NAPOLEON WASHINGTON

NAPOLEON WASHINGTON

©2010 Napoleon Washington – Tous droits réservés.

Mud & Grace

 

Mud & Grace est le troisième album de Napoleon Washington. Il comprend 12 titres originaux et une composition de Zachary Richard.

« Publier un troisième opus est une étape importante et extrêmement gratifiante.
 
Le fragile équilibre entre ce qu’il faut de doute et de confiance pour aboutir un projet d’album est si délicat à maintenir qu’il n’est pas rare de frôler l’abandon général, dans la mesure où la perpétuelle remise en question revient un peu à jouer quotidiennement avec le feu…
 
Ce qui est aussi dangereux que fascinant. »
 
 
« Je me suis aperçu que jusqu’ici, j’avais très soigneusement compartimenté mon travail. J’ai toujours élevé des barrières étanches entre mes activités dans les domaines de l’image et mon métier de musicien. Pourtant, j’ai une formation de graphiste, que je pratique incidemment dans l’audiovisuel. J’ai eu envie de voir si je pouvais mettre les deux disciplines au service d’un même univers et approcher la réalisation d’un album d’une manière que je n’avais jamais envisagée. »

 

Pour autant, Mud & Grace est d’abord album, au même titre que les deux précédents.

 

« Je voulais qu’il ait sa vie propre en tant que tel. »

Produced by : Napoleon Washington

 

Guitars, Vocals, Piano, Bass,Percussion & Graphics : Napoleon Washington

Upright Bass : Simon Gerber

Drums, Percussion : Raphaël Pedroli

Bass Clarinets, Soprano Clarinet : Jean-François Lehmann

Backing Vocals : Tomcat Blake

 

Recording and premix by Napoleon Washington at Glapor Sound, Switzerland

Endmix and mastering by Fabian Schild at Studio Mécanique, Switzerland

 

Une question de tiroirs

 

La question du style musical auquel appartient Washington fait sourire l’intéressé. Qu’en est-il ?

 

« En réalité, ça n’a pas une grande importance pour moi. Je suis le dernier qui ait besoin de mettre un nom sur ce que je fais. Au mieux, les étiquettes sont un problème de disquaire, et il me semble qu’il n’y en a plus beaucoup, des disquaires. Je n’agite pas de drapeau, je ne me réclame de rien du tout ».

 

Bien, mais alors ? Washington aurait-il inventé son propre style ?

 

« Ah non, ça serait d’un prétention imbuvable. Je n’ai rien inventé du tout, j’ai tout reçu de ceux que j’ai écouté. Beaucoup de blues. Je suis très attaché aux racines de cette musique ».
 

Nous y voilà : Washington est-il un bluesman ?

 

« Ça m’étonnerait. Sérieusement, l’amour que je porte au blues ne fait pas de moi un bluesman, je ne crois pas que ça marche comme ça. Je suis blanc, je suis né en Europe et je n’ai pas passé énormément de temps aux Etats-Unis. Si je tombais sur un type qui ait mon parcours et qui se bombarde bluesman, je n’aurais même pas envie de l’écouter. Notez que je passerais peut-être à côté de quelque chose, et c’est exactement pour cela que je crains les étiquettes comme la peste. C’est un poison pour la curiosité ».
 

Il faut bien parler d’influences, pourtant.

 

« Bien sûr. J’ai mon petit panthéon. James Booker, Dr. John, Skip James, Son House, JB Lenoir, Donny Hathaway, Albert King… Et les Stones, Jay-Z, Bill Frisell, tout ce qui me tombe dans l’oreille et qui y reste. Mais ce qui définit la matière que je pétris ne devrait pas reposer sur des velléités d’imitateur.
 
C’est un peu provocateur, mais j’ai le sentiment d’être formellement plus influencé par des écrivains que par des musiciens, par exemple. Ou par la peinture. Ou par le cinéma, ou par la météo…
 
Au final, c’est la culture noire américaine qui m’intéresse, dans sa dimension sociale et historique autant que dans ses différentes formes d’expression. Pourquoi en arrive-t-on au swing, au jazz, au blues ou au rap, ou comment le vodun du bénin devient-il le voodoo du sud des Etats-Unis en transitant par le vaudou caraïbe ?
 
