LOVE OR FREEDOM - songs around the world

by Diana Rosalind

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1.
Song of the Sea oh mermen oh whisper to me oh mermen swim across the moonlit midnight sea oh mermen whisper in the wind across the waves oh mermen sing my name i’ll be your s-s-slave oh mermen i stand here upon the lonely shore oh mermen your arrival is what i am waiting for oh mermen won’t you whisper in the wind a song for me? a song of the sea send and receive are you reading me? oh mermen how the waters roil and seethe and how i wish beneath them i could breathe to dive beside the dolphin with a pounding in my chest then to your castle in the sand to take watery rest oh mermen won’t you change me like the vampire seals his love? for one sea kiss from your salt lips i’d gladly leave above for the song of the sea send and receive are you reading me? cuz i’m sure i can hear...your song of the sea
2.
river (words by larry beckett) oh listen and you’ll pick up what i hiss in syllables of water; all i wear is bubbles of air: i’m at the bottom of the river. kiss me i slap, slap me i kiss, i’ve had enough of love me tender, old nights, with the double-crosser: i’m at the bottom of the river. love or freedom, i had to choose the half moon said, and i forgive her; i got the ghost or woman blues: i’m at the bottom of the river. the lovers sway under the sails and look into the stars and shiver; the boat slips on, its wake is gone: i’m at the bottom of the river.
3.
measureless (after meister eckhart) into the sea all rivers flow but the sea will never overflow on to their destiny the rivers go to the sea, to the sea to the measureless sea to the sea...to the sea...to the sea
4.
the beloved (after rumi) the beloved is a face the shape of which (a music) held in memory can never be (which intoxicates) distorted the beloved is a much-read book in the turning of whose pages a new discovery is always made the beloved (and at this banquet) the beloved (i hold this face in memory) the beloved is a music which intoxicates but does not terrify (turning pages turning pages) in which all moments are lost except for this one except for this one except for this one
5.
Never is My Cake live, work, know, growl... bleed green worry, seep secret dirt sip a blue glass smile like broken candy wanting and waiting all the while... and you you are never here enough and like every fool never .....is my cake i wait snow wishes melt ...it doesn't ring take a hold of almost and pluck its little wings with my sober teeth i chew on hope and suck the maybe-marrow underneath and you ....(chorus) sip a blue glass smile like broken candy wanting and waiting all the while... and you ....(chorus)
6.
Golden State and our state is only golden for a moment of grace like the sun on the horizon just before it melts....into the waves cruisin’ around with the top down, won’t stop for captain bringdown palm trees swayin’ in the breeze takin’ the long way around town no wrong way when you’re just runnin’ around no expectations, free of guarantees in a golden state...a golden state and our state is only golden for a moment of grace like the sun on the horizon just before it melts....into the waves takin’ a moment to kick back, reflect, no rush relaxing sound of soothing melodies takes me away from the mad crowd seat back, bass up, crank it up real loud gimme summa dat smooth groove salad please in a golden state...a golden state and our state is only golden for a moment of grace...
7.
February & the Mayfly words tears palaces fireworks contours of the body coastlines curved by time's erosion all will be gone as goes the mayfly war rain innocence long eyelashes fame joy february and the mayfly sieze all there is and hold it and then release it see all there is to hear to taste to feel because you know it's only temporary it'll all be over nothing lasts forever whatever it is sieze it and release it feel it all and let it go
8.
paris snow from the notre dame to the seine from the notre dame in the rain you said you'd be there by the station and i hung around for far too long and the dead bells sound like the sound of the rain and i keep running away paris in the snow makes me feel alive again to the gare du nord for a train to the gare du nord leave again said you'd be there at the station but you disappeared like a song and paris in the snow is the greatest feeling i know paris in the winter brings me back to you my eyes had fingers that touched your face that my eyes had fingers to touch your grace minutes pass, hopes fade never thought i'd feel this way after only a moment or two paris in the snow makes me feel alive again after only a moment or two it was just a moment in the paris snow it was just a moment but even so... in that moment, frozen forever in the paris snow
9.
A.I. human wants to be a god-man and make a man-machine certain he can someday somehow make it do something more than think i wonder, can he make it feel? i wonder, would it lie and steal? could it ever re-invent the wheel? i wonder, can it ever be real? scientist, philosopher mechanic of the soul tries with pliers and copper wires to build a living doll i wonder, can he make it cry? i wonder, would it wonder "why"? could it ever fall in love and sigh? i wonder, can he make it die? i wonder, can he make it feel? i wonder, could it ever be real?
10.
gettin' on to sunset soon the prince of the sky is bedding down ocean in the distance tide turns away from town city hummin' like a crazy jewel coyote moon rising overhead i know i'm gonna be there soon i'll drive, i'll drive, i'll drive all the night i'll drive, i'll drive, i'll drive all the night headlights shinin' on the cat-eyes only take the blue highways pickin' up the tijuana stations and the money-preachers cracklin' radio that's the sound the road makes i'll drive, i'll drive, i'll drive all the night coyote moon risin' overhead i know i'm gonna be there soon headlights shinin' on the cat-eyes only take the blue highways gettin’ on to sunset soon the prince of the sky is bedding down
11.
we get free plays on the jukebox on a slow day at the bordello and vanity gets the hula hoop slides it ‘round her hips, wearin’ a silky kimono and then we get bombed on dom perignon puff a blunt out on the back patio do a little ‘ho’ hoodoo to bring the dudes in heard a parkin’ convention or a rodeo’s in town tomorrow her house name is primadonna and her ex is an executioner when he gets called to quentin she tells the kids come on, we’re goin’ to california! and they meet at a place in alameda free parking cold beer hot tacos... ...drunken yellin’ how can ya do that thing you do? oh yeah, well what about you? and hey at least i never have to borrow free parking dont forget to validate your ticket or they will make you pay when you wanna exit free parking dont forget to validate your ticket or you’re gonna have to pay when you wanna exit niko’s half lakota nation raised on the reservation her “ina” worked in a casino callin’ numbers in high-stakes keno saw her play 21 this one time we ditched a shift and took a limo to reno she was like a force on fire slappin’ down cards sayin’ hit me baby! when she had 17 hard act to follow free parking .....(chorus) oh the workin’ girls yeah we know it aint about the libido but the life in the parlour it’s a secret world when it’s nothin’ but the jukebox drinks all around and us girls arabia is tellin’ her story in her pink boudouir before the parlour gets busy started out square but now she’s the ruler of the line-up old school legendary once had a trick when a fire broke out told the ‘fighters hey hold up i aint ready just lemme have a minute here to get his credit card authenticate it otherwise it’s all for nothin’ and i might feel the sorrow free parking .....(chorus)
12.
Yellow Starspiders burn, you yellow starspiders all out of control and fucking blazing like madgadgets wicked you punk globe flares pink up the mooncalf night! i got the horrors got the heavy tail-dragger notion of your sadly untimely demise unfortunate yes but unexpected? hardly not a horsefeather more than the thread of some likely yarn becoming unravelled stitch by pearly stitch like the weave of a dawn-doomed love oh what is more true than that time-is-running-out gasped declaration of a finite passion dulcet whispered like a low wind-flute's saddest goodbye obscured by sunrise go ahead, burn and die yeah...so, i'll remember your pretty cop-out and ah... the misty look on your disastrous disappearing teenage faces as you made up your silly minds not to even try or give half a damn about bursting into real life what would you say? what do you say now when i dare you to go supernova transmogrify turn into gold and be glorious live to be 99 live to be just live fire don't have to die you yellow starspiders
13.
Down, Vain Light (after John Dowland) sweeter to die, oh than have this waiting this waiting for the night to take me from the light and leave me sleeping ah sweeter to be away nowhere down, vain light! shine you no no more no more no more ah! sweeter than dahlias to have no name no time, no - world to go on living in, light to keep me seeing the shame of living in a world without love down! shine you no more vain light, shine you no more no night is dark enough for we whose souls despair of living joyless oh if i must live show me the place where the dark shadows and night's blackbird hide from vain rays hah! sweeter to die than wait wait wait wait wait for the night far from the light blackbird, sing your sad song - gladly i'd be blackbird no night's dark enough for we whose souls despair of light down, light! shine you no no more no more vain light shine no more
