Must I Paint You a Picture

6th October 2003
Billy Bragg
Cooking Vinyl COOK 266X (UK release, limited edition triple CD including bonus rarities)
Number of discs: 2

Disc 1

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

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

If you’re lonely, I will call –
If you’re poorly, I will send poetry

I love you
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

If you’re sleeping, I will wait
If your bed is wet, I will dry your tears

I love you
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

Hold my hand for me I’m waking up
Hold my hand for me I’m waking up
Hold my hand for me I’m making up
Won’t you hold my hand – I’m making up

If you are falling, I’ll put out my hands
If you feel bitter, I will understand
I love you
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

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 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

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’ll never forget the first day I met her
That September morning was clear and fresh
The way she spoke and laughed at my jokes
And the way she rubbed herself
Against the edge of my desk
She became a magic mystery to me
And we’d sit together in double
History twice a week
And some days we’d walk the same way home
And it’s surprising how quick
A little rain can clear the streets
We dreamed of her and compared our dreams
But that was all that I ever tasted
She lied to me with her body you see
I lied to myself ’bout the chances I’d wasted
The times we were close
Were far and few between
In the darkness at the dances in the school canteen
Did she close her eyes like I did
As we held each other tight
And la la la la la la la la means I love you
She danced with me and I still hold that memory
Soft and sweet
And I stare up at her window
As I walk down her street
But I never made the first team,
I just made the first team laugh
And she never came to the phone
She was always in the bath
I had to look in the dictionary
To find out the meaning of unrequited
While she was giving herself for free
At a party to which I was never invited
I never understood my failings then
And I hide my humble hopes now
Thinking back she made us want her
A girl not old enough to shave her legs

I was a miner
I was a docker
I was a railway man
Between the wars
I raised a family
In times of austerity
With sweat at the foundry
Between the wars

I paid the union and as times got harder
I looked to the government to help the working man
And they brought prosperity down at the armoury
We’re arming for peace, me boys
Between the wars

I kept the faith and I kept voting
Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand
For theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man
Theirs is a land of hope and glory
Mine is the green field and the factory floor
Theirs are the skies all dark with bombers
And mine is the peace we knew
Between the wars

Call up the craftsmen
Bring me the draftsmen
Build me a path from cradle to grave
And I’ll give my consent
To any government
That does not deny a man a living wage

Go find the young men never to fight again
Bring up the banners from the days gone by
Sweet moderation
Heart of this nation
Desert us not, we are
Between the wars

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

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…

She said it was just a figment of speech
And I said, “You mean figure?”
And she said, “No, figment”
Because she could never imagine it happening
But it did.

When we first met I played the shy boy
And when she spoke to me for the first time
My nose began to bleed
She guessed the rest

The next day we went on a bus ride to the ferry
And when nobody came to collect our fares
Well, I knew then this was something special
I couldn’t stop thinking about her
And every time I switched on the radio
There was somebody else singing a song about the two of us

It was just like being on a fast ride at the funfair
The sort you wanna get off because it’s scary
And then as soon as you’re off
You wanna get straight back on again

But our love is strange
And you have to take the crunchy with the smooth I s’pose
She began going out with Mr Potato Head
It was when I saw her in the car park
With his coat around her shoulders that I realised
I went home and thought about the two of them together
Until the bath water went cold around me

I thought about her eyes and the curve of her breasts
And about the point where their bodies met
I confronted her about it.
I said, “I’m the most illegible bachelor in town.”
And she said, “Yea, that’s why I can never understand
Any of those silly letters you send me.”

And then one day it happened
She cut ‘er hair and I stopped lovin’ ‘er

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

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.

Help save the youth of America
Help save them from themselves
Help save the sun-tanned surfer boys
And the Californian girls

When the lights go out in the rest of the World
What do our cousins say
They’re playing in the sun and having fun, fun, fun
Till Daddy takes the gun away

From the Big Church to the Big River
And out to the Shining Sea
This is the Land of Opportunity
And there’s a Monkey Trial on TV

A nation with their freezers full
Are dancing in their seats
While outside another nation
Is sleeping in the streets

Don’t tell me the old, old story
Tell me the truth this time
Is the Man in the Mask or the Indian
An enemy or a friend of mine

Help save the youth of America
Help save the youth of the world
Help save the boys in uniform
Their mothers and their faithful girls

Listen to the voice of the soldier
Down in the killing zone
Talking about the cost of living
And the price of bringing him home

