John Lyle | Bootleg Powerhead

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Folk: Modern Folk Blues: Blues Vocals Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Bootleg Powerhead

by John Lyle

Jazz tinged poetic rural folk psych featuring a unique singer whose penmanship is rivaled only by his voice.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Rivers of Stone
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3:38 $0.99
2. Livin’ Through the Blues
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2:30 $0.99
3. Katherine Ross’s Hosses
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3:11 $0.99
4. Lies Are Only Letters
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2:23 $0.99
5. Waves of Love
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1:50 $0.99
6. Come On Over
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4:05 $0.99
7. Keep the Banners Flying
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2:09 $0.99
8. Hello, Buddy
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6:12 $0.99
9. Deathless Song
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2:39 $0.99
10. The Showdown Might Be Tragedy
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3:51 $0.99
11. Lose
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5:33 $0.99
12. Lost in the Dream
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2:58 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes

Headed for a career as an English professor in the mid 1960’s, John Lyle was ‘broadsided’ by Bob Dylan and The Beatles. His degree went out the window, and so did he, playing in a series of bands and then performing on Canadian network television and radio as a solo act. He was also signed to two record labels during this era, but realized that because of his highly sensitive nature he was not cut out for the performing life.
ohn returned to his home in the Vancouver area, and devoted
himself to his family, supporting them with a career that may have been more dangerous than the perfomance stage. He became a postman. John Lyle’s wonderful body of work is evidence of a life lived on the streets and in the home, filled with all the love and loss and joy and despair that are part and parcel of being alive. The songs are vital, not written to imitate a commercial trend or to fulfil a contract, but to reflect the intensity of experience and to remain sane.

Feedback -

'John's songs are amazing!' Frazee Ford (The Be Good Tanyas),

'We love John Lyle. We listen to him all the time.' The Sumner Brothers,

'There's lots of nice stuff on there!' Paul Rodgers (Bad Company; Free; Queen),

‘Magnificent!’ - Robert Altman,

'John Lyle will take you gently to your safe place, and then sneak up on you with a song as uncompromisingly ferocious as a grizzly in a maternity ward.’ Dennis Albo, in his reality novel ‘One Bullet Left,’

'The James Joyce of folk'- Heywood Banks,

'Super, passionate stuff!' Mark Smith

"Bootleg Powerhead" lyrics-


Neon Bride, please come inside, you’ve sanctified the street
Now kiss my doors and bless the boards that run beneath my feet

Neon Bride, please look alive and leave these streams of stone
And search my banks and breathe your soul into my telephones

Can’t you hear the silver sirens scream at sickle moons?
Electric tyrants make my life a room and a road that leads nowhere

Neon Bride, forget your pride and pave the paths to hell
The street of lies runs through your eyes
And the darkness knows you well

Neon Bride, you’re not alive, your veins are coursed with gas
Your life is light and like as not your light might never last

Can’t you feel the fires burning all along the dream
Glass hearts yearning by a silver stream
Laid of stones that roll nowhere


Missed a lot of lovin’ down in Tennessee
It takes a lot of lovin’ for a fool like me
Livin' through the blues I’m like a fricasseed chickadee

Smoked a lot of dope and I’m an aeroplane
I’m never gonna see things quite the same again
Livin' through the blues I’m like a fricasseed chickadee

See the little lady, boys, she sets my soul on fire
I’m the kind of shady toy should be her pacifier

If I run out of atoms on the Santa Fe
Think I’ll pretend I’m Jimmie Rogers in a Chevrolet
Livin' through the blues I’m like a fricasseed chickadee

Had eternal contacts ‘til they disappeared
Guess they’re somewhere in the middle of the hemisphere
Livin' through the blues I’m like a fricasseed chickadee

It blows my mind to find that I’m still on parole
I’m dreaming on the outskirts of my only soul
Livin through the blues I’m like a fricasseed chickadee


I wish that I was one of Katherine Ross’s hosses
We’d ride the range to the silver strains of me
She’d ride astride and I’d feel obliged to wander
Wherever she might want the range to be
Can’t you see me now? I ain’t no plow horse
I’m a saucy, tossy Ross horse
With my mistress mounting me so wild and free
And if my libido’s showin’, bet your spurs I’ll be growin’
Palomino, pal of mine, you’re gonna do me proud

