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Harlequinesque (2008)

is the second latest albums by The Mescaline Smugglers from April 2008. This time the style is totally different from before - no jugband - no rock - no heavy blues - but "psychedelic"! Sitar sounds and tablas as well as harpsichords can be heard here and there. And no blues harp anywhere! What else is new? Well, we have sax and fiddle for the first time.

Water damage caused the delay in the release of this album. Nothing was ruined but all studio instruments had to be moved to make room for the dryers and the studio could not be used for many months.

So, the sound is fresh and new, but hark! The last track ends with the phrase: "and we'll return no more.." What's this? Should the fans of the band (all 10 of them) be worried ??

All tracks were recorded in Parola, Finland in September 2007 - April 2008
Mixed by Jore Heikkilš
Webdesign by Jore & Joonas Heikkilš

Tracks:

1. Spring In a Butterfly's Wing (Leitch / McGowan)
is based on a poem of that name written by Donovan in 1965. I jumbled bits of it about, added some words to it and then gave it a tune. The guitar is tuned DADGAD. I recorded my tracks for this album last September and just told the guys to add on whatever they wanted. It certainly worked out great here. --davy
2. Run And Hide (Mc Gowan)
Nice piano from Tuomas on this. I canít remember how the guitar was tuned. I really donít know what put the idea of a psychedelic style CD into my head - though I remember thinking I was starting to write the same song all the time and I wanted to try something a bit different. Jore showed no surprise at all when I told him we needed to buy a sitar! --davy
3. Island (McGowan)
is another one in DADGAD. John is the poet John Donne, Steve is Steve Harley from Cockney Rebel - his All Men Are Hungry is one of my favourite songs; Jean Jacques is French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau. I like the kind of drone on the guitar in this - and the droning violin and accordian add to that. --davy
4. How Shall I Find My Way? (McGowan)
The guitar is tuned EAEGBE. Tuomas gets a bit pissed off with my two chord songs sometimes as it doesnít give him much scope for his skills - and I can understand how he feels - but I think he does great here. A pretty bleak lyric - but the chords are warm. --davy
Not true! I have skills only for two chords... --tuomas
5. Caladrius (Mc Gowan)
A caladrius is a mythical bird found in many a Bestiary in the Middle Ages. I canít remember what its significance was but I daresay the internet will provide a full explanation. I wrote this instrumental in 1982 but I thought it would fit quite nicely onto this CD. I just recorded the guitar track and wondered what Jore and Tuomas would come up with for it. My 1982 recording had tin whistles and mandolins in it and once again the boys surprised me with their choice of instrumentation - and they did a great job. --davy
6. And I Dream (Mc Gowan)
This was one of the few tracks we could finish before Davy had to leave. I can't recall I'd be on this one. --jore
AND I DREAM is one of my favourites. ItĎs in open C tuning, CGCGCE. Tuomasís harpsichord is fantastic and gives the song the dreamlike quality I was hoping for. Iíve just noticed Jore isnít on this track! I thought he was playing bass. The end gave me a chance to have a rattle about on the sitar - which I enjoyed immensely. --davy
7. Brain Damage (Waters)
This Pink Floyd cover turned out to be a tough one. It took incredible many weeks to get finished. We have two guests on this one, Pera and Hessu, they are members of the other band to which Tuomas also belongs. Boys can be heard also on tj band's (hopefully near) future album. Hessu played many solos for this track but we used only a small part here and there. But maybe it's ok if every instrument should not be heard all the time. But listen Bohemian Evenings (track #14) - there you can find one of Hessu's unused solo. Lifted straight from this song! --jore
This was Tuomasís idea after Iíd left Finland last year. Iím not a Pink Floyd fan but itís great to hear a saxaphone on a Smugglers track and Tuomasís vocal sounds pretty Ďloonyí to me! Great loony laughs near the end too. I think this track took longer to record than the entire Sergeant Pepper albumÖÖ --davy
8. Dreamer (Mc Gowan)
is in Open F tuning, CFCFCF. I like the little guitar triplet motif - Iím always looking for little riffs in all sorts of different tunings. I wasnít too keen on the piano on this when I first heard it but it grew on me and Iím used to it now. Not a lot to this little song - but I think itís OK and deserves to be there. --davy
9. Harlequinesque (Grierson)
My old friend Tom Grierson wrote this in 1977 - he was going through a Marc Bolan phase at the time. Being a vegetarian heís now horrified that he ever wrote a line that reads ĎBlessed by the blood of a fawní. I keep telling him he killed BambiÖÖ.Oh Harley is a track on one of the Tyran Rex albums - I think thatís where he got the idea for the title. The guys were struggling with this - as it sounded like La Bambaí to them (or maybe La Bambi) but they eventually added some nice keyboards and banjo. --davy
10. Hazy Daze (Mc Gowan)
I forgot to tell Jore to add some summer bird noises during the opening instrumental part of this. I wasnít too sure about the electric piano sound on this - but again it grew on me as I listened to it. I always try to throw in Donovan links onto CDís - so itís HAZY DAZE instead of LAZY DAZE this time around. I think itís a peaceful little song and it fits in quite well. --davy
Bird noises on the start? Good idea but maybe a little too late to do it when I read it from here... no, maybe you told me, Davy, but you know my memory... --jore
11. Cloudy Africa (Laitila... or how Tuomas remembers Collin Walcott's 'Cloud Dance' he heard 30 years ago)
This is one I canít comment on as I wasnít involved in it - but I think itís great! Perfect for belly dancingÖ. --davy
12. Madeleine (Grierson)
Tom wrote this round about 1984 and Iíve always thought it was one of his best songs - his Eleanor Rigby if you like. He was playing it in standard tuning originally but I worked out an arrangement in DADGAD when we recorded it in 1985. I think itís a wonderful tune and lyric and should be much better known than it is at present - so I decided to put it on a Smugglers CD as it will now have millions of people worldwide listening to it! --davy
13. Mary (Mc Gowan)
has the guitar tuned DADDAE. Wonderful cello effect by Jore on the keyboards. I didnít expect the backing vocals to be so high in the mix but Iím very happy with everything about this little song. --davy
14. Bohemian Evenings (Heikkilš, Taittonen)
Well, I played tablas first... not knowing what to do with them at all. Later Heikki had played some sax solos for Brain Damage... I just lift one take from there and put it here! It was too good to forget. Then I had to glue those two different elements with the third: bass! I search the basic note, tuned the bass with it and played something simple that fit with the rhythm. Not bad result if I may say so, considering I had no idea what to do at the beginning. Psychedelic improvisation! Heikki was very suprised to hear he is one of the composer of some song he never even knew! --jore
BOHEMIAN EVENINGS just blew me away the first time I heard it. I think what Jore has done with an unwanted saxophone track is fucking fabulous! The only thing I can claim is that I came up with the title for the track. It was the title of a poem I wrote in 1977 and at last itís served a useful purpose! This is just so spaced out and psychedelic and bohemian it makes me humble to have it on our CD. I want the sax player in the studio when I visit in July! --davy
15. Over The Hill And Faraway (Mc Gowan)
takes us back to DADGAD guitar tuning. I donít know where this song came from - itís not my usual style at all - well, I donít think it is - maybe others hear it differently. But I love this - itís probably my personal favourite of my songs on the CD. Itís got an intangible Ďsomethingí I was trying to capture - and a lot of that is due to Tuomas and Jore. Tuomasís harpsichord is sublime. A song of Ďlongingí for something - maybe for something that isnít there. I wanted this to be the last track because I had ended the song with the same notes that start the first song on the CD - so itís a kind of cycle. Pretentious? Very probably - but true nonetheless. --davy



