The Margarita Collection

by Harvey Andrews

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1.
Margarita 05:50
They're playing our song, Margarita, Dance it this last time with me. It won't be long, Margarita, Soon I’ll be overseas. Let me know that you'll care, When I’ve gone over there, They're playing our song, Margarita, Dance it this last time with me. Kiss me again, Margarita, Give me a memory of you. They say in France, Margarita, One more push, we'll be through. Yes I’ll write, but where from? All they'll say is "The Somme" So kiss me again, Margarita, Give me a memory of you. It's a new world, Margarita, We'll build when it's through. In that new world, Margarita, We'll be wed, me and you. My old great aunt, Margarita, She'd been blind thirty years, Would tell me of young Margarita, Of her man and her tears, She would say, "He was tall. There's his picture on the wall." My old great aunt Margarita, She'd been blind thirty years. She would ask "Is he smiling?" I would stare at the frame. But the sun was there, shining Through her window again. Where that sun always shone He had faded and gone, But she would ask "Is he smiling?" I would say "He's the same."
2.
Bruges 03:29
Winter was colder than ever last year Spring came so slowly, then summer was near We hung up our overcoats when skies were clear And read all our books about Bruges And when we arrived there the sun was so high The blue was the blue of a hot summer sky And the books that we'd read hadn't told us a lie And we fell in love with Bruges Bruges in the summertime, stars in the night Wine in the warm glow of soft candlelight Bruges in the summertime feeling so right Whispering sweet and low “lady, I love you” so We will return when the memories fade To the room in the town where the memories were made There's bells in the towers, bands in the squares Boats on canals and balloons at the fairs Where we laughed away worries, kissed away cares And sang out our song of Bruges Cobbled street carriages, horsedrawn for two Picnics and palaces, pictures to view But nothing I see is as lovely as you No, not all the beauty of Bruges There's laughter and loving and living for now Dreams that come true if you'll only allow So I’ll make a promise, if you make a vow To love me again in Bruges
3.
Dear Miss Allyson I'm writing this in hopes you're feeling well again I'm sure you don't need someone else to tell again How beautiful you are, a star Outshining all the rest Oh, dear Miss Allyson You're undoubtedly the best If you wore a string of pearls As the music softly played I'd forget the other girls Sing a moonlight serenade To dear Miss Allyson I must have seen that film a hundred times, but then I always seem to break up at the moment when He found that special sound He built around the clarinet Oh dear Miss Allyson They're dancing to it yet
4.
Well, a cheeky young lad took the rise out of me So I clipped his ear, I was twenty three And I laughed when he ran Said that he'd tell his dad 'Cause I’d done the same when I was a boy When cheeking grown ups was a young lad’s joy But you never let on that you'd gone and done anything bad Then a cheeky young lad took the mick out of me So I chased him off, I was thirty three And I got close enough to see the tear in his eye And I said if you talk like that once more I'll tell your dad and you'll get what for But I smiled to myself the next time the laddie walked by Cheeky young lad, like I used to be Cheeky young lad, oh why can't you see? Cheeky young lad, one day you'll be just like me Then a cheeky young lad stood and swore at me So I swore right back, I was forty three And I could give as good as I got any day of the year But it made me boil and it made me rage It made me feel every year my age And when he stood his ground, well I tell you, then I found fear Then a cheeky young lad came and jostled me He just pushed right past, I was fifty three And when I shouted "Hey!" he just walked away with a sneer And I raised my fist but I felt afraid Of the young lad's swagger and the world we'd made And I wished it was like it had been just yesteryear Because a cheeky young lad came and battered me Took my money and ran and I’m sixty three And I wish I was dead instead of being kept alive Because a cheeky young lad is waiting for me If ever I get to seventy three And the next time I don't think I can survive The cheeky young lad who's waiting for me to arrive The cheeky young lad who's waiting for me to arrive
5.
PG 04:05
When he was a baby they said He had a future, you could take it as read Mom and Dad will do all that they can So that when he's a man He'll be always ahead But when he was a boy growing tall His father said "To hell with it all If I stay I'll be old before time, son I'm still in my prime, so I'll give you a call" But once he was a child full of grace With a smile for the whole human race Now his eyes only stare at the day Till the sun goes away To a happier place Once he was a child full of fun With a heart big enough for the sun Now a freeze frame is all he can find And it stays in his mind And it shows what he's done His mother did her best but she fell First the bottle then the boozers as well Uncle Joe and Uncle Jim brought presents for him But he dreaded the sound of the bell Till Uncle Mike brought the video round And put it on just to drown out the sound With tapes he could hire from a store That had goodies galore in a room that he'd found So the boy learned that love was a game Women lose though they fight all the same They get beaten again and again They feel terror and pain Then they carry the blame And he learned to love cleavers and knives Chainsaws and other men's wives He learned to love blood on the floor And he came to adore all the wasting of lives When they came and took him away His mother was out for the day The girl was thirteen, he'd seen her before And he thought she could star in his play And it was just like the video said She fought and she screamed and she bled His pleasure was short, it was sweet She was found on the street, where he'd left her for dead But once he was a child full of grace With a smile for the whole human race Now his eyes only stare at the day Till the sun goes away To a happier place Once he was a child full of fun With a heart big enough for the sun Now a freeze frame is all he can find And it stays in his mind And it shows what we’ve done
