White Dots

by Paula Wolfe

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    Comes in a stylish gatefold card case with photography by award-winning photographer Andi Sapey and artwork by Mark Scarfe and Paula Wolfe. Includes a 4 page lyric booklet.

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1.
Cherrington Road No child when I’m gone to pass on to her own a kind of holding, a kind of feeding, a kind of whispering bad dreams away. No child to remember my smell, to retell the tales I had to tell, so I write it all down and I thread in a tune, like a prisoner scratching obscenities on a prison wall in futile rebellion, and I rant within four walls amidst the cacophony - not to raise my voice above the din - just to join in. I heard someone say just the other day on the radio, or in a film, or somewhere, that when it comes to the end all you’ve got is where you came from. A summer’s day 1968 or 9? Sitting on a swing, singing up to the sky, spitting stars and watching them fall and glisten on my thigh. Gillian Dubber’s grandmother is cleaning their upstairs windows, she waves to me a fat-armed, dusty wave. In the kitchen my mother boils potatoes, hot potatoes on a hot summer’s day for my father’s dinner, we called it dinner even though it was during the day. He rides home on his bicycle from the factory. I run in and clamber on his knee, he asks if we’ve been watching Andy Pandy and Loppy Loo on TV? My mother tells him, We’ve been dancing in the kitchen to our favourite song by Engelbert Humperdinck. Time to go. He lets me ride as far as the curve in the road, holding me tight on the white leather saddle, then lifts me down and rides away and I run back to my swing and continue to sing, “I love Jennifer Eccles, I know she loves me.” No child to remember my smell, to retell the tales I had to tell so, I write it all down and I thread in a tune, like a prisoner scratching obscenities on a prison wall in futile rebellion, and I rant within four walls amidst the cacophony - not to raise my voice above the din - just to join in. “I love Jennifer Eccles, I know she loves me. I love Jennifer Eccles, I know she loves me.”
2.
Georgia Blue 03:54
Georgia Blue 5 o’clock on a Wednesday evening. Snow’s been falling hard, it’s freezing. On platform 12 they queue, like the English do, but the mood’s turned black just like the snow at the side of the track. They want to know the reason for the train’s delay but no one leaves, they’re too afraid they’ll lose their place. Finally, someone comes with the news: the driver’s gone without a trace, without a clue. My name is Joseph but I can’t be your driver today. Gonna put on my best dress, my highest heels, take my time with the face. Do you know how good it feels? Gonna paint this grey town red, gonna paint these grey skies red. Today was more than I could bear, the rush, the cold, the dirty air, the forming of that endless queue, like the English do. Today I just needed to recall what it’s like to feel beautiful. What it feels like to light up a room, to take some glamour from the gloom and fill the night with Georgia Blue. Then feel in her wake a calm descend as her flower fades and the music ends. My name is Joseph but I can’t be your driver today. Gonna put on my best dress, my highest heels, take my time with the face. Do you know how good it feels? Gonna paint this grey town red, gonna paint these grey skies red.
3.
Follow 03:50
Follow Pain all packed up in a rucksack, I arrive at the airport. You pick me up and we drive to the mountains to walk. I say, You lead, I will follow – just for one week let me follow. In a blue sky we ride high to the start. Things I don’t need I leave behind in the van. And we walk. White rock above below green meadows, not another soul just a few rebeccos. I steam ahead, you still lead. I follow, angel mine. You give time to those that we meet on the way a space to have their say: the mother of the hotel owner, she’d named Lover, heats up coffee for me in her kitchen as she tells you her news. As the days unfold and my story is told, you listen, you lead. I follow, angel mine.
4.
Traces 03:18
Traces You tell me conspiratorially about your latest affair, with no mention or care for her. I find I’m the foil to avoid your just-in-case date, his clear distress you ignore, as we walk through the door. We can find different places to hide away our mistakes. We can be blind to the clues to our truths. Some wounds cut so deep, they’ve got to dig their way down till they find their ease to sleep. But they leave scattered behind tell-tale traces. Arrogance sublime, you suggest he’s more my kind. I decline. We can find different places to hide away our mistakes. We can be blind to the clues to our truths.
5.
Bonnie 03:37
Bonnie Goodbye bonnie boy, it’s time to go. I can’t keep you in my heart when we are apart, no memory of tender love to hold me in the dark. I have searched a lifetime for your love and I have longed a lifetime not to feel I have to leave. You take my hand in your hand but you don’t hold tight. You take my love in the warm night but you let it grow cold in the daylight. Goodbye bonnie boy, it’s time to go. I can’t keep you in my heart when we are apart, no memory of tender love to hold me in the dark.
6.
It Could Be 04:06
It could be He logs on before he puts the kettle on, just to see, who’s been checking me? He hopes there might be a message to lighten the day? Not this time, but he’ll make the best of things anyway. Oozes charm as friends arrive arm in arm, he serves up one of his specials. He’s so understanding when friends don’t call, he knows it gets harder for them to fit him in when they’ve got kids. To quote Frank, regrets I’ve got a few, maybe there’s been a little too much of my way? But I’ve got this far and I’ve still got hair, if you’re looking for love as you walk down the aisle of the supermarket? Sunday morning shopping for one? As you sip latte in Munson’s café with pain au chocolat? It could be sweet.
7.
Magic 02:59
Magic You tried but it could never be the love that makes any space feel home. So did you throw it away? Did you think it the only way? You see each detail before you with a clarity only loss can bring. Connection to the world you no longer have makes a conversation with a child or a stranger into something precious, something like love. Later. Later. Just when you think that good enough really is good enough, something fresh and new comes. Today why not let a little magic happen? Today why push love away? No need today those games hurting has you play. Today why not let a little magic?
8.
Caravan Man 03:29
Caravan Man Solitary man sitting by your caravan all day, watching people passing through or stopping for a longer stay. Pulling up on the faded patch of grass opposite you, pegging out their lives in tidy piles the way that campers do. You observe evening strolls, dinner plates in plastic bowls washed up in communal sinks all lined up in a row. A couple’s tensions rise, you wave at their child who blinks at you and smiles. The woman with them tries to hide private grief that swells inside. Caravan man, who are you waiting for? What are you hoping for sitting there by your door? Is it some lover who promised to stop by to renew acquaintances throughout the night? Are you the favourite uncle of some grande famille? You never married but you still enjoy la vie. Caravan man, who are you waiting for? What are you hoping for sitting there by your door?
9.
When 03:53
When When the rain ceases to fall, when the birds no longer call, when the spring fails to return. When the sun declines to shine, when the stars decide to hide. That’s when I’ll stop loving you. That’s when there’ll be no more living to do. When the tide curbs its rise, when blue bows out from the skies, when the moon dulls its glow. When the flower shuns the light, when the dawn draws out the night. That’s when I’ll stop loving you. That’s when there’ll be no more living to do. This is a love song to you, many years overdue, it is all I can do. This is a love song to you, from a heart that is true, it is all I can do love.
10.
Paris Metro 04:38
Paris Metro Paris Metro on a Sunday morning. Two guys from South America play trumpet and tuba to tracks from a speaker, strapped to the back of a two-wheeled shopper. Mexico City two o’clock in the morning. Traffic lights, and the night is lit up by flames of fire blown from the mouth of a boy while his friend tries to clean the taxi driver’s windscreen. And there’s not a lot between us, oh no, thin line. Feels like I’ve been travelling a lifetime. Transit eternal. Never going home.
11.
White Dots 03:20
White Dots White dots on my spectacles, where the tears have been caught and dried, as you talk. I watch your face as you tell me lies, do you think I can’t read your eyes as you talk? In a hotel room secretly you killed whatever love lingered still. Overlooking trees, you freed memory of me. In a hotel room you made new love grow. You don’t know I know, as you talk. After all the pain and all the tears, a battle of wills that has raged for years. We’re sitting in my car, that is actually yours, in the car park, outside your work – feels like I’m clinging to the kerb – as you disregard our world. Lying to my face about your affair, crying at the thought of my leaving you there in the house meant to be the start of all our dreams. If you’re right to say, just get on with it now, you’re not right to say I don’t know how it feels to be alone. White dots on my spectacles, where the tears have been caught and dried, as you talk.

