As Good As Any

by Echo's Children

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credits

released April 1, 1999

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Echo's Children Portland, Oregon

In 1995 Cat Faber and Callie Hills teamed up to form Echo's Children, a duo known for well crafted harmonies and interesting lyrics about science fiction and fantasy subjects. They worked together until 2003, when Cat Faber moved to Tennessee and the group broke up. ... more

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Track Name: Annie's Luck
Annie loves the river, Annie loves the hills,
The silence and the freedom and the whippoorwills...
If the Psi Cops catch her, it's prison or the Corps;
The farthest she will ever see is down the corridor.

She works in Search and Rescue; it's "Annie's luck" we've had
When folks are hurt, or missing, with the weather turning bad.
She knows which trail to follow; she knows which hill to climb;
Annie has a special knack for finding them in time.

Annie leaves a letter, to say she has to go
She's sorry; she's a telepath, and now the Psi Cops know.
She's headed for the forest; they tell us "that's your beat;"
We try to lead them wrong, but we find out that Psi Cops cheat.

Too late we would defy them; we see her brought to bay;
A wild thing trapped and trembling where the canyon drops away
Surrounded by the Psi Cops, with no place left to go
But a hundred feet of nothing to the river far below.

The Psi Cop says "there's drugs to damp the talents that you had.."
The look she gets then makes me think those must be pretty bad.
I could weep for Annie, she looks so damn bereft--
He says "prison, or the Corps; those are the only choices left."

The Psi Cop shouts "wait, Annie!" just as Annie turns, and dives...
The river in that canyon gives bodies back, not lives.
We watch her fall forever, her open arms outspread,
The river white below her, like a rocky wedding bed.

The Psi Cop's face is granite, all triumph from it fled;
They drag the river, walk the banks, before they call her dead.
We've never found the body, don't think we will, somehow--
However it worked out, our Annie's got her freedom now.

Annie loves the forest, Annie loves the sky,
The way you see forever when you're way up high...
We put a marker up for her, the Psi Cop even came.
You can see damn near forever there, and the river speaks her name.
Track Name: When The Wind Changes
We fled to the snow--for the house was a pyre...
Our two hearts were shattered like stones in a fire
Time has seen mended what tragedy marred,
But never quite perfect--but never unscarred.

When the wind changes we still feel the breaks
The hurt that was dozing rolls over, and wakes
The sun leaves the meadow, the geese leave the lakes--
When the wind changes, it aches.

Out on the hill there's a place I would go
Where ash feeds the soil and wildflowers grow.
I'd follow behind you and creep up to stand
My head on your shoulder, my hand in your hand.

First fruits of harvest are sweet in my mouth
We've love; we have laughter; the wind's in the south
But sorrow is waiting, by autumn concealed,
As rain makes uneasy a bone long since healed.

Above a
Track Name: Wings
Small in the plaza a lone figure stares
Young in her yearnings and old in her cares.
She doesn't have jewels, diamonds and rings
But under her coat she has wings.

Crumbling sidewalks and drizzling skies
People brush past her with unseeing eyes
The veil of illusion like spiderweb clings
Under her coat she has wings.

Cruel is the world that she is caught in,
Dreaming, her wings she has forgotten,
Footsore as any mortal going,
Lost here, she looks on me unknowing.

Cloaked in the dark her aloneness I chart
She thinks she is mortal; I might win her heart;
But keeping her crippled, the thought of it stings
Under her coat she has wings.

Under the stars alone I find her
Gazing on heaven, I remind her
Suddenly bursting to astound me
Wings like a beating heart around me...

Closing my eyes for a moment alone;
I needn't look up, I know well she has flown.
Her trench coat lies shed like the leaves the wind flings
Under her coat she had wings.

Creature of air myself I knew her;
Though I have wings I can't pursue her.
Her wings are white and shining feather
My wings are dark and gleaming leather--

Wishing I'd kissed her just once while I could,
Kneeling, I touch the last spot where she stood.
Love and compassion are bitter cruel things
Under her coat she had wings.
Track Name: She Is Gone
She is dressed for sin, in a blouse so thin, with her hair like sunlit flame,
Fifteen years old, looking scared and cold, and Candy is her name.
Now a man drives by with a hungry eye and a fifty dollar note.
And he drives her out down a country route with a jacknife in his coat.

She is gone, she is gone, and the earth closed over her head.
Like the ones before, just a worthless whore,
Selling sin to buy her bread.

