John Lyle | Hard-Cover Virgins

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CANADA - Ontario

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Folk: Folk-Rock Blues: Blues Vocals Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Hard-Cover Virgins

by John Lyle

Like the title to this 1978 Vancouver indie classic says, there is an innocence to this folk rock song cycle that can't be corrupted. Songs from the heart to the heart.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Blood River
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2:22 $0.99
2. Life Is a Breeze
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2:56 $0.99
3. Blue Pictures in the Tunnel
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3:07 $0.99
4. My Addled Esscence
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1:58 $0.99
5. Water Works
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2:54 $0.99
6. My Cold Is Gone
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2:34 $0.99
7. Native Son of the First Cause
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2:50 $0.99
8. Wonderin’
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2:32 $0.99
9. Gunfight At the Occult Corral
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3:10 $0.99
10. The Plot Widens
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3:32 $0.99
11. The Woo Woo Into Town
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3:46 $0.99
12. Don’t String Up the Throwback
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5:54 $0.99
13. Close Your Eyes
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2:16 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Review # 1-

'What can I say about 'Hard-Cover Virgins'? It’s one of those records I carry with me through my life, reminding me of a time when music reached out in all directions. John Lyle loves so many different styles of music and tries them all on this record. Folk, blues and ROCK!

And whatever you do, don’t forget the jokes!

One of the great features of this record is the work of John Murray, late of the Poppy Family and Pappa Bear’s Medicine Show. He absolutely rips it up on lead guitar and bass.

Warner Brothers said they loved it in 1978, but couldn’t find a pigeonhole. So he went ahead and put it out by himself, which he does to this day.

Also, check out his new stuff. If you want hear an artist who has matured like a fine wine, listen to this guy all the way down line.' -Tenny Howard.

# 2-

1978 Tom Harrison Georgia Straight review for 'HARD-COVER VIRGINS'

‘The note scribbled upon the shrink wrap of the album that was perched upon my typewriter when I walked in one morning a few weeks ago said, ‘How about a review for my record?’ and it was signed John Lyle.

Seems like a reasonable request. We do that kind of thing all the time at the (Georgia) Straight, don’t you know? I don’t know much about John Lyle except that he recorded this album all by himself with the help of a few friends and is handling the distribution and promotion independently. The lp’s called ‘Hard Cover Virgins’ (get the pun?) and the amateurish cover art warns that Lyle ‘makes the Sex Pistols sound like music.’

The equally haphazard back cover has the lyrics printed for you perusal and they hint at the irreverence of the man-he’s at once a cornball and an overwhelmingly self-conscious cynic. The songs have promise but the inconsistency of this budget production ruins a few good ideas or at least does not show off Lyle’s strong songs to their best advantage. There’s a lot of lame humour and aggravating asides thrown in that might have seemed like a good idea at the time but barely hold up after the first listening, never mind a second.

Having said that, I’d like to point out that with a little more thought this could be a really pleasant album to listen to. It has a nice folksiness and enough original wit to give Lyle’s songs-which are in a middle of the road folk/country/pop vein-some character. Likewise John Lyle has a fine voice with fairly distinctive phrasing. But the in jokes and other bits just clutter the lp. ‘Life Is A Breese’ might make a solid MOR single.’

'I may have over-reacted.' - Tom Harrison email (2007)

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. John 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.......... '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.

The complete lyrics for 'Hard-Cover Virgins' -

BLOOD RIVER (John Lyle & Garry Macpherson)

My ancestors were amphibian they crawled out of the Caribbean
Tooth and fin they fought to make good their escape
But like the rain that brings us rivers, and the blood cleaned by my liver
There ain’t nothin’ gonna get away from fate

We’re AWOL, that’s all; even a wonder like Niagara falls
When Neptune cups the conch, I’ll be piped aboard a launch
And buried in the middle of the sea

Blood river, gougin’ out a gorge
Blood river, floodin’ Valley Forge
Blood river, pulsin’ up a storm inside my wrist
It tumbles towards the ocean just as if it had some notion
Of a promise made to keep a sacred tryst
It shows this Land o’ Goshen cyclic poetry in motion
And it teaches godless children to exist

We can’t build too near the current, ‘cause there is no real deterrent
To the savage grace of water gone bizarre
We can heap sandbags forever, drown the Lord in our endeavour
But we might as well try harnessing a star

LIFE IS A BREEZE (John Lyle & John Murray)

Life is a breeze when we’re down by the sea
We are mellow, baby, just you and I
Easy to please, makes no difference what season
We are happy to be really alive

Racing along the golden shore
We will stop and stare into the sun
When day is done
Life is a breeze when we’re down by the sea
Life is a breeze for you and me

