Daryl Runswick and Kerry Lee Crabbe

Volume 7: Songs 2009 –  

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The silent quarter century

In 1983, aged 36, I left John Dankworth and Cleo Laine to join the avant garde vocal group Electric Phoenix. In a conscious decision I renounced both jazz and pop songs and devoted myself exclusively to contemporary classical music. Success in this field ensued: my works were widely performed, I was a 'published composer' (and a recorded one) and I became Head of the Composition Faculty at Trinity College of Music in London. Kerry still occasionally sent me lyrics but I never set them, or wished to.

Then in 2002 I got ill with the debilitating disease ME, a watershed in my life (or perhaps evidence of one). As I began to recover, growing my beard, I started feeling the urge

to play jazz again, and to sing our songs. At my 60th birthday concert in 2006 at the Almeida Theatre in London I made my comeback
debut, performing four of them. Then came the One Man Show, with Crabbe-Runswick material once more at the centre of the repertoire.

It could only now be a matter of time before new songs began to emerge. Darker than erstwhile, perhaps... Here are the three we've
penned so far.

 

Big Black Car


 

1

she lit a candle
knelt and prayed
what a sinful scandal
unholy miss moley
godawful mess you made

she loved you dear
she needed your care
so you stole her soul
her breath her hair
well the Devil don't do such bad
hey you up there are you glad?

             well
             rock me in the cradle of the grave
             tell me now who you gonna save
             tell me now who you gonna save?

you wanted her
on your side
ok you won
but the Devil never done
such a mean mucky mad mudslide

             rock me in the cradle of the grave
             tell me now who you gonna save
             tell me now who you gonna save?

2

wait
by the gate
in the garden
where we played
in neverland's
evergreen
everglade

wind chimes
don't mind
till the breeze
shake'em down
then they ring
& they sing
        till they shine
        in the crown
        of the seas

& the deer
on the grass
in the park
were so clear
now their fear
throws a spark
as I wander past

with filigree
& chanterelle
cantaloupe
& carousel
fantasies
bills to pay
        ecstasies
        day by day
        by day

                fire & ice
                grace & glory
                can't happen twice
                end of story

& the next door
saxophone
sobs and soars
down a deaf dumb
           dead numb
telephone

call
& respond
stones in a pond
we got along, that's all
        foolish & fond
        respond
        & call

                falling hair
                morphine booze
                blood on the sheets
                low down blues

canticles
& hymns of praise
now your church chorales
are just cabarets

oh the blood bread & wine
& the deep bass line

3

well hellfire halleluia, Johnny I hardly knew ya
well Lizzie I hardly knew ya, oh Jesus I hardly knew ya
Matthew Mark Luke & John
Peter Paul and that other one
yeah Jesus I hardly knew ya
with your, with your, with you hellfire halleluia

           & the Buddha with his golden cup
           & Mohammed on the mountain top
           & the Seven Wise Virgins
           & John the Revalator
           sing wham bam ma'am see you later alligator

well hellfire halleluia, Johnny I hardly knew ya
well Lizzie I hardly knew ya, oh Jesus I hardly knew ya
Matthew Mark Luke & John
Peter Paul and that other fuckin' one
oh Jesus I hardly knew ya
with your, with your, with your hellfire halleluia

           & I'm singin'
           Jah Jehovah Sutra Surah
           Father Rabbi Imam Mullah
           lookin' straight and hard right through ya
           gonna shoot and shake and sue ya
           do, jew ya, chew ya, screw ya
           with your stone-cold halleluia

with your hellfire halleluia
your stone-cold halleluia
your shiva halleluia
shivvahin' halleluia halleluia
Johnny I hardly knew ya
well Jesus I hardly knew ya
Christ, I hardly knew her...

4

now the big black car
& the boogie men
see the flowers get laid
& the prayers get prayed
& the words get said
& the tears get shed
to the priest's amen
& they burn a star
now the big black car

forgiveness Lord
don't come with time
just an eye for an eye
& the tooth of crime
tearin' all the stars from the sky
cos the preacher man told me a lie

& the big black car
& the boogie men
see the flowers get laid
& the prayers get prayed
& the words get said
& the tears get shed
to the priest's amen
& they burn a star
now the big black car

           father    mother
           sister    brother
           hold my lover's hand
           till the trees don't stand
           & the winter run
           into the summer sun
           & the night
           bow down to the light

& the big black car
& the boogie men
see the flowers get laid
& the prayers get prayed
& the words get said
& the tears get shed
to the priest's amen
& they burn a star
& they burn a star


Composed 2009.
Daryl, vocals, fretless alto bass guitar, Hammond organ,
piano, piccolo bass guitar, sequenced backing.

My Father's Hands

 

My father's hands
Ruffled my hair
Clipped my ear
Held my ma
 
My father's hands
Packed lunches
Clocked in, clocked out
Clenched, unclenched
Drew and dug
Scratched his head
Twisted his wedding ring

        Taught me to box
        Built me a puppet-booth
        Played with cards
        Pontoon, snap
        And bat and ball
        In the old backyards
 
My father's hands
Fought in the war
Refused to stay poor
Fought for more
Jingled change
Rode the range
Kept the score

My father's hands
Mended and made
Trembled and prayed
Mixed paint, cement
Mended, made
 
        Candy floss
        Toffee apples
        Trolley tickets
        Methodist chapels

My father's hands
On Clacton sands
Built me castles
Beat the band


My father's hands
Shook at sin
Emptied the bin
Kith and kin
Brought the coal in
Lose or win
Take it on the chin

        Grew liver spots
        Twanged rubber bands
        Grew old
        Went pale and cold
        And still at last
        Held on, held on

I stood and touched
It's over
Sheet folded
Father's hands
 
Stood
Touched
White
Folded
Over
Father's folded hands.


Composed 2009.
Daryl, vocals, fretless alto bass guitar,
harmonica, hi-hat sample.

 

People Stay In Rooms

 

people stay in rooms
it isn't safe outside
no time to cut and run
no place to run and hide

babe stay in the womb
your amniotic tide
man get in the tomb
that old formaldehyde


             it's ugly in the streets
             & crazy in the bars
             you're warm between the sheets
             & lost beneath the stars
             the squad cars crouch and slow
             the cops are getting high
             the odds are running low
             & choppers cut the sky
             the army's revving trucks
             & circling their tanks
             they call the people fucks
                      and they are not
                      firing blanks

the dogs are on the prowl
they're running scared in packs
they bite their balls and howl
and they don't know the facts


the leaders in their lairs
take secretaries down
there's bleeders in the squares
& drunkards in the pound


             & drunkards in the pound
             & rumours flying round
             as darkness shrouds the town
             & curfews kill the sound
             the temperature is up
             the traffic lights are down
             the cops are in their cups
             the smoke is burning brown
             the kids've all grown old
             they won't get home tonight
             they're off their skulls on speed
                      their crystal meth
                      is shining bright


the speakers spit & spark
from steel transmission towers
& crackle cross the park
every hour, on the hour

(saying)

PEOPLE STAY IN ROOMS
IT ISN'T SAFE OUTSIDE
NO TIME TO CUT AND RUN
NO PLACE TO RUN AND HIDE


Composed 2010.
Daryl, vocals, piccolo bass guitar, sequenced backing.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sequenced at Coiano, Italy (Big Black Car)
and The DReam Room, London (all tracks) 2009-2011.
Live recordings and mixing at The DReam Room, 2010-11.

 

All these compositions and recordings
are covered by copyright.