So intent is he that he does not see that his quarry's fear has passed;
A fresh grave waits by the junkyard gates, the seventh, and the last.
Now he lays her down on the cold damp ground, with the moss to make her bed.
Where the willow grieves, with its rustling leaves, like the voices of the dead.

Now he stills her shout as the knife comes out, and he puts his face to hers:
"Six lives I fear I have taken here, the seventh shall be yours."
But the small cold fist that grips his wrist has all his strength and more.
"Oh no," says she, "that shall not be -- for I've been here before."

"There are five," she sighs, "who stretch and rise, to pay you for your tricks.
Beneath the firs where the grave-dirt stirs, for I was number six.
Chill and dumb from their graves they come, to serve you in my stead.
And more besides -- they shall be your brides, to grace your wedding bed."
Track Name: Old Patterns
Patterns of patterns may alter and merge
Persisting long after their subjects diverge,
Shaping the growth to come after as well:
The bend of a tree or the curve of a shell.

Old patterns, like cards to be played,
Not easily altered, but just overlaid;
Old patterns never quite fade.

Bequeath what you have is the law of the gene
So in the descendants the parents are seen,
But drifting alleles may combine to expose
A fly with four wings, or a colt with three toes...

Tongues that diverge can be traced word by word
In patterns of sounds that are softened or slurred
While meanings they've shed make words rich to the ear
Persisting like echoes that scholars can hear...

By nature, the patterns that shaped how we live
Still flavor the ways we transgress and forgive;
Like shadows cast over the face of the scene
Ghost pictures burned into an old phosphor screen.

Forgive me the patterns that make it so hard
To reach for your love with a heart love has scarred
I know you have no way to fathom or place
Old joys and old hurts my reactions retrace--
Track Name: Mark's Song
I want to understand you, and I fear I never will.
You stymied every plan I had; you saw me learn to kill.
I meant to steal your life, and world, your title and your gains,
Yet you called me brother, and the name you gave remains.

I am not what you are, although your face I wear
Sculpted as your mirror, with most painful patient care.
Molded in deception, for war and murder grown,
The hatreds of your history have warped my flesh and bone.

I have met your father and led him close to death;
Grey as any ghost I've watched him fight for every breath.
I knew him as a murderer, the foe of every good,
Yet I, who am no better, would have eased him if I could.

I have met your mother; she seems to see me whole,
To know my every memory, each scar across my soul.
She sees the world so carefully; a thousand shades of grey,
Still expecting miracles from crushed and twisted clay.

Your troopers gave me welcome, and your form they smiled to see;
Their kindnesses were bitter, for they weren't meant for me,
Your home, your rank, your memory, your duties, and your face
Your mother's God forbid ... that I have them in your place.

I want to understand you, now I fear the chance is lost.
I had so much to say to you, I'm bankrupt of the cost.
Half of me still hates you as the source of all my pains,
But years ago you marked me, and the name you gave---remains.
Track Name: Let It Go
There's a wheel that some call karma that keeps turning in this life,
Saying "hatred breeds hatred; strife always ends in strife"
But how can the world get better, whence will come that brighter dawn
When the pain that you've been handed, you pass on?

You've got to let it go, let it go
You've got reason to be angry, but try not to let it grow;
When you brood on hate and bitterness till that is all you feel
You will never have the strength to stop the wheel.

When old resentments rise in you from heartbreaks where they hid
And you turn upon the innocent for wrongs another did
When oil upon the water only makes the water burn,
The wheel is trying for another turn.

The anger that defended you may yet your hopes betray
The war is over, cast aside your shield and walk away.
If you free yourself of bitterness, it is yourself you free--
Forgiveness leaves you richer -- you will see.
Track Name: Rest In Me
You said you had a sweetheart a hundred lifetimes deep
Who cradled you in comfort and soothed you into sleep;
You woke to find a willow, with leaves as green as bronze,
Which stroked your fevered forehead with gentle trailing fronds.

There's no one here to fight with, there's nothing here to flee
You said I was your willow, rest in me

Come lay aside your burden, and hearken to my tune,
The world is full of struggle and morning comes too soon.
I dreamt I saw a willow that held you like a child,
You slept by leaves enshrouded -- and in your sleep you smiled.

You will not flee from danger nor raise a hand to fight;
But martyrs come to ashes, blazing in the night.
I dreamt I asked the willow whose restless branches stirred
How long we'd have together, she wept and spoke no word.
Track Name: Mountain Man
A fortress of stones jutting up from the valley,
Around the next curve, Shasta shrouded in mist,
A steep narrow road winds past clusters of houses,
I think of you often at moments like this.

The mountains and trails, they were ever your havens,
You sought them out often for solace and peace,
With snowshoes or skis, with a tent and a backpack,
Renewing your spirit in places like these.

Along with my height and a fondness for puzzles,
A keen eye for detail no other eye sees,
Your love of the mountains flows strongly within me,
I think of you often on journeys like these.

At sunset the trees on the ridge are dark outlines,
The alpenglow falls on the snow-covered peaks,
As deer venture forth to come browse by the roadside,
I think of you often at moments like these.
Track Name: Web Of Love
Life is spun of twisting atoms, twined in a seamless weave
Through wind and leaf and earth and sea and air they cling and cleave
Our flesh was kin before we met, e're heart discovered heart
We are strands in an endless web; how can we be apart?

From the time when the sun caught fire from the press of the weight it owns
From the time when the first rain fell and hissed on the scalding stones
Atoms have been dancing to a music made of light
Till at last in the dance we meet, -- and meeting, reunite.

Carbon in this bread we break, the child of the harvest sheaf
Came of the breath of a mastodon, by way of a sunlit leaf
Taste the thousand tales it holds, of days when, daylight-hurled,
Beneath a passenger pigeon's wing it flew around the world.

This vintage grew of April's courting: sunlight's fitful gleams
And rain that stretched across a ridge to swell a dozen streams
As we drank last summer, and as now we share our wine,
In crimson cup and racing blood the raindrops recombine.

Nitrogen and phosph'rus, passing, sweep like phantom wings
Through life and death, through earth and air in interlocking rings,
In our bones and in our blood, wound through our DNA
Our flesh is made of stone and sea, the breath of yesterday.

We are made of living earth, the spawn of a moulting star
The stuff of all that came before has made the flesh we are
I know, the hour I meet your eyes, that we are kin and kind--
We have touched in every part, through all of time entwined.
Track Name: Oh Garibaldi
Oh, Garibaldi, what are you thinking?
There's a whole pack of troubles headed your way
If you give them a welcome, take them out drinking
You might just as well ask them to stay.

Oh Garibaldi, trouble's come courtin'
With a bottle of wine and its eye on romance
That old devil whiskey may look purty sportin'
But he ain't gonna give you a chance!

Oh Garibaldi, you've been a pal and since
We'll push you away if we come on too strong,
We -- tiptoe around, with our hearts in the balance
Knowing damn well that something is wrong!

Oh Garibaldi, your laughter is hollow
Though your words reassure, and you claim you're OK
Are you walking away just to see who will follow you
Or are you just walking away?
Track Name: Pooka
Sweet and fickle and quick and lazy,
She's big trouble, and a royal pain.
Damn if the pooka don't drive me crazy;
Damn if the pooka don't keep me sane.

I am fast but she is faster;
Wonder how she managed that.
She just laughed when I first asked her--
"All you need is a hob-stitched hat!"

I had heard in myth and rumor
Who might come to take my part;
Got no sense but a sense of humor;
Got no fear but a Firbolg heart.

The title "friend" I would afford her;
There's no finer in a fight.
Should you deign to give an order
She'll do the opposite--just for spite.
Track Name: New Computer Blues
Y'know I got my new computer the other day,
The guy that hooked it up, he said "it's plug and play."
So I tried to run a program and what did I find,
It asked so many questions, drove me outta my mind!

I've got the
How big's the hard drive, what speed's the chip,
Does your modem handle faxes, is the surge protector lit?
Can your sound card do MIDI, is your printer online
Have you registered that shareware program?
New Computer Blues...

Well, I called up the technician to see what I should do,
but his phone was always busy, I could never get through
and I signed up for a class to learn 'bout gettin' online
'cause I don't want to read manuals till I turn ninety-nine!

I thought that choosin' the computer'd be the hardest part;
why does it ask so many questions if it's all that smart?
So, I called my teenage nephew, who's a self-professed geek
He got it all configured - but it took him a week...

