Live at Woodford '96​-​'97

by Penelope Swales

/
1.
The Panther 09:38
The Panther © Penelope Swales 1997 I couldn't say to save my face That he dragged me into his lair More that I 
sat at the door and hugged my knees and said "Can I come in there?" He 
smiled, turned away, arched his back and then he said "Mmm....." He smiled 
as though embarassed, thought awhile and then said " Yeah, hop in" It was 
then that I realised I'd climbed straight into the den of a panther Like 
Leda and the Swan but more carnivorous I put my arms around his deep chest, 
I put my face in his fur I breathed deep his animal scent, arched my back 
beneath his paws And there rose inside me, Deep in my human flesh, Deep in 
my female flesh, n answering panther call Rraah! I watched him play like 
big cats play, with water I watched him cautious like big cats are with 
fire I watched him watching me, that sideways, feline glance burning with a 
cool fire The flicker of interest concealing the furnace of desire In the 
middle of the night, I rang my mother I told her all about the Panther She 
said "My dear, these are the best years of your life. You should just go 
ahead and fuck" I said "Well, I would have anyway, but it's nice to have 
your sanction." She said "My dear, I completely understand. Sometimes it 
happens that way, Sometimes you find a man Who'll bring it all out in you. 
 Who'll pull it all out of you Who'll pour it all into you." Oh, all night, 
every night I'm in there rolling with the Panther In the day I wear my 
scratches and my bruises with pride In the evening I stalk the city streets 
with the Panther by my side I ride the Panther's back, I ride the Panther's 
flanks And he rides mine In wild lands of bitumen and traffic fume, I 
found me a panthe He said "If Chippendale's a jungle then we may as well 
be wild beasts" He said "I like it when you're really demanding. Go ahead, 
do what you want with me" And I felt inside me, Deep in my female flesh, 
 The Panther's claw, ooked in my belly, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Pulling it 
all out of me. Pouring it all into me Pulling that call out of me. Oh, all 
night, every night I'm Riding the Tiger with the Panther In the day I wear 
my scratches and my lovebites with pride In the evening I stalk the city 
streets with the Panther by my side His liquid movement My liquid 
tendencies His panther pride. The Panther came with me as far as the Blue 
Mountains, Then he switched his tail and turned away and went back the way 
we came He said "When I've finished constructing this particular cage, I'll 
be free I might just come sniffing after you so keep your hunter's moon out 
for me." And he caressed me there, at the station in his panther paws 
Pressed against me, yeah, just a reminder oh Of that panther claw in me Pulling it all out of me Pulling that call out of me Oh, all that day, 
like blinding sunlight in my eyes, all I could see was the Panther All that 
night I fled Sydney like a cat out of hel Fleeing my recent past into my 
not too distant future Hurtling towards it, hurtling towards that day Hurt, hurtling towards that moment, hurt, hurt, hurtling toward that 
instant I'm hurtling still. Rraah! Rraah-la-lul-la-lul-lul-lul-la-lah. Who 
can make sense of female response? Who can map the logic of desire? What 
makes it fly, what makes it cry, What makes it strive, what makes it die? 
 What makes it strive, what makes it die? Who can translate for me, what 
happened to me? Who can make sense of it? Hey, hey, what happened to me with 
that Panther man? Vocals, Guitar - Penelope Swales. Violin - Paul Jonas. Mandolin - Jim Fisher. Bass - Mal Webb. Drums - Ajax.
2.
Our Apartheid © Penelope Swales 1995 Oh-wey-oh Stephen Biko, Oh-wey-oh Mandela. Oh-wey-oh children of Soweto, 
 Oh-wey-oh Sharpeville Massacre. Oh-wey-oh death in Johannesburg Corruption 
in Pretoria Oh-wey-oh, Inkatha-Zulu, ANC Oh-wey-oh Africa. 
 When you were sitting in your prison cell, For twenty-seven years, Did you 
risk your sanity by dreaming of this day? Breaking rocks on Robben Island, I 
tell you, We never thought we'd see the day When a black man would rule 
South Africa, Where black dreams have shaped the world A long and bloody 
fight and so many have died To bring about such a relatively peaceful 
revolution When Daniel Yock was sitting in his prison cell, Your victory 
was already guaranteed We who have sat here, next-door in the Southern 
hemisphere Some of us signed petitions hoping you'd be freed We have 
thought about ourselves as so egalitarian So superior to whites in your 
country And yet there's so much that bears comparison But in your land 
Aparthied's over and in my land it's still here Well I never said it was 
