The Promise of Power

by Eric Blowtorch

supported by
Lisa Savastio Taglialavore
Lisa Savastio Taglialavore thumbnail
Lisa Savastio Taglialavore Eric has a blowtorch for a pen when he writes his fiery mostly political grooves! He has brains and passion for his own work and for the history of music that shows through in the smarts of the work...Musical workin' man pioneer. Funny too and you'll need that when he hits you with his musical truth. So get ready, cuz you've probably never heard a soul(full) sound this genuine... Favorite track: Too Sweet to Be Lonely.
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about

Over two days in November 2011, Eric Blowtorch recorded 17 songs in his bedroom at the Buckingham Apartments in Milwaukee, assisted by guest vocalist Matt Norberg (Highball Holiday, Blue Tips, Elevators, Kings Go Forth), guitarist Dan Flynn (Codebreaker, Skandals, Dan Flynn and the Inflammables, Kings Go Forth), and musical saw player Celeste Verhelst (Thistle and the Thorns). In one day E. B. and engineer Shane Olivo reamped the songs at Bobby Peru’s Power Plant in Milwaukee, and in another mixed the album at Peru’s.

“Here I Lay” opens with the album with E.B. singing from the perspective of one of his erstwhile clients at the Milwaukee County Jail musing on whether or not to take advantage of the Jail Library (closed by Sheriff David Clarke in 2009). “Can’t Go on Without Me” is an upbeat declaration of unwillingness to die, with additional guitar by Dan Flynn. “Dear Departed” is a chuggin’ love letter to all human beings gone before. The title song is a minor-key paean to the enduring spirit of Black Power.

“One of Us,” the punkiest selection on The Promise of Power, sees E. B. return to manic mode in a punk-rock nod to Kelis’s “Millionaire.” In the Les Paul-inspired “Good Man,” E. B. looks at the moral implications of Edmund Burke’s famous quote about the triumph of evil. On “Come to Your Senses” E. B. refutes Afghanistan War fever over a Tin Pan Alley-type fox trot. “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed,” cowritten with Alisha Hardeman Porter, and featuring wild guitar by Dan Flynn, is a rockabilly song about the end of the world.

“Forgetting You’re Gone” is a brief, moody meditation on the conspicuous absence of a good friend. Matt Norberg assists with sky-high backup vocals on a stripped-down cover version of the Internationals’ “Too Sweet to Be Lonely,” featured on the late Cosmo Cruz’s five-volume set of essential soul shots from 1965, the year Cosmo turned 17. “The Rose of Battersea” is a wall-of-sound waltz. Celeste Verhelst ornaments E. B.’s cover of Brother to Brother’s coming-of-age ballad “The Affair” with spooky musical saw.

On “Earth Bites Back,” E. B. gives thanks for cold weather in the age of accelerated global warming. “Guess Who’s Next,” first heard as a major-key Internet-only release, “Join Us,” is a solo ska challenge to law enforcement officers to disobey Scott Walker’s attempts to manipulate them against their fellow working people. Another waltz, “Miss USA,” tells the story of an imaginary good neighbor. “Another Walk with Thee” is E. B.’s fond see-you-soon to a dying friend. The finale, a drastic rearrangement of the Thousandaires’ “Get What You Give,” is a love song to life…and all the ladies.

The Promise of Power is available on CD at Bullseye Records, 1627 E. Irving Pl., just west of Farwell Avenue, and online via most digital music vendors. There are no acoustic guitars on this album. All vocal and rhythm guitar parts were recorded standing up.

credits

released December 25, 2011

Dan Flynn: Guitar on 2 & 8
Shane Olivo: Guitar on 4
Matt Norberg: Vocal on 10
Celeste Verhelst: Saw on 12

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about

Eric Blowtorch Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Singer/guitarist/songwriter Eric Blowtorch sings, plays, and writes reggae, ska, rocksteady, soul, rock 'n' roll, funk, Latin, disco, hip-hop, Anglo-Afropop, and jazz songs with rhythm, melody, passion, and original comic timing. E. B. plays solo, in duos and trios with selected stars, and with a trio, Eric Blowtorch and the Inflammables. ... more

