Kibrothhattaavah

by Ben Swithen

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about

This album was released in Spring 2011, to celebrate 400 years of the Authorised Bible, AKA the King James Version. I have great affection for the KJV, with its tight blend of the literal, the poetic and the readable (though I'd happily recommend some more recent translations).

Anyway, I reasoned there were plenty of records singing praises to God or expounding theological themes, but not enough that got into the longer story, and sung tales of Elisha rescuing tools, or the time when St Paul almost (but not quite) persuaded King Agrippa to convert to Christianity, or the significant condition of Abraham's loins when he met Melchizedek.

'Kibrothhattavah' is named after the Graves of Lust, which are sung about in Quails Given in Wrath (the album's obvious single). It's pronounced sort-of like it's written, but the other title used for this album, by those reluctant to pronounce Hebrew, is '400 Big Ones!' an album 26.67 times more impressive than The Beach Boys' '15 Big Ones'.

credits

released April 30, 2011

All songs by Ben Swithen, based on the text of the Old and New Testament in the AV translation (a 1611 classic).
Cover image: a photograph of Durham Cathedral, by the artist's mother.

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Ben Swithen Sheffield, UK

Ben Swithen is a person.

Here you can find their music - solo work, and a Doctor-Who- and-Cheese double-concept concept-album by The Potential Bees (who are a two- or three- person band), which forces both concepts into every song).

You can also find Ben Swithen on Youtube, but why would you even?
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Track Name: Send Forth a Smell
Send forth a smell! And sing a song of praise!
Send forth a smell! And sing a song of praise!
Play your harp for the Ancient of Days
(The smell is probably frankincense)

O, can it be wrong to pray on trivialities?
O, can it be wrong to prey on small animals?
Can it be wrong to pray on the toilet?
Pray constantly! It's difficult to spoil it.

Send forth a smell! Flourish as a lily!
Ring out the bell! And flourish as a lily!
Pray constantly! Not to would be silly
(I am as filled as the moon is full)

Have I the right to consecrate a dish?
Who am I to bless when someone says a-tish?
You know I think I'd better get a hanky,
Heck, one can even pray inside a fish!

Send forth a smell! Though troubles may be deep
Ring out the bell! Through troubles may be deep!
At his commandment waters stood as in a heap!
(The words of his mouth the receptacle)

Life's not always joyful with elation
I stood up an cried to all the congregation
I am brother to dragons,
A companion to an ostrich!
My harp is turned to mourning,
But to sin I'm not a hostage
My soul it grieves,
And my bowels they are boiled
My bones are burnt with heat, So I'm running out of oil
But my voice, it was heard From the belly of hell!
I'll be glad to make a little smell!

Send forth a smell! When the troubles you have toured
Ring that bell! O, pilgrimage to Lourdes
Don't be angry, Jonah, with a gourd
(...and also much cattle)
Track Name: Melchizedek
And Melchizedek, king of Salem Brought forth bread and wine
And he was the priest of the Most High GOD!
And said Blessed be the Most High God
(Which hath delivered the enemies into thine hand)
And Abram gave him Tithes of all

CHORUS

Oh, oh, oh, oh, Melchizedek, Melchizedek, Melchizedek! Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek
Melchizedek, king of Salem Priest of the Most High God
Who met Abraham returning from the Slaughter of the kings
To whom Abraham gave a tenth part of all King of righteousness and Salem
Which is, King of Peace [Melchizedek]

CHORUS

Levi was in the loins of his father When he met Melchizedek!
Levi was in the loins of his father When Melchizedek met him
And as I may so say, Levi
Who received tithes paid tithes through A - bra - ham
(for he was) Yet in the loins of his father When Melchizedek met him.