official government policy And Mabo rolled hope and despair into one Lip 
service ifs effective and it's free And the mining machinery rolls on One 
obvious difference is in your country Black people have always outnumbered 
whites Yet here the white race worked so much more efficiently And many 
people live and die never even having met a Koori Over there in your 
country how do your people feel tonight? Dancing in the streets, exuberance, 
 "At last we have our rights!" Over there in your country how do white people 
feel tonight? It's fun to speculate on the trembling of the fascist 
two-percenting right Over here in this country how do white people feel 
tonight? Oblivious or nodding their approval Rolling over and turning out the 
light. Here in this country how do black people feel tonight? Daniel's 
relatives could be excused for having their fists and their lips clenched 
tight Aiee, Maralinga. Kurnai, Wurundjeri, Daniel Yock Truganini, 
Namatjera So many thousands nameless lost You still have so far to go in 
your country And we yet further here in ours Take care old man, don't 
dance to late We all know you're more ill than you make out But they need 
you and we need you And we all know that you're tired, But we want you to be 
the hero, We want you to make it right ‘Coz we don't make it right Not 
here in our lives, not here in this land, Not here in our Aparthied.
3.
Back to Me 06:21
Back to Me  1992 Penelope Swales Word got back to me Gives me some indication of what you thought of my request Well, It got me thinkin’ Find it’s much what I expected though always hoping for the best This suite of songs This spate of songs dedicated to one I love Well, they’ve got me thinkin’ Hasn’t done me too much good Maybe I should dedicate one to myself This song is dedicated to my capacity to survive This song is dedicated to my love of being alive It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine I know there’s other hearts like mine And other hearts like thine Passion is a curse You may fly higher but you fall lower And noone ever knows what you’re talking about Satisfaction Satisfaction will flee before you just like leaves before the wind Gratification – whoo! Forget it! You may scream and cry and shout And they’ll never know what you’re talking about Compensation Learn the read the signs and take in stride and take some pride and learn to shout This song is dedicated to my capacity to survive This song is dedicated to my love of being alive It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine I know there’s other hearts like mine Lovin’ other hearts like thine Word got back to me Somethin’ someone said about somethin’ that you had somethin’ to say about People question me Wanting simple answers watin to betold just what to think about it Some of themtesting me, teasing me What’s this I hear ‘bout da-de-da-de-da-de-da-de-da-da-da” Whoa – the complexity Is beyond a loving heart so why should I pander to that spite This process is frustrating, but I have the capacity to survive This pain is compensated by my love of being alive It’s compensated by other hearts like mine By having the love of other heart like mine So, if word gets back to you If you feel you’re implicated in any of the songs I write Well – no, it isn’t true On this occasion, something else was on my mind This song is dedicated to my capacity to survive This song is dedicated to my love of being alive It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine And if you’ve got a heart like mine This song is dedicated to your capacity to survive This song is dedicated to your love of being alive It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine I’m dedicated to other hearts like mine
4.
St Peter’s Fields © Jim Woodland St Peter’s Fields in Manchester On a day we need not name Soldiers standing in the sunlight One by one the people came And the women were dressed in white Wearing wreathes of laurel green St Peter’s Fields in Manchester 1819. And you would think that reform Was a child that must be born And you would think democracy Would give us hopes of liberty But do you think it’s true? Have you heard the news? Phoebe Webber has been slaughtered On the fields of Peterloo And the red upon the green grass Sparkles like the morning dew May your tears fall down like water And wash the blood from you Phoebe Webber has been slaughtered On the fields of Peterloo Someone tell me how it happened I know even less than you Their swords were out and sharpened A hundred thousand pushing through We were standing in the front line Still I can’t believe it’s true I saw her eyes, she saw mine She was dead before she knew Phoebe Webber has been slaughtered