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Fugitive Colors

⇓ scroll down for credits, comments, and lyrics 

 “Inspired guitar, inspired lyrics, distinctive voice—sounds like no one else.”

Free download of “Away”

Free download of “A Lot of Good Men Gone Down”

Raw but elegant guitar architecture…lyrics that conjure spirits of the past…a voice sculpted by time and experience…these are the defining characteristics of Dave Perkins’ Fugitive Colors, an eclectic collection of songs that bridge the boundary lines of multiple genres of American music.  One early listener described Fugitive Colors as “genre-free.”  Thanks to Perkins’ individualistic guitar approach to song construction, the question is blurred as to where, if in any of the usual locations, this album belongs.  Americana? Contemporary folk rock?  Alternative rock?  Singer-songwriter?

When asked about the album’s title, Perkins responded, “Fugitive colors are deferred emotions, delayed reactions, deep feelings that have risen from hidden places.” Forgotten feelings are sometimes triggered by a chance encounter that stirs the memory, or, they may be resurrected by challenging circumstances.  In recent years, Perkins has had his own challenges, of which we hear echoes in songs like “Blue Into Black,” “Away,” and “Stand.”

In one of Fugitive Colors recurring themes, joy and lament dance together revealing how love and friendship are resilient against the erosion of time. Facts may blur, but the feelings remain true. The stories get richer with time and telling.

“A Lot of Good Men Gone Down”—written for Perkins’ father and several music-making friends who died too young—asks, “Is there a wind that blows making old friends call, just when they’re on your mind. And who’s been pushing that button up there that makes your time rewind.”  This question sets the tone for several of the album’s songs.  Together they put weight on the idea that the stories of our lives, deep feelings for long-lost love and friendships are always with us and shape our perceptions of who we are.  The beautiful sadness of “The Wind in the Attic”, the humor in the story of the gambling girlfriend of “New Jimmy’s” all reflect the richness that relationships, good or bad, bring to our lives.

Lyrics that read in one instance like Flannery O’Connor and, in another, like Beat Poetry delivered by a voice that has clearly seen life in its extremes, propped up by masterful (even if deconstructed) guitars—this is Fugitive Colors.  For one listener, Fugitive Colors is the best yet assemblage of Dave Perkins’ distinctive gifts: “Inspired guitar, inspired lyrics, distinctive voice—sounds like no one else.”

 

Dave Perkins’ musical journey has taken varied and equally eclectic paths. His work as a guitarist, on the road and in the studio, includes fiddle master Vassar Clements, blues and jazz violinist Papa John Creach, singer-songwriter Carole King, Texas renegade Jerry Jeff Walker, Americana godfather Guy Clark, reggae band Mystic Meditations, alt-rockers Chagall Guevara, hard-core techno-punk Passafist, and, for a brief but instructive stint, Ray Charles. Perkins’ last solo project “Pistol City Holiness”, homage to his love of the blues, received much praise in the press and online. His studio work and songwriting have appeared on a multitude of music projects including albums, film and TV.

 


Fugitive Colors: Credits and Comments

Some of Fugitive Colors was recorded on two-inch analog tape over the course of several years.  Unfortunately, the tracking information sheets for those songs got damaged in the Nashville flood of 2010. This leaves questions as to who played what and when. Most of the credits here are accurate, however, lots of players came through the studio. We are hoping that some of the remaining questions will be resolved as folks get in touch to say they played. In the meanwhile, here are the musician credits to the best of Dave’s memory accompanied by Dave’s comments and thoughts.

