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  • Digital Album
    Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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    "Positively Vaudevillian…Mark [on Stowaways] seems entrapped in his storytelling, as if he is an indentured servant of the piano…As thoroughly dark Americana as something from the murky depths of a Lomax compilation."
    - Jack Tully, Elmore Magazine
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    “You are in for the discovery of a lifetime…One listen to [Stowaways] and you’ll recognize more truth in a single song than in most other artist’s entire catalogues…Brave, bold, mysterious and so worth exploring.” - Greg Victor, Parc Bench
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    The lyrical inventiveness and pawn shop-romance of Stowaways, Paul Mark's tenth CD, radiates all that’s been cast aside. Cognoscenti won’t flinch, but new listeners to Paul Mark will step back and wonder how they missed it. A 25-year bar-room gig itinerant and New York City denizen, Mark sings and composes with the insight of a library rat who’s plowed through 19th Century lit and devoured with a jaundiced eye classic international cinema of the 40s and 50s. Ask him to name his singing influences and he’ll mention Toshiro Mifune and Gregory Peck…Ask where he learned to play guitar and piano, he’ll invoke Italian neo-realist films, James Booker and Max Fleischer cartoons. Query where he’s headed creatively and he’ll point to the Metro Diner at West 100th and Broadway. Mark’s done the time. Decades of bad gigs, bad industry breaks and bad luck from all directions And his music, sad and beautiful, rich with mystery and art, bears out the history.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Paul Mark's 10th album release, taking his roots rock and classic pop sensibility out into the next wave.

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

      $14 USD or more 

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about

“Mark creates his own sardonic cabaret on Stowaways…Walking into a bar with a piano player in the corner, ignoring him at first until his songs start creeping into your consciousness and you find yourself paying more attention to him than drinks and conversation…Mark is that fantasy come to life.”
- Michael Tolland, Blurt

A sentimental world-gone-mad portfolio, flaunting influences as far afield as Weimar cabaret, tin pan alley and after-hours combo jazz. Stowaways is like the soundtrack from a forgotten noir masterpiece.

Piano ballads, wheezing cabaret oddities and honky tonk rants that slice through the midnight fog like bummed cigarettes and cut-rate bourbon. Stowaways is Paul Mark’s tenth CD release. His piano and acoustic bass playing sit front and center along with his signature saloon-weary vocals. A Salvation Army-ready string section lends street corner polish to the affair.

Highlights includes originals How Do the Blind Become So Famous?, Stowaways, and Bridge to Nowhere.

Tess Primack's Broadway-sweet vocals mash-up ironically against Mark's on the barroom duet-ballad Once Upon a Weekend.

The collection includes a startling cover of the Brecht/Weill opus Ballad of Mack the Knife which has next to nothing to do with Bobby Darin's '59 hit version.

The sweeping set closer Animal Cruelty is a lament for a lost compa

credits

released April 9, 2020

Produced and Recorded by Paul Mark
at Radiation Records, NYC
Mixed by Paul Mark and Jeff Powell
at Ardent Studios, Memphis TN
Mix Engineer: Lucas Peterson
Mastered by Bruce Barielle, New Orleans LA
Strings recorded by Christian Howes Strings
Additional recording at Lofish Productions NYC, engineer: Reed Taylor
All words and music by P.Mark
Except where noted.
© Last Warning Music and Radiation Records Inc.
All songs BMI. All rights reserved.
Reproduction and/or distribution (electronic or otherwise) strictly prohibited w/o permission.

Tess Primack - Duet vocals (Once Upon a Weekend)
Paul Vezelis - Drums
Christian Howes, Eli Bishop, Greg Byers, Camille Howes - Strings
P.Mark - Vocals, piano, acoustic bass, guitar, organ, harmonium, xylophone, melodica

Illustrations: Grady McFerrin
Photography: Chad Kamenshine
Locale: Brandy’s Piano Bar, NYC
Package design: Radiation Records Inc.