On the fields of Peterloo And the red upon the green grass Sparkles like the morning dew May your tears fall down like water And wash the blood from you Phoebe Webber has been slaughtered On the fields of Peterloo When you wake up in morning Thank the star that shine on you That the likes of Phoebe Webber Always do the things they do From the bloody streets of Dili To the ghettos of the USA From the haunted squares of China To the graveyards of the cape She will die again tomorrow Just as she died yesterday She will die until the sorrow And the tears are washed Now the green leaves of the laurel turn a red and deadly hue Phoebe Webber has been slaughtered On the fields of Peterloo Phoebe Webber has been slaughtered On a street not far form you.
5.
Doin’ the Right Thing © Penelope Swales 1993 Chorus: Well my life feels like a necklace breakin’ My days are slipping away like beads off a string Ohh-hoa, my mind’s eye, can’t see for the smoke o’ my bridges burnin’ Hope I’m doing the right thing, Yeah, well My friend said to me – oh, you’re so young! You’re just a baby. Your life has just begun Well maybe I was taking big steps at an age when she was just taking little ones, But sometime I’ve gotta wonder what I’ve done. Ho--ho Chorus The girls I went to school with, they’ll all be secretaries Or maybe at university, or unemployed, or married But if you ask me what the date is, the chance is I don’t know But when I lift my head I’m amazed at how fast the weeks go, ho-o-a-hoa, Chorus Yeah, I hope I’m doing the right thing Hope I’m doing the right thing Hope I’m doing the right thing Hope I’m doing the right thing Ooh – hoo… Chorus Oh, my friend said to me – you know it never goes away This old age barrier. I still get the same today She said I’m 35, 40 doesn’t even know that I’m alive And my days are drowned in a routine and I hope I’m doing the right thing, she said Chorus My life – ugh! Haa….. My mind’s eye can’t see for the smoke of my bridges burning under me Hope I’m doing the right thing Yeah, well my love, says all he wants is peace and tranquillity But you know he’ll never reach the end of the road, no Not while he’s travelling with me In my life.
6.
Danger Zone 05:22
And a deliberate mistake will bring the close for a moment Just close enough to make the juices flow And the smell of her hair is too much in his hunger Down, down, down the defences go
7.
Already Begun © Penelope Swales 1995 My heart hangs like a ripe fruit. Hangs before your eyes, a perfect peach. 
If you would pluck me now, and press me to your lips, all my sweetness, all 
my juices, and the fine fur of my skin, sun-warm, would burst into your 
mouth. My heart hangs like an over-ripe fruit in the baking sun. Hangs 
before your eyes, a perfect, dripping fig. If you don't pluck me now, I may 
well start fermenting. An alcoholic repungence, a bitter wine. In the baking 
sun, attacked by these, the grubs of doubt. I believe this process has 
already begun, I believe....... If my heart should hang too long. Hang 
before your eyes, in the baking sun while you make no move, well I could 
fall on the ground and rot, disgusting underneath your feet. But I would 
probably hang on. Dried by the sun and wind, smaller and smaller and harder 
and more withered - this sun-dried fruit in the baking sun. Anyone who 
dared to bite me (hard enough), bring me the moisture from their lips, might 
find me still good, if somewhat tough, I believe this process has already 
begun, I believe this process has already begun......My heart hangs a 
withered fruit. Hangs before your eyes in the naked branches, in the 
setting sun. Silhouette against the sky, in the raw ozone of autumn. Hangs 
dormant, hangs prepared to sleep through this pending winter. The kernel 
lodged inside may still make its way to the loving endometrium of earth. I 
believe this process has already begun.
8.
Aunty Betty 05:23
Aunty Betty 
 © Penelope Swales 1995 Ooh, insulation. A small room away from the ground, away from the sky. Ooh, 
insulation. Blankets over the windows, keep out the night, keep out the 
light. We don't live together, we live seperately and winter's coming. We 
don't live together, we live separately and hard times are coming. People 
create their own individual rooms, their own surrogate wombs. People say to 
each other "Won't you come up to my room?" People sit together - incense and 
candlelight. 
People talk together, sharing smoke, sharing wine. Oh, living in this city. 
Oh, it's like living in a labyrinth. The dripping corridors are the 
wet-brick walls and low-slung, oppressive sky. We're just creatures, small 
cave-rats, living in a labyrinth. Amid the putrid phosphorescence, shop 
