The Nearest Door

by Robin Grey

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credits

released 01 October 2011

All words and music by Robin Grey except track 7: words by Robin Grey to a traditional melody; and track 2: words and music by Robin Grey quoting and misquoting 'These Songs Were Begun One Winter' by Brian Patten.

The original poem 'These Songs Were Begun One Winter' can be found in 'Brian Patten's Collected Love Poems' published by Harper Perennial.

(c) & (p) 2011 Robin Grey.

(cc) This record is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, giving you the freedom to copy and share the recordings for any non-commercial purpose.

All rights regarding the commercial usage of the record are reserved and unauthorised commercial replication is strictly prohibited. For more information visit creativecommons.org.

Tracks 5,6,7 & 10 recorded by Jonny Cole at The Mill in Norfolk.
Track 1 recorded by Thomas Heister at Flesh & Bone in Hackney.
Tracks 2 & 9 recorded by Dean Firth at The Hospital.
Others recorded by Robin at Dalston Culture House and The Vortex.

Mixed by Dean Firth and Robin Grey.
Mastered by Dominique Brethes at Flow Mastering.


Robin Grey - vocals, guitars, ukulele, bass, percussion and organetta.

with

Iain Macleod - banjo on tracks 1,5,6 & 10
Amy Bowles - bass on tracks 1,5,6 & 10
Basia Bartz - violin on most tracks
Ben Oliver - piano on tracks 1,5,6 & 10
Joe Allen - drums, percussion and broom on 1,4,5,6,7 & 10
Tori Handsley - harp on tracks 2 & 9
Jane South - accordion, flute, voice on tracks 1,4 & 6
Louisa Jones - accordion and voice on track 3
Ewan Bleach - clarinet on track 3

Cover photo by Lynda Laird

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Track Name: Mariam's Cake
Meadowlark, shouldn't you fly somewhere warmer, my dear?
Let's go outside holding hands.

Meadowlark, you know this is my favourite time of the year.
Let's go outside holding hands.

Enter the day I just arrived so I'll take my time.
Hour by hour we see that there is no hurry,
We just take our time.

Meadowlark, I checked in the book and it's not what it seems.
Let's go outside holding hands.

Hey what's up trees?
Who gave your orders to drop all those leaves?
Well if you must, I suppose.

Ever since the day we fell up to stand down,
There were mice in the aisles dressed in frocks and in gowns.
I won't tell you its likely, you won't tell me the news
So we stand here in the dirt getting puddles in our shoes...
Wondering why.

You count the numbers and I count the cost
But although we're a good team something has been lost
'Cause it's not been the same since the mice moved upstairs,
Dreams of Mariam's cake go down well with sancerre...
Wondering why?
Track Name: These Songs Were Begun One Winter
This song was begun underneath the thumb
Of one who’s thickened by the cold..

Listless, longer, bolder than perhaps he ought to be.
Forgive quiet and then lie down here lengthways on the floor,
Hoping that the blood with flow again,
Hoping that the blood with flow again.

Easily forgot, what was lifted and first felt, an anchor to the blood,
Howling at the moon as the stars are falling fast.
Leaves, Wind, Earth and Rain, we look forward to look back

These songs were begun one winter on a window thick with
Frost her finger drew a map of all possibilities
Track Name: The Hackney Gentrification Song
You know this place it means the world to me.
Knock it down build flats knock it down.
The first place I really felt home in London.
Knock it down build flats knock it down.
Now my life is in bags and my heart’s on my sleeve
Knock it down build flats knock it down.
And there’s so many memories I’d rather not leave.

When I moved here 'The Four Aces' club still stood proud
And 'The Vortex' on Church Street was in with the crowd.
Now 'The George' is up next and my dear studio
And Vogue says that Hackney’s the in place to go.

Tesco’s are popping up like unwelcome weeds
And they just put a pound on the price of a pide.
The places we used to shoot pool: they’re all gone.
Whilst the prostitutes, pimps and drug dealers look on.
Track Name: Stick Or Twist
I can look at this and I can
Reminisce about this and that for a day or two.
If ignorance is bliss and nothing is amiss then I would insist
We get there the easy way

I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it,
I don't want to do it, I don't want to no
But I want to be there, but I want to be there
But I want to be there, but I want to go

I can look at this and I can
Stick or twist regardless of the cards in my hand.
In the light of day it seems that
Man's flying machines will always mark the sky with their lines.

I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it,
I don't want to do it, I don't want to no
But I want to be there, but I want to be there
But I want to be there, but I want to go

I'll see Ru on Tuesday then I'll know
I'll see Ru on Tuesday then I'll know
Track Name: Looking For Distraction
Looking for distraction, close your eyes and count to three.
There’s a gun, a rope, & a candle stick, so please choose carefully.
I’ve got Dylan on my stereo, I’ve got women on my mind.
There's a fire burning in my heart and a pulse racing fast behind.

