Sunset Over Freshwater West

The sand dunes of Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire are so extensive they’ve built a road through them. This was a little mind-blowing.

This is a short video of the road and the setting sun as we drove back out from the coast. The backing track is an early version of ‘Something’s Changing’:

#visitwales #pembrokeshire #ponyfolk

Chamberlain Road – Stoke-on-Trent

An updated version of my music video ‘Chamberlain Road’, with some video scenes from around Stoke-on-Trent:

 

Chamberlain Road

D                                             A
The incinerator’s burning late tonight
Hanging a cloud over all that I’ve known
The voices are calling out united
As they’re singing they’re victory home
D     C      Em
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
D   C                Em
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

Walk with the old man to the Commercial
Sunday afternoon and a drink with the boys
They all wonder now if it was worth it
All those years of blood, sweat and toil
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

We stood and watched in mourning
As they tore the old stadium down
No more Saturdays in the Victoria
When you’re queuing for the bus out of town
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

The doors of the the Spode are all boarded
The factory’s a museum of what it used to be
They took all our coal and they burnt it
What did they leave for you and me?
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running, I’m running down Chamberlain Road

 

Thinking On

Every day I walk these streets I try to take them in. Every detail, the pall of smog from the incinerator smokestack separating the oily black of the night sky from the neon glow of the streetlights lining the A50 below. The football stadium stands like a citadel in the middle of the middle distance and the drone of the traffic rises up to meet me.

Chamberlain Avenue draws up from London road in a exponential steepness dragging its way upwards from the kebab shops and oatcake shops, broken windows and broken paving slabs. The discarded sweet wrappers, beer cans and broken glass are suddenly gone and fallen leaves take their place in piles of brown and gold. Council workers blow and sweep the leaves into the back of their pickup but they don’t pick up the rubbish in London Road. Chamberlain Avenue leads to Penkhull, London Road is Stoke. Stoke Town. One of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

I take in these details, because one day when I have left here and find my peace, these things, these memories and sights and sounds will become words and stories and songs. But for now they weigh heavily and it is the best I can do to take them in at all.


January 2019 and these thoughts did distill into a song carrying the essence of some of my Stokie experiences:

Chamberlain Road – James Laurie / Pony Folk – Stoke-on-Trent version 2

https://youtu.be/Rj10g1D3CX8

I Remember – Bromyard Folk Festival 2018

‘I Remember’, roughly recorded in the campsite of the Bromyard Folk Festival.

I don’t have any way of documenting the melodies for the songs I write, only the chords and lyrics, so recording them is my best option at the moment in case I forget the tune later.

The lyrics are based on the poem style of a pantoum, a form where the lines are repeated throughout the poem / song:

Stanza 1

A
B
C
D

Stanza 2

B
E
D
F

Stanza 3

E
G
F
H

Stanza 4

G
C
H
A

Say Goodbye To Me Gently

I wrote ‘Say Goodbye To Me Gently’ in around January 2017, strumming away on an old yellow guitar we had in the house. The song and melody was pretty much whole when it came out and I had to scrabble around for something to write it down on as it came out before it was lost. I have rarely been able to remember a song unless I quickly make notes immediately after or sometimes during the spontaneous creation of it. With some editing later it became this, although as I have difficulty memorising songs and poems verbatim, so the words are often fluid and no two versions are ever the same.

I have written before about the Journey I have undertaken to get to this place, to be able to sit in public and sing and play, albeit in this case with no audience other than the sea and some early morning dog walkers. I still stumble over the finger picking and the song only has two chords and that is all ok because when I wrote it I couldn’t fingerpick and with its flaws the song is now out there.

I will keep practicing this song and there will be new recordings of it. I am also working on a banjo version of it which is an interesting diversion. My dream would be to hear others creating their own versions of the song, the chords and a version of the lyrics are below, the melody you’ll have to pick up from the video.

Say Goodbye To Me Gently

C                                                               G

Take me down, take me down to the water
Take me down, take me down to the edge
Take me down, take me down to the water
Lay me down, lay me down at the edge

Say goodbye, say goodbye to me gently
Say goodbye, say goodbye to me at the edge
Say goodbye, say goodbye to me at the water
Let me slip, let me slip gently out to the West

Take me up, take me up to the mountain
Say goodbye, say goodbye to me at the edge
Take me up, take me up to the mountain
Let me slip, slip gently off of the edge
Take me up, take me up there to the mountain
Lay me down, just lay me down on the ledge

Say goodbye, say goodbye to me gently
Take me down, take me down, take me down to the water’s edge
Say goodbye, say goodbye to me gently
Say good bye, as we slip down from the edge.

Take me down, take me down to the water
Take me down, take me down to the edge
Say goodbye, say goodbye to me gently
Say goodbye, say goodbye to me at the edge