Billy Bragg and The Red Stars Live Bootleg

1st January 1995
Billy Bragg & the Red Stars live at the Phoenix Festival England July 1993
Self released CD only BB5107
Number of discs: 1

Up in the morning and out to school
Mother says there’ll be no work next year
Qualifications once the Golden Rule
Are now just pieces of paper

Just because you’re better than me
Doesn’t mean I’m lazy
Just because you’re going forwards
Doesn’t mean I’m going backwards

If you look the part you’ll get the job
In last year’s trousers and your old school shoes
The truth is son, it’s a buyer’s market
They can afford to pick and choose

Just because you’re better than me
Doesn’t mean I’m lazy
Just because I dress like this
Doesn’t mean I’m a communist

The factories are closing and the army’s full –
I don’t know what I’m going to do
But I’ve come to see in the Land of the Free
There’s only a future for the Chosen Few

Just because you’re better than me
Doesn’t mean I’m lazy
Just because you’re going forwards
Doesn’t mean I’m going backwards

At twenty one you’re on to of the scrapheap
At sixteen you were top of the class
All they taught you at school
Was how to be a good worker
The system has failed you, don’t fail yourself

Just because you’re better than me
Doesn’t mean I’m lazy
Just because you’re going forwards
Doesn’t mean I’m going backwards

You don’t need my Christmas cards
You already have my heart
This has been a holiday romance
Right from the very start

For we know how to spend the time
Who cares about the weather
We’ll dance in the town till the sun goes down
And push our beds together

From the Land of the Midnight Sunglasses
To the Mountains of the Moon
You could never stay a day too long
Nor never come back too soon

And you know what a fool I am
With my short attention span
Flying in the rainy season too,
Nothing can keep me away from you

There are soldiers marching on the common today
They were there again this evening
They paced up and down like sea birds on the ground
Before the storm clouds gathering

I must buy whatever tinned food is left on the shelves
They are testing the air raid sirens
They’ve filled up the blood banks and emptied the beds
At the hospital and he asylum

I saw a man build a shelter in his garden today
And we stood there idly chatting
He said: “No, no I don’t think war will come”
Yet still he carried on digging

Everything in my life that I love
Could be swept away without warning
Yet the birds still sing and the church bells ring
And the sun came up this morning

Life goes on as it did before
As the country drifts slowly to war

You and I are victims of a love
That lost a lot in the translation
When I think of all the time that I spent
Sitting on the edge of your bed in anticipation
Of you giving in and us living in sin

A hot day, the smell of hairspray
And the sound of a shower running softly
It’s things like this that remind me of how I felt
The first time you came back for coffee
The way you took it amazed me

Walking in the park, kissing in the dark
And my head against your pillow
Late at night a lover sings
Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
I say Adam and Eve are finding out all about love

There is no real substitute
For a ball struck squarely and firmly
And you’re the kind of girl who wants to
open up the bottle of pop
Too early in the journey
Our love went flat just like that

It doesn’t matter the colour of the car
But what goes on beneath the bonnet
Is there a flag that flies above your heart
And is my name writ there upon it
Wedding cake and toothache
Equals love and pain

Walking in the park, kissing on the carpet
And your tights around your ankles
Late at night a lover thinks of these things
Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
I say Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
Adam and Eve are finding out all about
Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
Teresa and Steve are finding out all about love

If you hate me, why don’t you go?
And if you love me, why don’t you let me know?
But you just won’t give me an inch, so
You just sulk

Why do I want to hide whenever you show up?
You know your moods just make me want to throw up
Why don’t you just bloody well grow up?
You just sulk

All of the time,
Why don’t you pick me up or throw me a line?
All over the place,
Why don’t you tell me what you think?
Come on and tell me to my face

If you love me, why don’t you show it?
If you hate me, why don’t you let me know it?
Why don’t you just pick up something and throw it?
You just sulk

