From the recording The Emergent Sea
This was one of those rare songs that came to me in a flash, though obviously (at least I hope it's obvious) the lyrics were refined over time. It was inspired while reading the Dylan biography Behind the Shades(take two). At one point talking about Dylan’s relentless perusal of English Folk ballads for song material, it mentions The Trees They Grow High, and I couldn’t help cynically quipping, ”yeah, they once grew high!” I immediately knew I had a good line and started jotting down ideas, indeed the first 2 verses and chorus, on the inside of the back jacket (well last page) of my copy of the biography. I was on the train to work and had no paper. They are still there. The year was 2002. Once again Moray’s drumming carries the song at a good gallop and Tim's endlessly creative, playibus-anythingus electric gives it that Rider's on the Storm feel. Tim said the song conjured up for him some lone figure galloping across some plain, and it is a nice image to carry when you're listening.
The Trees Once Grew High©Roman Rhodes, 2002
The trees they once grew high, I'm telling you. Grew so high and full, sheltered us from the sky. But now we've cut the old ones all down, and on the ground they lie.Those trees once grew so high, I'm telling you.
Now the squirrels could walk the trees, I'm telling you.From the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi; Never touched the ground, never made a sound, Silent leafy highways, high above the ground. The squirrels once walked the trees, I'm telling you.
That air was so clean, I'm telling you.Air so clean it cleared your head, like a forest fire. Woke your mind with the waking dreams, Sparking like a live wire, That air was once so clean I'm telling you.
Chorus: Well it stoned you to your soul, Never felt empty, always whole. The Oneness with the all. But we cut them down and that's what makes our fall.
Their leaves they made the soil, I'm telling you. Soil so thick and rich, all things planted grew. But with no roots to hold it down.We're left with a barren ground.The leaves made the soil, I'm telling you.
That soil cleaned the water I'm telling you.Filled it with minerals that made our blood so strong. We're weakened now the water's no good, Cause the soil and the trees are gone. The trees cleaned the water I'm telling you.
That water was so clear, I'm telling you. From a fifty meter pier, you could see right through. Healed your wounds and healed your soul, Jump in it, drink it, it made you whole, That water was so pure, I'm telling you.
The salmon were so plenty, I'm telling you.Jab in your spear once, run a dozen through. Like a flashing shimmering silver wall. Jumping like lightening up a water fall, The salmon were once so plenty I'm telling you.