store

JOHN WALLER : SONG LYRICS

Bengt Olafssen
Bethesda to Rowen
Blind Song
Boar of Bradford
Bradford
Cartway
Christy Crunchies
Eastern Border
Eternal Window
Goldfish
Grandad 2050
Irene Nemirovsky
Italian Chapel, The

 

Kerguelen
Letter Go
Liberator
Listopad in Mirogoj
Ljubljana
Mary Ann
Memorial
Molecules
Mushroom
Never Again
Norfolk Wherry
Norway
Office Junior

 

Pachelbel
Palestine
Paneriai
Parallel Lives
Red Man White Man
Routine
Silence, The
Sun Goes Down
Tapestry
Ulicama
Wraeltig
Xiao Shan
Yer Bike


BENGT OLAFFSON
Molecules

You'll remember the sad story of Bengt Olaffson's strange cow
That appeared upon the cowshed roof and no-one knew quite how
He phoned his vet and builder, but neither had a clue
How to dis-enroof the beast, nor what Bengt now should do

He vowed to get her down himself, it was his only hope
So he rigged up this contraption, with pulley, beam and rope
He tied the cow securely, but it seems that he forgot
He was just a scrawny farmer, and the cow weighed quite a lot

    There's a cow up on the roof dear, whatever shall we do?
    A cow up on the roof dear, and all it does is moo


So just like Hoffnung's story, as Bengt was halfway up
He met the cow descending, and full heavily was struck
He carried on right to the top; this really made him scream
Jammed his fingers in the pulley, banged his head upon the beam

Bengt found himself descending, no time to work out how
And by some strange misfortune, he landed on the cow
The startled beast set off at once, p'raps happy to be free
And Bengt clung on for dear life as they charged towards the sea

    There's a cow up on the roof dear, whatever shall we do?
    A cow up on the roof dear, and all it does is moo


The cow soon reached the cliff top, and suddenly stopped short
Throwing Bengt from off her back; but luckily he caught
The twigs of a lone furze bush growing tight against the edge
Bengt's body o'er the cliff top, feet scrabbling for a ledge.

So now we see Bengt hanging on with whitening fingertips
To the edge of a great cliff-face, last prayers on his lips
His feet could find no purchase, his strength was fading fast
His life was flashed before his eyes, each breath could be his last

If you want to know what happens next, then buy my next CD

G, C
G Em, C, D
G, C, Am
G, Em, C, D

JW 2005


There's a prequel at Norway.

Back to the Top

-----------------------


BETHESDA TO ROWEN
Molecules (and Welsh version on Tapestry)

Bethesda was a working town, its roofs of local slate
The sheepdog on the hillside, the shepherd at the gate
But now the boarded shopfronts say the town has had its day
The rows of terraced housing showing signs of slow decay

   Bethesda town to Rowen, across the fells so high
   Rowan to Bethesda, the slate town left to die

The track climbs up above the town, to treeless open land
Shattered boulders, tufted grass, the timeless fells expand
Hidden valleys open out, the path winds ever on
Across the backs of hillsides where the air is wide and strong

   Bethesda town to Rowen, across the fells so high
   Rowan to Bethesda, the slate town left to die

Descending wooded farmland into Rowen's pretty lanes
Range Rovers outside cottages, with fancy fake Welsh names
Gardens neatly tended, gables whitewashed bright
All owned by weekend Englishmen who arrive on Friday night

   Bethesda town to Rowen, across the fells so high
   Rowan to Bethesda, the slate town left to die

Two villages a walk apart, yet the differences are vast
The Anglicised soft present, the Welshman's gritty past
The shepherd and the quarryman no longer earn their keep
The English summer visitors need neither slate nor sheep

   Bethesda town to Rowen, across the fells so high
   Rowan to Bethesda, the slate town left to die

Gad lonydd, Sais, i'n tref fach ni; Mi ddaw ein cur i ben.
Be' wyddost am ein bywyd 'ma; O gerddi Y Ro-wen?
Daw 'Pesda Roc a'r ifanc, ^A'n heniaith 'nl i'n tir,
Mi glywi s^wn ein chwerthin, A'n canu cyn bo hir!

Ia, dyma a glywa'r Saeson: "Mae'r bywyd bras ar ben:
Cymry pia'u tiroedd, Bethesda a'r Ro-wen!"

G, F# (bass), Em C; G, D, G, D;
G, F# (bass), Em C; G, D, C, G.
Chord shapes: C, D, G, C; G, D, C, C+
but Capo 2 (so actually sung in E)

JW 2004 (verses 1-4 and chorus) Eileen Walker (Welsh section)


Back to the Top

-----------------------


BLIND SONG
Liberator

Land of Darkness, where I am

How can you hear the sounds of springtime breaking out around you
How can you feel the growing corn?
How can you smell the distant mountains
How can you taste a summer's morn?

Can you share the senses of the blind
Walls of darkness round my mind
Land of darkness where I am

I wish to know the truth of Autumn colours in the woods
I wish to know the Autumn leaves
I can only smell the smell of dampness
And hear the wind in the wind-scourged trees

Can you share the senses of the blind
Walls of darkness round my mind
Land of darkness where I am

For I can feel the bitter cold of winter in my heart
Like winter's trees my life lies bare
My life is gaunt just like the grey skies
I curse the silence of my eyes
I curse the silence of my eyes

Can you share the senses of the blind
Walls of darkness round my mind
Land of darkness where I am

Em D (Fx) C G D

D (Fx) C G D (Fx)
C G D (Fx)
C G D (Fx)

C G D Db*
Em F G A
Em D (Fx)

JW 1969 / 2002


Back to the Top

-----------------------


BOAR OF BRADFORD
Memorial

Being ye trewe ftory of ye flaying of ye notoriouf Boare of Broad Forde, and ye acromiouf difpute that followed.

In the Town of Broad Ford, in 1364
The populace were terror'ed by a wild and mighty boar
It roamed the Woods of Cliffe side, despoiling of their well
Killing sheep and chickens of those who there did dwell

The Lord of Bradford Manor to his people he did say,
"who'll rid us of this fearsome beast? if anyone can slay
and bring me back its carcass, or even just its head
I shall reward them handsomely, on proof they've laid it dead .....
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   If someone kills that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes

But here's no easy problem, the boar was mighty strong
and just as soon would kill you, with tusks so sharp and long
More f'rocious than the Severn Boar, that plagued the fair south-west
while the flaxen hairy London Boar is, little more than jest

John Northrop and Tom Piper, both sought the promised prize
Northrop was an honest man, Piper prone to lies
Northrop took his bow and spears, and by the well did stand
Piper watched behind a tree, hatching cunning plans
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   If someone kills that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes

Right soon the great boar did appear, the well its thirst to slake
Northrop loosed his arrows, and speared until he ached
With hunting knife he hacked away, now sure the boar was dead
and with some mighty effort, he severed off its head

But now another problem, the head was far too big
for one lone man to carry, so thinking very quick
He reached inside the massive jaws, it didn't take him longue
to work the hunting knife around, and slice out its great tongue
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   If someone kills that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes

Northrop took the tongue in hand, and set off for the town
Piper came from out his tree, called friends from all around
Together raised the severed head, that Northrop couldn't lift
With short cuts through the forest first, they'd seize his Lordship's gift

His Lordship of the Manor was seated in the hall
When Piper burst in triumph, threw the head upon the floor
"The woes of Bradford over!" he cried "the boar is dead
So now I claim the just reward, I've done just what you said."
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   If someone kills that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes

His Lordship took a careful look at the head's enormous size
Congratulated Piper, said he had won the prize
But then a lowly serving lass cried "Sire, there's summat wrong"
"The head is grossly awesome, but 'asn't got a tongue (innit)!"