They’re already shipping the body bags
Down by the Rio Grande
But you can fight for democracy at home
And not in some foreign land

And the fate of the great United States
Is entwined in the fate of us all
And the incident at Tschernobyl proves
The world we live in is very small

A rainy afternoon
Spent in the warmest room
She lay before me and said
Yes it’s true that I have seen some naked men
As she made for the door
Leaving me on the floor
I wish I’d done biology
For an urge within me wanted to do it then

Chorus:
And here she comes again
And I’m sitting on my hands
And she sings to me that siren song
Here she comes again and I’m biting my lip
But it won’t be long

As Brother Barry said
As he married Marion
The wife has three great attributes
Intelligence, a Swiss army knife and charm
But that’s not enough sometimes
And she did speak her mind
And told them all that she believed
The only way to disarm is to disarm

I know people whose idea of fun
Is throwing stones in the river in the afternoon sun
Oh let me be as free as them
Don’t let her pass this way again
Though you cannot be blamed
But I’ve become inflamed
With thoughts of lust and thoughts of power
Thoughts of love and thoughts of Chairman Mao
We have such little time
At your place or mine
I can’t wait till we take our blood tests
Oh baby let’s take our blood tests now

It’s bad timing and me
We find a lot of things out this way
And there’s you
A little black cloud in a dress
The temptation
To take the precious things we have apart
To see how they work
Must be resisted for they never fit together again
If this is rain let it fall on me and drown me
If these are tears let them fall

Chorus:
Must I paint you a picture
About the way that I feel
You know my love for you is strong, girl
You know my love for you is real

It took a short walk and a talk
To change the rules of engagement
While you searched frantically for reverse and them claiming
That virtue never tested is no virtue at all
And so I lost my ignorance
And now the bells across the river chime out your name
I look across to them again

All your friends said come down
It will never fly
And on that imperfect day
We threw it all away
Crisis after crisis, with such intensity
This would never happen if we lived by the sea

Most important decisions in life
Are made between two people in bed
I found that out at my expense
And when I see you
You just turn around and walk away like we never met
Oh we used to be so brave
I dreamt the world stopped turning as we climbed the hill
I dreamt impossible dreams that we were lovers still

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

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

Some day boy you’ll reap what you’ve sown
You’ll catch a cold and you’ll be on your own
And you will see that what’s wrong with me
Is wrong with everyone that
You want to play your little games on

Poetry and flowers pretty words and threats
You’ve gone to the dogs again and I’m not placing bets
On you coming home tonight anything but blind
If you take me for granted then you must expect to find
Surprise, surprise

Valentine’s Day is over, it’s over
Valentine’s Day is over

If you want to talk about it well you know where the phone is
Don’t come round reminding me again how brittle bone is
God didn’t make you an angel the Devil made you a man
That brutality and economy are related now I understand
When will you realise that as above so below there is no love

For the girl with the hour glass figure
Time runs out very fast
We used to want the same things but that’s all in the past
And lately it seems that as it all gets tougher
Your ideal of justice just becomes rougher and rougher

Thank you for the things you bought me thank you for the card
Thank you for the things you taught me when you hit me hard
That love between two people must be based on understanding
Until that’s true you’ll find your things
All stacked out on the landing, surprise, surprise

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

Disc 2

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

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?

I put on my raincoat to make it rain
And sure enough the skies opened up again
I dreamed of you as I walked to the shops
You were dancing with the wallies on Top Of The Pops

Once in a while
Gennady Gerasimov drops his smile
And you can see that his aim’s
A portfolio pregnant with gains

He’s been up all night
Moving the goalposts

Like a jackdaw with a fiery brand
Spread the news all over this land
Robin Hood and his Merry Men
Are never, never, never coming back again

I don’t believe that love should be pain
So could you please rub my back again
I think it’s safe to leave tham in the park
Let’s blow out the candles and kiss in the dark

Heavens above
Can this sticky stuff really be love!
Don’t get dressed yet
Not yet

We’ve been up all night
Moving the goalposts

Kiss me goodnight and say my prayers
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs
Tell me the names of the stars up in the sky
A tree taps on the window pane
That feeling smothers me again
Daddy is it true that we all have to die

At the top of the stairs
Is darkness

I closed my eyes and when I looked
Your name was in the memorial book
and what had become of all the things we planned
I accepted the commiserations
Of all your friends and your relations
But there’s some things I still don’t understand

You were so tall
How could you fall?

