Studio Outtakes, Rarities, & Live Cuts

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

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Studio Outtakes, Rarities, & Live Cuts

Various concert and non-album recordings:


2017 “25 to Life” (“Правда ведь обидно…”), live featuring Foster Provost (harmonica).  In Russian and in English.
2014 “Парус” (“The Sail”):  lyrics by Vladimir Vysotsky, music by Sinner.
2014 “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”:  music & lyrics by Pete Seeger, produced by Vadim Astrakhan.
2014 “Be Grateful You’re Alive” (“Скажи Спасибо Что Живой”) featuring Nina Kharakoz (accordion).
2014 “Everybody’s Gone to War” (“Все Ушли на Фронт”) featuring Nina Kharakoz (accordion).
2014 “One Failed Romance” (“Несостоявшийся Роман”), live at JetLag2014 featuring Irina Smirnova (piano).
2011 “Robin Hood” (“Баллада о Вольных Стрелках), live at Burns-Vysotsky Festival featuring Tommy Beavitt (guitar) and Andrei Uspenski (violin).
2011 “Ships” (“Корабли”), live at Burns-Vysotsky Festival featuring Symphonic Orchestra of Sverdlovsk State Conservatory.


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Download Bonus Materials 



“The One I Serve” (“Я спокоен, он мне все поведал…”)

I’m alright.  He has informed me plainly,
Told me not to hide, and I step forth:
Everyone who wronged me and betrayed me
Will be punished by the One I Serve!

I don’t know how:  by a jackknife’s slash,
Or will their house burn down into ash,
Or will they be demoted, crushed, imprisoned…
When?  I have no idea.  Maybe even
Tomorrow, or in years, or it’s done
Already!  Fate will not be outrun!

You cannot race against it on a spare.
You cannot seep through it or go around.
So I’m alright.  It’s true:  for all I care,
Let stones, hail, or bullets strike you down!

1973, translated in 2020


Two Requests (“Две просьбы”)

I honor Faust, also – Dorian Gray.
But sell my soul to Satan?  What?  No way!
Why did the Gypsies read my fortune?  They
Have specified for me my dying day.
But I implore you:  do not save that date!
Don’t mark it in the calendar, my friend!
So for the circling ravens I won’t wait
The bleating lambs I will not tolerate,
And all those people cackling in the shade.
Protect me from them all, my Lord, defend
Me from the seeds of doubt and fear they plant
Into my soul – before it is too late!

I dream of demons, elephants, and rats.
I chase them off with curses and complaints.
Then comes a butler with a bottle.  “That’s
Your one way out,” he says, “of all your pains:
“More wine!  And all that frenzy quickly wanes,
“The visions vanish, and your heart and veins
“Release you, and the armor finally melts.”
I’m me again, and here’s the trade I’d make,
For immortality – these three keepsakes:
A friend, a horse, a highway on the plains.
I bow my head, as humbly as it gets;
Not for the sake of me, but for God’s sake:
Have mercy and do not cry in my wake.

Spring 1980, translated in 2022


Vysotsky’s Final Poem (“Марине”)

There’s ice above me.  There’s ice below.
Should I drill upward? Should I bust the floor?
Up, up, of course! I hope, therefore I float,
Expecting foreign visas at my door.

I must break out, escape this icy chamber.
I’m sweating like a farmer at the plow.
I will return! Just like those ships, remember?
And bring you all my poems with a bow.

I’m less than fifty but the time is short.
By you and God protected, life and limb.
I have a song or two to sing before the Lord!
I have a way to make my peace with him!

July 1980, translated in 2012


Yuri Naumov “Method Acting Theater” (Юрий Наумов “Театр Станиславского”)

Act I.  The curtain is about to unfold.
Don’t touch the gun on the wall!  You will be needing it later.
One small genius, damned by all,
A drop of the Cosmic soul
Walks into this world to sow
To sow his seeds and become a Creator.

Big city halls will accept me, not instantly, but inevitably.
It’s the road from the foolish “HOW COME?” to the awful “HOW MUCH?”
Take it or leave it!
Theater begins with hangings!  Check your coat for free.
It’s hard to survive here not being a hangman yourself
But I don’t want to believe it!

Heaven please hold me!
Just this once:  hold me tight!
Fantasy Holy…
Maybe, just maybe one of us will see your light.

I passed up on those good books they said I would need.
Just a rock’n’roll soldier, with no aspirations of commanding brigades.
Sexual revolutionaries… how can I compete
With those heroes who fell on the barricades, battling AIDS!

But I’m not a saint!  I wanted insane things like love that I lacked
Discarding the Bible that talked about birds and bees in succession.
A few years down the line you will hear the vertebrae crack:
It’s me stepping over myself and making my first concession.

Heaven, don’t fail me!
In a wreath of thorns I rebel!
Give me my daily
Bread and all eternity until the third bell.

Act II.  Time to break through and harvest the crops.
Time to cast stones in my friends’ glasshouses, as friendships unravel
I became all worked up about reaching some mountaintops,
Failing to notice
That the sky, in fact, lies below the sea level.

I’ve made BFFs with the ALCOs big and small,
Washed away my ideals I had boasted, being “so streetwise.”
When faced with the prospect of ulcer as a way of saving my soul,
I crawled into a hole
And tried to escape with a mild gastritis.

Heaven will save me!
This wreath of laurel compels!
Fantasy Sacred
Washed with four shots of cognac before the third bell.

Act III.  The era of changes is here.
Take the gun off the wall and follow the script, so there are no surprises
Death is perfection as the all-natural Panacea,
It heals everything, even
Leopard’s spots and bad laryngitis.

Read the prescription:  “Before bedtime, once a lifetime.”
And like a cobra he’ll strike, once you down the tincture.
Life!  Oh, God!  It’s so awkward to utter “Goodbye!”
The sea of salt in my eye
Dissolves your glorious picture.

Heaven, revive me!
It’s the funeral wreath that I smell!
Headfirst I’m diving
Into the eternal symphony of the third bells.

Heaven, you saved me
Each time of a thousand tried!
Fantasy Sacred!
Only the best of us truly believe in your light.
The best of us believе…


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