Jim Shelley & Book of Kills | For the Good of the Cause

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For the Good of the Cause

by Jim Shelley & Book of Kills

The second Jim Shelley & Book of Kills album from 1991 featuring numerous original songs and a host of seriously deranged versions of legendary folk tunes that announced Shelley as the inventor of Folktronica ten years before Jim Byers coined the term.
Genre: Rock: 80's Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. I'm Glad I'm Not a Rock Star
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:06 $0.99
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2. No Time for Love
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
2:59 $0.99
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3. Dear Annie!
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
2:42 $0.99
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4. The Sound of a Door Closing
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:07 $0.99
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5. The Girl Can't Help It!
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:00 $0.99
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6. Simple World
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
5:08 $0.99
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7. I Hang Heavy
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
2:48 $0.99
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8. Everything to See
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:23 $0.99
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9. Revelation
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:52 $0.99
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10. Wild Hog in the Woods
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
2:50 $0.99
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11. Hold the Wind
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:07 $0.99
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12. If the Light Has Gone Out in Your Soul
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
4:30 $0.99
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13. Who Will Bow and Bend?
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
2:04 $0.99
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14. The Ballad of Finley Preston
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
4:28 $0.99
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15. The Lexington Murder
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
4:11 $0.99
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16. Wind and Rain
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
4:09 $0.99
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17. Hit the Road Again
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
3:14 $0.99
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18. Oh Death (Outtake)
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
4:22 $0.99
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19. If the Light Has Gone Out (Outtake)
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
6:27 $0.99
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20. Queens Garden (Outtake)
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
4:07 $0.99
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21. Shady Grove (Outtake)
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
2:29 $0.99
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22. Noise Prelude to Revelation (Outtake)
Jim Shelley & Book of Kills
8:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
FOR THE GOOD OF THE CAUSE

(Original Liner Notes)

I’ve known Jim a long time. He is the hardest person to get to know that I’ve ever encountered.

I saw him and his first band’s very first live gig. I was fifteen. So was Jim. I remember that he was very cool about the whole thing. Not at all nervous. That surprised me because normally he was pretty shy. It was a pool party. Maybe someone’s birthday. I suppose there were twenty, twenty-five kids there. Maybe a couple of parents.

They started with the Stone’s ‘Brown Sugar.’ Jim blew me away. As he strutted through the number like a bantam rooster, I honestly thought I was watching a future rock and roll star being born in front of my eyes. Even as a boy he was that sure of himself as a performer, that exciting.

What happened in between then and now, I don’t know. But somehow somebody blew it. Jim started to write his own songs. He wrote a lot over the years. He formed bands. With each one he would insist they play mainly original music. The rest of the group would invariably disagree. You got gigs at parties and dances by playing covers, not originals. Jim would insist-—originals or nothing. The band would break up.

Eventually Jim got frustrated and stopped performing. He bought some cheap recording equipment and began to record his songs. He would play all the instruments, sing all the vocals. The things he wrote were good. I watched him write ‘Dear Annie’ in fifteen minutes. One moment nothing. The next a great song. It was like that with him. It seemed so easy.

I kept urging him to do something with his music. Go to New York. Go to Nashville. L.A. Just go! He never did. Once he sent out a copy of a tape of a few of his songs to several third-rate record companies. Didn’t get a reply from any of them and never sent another tape. Never went to New York. Or Nashville. Or L.A. Instead he became a high school English teacher. What a waste.

In the last twenty years Jim has written and recorded probably over a hundred songs, including the legendary unreleased DOGALYPSE album. I don’t guess even he knows the exact figure. He’s always finding a tape with a song he’d completely forgotten about. Of all of them, he’s released maybe thirty to friends and the curious. While just about everything he’s let others hear is good, too much of the best he keeps to himself. I’ve been lucky. I’ve heard a lot of his music that no one else has. Much of it is, if technically raw, nevertheless astoundingly emotional, riveting. I doubt he’ll ever release any of it.

In the spring of 1990, a small company in Los Angeles called MiracleWorks ordered Jim’s first self-released tape, BLOOM OR DIE. Not long after, they offered Jim the chance to make a record. He agreed and began to work on some new music. The company insisted his first release be a collection of his older songs. At first Jim agreed. The demos on the first side of this tape are some those he considered releasing. But before long Jim decided he wanted his first record to be made up of new material. There was a falling out. I could have predicted it.

After that debacle, Jim almost sold everything. Recorders, amps, guitars. Fortunately he changed his mind. Still I worried about him. I’d never seem him so down.

Then this past summer he got interested in folk music. The second side of this tape is a collection of some of the tracks he recorded during a couple of weeks this August. They don’t’ sound much like folk music, but they do possess a sense of magic and wonder and strangeness that I can’t help but be impressed by.

I find myself listening to these songs, both the old ones and the new ones, over and over. And I find myself wondering why Jim is so reluctant to let others listen to his music, how he could continue to be such a well-kept secret.

Maybe one day he won’t be so reluctant. Maybe secret just won’t keep anymore. Maybe one day we’ll all get lucky.

--Jordan Williams

All songs written and performed by Jim Shelley except tracks 10-21, which are traditional compositions arranged by Jim Shelley. Thanks to Jordy Williams, Jim Santo, Gary Bugg, George and Linda Nipe, Al Margolis, Aaron Farrington and my mother and father for their constant support and understanding.

