Barebones ALbum (2015)

Barebones Album Cover

£6.50

This is what I want to say to the world at this moment in time (2015). It gives me a lot of pleasure. I hope you like what you hear. It is simply guitar and vocal. That is why it is called Bare Bones. 

The artwork comes courtesy of Angie Briggs. As with Potting Shed and Crop Circles, Aaron Carter of Lodmoor Media was the sound engineer.

David Kidman has reviewed the album on behalf of Fatea.

See tracks tracks below to find the individual songs as well as lyrics plus some background information. 

If there is a youtube version, then this is indicated. You can listen to the whole album by clicking on Soundcloud. You can download this album via Spotify and  Right There Records. It is also available from many other major download outlets. 

If you are UK resident and wish to purchase a hard copy of Bare Bones CD the UK delivered price is £6.50.

Tracks

I wrote much of this song in 1985 approx, after reading a book about Scott and his voyage to the Antarctic (1912). I think it was the pictures of the Antarctic sky, which held most appeal for me. It is hard to imagine that these people did not have access to stuff like goretex and why on earth did they use ponies instead of dogs? With two world wars and advances in technology, the world has changed so much since then. Following some rework and a fresh direction for the tune, the song was a semi finalist in the UK songwriting contest a couple of years ago. You can hear the song on Soundcloud.

 

Terra Nova

Down to the south where the albatross flies

Down below zero is where that land lies

Where Wilson drew sketches of penguin and gull

Life below canvas and barnacled hull

The shivering timbers and creek of a mast

Scantily clad for the chill and the blast

Terra Nova

Frost bit the finger and blackened the toe

They ate all their ponies and drank melted snow

While Paraselenae played tricks on the eye

Reflecting the moon through the ice in the sky

By a flickering candle they managed a brew

Sometimes they thought they might even get through

Terra Nova

Fighting to muster a resolute tread

Working like dogs to pull on a sled

Until the weather closed in and extracted its toll

An ocean of space between them and the pole

Slip out for a moment and no-one will mind

Not even a print or a mark left to find

Terra Nova

To some it would seem the whole journey was tragic

No sense of adventure, no moment of magic,

No stomach to push to get close to the edge

But to shrug off complacency out on some ledge

I’d go there if I could, in a boat made of wood

And I’d stand in the shoes where those people once stood

Terra Nova, Terra Nova, Terra Nova

Paul J Openshaw 2010

I remember writing these words shortly after the family moved to Worminghall (near Oxford). The words leapt from the pages of a school history book and ideas for the tune unfurled after listening to somebody playing at Long Wittenham Folk Club. I generally play this in Drop D with the capo on 3rd fret. There is a version on youtube: Florence Nightingale, and the version on the player immediately below is by my friend Pam Dentith, who helped me to get going again. The version which is on Bare Bones can be heard on Soundcloud.


Florence Nightingale

We went to fight the Russians to hold the dogs at bay,

Keep them to the border in the hope that’s where they’d stay.

French and English fighting men, were brought from far and near,

To keep the Turkish empire whole, we battled in Crimea.

And we weren’t dressed for the winter, of Russia at its worst.

Many owe their lives today to the Nightingale who nursed.

We got the call from India, that’s where we had been,

Working for our country and Victoria the queen.

With victory at Alma, Sebastapol saw spine,

In highland men who stood as one, to form a thin red line.

And we weren’t dressed for the winter, of Russia at its worst.

Many owe their lives today, to the Nightingale who nursed.

Nightingale, Nightingale,

Many owe their lives today, to the Nightingale who nursed.

The fumbling bungling officers, did not know what to do.

They took them out of mothballs, where they’d been since Waterloo.

It was frostbite and cholera, that took a toll on life,

Killed more men than the Russians ever did, with bayonet and knife.

And we weren’t dressed for the winter, of Russia at its worst.

Many owe their lives today, to the Nightingale who nursed.

Nightingale, Nightingale,

Many owe their lives today, to the Nightingale who nursed.

Paul J Openshaw (1986 ish)

Chords:

D G Em A

We went to fight the Russians to hold the dogs at bay,

D G Em A

Keep them to the border in the hope that’s where they’d stay.

Bm G D Em G A

French and English fighting men, were brought from far and near,

D G A D

To keep the Turkish empire whole, we battled in Crimea.

Em G A Em G A

And we weren’t dressed for the winter, of Russia at its worst.

D G A D

Many owe their lives today to the Nightingale who nursed.

THEN THE CHORUS BIT AFTER SECOND AND THIRD VERSES

D G Em A

Nightingale, Nightingale,

Bm G D Em A D

Many owe their lives today to the Nightingale who nursed.