It’s the break of dawn on Christmas morn
But the clock reads half past three,
The clock it broke down years ago and just spectates silently.
I’ve got lawyers trying to chase me for some money they say I owe,
But I’m broke and sure I’m in the clear
So I’ll tell them where they should go…

I say hey there, you there, look there…
How’s it going to be?
I’d love to know your mind,
Maybe one day we’ll find the time,
Then put the world to rights,
Oh how much fun it would be!

Looking for distraction, turn your head and smile at me.
I’m in danger of being happy now so please speak carefully.
I know now for the first time there’s no distance left to run
Sit back, enjoy the ride, and I'm sure that the rest will just come!

I said hey there, you there, look there…
How’s it going to be?
I’d love to know your mind,
Maybe one day we’ll find the time,
And then put the world to rights,
Oh how much fun it would be;
Running round late at night, naked in the candlelight
But that was just a daydream, and you’re stubbornly fully clothed,
Still I change address every two months now
So perhaps it’s time to go
I think that this year will be different,
I can feel it in the air.

You know it’s a miracle that I made it here at all,
They placed bets I’d die young at school and
I guess I proved them wrong.
You might see me in the street and you might never really know
But some things they are best left unsaid,
They’ll melt in the winter snow.
Track Name: The Freezer Song
Trading names with the wind
Fall to ball in the eyes of a friend
Restless branches, that soon will retire

Uphold these in the light
Draw a penny from the floor to a source of delight with
A cliche my Grandma adores

And I couldn't hope or ask for more

Feather view, welcome find
Stay with stillness, the ticking brings time to attention
Feet falling flat on the floor

And I couldn't hope or ask for more

'Cos you see...
The light, it was just perfect
The freezer was noisy but perfect
The dirt on my jeans it was perfect
When seen through these eyes right now
Track Name: The Ballad Of Hawkwood
There is a fine gent christened Ru Litherland
Mulch, sow and then reap
There is a fine gent christened Ru Litherland
And he has green fingers on both of his hands
I’ll be good to the land and the land will be good to me

With the vicar’s fair daughter he dreamed a bold dream
To grow food for his kinsmen as nature decreed.

By the edge the forest they spied a fine patch
And to grow fruit and veg there a plan they did hatch.

The men of the hour dreamed of buildings not plants
A development would far more there profits enhance.

Our forefathers fought for this fair forest land
So now against the law was the businessman’s plan.

After twelve months had past did the council relent
Now we’ll work the earth as our forefathers meant.

Now if you past by here you may hear a tune:
Mulch, sow and then reap
Now if you past by here you may hear a tune,
The melody is old and the words will be soon.
I’ll be good to the land and the land will be good to me
Track Name: This Ungodly Hour
Somewhere between
The cows and the concrete the asphalt and the sky
That's where I'll be
And if you don't here from me know that I am doing fine.

No what defines me?
Does this skin and bone labour too hard to find all of the dreams
That others forgo for the sake on an easy ride?
Perhaps that's naive
Of them or of me I'm not sure I'm so sure anymore

I used to climb trees, I don't do that anymore
Perhaps that's cos I'm wiser now
Or maybe I'm just scared I might fall

I awoke at half past four again, rolled over in my bed;
What the hell am I doing awake at this ungodly hour?

The moon plays his part why on earth can't i play mine?
Cos you are not here with me at this ungodly hour

So lay me down in a field of heather someplace that's far from here
I miss your warm body darling - I miss it most this time of year

The sun just hurts my eyes! I know that it gives you delight
But you are not here with me awake at this ungodly hour
Track Name: The Permaculture Song
Tell me which colour is blue
Then stand in a line and shout “Idiot, yours truly”
Nothing compares to this feeling of flying
And gravity wants to join in for the ride!

I don’t know which one is true
The fool and the knave they both have intuitions
But foolproof plans which require ten volumes
To explain the subtleties just don’t sound right.

I will determine the last day on earth
And I will determine what Winston was saying
So I can make way for the peach and the pear and the plum
(and you will not fault what I’ve done!)

The concrete must yield to the steel
And some sun could reach me despite of the morning.
Patio living with no remote features
Could be a solution but think of the mice!

I will dig deeper than others will dare
And I will dig deeper regardless of warning
I will make way for the peach and the pear and the plum
(And you will not fault what I’ve done!)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
Track Name: The Nearest Door
I am the only warm body here
Let me alone with my pen,
We want to consider the future

Will there be birds? Will there be bees? Will there be grass?
When all this progress has come to pass.
Will we still call each other James or John?

I am the only one still awake
All of the thinkers are sleeping chained to their waking spells
Tell me one thing, then one thing more
Bow down your head and exit the room via the nearest door
That leads back to the din from this enormous town

Turn out the light and come to bed
I see your head, i hear you heart and they both crave sleep
Will there be peace? Will there be love?
Will there be moments when the sky is freed from these omens
That others leave racing by day and by night
In such a rush to be so far away