Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Perhaps love

a shelter from the storm

Words and music by JOHN DENVER
From his album SEASONS OF THE HEART (1982)
Released as a single by

John Denver wrote this at perhaps one of the most confused times in his life, when he was considering extreme measures. He'd just been through the process of divorcing Annie Martell, about whom he wrote Annie's Song and other beautiful love songs. This song is almost a hinge between when amny of his love songs were the immature product of somebody who, by his own admission, was "in love with falling in love"; the darker sides of loving and losing would come through more after this. Dencer and Martell started to reconcile their cifferences before his death in 1997, but rumours that they were remarried have not been sunstantiated, but would be a fitting example of life imitating art - "the memory of love will bring you home".

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don`t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don`t know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it`s cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Monday, August 25, 2008

In the ghetto

Hear Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley perform 'In the Ghetto' on YouTube

Words and music by MAC DAVIS
Released as a single by ELVIS PRESLEY (1969)

Mac Davis originally wrote this song as In the Ghetto (The Vicious Circle, but record producers took off the subtitle before they presented it to Elvis. Having been a drugs worker, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it. The video, where Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie duets with him, shows guns in cradles with babies. It would be equally valid of instead of guns there were syringes - either way, some kids just don't get a chance.

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto

And his mama cries
'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
The child needs a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me
Are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way

Well the world turns
And a hungry little boy with a runny nose
Plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto

And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the streets at night
And he learns how to steal
And he learns how to fight
In the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
A young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car
Tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
Face down on the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto

As her young man dies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Greetings to the new brunette

From the BILLY BRAGG album

Although the lyrics are somewhat challenging, I was fascinated by this piece featuring Kirsty MacColl singing in the background to Billy Bragg's song. Love gets everywhere, doesn't it? There's a twist at the end, though.

It's quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
You're my reason to get out of bed before noon
You know when we sat out on the fire escape talking
What did you say about running before we were walking

Sometimes when we're as close as this
It's like we're in a dream
How can you lie there and think of England
When you don't even know who's in the team

Your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle
We are joined in the ideological cuddle

I'm celebrating my love for you
With a pint of beer and a new tattoo
And if you haven't noticed yet
I'm more impressionable when my cement is wet

Politics and pregnancy
Are debated as we empty our glasses
And how I love those evening classes

You really know how to make a young man angry
Can we get through the night without mentioning family

The people from your church agree
It's not much of a career
Trying the handles of parked cars
Whoops, there goes another year
Whoops, there goes another pint of beer

Here we are in our summer years
Living on icecream and chocolate kisses
Would the leaves fall from the trees
If I was your old man and you were my missus

Give my greetings to the new brunette

Friday, August 22, 2008

All about soul

click to read about Billy-Joel-penned 'Christmas in Fallujah'

From the album RIVER OF DREAMS (1993)
Also released as a single

when this came out as a single, I didn't at first hear the love song or the even deeper meditation on faith in each other and in a greater reality. I was working for a pair of abusive managers, and the line that spoke to me, jumped out and grabbed me by the throat, was "there are people who have lost every trace of human kindness". The song helped me get through that whole time - thanks, Billy.

She waits for me at night, she waits for me in silence
She gives me all her tenderness and takes away my pain
And so far she hasn't run, though I swear she's had her moments
She still believes in miracles while others cry in vain

It's all about soul
It's all about faith and a deeper devotion
It's all about soul
'Cause under the love is a stronger emotion
She's got to be strong
'Cause so many things gettin' out of control
Should drive her away
So why does she stay?
It's all about soul

She turns to me sometimes and she asks me what I'm dreaming
And I realize I must have gone a million miles away
And I ask her how she knew to reach out for me at that moment
And she smiles because it's understood there are no words to say

It's all about soul
It's all about knowin' what someone is feelin'
The woman's got soul
The power of love and the power of healin'
This life isn't fair
It's gonna get dark, it's gonna get cold
You gotta get tough, but that ain't enough
It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, Yes it is
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, Yes it is

There are people who have lost every trace of human kindness
There are many who have fallen, there are some who still survive
As she comes to me at night and she tells me her desires
And she gives me all the love I need to keep my faith alive

