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Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

1975

by No-No Boy

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    Compact disc in digipak packaging with liner notes insert. [note: photo of product is a mock-up image]

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  • Vinyl LP
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Standard weight and standard color vinyl LP in slip sleeve jacket with liner notes insert. [Note that the photo is a mock-up image[

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1.
A soft language barrier The child of an immigrant Before the Banh Mi trucks were cool Lunch table embarrassment That scene with the border guard Last night on the continent What was the view like knowing that you Might never come back again There are so many things I should have said to you Sometimes family trees cut cruel What did you make of Tennessee In 1988, all covered in snow The winter my little brother was born And we carried him up the hill to our home I wish I had taken French A little more seriously I remember singing to you When you were dying in St. Denis There are so many things I could have asked you then Sometimes songs don’t get a nice end
2.
Can you give the world a twist Just by doing the twist? At the moment the bomb went off, They were playing “Purple Haze” I met Robert at his restaurant, Septième arrondissement The Doors still echo in the jungle. He said, “Your mother brought back 45s from Paris in ’65 and we learned ʼem note for note.” Some broken English Rolling Stones Fenders, girls, and dope America provides Oh, Saigon teens… Can you give the world a twist Just by doing the twist? Can you save the world with acid rock? I didn’t know my mother’s maiden name That time in Texas when we was detained And I’ve been back to old Saigon But how much of you is lost When they change your name? Oh, Saigon teens… And it was half a world away The band got back on stage Four decades to the day “Purple Haze”
3.
The flyer read, “Musicians needed!” So young Yone grabbed his silver mouthpiece Tracked down a kid who brought a trumpet to Pomona Let Yone have it on a free two-year lease Joy Teraoka née Takeshita Went to the tryout, she was only 16 With some girlfriends to cheer her on, their club was called the Radelles Mom said, “If you keep up with school, Joy, you can sing.” George Igawa, OG Nisei He toured up the coast and even played Japan Before the war, they ripped up the Florida Ballroom Man, don’t sleep on those Sho-Tokyans Under starlight they danced behind barbed wire Under the mountain, it meant something to sing Stuck between two countries in a fire The best god damn band in Wyoming Little Tets Bessho rep’d the Kardiacs gang The clarinet kid, the “Nisei Artie Shaw,” Dropped by rehearsal in a tar paper barrack Once he joined up, sister, it was on They practiced daily, gigged on the weekend Stirring up those dusty mess halls Teenage bodies unchained from their parents Man, them old folks, they really lost it all The only swing band left in Wyoming That got ʼem out some nights until dawn War bond drives in Powell, Mormons dancing in Lovell A bunch of “Japs” playing jazz at the Thermopolis prom Under machine guns they danced behind barbed wire At below zero, it meant something to sing Angelenos mixing up with farm kids in the choir The best god damn band in Wyoming George Igawa, he split for Chicago With Kimiko in the fall of ’44 He left the band to Tets, Joy went with her family to DC. As for Yone, he had to join the war And that’s the story from old Heart Mountain And the best band you never did see Locked up in prison camps for no fuckin’ reason But they still found a reason to sing The best god damn band in Wyoming . . .
4.
Gimme Chills 03:29
Give me rhyme for no reason Give me the world for a start Give me all the treason you might carry in your heart Give me life fantastic Get me over the hill Until the day I go, gimme chills Give me seas of blue waves Tangled round my hands Give me sand and soft shoes Evenings with the band Sing me songs so classic, like cherry cola thrills Lips on glass, not plastic I know you will Give me trial without jury Give me Imelda Marcos’s shoes Give me another century to make it up to you Hear of the Sangley rebellion? Some say twenty thousand killed 16 and 03, gimme chills Give me Dewey in Manila Give me the Pearl of the Orient Give me the USS Olympia, nine ships heaven sent Skype me Christmas eve from Doha Toast me New Year’s from Crown Hill And if we never get back home, gimme chills Give me Lopez de Legazpi From Jalisco to Cebu Make me your religion I’ll watch over you Dream of Spanish autumns From New Granada to old Castile Over all them miles, gimme chills Give me rhyme for no reason Give me your balikbayan box Give me Coca-Cola, Chuck Taylors, and an Apple watch Give me your Asian manhood Give me Duterte’s sober will Black flags in Marawi, gimme chills
5.
Imagine taking a tanker ship Then walking all of Mexico I know some people who the blues won’t quit Imagine no end to a road They’re saying out in El Paso The prisons filled up to the brim Now they’re sticking them in cages Just sweep it all beneath the bridge And you might want to worry And you might want to come down And you might need to hurry Judging from this town Take a jump shot in Laredo Feel some special kind of weird Purgatory outlet mall implode Cry some special kind of tears Living in between the water Just close your eyes and dream of flowers So says a mother to a daughter Wasting in line for 40 hours And you might want to worry And you might want to come down And you might need to hurry Judging from this town En la frontera te das cuenta que la historia tiende a repetirse: Un niño es un niño, Una jaula es una jaula, Los sentimientos, Las angustias, Todas son las mismas. Lo único que cambia es la época Imagine no end to a road . . .
6.
