Arches & Pathways by John Davis & Dennis Callaci

by John Davis & The Cicadas

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1.
An Alley Opens Its Mouth and Roars The steps fly underneath my feet I follow you out to the street Where dirty water undisturbed Runs along a stone curb A sewer swallows you too soon I lose the shadow of the moon An alley opens a mouth and roars I see ya swallowed in to score I’m sick of all those little blue Bags you’re looking for just like clues The night runs underneath today Like a river by the quay Sneaking underneath a bridge Disappearing down a ridge You turn a shoulder, I can see You don’t really want, you don’t really want Help from me - you don’t want help from me You say you do, it’s just a bluff I think I’ve helped quite enough You say you do, it’s just a bluff I think I’ve helped you quite enough An alley opened a mouth and roared You won’t come out from there no more You’re hooked on all those little blue Bags you find there just like clues, just like clues So like a paper in the wind You lose your will, you start to spin I watch the trail of your cape As you make for one last escape You feel superhero strong Too bad not for very long Shop windows as bright as eyes Bear witness to your demise An alley opens a mouth at dawn It spits you out with just one yawn You’ll have to face the light of day Or try your best anyway The steps fly underneath my feet I follow you out to the street Where dirty water undisturbed Flows along a stone cold curb A sewer swallows it too soon I lose the shadow of the moon An alley opened a mouth at dawn It spits you out with just one yawn
2.
My Eyes Were Stars I had a handful, but of sand It wasn’t quite what I had planned I had an arm across your dress But not the one that I liked the best To count on you was shooting craps You turned on and off the taps My eyes were stars but yours were stones By your side I felt alone Any man that dials a phone Could have said, leave well alone Those eyes are onions dressed as pearls They’re big and round as this old world Yeah, any man that holds a hat Could have warned me, I knew that What more can a man expect When he dives into a wreck My eyes were stars but yours were stones By your side I felt alone
3.
Director Unknown Was He very scared? In his ripped jeans and ill -fitting underwear Nine years old with heart in mouth Nine years old with his heart in his mouth It just happened and that is all It just happened and that is all I can speak only for me Speak only to me I was frightened and I was scared I was so afraid It just happened and that is all
4.
The First Move In romance and in war It’s good to be the first to score In combat and in love The first move is what I dream of It’s so disarming, yes I find To make the first move every time A filibuster just delays To be a tease should be a phase Better write a bill to pass Or make a move and make it fast It’s so alarming, but I find The first move works every time You never know the result A hug and kiss, a new insult But you’ll never have to guess What might have been, not unless Afraid of harming even a fly You let the first move pass you by It’s so disarming, but I find The first move works every time It’s so alarming, but I find The first move works on your mind A shield can only just defend But enemies come back again So draw that pistol from the hip And form the words and purse your lips It’s so disarming, Oooo yes I find To make the first move every time
5.
The Old Casino If I am to lose Well I’m going to lose I’d rather the old casino I’d like to be Where so many others have been before me I’d like to be Where you had been Right where you’d been before me Where the phillips screws in the brass barstools ache and bend Stripped of their teeth And we can barely breathe But still holding on with our filthy hands With our losing hands Just a few more seconds Just a few more minutes Just a few more months By then we can wash all our rent away By then we can be so far in debt As to not pull up If I’m going to lose I’m always going to lose To be with you To the old casino Let’s go Let’s go And that old man all we have And Give that old man once again All we have All we have If I’m going to lose I want to with you go
6.
Those Who Preach A head of cabbage would know More than yours does to be so You always call me on the phone And say I think just like a stone But one thing that I know for sure Those who preach are insecure You know a lot, but about who? Certainly not much about you The sun is blue, or so you say The river ran uphill today The snow falls up, the trees grow down According to your cap and gown The Brooklyn Bridge is not for sale You tried to tell me but you failed You know a lot that I see through Certainly not much that rings true Copernicus, Leonardo They would hear you say I told you so Oh Socrates and Liebniz Oh they couldn’t seem To fathom it The bottomless and ancient well Of a knowledge, I can tell You cherish more than life itself It can’t be held by no bookshelf Why are you so hard to endure? Those who preach are insecure You know a lot, or so you say I feel some hot air come my way
7.
Light Sleep Ready I slept with the lights on My shoelaces tight I left the front door open I was ready I was light sleep ready If it happened to be you Should it be you Rapping at my window then well, out of my bed I’m prepared I’m prepared were that it you We had and then as quickly No more Friends who were lovers And family that swore us off Ah, for sure You can quit anything And you can leave anyone Just not simply Just not with ease I left a light burning and it took down my house Wax dripping on my bookshelf Until it bore into the oak And soon enough Oak no more As quickly as no more As quickly And then no more And then no more You were my rug for awhile But now it’s back to hardwood You were my rug for awhile, for awhile What to put up with, and who to discard? You were my rug for awhile It’s back to hardwood But now...hardwood What to put up with, who to discard? How long, forever, buried in backyards Deep in backyards Your voice on my machine I won’t hear it again When you called me that day I felt something end
8.
Cash Nexus 02:45
Cash Nexus Gold, silver, and baubles Oil drums, incinerators, and gaskets Necklaces, lace curtain and lexus Stock trader, hedge fund, cash nexus Plated compound and gated command Dear dilapidated, much too shrill to command Newspapers, glue, and trash bags galore You got so much to wait for, but you got so little in store Highways and exits, your debts call collect Your rewrite and your edits, do they curse what comes next? Rings without fingers, lonely’s a bore Don’t just scratch the surface I’ll give you the core I’ll give you the core I’ll give you, I’ll give you the core Yes, I’ll give you the core
9.
Weight of Joy I had your hand in my hand I held stumbles then And you You held me up There I was knee knocking Tongue nervous, roof stuck I knew then I could push on I didn’t know these were the last few steps I couldn’t know salvation was around the bend That was you You held me up over that sill You had been caved in Downward chest on your chin When I got home Home just wasn’t in There you were in tears Them reflecting pool mirrors In them I could see a way to move on We didn’t know that these were the last few steps Couldn’t know our salvation was around the bend That is us Holding That is us Better than simply holding on

about

In 1995, John Davis & Dennis Callaci improvised an LP of songs together live to one track. Not an ambient, instrumental meander of a record, but songs complete with them there lyrics, melodies and hiccups. In the time since that record was recorded John went on to record a follow up record with The Folk Implosion and a number of solo records. Callaci continued recording records with Refrigerator as well as solo records.
Over three days in July of last year, the two songwriters improvised this record, “Arches & Pathways” in the same manner, excepting that there was an engineer on hand and the thing was recorded in Hi-fi. Songs were recorded, layered, overdubbed, scratched in real time, with the two of them sharing vocal & guitar duties. Additionally, John’s drumming add that left bank swing to the stands, and the Callaci piano dust is shaken from the ivories. The result is an expansive record that is equal parts pop melody and avant-en-garde living inside one another, not side-stepping for a bit of this or that between the dead wax grooves.

credits

released December 4, 2020

Mixed by Scott Solter
Recorded by Steve Folta
Written and performed by John Davis and Dennis Callaci

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John Davis & The Cicadas Durham, North Carolina

John Davis is a musician who works solo, with Folk Implosion, with a backing band called the Cicadas, and with Dennis Callaci. He also works on defending transforming public education as a teacher - organizer with the Durham Association of Educators.

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