I played a support slot at Leith Folk Club this week, and opened with one of my oldest songs, which I haven’t played for many years.
The Ever Open Door started from a title. When I was a child we had a papier mache collection box in the house for Dr Barnardo’s Homes, the children’s charity later known simply as Barnardo’s. On the red door was a label ‘The Ever Open Door’, stating the charity’s intent to be available for all orphans.
There was something I loved about the phrase. I wrote the song in 1990 when I’d just moved to Edinburgh. I’d been listening to a lot of Dylan, which is obvious from the song, and I thought it may be too derivative to play in public. At the time I was attending a weekly writers’ workshop in Dalry Road and I played it there, expecting to be called a Dylan rip-off. There was one cantankerous member of the group who was particularly brutal with most people. I played the song. He looked at me coldly. I waited for it.
‘Sounds like fuckin’ Donovan.’
The song became a staple for Norman Lamont & the Innocents. At the end of the above video is a link to the band playing it at the Ross Bandstand in 2004.
Tell Tale Songs
FREE intro to Norman Lamont's music - Tell Tale Songs mini-album
In future, pendantic scholars who pore over Norman Lamont’s posthumously acclaimed works will note that at Leith Folk Club he not only forgot to play a verse, but added a different verse that in the 2004 band version he had left out. What an unpredictable genius, they will muse.