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  1. 1 The Ringmaster 00:31 Info
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  2. 2 Invited 00:47 Info
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  3. 3 Aster Street Days 04:07 Info
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  4. 4 How Can I Resist 03:34 Info
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  5. 5 Face The Light 04:16 Info
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  6. 6 From Where I Am 02:50 Info
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  7. 7 Crazy 02:44 Info
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  8. 8 (It Only Took) Forever 03:04 Info
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  9. 9 Shine 03:13 Info
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  10. 10 Goodbye My Friend 04:47 Info
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  11. 11 I Am The Cosmos 04:50 Info
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  12. 12 Circus Of Mirth 01:24 Info
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  13. 13 If I Could Do It All Over Again 00:49 Info
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What the reviewers say about Circus Of Mirth;

"A striking debut outing, Circus Of Mirth couples heritage pop rock inspirations with modern strokes, resulting in a collection of tunes smacking of a timeless quality. Songs dripping with catchy melodies and hummable choruses will never date, and the band delivers these gripping elements in spades."

Beverly Paterson - © www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2017

 

"If you're a fan of great pop and rock music, then you've got to get yourself a copy of the Heirs Of Fortune's "Circus Of Mirth" CD... NOW!!! It's my favorite release of 2017 so far, and may end up as my favorite for the year!"

Dennis Dalcin - Contributing writer for Bucket Full Of Brains and Kaleidoscope, 2017

 

"...the compositions are primarily piano driven and the melodies are engaging. This is evident from the get-go with tracks such as “Aster Street Days”, one of my early favorites. “How Can I Resist” features a catchy chorus and smart lyrics, and the cover of Chris Bell's “I Am The Cosmos” is a testament to the band’s good taste.  “Crazy”... is more guitar reliant and settles into a great groove early. At just 2:45 it’s a fresh breeze, a great slice of classic power pop."

Richard Rossi - Power Pop News, www.powerpopnews.com  July 2017

 

"Heirs Of Fortune have created a poignant and reflective album; "Circus Of Mirth", dedicated to Audities publisher and good friend/advisor to the band, Gary Littleton, who was tragically taken from us much too soon.  Most of the songs on the album... were written or co-written by Terry Carolan, who carries the spirit of Mr. Littleton through this disc of fine pop songs which will remind the listener of an American Badfinger."

David Bash - Founder/CEO The International Pop Overthrow Music Festival

 

"Lyrically straight forward without being simplistic, "Aster Street Days" conveys the wistful reverie it depicts perfectly.   Evocative sums "Aster" up nicely. As a good song should, it whisks the listener away to the place and time brought to life, however briefly, by it's lyrics and melody. Much like those precious memories of friendships forged in the formative years of early adulthood, "Aster Street Days" is a song that I know I'll revisit often."

Anthony Henderson, Audities, 2017

 

"I hear The Hollies, Emitt Rhodes and Jeff Lynne in these tracks, and if that doesn't convince you to listen, get your head checked!  A real carnival of light!"

Chris Price, Recording artist and Record Producer

 

"Dedicated to the late Gary Littleton (publisher of the seminal 90's pop fanzine Audities), Circus Of Mirth is a solid, meat-and-potatoes record... "Goodbye My Friend" is an elegant, slide-guitar filled elegy to Littleton. Another highlight is the warm, nostalgiac "Aster Street Days", a beautiful, 70's tinged pop confection."

John Borack, Goldmine Magazine - August 2017

 

"...a collection of carefully crafted pop standouts ...  "Aster Street Days, which has that glorious mid-70's pop sound and feel...  The crisp and delicious acoustic guitar opening of "From Where I Am" is enough to induce a chill.  ... the kicker is a near orchestral version of "I Am The Cosmos...an outstanding rendition.  This album is another of those fine examples of "how it's done"."

Rob Ross, PopDose, August 2017

About Circus Of Mirth...

In 1974, I had the good fortune of being part of Tampa's influential, but obscure pop rock band, Amnesia, and through that, meeting Gary Littleton. My time with Amnesia lasted only six months, but my friendship, association and collaboration with Gary spanned decades. It is those years, and events within them, that are the inspiration for the Circus Of Mirth album.

Gary Littleton met Ralph Smith at WFLA Radio in 1974, popping his head into a room where Ralph was listening to a new album. Gary was curious about who it was, because of the ringing guitar chords. The album was "Starting Over" by the Raspberries.  In Ralph's own words; "A shock of unruly black hair did a double-take while passing the music library and poked its head inside.  I dropped the needle on "I Don't Know What I Want", the Berries' blatant rip-off of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again".  Without realizing it, I'd made a lifelong friend of the brilliant, musically voracious and endlessly curious Gary Littleton".  This serendipitous moment set the stage for many things to come.

