The Summers Behind You

by Barry Childs-Helton

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"The Summers Behind You" is Barry Childs-Helton's first solo album. Its 17 tracks of Barry's original "English-major folk-rock with aerospace motifs" will take you to a world of analog-era technology, science-fiction as metaphor, busted college romances, literary allusion, and wry humor. Barry delivers a versatile guitar style on ten different instruments to underpin his smooth vocals. Full printed lyrics in a multi-page booklet provide "a read for your ears", and the Dragon Scale Studios graphic design recalls vintage postcards of a midway beyond summer. Travel there with us!


released October 23, 2015

All music, lyrics, guitar and vocal performances, and photographs are (c) 2015 by Barry Childs-Helton. All rights reserved.

Engineering, mixing, mastering, photo manipulation, graphic design, and layout by Katt McConnell at Dragon Scale Studios.

Produced under Dragon Scale Records at Dragon Scale Studios in Indianapolis, IN. Find more at on the Web and on Facebook at


all rights reserved



Barry Childs-Helton Indianapolis, Indiana

Barry is known to science fiction fandom as a singer-songwriter-guitarist with wife Sally Childs-Helton, the Black Book Band, and Wild Mercy. (Photo by Beckett Gladney; banner photo by Shawn Olson.)

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Track Name: Don't Come Cheap
Lyrics and music by Barry Childs-Helton

Hangin' on that line again
when you call me from Chicago—
if I'm twistin' on the hook again,
you'll never hear a peep.
I get this picture of your face
sleepin' tousled on my pillow—
almost autographed—
but I know it don't come cheap.

You imply a steamy scene,
yeah, you got my cameras running.
Are you betting that
you'll never be outgunned?
When you step down off that plane,
yeah, I'm sure
you'll look just stunning,
but I'm still sore
from the last time I was stunned.

I don't see where you get off
just camping in my daydream—
are you lookin' for some friendly fire
or the way to Lovers' Leap?
Either way, you've got a way
of damming up my mainstream—
there's some power there
but I know it don't come cheap.

Same old flame, same old game
at that same old line of scrimmage
where you thaw me out
till you put me back on ice.
Do you keep a silver frame
in case someone fits your image?
Well, I warn you,
every picture has its price.

Take it cool, take it cruel,
take it any way you want to—
we can dig each other's changes up
if you want to go that deep.
Did you figure out you want more
than some handle to hold on to?
I've got two good hands
but you know they don't come cheap.

Is it true it's just you—
baby, have you cut your tether?
Are we done with double-cross
and double play?
If you truly got that clue,
maybe we can get together.
If not, there goes the one
that got away.

If you're absent without leave
from some routine that's killing,
I've got troubles of my own to fix,
maybe nothin' that won't keep.
But nobody'd best assume
that anybody's willing—
the rewards are nice
but I know they don't come cheap.
You can load the dice
but that turn to roll ain't cheap.
You might fool me twice
but this time... oh, this time...
it don't come cheap.
Track Name: Exotic Foreign Man (A Writerly Escapade)
Lyrics and music by Barry Childs-Helton

Did you find you an exotic
foreign man?
Well, if you want to,
we both know you can.
Please just let me know
before you call.
That's all I'll ask you
this time, love, that's all.

The last I heard,
you'd met a short-haired
Cypriot in exile
who turned you on to ouzo
and a couple other things.
Or was that your Swiss physicist
(the guy who loved hang-gliding)
who called you down to Baja
so that you could try your wings?


Geared up for hunting UFOs
and V-2 desert wreckage,
I hitched a ride to Roswell
when my car gave up the ghost.
Got back to find
a perfumed postcard
propped on my typewriter
to tease me
with that Concorde flight
you charmed out of your host.


I woke up early,
heard you touched down
in the USA again.
I walked out after rain today—
the sky was deep and fine.
I thought you'd be in London
cadging airfare with a photoshoot,
or maybe smuggling diamonds
from some lost Rhodesian mine. Or...


So Mexico was primal, was it?
Yeah, I read it somewhere.
An article you did, or maybe
it was just a card.
I don't remember which now,
but it sure left an impression
like how the sun fled south from here
just as the ice got hard.

Track Name: The Summers Behind You
Lyrics and music by Barry Childs-Helton

Just ignore those hungry glances
while you're slipping off the wetsuit
and new Voits—
maybe sip a gin and tonic
while you stretch and tell one more
of your exploits.
You show a lot of skill at skin games.
You've got handfuls of men—
what became of their names?
Are they lost between
the summers behind you,
one at a time?

I still dream about that island
though I always run aground
in the small hours
while you're cruising from the slopes
into the cool white rooms
of the tall towers.
Did you find executive bliss?
Are you thinking of changing
your habitual kiss?
Did you leave it
in the summers behind you,
one at a time?

Well, I'm keeping it together
though it's nowhere near
a precise fit.
Where do you put excess
when nothing excites it?

Do you still ease into conquest
with that balance of display
and defiance?
Maybe check your parner's armament
before you form
your short-term alliance?
Well, the powerboats bob in the sun,
so you'd better get on
with what you've begun—
and leave 'em
stranded in the summers behind you,
one at a time.

If I see you in the future,
then you'll know it's not the one
that you ordered—
unless you made that lissome landing
where the sunlight is too sweet
to be sordid.
Well, a sunburn will eventually heal—
yeah, you might've been right
that we could've been real—
but that's a story from
the summers behind you,
run out of time.

Another story from
the summers behind you,
run out of time.
Track Name: Strange or Sweet (Stranger Suite)
Lyrics and music by Barry Childs-Helton

Disbanded at the door,
we'll gather
but we don't know when.
I've read all this before,
or dreamed up
something like it then.
Oops, wrong century—
nobody here but strangers.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.

We stubbornly defend
the fragments
of our old ideals—
our injuries extend
from underneath
these broken wheels.
mad dogs in burning mangers.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.

Heroically the heretic,
fanatically the foe,
we lean so hard
on the nothing we know,
limping off
to where good martyrs throw
their murdered questions.

Just asking,
are you going
that I could take you to?
And if there isn't time
to jot us down
in the margins of Who's Who,
I'm on your map
as somewhere you're
accelerating through,
then call it fun
until we're done,
more living proof
that one plus one
doesn't always equal two.

Just asking,
where's it written
we must be
invincible or wrong?
That you can't stay,
regardless if I get to go along?
That love and peace
are lyrics
in one more forgotten song?
Not much to save,
no rising wave,
nobody home
who's free or brave.
Tomorrow we'll be too far gone.

Routine disaster's
been and gone,
left no more than this:
these separate flames
in this cozy abyss.
Nothing ventured,
everything missed,
tested or beaten.

Well, sure,
let's beat our treasure
into blades
for never-ending wars.
Catapult our afters
against our ironclad befores.
No security,
just artificial danger.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.

Just two more fleeting sparks
impersonating you and me—
so brief against the dark,
watch them burn away
to mystery:
Tears upon the sea
won't quench him
and won't change her.
Be my mystery
and I will be your stranger.
More than what we see.
Infinitely stranger.

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