Jim Shelley & Book of Kills | The Haunted Life (Expanded Edition)

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The Haunted Life (Expanded Edition)

by Jim Shelley & Book of Kills

The 1992 homemade classic. "Shelley delivers the goods one song after another on this release. It's got a raw, Dylanesque kind of street poetry feel to it...a gritty emotional muscle...Highly recommended." ~ Gajoob magazine
Genre: Rock: American Underground
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Heaven
4:46 $0.99
2. In My Room
3:00 $0.99
3. The Girl Whose Name
2:59 $0.99
4. Haunted Road Blues
3:31 $0.99
5. Blue Man
4:20 $0.99
6. If I Went Mad
2:11 $0.99
7. Notes from Underground
8:01 $0.99
8. New James Shelley Blues
3:14 $0.99
9. Fool for Love
5:25 $0.99
10. The Haunted Life
2:52 $0.99
11. Talk to Me
3:31 $0.99
12. She's the Kind of Girl
2:21 $0.99
13. The Tall Dwarf's Lament (Outtake)
1:49 $0.99
14. That's the Life for Me (Outtake)
2:29 $0.99
15. Everybody Do the Wipe Out (Demo)
5:02 album only
16. Heaven (Alternate Take)
4:50 $0.99
17. Notes from the Underground (Alternate Take)
8:01 $0.99
18. Talk to Me (Alternate Take)
3:45 $0.99
19. The Haunted Life (Alternate Take)
2:43 $0.99
20. That's the Life for Me (Alternate Take)
2:22 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"The Haunted Life"

The Songs:

1. Heaven - 4:43
2. In My Room - 3:00
3. The Girl Whose Name - 2:59
4. Haunted Road Blues - 3:27
S. Blue Man - 4:19
6. If I Went Mad - 2:10
7. Notes From Underground - 8:01
8. New James Shelley Blues - 3:14
9. Fool For Love - 5:25
10. The Haunted Life - 2:42
11. Talk To Me - 3:31
12. She's The Kind Of Girl - 2:20

Plus. these previously unreleased songs:

13. The Tall Dwarf's Lament (Outtake) - 1:49
14. That's The Life For Me (Outtake) – 2:28
15. Everybody Do The Wipe Out (Demo) – 5:02
16. Heaven (Alternate Take) – 4:49
17. Notes From The Underground (Alternate Take) – 8:01
18. Talk To Me (Alternate Take) – 3:44
19. The Haunted Life (Alternate Take) – 2:52
20. That's The Life For Me (Alternate Take) - 2:21

Notes (These are the original notes from the 1992 cassette album with additional comments from the 1998 re-release):

1. Heaven: (Written & recorded 6/21-22/92) I was never totally satisfied with my last album, Don’t Stop the Scream and as soon as I finished it, I started thinking about the direction my next tape would take. I really didn't think I'd have enough energy to complete another fall album, so in the meantime I remixed and partially re-recorded a few songs from Scream and 1991's For the Good of the Cause and put them on an E.P. along with a few other odds and ends. That was 8 From the Attic and to tell you the truth I liked it better than Scream (BULL! ~ JS, 3.5.2012), which I now realize would have made a better six-song E.P. than a full album (Again...BULL! ~ JS, 3.5.2012). That came out in early June of I992. Anyway, one night I was listening to 8 From the Attic, "Cara Anne" specifically, when the first line to "Heaven" came to me. I snagged a pencil and paper and wrote the whole song in minutes then ran upstairs to the studio to record it. I had lent my acoustic guitar to a friend, but I did have a cheap little Sears model with absolutely no sustain ... totally dead ... and I couldn't keep it in tune. When you gotta record you gotta record. Kind of makes the song sound creepier, though.

2. In My Room: (Written & recorded 9/12/92) Often ideas for songs or poems will come to me while I'm driving in my car, listening to the tape player, and that's how this one came about. I wrote the whole song on the back of a dirty napkin while trying not to run off the road. All the while I kept getting more and more into the song and going faster and faster. I'm probably lucky I didn't wipe myself out. I guess I could've pulled off onto the shoulder and finished writing the song there, but I felt as though if I did the inspiration would somehow evaporate. My anthem for all home tapers. What a bunch of geeks we all are!

3. The Girl Whose Name: (Written & recorded August 6-7, 1992) I don't know exactly where this one came from but I know who it's about. I realized early on that I was going to write a lot of songs about relationships and not just typical relationships people usually write about.

4. New James Shelley Blues: (Written & recorded August 11-12) Obviously I listened to Bob Dylan quite a bit this summer. I wrote this one afternoon after playing The Basement Tapes C.D. all morning. Originally there was a fourth verse, but I cut it out at the last minute. This one sounds to me as though it's constantly right on the edge of falling apart. That's why I like it.

5. Fool For Love: (Written & recorded August 17, 1992) Why do we insist m hurting one another? I don't know how much needs to be said about this one. It's pretty much all right there in the words and music.

