Smartest Man In the Room

by Paul Mark & The Van Dorens

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  • Digital Album
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    "A singer, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire…A house of blues for a thousand corpses…a witch’s brew…gritty, sparse, terse and honest, but with levity and hope to spare."
    - Jim Kanavy, American Blues News
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    "Mark's a Dickensian conglomerate of honked-off preacher, university professor turned spooky drunkard…Infectious as a virus..Shake it ‘til you fall down."
    - Mark S. Tucker, FAME (Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange)
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    The CD version of Smartest Man in the Room includes two(2) additional tracks that do NOT appear on the vinyl album version. These tracks are "40 Ft. of Rope" and "Road Hawg". These tracks don't appear on the vinyl LP because you can't fit as much music on an album as on a CD.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Smartest Man In the Room via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    The vinyl album version of Smartest Man in the Room excludes two(2) tracks that appear on the CD version. These tracks are "40 Ft. of Rope" and "Road Hawg". These tracks don't appear on the vinyl LP because you can't fit as much music on an album as on a CD.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Smartest Man In the Room via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

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about

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"Hard-nosed blues power from one of the genre's most acute observers, [Smartest Man in the Room] is dripping with urban attitude...Uncompromising. In every sense of the word."
- Mark Uricheck, Living Blues Magazine
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"Literally bristles with raw energy... Mark’s gravelly vocals and reverberating guitar power every track... Impressive stuff indeed!"
- Mick Rainsford, Blues in Britain
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"Educated, insightful, engaged and enraged, Mark turns up the heat… [Smatest Man in the Room is] a bluesy, relentless, organ-drenched blitzkrieg.”
- Deep Roots, #21 on the 2012 Elite Half Hundred
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Flipping off the board room from the roots rock mountain top, Paul Mark’s ninth CD, Smartest Man in the Room, is like no other blues rock release you’ve heard. Cut in New Orleans and Memphis with his raucous collaborators, the Van Dorens, this is the one that makes good on all the iconoclastic promise of Mark’s previous CDs. The vocals roar, the guitars claw at the earth, the band swaggers through the swamp, and the warehouse ambience grabs both aficionados and new-comers by the neck for a soul-throttling ride. Try to recall when a new blues release – great song after great song – left you asking “Who is that?”

Smartest Man includes a triumvirate of virtuoso guitar instrumentals that again reveal Mark's deep understanding of Americana roots guitar and how far the genre can be pushed to the edge. Barrio Stroll, Wrist Rocket and Choke Hold are the kind of powerhouse instros revered by players who recall the days when it was possible to discover that the B side was infinitely better than the trash pop A side of a 45 single.

Nose-thumb the celebrity-driven audio and talent-show TV drivel. Stomp on the 1% rogues gallery. Strap in and listen to this witty/gritty stink bomb of a record. And decide yourself. Play it loud. Helmets recommended.

Note: The CD version of Smartest Man in the Room includes two(2) additional tracks that do NOT appear on the vinyl album version. These tracks are "40 Ft. of Rope" and "Road Hawg". These tracks don't appear on the vinyl LP because you can't fit as much music on an album as on a CD.

credits

released January 1, 2020

Produced and mixed by Paul Mark and Jeff Powell
Recorded at The Music Shed, New Orleans LA and Ardent Studios, Memphis TN
Additional recording at humongous too studio, Memphis TN
and Radiation Records, NYC
Assistant engineer: Lucas Peterson
Mastered by Scott Hull, Masterdisk, NYC

James Strain - Bass
Dan Schnapp - Piano, Hammond organ
Paul Vezelis - Drums
Al Gamble- Hammond organ
Harry Peel - Drums
P.Mark - Vocals, piano, guitar, percussion

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about

Paul Mark & The Van Dorens New York, New York

Triple-threat songwriter-musician-producer Paul Mark has been turning the heads of critics and barflies for decades. With a striking lyrical edge and an encyclopedic facility with American roots music, NYC-based Paul Mark has built a top-drawer original song catalog that tugs on the ears of the literary as well as the liquidated. Mark is also principal owner of Radiation Records. ... more

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Track Name: Smartest Man In the Room
(Words/music by P.Mark)

When I was young my momma made me vow
To hitch a ride with the fast-talking crowd
So I scratched a few backs and I licked a few boots
Now they're calling me the smartest man in the room

The traffic stops when I walk down the street
I'm in the headlines whenever I sneeze
I got more opinions than a clown's got balloons
The world stops to hear the smartest man in the room

I got cuff links, I got ties
Monogrammed shirts and humble smile
My past is cloudy but my future is clear
I'm talking ‘bout love but I'm dealing in fear

I got ears at every table in town
I'm riding high while the world's sinking down
The men step back but the women all swoon
When in walks the smartest man in the room

The DA watches me like a hawk
What I call work he calls breaking the law
But I've never do time 'cuz my lawyer's too shrewd
Iron bars can’t hold the smartest man in the room

And when I die the masses will morn
Another like him will never be born
They'll lay me to rest in a deluxe mausoleum tomb
Inscribed, "Here lies the smartest man in the room"

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Time Will Tell
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Only time will tell who is right or wrong
Only time will tell the truth

