Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Letter from America

click to go to The Proclaimers' website

Words and music by CHARLIE AND CRAIG REID
Released as a single by THE PROCLAIMERS in 1986
From the album THIS IS THE STORY (1987)

This song was released towards the end of 1986, and was given a thumbs-down by Donny Osmond. Ouch. I'd returned home from Italy in the summer of that year, unprepared for the unemployment that was sweeping the nation. It was easy to blame the government of the day, but the easy course usually leads to rapids. The Miners' Strike, which rode the momentum of Edward Heath's defeat in 1974 when he went to the country to ask them as adults who ruled, and the country replied as scared children "the miners, who are cutting our power", had been over for a year. We were in the midst of a domestic cold war. But one line still hits the spot - "Do we have to roam the world to prove how much it hurts?" I don't know the enswer to that one. The second-last time I left Glasgow, I asked the taxi-driver to do a loop round George Square because, I guess, I couldn't believe I was leaving. I returned later in life, and came to chair my housing association in an area of multiple deprivation. I got a temporary job elsewhere, as there weren't too many shifts going in Glasgow, and when it turned into a permanent job moved my family away. Perhaps the answer to the question is that we roam the world to feed our families, not to prove how much it hurts: but it still hurts.

When you go will you send back
A letter from america?
Take a look up the railtrack
From miami to canada

Broke off from my work the other day
I spent the evening thinking about
All the blood that flowed away
Across the ocean to the second chance
I wonder how it got on when it reached the promised land?

I’ve looked at the ocean
Tried hard to imagine
The way you felt the day you sailed
From wester ross to nova scotia
We should have held you
We should have told you
But you know our sense of timing
We always wait too long

Lochaber no more
Sutherland no more
Lewis no more
Skye no more...... etc

I wonder my blood
Will you ever return
To help us kick the life back
To a dying mutual friend
Do we not love her?
Do we not say we love her?
Do we have to roam the world
To prove how much it hurts?

Bathgate no more
Linwood no more
Methil no more
Irvine no more.

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