IntroductionHerbs and Spices from AfarCruel CoppingerCarvery of BlightThe Extended TrilogyDolomite SprintThe Dead HorseSomebody on a LaptopBoss ArmadilloCareful what you wish for sonPretty Little TearsWe put on the gigThe Murdered Brother

Released May 2016, the latest album.

 

Herbs and Spices from Afar

You can bid for as long as the candle burns
Stand still for as long as the universe turns
Unfurl your memory like the spring ferns
And scatter to the wind everything you’ve learned
Pick open your mind and leave the door ajar
With herbs and spices from afar

From the northeast passage and plains of Moscow
There is no end to what I could get for you now
From the Portobello road to Macau
All that your fractured conscience will allow
Pick open your mind and leave the door ajar
With herbs and spices from afar

From the clippers on the run to the molasses in the rum
Earl grey, salt petre, opium
So lay down your weary harmonium
And gaze into the cubic zirconium
Pick open your mind and leave the door ajar
With herbs and spices from afar

I don’t sell problems only solutions
So let me flip the lid of your constitution
Lubricate the cogs and gears of confusion
With a bone china cup and a new infusion
Pick open your mind and leave the door ajar
With herbs and spices from afar
Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2015

Cruel Coppinger

Will you hear of cruel Coppinger?
He came from foreign kind
He was brought to us by salt water,
But sure he’ll be carried away by the wind.
Will you hear a moment of this man
Thrown at us by the storm
From the waves to my fair mothers arms
From wild ocean to tended lawn

Do the right thing, mama, do the right thing for you
Do the right thing for heaven’s sake
It’s the right thing to do

She carried him to her family’s home
And tended to him, but oh
he spat and cursed at his fortune
finding no word to say cept ‘no’
He dressed himself in heirlooms
Took a place before the fire
Sat at the head of the table
As the landlord and the squire

perched atop the seat of power
His mandate now complete
He took the good and worthy
And wiped them on his feet
He stocked and archived labour
He hoarded up the fruits
He watched the branches wither
While hacked through the roots

Do the right thing, mama, do the right thing for you
Do the right thing for heaven’s sake
It’s the right thing to do

And when the gentry and the clergymen
Come round a visiting
They’ll take a slice of his pie
But they won’t question a bloody thing
Leaving with rooks beak and feathers
And a bitter tasting mouth
A cat’s skin and head in their pocket
As they scuttle off back south

He’d put lock on every gate
And toll on every path
He’d double every rent
Cut every wage in half
Will he stop at nothing
Will nothing stop his laugh
Oh, Mama, put your man to rights
Or drown him in his bath

Do the right thing, mama, do the right thing for you
Do the right thing for heaven’s sake
It’s the right thing to do

I repeat this story every day,
But they say my voice is mute
I have lived this moment a thousand times
With the lie I can’t refute
I holler warning but they don’t hear
I try to sing but to no avail
And weep into the silence.
When I see his black ship sail

To drag a harvest to the manacles
Another crop of good men
To grasp at once for reflected stars
Before getting dragged down again
Just to sell off the family silver
When it’s washed up on the beach
Is nothing here worth saving?
Is nothing beyond his reach?

Do the right thing, mama, do the right thing for you
Do the right thing for heaven’s sake
It’s the right thing to do

So, fine people of the mainland
Listen to my plea
When some tory rocks up on your coast
Pray remember me
Consider whether hell
Has any virtue that they lack
As you kick the fuckers in the arse and
Send the fuckers back

Do the right thing, mama, do the right thing for you
Do the right thing for heaven’s sake
It’s the right thing to do

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2015

Except first verse, lyrics trad. arr. Julian Gaskell ©2015

Carvery of Blight

Now is not the time for irony or being clever
We need a turn of tide, a change in the weather
Scroll down the headlines but we never read the text
Don’t see what’s happening but we know what’s on next

Miscalculating zero times two million
Misdirecting taj mahal for Brighton Pavilion
Lord have mercy on this mis-shapen bowl
I been swallowed down an artisanal hole

Can nobody round here recognise my plight?
There’s something in the glass we raised that dont seem quite right
They’re pulling the shutters down around us
They’re turning out the lights
And they’re serving up a carvery, a carvery of blight

I try to be mature, I try to be civil
But someone send a pox upon this curious drivel
Infect the je ne sais quoir and the savoire faire
How much fever can you spare?