CHORUS

Those priests were made without an oath But this is an oath by him that said:
The Lord swear and will not repent Thou art a priest forever, etcetera.
By so much was Jesus made A surety of a
Better commandment
Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek

CHORUS

After the similitude Of Melchizedek
There ariseth up another priest Who is made
Not after law of
Carnal Commandment
But after the power of eternal life For he testifieth!
Thou art a priest forever
After the order of Melchizedek!
CHORUS to end
Track Name: Why Callest Thou Me Good?
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing
Shall I do? That I may have
Eternal life
(I didn't know, so I came to you)
(and He said)
WHY callest THOU me good? Why CALLEST thou me GOOD? Why callest THOU me good? Why CALLest thou me GOOD? Why callest THOU me good?
None is good, Save one,
That is, God.
(but since you ask,)
Thou shalt do no murder,
Thou shalt not commit adultery,
not steal, not bear false witness,
Honour mother and father, obviously
and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. And The young man saith unto him,
I've kept these things from my youth up
What lack I yet, good Master?
And, Jesus said to him, o:

CHORUS

Jesus heard these things And he said unto him
Yet lackest thou one thing! Yet lackest thou one thing!
Sell all that thou hast
Distribute unto the poor
And thou shalt have treasure in Heaven Come on, follow me!
When he heard this, he was sorrowful
O, very very sorrowful
O, very very very very very very very very He was very rich,
So he was very very sorrowful
Come and follow me!
Yet lackest thou one thing!
But when the young man heard that saying,
he went away!
Sorrowful, sorrowful, very, very sorrowful For he had great possessions.
Oh! They were splendid!
But very, very sorrowful! ! and very sorrowful
Very, very, very, very, Also, he was rich!
Jesus saw that he was sorrowful, Very, very sorrowful
Matthew nineteen! Luke eighteen! The young man went away
Track Name: This Thing Was Not Done In a Corner
1. Paul before Agrippa
If I have been an offender I refuse not to die.
But if there's none of these things With which these accuse me, Unto caesar go I!
Festus conferred with the council
It seemed that the answer was no
Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? To Caesar shalt thou go.
Paul stretched forth the hand, and Answered for himself: he says
"I think myself happy Agrippa To speak for myself this day.
I know thee to be an expert
In all questions concerning the Jews
I beseech thee to hear me patiently - What follows is no news, for –

CHORUS

2. Saul and the Church
My manner my life from youth Any man shall tell thee
Was the straitest of sects of our religion I lived a pharisee
By whom I stand accused, now, For truth of all I've said.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible That God should raise the dead?
I thought to do things contrary To Jesus, Nazarene
I placed the saints in prison, Compelled them to blaspheme.
I gave my voice against them When they were put to death
I persecuted many -
Oh, must I waste my breath – Agrippa,

CHORUS

3. The Road to Damascus
So then I went to Damascus With commissioned authority
But in the way, a light from Heaven Shined round about-a me.
I fell to Earth, and heard a voice 'Why persecutest thou, Saul?'
It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks' It was the Lord of All.
I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest, But rise up on thy feet.
I have appeared unto thee for a purpose There are things you must complete.
You must minister and witness, To the things that thou hast seen
Be a light to the gentiles"
You must have heard what I mean, Agrippa:

CHORUS

4. Paul's commission
Having obtained the help of God I continue to this day,
Saying none other things but the prophets and Moses,
Who spoke about the way.
That Christ should suffer, and be the first
That should rise up from the dead Agrippa, Festus, you have heard
These things that I have said,
I am not mad, most noble Festus, But speak for truth and soberness
Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
"Almost thou persuadest me,
To be a Christian," and what remains?
I would that not only thou, But all these here would be
Almost and altogether as I - except these chains.

CHORUS
Track Name: He Made the Iron to Swim
The sons of the prophets,
They said to Elisha The place that we live is too
Straight for us
Let us go to the Jordan
All carrying beams
If we hurry, we might take the
Omnibus
Elisha answered, go on then
Then he put up his feet and dismembered a hen
They asked, aren't you coming, you imperfect hearer?
It seems our suggestion might have been clearer
Yo-ho-ho! Suggestion might have been clearer!

They turned up at Jordan
They cut down weed
But calamity struck one
While felling a beam.
The axe-head fell into
the water - he cried
'Twasn't mine - it was borrowed -
now sleeps with the bream.
The man of God, he said where fell it?
They showed him the place, and he threw in a stick.
He threw it in thither, the iron did swim!
Fella said, well I never, as he gave it to him.
Yo-ho-ho! He made the iron to swim!

