The House That Horse Built (Let The Great World Spin)

by Joe Hurley/Colum McCann


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Inspired by Colum McCann's National Book Award winner 'Let The Great World Spin'

Music Joe Hurley. Lyrics Hurley-McCann


"NYC musical luminary Joe Hurley's collaboration with award-winning author Colum McCann strikes a chord with audiences across the globe.

Produced by Don Fleming and featuring an All-Star Cast of musicians, it is the latest unexpected twist in Hurley's eclectic and prolific career.

In addition to fronting two bands, Rogue's March and The Gents, he has sung and/or recorded with a wildly diverse mix of artists, including Ian Hunter, Sam Shepard, Marianne Faithfull, Shane MacGowan, Judy Collins and Jimmy Webb, PJ Harvey, Waco Bros, The Nick Drake Orchestra, Nellie McKay Steve Wynn, and many more..."


"Joe Hurley has always been a superior songwriter. He is also a singer of distinction, a great vessal of lyric poetry, a man of attitude and once upon a time a drinker of proportions epic enough to encompass visions of human grandeur in the simplest gesture of lust, punch in the face or hairline fracture of the soul.

He has drawn upon all these talents to conjure a vision of faith in the thralls of despair on this remarkable song cycle, "The House That Horse Built," based on Colum McCann's novel "Let the Great World Spin."

Hurley's cracked, gut-spilling vocals take us through the pride and degradation of a New York street prostitute "My Name Is Till (You Can Call Me Sweetcakes)", brought to ruin at The House That Horse Built, yet still capable of understanding spiritual transcendence in the wrenching hymn "Let The Great World Spin."

Somehow a vision of Philippe Petit's gravity-defying tightrope walk between the two World Trade Center buildings becomes a prayer, a metaphor of transcendance for Till, who hangs herself from the pipes in the Tombs as her method of escape from the House That Horse Built.

"I was of this earth, and I had worth," goes the chorus. McCann and Hurley make us contemplate 9/11 as the backdrop of this morality story.

The haunting music, Hurley's voice and the ethereal choir make us all root for Till as she floats away to her fate: "Let the great world spin, let me back in, let my heart swim away from the house that horse built."

JOHN SWENSON (Editor Off-Beat,Rolling Stone)

"On the surface it’s a bleak tale, but the undercurrent of hope throughout is magnificent and reflected in the music."

NY POST "CD of the Week"

"A phenomena... lyrically compelling, wondrously sung and superbly produced by Don Fleming"

B.O.B MAGAZINE,(UK) -Editor Nick West.

"Incredible! Joe Hurley is a brilliant songwriter and a truly charismatic performer."


'He's an old seanchai in a rock star's shoes, a poet of microcosm with a steroscopic vision, a balladeer with a whole lot of landscape in his voice.
He sings out from the anonymous corners where the best stories are told. Joe Hurley is one of the great songwriters of our time."

COLUM McCANN National Book Award Winner

" The CD is great ! The hook-line to the chorus is perfect "


"New York Singer-Songwriter Joe Hurley is set to be one of the highlights of this year's Feile Festival, as his Bank Square Marquee appearance will be the first time he has performed in Belfast.

The legendary artist will be entertaining fans with his classic hits along with songs from his latest CD "The House That Horse Built" (Let The Great World Spin). This latest release is a unique collaboration with Irish novelist Colum McCann, inspired by McCann's award-winning novel 'Let The Great World Spin'.
The CD features a guest appearance by iconic troubadour Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, highlighting Hurley's Celtic roots, while fans can enjoy the usual eclectic mix of piano ballads and stinging rock & roll"


"Hurley's songs are edgy, harrowing and moving, much like his muse and protagonist in this most unusual project."

NPR, Steve Rosenfeld.


released November 30, 2009

Music written & arranged-Joe Hurley. Lyrics - Hurley/McCann.

