Angels

by Terra Nova

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    Pam and Bob Ortiz made this album in 1991 with their group, Terra Nova. Other members included Mark Divita (guitar, vocals), Kathy Porter (guitar, flute, vocals), and Tom Scullen (acoustic bass, vocals). The album was released on cassette only. Special thank you to our long-time friend, Dan Christian, who converted the album to a digital format which has enabled us to upload it here for you.
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1.
05:18
I can't make the sunrise a moment soon And I cannot speed the phases of the shimmering moon But I have eyes for suffering and I've got a little perspective on these things And the one thing I can tell you is your light is coming soon. So you be on the lookout for someone bearing light And you'll find yourself an angel to walk you through the night. Angels don't always have wings But don't you go thinking that they're not around because My favorite angels, my favorite angels Are the ones with two feet on the ground. You'll know them by their laughter, the way they touch your hand In many shapes and sizes they are found throughout the land. Angels don't always have wings But don't you go thinking that they're not around because My favorite angels, my favorite angels Are the ones with two feet on the ground. Wishing you an angel to see you through To reflect back all the brilliance that is shining from you. Angels don't always have wings But don't you go thinking that they're not around because My favorite angels, my favorite angels Are the ones with two feet on the ground.
2.
04:36
I had some roses in my yard They were yellow against the sky But I no longer give them water I have left the flowers of my hope to die Because yellow was the color of the trucks that came And cleared away the land And stole the home of the raven In the name of modern man There's nary a bird in the trees Who's not crying for release There's nary a deer in the woods Who's not boxed in There's nary a woman or a man who can afford to stand And watch the bulldozers closing in. I had neighbors in the forest The sumac, oak, and pine But there are cranes on the horizon Where the birch trees formed a broken, jagged line And though I welcome all the children and the families Who come to fill these homes When they cleared away the forest They left me all alone. Sure I'm smarter than the beaver I've got a paper to protect my claim upon the land But I'm the last fool in this valley And that paper's worthless in my clutching hand But if I had a million dollars I'd go out and buy All the land I see And make it home for the wildwood Who made a home for me. If there's no hedgerow for the red fox And the goose won't lay her nest along the lake And the red-tailed hawk won't fly here And the white-tailed deer no longer shows its face And the rabbit cannot find a place to raise her young And the warbler finds not tree If there's no home here for the possum Then there can be no home for me.
3.
When we were little girls together in Mrs. Porter's class You were a champion at spelling, I was pretty good at math And we'd do our homework side by side, and pull each other through And we were never jealous of the things the other one could do. But then came adolescence. You got tall and I got stout And when we both liked Michael Farraday we had a falling out You were jealous of my lashes, I was jealous of your curves And when he went with Mary Davidson, I guess we got what we deserved. All of that time, all of that time, running silly races All of that time, all of that time, wanting to trade places. When we finished college you went out and got a job And I went off to grad school, that's when you married Bob And your letters told me all about the furniture you bought And as I read it seemed by thrift store bargains didn't look so hot. And when I'd come to see you when I had a break You'd complain about the job you had, you said the money wasn't great And you wished that you were back in school and free to roam around And all I wanted was someone with whom to stop and settle down. All of that time, all of that time, running silly races All of that time, all of that time, wanting to trade places. And now I'm working downtown. I eat lunch in restaurants I've got all the time and money anyone could want And you've got three small children, the baby keeps you home And when I told you 'bout my trip to Spain you cried there on the phone. Now while the grass sometimes seems greener, I know you wouldn't trade Because the blessings that were given are worth all the price we paid But if you get the blues sometimes just call me on the phone and when you're done I'll cry and tell you how I'm sad and all alone. All of that time, all of that time, running silly races All of that time, all of that time, wanting to trade places. So if you've got some time I'll come over Saturday I'll help you with your taxes, you can proof my resume I'd like to see your children, their laughter pulls me through And I delight to find you live through me, the way I live through you.
4.
If I tell you what I need You might say yes, you might say no These things are not guaranteed But love's the sweetest chance I know. I put my money on the dice I rolled it once, I rolled it twice Three times lost and paid the price Still love's the surest bet I know. The harbor sends her sailors out When their return is still in doubt She prays them home when tossed about Love's the strongest tide I know. And when you need to be alone I need a faith to call my own That one day you too will come home Love's the strongest faith I know.
5.