Ça me paraît infiniment plus passionnant que de savoir quelle note il convient de jouer ».

 

Jean Grin
Gauchebdo

#01

Come Down, Blues

Come down, blues
I know it’s you out there
Come down, blues
I can feel your stare
So you done found me again
You’re ready to take hold of my day one more time
Leave me howling
And it’s not even sunrise

#02

Ashes from Ashes

Ashes to ashes and
Dust to dust
If the rambling don’t kill him
Then a woman must
I heard that so many times
But here’s what I found
Would’nt it be just fine
The other way around
Make it ashes from ashes
And dust from dust

I speak in my own name
And I live on my own choice
But many long gone friends
Sing through my voice
I’m made of those
Who done fed my soul
The seed from which I rose
Was planted long ago
Make it ashes from ashes
And dust from dust

And when I’m six by six, my friends
I doubt I’ll ever care
It won’t make much difference
Just what got me there
All in the world I’ll ever need
Not to be quite gone
Is just someone to hit
On the play button
To make it ashes from ashes
And dust from dust

#03

Blue Curls of Smoke

I said I have no clue
What cherry wine tastes like
She said do you
Wanna give it a try (rep)
And there was blue
Curls of smoke
Above the ashtray

I said I really do
Love the taste of that cherry wine
She said you
Can have more if you like (rep)
And there was blue
Curls of smoke
Above the ashtray

Now the bottle is empty
The ashes are cold
She said my tree
Grows no cherries no more

You don’t miss your water
Until the well runs dry
You’ll never miss your water
Like I miss my cherry wine (rep)
Now gone like blue
Curls of smoke
Above the ashtray

Gone like blue
Gone like blue
Curls of smoke
Above the ashtray

#04

Mud & Grace

Ain’t no place like home Baby
But there’s no burden like fate
Ain’t no place like home
But close your eyes is all it takes
You know I got so tired
To try to find my own place
I’m bound Baby yes I am
To my land of
Mud and grace

Enough of need, enough of try
And far enough of crave
Enough warning, enough advice
And enough of this won’t last
I’ve never let nobody
Put a finger in my face
I’m bound Baby yes I am
To my land of
Mud & Grace

A li’l bit of dirt
Of beauty and of craze
A li’l bit of rust
Some to love and some to hate
I wanna be amused
And I wanna be amazed
I’m bound Baby yes I am
To my land of
Mud & Grace

And if I don’t find it
Then I’ll have to set up the place
With shine, shade and grit
In just the right balance
You know I got so tired
To try to find my own place
I’m bound Baby yes I am
To my land of
Mud & Grace

#05

The Day I get in Monroe

The day I get in Monroe
I’ll gather a few memories
Find me a silver spoon and dig a hole
The day I get in Monroe
I’ll think a bit of you and me
And I won’t bother to call
The day I get in Monroe
The day I get in Monroe

Bring over your blind children
Bring over your dead dogs too
Bring me your Saint Louis cousin
Bring over your blind children
I’ll feed them and I’ll heal them too
We’ll mortgage our dreams by the dozen
The day I get in Monroe
The day I get in Monroe

I don’t know where Monroe is
But I’m sure I’ll know when I get there
Monroe is where your next step leads
I don’t know where Monroe is
And I don’t think I really care
Monroe is any place I please
The day I get in Monroe
The day I get in Monroe
The day I get in Monroe

#06

Salt Water

Salt water you see
In my eyes sometimes
Comes from the see
That sets astride
What I long to be
And what keeps me tied

My land of plenty
My times of sorrow
My homeland of empty
My hope of hollow
What belongs to me
I had to borrow

May my love be wider
Than just any ocean
May my heart be stronger
Than the notion
Of a border
Of a nation

#07

Peephole Dawn

It’s about half past me
But I stay lying down
I won’t even breathe
I won’t make a sound
The love you had for me
The love I thought was gone
Is looking up at me
In this peephole dawn

