Roving Women: Nat Johnson plays Connie Converse (live at the Lexington with Cornerstone Brass)

by Nat Johnson

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about

Recorded live at the Lexington, London on 25 October 2015, this was the third and final performance of "Roving Women: Nat Johnson plays Connie Converse". The set featured new arrangements of songs written by Connie Converse in 1950s New York. For full details of the project and to hear more about Connie and the documentary that was shown on the night, go to www.natjohnson.co.uk/rovingwomen/

NB studio versions of three of these songs are available on the Lonesome Lake EP here: natjohnson.bandcamp.com/album/lonesome-lake-ep. A studio version of 'Roving Woman' is over here: natjohnson.bandcamp.com/track/roving-woman-connie-converse-cover. 'All This' first appeared on Johnson's album Roman Radio. You can hear Connie Converse's original recordings here: connieconverse.bandcamp.com/album/how-sad-how-lovely

Photo by Katia from Women Produce Music @WPM_org

With thanks to: Arts Council England, Andrea Kannes, Ed Cartledge, Daniel Gurney, Delia Sparrow, Sensoria Festival & many more

credits

released October 30, 2015

All songs written by Connie Converse except Lonely in the Dark, Condor & All This, by Nat Johnson.

Arrangements by Nat Johnson and her band, and Damian Wileman

Nat Johnson: vocals and guitar
Oliver Allchin: lapsteel, banjo, musical saw
Hannah Cartledge: vocals, flute, horn
Katherine Jackson: vocals, violin, ukelele
Chris Loftus: bass
Neil Piper: drums
Cornerstone Brass led by Damian Wileman: Chris Allchin, Adrian Wileman, Neil Beecham, Susan Rose, Richard Hanson, Mick Sidebottom

Recorded by Ed Cartledge, Sort Of Films

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Nat Johnson Sheffield, UK

“A treat for fans of PJ Harvey and Alela Diane” – Subba Cultcha

Singer-songwriter., ex-Monkey Swallows the Universe / Nat Johnson & the Figureheads.

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Track Name: Roving Woman (live at the Lexington)
People say a roving woman
Is likely not to be better than she ought to be so
When I stray away from where I've got to be
Someone always takes me home

(Hannah:) A lady never should habituate saloons
But that is where I find myself on many afternoons
And just as I begin to blow away the foam
Someone tips his hat to me and takes me home

People say a roving woman
Is likely not to be better than she ought to be so
When I stray away from where I've got to be
Someone always takes me home

(Katherine:) Now poker is a game a lady shouldn't play
And every floating poker game just seems to float my way
But long before I've lost a thing besides my comb
Someone tips his hand to me and takes me home

Don't know why they always do it
Can't be vanity, must be sheer humanity
When some kind soul remarks with great urbanity
Lady let me take you home

Of course there has to be some little aftermath
To make the pleasant ending for the straight and narrow path
And as I go to sleep I cannot help but think
How glad I am that I was saved from cards and drink

People say a roving woman
Is likely not to be better than she ought to be so
When I stray there positively has to be
Someone there to take me home
Track Name: Trouble (live at the Lexington)
Ever since we met, the world's been upside down
And if you don't stop troubling me you'll drive me out of town

But if you go away
As trouble ought to do
Where will I find another soul to tell my trouble to?

My bed is made of stone, a star has burnt my eye
I'm going down to the willow tree and teach her how to cry

But if you go away
As trouble ought to do
Where will I find another soul to tell my trouble to?

