Parlez-Vous Français?

01. Dinkytown
02. Cannot Love You Enough
03. Lady Beware
04. Robe In Glory
05. No Surprise
06. Motor Scooter
07. Alive
08. Talkin’ Trash
09. Parlez-Vous Francais?
10. So Alone

“Parlez-Vous Français?” by Willie Wisely Trio
Pravda Records PR-6348 | released 1994 | CD/Cass/mp3

“The ineffable WW3 recreate a WHITE ALBUM-styled vibe of experimentation and diversity. Sweet pop’n’roll next to gut-bucket swing… a feedback loop, followed with a clanking bossa nova.” ––unknown

   CD | PayPal | $10


How Not To Make A Record

At the Terrarium Studio, 1993

At the Terrarium Studio, 1993

In 2011 I was digging through a box of hundreds of cassettes when I came across one that didn’t look familiar and was marked only with 8/6/92. After putting it in the deck for a few songs I remembered what this was––and the realization was heartbreaking. These forgotten sessions from Gark Studio in Minneapolis were recorded live to a 2-inch multi-track tape deck. Even the vocals were live. I cannot easily explain why we rejected these recordings, because, thanks to engineer Ezra Gold, they sounded great.

At the Middle East, by Thomas Lingner 1993

At the Middle East, by Thomas Lingner 1993

It’s obvious that we’d been touring a lot. The road had accentuated our strangeness, emphasizing the Captain Beefheart, NRBQ edges that, only now, are so apparent. This cassette of quick production mixes, serves as probably the best document of the album we SHOULD have made. The wiggy chaos and the fearless genre jumping, shows off a band chemistry pushing the limits of my increasingly odd songwriting of that period.

The sessions were our first attempt to record a follow up to the 1992’s RAINCAN. It’s a shame we rejected them. Even more regrettable is the memory that now floods back of Gark studio owner Dave Pinsky calling me, maybe nine months later, asking if I wanted to keep the 2” master tapes––and me saying “no”. Ooph! The stereo cassette is all that remains.

Looking back I see that a lot of bad decisions were being made. For one, 1991-2 had been our busiest year of touring. I pushed the guys hard, compulsively booking gigs in and around Minneapolis. My entire self worth was wrapped up in knowing that there were gigs coming up, and increasingly that was a wedge between the band and I. We played multiple tours across the Midwest and central Canada––nearly 150 gigs in twelve months and it took its toll, particularly on Greg, for whom touring was physically uncomfortable. Furthermore, James was starting a family and had moved to Christie, WI. And Peter, whose aesthetics I deeply trusted, was focusing on his band Saucer. Being a neurotic artist, I took it all rather personally.

James Voss, The Terrarium, 1993

James Voss, The Terrarium, 1993

So without a deep involvement from the guys, it was difficult to see the magic in the Gark recordings. Desperate to better our last album I quickly booked us at The Terrarium, with owner Jason Orris engineering. Jason was a long-time co-worker at First Avenue & 7th St. Entry and so it felt comfortable to go there. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to change our approach to recording, again having the band play live––only this time, louder, in a single room––resulting in atrocious amounts of bleed between instrument tracks––lowering fidelity and making the mixing process a real bitch.

We should have pulled back to re-assess, but instead I pushed us ahead, frying Orris with long sessions and fussy overdubs. Tommy Roberts (future founder Z.VEX Effects) came in next to mix everything. Despite the sessions being an hilarious blur of Tommy’s absurd humor, mixing was fruitless, proving only that I’d blown our budget on tracks that weren’t shining.

Peter Anderson, The Terrarium, 1993

Peter Anderson, The Terrarium, 1993

So I went back to Erza at Gark and asked him to record four new songs and to doctor up the Terrarium tracks on a tight budget. By this point things were feeling shambolic and desperate, as I saw less and less of the band mates at the sessions. They seemed miserable, and in fact, Greg developed a life-threatening blood clot in his leg from too many hours sitting on a sagging couch in the studio. Everything went dim.

Meanwhile, we’d been signed to Pravda Records based on a few thrilling shows with Chicago’s New Duncan Imperials, the owners of the label. The advance money only served to stress me out––heightening my fear that we wouldn’t be able to push this thing over the finish line. Then in March 1993, Greg announced his abrupt departure by not getting in the van one morning as we departed to a gig in Thunder Bay, ON. So, in spite, I removed all the trombone-heavy tracks for incluion in the album, which left little material to choose from.

At this point, all I wanted to do was deliver the damn thing, whether I liked it or not. PARLEZ-VOUS FRANÇAIS would come out in February 1994. But we were demoralized, and musically hobbled by the loss of the signature trombone. I always privately hated the record.

