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Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)

Kara 19 Oct 06 - 05:07 AM
bobad 19 Oct 06 - 08:38 AM
bobad 19 Oct 06 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,kenny 19 Oct 06 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,kenny 19 Oct 06 - 12:07 PM
dwditty 19 Oct 06 - 12:41 PM
Kara 19 Oct 06 - 01:55 PM
Anne Lister 19 Oct 06 - 03:55 PM
Kara 19 Oct 06 - 04:08 PM
Helen 19 Oct 06 - 09:35 PM
dwditty 20 Oct 06 - 01:36 AM
GUEST,kenny 20 Oct 06 - 06:25 AM
Anne Lister 20 Oct 06 - 04:09 PM
Helen 20 Oct 06 - 07:16 PM
bobad 20 Oct 06 - 07:26 PM
Peace 20 Oct 06 - 07:37 PM
Peace 20 Oct 06 - 07:53 PM
bobad 20 Oct 06 - 07:56 PM
Helen 21 Oct 06 - 05:48 AM
vielleuse 21 Oct 06 - 06:55 AM
Kara 21 Oct 06 - 12:49 PM
bobad 03 Dec 06 - 08:51 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Nov 08 - 06:15 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Nov 08 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 18 Nov 08 - 06:29 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Nov 08 - 06:34 AM
VirginiaTam 18 Nov 08 - 06:45 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Nov 08 - 06:53 AM
Suegorgeous 18 Nov 08 - 01:08 PM
Suegorgeous 18 Nov 08 - 01:14 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Nov 08 - 01:33 PM
Suegorgeous 18 Nov 08 - 02:03 PM
VirginiaTam 19 Nov 08 - 02:36 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 08 - 03:07 AM
Suegorgeous 19 Nov 08 - 01:31 PM
VirginiaTam 19 Nov 08 - 02:27 PM
Suegorgeous 19 Nov 08 - 06:49 PM
Suegorgeous 21 Nov 08 - 07:12 AM
VirginiaTam 21 Nov 08 - 01:59 PM
Suegorgeous 21 Nov 08 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,JFW 21 Feb 11 - 04:33 PM
Suegorgeous 21 Feb 11 - 08:49 PM
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Subject: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Kara
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 05:07 AM

Hi

Can any one throw any light on the meaning of words of this song.
The line that is troubling me is

"were you there when I was foc'sle"

or I have also seen it writen as

"where you hare when I was fox"

I believe the foc'sle reference to be some sort of shipping term, which would make sense, but then maybe the "there" should be some other shipping term.

got any clues?

Kara


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: bobad
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 08:38 AM

"Were you here when I was full sail"

Another version I found at a lyrics site.

If someone has the recording maybe with careful listening they can decipher the lyrics as they all seem plausible.

Tim's singing style does make it difficult to sometimes make out the words.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: bobad
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 11:09 AM

I found a recording on-line by a group called The Czars

http://www.theczars.net/The%20Czars%20-%20Song%20to%20the%20siren.mp3

They appear to sing the lyrics as "Were you hare when I was fox" which does rhyme with and has the same number of syllables as the fourth line "Broken lovelorn on your rocks"


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Subject: Lyr Add: SONG TO THE SIREN (Tim Buckley)
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:03 PM

Is this the same song which was recorded by the group "This Mortal Coil" ? I didn't know it was Tim Buckley, and don't know if he was credited, but will check up on it. I found this with a "google" :

Lyrics to "Song to the Siren" by This Mortal Coil

On the floating, shapeless oceans
I did all my best to smile
til your singing eyes and fingers
drew me loving into your eyes.

And you sang "Sail to me, sail to me;
Let me enfold you."

Here I am, here I am waiting to hold you.
Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you here when I was full sail?

Now my foolish boat is leaning, broken love lost on your rocks.
For you sang, "Touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow."
Oh my heart, oh my heart shies from the sorrow.
I'm as puzzled as a newborn child.
I'm as riddled as the tide.
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Or shall I lie with death my bride?

Hear me sing: "Swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you."
"Here I am. Here I am, waiting to hold you."

