ALL LYRICS BY PAUL C. RUSZEL          SOCAN

 

CEDARS OF LEBANON                 

 I got bills to pay, a roof that needs fixin’,

   New brakes on the car, new taps in the kitchen.

All my credit cards are pushed to the limit,

Buy the Lottery, I need to win it.

    All my money’s gone, like the Cedars of Lebanon.

 

           Gone, gone, all my money’s gone, gone like the cedars of Lebanon,       

          Gone, gone, all my money’s gone, gone like the cedars of Lebanon.

     First you say they’re Sacred, then you hold them for profit,

The cedars of Lebanon, the cedars of Lebanon.

 

I’m always up early but I get to work late,

Working overtime to keep food on the plate.

     Got a job on the weekends, mopping at the school,

Sundays’ I sleep in then clean up my tools.

     All my time is gone, like the cedars of Lebanon.

   

     Gone, gone, all my time is gone, gone like the cedars of Lebanon,

     Gone, gone, all my time is gone, gone like the cedars of Lebanon,

 First you say they’re Sacred, then you hold them for profit,

The cedars of Lebanon, the cedars of Lebanon.

   

   Take what you can, grab what you need,

    It’s been that way for all of history,

   Never know trouble when you’re in it,

                  That’s what happens when you’re pushed to the limit.

 

   I’m not all that different from emperors and kings,

Who used up all they could beyond all measuring.

       Thought they owned the world, and fought to possess it,

Live by the sword and live to regret it,

All the Peace is gone, like the cedars of Lebanon.

   

     Gone, gone, all the Peace is gone, gone like the cedars of Lebanon,

     Gone, gone, all the Peace is gone, gone like the cedars of Lebanon.                                                       

First you say they’re Sacred, then you hold them for profit,

     The cedars of Lebanon, the cedars of Lebanon.

     

Commentary

The Middle East as we picture it today is largely desert. 5,000 years ago cedar forests were everywhere. The cedar was considered a sacred tree, used to build the holiest of shrines (i.e. The Temple of Solomon). Egyptian mummies were covered with the sap of these cedars. By 3000BC, the majority of these forests were gone, principally to ship building. The few remaining stands were eventually decimated, used as fuel for troop trains during times of war. It is one of the clearest examples we have of what happens when you overcut forests and don’t replace the trees: when you take and use more than you really need: you get a desert. It seems to me that the excesses of current life have not really changed much since then.

 

  DON’T WANNA BE YOUR MAN  

I wanna be there when you get home, sitting by your front door.                                                                                        

I’ll be waiting for your command, just one word and I’ll be at your hand.

   Lie by the tub while you soak your head,

   Spend the night at the foot of your bed,

Don’t wanna be your man, pretty mama,                                

Just wanna be your dog, just wanna be your dog.

 

After dinner we can go for a walk, or a ride in your car.

                   I like to watch the houses roll by, wind from the window in my hair and eyes.

Go to the park and lie in the grass,

             Play catch and then rest with my head in your lap.

Don’t wanna be your man, pretty mama,

Just wanna be your dog, just wanna be your dog.

          

       No more arguing and no more heartaches,

No more wondering where you are,

 No more waiting by the telephone,                                     

       I’d give it all up for your puppy love.

 

I wanna be there when you get home,

Sitting by your front door.

I’ll be waiting for your command,

Just one word and I’ll be at your hand.

 Lie by the tub while you soak your head,

 Spend the night at the foot of your bed,

Don’t wanna be your man, pretty mama,

Just wanna be your dog. 

Commentary

A whimsical portrait of owners who care more for their pets than they do for people.

 

ROBIN’S EGG                                                          

  Today I found a robins’ egg, so delicate and blue,

I cradled it in my hands, it reminded me of you.

I placed it on my bedside, and even in the dark,

 I can sense your presence in a corner of my heart.                                                  

  Today I found a robins’ egg, it reminded me of you.

 

          Today I found an old seashell, grown spiraling through time,

Just like all these memories that spiral into mine.

             You used to wear one ‘round your neck, right next to your heart.

I traced it slowly on your skin, lying in the dark.

  Today I found an old seashell, it reminded me of you.

 

        Tonight I looked into the stars, through a hole in the sky,

A hundred thousand galaxies, all waving us goodbye.

           You used to love to camp outside, and name your favourite ones.

Then we would sleep beneath a hundred thousand suns.                                                              

   Tonight I looked into the stars, it reminded me of you.                                                             

 

  Today I found a robins’ egg, so delicate and blue,

I cradled it in my hands, it reminded me of you.

