by Roman Rhodes & The Born Again Pagans

Released 2005
Multifolkal Inc.
Released 2005
Multifolkal Inc.
Folk Roots West at its alternative World inspired best: A skillful mix of Country-Celtic-Blues-Roots with a rich blend of classical, and world instrumentation.
  • 05:11 Story Lyrics Red Snapdragons

    Red Snapdragons

    Red snapdragons, 
    orange tiger lilies, 
    gold-green cornfields, 
    ripe wheat, blue skies and you. 

    And we walked along 
    those lane ways overgrown; 
    red tractors pulling 
    in a harvest of plenty.

    (Chorus a): Trains could pass us by and leave us alone. 
                    Sorry planes could ever fly so high above our home.
                    If they never shattered our skies, maybe we'd still roam 
                    hand in hand in paradise, together alone. 

    But they lured you on 
    to cathedrals beyond: 
    the yellow sandstone of Arles, 
    rose plaster and marbles, 

    Biblical Vatican skies, 
    dark Mediterranean eyes, 
    turquoise seas and tanned thighs, 
    red wine, that man, and you. 

    (Repeat Chorus a) 

    And I simply let you go. 
    I even paid your fare. 
    'Cause you know I know 
    there's no stopping what is there, 
    not, at least, without it bursting out 
    in violence somewhere. 

    And I could see the fire in your eyes. 
    Yet, I'm still surprised. 
    When people don't speak their minds, 
    when, suddenly, I find 
    hidden agendas have been there 
    all of the time. 

    (Chorus b): Envy and greed, I just can't understand. 
                    They're born of need, not from a bountiful land. 
                    You were from the city, how dull this must have seemed. 
                     But when I say, "cultivate the self," you know what I mean. 

    Rich dark soil, 
    you know that it's good. 
    I said it reminds me of your skin 
    and you understood.

    And I'd be there with you, 
    if I only could. 
    But my crop's planted 
    and my yield's not in. 

    (Bridge:) Meantime I'll be walking on 
                those lane ways overgrown 

    with Red snapdragons, 
    orange tiger lilies, 
    gold-green cornfields
    :and a ripe blue heart for you:.(3x)

  • 04:11 Story Lyrics Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes

    Gas bombs and paper walls; 
    Walking down these narrow halls; 
    too many crazy dreams too many close calls; 
    not too long before the fall. 

    You just wanted a family, 
    but saw it gunned down in the spring 
    with flowers blooming and everything 
    looking like a paradise. 
        You say you rolled snake eyes 
        and there ain't no reason why
        You say you rolled snake eyes 
        and you'll revenge before you die.

    For you it's a holy war 
    trying to even out some ancient score 
    but I don't believe your whys or your wherefore 
    when we have the key to unlock the door 
    to paradise, Eve, the snake and I.


    The sins of the father are visited on the sons; 
    hey aren't we the lucky ones, 
    to come into this world to make it undone 
    believing in Gods with mighty big guns. 
       You say it's snake eyes, 
       but it you and I who decide. 

    Bridge :Don't blame the knowledge tree, 
              It's ignorance, fear and greed.
              It's not the Earth creatures,
              It's the sky god economy.

              Its not snake eyes, It's you and I who decide:
              Don't blame the knowledge tree,
              When it's the oil-military-industrial economy! 

    Gas bombs and paper walls, 
    walking down these narrow halls, 
    sometimes I don’and it all; 
    hope we learn before the fall. 

    Repeat bridge

  • 05:50 Story Lyrics Stolen Seasons

    Stolen Seasons

    Met you on a brief sojourn, on the globe of golden thorns. 
    Rode through like a donkey Christ, ready for a sacrifice. 
    Then came the big surprise, 
    When we crossed the bridge of eyes over a cup of ice latte. 
    Always knew I was not wise, 
    But never knew that my demise would come that way. 
       Ah cupid you've been so nice 
       To give the give of love, so much greater than reason. 
       Sad that it was not life, 
       Instead of this constant strife, but grateful for that stolen season. 

