His Last Bow

His Last Bow
ALBUM
His Last Bow
Vadim Astrakhan
  • Artist:

    Vadim Astrakhan

  • Release Date:

    2017

BUY THIS ALBUM

His Last Bow

Recorded in New York (Bass Hit Records) and Moscow between April 2016 and October 2017.  The album is entirely produced by Vadim Astrakhan and engineered by Dave Darlington.

Likely the final album in the “Vysotsky in English” project. The title, His Last Bow, refers to the final Sherlock Holmes story, published exactly 100 years ago, in September 1917.

Musicians:

Vadim Astrakhan (vocals, guitars, keys)
Dave Darlington (keys)
Thad DeBrock (guitars)
Lex Plotnikoff (keys)

 

Songs:

HIS LAST BOW

  1. No Prophets (Luke 4:24) (Я из Дела Ушел) 3.34
  2. The Buccaneer (Еще не Вечер) 2.57
  3. Gears of Time (Песня об Обиженном Времени) 2.58
  4. Muse’s Visit (Посещение Музы) 2.52
  5. The Cast Ballad (Баллада о Гипсе) 5.12
  6. The Summit (Вершина) 3.44
  7. The Tattoo (Татуировка) 2.06
  8. 25 to Life (Правда Ведь Обидно) 1.03
  9. Jailbird’s Letter (Ребята, Напишите) 2.18
  10. A Troubled Roman (Любовь в Древнем Риме) 2.53
  11. Death of a Soccer Fan (Не Заманишь Меня на Эстрадный Концерт) 4.10
  12. The Ornery Horses (Кони Привередливые) 7.19
  13. Train to Heaven (Баллада об Уxоде в Рaй) 3.47

BONUS

  1. Seven Years of Blue 2017
  2. Be Grateful You’re Alive (Rus)
  3. History of Illness (Rus)
  4. The Sinner’s Sail 2014 (Rus)
  5. Muses’ Visit (Rus)
  6. The Buccaneer (Rus)
  7. Jailbird’s Letter (Rus)
  8. Train to Heaven (Rus)

 

LUKE 4:24 (NO PROPHETS)

Recorded January-February 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Thad DeBrock:  guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded & mixed by Dave Darlington

I walked out on a deal, though it showed such promise.
I took nothing!  Bare-naked, I bid them adieu.
Not because I was itching to go, no!  Other matters have surfaced,
Brought from beyond the mountain blue.

We learn from books, but in the end
All answers come with the wind a’ blowing.
There are no prophets in one’s homeland
But other homelands too aren’t overflowing.

I’ve been torn apart, and, as always,
All the wrong people grabbed the lion’s share.
I am polishing floors with my heels, walking down the hallways,
Up the stairs, to the attic:  something’s waiting there.

The prophets are gone!  There’s nobody left!
Mohammed, Zarathustra aren’t showing…
There are no prophets in one’s homeland
But other homelands too aren’t overflowing.

Those who stayed behind, I can hear their wails:
“We are better off now!  Good riddance!  Let’s proceed!”
I’m scratching the dirt off an icon, breaking my nails.
In a hurry, because outside they are saddling steeds.

The Visage faced me, luminous and sad,
He spoke to me with his eyes glowing:
“There are no prophets in your homeland
But other homelands too aren’t overflowing.”

So I leap on a horse.   I’ve now found my solace!
I’m one with the steed!  We’ll go to the horizon and through!
I walked out on a deal that showed such promise!
Other matters arrived from beyond the blue.

I ride. The hooves crackle in the sand.
This sound tells the only truth worth knowing:
“There are no prophets in one’s homeland,
But other homelands too aren’t overflowing.”

 

THE BUCCANEER (THE GAME’S NOT OVER)

Recorded July-November 2016
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Thad DeBrock:  guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded & mixed by Dave Darlington

For many years this buccaneer split the waves
Our colors haven’t paled, however bloody.
We’ve mastered the art of stitching sails
And plugging holes in the hull with bodies.
The royal fleet is now on our heels.
The sea is still, and they are getting closer.
The Captain spoke calmly:  “No big deal.
“The game’s not over!  The game’s not over!”