If you want to bend my arm,
Well you could do it with a little more charm,
But you just couldn’t bear to do me any harm
So you just sulk

And you tell me that you want to quit
And then you treat me like a piece of shit
And when I ask you, what’s that got to do with it?
You just sulk

Ad lib, and fade

I’ve always been impressed with a girl
Who could sing for her supper and get breakfast as well
That’s the way I am, heaven help me
He said, “We don’t like peace camapigners ’round here”
As he nailed another one to the wall
And that’s what gets me in trouble, heaven help me

Goodbye and good luck to all the rubbish that you’ve spoken
Goodbye and good luck to all the promises
you’ve broken
Your life has lost its dignity, its beauty and its passion
You’re an accident waiting to happen

There you are standing at the bar
And you’re giving me grief about the DDR
And that chip on your choulder gets bigger as you
get older
One of these night you’re gonna get caught,
It’ll give you a pregnant pause for thought
You’re a dedicated swallower of fascism

Time up and time out
For all the liberties you’ve taken
Time up and time out for all the friends that
you’ve foresaken
If you choose to waste away like death is back in fashion
You’re an accident waiting to happen

And my sins are so unoriginal
I have all the self-loathing of a wolf in sheep’s clothing
In this carnival of carnivores,
Heaven help me

Blue velvet America
Half glimpsed in the headlights between the trees
Who punctured the beauty
And invited monsters such as these
The pig faced boy, the corrupted clown
The grotesque figure who never comes into town

Something broken, something stained
Something waiting for the worms to claim
And you can never go there again
Except in nightmares
The voyeur who dares not come near
Knows excitement is merely the beginning of fear

My shadow came this morning
And left some candy in my shoe
They’re always watching me
Watching the things I do
Cindy of a thousand lives
Cindy of the Stepford Wives

I’ve looked at all the photographs
But Cindy, which one of them was you?

Chorus:
I will cross this body of water
If you promise you won’t try this at home

You’re where you want to be
Where am I, I’m up a tree
I had a hurt attack
Rolled away, now I’m bouncing back

Forgive me for feeling sick
I think I just got up too quick
Is this the consequence
Of an out of bed experience

Where I’m from the sun don’t shine
We keeps the light on all the time
I walk upon the ground we dream about
You finding out about it now
But you are clever never to be found

Summer could take a hint
Seeing you in a floral print
Oh, to become a pearl
In the wordy world of the Cornflake Girl

Cakewalk down the gangplank
Full of greenbacks and Annapolis shoes
From Jersey and Memphis
The home of the brave and the home of the blues
With voices like honey
That make you feel ugly just to talk
It’s crew cuts and cameras and photos
For the folks back home in New York

He said
Honey, I’m sure that you’re getting bored in this town
They’d love you in LA
The way that you say “Baby, get down”
Here’s my telephone number
But I can’t always promise I’ll be home
I’ve come ten thousand miles to be with you tonight
Don’t make me spend this night alone

I can’t blame you for what you did
It’s like a television opened up
And they invited you in
And the way he said “Honey”
And that Wayne Rogers grin
” I searched the seas all my life
Oh baby, where you been ?”

And I hear you’ve been covering the waterfront
Crying “Loverman, where have you been?”
There’s a ship in my harbour again

The stars and the stripes wave goodbye
As the ship sails out of sight
And you walk back to bed
To catch up on the sleep
You missed out on last night

The river rolls out to the sea
In the cold light of the dawn
Did you wish yourself thousands of miles
And the place where you were born

I can’t blame you for what you did
It’s like the television opened up
And they invited you in
There’s nothing harder to resist
Than a stranger’s kiss
Why the hell do you think that I sing like this?