Then the door burst open, and Northrop did appear
"Your Lordship is mistaken, I have the proof right here
I killed the beast, removed its tongue, and left the carcass there
If imposter Piper picks the prize, well that just won't be fair!"
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   If someone kills that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes

His lordship sat and rubbed his chin, which claim should he allow?
The assemblage all were waiting, he'd have to judge it now
John Northrop was of Hunting stock, his reputation big
Tom Piper pickled peppers, and was known for stealing pigs

I know you Pig-thief Pipers, did not your uncle Pied
Lure Children to a mountain cave, and lock them up inside?
I give the prize to Northrop, his story stands up well
You Pipers are a scurvy lot, and you can go to hell
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   If someone kills that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes

Your prize, O noble Northrop, a tidy plot of land
Right here in central Bradford, where developments are planned
I have a wondrous vision, new markets opening there
And you can bring your Hunting Horn, and blow it thrice a year

As for scoundrel Piper, I've heard your name enough
Why don't you take an honest trade; go try and weave some cloth
The moral of this grisly tale, I hear it clear and strong
When confronting bores in Bradford, it's best to hold your tongue
   Beware the Boar of Bradford, that round Cliffe Woods did roam
   Now someone's killed that fearsome beast, we'll safe be in our homes


Sources:
https://sites.google.com/site/thelegendofthebradfordboar/page-1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_boar


John Waller - Oct-Nov 2013


Back to the Top

-----------------------


BRADFORD
Molecules

When I first came to Bradford eight and thirty years ago
There was Herbert's Pie and Tripe bar, Brown Muff and Busby's too
Princes' Theatre, Swan Arcade had gone before I came
But we'd a proper Kirkgate Market, and proper whores along Lumb Lane

When I first came to Bradford, we hadn't joined the EEC
The shilling, crown and tanner hadn't turned to pounds and pee
M62 was incomplete, not much cross-Pennine trade
The things that Yorkshire needed, were mostly Yorkshire made

And the singers in the Topic were warbling in harmony paeans of praise to the past
Of changes destroying the lifetimes of working men; and how the good things dont last

When I first came to Bradford, on a trolley bus you could ride
From Odsal top to City, and from City to the BRI
Past cobbled streets of back to backs wi't'midden down the path
Public buildings black with soot and homes without a bath

When I first came to Bradford they had night shifts at the mill
100 tall black chimneys ... were proudly standing still
A century of incomers: the Irish, blacks and Poles
Now the Pakistani underclass was the last to man the looms

Do you remember Polish Anna on sticks, always shouting, and seeming perpetually drunk
And the one-legged match-seller outside the Odeon; and waving to the fast-walking monk

When I first came to Bradford, beer was two and six a pint
So I took my London girlfriend for a drink on her first night
As we walked in the cry went up "where't fook d'you think y'are?
This is Yorkshire, and women are not welcome in this bar"

When I first came to Bradford, the Topic, at the Star
Was full of singers singing, how much better old times were
They're singing much the same these days; but I'm not sure that it's true
Girls barred from bars, the soot, the sweat and the draughty outside loo

But the singers in the Topic still warble in harmony paeans of praise to the past
Of changes destroying the lifetimes of working men, and how the good things don't last.

Sung a capella (a similar tune to "Bengt Olaffson")

John Waller - July 2005


Back to the Top

-----------------------


CARTWAY
Memorial

   Haul away lads, haul away
   Bridgnorth still three leagues away
   Soon the pleasures of the Old Cartway
   If we haul away lads, haul away


The Trow is loaded 80 tonnes
Silks and spices, grains and rums
Eight men pulling in a team as one
Towards the pleasures of the Old Cartway

   Haul away lads, haul away
   Bridgnorth still three leagues away
   Soon the pleasures of the Old Cartway
   If we haul away lads, haul away


When we dock, with weary feet
It's just a few yards up the street
The Black Boy Inn serves ale and meat
Oh, the pleasures of the Old Cartway

   Haul away lads, haul away
   Bridgnorth still three leagues away
   Soon the pleasures of the Old Cartway
   If we haul away lads, haul away


Three stoups of ale, it feels so good
My tired legs know well the route
To the arms of a woman of ill-repute
Oh, the pleasures of the Old Cartway

   Haul away lads, haul away
   Bridgnorth still three leagues away
   Soon the pleasures of the Old Cartway
   If we haul away lads, haul away


All too soon a new day comes
Back t'wards Bristol on the homeward run
Downstream pulling in the noonday sun
Fresh from the pleasures of the Old Cartway

   Haul away lads, haul away
   Bridgnorth still three leagues away
   Soon the pleasures of the Old Cartway
   If we haul away lads, haul away
   Haul away lads haul away.


John Waller - 2012

Back to the Top

-----------------------


CHRISTY CRUNCHIES
Liberator

   Something new in wafer biscuits
   Christy Crunchies now on sale
   Consecrated crispy crackers
   Christy Crunchies, holy grail


Salvation comes in every packet
Inner cleanliness assured
Every wafer makes you safer
From the diabolic horde

The bright new packet is so pretty
Says Mrs Fothergill from Leeds
I love the taste of all that goodness
Satisfying my inner needs

The Bishop proud of Liverpool says
"Shout the message loud and clear
Christy Crunchies are the best, you
Taste the Real Presence here."

   Something new in wafer biscuits
   Christy Crunchies now on sale
   Consecrated crispy crackers
   Christy Crunchies, holy grail


What need of further testimonial?
Rush right out and get yours too!
Savour now that saviour flavour
It'll save yer! (And it's true)

Sometimes recited, sometimes sung to German National Anthem.
Usually performed with the original cardboard packaging.


Idea Neil "Amcanus" Jones, Bristol 1969

Back to the Top

-----------------------


EASTERN BORDER
Memorial

   So here we stand in no-man's land
   The road takes us no further
   Past the frontier gate lies a different state
   Where lives are lived to order
   Across the eastern border


Behind us calls the glitz of western living
Neon light chromatic bright and superficial speed
Every thing is up for sale, all taking and no giving
Nothing is impossible in a world that's built on greed
The trickster shyster banksters who will take you for a ride
As that two-faced mistress freedom shows both good and ugly side

   So still we stand in no-man's land
   The road takes us no further
   Past the frontier gate lies a different state
   Where lives are lived to order
   Across the eastern border


Ahead a rolling landscape tinged with enigmatic grey
Gothic spires and smoke-blue fires and personal privations
We hear downtrodden denizens bear burdens every day
We're told it's not the happiest of nations
Bet yet I know that life goes on: people always cope
And work and play and live and love and laugh and dream and hope

   So poised we stand in no-man's land
   Perhaps we could go further
   Past the frontier gate to a different state
   Where lives are lived to order
   Across the eastern border


We're surrounded by the structures of division
Fields of mines and barbed wire lines dividing kith from kin
Suddenly I see a truth with clarity of vision
The line can't keep the ideas out, though it keeps the people in
So now I know the time has come for me to make my move
Cross my bridges, burn my boats, I've so much still to prove

   Release my hand in no man's land
   Return to the gods you understand
   For I must travel further
   Through the frontier gate to a different state
   I'll throw the dice, embrace my fate
   I'll live with a new order
   I will cross the Eastern Border

   Release my hand in no man's land
   Return to the gods you understand
   For I must travel further
   Through the frontier gate to a different state
   I'll throw the dice, embrace my fate
   I'll live with a new order
   I have crossed the Eastern Border


Chorus: F, G, C, (Am). Am (up 6 frets / 8 at end)
Verse: Am, G; Dm/C/G (bis); F, G, C, G, C

John Waller 2009


Back to the Top

-----------------------


ETERNAL WINDOW
Tapestry

Tune in 5/4. Picked fingerstyle

Basic chords: Bm, F#m, Em, A, G*, A, G, A bis (G* = 320030)
"Chorus": D, C, G, A bis

Back to the Top

-----------------------


GOLDFISH
Molecules (with a test version on Liberator)

I am a little goldfish I swim round in my bowl, all day long
I am a little goldfish I swim round in my bowl, all day long

Oh here's a little bridge and here's a little castle and here's a little patch of weed
Oh here's a little castle and here's a little bridge and, somewhere I can feed

'Cos I am a little goldfish I swim round in my bowl, all day long
I am a little goldfish I swim round in my bowl, all day long

You maybe think a goldfish can't remember anything at all - not for long
You maybe think a goldfish hasn't any brain at all - you'd be wrong

For though I'm a little goldfish I know that things exist - outside my bowl
Finding who builds the castles and the little bridges - is my goal

I think that all I've got comes from a great Koi Carp up - in the sky
And if the great Koi Carp didn't feed me - well, I'd die

I believe that up above me swims a great Koi Carp
Who created my bowl, and all my sand so sharp
Who builded all the castles
Who builded all the bridges
Who planted all the weed
Who provides me with my feed
Who gives me all I need

Just to be a little goldfish, swimming round in my bowl all day long
I am a little goldfish I swim round in my bowl, all day long


Em - D - C (etc)
G - D - C (etc)

Open E shape with base B at 7th fret - 8 - 7 - 5 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 0

John Waller 2002


Back to the Top

-----------------------


GRANDAD 2050
Tapestry

I think of my Grandad, though he is now long passed away
If he'd lived until now - 2050 - he'd be over a hundred today
But as I look around me, a century after his birth
I ask; why did he do this to my Earth?