    Rush to work in Babylon, thorns still stick, but sun is gone. 
    Hung upon the worker's cross: earn a living feel the loss. 
    But in a brief respite, 
    Golden words come from you to write over a cup of hot tea. 
    Suddenly I see wise, 
    I feel my spirits rise within the cup of me. 
      Ah muse you've been so nice 
      To give the give of sight, so much greater than reason. z
      Sad that it was not life 
      Instead of this constant strife, but grateful for that stolen season. 

    Hieros Gamos, children are born, Watch them wear the crown of thorns. 
    Torture of angels is parents plight: witness their trials in patient fright. 
    Yet in this valley of dark and light 
    Feel the bliss and strange delight over a pail of water. 
    Dreams of the after life 
    Calmed by the continued life of your son and your daughter. 
      Ah Gods, you've been so nice 
      To give the gift of life so much greater than reason. 
       Fuses fail and fuses light, But this too is life, this stolen season. 


    Like Yeat's inverted gyre, we're brought low as we're brought higher. 
    Balance surrounds yet can't be seen: found in opposite and extremes. 
    Chase it but can't catch the gleam, 
    Hidden in both the high and mean, everywhere but can't be seen or grasped. 
    Fingers clenched, slips in between; 
    Appears briefly in a dream; you'll know it when it makes you laugh.
      Ah, Tao, you've been so nice 
      To give the gift of the life, so much greater than reason. 
     The happy, peaceful, eternal light,  
      Piercing the darkest night, seen in these stolen seasons.

  • 02:14 Story Lyrics Tall Ships; Short Lives

    Tall Ships; Short Lives 

    1. She couldn't live a life as a farmer's wife, 
    no, she couldn't scrimp and save. 
    She wanted to live on an old tall ship 
    and sail across the waves. 

    2. He couldn't work that nine to five, 
    no, he couldn't be a slave. 
    He wanted to live on an old tall ship 
    and sail across the waves. 

    (Chorus): Take a chance, make a change, 
                  do a dance into the strange 
                  and bring alive your dreams. 
                  Leave behind troubled times, 
                  open up your hearts and minds, 
                  life's shorter than it seems. 

    3. They both were stuck in a common rut, 
    doin' what they thought was right. 
    'Til they met each other upon the shore 
    among the stars and waves at night. 

    4. A timid woman and a timid man, 
    both afraid of change, 
    'til they opened up their hearts like sails 
    and brought alive love's flame. 

    (Repeat Chorus)

    5. They couldn't hide their love inside 
    and repress their happiness.
    So they went to live on an old tall ship 
    and sail among the blessed. 

    6. Two people once stuck in the common rut 
    doin' what they were told was right, 
    'til they opened up their hearts like sails 
    among the stars and waves at night. 

    (Repeat Chorus)

  • 06:09 Story Lyrics Clayoquot Sound

    Clayoquot Sound

    © Roman Rhodes, 1993

     1. Out West on that last frontier,

                where tall blue mountains touch the sea,

                white man makes another desert here

                of greed and apathy.


    2. One last stand of virgin forest,

                a few last streams for spawning grounds,

                one last source, one last hope of life,

                :the sacred grove of Clayoquot Sound:.


    (Chorus A):      Ancient forests, ancient trees,

                                        give us the air we need to breathe,

                                        soil for crops and to drink, sweet waters,

                                        our civilization's a gift of these.


    3. So few issues are so clear cut:

                there's development and then there's plunder.

                Resources gone, recession digs a deeper rut;

                so little forethought really makes me wonder.


    4. I find it hard to cry about a few jobs.

                A few years might as well been never.

                If companies had selectively logged,

                :forestry jobs could have lasted forever:.


    (Chorus B):            Tree of knowledge, tree of life,

                                        what's the one original crime?

                                        The clear cutting of paradise--

                                        may they burn for all time.


    (Chorus C):            And I don't even believe in hell,

                                        but some bastards should go down,

                                        like Harcourt and MacMillan Bloedel

                                        :for the cutting of Clayoquot Sound:.


    5. I've no desire for children now;

                there's too many troubles on my mind.

                There's no past, no future for them anyhow,

                we've left them barren slopes behind.

                We've left them nothing behind.


    (Repeat Chorus A and C, last line C repeat a third time).



  • 04:30 Lyrics Garden of the Hesperides

    Garden of the Hesperides


    1. I've been waiting for a long time,

        to get back to that cozy little place so hard to find,

        where memories of all time,

        let us know that everything is going to be so fine.


