayou That’s how he became my favourite phone call – he was my favourite phone call He was exactly what I needed then, what all the horses and all the King’s men couldn’t do he did single handed That boy from down the Bayou Anywhere in Canada is so far from Louisiana, so far from where we started I gotta let you go now that I caught you But I’m grateful that I got to get you know you and hold on to you My boy from down the Bayou Goodbye you, goodbye you, goodbye and thank you boy from down the Bayou
3.
It’s hard to say if I’ll ever gain capacity for joy again because where I’m broken is so very broken And it’s hard to say if I’ll ever play in front of gathered hearts again Unless they’re open – are you open? It’s important to me that we hold to this memory Have you seen how love can bring a joy beyond imagining? It will lift you – it uplifts you Have you seen how love can be the source of your vitality? Until it leaves you – and it might leave you That’s what I need you to see the heart of this memory Count your blessings and count your woes, time isn’t ours you know The wheel is spinning and it’s going to stop – you’ll either be lucky or lost Look at me can you see I’m a witness of catastrophe, a kind of nightmare Look at me and you will see the lines drawn through the heart of me That were not there when we last shared No I don’t care to see that part of the memory Count your blessings and count your woes, time isn’t ours you know The wheel is spinning and it’s going to stop – you’ll either be lucky or lost Over and over and over again, we go through the motions Getting closer and closer and closer I think to the life that we want to live So I will give you a seed to plant the memory Deep down in the soil, deep down in the hole – see how the garden grows Count your blessings and count your woes, time isn’t ours you know The wheel is spinning and it’s going to stop – you’ll either be lucky or lost
4.
Me and Pirate Jenny when we talk, we go for a little walk Having more in common than you’d have thought We wander down to the dock, she has a way that I have not She sings “the ship the black freighter turns around in the harbor shooting guns from the bough” And there are those who’d hate her, but I love her, I love her Though I hate how your body is never touched How your singing is never heard I’ve never cried so much little bird, I’ve never cried Me and Pirate Jenny on the stage, a different town, a different play We do our monologues and then our song in sixteen bars We are laughing in the wings, and we have wings instead of arms Then the voice from the back says “girls, it’s time to dance” Oh but I can’t – dance baby dance baby dance How your body is never touched How your singing is never heard I’ve never cried so much little bird, I’ve never cried The aching in my chest does not compare to that in yours We never saw the likes of a storm like this before Sail, set sail
5.
Parasite 03:55
All the trouble you’ve seen, all the pain that you have – “could have it been prevented?” you ask It’s a question that keeps you from sleeping, it’s a story that you always replay You watch for that pivotal moment when everything changed It leaves a bad taste in your mouth – you try and try but it won’t come out It casts a shadow of a doubt – parasite, parasite It weighs heavy on your chest – well for the weary there is no rest You only did your best – parasite You feel you know what everyone’s thinking – well maybe you don’t have that right Everyone here knows you fought with all your might How you ache for things to be different – baby I’m so sorry they’re not If I knew how to accept it, I’d talk It leaves a bad taste in your mouth – you try and try but it won’t come out It casts a shadow of a doubt – parasite, parasite It weighs heavy on your heart – what would you do if you could restart? You only played your part – parasite Baby only you know what you saw Baby only you will recall the thoughts so awful Baby only you know the throes of your sorrow It leaves a bad taste in your mouth – you try and try but it won’t come out It casts a shadow of a doubt – parasite, parasite It weighs heavy on your chest – well for the weary there is no rest You only did your best – parasite, parasite You only did your best, parasite
6.
I am well acquainted with The Hopeless Situation – I’d go as far to say that we’re good friends We hang out on the corner with our other good friend Sorrow Wading through the day until it ends Until the streetlights are ignited and the parking lots are emptied of their travelers from the day Among the city planted tulips and forget-me-nots What are we? Are we artists here? In the soil that I was planted, in the sun I took for granted My roots and stem were severed from each other My waking is to weep, my comfort is to sleep, but I’m not lonely here for loss became my lover She is charming and disarming and she likes to dance Around the garden of our floundering family tree My love for her is something no one seems to understand What are we? Are we artists here? When the sunset heads for cover and the lovers turn their hearts to meet each other in a kiss When the autumn leave are gathered and are set to burn What are we? Are we artists here?
7.
Sing for Me 04:42
I don’t need an answer I just need to talk But my mouth is a cocktail of lemon and chalk and it burns I don’t need a destination I just need to walk I need to gather my thoughts and take stock of my words Give me music – I could use it Sing for me – like all you speak is poetry, like nobody here knows us Sing for me – like your life depends on melody and I’ll join in on the chorus I don’t need need, and I don’t need want But I’m so easily distracted by what others got – when will I learn? I don’t need this, that’s for sure, how much can one person endure? God it hurts Give me music – I could use it Sing for me – like all you speak is poetry, like nobody here knows us Sing for me – like your life depends on melody and I’ll join in on the chorus
8.
There’s a seed, a little sesame, buried deep within me Bathed in sound, on a breaking bough, saying “come for me now” You are a homonym – your meaning differing despite the sound You are a word for “no more solid ground” I’m making waves, I’m keeping safe Will you stay this time? Your sway with the Gods will be stronger than mine Tell them hey your momma needs a break – make them let you stay Come for me now
9.
Westminster Abbey everyone is photographing themselves with Big Ben and I am waiting for the bus, I want to get out of this mess, I want to home again But home’s that ever changing thing – home is like seasons and this one is spring It’s fresh and new, it’s budding green Pussycat pussycat where have I been? What a year, what a year I went to take the tube and got stuck, I went to take the train and got mugged I went from pub to pub to pub to pub Oh yeah and then I fell in love What a year, what a year The sunlight was climbing through the window of our east London flat And in the face of its brilliant light we just lay there shining back All that poetry was hanging in the air – I laughed and pulled a metaphor from the tangle of your hair Everything is changing, my heart is breaking, my photographic memory is taking I’m aware that this is coming to an end – don’t say that I have to go back again What a year, what a year Pussycat pussycat where have I been?
10.
The high back piano it leans where it stands You grace the keys with your hands I’ve a bag full of stars that are ours to hang from this crumbling and stained old ceiling We’ll buy paper and glue with the pennies we save And patch up our roof to keep out the rain Will you play it again that hopeful refrain Sing “love don’t mind rain anyway” Oh many things start to slip away I know with time, but some things don’t go In the summer our little garden will grow minutes and hours We’ll tend to the time that is ours When autumn turns the days into amber remains We’ll hide in our home and wait for the snow Oh many things start to slip away I know with time, but some things don’t go, don’t go I’ll stay, I’ll wander, as you’re want to do But I’ll always return to you For the flame in my heart knows the source of its spark No matter how far from pianos and stars Oh many things start to slip away I know with time, but some things don’t go, don’t go I’ve got some paper – I’m gonna make you a plane that will take you all the way home Light on the doorstep, you know where the key is, wake me and take me all the way home We’ll toast to our first year, the things that we hold dear, the one thing, this something won’t go
11.
We write songs inside of songs and we open them up just to try them on I was delayed in my reply – but as you have heard I’ve been occupied And it’s just what I was so scared by I was gone before you were gone, I didn’t know the best way to pack up our days Recall that night on your lawn – a drunken display of my rot and decay You were kind at the perfect time When you joked about wooden shoes and windmills, when you listened to my sad story of… It meant everything, that summer of our friendship But I think we might have wrecked it when we fell in love We write songs inside of songs, for safe keeping we store ourselves in these chords We stayed up until dawn trading our tunes, we were content and consumed Equally enamored by the other’s Then I end with a joke, you know how I depend on a punch line to end And you know that I know that you know that I know My sarcasm dry is how I survive – I jest at what I love best Like when you joke about wooden shoes and windmills, when you listen to my sad story of… It meant everything, that summer of our friendship But I think we might have wrecked it when we fell in love I’m not saying any of this to try and sway you Into believing that you’ll miss me now that I’m leaving We write songs inside of songs – some are naked as born others puzzles to solve I should have known why you called, but it’s hard to resist a kiss You are kind – it gets me every time So joke about wooden shoes and windmills, listen to my sad story of… It meant everything, that summer of our friendship But I think we might have wrecked it when we fell in love
12.
This is the farthest you’ve ever been from yourself And the truth is that what was is lost to you now You’re gonna go, I watch you go the way of the dodo I’m the living record, I’m the work of art Careful you’re treading on very thin ice – you say the cold below would feel nice If you wanna go, I watch you go the way of the dodo I’m the living record, I’m the work of art That was made by your presence – the shape you made of my heart Well they’re watching through the glass They’re wondering but can’t ask – what language are we speaking? They’re watching through the glass, they’re wondering but can’t ask What language is reaching beyond death? This is the closest we’ll ever be again And when you take your last breath I’m gonna take it in and never let it go I’m the living record, I’m the work of art That was made by your presence – the shape you made of my heart If I fall to pieces when I recall your name – I’m not the same since you left me But what you left me remains the living record It stays the living record I’m the living record, I’m the work of art

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released September 4, 2012

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Christa Couture Toronto, Ontario

“A remarkable chanteuse, singing superb material,” deems Roots Music of Christa Couture, an award-winning indie artist who has built a reputation for transforming tragedy into musical triumph, with sharp-shooting wit, effortless grace, and heart-on-sleeve intensity. ... more

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