   'Cos Grandad, you knew, just what your profligate lifestyle would do
   You understood science, you knew the projections were true
   But you just carried on, when you knew


Deserts advancing, ice floes retreat
Hurricanes, droughts, floods, disease and defeat
Waters are rising, coastlines redrawn,
and whole swathes of life have just gone

   And Grandad, you knew, just what your profligate lifestyle would do
   If you wanted to travel, you just jumped in your car, or you flew
   You just carried on, though you knew


Now the armies of the dispossessed are moving northwards
Their fishing grounds have gone, their grasslands parched,
Their animals dead and their potbellied children are dying
They have not brought this on themselves, we have visited it upon them
Now there's bloodshed over water, civil strife and ethnic slaughter
But as the armies of the dispossessed start massing on our borders
Up will go the cry, and down will come the orders
Keep them out keep them out keep them out keep them out kept them out

   And Grandad, you knew, just what your profligate lifestyle would do
   It might not have happened, if only you'd thought matters through
   But you just carried on, when you knew


The rich cause the problems, but the victims are always the poor
Now the world's dispossessed are beating a path to my door
How can I deny them, when your lifestyle helped destroy theirs
It's just one more damn thing you've left to your heirs

   It was always someone else's problem, that's the way it seemed
   But Grandad, that someone else is me


C, G, Dm, Am; F, G, C, G; C, G, Dm, Am; F, G, C, C
F, G, C; (Ddim) Am; Dm, (dim), Em, G; F, G, C, (Ddim), Am, F, G, C.

Bridge: A9 moving up to 4th fret, 5th, 7th, 9th 11th......

3 /4 time: capo 3

John Waller, June 2007


Back to the Top

-----------------------


IRENE NEMIROVSKY
Tapestry

A cold winter's morning in Paris; as her mother is marched to that train
Given charge of a small padlocked suitcase; keep this safe till I see you again
With a jolt the train starts its journey; not a sign not a wave nor a kiss
The jackbooted soldiers smile quietly; then it's gone like a ghost in the mist

   Keep hold of that suitcase, protect it from capture and harm
   As long as that case remains padlocked and safe, her mother will surely return

A new spring awakens in Paris; the fate of those jackboots long sealed
But the trains that came back were all empty; and the truth of those journeys revealed
Sometimes at black midnight, temptation; the lock, the key aching to turn
But would opening give any answers; or condemn all her last hopes to burn

   Keep hold of that suitcase, protect it from capture and harm
   As long as that case remains padlocked and safe, her mother will surely return

But she did retrace that terrible journey; the guardhouse, the watch towers, barbed wire
To the rusting remains of Auschwitz, where the furnace doors held in the fire
But like the tomb of the unknown soldier, the records will never quite show
Was it here, was it there; were those her teeth and hair?
You're so close, but you'll never quite know

As the summer of life turns to autumn, it dims both the light and the pain
Surely time now to open that suitcase, no vestige of doubt can remain
She finds novels her mother was writing, of the times when those jackboots first came
As France sent its Jews to the death camps; the writing ceased when her mother too, boarded that train

   Keep hold of your memories; they're your truth and your truth alone
   Now open at last, we must learn from / live with the past
   Perhaps her mother has finally come home.

3 / 4 Capo fret 3
(1) 005500 (2) 100230 (bis2); F, G, Am
Dm (3) xxo453 Dm Am, Em (bis2) F G Am
Em Am; Em Am; Em Am; F G Am; F G C D; F G F


Back to the Top

-----------------------


THE ITALIAN CHAPEL
Molecules (Version by Simon Alexander: Tapestry)

One day in early October, a U-boat breached Scapa Flow
Releasing a single torpedo, to scupper the proud Royal Oak
As well as the loss of the warship, 800 souls perished that day
And Churchill decreed that we'd never be free till barriers stood in the way

But construction needed a workforce, and labour was not to be found
The young men were off in the army, the womenfolk tending the land
So despite the Geneva Convention, captives were brought from afar
Italians taken in Africa, where Monty was winning his war

So Domenico came to the Orkneys, to the dark and the wind and the rain
Yearning for Mama and pasta and olives and sunshine
Working his hands to the bone, laying down causeways of stone
But dreaming of freedom to leave here and go home again

And Tommy their conscripted guardsman stood over them all
Proud to be playing his own part, in helping to win us the war

The barriers rose from the seabed, over Burray, Lamb Holm and Ness
As winter turned into summer, the prisoners needed a rest
But the prison camp needed adornment - those Nissen huts ugly as hell
And Domenico dreamed of the church in his village, and heeded the call of its bell

Using nothing but concrete and scrap iron, old bully beef tins and glass
Material salvaged from shipwrecks, timbers and hawsers and masts
The prisoners built their own Chapel with altar and transept and nave
Using skills that they'd learned before war made them soldiers and took them away from their trades

So Domenico stood on the Orkneys, watching the birth of a dream
A homage to God and to peace and to love and his homeland
Working his hands to the bone, creating a vision of Rome
Though a prisoner still, he knew in his heart he was free

And Tommy the conscripted guardsman stood watching alone
He felt trapped on the Orkneys himself, how he dearly longed to go home

The war was reaching its climax, the chapel was nearly complete
The prisoners' war work was ended, Germany lay ruined in defeat
It was time for release and returning; but Domenico vowed to stay on
To complete those last final touches, to finish what he had begun.

The Chapel still stands in the Orkneys, visitors flock from afar
The Italians who built it all come back to see it, and fondly remember the past
Of Tommy the conscripted guardsman, like a prisoner standing forlorn
As Domenico's faith shone out like a beacon to light the dark days of the war.

Verse: Em, C, G, D; Em, C, G, D: C, D, G, C; G, D, C, G.
Domenico: G, C, D, G, C, D, G, C, D, Em, D (bis)
Tommy: Am, Em, Am, C, D ......
3 /4, second fret

John Waller 02/2004


Back to the Top

-----------------------


KERGUELEN
Memorial

A windswept land of rock and ice, where great seas rise and fall
In times of inspiration, Kerguelen Islands call

The peaks of Ross and Deux Freres, bedecked with constant snow
Grasses, moss and lichens; the only things that grow
The wild Courbet Peninsula, the calm of Oiseau Bay
The nearest habitation, two thousand miles away

   A windswept land of rock and ice, where great seas rise and fall
   In times of indecision, Kerguelen Islands call

How easy to act normally when the plans are all complete
And when it's time to implement, the world is at your feet
Controls re-set, the die is cast, the plans fall into place
Turn that great bird round again, you're lost in time and space

   When existence loses meaning, when all ambitions pall
   In times of desperation, Kerguelen Islands call

Dawn rays arc against the sky, a day begins anew
Skimming clouds throw dappled light on depths of velvet blue
The rippling restless ocean, full seven miles below
A perfect peaceful vision, that only you will know

   Now time has reached its zenith, the great bird starts its fall
   Just there on the horizon, Kerguelen Islands call

   Now time has passed its zenith, the great bird starts its fall
   Just breaking the horizon, Kerguelen Islands call

A windswept land of rock and ice, where great seas crash and fall
When searching out your destiny, do Kerguelen Islands call?

