War Baby: Hope And Glory [1984]

by Tom Robinson

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03:50
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about

This album - first released in 1984 as "Hope And Glory" - was a Top 40 hit in Europe, but despite glowing reviews its North American release on Geffen proved a non-starter. First, the original Vietnam-inspired cover was suppressed, then the album itself inexplicably pulled from the shops six weeks after release, and Tom was dropped from the label. This re-release of the album as "War Baby: Hope And Glory" is the first time it has been available on CD anywhere in the world.

War Baby, with its cryptic, elliptical lyrics, could have been written in 1974, 1984, 1994, or just about any time. It's one of those magical songs which seems to sit like an anchor while times and styles just flow around it - and hearing it still gives me shivers. As to what it's actually about, Tom Robinson himself couldn't tell you - he just wrote what "sounded right."

I too grew up living in the tail end of the cold war and find much of War Baby is recognisable and familiar in its cold war themes and allusions. Those references also take on additional, deeply personal meanings - mistrust of one's partners and allies (and also oneself), weakness, vulnerability, fear of truth, of the future, of the present... The song is very human, very frail, and very honest - even without a specific meaning or recognisable storyline. Tom Robinson may not have human behaviour figured out any better than the rest of us - but he does know how to put words to that little voice inside our heads.

Many of the songs on this album will be familiar to longstanding Tom Robinson fans - though not necessarily in this form. Some are brought into vivid focus here by the remarkable arrangments - others seem to hide, only to be "rediscovered" at another time, in another form. The 1992 solo album "Living In A Boom Time" for instance featured more recent, acoustic recordings of several of these songs.

Seven bonus tracks have been added to the ten which made up the original album. There's the 1985 single of "Prison" produced by David Motion, plus various contemporary 'B' sides and out-takes. Outstanding among these is the alternate recording of "War Baby". Lost for years after the original 12" single was deleted, this version displays an even more haunting quality than the single we've grown to love. To slow down the tempo and strip away much of the instrumentation was a bold move - and the effect is stunning.

It's a delight to restore Hope and Glory to my collection. The distinctive sound of this album somehow defines a moment in time, and yet - like all great pop recordings - remains utterly timeless.

Adam PW Smith
New York City
October 1997

credits

released 31 January 2013

All tracks written by Tom Robinson and published by Notting Hill Music Ltd except:
3) written by Walter Becker / Donald Fagen, published MCA Music
6), 18) written by Tom Robinson / Mark Ramsden, published by Notting Hill Music Ltd
7) written by Peter Gabriel/Tom Robinson, published by Real World Music and Notting Hill Music Ltd

Sleeve by Rob O'Connor at Stylo Rouge
Photograph of TR by Paul Cox
Other photgraphic material provided by Nick Yates, Popperfoto and Colorific

Special thanks to David Massey, Gary Farrow, Paul Charles, Paul Williams and Anna Turner, Nick Stewart, Carol Childs, Mark Dean, Shamsi Ahmed, Paul Rodwell, Colin Bell, Hiro Arai, Arun Chakraverty, Amin Saleh, John Libson, Robert Allen, Judy Totton, Suzi Gibbon, Peter Powell, Dave Atkey, Tom Ryan, Vicky/Pete/Simon and everyone at Power Plant.

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Track Name: Murder At The End Of The Day
Give me all of your money and I won't kill you
Sound like a straight-up, fair enough deal to me
I want your cash card, watch, your wallet and car keys
My trigger's getting itchy - gotta empty my magazine

You've got a way... a way with words
You've got a way with ladies, baby
You've got a way... to get rich quick
But you'll never get away with murder -
And it's murder at the end of the day
And you'll never get away with it

Give me all of your money - maybe I won't kill you
But you'd better not hold anything back from me
I want your wallet and I won't take no for an answer
My trigger's getting itchy just to empty my magazine

You've got a way... a way with words
You've got a way with ladies, baby
You've got a way... to get rich quick
But you'll never get away with murder -
And it's murder at the end of the day
And you'll never get away with it

All at sea... all at sea
Out at sea, Steve and me
In the wreckage of a lifeboat
Wreckage of a burnt-out lifeboat...
We were washed ashore in the dawn of a Monday morning
Got back to the flat, it was shattered
And black with the roof stowed in
Look out, Lusaka and London
There's a hurricane blowing tonight
Highball and firewater rising
Gonna see this beauty
Shoot

Give me all of your loving and I won't kill you
But you'd better not hold anything back from me
I want your body and I won't take no for an answer
My trigger's getting itchy - gotta empty my magazine

You've got a way... a way with words
You've got a way with ladies, baby
You've got a way... to get rich quick
You'll never get away with murder -
And it's murder....

