How Red Is the Blood

by Tattletale Saints

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    How Red Is the Blood (CD and MP3 download) released by Old Oak Music (distributed by Rhythmethod and DRMNZ).
    Recorded in Nashville, TN in January 2013 at the Butcher Shoppe with producer Tim O'Brien.
    Winner of the New Zealand Music Award for Folk Album of the Year 2014.
    Tracks: Kathleen, Traces of You, Emily, Doctor Doctor, How Red Is the Blood from a Broken Heart, Fell Upon the Fields, Complicated Man, Jessica On Prairie Legs, Molly, Hank, We've Got Lakes, At Last.
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released March 13, 2014

Cy Winstanley – vocals, guitar, harmonica
Vanessa McGowan – vocals, double bass
Tim O’Brien – fiddle (tracks 6 & 8), mandolin (tracks 1 & 5), vocals (track 11)
Catherine ‘BB’ Bowness – banjo (track 6)

All songs (except At Last) written by Cy Winstanley

Producer Tim O’Brien
Engineer David Ferguson
Assistant engineer Sean Sullivan
Mastering engineer David Shipley @ FoxWood Mastering

Cover art by Henrietta Harris
Layout by Chris Winstanley
Photo by Garth Badger


all rights reserved



Tattletale Saints Nashville, Tennessee

Winners of the NZ Music Award for Folk Album of The Year 2014 and finalists in the APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2013 for song "Complicated Man".

"sensitively understated folk and subtle simplicity… songs as memorable, lyrically considered and melodically engaging as many of Paul Simon's… a very emotionally engaging album" Graham Reid
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Track Name: Kathleen
Kathleen, Kathleen
If I didn’t know better I’d have guessed you’re ‘bout seventeen
With that turtle blue chemise, hiked way up above your knee
I’ve been looking for a girl like you, Kathleen

Kathleen, Kathleen
So your daddy is a banker and your mamma was a beauty queen
All coddled up and sweet, “Ma jolie petite chérie”
Why don't you let you hair down a while, Kathleen

Kathleen, Kathleen
The highway lights slip soft across your cheek
Come on and follow me inside, you can rest your tired eyes
Just lay back on the motel bed, Kathleen

Kathleen, Kathleen
If I didn’t know better I’d have guessed you’re ‘bout seventeen
With that turtle blue chemise, hiked way up above your knee
I ain’t never had a girl like you, Kathleen

We’ll slide down through the counties, skip from town to town
If they ever get a lead on us we’ll be three weeks down the line
We’ll sip on Margaritas, beneath a cavalcade of stars
Sittin’ on the balcony, my golden gal upon my knee
I’ve waited oh so long for thee, Kathleen

Kathleen, Kathleen
You know it breaks my heart you won't give yourself to me
But it makes no difference how hard you cry
The woods are deep and the winds are wild
There ain't a soul for fifty miles
Your daddy can't save you now

Kathleen, Kathleen
If I didn’t know better I’d have guessed you’re ‘bout seventeen
With that turtle blue chemise, hiked way up above your knee
I bet you never met a guy like me, Kathleen
Track Name: Traces of You
The New Year’s band were playing
There were streamers in the air
You were sitting on the stairwell
With ribbons of blue, ribbons of blue in your hair

When we spoke your lips moved slowly
You led me to the floor
And danced like a cool wind blowing
As soft as the dress, as soft as the silk dress you wore

Then the lights came up so quickly
Everybody started to leave
I had left you for a moment
Not knowing you’d be swept away from me

Many nights in dreams I hold you
And lay you in my bed
But you were gone without a warning
So dreams are the only traces of you, traces of you I have left


Every time the year turns over
And there are streamers in the air
I hear the band a-playin’
And I see traces of you, traces of you everywhere
Seeing traces of you, traces of you everywhere
Track Name: Emily
Oh Emily
Why do you work me so hard?
You work me to the bone
Until I’ve nothing left to give
Yet I’m a pilgrim for your love
I supplicate myself to you
To the wonder of your eyes
Just won’t you shine them my way

Nobody else seems to see
That while our love is complicated¬, it’s complete
Don’t hide it from yourself, don’t hide it from me

Oh Emily
Do you remember when we were young?
How I would stumble at your heels
I’d take your bag and see your errands run
Oh never mind of course you don’t
You had a very busy calendar to keep
It’s a miracle you’d time for me at all
I’m just lucky I guess


