The Year of the Cow

by Sam Russell & the Harborrats

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“The Year of the Cow” is the sixth release of Sam Russell's Blue Moon Bible project, an ongoing series of 8 albums with 8 songs apiece inspired by" The Odyssey" and James Joyce's "Ulysses." (hah just kinding, mostly).

"The Year of the Cow" is the most atypical of The Blue Moon Bible albums in being primarily acoustic, hushed and serene as a counterpoint to the preceding albums of the project. Recorded in musically-stripped fashion so there's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, "The Year of the Cow" chases the elusive magic of Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" and Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" to the inevitable endpoint of fully personal and confessional revelations.

For more about The Blue Moon Bible, visit


released October 30, 2012

Sam Russell-vocals & guitar
Kate Noson-vocals
Ken Nottingham-upright bass & harmonica
Michael Spaly-fiddle, mandolin, banjo & vocals

Dave Forrester-percussion on 5
James Apollo-piano/vocals on 7
Allison Tulloss-vocals on 3 & 7
Shelby Earl- vocals on 3
Nathan Wade-vocals on 3
Noah Strom-piano on 6, pump organ on 3
Scott Andrew-vocals on 3
John Tomlinson-accordion on 3, 5
Isaac Chirino-snare drum on 3
Johnny Sangster-Hammond on 3

all songs by Sam Russell
Recorded by Johnny Sangster @ Crackle & Pop, Seattle, WA. and James n' Sam's house
& Charles Bork @ Vagrant Studios, Seattle, WA
& Conrad Uno @ Egg Studios, Seattle, WA
& Michael Spaly @ Monkeystack Studios,Seattle, WA

Mixed by Johnny Sangster @ Avast! Studios
& Charles Bork @ Vagrant Studios, Seattle, WA
& Conrad Uno @ Egg Studios, Seattle, WA

Mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering, Seattle, WA.

Special thanks to Johnny Sangster and Kate Noson

and thanks also to Justin Roeser, Brett Josephs, Carey Rayburn,
Carlos Tulloss, David Delmar, KEXP, Rick & Rachel @ RFI, Lincoln Barr, Lulu Gargiulo, Mike Prince, Rebekah Clinger-Prince, Angie Prince,Cassie Hibbert, Allison Ormsby, Elisabeth Aker, Kayleigh Kleiva, everyone else

and thanks especially to Linda Webb & family, Sean Lambrecht and Mom, Dad, Nathan, Liz, Kathryn, Dennis, Wyatt, Austin, Hank, Ernie
& Jack

Cover photo by Catherine Michalski. Layout and design by Tom Pappalardo for Standard Design.
c)KMV Records 2013. Made in Seattle. All Rights Reserved.


all rights reserved



Sam Russell & the Harborrats Seattle, Washington

Sam Russell preaches the gospel of heartbreak and decadence via The Blue Moon Bible, a series of 8 albums showcasing a wide variety of 1950's & 60's-inspired rock n' roll. Doo-wop, garage-rock, folk, soul and everything in-between soundtrack the search to find divinity in the secular, as sung by a failed Christian and his fellow heathens. ... more

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Track Name: Gun to the Head
gonna run a marathon
get body lean and strong
to help grow and focus
not slide back and regress
by laying around, wishing
sad and wondering
about years already gone
gonna run a marathon

gonna run a marathon
no longer be a pawn
find the moral that’s fair
abandon formal prayer
create ceremony
that means as much to me
as trying to talk to God
gonna run a marathon

I was a Christian until I became a man
had to leave the shelter of faith, helplessness understand
see angel in the light like when as child I’d lie in bed
and fear I had of hell’s flame was like a gun to the head

gonna run a marathon
cue up the starting song
train through the dark days
that always come our way
for once fight being sick
and not just quickly quit
wake up and face the dawn
gonna run a marathon

gonna run a marathon
and turn the memories off
from whispers in the head
just more weight that to be shed
over and over words
say I still try to hurt
and that I won’t move on
gonna run a marathon