about

Paula Wolfe’s new album, White Dots (* * * * MOJO) has been hailed ‘exquisite’ with her production on this latest ‘collection of songs that combine glorious Brill Building-style chant, jazz drums and lustrous strings’ positioning her as ‘a latter-day Carole King’(Lucy O’Brien). Performed with ‘a high clear voice, observational humour and a quiet sense of drama’(LoB), Wolfe presents a new array of characters that include a cross-dressing train driver who abandons the drudgery of his shift for the glamour of a night club, an ageing bachelor looking for late love online and Mexico City’s street children working its nocturnal streets while their compatriots busk on the Paris Metro on the other side of the world.
Joining Paula in her sonic tales of survival are an eclectic range of musicians all of whom she recorded in the Grade II Listed, 16th century country house she renovated to house the project. The richness and depth in the sound are in part thanks to their performances, captured by Wolfe amidst the natural acoustics, provided by the ancient beams and the timber and stone fireplaces and floors. Adding to that warmth is the state-of-the-art analogue outboards used to master the album in another ancient rural retreat by veteran mastering engineer and Sound on Sound writer Eric James. James has also remastered Paula’s entire back catalogue due for re-release following the new album.
Throughout her career, the work of the London and Norfolk based artist-producer has consistently received strong support. It is no surprise, therefore, that this ‘joyful soul pop follow-up’ (LoB) to her critically acclaimed 2009 Lemon (* * * * Mojo, * * * Uncut, * * * Maverick) has proved no exception. Viewed as ‘sweetly addictive’ in which the ‘flowing arrangements build and drive each track, leading us through a world of broken love, memory and magic realism’(LoB), this third album confirms Paula Wolfe as ‘a major talent’(MusicOMH) and affirms her reputation as ‘a splendid songwriter’ (Nigel Williamson, Uncut), who writes ‘exceptional’ lyrics delivered with her ‘gorgeous’ voice (Laura Bethel, Maverick). Little wonder her intelligent balancing of lyrical theme and musical form have earned her personal praise from the Head of Music at BBC Radio 2 and 6Music (Jeff Smith) and the type of accolade expressed by one critic who has declared her work ‘A flawless exercise in modern art, that boasts enough melody to make this as warm and approachable as possible, whilst being unafraid to extend an olive branch to the musos; stunning’ (Tom Brampton, New-noise.net).

Having garnered widespread praise for ‘hitting the mark on both sides of the desk’ (Neil King, Fatea Magazine), Paula is no less acclaimed as a live performer and has been described as simply ‘mesmeric’ (The Guardian Hay Festival) and ‘brilliant’ (Sky Arts).

* * * * MOJO

Norfolk-based singer/songwriter creates a joyful soul pop follow-up to 2009’s Lemon

A cross-dressing train driver who likes lipstick and high heels. Two boys in Mexico City playing trumpet and tuba on the streets. A woman sitting in a car park in someone else’s car, heartbroken. These are characters on Wolfe’s latest album, a collection of songs that combine glorious Brill Building-style chant, jazz drums and lustrous strings. Like a latter-day Carole King, Wolfe delivers each track with a high clear voice, observational humour and a quiet sense of drama. The barely there bossa nova beat on ‘Traces’, the fuzzy guitar and exquisite lament of ‘White Dots’, the wistful trumpet of ‘Paris Metro’ - flowing arrangements build and drive each track, leading us through a world of broken love, memory and magic realism. Sweetly addictive. Lucy O’Brien


Velvet Sheep
‘Song For Ewe’ is the feature where artists & music people beloved by Velvet Sheep choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a learned and earnest singer songwriter, producer, guitarist and writer with an ear for a subtle tune and a line in compelling storytelling and her latest tune has a great tale. Taken from an upcoming album called “White Dots”, the song “Georgia Blue” was inspired by a trip Paula took by train from her Norfolk studio to interview Isabella Summers from Florence and the Machine at Dean Street Studios in London for what was then PhD research but has since turned into a book called “Women in The Studio, Creativity, Control and Gender in Popular Music Production” about music production and gender.
The train back that evening was delayed as the scheduled driver didn’t turn up for his shift (in itself not super remarkable in London) but spun into a beautiful yarn about a cross-dressing train driver who simply wanted to feel beautiful rather than driving a train from London to Norwich on a brass monkeys night in the winter.
“White Dots” is Paula Wolfe’s third album and also includes songs about an ageing bachelor looking for late love online and Mexico City’s street kids working noctural nightshifts “while their compatriots busk on the Paris Metro on the other side of the world”. Part Carole King, part Kirsty MacColl, all unerring charm.
Welcome to VS, the super-smart, keenly observant, niftily talented Paula Wolfe. Nick Hutchings

Travellers Tunes
London and Norfolk based artist (and producer) Paula Wolfe has returned with her new single ‘Georgia Blue’.
In 2019, with European elections approaching, couldn’t be released at more apt time. With an undercurrent of hostility permanently in the air, human emotions and progress are sliding out of view.
Wolfe’s tale of a cross dressing train driver, with crisp warming vocals and swooning production is a stark reminder to be less selfish. It’s written with great characterisation and a strong sense of Englishness, it’ll recall the eloquence of Ray Davies and Paul Weller in their pomp.
Despite the prevailing beauty on show, there is a solemnness to the protagonist’s journey that should spark memories of ‘Saturday Night Sunday Morning’ or Pulp’s ‘Common People’. A sense of ordinary people living extraordinary lives burns bright.
This is ‘That’s Entertainment’ for the woke generation and boy does society need art like this to bring different generations together once again. Mike Adams

credits

released July 1, 2019

Written, recorded and produced by Paula Wolfe

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Paula Wolfe London, UK

* * * * MOJO ‘exquisite’
‘sweetly addictive’
'glorious Brill Building-style chant, jazz drums and lustrous strings'
‘flowing arrangements build and drive each track, leading us through a world of broken love, memory and magic realism’
‘a latter-day Carole King’ (Lucy O'Brien)

'super smart and keenly observant' (Velvet Sheep)

'That's Entertainment for the woke generation' (Travellers Tunes)
... more

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