Sometimes when I picture love
I see a slot machine in a cheap motel
And I’m just feeding in the dimes
I’m waiting for my number
Or a chime from that liberty bell
But I’ve been waiting so long
And now I’ve run out of change

Oh Emily
I’ve been doin’ some thinkin’
I’m through with being a puzzle piece
Now I see the picture
I’m sorry Emily
But I deserve better
If you really want your laundry cleaned
You should hire a maid

Finally I see
That a single sided love is incomplete
You can hide it from yourself, but you can’t hide it from me
Track Name: Doctor Doctor
Doctor doctor, gimme that pill
Put it in my mouth and hand me the bill, I’ll pay anything
I’ve seen the pictures on the subway walls
Newsprint blowing down the station halls
Everywhere I look, everywhere I see
There’s no escaping the fact that they’re talking to me

Bleary eyed, breathless and dragging my feet
I circle the park where my friends used to meet
A vision of yesterday sails through the air
My effortless beauty, my marmalade hair
Away in the distance, police sirens bleat
I turn up my collar and I press through the sleet

He says he loves me as I am
He says he’ll come home as soon as he can
Bundle me up, take me out to dinner at The Ivy
Oh I gotta look my best
Ain’t no way I’m getting into this dress
So, doctor doctor, doctor doctor

Now my prerogative, you must concede
Permits me to judge what it is that I need
And from whom I buy it from
Doctor doctor are you listening please
Gimme something to cure my disease
For what am I to do when my youth runs dry
What can I offer to spare me my life

I pass through the turnstiles and ride underground
My bones ache, my lip shakes, my ship’s going down
A couple of ladies offer a seat
They can’t be but a few years younger than me
As the wheels grind the rails and the winds rush the pane
I take in the park scene again and again

Track Name: How Red Is the Blood from a Broken Heart
How red is the blood from a broken heart
How rich is the colour that bleeds
Is it scarlet and bright, a sailor's delight
Or heavy; the darkness that snaps at its heels

How steady’s the pulse from a broken heart
How certain the rhythm it keeps
Is it even and strong like the strike of a drum
Or does it stagger and lurch with every beat

How deep is the wound I inflicted on you
And the cut that I gave to myself
How long for to heal, for to scar, for to feel
That my body has mended and returned to health

How soon will my thoughts stop turning to you
At the breaking of every day
Before every road, every place that I go
Will no longer whisper, nor cry out your name

The answers we seek are elusive; shadows in a cindery night
Locked up and hidden away
With the heavens and the bookends of time
We know how the heart and its chambers
Feed the body and keep it alive
But no one can say why the broken heart aches
And where it will lead you and I

How red is the blood from a broken heart
How rich is the colour that bleeds
Is it welcome and warm like the first flush of dawn
Or as cold as the tears that fall down your cheek
Track Name: Fell Upon the Fields
From the window at my desk
I see the pools the rain has left
I watch a bird with matted crest
Pick butts from the milky water

The BBC they got it wrong
It rained the whole damn weekend long
The building leaked like a waterfall
Now it smells like a feral dog

Monday comes, the city wakes
Workers trudge the street like slaves
But hot the skillet, sharp the blade
You gotta earn your keep

I watch a woman slip and fall
She hits the road like a wrecking ball
A pack of schoolgirls whoop and call
While her papers scatter in the street

Oh it wraps around the city like a sigh
It wraps around the city, yeah it swallows her/me alive
It wraps around the city like a sigh
Oh the weather never got me down when it

Fell upon the fields and the orchards
Grazed across the hills that roll away
Beat upon my roof as I lay sleeping
Ran its fingers through the poplars in the lane

Well ain’t it funny how you change
When you’re all grown up and you’ve come of age
It’s like the poles flip and you disengage
And say “ah, so this is how it is”

Now I have a picture on my desk
A cowboy and his horse at rest
Beneath a tree in the wild old west
Coffee in an old tin cup

So when the subways seize and the traffic jams
And the grey is a weight I can barely stand
I slip away with my horse-bound man
And lit out on the plains


Track Name: Complicated Man
I’m a complicated man, you best keep your distance
My mind it’s a patchwork of levers and pistons
My thinkin’ works backward from Z down to A
If there’s a dollar to turn I’m gonna find me a way

