The Last Polaroid

by Charles Jenkins

/
1.
May ghost ships sail into your empty wine bottles May you know what to do when the time comes May you know when to use your white flag May you know where the pier ends May you not be left hanging like bad art in a motel room May you wander along the river Esk Ruth So the story ends Beneath a forgotten cross During climate extremes With the last Polaroid
2.
Cartwheels 03:35
All through the valleys the mountaintops No more dark alley no more blind spots No need to stumble no need to rail For now I tumble over hill and over down dale You see I found a way to get from A to Z Where golden apples sway all day on golden trees And even though I know I could walk or I could run Over I go head to toe toward the blazing sun Cartwheels up into town Round and round Cartwheels all over town Up and down The sad fountain the bruising sky I do not sit with them I wave at them as I go by All through the valleys the mountaintop No more dark alley no more blind spots Cartwheels up into town Round and round Cartwheels all over town Leaving all the fallow leaving all the shallow Leaving all the badlands too I’ve found a way to harness the best of every harvest And I’m bringing it all in for you Cartwheels
3.
I'm a thief I'm a liar I throw friendships on the fire Everyone loves me I sleep around I swear I ain't ever put a comb through my hair Everyone loves me I get on the booze and on the grass And no one ever takes me to task Everyone loves me I got more so much more How long you got? I got more so much more I call on you and you open the door You call on me and I don't care anymore Everyone loves me I got more so much more How long you got? I got more so much more I’m playing Vegas I played here before All the stars rap on my dressing room door Everyone loves me I say I'm sorry more than I say I love you I’ve been a bastard through and through Everyone loves me
4.
Kathleen 03:40
At times the dead seem more alive than I I see them shoot across the sky And in the faces of passers by Kathleen To know the measurements of each mistake How cities crumble poets drown in lakes A few more drinks and I’ll no longer shake Kathleen Bring me the chandelier Bring me the golden years Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia Bring me to the point of tears I watched you dance along the western shore In silk and satin all the spoils of war You remind the men of what they’re fighting for Kathleen No it doesn’t have to end like this No it doesn’t have to end like this In conversation we conceal What our silences will reveal You push your fork around your favourite meal Kathleen
5.
Well a nightingale sang tonight in Barkly Square I fell from the Brunswick Hotel found her there She were riding through the car park and singing to the rain I put down my case so it began Oh she sang a song so pure She might have been channeling something I’m not sure She opened up another channel to the human heart You can tell how a heart’s been broken By the way it walks through the door Some will meet your gaze some will search the floor Some will want to know if it will ever happen again Some will steel themselves for when it happens again Knowing and needing and hoping on a cure Knowing that it reaches you when you’re unsure She opened up another channel to the human heart And roads will rise and meet up with clear bright eyes To defy the dangers of the four chambers Of the human heart The very fountain of desire the very fountain of delight Was she riding in and out of the shadows or in and out of the light? It’s another kind of failure it’s another kind of fall That leads you into the arms of someone you don’t know at all Knowing and needing and hoping on a cure Knowing that I love you don’t mean that much no more She opened up another channel to the human heart Well a nightingale sang tonight in Barkly Square I fell from the Brunswick Hotel found her there She were riding through the car park and singing to the rain I put down my case so it began Oh she sang a song so pure She might have been channeling something I’m not sure She opened up another channel to the human heart And roads will rise and meet up with clear bright eyes That defy the dangers of the four chambers Of the human heart Two little boats in the heavens Two little boats on the seas Two little boats together Two little boats you and me
6.
I’ve been on the wire not on your wing I’ve been the town crier crying Singing to the choir just to sing I’ve been circling the kitchen floor The slumming Lord of the indoors I’ve become the stay at home troubadour I’ve been climbing walls to get the view Coming up to breathe when you come through   Every time I see you I’m walking on air everywhere I’ve been fumbling for stones to throw Been the broken arrow beside the bow I’ve been hitting highs to feel the lows Now I’m looking for the mountain pass Now I’m thumbing through Leaves Of Grass   Every time I see you I’m walking on air everywhere   No no longer sitting in the river No no longer at the bottom of the seas No no longer sitting in the gutter No no longer down on my knees   Every time I see you I’m walking on air everywhere 7. High Above The River High