On This Shore (EP)

by Brian Campbell

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1.
In Round 05:15
IN ROUND (after a poem by a certain Eric) words & music Brian Campbell ©SOCAN In the stillness of this place you show me how the rocks quiet and deep sleep in round . . . How they hold the sea And guard the sky . . . And open a curtain of dreams And open wide before us a curtain of dreams And open wide before us a curtain of dreams (Spoken) slumber here side by side hand in hand I kiss your lips, hold you close (sung) and enter new lands downward through lips of surf the simple fruit jewel of a brilliant seed in our salty tango roseate moonsmash sonorous perfumes undulent symphony in our salty tango roseate moonsmash sonorous perfumes undulent symphony The idea for this song came from a trip I took down The Gringo Trail through Mexico and Guatemala back in the mid-’80s. (That dates me; but why turn down a good date?) On a beach near Puerto Angel in Mexico, I met and traveled for a while with a couple of disheveled but sweet-tempered fellows from New Jersey named Eric and Richard. Richard, a former teacher in his late 40's who had suffered a serious breakdown and psychosis, wrote stream-of-consciousness poetry, much of it incoherent (at least to me) that he kept in shabby notebooks. One lens of his glasses was cracked, and later on in the journey he lost them. He claimed that he preferred “to see the spectacle without specs”: in his visual blur he saw bicycle wheels in the trees and angels in the sand. A large man, he would impulsively stage improvised street theatre in Mexican villages in bad Spanish. In one village, the inhabitants were so spooked by his antics, both he and Eric were chased out of town by men wielding machetes. Richard’s friend Eric, who was about my age, watched out for Richard like an older brother; at times it seemed he was as much Richard’s caretaker as his friend. He was sensitive, melancholy, read a lot and wrote poetry, some of it quite good, although he didn’t like almost anything he wrote. One time I found a poem of his on a scrap of paper in the sand in the hut they shared. I read it and was immediately impressed. He told me – rather, urged me against my protestations – to keep it. This I did, finding it in a notebook decades later. I’m indebted to Eric for most of this song’s opening lines, but I couldn’t adhere to his subsequent meanderings (believe me, I tried, because I like them). So I resolved it into something more explicit, easier to resolve into song. Here’s the original poem. IN ROUND The rocks quiet and deep sleep in round the sea and guard the sky open a curtain of dreams and enters a clown man of Byzantine to sell you a book – you look – all is pale in this moment of time – the statues are in gloom avoided, outcasted exhausted of automobile fumes – we build our bridges backwards not to reach the other side – the rivers, the rocks, the town asleep the dogs bark war cries – the night, the hammock, the stars my blindness my sight all is one in giving and taking down by this seaside.
2.
LET US NOT LOVE poem by Imre de C. Nemeth, adapted and put to music by Brian Campbell ©SOCAN Let us not love I’m afraid of the flame the passion and burning the reckless game Last night through clouds I saw a star looking as though longingly from afar Not now, not ever I am not yours time only stopped and only for hours When my hands reach through the midnight air they feel the golden kiss of your hair Let us not love let’s be free of the blame the cycle of pain that’ll surely come in that game Go… but please don’t… but you should…oh you must… before we burn and turn into ashes and dust Let us not love Let us not love Dawn, the sun will come soon we must part let me touch your lips once more But I won’t leave my heart won’t leave my heart leave my heart
3.
Surprise 04:05
SURPRISE words and music by Brian Campbell ©SOCAN Walking along Sunlight on our skin Blue sky in our eye Hand enlaced in hand Other couples walking by you can tell by the light in their eyes Bird in the blue, tilting on a tree So—say hello to the breeze Spring is come and winter's gloom is gone There's a shadow running through the grass disappears into the sunlight as we will disappear by the light of the moon orange & butter yellow swirling pastels in a starlit cafe pass on through the light... pass on through the light... Instrumental The constant surprise that we're alive the bird the breeze the leaves the waving sea afternoons of light afternoons of light light light light light ... hand enlaced in hand hand enlaced in hand
4.
SHADOWS ON OUR JOY words and music by Brian Campbell ©SOCAN Here through the palm trees Ocean blows a salty breeze Playeritos* hopping on the sand Let’s raise our glasses here We’ll not think now on prospects drear Or the sufferings all around us in this world I have you and you have me Life our laughter and our tears It’s been a long hard road to this shore So let’s rest, enjoy this breeze, whispering through the palm trees, And forget for now these shadows on our joy Shadows on our joy Shadows on our joy Shadows On our joy Solo This world’s in so much pain Don’t know when it’ll ever be sane Babies torn from their mother’s arms The forests they’re dying the oceans they’re crying This whole planet’s a fire alarm But I have you and you have me In our tenderness and our tears It’s been a long hard road to this shore Let’s rest, enjoy this breeze, whispering through the palm trees, And forget for now these shadows on our joy Shadows on our joy Shadows on our joy Shadows On our joy Shadows on our joy Shadows on our joy I’m afraid we’ll never be happy till we wipe these shadows from our world Shadows on our joy Shadows on our joy I have you and you have me But we’ll never be truly happy till we wipe these shadows from our world *Playeritos, Spanish for sandpipers.
5.
ELLIPSE The curves of the palm leaf are you, The camber of eyelashes, the curl of waves, Caress of winds, Ripples in sand: you. Before you came into my life I was a spiky crown of compass points, calculi of angles, intersections in a desert. Now with our bodies we shape an earthen circle. We chart zodiacs in parabolas of deep inner space. Our song, a spiral, a vibrating sphere, the surf’s crashing concavities, exhalations of foam spreading silken fingers up the sand.
6.
ON THIS SHORE Music by Brian Campbell Lyrics adapted by Brian Campbell from “Gulf of Mexico”, poem by Imre de C. Nemeth ©SOCAN 2019 The sand is velvet beneath my feet , night breeze a gentle hand that brushes my cheek. The sea is calm now between the tides. It seems to invite me to walk to the other side… Cross the busy daylight path and just wade out into the cool water, just wade out into the cool water. The sea does not ask questions, the sea does not tell lies. Soon I will arrive On another shore or on this shore or on this shore or on this shore or on this shore

