Unseen Tapes Vol. 3, 1999​-​2000 (The Generator)

by James Botha

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about

The purpose of this website is to showcase a careful selection of the hundreds of songs I've written and recorded over the years that have yet to see the light of day.

I bought my first 4-track recorder in the early 90's and, with the help of my Tascam Portastudio and little more than a shure microphone, I would hole myself away in my bedroom or basement, recording any song idea or sound I could come up with. Thus began my life as a home recording enthusiast. I was inspired by all the low-fi releases popular at the time in the indie music circuit. I wrote many songs in those early years and I loved hearing them come to life, one overdub at a time, on the little blank cassette tapes I bought in bulk. Some of the recordings were demos for the bands I was in, but most of them were songs I'd write just to compile onto mix tapes in order to give away to friends. Now all those cassettes sit in storage, under my bed actually, collecting dust, half-forgotten.

I somewhat recently decided to blow the dust off of those old tapes and digitally archive the songs I felt were worth preserving. While doing these transfers I found some of them were actually pretty good and felt it a shame no one else has heard them, so I decided to make a compilation of the choicest recordings and post them online.

There was a lot of material to choose from, and it took me years to edit down the tracks to a manageable number and figure out a way to organize them. I've decided to group them into 4 separate collections, chronologically divided into the different places I've lived: Volume 1 is Washington DC, Vol. 2 is Philadelphia, Vol. 3 is Manhattan and Vol. 4 is Brooklyn. Each volume gets about 9 or 10 songs. Most of the songs are remixed and improved sonically from the original hissy and muffled mixes (although there's still plenty of hiss to be heard on the early recordings). Every one of them was originally recorded on cassette, using the portable 4-track and, by Vol 3, an 8-track.

I've mostly put this online collection together for myself, since I don't know too many people out there who would even be interested in this stuff. But I hope there are at least a few people who listen to and hopefully even enjoy the songs. They're really a part of me and a part of my life and I'm glad they're finally emerging from under my bed to see the light of day. Enjoy.

Thanks.
James Botha

credits

released March 1, 2012

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all rights reserved
Track Name: Not Our Fault
I've got motive, I've got time
To put it together and make it mine
It might take years to pay my dues
For one big shot, to win or lose
I'll keep on writing to you 'till I die of misery

Don't rely on no one but yourself
Because it's not their job to help you out
or front your cause.
It's all on you to work it out
I've got instigated afterthoughts again

It's not your fault
It's not your fault
It's not our fault
Track Name: Waiting in a Coalmine
All in all, we're pinched for the kill
Waiting in a coalmine
My friends are enemies, working for the state
They close in for the kill

And it all leads us back where
it fills us with a millionaire

All of you kids who recognize
the stars are on the ground
Take that piece and fill it with lead
Don't leave without a sound

For we'll all go down quiet in time
And it takes all the kids back home

We're all pinched for the kill
Waiting in a coalmine
Track Name: Shimmy Shimmy God Up Above
Shimmy shimmy god up above
Uh oh I don't know the true meaning of love
How can I? I feel so insecure

Shimmy shimmy god up above
Uh oh I'd better not believe in love
I just can't, so you've got to find a cure

"All of my children, I'd love to let you know
But I can't 'cause you wouldn't understand
You'll just have to wait and find out for yourselves."

Shimmy shimmy god up above
Uh oh I don't know the true meaning of love
How can I? I feel so insecure

Shimmy shimmy god up above
Uh oh I'd better not believe in love
I just can't, so you've got to find a cure

"All of my children, I'd love to make you
understand that you've got to help your
fellow man. You've got to love yourself
before you can learn to love someone else."