14.
Crazy Rumours you in the back step in the fold lissen up son cuz you gonna get told i’m on a roll on my lyrical road gonna drop it down solid like a bar o gold is this thing on? check - one-two! en dey-ey akout akout! listen to listen to listen to listen to listen to listen to all o’ the crazy rumours those people blaggin’ ‘bout thing they don’t even know their chin a-waggin’ all the day well i aint braggin’ to you when i say i know they are just gaggin’ for evil things to say i know it turns them on to spread their lies around i aint gonna take it not lying down i got my dancin’ boots i got my crystal toot i got my invitation to the ball you never broke my heart don’t even try to start no crazy rumours boy you got some gall ya never even touched me honey not deep inside how would you know if it’s true that i cried all night long...? everybody know that’s just a crazy rumour just another crazy rumour oh everybody know all about the crazy rumours just another crazy rumour just a crazy rumour * i aint ashamed of the path behind may have been twisted but i got here fine all what you heard forget everything just be here now and hear me now sing you in the back yeah i’m talking to you en dey-ey akout akout! listen to listen to listen to listen to listen to listen to all o’ the crazy rumours * some people hate me why should i care anyway if they don’t rate me where’s the shame? they implicate me seem to go out of their way to try and bait me by handin’ out the blame i know it turns them on to spread their lies around i aint gonna take it not lying down i got my dancin’ boots i got my crystal toot i got my invitation to the ball you never broke my heart don’t even try to start no crazy rumours boy you got some gall ya never even touched me honey not deep inside how would you know if it’s true that i cried all night long... if you believe them i am already dead i was found naked in the grass like spiders weavin’ this stuff don’t come from they head they just be talkin’ out they ass everybody know that’s just a crazy rumour just another crazy rumour just a crazy rumour everybody know all about the crazy rumours all about the crazy rumours crazy rumours don’t listen to the crazy rumours don’t listen don’t listen don’t listen don’t listen don’t listen to the crazy rumours
15.
i can hardly remember you and you used to be my measure against which i weighed experience the basin in which love was tallied and weighed but the cicatrix your leavin’ left is starting to...fade... aint that the way aint that the way aint that the way aint that the way oh the sorry folly of our silly feelings and how is it that i have gained this passage on the ferry of forgetting? down the river "lethe" where the past dissolves into particles of nothing aint that the way aint that the way aint that the way aint that the way oh the sorry folly of our silly feelings
16.
every breath i take tastes like icing on the cake this time i'm winning fell all the way back to the end of the pack now i got a chance at a fresh beginning and this time i'm feeling it'll all turn out here comes that feeling just like taking off in a plane every little piece of the plan is coming together laughing out loud cuz i'm back in the game and this time i'm winning can't stop grinning never gettin' dizzy even though i'm spinning spinning like a kid on a carousel and it's only because what was was and because i went through all that hell lived through almost dying suffering and sinning now i'm just winning on my living every breath i take tastes like icing on the cake here comes that feeling just like taking off in a plane and every little piece of the plan is coming together laughing out loud cuz i'm back in the game and this time i'm winning can't stop grinning never gettin' dizzy even though i'm spinning i'm just lucky to be spilling rhymes into the breeze... here comes that feeling just like taking off
17.
birthday cheer be of good birthday cheer for another year you’re still here that’s something worth a celebration another circuit around the sun another circle now begun another challenge another triumph a few more tears maybe a little fun fun fun fun fun have fun in the shadow eat cake and drink champagne raise a toast to the shadow cuz you’re still here another year be of good birthday cheer my dear be of good birthday cheer for you’re still here another year has gone and so have many gone on some friends have departed and new lives have started another circuit around the sun another circle now begun it’s a celebration so have fun in the shadow eat cake and drink champagne raise a toast to the shadow cuz you’re still here for another year be of good birthday cheer

