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Lyrics and Liner Notes - Order Empty Train Now!

"To me, song writing is a fortunate affliction.  I enjoy hearing lyrics come to life.  Some of the songs contained here have waited a while to be born, to have life breathed into them. All made it on the train thanks to my bandmates Mark, Chris and Darren. I could never have made the trip without them." ~ David Francey -

Click on title for liner notes and lyrics

1. Empty Train - Listen speakerMP3    
2. Fool      
3. Holy Ground    
4. Hospital    
5. Mirror Ball     
6. Big Texas Moon   
7. Blue Girl   
8. Alli's Wedding     
9. Crucible   
10. False Knight  
11. Money Boys 
12. Junkie's Heart      
        

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Credits and photos from the recording of Empty Train

L-R Mark Westberg, Darren McMullen, Chris Coole ,and David Francey

The Handsome Soldiers
Mark Westberg: Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Drums, Backing Vocals
Chris Coole: Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Darren McMullen: Baritone Guitar, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Cittern, Upright Bass

The Brave Volunteers
John Showman: Fiddle
Mandy Connell: Backing Vocals
Rachel Davis: Fiddle
Colin Francey: Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar

Produced by Mark Westberg and Chris Coole
Arrangements by Westberg, Coole, McMullen and Francey
Recorded and engineered by Mark Westberg
All tracks recorded at the Coole Family Cottage
except John Showman’s Fiddle recorded by Andrew Collins,
and Rachel Davis’ Fiddle recorded by Darren McMullen
Mixed by Mark Westberg
Mastered by David Travers-Smith
Art direction: Beth Girdler
Art design and layout: Bill Cassidy, (TinyRacket.com)
Cover photo: Mark Westberg
Inside photos: David Francey, Beth Girdler and Geoff Somers
Copy editing: Kate Murphy
Management: Mark Watson, (WatsonEntertainment.com)
Booking: Ryan Heerschap, (Ibookshows.com)
All songs written by David Francey except tracks 10 traditional and 12 (D. Francey, J.-A. MacDonald, C. MacDonald)
C&P 2016 Laker Music (SOCAN)


David Francey, Mark Westberg, Chris Coole and Darren McMullen at the Coole Family Cottage

Musicians: I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the band for their talent and insight. So happy to put the songs in your hands, boys. Thanks for the encouragement and inspired playing throughout.  To John, Mandy, Rachel and Colin, my warmest thanks for all you brought to the table.

Thanks to the Cooles and the Donkers for the use of their cottages during the recording of the album.

Family: Thanks always to Beth and my family. A constant source of support, guaranteed.

Friends and supporters worldwide, thank you! You are much appreciated.

I dedicate this CD to my mother, Marion Muir Francey. She reached 94 years and could still laugh at it all. I will miss her.  

Management: Thanks to Mark and the crew at Watson Entertainment for your encouragement and exceptional efforts on our behalf and to Ryan Heerschap at I-Book Shows for all the grand tours past and future.

This project is funded in part by FACTOR

 

Empty Train

In Ashcroft BC, great long ore trains run along the Thompson River, thundering down full and rattling and banging back up empty. The sound made by those empty trains was as hollow and lonesome as I’ve ever heard.

It’s a lonely station I’m waiting at
My ticket’s bought, my bags are packed
My shoes are lead, my feet are clay
I can’t stand alone, I can’t run away
Till every day is much the same
And I rattle on like an empty train

The rounded hills are rusty brown
The river winds its way through town
The trains don’t stop, don’t have the time
’Cause they’re heading somewhere
Down the line
The whistle howls its sad refrain
To the rattle of an empty train

I wonder where I’m going to be
And I wonder what’s ahead for me
I wonder how I can rise above
I wonder who I’m going to love
A heart that loved but loved in vain
It just rattles on like an empty train

Words and Music: David Francey
Ashcroft BC/Elphin ON, July 2015

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Electric Guitar: Mark Westberg
Banjo: Chris Coole
Mandolin & Upright Bass: Darren McMullen

Fool

A well-earned song. Oh my.

Oh my, what a fool I’ve been
Oh my, what a fool I’ve been
I’ve been dragged around by my heart again
Oh my, what a fool I’ve been

Oh my, the mess I’ve made
Oh my, the mess I’ve made
And there’s nothing else that I can say
Oh my, the mess I’ve made

Oh my, the shape I’m in
Oh my, the shape I’m in
On a standing eight for my heart again
Oh my, the shape I’m in

Never saw it coming
I can tell you that
Never saw it coming
And that’s a fact

Oh my, I’m missing you
Oh my, I’m missing you
And there’s not a thing that I can do
Oh my, I’m missing you

On a winter’s morning
On a winter’s walk
I looked at her in wonder
And I could not talk

Oh my, what a fool I’ve been
Oh my, what a fool I’ve been
I’ve been dragged around by my heart again
Oh my, what a fool I’ve been

Words and Music: David Francey
Toronto ON, October 2014

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocal: Mark Westberg
Banjo: Chris Coole

Holy Ground

I rarely speak to anyone on an airplane as a matter of self-preservation. I met this man on a plane, high above California. He was a good soul who’d found his calling. He was on his way and I wished him luck.

