Blood Brother (1990)

by Tom Robinson & Jakko Jakszyk

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03:55
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about

Tracks 1-10 originally released as We Never Had It So Good in 1990

Critically-acclaimed collaboration with Dizrhthmia's Jakko Jakszyk featuring his virtuoso guitar work plus drum guru Gavin Harrison behind the kit. On the strength of this album Jakko went on to play guitar for Level 42. This 1997 reissue includes 'Rigging It Up Duncannon' - an outtake from the original album - plus brand new versions of 'Jonestown' and 'The War Is Over', first featured on Castway Club CD Vol 2.

credits

released August 13, 2013

Tom Robinson: vocals
Jakko Jakszyk: guitar, keys, backing vocals
Gavin Harrison: drums, marimba
Colin Baldry: bass

Additional contributions from
Sam Brown: backing vocals (1, 7)
Pandit Dinesh: percussion (2, 5, 7, 9)
Steve Laurie & Ebo Ross: backing vocals (2, 6)
Dave Stewart: keyboards (3)
Danny Thompson: double bass (3)
Winston Blissett: bass (4)
Jakko Jakszyk: flute (4) marimba (5, 6)
Dan Hartman: backing vocals (6, 7)
Hereward Kaye: backing vocals (7)
Tony Jackson & Colin Jakas: backing vocals (6)
Mark Ambler: keyboards (7)
Nick Godfrey: backing vocals (8, 10)
Mark Ramsden: sax (8)
Ed Poole: fretless bass (8)
Lenny Henry: backing vocals (14)

Produced by Jakko Jakszyk and Tom Robinson
Engineered & mixed by Nick Godfrey
Tracks 5 and 10 remixed by Jakko
Recorded at Turbot Studio, Hammersmith
Vocal direction by Tony Heywood

Artwork design by Cactus
Based on an original photo by Gideon Mendel
from the book Positive Lives
With grateful acknowledgement to Network Photographs/Terence Higgins Trust

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about

Tom Robinson London, UK

Tom Robinson (b.1950) is a UK songwriter & broadcaster first known in the 70s as an anti-racist and LGBT campaigner. He released 19 albums between 1975-2001 with various bands and has co-written songs with Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. He's an award-winning presenter at BBC Radio 6 Music, and released Only The Now (his first album in 19 years) in October 2015. ... more

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Track Name: We Never Had It So Good
If there's one thing that makes me mad
And shed an angry tear
It's teen nostalgia TV ads
For chewing gum and beer
They microwave the distant days
When I was just alive
And serve us up the golden age of 1955

Where all the boys have flat-top hair
And all the girls are slim
They're cute and clean with Levi jeans
And muscles from the gym
They rock and roll to get their kicks
And everyone can drive:
There's no-one old or poor or sick in 1955

We never had it so good
We never had it - no we never had it
We never had it so good
We never had it - we never had it at all

Well I remember early nights
And always making do
The Pathe news in black and white
And refugees at school
The whooping cough and polio
The cane to make you cry
With National Service still to go in 1955

We never had it so good
We never had it - no we never had it
We never had it so good
We never had it - we never had it at all

When bubble cars were dream machines
And hair, short back and sides
When sweets were treats and denim jeans

You couldn't steal or buy
American Graffiti, as the servicemen arrived
Was 'Go back home to Hollywood' in 1955
Track Name: Driving Through The Desert
This is the place I got punched in the face
By another boy at school about the age of ten
I was a prissy little kid all smug and self-important
And too goody-goody by half
Having failed as a fighter, I tried to be a lover
In my own small way - don't get me wrong
These are not the days to be screwing around at all
Not if you can help it

Spent six years in an overcrowded manor
For disturbed adolescents, in my fading teens
Haunted by the past and terrified by the future
The old man's words, I hasten to add...

Driving through the desert as the sun beats down
Where would we all have been without him

This is the way we used to go to Wenden's Ambo
To cool off swimming after evensong
The place has hardly changed - only grown a little smaller
And quite a bit smarter since the estate agents came
And over there's the line of the old branch railway
You wouldn't even notice now that the cutting's been filled
I can still hear the railbus shuttle back and forward
But most of all, we miss the river

It was many miles later, just around that corner
That I met the King Pistol - as he used to be then
He said we had to gatecrash down at the Speakeasy
Seeing as neither of us could even stomach the place

Driving through the desert as the sun beats down
Fucking champagne socialists...

