The Gift

by Harvey Andrews

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about

I have been perfoming in folk clubs and related venues since 1964 and my generation were the pioneers of professional folk music.

We are now in our late fifties or sixties – an archive of musical history that cannot be repeated.

This album is about the performer and the audience; about the music and the road; about the distant past and the rich future and above all the joy and fellowship we find in our music.

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"Fifteen tracks which are essentially about music, not the self indulgent romanticism so often associated with the subject, but a combination of wit, pathos, narrative and humour reflecting a lifetime in the business. This is a fine album, superb writing coupled with top quality performance and arrangements which are thoughtful and appropriate to the individual tracks. A worthwhile addition to anyone’s collection."
FolkTalk

"On this recording [Harvey's] words and music are as strong and meaningful as ever, presented in an unobtrusive, but powerful way. Of all the songwriters of his genre this country has produced, he continues to see things clearly in a way that others don’t. He truly is a man for all seasons whose legacy of songs is a real gift."
Folk North West Magazine

"Singer/songwriter Harvey Andrews has been turning out magical albums year after year after year… his new album “The Gift ” is no exception. The Gift in the album title is the gift of music and Harvey is very much reminiscing about the events and characters of his long career in music, particularly the Sixties when he started… His relaxed style has picked up a lot of admirers. This album should keep them happy. Long may he continue."
Folk Mag

"I’ve always admired the songwriting talents of Harvey Andrews. The distinct ‘British’ vocals are well defined… To aspiring songwriters everywhere, Andrews is The Gift."
Folking.com

"Harvey is a craftsman. No word is out of place, and each song is perfectly formed. He has a magical gift for melody and a sing-able chorus, as well as the immaculately placed line which points up the focus of each verse. He describes the challenge in his song ‘The Songwriter’ in a way that made me wince with its accuracy (here’s the mortgage, here’s the bills / here’s the bad review that kills you), but he makes his work seem so fluent and natural it’s hard to imagine him struggling with the pen and paper. This is an album for all of us who know and love folk clubs, for all of us who know and love words and music and for anyone who knows and loves Harvey. It’s a jewel of an album – a gift indeed."
Traditional Music Maker

"The old voice is still intact-strong, pleasing and listenable-and the songs are still a source of enjoyment. Harvey Andrews has conjured up a selection to touch us all. ‘The Gift’ is a wonderful album to add to one’s collection."
Folk on Tap

credits

released January 1, 2001

Words and music: Harvey Andrews, except Pigeon-Holed by Andrews/Davies
Songs published by HASKA Music, except Pigeon-Holed by HASKA Music/MCPS/PRS

Guitars: Mike Silver, Bruce Davies
Accordian: Gerry Smith
Viola, Violin: Lucy Collinge-Hill
Cello: Wendy Weatherby
Concertina: Hamish Byrne

My thanks to Jacey Bedford, James Berriman, John Ward, Toni Wood, Brian Heywood, Anne Lister, Bruce Davies for their chorus singing.

My special thanks to Mike Silver and Bruce Davies for their very special talents and support.

Recorded at Ritch Bitch Studios, Propogation House Studio, Park head Studio, Red Barn Studio, Kevok Digital Studios in 2000/2001

Engineers: Jonathan Dewsbury, Mark Ellis, Brian Bedford, Stuart Duncan, Ian McCalman.
Mixed by Harvey Andrews and Jonathan Dewsbury

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Track Name: Spinning Concertinas
When the working day's beginning
In the shed behind the barn
She weaves her wool by spinning its fibre into yarn
He carves the wood beside her
And he gently hums a song
And the wood, the brass, the leather
They yearn to sing along

In the wood, the brass, the leather
Hide the songs of every bird
He can put them all together
So the songs will still be heard
In the wood, the brass, the leather
There's a reason and a rhyme
Tales retold forever, with tunes as old as time
As old as time

