Stopping distance

by Jack James

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Snow thrown in your face by shovelled hands at gale force pace You lost your step up ahead and fell down with a gasp of breath So tell me why I should care, I just found her there Woke up with the light turned on, you walk towards it and you yawn Unquestioning you turn it off, memories of last year lost But I am not to blame, I just found it that way Two paths for the light to go, take a look and watch it show Well, looks like it changed its mind, recalibrate again one time Oh, no Oh, it shows Oh, no Oh, it shows
Mattress on the floor, that is all I need Four walls and a door with a lock and key Close the door behind me I can drive all day, living on the A roads No overnight stay, I can wear the same clothes This is you now, this is what you chose And I'm thinking of what more do I need Year's supply of food, you can't grow on the move Water from the tap, the pipe runs all the way through This pyramid is small, it'll have to do And I'm thinking of what more do I need
Break the chain of command, find out where I stand Grip shoulder lead by the hand Find out you own your car and your home Parents old, both live alone Figuring the choice you made, aren't you glad I stayed? Rather nicely played Turn down the fire, it's got to last a while yet Never mind, but that's your style set Another chapter left to write, but you begin to find The relative chapter length declines Begin to repeat, firmly plant your feet Got this far, can't admit defeat A search for what you like, but people change their mind Need something else that gratifies every time Once heard a song that made you quit your job Track suddenly stops
You came to a stop Like a truck spilling over in rush hour With one last thought We're in seperate rooms But we both think the same thoughts And we both wanted to call Hear the penny drop And make a dull sound on the pavement And you can smell that it's just been raining So you started to walk But broke into a run after one block This is the clearest that you've ever thought But when you came to the door you stopped
Here comes an art attack There's no Buchanan, just relax Just too much Paris for you to hack Florence has not got your back Open eyes, wake up from black See the movement, pan and track Hear the colours, tight and packed Florence has not got your back Flutter heartbeat, are you sure? Just when you thought you were cured Surrounding closeness in a space Jerusalem is just a place Trick of chord change, twist of note Delusions that you learned by rote You're taking notes but it's a trap Florence cannot love you back
Tilt your head back, till you can see the smile It's almost over, it's only been a while It's been a hell of a week, I'm so tired I can't speak And when I sit down I begin to laugh I sit down and I laugh So sit down and grin, I'll let you have your way You can do your own thing, but you've got to do it all day And it's more work than you thought, turned a hobby into a job It's a pity you do not have time to think Real shame, no time to think But what is a man to do? With some old rusted parts, he can build nothing new What can I do? I'm finding it hard to pull this one through I know your game, sit down tell me your name I can read your face like a book, you knew what to take so you took The tools in the box aren't plentiful like before Take a tool in your hand and try to sharpen it more But what is a man to do? With some old rusted parts, he can build nothing new What can I do? I'm finding it hard to pull this one through
How should I know? Discarded tie, broken dress What a fine mess You're free to go Squinted face towards the sun It's not a spotlight Look at the sky, it's so blue it's white What have you done? Salt sweat flash in the eyes Over shoulders arms flung You talk so old but you look so young Set an alarm for the sunrise Aren't you glad that our friends came to? All fed and watered Now that's the third time you've asked me that Do you feel like yourself? Do you feel like you're you? Are you you? Are you you? Are you you? Are you you? Are you you? Are you you? Are you you?
So I call you, to meet up and to talk this through Try to reason with you but I'm through, there's no reasoning with you I reach the point where I'll say anything I try to speak but I cannot begin There's no winning, no winning So we race to the bottom, to the nearest point that we can score Previous losses forgotten, we'll hammer home till you get sore We'll jump like wolves if you'll just hesitate The loudest voice can make no mistakes There's no winning, no winning You can dress up and conceal and imitate the salesman act But the truths that you reveal are broken, we can see the cracks You don't concede, just change point of attack "Well that may be", then introduce a new fact There's no winning, no winning
Oh, this is a surprise Yes, I've been working hard all this time With teeth and tongue Oh, this feels frictionless Your expression does not fit your lips With teeth and tongue She opened with a question She's been breaking ice all her life With teeth and tongue
People, events or ideas? But your mind is small, like Roosevelt feared Loud statements are thrown towards you But you can't make them out for the opposing view So you turn off the picture, hoping to turn down the noise But the radio's distorted, you can't hear the voice And you want to raise yours, but that's not what you learned So you open your mouth to speak measured, but firm But the words don't come out when you're in front of the crowd So you go home alone to write them all down You're a writer aren't you? You think things through Revise your mistakes, it's what you do You're not more correct because you worked longer on it Thoughts don't have depth due to how they're worded So go home and study, research all night You know I enjoy reading what you write You're a writer aren't you? You think things through
All words by Allen Ginsberg America (edit) America I've given you all and now I'm nothing. America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956 I can't stand my own mind America when will we end the human war? Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb I don't feel good don't bother me I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind America when will you be angelic? When will you take off your clothes? When will you look at yourself through the grave? When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites? America why are your libraries full of tears? I'm sick of your insane demands When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks? America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world Your machinery is too much for me You made me want to be a saint There must be some other way to settle this argument Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back it's sinister Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke? I'm trying to come to the point I refuse to give up my obsession America stop pushing I know what I'm doing America the plum blossoms are falling I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not sorry I smoke marijuana every chance I get I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid My mind is made up there's going to be trouble You should have seen me reading Marx I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations I'm addressing you America this is quite serious America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set America is this correct? I'd better get right down to the job It occurs to me that I am America I am talking to myself again