Elisha met
Elijah once
He's somebody else, though
The names are alike.
He asked to receive
Double portion of sprit.
"Thou hast asked a hard thing,
But I guess, if you like."
They were parted asunder by chariot of fire
Which is how major prophets are prone to retire
Elisha took up his mantle and smote
The waters, which parted, so that's what they wrote.
Yo-ho-ho! A mantle is somebody's coat.
Track Name: This is the Record of John
And this is the record of John,
when the Jews sent priests and Levites
from Gerusalem
from Gerusalem
to ask him, Who art thou?
And he confessed, and denied not;
but confessed, I am not the Christ.
And they asked him, What then?
And they asked him, What then?
And they asked him who art thou?

Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not.
Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
When they came forth from Gerusalem,
John Baptist told them so.

Then said they unto him, Who art thou?
Who art thou?
that we may give an answer
To them that sent us
What says thou of thyself
He said I am the voice
Of one crying in the WILDERNESS
Make straight the way of the Lord,
As said the prophet Esaias
If ye can hear my word

They which were sent were of the Pharisees.
And they asked him, and said unto him,
Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not
that Christ, nor Elias, neither prophet?

John answered them, saying,
I baptise with water:
but there standeth one among you,
whom ye know not;
whom ye know not;
(This is the record of John)
(whistling)
He it is, who coming after me
Is preferred before me
The latchets of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose

These things were done in Bethabara
beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
And this is the record of John
This is the record of John, also the end of this song



John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins
If it's good enough for J the B, it's good enough for me

and his meat was locusts and wild honey, he came neither eating nor drinking
If it's good enough for J the B, it's good enough for me

Herod sent, and beheaded John in the prison (which is where he was living at the time)
If it's good enough for J the B, it's good enough for me

John saw a spirit descending like a dove. Also, he was bearded.
If it's good enough for J the B, it's good enough for me
Track Name: Letter to the Laodiceans
To the angel of the church in Laodicea:
These are the words of the A-amen
The beginning of the creation of God,
Faithful witness, A-men
Thou art neither cold nor hot
Hardly North, hardly South, so
Because thou art so luke-warm only
I will spit thee out of my mouth.

Because thou sayest, I am rich
I need nothing,
You'll wind up naked.
Y'neither sommat nor nowt Yes nor no
If you won't warm up You'll never make it.

Oh, it's getting so lukewarm in here
That it's gotta be the church of Laodicea

I stand at the door and knock
If you hear my voice, open the door
I stand at the door and knock
If you open it I'll eat with you - for dinner!
Track Name: The Lamentation
I send you the prophets, wise men and scribes
For some of them ye shall kill and crucify
And some ye shall scourge in your synagogue
Persecute them from city to city
That upon you should come all the righteous blood
That is shed on this earth. O psalm! O psalter!
From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
Who you slew between temple and the altar

How doth the city sit solitary,
that was full of people!
how is she become as a widow!
how is she become tributary!
that was great among the nations,
and princess among the provinces,
She weepeth sore in the night,
and her tears are on her cheeks.

CHORUS
O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Thou that killest the prophets sent for the nations
Verily I say to you
All these things shall come on this generation.
He hath abhorred this sanctuary
With great lamentation

The ways of Zion do mourn,
None come to the solemn feasts:
her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted.
all her gates are desolate:
The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth
to the roof of his mouth for thirst:
the young children ask bread,
and no man breaketh it unto them.

How is the gold become dim!
how is the most fine gold changed!
the stones of the sanctuary are poured
out in the top of every street.
Our inheritance is turned to strangers,
Our mothers are widows,
we are orphans and fatherless
the daughter of my people is become cruel,
like the ostriches in the wilderness.

Thou hast made us offscouring and refuse
in the midst of the people.
My children are desolate because
The enemy hath prevailed
The lord hath commanded Concerning Jacob
That his enemies should be round about him
There is none to comfort Jerusalem
She is as a menstruous woman among them

Thou hast kindled a fire in Zion,
It hath devoured the foundations
Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not,
without any intermission.
For these things I weep;
mine eye runneth down with water,
the comforter that should relieve my soul
is far from me:

The joy of my heart is ceased
Our dance is turned to mourning
The crown is fallen from our head
Thou art very wroth with us
The Mount of Zion, rejected Foxes walk upon it
The crown is fallen from our head Thou hast utterly rejected us

