On Market Street

by Penelope Houston

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1.
All the Way 03:50
If you won’t let me break your heart Then I don’t want to be with you If you won’t let me take apart The thin façade you’re looking through You’d better run away You’d better run away, boy You’d better run away You’d better run away, boy And you don’t share your wounded heart ‘Cause you don’t have too much to give You won’t promise me an hour Who knows how long you have to live You’d better run away You’d better run away, boy You’d better run away You’d better run away, boy ‘Cause I just want to kiss you Just want to hold you Just want to crush you Just want to know you All the way All the way, boy All the way All the way, boy If you take my broken heart And squeeze it just a little bit I bet your fingers and my bruises Are gonna make a perfect fit You’d better run away You’d better run away, boy You’d better run away You’d better run away, boy ‘Cause I just want to kiss you Just want to hold you Just want to crush you Just want to know you All the way All the way, boy All the way All the way, boy
2.
When I heard you were in town I was drinking in the blue Missouri Lounge Although I knew that it was wrong I couldn’t help myself I had to play our song Somebody else lies in your arms Someone is raking in your money and your charms Drinking wine in a fine hotel You stroll the boulevards we used to love so well And if you walk down our old street You’ll say I’ve fallen pretty low But don’t you reach your heart to me Back to you is not a place I’ll ever go Maybe New York or to LA I'd be happy if you’re living far away Cause on this day, the day we wed I’m taking comfort in another stranger’s bed oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh Taking comfort in another stranger’s bed Now you drop by Missouri Lounge To find me crying on the floor Then you reach down your saintly hand But Baby, you can’t be my savior anymore And on and on that jukebox plays I’d be happy if I’d never seen your face If stones can cry, and numbers lie I’ve got whiskey for the way I feel tonight I’ve got whiskey for the way I feel tonight If you should walk down our old street You’ll say I’ve fallen pretty low But don’t you reach your heart to me Back to you is not a place I’ll ever go Maybe New York or to LA I'd be happy if you’re living far away Cause on this day, the day we wed I’m taking comfort in another stranger’s bed
3.
Once I ran off Like a virgin to the altar With flowers in my hair I walked Like a little lamb to slaughter Like the baby pig they fed me Just to make me fatter Come Sunday at dinner time See me stretched out on a platter They reeled me in They reeled me in With the sweet old words that never fail He reeled me in He reeled me in Promising marriage, he delivered me to jail I was all set up In my pretty little prison I had years to think about The flaws in my decision I was ready for the moment When the door would be left open You crossed my path right then Maybe more than I was hoping You reel me in You reel me in Who placed the hooks? Who handed you the strings You reel me in You reel me in Piercing my heart like a hundred rings Dug my way out of that prison But I’m still down on all fours My closest friends tell me That they see his face in yours If I had the time back And the ten years to live over Would I pick flowers for my hair Would I still roll in the clover Should I harden my heart Should I tear out all those rings If you’re walking away from me, boy You’ve got to let go of the strings You reel me in You reel me in With the sweet old words that never fail You reel me in You reel me in Promise some kind of love, now you’re driving in the nail You reel me in You reel me in Who placed the hooks? Who handed you the strings You reel me in You reel me in Piercing my heart like a hundred rings If you’re walking away from me, boy You’ve got to let go of the strings
4.
This is for the wastrel Invisible and shamed Down on his knees on Market Street His sickness is unnamed Through the rain he genuflects His pilgrimage is real The shoppers with their Christmas lists Go round him where he kneels And if your faith is true And if your faith is strong You’ll enjoy the freedom from choosing right from wrong And if your God is great And if your God is good He would live on Market Street, not in Hollywood This is for the poor young girl With her helpless child Down on her knees on Market Street For a little while She needs the cash to swaddle him Feed his hungry eyes Maybe enough to buy a room But she still needs to fly Chorus Little old babushka at Golden Gate and Hyde She’s too proud for begging but Tears are in her eyes A pair of crystal glasses lie In her withered hands She offers these and blessings I pay her all I can And if your faith is true And if your faith is strong You enjoy the freedom from choosing right from wrong And if your God is great And if your God is good He would live on Market Street, not in Hollywood And if your God is good And if your God is great He would live on Market Street Near Hyde and Golden Gate
