The Ghost of Alexander

Buggy Jive

Record Details

Released:
2022
Genre:
Soul Rock
ghost of alexander album cover

The new album The Ghost of Alexander is now available at your favorite digital music service.

Nine more weird soul rock songs including “Make Me Water” and “Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You.”

Check it out.


CREDITS

Guitars and keys and vox and stuff performed by Buggy Jive. Songs copyright 2022 Bryan Paul Thomas. Beats courtesy YurtRock.com. Lyric inspirations and aspirations courtesy Ralph Ellison (1,8); Joni Mitchell and Prince (2); James Baldwin (3); Virginia Woolf (6); F. Scott Fitzgerald (8). Mastered by Troy Pohl. The cover art by Hank Russo is a remix of a public domain photograph of Alexander Twilight, courtesy the collection of Orleans County Grammar Schools, photographer unknown. Copyright 2022 WT3 Records and Radical Plastical Music. All Rights Reserved.

Release date: Dec. 1, 2022.

(Wanna know more about the songs? Like, a little nerd shit? Scroll down for lyrics and “Cliffs Notes”.)


VIDEO: ENCYCLOPEDIA BLACK AND THE CASE OF YOU

VIDEO: MAKE ME WATER (SOLO-ELECTRIC LIVE)


TRACKLIST

  1. A Dream I Was to Remember and Dream Again
  2. Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You
  3. Law of Averages
  4. She Wants to Party While the World Burns
  5. Let the Words Reveal Themselves
  6. Lizard Brains and Tingly Parts
  7. Vivienne
  8. The Ghost of Alexander
  9. Make Me Water [EXPLICIT]

Non-explicit radio edits of “Make Me Water” are available for airplay.

For inquiries and access to tracks for radio, contact buggyjive@gmail.com.


CLIFFS NOTES

1. A Dream I Was to Have Again and Again

Funky meditation borrowed from Ralph Ellison, in anticipation of themes explored throughout the record but especially on “The Ghost of Alexander”.

2. Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You

Do you remember the first time you heard a favorite song? Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” first entered my consciousness while reading about Prince covering it at the club show where he debuted the songs he’d written for “Purple Rain.” It didn’t register that the “case” in the title was a metaphoric case of wine — I thought it was a case like a police investigation. So I expected something musically… sharper? Funkier? Whatever. It blew me away in a very different way. The beat on this song approximates the song I heard in my head when I first saw the title.

3. Law of Averages

I wrote the second verse first. Because it was true. Then I stumbled on a clip of Billy Porter quoting James Baldwin in an Emmy acceptance speech and BOOM! suddenly I had a first verse. And more of a concept.

4. She Wants to Party While the World Burns

A fake country song with a hip-hop beat. And the occasional Ringo fill. The news is awful these days and it keeps getting awfuller. Try to ignore it? Escape it? You can’t.

5. Let the Words Reveal Themselves

Not a hard and fast rule, but generally: if I don’t start with a musical foundation, the whole song suffers. Put that cool lyric or concept in a drawer until the right chords and melody come along. Don’t force it.

6. Lizard Brains and Tingly Parts

Why can’t these fools keep it in their pants?

7. Vivienne

Based on Virginia Woolf’s scathing takedown of Vivienne Haighwood Eliot (T.S.’s wife). “She refers to me as a bag of ferrets,” says Vivienne. Sorry, Virg: I’m totally Team Viv.

8. The Ghost of Alexander

Come to find out all these years later that maybe ol’ Alexander Twilight wasn’t welcomed with open arms to a certain college campus as a fully acknowledged black man; much evidence now suggests he was white passing. Retcon, indeed.

9. Make Me Water

While rehearsing a solo acoustic version of a different song for a performance at the Eddies, the chords and melody for this came out of nowhere and insisted they take over. Then the song demanded I say a little something about the city in which I’d be performing — the city of my birth.

 

LYRICS

1. A Dream I Was to Have Again and Again

To whom it may concern: Keep that [REDACTED] boy running.

2. Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You

Like Encyclopedia Black I’m tryna solve this case of you.
It’s brand new mystery for a kid detective to investigate.
Like a Hercule purple Poirot prequel
backing into blue.
As the beat inside my head begins to syncopate.

But love is already funky.
So when you go to paint it
It don’t need no nothing extra
If you try too hard that ain’t it.

I drop the needle for the first surprise
I gotta wait and wait and wait for track 9
Right out the gate she say that she “alive alive alive”
And all she want is to get up and buggy jive.

I could do that.

Brandi says the shampoo line repulses her
It’s the line she loves to tell us that she loves to hate
I get it, girl: but I’m about that dulcimer
Cuz hold up! This ain’t no Dorothy D.N.A.!

Cuz love is already funky.
So when you go to paint it
It don’t need no nothing extra
If you try too hard that ain’t it.
If you try you got to fight it
So be cool like Mrs. Parker
If you keep the loud parts quiet
Then the quiet parts hit harder.

