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Aland Lyrics

The Disappearance of Wailer John

The elders took him for a kind of spectre
He worked the fields, he was a mule for hire
When they asked him where he’d come from
he’d say nothing
but he’d bin comin and a-going for a while

His hands, leonine, bestowed a form of violence
His instrument as a way to fracture to sound
That beat and pluck shaped wavelengths          
His enormous grip made the guitar into a child’s

The screetch, its proof stung up from the sorghum
He treated white mule like candy on the tongue
Though his shirt, when rung, could fill
A rancher’s pint glass
He never slowed or tired from the sun

When he took the stage his mouth grew strange
Dogs that bayed grew silent to the hour
He had taken up all the wild one’s screaming
That muscled throat soon gave the moon its power

His wail quickened, instant, tore the smoke down
Drunken cowboys in his spell were mired
His pitch, it punctured full chromatic
As terror’s sound in a banshee choir

A wave took him, buried him in the room
The kind of wave that cancels peaks and troughs
Silence closed upon his final curtain
But that wailing that pierced the air would not be lost

No one in the rancher saloon had ever
Heard a voice that ached with such precision
Hardened men grew small in its thunder:
As a calvary of ghost riders on a mission

The horses stirred outside from the squall of wailing
A siren of a close but other time
No man can walk a mile for another
Any wandering man knows that he must ride

Here is the story of a ranch hand
Who left only one thing and that was sound
The kind of sound that tarries with the darkness
The way justice comes to haunt burial grounds

Had he vanished before their very eyes?
He never came at all, some would decide
And he never came back that much is clear
But that sound it is still stinging in the sky

That sound is still stinging in the sky
that sound remains a ship still sailing by

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