Only fools would say they are never wrong
Only time will tell the truth

Down the road
We'll look back and see
The truth was simple as A-B-C

Only time will tell what's been torn apart
Only time will tell the truth

Only time can heal a wounded heart
Only time will tell the truth

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: When God Finds the Time
(Words/music by P.Mark)

All earthly prayers will be answered
In the order they're received
The devil's waiting room’s no different
He's just got better magazines

The lord will sanctify your queries
Take a number, get in line
There'll be power, there'll be glory
When god finds the time

Behold… His mighty hand changing channels
Clicking right through your vale of tears
Famine, floods and corruption
The universe is so last year

Spare us your woes, he's an idea man
Not so great on follow through
He'll see you when he sees you
When god finds the time

Save the date for your salvation
The lord stands tall for those who stand alone
I hear he's flying in next week for the Derby
But then he's back to his silent throne

Don't blame me, you put him up there
Beyond all reason and rhyme
A million mysteries makes you wonder
When god find's the time

Just drop your head shot at the front desk
If something comes up we'll call
We gotcha penciled in for Sunday
But I wouldn't book the hall

Between appointments he'll move mountains
Change Perrier into wine
Expect the worst - you'll be rewarded
When god find's the time
Expect the worst - you'll be rewarded
When god find's the time

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: One More Coat of Paint
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Well I fell behind on payments
Now the bank's closing in
Gonna drop her on the market
Head on down the road again

One more coat of paint
One more coat of paint
Slap it down, wipe it up
One should be enough
One more coat of paint

She's a handy-man special
Needs some tender loving care
You'll find her beams are solid, Jack
When you strip her bare

One more coat of paint...

I should've kept up with the upkeep
Too much rain and abuse
Now her pipes are rattling in the walls
All her screws are riding loose

One more coat of paint...

It won't be hard to leave her
My memories are mixed
There ain't a crack big enough
A can of paint won't fix

One more coat of paint...

So Jack make me an offer
No doubt she's priced for speed
If walls could talk
You'd find out how much work she really needs.

One more coat of paint...

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Barrio Stroll
(Music by P.Mark)
Track Name: U Must Come 2
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Sold off my possessions
Sold off everything I own
Got a one-way ticket
To a place nobody knows
There's just one thing, you must do
Honey u must come 2

Broke off all connections
Broke of all the binds that tie
One too many deceptions
Gonna leave all that behind
But there's just one thing, babe, you must do
U must come 2

It's a town without reason, so mister I'm leaving
Too much talk, not enough breathing
Down the avenue somewhere
There's a corner only two can share
And no one…

Left the keys on the table
Left my so-called friends behind
Tell the bank to sue me
Where I'm headed, those fools'll never find
There's just one thing you must do
U must come 2

One day when it's over
One day when it's all been washed away
They'll be writing books about it
How the smart ones walked away
And there's just one thing, babe you must do
U must come 2

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Wrist Rocket
(Music by P.Mark)
Track Name: Can't Remember Nothing
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Your knowing eyes
Say we loved long ago
We must've been an item
But I really don't know
See I can't remember nothing
But I'm getting wiser everyday

You whisper low
“Let's relight the flame”
I'd love to reminisce
But I can't recall your name
See I can't remember nothing
But I'm getting wiser every day

The streets we walked
The tales you tell
It sounds so lovely
But it just don't ring a bell
Through the years my heart was always true
Just can't recall to what or who

Memories are funny
Blame the years, blame the wine
Say, who's heart got broken?
Was it yours or was it mine?
I just can't remember nothing
But I'm getting wiser everyday

So tonight we'll slip away
To an old time and place
For you a reunion
Bit for me it's a blind date
I can't remember nothing
But I'm getting wiser everyday

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Don't Ya Tell Henry
(Words/music by Bob Dylan)
Track Name: Choke Hold
(Music by P.Mark)
Track Name: 40 Ft. of Rope
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Whistling Dixie past the bone yard
40 feet of rope in my hand
911 off the hook in your head
How many bells can you stand?

Sing a song of 6 cents
Cover up your eyes
4 and 20 magpies
Baking up a lie
You know the world's been wrong before

Engine's out the window
Look out below
That gasket looked like a winner
But now it's leaking sorta slow

15 lilies on a dead man's chest
40 feet of rope in a tree
76 trombones through the eye of a needle
Blowing Nearer My God to Thee

A hanging judge reads a 12-step sentence
To a jury of 8 and 4
It takes 88 keys to unchain my heart
Since daddy lost the store
But the world's been wrong before

4 score and 20 grifters
Backslapping on the senate floor
40 feet of rope daisy-chains their hands
To a safe behind the door

25 plaid-blue jumpers
Double-Dutching by the Central Park Zoo
Singing 2-4-6 we're all god's tricks
Until he calls in the loan
But the world's been wrong before

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: The Creature Walks Among Us
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Stepping out of the sewage
All evil and scales
A thing from old time religion
Lurking low 'neath the window sill
The creature walks among us
And the creature is me

Chaos and destruction
Make-believing to be your friend
All gods have fled the foxholes
It's every soul for hisself
The creature walks among us
And the creature is me

News flash across the county
Grandma died when she heard
Grab hold of anything that's precious
Raise it high above your head
The creature walks among us
Dark water on the rise
The creature is you and me
You and me

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Road Hawg
(Music by P.Mark)