They bid me wear my hat, put on a nice new gown
I tossed my bonnet over the roof and I guess it won't come down

But if you go away
As trouble ought to do
Where will I find another soul to tell my trouble to?
Track Name: Empty Pocket Waltz (live at the Lexington)
Shall we dine out, my dear? And dance the night away?
Don't say you're tired, you know you haven't worked all day
We've paid the rent finally and we're free to be free
Come now and waltz the Empty Pocket Waltz with me

Let's close our doors and make believe we're all alone
Grandma can't hear and baby's sleeping like a stone
We've paid the doctor his fee and we're free to be free
Come now and waltz the Empty Pocket Waltz with me

Why so unhappy? Don't be that way
Maybe they'll make me queen for a day

You'll find a job, probably, and be free to be free
To waltz again this Empty Pocket Waltz with me
Track Name: Talkin' Like You (live at the Lexington)
In between two tall mountains, there's a place they call Lonesome
Don't see why they call it Lonesome - I'm never lonesome when I go there

See that bird sitting on my windowsill, well he's saying whip-poor-will all the night through
See that brook running by my kitchen door, well it couldn't talk no more if it was you

Up that tree there's sort of a squirrel thing. Sounds just like we did when we were quarrelling
In the yard I keep a pig or two - they drop in for dinner like you used to do
I don't stand in the need of company with everything I see talkin' like you

Up that tree there's sort of a squirrel thing. Sounds just like we did when we were quarrelling
You may think you left me all alone, but I can hear you talk without a telephone

I don't stand in the need of company with everything I see talkin' like you
See that bird sitting on my windowsill, well he's saying whip-poor-will all the night through
Just whip-poor-will all the night through

In between two tall mountains, there's a place they call Lonesome
Don't see why they call it Lonesome - I'm never lonesome now I live there
Track Name: There is a Vine (live at the Lexington)
There is a vine growing on my garden wall
And it is brown and withered in the Fall
And in the Spring its leaves are green and blossoms all aflame
But Spring or Fall, still I love you just the same

There is a gate halfway down my garden wall
And in the night I lock it bolts and all
And in the day it's open wide to all who would come through
But day or night it is never locked for you

There is a tree growing by my garden gate
And year by year it seems to stand and wait
And here am I beneath the tree for I am waiting too
And oh, my love, I will always wait for you
Track Name: Lonely in the Dark (live at the Lexington)
How I'd like to drink with you in your kitchen late at night
How we'd talk
Don't be lonely in the dark

I see you in that chair
Come to life, come to England

Well the squirrel leaps on the sycamore bones
And in my nose is the gentle sting of winter
And I picture you on a walk in the hills
Were your fingers red when you walked in England?

Well the man in the sky might be married now
The wind may have carried your bonnet down
But now you're unburied we won't forget
That you lived alone, you lived alone

How I'd like to drink with you in your kitchen late at night
How we'd talk
Don't be lonely in the dark
Track Name: Down this Road (live at the Lexington)
(Nat:) Down this road, on a Monday morning
Came a-riding three strangers
Down this road, on a Monday morning
Came a-riding three strangers

There was one wearing green and one a peacock feather
And one wearing overshoes against the wintry weather

And they gave me six white horses for to carry my load
And they beckoned me to follow and they took me...

(Hannah:) Almost any day when I'm weary
Almost any day when I'm blue
Almost any day when I'm weary
Almost any day when I'm blue

I want to take a train and ride it
Or dig a hole and crawl inside it

Almost any day when I'm weary
Almost any day when I'm blue

It's surprising realising what a little bit of dreaming can do
Track Name: Condor (live at the Lexington)
So, the fire dies and the rest of the world sees by candlelight
You'll be gone tonight, all the colours of you
(So, the fire dies and the rest of the world sees by candlelight)

Where's the spray? There's none - just the prow of the boat pushing on through the foam
(Going where?)
Where this current pulls, getting ready to start to retrain as river, come back as condor

Keep that love in your sights; it's the rolling of thunder, mysterious lights
And row until it's time to retrain as river
Retrain as river, come back as condor
Track Name: All This (live at the Lexington)
Look so long on the lake, get your eyes full
And the beasts and the birds
And the light on the branch and the bramble

When all this is gone
The picture and the song still remain

Hold your hand out to the cold air
You can feel it but it's not there
The good thoughts in my head are blown down and clouded like the sun

Beasts and birds and branch and bramble

When all this is gone
The picture and the song still remain