With hindsight, we now set out to correct it all with a re-release. The new version will include tracks from the initial Gark sessions, abandoned tracks from the Terrarium sessions, and remixes of songs that were included in the Pravda release. Plus, I recently had the reunited Trio re-record several of the old songs during our sessions for the TRUE album.

The goal is to finally release the PARLEZ-VOUS that everyone should know––the one we would have loved, the one that would’ve kept the band together. And while we’re at it, we should re-title the damn thing, forgoing that off-putting French title and just use James’ original working title, that––while rather artless––better expresses my feelings about the experience: SHIT YEAH!

Will bad decisions ever cease?


Album Credits | Lyrics

Produced by Willie Wisely
Mixed by Ezra Gold & Willie Wisely

all songs by Willie Wisely ©1994.Wisely Publishers ASCAP

DINKYTOWN
Peter Anderson: drums, James Voss: bass, WW: piano & guitar, Greg Wold: trombone, Ezra Gold: percussion, engineer, mixer

CANNOT LOVE YOU ENOUGH
WW: piano & guitar, Peter Anderson: drums, James Voss: bass, Dave Krejci: Hammond Organ, Ezra Gold: engineer, mixer

LADY BEWARE
Peter Anderson: drums, Dave Krejci: Hammond organ, James Voss: bass, WW: 2nd bass & guitar, Ezra Gold: percussion, engineer, mixer, Jason Orris: engineer

ROBE IN GLORY
Peter Anderson: drums, Steve Blake: piano, James Voss: bass, WW: piano & guitar, Ezra Gold: percussion, engineer, mixer

NO SURPRISE
Peter Anderson: drums, Dave Krejci: Hammond organ, James Voss: bass, WW: guitar, Ezra Gold: percussion, engineer, mixer, Jason Orris: engineer

MOTOR SCOOTER
WW: piano, guitar, wurlitzer organ, Peter Anderson: drums, James Voss: bass,, Ezra Gold: engineer, mixer

ALIVE
WW: piano, guitar, & drums, James Voss: bass & backing vocals, Jason Orris: engineer Tommy Roberts: mixer

TALKIN’ TRASH
WW: guitar, Dave Krejci, Peter Anderson: drums, James Voss: bass, gang vocals, Mike Leville: gang vocals, Ezra Gold: engineer, mixer

PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS?
WW: piano & guitar, Peter Anderson: percussion, James Voss: bass, Greg Wold: trombone, Jason Orris: engineer, Tommy Roberts: mixer

SO ALONE
WW: guitar & engineer, Peter Anderson: drums, James Voss: bass, Ezra Gold: floor tom, engineer, mixer


Lyrics

Dinkytown

When in Dinkytown
Sip a cup of joe
Open up my books
But I’m staring at the girls
I’ve got time
Too much time
Way too much time
On my mind

When in Dinkytown
Wear an ethnic hat
Study’n oppression
But I think I’ll cut my class
I’ve got time

Too much time
Way too much time
On my mind

The day is wide open
This is my reward
The day is wide open
Oh but I’m free
The day is wide open
Oh but I’m bored

When in Dinkytown
Freshmen join the frats
Checking their reflection
In the store fronts they pass
They’ve got time

Too much time
Too much time
Way too much time
On my mind
On my mind

Too much time
Too much time
Way too much time
On my mind


Cannot Love You Enough

You could say you’re satisfied with the love I provide
And you could say I’ve given you a lot but then I might think you lie
It ain’t easy knowing my love fails coming through

Well I used to think that it was enough to just work my days away
But though I loved you all of the while it was something that I left unsaid
It ain’t easy knowing my love pales next to you

I cannot love you enough
I love you nearly
Half so much dearly as I should
I cannot love… you enough

It ain’t easy knowing my love fails coming through

Well I didn’t stop by to apologize ‘cause we’d mull it over way too long
Besides I’ll bet you that you’re going to hedge and come to forgive me if
I start coming on real strong
It ain’t easy having lame excuses, and I’ve got a few

I cannot love you enough
I love you nearly
Half so much dearly as I should
I cannot love… you enough

I love you nearly
Half so much dearly as I should
I cannot love… you enough


Lady Beware

Lady Beware!

Don’t be green, understand
Your man wants to get inside of your legs
It ain’t nice. It’s a
Sinister way to think, I don’t think twice
So you go
Forewarned about the intentions of your man

A sweet little boy, so precious and coy
Arrest him for what’s on his mind
Lady Beware!
What lurks on the mind
The mind of your man
Lady Beware!

Well they say, girls
Talk so slack your man can hope to blush
They’re meat.
Slaves slopping shit and padding my purse.
I believe,
A man would be the first to volunteer

Looking so nice guy, a sugary spice guy
Arrest him for what’s on his mind
Lady Beware!
What lurks on the mind
The mind of your man
Lady Beware!