6.
Well, they've opened a shop at the end of our street And me mom says "Our kid, it's a hard one to beat! Us old 'uns are queuin' and dancin' our jigs To buy yesterday's bread, they once fed to the pigs." 'Cause yesterday's gone And yesterday's heroes Are queuing for yesterday's bread "It's only half price for the old staley loaves, And I'm there in the queue with some right funny coves. There's Harry the bagman who fought in Korea And he spends what he saves, on a half pint of beer." "There's Aggie next door, well she's eighty and three And she's walked to the queue and she's chatting to me She stands in her frame at the back of the line Just like she used to do in 1929." So I ate Mom's bread pudding and said "See you soon" She said “Don't worry son, 'cause we're over the moon. They're planning a new shop, to give us a treat, Then the cats and the dogs won't get yesterday's meat."
7.
I was in a barroom just the other night Tuning my old guitar When two young girls stood in front of me And one said "Hey Grandpa You gotta plug in, you gotta synthesise You gotta get outta those jeans We came here for music tonight And they hire us an old has-been. And we want a dance machine!" I was far too tired to be angry I was too damn broke to be mad. I said "Give me a try tonight ladies I might not be too bad You see, every song has a story, If you listen you might just learn, That life's for the living by everyone, And youth is a flame you burn. What you borrow, you must return.” And I sang the songs that Harry wrote I sang with all my soul For Annie from America And the singing made me whole Yes, I sang for the Mister Tanners For the waitresses with dreams For the lost ones and the lonely And for all that music means There were songs before machines And when the night was over And the room began to clear And the glasses clinked, and the spotlight blinked And I reached for another beer, I looked around for the young girls But they must have left too soon And I thought that trying to reach those kids Is like trying to reach the moon Flying a silver spoon And I thought those days are over And the songs must all be dead. Am I the last one singing all the memories in my head? I'd given them my best shots And I'd hoped that they could see That what the songs were saying is You grow up fast and free But you can't fight destiny The clock was chiming midnight When I walked out to my car And standing there were the two young girls So I put down my guitar And the one reached up to kiss my cheek And the other one held my hand And they said "We thought you ought to know It's like a new found land. And now we understand."
8.
Long ago, far away, There's a place called yesterday. And when I go, with what I know, I wish, I wish, that I could stay. So many things I thought were right I see now in a different light. So long ago, so far away, In a place called yesterday. You were here, you were now, You were "yes!" and I was "how?" You were teach and I was learn, You were fire and I was burn. Poems that I tried to write, Hunger for you every night. So long ago, so far away, In a place called yesterday. Long ago, far away, Yesterday, yesterday. Love was new, love was fine, I held you close and I called you mine. And when you moved you moved for me And every move was ecstasy. But when you moved for someone new, I couldn't lose my love for you, So long ago so far away In a place called yesterday. But time the healer always mends, I'm sure you've heard from our old friends, I've settled down and I'm doing well, A house, a car, and things I sell. But still I wonder, do you care, For those few days we had to share? So long ago, so far away, In a place called yesterday.
9.
Please don't get on the plane It's cold and the snow's so thick in the air Please don't get on the plane See, the band's on the bus, and it's just over there. And yes, I know that you're tired So you hired it to fly on ahead of the gang. But please don't get on the plane, Take your time, like the words of the song you just sang. Maria Elena's alone in New York, She can't sleep well tonight. And Jerry and Joe say the Crickets'll go Back together all right. And a boy in the UK is growing up ok And singing your songs But he's only 15, he's not seen very much And he needs you along. Big Bopper just roared out the claim that he scored In the dance hall last night, But Ritchie's too shy, he won't try, Though he says that the next gig he might. Now the pilot's on board and he just can't afford Not to take on the job, And you're thinking you've come a long way Since the days of Buddy and Bob. You're moving on out, you're beginning to roll, But why can't you see There's a boy in the snow, who's saying "Don't go, Don't go and leave me." And now he's shouting and screaming, past forty and dreaming Of yesterday when. And he wakes with a start and his heart's like a hammer, And he's fifteen again.
10.
Pinball 07:10
I had the contract with me I was opening for a star I'd seen him on the concert stage I'd watched him from afar I hadn't heard much lately Of anything he'd done But he sang songs of rights and wrongs Of those who'd lost or won So it was in a run down night club In a broken part of town, I was on the long way up He was on the long way down. I saw him in a corner Playing pinball, killing time I asked him how he was And with a smile he answered "fine" With a smile he answered "fine" Then he said… "Sonny, it's the same old pinball I played ten years ago Now it's just like me, friend The action's getting slow I've been to the top friend Mow I'm way down low Still playing the same old pinball clubs I played ten years ago." Never meet your heroes I've read that line somewhere They're just like you and me With all our hope and our despair I said “It's never that bad There's always one more day There's always one more song to sing One more tune to play." He just looked me up and down Then he slowly shook his head He said "To stay alive, try 9 to 5 To earn your daily bread." I said "You were my hero You handed me this dream." He turned away and pointed To the battered old machine That battered old machine And he said… He said "I made a lot of money And I drank a lot of wine I paid for all my pleasures And I had a real good time I never stayed in one place Longer than a day I gave them pearls and told the girls I really couldn't stay. But where's it gone to sonny? It came and went so fast. It's far too easy nowadays To live back in the past. But I'm still good for doing What I've always done. There hasn't been a house yet I haven't fought and won. I haven't fought and won." Then he said… "So now they're out there waiting And they don't know who you are. They don't care for your future They'll just prop up the bar. And you, you'll sing your heart out And maybe some will hear And maybe you'll come back And play this place again next year. So go on and do your set now, sonny Before they get too drunk And please, don't count them, sonny These glasses that I've sunk. I'll do my best, remember I've never lost one yet But sonny, some times lately It's been an even bet, It's been an even bet." Then he said… He's long gone and forgotten His name you never knew But what reminded me Was when I turned and looked at you Standing there so happy With your new guitar and dreams One question for you, sonny Can you play these machines? 