Review # 1- 'What can I say about 'Hard-Cover Virgins'? It's one of those records I carry with me through my life, reminding me of a time when music reached out in all directions. John Lyle loves so many different styles of music and tries them all on this record. Folk, blues and ROCK! And whatever you do, don't forget the jokes! One of the great features of this record is the work of John Murray, late of the Poppy Family and Pappa Bear's Medicine Show. He absolutely rips it up on lead guitar and bass. Warner Brothers said they loved it in 1978, but couldn't find a pigeonhole. So he went ahead and put it out by himself, which he does to this day. Also, check out his new stuff. If you want hear an artist who has matured like a fine wine, listen to this guy all the way down line.' -Tenny Howard. # 2- 1978 Tom Harrison Georgia Straight review for 'HARD-COVER VIRGINS' 'The note scribbled upon the shrink wrap of the album that was perched upon my typewriter when I walked in one morning a few weeks ago said, 'How about a review for my record?' and it was signed John Lyle. Seems like a reasonable request. We do that kind of thing all the time at the (Georgia) Straight, don't you know? I don't know much about John Lyle except that he recorded this album all by himself with the help of a few friends and is handling the distribution and promotion independently. The lp's called 'Hard Cover Virgins' (get the pun?) and the amateurish cover art warns that Lyle 'makes the Sex Pistols sound like music.' The equally haphazard back cover has the lyrics printed for you perusal and they hint at the irreverence of the man-he's at once a cornball and an overwhelmingly self-conscious cynic. The songs have promise but the inconsistency of this budget production ruins a few good ideas or at least does not show off Lyle's strong songs to their best advantage. There's a lot of lame humour and aggravating asides thrown in that might have seemed like a good idea at the time but barely hold up after the first listening, never mind a second. Having said that, I'd like to point out that with a little more thought this could be a really pleasant album to listen to. It has a nice folksiness and enough original wit to give Lyle's songs-which are in a middle of the road folk/country/pop vein-some character. Likewise John Lyle has a fine voice with fairly distinctive phrasing. But the in jokes and other bits just clutter the LP. 'Life Is A Breese' might make a solid MOR single.' 'I may have over-reacted.' - Tom Harrison email (2007) Bio- Headed for a career as an English professor in the mid 1960's, John Lyle was 'broadsided' by Bob Dylan and The Beatles. His degree went out the window, and so did he, playing in a series of bands and then performing on Canadian network television and radio as a solo act. He was also signed to two record labels during this era, but realized that because of his highly sensitive nature he was not cut out for the performing life. John returned to his home in the Vancouver area, and devoted himself to his family, supporting them with a career that may have been more dangerous than the perfomance stage. He became a postman. John Lyle's wonderful body of work is evidence of a life lived on the streets and in the home, filled with all the love and loss and joy and despair that are part and parcel of being alive. The songs are vital, not written to imitate a commercial trend or to fulfil a contract, but to reflect the intensity of experience and to remain sane.......... 'John's songs are amazing!' Frazee Ford (The Be Good Tanyas).......... 'We love John Lyle. We listen to him all the time.' The Sumner Brothers.......... 'There's lots of nice stuff on there!' Paul Rodgers (Bad Company; Free; Queen)......... 'Magnificent!' Robert Altman.......... John Lyle will take you gently to your safe place, and then sneak up on you with a song as uncompromisingly ferocious as a grizzly in a maternity ward.' Dennis Albo, in his reality novel 'One Bullet Left'.......... 'The James Joyce of folk.' Heywood Banks........ .'Super passionate stuff!' Mark Smith. The complete lyrics for 'Hard-Cover Virgins' - BLOOD RIVER (John Lyle & Garry Macpherson) My ancestors were amphibian they crawled out of the Caribbean Tooth and fin they fought to make good their escape But like the rain that brings us rivers, and the blood cleaned by my liver There ain't nothin' gonna get away from fate We're AWOL, that's all; even a wonder like Niagara falls When Neptune cups the conch, I'll be piped aboard a launch And buried in the middle of the sea (chorus) Blood river, gougin' out a gorge Blood river, floodin' Valley Forge Blood river, pulsin' up a storm inside my wrist It tumbles towards the ocean just as if it had some notion Of a promise made to keep a sacred tryst It shows this Land o' Goshen cyclic poetry in motion And it teaches godless children to exist We can't build too near the current, 'cause there is no real deterrent To the savage grace of water gone bizarre We can heap sandbags forever, drown the Lord in our endeavour But we might as well try harnessing a star LIFE IS A BREEZE (John Lyle & John Murray) Life is a breeze when we're down by the sea We are mellow, baby, just you and I Easy to please, makes no difference what season We are happy to be really alive (chorus) Racing along the golden shore We will stop and stare into the sun When day is done Life is a breeze when we're down by the sea Life is a breeze for you and me Combing the beach we are way out of reach Of tomorrow, we live just for today Breathing the air, we can feel all our cares And our sorrow sinking deep in the bay Now the moon is on the scene Like a spell, she casts her beam over dark waves We are lost inside a dream There's no place where we would rather be but here We have a home where the sand, wind and foam Make us mellow, baby, just you and I Easy to please, makes no difference what season We are happy to be really alive BLUE PICTURES IN THE TUNNEL 7:30 and another dirty show to go and see It's insane to be trusting, the minussing or plussing Of a movie God has meant to be To a filth-catching fraction, of a filth-catching faction Whose coming attraction is dissatisfaction with me Blue pictures in the tunnel and I still can't close my eyes (chorus) Oh, the love scenes were daring, they crossed into hate And the requisite swearing was really ornate Torture and killing are more than just chilling When meant to reflect the innate Bring my scissors and blue pencil, honey, let me get it done I'll take sex out of violence and sound out of silence And watch folks require their refunds Like those cold, cheated creatures in those old, second features Crawling for cover and howling for colour from me Blue pictures in the tunnel and I still can't close my eyes Da da da da da da da, they got me nailed to the marquee I'm pure box office boff; ain't they never gonna switch that power off They come from everywhere to see me bleed They're a foregone conclusion; I'm their nude, transfused illusion Passin' out the popcorn, and prayin', for God's sake, for some God's speed Blue pictures in the tunnel and I still can't close my eyes MY ADDLED ESSCENSE (1969) Let's stop our foolin' around and let's make a pact to keep our heads on the ground 'cause daddy started worryin' the night he found us swallowin' Stones on an empty stretch of our imaginations His love for us will just die, if we continue low down living high on the sly He caught me creepin' out of dreams and into schemes to honour themes He's built his old life around solidifying his station Break down our network of lies, and bury our hypocrisy deep in our eyes And hope the smoky signals of deception never come in between What we're thinking and what we are doing for daddy Daddy-o, you know we're doin' what we're doin' for you, for you And if that's the kind of lovin' that our poppa's got a-comin' Well, you know he better love us too 3, 4, 5 to one as reckless as I, a daddy is a matchstick and a limit's the sky Larkin' is my business, I'd be livin' a lie, so, so long crooked straight life I'm leavin', you ain't life, behind WATER WORKS What a thrill to climb over the hill And find you takin' a leak I can't help but pant when I happen to chance On what it is I do seek Water works, I see your water works I got a hench that my monkey wrench Is what is needed here I bet by heck , when I plumb your depths You'll be bound to shed a tear Water works, I see your water works Ain't it rare how a pipe can bear The necessary juices of life With a brace at the base and a smile on my face I'm ready to make you my wife As long as your good conduit matches mine We will never ever need to be primed And soon the pitter pat of little drips Will mean the start of our own water line I feel the sap risin' in my tap, oh my hose is almost froze If you don't let me into your big sink I'll be petrified in this pose Water works, I need your water works Like a child of Jesus needs his knees I need your water works MY COLD IS GONE If any one had said, hey, get to bed and beat your cold I'd have burned my clothes and paid the sky to rain When it comes to getting well, my friends can go to hell Can't they see I'm a self-healed man, and My cold is gone, not that last one but that one that really lingered on I fought it like the fading moon combats the dawn I hung around like a fingernail Sometimes now, I wake up in the morning with an anvil in my head And a blacksmith beating on it with a red hot piece of lead And my throat so sore I'd like a war so I could be dead Then I remember what I said My cold is gone, not that last one but that one that really lingered on I fought it like the fading moon combats the dawn I hung around like a fingernail NATIVE SON OF THE FIRST CAUSE It's clear to me that countries are in business to survive That the measure of a nation is it's patriotic pride But boundaries breed bigotry and bigotry's a lie Unless of course it all depends on where you draw the line (chorus) Native son of the First Cause, naked son of the First Cause Like Robinson Caruso I'm an island in the sky And I'm gonna build a parapet so I'll be fortified Universal brotherhood is more than just a dream Cain brained Abel and the Germans ate the Jews Brothers bloodied up the stream We are all in the same lifeboat, though we've blown it full of holes Sink or swim, we're next of kin, but who's to have control? There's a little bit of Hitler in the saintliest of men So I'd just as soon a saint appeared, but saints don't ever win So I'll settle for some bureau cats whose skins aren't made of flag To meld the helms