Monday, September 24, 2012

Lost Book Gem: "The Pickwick Papers" - Charles Dickens (1836)


"I gotta
take me on
a permanent vacation."
--> Aerosmith <--


Take a two week trip and you feel like you've done something.  Samuel Pickwick and his wealthy cronies decide to skedaddle outta the city for a two year romp exploring the English countryside.

Now that's what you call a vacaysh!

Charles Dickens' first novel finds him weaving a humorous tale of misunderstandings and happenstances that follow likable Pickwick and his goodnik buddies wherever they travel.  In the process, Dickens brings to the forefront many social issues that would be more famously explored in his later novels.

At over 800 pgs, "The Pickwick Papers" (1836) is not for the faint of heart.  Dickens occasionally stretches sentences like he's pulling apart a Slinky.  And the slangular dialect of the period can take a bit of warming up to.

But once you catch on to the rhythm of the word-flow...(and you will)...it's a pretty dang entertaining read.  Step inside this noisy coach and enjoy the journey.

"Permanent Vacation"   -  Aerosmith (1987)


I got a letter from a friend the other morning
He say it's hot down in Montego Bay
I got the point and now I think it's finally dawning
Yeah, yeah, I got to get away.

I got to take myself a permanent vacation
The sky's the limit but my plane won't fly
My nose is clean and lordie don't need no sedation
Yeah, yeah, and that's the reason why.

I really need it, really, really need St. Tropez
I want a tan where the sun, it never shines
I really need it, really, really need St. Tropez
You best believe it that I go to get away.

I got a sister man she really got a pinhead
She think she kinky but she can't get straight
She say she livin' but I kinda think she brain dead
Just excess baggage on a late night freight.

I gotta take me on a permanent vacation
The girl's be cummin' down in Cayman Brack
I gotta hand it to a firm situation
Yeah, yeah, I got to cut me some slack.


Good Stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lost Gem: "Circle Of Steel" - Gordon Lightfoot (1974)


"
Sights and sounds
of the people goin' 'round
Everybody's in step
with the season."

--> Gordon Lightfoot <--


When it comes to Gordon Lightfoot albums...I mostly cherry-pick the branches rather than take the whole tree. But what I've grabbed from this Canadian troubadour's catalog are absolutely killer and not to be missed.

Lightfoot has always reminded me of Jimmy Buffet...(without the tray of empty margarita glasses piling up around his table, of course.) That's not meant to be a bad thing...just that Gordie generally keeps it a wee-bit more serious.

His folk rock presence was most heavily felt in the 70's...thanks to his first and only #1 album in the States..."Sundown" (1974). Songs like "Carefree Highway" and the title track are daily radio staples and have remained timeless.

Lost Gem:--> "Circle Of Steel"......is a haunting portrait of a Xmas season for families of the welfare variety. And made all-the-more unforgettable by the beautifully played recorder (Jack Zaza)...that truthfully captures the harsh reality. Not your Griswold Family Christmas...no, not this time.

Have you heard this gem?


Rows of lights in a circle of steel
Where you place your bets on a great big wheel
High windows flickerin' down through the snow
A time you know
Sights and sounds of the people goin' 'round
Everybody's in step with the season.
A child is born to a welfare case
Where the rats run around like they own the place
The room is chilly, the building is old
That's how it goes
The doctor's found on his welfare round
And he comes and he leaves on the double.

Deck The Halls was the song they played
In the flat next door where they shout all day
She tips her gin bottle back till it's gone
The child is strong
A week, a day, they will take it away
For they know about all her bad habits.

Christmas dawns and the snow lets up
And the sun hits the handle of her heirloom cup
She hides her face in her hands for a while
Says look here child
Your father's pride was his means to provide
And he's servin' three years for that reason.


