Ten Plus Three – part 2: twilight

These four songs are perhaps sadder or more sombre than the last three.


Anniversary

One of two songs that date back to the months when I’d just moved to Edinburgh in 1990 (the other being Other Things).
It’s a song of bereavement and loss, marking the anniversary of a friend’s death; but rather than being sentimental it recognises that anniversaries will not always be remembered and life will continue.

Rather than any loss of mine it was inspired by the author’s note in a later edition of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where he talks of the death of his son, who had played a key role in the novel.

As well as my friend Tricia Thom’s vocal harmony, I got an old friend and bandmate Valerie Densmore, now resident in Australia, to send me oboe and cor anglais tracks for this song.

Anniversary (mp3) – click the three dots to download.

Anniversary

(Played in G chords at capo 5)

[Em]It was the [Am]date that made me[G] think

[Em]What would [Am]you have been like [G]now?

[Em]We used to [D]kid ourselves

It was all some [C]kind of mistake

And [Em]you’d be [Am]back again some[G]how

I saw Jeanette get home from work
She never lets herself go slow
It’s just my way to cope, she says, keeping busy
Me, I just seem to let things go


[D]So much is [C]falling through the [Bm]net these days

[D]Out through the [C]lonely hole you left [Bm]behind

We miss you [G]so [Am]
All your [Bm]friends reach out [Cmaj7]towards each other
[G]Out across a [D]hole the shape of [C]you

Of course I wonder where you are
And we all question things we did
Those who believe believe now more than ever
And some of those who don’t wish they did

I wonder what you’d make of this
I wonder if it’s what you’d choose
Sentimental lies, little things we celebrate
If celebrate’s the word to use

It was the date that made me think
How it isn’t over yet
Funny thing – what I’m most frightened of
Is the way I’ll feel the first year I forget

So much is falling through the net these days

Anniversary from the Ten Objects album launch. James Whyte on organ, Tricia Thom and me on vocals.

Too Many Nights From The Sea


In the 1990s Tricia Thom and I had a band called Hungry Ghosts. Anniversary was part of our repertoire, as was this conversation in song between partners in what may be a doomed relationship. One wants freedom, the other security. They try to see each other’s viewpoints and there may be a reconciliation at the end, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last.

Too Many Nights From The Sea (mp3) – click the three dots to download

Too Many Nights From The Sea


The [F]moon hangs [F7]outside the open [Bb]window [Gm7] [C7]

And the [F]still summer [G]heat lies heavy on[C] me [C7]

But I’m [F]cold with a [F7]fear

That I [Bb]don’t belong [G]here

I’m just [F]too [Dm]many nights from the [Bb]sea [Bbm] [F]

Well do you forget how you suffered
In those sad aimless days when you thought you were free?
Now your wings aren’t so strong
They’ve been folded so long
And you’re too many nights from the sea.

Yes, it’s true I’ve found joy and I’ve found comfort
In the shelter you’ve built around me
But my heart is a bird
And it knows what it heard
I’m just too many nights from the sea

Well you can celebrate in all the old places
But you won’t find the way it used to be
Every soul needs some rest
All the broken and the blest
When they’re too many nights from the sea.

This video is from a Hungry Ghosts reunion in 2019.


If I Could Be With You


This is the only song written during the recording of the album. Like others I made it up in the car and tried to capture it when I got, in this case, to Gerry’s for a recording session. I felt it was a song for my father, to whom I’d been unpleasant as a teenager and who died before I could apologise. Later, after the album came out, a radio presenter played it as ‘the perfect lockdown song’ for separated families and friends, giving the song a new lease of life.

If I Could Be With You (mp3) – click the three dots to download.

If I Could Be With You


[C]If I could be with you

Tell you what we’d do, if I could be with [F]you

We’d sing those songbooks [C]through

Taking on the [G]whole world with our [F]love if I could be with [C]you

If you came through that door
That ever-open door, if you came through that door
Five steps across the floor to me
We’d take on the whole world with our love if you came through that door

If I could turn back time
And take a different line, if I could turn back time
I’d take your hands in mine
And we’d take on the whole world with our love if I could turn back time

If I could be with you
Tell you what we’d do, if I could be with you
We’d sing those songbooks, sing them through
Taking on the whole world with our love if I could be with you
Taking on the whole damn world with our love, me and you


Everybody Has a Story


This is the only song I don’t remember writing. I have a vague memory of trying it out with my band at a rehearsal in the late 2000s but I may be mistaken about that. I must have remembered it enough to make the list of possible songs for the album that I went through with Gerry at the beginning.

It’s a straightforward enough story, chatting up a stranger in a pub and getting in deeper and deeper. I don’t imagine it ends in happy-ever-after for either party.

Alan Dawson plays the beautiful harmonica solo. The video uses some out of copyright footage of the stunning Joan Crawford.

Everybody Has a Story (mp3) – click the three dots to download

Everybody Has a Story


Well [Em]maybe just a quick one

I [Am]should be getting home

But [Bm7]home’s not what it used to be

[Am7]Neither’s being alone

[G]Everybody has a story – [Bb]tell me [Am]yours

You could be [Em]mine

Well let me get the next one
Don’t want to break the mood
But there’s a voice here on my shoulder
Telling me I should
Everybody has a story – tell me yours
You could be mine


And [G]all this time the rain

And [B7]all this time the night

And [C]in my hand a whisky glass

In your [Bm]eyes the whisky light

[C]All the stuff we don’t say

Lights up [G]all the stuff we do

I thought I [Am]couldn’t fall any further

Now I’m [Bm]falling for [B7]you

One more for the road now
I think it’s for the best
You’re sitting there so pretty
Me – I’m a mess
Everybody has a story – tell me yours
You could be mine

And all this time the rain …

We used an interesting little harmonium on this song – it took two of us to play it!