windows, traffic lights, stalactites. Ooh, isolation. Houses on the 
outskirts of town. Ooh, endless frustration. McWilliams port, sorrows to 
drown. People live together, yet seperately, with their own kind. With 
people that live together, share their smokes, share their wine. Oh, living 
in a redneck town. Oh, it's like living in apartheid. The conciousness of 
your colour and your birth is reflected in everyone's eyes, black or white. 
And Aunty Betty said "I said to my nephews 'Come home, come live with me by 
the creek. Come home, come home to the Land.' but they're too drunk with 
anger to listen to me "Aunty Betty said "I've done my share of destroying 
myself." Yeah, Aunty Betty said " I know you care, 'coz I can always tell." 
Aunty Betty and I looked at each other over campfire, over breakfast. Over 
two hundred years of war and hate, and Aunty Betty said, she said "I love 
you, sis." Ooh, sisalation. Back in the city we seek natural ways to live 
unnaturally. Ooh, implementation. Sit 'round our bar radiator drinking 
herbal tea. We could live together, close to the ground, close to the sky. 
Be friends with the weather. Accept the wet, embrace the dry. Oh, we try to 
do it anyway. Sitting 'round a candle as if it were a campfire. Here in this 
hell our race has made. Plaster caves, concrete canyons, bitumen forest 
floor. We try to do it anyway, sitting 'round a candle as if it were a 
campfire. But you know, Aunty Betty said we could go visit her anytime, 
anytime, anytime. She said "We could live together, not seperately, but side 
by side. Be friends with each other - I don't care if you're black or 
white!" She said we could live together, close to the ground, close to the 
sky. Be friends with each other. Accept the rough, embrace the happy times. 
Aunty Betty said, Aunty Betty said, Aunty Betty said. And you know, if Aunty 
Betty said it, then it must be true.
9.
Steel-Hearted Annie © Kath Tait Steel Hearted Annie came home from work Through the park in the dark where the rapist lurked Behind the bushes and about to attack With the cold wind whistling across his back He pounced on Annie coz she was slim Coz she looked so frail and feminine But he wouldn't have done it if he only knew That she was a master of Kung Fu! Chorus: Steel-Hearted Annie with an iron will Looks about as frail as a daffodil But you don't take a chance with a small slim dame With a punch like a piston on a steam train Steel-Hearted Annie don't like to pose Like a trembling victim in a movie show She gets mad when she's in distress Like an animal in the wilderness There's nothing she wouldn't do to survive Got a strong desire to stay alive And she looks cute in pink or blue But she is a master of kung fu repeat chorus Steel-Hearted Annie lived near a jail Where a psycho-killer was released on bail He crept stealthily through the night Broke into her house to give her a fright And the cold wind whistled through the window frames Made a sound like ghost rattlin' chains But the psycho-killer ran for his life When he saw Annie comin' with the carving knife! repeat chorus Steel-hearted Annie told all her friends Ya gotta stand up to violence She went to classes and learned to fight Now she's not afraid to walk around at night She's a great big shark in a little tin can A little firecracker with a great big bang So just be careful what you do Coz Annie's now a master of Kung Fu!
10.
Dizzy Edge of Freedom © Penelope Swales I see you Standin' on The dizzy edge of freedom But it takes courage to take the leap On the edge I hold my breath To see you soarin', but Will you do it? Here's a story 'Bout a very talented man that I once knew Who could write song and tell stories That put all the hardest things About life into words for me, And every time I saw him I felt New worlds opening up before me I wished the world could hear him sing He played guitar and sang in a band That played in a town that some people call a city And sometimes worked his nine-to-five And sometimes schemed his unemployed schemes And came from a culture that said Tryin' to live for music is a foolish dream And you must be stable and serene I saw you standin' on A stage that I'd just stepped from "Who's the spunk with the guitar?" We both thought I drove miles Out of my way to drive you home and You said, "I'm sorry, It's not to be, I've been well and truly caught." And you said "As my thirties yawn before me I'm getting edgy. I've always dabbled, but never done I have stayed safe, Stayed close to the hearth Close to love Ah, but something's gonna have to give soon." I wheeled wide, far in my Orbit of the East Coast The next time through, I cocked my ear A hunted smile, a matter of time You said "I love her