1
2

1
2
2
1

2
1

1
2
2
1

2
1

1
2
2
1

2
1

2
1

1
2

CHORDS
1: Am ... G ... Am, Em, F in 6/8 Capo 1 or 2
2: Dm ... C ... Dm, Am, G

John Waller 2015


Back to the Top

-----------------------


LET HER GO
Molecules

He told her, as they woke next day, new lovers in a daze
You'll have to write and tell him it's the parting of the ways
You loved him, now you've left him; the time has come at last
To write to say you'll let him go, draw a line under the past

She did as he suggested, though she went and sat alone
She signed and sealed and stamped it, and went out on her own
He watched her pause before the box, and drop the letter in
It was only then he realised, that the letter was for him.

G D C G
Am G, Am D

JW 2004


Back to the Top

-----------------------


LIBERATOR
Liberator

I saw my plane hit the deck; the crew had baled out just in time
Nursing her back 'cross the war-raddled sea, just making it over the line
Now I'm thrown on the rocks, a young girl stands, the flames of the crash in her eyes
She looks down and sees me, screams in a dream, the wind howls to cover her cries

   Why does nobody help me, as the stars cease to whirl in the skies
   Just the girl with the frightened expression, and the terrible flames in her eyes


I crawl to a village, there's no-one about; from a window a woman looks down
The rooms are all dark, the curtains flap loose, and her eyes wear a sorrowful frown
So I bang on the door till the woman comes out; it's the girl, still frightened but free
But elderly now, she leads me along, to a gravestone set 'neath a tree

   Why does nobody help me, as the stars cease to whirl in the skies
   Just the girl with the frightened expression, and the terrible flames in her eyes


She points to the gravestone, the name is my own, though it's faded and hard to discern
She says "you've come back here each year without fail, on the night your aircraft came down
You crawl through this graveyard, as your soul seeks the body it left
On that night sixty years ago now to the day, that I witnessed your untimely death"

   Why does nobody help me, as the stars cease to whirl in the skies
   Just the girl with the frightened expression, and the terrible flames in her eyes


You can't change your timeline, you can't reconstruct, and you can't bring a ghost back to life
But I'm certain that girl, now an elderly maid, would elsehow have once been my wife
And I think of our lives, our children not born, the branches that never will spread
And all the potential that's lost to the world, through the cull of the war's early dead

   Why does nobody help me, as the stars cease to whirl in the skies
   Just the girl with the frightened expression, and the terrible flames in her eyes


The ground comes to meet me, the soil erupts, I bury myself with a cry
Comes release for the living as well as the dead, as my soul finds its peace with a sigh

   That's why nobody helped me, as the stars ceased to whirl in the skies
   Just the girl with the frightened expression, and the terrible loss in her eyes


Em, C, D Em Em, C, D, Em G, D, C, D Em, C, D, Em
Chorus - Am, Em, G, D, - Am, Em, C, D C

Introduction: start with 3rd and 4th string at 9th fret, descending 7th fret, 4th fret*, 2nd fret
Coda - last word of chorus, second fret with 3rd and 4th strings (ie Am but with open 5th string)
then slide up 5th fret, 7th, 9th.

JW 2002 (from a short story by Nick Waller: Liberator )


Back to the Top

-----------------------


LISTOPAD IN MIROGOJ
Tapestry

   Listopad in Mirogoj; wear your Sunday best
   Listopad in Mirogoj; to mark the day of Death


Battered blue tramcar, crowded to bursting, clatters its way through the fray
Of chattering children, old pious pilgrims in grief
Old village ladies, black-scarved and toothless, huddle in knots by the gate
Offering icons and red votive candles and wreaths
And Natasa shows me the way with a touch on my sleeve

   Listopad in Mirogoj; wear your Sunday best
   Listopad in Mirogoj; to mark the day of Death


Partisan veterans, proud sense of duty; peasants with donkeys and carts
Party officials in sleek black Mercedes for show
Family groupings cluster round gravesides; widows with fresh-broken hearts
Reading the names of their loved ones only they know
And Natasa touches the gravestone where her name will go

   Listopad in Mirogoj; wear your Sunday best
   Listopad in Mirogoj; to mark the day of Death


Bright brittle sunlight fades into evening; the chill speaks of winter to come
Small whitewashed cottages, firewood logs stacked at their side
Back in the tramcar the mood is still quiet, as mourners' minds bend towards home
Some are still dabbing at tears that haven't quite dried
And Natasha tells me in whispers how her mother died

   Listopad in Mirogoj; wear your Sunday best
   Listopad in Mirogoj; to mark the day of Death


Communists cover the country in concrete, write slogans worthy and strong
But ritual tradition still grips at the heart of this land
Let's sit round the fire with a bottle of rakija, sing a traditional song
Of nationalist battles and passions I don't yet understand
And Natasha smiles through the firelight, and touches my hand

   Listopad in Mirogoj; wear your Sunday best
   Listopad in Mirogoj; to mark the day of Death


3/ 4 Capo: 1
Chorus: Am, Em F G Am
Verses: C, G, F, G; C, G, F: Dm, C, G, C; Dm, C, F
Natasa: Am, C, F

A full set of background notes concerning the images in this song is available here.

John Waller October 2007


Back to the Top

-----------------------


LJUBLJANA
Molecules

Beneath the three white bridges, the Ljubljanica flows by
Past the bustling flower market, the castle set on high
The Catholic Cathedral, the Bishop's house so vast
And the broken pointing finger, to remind you of the past

In the 1940s the fascist armies came
The priests and prelates acquiesced, to their eternal shame
The godless Partisans fought back, with freedom in their hearts
But one by one they were betrayed, and the Bishop played his part

At last the tide of history turned, the occupiers fled
In victory the Partisans built a statue to their dead
A hand with finger pointing straight at the Bishop's room
Till a young priest with a hammer showed defiance of his own

Church or state, right or wrong, science or belief
War sharpens your dilemmas, throws choice in stark relief
Would you stand up for freedom at a time of civil strife?
Or would you keep your head down, and never risk your life

Izpod tromostolje, the Ljubljanica flows still
Past the bustling trgovina, the Grad up on the hill
Katolicka crkva, preljatski dom so vast
And the broken pointing finger, so you don't forget the past
Don't forget the past

A9 G, Dm E A9 G, Em A9 G A9

John Waller 2004


Back to the Top

-----------------------


MARY ANN
Memorial

Line them up against the wall, Mary Ann, Mary Ann
Up against the wall, Mary Ann
Line them up against the wall, mow them down and see them fall
Then the people will stand tall, Mary Ann, Mary Ann; the people will stand tall Mary Ann

Take the bosses of the banks, Mary Ann Mary Ann
The bosses of the banks, Mary Ann
Take the bosses of the banks, to them we owe no thanks
If they argue, call the tanks Mary Ann Mary Ann; If they argue, call the tanks Mary Ann

Take the money-thiefs of Wonga Mary Ann, Mary Ann
The money-thiefs of Wonga Mary Ann
Take the money-thiefs of Wonga, we can't stand them no longer
Without them we'll be stronger, Mary Ann, Mary Ann; without them we'll be stronger, Mary Ann

Take the Barons of the Press Mary Ann Mary Ann
The Barons of the Press Mary Ann
Take the Barons of the Press, who cause so much distress
'Cos it's time we had redress Mary Ann, Mary Ann; it's time we had redress Mary Ann

Take the politician class, Mary Ann Mary Ann
The politician class, Mary Ann
Take the politician class, kick them out upon their arse
Their power cannot last, Mary Ann, Mary Ann, their power must not last, Mary Ann

Line them up against the wall, Mary Ann, Mary Ann
Line them up against the wall, Mary Ann
Line them up against the wall, mow them down and see them fall
Then the people will stand tall, Mary Ann, Mary Ann; the people will stand tall Mary Ann

What is that you say, Mary Ann Mary Ann
What is that you say, Mary Ann
What is that you say; "violence is not the way" ...
Well then things will have stay just as they are, Mary Ann; things will have to stay just as they are ....


