When the music ends

by John Meed

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1.
My name is Jacob Cope and I come from everywhere I sing a song of hope. a song against despair My father taught me to play this gypsy violin And I still hear him say every time a song begins Count me out, count me in Count the reeds, count the wind Who knows what might begin When the music ends? We wear the badge of our race In our hearts and on our sleeves In the music that we play And in the stories that we weave That night by the fire, soldiers gathered all around They thought they could count the time And one more song they would allow We set our instruments alight, and we began to play All through the darkest night with little hope of day Seven nights and seven days, never pausing for a rest Our little orchestra still plays Every note another breath Nobody stopped the trains Though everybody knew Though Dresden was in flames Though the lines were clear to view
2.
Red caravan 02:46
They came out of nowhere one midsummer’s eve They tethered their horse in a field I watched them in secret From under the College Wood trees They lived in a red caravan Their children stayed home while I went to school And they learnt to shine pots and to polish hand tools Then one morning they vanished With the wind from the hills They left in their red caravan Other country people travelled the land Sleeping in haystacks, sleeping in barns Offering work for a meal or a shirt Selling clothes pegs and herbs Camomile, sage and rosemary For a life less sedentary You can call them gypos, pikies or thieves Move them along if that’s what you believe But I’d have forsaken these solid walls And all these certainties I’d have gone with the red caravan
3.
Rainbow 04:14
I know it’s hard to be the one who’s waiting I know it’s hard to be the one alone And as the evening light is fading I have many miles to go I know she loves me like she loves The lengthening shadows on the alien corn I know she loves me like the exile Loves the land where she was born And if the stars should fail along the Angel Road And if the light should pale and all the colours go And if the storm should break before I make it home She will be my rainbow I know that I could find a cheap hotel Help me make it through the night Spare my eyes the blinding Of these oncoming lights But I would rather feel her fingers As they brush against my arm And I would rather plunge the darkness Of her homecoming charms
4.
Queen Mary 03:31
We went down to the Solent sound My family and me To see my aunt and uncle America-bound On board the Queen Mary She was the finest ship afloat With two swimming pools and a barber And my dad said ‘Let’s get a rowing boat Chase her out the harbour’ My Grandad took the starboard oar And my father took the other We’d have made a handsome coxless four If I’d have had a little brother At first we matched her stroke for stroke And we rowed with all our might Then those tugboats slipped their ropes And she sailed out of sight It could have been a family disaster If we’d have rowed just a little faster A hidden rock or a lump of wreckage Would have sunk the whole male lineage There’d have been no more Meeds Sometimes in the night I have a dream I see that liner shining bright And she’s sailing out to sea And though I row with all my strength I row my boat alone I just wake up soaking wet And that liner’s gone And my aunt and uncle they stayed in America And they praise the Lord up in Montana And the Queen Mary she’s in Southern California She’s a floating hotel No more life on the ocean No more sailing the seven seas I guess that’s what happens to childhood dreams
5.
Two singles for Delphi And the heart of this ancient land Where the eagles met and rested by the well Past the crossroads where Oedipus Cut his own father down And I’ve a feeling I’ve been here myself In a school in the cliff side Where the nymphs used to play Aristotle taught Alexander in the open air Ideas can bring freedom, enlightenment and hope Or they can roam the world with a sword of revenge Don’t bring me coffee Don’t bring me tea I’m waiting for the argonauts, can’t you see Hold the croissants, and the pain grille I’m waiting ‘till the Argonauts come sailing over the bay And I waited on the mountain For the gods to reappear With all the sacrifices that I brought Out along the shorefront Where the music rips the night air I’m waiting for the argonauts I waited in the monastery in those byzantine times I waited with the sultans and their courts I waited with the sephardim On the one-way railway tracks And I’m still waiting for the argonauts
6.
I expected to hurt And I expected to hide But what I least expected Was this emptiness inside Hollow to the core Scooped out and sore And nothing to feel anymore I expected to shiver And I expected to slide But what I least expected Was to feel my face on fire Hot coals for teeth And nettles for a wreath And I miss you, I miss you beyond belief When it all comes round again And I switch to overload That’s when I remember you And the Clarendon Road Leaves dropped like acid Outside your room off Clarendon You made me chicory coffee And you played me Micheal Chapman But I’m not qualified to survive I’m just the one who’s still alive And song after song Is a pointless reminder I spin them round again And the feelings overflow When I remember you And the Clarendon Road
7.