And I’d love to waste your day If you’d love to waste mine, too… So we met at the museum As to hear the elder song “Hole Hole Bushi” and Miss Betsy sang along, along, along, along… Ala Moana park Falling sweetly to the night And I sipped my inspiration from The old plantation strike Blues and waves hanging A little sadness in your eyes Blues and waves hanging A little more to paradise In the orange-tinted surf I dreamt of Fred Makino And his rebel letter press Baller Hapa Issei bro And I watched the lanterns light A flicker sadness in your eyes Okinawa and Hawaii Kin of military might Blues and waves hanging A little sadness in your eyes Blues and waves hanging A little more to paradise
7.
Last ship off the dock Before the Japanese took Hong Kong Henry came with Mom Three weeks: so long, Canton First, Weybosset Street Then a little house, an hour south by feet A hop, a skip, a jump from Roger Williams Park Aren’t we all just some pilgrims in the dark? Faith, that’s the bottom line (x3) You are young, you will be fine By the old Round Top Five blocks from Luke’s restaurant Lily and the Irish Chinese kid Cross your heart and keep your secrets hid Faith, that’s the bottom line (x3) You are young, you will be fine A congregation of all stripes Lift your voice until it blends with mine On the On Leong banquet day Confirmation dress and two bouquets Faith, that’s the bottom line (x3) You are young, you will be fine (x2)
8.
Say, have you ever been to eastern Colorado, Where the Sand Creek meets the Arkansas River? Do you know the tale of old One-Eye’s daughter, or Cheyenne Mochi, shakin’ and shiverin’? Hold me, lover, tell me lies Ain’t no coming back from this one Take a cruel meditation upon a slaughter Underneath a white flag Mr. Yellow Wolf, here meet Tomoki Ogata Two ghosts caught in a jet lag Hold me, lover, tell me lies Ain’t no coming back from this one M-A-T-S-U-D-A baby There are some days, it might be best not to remember The No-Nos had it right, kid The cavalry hung scalps from a chandelier in Denver Mutilate the peace chiefs Name a town after Chivington Hold me, lover, tell me lies Hold me, lover, tell me lies Seems like the world cracked overnight There’s no coming back from this one (repeat) Open up your eyes, open up your eyes Pen to paper, take a trip, my love Let me know what you find Open up your eyes, open up your eyes For a minute and give yourself To a place and a time (repeat x2) There is a grave in eastern Colorado There is a date marked Christmas Day, 1944 and not even a name Just “Matsuda Baby” M-A-T-S-U-D-A baby
9.
Twice southern with two civil wars A fool to think that this place could ever be yours The in between, that’s where we must explore Tell Hanoi I love her Jenny’s mother in the nail salon Bedazzled star-spangled t-shirt tiger mom Saw the flag on my hat, told me to take it off Tell Hanoi I love her I keep no grudge against some Old World kin Not letting go, now, that’s the bodhisattva’s sin I named my Chrysler after Ho Chi Minh Tell Hanoi I love her I got an auntie, oh, but man alive Last election cast a ballot for 45 If I’d seen what she’s seen, I might see her side Tell Hanoi I love her I dream of junks, oh, to sail away Wash your feet on a beach in Ha Long Bay My mother said once that’s where dragons lay Tell Hanoi I love her We bleed as cheap as our enemy And we die just as needlessly Once, I thought there was just one of me Tell Hanoi I love her Fumble with numbers, I just wanna sing Ain’t nothing sadder than some gook with an American dream Sometimes I think the most communist things… Tell Hanoi I love her
10.
Khmerica 03:53
Some nights, I’m a tourist to my kind Landscape caught within a frame, a glimpse of another side Call you, call you in my best Khmerican Painter, pick up your round brush and fill the details in Be my eyes Cracked paint, a place enchanted The colors of your life Sunsets playing on the temple And you, who survived Be my eyes Some kids move because their parents take new jobs Some kids move ʼcause of Napalm Cracked paint, a place enchanted The colors of your life Siem Reap bathed in gold and umber and Palm trees climb so high Sunsets playing on the temple And you, you who survived Be my eyes, father, be my eyes I can play the old music We can dance to all the old songs But I’ll never walk with you through it What a cruel, cruel task to belong Yay said, “The moon ain’t sitting right” When you wanted to marry mom Be my eyes, father, oh be my eyes
11.
There are no bridges to the past Don’t fool yourself when you look back The time is up, the years are gone You have for now but not for long Pass it on and pass it by Kiss me good night Three stripes on a yellow cloth A fake tattoo that won’t wash off You are more than what you lost Kiss me good night I met Chibby in the temple Out in San Francisco She put my mind to ease I sit here from my privileged throne Painting scars and tossing bones Making puppets of the dead A fetish for my bookish head What part of history may I take? Only the part which you might make. Kiss me good night, Kiss me, good night
12.
Tony Ramone 03:19
Tony likes the Ramones At least he thinks the t-shirt’s alright Lucky rabbit foot on His hair is ready for Friday night Neon lights paint you so pretty Bumming ‘round Chinatown Ducks hanging up in the window Waiting for Mrs. Chiu to come down With a bottle of top-shelf baiiju She got from a brother back home Now, I’ll head down to Catherine Street To find Tony Ramone Tony likes the Ramones At least he likes the “Blitzkrieg Bop” We share a pair of headphones And a cot up in a bachelor’s loft The cat sweater lady’s selling sandals On the corner of Mott and Grand Her friend is bundled up like a child Behind her, ray gun in hand The fishmongers down on Henry Perfume themselves with cigarette smoke Now, I’ll head down to Catherine Street To find Tony Ramone Tony likes the Ramones Ticket stub from the Palladium His sister missed the show Back to Queens on the F Train alone Neon lights flicker off so quickly Pale morning in Chinatown I watch the funeral pass below the window Then I walk with Mrs. Chiu down To meet Rebecca around the corner For their daily Columbus Park stroll Now, I’ll head down to Catherine Street Yeah, I’ll split for Catherine Street I’ll head down to Catherine Street To find Tony Ramone