You've got a way... a way with words
You've got your ways with ladies, baby
You've got a way... to get rich quick
But you'll never get away with murder -
And it's murder at the end of the day
And you'll never get away with it
Just murder at the end of the day
And you'll never get-a, never get-a
Never get away with it
Track Name: Prison
Chained to the table, stuck in a rut
Drinking tea with sugar in a plastic cup
I know every brick in the wall outside
Never been so bored in all of my life

I'm sitting in a prison
D-d-down in a dungeon
That's what I am

I listen to the rattle of the railway track
Wanna leave this place and never come back
I'm sat here looking at the fire escape
I just can't wait till visiting day (on a Friday night)

Just sitting in a prison
D-d-down in a dungeon
Sitting in prison
D-d-down in a dungeon

I know this prison like the back of my hand
How can I make you understand
There's bars on the window, neon light
Electric fencing, dogs outside
I'm sat here watching you talk to me
Through a plate glass window you can't see
I wanna come out and make love to you
Oh but I've got another ten years to do

Sitting in a prison
D-d-down in a dungeon - that's what I am
Sitting in prison
Down in a dungeon
Track Name: Ricky Don't Lose That Number
We hear you're leaving, that's OK
I thought our little wild time had just begun
I guess you've kinda scared yourself, you've turned & run
But if you have a change of heart...

CHO: Ricky don't lose that number
You don't wanna call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Ricky don't lose that number
It's the only one you'll want
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home
(Home home, when you get home)

I've got a friend in town, he's heard your name
We could go out riding on the Slowhand Road
Or we could stay inside and play games, I don't know...
And you could have a change of heart

CHO: Ricky don't lose that number
You don't wanna call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Ricky don't lose that number
It's the only one you'll want
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home
(Home home, when you get home)

I can tell you all I know
The where to go, the what to do
And you can try to run but you can't hide
From what's inside of you...

You tell yourself you're not my kind
But you don't even know your mind
And you could have a change of heart...

CHO: Ricky don't lose that number
You don't wanna call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Ricky don't lose that number
It's the only one you'll want
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home
(Home home, when you get home)
Track Name: Looking For A Bonfire
Been collecting pennies
In a hat and a mask
On a cold November evening
Before the fireworks start
Woodsmoke drifting into the trees
Crackle of bracken and burning leaves
At the height of the season
I'm looking for bonfire

See the smoke and cinders fly
Feel as if I'm on fire
Just another jealous guy
Looking for a bonfire

Well we found our matches
And we started a spark
Now we're touching the paper
And standing back in the dark
Hot potato - better for some
But I've burned my fingers
And bitten my tongue
I can never remember...
I'm looking for a bonfire

See the smoke and cinders fly
Feel as if I'm on fire
Just another jealous guy
Looking for a bonfire

Ooh - I don't want to turn away
We've been on the wheel
Now we're watching it burn away
Burn away...

See the smoke and cinders fly
Feel as if I'm on fire
Just another jealous guy
Looking for a bonfire
Track Name: Old Friend
These will be the days
That we'll remember in days to come
The years slipped by so quickly
Now we're none of us so young
I'm frightened by emotions
Too wild for my control
Sometimes I've tried to hurt you
And at times I hurt us both
I cry out loud thinking back about
How I've been so blind and dumb
And I'm still shaken by your grace and innocence
After all we've been and done

But if I should dream, it'd be of you
Of you old friend, woa yeah
No one I know has the power to move me
The way you move me
Oh and you do...

Loving you has never been easy
Oh but maybe I've been trying too hard
Cos at last I can start to see you
As you really, really are
You walk ahead with a spring in your step
And a twinkle in your eye
I'm so weary and I'm aching all over
But I finally feel alive

If I should dream, it'll be of you
Of you old friend, oh yeah
No one I know has the power to move me
The way you move me
And you do...

Loving you has never been easy
And I never thought I'd get this far
But at last I can start to see you
And to know you as you really are
I'm a bit of a cynic and too long in the tooth
To try and overstate the case
But I don't want to embarass us both tonight
By saying this to your face

But if I should dream, it'd be of you
Of you old friend, oh yeah
You're the one I know with the power to move me
Move me - the way you move me
And you do...

