Song of the day – 207: Scarce (free downloads!)
“Scarce sounded like all those parts of R.E.M. and Bowie that no one is supposed to like. Scarce had such passion and self-belief it hurt” – Everett True, Live Though This (American Rock Music In The 90s)
“In 1995, following a European tour with Hole, singer Chick Graning suffered a brain aneurysm and lapsed into a coma for several weeks. He recovered, and astonishingly Scarce kept going until 1997, playing two major US tours – even though this meant Chick relearning all his guitar parts and vocals from scratch. But increasingly Joyce felt herself frustrated at the emotional detachment Chick felt from both her and the music (unsurprisingly), and the band later split up” – ‘Background’, The Fall And Rise Of Circus Boy Blue by Joyce Raskin
A few years back, Joyce wrote a book about her experiences, Aching To Be – and got back in contact with Chick. Scarce reformed and… here we have some of the results of that welcome reunion, with commentary from both bassist Joyce Raskin and myself, and a free download of six songs. The Fall And Rise Of Circus Boy Blue is Joyce’s newest book, with Scarce lyrics and Joyce’s great line illustrations illuminating the text throughout.
All comments not italicised are from Joyce.
The book titled The Fall and Rise of Circus Boy Blue has all the lyrics of new and old Scarce songs woven into the story. Kind of like a soundtrack to the book. Feel free to give the songs away on your site. The more places the merrier I say.
You can find the files here. Damn, this is some fine music we’re giving away this beautiful spring morning.
The lead soundtrack song to the book.
Heaviness and naive hope and despair, and guitars laden with portent.
“As the sun rose, heaviness finally came over his eyes and he dropped off to sleep sitting in his bed cradling his guitar” – The Fall And Rise Of Circus Boy, p.29
Break Your Heart
Another song for you. Enjoy. I think this might be the best song Chick’s ever written personally. I’m biased I guess.
A song for the times when life is gnawing slowly at your insides, and churning you around, and making you feel ashamed of living; and there seems little point in struggling on until the next day unless it’s to discover whether the next day really can be worse than the last. Voices soar and falter. Guitars chime like Albert Square bells. Harmonies and the deep resonant bass battle for little supremacy. A song that could’ve – and might yet – take the disaffected mid-American youth by storm.
Love Chick’s Lyndsey Buckingham style guitars on here.
Joyce rockin’ it some, nice and mellow and slow on vocals; guitars wavering and slinking their way through a dust storm of David Lynch proportions. Is that a jungle-leaf cigarette holder? Wicked, wicked background harmonies.
Stupid In A Cup
There is a video for this song. Feel free to link that up too if you feel so inclined.
“Jacqueline was laughing drunkenly with the Clowns and the Lion Tamer. Her musical laugh seemed to float above the smoke and voices and land sweetly by his side. But the Clowns, who terrified Circus Boy, kept interrupting her lovely tones with guffaws of silliness and snorts like pigs” – The Fall And Rise Of Circus Boy Blue, p.19
Jaqueline is the main love of Circus Boy in the book, a redheaded Scottish trapeezist in the Circus who continually breaks his heart. Ain’t it always the case.
This is a full-on, upset but not giving in, delicious drawl of a Southern-edged country rock song, that oddly recalls some of Ben Salter’s finest moments, with a chorus that keeps repeating on you like you’ve always wanted it to and similar to great former Scarce moments as ‘All Sideways’. The circus boy has piercing blue eyes and a big heart. Like all the circus boys you wanted.
The road in the book everyone travels to New Orleans when the storm shuts the circus down.
This is the song that Courtney Love was attempting to write when she wrote ‘Malibu’ (which, now I think about it, is just about the best pop song she’s written in over a decade). Joyce handles lead vocals here. You’d think she’d been doing it her entire life… oh wait. She has.