Gary became a fan of Amnesia, especially Ralph Smith’s songwriting, and it was at an Amnesia show that I first met him. Later, when I formed Just Boys, he became a spokesperson, sometimes benefactor and general cheerleader for the band, as he had with Amnesia. But in 1977, Littleton upped the ante by instigating and funding the recording sessions for the Just Boys single, and working with me to form Counterfeit Records for its release. As part of his new role as record executive, Gary also arranged distribution with Bomp Records, and then Jem Records.

From that time on, Gary became a key figure in many of my musical endeavors, as well as a close friend and a music fan who shared an essentially religious devotion to pop music with me, Ralph Smith and other like-minded people.  Gary again turned up the heat when he launched Audities with Anthony Henderson in the mid 1990's.  With this effort, Gary tried to offer the same support to the pop-rock community in general, as he had to Amnesia, Just Boys, True Hearts and New Movies.  Despite his widening circle, Gary's interest and support for the music Ralph and I created never wavered.  This was evident by including four songs of mine on the (sadly unreleased) Audities Insanely Great Pop, Volume One album.

When Gary passed away in 2008, I inherited a crate of cassette tapes. I felt duty bound to listen to all of them, feeling they must've meant something to Gary. But between being overwhelmed by the quantity, and dismayed by Gary's lack of labeling, I eventually gave up and decided to cull out tapes of mine and Ralph's (demos Gary frequently stole), and other items that's might be of interest. Among those items of interest were two tapes I put aside; one was labeled "Circus Of Mirth" and the other "Blue Cartoon". Both names sounded interesting.

Sometime later, I discovered that the "Circus Of Mirth" tape was actually a voicemail left on my Los Angeles answering machine, and unbeknownst to me, pilfered by Ralph many years earlier. The "Blue Cartoon" tape was a demo sent to Gary by the band in 1997. Also, in the crate were a couple folded pieces of paper. I eventually unfolded those papers to discover they were a letter from Lee Elliott of Blue Cartoon, introducing the band to Gary, and describing the enclosed cassette demo. The letter explained that Blue Cartoon were from San Jose, but had relocated to Austin, Texas... where I then lived. While years had passed since that letter, I decided to try to locate the band, and to my amazement, found them. Not long after (in 2010) I was invited to join Blue Cartoon. So, even after Gary's passing he was directly responsible for my next big musical effort.

So it was, that in 2015, when Ralph Smith and I decided to collaborate on some recordings, the topic of the Circus Of Mirth tape came up. Revisiting that tape brought Gary back into our thoughts, and reminded us of how supportive Gary had been to both Ralph and myself as songwriters. As our collaboration grew from the few songs we originally intended, to a full album, both of us knew the album had to be named Circus Of Mirth, and that the album should tell the story of Littleton's role in our musical lives, in a quiet and subtle way. We also felt that it should be recorded only by people who were a part of that shared experience, and Heirs Of Fortune was born.

It is intentional that the album's first song is "Invited", an Amnesia recording from 1974 that has never before been released. Likewise, that the album is closed by an excerpt from Blue Cartoon's "If I Could Do It All Over Again", which was the first song I recorded with the band (you should attempt to find the whole song!). These songs bookend the span of time and events that Gary was so much a part of.

As Heirs Of Fortune, we're grateful to have been able to reunite with this common purpose, and to keep Gary's memory alive.  He really was The Ringmaster of the Circus Of Mirth.



 

Who are Heirs Of Fortune?

Heirs Of Fortune is a coincidental reunion of relevant friends, who were all part of the events reflected in the story that is Circus Of Mirth.

In 1974-75, Ralph Smith, Robert Watkins and Gary Heslin were the core of the band Amnesia in Tampa, Florida. I joined the band for about six months. Later, in 1976, Robert Woodrich, Gary Heslin, and I formed Just Boys. Then in 1983, Robert Woodrich and I joined again to form New Movies.

In 2014, Ralph and I had an accidental collaboration resulting in "Goodbye My Friend". Though we have known and respected each other for many years, this was only the second time we attempted to write together. I had happened upon an instrumental song demo of Ralph's titled, "When The World Stops Turning", and loved the song. With Ralph's approval, I set to writing lyrics and melody for it, resulting in "Goodbye My Friend". This collaboration brought us together with the intention of co-writing a handful of songs, and releasing an EP, but it wasn't to play out that way.  
As the recording continued, and it became apparent that the then un-named EP was expanding, Ralph and I were joined by Robert Woodrich and Robert Watkins. The reunion became Heirs Of Fortune. With the inclusion of the Amnesia song “Invited”, Gary Heslin, who passed away in 2016, is included in performance and spirit.