Some photographs of a summer’s day
A little boy’s lifetime away
Is all I’ve left of everything we’ve done
Like a pale moon in a sunny sky
Death gazes down as I pass by
To remind me that I’m but my father’s son

I offer up to you
This tribute
I offer up to you
This tank park salute

As I wait for sleep to drag me under
In the evening gloom I sit and wonder
The words I should have said to you
The things I always meant to do
The bad dreams that all came true

Chorus:
You woke up my neighbourhood
Night after night we would row
You woke up my neighbourhood
Things are pretty quiet round here now

When I think of how we were together
I know we couldn’t be like that for ever
Beneath the Seven Sister stars
The night we let it go too far
I slept out in the car

Chorus

I remember skipping on the porch tilll it grew cold
I remember feeling like I was eight years old

Somersaults across the lawn
Singing dancing up till dawn
Every now and then we’d have a row
You woke up my neighbourhood
Things are pretty quiet round here now

Chorus (repeat)

I’ve always been impressed with a girl
Who can 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 campaigners ’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 shoulder gets bigger as you
get older
One of these nights 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 forsaken
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

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’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

I dreamed I saw a tree full of angels, up on Primrose Hill
And I flew with them over the Great Wen till I had seen my fill
Of such poverty and misery sure to tear my soul apart
I’ve got a socialism of the heart, I’ve got a socialism of the heart

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

The angels asked me how I felt about all I’d seen and heard
That they spoke to me, a pagan, gave me cause to doubt their word
But they laughed and said: “I doesn’t matter if you’ll help us in our art
You’ve got a socialism of the heart, you’ve got a socialism of the heart”

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

Their faces shone and they were gone and I was left alone
I walked these ancient empire streets till I came tearful to my home
And when I woke next morning, I vowed to play my part
I’ve got a socialism of the heart, I’ve got a socialism of the heart

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

I wish that I could remember the first moment that we met
If only I could remember that sweet moment when we met
If I knew then that I
Would spend the rest of my life with you
I imagine I would have held your gaze a little longer
When first our eyes met

Did it rain or did sunshine attend out first meeting?
What words were said? What weight given to that first greeting?
My diary doesn’t help
I don’t even mention your name until that summer
When bloomed the
Seed sown on the first day that we met

I know the date, I know the place where in happened
Yet in my mind the scene I recall is imagined
As we grow old I’m sure
There will be moments that we will not forget
But I would
Remember something of the moment that we met

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.

When I was young I told my mum
I’m going to walk on the Moon someday
Armstrong and Aldrin spoke to me
From Houston and Cape Kennedy
And I watched the Eagle landing
On a night when the Moon was full
And as it tugged at the tides, I knew deep inside
I too could feel its pull

I lay in my bed and dreamed I walked
On the Sea of Tranquillity
I knew that someday soon we’d all sail to the moon
On the high tide of technology
But the dreams have all been taken
And the window seats taken too
And 2001 has almost come and gone
What am I supposed to do?

Now that the space race is over
It’s been and it’s gone and I’ll never get to the moon
Because the space race is over
And I can’t help but feel we’ve all grown up too soon

Now my dreams have all been shattered
And my wings are tattered too
And I can still fly but not half as high
As once I wanted to

Now that the space race is over
It’s been and it’s gone and I’ll never get to the moon
Because the space race is over
And I can’t help but feel we’ve all grown up too soon

My son and I stand beneath the great night sky
And gaze up in wonder
I tell him the tale of Apollo And he says
“Why did they ever go?”
It may look like some empty gesture
To go all that way just to come back
But don’t offer me a place out in cyberspace
Cos where in the hell’s that at?

Now that the space race is over
It’s been and it’s gone and I’ll never get out of my room
Because the space race is over
And I can’t help but feel we’re all just going nowhere

Strange as it may seem, I once had my football dreams
But I was always the last one, the last to get chosen
When my classmates picked their teams

I guess that was the way it stayed in every game I played
Life just tripped me and clattered and kicked me
Till you picked me from the parade

Now I feel like I’ve won the cup every time that we
make love
Forty-five minutes each way, at halftime I hear a brass
band play

The boy done good, the girl done better,
The seasons turn and we’re still together,
The sky is still blue and tomorrow is another day

You weren’t that kind of a girl who likes her studs to
be covered in mud
Taking you to the pictures was a regular fixture
For one of life’s eternal subs