In the morning when the city wakes
And makes to face the day
With its up the pace, win the race,
Who's the last to stay
They share their time with silence
And she knows their life is sweet
As he takes wood and brass and leather
To make music when they meet

He bends, he glues, he fixes
He nips, he tucks, he folds
He tacks, he taps, he mixes
He models and he moulds
And when his day is over
He plays the love he feels
For the one who sits a'spinning
At the ever turning wheels
Track Name: If it wasn't for the song
I was raised, like most, on rock and roll
And Elvis was the king
Then washboards and those thrashed guitars
Made skiffle seem the thing
But deep inside, I always felt
That I did not belong
And my life would not have been complete
If it wasn't for the song.

Songs to make you dance and sing
Songs to make you sigh
Songs to make you laugh
Or bring a tear to your eye

Then one night on the radio
Came ballads good and fine
They told me of the herring shoals
The old grey funnel line
I vowed I'd learn their every word
And sing them loud and strong
And my life would not have been so sweet
If it wasn't for the song

I found a club and every week
I'd take the bus up west
And I'd sing out with the spinners
And MacColl and all the rest
And there I met the girl who's been
A partner my life long
But our lives would not have been so sweet
If it wasn't for the song

And with the kids we took our tent
To Cherry Hinton hall
And we saw the best the world had sent
To entertain us all
To festivals we went each year
And joined the happy throng
And our days would not have been so sweet
If it wasn't for the song

For 40 years our folk club's been
A place where all could come
We started with no instruments
But now there's bass and drum
There's some who say our day is past
They may be right or wrong
But their lives will never be complete
If they don't have the song
Track Name: 1964
It was 1964 we slept in beds down on the floor
But she really wanted more she told me so
But my new guitar and me we had so much we had to see
So I told her she was free to stay or go
I was just a rambling boy, music was my marvellous toy
I could play with so much joy at 21
She was really my first love, she was wild a flying dove
But her needing flew above and she was gone

Yes she was gone while Tom and I rode hobo trains
And the journey she went on was through her veins
Needing time, needing space, she went to an empty place
Empty eyes, empty face, no trace behind
Because leaving was the first thing on her mind.

There was Woody, there was Buddy,
There was Ochs, and there was Huddie
There were chorus songs to study and to learn
Would I get it right, or wing it?
Could I write it down and sing it?
Would the muse descend and bring it, then return?
Could I be the next Hoyt Axton?
Could I really sing Tom Paxton?
With my new guitar all waxed I was so keen
I set out to find a way to live my life from day to day
But I knew I had to stay forever clean

Yes leaving was her pleasure and she left us all to measure
How each morning is a treasure without price
Now she's gone beyond the dawn,
All her future days stillborn
And I wonder who else mourns her sacrifice
'Cause it was 1964 we slept in beds down on the floor
But she really wanted more, she told me so
But my new guitar and me, we had so much we had to see
So I told her she was free to stay or go
Track Name: Perfect folk club in the sky
Oh, we'll sing the Jug o’ Punch
We'll sing The Last Thing On My Mind
John o’ Dreams and Scarborough Fair
And every hour we'll find
Someone, somewhere's singing The Wild Mountain Thyme
When we reach that perfect folk club in the sky

The door is always open
Entry's always free
But artists still get paid lots more
Than just the fee
And everyone who enters buys the new CD
When we reach that perfect folk club in the sky

Singers given one song
Never try for two
No instruments need tuning
They all stay sweet and true
And songs you've heard a thousand times still sound bright and new
When we reach that perfect folk club in the sky

Every note is crystal
Every word is heard
Children sit in silence
I know, it's quite absurd
And every floor singer remembers every word
When we reach that perfect folk club in the sky

The bar is one big fountain
Of gushing real ale
And every tankard's larger
Than a milking pail
And no one sings a 40 verse tribute to the whale
When we reach that perfect folk club in the sky