Empty room where the sunlight plays On an empty bed and an empty chair Doorbell quiet at a quarter to four Nobody kicks off their shoes and rushes upstairs Days of anger, war and of peace Days without seeing the wood for the trees Days in the hills and days by the sea A lifetime is just a collection of days like these You say that I should be counting my blessings Rather than counting the days I’m sitting here just reminiscing It’s the price one pays when childhood ends You say that I should be acting my age Rather than playing the fool Standing alone on an empty stage It’s hard to look cool when childhood ends Sixth formers rush through the November rain Back home to play the generation game Round and again and again and again That’s why today is childhood’s end
8.
They’ve taken over the asylum The oldies are out of control Watch out for speeding bathchairs As you walk down your road They may not know which day it is But they don’t care If you can remember the sixties You just weren’t there See the rock and roll grandad Groovin’ to his favourite track Watch the hippy grandma Knocking those betablockers back They took a trip too far Around the pleasuredome Welcome to the Woodstock rest home Bob Dylan’s in the corner For him the times have long stopped changing Yesterday forever young Today forever aging Mick Jagger scorched his long johns Jumping round the fire While the Byrds inject the insulin Just to keep them eight miles higher And all those distant summers Of endless love and peace Are locked away inside A hundred fading memories On the mantelpiece are wilting Those San Fransisco blooms Welcome to the Woodstock rest home Rod Stewart can’t remember Which wife visited him today But he flirts with all the nurses And calls them Maggie May Cat Stevens still can’t keep it in I thought I’d like to warn you While the Eagles think they’re staying In Hotel California And later in the evening Round the table they join hands Reach out to Jim and Jimi Janis, Brian and Gram So many tortured souls These hallowed chambers roam Welcome to the Woodstock rest home We are the baby boomers On that we all agree And growing old was not the plan In nineteen seventy We tore up all the scriptures We threw out all the rules From Nixon through to Cheney How we laughed at all the fools And now that it’s the twilight For a golden generation We dream of one more acid test And one more demonstration But don’t you write us off just yet We can always make some room Welcome to the Woodstock rest home
9.
Every day 03:55
Maybe it was a Saturday, maybe it was a Sunday Maybe when you first drove up In your Citroen Deux Chevaux I know you crossed the sea, you came to stay with me But was it then I fell in love with you? Maybe it was a Friday, we walked by the estuary Maybe when the fog lifted you first came into view I know and I understand why you almost held my hand But was it then I fell in love with you? And every passing day the plot just thickens Just like a play by Shakespeare or a book by Dickens But neither them nor me can write the mystery Of how I fell in love with you And why you fell in love with me So many pairs of feet walking through airport arrivals Wave after wave of faces ‘til yours came smiling through If one more pair of feet makes my heart skip a beat Was it today I fell in love with you? Every day, every day, every day
10.
Talk to me of woodpeckers and bluebells Talk to me of home and Shipley Glen On these dark winter days I would see them again I would wrap these ties of friendship Round a bunch of daffodils Don’t talk to me of yesterday Talk to me of bluebells Look at the woodpeckers and bluebells I am feeling stronger now And the cotton grass grows Up on the moor brow I would walk through these beechwoods Down to the old canal Don’t talk about tomorrow Just watch the bluebells Take these woodpeckers and bluebells Store them in a song For when your heart feels empty And the days seem so long Drink from this beaker of memories As you wander over the hills And hear the distant woodpecker Sing to me of bluebells
11.
Flatlands 04:19
Clouds paint mountains in the sky And I dream of northern hills and sigh When I awake to find that I am in the flatlands Ninety five miles in this train Ninety five miles of pouring rain Ninety five miles and still no end to the flatlands In the flatlands all you can see is sky In the flatlands all the clouds do is cry The wind will scratch and claw at your eyes In the flatlands I left you today with just one caress I didn’t mean to add to your distress And anyway I know that you can’t care less For these flatlands And what I did today won’t save the earth In fact it might make matters worse And I wonder if it’s all been worth these flatlands In the flatlands all you can hear is the wind In the flatlands eternity begins Cathedrals take your money But they leave you your sins Hallelujah flatlands A girl on the phone with a gravely whine Asks her mum to meet her at twenty to nine Just like me she wants to leave behind the flatlands Maybe Cromwell liked it here Maybe the water’s good for beer But the places I love are nowhere near the flatlands In the flatlands all you can feel is the past In the flatlands nothing’s going to last The waves will come and take back what they’ve lost Goodbye flatlands
12.
Hold on 04:50

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released March 12, 2009

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