I could never have dealt with any of the stuff in this song up until recently. Although I tend to have no regrets these days, when I think back to the trauma of formative years, I would not want to go through it again in the same way. Click on Soundcloud to hear this track.

When The Boot Goes In

I gave my heart to Jesus when I was just a lad.

I wanted to be happy but instead it made me sad.

I wanted to be happy but what really is a sin,

Nobody wants to know you, when the boot goes in.

 

I gave my heart to Jesus and I learned to play a role

But in the place where my heart should be it left a gaping hole.

It is easy to be cynical but without a heart within.

Nobody wants to know you, when the boot goes in.

 

If your mind is still unfurling and you’re in your growing years,

You need to take good care of what goes on between your ears.

 

Looking back is easy, but it’s not so easy when,

It will not come together, which is how it did feel then,

I gave my heart to Jesus, but without a heart to win.

Nobody wants to know you, when the boot goes in.

 

Paul J Openshaw (November 2013)

I would never want to drive a vehicle of any description in India. You just never know what is going to be coming towards you. Bearing in mind India’s history, I do wonder what is actually happening on the roads out there. My mind is open to the possibility that there could be something more sinister going on. It is written from the Indian perspective. You can listen to this song on Soundcloud.

India

We do not dislike the British. 

We love the highway code.

The reason we drive on the left is because, 

It is one of the rules of the road.

That is something we inherited from 

When our country was governed with might.

But when the rules of the road say drive on the left, 

Sometimes we drive on the right.

 

We have learned the power of non-violence.

To get what we need we pray.

We have learned to make our feelings known.

Mahatma Gandhi showed us the way.

That is how we gained our freedom,

And not through malice or spite,

And why, when the rules of the road say drive on the left,

Sometimes we drive on the right.

 

On thirteenth of April in 1919,

The order was given to fire,

On five thousand innocent Indians,

By Brigadier General Reginald Dyer.

As the bullets cascaded from the rifles,

There was no passage through which to take flight.

So when the rules of the road say drive on the left,

Sometimes we drive on the right.

 

In Amritsar we have planted a garden,

Lest we ever forget,

The price that was paid in 1919,

By those to whom we are in debt,

And so the children of our children,

Will know of their grandparents’ plight,

When the rules of the road say drive on the left,

Sometimes we drive on the right.

 

Paul J Openshaw (March 2013)

When someone suggested that I write a song about the D day landings, I shied away,  until I realised that I was born a mere 8 years into the wake of World War Two. In 1953, this country was still very much in recovery mode. With some background reading, my mind set changed as pictures started to evolve.

Normandy (It Could Have Been Me)

The sky was dark as we left home, when we went to fight the hun.

Our orders were to put an end to what he had begun.

I did not know what to expect as I sat with my rifle against my knee.

Now I stand and look at the rows of graves, and think, it could have been me.


I didn’t think of myself as a hero as I clawed my way onto dry land,

Over tank traps and barbed wire, I fought my way onto the sand,

When the ramp of the landing craft lowered and we waded through the bloody sea.

Now I stand and look at the rows of graves, and think, it could have been me.


We made our way South through Normandy to where we dug ourselves in.

We were under constant shell fire, and I did not think that we could win.

There was no glory in the stench of carnage and debris.

Now I stand and look at the rows of graves, and think, it could have been me.


I try not to remember, but I cannot forget,

My best mate was blown apart, and that still haunts me yet.

It chilled me to the bone, at the age of twenty three.

Now I stand and look at the rows of graves, and think, it could have been me.


I’ve head no desire to return to this place since nineteen forty four.

Then I was only doing my job, when this country was at war.

As I look back over my shoulder, as far as the eye can see.

Now I stand and look at the rows of graves, and think, it could have been me.

Paul J Openshaw (March 2013)

This song was written after listening to a band playing irish music in a pub at Buriton, which is a village near Petersfield in Hampshire. The atmosphere in the pub was very “up for it”. Click on Soundcloud to listen to the track.

 

A Kiss From The Darling Good Ale

From a straight or a handle, that’s the lanlord’s request,

As he pulls you a pint of his very best.

She’ll sit on the bar, so cool and exciting.

She’ll tease you and tempt, so dark and exciting.

If you don’t sit down, she’ll soon pull you over.

A kiss from the darling good ale.

From a bottle or a keg, from the froth to the dreg,

She’ll make your head spin as she weakens your leg.

She’ll help you forget all your worry and woe.

She’ll ease away pain, help you let yourself go.

If you don’t sit down, she’ll soon pull you over.

A kiss from the darling good ale.

