Lyrics – Volcanoes

 

DouglasKay_VolcanoesCoverShe’s Left Me Now – The album opener is probably the most country song I’ve ever recorded, a feel which suits the lyrics I think. The opening line came from someone on TV talking about really spoiling their girlfriend on their birthday or some such occasion, and I was tickled by the wordplay of “spoiling” and “ruining” and how they could describe the way a couple treat each other at the start and then the end of a relationship.

She hoped I would spoil her, I ruined her instead,
We wedged even modest ambitions from each others heads,
And although she’d cry and curse through every daily row,
I can’t believe – that she’s left me now, That she’s left me now.

Trusting love to luck, I’m sure this shouldn’t feel like work,
But I remember when we had that joie de vivre,
Rare and precious days, When one another we’d amaze,
In that time before she’d ever thought to leave.

She said she would anchor me, In all of my pursuits,
But my novel shrunk to poems and my screenplay never took,
Still ‘cause she’d tell everyone she’d never felt so proud,
I can’t believe – that she’s left me now, That she’s left me now.

CHORUS
Ooh, Ooh, ooh, ooh, Ooh, Ooh, ooh, ooh.

She demanded all my love, On that she said she’d thrive,
But I always was destructive when the pressure was applied,
So I went out and with her friend slaughtered our last sacred cow,
I guess that’s why, She has left me – now, Why she’s left me now.

Volcanoes back coverALL YOUR MOVES – This tale was inspired, improbably, by a report on the radio of the death of a politician, who in his time had been a senior cabinet minister in the British Government but had scuppered his career by getting his secretary pregnant. The report went on to mention other politicians who had married their secretaries, which made me wonder how those women felt when their husbands went on to hire new assistants. The song has a wife voicing her suspicion when she sees her husband and his new secretary. 

Here we stand just inches apart, Three not-so-wise guys taking risks with the heart,
You and I – she’s now our third, Gasping at your every word.

Sometimes I see when you’re talking to me, You’re already thinking we’re through…

‘Cause I know all your moves, I know all your moves,
The same ones you’ve always used.

You say no cause for alarm, That there was nothing just your hand brushing her arm,
But I’ve been there and I’ve felt that touch, It tells tales of shared secret stories and such.

Thinking you’re clear, There’s nobody there, And it’s much too hard to refuse…

I know all your moves, I know all your moves,
Where she stands I stood, And I fell for them too.

You’re a grown man, She’s no young girl, But your spinning away in this other world,
Like an amateur play which has actors too old for the parts.

All your nights end up the same, Drunk in a corner playing some stupid game,
We had nights just like that too, I remember everything that we’d do.

You’d get away to get home before daybreak, Take time to walk off the booze…

But I know all your moves, I know all your moves,
Where she stands I stood, They worked on me too.

 

Volcanoes inside rightChimed – A song which began at the piano after I’d spent some time playing Queen’s “Save Me”. It’s such a lovely piece, I really wanted to write something in a similar vein so I began fiddling about and came up with this. Although it sounds nothing like “Save Me” there are a couple of Queen-esque changes in there, and in recording I tried to replicate a certain guitar feel that Brian May achieves on some of the ballads. A last nod to Queen was the lyric in the second chorus – “Sweet Lady” is the title of a track on A Night at the Opera.

It makes no sense to keep waiting, For the water to subside,
With all the weight we’ve been bearing, We’re sure to be caught by the tide.
So how come we’re drowning, When the well has gone dry, It might be time…

To bid bye-bye baby, The church bell has chimed,
So long sweet baby, You know it’s right.

We’ve fifteen summers behind us, And I would give none of them back,
But we’ve the marks to remind us, Of words said which we can’t retract.
BRIDGE

To bid bye-bye baby, The church bell has chimed,
So long sweet lady, You know it’s right.

We can’t go on here, We can’t go on, It’s best to let go dear, We can’t go on.

So how come we’re drowning, When the well has gone dry, It might be time…

To bid bye-bye baby, The church bell has chimed.

Volcanoes inside leftUsed To Wear the Crown – A simple little guitar riff was the starting point for this track, and I think it works quite well acoustically but I love the recording on the album. Adding in the synth arpeggiator helps to drive it along, but what really delighted me was finding the synth voice for the solo. For some reason I thought a sound like the one used for “The Rockford Files” theme tune would be quirky and interesting…and I think it is! 

