Elephant Sightings

by Alec Arnold

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This disc compiles some songs from 2007's Jonah's Gourd with some recent recordings done in Vancouver, Canada.


released June 20, 2010

Performed by: (see tracks for details)
Merle Alderson - electric guitar
Jon Anderson - organ, percussion, effects
Alec Arnold - vocals, acoustic/electric guitar, harmonica, piano
Crystal Arnold - vocals, piano,
Randy Beardon - soprano sax
Shawn Carlile - trombone
Brent Copeland - organ, rhodes, piano
Catriona Day - cello
Josh Goodridge - drums, weird vocal sounds on track 7
John Haas - background vocals
Kathy Kwon - violin
Barry Mankin - bass guitar
Ed McCammon - trumpet
Lance Odegard - trombone
Roger "Bear" Plummer, Jr - trombone
Ryan Ray - drums
Jim Sigler - resophonic guitar
Lars Wall - drums

All tracks by Alec Arnold.

Tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 were originally recorded by Brad Hayes at The Barn Studio (Rolla, MO), May 2007. Released on "Jonah's Gourd." Remixed by Jon Anderson at Buena Vista Audio (Langley, BC), June 2010.

Tracks 1, 3, 9, and 10 were originally recorded by Jon Anderson at Buena Vista Audio for "The Country of Marriage" by The Castaway Posture. Remixed by Jon Anderson at Buena Vista Audio, June 2010.

Track 5 recorded and mixed by Jon Anderson, June 2010.



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Alec Arnold Vancouver, British Columbia

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Track Name: Cherry Blossoms
The cherry blossoms are falling like snow. Try as I might, I still can’t let go. I live in the words you last said to me, before you set sail on the salty sea.

I told you to pray for a strong eastern wind. I’d give you my love when I see you again.

The old timers say that the ocean is blind. When its drunk in a rage it takes whoever it finds. For 17 months and 23 days I’ve prayed on my knees (just like you told me). It came for you but it won’t for me.

I told you to pray for a strong eastern wind, I’d give you my love when I see you again.
Track Name: Fredericktown
I crawled my way through darkened woods. I was hoping for the sun to shine down. Found myself lost in Fredericktown. The clearing took my breath away – couldn’t find a single cloud. Found myself lost in Fredericktown.

Castor River cut this stone, but I’m the one that’s healing now. I take off my shoes, I’m standing on holy ground. Sha la la la, You said, “I AM.” Sha la la la, I know, “You are!” Step out of the world’s parade. I can’t stand just to follow the crowd. Lost myself lost in Fredericktown.

Let go of my hurt. Let go of my wicked crown. Lost myself lost in Fredericktown. I stared in the water, teach me not to be so proud. Fell asleep without my shirt, but beauty is fleeting anyhow.

Sha la la la, You said, “I AM.” Sha la la la, I know, “You are!”

I whispered a quiet prayer. I’s deafened by the sound. Found myself lost in Fredericktown. Freedom ain’t what it seems. I’ve surrendered to Heaven’s Hound. Found myself lost in Fredericktown.
Track Name: Soon
Soon - there won’t be - a place we won’t go - a part we won’t see - you’ll become – my territory - and I am yours - soon. Soon - when the cold wind blows - it’ll blow on us both - because you’re walking with me - I’ve got arms - made for to hold - you tonight - soon. Soon - I’ll give you my key - I gave you her stone - I’ll give you his name - every thread - of all that I own - I now give - soon. All my words - are bound by a chain - with time - a beginning and end. But love - it comes out this way - just as now - now.
Track Name: Insomnia's Arm
Up before dawn, insomnia’s arm is dragging you up out of your bed. A blue TV screen and jet black coffee, these days all the colors look dead. Every time the rain comes falling on your window, you know it won’t make nothing grow. There ain’t nothing here to tie your roots down into, and you tumble every time the wind blows.