6. Notes From Underground: (Written August 8-11, 1991 & recorded August 19, 1992) If you have For The Good Of the Cause, you recognize the lyrics. Originally this was a sort of poem written for the insert of that album. I wrote the chorus on August 19, 1992 after flipping through the Bible and coming across several lines which I pretty much just paraphrased into an eight-line refrain. It somehow seems connected to "New James Shelley Blues." I've never written an eight-minute song before and probably never will again. A soundtrack for the Apocalypse.

7. The Haunted Life: (Written & recorded September 2, 1992) I was listening to a tape with some stuff by the 13th Floor Elevators and this one dropped out of the sky right into my lap. I understand what it means now a lot better than I did when I wrote it. By the way, my tape machine ate the first recording of this song and I had to record the whole thing over again, which I did QUICKLY. That’s one reason this one’s so rough.

8. Haunted Road Blues: (Written & recorded September 3, 1992) Right out of the Dylan school of song writing. Kind of a clunky country blues thing. Like most of the songs on this album the words came easily and quickly. When I was a kid, my older brother was always playing stuff by blues men like Muddy Waters and Sonny Terry and Buddy Guy and many of the first songs I ever wrote were blues songs bad blues songs. Up until now there never seemed to be a place on one of my albums for a song like this, but it fits pretty well on The Haunted Life.

9. Blue Man: (Written & recorded September 5-6, 1992) This past spring, a friend, Robert St. Ours, wrote a children's book called The Blue Man. Don't ask me to explain the story ... it would take too long, but I loved it and the image of the blue man stuck in my head. Strangely enough, I'd written about the blue man in "Religion Is That I Love You" from Don't Stop the Scream. Who ... or what ... is the blue man? Your guess is as good as mine.

10. Talk to Me: (Written & recorded September 19-20, 1992) Sometimes you write a song and you think you know what it's about, but later you realize that it means something more than you originally intended. Does that make sense? I hated this song when I originally wrote it and almost stuffed it into the lost tape file, but somehow it kept buzzing around in my head. Now I kind of like it.

I 1. If I Went Mad: (Written & recorded probably some time in late August or early September)This is a sort of tribute to Daniel Johnston, mad giant of the cassette artist world. I think I thought I was going mad during the sessions for this album. I wonder if it shows. For some reason, I decided to leave this song off the original line up back in October of 1992 and this song didn't surface until its appearance on Big Business Monkey, Volume One a year later. Now it's where it belongs.

12. She's the Kind of Girl (It's a big deal, Kim): (Written & recorded September 25-26, 1992) A throwaway pop song. But I love pop songs and I can't make an album without sticking one on it. Tossed this one off in fifteen minutes and recorded it in an hour. Sometimes the songs that come the easiest are the best. Guess the title's kind of a giveaway as to whom I wrote it for. You're never too old to have a crush on somebody, I guess. So this is about an unrequited crush. And Kim, if you're ever in the area...

13. The Tall Dwarf's Lament (June 13, 1992) This was a sort of transitional song bridging the Don't Stop the Scream sessions and those for The Haunted Life. I don't think I ever seriously considered using it on Haunted Life because it really doesn't fit the tone of the rest of the album and it's really not even completely realized as a song in the first place. I didn't even know this number existed any longer until a few weeks ago (I'm writing this on September 14, 1998) when I started looking for the out takes to these sessions. I found it on the back of an unused take of "Heaven." The words are directed in large part to a young friend of mine who (at least at the time) seemed more concerned with getting high than actually living.

14. That's the Life for Me (July 6, 1992) The words at the time seemed pretty superfluous though there is a sadness there hiding just beneath the surface. I probably should've put this one on along with "If I Went Mad," but that would've meant extending the album past the length of one side of a ninety minute tape so I left it (them) off. This one was never really finished, but the arrangement is close enough to done to be interesting to BOK fans, I suppose. I don't remember much about this song except that I wrote it on a piece of paper in my car right after pulling out of my driveway and seeing a bunch of cows standing in a field...yeah, I guess I used to write a lot of songs in my car. Haven't you ever wished you were just a dumb animal with no cares in the world other than where your next meal was coming from?

Recorded on a TOA MR-8T (what a piece of crap!) 8-track cassette recorder. Mixed through a very noisy Yamaha EMX-300 onto DAT using a Sony DTC-700.

This album is dedicated to Jordy Williams for believing in me from the very start. And for writing the ridiculously over the top notes for the album (which I have since deleted--JS.)

Original album cover was drawn by Aaron Farrington and colored by Christian Nipe.

Written and performed by Jim Shelley.

Mixed September 27 and 30, 1992.

Thanks to Robert, Gary, Jim, Mark, Jay, Mike, Mary Lou, Dave, Leone, Patti, Christian, Daniel and everyone else who listens with an open ear.

For a FREE catalog listing the many albums of Book of Kills, write:

Jim Shelley
206 High Street
Bridgewater, VA 22812-1114

While on the internet, why not stop by the official Book of Kills Web Page:


"The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?"
--Jeremiah 18:9



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