I placed it on my bedside, and even in the dark,

 I can sense your presence in a corner of my heart.                                                 

  Today I found a robins’ egg, it reminded me of you.

 Commentary

The Hubble Telescope was man’s most expensive toy when it was launched. When they finally got it to work, they discovered thousands of galaxies moving away from the earth. This is my metaphor for the loved ones we have all lost: they are like entire galaxies waving us goodbye.

This song is dedicated to the memories of Shaul Ilan and Christine Neil.

 

        LOVE THIS TOWN             

 I know that it’s a big world, unfolding everywhere

And happiness is found, wherever people care.

         Some folks like to travel, some stay put and try hard

To find the treasures that they need,

right in their own backyard.

 

All across this country, you find work and find friends,

That might be in the city, or somewhere in between.

Fate has found me where I am; I guess I’ve put roots down,

I’ll be wherever you are, that’s why I love this town.

 

      We can go down to the river, or down to the ocean,

Up to the lake, further up to the mountains,

              And still be home for dinner, that’s why I love this town,

             That’s why I love this town, that’s why I love this town.

 

I traveled in my younger years and everything I saw,

     Helped me to learn and understand just how blessed we are.

It was then I recognized, what goes out comes around,

        Those with more can give so much, that’s why I love this town.

                  

                    1st chorus

          I know the parents of my children’s’ friend

I know my doctor and my mechanic

 I know my grocer and my waitress,

That’s why I love this town,

                             That’s why I love this town, that’s why I love this town.

 

I know that it’s a big world unfolding everywhere,

And happiness in found wherever people care,

        Fate has found me where I am, I guess I’ve put roots down,

    I’ll be wherever you are, that’s why I love this town.

                  

                     1st chorus

                     I know the people singing in the choir,

                     I know the farmers and the taxi drivers,

                     I know the churches and all the pubs,

                     That’s why I love this town.

 

Commentary

These lyrics were inspired by complaints of someone who found small town living to be too restrictive for them. Having grown up in Toronto, I now have a new appreciation of the charms of living in a relatively small community. This song won the Duncan Centennial Song Contest in 2012. A copy of this CD will be buried in a new time capsule for the City of Duncan. I can imagine someone unearthing this CD 100 years from now and wondering what it could possibly be! I have just learned that a CD player will be buried along with it!

 

 
           GOD WHISPERS TO AL GREEN

                                             

            Tell the lonely people there is Love in the world,

Love in the world, Love in the world.

            Tell the lonely people there is Love in the world,

Tell them there is Love in the world.

 

             Tell the broken hearted there is someone who cares,

Someone who cares, someone who cares,

             Tell the broken hearted there is someone who cares,

Tell them there is Love in the world.

 

             Tell the lost and searching that they can come home,

They can come home, they can come home.

             Tell the lost and searching that they can come home,

Tell them there is Love in the world.

 

               Tell all those at war that there is Peace in the Heart,

Peace in the Heart, Peace in the Heart,

                Tell all those at war that there is Peace in the Heart,

Tell them there is someone who cares.

 

            Tell the lonely people there is Love in the world,

Love in the world, Love in the world.

            Tell the lonely people there is Love in the world,

Tell them there is Love in the world.

Commentary

Dedicated to the great soul-singer Al Green who renounced the life of the super star to become a reverend. When asked, on a CBC interview, why he became a reverend, he said“I heard a little voice whisper in my ear: Tell the lonely people there is Love in the world.” This song won first prize in the Diversity Caravan Spoken Word and Song Contest. There were even entries from the United States so I guess that makes the song an International winner!! I was blessed to be able to record this song with Cari Burett and the Threshold Choir. We did these recordings in one short session. This group of loving volunteers sing sacred songs to support those who are dying and all the caregivers around them. For more info on the incredible work they do, go to www.joythroughmusic.com.

                 

                                SAVE ME FROM MYSELF                             

I don’t remember leaving the bar,                                         

           “til I woke up in the back seat of your car.                                              

Who’s gonna save me from myself.                                                                                        

I used to save for a rainy day,

    Then I went and gambled it all away,                                                             

Who’s gonna save me from myself.

                                                     

         I guess I’m just like everyone, I stumble and I fall                                                                        

                  I make trouble, I make amends, I lost money, I lost friends.          

I’m my own worst critic,                                     

                            Like the teacher said “get out of your own way”,                                    

Who’s gonna save me from myself,                                     

Who’s gonna save me from myself.

 

I got a woman with her head on straight,

She gets worried when I’m out late

Who’s gonna save me from myself.