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Track Name: Here I Lay
Here I lay
on Pod 3A
Can’t afford no lawyer
so I’ve got to pay

with my time
so I guess I’m-
a keep my beefs at bay,
stay out of the steak knife’s way

with this tome
of story and poem
and Hey, hey, hey,
see what you’ve got to say
Track Name: Dear Departed
Your lives were short and merciless
You must have seen the worst in us
Every day another long quest for food
as you tried to provide for the brood

In your footsteps we lumber through
and so we yet outnumber you
From northern latitude we send our gratitude
We stare up at the same star

Frescoes tall on cave and teepee wall:
history and/or tales tall?
Hailstorm, hazard, horror, heat exceeding
could not best your restless quest for meaning

In your footsteps we lumber through
and so we yet outnumber you
From northern latitude we send our gratitude
We owe you everything we are

I would, if I could, kiss that bloodied hand
of that hairy, scary, muddied man
who pushed and prodded us into the present
and slam the brakes on our succession

I couldn’t, I could not kill me a mouse,
much, much, much, much less a grebe or grouse
I don’t know how, I don’t know how to dowse
If I were you I would’ve never left the house

We wish you all could come back and see
your freaky, fruitful family tree
You could help us, maybe set us free,
and tell us how we came to be
Track Name: The Promise of Power
Janitor man goes home,
stares out the window alone
At work studies Stokely in scrupulous stealth
This loneliness ain’t good for his health

The only life on his street:
feral felines in heat
He’s breaking his heart every hour
waiting for the promise of power

He used to belong to the block
Now the whole block is living on lock
Listens to Malcolm and Marcus, eyes moist
So long since he raised his own voice

The only life on his street:
car alarm repeat and repeat
He’s breaking his heart every hour
waiting for the promise of power

You can’t love your fellow man
catching a teletan
History gathers dust on bookshelves
Everybody’s doing theyselves

Save for trivial tribal turf warring,
organization looks boring
Distributing goose down jackets, we’re actors
in the shadow of ruling class rackets

The only life on his street:
ballers on the bondservant’s beat
He’s breaking his heart every hour
waiting for the promise of power

But still he remains right on
long after the gangsters have gone
Still steering straight, still steering narrow
Tired down to his marrow

The only life on his street:
lonely crackhead crying for relief
He’s breaking his heart every hour
waiting for the promise of power
Track Name: One of Us
When one of us is bummed out
When one of us is numbed out
When one of us is drummed out
none of us happy

When one of us is hurting
When another’s blood is spurting
When one is Dirt McGirting
none of us healthy

But when one of us is laughing,
not just for photographing
and keeping out of trafficking
all of us can breathe

When one of us is bummed out
When one of us is numbed out
When one of us is dumbed out
none of us happy
none of us happy
none of us
Track Name: Good Man
Good man did nothing today
Good man did nothing today

Him drive to work, come home with no delay,
push the papers, stay out of the bossman’s way
No time for pleasure, no pay, him just punch in for pay
Ask him how him do, him say OK

He believe the greatest virtue is to behave
To the daily grind him grovel like a slave
Ignored the homeless veteran at the Pick ‘n’ Save
Tonight a hungry soldier meet an early grave

Blood and guts invade his mental space
Him feeling less than loving toward the human race
He wants to punch the poor passerby right in the face,
but good man heart is still a peaceful place

Good man
Good man
Good man
Good man
Track Name: Come to Your Senses
My countrymen, come to your senses
Can’t just keep incurring expenses
Cluster bombs on Gardez isn’t self-defense
It’s time to come to your senses

Imagine yourself in the trenches
Wake up and smell carcass stenches
Get your behind off history’s benches
It’s time to come to your senses

Decades of decadence,
epochs of opulence,
neglecting the best of your friends
It’s time to stop and come to your senses