Gary Littleton was, in many ways, a contributor to our collective musical endeavors, spanning more than thirty years. As for me, singing the words “where would I be, what would have changed”, couldn’t ring more true. We were very fortunate for Gary’s help and friendship. We were indeed, Heirs Of Fortune.

Circus Of Mirth - Lyrics

The Ringmaster
(Terry Carolan and Anthony Henderson)

Spoken word: Gary Littleton and Anthony Henderson

It's a riot
It's a real laugh riot
It's a veritable circus of mirth



Invited
(Ralph Smith)
Original 1974 recording by Amnesia

Lead vocal: Ralph Smith

Yes you're all invited
Yes you're all invited
To our first demo
Yes you're all invited
Yes you're all invited
To our first demo

Watch for it soon
Spinning with thirty three revolting notions
That will clutter up your living room
Getting sentimental over you



Aster Street Days
(Terry Carolan)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

Who knows where the time goes
It's blown off in the wind
Sometimes when the sun's low
My thoughts go back again
Sometimes they're so clear
The moments held so dear

Amnesiacs played at a downtown parade
Echoes and memories come back through the haze
Thinking about how things have changed
I wish we could have stayed
How I love those Aster Street days

Todays and yesterdays
How bitter-sweet they blend
We fade off to the grey
But always meet again
Time cannot erase
The magic of the place

Amnesiacs played at a downtown parade
Echoes and memories come back through the haze
Thinking about how things have changed
I wish we could have stayed
How I love those Aster Street days

Amnesiacs played at a downtown parade
Long faded memories go back to their place
Moments in time with barely a trace
I wish we all could stay
How I love those Aster Street days

In memories we still play
How I love those Aster Street days



How Can I Resist
(Ralph Smith)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

I wouldn't die for anyone
But I would kill for you
So you might as well resign yourself
No one else will ever do

Honey you don't cast a shadow
And I don't have a doubt
The love goes in, the truth will all come out

Daddy's little dividend
Is now Mommy's little girl
The love once heard around the block
Is now heard around the world

Well I love to hear you whisper
And I love to make you scream
But things aren't nearly quite the way they seem

Remember what I told you
Recall every word I said
One thing is sure, that you want to say more
It's all inside your head

We both knew these things happened
But they always happen here
Same as before you come asking for more
In case I may have missed, considering all of this
How can I resist

Remember what I told you
Recall every word I said
One thing is sure, that you want to say more
It's all inside your head

We both knew these things happened
But they always happen here
Same as before you come asking for more
In case I may have missed, considering all of this
How can I resist



Face The Light
(Terry Carolan and Ralph Smith)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

Love's not all you need
But it's a place to start
True if you believe it
Some will make mistakes
And some will make their mark
And some will have to leave it

Love takes no sides
Every true romance
Leaves it up to fate, and leaves it all to chance

Some live and learn
Some crash and burn
Some won't make it back
Baby you're a maze
The way you twist and turn
You can stand and fight
Fade to black or face the light

Once upon a dream
And twice upon a time
The blindest eye can see it
We all turned away
While waiting for a sign
Dream harder and believe it

Love makes no sound
Every true romance
Leaves it up to fate, and leaves it all to chance

Some live and learn
Some crash and burn
Some won't make it back
Baby you're a maze
The way you twist and turn
You can stand and fight
Fade to black or face the light

You can stand and fight
Fade to black or face the light
You can stand and fight
Fade to black or face the light



From Where I Am
(Ralph Smith and Terry Carolan)

Lead vocal: Ralph Smith

Hummingbirds on silver wings
Purple martins start to sing
From where I am, I see many things

Winter wind and Summer breeze
Raindrops falling through the trees
From where I am, I see many things

Anything is possible
Watching day by day
All you see, or all you miss
When you look another way

A teapot and an open book
Frames of faces in the nook
From where I am, I see many things

Wrap a secret 'round your heart
Never let it show
We all need a little mystery
No one has to know

An old guitar with rusted strings
Listens as the kettle sings
From where I am, I see many things
From where I am, I see many things



Crazy
(Ralph Smith and Terry Carolan)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

I, have heard a little thing or two
I, I'm starting to believe, they're true
I've played the fool for everyone
But there's more I can do
Some may think I'm crazy, how 'bout you

I, want to break the rules you break
And I, I wanna call the moves you make
It's all been fun for everyone
And now I'm almost sure
They can't call me crazy anymore