Each song's in perfect rhythm
It never gets too slow
And there's no need for raffles to help pay for
The show
And all the bodhrán players have been banished down below
When we reach that perfect folk club in the sky
Track Name: The Gift
I was clearing out the attic
When I found this battered case
With its handle broke and that old word ‘folk’
Still stencilled on its face
Now it's cobwebbed and it's dusty
But it takes me to the past
And it was 1969 I opened this guitar case last

When they said try your luck in London
That's where the rainbow ends
But I got lost in lonely London
With so many friends
I got lost in lonely London
Where the rainbow ends

You should have seen the big man Alex
When he sang us up a storm
He had heart and soul, and he set the goal
If you wanted to perform
So I bought myself a Gibson,
Just the same as Alex had
And I practised night and day
Until I drove my parents mad

I knew every Seeger ballad
I knew every Campbell song
And I sang them right, every day and night
Till I'd been on that road too long
'Cause there were others out there working
Singing choruses galore
But there was only one called Alex
We were all just one clone more

So I climbed up to the attic
With this bent and battered case
With its handle broke and that old word ‘folk’
Still stencilled on its face
Now it's been for too long silent
With its memories of the past
So it's time it went to someone
Who could make it sing at last

So try your luck in London
That's where the rainbow ends
But don't get lost in lonely London
With so many friends
Don't get lost in lonely London
Where the rainbow ends
Track Name: The songwriter
Here's the page
Here's the pen
Here's those same damned chords again
Can I do it one more time?
Make it work and make it rhyme?

'Cause here's the page
Here's the pen
I'm locked up in the same dark den
Here's the mortgage, here's the bills
Here's the bad review that kills you

Here's the words, here's the thrill
Here's the story, use your skill
Here's the tune and here's the twist
Who's the escapologist
And still that same idealist
This is the one they can't resist

Then…
Here's the page, here's the pen
Here's those same damned chords again
Can I do it one more time?
Make it work and make it rhyme?
‘Cause here's the page, here's the pen
Track Name: Pigeon-holed
I saw him at my local folk club
With his brand new Martin guitar
Pony-tailed hair, and a challenging stare
That told me he'd like to go far
He hammered out songs in E Minor
Broke many a pick and a string
Till someone requested a song tried and tested
That everyone else could sing
And he said

It's too Daniel O'Donnell
Too Daniel O'Donnell for me
If I sing Daniel O'Donnell
I'll lose credibility
I can sing Garbutt or Bogle
Or songs of the life at sea
But if I sing Daniel O'Donnell
I'll never get paid my fee

For years he did all the floor spots
But hardly a penny he made
He was always out looking for that special booking
That told him he'd made the grade
He tried the cittern and bodhrán
Then he took to the didgeridoo
'Till one night playing celtoid, someone, very annoyed Actually said: please leave our stage, you're through, your celtoid is

Too Daniel O'Donnell
Too Daniel O'Donnell for me
If you sing Daniel O'Donnell
You'll lose credibility
You can sing Garbutt or Bogle
Or songs of the life at sea
But if you sing Daniel O'Donnell
You'll never get paid your fee

And then just yesterday evening
At a western night in a bar
With his shiny gelled hair and his new rhinestone glare
I saw our old folkie star
He flat-picked his songs in g major
And introduced each of his band
Till someone interested, went up and requested:
Please, can you sing No Man's Land"
But he said:

It's too Garbutt or Bogle
Too Garbutt or Bogle for me
If I sing Garbutt or Bogle
I'll lose credibility
I can sing Daniel O'Donnell
Ever so tunefully
But if I sing Garbutt or Bogle
I'll never get paid my fee
No, if I sing Garbutt or Bogle
It could just be the death of me
Track Name: English ale
When the summer sun is shining
England's finest hour is seen
When the ripening wheat is waving
Yellow in its frame of green
When the birdsongs welcome evening
When the sky is turning pale
Fill your glass and toast our glory
With a taste of English ale