Jack James has a life threatening allergy to milk, to such an extent that he is forced to carry an Epinephrine autoinjector at all times. If he consumes any food that has been mixed with the alpha S1-casein protein, he will begin to die of anaphylactic shock. This happens more often than one may imagine and it's an interesting event, watching someone calmly avoid death by way of a small injection.

Okay, none of that is true at all, but it demonstrates a valid point; what do you actually know about the musicians you listen to? What do you want to know? It's not a one way conversation, so if you can connect to some lyric about acceptance, or even appreciate the historical autopsy drawing on the cover of "Stopping distance", then you have the chance to get to know Jack James a bit better.

As with the previous five albums this is a self-release that punches above its particular weight class when the songs are peeled back and analysed. Take "Florence" for example, probably the centrepiece of the album, which builds from a diminutive teasing melody before kicking into a rousing overture, all the while discussing a psychosomatic disorder also known as Stendhal syndrome. Another song like "Writer" is classic Jack James, an intimate wandering acoustic song about creative types trying to relate to the real world.

Here are some other relevant, factual things you may want to know before you decide to add this album to your collection. The recording studio used was the living room of a high-ceiled tenement flat in Glasgow's East End. All vocal and guitar takes were performed in a single live take, before adding various bells and whistles like banjos, pianos and drums. Going by the songs, Jack also has teeth, a tongue, appreciates art, is tired, and is fed up of arguing.

The most important thing you should take away from this release is that Jack James is a songwriter that isn't going away. There is probably more to learn, but you'll have to wait for another album to find out.


released February 3, 2014

Written: 2012 - 3rd June 2013
Recorded: 7th May 2013 – 19th September 2013
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

All songs written and recorded by Jack James

Jack James - Vocal, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Piano, Accordion, Bass, Electric Guitar
Gavin Crawford - Percussion


Press quotes

"This is 'Bonnie Prince Billy' good, and I cannae praise much higher than that" - scotswhayhae,com

"It’s almost as if he’s been writing songs backwards – starting with all the produced stuff and then sanding away until he got the core of the music" - dauphinmag,com

"The end result is a thoroughly dull and uninspiring album that exudes not so much despair – which I assume was the aim – as self indulgence" - bluesbunny,com




Jack James Glasgow

Rangy songwriter.

“From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity”
-The Herald

"Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever"
-Scots Whay Hae

"Jack James may be doomed"
-The List
... more

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