'Cause sonny it's the same old pinball He played ten years ago And now it's just like me friend The action’s getting slow. I've been to the top friend Now I'm way down low, Still playing the same old pinball clubs I played ten years ago
11.
She saw him smile He knows her face from somewhere in the past Then the smile fades, for memories never last She saw him smile. She says hello Buttons up his shirt and combs his hair Although the man she's loved's no longer there She says hello Remembering when They danced together in the darkened room The blushing bride The nervous, happy groom Remembering then Remembering when. She holds his hand Together they let time pass unrehearsed For time has been and gone and done its worst She holds his hand She hums their song Hm hm hm hm hm hm hm hm La la la la la la la la He hums along And then she leaves He smiles one more time and waves goodbye The picture of her fading from his eye And then she leaves
12.
Lot 204 09:35
I’ll tell you a story sir, if you'll buy me a beer It might just raise a smile sir, or then again a tear The boards they were my life sir, the stage it was my joy, I saw Robey as a man and I watched Formby as a boy, The boards they were my life sir, the stage it was my joy. I was the finest stage hand The Empire ever had, For me the good old days were good, for others, they were bad. There's one that I remember, he would come round twice a year, The Singing Knifegrinder, who'd trundle on his gear. He'd sing his songs, and sharpen knives, And come round twice a year. He never got too far, you know, he never topped the bill, He'd always get them listening, but he couldn't make the kill. He'd always come in joking, it's an old one now, I know, "I’m second billing to the printer of the poster this week, Joe." And he'd smile and say "I’m sorry. It's an old one now I know." He sang the same old songs in the same old style Told the same old stories, they'd lasted him a while. Although they never cheered him it was always said, He gave a pleasant show, he always earned his bread. Well, the war was nearly over, there was just the east to go. The theatres were re-opening, presenting victory shows, And who should come in smiling on the day that we rehearsed? Why, The Singing Knifegrinder, I was glad to see him first. So keen to go to work on the day that we rehearsed. He told me he'd enlisted, though he was over age He'd never told the army he was on the stage. His singing could have saved him from what fate had in store At Dunkirk he was left behind - a prisoner of war. He opened up the second half as he had always done I raised the safety curtain and I watched him trundle on, The same old red bandana and the gleaming street machine, It was just as though the intervening years had never been. The same old red bandana and the gleaming street machine. I wondered what he'd do if ever they encored The band there in the pit had only four songs scored He finished to a ripple and I rang the curtain down Then I waited for the next turn, performing seal, and clown. But then the ripple grew to genuine applause The cast came from the dressing rooms asking for the cause And standing in the wings as the people went to town Were the dancer, the juggler, the acrobat, the clown, They were standing in the wings as the people went to town. For then the ripple grew into a steady roar I stared at the knifegrinder, the one they cheered for They stamped and they whistled, you should have seen his eyes. My god! Can you imagine! The fright and the suprise? We saw beneath his makeup, there were tears in his eyes. I swear he stared straight through me at all the years he'd done, At all the boards he'd trodden, the nights he'd never won. He nodded for the curtain and I raised it once again And I watched him trundle out there, the happiest of men. But there was no spotlight shining for him there He stood in the dark, I screamed "It isn't fair!" For in the box above him, responding to the roar, Stood old Winston Churchill, the hero of the war. No, no, they hadn't told us, we didn't know he'd come. I rang the curtain down, and I stood there feeling numb. He walked towards the nightmare of memory ahead He walked into the night and The Knifegrinder was dead He pushed a pathway through us, he never made a scene But when we closed down later, and I went out to clean Standing in the wings was a knifegrinding machine. Well the theatre's closing down sir, like all the music halls. The strip shows and the bingo, they couldn't fill the stalls. They plan to hold an auction next week when they close it down I think that you should go sir, take a look around. I thanked the old stage hand, and I went to the sale I bought a few old hand bills when the bids began to fail And then lot 204, it was a knifegrinding machine And I knew I had to have it, even if the bids were keen, That lot 204, it was a knifegrinding machine. For sitting in the corner was a very tired old man, And I had seem him straighten when first the sale began, And I had seen him smile when the old machine came on, And though I’d never heard him sing, I knew, he was the one. He stood to leave the theatre when I had bid the last I gently touched his arm as he shuffled past. “There is no red bandana sir, you must have that at home, But let me please return to you something that's your own. Yes, take it sir, and sing again, as you make your way home. Let me please return to you something that's your own."

