Vulture Culture

Alan Parsons Project Vulture Culture Cover Art

(1985)

A twist on the expression used to describe unworldly people steeped in the arts (Culture Vulture) and reflected the ever increasing ruthlessness of mankind in a world of stark economic reality.

Tracks

Tracks

  1. Let’s Talk About Me
  2. Separate Lives
  3. Days Are Numbers (The Traveller)
  4. Sooner Or Later
  5. Vulture Culture
  6. Hawkeye
  7. Somebody Out There
  8. The Same Old Sun

Memories

Memories

On holiday, Eric met some people who lived in Las Vegas and who talked enthusiastically about the opportunities there for taking advantage of those who had fallen on hard times. It was apparently common that people with financial problems would be forced to sell their homes virtually overnight at ridiculously low prices, and these people would acquire such houses, redecorate them and sell them on for much higher prices.

They also had a scheme which took advantage of over-booking on aircraft. They had a friend working at Las Vegas airport who let them know when a flight was overbooked, thereupon they made a booking on the same flight, turned up at the airport and were offered money and mileage points to give up their seat which they were more than happy to do! To cap it all, they would then write to the president of the airline thanking him profusely for the courteous way they were ‘bumped’ off the flight and the president would write back with a gift of even more mileage points. In this way, they managed to travel round the world first class at virtually no cost! Bearing in mind the well known phrase ‘Culture Vulture’ used to describe a person well versed in the arts, Eric described these activities as part of a ‘Vulture Culture’ and this concept of man’s inhumanity to man (and airlines!) was the underlying theme of this album.

Around this time, there had been reports of an imposter passing himself off as Eric Woolfson and trying to obtain money from people on a scam related to luxury cars and yachts. Possibly the same individual, or another Woolfson imposter contacted a reporter at Billboard magazine and apparently gave an interview. When Eric met the reporter whom he knew, a month or so later, Eric commented that it was nice to see him again after a gap of a year or two and the reporter said ‘don’t be ridiculous, I spoke to you last month’. Around the same time, Eric met with the guitarist Al Di Meola at a record convention. Eric had never met Al before, but Al berated him for making him fly the other end of the country to make him attend a non-existent recording session. Eric apologized profusely for the inconvenience caused, which was nothing to do with him, but clearly an imposter had struck again. All of this was encapsulated in the song ‘Somebody out There’ and 20 years later in 2006, history seemed to have repeated itself when an imposter struck again.

Lyrics

Lyrics

All lyrics by Eric Woolfson & Alan Parsons © Woolfsongs Ltd / Careers Music, Inc.

Let’s Talk About Me

Let’s talk about me for a minute
Well how do you think I feel about what’s been going on
Let’s talk about me for a minute
Well how do you think I feel about what’s gone wrong

Let’s talk about dreams
I never learned to read the signs
Let’s think about what it all means
I never seem to have the time

Let’s talk about you and your problems
All that I seem to do is spend the night
Just talking ’bout you and your problems
No matter what I say I can’t get it right

Don’t think about dreams
Is it all a waste of time
Don’t think about what it all means
If you are a friend of mine

Talk about me, for a minute
I’m the one who’s losing
Talk about me, for a minute
I’m the one who’s always losing out

(Talk about me)
And how do you think
I feel about what’s been going on
Let’s talk about me for a minute (talk about me)
Well how do you think
I feel about what’s gone wrong

Let’s think about dreams
We never seem to have the time
Let’s talk about what it all means
If you are a friend of mine

Let’s talk about me
I’m the one who’s losing out
I’m the one who’s losing out
I’m the one who’s losing out, losing out

Talk about me, for a minute
I’m the one who’s losing
Talk about me, for a minute
I’m the one who’s always losing out

I’m the one who’s losing out
I’m the one who’s losing out
I’m the one who’s losing out, losing out

Talk about me (talk about me), for a minute (minute)
I’m the one (Let’s talk) who’s losing (Let’s talk about)

Talk about me (talk about me), for a minute (minute)
I’m the one (Let’s talk) who’s losing (Let’s talk about)

Talk about me (talk about me), for a minute (minute)
I’m the one (Let’s talk) who’s losing (Let’s talk about)

Talk about me (talk about me), for a minute (minute)
I’m the one (Let’s talk) who’s losing (Let’s talk about)

Separate Lives

It’s been a long road
We’ve walked the last mile
We reach the same conclusion
And we stop for a while