Come off it, come to your senses
We’re living, not taking a census
Who’s the real terrorist, ladies, gents?
It’s not who you think, just like Red Ken says
Track Name: I Don't Wanna Be Kissed
I’m looking at you looking at me across a smoky room
The walls are shaking and the dancers are doing the doom
You’re looking at me like the world’s about to end
I don’t wanna smile, don’t wanna pretend

You’re a sight for sore eyes in your galoshes, miss,
and I bet if you got out there’d do a decent twist
You hold out your hand and all I see is a fist
The gesture’s grand but I don’t wanna be kissed

I just don’t wanna be kissed, don’t wanna be missed
Don’t wanna disappear with anyone into the mist
Don’t feel dogged out, duped, or dismissed, don’t feel dissed
I just don’t wanna be kissed, don’t wanna be kissed

I just don’t wanna be kissed
I just don’t wanna be kissed
I just don’t wanna be kissed
I just don’t wanna be kissed

I don’t wanna be kissed
I don’t wanna be kissed
I don’t wanna be kissed
I don’t wanna be kissed
Track Name: Forgetting You're Gone
“Pass it oooo-vah, duh, duhduhduh’
I’m still gassing over that locker room stutterer
so I move to get my man on the horn
but I keep forgetting you’re gone, forgetting you’re gone,
forgetting you’re gone, forgetting you’re gone

28 years – I guess I got used to
you ‘cause you were always down
for laughter, kicks, and the triple truth
You are gone but feels like always around
Forgetting you’re gone, forgetting you’re gone,
forgetting you’re gone
Gone
Track Name: Too Sweet to Be Lonely
If I could see the guy who made you cry and cry,
I’d laugh right in his face
Just another fool who blew his cool
Woman, I’m working on your case

Everything about you is too beautiful inside
to be wasting precious tears every time you cry

Ooh, baby, you’re too sweet to be lonely
Ooh, baby, you’re too sweet to be lonely

The world didn’t come to an end just because you got cheated
Let me show you how a queen should be treated

The next time you pass yourself in the looking glass,
you better dig it, dig yourself
Either you’re blind or you’re losing your mind
Woman, you’re something else
I can give you a thousand reasons why
you shouldn’t have to cry – here’s my shoulder, standing by
Track Name: The Rose of Battersea
I had me a dream:
I dreamt I could fly.
Outlandish it seem,
sailing way cross the sky.

I dreamt I saw London
and rich Venezuelans
sang on the one, son.
In the Smoke I was sailing.

My dream’s leading lady friend -
from South London she hailed.
Like a rose she was radiant,
dark and deeply detailed.

I stepped to her sweet-like
on the strength of her smile
in the train station’s weak light
and waited a while.

She gave me a bell.
We hit the cold Waterloo street
like a dream you could smell,
so strong and so sweet.

Under church chimes, bad weather
she drew close to me
and, after good times together,
went home - Battersea.

When I woke at twilight
I knew it’s a dream.
Life’s never that lifelike,
never this off the beam.

I promised to write down
everything I remembered
if I could turn right ‘round
to that foul Waterloo weather.

I took me a new job
that allowed me to scheme,
to earn me a few bob,
and return to my dream.

Of the work I grew weary,
slept rarely, no dreams.
Pockets empty and eyes bleary,
I bunked off the team.

My new situation
brought me back sleep,
alone for the duration,
at peace on the cheap.

Might miss a few details
but the dream comes to me
with the finest of females,
the Rose of Battersea.
Track Name: The Affair
The affair
in the Summer of ‘79
The affair makes me blush still
when I think of her in those skinny arms of mine

In the Summer of ’79
a boy went down below the Mason-Dixon line
In the Fall, when he returned, scorched and slightly burned,
he wasn’t a boy anymore

Oh, that affair
in the Summer of ‘79
The affair that let a young boy
know that he might be the loving kind

There were times I swore, blamed you
for my tears and much more
Knocked down by a kiss from you, so little I could do
Woman, I loved you true
Track Name: Earth Bites Back
Big, light, and white
The snowflakes tonight,
unlike any fallen – that’s right,
twinkle in the moonlight