PREVIEWLYRICSDOWNLOADREVIEWS


1. Spring In a Butterfly's Wing

Powdered sun dust filters through old lace
Chimneys silhouetted in their place
Painterís souls hung on white walls
As I pad on canvas floors in January

A girl child in white lace as pure as birth
Moving in the orange glow of earth
Sparkling a tangerine stone
Thoughts of velvet dance the dance of spring

Lords and Ladies fair of Rooftopland
Crystal doors and gold bound books of sand
I bought an astronomerís cloak
And thought of travelling through the mists of time

(c) Davy McGowan 2007


2. Run And Hide


3. Island

No manís an island
No manís an island John said
Everybody needs somebody
Just like the soul song said

All men are hungry
All men are hungry Steve said
Most are walking that road
Where the angels fear to tread

All men are born equal
All men are born equal Jean Jacques said
And if that ainít the truth
Then it comes the truth when theyíre dead

(c) Davy McGowan 2007


4. How Shall I Find My Way?

Here comes another day
Sun in the sky and a gentle breeze blowing
To carry my blues away
And what do I have to say
But thanks to the angels
For keeping those blues at bay

But how shall I find my way?
Where shall I find the strength
To keep living, living from day to day?
How shall I find my way?
When colours seem empty
And everything's fading to grey.

Here comes another night
Moon in the sky as I stand by the window
Bathing in the moonlight
But how to tell wrong from right?
And how to believe the enchantment of life
And its magical delight

But how shall I find my way?
Where shall I find the strength
To keep living, living from day to day?
How shall I find my way?
When colours seem empty
And everything's fading to grey.

(c) Davy Mc Gowan 2007


6. And I Dream

The open hand of winter
Bedecks the holly and the ivy tree
And in the frosty forest
The snowflakes dance a dance for you and me
And sheltering in our cabin
The fire pictures bring their own surprise
A host of elementals
I lie upon the bed and close my eyes

And I dream, and I dream, and I dream

The sudden sound of silence
Awakes me in the middle of the night
I find you there beside me
Your hand within my hand holding me tight
A robin whistles gently
As snowflakes weave a