Bragg 1984

Bill’s Bargains

1st January 2002
Billy Bragg
Self released CD only BB5109. 
Recorded live at the Enmore Theatre, Australia,
Number of discs: 1

My friend said she could see no way ahead
And I was probably better off without you
She said to face up to the fact that you weren’t coming back
And she could make me happy like you used to
But I’m sorry to say I turned her away
Knowing everything she said was true
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

There’s something inside that hurts my foolish pride
To visit the places we used to go together
Not a day goes by that I don’t sit and wonder why
Your feelings for me didn’t last forever
Girl I love you so much that sometimes it’s such
I’d walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do
That’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

So keep that phone out of my way for the things I must say
Are empty if you don’t believe they’re true
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do
That’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

I love you so much that baby it’s such
I’d walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

Dig in boys for an extended stay
Those were the final orders to come down that day
Waiting to be saved in the Philippines
You’ll wait forever for the young Marines

Now I believe to be here is right
But I have to say I’m scared tonight
Crouching in this hole with a mouth full of sand
What comes first the country or the man

Look at those slanted eyes coming up over the hill
Catching us by surprise, it’s time to kill or be killed

Over here, over there, it’s the same everywhere
A boy cries out for his mama before he dies for his home

All my life I wanted to be
As clever and strong as my best friend Lee
We grew up together along Half Moon Bay
Lee was Japanese, born in the USA

When Tommy was fighting Jerry along the River Seine
Me and Lee wanted to do the same
Then they bombed Pearl Harbour at the break of day
I was headed for these islands while Lee was hauled away

They said look at his slanted eyes, he’s guilty as guilty can be
Sent here as enemy spies to sabatage the Land of the Free

I never got home, my platoon was never saved
That little fox hole became my island grave
Lee got out of jail but a prisoner he remained
Till he ended his own life to lose that ball and chain

And they said Oh Little Slanted Eyes can’t you forgive and forget
And he said, Oh Mr Friendly Ghost
Can you catch water in a net?

I woke up this morning
To find that we have outlived the myth of trust
You woke up this morning
To the fact we’ve lost the things
We took for granted between us
And I grew up in awe of the girl next door
And the boy that never cried
And I was dreaming of those Elizabethan girls
While you were working in the market
To earn ourselves
And when you found out what happened yesterday
While you were away in this land of Cain
We were upstairs in the bedroom
Dancing disgusting
And flushing our babies down the drain
And the apple that don’t want to get eaten
Will still fall off the tree
When you’re in as deep as we are honey
It’s so easy to get washed out to sea
For the facts of life are not man and wife
But Man and Woman sadly
And the apple that don’t want to get eaten
Will still fall off the tree
I woke up this morning
To find that we have outlived the myth of trust

There is power in a factory, power in the land
Power in the hands of a worker
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand There is power in a Union

Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers’ blood
The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud
War has always been the bosses’ way, sir

The Union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
There is power in a Union

Now I long for the morning that they realise
Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
But who’ll defend the workers who cannot organise
When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?

Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child
There is power in a Union

The Union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
There is power in a Union.

In 1649
To St George’s Hill
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Come to show the people’s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the law
They were the dispossessed
Reclaiming what was theirs

‘We come in peace’ they said
‘To dig and sow
We come to work the land in common
And to make the waste land grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it can be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No one has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Rise up at their command

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor men starve

We work, we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to masters
Or pay rent to the lords
We are free men
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
Al people one
We come in peace –
The order came to cut them down

Thinking back now,
I suppose you were just stating your views
What was it all for
For the weather or the Battle of Agincourt
And the times that we all hoped would last
Like a train they have gone by so fast
And though we stood together
At the edge of the platform
We were not moved by them

With my own hands
When I make love to your memory
It’s not the same
I miss the thunder
I miss the rain
And the fact that you don’t understand
Casts a shadow over this land
But the sun still shines from behind it.

Thanks all the same
But I just can’t bring myself to answer your letters
It’s not your fault
But your honesty touches me like a fire
The Polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On St Swithin’s Day

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song
I’m twenty two now, but I won’t be for long
People ask when will you grow up to be a man
But all the girls I loved at school
are already pushing prams

I loved you then as I love you still
Tho I put you on a pedestal,
They put you on the pill
I don’t feel bad about letting you go
I just feel sad about letting you know

I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl
I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl

I loved the words you wrote to me
But that was bloody yesterday
I can’t survive on what you send
Every time you need a friend

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care

I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl

I ought to leave enough hot water
For your morning bath, but I’d not thought
I hate to hear you talk that way
But I can’t bring myself to say I’m sorry

The past is always knocking incessant
Trying to break through into the present
We have to work to keep it out
But I won’t be the first to say it’s over

I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms
But now you’ll find me with the baby, in the bathroom,
With that big shell, listening for the sound of the sea

I steal a kiss from you in the supermarket
I walk you down the aisle, you fill my basket
And through it all, the stick I take Is worth it for the love we make

I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms
But now you’ll find me with the baby, in the bathroom,
With that big shell, listening for the sound of the sea,
The baby and me

I stayed in bed, alone, uncertain
Then I met you, you drew the curtain
The sun came up, the trees began to sing
The light shone in on everything.
I love you.

The sun came up, the trees began to sing
The light shone in on everything.
I love you.

What is that sound
Where is it coming from
All around
What are you running from
Something you don’t understand
Something you cannot command

Chorus:
That’s how I know
She’s got a new spell
Yes, that’s how I know
That she’s got a new spell

What’s going down
Who’s moved this room from round me
Where has it gone
I fear this night will drown me
So I lie awake all night
‘Cos I can’t sleep with something I can’t fight

The laws of gravity are very, very strict
And you’re just bending them for your own benefit

One minute she says
She’s gone to get the cat in
The next thing I know
She’s mumbling in Latin
She cut the stars out of the sky
And baked them in a pie

She stole the scene and scenery
The script and the machinery

When he drops you off, I will not say
Who was that who so quickly drove away…
The things you’ve done and the places you’ve been
When I open the door for you
I will not let them in…

As long as you come back to me
I will never ask
For you I will be
The man in the iron mask

You said you love me and it broke my heart
I was always your prisoner right from the start
The nights you spend without me
this house is like a dungeon
And you only return to torture me more

You must have your reasons
I will no ask –
For you I will be
The Man in the Iron Mask

One of them’s off her food
And the other one’s off his head
And both of them are off down the boozer
To drink a toast
To the one that he hates most
And she says there are no winners, only losers

Well if there are no winners
Then what is this he thinks
As he watches her complete a lap of honour
And he sits in the stands With his head in his hands
And he thinks of all the things
He’d like to bring down upon her

Revenge will bring cold comfort in this darkest hour
As the juke box says ‘It’s All Over Now’
And he stands and he screams
What have I done wrong
I’ve fallen in love with a little time bomb

In public he’s such a man
He’s punching at the walls with his bare and bloody hands
He’s screaming and shouting and acting crazy
But at home he sits alone and he cries like a baby

He holds your letters but he can’t read them
As he fights this loneliness that you call freedom
You said this would happen and you were not wrong
I’ve fallen in love with a little time bomb

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© Billy Bragg 2019