Apologies if this is not the song you're asking about - but the line is there.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:07 PM

Some information here :

http://tenser.typepad.com/tenser_said_the_tensor/2005/08/song_to_the_sir.html


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: dwditty
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:41 PM

A couple of days ago, I started a thread about finding rare video on You Tube. Here is a link to Tim, himself, singing Song to the Siren. The words are clear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JAT859NotE

dw


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Kara
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 01:55 PM

Thanks to everyone for the info and the links


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Anne Lister
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 03:55 PM

Have to admit when I did a version of this with my then singing partner Mary McLaughlin and she sang lead vocals I always assumed the line was "Were you there when I was fossil?", which makes no more sense than anything else!

Anne


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Kara
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 04:08 PM

hi Anne

You are not alone in the fossil tradition. Makes me wonder if maybe it wasn't me that gave Mary the words! I seem to remember this was one of the song that me and my then band The Bold Marys sang when we failed to win the Galway Busking festival in 1980 something.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Helen
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 09:35 PM

I have the album Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology andTrack 9 is Song to the Siren (a studio recording) and then Track 16 is the Monkees show recording, which is the same as the YouTube video. (BTW, I can't get the YouTube videos to play without stop-start staccato). Unfortunately this CD doesn't have printed lyrics.

As far as I can tell, and also doing a search on the (unreliable) 'Net the words are "Were you hare when I was fox". Some lyrics sites have the words "full sail" but TB is definitely not singing that. It is clearly a one syllable word.

dwditty, you said the lyrics are clear on the video, but what do you hear?

I hadn't realised what the words were. I thought he was singing "were you here when I was (something)" so it never made sense to me.

I first heard this song in a shared house in the mid 1970's, on a vinyl record of This Mortal Coil, and never realised it was a Tim Buckley song. (Well, I'm a bit confused because my friend who owned the record said it was Meredith Monk singing but that the group was This Mortal Coil.   But it doesn't look like she is singing it (I bought the CD) but two people from the Cocteau Twins are performing it and that is the connection, I think.) Maybe I think it was This Mortal Coil because I heard that on the radio in the '80's and assumed it was the same record because the arrangement was very similar. I really don't know.

I was fascinated with the song. I had already been exposed to Tim Buckley in the first shared house I lived in in 1974 when a woman staying there for a while was torturing me by playing this howling, caterwauling singer over and over again, until finally, after I stopped asking everyone to put the singer out of his misery, I "got" it and loved it. That was the Sefronia album.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: dwditty
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 01:36 AM

If You Tube stops and starts when playing video, simply Pause the video for a minute or so to give the download a head start.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 06:25 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKmK856IJDI


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Anne Lister
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 04:09 PM

Hi, Kara ... don't think you were responsible for Mary's creative mis-hearing. When we started working together in London (must have been 1984) she'd already been in London for some considerable time (and hadn't sung much in Ireland, or attended too many gigs there). She told me she'd heard it from the Cocteau Twins.
I always had a great image of this sea-swept ammonite, but I shall reluctantly have to let it go now!

Anne


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Helen
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:16 PM

I listened again to the This Mortal Coil version, performed by the two people from the Cocteau Twins, and the vocalist is singing "fossil".

A Mondegreen, perhaps?

Helen


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: bobad
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:26 PM

Helen, might they be singing "fo'c's'le" which sounds somewhat like "fossil" http://www.tfd.com/fo'c's'le and means the front part of a ship.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Peace
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:37 PM

I think the lyrics were written by Larry Beckett.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Peace
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:53 PM

I might be wrong about that, but I might also be wrong about being wrong.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: bobad
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:56 PM

I have seen it attributed to Larry Beckett as well.


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Helen
Date: 21 Oct 06 - 05:48 AM

bobad,

I'm not really sure what she is singing because it could be either "fossil" or "fo'c's'le", but I'd take Tim Buckley's version as the original, and "hare when I was fox" makes more sense than either of the others.

dwditty,

I've tried waiting until the full video loads on YouTube but it doesn't make any difference. I do have broadband, but videos don't really work well on my computer unless I save them and play them offline. On a thread about YouTube someone posted a link to a download which allows saving of the videos. I think I'll have to do that.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: vielleuse
Date: 21 Oct 06 - 06:55 AM

I've always sung "hare when I was fox". It's nice to know I'm right! Version of us doing it on our myspace: www.myspace.com/saltandblue


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: Kara
Date: 21 Oct 06 - 12:49 PM

I'd like to hear more about Larry Beckett. Who is he?


