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The Celestial Railroad

by Van Walker

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MILK & HONEY by Van Walker Wild nights drinking in the country On my own, off me head Gone are the days of milk & honey Honey's gone, Honey's dead Wild nights sleeping in the country On my own, hope be brave Gone are the days of chasing money Money's gone, there's nothing saved Wild nights dreaming in the country Of my home, so far away Gone are the days of chasing Annie Annie's gone, little Annie May The idleness I choose till I'm running out of booze Responsibility don't mean a thing There's nothing else to do But get drunk and think of you And I won't regret it in the morning
THE CELESTIAL RAILROAD by Van Walker Rolled & ragged, bruised and battered Made to bow down on my knees Tricked & cheated, plain mistreated Don't send no one's sympathy Feared and frightened, chased by lightning Had that big bad wolf break down my door Sold down the lake, stung by heartache Now I'm cursed with headaches and remorse Bought & broken, rudely awoken I've chose to hold that bloody knife Drowned in the water, run right over Rolled that boulder all my life Kidnapped by fleas, caught every disease All my doctors closed their doors Stitched up, shook down, messed with, fucked around But I ain't angry anymore Cause I keep moving through the deep recess of time I don't need my luck improving I believe I'll be happy Just as long as I can get myself some relief
ALL THE LEAVES ARE SHAKING by Van Walker Lay down your troubles and take off your mask All the leaves are shaking I'm in the mood for a little romance And if you're willing I'm waiting Hand me that bottle and kick off your shoes All the leaves are shaking Shall we go drink it out under the moon If you're willing I'm waiting Throw down that blanket out under the tree All the leaves are shaking Nowhere on this planet that I'd rather be If you're willing I'm waiting Well yr eyes are like water and yr breath's in the air All the leaves are shaking The sky is on fire but it don't compare And if you're willing I'm waiting
SINGING DETECTIVE by Van Walker I used to be a spy I used to be a real enigmatic guy I travelled on the trains I travelled with my collar turned up in the rain I had a little gun An I followed on the heels of those on the run And they never got away There always was a price and the price got paid I used to be a spy I used to be a real enigmatic guy Before I met you And before all the shit that you put me thru I thought love would prevail But you had me running round chasing my own tail I couldn't even spy I always was conspicuous no matter how I tried I was pissing in the wind So desperate I resorted to going through your bin I used to be a spy I used to be a real enigmatic guy But that was way back when Back when I was fatter and my hair weren't quite as thin But you made me look a fool So I took my little gun and put an end to you Now they hunt me every day They hunt me like a dog but I always get away Cause I'm a slippery little worm Living off my wife now the worm has turned I used to be a spy I used to be a real enigmatic guy
THE MURDER OF THE MALLEE GIRL by Van Walker Walking on the street, a lit cigarette in her hand Nobody saw em leave, now I fell bad, bad,bad He must have saw her in his headlights As she was walking on the road He robbed her of her young life And left it wrapped up in her coat She was a friend of Mark & Suze Her boyfriend came from outta town I'd never talked to her before, its true But I'd sure noticed her around Supple, tall & lean with a naughty little grin He looked more shy than he looked mean And you were way too good for him It wasn't hard to choose from all those girls There at that dance I might have fell in love with you When you took me by the hand I should have left you alone You had a boyfriend I could see I should have offered you a lift home He should have took it out on me They argued in the car as he dropped her on the road Then he went and hit a bar as she started walking home He only left the bar when he was fully drunk He ran her over in his car & threw her body in the trunk Walking in a glade The cops were digging with their hands They found an unmarked grave only inches from a path Hidden from the sunshine The bones had crumbled into dust It was only the one time ... one time too much Ooh wee I had been dancing all night With another man's woman but he said it's alright Ooh ooh & it sure was strange The day after the dance the girl suddenly went away