    2. Golden blossoms on the winter apple trees,

         clear Castalian waters on a warm summer breeze,

         dancing with the daughters of the Hesperides,

         naked and laughing by the lost Western seas of our souls.


    Chorus 1:            Looking outside for what was within

                            take the time to laugh and you'll be feeling happy again.


    3. I've been struggling for so many years

        with inner doubts and the imposed fears of this world:

        grinding gears and false seers, broken hearts and wasted tears,

        thinking all the time they might lead me back here to you.


    Bridge: Chased the wheel around this earth,

                holding on to things of little worth.

                Now I'm back upon the sacred hearth

                of golden boughs and holy cows, solemn vows of my rebirth.


    Chorus 2:             Never felt so rich as when I was poor,

                            never felt so lost as when I always wanted more.

     Instrumental (Repeat chorus 1 and verse 1)

     End:  :I've been waiting for a long time (ad lib)


    Winter, 1996, St. Lazare, Quebec

    c Roman Rhodes, 1996



  • 04:56 Lyrics Fences



    1. Life goes by much too quickly,

                I could cry, but I'm too tired,

                for my mind is wired 'gainst itself.


    2. Yes the years have always been greener

                on the other side of the fence,

                once no problem, but now I'm on my defence.


    3. For the fences are much higher,

                they are barbed and electrically wired

                and the good life is now an offence.


    (Chorus A):              I don't know if I can climb past you.

                                        Seems I need some magic to get me through,

                                        to break beyond this tragic mediocre ground;

                                        don't let the bastards get you down.

                                        Don't burn, don't rage 'gainst arrogant pretence            their walls of defence

                                        Just walk on through(step around) that fence.


    4. Death comes all too quick now,

                with no warning or no glory.

                Our unsung story is too soon finished.


    5. And the unlearnt bards of our media

                read only of our goals unaccomplished,

                and the meaning of our life seems much diminished.


    (Chorus B):            But I won't let those bastards get me down!

                                        Though the lawnmowers of modern death

                                        try to cut short my every blade of breath,

                                        Don't burn, don't rage 'gainst arrogant pretence            their walls of defence

                                        Just walk on through(step around) that fence.


    I won't rage wont' break no matter how immense

    I'll calmly pierce right through that fence

    I won't stop won't break no matter their offence

    I'll gonna step right through that fence

    I'll walk right through that fence


                August 1993, St. Lazare.





  • 02:55 Lyrics Ramblin' Girl

    Ramblin' Girl

    1. Don't you worry my ramblin' girl, I won't try to fence in your world.

        I'm a rover just like you, and I need my freedom too.


      Rove on, ramble on, 

    wake up in the morning and you'll be gone.

       I won't try to cling on, 

    I got my own damn life  to work on. 


    2. She's a fleur-de-lis from the Fleuve St. Laurent,

                I'm a trillium from up the Ottawa;

                a fresh water fish in a salty claw,

                shiniest pearl that I ever saw.


    3. When we made love in her big brass bed,

                tore the rungs from toe to head.           

                Siren sings and the sailor goes down;

                I'm the happiest drowned man around.

    (Repeat Chorus)

    4. Gaspé girl from the fin du Monde

                left me for the world to roam.

                Don't bother me that I'm all alone;

                love's ten times as sweet when she does come home.


    5. If you don't expect something,

                you'll be grateful for anything,

                want your love to be a diamond ring

                and you're gonna wind up with nothing.

     (Repeat Chorus)

     6. Didn't you ever learn yet?

                Gimme, gimme never gets!

                Just be happy that she let

                you lie in her arms as the sun set.

    (Repeat Verse 1 and Chorus. End)

     December, 1994, St. Lazare.






  • 03:38 Lyrics Magic Moments


    1. In magic moments at the closing of the day,

        when workers drink and children play,

                and lovers romp in hide-aways,

                breathing life back into lumps of clay, well hey,

                            I'll be thinking of you, and I'll miss you too.

    2. When the sun makes dusk wear that whore's clothing,

                I face myself once more with fear and loathing,

                writing stories never told, and letters never meant for sending,

                about hearts like torn shirts that need mending,

                            I'll be thinking of you, and I'll miss you too.

