Lyrics

Ruby Street

When I came to this constellation
I felt so much at home
Though the reason was unknown
Made my own investigation
Now imagine how I feel
As the secret is revealed

Now Ruby Street is always on my beat
For Ruby Street knew my great-grandmother’s feet
Oh Ruby Street, always on the beat
For Ruby Street knew my great-grandmother’s feet

Everyone can see me coming
Oh but they don’t hear the sound
Of the Velvet Underground
Cos in my head a soundtrack’s running
And the movie of my life
Starts in 1875

On Ruby Street, always on my beat
For Ruby Street knew my great-grandmother’s feet
Oh Ruby Street, always on the beat
For Ruby Street knew my great-grandmother’s feet

I picture old man Tovey
See him levelling the coal
In a black and dusty hold
No more roving
Cos I’m proud to know my past
Is this city’s working class

And Ruby Street is always on my beat
For Ruby Street knew my great-grandmother’s feet
Oh Ruby Street, always on the beat
For Ruby Street knew my great-grandmother’s feet

Fearless

Said goodbye to Mountain Ash when I was just seventeen
For a life in an old glass town, Zappa at the NEC
Then I sold everything I owned
Bought a ticket to the world
I was young and unsung, I was fearless.

Landed up in Amsterdam, working as a drudge again
Living in a tent on Gaasperplas with our two Danish friends
And every night the rats came in
We had to fight for everything
But we were young, on the run, we were fearless.

Oh, walking to work at the crack of dawn
Wasn’t the new life I was looking for
So we got a guitar and we learnt a songbook
Took to the streets and busked till our hands were sore
Still wanted more

Fast forward to the city farm, driving those sheep to school
All those nights in the pubs and clubs singing everything I knew
Then one night it all kicked off
Blood and glass, I’d had enough
Not so young, or unsung, not so fearless.

Summertime in Adamsdown, living on Metal Street
Got a job that pays the bills and gives me what I need
Now Save the Children’s where I’m at
No more busking, no more rats
I’m amazed at the days I was fearless.

I was fearless
I was fearless
I was fearless
And bold enough to say
It’ll be ok
Running on pure blind faith

Crystal Moment

One idle afternoon
I was googling your name
Can’t conceive the loss of you
Can’t believe nothing remains
When all at once I was arrested and amazed
I had stumbled on your signal turn of phrase

For one crystal moment
I’d got you again
One crystal moment
Beyond where and when

I’ve inherited your hands
The warmth of your embrace
How you’d chill with anyone
Talk of time and space
And now time’s become my mortal enemy
How dare time be driving you away from me

But one crystal moment
Brought you back again
One crystal moment
Beyond where and when

Long live your old Motown cool
Long live the memory of you

One crystal moment
Brought you back again
One crystal moment
Beyond where and when

Trying to Find a Way to Make Stuff

I was working on the pie production line
Always trying to find a way to make stuff
Battering that old typewriter through the night
Always trying to find a way to make stuff
Letters of rejection papering the walls
We like you very much, just not enough
But no matter how tough, I’m always trying to find a way to make stuff

Finally got a break in a kids’ anthology
Got a little better when the penguin came for me
Moved into a terrace at the heart of Adamsdown
Living on seven grand was not the plan
But oh, all the folk I got to know
Fuelled the stories that I wrote
Plant a seed and watch it grow

No matter how tough, I’m always trying to find a way to make stuff

White Socks, Shiny Shoes

No diamonds and pearls
Just an Adamsdown girl
Living at the old dairy
Other kids bitched
Thought we were rich
They were off with the fairies

White socks and shiny shoes
Set us apart
White socks and shiny shoes
Guaranteed we got it hard
All we knew
Was what’s the matter with you?
White socks, shiny shoes

I could have fun
Just staying with Mum
But there were errands accruing
Off down Eclipse
For twenty Number 6
Well I just had to do it

White socks and shiny shoes
Stopping at the square
White socks and shiny shoes
Backing from the danger there
Better scoot
Find another route
For white socks, shiny shoes

Then came the night
Three kids looking for a fight
Hadn’t reckoned with our Debbie
Tried to make fun
But she didn’t run
No, it wasn’t necessary

White socks and shiny shoes
Flying up and down
White socks and shiny shoes
Left them flat out on the ground
All they knew
Respect was due

To white socks, shiny shoes

Radio Singh

It started off with a stall
Just a few toys, then cassettes and all
Soon we sold everything
They called us Radio Singh

Then I’m checking the stock
All the dusters and clocks
In the shop with my granddad’s name
Everyone knows us
Nothing can close us

I was brought up on Comet Street
Walking the walls of the infirmary
Living on Jim’s jelly beans
And on what my granddad achieved

He set an example
Created a temple
Became a community
Free food on a Sunday
We sit down as one there

Turn the water into nectar
Separate the truth from lies
Everybody’s equal in our eyes

And now I’m the face
Of the South Wales Police
Come a long way from Radio Singh
Just like the lion
Never stop trying

Got to set an example
Now I run the temple
Cos that’s our community
Free food on a Sunday
Maybe see you there one day

Phoenix

There is a place that my mind goes to
An old mango tree and a misty view
When troubles rain and I doubt myself again
Under fiery skies like the phoenix I will rise

Fifty-one years on these chimneyed streets
Young eyes that could not tell homes from factories
Ran from my own, raised three girls alone
And when times were strained, like the phoenix rose again

It’s near four in the morning
And all the birds are singing
It’s the place that I was born in
And the glow is just beginning
On the far side of the island
A misty sun is rising
Meanwhile in a South Wales city
Its all coming back to greet me

I chose to care all my working life
The used and abused I have organised
Seen projects thrive on the ash of wasted lives
Under fiery skies like the phoenix we will rise

 

Electric Storm

From Ewenny to the city
I came to find a base
Found myself inside a shrinking space
Ran out into a rainstorm
Down to cemetery park
Let the lightning strike my heart
All my senses come alive again
Come alive, come with me, come be born
In an electric storm

I want to build a turbine
To electrify these streets
I want to see the powerless compete
Want to be like Che Guevara
I want to throw the switch
Take it up to fever pitch
All our senses coming alive again
Come alive, come with me, come be born
In an electric storm

Adamsdown Song

Oh, can’t you see the old farm fields
And the cows going down to market
On Constellation Street
Ah, can’t you hear the workers’ boots
On the black bridge to the steelworks
All the places that we meet

Oh we’ve got Diamonds, we’ve got Pearls
In our inner city world
We’ve got life from Broadway down to Tin Street
We’ve got Comets, we’ve got Stars
In this universe of ours
We stand on a hundred years of history

Oh, can’t you see down Stacey Road
Fred Keenor’s in the schoolyard
With a long long way to go
Borne from the trenches of the Somme
To the victory steps of Wembley
He just kept on keeping on

(Chorus)

Doo, do do do do do. . .
We’ve got diamonds we’ve got pearls
Doo, do do do do do. . .
This is our inner city world

Oh, can’t you hear the newborn cry
In the wards of the Infirmary
As the old trams rattle by
Ah, take a walk down Mucky Park
Past the loan sharks and the broken glass
Not always easy to survive

But we’ve got Diamonds, we’ve got Pearls
In our inner city world
We’ve got life from Broadway down to Tin Street
We’ve got Comets, we’ve got Stars
We’re the city’s beating heart
We stand on a hundred years of history

All lyrics copyright Jon Blake 2012

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