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Subject: RE: Tim Buckley's Song to a Siren
From: bobad
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 08:51 PM

There's a very interesting interview with Larry Beckett at http://www.furious.com/PERFECT/larrybeckett.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:15 AM

Gonna revive this thread because I am studying Buckley at the moment.

On the floating, shapeless oceans
I did all my best to smile
til your singing eyes and fingers
drew me loving into your eyes.

Should be "On the float on shipless oceans" and "drew me loving to your isle"

Also I think "hare and fox" does not make sense in the middle of a sea metaphor. My poet sense says that fo'c's'le (forecastle) the front part of a ship is correct to the rest of the lyrics.

NOW for another question.

Originally heard this song perfomed by Tim Buckley on John Peel festive fifties compilation. It was obviously a studio recording, and wrenched my soul it was so lovely and haunting.

Now listening again and having searched on you tube found the live performance, found it did not strike me as strongly as the studio recording with it's electronic embellishment and female vocal.

Wondering why that is, since normally I prefer a live performance to studio recording. I usually prefer a clean unadulterated version to one fancied up in studio. What happened here? Oh the shame!


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Subject: Lyr Add: SONG TO THE SIREN (Tim Buckley)
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:28 AM

These are the Buckley lyrics I have:

"Long afloat on shipless oceans
I did all my best to smile
Til your singing eyes and fingers
Drew me laughing, to your isle

And you sang:
Sail to me
Sail to me
Let me enfold you
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you

Did I dream you dreamed about me
Were you hare when I was fox?
Now my foolish boat is leaning
Broken lovelorn on your rocks.

For you sing:
Touch me not
Touch me not
Come back tomorrow
Oh my heart
Oh my heart
Shies at the sorrow

I am puzzled as a newborn child
I am troubled as the tide
Should I stand amid the breakers
Or lie with death my bride?

Hear me sing
Swim to me
Swim to me
Let me enfold you
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:29 AM

I reckon it's "long afloat", and it's definitely "Were you hare when I was fox?"; it may not be very nautical, but it has the advantage of making at least some kind of sense.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:34 AM

Yes, it's hare and fox. I think other versions may have creatively misheard the lyrics, and bent them to fit the nautical theme.

But hare and fox makes sense, 'cos he's describing the inversion of the relationship between the hunter and the hunted, or in this case the tempter and the tempted.

Lovely song, I first heard This Mortal Coils version, and then chased up the Buckley lyrics in order to sing it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:45 AM

Ok... more fans of the song... GREAT!

So would it be appropriate for a 50ish woman to sing it? I want to sing it though it tends to make me a bit weepy. I couldn't listen to it for months after daughter passed away. In fact, my partner (bless him) still asks me if it is ok to play it. I would just love to be able to perform this in honour my daughter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:53 AM

Virginia Tam - can't see why it'd be in any way 'innapropriate' for a lady in her fifties to sing this!

Horribly cathartic though: all the loss and sorrow in this song, the broken dreams..

I can see why it'd be a really tough one to sing if there is grief and memories attatched for you. I have silimar problems with songs that bring my Mum to mind.
Gotta be good for the soul I guess though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 01:08 PM

I sing this and I'm in my 50s - what's age got to do with it?

A couple of years ago, when I totally fell in love with this song and started learning it, I spent days researching it and the lyrics thing. Here's a very interesting discussion link I found at the time:
Siren discussion

The melody is by Tim Buckley, but the lyrics were written by Larry Beckett, who says (on Morning Glory sleeve): "I brought him (TB)... the lyrics and put them in front of him while he was eating breakfast. There was a pause, he looked at them, picked up his 12-string guitar, and more or less played the song that you hear."

After researching that whole verse 2, line 2 issue, I settled on the "hare and fox" version. I became pretty sure that is what LB wrote, plus it makes the most sense to me - and if you listen to Elizabeth Fraser's version (Mortal Coil), she has quite a strong French(?) accent - bear this in mind as she sings that line, and she is indeed singing "fox", only she pronounces it "foxer" (approx). Also on Virginia's Youtube link, TB is very clearly singing "hare and fox".

I sing the version that Rosie gives above, except I use "riddled as the tide" and "Or should I lie with death my bride".

Another interesting lyrics point is that Beckett originally wrote "puzzled as the oyster", which TB does sing in the Youtube vid, but he changes it in other versions, as do most other singers in versions I've heard.

I sang this once at some friends' divorce ceremony! seemed very appropriate somehow.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 01:14 PM

ok, that link doesn't work - trying again:

Siren discussion


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the buck up Suegorgeous.

I listened to the This Mortal Coil Version and don't like as much as Tim Buckley version. Odd because I adore Cocteau Twins, Liz's second incarnation.

Thanks for the link to discussion too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 02:03 PM

hmmm, interesting.......just watched 2 Liz Fraser versions, and now I'm not so sure she is singing "fox". Sounds now more like "here when I was flotsam" to me, and if you watch her lips, she's definitely singing an "m" sound at the end of that word...

ho hum! still gonna stick to hare and fox though!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 02:36 AM

I think (if ever I can control the sorrow) I will sing fo'c's'le, because it makes more sense to me.

I probably did a no no.

Wrote a poem for my daughter Andie that can be set to the Song to the Siren tune. Luckily I can't sing that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 03:07 AM

Elizabeth Fraser...has quite a strong French(?) accent

She's Scottish.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 01:31 PM

whoops! apologies to Elizabeth then. I somehow had it in the back of my mind she was French-Canadian(!) Also at certain points in the song her accent did sound distinctly European to me... so I'll go back and listen again (and wash my ears out). :(

Sue


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 02:27 PM

maybe she is one o them highland bonnie prince charlie french speaking scots?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 06:49 PM

hmmm, still sounds French to me! anyway, one one version she's clearly singing "flotsam" (to me!).

I completely agree with Rosie in her post above - the hare and fox lyric make much more sense than anything else, for the reason she states. And that is what the songwriter wrote.

*sigh* this has inspired me to start singing it again!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 07:12 AM

refresh (cos I love it so much and I'm greedy!) :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 01:59 PM

Well I dunno what else to say bout it. Brilliant song. Makes me cry to sing it.

Here is the poem I wrote

M'ANAMCHARA

M'anamchara, my girl, my daughter
Caught up lost and lonely souls
Loved and led us with your laughter
Bound us together with your calls

Come to me
Come to me
Come let me show you
Follow me
Follow me
I want to know you

M'anamchara, singing your hymns
Not a one to be left undone
All the lost ones, how you sought them
When wove us into your song

Here I am
Here I am
Come now and find me
Find me now
Find me now
Can you know me

M'anamchara, we gathered round you
All around that farewell day
Though we were found, we had lost you
And could not follow you away

Where are you
Where are you
Why did you leave
I am here
I am here
Do not grieve me

M'anamchara, those you befriended
Told the strength that you had shared
Sorrow for one moment suspended
Then we sang your soul away

M'anamchara, how you cared
I'll be there
I've not forsaken
I love you
Love you all
And I cannot be taken


A song for my daughter Andrea Louise Robbins - about Andie and her funeral service. How her legacy survives through the lives she touched.

Inspired by Sleepy Rosie through this thread and some PMs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 02:08 PM

Virginia - I'm so sorry you lost your daughter. I can't imagine how agonizing that must be.

Yeh, when a close friend, and my parents died, what always puzzled me most was - where are you? how someone can just disappear like that I find baffling and hardest to come to terms with...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: GUEST,JFW
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 04:33 PM

You've all missed Tim singing "I'm as puzzled as the oyster" on the Monkeys Show version. Apparently this was the original lyric but changed by record company management because it made no sense to them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley)
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 08:49 PM

I did mention that above.

Weird, eh... to me, newborn child makes no more sense than oyster!


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