Sometimes life is more trouble than treasure

Good times are when it’s measure for measure,

Who’s gonna save me from myself.

Chorus

I’ve been warned about the seeds I sow,

I’m the kinda guy who can’t say no,

Who’s gonna save me from myself.

Cocaine is for horses and not for men,

They say it will kill me but they never say when,

Who’s gonna save me from myself.

Chorus

Commentary

This is a musical look at a serious spiritual teaching. One of the teachers I had, Osho, used to say “Get out of your own way”.  I always thought that would make a great bumper sticker. My brother Andrew Ruszel, another one of my teachers, used to say, “If you don’t think your life is a joke, you are not taking it seriously enough”. Enough said about this song!!

 

                                              GET OFF THE TRAIN                                                 

It’s a world that’s moving at breakneck speed, towards its own demise,                                                              

It’s fast and full and exerts its pull, it’s oblivion in disguise.                                                                                   

Dressed in fear and illusion, where war is an endless refrain,                                                                  

Nothing short of revolution will ever get us off this train.

                                     

Get off the train, it’s moving too far too fast,                                                                                             

             Get off the train, before it hits the wall and jumps the track                                                                                 

              Give my soul a place to stand in the sunshine and the rain,                                        

All I really want to do is get off the train.

 

All our leaders are children, it’s the blind leading the blind,

We give them all our power and they leave us all behind.

              Democracy is their dirty disease, where the biggest fist wins all the games,

Nothing short of revolution will ever get us off this train.

Chorus

Rap:                                                   

            There’s a car for God and a car for the dollar,                                    

          A car for war where our children are fodder,                                                       

                             Tere’s a New Age coach where the seats recline,                                     

Front row view of our own decline.                                 

    A car full of hope that never delivers,                                     

       A car full of secrets that make me shiver.                                       

      Everything on this train is coming undone,                                                            

           Every thought and feeling, bullets for the gun.                                         

              All politicians have their fingers on the trigger.                                                                       

                        Nothing short of revolution will ever get us off this train.

Chorus twice

Commentary

This track is based on insights gleaned from my own spiritual work. I have discovered that my mind is a runaway train, running down an endless track. It is thousands of cars long with hundreds of thoughts in each car, partying 24/7. I have since discovered that my emotions are righting shotgun on the same train. The purpose of any kind of spiritual practice is to step outside of all this. It is my belief that this insight is absolutely essential for the solving of all political upheavals. Until we can transcend our thoughts and emotions and work form a place of Spirit, I can’t imagine we will ever have peace on earth. I would really like this song to somehow reach young people everywhere and anywhere religion has been hijacked by the mind and emotions, interpreting sacred literature and teachings and using them as weapons of suppression and war. Get off the train…….

 

                                             STATE OF GRACE                                                                                                                       

I must be getting older, losing more friends every year,                                                         

   I think I’ve probably heard a thousand ways to say goodbye.                                                                                   

            Though it’s true, it’s never easy, each time I’m opened to the core,                                                              

And every tear I shed makes me feel so much more alive.

 

 Sometimes I have to wonder, if the purpose of this dying,

Is to give those left behind, a good kick in the pants.

 A jumpstart to the heart that gets lazy with this living,

To bring us back to basics of Love and Prayer and Thanks.

                                                 

                   They say for everyone who dies, there’s a new star in the sky,                                                          

I suppose that would explain the Milky Way,                                           

       The Love they leave behind, inside us to remind us         

   Each breath brings us to this

State of Grace.

 

Surely it will come to pass, when the heavens are so filled,

      All those stars will send the radiance of a hundred millions suns.

   And when we all, always remember, the blessings of each moment,

We won’t need death to remind us of how far we have to come.

 

                       They say for everyone who dies, there’s a new star in the sky,

    I suppose that would explain the Milky Way,

           The Love they leave behind, inside us to remind us

      Each breath brings us to this State of Grace.

Commentary

This song was a birthday present for my beloved partner Lorna Lawson. I was tired of going to funerals and wanted to share how death can be a positive and formative process that can awaken us all to the beauties of being in the body.  It seems to me that the purpose of people dying is to wake up those of us remaining.

 

 

                                      RIDIN’ THE RAINBOW                                          

I’ve got to admit to bad habits,

They’re gonna catch up to me that’s true,

But it’s all the same, smoke or cocaine,

Women and booze, women and booze,

Women and booze and the blues.

 

I like to pick my own poisons,

It’s all a matter of who’s using who,

Bit it’s all the same, smoke or cocaine,

Women and booze, women and booze,

Women and booze and the blues.