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all rights reserved

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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: Stow Away
There's a cold cruel current swirls the seven seas
It always steers you back from whence you came
Noah sailed not for divine accord
But to simply get away

The midnight chimes claim that all is well
City clocks strike loudest when they're wrong
Stow away with me 'neath the stars tonight
And we'll drift as one at dawn

Stow away
Stow away with me
The moon will guide our flight
Stow away
Stow away with me
We sail at morning light

The turnstiles at the factory
Won't count our steps any more
The clerks have won the battle
But we shall win the war

Off the stern the steeples and the docks recede
A desperate carnival of charlatans and heirs
Mark the maps and careers, they flutter up then disappear
Like the crows on Highway 9

- Chorus -

So toss off your notebooks and cast away your prayers
Pack only your canvases and songs
We'll master the waves, forty nights and days
Till the tides shift and send us back where we belong

- Chorus -
Track Name: How Do the Blind Become So Famous?
Just between us, because I trust you
Let me ask, how do the blind become so famous?
They claim they've seen it all
No fact too large or small
Truth be told they can't even find the door

At the crosswalk they click their silly canes
Offer an arm and they dismiss you with disdain
How can the deformed, the sightless, parade so proud and righteous?
To those with eyes the injustice is so plain

Let's raise a glass to those left on the outside
Forever silent, forever nameless
To the millions aghast at the theater
Muted witness to the horror on life's stage
Condemned to suffer through the antics of the few
Someone tell me how do the blind become so famous?

I am never so bedeviled, vexed, speechless
As when I wonder, how do the deaf become so famous?
Oh they pretend they’ve heard
But they miss every other word
Then lecture on about cruelty and beauty

They go on endlessly about symphonies
Despite the absence of one good clue
If for a moment their ears
Were miraculously cleared
They'd hear the peddlers snickering all around them

- Chorus -

Try to imagine pigs could fly
Or that dogs could learn to drive
Suppose that chimps somehow were winning elections
What if a bear could solo on trombone?
Or answer the telephone?
Why it makes a mockery of natural selection

I am humble, I know my limitations
So it's fair to ask...how do the dull become so famous?
They flash across the screen, show up in magazines
You’d think stupidity was their sole qualification

They can't tell crap from Christmas, can't tell left from right
Put on the spot they know not king from queen nor rook from knight
They spout as revelation the tritest observation
Then scan the horizon like peacocks of genius

- Chorus -
Track Name: Ballad of Mack the Knife
The lyrics used here are from Ralph Manheim and John Willet's unflinching 1976 translation of the Brecht/Weill masterpiece, "Threepenny Opera". First performed in Berlin in 1928, "Threepenny Opera" was a savvy reworking of "The Beggar's Opera", the resilient “ballad-opera” written for the stage by John Gay in 1728.

From its Weimar era premier right up through the 1960s, Threepenny Opera — replete with stabbings, overt sexuality and indictments of sitting institutions — was regularly bowdlerized by the prevailing tastemakers, from Nazi culture police to American pop producers slumming for a hit. Even Bobby Darin's 1959 swing take on “Mack” (lifted largely from Louis Armstrong's Dixieland version from 1956) strikes the ear like a bachelor pad throw pillow, for all its hypermodulatin' brio.

Once awakened to the original’s civilization gone mad accusations, softening the work for political gain — or for the diversion a wider audience — seems an unwitting step into the very corruption targeted by the composers.

I first heard the Manheim/Willet translation on the 1976 Columbia LP of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s bold production of Threepenny Opera. After scanning today's headlines neither the Brecht/Weill horror show nor the Manheim/Willet translation require any updating.