Everyone is watchin' you
You're money in the bank
By the time they're through you're black and blue
And you've got yourself to thank

I, know a little thing or two
I, heard that every dream's come true
You've got your moment in the sun
So shine until it's through
They don't call me crazy, how 'bout you
They won't call me crazy, how 'bout you


 

(It Only Took) Forever
(Ralph Smith)

Lead vocal: Ralph Smith

Any fool can climb a mountain
Any dreamer touch the stars
We've come to some arrangement
Stay exactly as you are

We took so long to falter
We've got nowhere to fall
You can have it all
In spite of all the danger

It only took forever and a day
It only took a lifetime
To turn to you and say
It only took forever and one night
You and I we always get it wrong
We turned out alright
Miracles can happen overnight

I don't know how to tell you
I don't know what to say
We'll both get our way
In spite of all the answers

It only took forever and a day
It only took a lifetime
To turn to you and say
It only took forever and one night
You and I we always get it wrong
We turned out alright
Miracles can happen overnight


Shine
(Robert Woodrich)

Lead vocal: Robert Woodrich

It's a sunny day
Why don't you come out and play
In the yard with me
The birds are singing way up in the tree
Saying look at me

Now that the workday's done
We get to celebrate our mood
Out in the sun
No worries for me as we wile away the hours
Like fish in the sea

Turn a little love light on me
Turn a little love light on me

It's a sunny day
Why don't you come outside and,
Climb a tree with me
I'll carve our names on a branch just like
Kids in the Spring

Mr. Butterfly
Sits on a sunflower and,
Bides his time
He doesn't mind them all watching him
Spread his wings to fly, high away

Into the Summer's air rising like steam
Lifting him up on beautiful wings
Into the air and flying away

I look towards the house, I see you there
Smiling at me and I feel so aware
That moments like these don't come every day

Turn a little love light on me
Turn a little love light on me
Turn a little love light on me
Turn a little love light on me



Goodbye My Friend
(Ralph Smith and Terry Carolan)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

Today's September twenty eighth
Dreaming dreams of you of late
Maybe a line to tell me how you're getting on

Three hundred days have come and passed
Things you said when we spoke last
Left me wondering' just how you'll get along

Goodbye my friend
What I'd do to have you here again
Goodbye my friend
Though we will never be apart
We will never meet again

So many memories, good and bad
Sometimes laughing, sometimes sad
And as each day goes by I ponder one and all

Where would I be, what would have changed
Some things can never be explained
It hardly matters as I'm waiting for your call

Goodbye my friend
What I'd do to have you here again
Goodbye my friend
Though we will never be apart
We will never meet again

Goodbye my friend
What I'd do to have you here with me again
Goodbye my friend
Though we will never be apart
We will never meet again

On sunny April twenty first
Heard that things had turned for worst
Please feel better soon, I hope you're on the mend

Goodbye my friend
What I'd do to have you here with me again
Goodbye my friend
Though we will never be apart
We will never meet again
Though we will never be apart
We will never meet again

Today is June the twenty eighth
Said farewell to you today
Now I'm wondering' just how we'll get along



I Am The Cosmos
(Chris Bell)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

Every night I tell myself I am the cosmos
I am the wind
But that don't get you back again

Just when I was startin' to feel okay
You're on the phone
I never want to be alone
I never want to be alone
I'd hate to have to take you home
Wanted you too much to say no, no
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

My feelings always have been something' I couldn't hide
I can't confide
Don't know what's going' on inside

So every night I tell myself I am the cosmos
I am the wind
But that don't get you back again

I'd really like to see you again
I really want to see you again
I'd really like to see you again
I really want to see you again
I'd really like to see you again
I really want to see you again
Never want to see you again
I really want to see you again

I am the cosmos



Circus Of Mirth
(Terry Carolan)

Lead vocal: Terry Carolan

Time is done
The cycle is over
Now a new one's begun
Got to keep on movin'
Say goodbye to this Earth
From death now to birth

Take everything for what it was worth
This circus of mirth
Take everything for what it was worth
This circus of mirth



If I Could Do It All Over Again
(Lee Elliott)
From original 2010 recording by Blue Cartoon

Lead vocal: Dave Loren

If I could do it all over again...

 

 

 

All songs © and ℗ 2017 Counterfeit Productions Music, BMI

Except:

I Am The Cosmos - © 1974 Ardent Music, Licensed by Obo Koala Music

If I Could Do It All Over Again - © 2010 Groovy Lizard Music, ASCAP

 

Reproduction or distribution of lyrics is prohibited without prior authorization of copyright owner.

 

"We had our own Brian Epstein, we just didn't know it" - Ralph Smith, 2008