The Whole World

by Penelope Houston

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about

(1993) Heyday Records, (2000) penelope.net Records

"The 13 bittersweet accounts of love and miscommunication that comprise Houston's The Whole World radiate a hard-headed generosity of spirit that says as much about the artist's inner toughness as any rock band could. With her understatedly gorgeous melodies getting sensitive support from her acoustic combo, songs like "Qualities of Mercy," "Honeysuckle" and "Father's Day" illuminate complex emotional issues with understated eloquence." - Pulse Magazine

credits

released January 4, 1993

Recorded by Howard Johnston at Different Fur Studios, San Francisco.

Penelope Houston vocals, autoharp, melodica
Eliot Nemzer guitar
Kevin Mummy percussion and drums
Mel Peppas mandolin, guitar
Steven Strauss bass and vocals
with
Beth Custer clarinet , Josef Brinckmann accordion, Bryan Higgins french horn, Bruce Vermazen cornet, Seth Asarnow bandoneon, Cake Yoodi cello, and Federico Gil Sola percussion on track 7

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Penelope Houston Oakland, California

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Track Name: Glad Im A Girl
glad I'm a girl
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston, Josef Brinckmann

If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
I said, I'm glad I'm a girl
Pick me up baby at a quarter to one
It won't hurt but it won't be fun
Pick me up baby at a quarter to three
I'm going to change your policy
Pick me up baby at a quarter to five
You thought it couldn't happen in your lifetime
Is everybody happy now?

If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
I said, I'm glad I'm a gir
Pick me up baby at a quarter to four
Hungry world knocking at your door
Pick me up baby at a quarter to six
Now, you shouldn't break what you can fix
Pick me up baby at a quarter to nine
Hear you're living where the sun don't shine
Is everybody happy now?
If it's a man's world

Pick me up baby at a quarter to two
You jump and shout when I turn that screw
Pick me up baby at a quarter to eight
A thousand little worms will help me celebrate
Pick me up baby at a quarter to ten
You can't smudge the ink from a razor sharp Pen
Is everybody happy now?
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
If it's a man's world, then I'm glad I'm a girl
I said, I'm glad I'm a girl
You know I'm glad I'm a girl
that's right, I'm glad I'm a girl
Track Name: On Borrowed Time
on borrowed time
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston, M. Peppas, S. Strauss

Don't tell me, I already know
To follow where you want me to go
Don't tell me, I already know
To follow where you want me to go

Take me to the alter you can your do what you please
Jesus knows money doesn't grow on trees
Drop your penny candy down the well of hope
Your innocence is swinging from a ten foot rope
in the breeze

Don't tell me, I already know
To follow where you want me to go
Don't push me, I already know
To follow where you want me to go

To my father's garden, down the primrose path
Take me to the banks I can follow your laugh
You promised me a river, it's a dry creek bed
The Amazon is burning, the Black Seas dead

Watch out for the undertow, the tide is turning
never look back, see my bridges all burning down
on my knees and pray the following line
You can't buy heaven on borrowed time
You can't buy heaven on borrowed time
You can't buy heaven You can't buy heaven, no

You got to stop
You better look around
Going to listen
Put your ear to the ground

Don't tell me, I already know
To follow where you want me to go
Don't touch me, I already know
To follow where you want me to go

Barefoot in the kitchen, never cut off my hair
Had so many children got to hide them somewhere
Broom is in the closet going to sweep up this world
you'll never find heaven if you silence this girl

Watch out for the undertow, the tide is turning
never look back, see my bridges all burning down
on my knees and pray the following line
You can't buy heaven on borrowed time...
Track Name: Sweetheart
sweetheart
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston, E. Nemzer, S. Strauss

Somebody tell somebody else lies
Like an avalanche they're going to make you cry
Everybody knows when you've been wrong

I remember our love was born
hanging laundry in a lightening storm
Hid in the cellar as long as we could
Well, the corn ran out and the water ran out
and we had to come out when the honey ran out
Out of the forest and into the woods