     (Bridge):  :Happy to be here, I'm happy to be here just with you.:

     3. And when the swinging hours of night

                steal the gown from pregnant twilight,

                and drunks and bars sing their fear or delight

                at the passing of another restless day, it's all right,

                            I'll be thinking of you.

    4. And when that midnight hour comes,

                and I'm walking home alone to you,

                tired of mind and longing of bone,

                thinking of all that's understood and the vast unknown

                            all we've left unknown.

                            I'll be thinking of you, and I'll miss you too.


    (Repeat Bridge 3x, End): You know I know how good it feels!


    Montreal - St. Lazare, Spring1995






  • 03:58 Lyrics Wanderin' Air


    She's like the river that runs so deep

    Mournful in mornings and cries in her sleep.

    I've tried to pull us up both on dry ground,

    but her sorrow's a swift current that drags us both down.


    I'm first to admit all of my own mistakes;

    I love far too easy, my heart tears and breaks--

    a fair voice, a fair face, a fair mind within,

    and I'm carried away on a soft blowing wind.


    I've tried to heal her with my deepest true love,

    with visions of beauty below and above;

    I've shown her the spark of life lies deep inside,

    but she never could trust me since the one day I lied.


    Still you can't blame me for this heavy heart of hers.

    No weight have I carried so much on this earth.

    I've given my best years to lift her with care,

    but she just can't forgive my wanderin' air.


    I once was a strong man, they all used to say,

    so full of life, so giving, so willing to play,

    now I'm a bitter man and borne to despair

    for having both a true love and a wandering air.


    (Repeat first verse)


    Road to Montreal, fall 1995.


  • 06:14 Story Lyrics Tryin' To Make Up His Mind


    The cold wind seeps in like the tea from the bag,

    hinting at the passing of time,

    and in this little cup life's becoming a drag

    and I fear that I'm losing my mind.


    For no mail has come in from the letters I sent 

    helping my will to decide,           

    and soon you'll be gone to where my heart has went,

    leaving only my body behind.


    Chorus:   Kirei na Josei

                    The pain is wide and the heart is deep.

                    The full moon wanes, at night I weep

                    like a willow by the banks of the inland sea.


    As you scratch Japanese characters on an envelope I'll send,

    an' over paper your hand glides,

    so it scratches my heart and my heart does rend

    tearing me up all inside.                       


    Your wrist is so cool in the palm of my hand

    as I pretend to ask for the time.

    And I swear I see the promissed heart land

    in your sweet sweet smile and the shine in your eyes.                       


    (Repeat Chorus)

     Now it seems the only thing that's between us

    is the small table and us being shy,

    but what stops us from making that closest touch

    is the burden of other people's lives, yes a burden of so many lies.           


    Still the clichés seep in like the teapot wind,

    clouding my heart and my mind,

    I long for your rose petal lips and lily white skin

    and the deep lit ponds of your almond eyes.                       


    (Repeat Chorus)


    Now nothing's so flat as a mountain--

    cut cardboard 'gainst the evening sky,

    and nothing's so deep as the pain in the heart

    of a man trying to make up his mind.                                    (Repeat Chorus)

    Tuesday October 1st 1996,Montreal -St Lazare.

     But decisions are so hard to come by

    where you're drowning in an unchartered tide

    but as I drink your beauty like a cool spring draught in july,

    :My heart's already made up its mind. :

    Later added verse;Yonago 1998 



  • 04:37 Story Lyrics Bitter Black Coffee

    Bitter black coffee in the morning time

    Sends a rush into my heart and mind.

    Gives me the illusion that I’m feeling fine;

    Gonna kill me one of these times.


    Grown in a land far away

    By labor forced with little pay

    Bitter black coffee from the roots to the grounds

    A bitter black up from bitter black downs.

      Bitter luxuries from bitter blacks strife

      Gonna come back a take my life.



    Like some cancer inside of me.

    White sugar, petroleum cream

    Diabetes, clogged arteries,

    A karmic kind of disease.



    Well it’s morning at the ranch, and you and your model wife  are in your terri-cloth bathrobes, sipping your mocha java. Ah, not a worry in the world! At least in the coffee commercial that is. In reality there is that nagging possibility of a major uprising among the locals whose land you appropriated for the plantation.