Ask around, I looked everywhere for you,
I drove all the way to the north coast, And found an empty room,
Nobody had seen you, And nobody much cared,
Seems you worked the usual magic up there.

Like for a king who can’t be found, I turned the whole country upside down,
Just looking for the one, Who used to wear the crown.

We’ve all heard of the glories you have known,
Followed round by wealthy men from Bloemfontein to Monaco,
But new planets are discovered, When old stars burn away,
Time it goes on with its business, Without warning you you’ve had your day.

Like the queen who can’t be found, You’ve brought the whole system crashing down,
While I’m looking for the one, Who used to wear the crown.

All your amateur theatrics, Lost their allure now that you’re growing old.

So you’re back, but now everything has changed,
And the ghosts that you relied on have packed up and gone away,
So now there’s only two of us, and I’m not what I was,
So you know we’ve got to make a change ‘fore everything is lost.

You’re like a queen who can’t be found,
You’ve brought the whole system crashing,
Just like the queen who can’t be found,
We’ve brought the whole system crashing down,
And I’m looking for the one, Searching for the one,
I’m looking for the one, Who used to wear the crown
.

 

Whole Heap thumbA Whole Heap of Trouble – The main chorus line of this came to me when I was walking to the shop, which means I have a recording somewhere of me singing into my phone – loudly enough to be heard above the traffic but not loudly enough to worry passers-by. I immediately thought of it in a live context and thought the recording should have a loose vibe, so this is my attempt to capture an early Elvis feel – complete with a knocked beat on an (old) guitar, a la “All Shook Up”, and a Jordanaires-style backing vocal group (comprising me, Alan R Davison and Martin Philip). 

I’ve got a whole heap,
Whole heap,
I’ve got a whole heap,
Whole…

I’ve got a whole heap of trouble coming down on me, A whole ton of bother,
I’m so tired of taking it,
I’m going to run for cover.

Got a whole heap of trouble falling down on me,
I drank too much, got out of hand, Burned down the old factory,
(Burned it down, Burn, burn, burn)
I’ve got a mountain of grief that’s being laid on me,
I took that girl along, And she got herself grabbed by the police.

CHORUS

I’ve got a whole heap of trouble coming down on me,
A whole ton of bother, I’m so tired of taking this,
I’m going to run for cover..

Don’t Give Up On Me  –  I was really taken with the relaxed feel of the piano intro and verse when I wrote them, but because I didn’t have any strong lyrical idea beyond the first verse I considered ditching it. I kept going back to it though, to eventually finish it off with a lyric which is more of a peek at a situation, a little insight into something rather than a fully fledged story. That probably explains why this is the most instrumental track on the album.

Overlook the things I said, Take off your clothes come back to bed my darling,
I’ll forgive the things you did, The lovers and the cash you hid my darling.

Undone by your demands, We were dragged down by my commands…

When we’ve been sent out, To cool off in the street,
We get back on it,
And when we’re left out, You’re all that I can see,
So don’t give up on me.

I can see that you resent, The way I’ve come to represent you darling,
But don’t forget I’ve fought for you, Defended things I’d never do my darling.

Undone by your demands, Dragged down by my commands…

CHORUS

CHORUS

DK_Volcanoes_Twitterbanner1Battle Lines  – This song was actually written before even LIFT had been recorded, and had been demoed in a fairly full way during sessions for that album. I had loved the feel of the demo but it wasn’t quite there and it was only when I went back to it when recording this album that I managed to capture the feel of the demo to my satisfaction. The track was written on mandolin (the first time I’d done that) and I love the way the melody line is carried by that instrument. This appeared just before the release of VOLCANOES as one of 4 tracks on the WINTERLAND EP. 

The night the fire had broken out, I’d laid down in a stranger’s bed,
About an hour from where I’d planned to, An hour away from where I’d said.

And when they pulled her, Out of the wreckage, I was not there to talk her down.

For all the soldiers lined up beside us, I think these battle lines are full of holes,
And after so long with strong defences, It seems we’ve both now lost control.

When I first met here she was drunk, And therefore not quite at her best,
But she had something which had made me, Follow her when she left.

But when the good days, Have all been gathered, It’s hard to leave and hard to stay.

CHORUS

The night the fight had broken out, I’d found a stranger in my bed,
And as he backed up to the window, Now we are even’s all she said.

Wish I’d been as good, As I’d intended, But we’re both tired and growing old.