Good stuff!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Horse Head Five...with Romie Lee


"...comics are just about
the only real performance
artists left on this planet.
"

--> Romie Lee <--





HORSE HEAD MEETS
ROMIE LEE
  • Chef Extraordinaire
  • Cabbie To The Stars
  • Stand-Up Comedian
@sexyfatfunny
  • ("Twitter is my metaphorical stage. Facebook is for the gays and low cholesterol is for pussies." - Romie Lee)

HORSE HEAD: Tell me about an older album/CD you think has been forgotten or underrated. A song.
ROMIE LEE: Before I answer your question, I'd like to get something off my chest.

I have a real disdain for the people who go ape shit supporting local cover bands...but won't give the time of day supporting
the local comedians working some original stuff. It's frustrating. Comedians can't hit the stage performing the best of Kinison or covering Carlin's greatest hits. You either bring your own stuff on stage...or you don't get a stage. I don't mean to soapbox...but comics are just about the only real performance artists left on this planet...with a shit-ton more integrity and originality than most musicians.

Anyway, back to your question...an older band that I don’t think ever received nearly enough critical acclaim was Thin Lizzy. They were just a good no-bullshit rock and roll band.

"Bad Reputation" - Thin Lizzy (1977)

"Opium Trail" - Thin Lizzy

HORSE HEAD: Recommend me a really good book.

ROMIE LEE: I'm not much of a reader...literally the only books I've read off the top of my head were...“The Dirt: Confessions Of The World's Most Notorious Rock Band(2001) by Motley Crue and “I Only Roast The Ones I Love" (2010) by Jeffery Ross.


And I recommend them because they were both able to keep my attention beyond the Forward.

HORSE HEAD: What's an older movie you enjoyed that others might like revisiting?ROMIE LEE: "Full Metal Jacket". It was like watching two movies in one. I saw it when I was only eleven and it's still one of my favorites.

Stanley Kubrick's 1987 violent
boot camp and Vietnam blitzkrieg.

HORSE HEAD:
Who's an artist (any genre/medium) that deserves more attention?

ROMIE LEE: Comic genius...Doug Stanhope. All of his CDs and DVDs are gold. Even though he downplays it, Stanhope is one of the most socially relevant stand-ups working today.

"Burning The Bridge To Nowhere" (2011)

Doug Stanhope

As for music...one of my favorite...straight forward...no gimmick rock bands out there today is Shinedown and they are just absolutely amazing to experience live.

"Amaryllis" - Shinedown (2012)

"Adrenaline" - Shinedown


HORSE HEAD:
If you stream, what's the last thing you watched? A DVD?
ROMIE LEE: The late great Patrice O’Neal's DVD...“Elephant In The Room” (2011)...is an absolute masterpiece. Simply the best comedic timing and pacing I've ever seen and with sharp biting material most mortal comics couldn’t dream of pulling off.
"...An absolute masterpiece."



Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Horse Head Favorite Song Lyrics -- Bob Seger



Favorite Song Lyrics:
The ones that linger
around your head...(for whatever reason)
long after the song's
been put away.





FAVORITE BOB SEGER LYRICS - Pt 1

"I used her, she used me
but neither one cared
We were getting our share."
- ("Night Moves")
"He's always willing to be second-best

A perfect lodger, a perfect guest."
- ("Beautiful Loser")

"Jody girl, Jody girl
Spend your time today
Watchin' clocks spin the hours away."
- ("Jody Girl" )

"I could go east, I could go west
It was all up to me to decide."
- ("Roll Me Away")

"I remember standing on the corner at midnight
trying to get my courage up."
- ("Main Street")


"Most times you can't hear 'em talk, other times you can."

- ("Turn The Page")
"Sometimes at night I see their faces
I feel the traces they've left on my soul.
Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul."
- ("Travelin' Man")

"I've got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out."
- ("Against The Wind")
""Think in terms of bridges burned
Think of seasons that must end
See the rivers rise and fall
They will rise and fall again."
- ("The Famous Final Scene")
Good stuff!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lost Gem: "The Black Parade" - Willie Nile (2004)


"You'll wipe off that graveyard grin
cause your time is gonna come."
--> Willie Nile <--


When Willie Nile hit the music scene, critics were penciling in his name atop the short, but seemingly endless, "The Next Dylan" list ad nauseum.