A few years back we had some trouble One of the boys got out of hand He killed a cop down on their bridge there Protecting his living and his land It had to do with homemade whiskey It had to do with family pride But no one stood to point the finger Up here we take each other's side We do thing different Here up Squabble Creek We got our own laws and we keep 'em Don't need no county boys to Help us keep the peace We'll let you know when we need 'em Now there are differences among us Holler folk come in two kinds Those who stay away from liquor And those who drink until they're blind The Christian folk pray hard on Sunday And pride themselves on their pure lives But all us folks here in this holler Gotta work like hell to feed our kids and wives So when the Johnson's went to Hazard To get a license to sell liquor in their store We could not stand to lose the business They found their dog dead Poisoned on the floor. Late last Spring the floods were heavy Nellwyn's bridge got washed away But all the boys this side the holler Built a better one next day And when the mountain caught on fire No Hazard trucks came to our aid We all took flour sacks and shovels And we worked until it was contained.
6.
05:23
You sort of left in a hurry Maybe you left something behind We were hoping you were happy Maybe you had what you went to find But if you find you just can't phone Those voices just too hard to hear Well I'm sending you this message I hope it rings through loud and clear You can be afraid of the wild tornado You can live in fear of the thieves that roam You can be afraid of heights and airplanes But don't you be afraid to come home Don't you be afraid to come home Perhaps with words I have been careless Did I touch your tender scar? Did you think that it would matter? Well I know exactly who you are You know it's fashioned in the bargain A love once bought, shall not be sold You can take away your person But this gem I'll always hold The door is always open The fire in the hearth I hear the doorknob turning But it's just the beating of my heart All your dread is wasted worry Of what I may or may not say Though unspeakable your burden Don't you think I love you anyway? But if you find you just can't phone Those voices just too hard to hear Well I'm sending you this message I hope it rings through loud and clear
7.
Well the buildings grow too tall here And the roads are too goddamned straight And I could stay here till I'm ninety Still I cannot get used to this place They don't like my music They don't like my stories They don't like my cooking Now ain't that too bad But my heart is hungering For things familiar How I miss the good friends I once I had It's a harried way that I've been traveling Kind of like running in the sand Can't catch my breath Can't get my bearings Till I'm back in Maryland The TV news comes in too early And the winter tarries much too long And the wind is colder than I care for And they say their vowels all wrong I'd trade the Tetons for the Blue Ridge I'd rather have the Bay Shore than The whole West Coast And I would give my eye teeth For a bushel of blue crabs And I'd trade the Rockies for Sugarloaf
8.
Weary shoulders and a pair of shaky knees But the earth has never known a firmer hand Alice has a way with flowers Alice has a way with us Alice has a way of calling colors from the land There's a garden behind her mobile home The colors there would make a rainbow blush Hollyhock and yellow yarrow Bright galliardia, tulips too Roses red and white and yellow Called forth by her magic touch and Oh the lilies, oh the lillies What I wouldn't give to be a flower in her hand Oh the lilies, oh, the lilies But it' the rose in her heart That's the fairest flower in the land Eight-five seasons of cultivating life Now cats and birds and blossoms fill her day Stooping to select the choicest Not a stem is cast away Every flower seeks its goal To end its life in her bouquet Weeds are welcomed in amongst the blooms No thought of fences or of walls Every green thing has its function Rose and thistle side by side In her hand the humblest weed Though homely once, is glorified In her garden you are closer to the earth Where the truth is sometimes difficult to bear Mother of the herb and flower Seek her wisdom if you dare Whether you're a rose or thistle You will flourish with her care
9.
Indians before us, bears before us all Followed this trail down to the falls Before the tar and asphalt Before the verdant forest green There was a thick primeval bog And the river still ran clean We're following the Great Falls Road To where the waters tumble To plummet in the bosom of the rock We're following the Great Falls Road To where the heavens rumble In the voice of the water Just above the seventh lock The river's still concealing The mystery of her rage Continually revealing her resilience Age to age On her banks she still deposits Her gifts of silt and lime It's a gift that keeps on giving Time after time When the houses are all shuttered And the traffic dies away And the hills are still and silent At the closing of the day When the road is turned to rubble Relinquished to the wild We will know then to the rier Humankind is but a child
10.
Well, I’ve traveled that highway Where every wrong turn and byway Represented a sorrow That I thought I had to grieve But now my heart’s firmly planted In this ground where I’m standing And to tell the truth I don’t care if I ever leave Well I’m bound, I’ll admit it My life’s claimed and committed And I sometimes find it difficult To find a small reprieve But these chains they don’t bind me They just help to redefine me And to tell the truth I don’t care if I ever leave You can take this airline ticket To a far and distant land But there’s plenty of adventure In this place right where I stand Because the thrills that I’m after Are your songs and your laughter And to tell the truth I don’t care if I ever leave There’s no map that can tell you And no brochure that can sell you On the subtle geography The heart alone perceives But to reap you must sow it When you see it you’ll know it And to tell the truth I don’t care if I ever leave Instead of up and outward bounding I’m content with my surroundings For it’s here I find the friends and things That mean so much to me So it ain’t so surprising That it’s here that my heart lies And to tell the truth I don’t care if I ever leave

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released January 1, 1991

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Pam Ortiz Chestertown, Maryland

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