I wish that I was one of Katherine Ross’s hosses
From Tinsel Town to the sylvan mound we’d roam
We’d stake our claim and she’d call my name- ‘Flame Wonder,’
My five-card pard, you’re never gonna let me down
Can’t you see us now, ain’t we a picture
Worth a thousand story-book words?
Saddle pals with saddle bags of saddle songs
‘cause that long, long trail gets dusty and it helps
To have a trusty saddle tune or two to fun the miles away

I wish that I was one of Katherine Ross’s hosses
No hitchin’ posts’d come between her steed and her
We wouldn’t ford love’s stream, we’d ride her sparkling clean
True waters into the setting sun for ever more
Can’t you see us now, aint we a western, fairy-tale dream
We’re the best one to slip out of here in such a lonesome time
And if horses could get married to a starlet, not to a carriage
We’d no longer wander shamelessly in sin


Reverberating into the innermost reaches of his private brain
Hal Humble tests the sad, sad state of his joke; fully realizing
Lies are only letters to your heartsick mother’s
Lonesome baby child, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no!

Complicating matters in the strangest way but with a sense of flow
Hal’s Hannah smiles a quick ‘Hello! I know you know I know.’
Fully realizing lies are only letters to your heartsick lover’s
Lonesome baby smile, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no!

Calibrating constancies across the room and through the great divide
Hal Humble hears his Hannah sigh, ‘I guess I’m still alone.’
Fully realizing lies are only letters from your heartsick lover’s
Mother’s broken child, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no!

Mitigating circumstances with his hands and with his sounds of love
Hal Humble makes his special love across his Hannah’s eyes;
Fully realizing lies and ties and alibis intensify
Your lullaby of love- oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no!

5. WAVES OF LOVE (music by John Lyle, lyric by Susan Underwood)

Waves of love come rolling in
But I just drag my feet
And point to what’s around me
Can there be no real relief?
Maybe up and in’s the only way to move
But down and out’s the only God damn way to go

Now and then my lover bends to take in what’s inside
Flying over promises that leave me satisfied

I stand and tremble mutely
As this death of days goes on
I could not change my visions
Until I had turned them round

The circle keeps on opening and closing on the past
Will the city be the place we’ll meet and leave at last?

6. COME ON OVER (written and performed by Garry Macpherson)

Here I here I here I come, right back where I started from
And I don’t even know where I’ve been
Singing crazy songs to you to pass the time we’re going through
And I can’t even say, no I can’t even say what I’m seeing
Be what I’m being, get where I’m going to, way beyond the blues

Here I here I here I am in the same old space I’m always in
Looking for that same old lost corral
Playing saddle stoned with you the game of what we’re going through
And I’m saying to you, I’d like to see you near
Being what you’re being, getting where you’re going to
Way beyond the blues

Here I here I here I swim in the same old stream you found me in
Sinking through the stone-blown blue moon sky
Saying good-bye to the same old tune. so long now, and I’ll see you soon
Far and wide and here and in between

Being what we’re being, getting where we’re going to
Way back home with you
It’s a long it’s a hard it’s a happy time and I’m trying to make it through
True blue


My heart’s been sent to heaven and the same old used to be
Still lingers on beside the riverside
That holds a line on me, holds a line on me

The dream is an illusion and it never comes again
Until the ocean tries to take you back
To where you’ve always been, where you’ve always been

And when the cave on sugar mountain
Is the only home I count on, I’m a fool
And when the grave beneath Death Valley
Is my mind inside an alley, I’ll be cool

A series of explosions from the leftest field there is
Has come and left me with a big desire to break into the biz
Break into the biz

The scenes are always changing and I haven’t found the key
But when I sing this song the ghost of God
Comes sailing home to me, sailing home to me


Well, I know your lazy susans, and I know your easy chairs
And I know your swinging hammocks sleepy-two time your despair
And I know the hours you kill spending seconds splitting hairs
Cannot keep you from your purpose, cannot keep you from the stair
And I wish that I could organize my mind

Well, I know that your polemics, comprehensive and bizarre
Could get me on your band-wagon if I was a movie star
But I’m having trouble shaking, I no longer have a car
And my best friend’s wife has left me in this lonesome, homely bar
And I wish I had a dollar for a dime

‘cause I’m still a little thirsty and there’s still a lot of time
‘cause those big, old hands keep slowin’ and stopping on my dime
And the world owes me a drink and I just want what is mine
And I’ll hate the man who says you’re not my friend

Well I think my stool is screwing me up into my hair
And is that our old bar-tender with his arm up in the air?
And is that a knife he’s holding? Well it’s just not hardly fair
After all the time I’ve spent here and with all I’ve had to bear
Do you think you have somewhere that you can spare?