-Paul Mark
Track Name: Once Upon a Weekend
Once upon a weekend
Once upon a flight
Just a couple days
And a couple nights
You had your reasons, I had my own
To sidestep the demons
And put the world on hold

Once upon a weekend
Once upon a plan
Our eyes did the talking
Let's get it while we can
We turned on a dime, man what a time
Once upon a weekend with you

Once upon a weekend
We cut loose and it fly
Eleventh-hour tickets
Oh the deals you can find
Room service, we sent the housekeeper away
We sure did get out a lot in those days

Once upon a weekend
I know you remember when
Seems a little crazy now
But it was a good idea back then
Never did regret, tried but I can't forget
That once upon a weekend with you

Once upon a weekend
You remember when
Seems a little crazy now
But it was a fine idea back then
Cross off the doubts
By now we shoulda figured out
That just once, once upon a weekend, would never do

Let's once upon a weekend
Once more, me and you


© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Bridge to Nowhere
Excuse me sermon on the Mount Rushmore or less than zero tolerance
Is golden…golden gate bridge to nowhere

Coulda woulda shoulda seen what I sorrow and the pity the fool such as I
Remember Paris is burning a bridge to nowhere

It's my show and tell all the world's a stage door Johnny B. good guys finish last
Exit to Brooklyn bridge to nowhere

Raw deal me in your face the fear strikes out with the new and in with the old
Ennui stroll down a bridge to nowhere

No don't you dare forget the name of love you make hey lady day the music died
On across the bridge to nowhere

You are what you eight days a Weeki Wachee weekend war and peace is fought
And won, two, three-handed bridge to nowhere

One man's pig is another man's pork belly full of fundamental case in point
On down the road…the road to the bridge to nowhere

Excuse me sir, men the Mount Rushmore or less than zero tolerance
Is golden…The goose that paved the golden road to the bridge to nowhere


© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Jamestown Ferry (Wendy)
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Late summer crossing
Red right return
Each August's new gale
Is a lesson never learned

Salt in your hair
Wind in our wounds
Sailors go silent
To watery tombs

To err is human
To err again is divine
Songs from a lifeboat
Said you'd always be mine

Swear I'll never repeat it
Maybe never isn't true
Jamestown Ferry, deep harbor moon
Please say you once needed me
The way I needed you

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Reputation Tango
(Words/music by P.Mark)

There is a picture in the papers
Of me cavorting with two very lovely girls
I won't confirm it, I can't deny it
But it's most certainly a pack of filthy lies
Now there's a rumor been circulating
Designed to bring me grief, to besmirch my good name
And in the court of public opinion
I'm forced to stand and refute the lies they claim

What the world can't see
What the crowd doesn't know
The hardship and hurt
The torments that for years
Had driven me so low
But now that's all over
That chapter's long since ended
And I do apologize to anyone
Who might've been offended

There's a reporter on the telephone
Claims I passed millions through a Vatican bank agency
I won't confirm it, I can't deny it
But it's most certainly a pack of filthy lies
Now there's a summons in my mailbox
And to the bar I am called to testify
Calamity and scandal, laid at my doorstep
In my golden years, no less, only the devil knows why

- Chorus -

Now there is a video on the Internet
Shows me entertaining Third Reich conventioneers
I won't confirm it, I can't deny it
But it's most certainly a pack of filthy lies
How can you blame me?
Am I so different?
By hook or crook we all do scrounge for bed and board
The sea is stocked with doomed and rotting fishes
Why not gaff them, and for profit pull ‘em aboard

- Chorus -

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Interesting Times
(Words/music by P.Mark)

Good people of the jury I commend you
Your patience nearly exceeds my own
Go wise but wary toward deliberations
Behold the world, then send the accused home

In the dock stands neither devil nor angel
Like any beast, brimming with truth and lies
Let us recall what this land was built on
That each be judged in accordance with their times

Say your prayers but don't forget your reason
God's like a cop, he's never around when you need him
Tomorrow's virtue may today seem a crime
Thank fortune you were born in interesting times

Bloody facts can turn the mind towards vengeance
Mais tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner
Together we'll move mankind one step forward
Think only of law, don't let justice get in our way