Think I'd better go
Think I'd better go now
Somehow I think I'd better go now
Think I'd better go
Think I'd better go now
Old friend, I think I'd better go now
Track Name: War Baby
Only the very young and the very beautiful can be so aloof
Hanging out with the boys, all swagger and poise
I don't even care what other people are there
I just stare and stare and stare

I see your shadow in the swimming pool
I see your face in the shaving mirror
Time and time and time again
I follow your footsteps so quietly up the backstairs
And I hope and I pray you ain't never going to find me there

Smooth skin and tenderness long ago on a dark night
Wish I could see you once again just to remember it was true
I wanna be still beside you - quiet and still beside you
Listening to your breathing and feeling your warmth again

War Baby - you were a
War Baby - this means
War Baby - I'm scared, so scared
Of whatever it is you keep putting me through

I don't think I could stand another ten years of this fighting
All this stabbing and wounding - only getting my own back
I don't wanna batter you to your feet and knees and elbows
When I'm kneeling by the candle at the foot of my own bed

Corresponding disasters every night on the TV
Sickening reality keep gripping me in its guts
All my friends talk and joke and laugh about Armageddon
But like a nightmare it's still waiting there
At the end of each and every day

War Baby - you were a
War Baby - this means
War Baby - I'm scared, so scared
Whatever it is you keep putting me through

I don't think I could stand another ten years of this fighting
All this stabbing and wounding - only getting my own back
But later that same evening we were out in the car talking
I suddenly wondered who the hell it was we were trying to fool

Cos you were the first one I ever wanted
And it's you I come home to at the end of every day
Like a mother-sucking baby, demanding and so helpless
A little old balding man, all wrinkles and bulging eyes

War Baby
War Baby - this means
War Baby - I'm scared, so scared
Whatever it is you keep putting me through
You were a War Baby
Talking 'bout the Third World War, baby
War Baby - so scared
Track Name: Atmospherics: Listen To The Radio
Leave the bureau in the snow
Catch a tram to Onkel Poe
Early evening ring around the moon
Slip in by the concierge
By the bikes and up the stairs
Snap the latch and creep into the room

Throw off your coat, pick up the post
And put a coffee on
Lie down on the bed, lay back your head
Smoke a cigarette

And listen to the radio...
Listen to the radio

In the city late tonight
Double feature, black and white
'Bitter Tears' and 'Taxi to the Klo'
Find a bar, avoid a fight
Show your papers, be polite
Walking home with nowhere else to go

You throw off your coat, pick up my note
Put another coffee on
Lie down on the bed, lay back your head
Smoke another cigarette

And listen to the radio...
Listen to the radio

Atmospherics after dark
Noise and voices from the past
Across the dial from Moscow to Cologne:
Interference in the night
Thousand miles on either side
Stations fading into the unknown...

So throw off your coat, butter some toast
Put another coffee on
We'll lie down on the bed, lay back our heads
Smoke another cigarette

And listen to the radio...
Listen to the radio
We'll listen to the radio...
Listen to the radio
All night long...
Track Name: Cabin Boy
I wanna go to 'Frisco bay
Drink my liquor and spend my pay
Sling my hammock and hoist the boat
Knuckle under and learn the ropes
Action stations, all correct
Trim the rigging and swab the deck
Hard to starboard - man ahoy
I wanna be your cabin boy
All night... all night
All night long

Cabin boy work night and day
Cabin boy goes all the way
Man the capstan, work the pump
Cook and carry and fetch and hump
Set the sextant, strip the guns
Wanna bite the biscuit, beat the drums
Do the hornpipe - jump for joy
I wanna be your cabin boy
All night... all night
All night long

I wanna be your cabin boy all night
I wanna be your cabin boy all night
All night long...

Set the sextant, strip the guns
Wanna bite the biscuit, beat the drums
Do the duties I enjoy
I wanna be your cabin boy all night
(I wanna be your cabin boy)
(I wanna be your cabin boy)
Yeah - yeah

I wanna be your cabin boy all night
I wanna be your cabin boy all night
All night.
Track Name: Blond And Blue
Well you know how the last seven years
Haven't been all that easy
Times I'd feel so weak
Cos I can't seem to speak
When I'm angry
All those things that they say
When they stand in your way
Just seemed to eat me up deep down inside
Well they force you to crawl till you make it
And then they all want to own you

Blond and blue... you fight like a tiger
Blond and blue... you'd better come home

All that smiling and lies
All that long-swallowed pride
Used to make me choke up
All those high-flying friends
Keeping up with the trends
They couldn't wait to get the blade in
For your own peace of mind
Try and give me some sign
And show me you still want me
After so many years can you take it
Now it's here for the asking?

