The Hills of Arran

by John Meed

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The Hills of Arran is John Meed's sixth album, released in December 2015.

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released November 5, 2015

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Track Name: The Hills of Arran
My feet are tired and the road is long
The snows have come, and your tracks are gone
And night is falling and I am on my own

Wait for me in Ardrossan
When will I see the hills of Arran?

Did I lose my way crossing over the bridge?
Drawn to the rocks below while you walked straight ahead?
Like Tess I stumble where angels tread

Wait for me in Ardrossan
When will I see the hills of Arran?

From the harbour station do the boats leave still?
And will spring return to the Arran Hills?

Wait for me in Ardrossan
When will I see the hills of Arran?
Track Name: Andalucia
Just one more glance
One final sigh before I turn the corner
Your olive groves stretch out before me, Andalucia
Your shimmering towers
Your trembling fountains and your quiet courtyards
I turn my back on all the memories, Andalucia

For seven centuries
We shared a land, we share our learning
We kept the flame of tolerance burning, Andalucia
Now in the distance
I see the riders of the inquisition
I see the soldiers of superstition. Andalucia

Against the guns, against ignorance
I brought you gardens
Against the burning summer sun
I brought you fountains

I slip away now
No more for me the mesquita in Cordoba
No more the palaces of the Alhambra, Andalucia
You will not see me
You will not read about me in your schoolbook history
But you will hear me sighing in the segurya, Andalucia
Track Name: Chasing shadows
You say such things to me, you tell me you can see
How it all might end but not how it might begin
You say such crazy things as you strap on feathered wings
And you fly so high where the air is cold and thin
When it all comes down to this
Do you find yourself chasing shadows?

The morning sky is red, burning bridges in your head
And you find yourself back down on earth again
If it were up to me I would gladly set you free
But we all must face our freedom from within
When it all comes down to this
Do you find yourself chasing shadows?
Hanging from a thread, clinging to the ledge
Like a dog without paws, rebel without a cause
Chasing shadows
Track Name: Replacement valve
One late November morning I woke up sneezing
The boiler wasn't working and the house was freezing
The plumber came and deep into its entrails he did delve
He said, 'I'll have to fit a replacement valve
For over seven years it has been opening and closing
Opening and closing, and now it's getting old
And if you do not replace it the fluid will stop flowing
And the winter nights ahead they will be cold.
The winter nights ahead they will be cold.'

I went to see the doctor, I'd been getting out of breath
He talked about his budget while he listened to my chest
He said 'The years with your aortic valve may well have been your best
But you'll need a replacement for the rest
For fifty-seven years it has been opening and closing
Opening and closing, and now it's fading fast
And if you do not replace it the fluid will stop flowing
And the winter nights ahead will be your last.
The winter nights ahead will be your last.'

And the booklet that he gave me read like a torture manual
It told me to go easy on the drugs and on the alcohol
And smoking was a pleasure to forget
And as for sex, well I shouldn’t count on it

So I went down to the pub to drink a final pint of lager
I lit a fat cigar and I chatted to the barmaid
But the publican was tearful as the beer flowed through the taps
She said, 'They're going to knock us down to build another block of flats
For ninety-seven years we have been opening and closing
Opening and closing, but now I’m calling time
For no replacement valve will keep the fluid flowing
And the winter nights ahead they will be dry.
And you’ll have to go to Tesco’s for another pint.'
Track Name: White crosses
I signed for country and king
And a railwayman’s I could bring
And I buried my brothers and half of my friends
Who answered the Cambridge calling
When it ended I married Marie Louise
And lived with her over the sea
We raised our children and I found work
Tending the graves of the fallen
From Dunkirk, to Ypres, to Peronne
Albert and Bapaume in the Somme
I spend my day, matching the names to white crosses

The nightmare of war soon returned
As an alien I was interned
Marie Louise walked halfway to Paris to see me
And oh how we longed for the peace
My children they hid where they stood
And our neighbours did all that could
And a French baker’s over is safer inside
Than the ones they would build in the east
From Dunkirk, to Ypres, to Peronne
Albert and Bapaume in the Somme
I spend my day, matching the names to white crosses

We moved home to Cambridge in 1961
I was tired and my days were almost done
You can dream of a world without graveyards or war
But others my work will continue for generations more

From Dunkirk, to Ypres, to Peronne
Albert and Bapaume in the Somme
I spend my day, matching the names to white crosses
Track Name: Remember me?
I look back on those days at school
To me you were always somebody special
I would call you on your parent’s number
We talked for hours but it went no further
Years went by and I got married
Had two children, and my life was happy
But from time to time I’d think of how
Things could have been different, and would you now
Remember me?