Sweetheart, they're going to talk about us
Well, I say live and let die
Sweetheart, they're going to talk about us
Well, I say live and let die

Will my lucky star shine down tonight
on a sleeping town in a northern light
Shut my eyes, I can see their words fall down

I lay my head on a pillow of stone
wrap myself in a sinners robe
Sticks and stones, I'm going to build myself a home
With their sticks and stones I'm going to build my home

Sweetheart, they're going to talk about us
Well, I say live and let die
Sweetheart, they're going to talk about us
Well, I say live and let die

Somebody tell somebody else lies
Like an avalanche they're going to make you cry
Everybody knows when you've been wrong

Will my lucky star shine down tonight
on a sleeping town in a northern light
Shut my eyes, I can see their words fall down
And their sticks and stones are going to build my home
With their sticks and stones I'm going to build myself a home

Sweetheart, they're going to talk about us
Well, I say live and let die
Sweetheart, they're going to talk about us
Well, I say live and let die
Track Name: Sugarburn
I never thought my love would lead me down this sorry road
I never got a taste for sour wine
Like you do
Sugar burns my mouth
Like you do
Drink cut my tongue
Like you do
Paler every day
Like you do
Darling, without the pain
What remains?

I thought that you were such a lovely child
And I thought that you were such a lovely child
Now I'm going to have to take
Now I'm going to have to take it
Now I'm going to have to take it back...
Now I'm going to have to take it
Like you do
Sugar burns my mouth
Like you do
Drink cut my tongue
Like you do
Paler every day
Like you do
Darling, without the pain
What remains?

I never thought my love would lead me down this sorry road
I never got a taste for sour wine
Like you do
Like you do
Like you do
Track Name: Out Past Vacaville
out past vacaville
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston and Steven Strauss

In the middle of day I think of you
In the middle of my empty day
I listen to your songs, I listen to your voice
What is it that you're trying to say?
Want to picture your face when I hear your voice
But the words get in my way
The cars passing by make a soothing noise
In the middle of my empty day

I don't know why I should want you
I don't know what I expect you to say
You're not the one that's coming home soon
You belong to a different day

In the middle of the night I dreamt of you
In the middle of the long hot night
We dove into the sea the cool black sea
Seven arms around me tight
Now I picture your face, now I hear your voice
But they're gone with the morning light
The sun pouring in is a brilliant white
Burning my dreams away

I don't know why I should want you
I don't know what I expect you to say
You're not the one I'm waking up to
You belong to a different day

Now the sun is burning red
Like the day the earth stood still
Smell the fire on the hills
Out past Vacaville

I don't know why I should want you
I don't know what I expect you to say
You're not the one I'm coming back to
You belong to a different day

I don't know why I should hate you
I don't know what I expect you to say
You're not the one I'm coming back to
You belong to a different day
Track Name: Qualities Of Mercy
qualities of mercy
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston and P. Johnson
Saw a leaf fall and I wanted to catch it
but I'm lying face down on a Daily Californian
Hair spread out in a halo of gold
Humming a tune, it's the song of the charlatan
Hear the glass break and the trickle of whiskey
Take me along I'm the life of the party
Day after day I hear my promises fade
Giving lip service to the mercy of my friends
And all the boys they tell me how they're going to love me
And all my girlfriends they say, "you're so lucky"
But what I'm really needing, in this golden country
can you explain to me the qualities of mercy?

Old man sleeping with a beer in his hand
Worked so hard but he's got no one to bury him
Built alot of fences in his fence building days
Never built a bridge but he's crossing over anyway
Baby, take a stick, draw a circle around me
One to protect me from the times I want to fly away
Don't need a bridge 'cause I'm already sailing
sailing on the ferry cross the mercy of my friends

And all the boys they tell me how they're going to love me
And all my girlfriends they say, "you're so lucky"
But what I'm really needing, in this golden country
can you explain to me the qualities of mercy?