and overwhelm these selfish scallywags WONDERIN' Darlin,' I been wonderin' about you Do you do the things you used to do Like brushin' down your daddy's mare Baking cakes for county fairs Wish you could be wonderin' 'bout me too (chorus) Yeah, you got me wonderin' If our love is at it's end Won't you take my hand again And stop my wonderin' Darlin' I been wonderin' about when We were on our wasted honeymoon You wanted love and I got lost Now I just can't pay the cost What's this lonesome cowpoke gonna do I may be a failure, but, honey, I must tell ya There is more to me than what I didn't do You're alone out on the ranch Now give this buckaroo a chance To prove what didn't happen isn't true GUNFIGHT AT THE OCCULT CORRAL Dead man on a new horizon, colder than polarity, he still defies my dream That I'm night watchman for the sacred passion That's descending like a dinner date I'm terrified to keep (chorus) So here's a toast to the man in the ground Let's have another round for the man in the ground Seven came eleven and the odds cut him down, like a flash in the plan he's gone What makes God's children wanna die to prove they've been crucified Is life only lonely lies? Is hope the same as charity And faith the only hope for me? What a tragic carpet ride! Living on a ledge of sadness, like a man without a secret He was just too damned alone. Living on the edge of madness, Til the show was closed-short-circuit 'cause a tape looped around his soul If his scales were just, dead even, they were tipped towards the devil Death was all that he could do, but if our hearts can fill with evil, We can also build an Eden, and there's one thing I can do Propose a toast to the man in the ground Let's have another round for the man in the ground Seven came eleven and the odds cut him down Like a flash in the plan he's gone THE PLOT WIDENS I can see a day when this old earth will be a mess of tombs Can't you people understand this world is running out of room (refrain) So if you gotta die, be a real good guy Go and find another spot to rot, away you go, so long, good-bye (chorus) Be real great, evaporate, or will your bod to the sea Be nice, and sacrifice your ashes to the breeze Things are lookin' bad when even graveyards get a ton of mail To whom is it addressed? Some lucky still'll get it without fail Everybody's mother must finally be laid to rest Put her in a place where she can still do what she does do best Make meals taste like wow! This manure ain't from no Guernsey cow Go and throw her on the compost heap She'll help to make some tasty chow THE WOO WOO INTO TOWN Things are getting' boring 'cause my wife just caught me snoring Now she says I got to paint the garage I'd do it in a minute but there ain't no money in it And I don't work for nothin' but cash Little Jimmy broke the cat; Lord, I'm leavin,' where's my hat? This duplex daddy's way past due for a blast (chorus) I take the woo woo into town, and then I really get around I go to parties where there ain't any floor And when it's time to leave, I got a hunch you won't believe I can't, 'cause there ain't any door I take the woo woo into town, and then I really get around And then I got to take the boo hoo back My better half is waitin' when I get in kinda late 'n' then She asks me where I got the giraffe I tell her it's a mystery, just a hunk of recent history And I'll use it when I paint the garage Little Jimmy calls the cops; Lord, I hit him with the mop This duplex daddy's way past due for a blast They got the place surrounded and I'm feelin' mighty hounded When I get back on the boo hoo on time I tell 'em this misunderstanding is a product of mishandling By my son and that there woman of mine The cops begin to go, little Jimmy hollars, no! Stay and watch my daddy paint the giraffe DON'T STRING UP THE THROWBACK (Turn Him Loose In Ontario) The caveman was a rapist, no he wasn't very fair He'd hit a woman on the head, and drag her by the hair To his bed of bones, and while she'd moan, he'd have his filthy way And if she cooked when he'd partook, he'd guess he'd let her stay It's strange how times have changed, and people with them too Now a man can crawl and pawn his balls and still not get a screw So it's a little short of shocking that that guy might change his plan And lay in wait to rape his date like Joe Orangutan (chorus) Don't string up the throwback, turn him loose in Ontario On the throwback's reservation, where the throwbacks all can go And sew their wild potatoes, and see their sucklings grow And if they act like animals, at least we won't have to know They say it's not that simple; I say don't be so hard How can a man be better, after living under guard It's time for a new 'down under,' even if it's up on Mars I'd rather live in a spaceship than die behind bars CLOSE YOUR EYES (John Lyle & John Murray) Baby, rest beneath this tree Beside your lady Feel her fingertips upon your brow Tired minds are unwinding now Here within her arms It's warm and shady You can feel the leaves Caress the boughs You're adrift on a tender cloud (chorus) Close your eyes, the bluebirds fly Wind and trees compose a melody Close your eyes, the bluebirds fly Across the sea of time Baby, rest beneath this tree Beside your lady Whispers in the meadow say the stream Leads the way to an endless dream.