5.
Scrap 01:59
I used to think you loved me I was wrong, wrong, wrong Couldn’t live without me Now you’re gone, gone, gone Well, thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot Thanks for throwing me a scrap Well, thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot Thanks for throwing me a scrap I really loved you, baby Don’t know why, why, why Always drove me crazy And I’d cry, cry, cry Well, thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot Thanks for throwing me a scrap Well, thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot Thanks for throwing me a scrap I used to think I loved you Now you’re gone, gone, gone Couldn’t live without you I was wrong, wrong, wrong Well, thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot Thanks for throwing me a scrap Well, thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot, thanks for nothing Thanks a lot Thanks for throwing me a scrap
6.
It only takes two people talking To break the silence they create Laughter ringing in the ruins The fountain flows again You know you look just like a stranger It's been so long- you've been away But you're the one that I remember From endless summer days How many times have I called your name And how many times have I cried in vain? Come back, come back, come back come back to the fountain When you've seen every ocean and mountain Come back, come back, come back come back to the fountain When you've seen every ocean and mountain Come back my rambling boy So if you want to tell the story Of two people in a room Someplace you won't be returning- tell it to the moon. But if you want to know the answer To the question: Was I true? Taste the water from the fountain That flows so pure and cool How many times have I called your name And how many times have I cried in vain? Come back, come back, come back come back to the fountain When you've seen every ocean and mountain Come back, come back, come back come back to the fountain When you've seen every ocean and mountain Come back my rambling boy
7.
Winter Coats 02:53
Kissing you Feels like falling from grace And I was so drunk I could barely taste Tequila and beer The longing and fear Of the terrible word On the thick of your tongue The shimmer of sex Comes down like a bell jar To silence the world The crystalline world The arc of the stars Shine frozen above us Lighting the tear in The banner unfurled Icy clouds bloom From the heat of your mouth The crunching of frozen grass As we stumble to safety Drunken and numb But sharp as the air Can our pounding hearts wake The good farmers sleeping there? The shimmer of sex Comes down like a bell jar To silence the world The crystalline world The arc of the stars Shine frozen above us Lighting the tear in The banner unfurled All I could feel Was the heat and desire And that you would have taken me Blackened by fire In our thick winter coats In the hour before dawn We wrestled with demons And I let you crawl away The shimmer of sex Comes down like a bell jar To silence the world The crystalline world The arc of the stars Shine frozen above us Lighting the tear in The banner unfurled
8.
Dead Girl 03:39
You fell in love with a dead girl Her photographs are strewn across our bed Her image fills your eyes and you cannot see What’s growing in the part of me once dead Oh, you fell in love with a dead girl Her ashes long ago sunk in the sea Her melodies and words are like a whirlpool Dragging you down a mystery And I won’t be the lock on your cage And I can’t be the ink on your page These words are not the words from your heart The ice is melting and breaking us apart You fell in love with a dead girl Her photographs are strewn across our bed Her image fills your eyes and you cannot see What’s growing in the part of me once dead And I won’t be the lock on your cage And I can’t be the ink on your page These words are not the words of your heart The ice is melting and breaking us apart You fell in love with a dead girl Her ashes long ago sunk in the sea Her melodies and words are like a whirlpool Dragging you down a mystery And I won’t be the lock on your cage And I can’t be the ink on your page These words are not the words from your heart The ice is melting and breaking us apart melting and breaking us apart melting and breaking us apart melting and breaking us apart