I know the struggle blocking what we tried to build
all you say that stops us then is what will stop me still
I wanted you to do what she did, bring me down to earth instead
of seeing world from up on cross with a gun to the head

it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
terror everyday was fed
of disappointing all of them
eternal pain is where sin led
all a gun to the head
she came along that was when
she said it would be different
life can be lived free of dread
without a gun to the head

gonna run a marathon
run the road that is long
think of life as a race
where no step should go to waste
pace myself for long haul
hold onto her, not fall
‘til reaching summer lawn
gonna run a marathon

gonna run a marathon
and prove the old church wrong
that said it couldn’t be done
way back when I was young
with no belief you’re alone
and in heaven have no home
path to damnation’s drawn
gonna run a marathon

you were the child with weak legs that had to wait
I was the child whose parent’s love from Lord above couldn’t separate
she made me hate the way they tried without having to hate them
she stepped towards me, took my hand, took the gun from the head

it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
Track Name: All These Passing Fields
on my birthday we boarded train and smiled at start of ride
fleeing routine for first time only you and I
untangled headphones soundtrack view that shifts as we stare
all the passing fields holding cows in fresh farm air

and I held your hand in motion pulling forward we couldn’t ignore
and I felt myself letting go of all that had come before
the weight lifting away in layers that your presence painlessly peeled
and we were reborn in a moment torn from all of these passing fields

in your hometown we stood on green where a shot once started a war
I’d search your face for all you wouldn’t say, hoping words would soon out pour
I couldn’t explain what separates us from where we couldn’t go
I’d only say something vague for the answers we didn’t know

and on Christmas, your mother welcomed me as part of you and
and after all the gifts were given out you just sat next to me silently
knowing that we were just pretending that what we had wasn’t
already ending
and soon you would have to yield and surrender to all these passing

and I used to be the one saying it’s over
and I had nothing left to offer
and there you’d be in front of me crying
and I’d feel the emotion proper
when the doubt made me insecure
you were the one that always seemed sure
track would hold the turning wheels
that carry us through all these passing fields

when we first met, we lived so close and I’d leave as you’d start to
you’d say wait, beg me to stay but I had a lonely room to meet
when you awake, you’ll graduate and start your first real job
I’d sit you down carefully and say remember we’re just having fun

and yet we breathed in ceremony and saw our future in rising shapes
and you laid by me on my birthday, from our bodies we rose and
tapping into a higher power that together as one we could wield
and be the light that flows and to one source goes through all these
passing fields
Track Name: The Year of the Cow
can’t find piece of puzzle
sick of being frustrated
hating all our little patterns
you first loved but then felt trapped in

you’re so scared of the future
you’re so scared of the here and now
when you wonder why we are together, you don’t try
to believe in the year of the cow

when we’d try to talk about death
you’d get angry and your opinion wouldn’t defend
in desperation you can’t admit to
a sign that could tell you we could make it through the end

but your sister’s hero, your sister’s hero
was the same as my own
and I prayed for a youngest sister
to forget the one that wouldn’t come home

back to the church
that inside did replace
back to the church
with those lovers I did create
with an alter to burn
to wait for her return
back to the church

I wasn’t trying to convince you
of a deity ruling above
it’s just that toy we made up voice for
is same creature as the year we fell in love

I’m come to see you and I’d grab him
make him dance and sing to make you laugh somehow
I escaped with you, I blocked voices with his to use
in what became the year of the cow

I question each belief I hold
to make sure I’m not still just doing what I’m told
the church kept relating there’s no missionary dating
you can’t love with purpose of trying to save a soul

but your sister’s hero, your sister’s hero
wrote the hymn to what you became to me
more than just a youngest sister
by choice not by destiny

we are the church
say the voices in the head
we are the church
they say always reminding
of a death to answer to
and a heaven we could lose
without the church

every night when the towers came down
me and Sean would go to Lenny’s Lounge, hold ground
close the place with George, out on I-94
between a Day’s Inn and Denny’s, a dive bar ignored

if you went up the jukebox and played Springsteen
and the song that came on was “Bobby Jean”
George would take break, pour beer, sit at end of the bar
and sip slow while starting to stare off far

and say ”I wish I had a Bobby Jean
someone to go back to in my memory
and long to be with and long to see
and say oh how I miss my Bobby Jean”

