Unseen Tapes Vol. 4, 2000​-​2010 (Humboldt House)

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 April 1, 2012

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: Subway Girl (rocker)
Subway Girl, 8:50am in the subway station
I got your name but I got no location
of my heart which was left on the platform

Subway Girl, rolling away to the 6th avenue
Mine's Union Square and if she only knew
You give me 1 and then I'll give you 2

Subway Girl, spinning electro while you're dainty steppin'
living in Williamsburg somewhere near heaven
Out of control while I'm reading the news

If I never even met you life would go on
Now riding the train seems so sad without you

Subway Girl, taking the L train to work in the morning
How can commuting seem fun when it's boring?
Riding with you is like painting a picture

Subway Girl, I met you that hot day at Coney Island
Mermaid Parade in the sea and the sand
This song is my way of sculpting for you

If I never even met you life would go on
Now riding the train seems so sad without you
Track Name: The Most Disturbing Kind of Love (demo)
The most disturbing kind of love
is the love of god because he doesn't know your name
The most disturbing kind of love
and it can't be real because you'll always be alone
They think they're all so tough from a power up above
but they'll never get enough

The most disturbing kind of love
It'll make man kill, it'll give 'em evil will
The most disturbing kind of love
In a house of worship are they just too blind to see
You do the world no favor if you cannot love your neighbor
Such a hateful hypocrite

Is it for love or for the devil?

The most disturbing kind of love
is a muslim, christian, jewish kind of love
The most disturbing kind of love
If we gave up god then we could concentrate on us
Why can't they see that there's only you and me
That there's nothing up above

The most disturbing kind of love
Track Name: Happy Birthday
Happy birthday to the sunshine boy
Knew it was something
Janie's dancing with her pom-poms now
Little Joey's doing the tunes

Happy birthday to the girls and boys
Knew what they're doing
Pretending that everything is fine
Who you think you're joking around?

Lazy kids, crazy kids
Knew it was the end of the line
Happy birthday is something to remember in time

So happy birthday to the sunshine boy
Knew it was something
Janie's dancing with her pom-poms now
Little happy tittie little girl

They were once happy kids
Now they know they're joking around
'Cause everything's got to end sometime, please
Track Name: Case of the Blues
I sure got a case of the blues
My heart is on fire with white boy desire
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
To get an appointment or two with a lady like you

Last night I got the notion
To put my mind to ease emotion too
I walked right out on you

People may call me jealous
The truth is that my mind gets restless when
I'm calling on another friend

I sure got a case of the blues
My heart is on fire with white boy desire
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
To get an appointment or two with the head of the zoo

And if I dig my own grave
Don't forget to give away my songs
To the memory of Goldie Hawn

I'll write a thousand pages
And everyone thinks I'm wasting ages on you
What am I gonna do?

I sure got a case of the blues
My heart is on fire with white boy desire
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
To get an appointment or two with a lady like you

It's the best thing to do when I'm thinking of you
What am I gonna do with a case of the blues?
Track Name: Dear Lilly
Dear Lilly won't you feed me?
Because I feel no love when I know you're not near me
Dear Lilly won't you be with me?
But there aint no telling when you're going to up and leave me

How could I stay true to myself
when there aint no right or wrong?
I wish I could just get you to see that you're hurting the weakest side of me

Dear Lilly won't you listen please
To the one that shadows all the drama that surrounds you
Dear Lilly don't you feed the thief
Because you know your ego's gonna leave you and defeat you

How could you stay out of my life
when you needed so much more?
Afraid to give and never receive
I could just stand there and make-believe
oh Lilly
Track Name: You Believe in Fascism
You believe in fascism
It's a criminal point of view
And the leaders here among us
Face the same temptations too
They'll lock us up in Gitmo
and feed us to the dogs
While the liberal voices relegate
to the Op-Eds and the blogs
You say we fight for liberty
and freedom of the mind
But we here cannot speak it
in the land of the blind
For who is our true enemy?
Are we really so obsessed
in the demonic cruelty of jihad
and imperialism at its best
I know a flower grows here
and we don't need to defend
That love lurks all around us
and will be here till the end
So choose your friends wisely
and help out all the rest
We can make it through this madness
If we put it to the test
Track Name: Down Town Noun (demo)
Gina misses Tommy and Tommy misses Mark
Mark is never missing 'cause he's always around
No one likes a smart Alec who always plays the clown
It's just a down town noun

Suzie misses Marcy and Marcy misses Bob
Bobby misses Tina 'cause Tina's not around
No one misses Roland 'cause Roland's not in town
It's just a down town noun

When we go out dancing we never go dancing
'Cause dancing's not allowed
Will you dance at my party?
Oh, you're never around

Veerha misses Gordon and Gordon misses Sue
Little do-do Tutu doesn't know what he should do
Walk a hundred miles till you're in the nearest Zoo
It's just a down town noun

Wally misses Marsha and Marsha misses Jack
Jackie misses Johnny 'cause Johnny's not alive
1 is missing 2 and 2 is missing number 5
It's just a down town noun

When we go out dancing we never go dancing
'Cause dancing's not allowed
Will you dance at my party?
Oh, you're never around