The Devil Plays Poker

by This Criminal Soul

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about

The original cast recording of Christoph Whitbeck's first rock opera, The Devil Plays Poker, meant to be played front-to-back in its entirety.

The opera tells the tale of a nameless card-player who picks up the wrong hand. Featuring all 17 songs performed by the original cast and band from the New Haven premiere on Halloween 2013.

credits

released January 31, 2013

All songs by Christoph Whitbeck
All lyrics by Christoph Whitbeck except 10 and 13 by Christoph Whitbeck and Michael Walker

Performers:
Christoph Whitbeck - Guitars
Jake Habegger - Drums, Backing Vocals
D'Andre Fontanelle - Bass, Backing Vocals
Derek "D-Rock" Currier - Saxophone

Cast (In order of appearance)
Michael Walker - Card Player
Mysti Keller - Mother
Peter Cunningham - Vagrant
Jacklyn Meeker - Fiancee
Christoph Whitbeck - Barkeep, The Devil

Alex Dancho - Assistance in all things.

The Devil Plays Poker theatrical premiere was performed at Lyric Hall in New Haven, CT on Halloween 2013

All songs recorded at a house in Monroe, CT, November 16-17, 2013.

Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Peter Recine at Greenpoint Studios

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about

This Criminal Soul New Haven, Connecticut

Born out of the theatrical project The Devil Plays Poker, This Criminal Soul became the vehicle for all things Rock and Roll produced by Christoph Whitbeck.

They rock stages and melt faces in the New Haven area and beyond.
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Track Name: Prologue (Lost Memories)
Act One: In which we establish characters, situations, and the foreboding of dreams.

I. Prologue (Lost Memories)
Card Player:
Blow a kiss to my grave
If you remember my name
Lay some flowers down
If you recall the sound
Of my voice
Track Name: The Rules
II. The Rules
Mother:
Don't you ever take a hand that was dealt by a blind man
Unless you're dead sure you've got nothing to lose.
Never see an inside straight to the end
Never bluff blind, never raise your friends
Never try to remember the cards in your hand
Or bet something belonging to another tougher man
Never let the ladies linger, or look at your cards
Or try to steal a glance at another man's hand

They'll shoot you blind just for looking like that
They'll kill you on the spot for having something to lose
Keep a twinkle in your eye, and a wrinkle in your smile
And try, yes you try to make friends with strangers

Because a man making friends with stranger-men
Is bound to show his hand
Or show a buck or two
To a wiser, better hand

'Cause there's nothing that poker loves more
Than a new rich idiot who likes it from the bottle
So wisen up, and tough it out
And don't you dare deal from the bottom!
And you will make it soon enough
They'll all be begging for your luck
Remember these rules were meant to help
But never hesitate, situation permitting

To smash them all to tiny bits,
Pick up the pieces, and poker chips.
Track Name: The Rain I (A Proper Goodbye)
III. The Rain I (A Proper Goodbye)
Mother:
When he left, the rain came pouring down
Lightning bleached the walls and thunder shook the ground
My boy had packed his things, in his pocket was a deck of cards
And he and his girl were about to get into the car

So I said, "Why don't you come inside?
You're my son, and I'd like a proper goodbye:
Just a cup of coffee, before you hit the road,
Just a little talk now, then I'll let you go."

They came in; the rain came pouring down,
Took off his boots and he placed them on the ground
They sat down by the fire, I got the coffee hot
And then I left my son with this last little thought:

"You know they say the Devil's a gambling man,
But you'll be okay if you never take that hand.
Once you bet your soul, you'll be a broken man;
Even if you win, you will be in the palm of his hand"
Track Name: Card Player
IV. Card Player
Mother:
You're a card player, damn good card player
But don't let it go to your head
You're my son, and I'll always love you
You mark these words that I've said
You're a card player, damn good card player
But don't be an unkind man
Or your mother won't be here for you
If you ever come home again

Card Player:
And I'm on a winning streak
And my luck's never gonna break
Just take and take and take
And never lose a dime...

Vagrant:
He's a card player, damn good card player
He took me for all that I had
And I live on the streets now outside of his house
He says there's nothing wrong with that
He's a card player, damn good card player,
But I know he's an honest man
He has a good heart and a heartbreaking smile
And a bluff like my mother's loving hands

Card Player:
And I lost another one
Riding it all on one dumb hand
I guess this is my last call
Go home before you lose it all...