An Excalibur no one really wants and no one's ever owned.

Neverthless, Willie Nile has been court and sparks with most critics since releasing his self-titled debut in 1980.

He brings songs that play straight and unforced. Rocking with rumble one minute; Cool-burning the next. Like city bruises and small victories...Nile owns the words he sings. We feel it and own them as well.

Lost Gem:--> "The Black Parade"...is a deliciously spiteful reminder to whom it may concern..."What goes around, comes around."

Have you heard this gem?


Hand me down my walking cane.
Tune up my New Orleans drum.
They're gonna call my name when the morning comes.

I wanna lead.
Please let me lead the black parade, oh yeah.
I wanna lead.
Please let me lead the black parade.

Rags hanging off my bones.
Faint hearts will all run away.
No mercy will be shown on this judgment day.

You laugh at the shape I'm in.
Drink cheap wine and have all your fun.
But you'll wipe off that graveyard grin cause your time is gonna come.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Horse Head Five..."Quantum Leap" Comics

In grade school...Horse Head wanted to be an astronaut. He wanted the mad-skills of eating an entire slice of pizza in a single chomp ala Ninja Donatello.

And he also wanted to randomly "bounce through time...putting things right that once went wrong"...like Sam Beckett (and his friend, Al) in the early '90s sci-fi TV series, Quantum Leap.

So when Horse Head discovered Innovation Comics published a Quantum Leap series (1991 -1993)...he nearly "leaped" his pants.

Each comic was a complete story and almost like watching an episode...minus the commercials. The run was short...(13 issues + 1 special edition)...but they're pretty good, lightweight fare and still a fairly easy series to complete.

The Horse Head Five...

Issue #1
Sam leaps
into a female
high school
English
teacher.


Issue #2
Sam leaps
into a prison
inmate on
death row.



Issue #5
Sam leaps
into a reporter
during a
UFO
scare.


Issue #6
Sam becomes
a teenage girl
whose sister
is in
danger.


Issue #12
Sam finds
himself
pumping gas
in the
middle of nowhere.


"Carried Away" - Crosby, Stills, Nash (1977)


You came from out of the skies
Your skin and your eyes, the colors of bronze
The moon in your ear twinkled and shone
Soon you'll be gone.

Sailing out on the blue, your old man and you
Drifting along, leaving me here
Thinking it through
Soon you'll be gone.

Moving through my changes as fast as I can
Trying to bring a balance to me and the man
Part of me is screaming to say
I wannna be carried away.

From out of the skies
Your skin and your eyes, the colors of bronze
The star in your ear twinkled and shone
Soon you'll be gone.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lost Gem: "Indiscipline" - King Crimson (1981)


"I repeat myself when under stress.I repeat myself when under stress.I repeat myself when under stress."--> King Crimson <--

Seven years had passed since the legendary prog-floggers...King Crimson released a studio album. It was 1981. A different climate. And most thought the band was long-gone, boned, and buried.

However...nobody informed guitar genius, Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford (drums) Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals) or Tony Levin (bass).

"Discipiline" (1981) is a stunning must-own album filled with thrilling maneuvers...both powerful and innovative. And it still sounds amazingly fresh.
Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, Adrian Belew
Fripp spins one guitar web after another...but loosens the reins enough for the others to take their trip. And Belew, Bruford, and Levin sound inspired and dangerous. Lots of noise. No notes wasted.

Lost Gem:--> "Indiscipline"...has all the unnerving ramblings of a psychotic loner (it's something much more innocent) with Fripp and Belew shredding each others back with a guitar cat-o-nine-tails. Levin and Bruford let their own selves in. Begs repeated listening.

Have you heard this gem?


I do remember one thing.
It took hours and hours but..
by the time I was done with it,
I was so involved, I didn't know what to think.
I carried it around with me for days and days..
playing little games
like not looking at it for a whole day
and then.. looking at it.
to see if I still liked it.
I did.