MUSICIANS:James Mastro, Paddy Moloney, Matt Sweeney, Tony Shanahan, Ken Margolis, Tami Lynn, Antonique Smith, Dennis Diken, Joe McGinty, Megan Gould, Faith Hahn, Don Fleming., Joe Hurley

'House That Horse Built (Let The Great World Spin) Produced Don Fleming
'SPIN' -



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Joe Hurley New York, New York

NYC."Best singer in R&R."
- Village Voice
Joe Hurley,
Johnny Depp, Keith Richards win 2 Audie Awards for 'Life'.
AudioBook w Neil Gaiman,CD w/ Colum McCann.
Heralded for the emotional delivery in his raspy baritone, & poetic lyrics.
"Joe Hurley is one of the City's deepest singers, both in his vocal range & in the level of his soulfulness-Mesmerizing"
London-Irish. West Ham man.
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Track Name: My Name Is Till (You Can Call Me Sweetcakes)

Joe Hurley/Colum McCann

Tk 1

You can call me sweetcakes,or honeypie,or miss bliss, i'm gonna make you cry with happiness , my shimmy shake, chocolate baked, is all yours to take, only one rule and thats this..dont ever try to kiss my mouth, last soldier did that, ended up going south,
had a necklace of bullets in his chest..
I blew them fancy vietnam medals off his vest

We can step into the walk-in fridge, or maybe down in that ditch, yeah its new york honey,i know it stinks, piss and things, but its all blood..under the bridge
I seen a lot of big boys, but ohhhh..
you're the biggest

I seen a lot of big bills too, snorted one or two,
but i never got rich, not like you, unless you count my little girl, and all the soft silk in the world,
you try to leave here, you might get killed,
but it don't matter anyway 'cos i dont have the will...

Come and have your fill
My name is Till
And I'm still-borne
In the house, in the house that horse built
Track Name: Joe Hurley & Colum McCann - Let The Great World Spin (I Am Of This Earth)
TK 2

I sold my soul, my first day on the stroll
So i bought me a cake, to sugar up my ache
in the house that horse built

Skinniest dog I ever seen, was on the side of a greyhound bus
boys were pulling up my skirt, got my face-down in the dirt
Digging the house that horse built

Chalkdown at night, I'm the only girl who aint white
Legs two miles long, and they're popping to my song
in the house...the house that horse built

Let the great world spin, Let me back in,
Let my heart swim away
from the house that horse built

I am of this earth, and I have worked,
its no great sin, I've been pure within
the House that horse built, the House that horse built

I had a little me, prettiest thing you ever did see
2000 daddies leave the Deegan at night
I sold her crib for a...... streetlight

Jazzlyn my girl, don't be part of this world
I'm gonna walk the bronx stroll til it swallows me whole
lock up the house that horse built

But she found the vein, the dope took all of her pain
At 14 on her knees between the cars she took the keys
to the house... the House that horse built


Let the Great World Spin, Let me back in,
Let my heart swim away
from the house that horse built

Black eyes and soft silk, needles n pills,
they ease the chills, where's my baby's quilt
It's on a bed of pure filth
Back in the House that horse built

It's no less love if you're a hooker, it's no less love at all
Hey God, when you figure out why you took her
why you let me do this to her...

You better crawl back down, you better hit the ground
You better come uptown, in your holy white gown..
You better get on your knees, man i won't say please

Now throw off your cross, & I'll show you who's boss,

Just give..... sweet Tilly a call
Track Name: Hanging From The Pipes (Leaving The House That Horse Built)
Tk 3 (a)


Saw that French guy, strolling, clear cross the sky
Wish I had me a pair of stilts,
I'd crush the house that horse built

I'm here in jail, but you wont hear me wail
hangin' from the pipes, I'll still be looking very nice...
leaving the house...the house that horse built


Let the Great World Spin , let me back in,
Lord knows I've been, just filling in
the house that horse built

I was of this earth, and I had worth,
In my dreams, we sing bout the castle on the hill
were runing at full tilt
but its to the House that Horse built

Let the Great World Spin, let me back in,
let my heart swim away
from the house that horse built
the house that horse built

Tk 3 (b) Gospel Outro


Joe Hurley Music ASCAP, copyright 2009
All Music written and arranged by Joe Hurley
Lyrics: Joe Hurley/Colum McCann

Gospel Coda. Music/Lyrics-Joe Hurley