Capo 4 G, D, G, D, G, C, G, D, G , C, G, D, G, C, G

Written in honour of Mary Ann Elston, MSc Bristol 1970. She was a friend of my then girlfriends' best friend when we are all students there in the late 1960s. She moved to Leeds when I moved to Bradford, and I did visit her there once. And the following year I had dinner with her in Edinburgh when visiting said intermedial friend. But we lost touch after that.

Google-stalking reveals that she was an academic at Royal Holloway, and co-author of a book on Medical Sociology (Sage Publications 2004) which you can buy online for $158.00 She has also contributed to an academic article on "researching violence". As implied in the song, I therefore doubt she travelled down the path of violent revolution. Nor, to be fair, did she show any inclination so to do when we were at Bristol together. But her name scans nicely ....

John Waller June 2014

Back to the Top

-----------------------


MEMORIAL
Memorial

Excuse me, could you help me, for I'm a stranger here
I'm looking for a Library, and I hope there's one quite near

Ah yes, it isn't far away; go past those boarded shops,
Across the windswept plaza, and the broken flower pots
Past the burned out factory: I worked there as a boy
But now it's gone, my life's moved on, and now Im unemployed
But that's the way it seems to be in this godforsaken town
It seems the whole damned place is closing down

Excuse me, could you help me, for I'm a stranger here
I'm looking for the Library, and I think it's somewhere near

Left at the Old Red Lion, then past the Rose and Crown
It used to serve a lovely pint; but recently closed down
Landlord, barmaid, takings: vanished in the dark
So now it's gone, my life's moved on, to cider in the Park
But that's the way it seems to be in this town that's lost its way
Everywhere you look, you see decay.

Excuse me, could you help me, for I'm a stranger here
I'm looking for your Library, it must be just round here

Across the Green, that's mostly brown, it used to look so smart
Beyond the War Memorial; defaced with spray-can "art"
Three members of my family; their names are inscribed there
But what they lived and died for, no-one seems to care
But that's the way it seems to be in this town that's lost its pride
A litany of fading hopes denied

Well I never found that library, too little time remained
I was just a passing visitor, with an hour between trains
I was seeking local history, a pamphlet or such stuff
But though I never found it, I've seen and heard enough

Chords:
Chorus: F, G, C, bis Verse: Am, Em, Dm, DC, G, bis Then F, Em, Am, D, C, G, F

John Waller Sept 2012 - March 2015

Back to the Top

-----------------------


MOLECULES
Molecules

Where did we all come from? If you stop and think
Our bodies are entirely made of what we eat and drink
We're all built up from molecules, our flesh and bones and skin
We take them in, they stay a while, then pass from us again

   We eat we drink we breathe we grow, that's what humans do
   Then micturate and defecate and the molecules pass through


What then am I made of, what tonight is part of me?
This morning's egg and sausage, the fish I had for tea
The bread and cheese I ate last week is still making my bones strong
I've beer inside my bladder, though that won't be staying long.

Last month the egg was in a hen, the sausage was a cow
The fish was swimming in the sea, but they're all inside me now
The bread was wheat, the cheese was grass, both were miles away
The water, malt and yeast and hops hadn't reached the brewery

   We eat we drink we breathe we grow, that's what humans do;
   Then micturate and defecate and the molecules pass through


So where does it all go to, when it's finished being me?
Our turds are buried in the ground, the wee flows back to sea
Both join the soil and water from which living things will grow
To be eaten by some bugger else far away who I don't know

So what this means for all of us, I've thought of it a lot
Our bodies ever melting in some vast organic pot
The molecules that currently are part of me, it's true
Tomorrow will pass out again, and will one day be in you

   We eat we drink we breathe we grow, that's what humans do
   Then micturate and defecate and the molecules pass through


So there's Jew in every Muslim, dog in every cat
There's parts of Ariel Sharon that were once in Arafat
There's black in white, Chinese in brown, it nails the racist lie
Inside every ardent feminist there are parts of macho guy

There's things in Ian Duncan Smith* that were once in Tony Blair
There's parts of Ginger Rogers that have moved through Fred Astaire
There's some of us in all of us - and what really gives me hope
Is knowing parts of Ian Paisley have been shat out by the Pope.

   We eat we drink we breathe we grow, that's what humans do
   Then micturate and defecate and the molecules pass through

1
2
1
2

3
3

1
2
1
2

3
3
1
2

3
3

* Michael Howard, David Cameron ....

G, D, C, G;
Am, G, Am, D
Em, C, G, D, Em C, G,D,G

Words and music John Waller 2003


Back to the Top

-----------------------


MUSHROOM
Liberator

Just out of Kendal there's ridge with a mushroom
Where walkers and ramblers can shelter from the rain
The rim picks out the fountains, the peaks and troughs and mountains
And something always calls me back again
You can see the Morecambe Bay sands, the hills of the Lakelands
You can see the M6 glowing, and the boiling Irish Sea
You can see back through the ages, turn back through your life's pages
The past just points its finger back at me

   When I go high up on the Mushroom again
   You wouldn't think a place like this could bring such pain
   You can see so far it's painful to recall, regrets you have for things that went before


I can see back over the water to the minarets of Bosnia
The naif hills by Zagreb, white islands in the sea
The boxy Orthodoxy of the churches of Serbia
These lands were once a home to me
But I left these lands of foment before trouble turned to torment
And I left the one I loved there with troubles of her own
Like some imperial despot I came, I saw, I conquered
And I left Natasa suffering alone

   Now I'm high up on the Mushroom again
   You would not think a place like this could bring such pain
   You can see so far it's painful to recall, regrets you have for things that went before


I can see across the ether to the coastline of Phoenecia
The sweetly scented pinefields and the arid dusty plains
The olive and the hookah, the hummous and tabouleh
The summer sun and gentle autumn rains
But I left this land of beauty before it turned to tragedy
And everyone I met there had their horrors still to come
As Israel's fiery breath kindled flames of civil death
The anger boils; how little I have done

   When I'm high up on the Mushroom again
   You would not think a place like this could bring such pain
   You can see so far it's painful to recall, regrets you have for things that went before


Just out of Kendal there's ridge with a mushroom
Where walkers like you can gaze out at the view
You can look back through the ages, and turn back through life's pages
But the past may point its finger back at you

If you go high up on the mushroom

Am, G, Dm, F; Am, G, Dm, Em; Am, G, Dm, F; Am, G, F
Dm, C, G; Dm, C, G; Dm, Am, G, Amdim G.

(c) JW 2002


Back to the Top

-----------------------


NEVER AGAIN
Liberator

Sitting at home in the evening, you just start to think
That it might be quite nice to nip down to the pub for a drink
There's a pool game in progress, then you start to play darts
And you stay and drink till you're pissed as two farts
And stagger back home and promptly throw up in the sink

   Next morning you wake with a hammering head
   Your bowels are queasy, your eyes are blood red
   If given the choice you'd rather be dead
   Oh, Oh, oh, never again; Oh, Oh, oh, never again


Next evening the phone rings; a mate you've not seen for years
The last time you saw him his girlfriend had left him in tears
Now he's out on the pull, in the market once more
And he thinks as a pair, you're more likely to score
How better to start than to go out and share a few beers?