Blond and blue... you fight like a tiger
Blond and blue... you'd better come home

So for both of our sakes won't you give me a break
So I can prove that I won't use you
When you're so terrified
I can't stand to stand by yet again.

You're blond and blue... you fight like a tiger
Said, blond and blue... you'd better come home
Track Name: Hope And Glory
One destiny in store for us
Our day will surely come
No nation more victorious
Our islands in the Sun

Some hope, some glory
Some future before me
Some day before the glory fades away
The glory fades away

Yellow skies in strange formation
Warm wind and blinding rain
High seas and strange contagion
Our nation great again

Some hope, some glory
Some chance, some story
Some hope before the glory fades away
The glory fades away
We fade, fade away
The glory fades away

Our boys so brave and glorious
Our fathers' will be done
Our lady pray for all of us
Amen in kingdom come

Some hope, some glory
Some faith, some dawning
Some days of hope...
Before the glory fades away
The glory fades away
We fade, fade away
The glory fades away

Fire on the hillside
Smoke on the waterfront
Wreckage in the harbour
Rats in the basement
Track Name: Back In The Old Country
Had dinner with a softcore pornographer
At a mansion in Earls Court
He wore a dressing gown and a short fat beard
He showed me pictures of balding cowboys
And a chicken with false teeth
All those horseflesh hustlers stood around looking weird

I met a Sid Vicious lookalike and he was six foot four
Had spikes on his dog collar made of solder
He wore a dirty old gaberdine mac and a ring with a rat
He was 17 but he looked about ten years older... that was

Back in the old country, back in the old country
Back in the old country, back in the old country

10am one Sunday, Herman hadn't been near a bed
And he was knocking back rum and tea just to keep awake
He had a black string tie and a gleam in his eye
He look so wired and wicked it made my day

Headed up to Edinburgh on the Great North Road
In a lefthand German Rabbit with no brakes
We took a two-room tenement flat but we soon got rid of that
When it was our turn to wash the common
And pay the rates... it was

Back in the old country, back in the old country
Back in the old country, back in the old country

10am one Sunday, Herman hadn't been near a bed
And he was knocking back rum and tea just to keep awake
He had a black string tie and a gleam in his eye
He look so wired and wicked it made my day

Back in the old country, back in the old country
Back in the old country, back in the old country

Flooded drains on a hot dark night in Kreuzberg
Taxis splashing by in the neon light
We got halfway across the red and white concrete blocks
When a telephone rang
And the major said 'Tut mir leid'... wish I was

Back in the old country, back in the old country
Back in the old country, back in the old country
Track Name: Hell Yes
(instrumental)
Track Name: Begging You Baby
Well the way he treats you
Makes you feel so small
I've seen him cheat you
And try to make you crawl
I've had to watch him hurt you
With the things he says
I see you standing stranded
When he goes away

I'm beg - beg - begging you baby
Come over to my side
Forget - get - get about everything
He's putting you through

I hate to see you running
Each time he calls
Hate to see him beat you
Everytime you brawl
Why don't you leave him - oh yeah
Come over to me
You'll be warm and welcome
And that's a guarantee

I'm beg - beg - begging you baby
Come over to my side
Forget - get - get about everything
He's putting you through

Why don't you leave him - oh yeah
Come on over to me
You'll be warm and welcome
And that's a guarantee

I'm beg - beg - begging you baby
Come on over to my side
Forget - get - get about everything
He's putting you through
Track Name: More Lives Than One
Day after day I've been living in dread
Cheating at work and lying in bed
There's no hard feelings, just a little regret
I could have been lying in your arms instead
I'm glad that I married and I love my kids
I wish I'd never met you, but I'm glad that I did
So I'm sitting in the middle
Trying to fit in more lives than one

Day after day I've been slipping away
Playing the games I don't wanna play
Sooner or later there's a reckoning day
I'm so, so sorry - but what can I say ?
I feel like a heel but I can't decide
Between the life I always wanted
And the loving that I like
It's a bitter situation overtaking
More lives than one
It's a bitter situation
And it's taken more lives than one
Track Name: Blond And Blue (Alternative Version)
Well you know how the last seven years
Haven't been all that easy
Sometimes I'd feel so weak
Cos I can't seem to speak
When I'm angry
All those things that they say
When they stand in your way
Just seemed to eat me up deep down inside
Well they force you to crawl - and when you make it
Then they all want to own you

Blond and blue - you fight like a tiger
You're blond and blue - you'd better come home

All that smiling and lies, all that long swallowed pride
Used to make me choke up
All those high-flying friends keeping up with the trends
That couldn't wait to get the blade in
For your own peace of mind
Try and give me some sign
And show me you still want me
After so many years can you take it
Now it's here for the asking?