So, Empathia sympathia im memorium
Stacked up in suitcases in vintage emporiums
Poured out in speeches like a philanthropic hogwash
Served up with pulled pork in a hand foraged brioche

Can nobody round here recognise my plight?
There’s something in the glass we raised that dont seem quite right
They’re pulling the shutters down around us
They’re turning out the lights
And they’re serving up a carvery, a carvery of blight

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2015

The Extended Trilogy

On VHS
Or Betamax
Hiding in lofts and dusty shelves
Nothing wrong with it
But there’s no place for it
A different format for a different time

But you brought it home
The extended trilogy
Yes, you brought it home
the extended trilogy of love

Long deleted scenes
Extended acts
Surrounded by improved soundtracks
To see the things
I thought I’d left
Long ago on a cutting room floor

Until you brought it home
The extended trilogy
Yeah, you brought it home
The remastered box set
Yes, you brought it home
the extended trilogy of love

Warped and scratched
Hard to find
Overpriced on every auction site
Struggled through
The static cracks
On long and lonesome black and white nights

Until you brought it home
With extensive sleeve notes
You brought it home
The definitive version
You brought it home
The extended trilogy of love

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2012

Dolomite Sprint

I got a Triumph Dolomite sprint fifteen hundred
In black and silver with grey velour seats
Overheated oil slick around it
And fitted matching carpet
Burr walnut dahboard inside it’s as
Smooth as a chainsaw to ride and the
Spills on the concrete garage floor didn’t
Cease production in 84

Born while I rode round this town on a twenty
With sturmey archer three-speed it’ss got plenty
But a shopper’s not so hip as a chopper
Still this one comes approved by ROSPA
With sensible lights and crankest
Cycling proficiency certificate
Careful for kerbs, careful for cars
Careful to stay behind handlebars

But we don’t get around so much these days, it seems all we do
Is cruise around on streetview, spinning through the same old haunts
From sussex esplanade to atlantic highway, seems all we did
Was turn our racers into metal
but I’d sell up for you my sweetheart my petal
Hang the keys on the wall and let the dust settle
The past can be scrapped like the cars but the futures all ours

You must have looked quite the part in your Chevette, but
What would I know we hadn’t met, we hadn’t
Crossed in a glance on the bypass
A double take when I drove past
Where it all used to seem so far away
Another page on the map just to Pevensey Bay
Years of life seen through windows of cars looking for
Someone to see past the handlebars

But we don’t get around so much these days, it seems all we do
Is cruise around on streetview, spinning through the same old haunts
From sussex esplanade to atlantic highway, seems all we did
Was turn our racers into metal
but I’d sell up for you my sweetheart my petal
Hang the keys on the wall and let the dust settle
The past can be scrapped like the cars but the futures all ours

…Hold on to the wheel, put your foor on the pedal
Will the love that we have be worth it’s weight in metal
When it’s melted down, planted where we are
remember when the road used to stretch so far
Sen my heart past the roundabout to the bypass
The past can be scrapped like the cars but the future’s all ours

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2013

The Dead Horse

A poor old man came riding by
And we say so, and we hope so
A poor old man came riding by
Oh, poor old horse.

Says I, “Old man, your horse will die.”
Says I, “Old man, your horse will die.”

And if he dies we’ll tan his skin
And if he don’t we’ll ride him again.

For one long month I rode him hard
For one long month we all rode him hard.

But now your month is up, old Turk
Get up, you swine, and look for work

Get up you swine and look for graft
While we lays on and drags ye aft

He’s as dead as a nail in the lamp-room door
And he won’t come worrying us no more

We’ll use the hair of his tail to sew our sails
And the iron of his shoe to make deck nails

We’ll hoist him up to the fore yard-arm
Where he won’t do sailors any harm

We’ll drop him down with a long, long roll
Where the sharks will have his body and the
Devil take his soul.

Trad./Arr. Julian Gaskell ©2015

Somebody on a Laptop

In the cold light of morning I packed a case
I knew the direction but not the place
Because the chance and the whim of a drag and a drop
Could scatter us all
Where there’s nothing waiting behind the trees
No bears in the woods, no killer bees
No dim lit face hiding under a hood
Just a swarm of tablets all up to no good
there’s always
Somebody on a laptop…

Who’s that in there just a clicking on a mouse?
Clocking up the bedrooms in every house
From factory to farm to operating alone
They would scatter us all
So don’t look to me for guidance the only advice I’ve got
Is writ sans serif on a van that won’t stop
If you want to change this cruel world into something you want
Better start off by choosing an appropriate font
There’s always
Somebody on a laptop

From middle of the  earth to the ends of the sky
From the terrors of the deep to the angels that fly
I sit and watch and act resigned
Seems that my dreams were all designed by
Somebody on a laptop

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2014

Boss Armadillo

To cut a long story short, they said this armadillo could never sing
Yeah, the crickets and the frogs and the canaries laughed when they heard about the thing
That I dreamed of, that someday while the summer was green
You would hear me crooning and still want to be seen
I just want to sing to you and tell you how I want to commit
and I say
OOOOH someday baby

So I walked into the clinic to talk to the local medic about my concern
He said I’d fix it for you but listen armadillo there’s one thing that you should learn
That someday you’ll regret the things you ask, but there’ll be no refund once this deed comes to pass
You want to sing then you gotta learn to commit
and I say
ooooh someday baby