Fiancée:
He's a card player, damn good card player
But he's always been my true love
He's a gambler, yes, and a liar,
But never to me nor his family
He's a card player, damn good card player
But like everything, that too will pass
And when he comes home, after the bars
He knows that he owes it to me...
I'm his luck

Card Player:
I'll have just one more drink
A whiskey for the road
No, thanks, Jack, deal me out
I've gotta be heading home...
Track Name: The Dream
V. The Dream
Fiancée:
You say that you love me
You tell me I'm the best
And I don't know what to say
So I just smile
You've been so down lately
Out of sorts
You haven't been around lately
You're out of touch

Your health is waning
Like the last full moon
Your life is fading
Years too soon

But you always say
After our wedding day
You'll be there always
Always

I've been trying to stay up lately
To see you come home some night
But lately it's been getting colder
I awake to a glance of your shoulder
Disappearing up the stair
The dream from my eyelids arises
There looks to be nobody there
So I sleep again

You always say,
After our wedding day,
You'll be there, always
Always…

Wailing Souls:
Blood, Blood...
Track Name: The Nightmare (Blood, Blood)
VI. The Nightmare

The Writhing Damned:
...Blood, Blood...

Fiancée:
Blood on your hands
Blood on my dress
The wedding party
Is a bloody mess

A knife in your hands
A smile on your face
As you cut up the guests
and the wedding cake
The rings are razors
The flowers are poisoned
There're hands at the throats
Of all the little boys and
Girls are screaming
Men twitch at the spine
There's blood in the water
And blood in the wine

Fiancée & A Chorus of Demons:
…Blood, Blood…

Fiancée:
Blood in the streets
Guts in the gutter
The sky turns a deep dark red
And I shudder
To think of the words
That you said to me:
How after today
We'll always be
Together
And it scares the life out of me
Together
Yes it scares the life out of me
And then blood, blood pours out of your eyes
The parson is Lucifer's shrouded disguise
The church is in flames
While the wedding bells chime
There's hundreds of screams
And silence...

Fiancée & A Million Cackling Wraiths:
…Blood, Blood
Track Name: Intermission
VII. Intermission

(Instrumental)
Track Name: Welcome To Devil's Inn
VIII. Welcome To Devil's Inn

Barkeep:
For twenty years it seems
I've been haunted by these dreams
The fear, in circles, streaming down your face
For twenty years it seems
I've been haunting spirits' dreams
The bitter sting in your tongue's embrace
A little girl upstairs
Holds tight a teddy bear
And cries out loud her father's name
Her mother runs inside
The baby girl to find
Fast asleep upon her bed's embrace
Smile as you fall
Let the devil in
Let the cold in the room
Become your saving sin
Smile as you fall
Welcome to Devil's Inn
Stay as long as you like
And become your sins
Once here I heard a man
Caught in his own bedlam
Cry out loud his savior's name:
"Sweet Jesus, come for me!
Oh Lord, I just cant see
Your light, your guiding flame!"
But none would come for him
He'd long been forgotten
And his God was none to speak of here
And he forgot that prayer
You see him, standing here
Welcoming you to never-where
Smile as you fall
Drink the devil in
Iced whiskey is the taste
Become your favorite sin
Smile as you fall
Welcome to Devil's Inn
Drink up all you want
And become your sins
O, here's a murderer
Corrupted minister
And every kind of vile man
And two lovers side by side
Separated by suicide
And doomed never to meet again
So smile as you fall

The Devil:
Smile 'cause tonight we'll have a number of guests
Let's all look alive, 'cause they ain't dead quite yet
Track Name: The Clock
IX. The Clock
(Instrumental)
Track Name: The Deal
X. The Deal

The Devil:
I made him a deal
I gave him a telephone call
And I gave him a chance
At what no man can resist
Every mortal's wish
And like most mortals,
He values gold above his soul
An easy life above true love
And pretty soon, he will be in
The palm of my hand

Card Player:
He made me a deal
He made me a telephone call
He said I could be anything that I wanted to be
And I'd be a success
He made me a deal
And I took the telephone call
He said all I had to do
Is what I do best
Yea it's what I do best
It's a sure thing!
So I gotta leave you darling
For just a little while
Don't you cry my darling,
I'll be back before you know I'm gone
Don't you cry,
All I do I do for you my darling, darling, darling
I'll be back soon
Don't you cry
My darling, O, my love, don't you cry!
Wish me luck, with a kiss
Kiss your man goodbye
Wish me luck with a kiss
And I'll be a success
Track Name: The Rain II (Hospitality)
XI. The Rain II (Hospitality)

Fiancée:
When he left, the rain came pouring down
And I saw that poor man outside upon the ground
The one for whom my man was the devil with a deck of cards
Spends his days at bars, his nights beneath the stars

So I said, "Why don't you come inside?
Warm your shaky bones by the fireside.
Oh, you know, my man won't mind.
And this is my house, so why don't you come in and get dry?"