I looked on Google, I found your website
You were making music so I bought myself a ticket
I went to see you, I put on my finest clothes
I waited for you at the end of the show
And I said: ‘Remember me?’

The years that passed, how they changed us
You didn’t even remember what my name was
But you spoke kindly of the choices we make
You said life is just a series of turnings we take

I went home with you still in my ears
I made my way through the silicon years
Until one day I put on my radio
I heard a song I thought I ought to know
For you sang: ‘Remember me?’
Track Name: Beautiful people
I spent the evening with beautiful people
Beautiful people who hide in the day
Beautiful people with charm like honey
Liquid voices that soothed me to stay
Beautiful people who late in the evening
Asked me to fetch my guitar and to sing
Cherish the moment, that’s what they tell you
You never know what tomorrow will bring

Gone from the heathland the snow of December
Green the lakeside in the twilight of May
Change the seasons, change the colours
Change the words of the songs that I play
When the sun is low in the heavens
Sometimes the light can play tricks with your eyes
I fell in love with the beautiful people
You may think it a small sacrifice

But each sacrifice leaves a mark
Regardless of whether it’s right or it’s wrong
And the hardest part is knowing your different
Knowing that somehow you just don’t belong

If you go down to the beautiful people
Beautiful people who hide in the day
Give my love to the beautiful people
Please explain that I just couldn’t stay
I could not bear to leave blood on their satin
I could not bear to leave tears in their eyes
Through a gate in the secret garden
I left without saying good bye
Track Name: Ashes and rust
And when you struggle through the muddle living every day
And when you fumble your words in public, don’t know what to say
When you stumble, when you crumble, when you tumble down
Then you wonder if all the trouble, is it worth carrying on?

When all that you say is lost in the haze
And drifts off so crazily
When all that you touch turns to ashes and rust
Will you put your trust in me?

Live a little, laugh a little, share a little sun
Give a lot, expect a lot from everyone
The world is full of those who pull the wool over your eyes
You must resist, you must insist, never compromise

When all that you say is lost in the haze
And drifts off so crazily
When all that you touch turns to ashes and rust
Will you put your trust in me?

Seize every opportunity that you find
Seize every minute and then leave it behind
Gone are the days when your parents could mind
What you do with your quality time
Track Name: Santa Maria
The breath of the sea, the salt from the bay
The courtyard flowers, hidden away
The blue, white and black of a stork-filled sky
The scent of orange blossom
Always takes me back to Santa Maria

The wind in your hair high on terrace roof
The wine of Jerez, so rich and so smooth
The touch of your hands, the dawn in your eyes
The scent of orange blossom
Always takes me back to Santa Maria

Although the road may be weary and long
Although my heart may drown in deep song
Although a veil may cover my eyes
The scent of orange blossom
Always takes me back to Santa Maria
Track Name: Muddling through
We wake up every day when the clock rings
We plan to do and say so many great things
But have we done them, come the evening?
We are all just muddling through
Heading down the road, hoping it’s the right direction
We are all just muddling through
Anyone who says they’re not – they’re pretending

Hope eternal springs, endless plans abound
Ambition offers us wings, but leaves us on the ground
Windmills are for tilting, but they still go round and round
We are all just muddling through
Heading down the road, hoping it’s the right direction
We are all just muddling through
Anyone who says they’re not – they’re pretending

And when they tell you to get yourself together
Why don’t you ask them why nothing lasts forever
Track Name: Heroes of the floes
I walk along the edges of this ice-bound land
Mapping all the features on the way
With Caribou for company in ice huts cut by hand
I watched the arctic winter turn to day
My only friends the people of this place and time
Who share with me the secrets that they know
Though their colour may be different from mine
They helped me find the heroes of the floes

And the news that I could bring you, you did not want to hear
The truth can be the hardest to disguise
The heroes of the ice packs were human after all
The evidence was written in the ice
And if you had listened, then you would have heard
That I did not doubt their courage or their woes
But because I wear the native dress, because I take their word
You say I slander the heroes of the floes.

So take good care before you venture on the ice
Whether for glory or for gain
The summer sun may melt the passageways
The winter snows can close them all again
All the adulation, all the acolytes
All the icicles on which we pose
All the splendour of these northern lights
Could not save the heroes of the floes