   Next morning you wake with a hammering head
   Your bowels are queasy, your eyes are blood red
   If given the choice you'd rather be dead
   Oh, Oh, oh, never again; Oh, Oh, oh, never again


Now some colleague from work is retiring and moving away
And you know that you shouldn't go out for a drink at midday
But the laughter and company sweep you along
Soon it's time for the speeches and maybe a song
And once in the pub, you find it's so easy to stay, all day

   Next morning you wake with a hammering head
   Your bowels are queasy, your eyes are blood red
   If given the choice you'd rather be dead
   Oh, Oh, oh, never again; Oh, Oh, oh, never again


Why do we so quickly forget every hangover's pain?
I've a theory on this, which I'd rather like to explain
The brewers control you, here's what they do
There's a chemical secret they add to each brew
It wipes clean the nodules and cells of your memories brain
And so you forget, and you go out and get drunk again
And so you forget, and you go out and get drunk again

   Next morning you wake with a hammering head
   Your bowels are queasy, your eyes are blood red
   If given the choice you'd rather be dead
   Oh, Oh, oh, never again; Oh, Oh, oh, never again


   But you do, oh yes you do
   And you will, I know you will

Em, G, D
Am, C, D
G, D1
F, Em
C, D, G

C, D
Em, G D
C, D
G, (F#) Em D












C, D










C, D
C, D

John Waller 2002

Back to the Top

-----------------------


NORFOLK WHERRY
Molecules

Dawn fingers creeping, cold winter light seeping
The mists barely stir on the breeze
Eastern stars fading, a gibbous moon waning
The hoar frost glints hard on the trees
Along the hedgerow lies a dusting of snow
Concealing the dead autumn leaves
A mute swan is gliding, ripples subsiding
To die 'neath the ice-crusted reeds

All is now stillness across Oulton Broad
The wherry rots silently where she lies moored
The dawn will bring nothing, a new day unfolds
Still no crewmen to sail her, no goods for her hold
It's a year since a soul stepped aboard
It's not only the winter that's cold
It's not only the winter that's cold

Am G Am Em Am; (bis); Dm C Bm Em; Am G Am Em Am
Dm C, Bm C; F, G, F, G, F, E:
F, G, D+

John Waller 2004


Back to the Top

-----------------------


NORWAY
Liberator

Six thirty in the morning, Bengt Olafsson arose
He washed and shaved and farted, and stretched and touched his toes
He breakfasted on ryebread, Norwegian beans and curd
And went into the farmyard, to milk his lowing herd

He'd worked the farm for forty years and never had a rest
From the routine of the milking, the silage and harvest
So on this winter morning, in the warm Norwegian sun
He little thought that he would find anything was wrong

Bengt went into the cowshed - his herd was one cow short
No sign of a forced entry, nor gaps in the back wall
Then on the flat Norwegian roof he spied the missing cow
She'd obviously climbed up there, but he couldn't work out how

    There's a cow up on the roof dear, whatever shall we do?
    A cow up on the roof dear, and all it does is moo


Had pranksters come ashore at night with cargo net and crane?
His farm lay by the seaside, hard by the foaming main, but
Two miles in both directions up the straight Norwegian coast
No tracks were showing in the sand, no sign of any boats

Perhaps they'd come by land then, but the gates were both locked tight
And if they'd tried to force them, geese would've honked all night
No vehicle could penetrate the Norwegian cactus fence
The leaves were far too prickly and the cactus grew too dense

    There's a cow up on the roof dear, whatever shall we do?
    A cow up on the roof dear, and all it does is moo


He'd have to get the cow down, perhaps a trampoline
But leaping cows from such a height was something he'd not seen
He couldn't fly a chopper, or Norwegian microlight
He didn't have a bungee rope, things didn't look too bright

Bengt vowed to stay awake all night, he'd load his shotgun now
In case the pranksters came again, to roof another cow
He sighed as he sat down to wait, and to help to pass the time
He opened up a bottle of sweet Norwegian wine

    There's a cow up on the roof dear, whatever shall we do?
    A cow up on the roof dear, and all it does is moo


As to what then happened, I'm afraid I cannot say
Bengt phoned me up to tell me, just the other day
But I don't speak much Norwegian, so I didn't catch, in truth
If he got his cow down, or found udders on the roof

So, this Norwegian story doesn't have an end -

G, C
G Em, C, D
G, C, Am
G, Em, C, D

JW 2002


Back to the Top

However, there's a sequel at Bengt Olaffson.

-----------------------


OFFICE JUNIOR
Liberator

I'm the Office Junior, the bottom of the scale
I have to fetch and carry, make the tea and log the mail
They make me scurry back and forth with jobs for other folk
It all seems utterly pointless and the salary's a joke
And the boss who lords it over me, he thinks he's born to rule
He never does a stroke of work, the man's an utter fool
He's called the Office Manager, and I'll tell it to you straight
If I could only have his job then things would be just great...

I'm the Office Manager, my job's a total bore
I have to write these draft reports and I don't know what they're for
Keep records of transactions, petty cash and ins and outs
They tell me it's important but I really have my doubts
And the boss who queens it over me, she thinks she's born to rule
She never does a stroke of work, the woman is a fool
She's called Head of Department, and I'll lay it on the line
If I could only have her job then things would be just fine...

I'm Head of Department, and I do the best I can
But I'm starved of all resources, the system is a sham
I must deliver savings, progress, targets and the rest
They say I must try harder, I can only do my best
And the boss who lords it over me, he thinks he's born to rule
He never does a stroke of work, the man's an utter fool
He's called the Deputy Chairman, and I'll tell it to you straight
If I could only have his job then things would be just great...

I'm the Deputy Chairman, I get all the flak
Co-ordinate a million things while fielding all the crap
With quarterly projections and base audits without trace
And deadlines, meetings, strategy, chasing goals from outer space
And the boss who lords it over me, he thinks he's born to rule
He never does a stroke of work, the man's an utter fool
He's called the Company Chairman, and I'll lay it on the line
If I could only have his job then things would be just fine...

I'm the Company Chairman, at the tip-top of the tree
I take responsibility, the buck stops here with me
But shareholders and government both add and extra strain
The stress and hassle that I get just gives me so much pain
That I wish I were the Office Boy again
I wish I were the Office Junior again
I wish I were the Office Junior again.

C, G
G, C
C, F
D, G
F, C
G, C
F, C
D, G (G7)

C, G, G, C, C, F, D, G
F, C, G, C, F, C, D, G... (F, G, C, Am - final lines of last verse)

JW October 2002


Back to the Top

-----------------------


PACHELBEL
Molecules

Instrumental. Chords: C, G, Am, Em, F, C, F G;

Repeated with increasing complexity and fingerstyling from single chords
through 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/8 up to 7/8 and back down again.
That's the idea, anyway.

Back to the Top

-----------------------


PALESTINE
Liberator

For years and years the Jewish folk had lived all round the world
They were persecuted everywhere, made a scapegoat for all ills
Until the desire culminated for a Jewish national home
The League of Nations blessed it, and Palestine was chosen
And isn't it the innocents who suffer

Between the wars the Jews came in to the land they now called their own
Renaming it Israel, the Jewish national home
But what about poor Palestine, and the Palestinian men
There wasn't room for both the peoples then
Oh Israel, the sin lies here in your name; lies here
The sin lies here in your name

The Jews came in from Europe, escaping Hitler's hand
The desperation that they felt is plain to understand
But too many thousands flooded in, and something had to give
And bloody battles broke out, and the Arabs were forced to leave

They were dispossessed at gunpoint, from the lands they'd farmed for years
And thrown across the borders despite all Arab pleas
And those that stayed were subjected to a foreign military
Deprived of rights as citizens in a land no longer free

The refugees in Arab lands were forced to live in camps
And hovels, slums and crude tin huts on the borders of their lands
There was no work for them to do, no money hope nor food
And the massive influx coming in did the Arab states no good

Now twenty years have passed away, and still the refugees
Are living in these shanty towns in squalor and disease
And the population is growing, not as many deaths as births
So every day of inaction means that the problem's getting worse

The leaders of the world's great powers talk pragmatically of right
But they don't have to lead the lives of those that lost the fight
They talk of peace with Israel, because oil is what they need
The leaders of the world just talk, and forget the refugees

Em D C B
Em D C D
Em C D Em D
Em D C B Em D Em

JW 1969


Back to the Top

-----------------------


PANERIAI
Memorial

Can you hear the tumbrels rolling through the night?
Insistent knock that will not be denied
Herded into wagons designed to carry swine
A final one-way journey to the pines of Paneriai

Standing at the pit edge, how meekly we submit
A single soldier walks along the line
A single shot, a pause, a body falls into the pit
I can calculate exactly how long before it's mine

Memories flood past me in the seconds that remain
Hopes and joys and sadness; the children I will miss
Wars and occupations, small pleasures and much pain
To live your life through all that, and now it's come to this

Take one last look around me, I hold my head up high
See the sombre outlines of the pines of Paneriai
Branches gently waving, as if to say goodbye
Standing stark and silent, silhouettes against the sky

Far too late for anyone to start to question why
Far too late to change one's course, escape or learn to fly
(Chord) - the man beside me crumples with a sigh
As I hold that final image of the pines of Paneriai
I hold that final image of the pines -


No Capo
G shape but with D second, don't use top - G shape but with F sixth, back to G shape D second
Em, D (no top string)
Repeat, except at end of final line, back to G shape but with D second instead of G first
keep D second string like an unvarying insistent bell - the trick is never to use first string

Intro - G shape with second string D, third string first fret (G# except for Capo) - plucked single dis-chord four times, then release third G# string to G (pause).


