Songstories #8 Come With Me

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Come With Me was written from my memories of a very hot summer in Edinburgh in 1976, when I’d moved here for the first time (the second time was in 1990). I lived near the Meadows and had a part-time job stacking boxes in a fruit shop before opening time. I’d finish my work by 8:30 and walk home across the Meadows, sometimes stopping for a nap. The weather was that good.

It was also at that time I encountered serious practitioners of Zen Buddhism. I’d always been interested in the general meditation area, but by that time it was emerging from the association with psychedelics and ‘freaks’ with their head shops, man, but the beginnings of the twee, sentimental New Age infatuation were becoming apparent. Zen seemed to counter both those tendencies with its emphasis on discipline and its dismissal of the ‘be nice to yourself’ culture (“It’s not enough to be a freak, you’ve got to be a strong one” and “It’s not enough to be set free, you’ve got to love the jail” still sum it up for me).

I wrote the song in the early 2000s, and recorded it for the Roadblock album in 2005. At the time I recorded it, I was using the Robert Fripp tuning CGDAEG on my acoustic, and the basic track uses that, but I layered another guitar in conventional tuning with it, in the background. I’ve noticed that not many people use that thumb-slap picking style I use. Mary Robbs sang the harmonies and Nelson Wright played some percussion. Daniel Davis said it was my one of my best recording jobs, and it’s certainly one I can still enjoy listening to.

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