The quiet parts hit hard.

She is cellophane.

“This is your obsession.”
I go on about her too much.
“Have you learned your lesson?”
I am tender to the touch.
“Have you solved the crime yet?”
Sherlock Homeboy’s on the case.
“Have you lost your mind yet?”
I’ve only lost my faith.
The crime is all mine.
But the quiet parts hit just in time.

Got to get some. Got to get her.
She got a mo betta blue. I just gots mo meta.
She got hers and I gots mine.
And she’s in my blood like holy wine.

So just the facts, ma’am. I’m tryna solve this case of you.
Just the facts, ma’am. I’m tryna solve this case of you.
I swear I swear I ain’t tryna do what you do.
I’m just a kid detective tryna solve this case of you.

3. Law of Averages

Billy says what Jimmy says. That:
“All the filth that we’ve been taught
About ourselves can take years to purge
Before we can walk the Earth
Like we got the right to be here.”

Jimmy set his mind free. I’m still working on it.

I ain’t your average American.

I’ve been talking to myself more lately.
And I’ve been using the n-word on myself more lately.
As a term of endearment.
As a term of solidarity.
As a term of sincerity.
As a term of hilarity.

I keep telling Jimmy: this is how I’m working on it.
I keep telling Jimmy: this is one of many many ways that I been working on it.

I ain’t your average American.

It’s a term of endearment
It’s a term of solidarity
It’s a term of sincerity
It’s a term of hilarity.
It’s a word of warning.
It’s a word of caution.
It’s a talisman of mourning
And of our collective exhaustion.

I ain’t your average American.
I am more than your average American.
I am just your average [REDACTED]

“The force of the world is immense… and time is real.”

4. She Wants to Party While the World Burns

She’s standing still on the dance floor
Cuz she ain’t never been this high before
She wanna to slip out the back door
But she can not move.

She wanna party while the world burns

She was all ready for the line dance
She was just about to shake it in her hot pants
To another fake country song with a hip hop beat
But she can not move her feet.

She wanna party while the world burns

Sometimes you wanna escape the world
with a little thrill.
But the world catches up to you
in a little pill.

And the world sets off tiny explosions
in the center of your mind
to remind you.
there is no escape from time.

She wanna party while the world burns

She aint never been this high before
Now she’s just a silly metaphor
Out of the nightmare and into a bad dream
She can’t even move her lips to scream.
She is staring into the void
She is staring into the void
Her sense of self is destroyed
She is staring into the void

5. Let the Words Reveal Themselves

Oh no!

Please do not tell me you started writing your song with the words first.
You betta tuck them words away and forget ’em until a proper groove comes.
You betta tuck them words away and forget ’em or I will put you in a world of hurt.

If you don’t start with the music, the song could go to hell.
So put first things first, let’s do this.
Let the words reveal themselves.

La la la.

You wouldn’t drop a new dance move and come up with the beat last.
You wouldn’t choreograph into thin air and just be waitin for the groove to come.
If you’re doing it right then writing the words is just like shaking your ass.

If you don’t start with the music, the song could go to hell.
So put first things first, let’s do this, baby. Let the words reveal themselves.

La la la.

Choreograph. And dance. And that ass.

If you don’t start with the music, the song could go to hell.
So put first things first, let’s do this, baby. Let the words reveal themselves.

Shuck and jiving. Buggy jiving.

The rules I live my life by through the failures and successes
It is rules like this I write by, but baby rules don’t sell no records.
As we wallow in our wretchedness we all still dare to dream
I say rules don’t sell no records, baby rules don’t flow into streams

So I’mma just scream to be free.

6. Lizard Brains and Tingly Parts

They could be cute if they weren’t so sad
Tonight they gonna get bad
For six minutes and a half
The heart it ain’t no confidant
The heart just want the parts it wants.

He got the wife and kids at home.
But a doggie needs a bone.
So he’s out here on his own.
He is yet another man who
forgot he got a left and right hand

She is falling for his lines.
A seventh glass of wine.
The comedy is divine.
Her man is home alone
He does not ever have to know
It could be vain it sho ain’t smart
The heart just want the parts it wants.

Lizard brains and tingly parts rule us all.

“April is the funkiest month
Breeding the One out of the deadest ass
Remixing earth, wind and fire,
Stirring dull roots with purple rain.”

What if I wrote a little revved-up Beatlesesque love song that is not a love song?
What if I wrote a little silly not love song just so I could introduce the funky part?
I wrote it so fast I had to steal the bridge from a song I done already wrote
I stole it from I song I done already stole from Stravinsky and Chayevsky

Is cheating like stealing a song from yourself
That you already stole from somebody else?
Is cheating like stealing a song from yourself
That you already stole from somebody else?

Six minutes, thirty seconds: BOOM!