Sometimes I’ve seen her with a grip and a hold,

An arrogant mistress, severe and cold.

She can hit you and hurt you and tear you apart.

Plunder your senses and break your heart.

If you don’t sit down, she’ll soon pull you over.

A kiss from the darling good ale.

So don’t treat her lightly, be careful and wise,

For she is no lady with sparkling eyes.

As she loosens your clothing and lulls you to sleep,

All that you give her, she’ll want to keep.

If you don’t sit down, she’ll soon pull you over.

A kiss from the darling good ale.

Paul J Openshaw (1987 ish)

This song starts off quite gloomy but lifts with an optimistic chorus. It took a lot of cutting and pasting to get the words to come round to that way of thinking. The “bright golden haze on the meadow” in the first verse is a nod in the direction of Rogers and Hammerstein. The more I know, I know I know nothing were the words of the late Doctor Robin Armstrong of the Hill Farming Research Institute to whom I pay respect (although, for him it would not have been a cigarette, it would have been a pipe). To listen to this song, click on Soundcloud.

Where We Are Now

Somehow it seems, the hopes and the dreams,

Have folded and faded away.

There is no bright golden haze on the meadow,

And the sky is downcast and grey.

Chorus

I don’t want to wish my life away as I sit here and I wait

For the clouds to roll over and clear

Who could believe, we’d be where we are now,

Or where we will be next year?

 

Nothing is certain in this wicked world.

Some lessons seem so hard to learn.

As I stand by a window, strike up a match,

And watch a cigarette burn.

 

Isn’t it strange the way people change?

Sometimes there is no other way

The more I know I know I know nothing,

And there is nothing more I can say.

 

Paul J Openshaw (March 2015)

At the last count there were 4 hedgehog nests in various locations within our garden. That is where the inspiration for this song was drawn. In December 2014, I did devote some time to making hedgehog houses. These seem to work ok and offer some protection from predators, however, the animals do seem very capable of looking after themselves. Click on Soundcloud to listen to this song.

Hedgehog

The mist hangs heavy to drop like a curtain,

It drops like a curtain, as days grow dark

Days grow dark in the heart of a hedgerow

In the heart of a hedgerow at the edge of the park

At the edge of the park grow teasel and nettle

Teasel and nettle they prickle and sting

But under a duvet of leaves he slumbers

And that’s where the hedgehog will stay until spring.

 

When the steam rises on the crust of a frost

On the crust of a frost below bramble and bush

Below bramble and bush, there are worms for the taking

Worms for the taking by blackbird and thrush

Blackbird and thrush they dig and they delve.

They dig and they delve whilst they whistle and sing.

But under a duvet of leaves he slumbers

And that’s where the hedgehog will stay until spring

 

There is no gawp in the thick of a thicket

In the thick of a thicket there is knowledge and skill

With knowledge and skill he rolls himself up

He rolls himself up to survive the chill,

Survive the chill of the withering weather

The withering weather, a winter can bring.

Under a duvet of leaves he slumbers

And that’s where the hedgehog will stay until spring.

Paul J Openshaw (October 2013)

You need to experience the Indian railways to fully appreciate this predicament. We were fortunate not to fall victim to Delhi Belly but there is never going to be anything other than a lot of it about. Since writing the song, I was informed that chicken tikka masala was invented in Glasgow. Having tracked it via wikipedia, this could be correct, however, since then it has travelled the world and is actually served in many parts of India. Click on Soundcloud to listen to the track.

Delhi Belly

I had chicken tikka masala. I do not think that was wise.

For breakfast with lime pickle, bamboo shoots and French fries.

I had a second helping. To that I can be prone.

In the circles which I move, for second helpings I am known.

Now I’m lying in the darkness with a grumble in my belly,

Three bunks up, on the night train out of Delhi.

 

I had mutton rogan josh. It tasted good to me.

I then had biryani, whatever that may be.

Then just because I could, I had Kingfisher beer,

That seems to be the tipple of the men who live round here.

Now I’m lying in the darkness with a grumble in my belly,

Three bunks up, on the night train out of Delhi.

 

I had Navrattan korma. I then had vindaloo,

For dinner with boiled rice, and a poppadom or two.

I then had tea from Darjeeling, just to wash it down;

I got that from a Chai Wallah, on the pavement in the town.

Now I’m lying in the darkness with a grumble in my belly,

Three bunks up, on the night train out of Delhi.

 

After Kadhai Paneer for supper, I am clenching my teeth.

I am on the top bunk. There are two bunks underneath.

In my throat, I have a tickle, but, I would not want to cough.

It is sixteen hours to Mumbai and that’s where I get off.

Now I’m lying in the darkness with a grumble in my belly.