    Actually, if truth be told, you’re the one causing all the worries in the world!

    Julio, Ahmed and Mangwe are worried if they’ll make enough to feed themselves, never mind their families.  Worried if they’ll make it through the day without being beaten.  Worried if they’ll ever make it to the ripe old age of 15 or 16.  And surviving these worries there is the question of escaping slavery on what was once their native soil.  Should they join the Marxists, the Fundamentalists, the child armies?

    But Nah!  Don’t you worry about such things.  Hell you own half the country and make more in one month than the entire annual national GNP and your juntas are well paid!  You are providing jobs after all!  Then again, there is that little question of the soul and the camel not passing through the eye of needle.   But Nah! You’ve read your Leo Strauss; religion is for the masses! And you know that no man is truly rich unless he owns his own army! Just like Crassus said before his insatiable greed led him and 10,000 of his fellow Romans off to be slaughtered in the sands of the Syrian desert.


    Bitter black coffee in the evening time

    Sends its poison to my heart and mind

    Blood from a land whose people are enslaved

    Someday gonna drive me to my grave.

      What you give and take goes around

      A bitter black up comes bitter black down.


    Bitter grey smoke we take into our lungs,

    We all know where it comes from:

    The people whose land we stole,

    Call it Montezuma’s other hole,


    Bitter black chocolate from an african farm

    Run by white companies far from the harm

    Of the children kidnapped or bought for slaves

    One day that chocolate will take you to your grave

    What you give and take oh well it goes around

    Your bitter black up will be your bitter black down.


    All’s connected we forget but know.

    We end up eating all the fruit we grow.

    Bitter black coffee, bitter grey smoke

    Big white devil’s gonna choke.


    Nara, 2001

  • 04:24 Lyrics The Lack

    You’ll never know what you’ve lacked until you’ve truly loved.

    There are those within the city, never seen the stars above.

    If you don’t share your heart, won’t know what you’re thinking of.

    You’ll never be able to fly, if you don’t take that final shove


    There are timid men and women who never watched the sunrise

    From dew covered grass, between their lover’s thighs.

    Never knew the world well through another’s eyes,

    and are too afraid to smile, in case they’ll have to cry.


    You won’t miss the sea if you’ve never left inland,

    The sound of wind on waves and walks upon the strand,

    There are those within apartment blocks who’ve never held a hand.

    And you won’t be a woman ‘til you’ve had me for your man.


    You’ll never know true joy until you’ve felt deep pain.

    But if you fear the change, you’ll always stay the same.

    The mountains are dark and crowded to people brought up on the plain.

    But you’ll never know the dizzy heights ‘til you hike that kind of range.


    There are those so afraid of depth they always cling to what is trite.

    There are those so afraid of wrong they never do what’s right.

    Those so afraid of the valley of darkness they never reach the light.

    And you’ll never know you loved me ‘til you share my bed/heart tonight.

                                                    Oh yeah will you share, share my bed tonight.


    (Instrumental, repeat verse 1) 

    You’ll never know true joy until you’ve felt deep pain.

    But if you fear change, you’ll always stay the same.

    Those so fear the valley of darkness they never reach the light.

    And you’ll never know you loved me ‘til you share my bed/heart tonight.

                                                    Oh yeah will you share, share my bed tonight.

    Adlib. Don’t know what you’re missing babe.


    Nara, Spring 2004

"I tasted this CD first with my ears and then with my mind and spirit. It was a feast. A banquet that fed me and gave me my fill….I hope that when you listen to this, you will be converted to Roman Rhodes's brand of à la carte ear-bud-tingling music!"
From IME review.

Folk Roots West at its alternative World inspired best: A skillful mix of Country-Celtic-Blues-Roots with a rich blend of classical, and world instrumentation.

"Like a flashing, shimmering silver wall
Jumping like lightening up a waterfall..."
The compositions, words & world view of Roman Rhodes with the vivacity, virtuosity and potency of the Pagans....
"Will clear you head like a forest fire,
wake your mind with the waking dreams
sparking like a real live wire..."