But I can't keep shedding these tears" Gossip and debate were raging 'Bout your behaviour Then Rome crumbled in a day Amid the cries of accusation The condemnation We took our chance In the warm afternoon, For one sweet hour we lay I held my breath To see what you'd do next Would you take the chance and fly away To where opportunities lay You were making plans That changed and changed and changed again In the unexpected fragile dawn of a new day I think you were realisin' you were Gonna have to go away I saw you Wrestlin' with a Stage that I have been through I takes courage to follow dreams Livin' with the Fear of failure Takes getting used to To leave your home and what that means Amid all your intoxication The exhilaration I could see the fear of freedom in your eyes In your moment of doubt and hesitation There was somebody waiting And she took the chance to secure her prize The next I heard, The new word was - well, maybe next year And I knew next year would never come And I hear your New lover Don't like to share you with the music she's gonna feed those fears And keep you close to home Darlin', love is not always the answer Sometimes it's a cancer You can swap one prison, one lover For another On and on and never have to Face your life I saw you Standin' on The dizzy edge of freedom But it takes courage to take the leap On the edge I held my breath to see you soarin', but You didn't do it Here's a story 'Bout a very talented man that I once knew But like so many others of us When he got the chance to make his dreams come true He hesitated, deliberated Liberation is scary and new and well, He didn't do it It's just a story 'Bout a very talented man that I once knew Who could write song and tell stories That put all the hardest things About life into words for me, And every time I saw him I felt New worlds opening up before me And I wish you could have heard him sing
11.
Lost and Found © Penelope Swales 1993 I must admit in hindsight that you took me by surprise I never thought I’d like you so much so fast And through the braids and makeup, heavy lids that hide your eyes I caught a glimpse of that old horror in your past In your past. I met you on the breadline, you were feeling pretty down Fighting off the deadline, I was new in town I made sure in the daytime that we ate and got around And in the night you took me to the lost and found The lost and found I find these places garish, there was a name band on the door Half the crowd were flying, the rest were out to score I was cool to be there so I allowed myself the time Ah, but you were in your element, hanging out, Hanging out to find a line. And hey, my little cocaine queen Where are you now? Did word that you were homeless get around? Did you take the last step backwards To the hammer-beaten track? Did you fly so high you’re never coming back? You seemed to be a regular, they all knew your face I’m not the sort of person that they’re used to in this place In your eyes, it’s a wonderland and you sure get around But to me it just looks like the lost and found The lost and found. Morning finds us sleeping till the afternoons is sweet Evening finds me singing for our supper in the street Nighttime finds us waiting for our chance to hang around In the early hours in the lost and found The lost and found. And although you didn’t seem to mind being accosted every day I could have spend all my time trying to keep the vultures at bay My protective and possessiveness was just my heart trying to say That I think I fell in love with you In a funny kind of way And hey, my little cocaine queen Where are you now? Did word that you were homeless get around? Did you take the last step backwards To the hammer-beaten track? Did you fall so low you’re never coming back? They said you looked just like a junkie in your leather and your black I felt just like a bodyguard trying to keep them off your back We did well surviving, as a team we had the knack Oh, yes, but one night in the Cross I turned around And found that I’d lost track Of you, I’d lost track Well it tried so hard to find you, but I couldn’t hang around You can stay here only so long before your senses start to drown But if come the weekend I’m still living in this town I’ll be looking for you in the lost and found The lost and found. And hey, my little cocaine queen Where are you now? Did word that you were homeless get around? Did you take the last step backwards To the hammer-beaten track? Did you go so far you’re never coming back Hey hey, my little cocaine queen Where are you now? Did word that you were homeless get around? If come the weekend I’m still living in this town I’ll be looking for you in the lost and found The lost and found.