9.
Meet me in France and we’ll drink in the light Picasso had captured in a stroke of white We’ll drink in the evening, we’ll drink in the night To drown all the words of our final fight And tomorrow the lovers will flock to the sea Murmuring sweet words of ecstasy The edge of their blankets will touch in a shroud Shading the buried dream of you and me Meet me in France and we’ll dig a shallow grave For this ill-fated love that we could not save Meet me in Nice and we’ll pull aside the rocks To bury our shame by the azure wave And tomorrow the lovers will flock to the sea Murmuring sweet words of ecstasy The edge of their blankets will touch in a shroud Shading the buried dream of you and me Why the Hell do you come all this way? To mouth the words that you can not say With lips that should brush my ear in a kiss And echo my songs of trembling bliss Why the Hell would you come this far? To freeze in the light of my shooting star Our hearts have blinded us both, I guess But I saw more and you saw less Meet me in France and we’ll dig a shallow grave For this premature love that we could not save Meet me in Nice and we’ll pull aside the rocks To bury our shame by the azure wave Meet me in France where the shimmering air Will be sucked from our lungs by your constant fear I realize now we should have dug the grave deeper I can still hear the moan I can still hear the whimper And tomorrow the lovers will flock to the sea Murmuring sweet words of ecstasy The edge of their blankets will touch in a shroud Shading the buried dream of you and me
10.
Now I know my star may hang a little lower My voice is ragged and my coat is far from new But like the shimmer of a Caroliner rainbow Between the cracks the light is coming through And in your cobbled streets And in your alleyways I’m singing to the breaking dawn And if you’re willing To die a little You’ll hear my song You’ll hear my song Now I don’t think my heart can bear another love song For the silver tongued swordsman by the door No longer can his promises compel me To choose between the angel and the whore And in your cobbled streets And in your alleyways I’m singing to the breaking dawn And if you’re willing To die a little You’ll hear my song You’ll hear my song Still I see the degradation and injustice But my words are not so righteous anymore No love of God can justify the killing And reason never leads us into war And in your cobbled streets And in your alleyways I’m singing to the breaking dawn And if you’re willing To die a little You’ll hear my song You’ll hear my song
11.
USSA 02:59
Got up this morning with a smile on my face I’m going to work to do the best that I can Sun is shining all over the place It's shining on my Chevy, my TV, my tan Living in the USSA People are happy now That's what they say I read it in the USSA Today Going down the steppes to get a pack of camels Bottle of Stoli, a steak, and a beer Come Saturday morning gonna pull those weeds up Toss the pigskin with Vladimir Living in the USSA People are happy now That's what they say I read it in the USSA Today Full color photographs explain it all to me Happiness is only seeing what you want to see Pictures of people with movie star smiles Standing next to new cars Make it all seem so worthwhile Lighting the coals for my BBQ dinner Ice-cream truck is coming down the street Check your receipt ‘cause you may be a winner Making a wish on your rabbit's feet Living in the USSA People Are happy now That's what they say I read it in the USSA Today Living in the USSA People Are happy now That's what they say I read it in the USSA Today
12.
words and music by Penelope Houston © 2012 Doctor PP Music (BMI) lyrics Now I know my star may hang a little lower My voice is ragged and my coat is far from new But like the shimmer of a Caroliner rainbow Between the cracks the light is coming through And in your cobbled streets And in your alleyways I’m singing to the breaking dawn And if you’re willing To die a little You’ll hear my song You’ll hear my song Now I don’t think my heart can bear another love song For the silver tongued swordsman by the door No longer can his promises compel me To choose between the angel and the whore And in your cobbled streets And in your alleyways I’m singing to the breaking dawn And if you’re willing To die a little You’ll hear my song You’ll hear my song Still I see the degradation and injustice But my words are not so righteous anymore No love of God can justify the killing And reason never leads us into war And in your cobbled streets And in your alleyways I’m singing to the breaking dawn And if you’re willing To die a little You’ll hear my song You’ll hear my song

