Welcome to Muscle Beach

by Martin Harris

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Welcome to Muscle Beach
tracks recorded ca. 1993-1999 using a 4-track cassette recorder

Welcome to Muscle Beach (my sixth LP) represents my lone attempt at a pop album (to date), with 13 of the 14 tracks including vocals (the title track being the lone instrumental). Lyrics are included with each track. “Medicine” is an alternate version of a song I originally recorded with Simple Pendulum in 1987. Three outtakes missed the cut: "A Love Song," "Lullaby," and "Sir Richard Owen and the Skeleton of a Bird Build From a Single Bone Sent Him." The cover is a photograph of myself at age 10 (on the right) with my friend Brandon Owens at Kure Beach, NC during the summer of 1978.


released September 1, 2016

All instruments and vocals by Martin Harris.



all rights reserved


Martin Harris Troutman, North Carolina

I’m a writer, reporter, teacher, and musician living in North Carolina. The albums were each self-produced using a cassette four-track recorder. All are instrumental aside from the pop album, “Welcome to Muscle Beach.” All songs & instruments by me except where noted. ... more

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Track Name: Candy
A piece of candy,
sugary honey sweet --
exactly what you
are to me.

A hundred flavors
each sweeter than before,
all that I savor

A piece of candy,
sugary honey sweet --
exactly what you
are to me.

Each of your kisses
tastes like a honeydew.
Wonder what this is
like to you?
Track Name: First We Gotta Love
People of the Earth,
our world is full of struggle and of strife,
but everybody
has the key to a better life.
One thing’s for sure, there’s something out there that we’re all
gonna have to find.
Maybe then we’ll have the right
to call ourselves the name of humankind.

We gotta love one another.
We gotta learn from one another.
We gotta dance with one another.
First we gotta love one another.
That’s right, the time is now.

I’ll tell you what it’s worth --
with love there’s not a thing we can’t survive.
It’s the source of all happiness,
yeah, it keeps us all alive.
Everyone of us, we gotta do our part,
we gotta compromise.
’Cause we’ve been blind the longest time,
so let’s together open up our eyes.

We gotta love one another.
We gotta learn from one another.
We gotta dance with one another.
First we gotta love one another.
Here, let me show you how.
Track Name: Guilt Trip
If only I had managed to do something ---
I don’t know what --
it wouldn’t have turned out this way.
I’m not saying everything would have been better,
only different.

I don’t know what came over me.
What’s done is done, now I can see
the places where I faltered
and all the choices that I made.
I played the fool, but now the train is leaving --
I must be on my way.

(Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa...)

For everything I take the blame,
knowing full well it’s all the same.
If you know how to change it,
I’m here and listening -- tell me how --
but now that’s all behind, I’ve bought my ticket --
I must be on my way.
There’s nothing more to say.
The guilt trip starts today.

(Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa...)
Track Name: Customer Comment Card
When you’ve finished,
please take a moment to tell us what you think of all we do
and ways we might improve our service.
For each statement,
please put a check mark in the appropriate box:
“Excellent,” “Very Good,” “Good,” “Fair,” “Poor.”
Please be honest,
because we will use your answers to make ourselves better.

When you finish,
mail the card in -- the postage has already been paid.

“I would describe my server as:”
“I would rate the atmosphere as:”
“I got what I orderered:”
“I would rate the quality:”
“When compared to similar establishments your promptness would rate:”

And lastly,
please write below any ideas you might have for how we might
revise our customer comment card
so to make it more effective.
Track Name: Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
of life drank deep,
distrusted medicine,
never liked to sleep.

Mary had a lamb,
its fleece was white as snow.
Everywhere she went
the lamb was sure to go.
Track Name: In the Morning, Anything Is Possible
In the morning, anything is possible.
The whole day
lies before you as you lie in bed
and make what plans you may.

In the afternoon, you find that after all,
you’re human,
and plans made in the morning
often fail in execution.

In the evening, thoughts become more practical,
less hopeful.
Compromises, reconsiderations, ways to cope fill
up the spaces formerly reserved for undertakings.
Now you slowly drift back to the bed
of your own making.
Track Name: We, the Undersigned
We, the undersigned,
in accordance with parliamentary procedure,
wish to register our dissent
from the council’s recent action.
Respecfully, we disagree with the majority.