There’s a glass elevator to the top of my tower
From which I look down upon the proles and the powerless
I hear a rhythm in the shuffle of feet
I hum my melody over the beat

I’ve broken the unions and scattered the factions
I’ve paid politicians to loosen the sanctions
Convinced you that wealth is the premier attraction
And there lies the true happiness

And the dollar it founders
And the wild ocean heaves
And the distance between us it widens
With no mercy, no sign of reprieve

And the water it rises
And the wild ocean roars
And those on the crest of the hill
Better lock up their windows and doors

The Haitian diplomacy wait on my orders
To clear out the rubble of scavies and hoarders
A shirt on their backs, a job and some shelter
We’ll knock up a new kind of Pearl River Delta

And when I am done with my various dealings
When I’ve picked off the buds and I’ve dug up the seedlings
When the red dirt it wheezes and the brittle earth weeps
I lay on my pillow and slip sweetly to sleep
Track Name: Molly
Cut me some slack boys I’m packin’ it in
I gotta see that Molly again
Such a long time comin’, be a rough road to ride
Don’t know I’ll make it but I sure wanna try

I was young, I musta been twenty
Playin’ for tips at a dive in the city
Strummin’ some old insignificant song
She starts stompin’ and singing along

She asked for a tune, I barely knew it
But I told her I did and I fumbled on through it
She threw down her coat, like a hero’s disguise
And she danced like a flame, like a sacrifice

Yeah we needn’t speak, I knew what she was sayin’
Each movement answered just what I was playin’
Every arch of her back, every sweep of my hand
But the way it turned out I can’t understand

Oh sweet Molly my brother’s had his turn
Had five good years to treat you right
No more does he deserve
Oh sweet Molly, take a chance on me
We’ll pick up from where we left off
So get your dancing shoes

My brother’s got ways that I can’t fathom
He seems to get women just by lookin’ at ‘em
Smellin’ like Old Spice, tobacco and cider
He slid on in and pushed up beside her

He spoke somethin’ into her ear
And with those words my love disappeared
I could feel it escapin’, my broken heart beatin’
Pickin’ up pace like an army retreating

Sure enough my prediction was sound
Sure as a stake driven hard through the ground
They left me playin’, shaken and sore
Her hand cupped in his as they walked out the door


I don’t know how they lasted this long
When she’s so right and he’s so wrong
What she sees cripples my thinkin’
Holdin’ it together while he’s out drinkin’

We meet as a family once every year
And he’s too far gone to ever appear
But Molly don’t fail us and that fire in her eyes
It flickers a little, but it’s still alight

And each time I think about drivin’ away
With Molly beside me we’ll start a new day
Windows down and music loud
One of these days I’ll get these words out

Track Name: Hank
I wanna go to Montgomery
I wanna make, make a spark and see
See if I can set myself alight and burn away
Cos something once started here
I don’t care I ain’t got no fear
You live and then you die in the same place

I will sing Hank Williams’ songs
They must be right cos honey he ain’t wrong
Jesus must have taught that boy to play
Let it soak into my blood
Then baby I can feel the love
That taught a million people how to sing

One step forward, two steps back
A shift is gonna get my spirit on track
Cos I write better songs when I’m away
I won’t set the woods on fire
I’ll get out of this world alive
I ain’t lived, so I can’t die in this place

Track Name: We've Got Lakes
We’ve got lakes, we’ve got rivers, we’ve got tributaries
And depths no diver can reach
But I know you feel our love’s in the shallows
Stranded and dry on the beach

The moon is wide, rich and resplendent
And full as the breadth of our love
Yet time and again, you’ve taken to tell me
That what we’ve got’s just not enough

Love is a cycle, winding through seasons
Each love must pass through them all
Though our summers are bright and springs are abundant
Baby, we’ve entered our fall

There’s a reason we act like we do
There’s a purpose to find
There’s a river that joins me to you
And everything flows down in time

Most of the time we bend in the wind
But something’s gotta give in the end
But for every branch that falls to the ground
A new one will grow back again
Track Name: At Last
At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song

At last the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped in clover
The night I looked at you

I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known

You smiled and then the spell was cast
Now here we are in Heaven
Oh you are mine at last

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