The Gift

by Harvey Andrews

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1.
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
2.
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
3.
1964 05:12
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
4.
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
5.
The Gift 03:28
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
6.
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
7.
Pigeon-holed 03:41
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
8.
English ale 04:18
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
9.
Give a damn 04:29
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
10.
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
11.
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
12.
Anon 08:08
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
13.
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
14.
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
15.

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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