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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released January 1, 1991

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Pam Ortiz Chestertown, Maryland

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Track Name: Angels
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.
Track Name: Nary a Bird
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.
Track Name: Trading Places
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.
Track Name: The Strongest Faith
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.
Track Name: Squabble Creek
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.
Track Name: The Prodigal
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
Track Name: Back in Maryland
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
Track Name: The Fairest Flower
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
Track Name: The Great Falls Road
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
Track Name: Airline Ticket
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