It's all about soul
It's all about joy that comes out of sorrow
It's all about soul
Who's standing now, who's standing tomorrow
You've got to be hard
As hard as the rock in that old rock 'n' roll
But that's only part, you know in your heart
It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, Yes it is
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, Yes it is
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, It's all about soul
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, Yes it is

Sunday, August 17, 2008

She Believes in Me

go to allmusic site for 'The Gambler'

Words and music by STEVE GIBB
From the 1979 KENNY ROGERS album
and the 2004 RONAN KEATING album
and released as a single by both

I used to have a spot playing guitar in a pub to try to keep body, soul and sanity together. The first time I played this to my wife she cried. I should have been the one crying - I've had cause to thank God for her many times. Which is what I guess the song is about.

While she lays sleeping, I stay out late at night and play my songs
And sometimes all the nights can be so long
And its good when I finally make it home, all alone
While she lays dreaming, I try to get undressed without the light
And quietly she says how was your night?
And I come to her and say, it was all right, and I hold her tight

And she believes in me, I'll never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl, I could change the world
With my little songs, I was wrong
But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully
And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right
I will find a way, find a way...

While she lays waiting, I stumble to the kitchen for a bite
Then I see my old guitar in the night
Just waiting for me like a secret friend, and there's no end
While she lays crying, I fumble with a melody or two
And I'm torn between the things that I should do
And she says to wake her up when I am through,
God her love is true...

And she believes in me, I'll never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl, I could change the world
With my little songs, I was wrong
But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully
And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right
I will find a way, while she waits... while she waits for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

That Lovely Weekend

click to read a story concerning 'That Lovely Weekend'

Words and Music by MOIRA AND TED HEATH
Performed by VERA LYNN in 1942
From her album THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER (1992)
And eprformed by many other artists during WWII

This was possibly one of the most emotional songs released during the Second World War, and probably one of the most "adult". Hear the story bu reading the lyrics of the song, and click on the picture above how the song impacted in one case on its contemporary culture.

(Female voice singing)
I haven’t said “Thanks” for that lovely weekend
Those two days in heaven you helped me to spend
The thrill of your kiss as you stepped off the train
The smile in your eyes was like sun after rain.

To mark the occasion we went out to dine
Remember the laughter, the music, the wine
That drive in the taxi when midnight had flown
And breakfast next morning just we two alone

You had to go, the time was so short
We both had so much to say
Your kit to be packed, the train to be caught,
Sorry I cried but I just felt that way.

And now you have gone dear this letter I pen
My heart travels with you till we meet again
Keep smiling, my darling, and someday we’ll spend
A lifetime as sweet, a lifetime as sweet as
That lovely weekend.

(Orchestral interlude)

(Male voice speaking)
I haven’t said “Thanks” for that lovely weekend
Those two days in heaven you helped me to spend
And the thrill of your kiss as you stepped off the train
The smile in your eyes was like sun after rain.

And to mark the occasion we went out to dine
Do you remember the laughter, how we laughed, and the music
Harry Roy’s Band, and,and the wine, no champagne, just er just wine
Then we waited a long time for a taxi, but we got one at last

And then breakfast the next morning, just we two alone
And then I had to go, and time was so short
And we both had so much to say, and you packed my kit
And the train had to be caught, and what a train,
And then I cried,

And now that you’ve gone dear, this letter I pen,
My heart travels with you until we meet again
So keep smiling my darling and someday we’ll spend
A lifetime as sweet as that lovely weekend

(Transcribed by Bill Huntley - October 2004)

What makes a man

Charles Aznavour

Words and music by CHARLES AZNAVOUR
Released as a single in 1973
From the 1996 album GREATEST GOLDEN HITS

This song by chanteur Charles Aznavour was originally called Comme ils Disent, and was the B-side of Les Plaisirs Démodés (The Old Fashioned Way). It tells the story of a homosexual man living two halves of a life - one at home with his Mum, another at work as a transvestite performer - which somehow don't seem to add up to a whole life.

