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#1144599 - 09/11/18 06:11 PM Underground Railroad Medley  
Joined: Dec 2000
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couchgrouch Online content
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cochise, az, usa
hi folks, here's a new one co-written with Ricki Bellos and Mike Zaneski. It's a ten minute listen best heard on headphones or a decent stereo. I hope you like it. smile

https://soundcloud.com/wabash-canni...st-train-on-the-trestle-final-v13-hq-mp3

Lantern on Willow Hill

There was an old skull on a stake,
high upon the plantation gate
as a warning to any who'd run
but wind whisp'ring through its eyes,
told every slave to rise
and run for the sake of their sons

hushed words hovered in negro shacks,
'bout a train on a freedom track
that took runaways past Baltimore
and Seth sawed on his fiddle at night,
he knew if those rumors were right
the signal he was looking for

a lantern on Willow Hill
hung low on a steady limb
a flame burning for the free
when moons were down and light was dim

Massah sweated on his sickbed,
with Missus wringing rags on his head
and having poultry mashed for his meals
but his son beat negroes like steeds,
till they spit teeth like melon seeds
and old women fell cold in high noon fields

and Seth imagined how long ago,
his mother rocked his cradle slow
now the hands of time rocked her grave
he fiddled for her after dark,
he knew in the pit of his heart
if there was light left for a slave

it was the lantern on Willow Hill
hung low on a steady limb
a flame burning for the free
when moons were down and light was dim

freemen snuck in early from the north,
they bore the risks back and forth
when the train was near they flashed the light
Seth grabbed the fiddle by his cot,
he left the rest of his past to rot
when he hopped that gate in the night

Massah's son roused a dozen hounds,
that could sniff track a shadow down
they chased Seth through swamps and riverbeds
but Seth made it safe to that hill,
three screech owls and a whipporwill
watched Massah's son take one to the head

near the lantern on Willow Hill
hung low on a steady limb
a flame burning for the free
when moons were down and light was dim

three freemen led Seth to that track,
the only way he looked back
was with his mother in his eyes
night was still...they were safe for now,
but they each knew devils somehow
always return in a diff'rent guise

steam soon mixed with silver fog,
and the low moans of mourning dogs
mixed with fiddling on the train
well Massah's son was never found,
but shadows took the oil lamp down
and candles in a three-eyed skull became

the lantern on Willow Hill
hung low on a steady limb
a flame burning for the free
when moons were down and light was dim


Ghost Train On the Trestle

Deep within the woods of Caroline
Mist is thin among the midnight pines
Is that starlight on the railroad steel
Or the shimmer glow of haunted wheels

It casts no reflection
On the muddy river
When the coal car passes
Even shadows shiver
Half moons hang the lantern
Hoot owls are the whistle
Steam up to the heavens
Ghost train on the trestle

Long ago a secret northbound train
Carried people from the chill of chains
Bullwhip scars across their naked backs
As that engine whispered down the tracks

It casts no reflection
On the muddy river
When the coal car passes
Even shadows shiver
Half moons hang the lantern
Hoot owls are the whistle
Steam up to the heavens
Ghost train on the trestle

It was blues and old field hollers
That soon began to pass the tale
Slow train crawlin’ cross the water
And dynamite along the rails

And when slaves rebuilt the river bridge
They heard freedom ringing from the ridge
Cos the darkest track to liberty
Sets a desp’rate soul forever free

It casts no reflection
On the muddy river
When the coal car passes
Even shadows shiver
Half moons hang the lantern
Hoot owls are the whistle
Steam up to the heavens
Ghost train on the trestle

©2018 Ricki Bellos/Michael Zaneski/ Robert George

#1144601 - 09/12/18 04:34 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Calvin Offline
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Hello,


Wow, this is really good.


Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart

#1144606 - 09/12/18 11:01 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Thanks Calvin. I appreciate it. smile

#1144613 - 09/12/18 04:31 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Michael LeBlanc Offline
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Absolutely wonderful!Has that ghostly Robbie Robertson sound.Y'all knocked it out with this one.Mike

#1144614 - 09/12/18 05:32 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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You have to be someone looking to listen to this much song. And the subject matter is unpleasant to contemplate in places.
Having said that, the writing seems to illustrate it well and the music does too. Mike did a crisp job with a long song. Really enjoy the music after the middle break.

Mike was good to begin with and gets better all the time.
You too, Robert. Nice write.
And you too Ricki.