about

No-No Boy is the musical project of Vietnamese American singer and scholar Julian Saporiti. On his Smithsonian Folkways debut 1975, named after the year Saigon fell, Saporiti investigates his own family heritage as well as life in WWII Japanese internment camps, immigrant detention centers and refugee camps in 2020, and other stories of immigration that illustrate the complexities of becoming American. His songs are the epitome of folk storytelling in the modern era, as he interweaves histories with field recordings from the sites of collective trauma and fragments of Asian American musical tradition, from jazz to rock, to choral music). With his plaintive, direct voice, he takes listeners on a deeply human journey through the Asian American experience in the US.

credits

released April 2, 2021

For the sounds I could not make or find myself, I turned to, in no particular order, Dan Lipsitz (winds, horns: “Best Band”), Wes Langlois (guitars, mandolin: “Best Band”), Kristin Weber (vocals, violin: “Sand Creek”), Erin Aoyama (harmonies: “Best Band”), Joyce Kwon (harmonies: “Gimme Chills”), Armand Aromin (fiddle, vocals: “Gimme Chills”), Takénobu (strings: “Miss Burma”), Hamilton Berry (cello: “Close Your Eyes”), Karen Tingey (taiko samples: “Sand Creek”), Jeff Worral (trumpet: “Best Band”), David Ginger (trombone: “Best Band”), and Jacob Borchardt (bugle: “Sand Creek”). Emilia Halvorsen was my indispensable partner through the recording process and lent her voice, ear, and hands to most of these songs.

Produced by Julian Saporiti
Co-produced by Emilia Halvorsen & Seth Boggess
Recorded by Julian Saporiti & Seth Boggess
Mixed by Seth Boggess
Mastered by Pete Reiniger
Annotated by Julian Saporiti
Photos courtesy of Diego Luis and the artist’s family archive
Cover photo by Julian Saporiti & Emilia Halvorsen
Executive producers: Huib Schippers and John Smith
Production manager: Mary Monseur
Production assistants: Kate Harrington, Logan Clark
Editorial assistance by Carla Borden
Art direction, design, and layout by Visual Dialogue

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No-No Boy Portland, Oregon

Nashville born. Living in Oregon. Musician, scholar. New album "1975" out on Smithsonian Folkways spring 2021.

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