So tiny and fragile
Curled up on my bedside
A little furry animal
Small and terrified
Like a trembling gerbil
With a red wet eye
So precious but so little
Like diamonds for a dime

Maybe I’m not even awake
Maybe I’m just not even there
Maybe the night will fade away
Or maybe I’m dead for all I care
But if the day’s ever to break
What will be left for me to share
Is a thousand and one always
If you got a little time to spare

#08

It’ll Be Poison

It’ll be poison, poison
Cold hands around your neck
Fifty-two jacks of spades are
plotting in the deck
It’ll be poison, poison
They’re coming with the check
They’re buzzing your buzzer brother they are calling collect
It’ll be poison
It’ll be poison

It’ll be poison, poison
Half a grain of strychnine
You been raising to your lips
the kiss of death in disguise
It’ll be poison, poison
Bad words through a bad phone line
You did it now it’s done it ain’t but a matter of time
It’ll be poison
It’ll be poison

It’ll be poison, poison
not much time on your hands
There’s a list at the gate and it has
nine and a half names
It’ll be poison, poison
You shiver in a trance
The government’s advising you
to set your house in flames
It’ll be poison
It’ll be poison

It’ll be poison, poison

Fall down on your knees
You’ll die barking like a dog and you’ll die howlin’ mercy
It’ll be poison, poison

You’re standing in a freeze
High beams straight in your face and a truck horn beepin’ crazy
It’ll be poison
It’ll be poison

It’ll be poison, poison
Turn on the radio
It blares you name all through the dial telling you to go
It’ll be poison, poison
Stand alone in a row
Here’s a silver dollar now please won’t you climb aboard
It’ll be poison
It’ll be poison

#09

The Top of the Shelf

Remember
when you couldn’t count to three
Or tie your baby shoes yourself
When you needed help to reach
The top of the shelf

You grew up
Possibly I did too
I was thirty-four when you got twelve
Little Girl, what I’m trying to tell you is
That the older you get
The higher the shelves

So many things that seemed
So hard to understand
Look so easy today
I got a feeling
It’s not gonna be much different
When we’ll get old and gray

I was in love with your Mama
And even if things would be easier
If I wouldn’t love her still
I loved you too and that
I’m glad I always will

#10

Write Yourself a Letter

If you don’t keep on trying
You can’t have things your way (rep)
It’s so hard to make a living
It’s even harder everyday

Feel like a young buck in the morning
Next thing you know you’re old and gray (rep)
There’s no use for your savings
You can’t withdraw your younger days

Just do write yourself a letter
And open it the day you die (rep)
When it’s too late to make things better
You’ll see you had a good time

 

#11

My Love Like a Tree

My love is like a tree
It is high and tall
My love is like a tree
It’s here to grow old, here to grow old
Just come sit by me
When you tired to carry your load

I’ll bring you cool shade
When comes the summertime
So cool that when the summer fades
You’ll still be by my side, by my side
My love is still and straight
My love can touch the sky

Now let the weather change
Let the winter go by
My love can stand the rain
My love can stand cold times, stand cold times
I know the sun is always
To shine back afterwhile

My love is strong and bold
But when comes the mighty storm
The one that’s gonna make me fall
See me broken and torn, borken and torn
I’ll turn myself into coals
Just to keep you warm

 

#12

Some Say They Have To

Some say you can trade
Your heart’s leftover molecules
For a part-time fate
Of painless moral abuse
Some call for wars
Some call for fruit loops
Some holler to the stars
Some say they have to

Major ambivalence
One misunderstands
Now every sentence
Starts with “in the other hand”
Some will call you a liar
Some will say you’re wisdom-proof
Some wonder who you are
Some say they have to

Every medal you won
Won’t be of much use anymore
For the first sign of your personal Armageddon
Ain’t but a knock on your door
Some will go far
Some are to fail soon
Some won’t bother the scar
Some say they have to

Be blind to the urge
To set things straight
No one’s to judge
And who’d be to state
Some need no excuse so far
Some would put the finger on you
Some’d shoot a bullet through your heart
Some say they have to