Rusty Shipp

Mortal Ghost LP

Treading Water

I’m alone in this world, drifting like a lost ship at sea. The more I live the less I feel at home. Treading water just to keep from drowning. All creation ‘round me groans till the sea and all that’s in it is undone. Something’s nipping at my toes. Treading water till the angels come. Give me that ancient feeling, the kind of love that David felt, shining through the jaws of holy war. I want to go behind the curtain, to where the golden cherubs dwell, find something worth us fighting for. Something in these endless waves feels dead, cold and lonely as the stars. It’s sad that some believe this liquid pendulum could put together someone’s heart. If I find in myself a desire nothing in this world can fill, the only explanation left is I was made for another world.


Devil Jonah

There was a man or maybe a monster, dared to curse his very Maker, and so he was thrown overboard in the water, into the belly of the Earth. And with damnation as his anchor, he sank down to the lower caverns of Poseidon’s Hearth, where the floor is made of fire. Devil Jonah’s gonna pull you down till you hit the bottom of the ocean. ‘Cause no one wants to go to Hell alone. He’ll keep your gravestone nice and warm. Do you feel him here? Those haunting fingers are coming over the stern. Smells like he’s being burned until there’s nothing even left of him, nothing but a lesson to teach your children what happens to the hell-bent. He shook his fist at the Creator and never made it beyond the Equator, before the storm came and swallowed him whole, and he became a devil. And to this day he prowls and he wanders the sea, and seeks whom he may devour. He waits in the water tempting sailors over the edge. When you go down, keep your eyes up as high as they go, set on angels. Devil Jonah’s gonna pull you down, till you hit the bottom, your time has come. ‘Cause no one plays chess with God and wins. If you walk with Satan, you’ll go where he’s going.


Crack Baby

Ooh, I’m a crack, baby, living in a cracked world. All I need’s a quick fix, baby. Can’t you see it’s what I was made for? Well, I heard the word on the street, told me the first one’s always free. So go on and plug me in the wall, baby. Ain’t no such thing as being free. Give me something pink and frilly, something warm and sweet, to distract me from thinking ‘bout these cold, blood-red machines. It’s my kryptonite. It gets in my eyes and eats me inside. When I get so high, you just hang me to dry and get on with life. Yeah, ‘cause I’m a sinner, lady. There I said it, what more do you want? Well, so is everybody on the planet, so tell me what’s just one sin more? Yeah, ‘cause I’m a crack, baby, born into a crack-filled world. I told you to give me my fix, baby! No, I ain’t singing about no stinkin’ girl. Or am I? Am I falling in love? Or maybe could it be just another drug? Won’t you fix this crack, baby? If I see it I’m gonna want it. Crack baby. Won’t you give me my fix? Crack baby. I’m gonna cry till I get it. Crack baby. Please, hear my pleas! Won’t you help me, oh, Jesus?


SS Naronic

[lyrics paraphrased from messages in bottles written during the sinking of the SS Naronic]

3:10 AM, 19th of February, 1893. Our ship is sinking fast, beneath these cold, ocean waves, and we can’t see a thing. Oh, God, please tell me there is more than this, that this cold abyss is not the end. Tell me it’s more than an accident, a warning to teach a lesson, show me how it’s all part of the plan. Curse you, William Roberts! You sailed right into an iceberg, and all hands are lost. We’re down to sea level, and onto an icy Hell. God, have mercy on us! Cattle and charcoal jettisoned to save the boat, but we won’t stay afloat. Human cargo have already gone below, and we’ll soon follow. All hands praying that underwater there is still hope. So bottle up this letter, lest there be no record of us. And pray they don’t think it’s all a hoax. Goodby all. No time to say more.


Hotel Bible

Why, why should I even try? When you and I were born to die. If there really is a Hell, then most of them remain there still. I was never good with words, but you knew that and you heard. Shrieks call from inside the drawer. Just a peak, no one knows how it goes behind closed doors. You alone are more than I've ever known, but now it's time to find out for my own. Still, all the world it confounds me, birds are singing in the sun and buds always come back to blossom. And what about the stories that they told me? Could they have really happened, and then who is it that's behind them? Something always answers when I call again, and someone always catches when I fall away. Why can't I just go to sleep and wake up like it's all a dream? But maybe if I take one peak then I can set my mind at ease, and know for sure that it's not real, put to rest the fear I feel, and I can forget about this whole thing. Tonight it's just you and me, let's make an evening out of it. Get past all the make-believe, find out if you're counterfeit. We've both got nothing to hide, but we've got everything to prove. One day we're all gonna die, so what have you got to lose? Now I know what they all knew, and I can feel your spirit move. I know someone came to save me from all, all my sins. Yeah!