“A Lot of Good Men Gone Down”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
I wrote this song before I had lost any of the women in my life. If I didn’t like the vocal performance as much as I do, I would have rewritten the lyric to be more inclusive and given the vocal another shot. But, even though the song now seems to be missing important people, it was, when I wrote it, my personal statement, my reflex reaction after death came close for the first time. “A Lot of Good Men Gone Down” was written for my father–a  very good man. Also, for Michael Clarke (drummer for the Byrds)—we became roommates on the road. My x-bandmates Mark “Rooster” Richardson and Leo LeBlanc (steel guitar with Jerry Jeff, John Prine) were there in spirit as I wrote the song. They all—my Dad included—died too young. And, they each had such a huge life force (Bee Spears!) that you could physically feel their absence. When friend and mentor Guy Clark died this year, I dug this song out of the vault. Getting it ready for Fugitive Colors, I realized that I’ve yet to fully get over the loss of these loved ones. So, “Lift your glasses one more time for those who left us behind.” And, now, women too (Mom). I celebrate them all; I lament them all.  A lot of good folks gone down . . .

Drums: Mike Mead; Organ: Phil Madeira; Guitars and Vocals: Dave Perkins; Bass: E Scott Esbeck

               

 

“The Wind in My Attic”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)

For lost love that continues to haunt.

Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Organ, and Vocal: Dave Perkins; Electric Guitar: Jerry McPherson; Bass: Byron House

“New Jimmy’s”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
Troublesome girlfriend finally leaves—and leaves behind a winning lottery ticket. Viva luck!  The title name checks the infamous night club of the 1950s.  “Gone up New Jimmy’s–catch a beat you bet!

Guitars and Vocal: Dave Perkins; Organ: Phil Madeira; Bass: E Scott Esbeck or Chris Donahue; Drums: Mike Mead

“Blue into Black”   (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
A dark one. The mysterious, prophetic nature of writing songs—somehow, I was looking years ahead to a time when I would be standing toes on the line, the edge of the abyss.  I wrote this sitting on the little back porch watching the sun set across the Chesapeake water.  “When I go down, down, down . . . falling like a ball of fire . . . eaten alive by the horizon.”  

Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Vocal: Dave Perkins; Drums: Mike Mead; Bass: E Scott Esbeck; Organ and Piano: Phil Madeira; Electric Guitar: Lynn Nichols

“Perfect As Plastic”   (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
In memory of Frankie, a cross-dresser who presented like a Chanel model and who was a regular shopper at my father-in-law’s hardware store.  A class act!  “It’s hard to be pretty in a town without pity.”

Drums: Mike Mead; Guitars and Vocals: Dave Perkins; Bass: Byron House; Organ: Phil Madeira

“Race Cars Run (farewell, Buk)”   (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
For the passing of the poet Charles Bukowski, who mined beauty from the crude and rude.  I invoked Buk’s barfly alter ego to inhabit the singing.  “Shake the hand of the snake—I’m a viper who can’t be charmed.”

Bass: Wade Jaynes; Piano and Organ: Reese Wynans; Guitars and Vocals: Dave Perkins; Drums: Mike Mead

“Away”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
With true gratitude to the one who has my back (and front) when I’m on the ropes. Please download and share.

Accordion: Phil Madeira; Organ: Reese Wynans; Drums: Pete Thomas; Acoustic Guitars and Vocals: Dave Perkins; Dulcimer: Nice guy from L.A. who was “just passin’ through”; Slide Solo: That’s Phil

“Open Windows”    (© Dave Perkins; Sky South/ASCAP)
Wish I could recall what this song is about. Or, maybe I shouldn’t want to remember! A flashback of some kind . . . “Who knows what the wind blows, what the cat drug in—open windows.”

Violins: Antoine Silverman or Eric Silver; Guitars, Organ, Pennywhistle, and Vocals: Dave Perkins; Brushes and Drums: Mike Mead; Bass: E Scott Esbeck or ??

“Nothing But Love”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
Some relationships turn on the absurd.

Electric and Acoustic Guitars and Vocal: Dave Perkins; Backing Vocal: Doug Powell; Drums: Lang Bliss; Accordion: Phil Madeira; Bass: E Scott Esbeck

“What It Is”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
“Baby you can sit on it, you can hold it down–get out your hammer and nails.  Put it in a time capsule, bury it in Memphis, only to be discovered centuries later in some alien yard sale.  But, Baby, you better find out what it is!” This is good advice–am I right?