WORLD OF SIN by Van Walker There's a funny thing that women do Complain you don't ring then they hang up on you But in every hole there's two ends to a snake And you'll never know if you don't reach in & take Out in the street there's a world of sin Before the night's complete I'll take a walk with him And everywhere we go people treat us kind And they never know their soul's on the line And you won't recognise him until he's far away Across the horizon, beneath the waves Throughout the day Sometimes I'm glad that she let me down For now I meet my man & we go to town Then I recall when I was just a lad Lord, I didn't know I'd turn out so bad For you won't recognise him until he's far away And then you can't describe, he can't be conveyed But you can feel him rising once the price is paid Across the horizon, beneath the waves Throughout the day
BIG SLEEP by Van and Cal Walker Honey I'm tired These highway's are long that I travel on Honey I'm tired But you won't believe that I've aimed to please Honey I'm tired I'm tired of the pain that comes with needing you I'm tired of the games that I can only lose And I'm tired of the shame that we both abused Honey I'm tired This grave be my bed should I lay my head To sleep is to die But if you turn away should I rest today There's a peace in my mind Cause honey I've tried But honey I'm tired
IF LOVIN' YOU AIN'T CRAZY I AM by Van Walker Sometimes in the morning I pretend that I've been yawning Cause I'm tired and I can't help it Were you hurting? Cause I felt it There's achip here on my shoulder Must be worth at least a boulder Tried to wash my face to change it Bot the mirror won't rearrange it Cause I'm laggard and I'm lazy And if lovin' you ain't crazy I am There's a sign out on the window Says they're closing down for the snow For the bridges have all caved in & The windows they're all shaking And the gutters are overflowing & The streetlights are slowly going And the candles are all dying Tiny fires are getting frightened And it's increasingly hazy And if lovin' you ain't crazy I am On the southside of the river There's a box I must deliver To a family of ancients & I've really stretched their patience Cause I wanted to be early For the grandmother was surly But the phone lines deceived me Into thinking they'd believe me Though it'd kill me if they praised me If lovin' you ain't crazy I am Now the nights are awaful boozy Like some old forgotten movie About a man who drinks with his dog Cause he can't recll his dialogue And he's playing his old records But they sound like they're playing backwards And he's fumbling with barbed wire Making dolls that would take your eye out Cause the television's broken & The fire needs a stoking And the possums in the ceiling Have gone from scratching to a-screaming And the pot-plants are all dying & The whole house needs an ironing And the lamp lights are all flashing & My potatoes need a mashing And there's dog-ends in the gravy & If lovin' you ain't crazy I am One light goes off, but one comes on You were right: I went wrong I know it's bad for my health But I don't want no one else What's that in the window Like a little yellow pin-ball Bouncing around & slowly poking Like a yellow feather floating It's the sunshine only smiling With the blue sky draped behind it And the maple trees all blooming Around the compost heaps all fuming While the children are outside screaming Behind the cars slowly leaving And the earth it keeps on turning And soon my love will be returning And it continues to amaze me If lovin' you ain't crazy I am
The Low Road 05:52
THE LOW ROAD by Van Walker Heaven is nothingness But we all been convinced otherwise It ain't nothing but dreams for the blind The same way a child fears the night But memory cannot go anyplace it don't already know But I'll keep my eyes on the road A road that's as long as it's low There's vanity everywhere As we all try to climb greasy poles I'll wait my time down below And watch as the go-getters fall For the faster they pick you up Well they'll put you down just as quickly But I've a longer strategic strategy I'll embrace an invisible destiny For living ain't everything It's about time we all realised This old world we consume like a fire We fuel with our future kids lives And the heart's no commodity But an ego that's empty with greed Values quantity over quality When more stuff's the last thing this world needs The low road is long And those high roads are quick but they're wrong For they'll chew you up and spit you out Then when you're gone you're gone It's the low road for me
Wildgrass 04:26