RIPE is a collection of some of the favorite audience songs from the Pagans 4-year stint at the famous Dubliner’s Irish Pub in Osaka’s Soemoncho district from 1999 til 2003, when it shut down. An eclectic album, which aims at show casing some of the various styles and talents of the world ranging band of ex-pats and Japanese nationals.

The band comprises of many multi-talented international musicians, including:
-Paul Fleisher the incredibly inspired wind instruments player of New York City who, in his long career, has played with the
Doobie Brothers, Joan Baez, Randall Elliot and was part of the original Broadway Musical production of Jesus Christ
Superstar. His soaring flutes, sultry sax and piercing picolos bring both 60s rock and jazz elements to the songs.
-Atsushi Akazawa, the Celtic and Asian strings specialist whose violin, bazouki, guitarlele and sanshien paying add a definite
Irish music flair and Asian undercurrent to the tunes.
-Tim Wiltshire, a West Virginian multitalented musician, who grew up playing with many funk and soul bands, whose haunting
slide guitars, driving electric guitars, harmonica and banjo playing add a strong country, 60s rock and bluegrass feel
to the album.
-Classical oboist Reiko Daimon
-Chris Howe, American recording specialist who provides the drums and bass, along with Hawaiian composer John Hulaton.
-Newfoundlander Bill Karney on jembe.
And of course:
-Roman Rhodes, the Pgaan's singer songwriter, who has the vocal and lyrical depth of Gordon Lightfoot with the popular power of Neil Young. Himself a Canadian, he is on a one-man mission to bring deeper meaning and breadth back into music with poetical lyrics and both political and spiritual undercurrents in music that is beautiful, moving and yet fun. As he writes in the 2nd song Snake Eyes:
"Don’t blame the knowledge tree
When it’s ignorance, fear and greed..." His songs will:
"Will heal your mind and heal your soul,
Jump in it, drink it, it will make you whole..."
Rhodes brings a celtic, Canadian folk, and blends many other influences into these songs through his soul filled vocals, guitars ,banjo, bass and keyboard playing.


Tantalising the tastebuds in my ears!
You go for a walk and discover something beautuful that you have never seen before and you tell yourself that you must share this place with someone who means a lot to you. Well, one day, I wandered down a musical highway and sighted a CD with a rather homemade-looking cover. I tasted this CD first with my ears and then with my mind and spirit. It was a feast. A banquet that fed me and gave me my fill.

It is rare, and indeed serendipitous to come along such a find. This is especially true in a musical world which is dominated by cheap jingles and chewing gum for the ears. I have to concede that this CD is probably not to everyone's taste, but those who have no interest in music with a folk feel, will be aware that this is top notch music.

I hope that when you listen to this, you will be converted to Roman Rhodes's brand of à la carte ear-bud-tingling music!
IME review

Roman Rhodes, as his name suggests is a wanderer: restless, curiously aligned in spirit to the original Provencal troubadors, who really did travel on Roman roads and kept alive the light from Eleusis. Today to be a true “country” musician is to have no country but the world. All ways lead home. You can map it out in his songs. He has made his musical pilgrimages, literally and figuratively, to Ireland, Africa, and South America. And, yes, he is Canadian too, following down some of the same roads as his famous fellow émigrés. His way, however, led to Japan, where he has found his own alternative to an American life.

Born into a musical family'"his mother taught piano, his grandfather was a pianist'"songs are what he has made of this side of his inheritance, over two hundred to his name so far. Listen carefully'"the lyrics are as far ranging as the rhythms. He travels in time as well as space. He is highly literate and draws easily upon his intellectual interests; a master’s degree in Ancient History'"his father’s genes at work'"underpins his art and stance as a “born again pagan.”

Don’t let the irony fool you. He is deeply committed to a humanly reasonable but radical agenda. It won’t hurt to state it here: worship the oneness in all its myriad energies and forms, protect the earth, decry ignorance, develop your inner daemon of potential, and appreciate the sensual world as the spiritual. On such principles, he has laid down well-made tracks meant to last a long time and, in good faith, to carry you away.

Jonathan Brewer --Nara Poetry
Author of Phantom City, Tonodan Press, Pasadena CA.


See Roman and the Pagans also at:

YouTube -- Facebook -- CD Baby --