The flagship tacks to the broadside,
And smoke surrounds her as she fires.
Return the salvo!  Though it’s suicide.
An unexpected blast – and she expires.
We’ve been through hell and worse than that,
But the wind is dying, and we barely hover.
The Captain shrugs his shoulders:  “Don’t fret!
“The game’s not over!  It ain’t over!”

They stare at the grimy men in rags,
As for the final battle we all rally.
But they will never see our bloodied backs
In shackles on a royal galley!
A lopsided fight; our time runs short!
“She’s lurching!  Save the soul of this poor rover!”
The Captain bellows:  “Set to board!
“The game’s not over!  It ain’t over!”

“Who wants to live, who’s merry, not a drip,
For a hand-to-hand now get your weapons handy!
The rats, meanwhile, can abandon ship
And don’t ruin what will be a dandy!”
The rats thought:  “Hey, the devil may be right!”
And bowed to the shrapnel, ever lower.
As we lined up against them, side by side.
“The game’s not over!  It ain’t over!”

Now face-to-face, and hand-to-hand, and sword-to-sword –
So not to feed the lobsters or the tuna! –
With pistols, daggers, prayers to the Lord
We were leaving our sinking schooner.
But no, they will never win this fight!
Great Ocean, pick us up and carry onward!
We know the Ocean must be on our side!
And right the Captain was:  it wasn’t over!

 

GEARS OF TIME
(from “Alice in Wonderland”)

Recorded in February-March 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Lex Plotnikoff:  orchestral arrangement
Dave Darlington:  additional keys
Produced by Lex Plotnikoff & Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington & Lex Plotnikoff
Mixed by Dave Darlington

See this old and heavy curtain?
Raise it gently, like a chalice.
Time it used to be so certain!
So uniform!  Look, Alice!

But the happy rarely tasted Time.
And the timid barely tested Time.
The rowdy unfairly hastened Time.
The lazy arbitrarily wasted Time.

Time, over the years,
Wore down its gears.
All moving parts are subject to wear!
Time decided this was not fair.
His pendulum froze in midair.

The clock did not strike midnight on purpose.
Noon did not come, didn’t tell us…
Time has become so nervous.
So stressful!  Look, Alice!

At once the happy started keeping time.
And cried the feeble-hearted:   weeping time!
The loud-mouths startled:  reaping time!
The lazy disregarded:  sleeping time!

Every year, please,
Give the gears grease!
Time is in great pain from all the wear!
Be gentle and let Time repair.
Life without Time feels so bare…

 

MUSE’S VISIT
(with Mika Tubinshlak)

Recorded October 2016
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Vladimir Ponomarev:  piano
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded & mixed by Dave Darlington

I’m simmering with unexploded anger,
I’m ticking like a ton of TNT.
The Muse dropped by the other night – but dang ’er!
She bolted.  Didn’t even stay for tea!
I honestly can’t blame her for departing,
She was within her right to walk away.
Imagine that:  the Muse in my apartment,
Alone at night!  What would the neighbors say?

I’m devastated, and my soul is barren.
I wasn’t even worth a one-night stand!
And yet she hung out gladly with Lord Byron.
With Shakespeare she stayed for weeks on end.
I hurried to my desk, for greatness famished:
“Here comes an epic poem, nothing less!”
But she was gone, my inspiration vanished,
With twenty dollars – for a cab, I guess.

I pace around the house, hot and bothered.
Fine!  I forgive her, even though it’s tough.
She went away.  She left me for another.
My company just wasn’t good enough.
A giant cake with candles, meant to dazzle,
Has crumbled, and I’m down with the blues.
My so-called friends, meanwhile, have found and guzzled
V.S.O.P. intended for the Muse!