This album is gratefully dedicated to Gary Bugg, Jim Santo and to my son, Christian, because he’s so darned cool.SONG COMMENTARY FROM THE ORIGINAL CASSETTE ALBUM

1. (I’m Glad I’m Not A) Rock Star: Written June17, 1982. Recorded June 18 and 19, 1990 at Attic Studios, Dayton, Va. I wrote this one after seeing MTV for the first time. Later that night I believe I actually did see an interview with a serial killer. This demo was intended for MiracleWorks Records.
2. No Time For Love: Written July 22, 1981. Recorded June 12, 1990 at Attic Studios. This has always been one of my favorite songs. It’s about a girl I used to know pretty well...or thought I did. Recorded for MiracleWorks. Taken from a first generation copy because MiracleWorks has the master tape and won’t give it back.
3. Dear Annie: Written April 2, 1978. Recorded June 18, 1990 at Attic Studios, again for MiracleWorks. Taken from a first generation copy. See above. I was trying to write a Paul McCartney song and sing like George Harrison.
4. The Sound Of A Door Closing: Written August 1, 1981. Recorded July 11, 1989 at Attic Studios. This song has got to have the weirdest lyrics I ever wrote. I don’t remember what inspired them, but I do remember that whatever they mean they all came at once.
5. Everything To See: Written sometime in 1981. Recorded sometime in 1990. This song has gone through many permutations. Another demo for MiracleWorks recorded at Attic Studios. Hell...all these songs were recorded at Attic Studios, which isn’t really a studio but is an attic.
6. The Girl Can’t Help It: Written May 1982. Recorded May 29, 1990 as a demo for MiracleWorks. Originally on BLOOM OR DIE, my first tape. This version is much better. Too bad I don’t have the master because this copy has some distortion. Some guy I was in a band with once came up with the line ‘fluent French from her lips’ and I sort of twisted it around and took it from there. Attic Studios.
7. Simple World: Written April 8, 1989. Recorded May 1, 1990 and August 29, 1991. I stole some good lines from a bad poem and the rest followed.
8. I Hang Heavy: Written June 1989. Recorded July 1990 as a demo for MiracleWorks. From a first generation copy. Ditto from above. Originally on BLOOM OR DIE. I used to title it ‘Buddy Holly in Hell’ which may explain a couple of things about the lyrics. Maybe not.
9. Revelation: Written sometime in 1989. Record April 1990 for MiracleWorks. One of at least six versions of this song. There is an earlier, better one without all the sound effects, but MiracleWorks has it. From a first generation copy.
10. Wild Hog In The Woods: Recorded August 21 and September 1, 1991. Taken from the version as performed by Mrs. Eunice McAlexander in 1976. This song is also known as ‘Bangum’ and ‘Old Bangum’ and there are numerous versions of the song. I used three of the six verses in Eunice’s performance and did quite a bit of rearranging.
11. Hold The Wind: Recorded August 21 and 22, 1991. The words are from the Alan Lomax arrangement from a recording of an African-American blacksmith in the Louisiana State Prison, 1933. I used Lomax’s chords but I couldn’t read the music so I made up a melody.
12. If The Light Has Gone Out: Recorded August 25 and 26, 1991. This one’s an old Protestant hymn. Taken from the 1926 performance by Ernest Phipps and His Holiness Singers. If you can get hold of the Victor lp of these folks performing twelve evangelical folk numbers, it’s well worth it ‘cause it kicks butt.
13. Who Will Bow And Bend?: Recorded August 18, 1991. From the performance by Mrs. Morris Austin, 1977. This is a Shaker hymn probably written in the late 1700s or early 1800s. Great poetry.
14. The Ballad Of Finley Preston: Record August 19, 1991. Also known as ‘Lilly Shull’. Based on an actual murder that took place near Mountain City, TN sometime in October 1903. This song is still sung in eastern Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Finley, by the way, was hanged November 7, 1905. This track is based very loosely on the 1939 recording by Mrs. Lena Turbyfill and Mrs. Lloyd Bare Nagle.
15. The Lexington Murder: Recorded August 23, 1991. I took the riff from Jonathan Richman. He took it from Lou Reed. I don’t know who Lou took it from. Based on the arrangement by Wesley Hargin which was recorded by Alan Lomax in the State Penitentiary, Raleigh, NC in 1934.
16. Wind And Rain: Recorded August 15, 1991. You might recognize the melody from Bob Dylan’s ‘Percy’s Song’. Guess now we know where Bob got if from. I used Dan Tate’s 1962 interpretation word for word. Otherwise known as ‘The Two Sisters’. Dig the surreal images at the end of making a musical instrument out of the dead girl’s finger bones and hair.
17. Hit The Road Again: Recorded August 22 and 23, 1991. From the Grant Rogers performance of April 1975. The melody is a variation on an Irish folk song I remembered. I forget the title. I love the words to this one.
18. Shady Grove: Recorded live at Attic Studios sometime in 1991. There are a million versions of this very popular song with lots of variations on the lyrics. I just remembered the song. I’m not sure if I used the actual melody or not. That’s Jordan Williams on bass and backing vocal. His girlfriend sang backing vocals and did percussion on the back of a guitar. I added the lead guitar later.
19. Queen’s Garden: Recorded August 1991. I believe this song was based on a ballad called ‘Little Sir Hugh’, which in turn was based on the belief, then prevalent, that Jews were required to drink the blood of a Christian child in Celebrating Passover. This was said to be a West Indian re-telling of the said ballad.
20. Oh Death!: Recorded August 1991. No one seems to know where this song originated. I took the lyrics from the great Dock Boggs’s track. This was a quickie demo. I intended to re-record it and use it on the original album but ran out of space.
21. If The Light Has Gone Out In Your Soul: Recorded August 18, 1991. Written by Curtis Williams in 1917, or at least he claims authorship. The truth is, most of these old recordings are centuries old. There is a lot of speculation that the song was based on ‘Amazing Grace.’ Based loosely on the awesome version by the Phipps Holiness Singers, which totally rocks.
22. This is the deleted prelude that was intended to introduce "Revelation". Previously unreleased until 2013.


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