Kissing the Sea on the Lips

by The Vaad

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released March 1, 2012

the vaad is:

Benjamin Kaplan - lead and harmony vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, piano, synthesizer, percussion, drum programming

with help from:

Tim Breon - electric and acoustic basses
Billy Matlack, Jr. - drums
Jack Petracek - drums
Easy Mark Tomeo - pedal steel and dobro
John Horton - bass and guitars
Stacey Cox - harmony vocals
Mary Alice Wood - harmony vocals
Eric Ratinoff - harmony vocals
Jay Sand - harmony vocals
Jeff Shaw - harmony vocals

All songs written by Benjamin Kaplan (© 2012, The Odessa Steps, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved), except Roller Coaster Temple, words by Tim Nudd and music by Benjamin Kaplan (© 2012, The Odessa Steps, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved) and Christopher Street, words by Benjamin Kaplan and Mary Alice Wood, music by Benjamin Kaplan (© 2012, The Odessa Steps, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved).


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The Vaad St Louis, Missouri

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Track Name: The American
Sunday morning stroll down the Champs Elysees
Looking for some peace but I can’t parle francaise
Whirl around the town, while away the hours
Like Audrey Hepburn in the “Girl who Stole the Eiffel Tower”

Floral printed scarves wrapped around your neckline
Designed by entertaining men down near then coastline
Mispronouncing words has become a habit
They may say tableaux, but I pronounce it tablet

I am the American
From the land of the Brave and Free
Walking the soil of the Napoleon
With you my Josephine

Marble columns with their crevices and creases
Pyramid of glass, oh the Mona Lisa
Italian lady she smiles through the bullet glass
Squints her chocolate eyes to avoid the flash

Little Madeleines play with jack and aces
And their young companions feckless and flirtatious
Along the cobblestones and through the narrow streets
Wearing black berets and tightly trimmed goatees

Grab a warm baguette and tear it all to pieces
Spread on some Camembert or some other creamy cheeses
I feed you a piece and then you feed me mine
As we sit alone, our legs they intertwine

Then to a small café to watch the people talking
Rest our weary bones on two strong cups of coffee
You extend your hands with brightly colored fingers
Extinguish your cigarette but the smell of smoke still lingers
Track Name: Christopher Street
Cheap mascara running down both cheeks
Fishnet stockings crossed at the knees
Three-inch heels and a crown of gold
Size fourteen but the seams won’t hold

Which side are you on?
Brothers, sisters, patrons, pawns
Princes of the endless night
The girls of Stonewall beat it back into the light

Fake eyelashes held on with glue
A knowing wink to you-know-who
Mabeleine or maybe not
Majesty of the misbegot

Well inside of the one and nine
Citizens stand side by side
Feel the pulse of the Village beat
As the chorus line assembles down on Christopher Street
Track Name: Across the Green Line
They’ve postponed the peace talks again
Because the holy of holies is no longer in
Ear to the ground as the peasant girls cry
And the red dust cakes in the corner of their eyes
They’ve postponed the peace talks again

Where would I be if I could own this land?
Leave the struggles in somebody else’s hands
Barbed wire fences and checkpoint Charlies
Stranded by the road hauling bales of barley
Where would I be if I could own this land?

Where if it wasn’t true
I can’t find the language to speak to you
Greet the morning with a single purpose, just to stay alive
Simple pleasures are forsaken across the green line

Of bombs and buses and cannibal mines
Of the information flowing over telephone lines
If nothing is forgiven then nothing ever ends
Heartbeat of a nation killed trying to defend
If nothing is forgiven it will never end

You can take my hand I won’t tell a soul
Usher in the glory of the black and white films of old
Steal myself a heartache in the deepest dark
Long forgotten fountain down in Balaban Park
You can take my hand I won’t tell a soul
Track Name: Niagara
S and D is the last whistle stop on your way to the Bronx
You take a seat as it rolls along under the painted rocks
Ducks swim by your feet in the whippoorwills
You hear the shouts of the mothers sitting on the window sills