CHORUS

We have transgressed and have rebelled:
thou hast not pardoned.
Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted
thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.
Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud,
that our prayer should not pass through.
Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud,
that our prayer should not pass through.
Track Name: Quails Given in Wrath
Cucumbers!
We miss our cucumbers!
We miss all those cucumbers that we had when we were slaves
Give us some cucumbers
Juicy cucumbers
Then we'll know you're the God who saves

Loss of fish and onion
And melon and leeks
Troubles me, I've had no cucumbers
In forty-seven weeks
I knew there was a reason
That I ate them when in season
But all we get is Manna
It can hardly be called treason
That I miss the lemon, garlick, fish
And onion - I can't cook a dish
Like Chicken Kiev
With the ingredients we have.
So bring us the cucumber
That each of us seeks, LORD.

Give us cucumbers
Delicious cucumbers
Like the cucumbers we ate when we were slaves
Just some big cucumbers
Juicy cucumbers
Then we'll know you're the God who saves

Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families,
every man in the door of his tent:
and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly;
Moses also was displeased.

when they said:
Give us Cucumbers!
We miss our cucumbers!
We miss all those cucumbers that we had when we were slaves
Just some big cucumbers
Juicy cucumbers
Then we'll know you're the God who saves

And there went forth a wind from the LORD
And brought quails from the sea
Let 'em fall round the camp,
A day's journey either side
Two cubits high!
Quails piled two cubits high!
Upon the face of the Earth!

Cucumbers!
We miss our cucumbers!
We miss all those cucumbers that we had when we were slaves
Just some big cucumbers
Juicy cucumbers
Then we'll know you're the God who saves

So many quails in our fridges
I could not believe my eyes
We made Quail broth and quail flan
And quail surprise
From the greatest to the least
We sat to take a quail feast
Of quails fat and aromatic
And recently deceased
But as we took a bite of them
We lost all our delight of them
There spread an epidemic
Which was quaily and systemic
In the whole book of numbers, nothing so encumbers a love of cucumbers
As when your family dies

And they called the name of that place
Kibrothhattaavah
Because there they buried the dead
In their cucumber lust
And they called the name of that place
Kibrothhattaavah
Because they buried the people in the dust

Cucumbers!
We miss our cucumbers!
We miss all those cucumbers that we had when we were slaves
Just some big cucumbers
Juicy cucumbers
Then we'll know you're the God who saves
Track Name: The Flying Roll
Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes
And looked and beheld a flying roll
And he said into me, what seest thou?
And I answered, I see a flying roll
Twenny cubits across, ten cubits broad
That flying roll is from the LORD
Whose virtues I will oft extol,
But look! I see a flying roll

He said to me, this is a curse
That goeth forth o'er all the Earth
He that stealeth will be cut off this side
And he that sweareth will divide
As in old Peleg's time the Earth
Divided, though for what it's worth
We don't know what 'twas like when whole
But look! I see a flying roll!

I looked and beheld two women
And the wind was in their wings
And I looked to the angel and asked him whither
A-do those women bear the Ephah
To build a house, a Babel base
Establishing there a great disgrace
In Shinar, there with what they stole
And this, beneath the Flying Roll!

And I looked and beheld four chariots
Red, black and white horses, grizzled and bay horses
So, I said to the Angel, 'why the big 'orse?
Four spirits of Heaven, a-all goin' forth
The bay one went out, and sought to go
All across the Earth and a to and a fro
To quieten spirits, chill the soul!
Of each beneath the flying roll!

Behold the man who is THE BRANCH
Who'll grow to build THE LORD a ranch
A glorious temple shall He hone
And be a priest upon the throne
Earth and Heaven's binding cord
A council of peace 'twixt He and the LORD
And though Atonement is their goal,
Let's not forget the flying roll!

They that are far off shall
Come and build the temple
You shall know the LORD OF HOSTS has sent me unto
You to say this is the BRANCH
The man who is the
O and A and A and O and O and A and
O and A and A and O and O and A and O
Who gave the sweet and bitter scroll
That John on Patmos must eat whole
a Covenant that's Quicker than the Flying Roll

O, flyin' roll, flyin' roll! You're in the sky!
I wonder why!