I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat..
The more I look at it,
the more I like it.
I do think it's good.
The fact is..
no matter how closely I study it,
no matter how I take it apart,
no matter how I break it down,
It remains consistent.
I wish you were here to see it.

I like it.

Good stuff!
Casey Chambers
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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lost Stream Gem: "Shadows and Fog" (1991)


"Shadows runin full flight,to run, seek and hide."--> Rory Gallagher <--
Woody Allen (the actor) is the quirky conundrum wandering through much of his films as the self-doubting timid-timmy. Never sure what his next move should be or when it should be made.

Woody Allen (the director) doesn't have that problem.
"Shadows and Fog" is first and foremost a loving homage to the great b/w directors of lore. Fritz Lang quickly comes to mind...as does Bergman. Hints of Hitchcock and Fellini and others I'm sure I've forgotten. And it looks fantastic!
Woody Allen & Mia Farrow

Woody skillfully uses darkness and light to present a beautiful and amusing story involving sheepish Kleinman (Woody Allen) being roused from sleep by vigilantes demanding help catching a serial killer. There's also a subplot about circus performers and brothel activities that loosely connect like old Legos.

Initially panned, there was argy-bargy about the all-star cameos (I won't spoil their names) being a distraction and their talents being wasted. However, sometimes the passage of time has a way of toning down Hollywood Shine...and I found the casting (circa 20 years later) both entertaining and enjoyable.

"Shadows and Fog" is where danger haunts and mysteries hide. And glory waits its turn.







"Shadow Play" - Rory Gallagher (1978)



In the flinty light, it's midnight, and stars collide
Shadows run, in full flight, to run, seek and hide
I'm still not sure what part I play,
in this shadow play, this shadow play

In the half light, on this mad night, I hear a voice in time
Well, I look back, see a half-smile, then it's gone from sight
Won't you tell me how I can find my way?
In this shadow play, this shadow play
In this shadow play, this shadow play

Sounds come crashing, and I hear laughing
All those lights just blaze away
I feel a little strange inside
A little bit of Jekyll, a little Mr. Hyde

Sounds come crashing, can I hear laughing?
All those lights just blaze away
I feel a little strange inside
A little Dr. Jekyll, a little Mr. Hyde

Thoughts run wild, free as a child, into the night
Across the screen a thin beam, of magic light
Things they just don't look the same
In this shadow play, this shadow play
Shadow play, shadow play
I can't run away from this shadow play
Shadow play, shadow play

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lost Gem: "Waltz #2 (XO)" - Elliott Smith (1998)


"I'm never gonna
know you now

but I'm gonna love you anyhow."
--> Elliott Smith <--

This under-appreciated Midwest Magi was wickedly skilled in the fine art of song construction.

Elliot Smith
had a Brian Wilson ear for arrangements and a fearless John Lennon heart for exposing his wounds.


With a gentle voice, Smith delivered
lyrics that were both precise and personal...and yet floated over melodies that were disarmingly catchy and achingly beautiful.

And we trust taking the journey into the darker places...because Elliott used words like...Rushlight candles.
Elliott Smith was a tortured soul with a complex box of musical bandages...who tried, but just couldn't stop the bleeding. 

Lost Gem:--> "Waltz #2 (XO)"...starts with a lone "boom-chick-chick-boom" drum beat that is quickly joined by a cheerless acoustic guitar. And as ear-worm beautiful, the melody...it is a heartbreaking song.

Not about his favorite girl marrying someone else. But about seeing his mother withdraw into a shell as a result of a bad second marriage to an abusive man.

Have you heard this gem?


First the mic, then a half cigarette
Singing Kathy's Clown.
That's the man she's married to now.
That's the girl that he takes around town.
She appears composed
So she is, I suppose
Who can really tell?
She shows no emotion at all.
Stares into space like a dead china doll.

I'm never gonna know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow.