He came in, the rain came pouring down
Took off his soggy boots and placed them on the ground
I got him a towel, I offered him a chair
He was so happy to sit there, then I noticed his dirty hair.

So I said, "Why don't you go and wash up?
The stairs are this way; there's a bathroom at the top.
There's a razor by the mirror, go ahead and have a shave.
You know my man don't mind, besides he's not home anyways."
Track Name: The Devil Plays Poker
XII. The Devil Plays Poker

Card Player:
It's a dead man's hand: eights, aces, and spades
A loaded gun pointed dead in your face
A lonely visitor to a lonely grave
The last stop before you're the blind man's slave

Dark sunglasses on a hold 'em dealer
Round about the table's only liars and cheaters
The spirit's getting lower, and the blinds are getting higher
And the card kings' smiles just keep getting wider

I'm down and out
So deal me in
All that I got left
Is the grave or the flame

A warm smile spreads across the hangman's face
A grin of false teeth with a poisonous taste
The scars on the palms of his up-turned hands
Can never cover up his sins

I'm down and out
So deal me in
All that I got left
Is the grave or the flame
I'm lost and lonely
So deal me in
All that I got left
Is a poker face

I feel my head getting lighter
My body's gettin weaker
These shaky little fingers
Can barely hold this hand
I'm losing it all
To dark sunglasses
On seven different shades
Of shady men

I'm down and out
So deal me in
All that I got left
Is the grave or the flame
I'm lost and lonely
So deal me in
All that I got left
Is a poker face
I'm down and out
So deal me in
All that I got left
Is aces and spades!
Track Name: Keep The Lights On, Baby!
XIII. Keep The Lights On, Baby!

Card Player:
Keep the lights on, babe
I'm coming home tonight
Keep that porch light on babe
I'm finally coming home
Don't you hear me coming, baby?
I'm barely just around the bend
Can't you hear me singing, babe?
I'm coming home again
You're gonna feel me coming, baby
I'm barely just around the way
Can't you feel me coming, sugar
Right till the break of day
You're gonna feel me coming, baby
I'm just coming over that hill
Don't you feel me coming, babe?
I'm finally back from Hell!

Fiancée:
I know you're coming home
I feel it in my bones
I feel it in my soul
But something's just not right
If you come home tonight
We'll both end up alone
I feel it in my soul
I feel it in my bones

Card Player:
Keep the lights on, babe!
I'm coming home tonight
Keep that porch light on babe
I'm finally coming home
Don't you hear that whistle blowin'?
That steam engine's burning bright
Keep that porch light on, babe
I'm coming home tonight

Fiancée:
I know you're coming home
I feel it in my bones
I feel it in my soul
But something's just not right
If you come home tonight
We'll both end up alone
I feel it in my soul
I feel it in my bones

I feel it in my bones
Track Name: The Rain III (Lord Of Darkness)
XIV. The Rain III (Lord Of Darkness)

Fiancée:
We left our bodies, the rain came pouring down
I saw a man walking in without a sound
He wore dark glasses, but you could feel his stare
The whole world goes dark when The Devil comes upstairs
Track Name: The Devil Comes Upstairs
XV. The Devil Comes Upstairs
Track Name: Lost Memories (Reprise)
XVI. Lost Memories (Reprise)

Card Player:
Blow a kiss to my grave
If you remember my name
Lay some flowers down
If you recall the sound
Of my voice

I know I promised a beautiful wedding
But I guess I'd forgotten to take into account
All the love I'd been waging, the soul I'd been betting
And old scratch he came collecting, so here's my last goodbye

Blow a kiss to my grave
If you remember my name
Lay some flowers down
If you recall the sound
Of my voice
Track Name: Epilogue (Breaking Dawn!)
XVII. Epilogue (Breaking Dawn!)

Lost in darkness
Comatose
Dead to all this
World I've known
But I see it coming
The night's been so long
Dreams of darkness
Red on black
Souls of bad men
Coming back
But I see it coming
The night's been so long
I see it coming
Breaking dawn
Evil visions
Souls corrupt
The Devil's mission
Sold for dust
A living fiction
Fantasy
True religion
Inside me
But it's finally over
The night's been so long
I see it coming
Breaking dawn
Asleep but dreaming
Like life in death
I'm alive and screaming
In my head
Then I awake to sunlight
On my bed
With ghosts and echoes
Songs they sang
But I see it coming
The night's been so long
I see it coming
Breaking dawn!