Martin

#1144615 - 09/12/18 07:07 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Thanks Michael. I think The Band's second album is the best record of the rock era. ( we can argue about it somewhere else, haha)

Martin, I can understand why a person wouldn't wanna waste ten minutes listening to a medley written by some bozo on the internet. But if they do, I think they'll like it and even want to hear it again. Ricki's melody is wonderful and really sets Ghost Train apart from Lantern. (I don't think she's even heard it yet. She's traveling)

Mike's production skills and empathy for what a song needs are an oasis for guys like me who can't afford a friggin grand for a Nashville demo. Can you imagine me approaching a Nashville demo studio with this project? Nashville couldn't have done any better with Fade to Blonde, either.

Last edited by couchgrouch; 09/30/18 12:03 PM.
#1144616 - 09/12/18 09:09 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Gavin Sinclair Offline
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Great lyric, wonderful melody and wow! - what a production. It just oozes atmosphere. The background noises are so subtly done, they transport you right to the fields and the swamps.

Kudos to all.

#1144621 - 09/13/18 11:07 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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cochise, az, usa
Thanks Gavin. There's definitely alot going on "underneath" the song. It's a coin toss whether it sounds better cranked on a stereo or on headphones turned up to the level where you get that warning about harming your hearing. smile

#1144779 - 09/17/18 09:01 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Sorry to be late to the party but thanks Calvin, Mike, Martin and Gavin for listening all the way through this awesome work.

I felt honored that Rob asked me to write some music for these poignant songs and knew that whatever we threw at him, Mike would be able to handle it masterfully. He never disappoints, vocally or musically. His production really made all the difference, especially the background in the verses underlying the spoken words. I can't rave about this enough. It was truly a labor of love and I'm so happy with the results. Gotta love these 3-ways! grin

Ricki

#1144830 - 09/21/18 02:03 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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niteshift Online content
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Hey Robert,

Wow, that's an epic tale. It just breathes "major feature film". A well written and produced piece, just perfect in it's genre.

cheers, niteshift

#1144842 - 09/21/18 05:09 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Thank niteshift! I think there's definitely a movie in there somewhere. I'm very proud of it. I can't speak for Ricki and Mike but I've been playing it over and over. For a flashback to a really good side of an old record I play Silver Bay, Far From My Own True Love, this and Fade to Blonde in that order. It's great with the lights dimmed. smile

Ps my comments above were meant as a compliment of Mike's production and vocal skills, not my own songs. Over the years I'd say about 50% of my demos came out well, the blame for the other 50% being mostly mine. I'm very pleased with all Mike has done on my tunes.

Last edited by couchgrouch; 09/28/18 12:45 PM.
#1144996 - 09/28/18 09:03 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: niteshift]  
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Ricki E. Bellos Offline
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Wisconsin
I think it turned out great too... lots of atmosphere. Mike really brought it to life. Thanks for tuning in, Niteshift.

Ricki

#1145006 - 09/28/18 12:42 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Travis david Offline
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Kendal, Cumbria .UK
A remarkable write all concerned.
Would make an ideal radio story to settle down too last thing or a animated piece for TV.
Cobbled together expertly by MZ but an excellent collab all round with i'm sure much effort and rewrites
Travis


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
#1145051 - 09/30/18 12:05 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Thanks Travis. smile

#1145056 - 09/30/18 02:35 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Moker Jarrett Offline
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Well done all the way around. Has that RG 3D lyric style and just a great eerie mood set by the music and production.

#1145073 - 10/01/18 12:01 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Thanks Moke. It's good to see you back. smile

#1145150 - 10/04/18 09:14 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: Travis david]  
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Ricki E. Bellos Offline
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Thanks for giving it a listen, Travis and Moker. I don't kow what an RG 3D lyric style is but you also say "well done" and "great" so I'll just smile and nod. smile

Ricki

#1145752 - 10/27/18 04:17 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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E Swartz Offline
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Ohio
Hey guys,

Well I listened from start to finish, and I'm not the most patient man, so that should say something about this song--fabulous! Love how there are really two songs in connection--always admired how the Beatles did that with some of their work. Exquisite lyrics. Would love to hear this in a top notch home theatre with professional video. Enjoyed this from all angles guys--congrats!

steady-eddie

#1145792 - 10/28/18 05:13 PM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Thanks Eddie, I was thinking about bumping this for Halloween. And it is really good turned up loud on the stereo. Mike did an incredible job with it. smile

#1145831 - 10/31/18 09:57 AM Re: Underground Railroad Medley [Re: E Swartz]  
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Ricki E. Bellos Offline
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Thanks for tuning in, Eddie. It just gets better with multiple listenings. smile

Ricki


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