Together we know
The way we must go
We’re leaving an illusion
That’s for us to share
Only for us to share

We live our separate lives
And go our different ways
Cause we don’t see eye to eye
And we can’t stand face to face

We live our separate lives
While counting all the days
Till the two of us arrive
In another time and place

We share the same thoughts
We read the same lines
We meet on sad occasions
And in happier times

A spoken goodbye
And both of us try
To walk away in silence
That’s for us to share,
Only for us to share

We live our separate lives
And go our different ways
Cause we don’t see eye to eye
And we can’t stand face to face

We live our separate lives
While counting all the days
Till the two of us arrive
In another time and place

And always goodbye
But heaven knows why
I can’t erase the memory
That’s for us to share
Only for us to share
Only for us to share
Only for us to share

We live our separate lives
And go our different ways
Cause we don’t see eye to eye
And we can’t stand face to face

We live our separate lives
While counting all the days
Till the two of us arrive
In another time and place

We live our separate lives
And go our different ways

Days Are Numbers (The Traveller)

The traveller is always leaving town
He never has the time to turn around
And if the road he’s taken isn’t leading anywhere
He seems to be completely unaware

The traveller is always leaving home
The only kind of life he’s ever known
When every moment seems to be a race against the time
There’s always one more mountain left to climb

Days are numbers (Days)
Watch the stars (are numbers)
We can only see so far
Someday, you’ll know where you are (know where you are)

Remember
Days are numbers (Days)
Count the stars (are numbers)
We can only go so far
One day, you’ll know where you are (know where you are)

The traveller awaits the morning tide
He doesn’t know what’s on the other side
But something deep inside of him keeps telling him to go
He hasn’t found a reason to say no

The traveller is only passing through
He cannot understand your point of view
Abandoning reality, unsure of what he’ll find
The traveller in me is close behind

Days are numbers (Days)
Watch the stars (are numbers)
We can only see so far
Someday, you’ll know where you are (know where you are)

Remember
Days are numbers (Days)
Count the stars (are numbers)
We can only go so far
One day, you’ll know where you are (know where you are)

Remember
Days are numbers (Days)
Watch the stars (are numbers)
We can only see so far
Someday, you’ll know where you are (know where you are)

Sooner or Later

Oh what a price we pay
For the things we say
And the closer I get to you
The further you move away

All the lies we tell
In the games we play
And the longer I think it over
The harder it is to stay

Sooner or later I’ll be free
To leave the past behind
Sooner or later you’re gonna be
The last thing on my mind

Little by little I’m finding out
The truth behind your eyes
Maybe if I don’t show (maybe if I don’t show)
I thought you might like to know
You’re gonna be the last thing on my mind

You didn’t want to know
I could have told you so
But the moment I think it’s over
The further there is to go

Just a little word
Such an easy way
But the longer I think about it
The harder it is to say

Sooner or later I’ll be free
To leave the past behind
Sooner or later you’re gonna be
The last thing on my mind

Little by little I’m finding out
The truth behind your eyes
Maybe if I don’t show (maybe if I don’t show)
I thought you might like to know
You’re gonna be the last thing on my mind

Sooner or late I’ll be free
To leave the past behind
Sooner or later you’re gonna be
The last thing on my mind (last thing on my mind)

Little by little I’m finding out
The truth behind your eyes (truth behind your eyes)
Maybe if I don’t show (maybe if I don’t show)
I thought you might like to know
You’re gonna be the last thing on my mind (the last thing on my mind)

Sooner or later

Vulture Culture

Somehow you made it in the big wide world
And you’re absolutely home and dry
You got away from a one horse town
And the only way out was to fly

You heard a lot about an easy street
And it seems like the place to be
You heard some talk about a slippery slope
But you think ‘it can’t happen to me’

Vulture culture
Use it or you lose it
Vulture culture
Choose it or refuse it

Hollywood is calling won’t you join the dance
Moving onto Wall Street why not take a chance
It’s a vulture culture
Never lend a loser a hand
Just a vulture culture
Living off the fat of the land

Nowhere to turn around and catch your breath
It’s all relatively trouble free
No need to bother with the bottom line
Or a money back guarantee

You sign a deal that’s been etched in stone
It’s absolutely cut and dry
That’s when they got you in the danger zone
And the only way out is to die