about

Welcome to On This Shore, my poetic chill-out beach EP. Listeners tell me it takes us on journey of contrasts that brings forth a sense of unity and fulfillment rare in an album a mere 26 minutes long! All but one of its five songs and poem are set on a beach or ocean, and that one song, concerning a steamy romantic night, could easily belong there. Here, songs of reverie, longing, despair, and sensual delight, ending with a meditation on that final mysterious journey into the great beyond. Two of the songs are poems by the Hungarian-Canadian poet Imre de C. Nemeth (1923-2002) that I adapted and put to music. The other three songs (excepting a few lines... explanation found with the song!) and the poem are mine. Four of the five songs also feature nuanced arrangements and Ema Jean's haunting, ethereal backup vocals. Even this album's most anguished moments are smoothed by soothing chords and melodies. Relax and enjoy! Official video of the song "On This Shore": www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks7oprVEbaQ

credits

released December 1, 2020

Brian Campbell. Lyrics (some adapted from poems by others), music, guitar, voice.
Ema Jean: back vocals, tracks 1, 3, 4, 6.
Martin Bennett: sampled instruments, arrangements, recording.
Recorded at Studio Loco, Montreal.
© registration SOCAN

Listener comment

i just listened to the whole CD, it is absolutely beautiful, gentle, dreamy the perfect playlist for quietude and reflection.
Thanks so much for this beautiful gift.
- Debra L., Montreal

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Brian Campbell Montreal, Québec

Brian Campbell is a song-poet, dexterous finger-stylist, and impassioned, heart-felt singer. A widely published poet, Campbell has several critically acclaimed collections to his name. On stage he is relaxed and natural, an entertaining storyteller who spellbinds with his songs. He performs regularly, mostly in the Montreal area. To learn more about him, see campbellmuse.com ... more

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