We wish for our position
to be entered into the minutes.

We, the undersigned,
in accordance with parliamentary procedure,
wish to register our dissent
from the council’s recent action.
Respectfully, we can’t agree with the majority.

Point of order, point of order, point of order, point of order...

If you go down that road, be aware when you do
that there’s no way of turning back.

Thank you, sir, but we each understand
(The undersigned each understand.)
the implication of signing this document and
(Not undermined, though undermanned.)
though our numbers may be few, we’ve confidence that the chair
(The undersigned each understand.)
will ensure that any consequence will be fair.
(Not undermined, though undermanned.)

We, the undersigned...
Track Name: Like Candy
Though I might say what you’re like
I don’t know what you like.
I don’t know.

So you tell me what you like --
I’ll know what to be like
even though...

Similes have a way of falling apart.
Can’t survive without the confidence of metaphor.

So there’s still a space between --
do you know what I mean?
Do you know?

You’re just like candy.
(Like is not love.)
You’re just like candy.
(Like is not love.)
You’re just like candy.
(Like is nothing like love.)

Like is nothing like love...
Track Name: The Soldier's Dream
At daybreak they wake up and rub their eyes.
Morning, afternoon --
through all they’re marching right through.

At night of what they dream is no surprise:
one foot then the other, marching through --
in time with each other, marching through.
Track Name: Medicine
Do you know what’s good for me?
The trouble’s something I can’t see.
I don’t suppose you’d guess what it might be?
I think I’ll go lay down.

Doc, can you fill my prescription
for an ache beyond description?
Maybe I need peace and quiet.

I don’t mean to complain,
but there’s this nagging pain,
it worries me because I can’t explain
to you just where it hurts.

It’s my back, or maybe my ears ring.
Can’t you just give me something
to let me sleep and be forgotten?

When I awoke I saw a note left on the bed.
I opened it and read
that everyone agreed --
what I really need
is to “Let us in.
Come take your medicine.
And we’ll talk when you are more agreeable.”

Perhaps my worry was too strong,
but how can I expect to get along
when all my doctors turn out to be wrong?

My own counsel’s best I’m sure.
I must be the one who has to cure
this problem,
and must fix things so no one can see me at my worst.
Track Name: Waiting Room
The windows slide.
A voice calls from inside.
The voice asks him his name
and the reason he came.

“Go sit down, around
you’ll find some magazines.
Down the hall there is a Coke machine.”

Waiting room.
Waiting room.
Waiting room.

There’s red vinyl chairs.
He finds one, sits, and stares.
He finds something to read.
“Is there something you need?”

“Ten more minutes,
then the doctor will be free.
Meanwhile would you like to watch TV?”

Waiting room.
Waiting room.
Waiting room.

Patience leaves him as the patients come and go.
Channels change, the strangers all follow
the voice who calls out all you need to know
about the waiting room.
Waiting room.
Waiting room.
Track Name: The Physician
We’ve had this problem once before.
When was the last time you were seen?
Come in, sit down -- I’ll close the door.
Is this the way it’s always been?

Let’s go back and try to find
when all this started to unwind.
Forgive me please, it’s been awhile --
I’ll need some time to read your file.
If you could bring me up to date,
we could get started -- I’d be grateful.

I’ve seen a case like yours before.
The treatment’s been the same for many, many years.
You needn’t worry anymore.
You did the right thing coming here.

The problem is a common kind,
although it could be in your mind.
Now just relax a moment, I’ll
be right back to commence our trial.
Meet my assistant -- she’s first-rate --
she’ll count us back as you’re sedated.

Are you comfortable?
(8... 7... 6... )
Lean your head back. (That’s good.)
(5... 4... )
Now, open wide.
(3... 2... 1... )
Say “Ahhhhh...”
Track Name: Chutes and Ladders
It’s the end of our little album.
Then again, this might be a joke
Like “Nevermind” or “Abbey Road.”

In the end did it make sense to you?
It depends on your point of view.
To us it all seems meaningless.

In the end nothing really matters.
It’s all a game of chutes and ladders --
Climbing up and falling down.