Carlos and the Suspiroes

by Carlos and the Suspiroes

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1.
A knife tears flesh and then a car rips away Leaves a body in the alley, another tragedy on the way and in the burbs the good citizen sleeps safe in the night never hears the screaming tires, never sees the flashing lights, no Home from work the next day with the city’s dust on his shoes He pours himself a drink and then he turns on the news They’re cryin’ about the victim and singing the inner city blues He reaches for the remote and thinks there are some who are born to lose See the city turn See the wounds that burn Meanwhile down under the neon there’s buddy on the make He’s lookin’ for someone who’ll give cuz he’s always ready to take and he hits on a girl who’ll believe whatever he might say cuz she’s heard the tide roar she’s gonna be swept away A few hours later she awakes in the squalid yellow dawn The bed’s all a mess and buddy’s already long gone She reaches for her cigarettes and she fumbles with her clothes She’s been fooled again, that’s the only thing she knows See the city turn See the wounds that burn All through the city from the edges to the core Some people lookin’ to hang on, others lookin’ to get more This town hums like a machine, like a mighty dynamo Almost drowns out the devil shiftin’ gears down below In Montreal they got a cross that shines in the sky Out here there ain’t no place where one could stand that high Still you gotta be blind not to see the blood drain From the wounds of the lamb down to these dark streets of pain See the city turn See the wounds that burn
2.
SoCal 77 03:25
I wanna be in southern California, O happy days in southern California Sunny beaches there wherever you go And you know it’s pretty cold back home People come from everywhere to be in California People come and leave their cares back at home in southern California The movie stars are there in California, Rock n' rollers now in California Always lots to see wherever you go And you know it’s pretty dull back home People come from everywhere to be in California People do things that they wouldn’t dare back at home In southern California And then you know it`s time to go But she says that you should stay After all you know it wouldn’t hurt for just another day California, California I’d visit you anytime I’m goin’ back to where it’s always sunny The promised land of silk and money, money money
3.
These divisions of language nation and race These attachments to just one people and place We need to reach out we need to look around We need to open up there's a whole world to embrace Don't wanna live by bitter convictions Don't wanna live with the pain and the lies I'm prayin' for a world that sees a better day rise Some people still lookin' for others to blame Some people still playin' that devil's game They take their stand in foolish pride If you wanna be their friend then you gotta be exactly the same Don't wanna live by bitter convictions Don't wanna live with the pain and the lies I'm prayin' for a world that sees a better day rise Some day this hatred is gonna fade, we're gonna see that God's people come in every different style and shade This world's so big and I'm so small If it wasn't for that, then I'd get to know them all Don't wanna live by bitter convictions Don't wanna live with the pain and the lies I'm prayin' for a world that sees a better day rise
4.
Red River breakdown, comin’ to you live Red River breakdown, along Highway 75 And across the line, to this bar, where I’m callin’ to you Where I just met my good friends Peggy and Sue I left town just before you got home from work Cleaned out our account just like the jerk You’re always sayin’ that I am, and I guess you’re right But I don’t feel halfbad, drinkin’ here tonight You shoulda heard what your Mama said when she said that I’m no good, when she said it wouldn’t last, You shoulda listened She said I’m a rootless wandering boy Oh, you should heard what your Mama said Hey raise a glass to the open road And raise a glass to the empty sky, yeah, Come on, put down that heavy load And stop your wondering why You shoulda heard what your Mama said… Hey raise a glass to the open road And raise a glass to a life of freedom I just can’t do what I been told And that is why this Red River breakdown cannot be denied Red River breakdown, busted open wide It’s a wound and then a scar that’ll heal with time Cuz you got your life and me, well honey I got mine
5.
English synopsis: A rudimentary translation of the title is ‘I Keep Singing’ or ‘I’m still singing’ – that is, in spite of all the greed, corruption and power-mongering in this world, in defiance of all of that, I sing. Translation of the refrain: I’ll keep singing until the very last breath of this world I’ll keep singing to overcome the solitude that surrounds us The solitude that we are born with The solitude that follows us Until the very last breath, until the very last breath - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Ay de los que sólo quieren aprovechar sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren engañar aunque sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren humillar mientras canto, sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren lastimar sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren poseer sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren imponer aunque sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren empobrecer sea lo que sea, yo sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren enmudecer sigo cantando Sigo cantando hasta el último suspiro de esta tierra sigo cantando para vencer la soledad que nos encierra la soledad con la que nacimos la soledad que nos acecha hasta el último suspiro hasta el último suspiro Ay de los que sólo quieren confundir sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren afligir aunque yo sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren reprimir pese a mi canto, y yo sigo cantando Ay de los que sólo quieren destruir sigo cantando Sigo cantando hasta el último suspiro de esta tierra sigo cantando para vencer la soledad que nos encierra la soledad con la que nacimos la soledad que nos acecha hasta el último suspiro ¡Ay! Qué fracaso es este mundo lleno de tristeza y los únicos consuelos son el amor y la belleza
6.
Sittin’ at home in the summertime The more I think, the more it’s a crime The more I think, the more it’s a shame to be here When the good times are so near Daytime, been workin’ myself to the bone Nighttime, been lettin’ the TV drone I believe it’s high time for a change, in a big way It’s high time for a holiday So when you’re ready O my darlin’ I’m ready anytime you say Just say the word and we’ll go flyin’ Le vieux Québec, une échappée So now we’ve come to this café where the jazz musicians play From Rue St-Jean to the Grande Allée je dirais Que la vie va bien mieux en français Que la vie va ben mieux en français Yeah, j’suis convaincu que la vie…
7.
This is your time, this is your place We hear your voice, we see your face You make the rules now, this is your home ground If anybody says anything you don't wanna hear You just shut them down You slide and roll and flip words around, like oil in a pan You slide and slither through the truth, just because you can These are the days of the snake You cut the funds for refugees Cuz you got no time for the least of these And screw the planet, screw the future you count your money now And screw the kids, they can't vote anyhow You slide and roll and flip words around, like oil in a pan You slide and slither through the truth, just because you can These are the days of the snake One day you'll be gone And we will look out on our ruined garden and begin again But it's gonna take long hard time to undo what you've done Yeah, we'll be chokin' on your weeds and your dead skin For a long hard time to come This is your time, this is your place These are the days… of the snake
8.
Noodle One 01:51
9.
He came raging from the forest, he was wild and enticing He seemed completely free, abnormally exciting He swaggered like a brute, he could do some heavy damage You decided there and then to make his passion your advantage You thought he was a warrior, but now he cowers like a clerk There ain’t no fire in his eye… Don’t you ever wonder why He came wide-eyed from the mountain, he was idealistic His clothes were out-of-date, he was definitely mystic And while he talked about his dreams While he talked about his wishes Your mind was working miracles You would turn his rags to riches You thought he was a prophet, but now he mumbles like a priest He stares empty at the sky… Don’t you ever wonder why He came gliding from the dance floor, he was sophisticated His conversation well-informed, his movements animated And every time he smiled he played glissando on your nerves And soon you were decided He would be the one that you deserve You thought he was a dancer, but now he staggers like a drunk And when he begins to cry… Don’t you ever wonder why
10.
Reach 04:31
See the human fever, see the Earth bent to our greed See us twist and plunder Your green world So we can get what we don’t need See the icecap melting, see the jungle die See the creatures just disappear See the darkening sky So will You reach across the ages Will You reach down through the stars Will You reach into this troubled breaking world To touch these hearts of ours, these hard hearts of ours We reshape the planet, we hold all the power But we are rushing headlong to a fall, To our final hour So will You reach…
11.
There are some who go searching on the beach, you know Amidst the bronzed bathing goddesses out of reach, you know The invitations are appealing, But the promises are hollow like a skull I was tired of the cloying little games, you know The conclusion I was seeking, it never came, you know And though my eyes, they were weary Well my heart was still flaring like a bull And then I found you in the heartland and I know you will be true Now my future looks brighter, I can see it with you There are some who go searching through the bars, you know Through the glittering, fading, shooting stars, you know In the moonlight they're enchanting But in a strong wind they're as fleeting as a match I was tired of the languishing nights, you know I was left in the shadows, never light, you know And though my eyes, they were weary Well my heart was still hoping to attach And then I found you in the heartland and I know I can be sure Now my future looks brighter because you will endure I'd been left out, but then you let me in I thought I'd lost, but then you let me win Oh how can I tell you what you have done Woman of the heartland, you are the one Woman of the heartland, you are the one
12.
From little kids on the playground to the mightiest nation state We rarely learn to let it go, and we choke on our own hate We could be flyin' free but we just drag around that weight From little kids on the playground to the mightiest nation state The hardest thing to do is to forgive The hardest thing to do is to forgive The hardest thing to do is just to live free from the rage The hardest thing to do is to forgive It's so often that our bitterness has shackled us in chains It clutches us so tight that it drives us half-insane and just when we think it's gone then it's comin' round again It's so often that our bitterness has shackled us in chains The hardest thing to do is to forgive... O God in your mercy will you help us make a new start? Will you swoop down like a liberating wind and clean out these old hearts? Will you save us from ourselves before we're wrecked and torn apart? O God in your mercy will you help us make a new start? The hardest thing to do is to forgive...