Now she's done, and they're calling someone
Such a familiar name.
I'm so glad that my memory's remote
'Cause I'm doing just fine hour to hour, note to note.
Here it is, the revenge to the tune.
You're no good, you're no good, you're no good, you're no good
Can't you tell that it's well understood?

I'm never gonna know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow.

I'm here today, expect it to stay on, and on, and on.
I'm tired, I'm tired.
Looking out on the substitute scene
Still going strong.
XO Mom.
It's OK, it's alright, nothing's wrong.
Tell Mr. Man with impossible plans
To just leave me alone.
In the place where I make no mistakes.
In the place where I have what it takes.

I'm never gonna know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow.
I'm never gonna know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow.
I'm never gonna know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lost RADIO Gem: "Hard Work" - John Handy (1976)


"Hard work.Hard work."--> John Handy <--

(Lost "Radio" Gem:...a single that may have charted, but deserved better.)
Smokin' jazz great...John Handy......and his bumblebee alto sax has been melting wax as leader or sideman for nearly 50 years. And will forever be recognized for giving us one of the great jazz albums..."Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival" (1965).

This was an incredible must-own burner with a quintet led by Handy and made up of brilliant, hungry newcomers..including Wichita's very own guitarist...Jerry Hahn.
Handy took the reins again on "Hard Work" (1976)...a tasty offering of jazz with a surprising R&B flavor. And though the album was a little hit-or-miss for jazz purists...trust your own ears. There's good stuff to be found.

Lost Radio Gem: "Hard Work" (#43 BB Charts)...a smoldering jazz-funker. John Handy's sax-blow is epic sick...burning with blue collar matches. Once heard, hard (work) to forget.

Have you heard this gem?


Good stuff!

Casey
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Monday, April 30, 2012

Lost Gem: "Electric Phase" - UFO (1977)


"This electric phase...ain't no teenage craze."
--> UFO <--

Another great Classic Rock album from UFO...and one that never received much radio justice.

Plenty of good stuff on..."Lights Out"...to rattle your ceiling fans and poltergeist your curtains.

These guys are terribly underrated and almost faceless in the States.  But just put your ears on...and then try to explain how they don't make the 'A' list.


This is UFO

Lost Gem:--> "Electric Phase"...is a great song buried deep on side two. Classic Michael Schenker stokes the blazing rock-oven with churning guitar riffs.  And under-appreciated singer Phil Mogg carries the news that your daughters are gonna reach out and touch someone.  A nice bit of slide and bass underneath, as well.

Have you heard this gem?


On the wires I can hear you comin'
With a rush and a strummin'
This electric phase ain't no teenage craze
In your house a phone is ringin'
Just a hot touch that keeps lingerin'
You said loving's easy only if you please
All I need is communication
Not a line on your reputation
I don't want a handshake
There ain't no big mistake

There's no illusion in this wild confusion
Who knows I'm crazy, no chance of maybe
I'd like to know you better
But I"m goin' down so fast
Help me now to feel it, I just can't conceal it
Sweet time I've got to show you how it's really got to be
Just let me be alone, left with your dialing tone

There's no illusion in this wild confusion
Who knows I'm crazy, no chance of maybe.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Lost Gem: "Roll Over Lay Down" - Status Quo (1973)



"Roll over lay down
and let me in."

--> Status Quo <--

Boogie rock-n-roll at its finest. Status Quo absolutely sets fire to your feet with their crankin' fun-time rollers.

These guys wail and jam with abandon and must have been something to behold "live". (Anyone care to share!?)

The album cover of this 1973 release..."Hello"...might have unintentionally been partial inspiration for another rather "infamous" Spinal Tap album (many albums issued were unreadable)...but no matter.
The music is catchy, loose and fun as hell. These guys can play. In fact, guitarist Francis Rossi, is one of the lost diamonds in the kingdom of guitar-spankage.

Lost Gem:--> "Roll Over Lay Down"...an awesome rocker that burns and churns with a great middle. One of the greatest boogie rock songs ever.