but those that don’t exist reside with the dead
they haven’t had chance to come to life yet
they’re kept there by path blocked, both so far from reach
you say, ”I wish I had a Bobby Jean”

coincidence can be a virtue
tell us things we do not know
put more than one of them together
you got yourself a miracle

but you won’t let evidence sway
or let your world revolve around how heart is wowed
you don’t have to believe in a God for me
just believe in the year of the cow
Track Name: I Am the Ghost
I am the ghost removed from the love
that you once held me in
I am the voice of the woman that
you wanted to be perfect

and now you have her, and now you have her
but you keep me hanging around
your dreams are a swinging door
that I drift in and out of

I am the girl that you missed for so long
and gave up on in your youth
when you met me finally as a man
fantasy became the truth

you said you loved me, you said you loved me
and forever by me you’d stand
then you let your grip slide away and
I slipped right through your hands

I am the ghost that keeps reciting words
over and over she once said
I am the sadness you let linger on
to recall a love that’s dead

and now you have her and now you have her
so leave me be and with her move on
or else she’ll be the ghost that’s haunting you
if you don’t admit I’m gone
Track Name: Monkey Trap
you can set a monkey trap
anytime you get lonely
and if you catch a monkey
you’ll have a friend so easily
you can set a monkey trap
in kitchen basement or your room
but if you forget trap is there
the trap won’t trap the monkey
the trap will trap you

Wyatt is the name
of a boy who lives near Washington D.C.
his best friend is a monkey
a monkey whose name is Monkey
all around Washington D.C.
there’s monkey traps everywhere hidden
even if a sign says, ”No monkey traps here”
to every rule, there’s an exception

and then a big net will fall down, scoop the monkey up
he’ll be stuck inside, crying for help
but no one will come, he’s got to eat his dinner there
and learn to hang around himself

Daniel is the name
of an evil cow
evil cause he’s a boy
and most cows are girls you find around
he’s not so much evil now
as just misunderstood
he’s kind of selfish, kind of lazy
and though he’s not evil,
he’s not always so good

he visited his nephew
his nephew’s named Balloon
who lives near Washington D.C.
with Wyatt and a monkey named Monkey too
he says “I want that monkey”
Wyatt says “You can’t have him”
Evil Cow says “Give me that monkey
with me he’s coming back”
Wyatt says “But he’s my best friend”
Evil Cow says “I don’t care
I want a monkey of my own”
and Wyatt says to him “Evil Cow get out of here!”

and Evil Cow comes back disguised
as a chicken named Frank
and says “Hello my name is Frank
Wyatt I’d like to thank
you for taking care of Monkey
who belongs to me
he just fell in your monkey trap
but now I’ll take him back
and take him home with me”

but Wyatt’s not fooled
he sees the black-and-white spots
that many a cow gots
he know it’s Evil Cow he sees
with fake chicken beak
he says “No no no no no
Monkey belongs to me!”

then Evil Cow gets mad and sets a monkey trap
chases Monkey round the room, and yells out a MOO!
when he steps in his own trap, gets caught in his own net
and Wyatt says to him, “Evil Cow that’s what you get!”

if you try to be someone you’re not to get what you want
you’ll find that in the monkey trap you fell
if you try to take what’s not yours, the conscience will be
a monkey trap filled with guilt of to tell

Elizabeth’s the name of
my sis who goes by Liz
and Elizabeth’s the name of
my friend who goes by Beth
and all around there’s Zoe, Allison, Libby and Bobby Jean
all my nicknames for Elizabeth
other than Betsy and Betty
Biz, Sissy, Tibby, Wizzy and Lizzy, Isabella and Izzy
all these Elizabeths, they make me dizzy

and Katie is the name
of a girl that I once knew
when my sister Liz left home, I missed her so
Katie became like a sister too

Diana is the name of a girl I imagined as a kid
she had sisters named Joanna, Jill, Natalie and Beth
but not Elizabeth
cause sometimes Beth is just short for plain Beth