Bass: Byron House; Drums: Mike Mead; Organ: Phil Madeira; Electric Guitar and Vocals: Dave Perkins; 2nd Electric Guitar: Lynn Nichols

“Stand”    (© Dave Perkins; Dreambox/ASCAP)
For a friend who called in the middle of the night to say he was ready to leave this world behind.  “Stand when your stars all fall, when the darkness calls, ’cause you were meant to be.”

Acoustic and Electric Guitars and Vocals: Dave Perkins; Bass: Byron House; Drums: Paul Griffith; Organ: Reese Wynans; Accordion: Phil Madeira


LYRICS

 

A Lot of Good Men Gone Down

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

Is there a wind that blows making old friends call just when they’re in your mind?

And who’s been pushing that button up there that makes your time rewind?

Across miles and wires and satellites we see, through eyes undimmed in time

And, call again on our fierce tears for those who left us behind

 

A lot of good men gone down

Like seed into the ground

A lot of good men gone down

 

Chilly wind blow, chilly wind blow cold, through my memory

summon up faces, waking up names, sleeping violently

Time cries, it kills, it reveals, it squeals on all those who can see time’s shifty ways

But you can’t call up yesterday,

And, the best of us martyr ourselves to something or someone anyway

 

A lot of good men gone down

Like tears into the ground

A lot of good men gone down

 

Is there a wind that blows making old friends call just when they’re in your mind?

And is who’s been pushing that button up there that makes your time unwind?

Seasons come and go and teach and preach from hindsight long since left your reach

And, as you see, the dice ain’t blind

So, lift your glasses one more time for those who left us behind

 

A lot of good men gone down

A lot of good men gone down

 

New Jimmy’s

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

That girl, she never had a head for timing and it’s really too bad

‘Cause she’s gone and the ship’s come in

Leaving me alone with nothing but this stupid grin

 

Gone up New Jimmy’s—catch a beat you bet

Gone up New Jimmy’s—with a wallet full of money and a lot to forget

 

That girl, she used to lie about playing the numbers

Cause she hit this time

She didn’t drink booze, she didn’t do dope,

Maybe she just had to sneak off and smoke a little hope sometimes y’all

 

Gone up New Jimmy’s—catch a beat you bet

Gone up New Jimmy’s—with a wallet full of money and a lot to forget

 

Yeah I ain’t feeling hard over her little fibs

Now, I can forgive her for everything I did

Hey, it’s red-eyed and rowdy, and my flag’s at half mast

‘Cause, I can afford to let the past go past

 

That girl she always had a nose for trouble

Now she’s sniffing up some other trail

She’s gone and the ship’s come in

Leaving me alone with her money and this stupid grin

 

Gone up New Jimmy’s—catch a beat you bet

Gone up New Jimmy’s—with a wallet full of money and a lot to forget

Gone up New Jimmy’s—catch a beat you bet

Gone up New Jimmy’s—with a wallet full of money and a lot to forget

 

Open Windows

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

Peek around the corner, see who might be there

Keep yourself way down low, underneath the chair

You know the light does funny things, to he who sings, so he won’t scare

Who knows what the wind blows, what the cat drug in

Open windows

 

Silhouette in a door full of sky, maybe today will fall inside

If it does can I say it’s mine?

Summertime is the time it’s true, for you to do what you will do

Keep in mind that it all goes around and through

Open windows

 

Curtain lace, breathe sway

Cool light hum, for the end of day

A room waits so still

Shadow whisper fill

 

Listen for the whisper, listen for your name

Get yourself back in the breeze again

Summertime is the time it’s true, for you to do what you will do

Keep in mind that it all goes around and through

Open windows

 

Blue Into Black

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

When I go down, down, down . . .

