The Ever Open Door at Leith Folk Club

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.

Barnardo’s collection box from 1960s

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.

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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.

1 thought on “The Ever Open Door at Leith Folk Club”

  1. Sounds pretty Lamontian to me! Love it. Mind you, I read a recent interview with Donovan when he was claiming credit for some of the Beatles’s Maharishi-period moments, so don’t let him hear it!

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