Diana had a friend named Nathan
the same name as my brother
who’s married to a Kathryn,
sometimes Kathryn’s go by Katie
some go by Kate, this one goes by Kat
but who knows how where or when
these nicknames to everyone are gave

and Sam is my own name
as a kid I went by Josh
cause Josh is my first name
and I told my parents one day
I don’t like Josh, I wanna go by Sam
that’s my middle one

and now Kate is the name
of the sister of my friend
but my friend is not a Liz
my friend is a Beth
Beth and Kate have a nephew
a brand-new nephew named Reid
Evil Cow says, ”Maybe they’ll give Reid a cow
and name it after me”

and Wyatt, Austin & Hank are the names of
my very own nephews
who will learn there’s monkey traps
in life that try to grab
and try and capture you

the world weaves a web, ties it around everyone we met
we’re all connected yeah it’s true
and the voices in your head of cows, family and friends
will help you put together all the clues

you can set a monkey trap
anytime you get lonely
and if you catch a monkey
you’ll have a friend so easily
you’ll go on adventures together
but if you’re not careful they’ll lead
back to monkey trap that snaps
and then you will be stuck hanging upright by your feet
back to the monkey trap that snaps and then you will be stuck
hanging upright by your feet
Track Name: Too Far in the South (featuring Kate Noson)
not the obvious choice, hidden in plain sight
the one you keep looking back on in all the lonely nights
when you’re feelin’ lost on of one life’s rural routes
call me up to save you from being too far in the south

you were twenty-two, she was just eighteen
summer ended, you hadn’t yet left and suddenly in her saw me
when you moved away, you declared love in letter sent
you’d take train back, she’d pick you up from station with her boyfriend
after the funerals you thought it was your place
to keep her innocence intact and keep her free from all heartache
you wanted so much to hear my words from her mouth
I need your help, I’m broken down and stuck too far in the south”

as a man you sat by bonfire in the county
in the backyard of the family that hosted the church gatherings
in their house you saw a picture of me on the wall
the little blonde girl you once played with and since tried to see in
them all
she’s a single mom now tending bar in the city
you want to go right out and find her and see if in her you see me

but I left her body to drift in air, become
the one you wanted when the one you had just wasn’t enough
the girl forsaken, soul saved in memory
only one possessed in present could ever be your destiny
you’ve failed to hold onto then and ever since
keep letting me break your heart even though I don’t exist
crying out to me in your weakest state of doubt
“I need your help, I’m breaking down and stuck too far in the south”

maybe you’ll end up with me after all
I’m the reward to be reached
after a lifelong slow crawl
put the seed in soil and watch the tree grow tall
in the backyard that will fill up
with all the brightest leaves to fall
Track Name: Mirage
if you don’t take me back I’ll have to believe
that all love is just a mirage
if you don’t look in my eyes and love for you see
then all love is just a mirage

it’s a mirage that nothing bad is happening in the world
it’s a mirage all that matters is you lost the girl
it’s a mirage you must solve your own problems first
before solving a bigger one that’s worst

my friend Sean loved someone who tied a noose around his neck
they had to wake him up in the dead man’s bed
Sean was told his lover went to where no one from returns
he heard song outside from a passing bird

go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
I know all you really are is a mirage

if you don’t read what I write, I’ll have to believe
that all words are just a mirage
if don’t hear what I sing and believe everything
then all words are just a mirage

it’s a mirage that everything broken will be fixed
it’s a mirage that truth and lies never will be mixed
it’s a mirage that family will always be around
and that those we love won’t let us down

when her mother got sick, I asked San for advice
he had to watch his mother too slow from cancer die
the problem isn’t the sickness is what Sean said
problem is ability to know the end

go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
I know all you really are is a mirage

if you don’t show me feelings well then I guess that it means
that all hope is just a mirage
but if there’s one left that you know, please let it be shown
or all hope is just a mirage

it’s a mirage that everything is going to be better
it’s a mirage that we are all going to live forever
and you will admit we could be happy
and you’ll say again you love me

I’m so sad to think of you and all that you’ve been through
and that my comfort you couldn’t use
but pain felt between partners can’t just be turned off
even if the pain you say is my mirage

go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
I know all you really are is a mirage

I understand now how life can seem like darkness
covered by mirage after mirage
and what if thought of death as a peaceful end
is really too just a mirage?

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