Erasing years, like people on the black list,
My life’s monotonous.  I yawn and whine.
She isn’t coming back.  How bloody tactless!
And yet she left me two amazing lines.
Two perfect lines!  No poet ranks above me!
Now fame and fortune (are) sure to come my way!
Two perfect lines: “Thou art so temperate and lovely!
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

 

THE CAST BALLAD
(Баллада о Гипсе)

Recorded in April-July 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington
Mixed by Dave Darlington

No thrills and no excitement, everything is old and dull.
I feel like I’m about to kick the bucket!
I wish a bus would hit me or a brick fell on my skull,
That would be both memorable and lucky.
I lucked out!  I lucked out for once!
Had enough of the Fortune’s caprices!
A dump truck, weighing twenty five tons,
Smashed my spine into twenty five pieces.

Now I am in a cast, ravaged savagely.
Every part of me is packaged separately,
Individually… doesn’t bother me
As I gradually make recovery.

The moment of the impact was too fleeting to enjoy.
I then lounged for a year in a coma.
And I admit:  at first I felt bitterly annoyed
But then I saw a blessing in my trauma.
I’ve become an unstoppable force,
Armor-clad to the teeth from the onset.
All I want is to call out:  “My kingdom for a horse!”
And ride out of the ward into sunset.

But I am in a cast, ravaged savagely.
Every part of me is packaged separately,
Individually… doesn’t bother me
As I gradually make recovery.

If you have never been hit with a 2 by 4,
I pity you:  you don’t know what you’re missing.
And yes, without concussions your life is such a bore.
A cast upon your body is a blessing.
Thank you, doctors!  It’s such a delight
To be tied to these ropes and cables.
And I swear:  sometimes in the night
Like an astronaut I’m feeling weightless.

Here I am in a cast, ravaged savagely.
Every part of me is packaged separately,
Individually… doesn’t bother me
As I gradually make recovery.

All senses are blocked out, except the pain I feel,
But I refuse to make it an obsession.
I am like a baby wrapped tightly to my heels,
Surrounded by genuine compassion.
For the care I’ve nothing but praise
(My hot nurse made me _ appreciate it).
And I swear:  to the end of my days
I’d stay in this cast, incarcerated.

Here I am in a cast, ravaged savagely.
Every part of me is packaged separately,
Individually… doesn’t bother me
As I gradually make recovery.

I only wish I weren’t haunted by the past.
It’s like a piercing knife for the disabled.
In my dreams I escape from the shackles of my cast.
I dream of candles, poetry, and sabers!
Strong you are, my white bulletproof vest.
Heck, the sharpest of claws cannot cleave you!
Just one minor thing leaves me depressed:
That I can’t scratch myself underneath you.

That I am in a cast, ravaged savagely.
Every part of me is packaged separately,
Individually… doesn’t bother me
I’ll eventually make recovery.

I’ve now completely healed, but not taking off my cast.
The tusks are coming out, hitherto dormant.
Let my family complain!  I’m having such a blast!
This way I feel so massive and important!
Like a tank through the streets I now stray
With pedestrians running for cover.
I’m an elephant!  Out of my way!
In my thick skin I cannot be bothered.

Here I go through the world unassailably.
I’m a wild wrecking ball, packaged separately.
Individually… doesn’t bother me!
As I gradually make recovery.

 

THE SUMMIT
(with Max Hrabrov)

Recorded in April-July 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington
Mixed by Dave Darlington

You’re not on the plains.  It’s quite a change:
An avalanche after avalanche.
And falling rocks explode by your tent.
You can turn back, avoid the crag,
But still we choose the tougher track:
The perilous route of the first ascent.

Till you climb a wall and risk a fall
You haven’t proven yourself at all.
Even if down below you were in command.
Down below, try as you might,
You’ll never set your marveling sight
On anything so wondrous and grand!

No flowers and no laurels, and
Looks nothing like a monument
The rock upon your final resting place.
The eternal flame burns in your name:
The summit you have failed to tame
Shines in the sun, its emerald ice ablaze.