JW 08/2014


Back to the Top

-----------------------


PARALLEL LIVES
Memorial

   And the sun beats down on an Indian morning
   Tuk-tuks are buzzing like bees round a hive
   Humanity's strata are laid out before me
   Parallel futures, parallel lives


He stands by the roadside, beard matted and thick
Cylindrical legs as thin as his stick
His dhoti dishevelled and dirty
He begs for existence with outstretching hand
Just to live in a world that he can't understand
He looks sixty, but might be just thirty

   And the sun beats down on an Indian morning
   Tuk-tuks are buzzing like bees round a hive
   Humanity's strata are laid out before me
   Parallel futures, parallel lives


She sits in the tuk-tuk, laptop in hand
Mobile on shoulder, shouting demands / barking commands
Her saree is cut with precision
She's delivered the goods, to a timescale unreal
Now she's off to a meeting, to cut some new deal
Does the old man impinge on her vision?

   And the sun beats down on an Indian morning
   Tuk-tuks are buzzing like bees round a hive
   Humanity's strata are laid out before me
   Parallel futures, parallel lives


My smoked-glass air-con taxi moves past
My eyes catch them both, but I'm moving too fast
My feet simply don't touch the ground
Whisked to the five-star; straight from the flight
Trapped in a traveller's bubble of light
And the lives outside don't make a sound

Still the sun beats down on an Indian morning
On beggars and business, and contrasts enthralling
For a moment of chance, we all share the same street
But our parallel paths destined never to meet
He can't become her, she can't become me
No more than a fish can climb into a tree
And the tuk-tuks still buzzing like bees round a hive
Past parallel futures, parallel lives

For a moment of chance, we all share the same street
But our parallel paths destined never to meet

V: Am Em Dm Am, C, G; Dm, Am, C, G, Dm ... G
C: F, Am, C, G, F, Am, Dm, .. G C2: F, Am, C, G bis bis F, Am, Dm G

JW Bangalore Feb 2008-09


Back to the Top

-----------------------


RED MAN, WHITE MAN
Molecules (with an early short version on Liberator)

Deep in nature's forest, or beside a flowing stream
Across the prairies, hunting hoof and horn
Standing proud upon a hill as in some ancient dream
Watching round the campfire till the dawn
The red man lives in harmony with all that he surveys
His ancestors before him lived the same way without strife
The pipe of peace, the wigwam and the tried and tested ways
Traditions that ensure unhurried life

The red man stands and listens, a hand cupped to his ear
The sounds of changes coming, the white man drawing near
The white man looks around him, a gleam is in his eye
With work he can control it all, the earth the sea the sky

Clearing nature's forests and damming up the streams
Churning up the prairies with the plough
Fortifying the hilltops, shattering the dreams
The old ways must give way to new ways now
The white man brings technology to tame the savage beast
With gunpowder and whisky, iron and coal and steel
To challenge and do battle sweeping in from the cold east
The totem pole surrenders to the wheel

The red man stands upon the hill, he's seen it all before
However much you give them, they're always wanting more
The white man stands beside him, the gleam still in his eye
With work he has transformed it all, the earth the sea the sky

What prevails and conquers is rarely what is best
The march of progress beats its own base drum
The strongest victor takes it all, to hell with all the rest
It makes you fear for conflicts still to come

The red man stands and shakes his head, the battle is now lost
His ancient people swept away, and never mind the cost

Verse: F, G, C (B) Am, G, F, E, Am (bis)
C, G, Am, G, F, E, Am
F, G, C (g) Am, G, F, E, Am

Chorus: Am, Dm, Am, Em; Am, Dm Am G; Am

JW 2004


Back to the Top

-----------------------


ROUTINE
Memorial

Alarm bangs off and it's back to the same old grind
Engage your arms and legs but not your mind
Nose to tail as you creep to town, cogs mesh in and wheels go round
The rush hour rush; you can't be left behind

The rasping glare of the workplace numbs your head
You know you'd rather be anywhere else instead
A pile of forms; the phonebell rings, a knock at the door and the email pings
... much more of this you'll soon be dead

   Well, it doesn't have to be this way
   Just let go...ease your mind
   A path of life that's less unkind
   So just... let it go... drift off... float away
   To where it's a different sort of day...

Reality strikes and you find you're way off beam
In-box full and the manager starts to scream
You can't survive if you don't earn cash, to jack it in would be too rash,
So a different life remains a distant dream
A distant life remains a different dream
A different life remains a distant dream


Chords
Am - Em - F - G in 2/4 very quickly
Between verses: D, C, G ..
Bridge: Bm - F#m - Em - A: G, A, G, A; D, C, G, A...

JW 08/03/09 - 11/03/15

Back to the Top

-----------------------


THE SILENCE
Molecules

I have seen beyond the edge of darkness
I have watched them stoke the fires of hell
I have seen such horrors in the blackness
But of these things my lips will never tell

I marched with armies over fields of battle
O'er blasted heath and ragged death-tree hill
Mud and blood and sudden mortal combat
As face to face you have to make the kill

I sailed the convoys 'cross the cold Atlantic
Bringing food and weapons that they gave
Trapped inside a floating metal coffin
While U-boats cruised unseen beneath the waves

I flew the bombers over fields and fenland
Destroying dams and yes, the cities too
Flying on through fear and flak and firestorm
Doing what we knew we had to do
Doing what I knew I had to do

For I have seen beyond the edge of darkness
I have seen them stoke the fires of hell
I have seen such horrors in the blackness
But of these things my lips will never tell

Capo fret 3 Picked - (Bom bom Da, da-bombom da, da bom)

First and Last Verse
A9, A9baseG, A9baseF bis
A9, G, D
A9, A9baseG, A9baseF bis
A9, G, Am or D

Middle Verses
F, G Am
Em, Am
F, G, C
Em, Am (poss D)

JW 2005


Back to the Top

-----------------------


SUN GOES DOWN
Memorial

A tousled-head yeoman strides over the lea
Pauses for rest 'neath the spreading oak tree
Twitter of skylark, hum of a bee
The cadence of summer's all round
Crack of leather on willow, a faint muffled cheer
A murmur of discourse, the chink of warm beer
The chime of the church clock, plangent and clear
A timeless, beautiful sound
And the sun goes down on Olde England

Shaven-head revellers swarm round the pub
That last goal just clinched it, City stay up
The best in the world, that's surely our club
You'll get hurt if you dare disagree
Let's sink a few bevvies, then go for some grub
Then we'll holler for Engerland, in the World Cup
We can kick a few foreigners; beat some of them up
We'll show 'em who's boss, just you see
And the sun goes down on New England

   In a town you've never heard of in a hot and dusty desert
   You'll find a makeshift market in a crowded central square
   Farmers from the village sell to worried local women
   A shaven-headed English soldier wonders why he's there

   Lurking on the sidelines fearless men inflamed with passion
   Place their deadly package where they know it won't be found
   Sudden unexpected comes the flash of golden orange
   It comes so fast the tearing blast throws everyone to ground ....