Blond and blue - you fight like a tiger
You're blond and blue - you'd better come home

So for both of our sakes
Won't you give me a break
So I can prove that I won't use you
When you're so terrified
I can't stand to stand by yet again

Blond and blue - you fight like a tiger
Blond and blue - you'd better come home
Track Name: Prison (1985 Single Version)
Chained to the table, stuck in a rut
Drinking tea with sugar in a plastic cup
I know every brick in the wall outside
Never been so bored in all of my life

Been sitting in prison
D-d-down in a dungeon

I listen to the rattle of the railway track
Wanna leave this place and never come back
I'm sat here looking at the fire escape
And I just can't wait till visiting day (on a Friday night)

I'm Sitting in prison
D-d-down in a dungeon
Sitting in prison
D-d-down in a dungeon

Pigeon on the window (doing my time)
Little old lady in the park outside
Watching the clock (doing my time)
Every hour of the day and night

I know this prison like the back of my hand
How can I make you understand
There's bars on the window, neon light
Electric fencing, dogs outside
I'm sat here watching you talk to me
(so long)
Through a plate glass window you can't see
(it's been so long)
I wanna come out and make love to you
(so long)
But I've got another ten years to do
(ten long years)

Just sitting in prison
Down in a dungeon
I'm sitting in prison
Down in a dungeon

Just sitting in prison...

I've gotta get out, gotta get out
Gotta get out of here
I've gotta get out, gotta get out
Gotta get out
Sitting in a prison
Track Name: Looking For A Bonfire (Alternative Version)
Been collecting pennies
In a hat and a mask
On a cold November evening
Before the fireworks start
Woodsmoke drifting into the trees
Crackle of bracken and burning leaves
At the height of the season
I'm looking for bonfire

See the smoke and cinders fly
Feel as if I'm on fire
Just another jealous guy
Looking for a bonfire

Well we found our matches
And we started a spark
Now we're touching the paper
And standing back in the dark
Hot potato - better for some
But I've burned my fingers
And bitten my tongue
I can never remember...
I'm looking for a bonfire

See the smoke and cinders fly
Feel as if I'm on fire
Just another jealous guy
Looking for a bonfire

Ooh - I don't want to turn away
We've been on the wheel
Now we're watching it burn away

See the smoke and cinders fly
Feel as if I'm on fire
Just another jealous guy
Looking for a bonfire
Bonfire...
Track Name: War Baby (12" Single Version)
Only the very young and the very beautiful can be so aloof
Hanging out with the boys, all swagger and poise
I don't even care what other people are there
I just stare and stare and stare

I see your shadow in the swimming pool
I see your face in the shaving mirror
Time and time and time again
I follow your footsteps so quietly up the backstairs
And I hope and I pray you ain't never going to find me there

Smooth skin and tenderness long ago on a dark night
Wish I could see you once again just to remember that it was true
I want to be still beside you - quiet and still beside you
Listening to your breathing and feeling your warmth again

War baby
War baby - this means
War baby - I'm scared, so scared
Whatever it is you keep putting me through

Sounds like somebody's out there in the night
Might just be the voice of someone I once knew
Hear me father and mother if I should cry out loud
When I'm kneeling like a candle at the foot of my own bed

Corresponding disasters every night on the TV
Sickening reality keep gripping me in its guts
All my friends all talk and joke and laugh about Armageddon
But like a nightmare it's still waiting there
At the end of each and every day...

War baby - you were a
War baby - this means
War baby - I'm scared, so scared
Whatever it is you keep putting me through
You were a war baby
War baby -
Don't wanna live in another world war, baby
So scared...
Whatever it is you keep putting me through


I don't think I could stand another ten years of this fighting
All this stabbing and wounding - only getting my own back
Cos if it's really true then we're all in this together
Something's bound to give soon
And it sure as hell isn't gonna be me

Co you were the first one I ever wanted
And it's you I come home to at the end of every day
Like a mother-sucking baby, so demanding and helpless
Like a little old balding man, all wrinkles and bulging eyes

War baby - you were a
War baby - this means
War baby - I'm scared, so scared
Whatever it is you keep putting me through...

So here we all are in the Kino der Jugend
On a cold dark Friday night
Forgotten by the world outside
Out in the houses people finish their dinner and watch TV
Get ready for bed and dream about the weekend
You and me we're so, so alone
In the middle of a crowded room...