How does it feel in the after?
Is it worth your life? Or losing your wife?
Is it worth the lies to cover up the lies?
And we rationalize and we rationalize
and we rationalize and compartmentalize.
It’s really what we’re the best at.
It’s what human beings are the best at.

They are staring at the ceiling
Totally unfeeling
The comedy is ending.
It’s just over.

7. Vivienne

Oh – Vivienne! Was there ever such a torture since life began!
Oh – Vivienne! Was there ever such a torture since life began!

To bear on one’s shoulders,
biting and wriggling and raving and scratching, unwholesome and powdered, did insane, yet sane to the point of insanity.

Reading his letters, thrusting herself on us, coming in wavering trembling …

This big bag of ferrets.

Oh – Vivienne! Was there ever such a torture since life began!
Oh – Vivienne! Was there ever such a torture since life began!

8. The Ghost of Alexander

It’s midnight at Twilight, first night, swing set adventure
She’s just a stranger right next to me
The drinks have got me singing out of tune so she be like:
“You must be from Schenectady.”

Don’t sweat it boy, you ain’t done nothing wrong here.
Don’t sweat it, boy, of course you belong here.
If it gets too painful, he’s got all the answers
Your guardian angel is the ghost of Alexander.

Curled up on a Sunday with a jazz book
To unpack the myth of Old Glory
It’s beautifully written so I can’t put it down
But it’s a messy story.

The professor assures me we’re supposed to dislike the bad guy
Because he’s singing replacement songs.
But I’ve seen the letters where Francis sings them songs, too
So maybe I do not belong here after all.

That’s in the past boy, of course you belong here.
Not since 1820 we ain’t sung that song here.
If it gets too painful, he’s got all the answers
Your guardian angel is the ghost of Alexander.

So don’t worry, boy.
These folks ain’t gonna do you no harm.
They welcomed Alexander with open arms.
So his ghost has got your back
For as long as you stay black.

“The dream was already behind him
Somewhere in that vast obscurity
Where the dark fields of the republic
rolled on under the night.

“And blessed are the dead that the rain falls on.”

Professor heart-and-soul-searching whaddya know
It turns out: nothing is what it seems.
Alexander ain’t yo ghost, he’s just a box of bones
That they dug up to service yo dreams
To the tap tap tap of their pats on the back
they found it very necessary
To drag them bones into the colored section of the
Picklebury Cemetary
But the brotha said nothing about his African past
The brotha said nothing and nobody asked
The brotha wasn’t actively tryna pave the way
That may not be passing but it sho’ is strange.

Skeleton marionette cakewalk dancer
Skeleton marionette positioned to pander
Don’t call me ungrateful for just wanting some answers
My guardian angel is just the bones of Alexander.

Just a box of bones.

“To whom it may concern: Keep that [REDACTED] boy running.”

“And blessed are the dead that the rain falls on.”

9. Make Me Water

They say Jesus walked across the Sea of Galilee.
And Matthew and Mark and John
Each tell the tale a little differently.
But Luke? He skipped it in its entirety.

Lord, make me water.
Lord, help me to flow.

Maybe Luke was just jealous of Jesus’s abilities.
Maybe Luke’s suspicious mind engendered a certain disbelief.
Maybe Luke thought the brotha was
Too much showing off His divinity.

Lord, make me water.
Lord, help me to flow.

So she says:
“What you mean, you wanna flow like water?
Brotha, we are already water.”

The Lord, that day, He made the human brain
About seventy-five percent water.
And the Lord, from the start, He made the human heart
About seventy-five percent water.

So what I’m saying is:
We are all already water.
We are all already divine.

So open up that bottle.
Tonight, let’s just be wine.

EXTENDED FLOW

I am falling behind. Y’all got me unstuck in time.
Sending me back to the future like I’m some big black Marty McFly
I am dropping this beat for the city of my birth
The city that lights and hauls the Planet Earth
See, we be just around the way from where my family used to went to church
At Friendship Baptist, where daddy had his trial sermon and began to serve the Lord
Teachers on strike. Momma’s walkin the picket line.
Granddaddy called this place “Scheneticutt.”
Mohawks called it the “Place Beyond the Pines.”
And my day care was around the way with Sister Dix at Refreshing Springs.
And messing around on Proctor’s stage for graduation
Cuz my band picked a song I can’t sing.

I am “unstuck in time,” as Vonnegut says. “So it goes.”
We chased Sambo’s out this town to catch a Jolly Tiger by the toe.
We did it generally and electrically. Like Thomas Alva Edisonally.
I see some of y’all rolling your eyes talkin’ about: “That’s just being all politically correctically.”
But it’s really just about opening yo heart and treating other mother fuckers respectfully
So raise your cape! And open your heart like sesame.
This town got the best of me
Y’all can see how it’s effected me
Cuz I will cut you like a vasectomy
If your heart ain’t big enough for Schenectady.

Lord, make me water.
Lord, help me to flow.

Jesus, walkin’ on the water.