40 Years of Song
The genesis of this collection was that although I have a lot of songs I’m proud of having written, there are very few recordings that do them justice. I had nine or ten newly completed versions which although an
improvement on the originals, could never, given my primitive eight track equipment, reach the standard I heard in my head. The tracks I liked best were the ones that were the most stripped down. So, I decided to go with that approach, back to where I started
with just an acoustic guitar (ukulele on one track here, and Acapella harmony on another) and an iffy voice. Plus, I’ve always been an advocate of the school of thought that if a song sounds good with a single instrument and a voice, with no thrills
attached, then it is indeed a good song.
1) Welcome to the Childhood Never End
Originally written in 2016, this is song about the joys of childhood and the even greater joys of never quite growing
up from it. It’s become a bit of a theme song, the opening number in my rare live performances.
2) Now I See Me
My output between my first songs back in 1979 and the prolific period that
began in 2002, was sporadic at best. This was written in the mid ‘90’s, the playing influenced by a hippy I met in an alcoholism treatment centre, and the words, which were written in Gorton Cemetery in Mancheste, heavily influenced by Syd Barrett’s
3) Trevor’s Dad
When I was six, my then best friend Trevor’s dad committed suicide. Such things stick in the mind, but it took nearly five decades to
turn it into a jaunty pop song. My friend Terry with whom I ran the learning disabilities music group at the day centre I worked at until recently really rated this one, and as he is a fine musician I took that as high praise. Also from 2016.
Gardening in the Dark
Written earlier this year for my Family Matters album. Essentially it’s a song about how unwise it is combine gardening on an allotment with snorting powerful stimulants.
I had an enjoyable week long trip to the Island of Iona a couple of years back. When I found out that the water around the island was called the ‘Sound of Iona’ I knew there had to be a song there. The
sad story of four men dying whilst rowing to a party on a neighbourhood island back in the ‘90’s provided me with my subject. The aforementioned Terry wrote the original tune, so this is rightfully a Broughton-Green composition.
My prolific writing period began in 2002 with a batch of songs about my turbulent relationship with the woman who would later become ‘Angela’ in my novel ‘The Angela Suite’. A simple Country-Blues
but I like it.
7) Sometimes Sexual Chemistry
Written in 2016 about a dysfunctional relationship between two friens of mine from the late eighties to the mid-nineties. We’ll call them Heather
and Richard, because that was their names. Countryish with tongue in cheek lyrics.
8) Antwan Moonbeam Lives!
In the mid seventies, me, my friend Neil (rip) and his sister (and my first sort
of girlfriend) Elaine, gave ourselves fake pop star names. Antwan Moonbeam was mine, based on a combination of the French version of ‘Anthony’ and the fashion for Glam Rock names like ‘Glitter’ and ‘Stardust’. It’s
another song about the survival of the inner child into middle age.
Written in 1979 and my first proper song. I can still remember showing it to my sporadic best friend and musical
collaborator Michael Anderson in his bedroom of the time. I’d dabbled in songwriting before, but this was the first with a settled lyric and chord structure. It’s basically a sixteen tear old white boy who hasn’t really listened to much blues
idea of what a blues song should sound like. But I still love it, and this shortened version needs to be here for the sake of completion.
Written for my 1984 Roctober One collaboration with Mike. I’m still proud of it, and this version worked out well. It should probably always have been an acoustic guitar/vocal song, despite the erratic charms
of the Roctober version.
11) Liverpool ‘84
Written in 2015 for what was
to be a never to be completed Roctober Two album with Mike. A catchy, tongue in cheek account of our trip to Liverpool to see all of the Beatles haunts and do a bit of busking back in 1984, a trip that took place against the backdrop of the Miner’s Strike
and the struggle of Liverpool City Council. ‘Derek had his Hat On/Thatcher ruled supreme.’
My relationship with Mike has at times been fraught since its beginnings at Hereford Comprehensive school, Grimsby in the mid-seventies. But outside of my family he’s still the most important person
in my life-history. This is about the twenty four years when we didn’t communicate at all, between 1989 and 2013, and the impossibility of working together again musically after the friendship was reestablished.
Mike is Dead (Part Two)
The original was written back in 2016, and this update concludes the five song mini rock opera Michael Anderson section of the album.
Circa 2004, chordally interesting (I learnt Minor 9th’s from Lennon’s playing on the White Album), and one of my Buddhistic ‘Be grateful for what you have!’ type lyrucs.
December 11th 1993
This was the date my dad died, and I wrote this poem about it for a creative writing class in the mid-‘90’s. I put the finger-picked guitar accompaniment to it two decades later, and
for added authenticity played my dad’s old harmonica in the background.
16) Home Movies
About my dad’s old Super 8 silent cine films, now preserved for prosperity on Youtube. Written in 2016.
Onion Man was a little metal man I had from childhood through adulthood. I gather it had once struck the chimes on my Maternal Grandfather’s Clock. I threw him (Onion Man, not my Maternal Grandfather) into the
Humber whilst walking across the bridge with wife and children in 2015. It was a sort of good luck ceremony conducted during a brief flirtation with Chaos Magic. Sang Acapella here with dodgy harmonies.
Airships in the Sky
This ukulele song, together with the next two tracks, was written in 2016 during another brief flirtation, this one with the Steampunk musical/literary/fashion genre. It’s basically about those Victorian
days when whole neighborhoods used to go on holiday to the seaside together. Elements of that survived into my own childhood, with the regular street outings from Grimsby to Skegness and the like.
The Coming of the Railway
About how the arrival of the new fangled railway to remote English villages would change lives forever. It’s also about my own ambivalence towards technological advance.
True Gibson and the Spanish Dimension.
When I was researching my Family Tree I discovered a Great-Great Grandmother of Spanish heritage. It turned out to have been a false lead, she must have been nothing more than a family friend or
just someone my ancestors dragged in off the street to act as a witness at a shotgun family wedding. Still, I liked the name and the idea of this elegant Spanish lady strolling through the gaslight streets of nineteenth century Grimsby seemed a strong basis
for a song. More Lennonesque Minor 9th’s for all you musos out there.
21) New Millennium.
This is about the year I spent at the dawn of the millennium filling in heavy none drinking time whilst getting sober, starting with watching the flashing, blaring festivities from the window of my high rise flat in Gorton. Written in 2016.
A tongue in cheek look at the relationship between the creative artist and the generally female subject of his artistic endeavours: ‘Oh, a woman’s proper use/is as an artists Muse.’ Also from 2016.
23) Lady Glasses
Me and the aforementioned Terry wrote this at work sitting around
with some of the day centre service users throwing in lines. It is in fact a song about a song about life at the day centre. Properly it should be credited to the Friday Singers, the name of our learning disabilities Music Group. This is my solo version. Many
of the lyrics (like ‘Lady Glasses’) refer to little catch phrases the service users used to say. I felt it was too good to leave as a neglected novelty. It deserves its place in the Sun.
Single in Cuba 1996, ‘With Omaida Avilles on a hot Havana Night’, deep sigh of contented remembrance. The song was written two decades later.
Written this year about my late nephew Dean. I prefer this gentle, stripped down version to the one I originally put out on Family Matters.
Bus Long Gone
Written in 2015 about an old Militant comrade I used to know, who is basically doing and saying the same things he did and said fifty years ago. I mean, I’m still out there politicking, but at least my ideology
has evolved somewhat. It’s a jaunty Small Faces type tune anyway, with an especially written new middle eight.
Last Words Are For Fools Who Haven’t Said Enough
An edited version of the best track on my political songs collection, Party Songs from 2018. About the death of Karl Marx.