   Women, children, farmers, chickens run in screaming circles
   Armless legless wounded victims howling where they lie
   Cacaphony of sirens, klaxons and confusion
   That shaven-headed soldier is amongst the ones to die
      And a son goes down, for England

Middle-aged couple transfixed by the news
Hope against hope, search vainly for clues
So much to live for, so much to lose
But the waiting just sharpens their fears
Two smart army officers come to the door
The worst is confirmed, they stare at the floor
The light of their lives is shining no more
Two decades of love, what was it all for?
Blown clean away in this fuck-stupid war
And there's nothing to follow but tears
And the sun goes down, on our England
And the sun goes down ... This is our England

Em, D: C, D; Em, C, G, D (bis)
C, G, D ... C, G (D)
(chords used are actually not all completely standard)

JW 2012


Back to the Top

-----------------------


TAPESTRY
Tapestry

   Such is the warp, such is the weft,
   Such is the warp and the weft of the tapestry of your life


You receive both nature and nurture, moulding your mind and your views
Who you'll be is mostly determined, while you are still too young to choose
Some are born to win, others to lose

   Such is the warp, such is the weft,
   Such is the warp and the weft of the tapestry of your life


Like a girl you see on a dance-floor, while another smiles through the half-light
It's just chance who you meet, who you stay with; others drift into the night
Can anyone tell you for certain who would have been right?

   Such is the warp, such is the weft,
   Such is the warp and the weft of the tapestry of your life


Like a train you see in a station; should you board it, or p'raps you should stay
Do you know your end destination? Do you care, at the end of the day?
Do the choices you make change your life ... in any real way?

   Such is the warp, such is the weft,
   Such is the warp and the weft of the tapestry of your life


Am, Em; Am, Em; Am, Em, F, G*, Am (chorus) * the timing syncopates a bit here
Dm, C, G, F: Dm, C, G, F: C, G, F (verse)

3/4 time. I have capo on fret 3

JW 2006


Back to the Top

-----------------------


ULICAMA
Tapestry

Gledaj starog covijeka u zatvorenoj trgovini
Gura stare novine s umornim nogama
Nema svijetla u okovima, glava je pala pognuta
Jucerasne novina, s jucerasnim novostima

   Onda zasto ti mislis da ti si usamlen
   I mislis da sunce ne sija
   Ja cu te voditi ulicama Zagreba
   I otkrit ti nesto, i predomislit ces se mozda


Gledaj stare zene, koja seta ulicama
Kosa neprljavna, i rupe u haljini
Nema vrijema govoriti, vrijema samo jos setati
Nosi svega svijet u dvim malim torbicima

   Onda zasto ti mislis da ti si usamlen
   I mislis da sunce ne sija
   Ja cu te voditi ulicama Londona
   I otkrit ti nesto, i predomislit ces se mozda



Diacritic signs to be added for true authenticity
Adaptation / translation by JW and Natasa Hajcic 1970
The original debt to Ralph McTell utterly acknowledged



Back to the Top

-----------------------


WRAETLIG
Molecules

Drawn by the city's fame, master craftsmen came
Building high with skill and care
Inspired by civic pride, archways leaping wide
Roads and bridges, parks and squares
Gates in mighty walls, lofty meeting halls
Spires and towers reaching high
Well-lit galleries, peoples' palaces
Battlements against the sky

All things that grow must die
All that grows will one day die

Generations passed, splendour cannot last
Discordant voices rent the air
With corruption rife, pride turned to civil strife
Buildings cracked without repair
Rusted gates slammed shut, as the lights went out
Parks and squares heard not a sound
Halls an empty shell, soon the buildings fell
Towers crumbled to the ground

The wheel turns and moves on round
The wheel turns and moves on round

Capo fret 4
Am, descending
Dm, descending

John Waller 2003


Back to the Top

-----------------------


XIAO SHAN
Tapestry

   Back to the sky, face to the earth
   That's how it's been since the time of my birth
   That's how it will stay until the day I die
   Face to the earth, back to the sky


Dynasties come, dynasties go;
The work stays the same, painful and slow
Guiding the buffalo, turning the soil;
Hand planting, harvesting; back-breaking toil

Rumours are spreading, we hear them every day
Cities are leaping like tigers they say
Up here in the villages, nothing to earn
Our children are leaving, and will not return

   Back to the sky, face to the earth
   That's how it's been since the time of my birth
   That's how it will stay until the day I die
   Face to the earth, back to the sky


They're building a dam on the river below
Waters will rise, all my land will go
The new Party Secretary says it's for the best
But he takes his cut, and the state takes the rest

I'm too old to change, what else could I do?
Old ways disappearing, I can't face the new
It used to be our custom, old men received respect
Now only money matters, all you see is neglect

   Back to the sky, face to the earth
   That's how it's been since the time of my birth


Only when I die will they turn me so I lie
With my back to the earth, and my face towards the sky

Chorus: A, D, E, D, A: A, D, E, D, A
Verse: E, D, A, E, D, A. A, D, E, D, A

Capo 3 or so

(c) JW 2006


Back to the Top

-----------------------


YER BIKE
Liberator

I started in shipbuilding in the yards of the north east
I laid the keels and shaped the hulls that sailed the seven seas
The pride was in the work my friends, a ship's a noble thing
Despite the hard conditions, we made the shipyards ring
But as the empire faded so the orders were all lost
As rising powers in the east could build for half the cost
My place of work was all closed down, I was cast aside
Cranes fell silent on the Tyne; my working life denied

   Get up and on your bike again, that's what we were told
   You'll have to find another job, onwards down the road


So I cycled down to Barnsley, to dig and hew the coal
With pony and canary, it was better than the dole
The pride was in the work my friends, with comradeship as well
Despite the hard conditions, the seams as black as hell
But Mrs Thatcher came to power with fire on her breath
She came to take the unions on, a fight unto the death
My place of work was all closed down, it left a bitter taste
Communities left destitute, an industry laid waste

   Get up and on your bike again, that's what we were told
   You'll have to find another job, onwards down the road


So I cycled 'cross to Grimsby, to join the trawling trade
With stocks of cod and whitefish there were fortunes to be made
The pride was in the work my friends, the fellowship of the crew
Despite the hard conditions, the icy winds that blew
But boats from far away sailed in, techniques we wouldn't match
Illegal nets and factory ships, they came and stole our catch
My place of work was all closed down, the boats laid up in docks
Trawlermen upon the shore, their lives upon the rocks

   Get up and on your bike again, that's what we were told
   You'll have to find another job, onwards down the road


So I cycled down to London to work in telecomms
With DVDs and G3 phones and a host of new dot.coms
The pride was in the work my friends, all cutting edge and new
Despite the hard conditions, and London prices too
But soon the dot.com bubble burst and left us high and dry
And paper millions disappeared in the twinkling of an eye
My place of work was all closed down, I was out upon my ear
I had to find another trade, another new career

   Get up and on your bike again, that's what we were told
   You'll have to find another job, onwards down the road


So I cycled out to Saltmarsh, a call centre on the dunes
There I answered telephones with patter and bland tunes
No pride was in the work my friends, just hatred of the boss
And pity the poor punters, fobbed off with little cost
But soon the bosses realised they were paying us too much
The minimum wage and comfort breaks and all that left-wing stuff
My place of work was all closed down, the notice just one day
They're moving the whole business to a suburb of Bombay

   Get up and on your bike again, that's what we were told
   You'll have to find another job, onwards down the road


But I don't know where to go now friends, I don't know who to trust
And I don't know why our heritage has turned to so much dust
What pride is there in work my friends when changes come so fast
Is this the new millenium, where nothing's built to last
   
C, F
C, G
F, C
G, F, C
Am, Em
F, G
Am, Em
F, G

C, G, F, C
F, C, G, Am... G

John Waller 2002

Back to the Top




-----------------------