Now the system's finally set up, I can surf on the net,
and my children send me email; and the spam ain't found me yet
but don't ask me 'bout an upgrade to a Pentium 10
After all that I've been through, I'll never do this again!
Track Name: Say Again, Tower
The sky mighty black and the Earth blue and green
I flamed out on stellar craft B-17
With never a thought for the future I sought,
So here's to the stars and the spacers between.

"Say again, Tower?", the spacers demand
"Say again, Tower, we don't understand
Gander your phrase book and try it again
And please eighty-six on the slang on this band!"

Like anyone else with the brains of a bean,
I'd read Chaucer and Shakespeare and easily seen
How a language could change in a century's range,
I just hadn't thought what the changes might mean.

With everyone striving to coin the new phrase
The Internet's growth added fuel to the blaze
Kids pick up a word they just overheard
And spread it worldwide in a matter of days.

I laughed at the worries that fell on my ears
'Till the voice from the tower confirmed all our fears,
"Say, B-17, how's the verne escadrine?"
For Pete's sake, I've only been gone twenty years!
Track Name: They Spoke With Their Hands
When I was a youngster, to question, or teach,
The dance of our hands was our manner of speech;
It was long till I learned that no other could hear
The soft sound as the wind touched the curve of their ear.

We spoke with our hands and we heard with our eyes,
We were rough and silly and gentle and wise
But bird song's a thing no one else understands
In a village where everyone speaks with their hands

But much as they loved me, I grew in their fears,
For I heard around corners, their laughter or tears
And I couldn't explain, not for all of my care
How I gazed on their hearts through no sense they could share.

I tried to conceal it, but still I was caught
And fear turned to anger; they trusted me not
Till I ran from the mob through the cheatgrass and sage
Fleeing unseen the bare sound of their rage.

I dream of the chance all my dreams to restore
Let our hands dance together, build bridges once more
But should fear drive out love I will work them no ill
Earth be my witness, I miss them still.
Track Name: Song Of The Stars
Some love the temper of well crowded streets
In dark smoky taverns they brag of their feats
Some love the bustle of stalls and bazaars,
But mine are the stars, I've always loved the stars...

Tara nole, e-leni, celeblin dae
Rill quivien, nimirie din lome.

The blaze of the cities despoils the night
Shaming the sky with the stain of their light
But my mother's people love twilight's reply
Thousands of stars, caught in a brilliant sky.

And I've seen the ship rising, a phoenix in flight
To the stars I knew only as sharp points of light.
And the snarl of power can't muffle the sound
The songs of the stars, calling to those on the ground.

And my heritage calls me away from my home
To see wonders unspoke-of in legend or tome
To fly in the lady's predestined design
To look to the stars, to know that the stars are mine.

It would dazzle my mother to know where I've run
There are billions of worlds and each star is a sun.
But I think it would please her to see the ship rise,
To know that the stars have dazzled her daughter's eyes.
Track Name: The Seventh Horse
Count the white horses you meet on the way.
Count the white horses, child, day after day.
Count the white horses til seven; if you
Wish on the seventh, your wish will come true.

I counted them up as the lullaby said,
One by the mayor's house, one by the shed,
One in the lane. . . when the seventh I'd see,
I'd wish on the seventh a hero to be!

One in the pastureage by the back door,
Two by the orchard, and one, that makes four,
Each day I counted and kept them in mind,
But somehow the seventh I never could find.

But yesterday morning, I saw the whole fair,
The horses and horse-dealers gathering there;
I saw six white horses, and as bright as a flame,
The seventh---I wished, and she called me by name!

I'll be a hero, as soon as I'm grown.
The seventh horse loves me, so I'm not alone.
I poke up the fire with branches and bark
And sing my own lullaby here in the dark. . . .
Track Name: As Good As Any
I threw myself at someone and he dropped me with a thump,
Left me spittin' dirt and sittin' on a smartin' rump
I picked me up and brushed me down and made the dust to fly
I'm as good as any who can look me in the eye.

Well, sure enough I'm sorry, and I dropped a sigh or three
That the one I really wanted really wasn't wanting me,
But I've got better things to do than sit around and cry--
I'm as good as any who can look me in the eye.

So when I heard the music, sure I came to join the fun.
Ready for a dance, perhaps a kiss when we are done.
But where I see no interest, I'll not bother to apply;
I'm as good as any who can look me in the eye.

If someone isn't interested, you take them at their words,
The sea is full of fishes and the bushes full of birds.
The bloom is off the rose? well there are buds in good supply,
And you're as good as any who can look you in the eye.