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Numberless Needs

by Virgin of the Birds

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I rowed in the galley and I fought a Turk we were chained to the sea we were forced to work It was a different time In a different land I fought a Turk With my one good hand Save your hissing For someone who's free I had to fight the Turk And he had to fight me I read the Leopard I painted Blue Hell I'm half the man I used to be I can tell, you can tell You know that you are august You know that you won't die You were promised fame and fortune If you try, you try, you try So this is Art in America? This is what we've got? jewels that we inherited and style that we bought? I tried to love the kingdom Like I love the land I will try to love the Turk Like I love the man Oh God you will not despise Yahweh you will not despise I sang women in three cities I showered them with words I spoon fed Aphrodite The virgin of the birds
In 1970, across Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo broke the Black Panther party He raided their bases and stripped them down naked on the streets before all of their neighbors "Imagine the Panthers with their pants down" he said He wanted control, and they wanted him dead And President Nixon called Rizzo a model police chief In 1985, I stood in my school uniform and watched West Philadelphia burn From a bomb that was dropped by the mayor and the cops the people inside were at war, they were warned By then, white flight had shuttled nearly all of the Irish out of West Philadelphia To the row homes and twins in the town where I lived filled with Irish, some Polish, Italians In 1844, in Lower Manhattan, Protestants threatened the Irish Who came to America, broken and starving from suffering under the English But Bishop John Hughes stood up and he warned touch one Catholic Church and New York will all burn A century later, an Irishman sat in the White House In 417, Augustine of Hippo corrected Pelagian errors On original sin, which we all are born in, and grace and free will that's within us T.S. Eliot told us, "Ours is in the trying, the rest is none of our business" And the warnings and burnings are only a part of our nature
It stung like these newer sins I think the glass is evil now What wine, what wine Could wake this antique imagination? Ideas that were hanging around Like Peter Stone Brown And you have known the eyes, in time Maybe you’ll remember me We were married in our prime And you ascended artfully Mama, put your guns in the ground For Peter Stone Brown I flew, my foes beneath me I was raised to know Not everyone around me means me well There’s a heaven up above and there is hell Not everyone around me means me well There is heaven up above and there is hell You know what you mean to me The temptation of St. Anthony Chimeras fly above our heads While the Queen of Sheba showers me Take your place, prepare to sound For Peter Stone Brown We awoke and we were found Like Peter Stone Brown
Every Rival 04:16
You scorned me secular And said I was a savage These kinds of errors are killing your image at the salon Where consistency stands tall They’re not heretical at all, at all, at all So “savage” I took well But “secular” I could tell You tried to hurt me By decrying I was modern You tried to paint me in a corner And claim the Great Codes of Art Were essentially apart from Any visions that make this life worth living I find you hurtful and conceptually inconsistent I find you hurtful and conceptually inconsistent Every rival, every sigh Every name you know me by Will dissolve into the sea As we are severing from thee You were hazy you were white You were moving in the light Blazing sacred and offset You were a novitiate


Virgin of the Birds returns after 2016’s Secret Kids LP (Song, By Toad / Abandoned Love) with Numberless Needs, an EP of songs marked by late-night lyricism and shimmering electric guitars. Opener “I Fought A Turk” features lead vocals from Scottish songwriter Faith Eliott while “Wisconsin Polka” is a cover of song by Seattle stalwarts the Foghorns, a group that shares both an ethos and membership with the current Virgin of the Birds lineup. “Every Rival” captures that lineup at their most mercurial and ferocious while containing the admonishment “I find you hurtful and conceptually inconsistent.” “In 1970, Across Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo Broke the Black Panther Party” and “Peter Stone Brown” both reference, in part, singer-songwriter Jon Rooney’s hometown.


released November 16, 2018

Virgin of the Birds is Jon Rooney, Colin J Nelson, Ken Nottingham and Paul Baudry

Lead vocals and electric guitar on "I Fought A Turk" by Faith Eliott

All songs by Jon Rooney, published by Pilgrim Fear Music (ASCAP)
except for "Wisconsin Polka," which was written by Bart Cameron of the Foghorns. Liberties were taken with the lyrics and arrangement, sorry Bart. You should definitely track down the original version from the 2017 album ".​.​.​on a Dog's Ass Sometime"

Produced by Colin J Nelson
Recorded and mixed by Colin J Nelson at Her Car, Seattle, WA USA
Mastered by Carl Saff, Saff Mastering
Illustration and design by Jon Rooney

Thanks to all of our friends in Seattle and Edinburgh. You are all angels.


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Virgin of the Birds San Francisco, California

Named after a poor English translation of a Salvador Dali painting, Virgin of the Birds treads a line between intimate, lo fi folk and the occasional grandeur of early art rock.

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