The Peel Sessions Album

1st January 1991
13 tracks recorded between 1984 and 1988. 
CD version adds the six tracks recorded in 1983
Strange Fruit, SFR 117
Number of discs: 1

All the lies they told us in the classroom
Wouldn’t fit in the outside world
They were right and I was wrong
I just had to tag along
Only knew what they taught me
Remember when they caught me
Not disobeying, just trying to get out of the way

It came to a head one night
Two dances, two fights
All my mates just ran away
And as I walked home
With blood and the tears on my best shirt
And someone said “Will they come after you?”

I began to wonder what did I do wrong here
I began to wonder do I belong here
You think that love only exists in your eyes
But it exists in girls’ smiles
And you think that love only exists in your eyes
But it exists in girls’ smiles
In Lover’s Town

I was lonely then
The whole world had it in for me
How cool I must have been
All metal comb and misery
If ever you go back there’s lessons still to be learned
Those same boys are waiting outside the dance hall
For when you return

When the carpet’s paid for
You can have a party
And your friends can all come round
But they were not my friends
My friends were in the future
Just as well I had the sense to hide

For this was Lover’s Town
No other town was quite like Lover’s
Lover’s Town
No other town was quite like Lover’s
Lover’s Town, Lover’s Town
Oh, oh, oh Lover’s
Lover’s Town, Lover’s Town
Oh, oh, oh, oh Lover’s Town

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

This government had an idea
And parliament made it law
It seems like it’s illegal
To fight for the union any more

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

We went out to join the picket line
For together we cannot fail
We got stopped by police at the county line
They said, “Go home boys or you’re going to jail”

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

It’s hard to explain to a crying child
Why her Daddy can’t go back
So the family suffer
But it hurts me more
To hear a scab say Sod you Jack

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

I’m bound to follow my conscience
And do whatever I can
But it’ll take much more than the union law
To knock the fight out of a working man

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

WORDS & MUSIC – Florence Reece
Adapted 1984 by Billy Bragg
© 1946 Stormking Music Inc
assigned to Harmony Music Ltd
Reproduced by kind permission of Harmony Music Ltd

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

The party that became so powerful by sinking
foreign boats
Is dreaming up new promises because promises
win votes
And being resolute in conference with the
ad man’s expertise
The majority by their silence shall pay for days like these

The right to build communities is back behind
closed doors
‘Tween government and people stands the right arm
of the law
And shame upon the patriot when the mark of the
Bulldog Breed
Is a family without a home and a pensioner in need

Those whose lives are ruled by dogma are waiting
for a sign
The Better Dead Than Red Brigade are listening on the line
And the liberal, with a small L cries in front of the TV
And another demonstration passes on to history
Peace, bread, work, and freedom is the best we
can achieve
And wearing badges is not enough in days like these

I understand you needing
And wanting is no crime
But I can’t help feeling
That you and your mother are just wasting your time

Choosing Saturdays in Summer
I dare you to wear white
Love is just a moment of giving
And marriage is when we admit our parents were right

I just don’t understand it
What makes our love a sin
How can it make that difference
If you and I are wearing that bloody, bloody ring

If I share my bed with you
Must I also share my life
Love is just a moment of giving
And marriage is when we admit our parents were right

You just don’t understnd it
This tender trap we’re in
Those glossy catalogues of couples
Are cashing in on happiness again and again

So drag me to the altar
And I’ll make my sacrifice
Love is just a moment of giving
And marriage is when we admit our parents were right
And marriage is when we admit our parents were probably right

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

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

Chile your waters run red through Soweto
If you heard about Chile then you heard about Soweto
Where the blood of oppression runs deep as the mine
Chile your waters run red though Soweto

The hand that choked the spirit of Allende
Pulls the trigger of a gun on the children of Soweto
Chile your waters run red through Soweto
The hand that cut short the song of Victor Jara
Put young Steven Biko in a dusty hill grave
Chile your waters run red through Soweto

The hand of oppression is the hand of hunger
The waters of Chile lap the shores of Cape Fear
Chile your waters run red through Soweto
The same hand
The same water