Understand, your man
He’s raised about this world in such a way,
He climbs.
Liable, prone, inclined to feed you lies;
He’s got eyes.
It suits him fine to think he’ll never change
He looks like a saint, ten bucks says he ain’t
Arrest him for what’s on his mind
Lady Beware!
What lurks on the mind
The mind of your man
Lady Beware!


Robe In Glory

You and I
We held our codes
Long before toting heavenly loads
Let’s go home right now
Let’s go home and tell our story

I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell…
I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell my story

You and I
We stole the show
But there was much we did not know
Let’s go home right now
Let’s go home and tell the story

I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell…
I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell my story

Well I’ve been coming over hills and mountains
I’m going to drink from that Christian fountain
You know all of God’s sons and daughters that morning
Will drink that old healing water

I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell…
I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell…
I’m going to put on my robe in glory
I’m going home to tell…
I’m going to wear this robe in glory
Let’s go home and tell our story


No Surprise

I can’t understand why you treat me like you do
I’d re-arrange the stars
Mine becomes ours

I can’t comprehend these amazing stunts you pull
You leave me with a thrill
But I know what’s coming next
It’s no surprise

No surprise
No surprise
No surprise
What’s wrong now?
I hate that look in your eyes

You just say the word and I’ll be out of your face for good
That’s not what I want to hear
But I know what’s coming next
No surprise


Motor Scooter

Pull your socks on and go
Dirty Laundry Ain’t smelled so sweet tonight
That’s the road that I…
That’s the road that’s all right

Turn my back on the signs
Pass the house where the folks are standing still
That’s the row that I…
That’s the row that I hoe

I’m going to take a sweet ride… yeah
Peel out on my motor scooter… now
That’s the road that I’m… on yeah

Turn the corner and go
Ain’t going to see no red lights tonight
That’s the row that I…
That’s the row that I hoe

Squeeze the handle and speed
’Taint stopping for man nor beast tonight
Eating bugs with my face
That’s the roe that I hoe

I’m going to take a sweet ride… yeah
Peel out on my motor scooter… now
That’s the road that I’m… on yeah
Going to ride while I keep on pushing

Can’t go thirty-five
‘Tain’t speeding but I’m apt to give it a try
That’s the row that I…
That’s the row that I hoe

I’m going to take a sweet ride… yeah
Peel out on my motor scooter… now
That’s the road that I’m… on yeah
Bend over you can kiss my ass good-bye
That’s the road that I’m on
Peel out on my motor scooter… now
(ad lib…)


Alive

Feed me with a fever
Eat though I can’t take a bite
Cook for two like you used to do
Make me think that I’m alive

Laugh at me with feeling
Laugh though I can’t slap my thigh
Smile away like you used to do
Make me think that I’m alive

Love me with more feeling
Wrap your legs around this corpse
Love me for the last time in my life
Make me think that I’m alive

Squeeze me with more feeling
Wrap your legs around this corpse
Love me for the last time in my life
Make me think that I’m alive
Make me think that I’m alive
Make me think that I’m alive
Make me think that I’m alive


Talkin’ Trash

Tonight I throw a party, a real gone bash
Going to brew a stew called heavenly mash
At the corner store the boys are dipping into the stash
Long before I knewd it we was all talkin’ trash
We’re talkin’ trash
Your teeth are gnashing, thrashin’, lashin’
Help me I got me a rash, trash

Ladies strut by as they flutter a lash
Gentlemen smile and twist a mustache
Beggars on the stoop tip their haberdash
No soul spared when we’re out talkin’ trash
We’re talkin’ trash
Your teeth are gnashing, thrashin’, lashin’
Help me I got me a rash, trash

Remember what I’s doing in a real hot flash
The stew I’s brewin’ probably burned to an ash
I run back home in a furious dash
A dozen folks awaitin’, the party’s been crashed
I’m talkin’ trash
My teeth are gnashing, thrashin’, lashin’
Help me I got me a rash, trash


Parlez-Vous Français?

Parlez Vous Français?
He answers, “No.”
Smiles seem to say
What’s Apropos.
Words could not interpret
This affair.
Parlez Vous Français?
They don’t care.

Les mots siele ne peuvre interprete
C’est affaire.
Parlez Vous Français?
On son foue.


So Alone

Don’t rumple, bump, or phase
Don’t bother, brush, or gaze at me
So alone
I want to be alone

I spoke with such a nerve
Out loud without reserve
A drink or two towards proud
I heard it hush the crowd
So alone
I want to be alone

As friends began to leave
My apologies turned to plees
I wished I were a fly
But these walls were much too white
So all alone
I want to be alone

Don’t rumple, bump, or phase
Don’t bother, brush, or gaze at me
So all alone, so alone
So alone, well I got to be alone
So alone, I got to be alone
I want to be alone