Only two weeks before,
temperature soar
up to Fahrenheit 60
That ain’t how it should be, it’s shifty

But now we’re on the right track
Mighty Earth bites back
Mighty, Mighty, make my heart soar
Give me zero F, give me lower

Big, light, and white
The snowflakes tonight,
unlike any fallen – that’s right,
twinkle in the moonlight
Track Name: Guess Who's Next
They used you for years ‘gainst the blacks and the queers
Poorly paid musketeers, open your eyes and ears

Too feeble to flex, they called all hands on decks
Troops trained in their TECs on their own, the rednecks

Hey, National Guardsman, I’m talking to you, working dude to working dude
Think about who’s employing us and you won’t beat us, you’ll be joining us

Join us, join us, join us for a jamboree
Help us turn back to the 21st century
Join us, join us, soldier and deputy
Look to Egypt, not these eejits, and set yourself free

When the governor calls, spazzin’ out like Wally Sprawls,
grow yourself some balls, tell him find other gun molls

Hey, Mr. Policeman, I’m talking to you, working dude to working dude
Think about who’s employing us and you won’t beat us, you’ll be joining us

Join us, join us, join us for a jamboree
Help us turn back to the 21st century
Join us, join us, soldier and deputy
This ain’t Libya – don’t be an idiot, and set yourself free

because guess who’s next, guess who’s next with nooses ‘round necks
Guess who’s next, guess who’s next facing down TECs
Guess who’s next, guess who’s next – that’s you, you rednecks
Track Name: Miss USA
Miss USA was my neighbor
Just a boy, I still sought her favor
Athletic, attractive, in the community active
She didn’t mind good, honest labor

She’d visit old folks and shut-ins,
with sick boys and girls sit and hold hands
She barely got paid, her own clothe she handmade,
sang for free at the summer bandstand

A light to the lost, a helping hand to the hurt,
pretty outside and inside,
hearty laughing, hard-working, never dealing in dirt
When she moved away we all cried

So easy to lose something so dear
You wake up, your own life – you missed it
When she was ‘round here we’d nothing to fear
Sometimes I wonder if she really existed

A light to the lost, a helping hand to the hurt,
pretty outside and inside,
hearty laughing, hard-working, never dealing in dirt
When she moved away we all cried

Miss USA was my neighbor
Just a boy, I still sought her favor
Gladhearted and kind, generously inclined
Wherever she is, may G_d save her
Track Name: Another Walk with Thee
If the Maker moved Her mighty fingernail
and drew us in the dirt or raised us up from snail,
I should hope She’s a heavenly host
saving two place settings for this friendly ghost

I don’t need no mansion upstairs,
just a stinky, sooty cellar with some cinder-block chairs
You and I could drink bug juice and beer
and remember how we dug our time down here

If Heaven’s up there I don’t rightly know
but I want it to be, how I want it to be
I know, I know, I know I gotta go, gotta go
but I just got to take another walk with thee

Your face is hazy, meds coursing in,
our time together short, but then it’s always been
Summon all your strength and squeeze my shaking hand
and lead me to that sweet, unpromised land

If Heaven’s up there I don’t rightly know
but I want it to be, how I want it to be
I know, I know, I know you gotta go, gotta go
but I just got to take another walk with thee
Track Name: Get What You Give
I could curse the town I’m in
for messing up my name
I could search for greener pastures
and try to pass the blame

I could swim the ocean
I could cross the sea
I could go to the ends of the Earth
but I still gotta deal with me

I live the life I love
I love the life I live
Everywhere it’s all the same:
Get what you give

Now I’m no Casanova
but I’ve kissed one or two
Mr. Valentino,
got a message here for you:

I could really get around
I could play the field
I could go from town to town
but I’d never be fulfilled

I live the life I love
I love the life I live
Everywhere it’s all the same:
Get what you give

Get what you give, get what you give
Get what you give, get what you give