The Awakening

by Dudley Benson

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Dudley Benson's 2008 debut full-length album.

'A revelation'
★★★★★ Album of the Month, Real Groove Magazine

'Marvellous beyond belief'
★★★★ Sunday Star Times

'Utterly beguiling'
★★★★1/2 Dominion Post


released March 10, 2008

Written, arranged & produced by Dudley
Recorded, engineered & mixed by Adrian Hollay
Mastered by Mandy Parnell at Electric Mastering
Golden Retriever Records, GRR005D

Piano, harpsichord, celeste & organ – Dudley
Choir – Rachel Alexander & Anna McGregor (soprano),
Chelsea Dolman, Elisha Fai & Jessica Lightfoot (alto),
Pene Pati & Amitai Pati (tenor),
Nicholas Forbes & Nicholas Sutcliffe (bass)
Choir conducted by Dudley
String Quartet – Jessica Lightfoot (1st violin), Caitlyn Westbrooke
(2nd violin), Claire Lebouteiller (viola), Andrea Mundy (cello)
Recorder Quartet – Ryan Chao (soprano), Peter Ou (alto),
James Daniell (tenor), Thomas Warren (bass)
Karanga manu performed by Richard Nunns – karanga weka, tua roria, harakeke, poi awhiowhio, porotiti
Harp – Yi Jin
Oggie’s Story – Ric Mann
Guitar & ukulele – Steve Abel

Cover photograph by Warren Dawson – Sunnyside Mental Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand, now demolished


all rights reserved



Dudley Benson Dunedin, New Zealand

I'm a queer independent artist based in Dunedin, New Zealand. I make music about nature and nationalism. Thanks for listening!

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Track Name: On the Shoulders of the Earth
On a fine day
If Mum says “Okay”
I go walking out on the hills where I can play

Singing favourite songs
My friends wait for me
They are white quadrupeds eating lucerne leaves

And here is where I’m going to stay This is where I’ll lay my head to rest I’ll go to sleep on the shoulders of the Earth This is where you’ll find me if you came looking
Track Name: Audrey H.
You want to have something solid and structured
And you want to have someone
You can boss around
Never mind learning or getting hands dirty
I’m leaning on someone who’s shaky at best!

You cried a tear
Then I cried sixty-four-and-a-half
Isn’t that always the way?
I’m a drama queen (Baby, you know it)
So be my audience here for a while

But why does time never give me my medicine? Why does hindsight never teach me my lesson?

Just as you are crossing the water
I wonder if I’m crossing the line
Permission from you once was a privilege
Now it’s a luxury I can’t respect

So be my audience here for the last time
Track Name: Willow
Forage through the oldest things
Sleeping in the third drawer down
Wake them gently with your hands
Nurse them back to fullest health

Etienne Francois came here on a boat
With his wife, with willow in a potato
Justine Rose, she planted the trees
On the banks of the Avon –
They are still there!

Oh, you willow, how dost thou grow?
Lifted from Napoleon’s grave
And into the earth beneath our feet...

Bon voyage!
Track Name: Asthma
In the winter sun of August ‘83
On the golden hills that cradle Canterbury
Runs Jasmine my wonderful retriever
I cut Jess’ hair but this I do not remember
And happiness like this you don’t find easily

My lungs were small and weak
With all the drugs
(As I fell under the asthma spell)
And swimming in the hospital pool
Did not help much
(Bunking P.E. when I’m feeling bit wheezy)
Ventolinhaler, Flixotide,
Dr. Beco and his nebuliser
Medication like this you can get easily

Though it isn’t always clear
I had to get my asthma from somewhere
Track Name: The Awakening
Finally, I am home!
The horizon line is my bed
Years of me have led up to this and I never knew

Padding toward the shore
The sun is my only companion
Breathing deeply, slowly, now calm

You minimal waves, tease my toes
Forward flow
Naked in the water now I truly admire
The embrace of the tide
Brush the ocean aside