Have you heard this gem?


When I got home that night early one morning
Seeing the note written in ink pinned to the door
Drinking the drink cold from the fridge on the table
I drank a toast you were the most the night before.

Roll over lay down and let me in
Roll over it's a long way where I've been
Roll over lay down and let me in
Roll over lay down.

When I get home tomorrow night after this morning
Show me the care you showed in the note the night before
Maybe I won't take a drink from the table
Reckon I'll lay me straight down on the floor.

When I get home tomorrow night after this morning
Show me the day, show me the note the night before
Maybe I won't take a drink from the table
Reckon I'll lay me straight down on the floor.

Official Site

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Gems In My Mailbox!

Time For Mailbox Gems!


The Lawsuits
"Hot Love"
(2012)


I've had The Lawsuits playing steadily through my car speakers all day. With a refreshing Americana synergy, solid vocals propound lyrics about missed chances and close calls...almosts and do-overs. This five-member band outta PA play good time loose but never sloppy. They're having fun but they intend on keeping all the marbles.

"Hot Girls Make Porn" - The Lawsuits




Houka Monks
"Houka Monks"
(2012)


The passive/aggressive rock funkiness from Houka Monks is both radio-fresh and pleasingly strange. Like a mysterious Ray Bradbury traveling carnival show that sets up in the middle of the night - You might have trepidations about going...but you're absolutely going just the same.

"Halleluja" - Houka Monks



Dastardly
"Bury Me In The Country"
(2012)


This alt-blue-country band still shows veneration to the traditional mountain spices...but Dastardly hangs out the laundry like Violent Femmes with a Black and Decker moonshine kit. Original songs zig and zag with precise and unexpected arrangements. Dastardly aren't the first to swag tradition...but they're certainly one of the good'uns.

"Fever" - Dastardly


Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Lost Book Gem: "Off Season" - Jack Ketchum (1980)


"They're running up behind you and they're coming all about.
Can't go east 'cos you gotta go south."
--> Queen <--

Horror stories about friends heading off to cabins for some rest-&-rec only to meet up with nasty strangers has been done...ten times ten.

So anybody attempting to write another one had better know how to bring it. And hard!

But it was 1980 when Jack Ketchum delivered this gut-wrenching page-turner. And even after some forced editing...."Off Season"...still received a huge backlash for its gore and violence. So much so, Ballantine Books withdrew their support after the novel's first printing.

Jack Ketchum...a real nice guy.

Thirty years later, this controversial gorefest still maintains cult status. It has since been reissued in Ketchum's original unedited version ...and that's really the way to go.

"Off Season"
is a fast, disturbingly fun novel about surviving in an extremely twisted situation.

Veteran readers of the genre might not flinch too much...but they'll still be rewarded with a few tasty Jack Ketchum surprises and possibly a palpitating heart-dance or two.

Grab your reading glasses babies.

"Ogre Battle" - Queen / Queen II (1974)


Now once upon a time an old man told me a fable
When the piper is gone and the soup is cold on your table
And if the black crow flies to find a new destination...that is the sign.
Come tonight
Come to the ogre sight
Come to the ogre battle fight.

He gives a great big cry and he can swallow up the ocean
With a mighty tongue he catches flies, the palm of his hand incredible size.
One great big eye has a focus in your direction
Now the battle is on...Yeah yeah yeah!
Come tonight
Come to the ogre sight
Come to the ogre battle fight.

The ogre men are still inside
The two-way mirror mountain
Gotta keep down right out of sight
You can't see in but they can see out
"Keep a look out!"
The ogre men are coming out
From the two-way mirror mountain
They're running up behind you and they're coming all about
Can't go east 'cos you gotta go south.

Ogre-men are going home
The great big fight is over
Bugle blow that trumpet cry
Ogre battle lives for ever more.
You can come along
You can come along
Come to ogre battle

Good Stuff!

Casey Chambers
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