He was off to do his magic tricks
For the Arab boys and girls
To walk the path his saviour walked
Halfway round the world
He used to coach the football team
Back in his home town
He was on the road
To Nazareth
To walk on holy ground

One man’s path’s a bed of stone
Hard and dry and brown
Me I’d rather find my way back home
Than walk on holy ground

He told me that for years he’d hoped
To stand at Galilee
Where Jesus found the fishermen
And walked upon the sea
Gethsemane and Jericho
Where the walls came tumbling down
To take the path his maker took
And walk on holy ground

One man’s path’s a bed of stone
Hard and dry and brown
Me I’d rather find my way back home
Than walk on holy ground

The Easter Tree on Calvary
The town of Bethlehem
The path to crucifixion
East and West Jerusalem
The hope he held within himself
That peace could still be found
If he took the path his saviour took
And walked on holy ground

One man’s path’s a bed of stone
Hard and dry and brown
Me I’d rather find my way back home
Than walk on holy ground

Words and Music: David Francey
Montreal Airport, March 1st 2004

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Acoustic Guitar: Mark Westberg
Acoustic Guitar & Banjo: Chris Coole
Cittern & Upright Bass: Darren McMullen

Hospital

I wrote this song when visiting my father in the hospital. He made it back home that time, but not the next. You never know.

The winter trees are black and stark
On the winter sky, in the coming dark
At the hospital they come and go
And you might get home, but you never know

My father lies on a tilted bed
Spends the hours inside his head
Dreams the dreams of a travelling man
From the living world and back again

When he’s awake, he’s sore and tired
In a world of needles, tubes and wires
He’s Lazarus, returned again
To another day of much the same

The night was spent in the shadowed dark
Tending to the vital spark
A vain attempt to fan the flame
Forestall the darkness, once again

The winter trees are black and stark
On the winter sky, in the coming dark
At the hospital they come and go
And you might get home, but you never know

Words and Music: David Francey
SGH, Scarborough ON, March 19th 2004

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Baritone Guitar: Darren McMullen

Mirror Ball

I nearly always enjoy dances, whether I’m dancing or not.

Well I did not come to dance
And I’m seeking no romance
Amid the desperate and the blessed
And the toiling of the rest
In this sea of lonely hearts
And what keeps them all apart
Love’s endless rise and fall
By the light of the mirror ball

I keep my head well down
No heads turn when I’m around
I came in by myself
I’m here with no one else
Take a seat by the nearest door
Watch the dancers on the floor
And I watch love’s rise and fall
By the light of the mirror ball

In the shadows where I stay
I can’t tear myself away
And even if I could
I don’t know if I would
I love the ebb and flow
As the dancers come and go
And they answer to the call
By the light of the mirror ball

And I watch love’s rise and fall
By the light of the mirror ball

Words and Music: David Francey
Elphin ON, October 2014

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Acoustic Guitar: Mark Westberg
Acoustic Guitar: Chris Coole
Baritone Guitar: Darren McMullen
Fiddle: John Showman

Big Texas Moon

No matter how far you travel, there’s something that reminds you of who you left behind and what you should have done. You always end up under the same sky looking at the same moon.

Here on the Gulf Coast
With nothing to do
Sit by the water and I think about you
It’s waving at me, I’ve got nothing to say
And the sun’s sinking lower into Galveston Bay
I’ll think about you and I think I know why
It’s that big Texas moon in a big Texas sky

The train yards are booming
It’s muffled and low
Tankers are lined up all in a row
They’re blacker than midnight at the end of the day
When the sun’s sinking lower into Galveston Bay
I’ll think about you and I think I know why
It’s that big Texas moon in a big Texas sky

Dog days of summer
In the heat of the day
In the heat of the moment I had something to say
I’d take it back if I had a way
But the sun’s sinking lower into Galveston Bay
I think about you and I think I know why
It’s that big Texas moon in a big Texas sky

Words and Music: David Francey
Elphin ON, November 2nd 2015

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Guitar & Drums: Mark Westberg
Banjo: Chris Coole
Mandolin & Upright Bass: Darren McMullen
Fiddle: John Showman

Blue Girl

I wrote this after viewing the National Film Board of Canada documentary Give Me Your Soul, a hard and sorry look at the world of porn and the people who make it.

Well you’d nothing I guess
In that town that you left
There was nothing to get in your way
And I wish you the best
But like all of the rest
You’ll be coming down one of these days

And the philistine says
In his satisfied way
This new one’s good meat for the grind
And he dreams up a scene
Lurid and mean
And he hangs on her tight for the ride

Freedom as licence
Comes wrapped in the flag
From a wheelchair-bound, hollowed-out man
And money’s the poison
And you pay while they’re pressing
The silver coins into your hand

And the smile on his face
Is scheming and base
A long-suffering Halloween mask
Seen them all passing through
In all shades of blue
All bending their backs to the task

At the end of the frames
They gave everyone’s names
Who’d wandered the Vale of Tears
And the liars and cheats
Landed right on their feet
But you fell till you disappeared

Well you’d nothing I guess
In that town that you left
There was nothing to get in your way
And I wish you the best
But like all of the rest
You’ll be coming down one of these days

Words and Music: David Francey
Elphin ON

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Electric Guitar: Mark Westberg
Acoustic Guitar: Chris Coole
Bouzouki: Darren McMullen

Alli’s Wedding

Alli, at her wedding or any other day, radiates a joy that you would wish for everyone.

Here we are at Alli’s wedding
Alli’s getting wed today
We are gathered here
The friends and family
To wish them well upon their way

There’ll be tunes at Alli’s wedding
There’ll be songs that we can sing
On a day we will remember
When joy was Queen
And love was King

And for them our fondest wishes
And for them the bells will ring
And for them our hearts will soar
And fly like swallows in the spring

So here’s to her, to dearest Alli
Here’s to her from all of us
Here’s to a long life together
And here’s to blessings from above

Words and Music: David Francey
Elphin ON, October 5th 2007

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Acoustic Guitar: Mark Westberg
Acoustic Guitar & Banjo: Chris Coole
Mandolin: Darren McMullen
Fiddle: Rachel Davis
Acoustic Guitar: Colin Francey

Crucible

A song I wrote for my father and my uncle. Both served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. They weren’t much more than boys.

My uncle was a stoker
Fed the belly of the beast
He shovelled round the compass rose
To the west back to the east
The endless toil, the heat and noise
And the darkness black as coal
And the endless appetite of fire
On the voyage from young to old

He was nearer my God
He was nearer my God to Thee
In the crucible of the cruel sea

My father was a signalman
He rendered speech and sight
The snap of flags in the winter wind
And the flashing of the light
The ceaseless hold of wind and cold
And the straight horizon grey
The seeming endlessness of night
And the dawning of the day
 
He was nearer my God
He was nearer my God to Thee
In the crucible of the cruel sea

And all the men so much like them
Who left without a plea
Who disappeared in a flash of light
From the face of the rolling sea
The sinking of their simple hopes
The silencing of all
And the unforgiving emptiness
Of the ocean’s rise and fall
 
They were nearer my God
They were nearer my God to Thee
In the crucible of the cruel sea

Words and Music: David Francey
Elphin ON, August 2006

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Baritone Guitar: Darren McMullen
Guitar: Chris Coole

False Knight
 
I’ve loved this song for many years. I am joined by my friend Mandy Connell from Australia.  One of my favourite trad voices anywhere.

“Why do you come so late?” said the Knight on the road
“I go to meet my God,” said the child as he stood
And he stood and he stood
It were well that he stood
“I go to meet my God,” said the child as he stood

“How do you go by land?” said the Knight on the road
“With a strong staff in my hand,” said the child as he stood
And he stood…

“How do you go by sea?” said the Knight on the road
“With a good boat under me,” said the child as he stood
And he stood…

“I hear the ringing of a bell,” said the Knight on the road
“It’s ringing you to Hell,” said the child as he stood
And he stood…

“Why do you come so late?” said the Knight on the road
“I go to meet my God,” said the child as he stood
And he stood…

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Acoustic Guitar: Mark Westberg
Cittern: Darren McMullen
Banjo: Chris Coole
Backing Vocal: Mandy Connell

The Money Boys

This song could have been written at any time in our recent history and still be current. Fear and complacency at work.

They tell us it will all be fine
If we hold our tongue and toe the line
The money boys with fat behinds
And those all trim and taut

And we believe the stuff they say
Don’t understand it anyway
The third world’s half a world away
But they’re coming, like as not

Still the banker drones about specifics
His mumbo jumbo hieroglyphics
His voodoo numbered stacked statistics
Tell him what he wants

But over on the other side
Of town or nation worldwide
The Horsemen Four begin their ride
Hungry, dark and gaunt

Words and Music: David Francey
Elphin ON, January 2015

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Backing Vocal: Colin Francey

Junkie’s Heart

I had the chorus and a verse when I met up to write with Colin and John-Angus MacDonald from The Trews. We put this one through its paces. We all share the habit. 

I don’t need a match and spoon
I don’t need to shoot the moon
I don’t need this burnt-out room
All I need is you

I just need another fix
’Cause life without you makes me sick
I can feel it come on quick
All I need is you

I got a junkie’s heart
I got a junkie’s heart
It’s falling all apart
My junkie’s heart

I think I might, I think I may
Live to die another day
I guess that’s just the price you pay
’Cause all I need is you

Highs too high and lows too low
Every time you come and go
I’m coming down, look out below
All I need is you

I think about you all the time
I can’t get you off my mind
Just one more kiss and I’ll be fine
All I need is you

I got a junkie’s heart
I got a junkie’s heart
It’s falling all apart
I got a junkie’s heart

Words and Music: D. Francey, J.-A. MacDonald, C. MacDonald
Toronto ON, May 2013

Lead Vocal: David Francey
Acoustic Guitar & Drums: Mark Westberg
Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocal: Chris Coole
Mandolin & Upright Bass: Darren McMullen
Fiddle: John Showman


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