about

A compilation of the best tracks from Margarita and PG.

The Margarita album was recorded in two days and was the first release on the Beeswing label I had set up with Jon Raven of Wolverhampton. The song itself is probably my most requested.

PG was the third album on the label and was produced with the help of Trevor Burton, ex-lead guitarist of ‘The Move’, who helped give me a sound I had never used before, but thoroughly enjoyed creating.

Reviews

Although if you count yourself any sort of self-respecting folkie and admirer of British singer-songwriters you’ll already have Harv’s Margarita and PG albums, this new compilation provides the best of both in one handy package, reissued here with a new annotated lyrics booklet in which he provides a thumbnail sketch of the song’s background.

They’re a mix of the poignant, the personal and the political, ranging as they do from Yesterdays Bread (an indictment of the way we neglect our old folk inspired by a story of a shop selling stale loaves to pensioners) and Cheeky Young Lad (a lament for society’s decline) to Long Ago, Far Away (a memoir of his first love) and Margarita, a moving tale of his aunt Annie who having gone blind was unaware that the photo of her fiancé, killed in the Great War, had faded in its frame.

Dear Miss Allyson is a gentle love song to a screen pin-up and one of three numbers about his own heroes, Songs That Harry Wrote being a nod of the inspiration hat to the late great Harry Chapin (Lot 204 a perfect example of the way Harvey emulates that storytelling style) while Please Don’t Get on the Plane refers to the crash that killed Buddy Holly. Which neatly brings mention of the bonus track, Harvey’s version of Buddy’s Learning the Game, originally released as a single back in 1973.

One day there’ll be a full career retrospective, but for now this is a highly replayable snapshot of part of it.

credits

released January 1, 1996

All tracks Harvey Andrews except
Track 3 Andrews / John Dunkerley

Tracks 1, 3, 8, 11, 13 are from Margarita
Tracks 2, 4-7, 10, 12 are from P.G.

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