CHORUS
Volcanoes – The title track on the album was written way back in about 2005, and although it had made an acoustic appearance on the mini-LP LATE (and featured in live sets from time to time), I really wanted to rearrange it and do a fuller recording. In preparation for this album I cut a verse and put the chorus in earlier, giving it a much tighter feel. I also found an instrumental combination I thought worked, with acoustic guitar carrying it but piano featuring quite prominently alongside bass and drums.  

One more bit seems to be all we’ll fit,
Into what’s left of the time we have together,
Days get dumb and as the weeks drive on,
To a conclusion that’s been a long time coming,
It’s been a long time coming.

Can we take it back, Can we take it back,
Can we find a radio crackling with static,
Offering a way out of the wreckage.

Things we always regarded too small,
To worry of, We now look on as volcanoes,
And planes go down over our little town,
Wearied out of the clouds by the disappointment,
By the disappointment, That we all must face.

Can we take it back, Can we take it back,
Can we find a radio crackling with static,
Offering a way out of the wreckage…

Can we take it back, Can we take it back,
Can we find a radio crackling with static,
Offering the way out of the wreckage.

Still we try harder than I, Thought I
Ever would try to please someone but keep failing,
Yeah I just keep failing…

Where We’re From  – The first verse couplets came to me with the basic verse guitar part, in the way that phrases sometimes do without having any particular meaning. Musically, the verse is quite similar to a track on my first album, Turn Me Round, and because of that I hadn’t really intended to finish it. I found that I couldn’t get the bridge melody out of my head though, and kept singing that part through, so I took that as a sign it should be a complete song. As a bit of a nod to that first album I decided to have a couple of drum loops to drive the thing along.

You can take the stage, You can take the stage,
Make out you’re all the rage, And I will play along.

Go out and perform, Go out and perform,
I’ll be looking on, And give you what you want.

You can’t see the finish and you’re not the only one,
It’s difficult to see how this all ends,
But all the webs we’re weaving here have already been spun,
And all has gone that was there to defend
.

Why don’t you take me on, It’s time to stand up straight
And run this home,
Take me on, You know that we can always go back,
To where we’re from.

You can hold on, You can hold on,
Be difficult and thrawn, And I’ll collect your things.

BRIDGE
CHORUS
BRIDGE

So why don’t you take me on, You can run this home.

Liberty Bell  – Another piano song with a relaxed vibe, and one which even in it’s basic form has a bit of a 1970s, American feel. During the recording I added the clarinet and electric piano to bring out the Joel-esque elements.

Balanced on the edge, And your mouth,
Invites me in, To check you out.

But who’d have thought we’d be here, Staring at this old fear,
Winding up the joke-shop clock.

Step where I’m walking, Grab what I’m holding,
Boy it looks a long way down, down, down,
Repeat what I’m saying, Kneel when I’m praying,
We’ll find the things we’ve never found.

High up on the line, And your hands,
Beckon me across, To where you stand.

Who’d have thought we’d be here, Staring at this old fear,
Winding up the joke-shop clock.

Step where I’m walking, Buy what I’m selling,
Boy it’s been a long way down, down, down,
Repeat what I’m saying, Kneel when I’m praying,
We’ll find the things we’ve never found.

I can make you great again, This can be a beautiful thing, Just climb aboard,
Rest of them be blown to hell, We’re re-branding the Liberty Bell, Just climb aboard.

Step where I’m walking, Grab what I’m holding,
Boy it’s been a long way down, down, down,
Repeat what I’m saying, Kneel when I’m praying,
We’ll find the things we’ve never found.
We’ll find the things we’ve never found,
And then I guess we’ll just throw them out.

Requiem  –  The album’s closing track features the words of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem of the same name set to an original melody. The words for the coda are inscribed on RLS’ tomb in Samoa. I’d always been fond of the poem but it was after visiting The Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh that I decided I’d quite like to compose a piece to go with it (I’d previously done the same for the Robert Burns poem John Hghlandman, although that piece was written for my trad duo, The Sorries). Again I called upon Martin Philip and Alan R Davison to lend their vocal talents to the track.

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me;
Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Where you go I will go, Where you stay I will,
Your people will be mine, and your God my God.

Where you die I will die, There will I be buried,
When you die I will die, There will I be buried,
Where you die I will die, There will I be buried,
When you die I will die, There will I be buried,
Where you die I will die, There will I be buried,
When you die I will die, There will I be buried.

Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

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