I’m out quite far now
My limbs so sore
Fear tries to take me but...still

Lavender fills me through
A soldier in black boots
Sun in a field of shoots
And finally, I am home!
Track Name: It's Akaroa's Fault
A lighthouse
A graveyard
Our Lady of Fatima

I don’t want to meet Minnie Dean
At the end of my life
If I were to meet her I’d keep her hatbox in sight

The fault that runs across the South Island
Supports the Banks Peninsula
And the Akaroa Harbour
Track Name: Rapaki
Do not tarry by night
Heed my warning with care
From the path do not stray
Though the beauty of Rapaki is infinite
In the dark it’s estranged

“I was here before you,
I’ll still be when you’re gone,”
Chants the crater in prayer:
“They had stolen my fish
So I took back their lives!”
Do you feel them still here?

Settlers scoured for their bodies
And found none
Until the remains of a boy were found
Deep in a valley where a pillar now stands
A guardian employed

“Would you tell me how long
‘Til we get to the top?”
Asked David of Archie as light
Showered down from the stars
And the southerly wind
Sent Shock running mad in the night

“Would you mind if I held onto your hand?”
Asked David of Archie
As they thought about home, warmth, bed
And the pressure of imminent rain

“Would you sing to me Archie? I’m falling asleep...”
Asked David as white as his bones
“I’ll sing you something my mother sings me
When the two of us are alone:

“Time is a rascally burglar
And oh, he likes to take
If you were ever stolen from me
The heart in these ribs would surely break.”

So don’t go putting yourself away
And don’t go fishing today
Track Name: Psalm For Antigone
Antigone, I miss you
Keeper of Memory walk with me
Across these hills
Over these old, old hills

It’s strange to see you now
No different than before
While I, like the plains below grow slow
With years gone by
I grow with years gone by

I remember your hands deep in the earth
Your life pushed into the soil
To grow us a native tree
Our garden on Huntsbury

And I recall you waking us on a night in spring
To bring us guests to the birth
Of a beautiful family
A kid to hold gently

I still can smell the pine on wind and history
I feel them like past generations
Dictating the life I lead
In a pattern, cartography

The blood cells I am, each fibre that I am
Was passed through you into me
To lock us magically
In genealogy

So, please Antigone, hear me and hear my psalms Designed to lift those golden years
And let them finally pass
Give me rest at last, and gather no more dust

Don’t wash out the brains, the nerves, the veins
We’re not dust and we’re not clay

These bones I found in a cave, the Fates to save
The remains of my age

The wool they spun was run too young
And it’s done
In chance we have but one

And though the coin’s been tossed
And river crossed
I am the eldest son
Track Name: I Don't Mind
No one has called me recently
With their problems
Except for my dad who calls me very often

I don’t mind – he’s my friend
I don’t mind – I’m his friend

I like to be helpful and to be a good listener
If anyone should need to talk, well
I like to be the one they talk to

I don’t mind – you’re my friend

So make sure that you call me
Anytime that you need to
I’ll be your listener and you can be the talker

I don’t mind
Track Name: Lingeress
The mirror on the facing wall
It shows me what isn’t there
A shape will move, a light will form
In the strange, broken still
You are the Lingeress

Of the words I missed in conversation
They keep me from sleep

The hand I feel upon my back
Is the hand that fed me, it haunts me
You are the Lingeress

Of the words I missed in conversation
They keep me from sleep

They prop me up like sugar in blood
And I can’t get back to sleep
When this house isn’t empty at all
(This house is not)

The bag that hung upon my door
It looked like an old man
These are the stories I’ve been saving
They follow me around

I wish I’d kept all of the shoes that
I’ve worn throughout my life
They show the places that I’ve been to
And just how far I’ve come

To take a life as you took yours
It was so fast – I couldn’t laugh
These are the ghosts that I’m a part of
They follow me around

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