Vulture culture
Use it or you lose it
Vulture culture
Choose it or refuse it

Hollywood is waiting striking up the band
Everyone on Wall Street shakes you by the hand
Such a vulture culture
Never lend a loser a hand
Just a vulture culture
Living off the fat of the land

Use it or you lose it
Choose it or refuse it

Hollywood’s a no go not a second chance
Nobody on Wall Street gives a second glance
It’s a vulture culture
Moving to the beat of the band
It’s a vulture culture
Never lend a loser a hand
It’s just a vulture culture
Living off the fat of the land

Hawkeye
(Instrumental)

Only what’s on the menu

Somebody Out There

Maybe I’m imagining the things they say about me
Maybe there is really nothing there at all
Standing in the middle while the rumours fly around me
Hiding from a shadow on an empty wall

When my back is turned he’s up to something else
And I must not stop believing in myself
Am I dreaming will the nightmare just go on
And never end

Somebody out there, says that he’s you
Somebody out there, talks like you do
He calls up your number and you can’t get through
Somebody out there

Wish that I could run away and leave it all behind me
Wish I wasn’t hurt by all the things they say
If I didn’t need to know the simple truth about me
Wouldn’t it be easier to walk away

And I don’t need more confusion in my life
No more pain and disillusion in my life
If I’m dreaming will the nightmare just go on
And never end

Somebody out there, using your name
Somebody out there, you get the blame
There’s doubt and suspicion, it’s hard to explain
Somebody out there

And I don’t need more confusion in my life
No more pain and disillusion in my life
If I’m dreaming will the nightmare just go on
And never end

Somebody out there, stolen your base
Somebody out there, parked in your space
You’ve no reservation, he’s taken your place

Somebody out there, wasting your time
Somebody out there, using your dime
Your friends think you’re crazy, they’re way out of line

Somebody out there, says that he’s you
Somebody out there, thinks like you do
You stare at the mirror, you’re looking into

Somebody out there
Somebody out there

The Same Old Sun

Tell me what to do
Now the light in my life is gone from me
Is it always the same
Is the night never ending

Tell me what to do
All the hopes and the dreams went wrong for me
There’s a smile on my face
But I’m only pretending

Taking my life
One day at a time
Cause I can’t think what else to do
Taking some time
To make up my mind
When there’s no one to ask but you

The same old sun would shine in the morning
The same bright eyes would welcome me home
And the moon would rise way over my head
And get through the night alone

And the same old sun will shine in the morning
The same bright stars will welcome me home
And the clouds will rise way over my head
I’ll get through the night
On my own

Tell me what to do
Now there’s nobody watching over me
If I seem to be calm
Well it’s all an illusion

Tell me what to do
When the fear of the night comes over me
There’s a smile on my face
Just to hide the confusion

Taking my life
One day at a time
Cause I can’t think what else to do
Taking some time
To make up my mind
When there’s no one to ask but you

The same old sun would shine in the morning
The same bright eyes would welcome me home
And the moon would rise way over my head
I’ll get through the night alone

And the same old sun will shine in the morning
The same bright stars will welcome me home
And the clouds will rise way over my head
I’ll get through my life
On my own
On my own
On my own
On my own

 

NO ANSWERS ONLY QUESTIONS
(bonus track on Vulture Culture Expanded edition and APP Essential Compilation)

Some of us laugh
Some of us cry
Some of us lay back, watch the world go by
Some of us fear
Some of us hate
Some of us won’t wake up till it’s too late

The distance between us is a mystery to us all
The difference between us is so small

There are no answers only questions
And we’re all strangers to the truth
But in my mind’s eye I have found the reason why
And I carry the burden of the proof

Why do we fight?
Why do we fall?
Why do we stand there, backs against the wall?
Why don’t we change?
Why don’t we try?
Why don’t we turn round, help the other guy?

The distance between us is a mystery to us all
The difference between us is so small

There are no answers only questions
And we’re all strangers to the truth
But in my mind’s eye I have found the reason why
And I carry the burden of the proof
And I carry the burden of the proof

Expanded Edition

Expanded Edition Includes these Bonus Tracks:

Amongst this collection of bonus material, there are several examples of the magical early takes and in this re-mastered version of ‘Vulture Culture’, for those interested in the process, there is a unique opportunity to glimpse behind the curtain of the recording process. Also included is the track ‘No Answers Only Questions’ which was left out of the album, together with an early version of it which is differently constructed.