English ale, oh English ale
How we love our English ale
Fill your glass and toast our glory
With a taste of English ale

When the autumn leaves are golden
When the evening air is chill
When the swallows leave us for
A place where there is summer still
Just remember they're returning
Like the tides they never fail
Fill your glass and toast their glory
With a taste of English ale

When the winter brings the snowstorm
When Jack Frost is lord of all
When the winds howl at your window
And the nights too quickly fall
There's a log fire warmly burning
On the hill or in the dale
Fill your glass and toast their glory
With a taste of English ale

When the spring begins to quicken
When new scents are on the air
When the sleepers stir and waken
When the land again is fair
Then the old men talk of childhood
Old men tell such wondrous tales
Fill their glass and toast their glory
With a taste of English ale
Track Name: Give a damn
When I was young, I joined the march
And sang The Long Way Down
There's photos of me carrying
My banner in to town
And though it was a lonely path
The bomb we had to ban
I had a dream, I wanted one
I didn't give a damn

I met the girl who's with me still
One festival in spring
We loved the tunes we loved the words
We loved to stand and sing
We followed Bob, we followed Paul
We followed with a pram
The times they were a changin’
And we didn't give a damn

Then somewhere in the seventies
The time just passed us by
We voted left, but shifted right
And Bob found God on high
The mortgage and the office
And the rush hour traffic jam
With our son in the air cadets
We didn't give a damn

The eighties, God bless Maggie
Well the eighties they were fine
We re-discovered Paul
And saw the unions brought in line
The British won the Falklands war
Who needed Uncle Sam?
We waved our flags and cheered our lads
And didn't give a damn

I'm sixty now, and so's the wife
Our son was in the RAF
A fine job for a fine young man
One day he'd make the staff
He flew his fighter low and fast
His guns went bam,bam, bam
Christ, we were proud he was our son
And didn't give a damn

Then came that bloody madman
The fool they call Hussein
To think that he would call our bluff
The man was just insane
And our lad he went after him
Said ‘don't you worry, Mam’
And in that desert he went down
And now who gives a damn?

When I was young, I joined the march
And sang The Long Way Down
There's photos of me carrying
My banner in to town
But somewhere down that lonely path
From then, to who I am
I lost my dream, I lost my son
Too late to give a damn
Track Name: From the heart
He'd an old-fashioned way when he started to play
He'd an old-fashioned steel guitar
With no amps and no leads, it fulfilled all his needs
And together they'd both travelled far
Just an old troubadour on an old bar-room floor
Just an old troubadour and his song
But it tore them apart,'cause it came from his heart
And they'd not heard that art for so long

Then a kid playing pool said “this old man's a fool
He's not cool, just a ghoul past his prime”
So he walked to the wall where the jukebox stood tall
And he paid for some hits of the time
Then a girl passed him by with a look in her eye
That said don't even try to oppose
Pulled the plug from the wall said "An ass needs a stall
And we all hope you've got one of those"

She stood her ground, she stared him down
The kid raised a fist, then he smiled
He said "You're wasted on him"
Then he turned with a grin
And said "Girls like you drive me wild
You're young enough to be the old man's child"

When the kid left the room, a chord filled the gloom
And a voice sang a song for the stars
For the breeze in the trees, for nights such as these
And for girls who find lovers in bars
And when the chord died like a wave on the tide
Like the cry from a high flying bird
He put down his guitar, she said "I've got my car
And a jar, if you'll just say the word"

So that old troubadour left that old bar-room floor
Yes that old troubadour sang her song
And it tore her apart, 'cause it came from his heart
And she'd not felt that art for so long
Track Name: Driving in the middle lane
I'm driving in the middle lane
Driving in the middle lane
Not too fast, not too slow
That's the way I like to go
I never use the inside lane
Never use the inside lane
You can flash, you can toot,
I don't give a hoot
I'm staying in the middle lane