My mum and I we live alone
A great apartment is our home
In Fairhome Towers
I have to keep me company
Two dogs, a cat, a parakeet
Some plants and flowers
I help my mother with the chores
I wash, she dries, I do the floors
We work together
I shop and cook and sow a bit
Though mum does too I must admit
I do it better
At night I work in a strange bar
Impersonating every star
I'm quite deceiving
The customers come in with doubt
And wonder what I'm all about
But leave believing
I do a very special show
Where I am nude from head to toe
After stripteasing
Each night the men look so surprised
I change my sex before their eyes
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

At 3 o'clock or so I meet
With friends to have a bite to eat
And conversation
We love to empty out our hearts
With every subject from the arts
To liberation
We love to pull apart someone
And spread some gossip just for fun
Or start a rumour
We let our hair down, so to speak
And mock ourselves with tongue-in-cheek
And inside humour
So many times we have to pay
For having fun and being gay
It's not amusing
There's always those that spoil our games
By finding fault and calling names
Always accusing
They draw attention to themselves
At the expense of someone else
It's so confusing
Yet they make fun of how I talk
And imitate the way I walk
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

My masquerade comes to an end
And I go home to bed again
Alone and friendless
I close my eyes, I think of him
I fantasise what might have been
My dreams are endless
We love each other but it seems
The love is only in my dreams
It's so one sided
But in this life I must confess
The search for love and hapiness
Is unrequited
I ask myself what I have got
Of what I am and what I'm not
What have I given
The answers come from those who make
The rules that some of us must break
Just to keep living
I know my life is not a crime
I'm just a victim of my time
I stand defenceless
Nobody has the right to be
The judge of what is right for me
Tell me if you can
What make a man a man

Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Old admirals

click to read the story of Old Admirals on Songfacts

From the AL STEWART album

This song by Al Stewart, one of my favourite writers, was inspired by the life and times of Admiral Lord "Jackie" Fisher. In the song, the Admiral is in retirement, looking back on his life, and yearning to be back at sea where he could use his experience. Stewart's talent for bringing out the differences between the power of youth and the wisdom of age is on top form here. As the Italians say, "si gioventù sapesse, se vecchiaia potesse" - if only youth knew how, if only age could.

I can well recall the first time I ever put to sea,
It was on the old "Calcutta" in eighteen fifty-three.
I was just a lad of fourteen years, a midshipman to be
To make my way in sailing ships of the Royal Navy.

By the time that I was twenty-one I'd sailed the world around,
Weathered storms in the China seas with the hatches battened down,
And made my way by starlight off the coast of Newfoundland
And dined on beer and herrings while the waves blew all around.

I live in retirement now and through my window comes the sound
Of seagulls and sets my mind remembering.
The evening stars like memories sail far beyond the distant trees
Way out across the open seas I hear them sing.

Oh, the wooden ships they turned to iron and the iron ships to steel
And shed their sails like autumn leaves with the turning of the wheel
And I was given Captain's rank, and soon took under me
the proudest ship that ever sailed for Queen and country.

Ah, the old queen she passed away with the newborn century
And I received my calling up to the admiralty.
The sands ran through the hourglass each day more rapidly
As we watched the growing of the fleets of High Germany.

So at last the Great War blazed I waited with the passing days
a call to arms that never came, writing letters.
"I may be old now in your eyes, but all my years have made me wise,
You don't see where the danger lies, oh call me back, call me back..."

But the war, it ran its course they could find no use for me
And I live in the country now, grandchildren on my knee
And sometimes think in all this world the saddest thing to be
Old admirals who feel the wind and never put to sea.

Now just like you, I've sailed my dreams like ships across the sea
And some of them they've come on rocks and some faced mutiny
And when they're sunken one by one I'll join that company -
Old admirals who feel the wind, and never put to sea.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Brothers in arms

support Falklands War veterans by downloading Brothers in Arms

Words and music by MARK KNOPFLER

The sense of dislocation in the first verse morphs into a vision of Hell as the song progresses, but ends on a note of hope as the man of war into whose mouth the words have been put hopes for a future without war.

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun has gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms