Contraband

by Kirsty McGee

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credits

released 26 November 2012

Kirsty McGee - Vocals, Guitar, High-String, Flute, Glockenspeil
Nick Blacka - Double Bass
Carrie Elkin - Vocals
Josef - Trumpet
Hugh Lawrence - Drums, Percussion
Barkley McKay - Piano, 1961 Hammond Organ, Glockenspeil
Clive Mellor - Harmonica
Myshkin - Vocals
Danny Schmidt - Vocals
Inge Thomson - Accordion, Vocals
Mike West - Banjo, Mandolin

Produced by Kirsty McGee & Barkley McKay
Recorded and mixed by Barkley McKay at Valley Wood Studios
Mastered by Russ Hepworth-Sawyer of MOTTOSound

Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin appear courtesy of Red House Records

All songs by Kirsty McGee
All songs published by Kirsty McGee | Big Oak Songs
All content © 2012 Kirsty McGee | Big Oak Songs
All rights reserved
Photography by Ed Swinden, Design by Mat Martin

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Track Name: Something Going On
It’s funny how the water always falls down to the ground
And no matter how you listen their voices make the same old sound
You hear them in the evening when the sun sinks far below
You’ll hear them sing some kind of melody
Familiar as your own familiar face
You do not recognise tonight…
That’s why you’re sure there must be something going on…

And you notice in the mirror like you noticed once before
That there are signs of age upon you
And that gradually you notice more and more
The years that tug your skin
A prominence of bone
And while you once saw light within your eye
Your eye is dull as some old river stone
That drags the river to its heart
That’s why you’re sure there must be something going on
And it’s tearing you apart

And there is colour in the cheek
But there is sadness in the smile
Not that there’s anyone to notice
Not that anyone has noticed for a while

And you try to make a difference
You try to bluff that carefree smile
And while you swim away your broken heart
It’s harder by the day to feel worthwhile
And there are evenings when you wish the sun would stay
If only stay to keep you company,
To keep the night at bay
Cos all the nights are longer than they ever were
That’s why you’re sure there must be something going on
Cos life is nothing like before.
Track Name: I Burn For You
I slept last night in the boughs of a tall tree
That stretched its branches skywards
If I have learned any lesson from sleeping beside you
I’d say keep your feet planted firmly on the ground

I rode many journeys both with and without you
Travelled the roads till my feet were their colour
I saw many stars even before I met you
When you held my waist and my feet left the ground

And oh, it hurts more than I can say
To have your whole world and then to have it swept away
A raging fire couldn’t do me any harm
And I know because I burn for you
I burn for you
I burn for you

I’ve known your love since before you could speak it
I held you closer than she ever will
We burned so bright that the night was extinguished
Bright as the music that flowed through our fingers
Track Name: Sequins
Old Tom lies blind, tell me, what do you see
Why’d you shake your locks when you look at me
Oh love is blind, love is blind as the adder in the sand
You can’t see the diamond for the sequins in your hand

Old Tom lies blind, tell me, what do I do?
If it weren’t for my eyes, I’d be blinded like you
For I cannot see further than this once-promised land
I can’t see the diamonds for the sequins in my hand

Oh love unravels like a tumbling sea
Unravelling love, why do you carry me?
If I drown in your arms, make it easy for me
Let me die before I ever know you’re gone away from me

Old Tom lies blind tell me what do you say?
Why’d you shake your head so sadly?
Why’d you turn and look away?
Oh love’s tides and her currents I will never understand
If I can’t see the diamonds for the sequins in my hand

Oh hold me close like you used to do before
I have come a long way since you went from my door
And though I rage, oh how I need you
Won’t you take me by my hand
Won’t you help me find my way back home
through this blinding sand?

Oh love unravels like a tumbling sea
Unravelling love, why do you carry me?
Oh I’ve seen how you sparkle when I let you float free
Won’t you take me once more to your breast before you’re gone from me?

Oh you sparkle like a diamond when I let you float free
Won’t you take me once more to your breast before you’re gone from me?
Track Name: Solace
The world is not a happy place
The people in it are not nice
There’s danger lurking everywhere
And there are snakes in paradise

You have to work it out somehow
I’m through with giving you advice
Don’t listen to a word I say
Who taught you, son, to trust that way?

The world is not a pretty place
The people in it couldn’t care
What trusting men and women do
Won’t make allowances for you

You have to work it out somehow
Find a way and muscle through
For you will find as I have found
There’s no one will take care of you

That way lies madness and despair
I can tell you, I’ve been there.

The world is not an easy place
You learn to swim or else you drown
There’s poison in the drinking cup
Where cynicism knows no bounds

And you’ll find beauty everywhere
It isn’t easy to ignore
Though you may find some solace there
Of pointless beauty child, beware

In righteousness, for glory’s sake
Turn on your heel from your mistakes

Don’t listen to a word they say
Who taught you, son, to trust that way?
Track Name: Rebecca
Morning comes, so full of its own importance
With a single piece of gold upon its tongue
To chase away the shadows so they hide under the stones
Until the afternoon when they grow long

And in the summer morning comes, it comes too early
When in the winter she will always come too late
You can’t rely on the morning to awake you
Because mornings never give, they only take, take, take

Summer’s child, you’re prettiest when you’re sober
With a tied and tattered promise in your mouth
To chase away his demons so they hide under the stones
You only give him him so much
Then you head for home

For he will follow, like a swallow, ever after
As well you know for you have planted every seed
He can rely upon your being there to meet him
But how long you will be there you will not concede…

Evening comes and I will not fight the darkness
For the darkness holds forgetfulness and sleep
I won’t chase away the shadows if they hide me
For they hide me from the vigilance she keeps

And you would not lead a thirsty horse to water
Like you would not heed a beggar in the street
Your only thoughts are for yourself, for your own sanity and health
And while you kick over the traces you just take, take, take

And you…
Oh you break me every day
And your heart is a hard stone at my heel
Oh Rebecca, cease to be,
Oh cease your torturing of me
Oh cease your endless trials and troubling of my brain
Rebecca you could drive a man insane
Track Name: New Bird
Wings fold around you like they did before
Does your flying astound you, new bird?
Feathers unruly and truly so free
To catch the wind’s shadow as once you caught me

Oh are the hills brown still, do the rivers run wide
As bright silver ribbons that capture the light
Unfurled, you unwind, like all new things you’re blind
Does your flying astound you, new bird?

Broken the tether, harsh winds on bright feather
You’re stronger than smoke and you’re pale as the air
The big skies surround you now the wide world has found you
Yet your bold and bright shadow still falls everywhere

No fear ever after, no fear only laughter
And smiles where the sun shines so far away from here
Oh you’re precious still to me and your words still renew me
But your golden heart’s flown just as sure as I’ve shed every tear

Fly bright in sun’s rising, fly bright and fly wisely,
My foundling, my darling, my precious bright word
And love may sustain you in the places she takes you
But remember our love and remember the silence we shared…

Wings fold around you like they did before
Does your flying astound you, new bird?
Feathers unruly and truly so free
To catch the wind’s shadow as once you caught me
Track Name: Setting Of The Sun
Mercy, mercy, won’t you see what I’ve become
I see the new day a-coming and I turn around and run
You say the old day is over and the new one’s just become
But won’t we all go to heaven with the setting of the sun

Oh oh all of my nighttimes and all of my days
I’ve been looking for something I’ve been looking through a haze
And I could have done so many things that should have been left undone
But won’t we all go to heaven with the setting of the sun

Clap hands
Clap hands

Well I was born into this world so happy and so free
But your kind of loving got a hold over me
Your love is following me, following me like a killer with a gun
But won’t we all go to heaven with the setting of the sun?

Cain slew Abel didn’t he kill him for a price
And nothing ever comes for free and least of all advice
I’ve been looking for a reason why I came undone
But won’t we all go to heaven with the setting of the sun?

Well didn’t they say that love was free?
Didn’t they say that love was free?

Didn’t they say that love was free?
Track Name: God and the Sparrowherder
God loves the sparrowherder
And the sparrows love him too
They all follow in his footsteps
Just as I have followed you…
But you know god loves us most of all
When we’re straying from the path
I would not put my trust in Jesus
To bring us all
To bring us all…

God loves the sparrowherder
Cos he sees himself within
You see a sparrow’s wing, all dusty brown?
Well, it’s radiant to him
So they follow in his footsteps
Just as I have followed yours
Cos god loves us most when we’re ill at ease
When we’re hiding from our flaws

Oh the blessed ones, they follow
He is tender, he is wise
And the sparrows see their radiance
Reflected in his eyes
For the sparrow’s song is a broken song
But who are they to blame?
And I’ve learned the words so I sing along
Again and again and again and again

God bless the sparrowherder
He is gentle, he is kind
Are we fools to follow after?
Are they fools that stay behind?
For the song he sings is rich and sweet
And it leads us from the path
I would not put my trust in Jesus
To bring us all
To bring us all
To bring us all back
Track Name: Dust Rising
The rain that falls all over town
Catches the dust as it falls on down
And it falls on the rich
And it falls on the poor
It falls on my hands
As i walk from your door.

It’s an equal thing
Like the sun in the sky
The rain that falls on you and I
And it equally falls on the weak and the strong
It falls on the righteous
And the ones that do wrong

I’m not saying anything at all
I’m not saying you’re wrong in the scheme of it all
I’m not saying you’re right cos it equally falls
Like the sun in the heavens
Like the rain when it pours

There’s a chill on the breeze
And the smell of the rain
Brings me your tears all over again
And the water’s all gone
But the memory remains

Like the smell of the dust rising after the rain

Like the smell of the dust rising…
Track Name: Aberdeen
There’s a place in every city in a bar room, dimly lit
Where some yellow-headed girl whispers anyone who’ll listen how she feels
She stoops too low, but she will conquer
With no malice and no guile
She’s the child of late night whisky talk
If late night whisky talk had a child

Do you remember Aberdeen
When you and I were seventeen?
Eyes ablaze and thick as thieves

And Alice, you’ll remember all the promises he made
That night you told me all about him in the bed where you had laid
And all the sheets were rolled like restless waves
Thrown around in disarray
And I loved you then but I dared not speak for fear
For fear of what you’d say

And the roads roll by so dully grey
And I tell myself that they’ll end someday
When I find out what I mean to say
When words come a little closer
If I’d known back then what I’ve since learned
How a fire can warm, how a fire can burn
We dashed down the stars but at every turn
If I was lost
In the silence I could hear your heart beating.

In a bar room in a city street
With a pretty girl with blistered feet
I don’t know about you but I can’t compete
When it comes to drinking games
You stoop too low but you will conquer
As you have conquered every time
You’re the child of late night whisky talk
If late night whisky talk had a child

And I’ll leave you there in Aberdeen
In a torn red dress with that crazy grin
A ragged girl: red hair, white skin
How you made me giddy when you drew me in
I will leave you there in Aberdeen
With my heart in your hands, the way it’s always been
The girl I loved so deeply but I dared not win before the stars…

Before the stars came down.
Track Name: String Baby
Hang out the streamers
Bring out the wine
Crack open the bottle
Cos baby, you’re mine
There’s bunting on the staircase
And ribbons in the hall
Some have a half-measure
But i’ve got it all

Let yours be the last face I see every night
Soft crows the rooster, the dawn clings so bright
When the stars are all staggering home in the light
You’re the string baby, and I am the kite

Let yours be the only hand that I hold
To have me, to hold me, until I grow old
May our eyes be wide open and our hearts never cold
I’m the lost sheep and you are the fold

May I still read your face when my eyes lack their lustre
In a warm feather bed, in the cold winds that bluster
May the dust of sweet blessings rain on you tonight
I’m the string baby, and you are the kite
Track Name: What Love Entails
Oh god, you are a tricky one
Like the fulsome, rolling sea
Got a whole lot of anger behind my tongue
And I’m saving it all for thee

What’s the good of this world that you brought me to
If you fill up my eyes with tears
When I’m deaf to the birds and your trembling words
For the curses that fill my ears

And lord you’ve made me travel
Till my boots wore through at the heels
But to shake his love must I truly lie
And be broken upon your wheel?

I will roll on down like a thundercloud
All full of light and of rain
But when it’s spent, each increment
Comes back to me again.

Oh god, you know the heart of me
Is built from solid stuff
I may seem to crumble like the sand
But like glass I break and I cut

And the thousand pieces of my heart
That were all trodden down in the dirt
They may rise up like a bird in flight
But they never can shake this hurt.

Oh god, you are a tricky one
Like the salt sea in my ears
And when I die if I come to you
There’ll be questions in my tears

What’s the good of this world that you brought me to
If the good in a man’s so frail
Nobody will ever love again
When they know what love entails

(So put your fingers to your lips…
Lest you tell what love entails…)
Track Name: Contraband
Turn back the clock
Give me my time
Give it back to me
Return what is mine
What you stole from me I cannot conceive
All my sleepless nights you would not believe

Out of my fingers
Slipping through my hands
Like some bird with jewelled feathers
Like contraband
Turn back the clock
Give me my time
Give it back to me
Return what is mine

Oh love, what did you say?
Did you say you were staying
Or going away?
Oh love, what did you mean?
Do I read your words
Or the spaces between?

And I gave you my heart
And it didn’t even sting
A song and a promise and a fine silver ring
What you stole from me I cannot conceive
I had you down for a lover
Never for a thief

From a clamour of voices
Turn me round in the silence
Turn my body round sideways
In the icy cold flow
They say time will heal
But it’s flowing like water
Rolled deep in the river
Like contraband
Track Name: All Things Must Change
There used to be a time that you were crazy about me
And if I had to go you went crazy without me
Oh my sweet love, all things must change

I know you want nothing more than my blessing upon you
But how can I bless you when I still want you here?
All things must change

There’s a hole in my soul and it lets the daylight through
I don’t remember it was there before you
How did we sour all the sweetness?
How did we come to this?

There used to be a time when I was lost without you
Now I find my way… but it’s so dark without you
And I wanted so badly for things to stay the same
But oh my sweet love, all things must change