Shimmy shimmy god up above
Uh oh I don't know the true meaning of love
How can I? Oh, you've got to find a cure
Track Name: Martian Lander in the Sky
I remember the day I was born
You turned the power on inside me
You told me that the mission was clear
To reach the Martian atmosphere

But I can't seem to find out where you are

And I'll keep on trying to hold on
Until all my power is gone
'Cause I just want to hear your voice again
And tell you that I miss you so
I tried my best to make you proud
of your Martian lander in the sky

When I woke up my body was busted up
I knew I let you down, that's clear
You told me to call you at Stanford for some help
I'm here all by myself and I'm scared
Can't figure out why you don't signal back

And I'll keep on trying to hold on
Until all my power is gone
'Cause I just want to hear your voice again
And tell you that I miss you so
I tried my best to make you proud
of your Martian lander in the sky

Please tell me if you hear me
Track Name: Went in a Winner
I went in a winner, I came out a loser again
'Cause you know it's hard to tell these days
when you made a friend
When you meet a friend they could turn out to be
the worst you've ever had
It doesn't mean they're good or bad

'Cause in these days of lonely youth
You've got a heart full of lies in a million truths
But these days are coming to an end
my friend, oh yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I lost another woman, slipped out the door
with a new man
Left me sitting in the garbage can
You could say I'm getting used to it, baby
no-no-no
That aint the way it is for me
Gonna get me some wine and let it be
Oh let it be

'Cause life stings like a bullet
They'll put it straight in your head
It's gonna fly around and make you dead
If you don't watch yourself sucker
They'll take you for a ride
You're gonna be no more

Hey, hey, hey

Oh no more of my life's gonna drain into nuthin
Going out in a bang
In your armchair wars you're just gonna have to
rock it
'Cause I'm gonna take you down if I can
And if I don't I'm gonna roll out on the street
and play the blues about how a no-good
Street kid can make a buck for you

Hey, hey, hey
Yeah, yeah, yeah

I'm gonna pay all my dues
on my blue suede shoes
I'm gonna choose to lose
Or break in two, oh yeah
Track Name: The Follies of Rob Roy
Do you see what I see?
Up upon the hillside?
I see children laughing
Playing silly games
And I want to go join them
Romping in the fallen leaves
Take them out to dinner
Pepperoni pizza

I'm telling ya please
I want to be seventeen
I want to take you to dance
Under the moonlight
While we laugh and joke around
And kiss you like you were my
first high school sweetheart

And then I'll ask you to stay
Spend the night here with me
We'll sit around and watch late-night
TV in the dark
And we'll eat take-out Chinese
It's such a special occasion
just to be right here with you
It's just you and me
Track Name: Heaven
What if I was to fall in love with the most
beautiful girl in the world?
And what if she was to fall in love with me too?
That would be heaven
H-E-A-V-E-N, heaven!

All my friends would say to me we're the most
perfect couple I ever did see
Ask me please, "can I borrow your pen?"
I say, "sure thing man, I don't need it no more!"
In the park we'd swim in the lake
I'd touch the bottom
and that would be heaven
Yeah, that would be heaven

I see a vision of beauty before my eyes
And it's heaven
1-2-3-4, heaven!
Track Name: Angel in the Bedroom
Well I don't love you and you don't love me
But we hang out anyway
And we make up dirty stories for the play we plan to make
And we spend all of our money on the costumes we
never wear
For the beauty of the angel in the bedroom

Well I live on Manhattan island and I walk from
shore to shore
Just to find me a real-life diamond that I can't
hawk at the penny store
And I got no phone to call you when you're down
in Mexico
I'll be working on Ellis Island so the taxman will
never know

Always be, one for me
Beds lie down, chairs stand up

We all make lots of excuses while we can't stop
where we'll be
20 years from now I'll be where I have always
wanted to be
And if I'm not, I won't be sorry 'cause I'll be there anyway
In a palm tree in the desert by the side of some lonesome road

I can tell that you don't mean it
when you say you love your dad
'Cause you never ever call him
when you're tired or when you're sad
So I don't like it when you ignore me
When I'm singing you a song
I'll just sit here writing letters to the mayor
all day long

Always be, one for me
Beds lie down, chairs stand up