about

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time – get into a studio, bring together some of the best musicians I know, and record twelve of my tunes. Would the final result meet my hopes and aspirations? Thanks to all the fine people who collaborated with me, it has surpassed them.

What about the title? First of all, ‘Carlos’ is me; I think everybody should have a chance to reinvent themselves, and Carlos is my Spanish identity. Almost, but not quite, an alter-ego.

‘Suspiroes’ is less obvious. In Spanish, ‘suspiro’ is a sigh, or perhaps a breath. Figuratively, it is a fleeting moment, like a heartbeat, or the blink of an eye, and that’s what these songs are. If you know some Spanish, you know that the plural is ‘suspiros’ – there’s no E. I wrote it that way because this is hybrid music, una música mestiza. Also because I like the way it looks with the E.

There is almost a four decade span between the oldest and youngest of these songs. The earliest, ‘SoCal 77,’ was written in (duh) 1977, and the latest, ‘Sigo cantando,’ saw the light of day early in 2014. There is also a huge stylistic range here – from the driving folk-rock of ‘All Through the City’ to some jazz inflections to the high-steppin’, banjo pickin’ country of ‘Red River Breakdown.’ And you get three different languages too: ‘Une échappée,’ my hommage to Quebec City, ends in French, and the aforementioned ‘Sigo cantando’ is my first foray into lyric-writing in Spanish.

Thanks to Caro for the cool photos and layout. Thanks to Daniel, Jane, Jon, Jordan, Nancy, Quintin, Rayannah, Sam and Shannon for your wonderful singing and playing. And thanks to Jordan and Eles for pulling it all together.

- Chuck Kroeker

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released December 25, 2014

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Carlos and the Suspiroes Winnipeg, Manitoba

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