Combing the beach we are way out of reach
Of tomorrow, we live just for today
Breathing the air, we can feel all our cares
And our sorrow sinking deep in the bay

Now the moon is on the scene
Like a spell, she casts her beam over dark waves
We are lost inside a dream
There’s no place where we would rather be but here

We have a home where the sand, wind and foam
Make us mellow, baby, just you and I
Easy to please, makes no difference what season
We are happy to be really alive


7:30 and another dirty show to go and see
It’s insane to be trusting, the minussing or plussing
Of a movie God has meant to be
To a filth-catching fraction, of a filth-catching faction
Whose coming attraction is dissatisfaction with me
Blue pictures in the tunnel and I still can’t close my eyes

Oh, the love scenes were daring, they crossed into hate
And the requisite swearing was really ornate
Torture and killing are more than just chilling
When meant to reflect the innate

Bring my scissors and blue pencil, honey, let me get it done
I’ll take sex out of violence and sound out of silence
And watch folks require their refunds
Like those cold, cheated creatures in those old, second features
Crawling for cover and howling for colour from me
Blue pictures in the tunnel and I still can’t close my eyes

Da da da da da da da, they got me nailed to the marquee
I’m pure box office boff; ain’t they never gonna switch that power off
They come from everywhere to see me bleed
They’re a foregone conclusion; I’m their nude, transfused illusion
Passin’ out the popcorn, and prayin’, for God’s sake, for some God’s speed
Blue pictures in the tunnel and I still can’t close my eyes


Let’s stop our foolin’ around and let’s make a pact to keep our heads on the ground
‘cause daddy started worryin’ the night he found us swallowin’
Stones on an empty stretch of our imaginations

His love for us will just die, if we continue low down living high on the sly
He caught me creepin’ out of dreams and into schemes to honour themes
He’s built his old life around solidifying his station

Break down our network of lies, and bury our hypocrisy deep in our eyes
And hope the smoky signals of deception never come in between
What we’re thinking and what we are doing for daddy

Daddy-o, you know we’re doin’ what we’re doin’ for you, for you
And if that’s the kind of lovin’ that our poppa’s got a-comin’
Well, you know he better love us too

3, 4, 5 to one as reckless as I, a daddy is a matchstick and a limit’s the sky
Larkin’ is my business, I’d be livin’ a lie, so, so long crooked straight life
I’m leavin’, you ain’t life, behind


What a thrill to climb over the hill
And find you takin’ a leak
I can’t help but pant when I happen to chance
On what it is I do seek
Water works, I see your water works

I got a hench that my monkey wrench
Is what is needed here
I bet by heck , when I plumb your depths
You’ll be bound to shed a tear
Water works, I see your water works

Ain’t it rare how a pipe can bear
The necessary juices of life
With a brace at the base and a smile on my face
I’m ready to make you my wife
As long as your good conduit matches mine
We will never ever need to be primed
And soon the pitter pat of little drips
Will mean the start of our own water line

I feel the sap risin’ in my tap, oh my hose is almost froze
If you don’t let me into your big sink
I’ll be petrified in this pose
Water works, I need your water works
Like a child of Jesus needs his knees
I need your water works


If any one had said, hey, get to bed and beat your cold
I’d have burned my clothes and paid the sky to rain
When it comes to getting well, my friends can go to hell
Can’t they see I’m a self-healed man, and

My cold is gone, not that last one but that one that really lingered on
I fought it like the fading moon combats the dawn
I hung around like a fingernail

Sometimes now, I wake up in the morning with an anvil in my head
And a blacksmith beating on it with a red hot piece of lead
And my throat so sore I’d like a war so I could be dead
Then I remember what I said

My cold is gone, not that last one but that one that really lingered on
I fought it like the fading moon combats the dawn
I hung around like a fingernail


It’s clear to me that countries are in business to survive
That the measure of a nation is its patriotic pride
But boundaries breed bigotry and bigotry’s a lie
Unless of course it all depends on where you draw the line

Native son of the First Cause, naked son of the First Cause
Like Robinson Caruso I’m an island in the sky
And I’m gonna build a parapet so I’ll be fortified

Universal brotherhood is more than just a dream
Cain brained Abel and the Germans ate the Jews
Brothers bloodied up the stream
We are all in the same lifeboat, though we’ve blown it full of holes
Sink or swim, we’re next of kin, but who’s to have control?

