the rank & file demos

by Casey Neill

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Eight solo acoustic demo recordings for the Casey Neill & The Norway Rats album 'Goodbye to the Rank & File'.

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released October 6, 2015

Performed by Casey Neill, Recorded by Ezra Holbrook

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Casey Neill & The Norway Rats Portland, Oregon

CASEY NEILL & THE NORWAY RATS are a crack gang of musicians from Portland Oregon. Their sound combines high energy diesel fueled rave-ups and haunting ballads. Neill's weather beaten narratives celebrate miscreants, and explore the hidden corners of the American landscape. ... more

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Track Name: This Year Was A Blur
THIS YEAR WAS A BLUR
black wall of rain, get in and get down
the winter king & his stormy crown
November came, November went
the chain of days, & stir of events
& what it meant I'm not sure
& even though it was a good one
this year was a blur

pirate the hours from devil time
a cup of kindness for old lang syne
ocean to ocean, sky to sky
turn and face backwards, wave good bye
action is the cure
sorrow trailing out behind us
this year was a blur

we put our heads in the sand a little deeper
instead of waking up we joined the sleepers
all these years of promise squanders
down these long and empty street I wander

clear the fog from my mind, the mud from my boots
dust off my hound's tooth suit
the past is another country my dear
but the gang hasn't gone, the gang's all here
& together we'll endure
kick it over to the next one
This year was a blur
kick it over to the next one
kick it over to the next one
Track Name: Idyll
IDYLL

follow the overgrown railroad track
through the weeds and grass and shotgun shacks
down by the signal crossing and the burned out cadillacs
summer it is nearly gone it never seems to last too long
til the cold northern wind comes to take the season back
& the holy rollers roll through town again
on a mission of redemption to wash away our sins
i am sanctified only by the darkness of your eyes
& swimming in the quarry
cool water on your skin

building castles in the air
cheshire smile mad as the march hare
firewater cuts the dust & we make quite a pair
here in the county seat, our sleepy municipality
it's churches depots fire stations bars & country fairs
& I love it here though I know someday we're leaving
as long as I am with you girl I don't care where we go
we were always too free for believing in anything but fireflies
& rolling in the meadow

my heart is turning ever, turning ever, turning ever to you
my heart is turning ever to you
Track Name: Guttered
GUTTERED
smoking lucky strikes in a snow covered graveyard you watch your breath spill into the air
the night gives no shelter & the wind it cuts through you and you look up at the sky & swear
at the winter stars and their indifference to you
dizzy from the drink and that shaky homegrown
you pull your wool hat over your eyes and lean against a headstone
ain't it like that when you're guttered & there is no where to go
ain't it like that when you're guttered you walk the graveyard in the snow

all you've ever loved & lost is there to read on your skin
just like the hobo's the bare knuckle boxers, sailors and the union men
it's songs we sang in fury and glory the music that defines where we stand
at basement shows and dark dingy bars, all the feedback & broken up bands
once again you're guttered & the chilly winds do blow
once again you're guttered you walk the graveyard in the snow

you said you'd be heading south, the country's getting scary & you need to get clear
this city's too cold, it's people too blind, too much comfort & too much fear
me I still cling to the things that once fueled us, In on The Kill Taker, Cometbus & Unrest
am I wild or tame? hardcore or lame? a wandering fool or a heart at rest?
a wandering fool or a heart at rest?

oh no I'm just guttered & I still carry the flame
oh no I'm just guttered, & can't remember my own name
once again I'm guttered, just trying to do my best
am I wild or tame? hardcore or lame? a wandering fool or a heart at rest?
a wandering fool
Track Name: When I Came to You
WHEN I CAME TO YOU

When I came to you, I came with dust and deserted alleys
I came with a trainride across the North in the snow
I came with well worn clothes that didn't fit my frame so well
When I came to you I had a lifetime of farewells

When I came to you I came with rivers running cold and blue
red ribbons, red wine, and red blood running true
I came with dark reveries, nightclub lights and western motel tears
I was tired of being lonely all these years

When you came to me you came with women's names I could not hear
ashes and excess and a thousand yard stare
so like a child and then so steadfast and so strong
when you came to me you didn'tknow where you belonged

When you came to me you brought the streets of London in the rain
Boston in the winter, Charlotte in the Spring
Came with a storm to sting my eyes, made me feel alive and free
I walked proud into the daylight when you came to me
I walked proud into the daylight when you came to me
So blow out the candles and rock me to sleep and whisper as the world drifts away...
Track Name: When the World Was Young
WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG

when the world was young
the rain was never-ending
the mud caked our boots and the river rose so high
when the world was young
we never stopped to look around us
or savor the beauty it was just scenery rolling by
out the window of another three hours on I-5
hypnotized by windshield wipers, logging trucks, and grey skies
there's a sadness in the hills here denuded bare and broken
these streets hum songs unheard and whisper words unspoken

when the world was young
if you saw it you believed it
the tubes glowed warm and the wires crackled with sound
when the world was young
we laughed as we exploded
i still have a ringing in my ears, a bitter taste upon my tongue
what ever happened to those who swore they'd never stray?
there's an undercurrent of dirt and stain no shine can wash away
it's goodbye to the rank and file are those your taillights leaving town?
i know it'd be a lie if I said I'd see you 'round

our soundtrack to the endtimes has all become white noise
static on the airwaves, the echoes of forgotten joys
for the true believers there are a few who still remain
hunkering down in our kingdom of rain

i still have a ringing in my ears,
i still have a ringing in my ears,
i still have a ringing in my ears,
a bitter taste upon my tongue
Track Name: Ouroboros
OUROBOROS

o the streets of this town lead to the next town all away around the world
through all the oceans in endless motion we're diving for pearls
and the water keeps moving high up in the air
til it falls on our heads and runs through your hair
& the places we are now the places we've been
are one in the same now we end where we begin
and you my companion my long lost friend
again i am with you we begin where we end

every direction leads us back again to the doors of the houses we used to live in
the bed is still warm where we once lay the pillow still holds the shape of your face
& the places we are now the places we've been
are one in the same now we end where we begin
and you my companion my long lost friend
again i am with you we begin where we end

i cry sometimes, still i smile
goodbye this time, just for awhile

from the cooling of day to the chill of the evening
i lie awake & wonder what it is you are dreaming
we walk in this world our breathing an engine
i want to be like the fox, make tracks in the wrong direction
& practice resurrection
& the places we are now the places we've been
are one in the same now we end where we begin
and you my companion my long lost friend
again i am with you we begin where we end
where we end
Track Name: The Ramble
THE RAMBLE

skyscrapers & aeroplanes
quarries and lakes
school days hue and cry
sepia tone photographs
halcyon and caterwaul
these meadows far behind
i remember nothing
i remember nothing

i have lost my mind so many times
i can't count the lives i have left behind
like so many waves on the ocean wide
i have no sense of time i have no sense of time

central park in the Ramble
i held my father's hand
cousins and pigeons
and the first smell of a girl
the first sight of a flower
a window to an infinite world
what happened in between?
what happened in between?

i have lost my mind so many times
i can't count the lives i have left behind
like so many waves on the ocean wide
i have no sense of time i have no sense of time