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Degraw Avenue
(Words/music by P.Mark)

There's a semi-influential barber cuts hair down on Degraw Avenue
Wraps your neck and trims the ends of last night's evening news
Claims the city blacktop out in front should every year be shaved down and redone
Avenues paved over so the sins of the fathers won't be revisited upon the sons

Next door the A&P register girl don't give a rat's ass she looks right past like you's a baseball card collecting man-boy
Her earings rattle as packs up your commodity meat, loneliness, and lemon fresh Joy
The REO Speedwagon hit parade hums along with the overhead florescent tubes
She towels the blood from the conveyer belt like it was Jesus's face and says, Mister you want one bag or two?

Once a semester Dame Rectilinear invites the Lit majors into her ocean front home
Living off her affliction memoir, she MC’s past the Renoir sketch that keeps her from having to live all alone
Over mint juleps she laments “Why wasn't Sylvia Plath ever declared a saint?”
As they file out she reflects how orange sherbet sunsets can never outweigh the artist's life of pain

Reverend O'Mann rebooted his sermon schedule once the diocese declared
its investigation closed
And anyway the charges were an internal matter their lawyers said,
so none of the evidence will ever be disclosed
Now Rev. O's thoughts on gender confusion, barefoot women and god's intentions
once again ricochet off the frescos above
All heads are down in the pews when he instructs that it's just one more mystery,
the marriage between crime and love

Professor Moresworth wears his Ph.D round his neck like a soup-stained flea market tie
His mortarboard reflexes keep the noonday sun out of his eyes
In the lecture hall, the way he discusses music and the human spirit you'd think he was dissecting a frog
Afterwards the silence rings with vindication,
“History'll show I was right and they were all wrong”

The commission l found Judge Dividend in contempt, a pretzel-twist of election chits and contraband
Now each evening he rocks alone on the porch, a Flintstones jelly glass of Dewars in his hand
Refuses to acknowledge the phone, his wife's call to dinner or the flash bulbs in his eyes
“It was them not me that brought on the horror, swear I'll be strong till the day I die”

After 16 years writing tele-inventive claptrap Ms. Fleet bulldozed the landmark
at 1040 Degraw
She built a gated trophy home that the zoning board suddenly claimed
was well within the law
One April morning after a Wagnerian two-week storm a sink hole swallowed her
and the entire South Wing
Now the neighbors go to sleep hungry while her reruns flash in pixel poetry
across a sea of midnight flat screens

There's a quasi-influential barber holds court down on Degraw Avenue
Trims your ears then revives a soul speech he heard on last night's cable news
He waves his scissors and demands that citywide the blacktop should all be redone
Pave over the avenues so the sins of the fathers can't be revisited upon the sons

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.
Track Name: Animal Cruelty
(Words/music by P.Mark)

You thought by now you knew to walk on by
Those caged, wounded eyes
Then a flash, and again they've hooked you
They fill that hole deep inside
You take them home, and before you've set the room
They're asleep across the bed
You lay down beside and bide your time
To confess how wrong you've been
Why is sleep so important?
Why must animals be so cruel?

You provide a home, a castle
And routines they hold so dear
And then they spend the night moon-howling
Afraid it all might disappear
They scratch the earth towards nothing
Then flash their teeth when you interfere
And on the boulevard they lash out
At threats all misconstrued
Then retreat to your forgiving hand
Why must animals be so cruel?

And when they leave
You'll try to make a stand
But all your masks will fail
Another muse, another master
Leads them off down darkened trails
Years away one riddle just won't quit
How you still love them so true
It's devotion then desertion
Devotion then desertion
Why must animals be so cruel?

And their farewell eyes say, “Don't you cry,
It all happened to me once too…
O'er the hill you'll find another”
Why must animals be so cruel?

O'er the hill you'll find another
Why must animals be so cruel?

© Last Warning Music. All Rights Reserved.