It's good enough, it's good enough to know
the falling tears make a cradle in the snow
It's good enough, it's good enough to hold
that summer's long as the winters day's cold
Saw a leaf fall and I wanted to catch it
but I'm lying face down on a Daily Californian
Hair spread out in a halo of gold
Giving lip service to the mercy of my friends
And all the boys they tell me how they're going to love me
And all my girlfriends they say, "you're so lucky"
But what I'm really needing, in this golden country
can you explain to me the qualities of mercy?
Track Name: Father's Day
father's day
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston and Mel Peppas
The smiling ponies ride the shiny Ferris wheel
A smiling marching band can crush the way I feel
I know the sun come up to light another day
I can't believe in what I can't explain
We live in a house of cards
painted by the wind
paper and bits of card
tumble in the rain
Baby, I know it's hard
to build it back again
Baby knows it's so hard

I wait for Father's Day to supplicate my joy
Green tea and ice cream just like every girl and boy
And then the sun go down forsaking me again
I can't remember why I feel no pain

We live in a house of cards
scattered by the wind
paper and bits of card
tumble in the rain
Baby, I know it's hard
to build it back again
Baby knows it's so hard

Baby waits
Baby knows
Baby waits, Baby waits for Father's Day
In the shadow of his sin
living in the shadow of his smile
in the shadow of his smile
living in the shadow of his smile
living in the shadow of his smile
in the shadow of his smile
Track Name: Maybe Love
maybe love
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston and Mel Peppas
My sheets have left their patterns on your skin
and sleep won't let the morning enter in
My eyes
my eyes will linger on my lovers frame
for when he wakes he covers all his shame
Oh don't hide, don't hide
Maybe love is not the word I'm looking for
Maybe love is wholly changed
Maybe love is not the word I'm looking for
Maybe love will never be the same

Like habits that keep following me home
I wonder if I'm better off alone
I'll try
Stop tugging on a sleeping lion's mane
Oh don't hide, don't hide

Maybe love is not the word I'm looking for
Maybe love is wholly changed
Maybe love is not the word I'm looking for
Maybe love will never be the same

Stop tugging on a sleeping lion's mane
Oh don't hide, don't hide
Don't shy away
Now don't hide, don't hide

Maybe love is not the word I'm looking for
Maybe love is wholly changed
Maybe love is not the word I'm looking for
Maybe love will never be the same
Track Name: Innocent Kiss
innocent kiss
lyrics and music by Penelope Houston
There is no innocent kiss
there's nothing simple in my kiss
There is no innocent kiss
there's nothing simple in my kiss
a touch is much more easily rationalized
like the pressure of your knee where it's resting against mine
and if I can't forget it
I know I can explain it away
but if I took you by the back of the neck
there would be nothing more to say

There is no innocent kiss
there's nothing simple in my kiss
There is no innocent kiss
there's nothing simple in my kiss

you think that talking on the phone can keep us on safer ground
but if I said out loud would it make your hands sweat
would it make your head pound?
so I'm driving along asking riddles
like spirals circling round
I can deny the sensation but a word from my lips
would burn my alibi down

There is no innocent kiss
there's nothing simple in my kiss
There is no innocent kiss
there's nothing simple in my kiss
Track Name: Honeysuckle
Too late now
What's done is done
Too late to cry
She was thinking of a very cold man
who could open up her heart
like you'd open up a sardine can
She had left him on a very high shelf
where nobody could reach him
least of all herself
She was thinking of a very cruel man
Too late now
What's done is donev Too late to cry
Hadn't seen him in a very long time
she knew that he was trouble better left behind
Walked away from a garden gone to seed
entertaining every kind of weed
deadly nightshade growing serpentine
interlocked with honeysuckle vine
Remembering
days and nights and days we laid to waste
Remembering
secrets in your secret hiding place
Remembering
Too late now
What's done is done
Too late to cry
He'd been missing for a very long time
She sent a little card, said "Hope you're doing fine
Take a chance and open up this door
and be friends like we never were before"
And she hoped the memory would be kind
now she's choked by honeysuckle vine
Remembering
churchyards, graveyards, anybody's backyard too
Remembering
17 reasons why I couldn't live with you
Remembering
Poison oak and belladonna times
Remembering
Crushing all the honeysuckle vine
Track Name: Shadow
shadow
lyrics and music by Penelope Houston
Don't you know me
Don't you know me
I'm your shadow
Don't you know me
Recognize me
I'm your shadow
I live behind your old oak doors
So swing them wide swing them open
Never bought, I'll never sell
That sweet sharp twilight glowing like a bell
Ringing off of foreign shores
Catch the ship that crosses over land
Passing through your mortal laws
Smooth as a mothers hand