WILDGRASS by Van Walker Down to a river by an old dirty track I was running like a rabbit hiding in the grass I met a little fish swimming in a stream Most pretty little fish that I ever seen She was peaking up from out of the blue I was wiggling my whiskers, I said How do you do? She said I'm alright, I'm feeling OK Thanks for asking How are you today? I told her I was happy just scooting around Asked her if she'd like to see my hole in the ground But she wouldn't have it & was kind of upset I asked her What's the problem? She said Well, is it wet? I said No, it's dry, drier than the sun She said That's problematic, beside which, I don't run But if you'd like to see my little rock in the reeds Swim this way & follow me if you please She swam a little circle then she dived deep down I waited for a second but there wasn't a sound So I waited on the river by the side of the track Listening for a ripple but she never came back Baby, out in the wildgrass That's where I live & I run so fast But lately out of the water Since I met you I ain't been sober I'm just a drunk little rabbit waiting by a stream Waiting for a fish I seem I hopped out to the mountains out to visit a friend I asked him if he had some kind of boat I could lend He just laughed & he narrowed his eyes & said I'm an eagle, boy, I live in the sky I said Well, no harm in askin' & I hopped on my way But my friend flew overhead He must have had more to say I waited by the river where I spent most my time & my friend the eagle came flying out of the sky He grabbed me by the ears & he swung me round Way out over the river I thought he would drown Gathered all my strength & kicked him hard in the arse He dropped me & I landed with a thud in the grass Then I ran off like a rocket that was Jupiter bound Back into my burrow, little hole in the ground I waited & I trembled & I didn't come out Trying to figure out what all that was about Eventually I figured it had been a mistake So I visited my neighbour, a big black bellied snake I told her about the fishy that was down in the stream & all about the eagle that was cranky & mean She just smiled & hissed & waggled her tongue Then she whispered in my ear But what she said kinda stung She told me I was nosey & as dumb as they come I should not be hanging out where I don't belong So I stumbled & I staggered back to the river's edge I was feeling kind of sick so I layed down my head And I had myself a vision like a wonderful dream Like I was floating in the ocean but in that very stream And all the little fishies they were swishing around & suddenly I saw that little fish I had found She told me I was welcome to join her in the black So I did & I was happy & I never looked back Baby, out in the wildgrass That's where I lived & I ran so fast But lately I'm out of order Since you left me I'm drowning in water I'm an unhappy little rabby drowning in a stream Down among the fish I seen
BEWARE OF BANDITS by Van Walker Beware of bandits lonesome traveler For they work along these roads They & wait and they gravitate To the darker shadows So don't walk alone if you got money For they always come in pairs They're cowards down on their luck & you're a sitting duck if you're not scared Don't be paranoid, just be prepared And don't be hoodwinked lonesome traveler For the thief is always kind First he'll pat you on the back Then he'll rub you from behind And to pick him sure ain't easy For we all wear a disguise You might be expecting broken teeth But most have gold within their smile And their sympathies are sure to beguile Well some will rob you with indifference Some will rob you with pure greed Some will steal with nothing but pure & sincere need And while the poor go to jail, the rich ones spring bail So find a tavern lonesome traveler You'd do good to spend the night In a house where it's dry & warm & the midnight oil always burns bright You'll pay twelve dollars for your cigarettes & five bucks for a beer But it's better to be robbed inside Where there's laughter & there's cheer For what's the price for a sympathetic ear Well man they'll rob you with indifference Man they'll rob you with pure greed But some will steal with nothing But a pure & sincere need Blue collar crime, you know it ain't right But the worst crimes are white So beware of bandits lonesome traveler For they work along these roads And their businesses are legal & their doors are seldom closed Beware of bandits lonesome traveler
BEYOND WHERE THE LAST BUSES RUN by Van Walker Well my shoes are crumbling from my feet Still I can choose to embrace victory or defeat It's just I'm scared I must have done somebody wrong Still I'm prepared to pay the price In another life as another someone Cause I'm here and then I'm gone But I want to be gone for long It's just I live a little beyond where the last buses run Little children always seem afraid of me I never done them wrong Nor their parents, as far as I can see I know it's true I ain't too cool I kinda dress down like tramp & it's no excuse not to bathe I know that I smell pretty bad Well I'm always out of line but I'm just my mother's son And I live a little beyond where the last buses run And it's true I never had a job unlike you Although there's no one I have ever robbed I'm a man though they treat me like a dog I can't understand what it is they are so afraid of For I'd love to be with you but it just cannot be done For I live a little beyond where the last buses run Well the sun is water in my eye & my blues are as blue as the cloudless summer sky And if I knew what tomorrow might bring I might throw a noose over a beam & there I'd swing But it ain't me and even cliches disappear I can bare my teeth Even while I'm living on the verge of tears For today there's too much sunshine in the sky & these tears of grief could be tears of joy Welling in my eye The end is coming soon but it's only just begun Where I live a little beyond where the last buses run But I ain't a bad son of a gun It's just I live a little beyond where the last buses run