So let them talk and let them complain.
But no!  No one dies in vain!
It’s better than from booze and the common cold.
Others will trade their life of ease
For dangers and difficulties
And finish your work of conquering that wall!

A vertical drop.  Two miles high.
On Providence here you can’t rely.
Don’t trust the rock, the ice, or the cliff you scale.
We place our faith in our own hands,
The metal spike, and the hands of friends,
And only pray the gear doesn’t fail.

We’re cutting the steps.  No stopping now!
Your heart is ready to leap out
And run to the top, heeding the summit’s call!
The world at your feet.  You have no words,
Euphoric and envious towards
All those who’ve yet to experience it all.

The world at your feet.  You have no words!
Just slightly envious towards
All those who’ve yet to experience it all.

 

THE TATTOO
(with Gene Sakirsky)

Recorded in June 2016
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals, guitar, & keys
Lex Plotnikoff:  xylophone
Dave Darlington:  drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington & Lex Plotnikoff
Mixed by Dave Darlington

No, we couldn’t share you and couldn’t love you.
What we felt is now firmly in the past.
Your image in my soul is all I value,
And Alex had your image tattooed on his chest.

On that day, when we were parting at the station,
I swore to love you till the day I die.
And without even the slightest hesitation,
Alex added promptly “So will I.”

Now can you tell which one of us is tortured?
And who’s misery is greater — you decide!
On the outside he is scarred by your portrait.
And my soul is scarred on the inside.

So when I feel all bummed out and morose
(Oh please don’t let these words offend your grace)
I beg Alex to remove his clothes
And I stare for hours at your face.

But then another friend helped me prevail,
Using art to put my woes to rest:
He examined the tattoo in great detail
And inked its perfect copy on my chest.

Yes, with friends this subject is taboo.
But I love you so much more because of this:
My tattoo, that being your tattoo,
Looks much better and much lovelier than his.

My tattoo, or should I say, your tattoo,
Looks much better and much lovelier than his.

 

25 TO LIFE

Recorded March-April 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Foster Provost: harmonica
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded & mixed by Dave Darlington

Isn’t it a bummer, if I finally quit?
But my friend has sold me out, that little piece of shit!
That one time and others too:  he just spilled his guts.
So:  two in plain, two in blue, and the cell door shuts.

Goodbye, my dear, or maybe farewell!
Don’t cry, my dear, and bear no ill will!
But isn’t it a bummer?  Isn’t it a waste?
A quarter of my life has just been erased.

The judge announced “25!  See you later, buddy!”
For talk like this I used to take on anybody!
Now I keep my head down, no one can see me frown:
If I see that rat again, that shit will get bloody!

Goodbye, my dear, or maybe farewell!
Don’t cry, my dear, and bear no ill will!
But isn’t it a bummer?  Isn’t it a waste?
A quarter of my life has just been erased.

 

JAILBIRD’S LETTER

Recorded in August-September 2016
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals, guitar
Thad DeBrock:  guitar
Dave Darlington:  bass, drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded & mixed by Dave Darlington

I couldn’t stand my sentence to the end.
The break has failed.  They’ll add another year.
Write me a letter, my old friends.
How goes it in the free world out there?

What do you drink?  We rarely see booze.
Here all we have is goddamn sun and snow…
Please, write me, tell me all the news.
Nothing ever happens here, you know.

I miss you.  Miss your mugs a ton!
The thought of you makes my day go better.
How’s Katie doing?  Seeing anyone?
If not, then she can also write a letter.

It’s Judgment Day-come-early on my soul!
A word from you will be a star to guide me.
It may not even make it here at all.
Still, fellas:  go ahead and write me.
 

A TROUBLED ROMAN

Recorded in February 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Lex Plotnikoff:  xylophone & clarinet
Dave Darlington:  drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington & Lex Plotnikoff
Mixed by Dave Darlington

The Patricians had a gathering
On the square by the Capitol
To enjoy a bit of blathering
And an equal bit of alcohol.