 

         You don’t have to tell me I’m in trouble,

I read the signs a long time ago.

But I can’t wait or put on the brakes,

         Just wanna be riding the rainbow.

 

I like life and I like company,

It’s no good pretending in virtue over truth,

I’ve only got myself to blame for the smoke and the cocaine,

Coffee and cigarettes, chocolate and fresh baguettes,

T.V. and the internet, emptiness and fond regrets,

Women and booze, women and booze,

Women and booze and the blues.

Commentary

Junkies like to mix their heroin with pot and smoke it. This has been called Chasing The Dragon but I prefer the more poetic Ridin’ The Rainbow. We all have our addictions. It’s all a matter of who is using who.

 

 

                                        WHISKEY and WEED                                           

I never thought that this could happen, or even what tomorrow hold,

                You’d packed your packs and were out the door, Saying “I can’t take it anymore”

I always thought that we were happy and had everything we need,

Now you can find me on my front porch with whiskey and weed.

 

         Whiskey and weed cannot take the place of you,

       Whiskey and weed, it’s a hollow substitute.

                           When the money’s gone, the honey’s gone, and now you’re history,

                   You can find me on my front porch with whiskey and weed.

 

Twenty five years on the greenchain, worked my fingers to the bone

Now the trees go overseas and the mills are closed.

     The kids have all moved to Vancouver for the opportunity,

    You can find me on my front porch with whiskey and weed.

 

  Whiskey and weed cannot take the place of you

Whiskey and weed, it’s a hollow substitute.

                  I suppose there’s a better way, but it’s something I can’t see

             You can find me on my front porch with whiskey and weed.

 

       The boat’s gone, so’s the cottage and last week I sold the car,

I still eat and the bills I meet, by playing this guitar

  There’s a hundred men in town and they’re all good company

        You can find them on their front porch with whiskey and dreams.

 

  Whiskey and weed cannot take the place of yo

 Whiskey and weed, it’s a hollow substitute.

                   I suppose there’s a better way but it’s something I can’t see

              You can find me on my front porch with whiskey and weed.

When the money’s gone, the honey’s gone

And now you’re history,

               You can find me on my front porch with

            Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey and weed.

Commentary

  The demise of the logging industry on Vancouver Island has broken up a lot of families.  My nephew suggested that this be the official anthem for the Island. Workers left to lick their wounds after losing their livelihoods and their families, can at least find temporary solace in recreating on the front porch. Dedicated particularly to all those families in Youbou.

 

        LITTLE BY LITTLE (Piti, Piti, Na Rive)                                          

It’s two steps forward and one step back, little by little we will arrive,

     I would cross this river with you on my back, little by little we will arrive.

  When we hear those hammers ring,

Listen to those children sing,

     We’ll all have what Love can bring, 

Little by little we will arrive, little by little we will arrive.

 

If we all play some small part, little by little we will arrive,

When we finally find our hearts, little by little we will arrive.

When there’s food for everyone,

        When education takes the place of guns,

       We’ll all be part of the Kingdom come,

Little by little we will arrive, little by little we will arrive.

 

I’ll take your hand and you take mine, little by little we will arrive,

          We’ll make short work of this mountain to climb, little by little we will arrive.

When we learn the lessons of the past,

     When people take their politicians to task,

   We’re all looking for a Peace that lasts.

Little by little we will arrive, little by little we will arrive.

Commentary

I wrote this tune to play at a benefit for the people of Haiti immediately following the terrible earthquake on Jan.12, 2010. By Jan. 24 the people of Haiti had experienced 52 more aftershocks reducing much of the country to rubble. Piti, Piti, Na Rive is a Haitian saying that translates as “Little by little we will arrive.” The proceeds from the original benefit went to the What If? Foundation.

Since 2000, the What If? Foundation has partnered with members of the Ti Plas Kazo community in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to bring much-needed food and educational opportunities to impoverished children. They began by serving meals to a few hundred children on Sundays. Today, They fund programs that provide over 5,000 meals each week, more than 200 school scholarships each year, an after-school program for 240 youth, and a summer camp for 550 children. The What If? Foundation is the only source of funding for these programs.

I originally send a very rough demo of this song to the Foundation. They have since used it in their fundraising efforts all across the U.S. This is perhaps the greatest honour I have to date: that my music can be used to help inspire donors to give to so many people who need our help. I am looking forward to sending them a more complete version!!

%10 of all proceeds from the sale of this CD will go to the What If? Foundation. You can find out more about them and donate at whatiffoundation.org