There’s a little bit of Hitler in the saintliest of men
So I’d just as soon a saint appeared, but saints don’t ever win
So I’ll settle for some bureau cats whose skins aren’t made of flag
To meld the helms and overwhelm these selfish scallywags


Darlin,’ I been wonderin’ about you
Do you do the things you used to do
Like brushin’ down your daddy’s mare
Baking cakes for county fairs
Wish you could be wonderin’ ‘bout me too

Yeah, you got me wonderin’
If our love is at its end
Won’t you take my hand again
And stop my wonderin’

Darlin’ I been wonderin’ about when
We were on our wasted honeymoon
You wanted love and I got lost
Now I just can’t pay the cost
What’s this lonesome cowpoke gonna do

I may be a failure, but, honey, I must tell ya
There is more to me than what I didn’t do
You’re alone out on the ranch
Now give this buckaroo a chance
To prove what didn’t happen isn’t true


Dead man on a new horizon, colder than polarity, he still defies my dream
That I’m night watchman for the sacred passion
That’s descending like a dinner date I’m terrified to keep

So here’s a toast to the man in the ground
Let’s have another round for the man in the ground
Seven came eleven and the odds cut him down, like a flash in the plan he’s gone

What makes God’s children wanna die to prove they’ve been crucified
Is life only lonely lies? Is hope the same as charity
And faith the only hope for me? What a tragic carpet ride!

Living on a ledge of sadness, like a man without a secret
He was just too damned alone. Living on the edge of madness,
Til the show was closed-short-circuit ‘cause a tape looped around his soul

If his scales were just, dead even, they were tipped towards the devil
Death was all that he could do, but if our hearts can fill with evil,
We can also build an Eden, and there’s one thing I can do

Propose a toast to the man in the ground
Let’s have another round for the man in the ground
Seven came eleven and the odds cut him down
Like a flash in the plan he’s gone


I can see a day when this old earth will be a mess of tombs
Can’t you people understand this world is running out of room

So if you gotta die, be a real good guy
Go and find another spot to rot, away you go, so long, good-bye

Be real great, evaporate, or will your bod to the sea
Be nice, and sacrifice your ashes to the breeze

Things are lookin’ bad when even graveyards get a ton of mail
To whom is it addressed? Some lucky still’ll get it without fail

Everybody’s mother must finally be laid to rest
Put her in a place where she can still do what she does do best
Make meals taste like wow! This manure ain’t from no Guernsey cow
Go and throw her on the compost heap
She’ll help to make some tasty chow


Things are getting’ boring ‘cause my wife just caught me snoring
Now she says I got to paint the garage
I’d do it in a minute but there ain’t no money in it
And I don’t work for nothin’ but cash
Little Jimmy broke the cat; Lord, I’m leavin,’ where’s my hat?
This duplex daddy’s way past due for a blast

I take the woo woo into town, and then I really get around
I go to parties where there ain’t any floor
And when it’s time to leave, I got a hunch you won’t believe
I can’t, ‘cause there ain’t any door
I take the woo woo into town, and then I really get around
And then I got to take the boo hoo back

My better half is waitin’ when I get in kinda late ‘n’ then
She asks me where I got the giraffe
I tell her it’s a mystery, just a hunk of recent history
And I’ll use it when I paint the garage
Little Jimmy calls the cops; Lord, I hit him with the mop
This duplex daddy’s way past due for a blast

They got the place surrounded and I’m feelin’ mighty hounded
When I get back on the boo hoo on time
I tell ‘em this misunderstanding is a product of mishandling
By my son and that there woman of mine
The cops begin to go, little Jimmy hollars, no!
Stay and watch my daddy paint the giraffe


The caveman was a rapist, no he wasn’t very fair
He’d hit a woman on the head, and drag her by the hair
To his bed of bones, and while she’d moan, he’d have his filthy way
And if she cooked when he’d partook, he’d guess he’d let her stay

It’s strange how times have changed, and people with them too
Now a man can crawl and pawn his balls and still not get a screw
So it’s a little short of shocking that that guy might change his plan
And lay in wait to rape his date like Joe Orangutan

Don’t string up the throwback, turn him loose in Ontario
On the throwback’s reservation, where the throwbacks all can go
And sew their wild potatoes, and see their sucklings grow
And if they act like animals, at least we won’t have to know

They say it’s not that simple; I say don’t be so hard
How can a man be better, after living under guard
It’s time for a new ‘down under,’ even if it’s up on Mars
I’d rather live in a spaceship than die behind bars

CLOSE YOUR EYES (John Lyle & John Murray)

Baby, rest beneath this tree
Beside your lady
Feel her fingertips upon your brow
Tired minds are unwinding now
Here within her arms
It’s warm and shady
You can feel the leaves
Caress the boughs
You’re adrift on a tender cloud

Close your eyes, the bluebirds fly
Wind and trees compose a melody
Close your eyes, the bluebirds fly
Across the sea of time

Baby, rest beneath this tree
Beside your lady
Whispers in the meadow say the stream
Leads the way to an endless dream


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