And I hear you’ve been covering the waterfront
Crying “Loverman, where have you been?”
There’s a ship in my harbour again

I went out drinking with Thomas Paine
He said that all revolutions are not the same
They are as different as the cultures
That give them birth
For no one idea
Can solve every problem on Earth

So don’t expect it all to happen
In some prophesied political fashion
For people are different
And so are nations
You can borrow ideas
But you can’t borrow situations

In Leningrad the people say
Perestroika can be explained this way
The people who told us
That two and two is ten
Are now trying to tell us
That two and two is five

We’re living in a North Sea Bubble
We’re trying to spend our way out of trouble

You keep buying these things but you don’t need them
But as long as you’re comfortable it feels like freedom

My American friends don’t know what to do
But they’ll wait a long time for a Beverley Hills coup

War! What is it good for
It’s good for business

I hate you
When I see you on the street
Acting hard, thinking on your feet
Treating me like some piece of meat

I forgive you
The things you do
Forgive me too

I love you
But there’s nothing I can say will change
Or make you admit you feel the same
You just ask me why I’m acting strange

I forgive you
The things you do
Forgive me too

I’ve had relations with girls from many nations
I’ve made passes at women of all classes
And just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away
If you stick around I’m sure that we can find some common ground

Chorus:
Sexuality – Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality – Your laws do not apply to me

A nuclear submarine sinks off the coast of Sweden
Headlines give me headaches when I read them
I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade
He said some things are really left best unspoken
But I prefer it all to be out in the open

Sexuality – Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality – Your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality – Don’t threaten me with misery
Sexuality – I demand equality

I’m sure that everybody knows how much my body hates me
It lets me down most every time and makes me rash and hasty
I feel a total jerk before your naked body of work

I’m getting weighed down with all this information
Safe sex doesn’t mean no sex it just means use your imagination
Stop playing with yourselves in hard currency hotels
I look like Robert De Niro, I drive a Mitsubishi Zero

Sexuality – Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality – Your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality – Come eat and drink and sleep with me
Sexuality – We can be what we want to be

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

It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro’s brother spies a rich lady who’s crying
Over luxury’s disappointment
So he walks over and he’s trying
To sympathise with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the Third World is just around the corner

In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded
By the resumption of nuclear testing and he is reminded
That Dr Robert Oppenheimer’s optimism fell
At the first hurdle

In the Cheese Pavilion and the only noise I hear
Is the sound of someone stacking chairs
And mopping up spilt beer
And someone asking questions and basking in the light
Of the fifteen fame filled minutes of the fanzine writer

Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I’m looking for the Great Leap Forwards

Jumble sales are organised and pamphlets have been posted
Even after closing time there’s still parties to be hosted
You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While you’re waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

One leap forward, two leaps back
Will politics get me the sack?

Here comes the future and you can’t run from it
If you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it

It’s a mighty long way down rock ‘n roll
From Top of the Pops to drawing the dole

If no one seems to understand
Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman

In a perfect world we’d all sing in tune
But this is reality so give me some room

So join the struggle while you may
The Revolution is just a T-shirt away
Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

With the money from her accident
She bought herself a mobile home
So at least she could get some enjoyment
Out of being alone
No one could say that she was left up on the shelf
It’s you and me against the World kid she mumbled to herself

CHORUS:
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears run down his face

She ran away from home on her mother’s best coat
She was married before she was even entitled to vote
And her husband was one of those blokes
The sort that only laughs at his own jokes
The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn’t a war he left anyway

Norman Whitfield and Barratt Strong
Are here to make everything right that’s wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you

One dark night he came home from the sea
And put a hole in her body where no hole should be
It hurt her more to see him walking out the door
And though they stitched her back together they left her heart in pieces on the floor

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears…

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

Shirley,
it’s quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
Shirley,
you’re my reason to get out of bed before noon
Shirley,
you know when we sat out on the fire escape talking
Shirley,
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

Shirley,
your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle
Shirley,
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

Shirley,
you really know how to make a young man angry
Shirley,
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

Shirley,
give my greetings to the new brunette

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© Billy Bragg 2019