No chit-chat in sobriety!
One Patrician, Marcus, didn’t think twice:
Drank nectar to impropriety
And got greatly “overnectarized.”

By the ancient column Marcus sat.
Then he let out a profanity.
“Listen, brothers! With my wife,” he said,
“I must split to keep my sanity!

“She is fooling with ‘em poets now,
She is mad about ‘em theaters,
Cares only ‘bout ‘em tickets now
To the visiting gladiators.

“She complains that I am cultureless,
Claims that all her pleasures I’ve denied!
Yeah, like Fury, she is furious,
With her sister standing at her side.

“They keep hushing me in my own place…
Would you pour me a little more?
Heck, ‘em slaves now giggle in my face!
If there was a war, I’d go to war.

“So to hell with the traditions.
I can’t handle all of this at once.
I’m losing it, Patricians!
Yes, I even drink with Plebeians!

“She can have my house in Palestine
(If she takes the sister witch with her).
And with that small inheritance of mine
I will get me a hetaera whore.

“Whores are cheaper in their quality
But with poetry they ain’t mad.
Yes, hetaeras lack morality
But at least their relatives are dead!

“Maybe by the grace of Gods of Rome
All my misery will finally end…”
The Patricians then stumbled home
Feeling jealous of their drunken friend.

 

DEATH OF A SOCCER FAN

Recorded in August-September 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitars
Lex Plotnikoff:  keys
Dave Darlington:  bass & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington & Lex Plotnikoff
Mixed by Dave Darlington

Don’t tempt me with concerts or theater plays.
I’m busy.  I’ve sworn an oath!
It’s the Final!  The match of the season, today.
I’ll be rooting.  I’m rooting for both.
Don’t you wake me tomorrow, don’t even try.
No alarms and no sirens!  I mean it!
I’m a nut, and nuts crack, so tonight I will die
At the main downtown arena.

After I pass away, won’t you carry my corpse
During stoppage in play – be efficient! –
Through the section 220, then mount a horse,
And ride on, on through the intermission.
Don’t you wake me tomorrow, don’t even try,
With your bells, sirens, howls of hyenas!
I’m sick all the way, and tonight I will die
At the main downtown arena.

When I’m dead, I’m sure no one takes offense:
“Someone snuffed it?  That’s fine, it don’t matter!”
Bury me in the central circle, my friends,
Or the six yard box – even better!
Lying under the field, screaming incessantly:
“Will these overpaid bastards deliver?”
And I love how the players run over me,
Like some kind of gargantuan shivers!

Now I savor attacks by my favorite teams,
As both defenses try to recover.
Good thing nobody hears my crazy-ass screams:
“Bite me ref!” one way or another.
In the morning don’t bother with me:  I won’t rise
Like that dead Swan Lake ballerina.
I’ve been sick all my life, and tonight I will die
At the main downtown arena.

One more thing:  don’t dig deep.  Two feet should suffice.
I must know what goes on on the field!
Or I will die again.  I’ll be K.I.A. twice!
And my destiny now is sealed.
 

THE ORNERY HORSES
(with Julie Deshtor and Tim Sergay)

Recorded in August-September 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Thad DeBrock:  guitar
Dave Darlington:  keys & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded & mixed by Dave Darlington

On a cliff over a chasm, in my sled and nearly slipping,
I am lashing at my horses.  I am rushing, I am whipping.
Drinking fog and gulping gale… Am I running out of air?
It’s the end!  I see it clear with a jubilant despair.

Slow down for me, horses! Slow down for me!
Don’t you let my whip drive you on!
But I wound up with these horses so ornery…
Didn’t finish my life, will not finish my song.

I’ll let my horses drink.
One more verse I will sing.
Just a little bit longer I’ll cling to the brink.

I will perish like a feather blown away by the tornado,
And the sled across the snow will drag me, leaving deep striations…
Bring it down to a walk, my horses! – We can make it there later! –
Won’t you stave off my arrival at the final destination!