I tried hard acting tough, but I just can’t stand the
taste of that stuff
Like some macho park player I got in the way of
In some grudge match against his club
But I’m happier how I am today now I’ve put my
boots away
I guess I’ll never get picked to play my song on Match
of the Day

Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman,
let’s go make a picture
On the island of Stromboli, Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, you’re so perty,
you’d make any mountain quiver
You’d make fire fly from the crater,
Ingrid Bergman

This old mountain it’s been waiting
All its life for you to work it
For your hand to touch its hardrock,
Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman

If you’ll walk across my camera,
I will flash the world your story,
I will pay you more than money, Ingrid Bergman

Not by pennies dimes nor quarters,
but with happy sons and daughters,
And they’ll sing around Stromboli,
Ingrid Bergman

I lived in a place called Okfuskee
and I had a little girl in a holler tree
I said, little girl, it’s plain to see,
there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

She said it’s hard for me to see
how one little boy got so ugly
Yes, my little girly, that might be,
But there ain’t nobody that can sing like me
Ain’t nobody that can sing like me
way over yonder in the minor key
Way over yonder in the minor key
there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

We walked down by the Buckeye Creek
to see he frog eat the goggle eye bee
To hear that west wind whistle to the east,
there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Oh my little girly will you let me see,
where over yonder where the wind blows free
Nobody can see in our holler tree
and there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Her mama cut a switch from a cherry tree
and laid it on the she and me
It stung lots worse than a hive of bees
but there ain’t nobody that can sing like me

Now I have walked a long long ways
and I still look back to my tanglewood days,
I’ve led lots of girlies since then to stray
saying, ain’t nobody that can sing like me

My flying saucer where can you be
Since that sad night that you sailed away from me?
My flying saucer I pray this night
You will sail back before the day gets bright

My flying saucer fly back for home!
You will get lost in the universe alone!
My flying saucer end all my fears
Sail back tonight, love and kiss away my tear

I’m gonna tell all you fascists you may be surprised
The people in this world are getting organized
You’re bound to lose, you fascists are bound to lose

Race hatred cannot stop us this one thing I know
Your poll tax and Jim Crow and greed have got to go
You’re bound to lose, you fascists bound to lose

All of you fascists bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose
All of you fascists bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose
You’re bound to lose! You fascists!
Bound to lose

People of every colour marching side by side
Marching ‘cross these fields where a million fascists died
You’re bound to lose, you fascists bound to lose

I’m going into this battle, and take my union gun
We’ll end this world of slavery before this battle’s won
You’re bound to lose, you fascists bound to lose

I grew up in a company town
And I worked real hard ‘’til that company closed down
They gave my job to another man
On half my wages in some foreign land
And when I asked how could this be
Any good for our economy?
I was told nobody cares
So long as they make money when they sell their shares

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

I lost my job, my car and my house
When ten thousand miles away some guy clicked on a mouse
He didn’t know me, we never spoke,
He didn’t ask my opinion or canvass for my vote
I guess its true, nobody cares
‘Til those petrol bombs come spinning through the air
Gotta find a way to hold them to account
Before they find a away to snuff our voices out

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

The ballot box is no guarantee that we achieve democracy
Our leaders claim their victory when only half the people have spoken
We have no job security in this global economy,
Our borders closed to refugees but our markets forced open

The World Bank says to Mexico,
We’ll cut you off if you don’t keep your taxes low
But they have no right to wield that sword
‘Cos they take their orders from the chairman of the board

IMF, WTO,
I hear these words just every place I go
Who are these people? Who elected them?
And how do I replace them with some of my friends?

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

Monday and the afternoon is bearing down on me
I’m watching the clock and the clock is watching me
Don’t have to be cool but you know I am
Don’t have to be here but you know that

I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
A hard working fellow but I ain’t working on a Monday
St. Monday’s still the weekend to me

Two dozen enquiries are on hold for me
My shift supervisor is staring hard at me
Nobody can say what the matter is
I’m trying to recharge my batteries

I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
A hard working fellow but I ain’t working on a Monday
St. Monday’s still the weekend to me

Somewhere out on the road, I just wanna be free
I don’t wanna do as I’m told
Don’t wanna work 4, 5, 6 days and turnaround
Want to get high on life but first I got to get me back home