Work feels the same day after day, and soon it might be year after year. The stories you tell from back then up until now are full of so much misery and soap opera tears. When I hear you laughing, it’s like a motorcycle engine that never starts but you still hear it try. “Ever-after” is such a joke to the abandoned. A new beginning sounds more divine.

Walking back home from a night at Bruno’s. (I wonder if you talk to yourself). Catholic guilt has got you tied up on stilts. Maybe no one told you that Jesus could/should/would/will help. Many times I’ve wanted just to say I love you but I don’t want you to think that I’m gay. I just know that it ain’t easy treading water when your heart is filled up with so much weight. Ever since you came back home from Arizona, these streets just don’t look the same. Nothing takes away the cracks from what’s been broken, but you’re always just a prayer from grace.
Track Name: With You On My Arm
When I become a dark brooding cloud
And can’t hold my head up high
She stoops to me and she kisses my mouth
My love, my beauty, my bride

When dreams and belief seem cold in the ground
And I drink up a cup full of lies
She comes to me and she slaps me around
My love, my beauty, my bride

How does a girl seal a boy’s fate?
I know it’s a deep mystery
But I’d give the whole world and all of my pay
To keep this sweet pearl next to me

When all our kids are grown up and gone
And life takes a new pace of time
I’ll still walk the street with you on my arm
My love my beauty my bride
Yeah I’ll walk the street proud with you on my arm
My love my beauty my bride
Track Name: Rebel Fist
He left the simple life for the world’s parade – said he had to howl at the moon. I guess the proud are always the first to eat crow. He went to find himself, but he looked too hard and opened up some doors too soon. There are places in this world that a man should never go. But we all know how it feels when the bee stings.

He let a sunset smile give him sunrise hope – she left just like a shooting star. Ain’t it sad to wish on the very thing you will lose? You never compromise until it gets too tough. That’s when you find yourself on your knees with your pockets turned out and a stutter you can’t control. We all know how it feels when the bee stings.

He turned his leather cheek to the northern wind, and cut his tongue on a sharp edged song. If there’s a dance to dance it away then you dance it alone. Outside a cheap hotel under a blood red moon, he waits for a Samaritan friend – he waited until it just got easier to let it bleed. We all know how it feels when the bees sting.

It might be 40 years out on the wilderness trail, or 40 days of judgment rain, or 40 nights asleep on 40 trains, but the prodigal will find a way back home. He took his deepest wound to an open field and sacrificed it like a bull. He set a fire, he watched it burn, and then he washed his hands. By the bluish glow of an appliance store, he stares into his father’s eyes, in a photograph that proves it’s not a dream. We all know how it feels when the bees sting.

It might be 40 years out on the wilderness trail, or 40 days of judgment rain, or 40 nights asleep on 40 trains, but the prodigal will find a way back home. Every drunken cry will sober up in the sun as laughter takes the place of that shame. Every rebel fist will lose its power to grip and only find the strength to embrace back home.
Track Name: Post Modern Lament
Shake off all the ashes from the Armageddon factory where they manufacture war as though it all will end today. Take off for the Painted Desert, then spill the ink to spite the feather. I’ll wait for God to send a signal on a rain cloud’s face.

I want the lightning to come strike me through the bones so I can know beyond Enlightenment that God ain’t just a show. I want the thunder to come rolling over me just like a motorcycle parade of His spirit’s energy.

Now I don’t need nothing but a toothpick and a razor shoved down deep inside my boot, (that’s all a man should ever need). Eat locust and honey. Wipe my mouth with unspent money. What’s the use in holding paper if it ain’t real currency?

Give up every memory of detached philosophy because a “truth just true to you” has never set anybody free. Detox every modern drug that found its way into my blood through needles of suspicion and the anti-child belief.

Burn the independence note, ambition’s drive, and the hopeless hope that: “All I need for liberty is inside of me, me, me.” Take a good long look around you Gnostic dogs who think you’ve found a transcendental answer to “corrupt reality.”