Slow down for me, horses!  Slow down for me!
Ease your gallop and just trot along!
But I wound up with these horses so ornery…
Didn’t finish my life, cannot finish my song.

I’ll let my horses drink.
One more verse I will sing.
For a split second longer I’ll cling to the brink.

We have made it.  Can’t be late, when you’re invited to God’s table.
But why do I hear angels chanting, and their voices sound so evil?
Or is that a crazy sleigh bell crying, choking in its rattle,
As I’m yelling at my horses to slow down just a little?

Slow down for me, horses!  Please, slow down for me!
I am begging you:  hold back your run!
But I wound up with these horses so ornery…
Didn’t finish my life, let me finish my song!

I’ll let my horses drink.
One last verse I will sing.
For a split second longer I’ll cling to the brink.

 

TRAIN TO HEAVEN

Recorded in 2017
Vadim Astrakhan:  vocals & guitar
Lex Plotnikoff:  synths, bass, & drums
Produced by Vadim Astrakhan
Recorded by Dave Darlington & Lex Plotnikoff
Mixed by Dave Darlington

This is your train.  This is your seat.
All fine and dandy.  You have proven you belong.
In paradise a dream you’ll see:
An endless movie that’s three hundred years long.
They took your prints.  They scanned your eyes.
They checked for contraband, and you have passed the screen.
Now like a ghost you’re sterilized.
This ain’t no business class, but hey – the sheets are clean!

And so the prophecy is now reality.
This train is heavenbound, and the climb is steep.
Oh how we wish – excuse my banality –
We all wish not to die but merely to sleep!

He’s on his way, can’t hear our cries.
Don’t waste your tears:  one of us has made the lists.
The man has gone to paradise!
He will meet God there if God really exists!
He’ll say “Hello!” from all of us.
If he forgets, no harm, somehow we’ll get by.
In a few years we’ll all be dust:
We’ll fool around and undoubtedly die.

And so the prophecy becomes reality.
This train is heavenbound, and the climb is steep.
Oh how we wish – excuse my banality –
We all wish not to die but merely to sleep!

The rest of us can’t come along.
But we can mess around here well enough.
We fight, we sing… I sing this song!
Somebody loves, and someone else intends to love.
We pass through life and nothing more.
Our children and their children follow suit.
I only pray there is no war!
Or else our grandchildren will be forever fooled!

And so the prophecy is now reality.
This train is heavenbound, and the climb is steep.
Oh how we wish – excuse my banality –
We all wish not to die but merely to sleep!

You’re on your way, lying by yourself,
Ingesting a three hundred year-long bliss.
Now as for me:  for a chic bookshelf
I would not pay the price as high as this.
When you’re awake, some chap lets you
Into the world with no diseases, dirt, and wars,
Where long defeated is the swine flu…
Fool, are you happy in this premade universe?
But now the bell is ringing loud.
Have a safe trip now, as I know you must.
And if you really do see God,
Please, don’t forget and say “Hello!” from us!

 

BUY NOW

Similar albums

Complete Discography
ALBUM
Complete Discography
Vadim Astrakhan
Vadim Astrakhan Album

Vadim Astrakhan - Train to Heaven

Wolfhunt
ALBUM
Wolfhunt
Vadim Astrakhan
Vadim Astrakhan Album

Vadim Astrakhan - Be Grateful You're Alive

Two Fates
ALBUM
Two Fates
Vadim Astrakhan
Vadim Astrakhan Album

Vadim Astrakhan - Race to the Horizon

Singer, Sailor, Soldier, Spirit
ALBUM
Singer, Sailor, Soldier, Spirit
Vadim Astrakhan
Vadim Astrakhan Album

Vadim Astrakhan - Ships

Studio Outtakes, Rarities, & Live Cuts
ALBUM
Studio Outtakes, Rarities, & Live Cuts
Vadim Astrakhan
Vadim Astrakhan Album

Vadim Astrakhan - Minds Upside Down