Shadow Play

by Jeff Johnson

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about

I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
– From Hamlet, Act II Scene 2 by William Shakespeare

One of the definitive Jeff Johnson albums of the early 1980's, Shadow Play features a seamless musical and conceptual score that moves in and about the world of shadow and light.

Featuring –
Jeff Johnson: Piano, keys, vocorder & vocals
Sandy Simpson: Guitars, bass & vocals Drums & timpani
Brian Brickley
Violin & viola: Paul Patterson
Oregon Bass: David Friesen
Tablas & percussion: Roger Hadley
Flute: Susie May
Pam Mark Hall: Additional backing vocals


Introduction –

Art is tied to reality with a thousand ties.
- Hans Rookmaaker

Locked in a cave, a group of prisoners see only reflected silhouettes not things themselves. That image from Plato opens Shadow Play, a celebrated exploration of inner life. Marrying classical sensibilities with the energy of rock, Jeff Johnson sketches ten musical vignettes of searchers and dreamers whose quests and questions mirror our own.

Mrs. Gibb, from Thornton Wilder's play, Our Town, dreams of seeing Paris. Vincent Van Gogh in the Borinage, the coal mines of France, learns of his ambition to paint. Camus, the French philosopher, struggles for the meaning of existence. The "souls of all mankind' lead Ishmael, Moby Dick's famed seeker, in search of "the ungraspable phantom of life." The final vision of "Penumbrae" unveils the Celestial City, where "shadows dance around the New Jerusalem."

Lyrically brief but musically expansive, Shadow Play is a major work of power and beauty. – Gord Wilson


Music Review –

Johnson roams the realm of the human quest for supreme Truth, exploring the dreams and shadows that follow each of us before and after conversion. Thought and emotion are required to grasp the meanings of the songs, for each, as related to the others, is like an onion peeled to reveal yet another layer...similar to a reading of Charles Williams.
– CCM

credits

released March 15, 1983

Produced, engineered & mixed Jeff Johnson & Sandy Simpson
Recorded at The Ark / Tigard, OR

All sound effects recorded on location by Ark Mobile.

Mastered by John Golden
www.goldenmastering.com

℗ 1983 Ark Records, Inc. / ArkMusic
All songs by Jeff Johnson except "Penumbrae" by Sandy Simpson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cover art by Kathy Hastings © 1983

Dedicated to:
Susie, for her patience and love, despite mild successes; Sandy, for his unwavering support as an artist and friend; David & Kathy, for their examples of faith and art; Steve Griffith, for his enthusiasm for literature and truth; and to all of the rest of my family and friends who have given me the benefit of the doubt, even when the benefit has seemed doubtful.

AKD-5473

"Shadow Play" is also available on iTunes.

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Jeff Johnson

ArkMusic recording artist, composer, producer, and Selah worship leader has released numerous solo recordings along with collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead's novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. View Jeff's complete discography here: www.selahservice.com/2015/05/jeff-johnsons-arkmusic-discography/ ... more

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Track Name: Plato's Cave
PLATO'S CAVE (Instrumental)

Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light.
– From The Republic, Book VII, Plato

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: Soliloquy
SOLILOQUY

. . . There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it.
– From Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard

I go on and I don't know whether I'm going to shame or to light and joy. That's the trouble, for everything in the world is a riddle.
– From The Brothers Karamazov, Fedor Dostoevski

Weak heart slows me down.
Sad shape that I'm in today.
Someone left me here.
And it's sad shape that I'm in today.

Tell me,
What's my line?
You better dim the lights.
'Cause I never planned on being on this stage all alone without you.

Someone missed their cue,
Sad shape that I'm in today,
Someone left me here,
And it's bad shape that I'm in today.

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: Let Me Go
LET ME GO

That vague, crepuscular time, the time of regrets that resemble hopes, of hopes that resemble regrets, when youth has passed, but old age is not yet arrived.
– From Father And Sons, Ivan Turgenev

Say your "goodbye" and I'll fly away to the moon,
Don't ask me "why?," 'cause I've got to get away soon.
Just let me dream,
'cause it takes the pain away when I know I could be somewhere. . . Anywhere.

All of my life I have watched my dreams come and go,
And all of my life I have tried to learn what you know.
Still I am young and there may be time for me, time for me to just. . .
Go somewhere.

I'm beating on the fortress door,
I'm crying to the guard.
I'm bleeding and my bones are broken.
I can't believe it's real.

Well I could leave this great facade,
I could sneak out through the back.
But look up there, they're laughing.
Oh I can't believe it's real,
I want to go somewhere.
Let me go. . .

Say your "goodbye" and I'll fly away to the moon,
Don't ask me "why?," 'cause I've got to get away soon,
Still I am young and there may be time for me,
time for me to just . . .

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: Borinage
BORINAGE

A caged bird in spring knows quite well that he might serve some end; he is well aware that there is something for him to do, but he cannot do it. What is it? he does not quite remember. Then some vague ideas occur to him, and he says to himself, "the others build their nests and lay their eggs and bring up their little ones"; and knocks his head against the bars of the cage. But the cage remains, and the bird is maddened by anguish.
– From a letter to his brother, Theo, Vincent Van Gogh; Borinage, July 1880

All those years and all those tears seem so distant to me,
And all these fears like millions of mirrors seem to be all I see.

But if only I could be a painter,
Or maybe I already am.
'Cause I see that I'm not what I'm supposed to be. . .
I guess that's what keeps haunting me.

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: Paris Dreamers
PARIS DREAMERS

. . .it's been the dream of my life to see Paris, France.
– From Our Town, Act 1, Thornton Wilder

I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope.
– From Agamemnon, Aeschylus

If I could get to Paris,
I know that it would be,
So much better than this life. . .
it's obvious to me.

If I could get to anywhere,
I know that it would be,
So much better than before. . .
it's very clear to see.

Somedays it's very clear to me.
Somedays it's not so clear.
I've seen Paris once before,
Paris sounds good to me.

Dream, dream she's a dreamer,
Paris will redeem her.
Eiffel Tower Baby,
Maybe, baby , maybe. . .

You, you might think she seems a little crazy,
But if you do we'll say your thinking's hazy. . .

Paris Dreamers. . .

It's been the dream of my life to see Paris.

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: The Play
THE PLAY

The Devil enters the prompter's box and the play is ready to start.
– From The Harpy, Robert Williams Service

Long ago I met you in the Play,
In the Play we knew just what to say,
We were told when to move, "Try to make it real smooth."
It was all that we could handle way back then.

But the Curtain never fell down on the Play,
And the Characters we acted out remain,
Though the Show's a success, there are some who want out,
The Director handles it in his own way,
And we never see them much more in the Play. . .

You were one of them.
Share the secret word.
Get me out of here. . .

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: The Phantoms Know (So Long, Andromeda)
THE PHANTOMS KNOW (SO LONG, ANDROMEDA)

. . .and still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But the same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.
– From Moby Dick, Herman Melville

So long, Andromeda,
But I knew that I would not stay here that long.
I know it sounds absurd,
But even you will someday disappear.

So, so long, Andromeda,
But I knew it would boil down to leaving you,
Leaving everything that I wanted to embrace. . .
The things I've spent my whole life working for, living for, dying for. . .

The ancient writer knew when he called the human being a phantom.

The art nouveau lampshade flickers its light across the darkened room.
A T.V. show is on, but suddenly the screen shows nothing there.

Something's strange,
I think that there's phantoms in this room,
The souls of all mankind that led me here,
Left me here.

These phantoms know the meaning,
the meaning of the curse.
Theses phantoms know what we'll know,
the truth we wished reversed.
The phantoms know the curtain falls someday. . .

The ancient writer knew when he called the human being a "phantom."

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: Dancer In The Night
DANCER IN THE NIGHT

There is strong shadow where there is much light.
– Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Wake up, wake up you Sleepers.
Look out into the night.
Get up, get up you Dreamers,
The Dancer is in sight. . .

Dancer in the night,
Dancing in lamplight,
Silhouetted sight,
Dancer in the night.

Dance in the night,
Keeps my hopes alive,
Darkness turns to light,
When you're in my sight. . .

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: My Blue Camus
MY BLUE CAMUS

And so I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep.
– From The Stranger, Albert Camus

Nobody knows me like I do and I'll never let them know.
Nobody sees things like I see and I'll never let them see.

'Cause I'm the Stranger,
Midnight Ranger,
Skirting danger,
I'm the Stranger.

Oh what a fool I was back then, and oh what a fool I'm now.
If only I could go back again and begin again somehow,
But Quasimodo and I must run to fortify Notre Dame,
We'll climb up the stairs and ring the bells to warn the entire land.

That I'm the Stranger,
Midnight Ranger,
Skirting danger,
I'm the Stranger. . .

Waiting for something,
Afraid of the one thing,
The one thing that he knows will change him. . .

By Jeff Johnson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com
Track Name: Penumbrae
PENUMBRAE

1: a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow of all sides and the full light. 2: a surrounding or adjoining region in which something exists to a lesser degree.
– Webster's Dictionary

And for all I can tell, the only difference is that what many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream. But things that many see may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that are shown only to one may be spears and waterspouts of truth from the very depth of truth.
– From Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

Shadow growing longer in this room of mine,
Shadows on the ceiling in this room of mine.
And I see that nothing's left to chance in its flickering advance,
But somehow I thought it never could reach me.

Shadows growing longer in this heart of mine,
Shadows on the walls of this heart of mine.
And I see that all the reasons why the seasons should go by so slowly, Are that I might live to be.

Shadows growing longer in this life of mine,
Shadows at the doorstep to this life of mine,
And I see Him knocking at the Door, but I'm afraid no more,

For this life is but the shadow of a brighter world,
So far away,
A new Creation is unfurled
Where shadows dance around the New Jerusalem
At Home at last. . .
at Home at last.

Acta est fabula

By Sandy Simpson
© 1983 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by www.musicservices.com