It’s laundry day and the delicates hang on the fire escape
And the dying sun floods the baseball field about a quarter to eight
Young Dominicans they run on home to eat
As Merengue beats pump out of the cars down on Dykeman Street

Red Apple Rest
Flying up the Palisades west
Flowing south toward Lake Erie
Pour down your Niagara
Great rock and flow
Across the plans of Ontario
Flowing south toward Lake Erie
Pour down your Niagara on me

Daisies sitting in the vase are wilting from neglect
And the fact that you burnt the pumpkin pie is to me circumspect
Hallways with their wooden floors welcome you to walk
And the children playing down on the stoop are drawing with the sidewalk chalk

We walk out into the field to welcome the weekend bride
Potluck dinner and some conversation, sipping down a little red wine
Shadows dancing on the wall they flicker back and forth
And the candles burn deep into the night, for whatever it is worth
Track Name: Back Porch Swing
Silence is my favorite sound
It drips off your lips like nectar
As I wait for the shoe to drop
Rumor, sigh, and conjecture

Constant craving on the dance floor
Big band swing and a whiskey sour
Your sequined dress caught in my fingers
I’ll be pulling splinters out within the hour

Wooden bench and a metal chain
Birthday gift from the family
A simple motion, back and forth
Rock of ages, on your back porch

Cityscape sleeps in the distance
From the tower rings the bell of truth
You rest your head upon my shoulder
As squirrels scamper across the roof

I hear the sound of a train is coming
It’s heading north as far as I can tell
A siren to the restless thousands
As far down as Sylvan Dell
Track Name: Every Masterpiece
You don’t have to prove yourself to me anymore my belle
I will drop my guard and then close the bedroom door again
We’ll say the things that come to mind and let the letters ring in time
And watch the dishes pile high with memories of the summertime

One more lonely night tonight down on Weaver Street that’s right
When the social club lets out, one last call and full of doubt
Hanging tightly on the sway, disconnect and move away
It is certain as they say, that love’s a mystery

You don’t have to bite your lip and wonder anymore to wit
I will make my case for more with a tidy metaphor
Crimson box, soft velveteen, the shape of things that go unseen
Like most others bittersweet, beyond comparison to me
Track Name: Spinoza
You’ll find Spinoza on Zydu Street
He’s in the ghetto and he’s talking heresy
Drawing circles around questions of faith
Expediting the entire human race

You’ll find Spinoza in Flower Square
Burning memories of the shadow vendors there
Printing doctrines of staggering length
Lamentations to the sacred and profane
Track Name: Black Legend
Black Legend of Aragon sails in from the East
He’s courting the coastline with the greatest of ease
Dagger in his pocket, saber by his side
He’s anchored off the island lust for gold in his eyes

In the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Marie
The empire is expanding across the seven seas
For love of country, in the name of the lord
He’s here to teach the lesson about living by the sword

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue

Among the natives he’s revered as a god
They covet his horses, his clothing and his arms
So much learn there, witness and absorb
He’ll return to Spain a new man, a conquistador

It’s about contribution, to the state of mankind
To the history of our brothers passed down through the hands of time
What will they say, generations to come?
Will they worship him like a hero through the lands of Christendom?
Track Name: Roller Coaster Temple
Around and around, trees battle the ground
Of the open flame, a physical question
Day after day, mind with something to say
It’s an open scar lacking suggestion

All the time the answer is so simple
Brains fly on the roller coaster temple

It’s all up and down, no time for the ground
The waves are growing high despite all the action
I try to sleep with the company I keep
And with no constant mass I burp out distraction

High strung, dry tongue, ahh but ever so young
All the time it takes to try out the first drop
Rest of the ride there’ll be nothing to hide
On the easy turns and enjoyable pit-stop

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