about

Now I know my star may hang a little lower
My voice is ragged and my coat is far from new
But like the shimmer of a Caroliner rainbow
Between the cracks the light is coming through

From the anthem "If You're Willing" these lyrics bring hope to everyone who has anticipated the next Penelope Houston album. On Market Street celebrates the musical re-emergence of a unique creative voice.

The seeds for this album were planted in October 2004. Bush was about to be re-elected. The Duelfer Report found no WMDs in Iraq. At the Hotel Atlantic around the corner from Hamburg's Knust club, Penelope was supporting the release of The Pale Green Girl, on a tour that became a respite from a poisoned marriage. As she watched the light of dawn breaking, words and music rose up in her mind like an apparition. "If you're Willing" signaled a new chapter for her, telling the story of the need for freedom and self-expression in both personal and political life. In the weeks that followed a tumultuous mix of desire, betrayal, guilt, and heartbreak inspired the kernels of many more songs.

Penelope's next years were momentous – divorce, independence, a notable lawsuit involving her proto-punk band the Avengers, a return to university, and nine Avengers tours. Throughout this intense period she continued to sharpen her message in songs that demanded declaration. Finally on a summer break Penelope booked time at the San Francisco Bay Area's prestigious Fantasy Studios (home to major artists from Sonny Rollins to Green Day to Joanna Newsom). Here she gathered a team of studio veterans familiar with her vision, and On Market Street was born.

Penelope and her co-producer Jeffrey Wood (Housemartins, Luka Bloom, Giant Sand) worked closely with longtime collaborator and guitarist, Pat Johnson, to shape these personal songs into epic musical narratives. With the rock solid foundation of drummer Dawn Richardson (4 Non-Blondes, Tracy Chapman) and the gilding Hammond B3 organ of Danny Eisenberg (Tift Merritt, Ryan Adams, Jonathan Richman), they created a sweeping backdrop for "If You're Willing," "You Reel Me In," "Missouri Lounge" and Johnson's hymn to forgiveness "Come Back to the Fountain." These tracks make up On Market Street's folk-rock backbone with natural reflections of The Band, Let it Bleed-era Stones, and an Americana edge recalling Lucinda Williams by way of Memphis.

Stepping a little to the left of the familiar, Penelope enlisted the stalwart Steven Strauss to compose Van Dyke Parks-ian string quartet parts (led by Julian Smedley who has played with Vivian Stanshall, Anthony Braxton, and Dan Hicks) to burnish the poignant "Meet Me in France" and "Winter Coats." Strauss, unafraid of Penelope's sometimes-unorthodox musical structures, adds grace to these dark, poetic and complex heartbreakers. It's not all gloom and doom, though. Giving us some lighter moments are the frisky "Scrap" and "USSA," a humorous wordplay on Cold War era consumerism.

Just two days prior to entering the studio, Penelope composed her most moving ballad of social injustice, the title track "On Market Street." Bare and haunting with an eerie bed of Mellotron, the song spotlights her voice, now life-honed to an instrument of strength and fragility. When asked about her decade-long work at San Francisco's inner-city library, Penelope told Devoted Ruins, "My contacts with people living downtown on Market St. have made me examine the ideals and beliefs of our society, our religions. I'm voicing the questions anyone would ask of a just God, if their eyes are open." The circle – started seven years ago with "If You're Willing" – was suddenly complete.

In your cobbled streets and in your alleyways
I'm singing to the breaking dawn
And if you're willing to die a little
You'll hear my song

Lush and literate On Market Street is the ultimate Penelope Houston album, a pinnacle of songwriting, performance, and fidelity that secures her place in the hearts of her fans and music lovers around the world.

credits

released January 27, 2012

Penelope Houston: vocals
Pat Johnson: lead guitar, backing vocals
Michael Papenburg: guitar
Dawn Richardson: drums and percussion
Danny Eisenberg: Hammond and Wurlitzer
Alec Palao: bass on tracks 1-3, 7, 10, 11
Steven Strauss: bass on tracks 4-6, 8, 9

Jeffrey Wood: Mellotron on track 4
Julian Smedley: violin
Benito Cortez: violin
Katrina Wreede: viola
Marcie Brown: cello

Produced by Jeffrey Wood and Penelope Houston
Recorded by Adam Muñoz and Jeffrey Wood
Mixed by Adam Muñoz
Additional engineer Alberto Hernandez
String arrangements written by Steven Strauss
Recorded & mixed at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA
Mastered at Ken Lee Mastering, Oakland, CA
Art and design Penelope Houston
Insert Photo Ethan Hill

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