above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back Oh high above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back Let the fair winds feed you Let the moonlight seize you Let the stars get you to my door  Let the emotions rescue Let the oceans address you Let them find someone who loves you more   High above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back Oh high above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back   May the bells ring for you May the chorus implore you May your heart be the guiding track  Let the radio flood you with music Let every note want to hold and seduce you Let all the words that we wrote somehow sweep you back   If I could stop all the clouds coming into your eyes Stop all the thunder from telling you lies Swap all the wind and the rain for an open sky High above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t deliver you back it won’t bring you back Oh high above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t you deliver you back it won’t deliver you
7.
High above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back Oh high above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back Let the fair winds feed you Let the moonlight seize you Let the stars get you to my door  Let the emotions rescue Let the oceans address you Let them find someone who loves you more   High above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back Oh high above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t bring you back it won’t bring you back   May the bells ring for you May the chorus implore you May your heart be the guiding track  Let the radio flood you with music Let every note want to hold and seduce you Let all the words that we wrote somehow sweep you back   If I could stop all the clouds coming into your eyes Stop all the thunder from telling you lies Swap all the wind and the rain for an open sky High above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t deliver you back it won’t bring you back Oh high above the river and the river won’t deliver you back It won’t you deliver you back it won’t deliver you
8.
No electronic devices have yet to enthrall Like pencil on paper or boot against ball Or the closing of a Summer’s day With your Mother’s dinner call No electronic devices none at all Summer days summer days Around the bend Summer nights oh summer nights Summer nights that never end And yeah I show my age All through the day The rewinding of the cassette The 90 minute TDK No electronic devices can entertain Like laughing with your lover through the Summer rain And knowing that the human hand Might be the only thing to break a fall No electronic devices none at all Summer days summer days Around the bend Summer nights oh summer nights Summer nights that never end And yeah I show my age All through the day The rewinding of the cassette The 90 minute TDK
9.
Yea though grief be upon me I am prepared for grief I’ve stolen all the fruit and I’ve smoked all the leaf I’ve cracked the wall I’ve walked the hall to understand the brief Yea though grief be upon me I am prepared for grief Yea though pain be upon me I am prepared for pain I’ve borne the slap of thunder and the sting in the rain I’ve felt the heat and the raw defeat that goes down in Lovers Lane Yea though pain be upon me I am prepared for pain Yea though sin be upon me I am prepared for sin I’ve bought all the ingredients and I know when they go in I’ve licked the spoon I’ve sung its tune I’ve climbed the bowl to be within Yea though sin be upon me I am prepared for sin One knock to open the door Two eyes to search the floor Three little words to implore The four winds to rock the shore 5 and 6 and 7 kisses lead to so much more Yea though fear be upon me I’m not afraid I’ve danced with all the demons and the dragons have been slayed Buried deep in the castle keep with tears and with spade Yea though fear be upon me I am not afraid Yea though death be upon me I'm not prepared for death I will damn it from the mountaintop and curse it beneath my breath I'll raise the roof I'll be living proof you're never licked until you've got nothing left Yea though death be upon me I'm not prepared for death
10.
Winter Ball 03:03
Got lost in what went down So caught up in conversation Waiting underground Hoping to be found Knowing we can rise above it all At the Winter Ball Took a carriage into town Ran out of gas outside the station Running through the fair Everyone was there From the Lord Mayor all the way down The Winter Ball Shake it Shake it Shake the tallest tree At times you get luckier than you would ever hope to be Waiting on the ground Hoping to be found Knowing it could all ring so true At the Winter Ball

about

It’s hard to listen to “The Last Polaroid” in the gloom of a chilly West London morning without thinking of the classics — the Beatles White album, Ray Davies at his “Lola” era sardonic peak, Neil Finn and Paul Kelly. It’s also impossible to listen without being immediately transported to modern inner city Melbourne in all its esoteric charm, sophistication, warmth and wit. At 10am, I reach for a flat white but the album really calls for a case of good red — a dirty martini or two, a celebration — let’s be people about it!