You may see me as a pest
You don't think I've passed my test
But I do what I do best
Brain in neutral, mind at rest

Sometimes drivers get too close
Sometimes they get bellicose
Shake their fists, get quite verbose
Me, I just stay comatose

So if you should see ahead
That middle lane hog that you dread
Don't you wish that moron dead
It could be me, so join instead
And we can have a convoy!
Imagine, everybody driving in the middle lane
No one on the inside lane
No one on the outside lane
Everybody in the middle lane
Going back mile after mile after mile
That's my idea of heaven
Especially when I'm towing my caravan
Track Name: Anon
There's no name on the stone I sleep under today
There's no book that can tell of my time
But you know me so well when you sing roundelay
For you're singing my tune and my rhyme
I am Anon, you know me that way
I had something to say about life in my day
So I made a song and somewhere the sound of it
goes round and round, to be lost and then found
And that is the way that life is
That is the way it is with songs

It was in the alehouse, I would sing with the rest
then I made up a tune of my own
And a full harvest moon put the words in my head
As I trudged 'cross the fields to my home
When I sang it next day, my friends asked me how
Did I find my own song in the blade of my plough
So I asked in return how the stonemason saw
A sweet face in the stone on the old quarry floor
They asked “Is that the way that it is?”
I said “That is the way it is for me”

So they learned every word and they sang every note
Till my song was a work of renown
And within a six month I heard boys from the school
Whistling my tune in the town
And I smiled when I heard what came out of the sky
Coming now from a child as he quickly ran by
Would it pass from that child, when as father he'd sing
To a child of his own? Who'd believe such a thing
But that is the way that life is
That is the way it is with time

It was 20 years gone, when our parson came home
From a journey he'd made far away
He shook my hand hard, said the inn where he'd stayed
Had some men who sang there every day
And he'd listened with joy as one, with a bow
Sang the song that I'd found in the blade of my plough
So he told them my name, but they said that my song
Was as old as the hills, and our parson was wrong
I asked "Is that the way that life is?"
He said "That is the way it is my son"

So I worked and ploughed till my bones bowed and bent
I made up no more verses to sing
And it seemed that my life had been wasted and spent
On the curses my hard days would bring
Soon death came to call with a voice that cried Now!
And the song that I'd found in the blade of my plough
Leaped from my heart as I journeyed on
And I knew it would live even though I was gone
And that is the way that it is
That is the way it is for us all

There's no names on the stones we sleep under today
There's no books that can tell of our time
But you know us so well when you sing roundelay
For your singing our tune and our rhyme
We are Anon, you know us that way
We had something to say about life in our day
So we made our songs, and somewhere the sound of them
Goes round and round to be lost and then found
And that is the way that life is
That is the way it is with songs
Track Name: Little businesses
Oh, we're all little businesses now
It takes all our time up somehow
Where once we'd be writing or learning a song
We're fighting computers that churn things out wrong
We've a million receipts, our accounts are a mess
And our email list fans have all changed their address
Though we work every minute our more just makes less
'Cause we're all little businesses now
Track Name: Fading voices
Fading voices all around
Still I hear their joyful sound
Once they stood beside me when
We were young and singing then
Songs that came like shooting stars
To shine their light on our guitars
Words that set our souls aflame
Thinking all our lives a game
Fading voices all around
Still I hear their joyful sound

The road, the girls, the sun at dawn
The tunes that in that hour were born
Side by side we took the stage
And never thought we'd reach this age
Some just gave it all away
And let the bottle win the day
Some just watched their spotlight die
Till darkness took them from our eye
Fading voices all around
Still I hear their joyful sound

Old soldiers now as young ones come
New tales to tell new chords to strum
Names that once we held so dear
Are unknown to the young ones here
But fading voices all around
Still I hear their joyful sound
Once they stood beside me when
We were young and singing then
Old soldiers now, our torches burn
Still bright but take them, it's your turn