Nobody can say what the matter is
I’m trying to recharge my batteries

Never saw a meaningful tv advert, I don’t think shopping is a metaphor for life
Don’t waste my time at the gym in the morning, try to keep trim by living my life

Wanna feel the wind blowing in my hair,
Wanna hear the waves crashing on the beach
I’m not seeking easy answers or inner peace
I’m just looking for some release

I want to help to make the world better but I can’t do it all on my own
Try to keep the lid on my disappointment ‘cos cynicism’s such a cop out I know

Watch the shadows of clouds moving on the hill
Open my eyes and drink my fill
On those days that I feel dejected
I come up here for a bit of perspective

Gonna follow the path that climbs up through the trees
Walk along the cliff top and gaze out to sea
I feel free when I come up here
And if it’s clear some days I see the point

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And put it in the attic with the emperors old clothes
When did it fall apart? Sometime in the 80s
When the Great and the Good gave way to the greedy and the mean
Britain isn’t cool you know, its really not that great
It’s not a proper country, it doesn’t even have a patron saint
It’s just an economic union that’s passed its sell-by date

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And ask our Scottish neighbours if independence looks any good
‘Cos they just might understand how to take an abstract notion
Of personal identity and turn it into nationhood
Is this the 19th century that I’m watching on tv?
The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs
Member of the British Empire – that doesn’t sound too good to me

Gilbert and George are taking the piss aren’t they?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss.
What could be more British than here’s a picture of my bum?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And pile all those history books, but don’t throw them away
They just might have some clues about what it really means
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England.co.uk

CD 3 (limited edition bonus)

If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
Take the A road, the okay road that’s the best
Go motorin’ on the A13

If you’re looking for a thrill that’s new
Take in Fords, Dartford Tunnel and the river too
Go motorin’ on the A13

It starts down in Wapping
There ain’t no stopping
By-pass Barking and straight through Dagenham
Down to Grays Thurrock
And rather near Basildon
Pitsea, Thundersley, Hadleigh, Leigh-On-Sea,
Chalkwell, Prittlewell
Southend’s the end

If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
Take the A road, the okay road that’s the best
Go motorin’ on the A13

Standing waiting for a man to show
Wide eyed one eye fixed on the door
This waiting’s killing me, it’s wearing me down
Day in day out, my feet are burning holes in the ground

Darkness warmer than a bedroom floor
Want someone to hold me close forever more
I’m a sleeping dog, but you can’t tell
When I’m on the prowl you’ld better run like hell
You know it makes sense, don’t even think about it
Life and death are just things you do when you’re bored

Say fear’s a man’s best friend
You add it up it brings you down
Home is living like a man on the run
Trails leading nowhere, where to my son?
We’re already dead, just not yet in the ground
Take my helping hand I’ll show you around
You know it makes sense, don’t even think about it
Life and death are just things you do when you’re bored

Say fear’s a man’s best friend
You add it up it brings you down

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

The wind sways the trees and the raindrops on the leaves
Tumble down, down my neck in the breeze

Yes, it’s true I hid out in the shadow of your doubt,
And this medal that I wear is not for bravery, I’m afraid

And we’re both going to have to accept
That this might be as good as it gets
As our love for each other respects
Neither rule nor reason

The Queen on her throne plays Shirley Bassey
records when she’s all on her own
And she looks out the window
And cries

What should I do? Scratch off all of my tattoos?
And forget those girls’ names?
But you’re not about to let me do that, are you?

And we’re both going to have to accept
That this might be as bad as it gets
As our love for each other respects
Neither rule nor reason

And we’re both going to have to accept
That this might be as big as it gets
As our love for each other respects
Neither rule nor reason

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And put it in the attic with the emperors old clothes
When did it fall apart? Sometime in the 80s
When the Great and the Good gave way to the greedy and the mean
Britain isn’t cool you know, its really not that great
It’s not a proper country, it doesn’t even have a patron saint
It’s just an economic union that’s passed its sell-by date

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And ask our Scottish neighbours if independence looks any good
‘Cos they just might understand how to take an abstract notion
Of personal identity and turn it into nationhood
Is this the 19th century that I’m watching on tv?
The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs
Member of the British Empire – that doesn’t sound too good to me

Gilbert and George are taking the piss aren’t they?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss.
What could be more British than here’s a picture of my bum?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And pile all those history books, but don’t throw them away
They just might have some clues about what it really means
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England.co.uk

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© Billy Bragg 2019