Everyone is a circus freak, we do our show to get a treat, but never find fulfillment or that missing piece that’s lost. All the vain excuses for humanity’s abuse of freedom found divine response as he was hammered to the cross.

All presumptuous striving to explain away his dying finds a cloud of witnesses declare that time was ripped in two. And history’s a witness of the sureness of that moment as the critics shut their ears and eyes at the empty tomb.

So walk me through your fire till the poison of my culture comes out dripping from my pours into a puddle at my feet. Meet me on your mountain, and let me dance inside your fountain. I’m not thirsty for no drink that any man could pour for me.
Track Name: It Ain't Revolving Just Around Me
When I’s a little kid, and my birthday came, all the streets were lined with American flags just for me (or so I believed). When the truth came out, that I had been deceived and my mom pushed me out on Flag Day, June the 14th – well, it was hard to receive.

But Oh! This is old world ain’t revolving just around me and I wish some of you would learn the same thing!

Like on a Thursday night, when I thought I fell in love with this take-charge waitress who served me at the Chinese place… she asked me out on a date. Well. The date was a con, and the con was on me. She tried to sucker me in to a get-rich-quick-pyramid-scheme! And my ego just screamed!

Some people think the whole solar system is singing their praise. But reality is sure to bring it all crashing down; it will happen one of these days.

Like when I turned 16 and my dad said, “Son, you’re going to work for that car.” And I said, “B- but – but but – My friends are all out having fun!” I find my lost coupon on the day it goes bad. I find the missing sock after I take the other one out with the trash. It’s just life’s little games.
Track Name: Sleepy Dunbar
I put my feet back east for a chew on the Drive, there’s a tiger in my blood and I’m feeling alive. Gotta get my pen on paper when I’m feeling this way.

There ain’t a Vegas king who could deal me wrong, there ain’t a pagan queen that could steal my song - “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” in the Café du Soleil.

I’s an older man then when I got off the train, I’m a younger man now, but you can’t tell by my face. Every wrinkle takes its story with you to the grave.

But I’ve got new things to write about all the old themes, I’ve got new ways to shout and new ways to bleed. Just put your fingers here on my pulse maybe you’ll see what I mean.

Oh Sleepy Dunbar, I’m wide awake, no honey, I can’t sleep, so put your red boots on, come on out and dance with me. Oh Sleepy Dunbar, you gotta open up this door for me, get your red set of wheels, I’ve got the mix if you’ve got the keys.

We saw a bloody sword at Kitsilano Beach and I guess Cockburn’s right, I don’t know where it leads, but take me up to Cypress Mountain for a better view.

With the city below and Orion above, with Tom singing it’s “Time, Time, Time” that I loved, I’ve always been a little bit dense but I can get a clue.
Track Name: Gravity
I’m shooting pool in the other room while you teach piano, and it’s a real simple tune, but your praise is so sincere at what she’s learned.

And it’s gospel to me that your well isn’t dry, and despite all this weight you’re still able to find the strength to lift another up in your words.

Because I’ve been with you lately into hospital rooms, where our sanitized hands can’t find nothing to do and a smile has to fight such a strong gravity.

Although you said I’m a cure to the weight that you feel, I know we’re both learning more about how we both need to heal, so come closer child I ain’t going nowhere.

And I’ll step in, to every inch that you give, praying as I go.

We start to go deaf and we start to go blind in a city so loud, in a world without light, where all the demons get paid if they can keep us asleep.

We all have those dreams where we wake up so cold and we walk in the dark and think we’ve seen an old ghost, but God calls our eyes to keep open their doors.

Like that little boy’s face at the Pitt Meadows Parade, when his let-go hand let that balloon get away and he said, “Oh, Dad, look, it’s going up to heaven.”

It’s pictures like that and its pictures like these, where your hair’s in your face but it’s easy to see that the child beneath your skin screams, “I am alive!”