HIGH STREET BRIDGE by Van Walker Street lamps let them shine on the city Road maps let them swallow the street O the High Street Bridge sure looks pretty I never understood why until now That I'm laying on my bed & the rain is falling by my head And I ain't needing no company Tell me why do I feel like the night is calling And soon I'll be out wandering the streets Half nine & I'm late & I'm restless It's time & I've a date to keep With the band assuming I'm on the guest list I catch a tram & find me a seat up the back Now I'm rolling on the bar & the drinks are flowing thru my heart The band are playing with the light in their eyes Tell me why will I hold up the bar until morning Until I can see some more light in the sky Back home, one more drink, toast the city Cut the light & I turn up the lamp low The High St Bridge & it's trucks still run busy But once they've passed I don't care where they go Cause I'm alright now I'm laying on my bed & the rain is pouring by my head And I ain't needing no company Tell me why do I yield to this urge for roaming When the sky is calling me
WAITING by Van Walker I need a woman that I can hold I'm looking high, I'm looking low I left my trouble on the railway line I built my house where the sun don't shine The house is only three years old Looks like me, mainly board/bored With a steel iron roof and a split level hardwood floor But when I think of everything I'd do I can't help thinking I was chasing you Thru a room of rules to a view in an open door I sail my love on a stormy sea There ain't too many gonna sail with me But when I pass under a star filled sky There ain't no wind gonna sail me by I've drifted now on a gentle breeze Fall only when I try to please Now I'm out of reach & I ain't got nothin' more For everything that I had to lose I left behind to a merchant whore Only business was to remind me from the shore There ain't no love where there ain't no home & I been long gone baby since the day I was born I built this house for mama you & I Still I live alone no matter how I try For you were only ever free now & then Whebn you needed me & you probably don't need that anymore Still I've waited & I'll always wait until this whole thing evaporates And the line of fate draws itself on my floor I'll be waiting O for you Baby I got what I wanted but I lost what I had
VAGRANT'S FORCED ATTRITION by Van Walker When the road is rocky I'll keep rolling on I won't let nobody stop me I'll keep rolling on And if my friends all dislike me & the girl that I love is long gone I'll sat and I'll fight, if only out of spite I'll keep rolling on When the masks try to deceive me I'll keep rolling on When the jailers swear that they can free me I'll keep rolling on And when the faithless don't believe me & my critic cries I'm wrong It don't matter what I do, I know my heart is true I'll keep rolling on When the crowds thru which I pass are laughing at me I'll keep rolling on And when my request to take your hand is refused flatly I'll keep rolling on And when the nets of despair swoop down to catch me & all I got left are my songs I'll write another tune, I'll dedicate it to you But I'll keep rolling on




released August 22, 2008


VAN WALKER: vox, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, electric, Nashville
CAL WALKER: acoustic, electric, harp, mando, bottleneck, b/vox
ZANE LYND: bass, acoustic, organ, percussion, auto harp, b/vox
CHRIS ALTMANN: drums, banjo, steel, electric, organ, percussion, auto harp, b/vox

CAS GANNELL: cello; GREG FIELD: fiddle; JO BROCKMAN: banjo (Track 6); LIZ STRINGER: banjo & vox (Track 13); MATTY QUINN: vocals; & JEB CARDWELL: lap (Track 12)

Recorded late October 2007 at Wet Area On Dry Land Studios, Northcote
Recorded by Chris Altmann / Mixed & mastered by Craig Pilkington @ Audrey Studios
Band photo by Ronnie / Van & Cal photo by Maria / Layout by Jen Huntley
Drawings by Van Walker / Cover painting by Marc Chagall



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Van Walker Melbourne, Australia

Tasmanian musician Van Walker is the voice and writer behind groups such as The Swedish Magazines, Livingstone Daisies, Goatpiss Gasoline & Heartbrokers, as well as 7 critically acclaimed solo albums to date

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