Don't you know me
Don't you know me
I'm your shadow
Don't you know me
Recognize me
I'm your shadow

I live inside your honeyed walls
Beside the stench of fires burning out
People's houses, people's clothes
Floating down in ashes from a cloud of doubt
Seven nights and seven days
Feel the heat, the penetrating gaze
Passing through your mortal laws
Soft as a lovers hand

Don't you know me
Don't you know me
I'm your shadow, be your angel
Don't you know me
Don't you know me
I'm your shadow

Band of angels, hear them singing
They're going to take me home
Band of angels, hear them laughing
They're going to lay me down
Band of angels, hear them singing
They're going to take me home
Band of angels, hear them laughing
They're going to lay me down
Track Name: Behind Your Eyes
behind your eyes
lyrics by Penelope Houston/ music by P. Houston and E. Nemzer
Since yesterday the sun is gone
shadows pour from his golden cage
and broken dreams like broken glass
and ashes dust my pillowcase
Oh, yesterday we danced in the sunlight
laughter ringing out in the moonlight
black coffee making all our plans
I miss your mouth that tastes of smoke and whiskey
sweet tobacco gone so quickly
like houses built of sand

Since yesterday my love has flown
he dyed the night with his bitter rage
and all his songs burn in my throat
and liquor cannot wash away

We live in this darkness beneath your lies
deliver the promise behind your eyes

Since yesterday the sun is gone
shadows pour from his golden cage
and broken dreams like broken glass
and ashes dust my pillowcase.

Oh, yesterday we danced in the sunlight
laughter ringing out in the moonlight
black coffee making all our plans
I miss your mouth that tastes of smoke and whiskey
sweet tobacco gone so quickly
like houses built of sand

We live in this darkness beneath your lies
deliver the promise behind your eyes.
We live in this darkness beneath your lies
deliver the promise behind your eyes.
Track Name: White Out
white out
lyrics and music by Penelope Houston
When you get home I cover your eyes
When you get home I cover your eyes
Let me help you off with your golden chains
We'll throw them in the river, sink down to the bottom
and the fish swimming over
will think it's a piece of the glittering sky
I can fan your dreams with a white bandanna
but you knew all along I would never surrender
cause I put it in a song
I sang it to you last night didn't I?

I keep looking for the white out
you promised me you didn't own
to erase my mistakes before you remember them
That's why I bought this jug of red wine
But, I spill it on myself
God damn, damn, damn, I spill it every time

When you get home I cover your eyes
When you get home I cover your eyes

You're going to eat every carrot that you've been served
every pea and potato, every piece of bad luck
And don't forget to finish
your extra large portion of meaningless task
Well, I can eat everything on my plate and ask for seconds
Don't take it away, babe, just pass the cherry relish
And when I'm done I think I'll have some more
I say "Thank you, lord"

I keep looking for the white out
you promised me you didn't own
to erase my mistakes before you remember them
That's why I bought this jug of red wine
But, I spill it on myself
God damn, damn, damn, I spill it every time

When you get home I cover your eyes
When you get home I cover your eyes

Let me help you off with your golden chains
We'll throw them in the river, sink down to the bottom
and the fish swimming over
will think it's a piece of the glittering sky
The glittering sky...