Time to flippin’ rock it, sucka! Cruisin' down the street, slick hair and cool shades. Mindin‘ my own business, but she’s looking my way. And when she bends over I can see it all. Now she’s in my head and I’m ready to fall. Oh, God, Jesus, take it away! I can’t take it anymore, I’m so sick of the pain! Hot women are a venom and lust is a disease. I want to be free, but hot chicks are after me! Gotta get out, I gotta get out right now before they find out that this song is about hot women are a venom and lust is a disease. I want to be free, but hot chicks are after me. Gotta get out, gotta get out right now, 'cause time is running out on this purity countdown. When they get in your head, they’re gonna try to take over ya. Call it what you want, I call it caligynephobia! Go! Caligynephobia! Tall and tan and young and lovely, that girl is wearing her top too snugly. And the more you show at a Rusty Shipp show, is gonna show when our songs start going down the commode. 'Cause I can’t think straight, I’m gonna lose control. Once it’s in your system you just can’t Let Go. So how am I supposed to balance being friends and purity, when everytime I turn around the ladies are all out to get me! All these little girls started out on Disney. Now they’re making trashy videos on MTV. Can’t you see all your little fans are gonna follow you? All you lazy parents stop saying “oh, so what?” when your daughter is showing off her big, fat butt. Can’t you see that your child’s gonna get abused? No, I’m not gay, I don’t care what they say. Just because I’m not a creeper and I try to stay away doesn’t mean I’ve got a scheme or I’m trying to be mean. I’m just a guy living life like it’s supposed to be. They look good and they know it, and they definitely show it. They’ve got me under their thumb and I don’t see how I can overcome it. Too high, too low, how far will it go? Till we’re running around naked and there’s nothing left to show! Go! I think I’ve got a case of caligynephobia. Does anybody have some medicine for caligynephobia?


Helter Skelter

When I get to the bottom, I go back to top of the slide, where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride, then I get to the bottom, and I see you again! Do you, don’t you want me to love you?  Yeah, I’m coming down fast, but I’m miles above you. Oh, tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer. You may be a lover, but you ain’t no dancer. Helter Skelter. Will you, won’t you want me to make you? Yeah, I’m coming down fast, but don’t let me break you. Oh, tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer. You may be a lover, but you ain’t no dancer. Helter Skelter. Look out! She’s coming down. You can’t be a lover if you ain’t no dancer. When I get to the bottom, I go back to top of the slide, where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride, then I get to the bottom, and I see you again! If I see you again. She’s going down. You’re going down! I got blisters on my fingers!


Tip Of My Tongue

On the tip of my tongue, I want to speak but the words they just won’t come around to become a sound, make some sense of this feeling I have found. On the tip of my eye, I can almost see the other side, and I break down and cry, visited by a glimpse of the divine. On the tip of my heart, I can feel something glowing in the dark, and these warm memories of nostalgia bring goosebumps over me. On the tip of my soul, I’m this close to finally letting go and fly as I wave goodbye below. I don’t know what this feeling means, but it drops me to my knees. It feels like an angel dropped a feather from its wings, but it slips through my fingers with the breeze. On the tip of my tongue, I can almost taste thy kingdom come alive and open wide the sky. On the tip of my tongue are melodies that angels have sung.


The Lighthouse

Looking out this lonely tower, waiting for your face to appear just like so many times before, out upon the sea. And as the sunlight fades, right on time you manifest yourself again to me. It feels like we were meant to be. When the sun goes down and the lights come out, look for the lighthouse, and you will see light upon the sea, guiding you safely back to me. Not quite sure just what you are, some kind of apparition or a memory from someone’s broken heart. Still you smile just the same, and I can’t shake this longing for you, even if I have to throw the world away. Yeah, I swear I hear you calling out my name. Wait. It’s not the same. I feel a change. There’s something weighing down the air. A song inside my ear, it’s your voice I hear. You’re becoming clear, and finally you appear. You’ve come full bloom. You’re standing in the room. It’s coming true. Am I losing my mind? But we talk all night about the afterlife, before you fade away in the dawn’s light. When the sun comes out and the lights go down, look for the lighthouse, and you will see light upon the sea. I’ll be here waiting for you to come back home to me.


Davy Jones

[Cross my heart, and I’ll hope to die, ‘cause X marks the spot where my Lord resides. So cast my body into the sea, and I’ll be free.]

I’m so thirsty, and all that I see is water around me that I can’t drink. As I start to fade I can see ghastly light, though on the horizon there’s nothing in sight. When all of the sudden, a ghost ship appears with a crew of souls whose singing I hear. I see the captain. He holds out his hand. Says, “come ride with me and the souls of the damned.” Then we sail away off to where the maps end, where the sea meets the sky and then we descend down to Davy Jones’ Locker and darkness within. Poseidon’s reign ends and Hades’ begins. And I’m free ‘cause my God holds the keys to Death and Hades. Davy Jones ain’t got nothin’ on me! Sirens of old, they lure men to death, sing tales of fangs in the depths. The reapers above and the victims beneath, they anchor me down to the heart of the sea. I’m sinking down to the roots of the mountains, I see the ocean’s deep fountains. But you’re even there and you still hear my prayer to rescue my soul after drowning. I don’t care what lurks in the sea ‘cause my soul is sealed for eternity. So take my body and do as you please. Yeah, Davy Jones ain’t got nothin’ on me!



Vocals/Guitar: Russ T. Shipp. Bass/BGV’s: Jake Adams. Drums: Samuel Clayton. Lead guitar/BGV’s: Justin Lee.

All songs written by Russ T. Shipp and arranged by Rusty Shipp, except for music cowritten or covered on tracks

2 (Justin Lee); 4 (Justin Lee); 6 (Dan Dollar); 7 (Koji Kondo); 9 (Lennon-McCartney); 11 (Tym De Santo); and 12 (Daniel Gregory Stidham).

Produced/Engineered/Mixed: J. Hall. Mastering: Dan Shike. Illustrations: Hein Zaayman. Copyright Valinor Records.