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

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

Between Marx and marzipan in the dictionary there was Mary
Between the Deep Blue Sea and the Devil that was me
If ever anyone could help me with my obsession with
The young Suzannah York
It was Mary

In my pink pyjamas she asked me for something
I gave her the short answer
She read our stars out loud
And I knew then that we should have gone sailing
But we stayed home instead
Fighting on the waterbed
Like the honeymoon couple on drugs
Me and Mary

What happened in the past
Remained a mystery of natural history
She should have been the last
But she was just the latest
If she wanted to be a farmer’s wife
I would endure that muddy life
I would dig for victory

And the sound of happy couples
Coupling happily in the dark
While you and I sat down to tea
I remember you said to me
That no amount of poetry
Would mend this broken heart
But you can put the Hoover round
If you want to make a start

All my friends from school
Introduce me to their spouses
While I’m left standing here
With my hands down the front of my trousers
I just don’t know what’s to be done
I wonder sometimes how did Dad meet Mum
And how did they conceive of me
Tell my Mary

The boys who came to the shop
Always made her laugh much more than I did
When I told her this must stop
She didn’t bat an eyelid
She said you know honey it’s such a shame
You’ll never be any good at this game
You bruise too easily
So said Mary

Her two brothers took me out
Of circulation for the duration
So we went our separate ways but does she still love me
She still has my door key
Like a bully boy in a Benetton shop
You’re never happy with what you’ve got
Till what you’ve got is gone
Sorry Mary

I stood before the Judge that day
As he refused me bail
And I knew that I would spend my time
Awaiting trial in jail
I said there is no justice
As they led me out of the door
And the Judge said, “This isn’t a court of justice, son
This is a court of law.”

They first sent me to Windsor
And then to Stoke on Trent
In a holding cell in Liverpool
Three days and nights I spent
My solicitor can’t find me
And my family don’t know
I keep telling them that I’m innocent
They just say, “Come on son, in you go.”

I was picked up on suspicion of something I haven’t done
Here I sit in ‘F’ wing waiting for my trial to come
It’s a cruel unusual punishment that society demands
Innocent till proven guilty, rotting on remand

I ended up in this jail
Built in 1882
When one man to one prison cell
Was a Victorian value
Now three of us are squeezed in here
And you can’t escape the smell
Of that bucket in the corner
And we eat in here as well

They let me out of this cage
To slop that bucket out
To get my food and bring it back
And if I’m lucky, get a shower
Apart from one hour’s exercise
I’m locked in here all day
You don’t turn criminals into citizens
By treating them this way

Is the price of law and order the stench of Wormwood Scrubs
With judges quick to sentence more down from above
It’s a cruel unusual punishment that society demands
Innocent till proven guilty, rotting on reman

Plus on CD version:

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

All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window and my hair on the floor
I was thinking of you
All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window and my hair on the floor
I was thinking of you
But the phone rang all night long
To tell me I was wrong
And I watched while the officer
Wrote all their ages down

Strange things happen
When you’re not around
Our love is so strong
It moves objects in my house
Strange things happen
When you’re not around
Those magical moments
Have found their way back home again

All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window and my hair on the floor
I was thinking of you
All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window
And that book of old spells
I was thinking of you
And all the spells we cast
Have lately come to pass
And the flowers in the garden have all fallen down

Strange things happen…

Sandra met Raymond at the Race Relations
Much to the dismay of her family and friends
The love that we have is so important

The time that it takes to make a baby
Can be the time it takes to make a cup of tea
The love that we have is so important

He still goes dancing and she still cuts hair
They put the baby into Council care
The love that we have is so important

The love of a woman
A fear of the phone
A secret message to a happy home
I’ve never been so scared
I never knew you cared
Love gets dangerous
Love gets dangerous
There’s a fear that comes from being in danger
Being in love with a total stranger
Putting our futures in jeopardy
When love is a secret, fear is the key
When we meet in the street
My terror is complete
Love gets dangerous
Love gets dangerous
Like a drug that threatens to take my life
Lust is a cancer, love is a vice
When she holds me I understand
Respect and fear go hand in hand
No need to act tough
It scares me just enough
Love gets dangerous
Love gets dangerous

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

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

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© Billy Bragg 2021