If the sun don’t burn the tears away from all our ragged dreams
I’ll be the one to try to prove that I am more than what I seem
If the steel, insane insistent rain from my old, lost guitar
Can be a groove for me and a tune for you, help me raise the bar

Love’s a wicked word when you’re a crazy cagey fool
Beneath the silver wires and diamond knives in time
Left alone and stoned into the heart of Emmot’s Zone
I know that everything that’s passed ain’t left behind

And so I’ll meet you in the countryside a love affair from now
You know, I pray the breeze that feeds the trees
Will hold us there somehow

New bluebirds and old blue-devils war inside of me
I guess a deathless song’s the only way I have to set you free

Feel the blue cool burn of frontier justice in the yearning
That we’re yearning every time we want to cry
I’m the part of you that wants to be the part of me
That wants to come into the sky while I’m alive

If the sun don’t burn the tears away from all our ragged dreams
I’ll be the one to try to prove that I am more than what I seem

10. The Showdown Might Be Tragedy

When our trust is in the gambler and the odds are on the wall
And all the whores can beg for rain-checks
While their johns lose all recall
And when our minds are always busy mailing letters to the sea
It’s the show-off age and it’s the show-off stage
And the showdown might be tragedy

When the preacher is a shadow hidden deep within himself
And when the church is just a house around a promise to protect
And when our eyes are always searching for an empty ecstasy
It’s the show-off age and it’s the show-off stage
And the showdown might be tragedy

When the sun can break a window and a word can break my heart
Into a bleeding, screaming billion scandalizing counterparts
And when the dawn buys benediction and your voice is clemency
It’s the show-off age and it’s the show-off stage
And the showdown might be tragedy

When the showdown is a shoot-out and the stakes are after all
Just a price to pay for praying for another bang-up brawl
And when our masks are disappearing into naked comedy
It’s the show-off age and it’s the show-off stage
And the showdown might be tragedy

11 Lose (Music by John Lyle, lyrics by John Lyle & Garry Macpherson)

I can’t read between the lines between the lines
I can’t say the words that touch off a good time
only stop myself from having a good try
at the fly ball that is lost up in the sky
the limit’s known to me alone all by myself in emmot’s zone
you can rock the night away and say your prayers
you can throw the key away and say you care
about the wheres and hows and whys you’re not there
and why you don’t believe that it’s not fair
for me to care about you, for me to share what I lose
think I’ll close my eyes and dream another song
after all I’ve memorized it won’t be long
before some new someone else happens along
and I get a chance to prove I’m always wrong
for you and your friends, tell me the truth, don’t I lose?
I can’t see between the brackets of taipan
but I have a very special friend who can
she looks in on jack the ripper in between
and paints self-portraits of the many things she’s seen
like something dark, and noah’s ark
that block the stream, confuse her dream
she can’t see as far as she has never seen
she can’t be as far as she has never been
but she sure as hell can push you off the boat
yes and seal her plastic hands around your throat
she brings ice-box blues and sad good news
worn out toys for broken boys
used to be that we all slept around her bed
with the dreams of her dead lovers for our head
of the crowd that melted rosebuds on the sleigh
and washed the guts of fallen angels down the drain
we have had enough, she played too rough
we’ve lost the pooh, now we’re all through


The day of grace was up today, I’m shipwrecked in your arms
All my false alarms ring true, old buddy, I’m blue
Derek’s bass can fill the space between our tear-stained eyes
Above the seizing lies we knew, oh, old buddy, I knew

And you know, I love to play the fool,
Capsized and baptized and scared to be in school
But if you’re gonna leave me, you better leave me paralyzed
‘cause I’m telling you now, I’m in love with your eyes
I think it’s the truth, I’m in love with your eyes

Love to be the shooting star to suck you to the screen
Just like Eddie Dean come true, oh, old buddy, come true
I can sing a wave length out beyond the no mile reef
Because of my belief in you, oh old buddy, in you

Undertow, drag me to the deep
Wrap your arms around me and rock my brain to sleep
But I don’t guess a coma’s gonna keep me crystallized
‘cause I’m telling you now, I’m in love with their eyes
I think it’s the truth, I’m in love with your eyes

It’s hard as nails to try to find a silver thing to say
When you’re a shipwrecked castaway
Like me, oh, old buddy like me



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