about

There were numerous pros and a couple of cons to the idea of recording a live album at Woodford Folk Festival. On the up-side, I knew the vibe would be great, because it always is, it would enable me to record a number of gigs relatively inexpensively in a short space of time, and it would provide an historical record of part of that festival. Also, it offered an opportunity to show the way a soloists' performance varies from show to show depending on the vibe and the circumstances of the individual gig. On the down-side, festival gigs have to run to a very tight schedule, and that made setting up the recordings a very rushed process - something that I think Siiri took in stride admirably. It also affects the way I tell stories on stage, as I have to try and fit everything into a stated time. My personal feeling is that the "Lost and Found" introduction suffered a little from this, but I include it anyway, because I hope people will appreciate it even if the delivery is a bit rushed.

The other risk I had to take was that I might not be in peak form when the festival came. As it turned out, I was rather ill with tonsillitis and nearly didn't make it to the festival at all! However, thanks to Dr John Lee and his elephant-sized vitamin C shots and my mother's faithful nursing, I managed to pull myself together enough to get on the plane.

Now, many years later, I'm not entirely sure I should have released this album. After all, I think the listener can hear that I'm sick. Also, when it was released it was instantly slammed by a Melbourne critic who didn't seem to understand that I am a storyteller as well as a songwriter, and who objected to the inclusion of long sections of spoken-word material. I had never been berated like that in the press before and I was devastated. It destroyed my confidence in the recording and only the one pressing was ever made.

On the other hand, I felt that it was an honest representation of what I was doing - even if I did have tonsillitis. I was still learning how to manage my heath while on tour, and I had tonsillitis a lot in those days. I was never sure how it was received. I include it now for the sake of completeness and because some songs do not appear anywhere else in my catalogue. Also, none of my other albums include the storytelling element that has been such a large part of my live shows. I would be interested to hear you feedback.

credits

released January 7, 1997

All songs copyright 1997 except "St Peter's Fields" by Jim Woodland and "Steel-Hearted Annie" by Kath Tait.

Recorded live at Woodford Folk festival between 27th December 1996 and 1st Jan 1997 by Siiri Metsar. Mixed and edited by Siiri Metsar at Cloudburst Studio, Fitzroy, Vic. Mastered at Crystal Mastering by John Ruberto. Produced by Penelope Swales and Siiri Metsar. Cover artwork by Black Widow graphic design. Photography by Janoel Liddy and a faithful fan who's name I didn't catch who gave me the series of 3 shots on the front cover.

Special thanks once again to my ever-faithful engineer Siiri Metsar for all her work and effort, John Durr, Elly Mantzaris, Janoel Liddy, Bruce Jaques from Cloudburst, John Ruberto, Dr John Lee, Janet Russel, Jim Woodland and Kath Tait, Eve 'n' Steven, the gorgeous Lou Schetzer and the delectable Jamie Sawyer, Kerryanne Farrer, Annie Dellar, Bill Hauritz and all the dedicated Queensland Folk Festival volunteers who make Woodford happen. Extra special thanks to David Allsop for making it all possible

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Penelope Swales Emerald, Australia

Penelope Swales has been articulating the human condition with passion and humour for 30+ years. She sings about politics, love, friendship, the unbreakable bond between us and dogs and the impact of the Internet on society. She won the 2019 Alistair Hulett Songs for Social Justice Award with “Cambridge Analytica”. “The Ides of March in Christchurch" was short-listed for the same award in 2020. ... more

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