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Stealing Water



 Genre: Ballad

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This song was recorded on a Yamaha 4-track tape recorder in 1992 in a loft in Brooklyn, NY. The artists are myself, Racerat: guitar, Andrew V.: bass and drum machine button pushing, and Sonny Jim on vocals. It was recorded in a single take. 4-Tracks straight-in and straight up. No overdubbing or any of that modern mumbo jumbo I busy myself with now.

It comes from a story we read in the Times about a freighter outside NY harbor that had been stuck there for nine months with customs trouble and was now found to be slowly sinking. It struck us as sad, and we thought it had the makings for a song. This is the result. In 30 years of recording, it is still one of my favorites.

It is an entry for the Analogapalooza Vintage Music Festival.
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Stealing Water
©1992 SonnyJim & Racerat

Slowly sinking ships at anchor
Eight miles out from the bay
Slowly sinking, taking water
Nine months, as of today

Stealing water from the city
Stealing water from the sky

Never know how long they’d be there
Throwing anchor in a foreign town
Not too far from port, but far ‘round the world

Stealing water from the city
Stealing water from the sky

Slowly fading, slowly sinking
Taking water, nine months from today

Stealing water from the city
Stealing water from the sky
Song Stats
Hits: 3761
Comments: 24
Fans: 9
Plays: 200
Downloads: 155
Votes: 7
Uploaded: Aug 07, 2007 - 08:21:58 PM
Last Updated: May 08, 2010 - 10:56:48 PM Last Played: Sep 04, 2017 - 05:20:12 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons

Song Actions
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Yamaha 4-Track
Memorex cassette tape
SM58 mic
Duct tape
bud said 3696 days ago (August 7th, 2007)
Pretty tasty stuff from a group of
Brooklyn punks. Nice arrangement and playing - excellent vocals. A tight and complete package - the beauty of 4 track at it's best. Cool entry to the VMF.
Check out my latest song called Interdependence
dolby said 3696 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
Great Vocal
Did Sonny Jim go on to be a world famous singer? Should have done, sounds a bit like Neil Finn, perhaps. There's a bit of Crowded House in this whole thing in fact. Neat guitar as well Philip.

Who needs 47 GarageBand tracks anyway:-))

(me, me, me, me, me, me........)

Check out my latest song called The Only Ghost Who Cares
racerat said 3695 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
the Jim
Yup, Sonny Jim went on to become a big-ass famous singer right here on MacJams. He's a genius, collab-ing with the best and brightest:


Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
said 3695 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
That's hilarious...........!

echoroom said 3696 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
Great pop song
wow Phil, this is great ... i love the simplicity of the drum machine (in my youth, i went through a phase of only listening to bands that used drum m/cs' - Sisters, Cocteaus etc), and the track doesnt need overdubs - the message is really clear, really lovely vocals, crisp guitar playing. Wonderful lyrics on this ... I really hope you're gonna post some more.

Check out my latest song called Heaven is Waiting
racerat said 3695 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
You can bet I have about a million of these, but all certainly not of this quality. So for the most part I am trying to spare my loyal listeners the pain of my musical growth spurts.

But, as always, there is more to come!~~

Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
Feter said 3695 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
Stealing Water
nice ...I respect a song that came out for
a real story and a real reason ..nice feelings
here ... sure singin is very good here ..!!
tasty guitars as well !!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
racerat said 3695 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
the story
Thanks. I like it when there is a real anchor or inspirational point that launches a song. I think the connotations of the lyrics actually transcend the actual story in this case. The feeling that comes across is one of poetic longing, sadness and loneliness, more like a lost love. I am so happy when that happens.

Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
Ed Hannifin said 3695 days ago (August 8th, 2007)
These people who can sing...
...it ain't fair, I tell ya...

Great melody... reminds me of Neil Finn meets early Fairport Convention in some bizarre way...

You really put the essence of the song across on this... Nice recording of a neat song... Must be that Memorex tape... or maybe the duct tape...

racerat said 3691 days ago (August 12th, 2007)
Thanks! Neil Finn has always been a massive fav of mine. That guy has pipes of gold. Not as familiar with Fairport Convention, I'll have to check them out.

Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
said 3694 days ago (August 9th, 2007)
what a cool little nugget....
great chord progression, and a decent recording considering the medium... nicely done.. what can one say about the shure sm series? they are the best, hands down.. all the fancy gyroscopic shock mounted anti feedback, pop reducing, preamped gold coated studio mics in the world cannot hold a candle to a shure on a stand with a panty-hose pop filter duct taped to the stand on a wire hanger!!!! YEAH!! rock and roll!!! great tune, great band, great vocals, guitars, fake drums, everything!!!!
racerat said 3691 days ago (August 12th, 2007)
Hey R.A.D,
Those Shures (58&59) carried me on for years and years. But then one day, when I had more money I sprung for a Rode NT2000 and my life has never been the same. I never I never knew what I had been missing. But those days of Memorex and duct tape are my badge of courage, honor and have paid my dues for the decades to come.

Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
kristyjo said 3689 days ago (August 14th, 2007)
But ooo- the voice-
I like this a lot. Great for a vintage recording. But, wow, i could really just sit and listen to Sonny Jim all day. Love the voice, the balance, the guitar, the bass - everything.
Check out my latest song called Sussex Carol
said 3686 days ago (August 17th, 2007)
That was a really lovely comment; thank you.

Now, I'm going to your page to vote ALL your songs up to 10 ;-D

racerat said 3673 days ago (August 30th, 2007)
Thanks KristyJo!

I know, I could listen to Sonny Jim all day, too. ...and sometimes I do!~


Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
said 3663 days ago (September 9th, 2007)
Great !
Philip this is GREAT song, the guitars sounds wonderful, the vocal here sounds really warm and fit the style !
Wonderful beats and bass sound, Wonderful piece ! Much enjoyed !

Take Care
Yeman Auf Al-Rawi
studiophile said 3663 days ago (September 9th, 2007)
Awesome take!
I really enjoyed the guitar and bass one this one. They made me feel as if I were in the ocean waters as well. I agree with you about the drums being the anchor of the sound. Great sound and it was a great moody set for my Sunday afternoon.

Check out my latest song called Loop Lexicon
racerat said 3660 days ago (September 13th, 2007)
We wrote it in about 5 minutes. We'd write and record 4 or 5 songs in an afternoon in those days. I sometimes miss the limits of 4 tracks....all this looping and comping makes me crazy sometimes. I miss the spontaneity.

Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
lavalamp said 3658 days ago (September 14th, 2007)
Freaking outstanding
For a 4-track recording, this is outstanding. SJ good singing! All around a very good song guys.
Check out my latest song called The Shallow People
dynoMYSTIC said 3649 days ago (September 24th, 2007)
Outstanding vocals, enjoyed this song.
Check out my latest song called Motives
said 3647 days ago (September 25th, 2007)
Great Song!
What a great piece! You guy's should revisit this one.

I'm impressed. Hat's off!!!

THANK YOU for the download.
racerat said 3647 days ago (September 26th, 2007)
Thanks PickQuick,
An oldie but one of my fav's. Ah for those old 4-track days. Things were so simple then....


like your new icon!

Check out my latest song called Paper Thin
stacey said 3482 days ago (March 8th, 2008)
Stealing Water
This is a really cool song. Isn't music great? We can express our feelings on any subject matter at all that we feel is important to us. I just dig you.

Check out my latest song called tick tock
PatriciaGirl said 2079 days ago (January 10th, 2012)
Stealing water
Very cool to find this amongst the vast numbers of songs here. i enjoyed listening to this piece. Thanks for sharing.

Check out my latest song called Derelict
Artist Info
artist photo
Name: racerat
Location: Maplewood NJ USA
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I went to school for the fine arts, painting, and taught that for a while, but I am now a graphic design executive by day, and a musician most the rest of the time. I play guitar and bass mostly, do midi synth stuff, use drum machines ... [see more]

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Genre Info
A ballad is a story in a song, usually a narrative song or poem. It is a rhythmic saga of a past affair, which may be heroic, romantic or satirical, political (affected by the previous three types mentioned, refers to either glorifying the exploits o

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