 

Baby don’t wipe my tears away, even though I trust your touch as real

It’s all I have for the price I paid

Now, I don’t want to waste my sorrow

 

Where blue runs into black I don’t know, if I’m coming back I can’t say

Where blue runs into black, you can find me there

 

Living left a bad taste in my mouth

Really turn your head if you let it

Now, I ain’t gonna rinse it out

Until I’m sure I’ll never forget it, never forget it

 

Where blue runs into black I don’t know, if I’m coming back I can’t say

Where blue runs into black, you can find me there

 

Pain rushes in where there is none

There’s a flood outside carrying all my friends

It’s hard to keep your eyes open once you’ve drunk the punch

 

Hey man, I ain’t gonna close my eyes, when I’m falling like a ball of fire

When I go down, down, down—eaten alive by the horizon

 

Where blue runs into black I don’t know, if I’m coming back I can’t say

Where blue runs into black, you can find me there

 

When I go down, down, down . . . eaten alive by the horizon.

 

The Wind In The Attic

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

I put you away, I took you upstairs

With all of my old letters and overstuffed chair

But when the quiet comes it’s so automatic—you’re the wind in my attic

 

Oh Babe, it’s been so many years

Somewhere out there you have laughed and cried your share of tears

And I haven’t seen your face, but I still hear voices . . .

 

If time were a ladder, I would climb back down

Go back and stand at the crossroad where I let you down

And wait like a beggar, a repentant fanatic

You’re the wind in my attic

 

Tears fall with no destination

With no return address, for no particular reason or occasion

No matter how good it gets, it just feels anti-climatic

You’re the wind in my attic

 

The time gets shorter between every stroke

And I’ve said sorry so often, guess what—I no longer choke

You’re the rising grind between every clock tick

You’re the wind in my attic

 

Oh Babe, it’s been so many years

And, somewhere out there you have laughed and cried your share of tears

You found my heart dark, and my soul nomadic

Like the wind in the attic

You’re the wind in my attic

 

Nothing But Love

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

Nothing but a dream, nothing but a nightmare

Nothing but a scream from the dark side of the soul

Nothing but a heartache, nothing you can medicate

Nothing but love can make you hurt this bad

 

Brother turn me toward the morning light

I can’t make it to the other side

Tell my Ma, please don’t cry

‘Cause I ain’t gonna make it

 

Ain’t never crossed a bridge that hadn’t been burned

Never learned a tune that wouldn’t get turned

Never been a diplomat, maybe you heard about that

I wear it on my sleeve, zippy doo dat!

 

Brother turn me toward the morning light

I can’t make it to the other side

Tell my Ma, please don’t cry

‘Cause I ain’t gonna make it

 

So, what’s this this thing makes me scream like a brat

Makes me feel like I’m fat and I ain’t worth a dime

I want to tell the world, I’m gonna tell the girl, “I . . . I AM! . . . I think . . .

 

Brother turn me toward the morning light

I can’t make it to the other side

Tell my Ma, please don’t cry

Tell my Ma not to cry

‘Cause I ain’t gonna make it

 

Ain’t nothing but love

 

Race Cars Run (Farewell, Buk)

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ ASCAP)

 

He said, “Hey wait a minute—is that a baby crying?

Or, just that jerk blowin’ alto in the night.”

He was a lethal combination of brains and bad culture;

He was bragging like a boxer, who’s too old to fight.

He said, “I fought the law and you’re bound to lose some.”

“Twenty years fell like the snow when the cold come.”

“But I would give it all, one more time, to watch the race cars run.”

 

He said, “Heh-heh, look at them tinsel tigers—you doomed youth!”

“The genderbender’s had a heyday.”

“And, I’ll give y’all my platinum rule: You gotta do unto others before they do unto you,

and, before they get away!”

“Son, I seen the world in  81 days, but when all of the best is weighed in the balances,

I would give it all, one more time, to watch the race cars run.”

 

“Let’s let ‘em run . . . “

 

“Oh, come on—harm’s way?  I mean you no harm!” 

“Shake the hand of the snake, I’m a viper that can’t be charmed . . . (I’m charmed!)”

“Well, time rolls down like a runaway child, with a gleam in its eye and an inch that becomes a mile.”

“I got a hole in my head where the money pours through,

and I let it all ride any time that I want to.”

“I think I’ll let it all ride, one more time, to watch the race cars run.”

“Oh yeah, watch the race cars run.”

“Come on, let ‘em run—here we go!”

 

“Watch the race cars run . . . ”

“Watch the young bucks pull—watch the race cars run.”

 

Away

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

My love, my love said to me, she would fight whatever might take me away

 

Down, gravity pulls you down

Down, into the blood red ground

And, most days I help it along and cover my crime with a song

 

My love, my love said to me, she would fight whatever might take me away

 

Tomorrow, always tomorrow

Yeah, that’s where I beg, steal, and borrow time in my twisted way

I could quit any stronger day

 

My love, my love said to me, she would fight whatever might take me away

 

I used to spend time like daddy’s money

I used to drive it—top down and ninety

I used to drink it back with an ignorance chaser

 

My love, my love said to me, she would fight whatever might take me away

My love, my love said to me, she would fight whatever might take me away,

 . . . away . . .

 

Stand

words and Music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

Thunder rolls across the dark night of the soul

Seems like heaven’s door is tight

Comfort and courage I will send to you

Yeah, we can make it through the night

 

Stand when your stars all fall, when the darkness calls

For you were meant to be

Stand when your weary love has been pushed and shoved

‘Cause you were meant to be

 

Seems so long you’ve been carrying that cross all by yourself

And, you don’t see how you can take it

Truth be told, we each live in a house of cards

And, it don’t take much to shake it

 

Stand when your stars all fall, when the darkness calls

For you were meant to be

Stand when the world is a liar, when you’ve lost your fire

‘Cause you were meant to be

 

To strike a match or curse the dark

Either way it’s hard to handle

Don’t let the storm snuff out your candle

 

Thunder rolls across the dark night of the soul . . . well alright

Comfort and courage I will send to you

Yes, we can make it through the night

 

Stand when your stars all fall, when the darkness calls

For you were meant to be

Stand when your weary love has been kicked and shoved

‘Cause you were meant to be

 

Stand when your stars all fall, when the darkness calls

For you were meant to be

Stand when the wind blows cold, when your heart feels old

You were meant to be

 

 

What It Is

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

Baby, you can talk about it—you can shout it in the streets

Yeah, you can paint it on your eyelids—so you don’t forget about it while you sleep

But, baby, you better find out what it is

 

Baby you can sit on it, you can hold it down—get out your hammer and nails

Put it in a time capsule, bury it in Memphis

Only to be discovered centuries later in some alien yard sale

My babe, you better find out what it is

 

It’s a mystery to almost everyone I know but me

And, honey, I can’t tell you how low you’ll go before you know

That the roses smell

 

It is a mystery to almost everyone I know but me

And, honey, I can’t tell you how low you’ll go before you know

That the roses smell

 

Paint it in a picture, put it in a frame

Hang it in the Louvre to great acclaim

See it in the mirror, but when you walk away

Will you forget what you see today?

 

My baby, you better call it up and ask it what it is

 

Perfect as Plastic

words and music by Dave Perkins

(Dreambox/ASCAP)

 

 

The river will rise, it’s true

But, may the road rise to meet you

The river will rise little beauty

So, don’t you cry your eyes

 

I found Frankie in a serious look hanging around in a hardware store

In a pillbox hat, black lace veil, filling up a bag with finishing nails.

It’s hard to be different, it’s tough to be pretty in a town without pity

Time to fly away

 

The river will rise, it’s true

But, may the road rise to meet you

The river will rise little beauty

But, don’t you cry your eyes

 

Over a cup of sweet coffee and a trim cigarette

Frankie gave story that won’t let me forget

About life in the shadows, of marquees and neons

Walks on the wild side and everything in between

As perfect as plastic, as real as TV

I believe I see—we each must drink our cup of tea

 

The river will rise, it’s true

But, may the road rise to meet you

The river will rise little beauty

But, don’t you cry your eyes

 (repeat chorus)

 

Sweet dreams of Chanel and Black & Decker

Make you dance faster and faster all the time

 

It’s hard to be different, tough to be pretty in a town without pity

Time to fly away

 

The river will rise, it’s true

But, may the road rise to meet you

The river will rise little beauty

But, don’t you cry your eyes