January 06, 2011

(Scraping the bottom of the barrell 2:) "Abrakadabra": another lyrics from the Hydrogen Jukebox era.

Here's another lyrics from the Hydrogen Jukebox, A.D. 1978, the electric-pop band formed by Sweeney after the TEB experience. Written by the percussionist for the album, but lightly modificated for the vocals, it's a long apocalyptic vision about the times, valid even for this 'new' second decade of 2000's...

"I've heard the works of Eliphus Levi
Kafka and Verlaine
I've been astral travelling nightly
with commuters of the brain
but the sign posts of the occult
all seem to read the same
I'm heading for the palace
of pain... singing

I've seen the demons of the drug stores
cast their pearls before swine
I've seen the pedliars of madness
down on Hollywood and vine
but the second hand of oblivion
sweeps the corridors of time
and I'm frozen in a catatonic mime... singing

I've seen the captains of confusion
order millions of their doom
heard the horseman of the apocalypse
like thunder on the tomb
heard the children of innocense
screaming in the womb
and I'm hiding in a crater on the moon... singing

The original lyrics handwritten by Glen Sweeney.
I've heard the pious popes of pornography
preaching to the poor
heard the flood tide of humanity
crying out for more
I saw the scothsayers of war
that left me screaming in terror 
on the floor... singing

I've heard the bibles of bullshit
preached the sermons of hate
I've seen the sign that says no niggers
above the pearly gate
I've sung the hymns of hypocrisy
and before it gets too late
I'm joining the fairies of fate... singing
                                               ©1978  Glen Sweeney Estate

Jim "Gypsy" Hayes recording Hydrogen Jukebox tracks.

About the Hydrogen Jukebox: maybe can be intersting to know that the album, formerly titled "Apocaliptic Anthems" and then called "Prophesies" when Materiali Sonori produced it in 1991, had two different track-lists (but with Sweeney it was a normal thing...):

“Prophecies” (CD – Materiali Sonori , 1991)
“Kingdom of the Brave”. “Life is an Art”. “Crysalis the Man”. “Voidoid City”. “Shoe Suede Blues”. “Ab-ra-ka-dab-ra”. “Prophecies”. “To be Continued”.

“Apocaliptic Anthems”/”Voidoid City” (pre-realise tape)
“Abracadabra”. “Folded Up the Afternoon”. “Join the Fairys of Fate”. “Kingdom of the Brave”. Signspots of the Occult”. “Don’t whistle while you piss”. “I saw Buddha smile”. “Voidoid City”.

At one point, during 1990, Sweeney decided to title it "Voidoid City" and designed the cover reproduced below: 

                                                                                              ©1990  Glen Sweeney Estate

Asking Mick Carter, produced the album's  tracks  at Dansette Studios (Kent) in 1978 and the definitive mix at London Alchemical Studios in 1991, he confirmed no out-takes or alternate tracks exist in the vaults...

The Hydrogen Jukebox (L-R): Brian Diprose, Jim Hayes, Mick Carter, an unknown engineer, Glen Sweeney.
no©2011 Luca Ferrari


  1. Something Will (Hulbert) said a while back about the 1978 Camden Roundhouse gig made me believe that was a Hydrogen Jukebox set + Minns. I do have an affection for the album - admittedly because I though it was Sweeney doing the singing because I first heard those tracks on a Voiceprint album which (Sweeney?) says he was!

    Any evidence of that line-up on tape anywhere? Did anyone record the gig or rehearsals? Is it really worth asking this?

  2. I don't know anything about that gig, but I'm quite sure the Hydrogen Jukebox's singer was the 'gypsy' Hayes bedcause I've got in my flat for one year the original reel and that was... Anyway, it is possible that in 1978 Minns could play with Glen, because he was still living in London...
    It's incredible for me that none in England could have some rare live recordings of TEB or HJ... How can it be possible?
    I've done the best I could to edit everything around, but nothing has come from the '60's/'70's decades...