Charles Jenkins’ best songs are vaguely conceptual, adopting the vernacular of a romantic poet, a bushranger, an urban troubadour, a rock star, a father, a lover — but are driven by the voice of perfectly ordinary bloke-dom, looking on helplessly as humanity unzips all around — an everyman with the distinguishing gift of otherness. His rich vocals here are both his most tender and most insistent, the tempos hover between a swagger, a strut and a clip. Davey Lane’s razor sharp guitars buzz and slice through every track, serving up perfect portions of pop like fresh sushi, urgently nailing intervals and harmonies with the soaring power and classicism of Ziggy-era Mick Ronson — one of the greatest guitarists of his generation the perfect foil for one of the greatest of
contemporary songwriters. Dave Milne’s bravura piano playing and his nuanced, crisp drumming, along with Art Star’s fluid, fat bass give the Zhivagos an engine room that’s every bit as dexterous as the songwriting.

The melodic and lyrical ingenuity on show here is that of a songwriter at the very peak of his powers. The creeping descending and ascending cadences, the languid harmonies; the vocal tenderness and warm introspection of the lyrics, the questing atmosphere and musical inventiveness which pervades every track grips you like an electro magnet. Like all the best albums, this is a record that yields something fresh and transporting with every listen, and warrants
a good many. The birdsong and brass on “Cartwheels” makes you want to yelp with pleasure. The faint, chiming piano shadowing short circuiting guitars on the crunching title track leave you narcotically euphoric. The haunted sleaze of “Kathleen” makes you want to meet Kathleen on a hot moonlit night somewhere, with a bottle of gin and roll ups.

The best songs, the great songs, sound like you’ve heard them before — or have been waiting to hear them. The best songs, the great songs, are not songs, they are black holes, they suck you inside until you become them. This is an album of such songs. The lyrics draw you in with the intimacy of a letter home, yet perplexingly leave you nodding your head in agreement, as if these thoughts are your thoughts too, you just haven’t had them yet.

“I’m a thief, I’m a liar, I throw friendships on the fire…. everyone loves me,” he confesses on “Everyone Loves Me.” How lucky we are, in this age of narcissism, to have amongst us a songwriting star of such finesse, grace and humanity who is himself no narcissist. The equivalent of a paperback book you simply can not put down, “The Last Polaroid” is a record you should never, ever stop playing.

Joe Penhall – playwright, screenwriter and Olivier Award winning writer of Sunny Afternoon: The Kinks Musical London 2017

credits

released July 14, 2017

Written and performed by Charles Jenkins David Andrew Milne Art Star and Davey Lane
Extra musical muscle provided by Douglas Lee Robertson and Nick Thayer. Trumpets by Jack Howard
Recorded in various second bedrooms, basements and bungalows Melbourne 2016-2017
Produced and Mixed by Nick Thayer
Mastered by Colin Wynne at Thirty Mill Studios
All songs © Charles Jenkins / Control, except High Above The River © Milne / Jenkins / Star / Control

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Charles Jenkins Melbourne, Australia

Charles Jenkins is a Melbourne songwriter/musician, producer and performer with more than 30 years experience in the Australian Music Industry.
He has released 14 albums, toured Europe and the USA several times and been nominated for two ARIA awards with the Icecream Hands. In 2014, his sixth solo album Too Much Water In The Boat won the AGE/Music Victoria award for best folk/roots album.
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