Three bunks up, on the night train out of Delhi.

 

Paul J Openshaw (March 2013)

This song was written for my daughter when she was in her early teens. At that time, I used to introduce the song as being for teenage daughters everywhere, but for one in particular. These days I usually dedicate the song to anyone who has recently experienced failure or rejection. It is very much a part of my current set list. If you click on the red writing, you can listen to the song on Soundcloud.

Striving To Be Someone

There’s time for you, don’t worry, somethings don’t come easy.

There will always be a space for those, who seem a little crazy.

Somehow you’ll be thankful, that you didn’t give up trying,

Though sometimes you end up laughing, sometimes you end up crying.

Though you might not like it, there’s little you can do,

Striving to be someone when there’s no one quite like you.


Don’t let the stress and tensions weigh down upon your thinking.

Don’t let each situation drift to outwith your control.

When your temper’s stormy blast casts a shadow on your mind,

Don’t lose the precious moments, which you’ve striven hard to find.

Though you might not like it, there’s little you can do,

Striving to be someone when there’s no one quite like you.


May you know a sense of balance as you form your own opinions.

Try to see things clearly as you make your own ideas.

May life for you be rich but may you never be a miser,

As you grow a little older may you grow a little wiser.

Though you might not like it, there’s little you can do,

Striving to be someone when there’s no one quite like you.


May you always sleep soundly with a free and easy conscience,

So you’ll always have strength enough to move towards the future,

In the full and certain knowledge, you can well and ably cope.

In whatever way you choose to live, may you always live in hope.

Though you might not like it, there’s little you can do,

Striving to be someone when there’s no one quite like you.

Paul J Openshaw (1990 ish)

This song followed a trip around Ranthambhore National Park. We actually saw a tiger lolling around in the sunshine beside a river. He was obviously very used to the whole process of being photographed and it even looked as if he was posing for the cameras. The local people did say that sighting a tiger is very lucky and we certainly did consider ourselves very fortunate. The song gained a semi final position in the Song of the Year Contest (2015). Please click on Soundcloud  if you would like to listen to this song.

Bengal Tiger

“I have been out spotting leopards”, said the man I met today.

That seemed to me a little strange, as I thought they were born that way.

What seems a little stranger, because, I do not see how he can,

When he told me that tomorrow spotting tigers was his plan.

If tiger spotting beckons and you are not in a zoo,

Beware; the Bengal tiger could be out there spotting you.

 

He told me he’d been up at dawn when outside it was dark.

The morning sun was shining as he drove around the park.

He could not really think the cats were very far away,

But they’d already decided they were not coming out today.

If tiger spotting is a course of action you’d pursue,

Beware; the Bengal tiger could be out there spotting you.

 

There was no trace of feline in the scrub or by the lake,

Although, he said he saw a crocodile, a mongoose and a snake

And then he said an elephant, and a monkey up a tree.

They blend in with the background, so it makes them hard to see.

If tiger spotting features on your list of things to do,

Beware; the Bengal tiger could be out there spotting you.

 

If a tiger took the notion, and he got in hunting mode,

He’d paw the ground, then lick his lips and sidle down the road.

He’d stay downwind and sniff the air, to see what he could find,

Then he’d summon up his faculties to take you from behind.

If tiger spotting is your way to kill an hour or two,

Beware; the Bengal tiger could be out there spotting you.

 

Paul J Openshaw (March 2013)

I started to write this song a few years ago, but when we lost a couple of dear friends recently, it somehow seemed appropriate to bring it together. This is for Carol Milner. You were an inspiration. This one is also for Alan Kendrick Briggs, who was probably one of the most spiritual people I have known, in spite of the fact that he religiously never went to church. You can listen to the track on Soundcloud.

Spirit

Why does it feel that you are near? 

I live in hope that you’ll appear,

From round a bend or down a stair, 

I can’t believe you are not there.

I cannot think from day to day,

You’ll ever be that far away.

A smile still flits across your eyes. 

Your spirit lives. It never dies.

 

Was that your knock upon the door? 

I’ve heard it once or twice before.

Was it just inside my head,

When a floorboard creaks below a tread?

I hear you whisper in my ear.

You say the words I need to hear.

A smile still flits across your eyes. 

Your spirit lives. It never dies.

 

Was that your shadow on the wall? 

Was that your footstep in the hall?

With laughter lines upon your face,

Are you still moving in this place?

I’m sure you are, in large amounts. 

Your voice is heard. Your opinion counts.

A smile still flits across your eyes. 

Your spirit lives. It never dies.

 

Paul J Openshaw 2010

 

© Copyright 2020 Paul Openshaw.