about

This is a selection of songs written and recorded between 1989 and 2014, with various artists in a number of different locations in the USA and Europe, and some solo works. Many, not all, these songs also appear on this site within the collections they were originally part of, however they have been remastered for this collection. The unmastered versions, therefore, are no longer available for free download although you can still stream everything for listening.

It was an interesting project to go back and listen through 25 years of songs and try to find a group that simultaneously represented key collaborations in my life, while also coming together cohesively as a collection in its own right. The mainstream music industry always counsels against eclecticism, possibly one reason I never fared well there as I am not interested in sticking within the boundaries of a single genre in order to "define" my sound. At the same time, I agree that it can be jarring if a series of songs are too wildly divergent.

My first short-list was about 28 songs, some of which had been salvaged from cassette tapes, some of which were not properly mastered, some of which were alternate recordings of songs that had been on CDs in the past. Throughout my life, in whatever financial situation I find myself, I have been lucky enough to usually have access to proper recording equipment. So most of my music has been well recorded. Nevertheless, some old recordings just didn't stand up production-wise so the first cut removed anything of inferior sound quality even if documenting an interesting or better performance.

From there, I got to a first draft of 16 songs, which on later listening swung too far in the direction of homogeneity. Curiously, I found that when the vibe, instrumentation, and production were similiar there was also a similiarity of lyrical content that didn't work for me. The texts I use, whether written by myself or others, are just as important as the melodies and arrangements, and so I had another listen back to songs outside the original 28 that felt more representative of me as both a writer and appreciator of poetry.

This final list of 17 tracks feels like it matches my personality and showcases a range of moods and styles that are all a part of my mixture. Some are funny, some are sad, (I think my specialty may turn out to be funny plus sad) some are defiant, some a bit philosophical; there is electronica, alternative rock, American roots, medieval-sounding folk, art song, a bit o jazz....but I think it somehow works.

I'm going to continue this project of remastering older tracks and putting them in collections with current material and so I'm sure that the songs dropped from this group will find their way to another album in the future.

But for now, this is my first retrospective: Love or Freedom. The title comes from some of the lines of River, by Larry Beckett, which I'd originally been intending to hold back for a future collection of all Becket-worded works. Its inclusion here not only opened up the whole collection and helped me change my approach to the overall set, but really provided me with the perfect title, which I had been struggling over. In the context of River, the phrase "love or freedom" represents a choice, as it often can and perhaps has in my own life. But taken as a phrase by itself, it is more ambiguous and could even suggest that the two words are synonyms.

Bittersweet ambiguity is a flavour I quite like, and I hope all who listen do too.

One final note: the days of vinyl and listening to albums in their entirety may be largely behind us and of course everyone is free to listen however they like, but my special request to anyone reading this is that you kindly, at least once, listen to the whole work from beginning to end in a single 74 minute sitting. To get the full, mind movie, immersion experience.

Thanks to everyone who helped me pull this project together over the years, all the players, engineers, producers, studios, co-writers, and especially to those friends and supporters who donated money to finally finish it!

Love,

DIANAROSA,
November 2nd, 2014
Alsace, France

credits

released November 2, 2014

Individual Credits are listed track by track.

Mastering by Kai Schlünz, Katapult Tonstudio, Karlsruhe, Germany

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Diana Rosalind New Orleans, Louisiana

After being discovered by Bobby McFerrin as a young vocal improviser in San Francisco, I spent some years writing and performing with ensembles that remain important in the history of Bay Area arts, then did time tangling with the music biz in LA & NYC, followed by a decade in Europe, recording all the while, before coming "home" to NOLA. This is a partial musical record of that journey. ... more

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