So he plunged the knife in at my insistence, pulled my flesh out by the path of least resistance
Strung out my guts and tuned them across my shell
Plucked a melody so sweet that all the wildlife in the pond
Sounded hoarse and coarse when they tried to sing along
Because there comes I time in life when you just got to commit
And I say oooh, someday baby

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2015

Careful what you wish for son

Be careful what you wish for son
Take a note of all you’ve thrown down the well
Put a tag on your dreams, list out every one
And put them on a trestle table ready to sell
Be careful with the love you gain
Take note of every heart that you collect
Cos sure enough when your memories are out on the slab
You’ll be wanting something there to dissect

We all just wander round
Filling in the gaps
Who’s gone, who’s left behind
all I suggest is throw your hat to the wind and call your mother back home

Be careful who you pray to dear
Mentally note down every secret they forgive
Who’s on the other end of the line I fear
May just be sifting through your guilt with a sieve
Be careful with the wealth that trickles
Towards your second hand soul to invest
In  every golden nugget unicorn tooth
Cos someday all that you are will be weighed and assessed

We all just wander round
Filling in the gaps
Who’s gone, who’s left behind
all I suggest is throw your hat to the wind and call your mother back home

Take care, little one, when you step from the train
Mind the gap when you’re slipping in the rain
Take a check on the board for the platform once
your time for departure  won’t happen again
Just stroll along it leisurely don’t try to push in
Don’t take more cuttings than you’ve sown seeds
Au revoir, auf wiedersehen
Maybe the manner of your exit will outlive your deeds
We all just wander round
Filling in the gaps
Who’s gone, who’s left this town behind
Some day you’ll drop your hat to the ground and then you’ll call it a home 

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2013

Pretty Little Tears

Not for me the burning sunrise
To take my hand into the day
Just the darkened damp old corner
Of life’s carpet is where I’ll stay

Not for me the sound of swallows diving
cut throat at the grass
Nor the evening hum of summer
Just these mains and monitors

But the time will come when this madness will be gone
And one by one I’ll try to put right
all the things that I’ve done wrong
So instead of sifting through the archives
For something positive to say
Dig out a smile and put your
pretty little, pretty little tears away

Not for me the splash of surf
Or the sand between my toes
Red eyes and blue headaches
Is the life I must have chose
Not the planetary universal cosmic wash of time
it’s just watching clocks and calculating discount rates on wine

But the time will come when this madness will be gone
And one by one I’ll try to put right
all the things that I’ve done wrong
So instead of sifting through the archives
For something positive to say
Dig out a smile and put your
pretty little, pretty little tears away

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2014

We put on the gig

I finally twigged
That our fixtures were rigged
So I’ve scrapped my signature now folks, its over
I misunderstood
For every intention that’s good
There’s a string that’s somewhere pulled to trip it over

And it seems to me it always works out pretty much the same
We put on the gig to which nobody, nobody came
No no no

So the posters were posted
The boasts were boasted
And the bars were toasted all over
I filled in a few forms
Must have slept on a few lawns
Oh but stop these tedious yarns, man, get over it

And it seems to me it always works out pretty much the same
We put on the gig to which nobody, nobody came
No no no

From Tiverton to Tenby
I’ve lived a life of envy
But the pints I spilled conspired to keep me sober
So Let’s raise a bitter cup
To the one’s who don’t turn up
They’ll never get to hear the likes of this…

And it seems to me it always works out pretty much the same
We put on the gig to which nobody, nobody came
No no no

Words and music by Julian Gaskell ©2015

The Murdered Brother

‘How come that blood on your own coat sleeve!
Little son, pray come tell me.’
‘It is the blood of that skinny greyhound
That traced the fox for me,
That traced the fox for me.’

‘Too pale, too pale for that skinny greyhound,
Too pale, little son, too pale.’
‘It is the blood of that old gray mare
That plowed the corn for me.
That plowed the corn for me.’

‘Too red, too red for that old gray mare,
Too red, little son, too red.’
It is the blood of your youngest son,
And the truth I have told to you.
And the truth I have told to you.’

‘Oh what, oh what, fell ye out about?
Little son, pray come tell me.’
‘Twas over a wand, and a withy-withy wand
That never could be a tree.
That never could be a tree.’

‘Oh what will you do when your father comes home?
Little son, pray come tell me.’
‘My foot I will place on an old oakum boat
And sail me across the sea.
And sail me across the sea.’

‘Oh what will you do with your newly wed wife?
Little son, pray come tell me.’
‘I’ll save her the grief, and I’ll save her the pain,’
And take her for company.
And take her for company.’

‘Oh what will you do with your sweet little boy?
Little son, pray come tell me.’
‘I’ll leave him alone for to wait and to wonder
What’s come of his mammy and me.
What’s come of his mammy and me.’

‘When will you come back to your mother again?
Little son, pray come tell me.’
‘When the moon and the sun and the stars set together.
And that will never be.
And that will never be.’

Trad./Arr. Julian Gaskell ©2015