Here is a track listing of the bonus material included on the ‘Vulture Culture’ expanded edition album to wet your appetite!

Track 9 – No Answers Only Questions (final version)

EW “The essence of the Vulture Culture album for me was a comment on the economic harshness of Western society and this track was meant to represent a street musician performing in a very non-Project way. I even expected to include the sound effect of coins being thrown into a hat, but it was decided to leave the song out. We now have the perfect excuse to include it as a bonus track.”

Track 10 – Separate Lives (Alternative Mix)

EW “This version of the song has a different approach from the version that was originally released. There are no backing vocals and the synth instrumental line in the choruses is emphasized.”

Track 11 – Hawkeye (Demo)

AP “This is one of my demos, parts of which were subsequently imported as a synth sequence into the Studio environment and the “real” rhythm section was added. It’s a good example of an early version of the track where feel is more important than accuracy.”

Track 12 – The Naked Vulture

EW “On each of these re-mastered albums we are including a ‘Naked’ medley, which consists of extracts form various tracks of the original master recordings, together with early rough mixes etc. The body of this selection is taken from early mixes without vocals, which give a good indication of the basic feel of many of the tracks. As part of the track ‘Let’s Talk About Me’ we had edited in a conversation which took place in the Villa Bianca restaurant in London with a good friend of the Project, radio programmer Lee Abrams. Lee accompanied by his wife Sandra, was performing his party piece at dinner, which consisted of a ten-minute rant on any subject you cared to mention, as well as his apparent skill as an air traffic controller! His performance was recorded on a Sony Walkman and some of it was subsequently incorporated into the master. On reviewing the archive, we realized that there were other marvelous moments, many of which are included in this Naked medley. Incidentally, I realised that Laser Beam was a perfect anagram of his name and he was credited on the original album as such.”

Track 13 – No Answers Only Questions (The First Attempt)

AP “I remember we struggled rather to make this song work in the context of the other tracks which had much more of a rock feel. This early take came across with a ‘folky” feel which seemed to carry through to the final version (included here – Track 9). I think it was the right decision to exclude it from the original album, but it has been interesting to hear it again.”

Credits

Credits

1. LET’S TALK ABOUT ME 4:29
Lead Vocal – David Paton
Backing Vocals – Chris Rainbow
Oral Rendition – Mr Laser Beam
Piano – Eric Woolfson
Synths – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitar – Ian Bairnson
Drums – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

2. SEPARATE LIVES 4:38
Vocal – Eric Woolfson
Harmony Vocal – Chris Rainbow
Synths and Sequencers – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott

3. DAYS ARE NUMBERS (THE TRAVELLER) 4:52
Vocals – Chris Rainbow
DX7 Clav Sequence – Alan Parsons
Additional Keyboards – Richard (Trix) Cottle, Eric Woolfson
Sax – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitar – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

4. SOONER OR LATER 4:24
Vocal – Eric Woolfson
Backing Vocals – Chris Rainbow
Keyboards – Eric Woolfson, Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

5. VULTURE CULTURE 5:22
Vocal – Lenny Zakatek
Backing Vocals – Chris Rainbow
Keyboards and Sequencers – Richard (Trix) Cottle, Eric Woolfson
Sax – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

6. HAWKEYE (Instrumental) 3:48
DX7 Synth and Fairlight – Alan Parsons
Additional Synths and Saxes – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Oral Rendition – Monica, Abbey Road Canteen
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

7. SOMEBODY OUT THERE 4:54
Vocal – Colin Blunstone
Keyboards – Eric Woolfson, Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

8. THE SAME OLD SUN 5:26
Vocal – Eric Woolfson
Keyboards – Eric Woolfson, Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Bass – David Paton

Produced by Alan Parsons
Executive Producer – Eric Woolfson
Engineered by Alan Parsons
Assistant Engineer – Tony Richards
Mastering – Chris Blair
Recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios, London
between May and July 1984
An Analog multitrack recording mixed to
Sony 1610 digital format

Thanks to Smokey and Hazel,
Wim Schipper, Bob Buziak & Monica
and all at Abbey Road
Concept Design and Art Direction – ICON/sume
Photography – Derek Hillier
Vulture Sculpture – Gavin Riely at The Great Frog

All tracks written by Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons
Published by Woolfsongs Ltd/Careers Inc, (BMI)
administered by Universal Music
(p) 1984 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment