Please Stand By (filk tape)

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Filk Album
Album Title: Please Stand By
Producer: Fesarius Productions
Date: 1988
Medium: cassette tape
Performer(s): T.J. Burnside, Linda Meinick, and Sheila Willis, with Julia Ecklar
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Please Stand By is a filk cassette released by Technical Difficulties, a filk group.

cover by T.J. Burnside
cassette tape

Side 1

  • Lullaby for a Weary World
  • Reluctant Freedom
  • Elizabeth's Song
  • Come You Knights - A recording of them singing the Star Wars filk song Come You Knights at the 1986 WorldCon can be heard on Youtube here with lyrics here, Archived version[1]
  • Innocence Lost
  • Dedication

Side 2

  • Technical Difficulties, Part I: Dona Nobis Pacem
  • One Final Lesson
  • Break Forth
  • Few Days
  • Thinking of You / The Cruel War
  • Technical Difficulties, Part II: The Hallelujah Chorus - Technical Difficulties, Part II: The Hallelujah Chorus can be heard here.

Sample Lyrics

Lyrics Source: None, Archived version

Lullaby for a Weary World By T.J. Burnside Clapp

I wonder how my world can live with all the hate she harbors
(Sleep, my weary world)
And I’m scared of how long it may last and just how soon it all could end
And I wish the power to stop it all could rest within my hands.
I see her people dying for such bold and bloody causes
(Sleep, my weary world)
And the bodies of the innocent are washed up on the lengthening shore
While the rising tide of history just ebbs, then flows again.
Oh, make me a cradle to rock my weary world
Make me a gentle voice to soothe her when she weeps
Make my arms strong enough to hold her when she wakes
And make me a lullaby so sweet and fine that I can sing my weary world to sleep.

I wish that I could smooth away her jagged shards of hatred
(Sleep, my weary world)
And though my hands may bleed and burn I’ll hold my broken world to me
Until her ugly scars have healed, and peace may reign again.
And if her fighting will not stop, I’ll hold her that much closer
And sing my lullaby above the noise and pain of war
And if her bleeding I can’t staunch I’ll bleed along beside her
But I will not let her go; no, I’ll never let her go!

And when the stars have all burned out, I’ll sing to her in darkness
(Sleep, my weary world)
And pray a tender god may find me, huddled in the dark and cold
And grant the precious world I shelter one more chance to live.
May God grant my precious world another chance to love!
(Chorus, repeat last line)

DEDICATION by Jean Stevenson in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew

Seven names to represent
The whole damn human race
Seven who died reaching for space
(as we reach for space)
Others will fly
In that tempting void
That waits beyond the sky
We’ll control the lightning once again
Stars have ever beckoned men
To reach for higher things
Stars for which we try with homemade wings
(with our wings we soar)
Time is our friend
As we try and fail and try
And never bend
We’ll control the lightning and the wind
Once we sailed o’re the seas
Slaves to tide and breeze
Guided by the stars we seek to know
And to further our schemes
Lay the mother world of dreams
Smiling even as we turned to go
Cradle world that brought us forth
Beneath our warming sun
Cradle world of life that’s just begun
(as we begin)
Watch as we grow
In the face of hate and strife
And hammer blow
We’ll control the lightning once again

Reactions and Reviews

They call themselves "Technical Difficulties"—but there's nothing remotely difficult about listening totheir first tape, "Please Stand By". It's just pure pleasure all the way. From "Lullaby for a Weary World" (a song that makes you want to clap hands and sing along) to "Technical Difficulties", Part II ("The Hallelujah Chorus"?!?-technicallydifficult, indeed!), the songs on this tape...MOVE! They are also consistently lyrical and presented with both fresh charm and a professional polish we don't often see in fan-produced tapes, and there are some very good reasons for this. First, the three voices—those of T. J. Burnside, Linda Melnick and Sheila Willis—are all equally good, equally strong and equally pleasant on the ear. Lest you mistake reality, let me tell you this is no easy achievement. There are many voices in fandom and not a few musical groups get together at convention filk sessions with fair regularity. The number of times that you get three good ones, all of whom are individually capable of singing very well as solos who also blend masterfully—well, they can be counted on one hand (an alien hand with fewer fingers than hath a human, I hasten to add). The plain truth is that Melnick's soprano, Willis' contralto and Burnside's tenor (yes—I said tenor) are so much worth listening to individually that you would think that it would be too much of a test of their individual ego interests for them to make a workable, lyrical trio. Moreover, their voices are beautifully balanced—and it's not a trick of eight-track engineering because that ain't the way "Please Stand By" was produced. Another contributing factor to this pro-quality tape is the taste of the trio in choosing their material. That they considered, and discarded, dozens of pieces goes without saying. What they did choose to give us is partly their own—that is, written by one or more of them—and partly, cannily picked from among the output of three of the best songwriters in fandom: Leslie Fish, Jean L. Stevenson and Julia Ecklar. (If you've never heard Julia, make an effort to listen to her—on her own tape, "Genesis" or on any of the "Bayfilk Concert tapes—it will be well worth your time.) Some songs on this tape will become favorites—instant favorites. Yours may not be the same as mine, but I have the floor here, so I'll just forge ahead Most memorable on the tape are: "Come You Knights", the call-to-battle, Rebel Alliance recruiters' song that will make you want to take up your helmet, climb into your X-Wing and blast off; "One Final Lesson", Lt. Saavik's song (by Ecklar), and a gut-wrencher, at that; "Thinking of You/Cruel War" a stunning three-parter written by Stevenson that is both a tribute to the lyricist/musician who wrote it and a gorgeous display piece for three intricately fitted and lovely voices; it is strong in harmony and touching in message; and a surprise—Leslie Fish's "Few Days", a song I never enjoyed in the best musical sense until now: not only is it warmly alive and moving as a song, it also spoke to me as the spirit-voice of Flight Officer Ellen Ripley of Aliens, for it is her song, as she goes out to give her demons "one more round". (This is strictly the way the song struck me, for when I mentioned it to Linda Melnick in a recent conversation, she was surprised—and intrigued—by the idea.) Beautifully engineered in Rockport, Maryland, the tape is a joy. Canny souls that the ladies are, they chose to make a flood of copies that are being snapped up by all the cleverest listeners. You can get it from Poison Pen Press, Off Centaur Productions, Pegasus Productions or Fesarius (that's Techincal Difficulties' own production source, though the address is changing, so I can't supply it right now). It's a safe bet that you'll want it after you listen to it just once, because it's so damned good. If you appreciate good music—and love filk songs—this is another beauty for your tape library. A final note: they call themselves by their peculiar group name for a very good, (ahem) logical reason—do you have any idea how technically difficult it is to produce a tape this good (or even to sing, for that matter) when the three members of your trio live in three different, rather widely spread cities?! [2]


  1. ^ lyrics from emeraldforest filk now offline
  2. ^ from Scoundrel #10, used with permission of the editor