Another two hundred kilometers on
And the sun's getting higher in the sky...
I can't remember when we last ate fresh vegetables
Or tasted cold water from a tap
Mirages shimmer in the distance
But I couldn't give a toss about that anymore
Cos we've got enough gasoline to keep us going
Well into the next century

Still, this road carries on, carries on
Must end up somewhere, I suppose
And who needs water when we've got Castlemain XXXX
And a king-size box of rubbers

Driving through the desert as the sun beats down
Driving through the desert as the sun beats down

Look out for that gully -
last thing we need is a busted back axle at a time like this
Driving... we are driving home
Driving... we are driving home
I think this is where I get off
Track Name: Blood Brother
Ben was born in Lincoln County and he grew up in the fens
Teased and bullied by his brothers in a family of ten
Sociable and easygoing - helping out around the home
While his inner life ticked on like an unexploded bomb
Just waiting for his moment

Going shopping with his mother like a whippet on the leash
Always straining at the traces - out of sight and out of reach
And anytime the house was empty he would work out on his own
Disappearing on his bike in the middle of the night
And stealing from the kitchen

Open your eyes...
Open your eyes... here I am
I'm your blood brother

Well he saved up his allowance and he studied like a slave
Worked his passage to Australia to try and make his getaway
I was single when I met him - he was bitter and nineteen
And he so reminded me of someone I used to be
A long long time ago

Open your eyes... I said
Open your eyes... here I am
I'm your blood brother

Now the years have been and vanished and I've lost a lot of friends
I do twenty at the pool then take my kid to school
Since the party had to end;

But at a benefit last Sunday we met again as if by fate
I barely recognised Ben when he grabbed me again
And whispered in my ear:

Open your eyes... he said
Open your eyes... here I am
I am your blood brother
Track Name: What Have I Ever Done To You?
'They're a dismal miserable bunch of fanatics
Pretending to revel in the way they are
A destructive evil menace to society
Lock 'em all away where they can do no harm
There's been too much toleration
Now we're knee deep in them year by year
It may mean the end of civilisation
We'll all catch something from a glass of beer'

What have I ever done to you
You twist everything that I say and do
Half-truths and total lies
You know you're always out to get me
I don't understand and don't deserve
Your vicious whispers and twisted words
Why this hysteria -
You know you've never even met me

'We see these vile insulting animals
Every other night on our TV sets
Big ones, little ones, harridans, harpies
Catamite sluts that couldn't care less
These freaks proclaiming their failings
Corrupt anything and everything they've found
Kids get molested in their minds and bodies
It's high time we stopped pussyfooting around'

What have I ever done to you
You twist everything that I say and do
Half-truths and total lies
You know you're always out to get me
I don't understand and don't deserve
Your vicious whispers and twisted words
Witch hunt hysteria -
You know you've never even met me

'Shut 'em all away on an offshore island
Let's get rid of these repulsive rats
Put them in a pit, pour quicklime over them
Burning's too good for filth like that'

What have I ever done to you
You twist everything that I say and do
Half-truths and total lies
You know you're always out to get me
I don't understand and don't deserve
Your vicious whispers and twisted words
Why this hysteria -
You know you've never even met me

I clean my teeth and brush my hair
And who I love is my own affair
I can't believe it's true
This can't be really what I'm reading...
Track Name: The Baby Rages On
Your twenty years of adulthood
Have left you well and looking good
And fitter than you've ever been before
And though you're more resigned to life
With little children and a wife
It seems to me you've fought a private war

The kids we used to be turned into you and me
With the baby raging on inside
You force yourself to swim and work out at the gym
With the baby raging on
But the iron discipline is only paper thin
And the baby's raging on
The baby's raging on...
Inside

The way you laugh, the things you said
The rueful way you shake your head,
Remind me just how little things have changed
It's always hard to act your age
When choking back a baby's rage
And savage jokes can never ease your pain

I feel like I'm alone with a prisoner, in your home
And the baby's raging on inside
You've done the best you can to impersonate a man
With the baby raging on
But the streak of anarchy's still fighting to be free
And the baby's raging on
The baby's raging on...
Inside

Fascinated by the faces
That we knew when we were young
Distrusted and disgusted
By the strangers we've become
Though I'm laughing as I'm marching
To the sound of my own drum
Never told you - wanna hold you
Like a mothering son...

Our younger days have gone with the winters rolling on
And the baby raging on inside
I'm sad but not ashamed of the people we became
With the baby raging on
But I swear I felt the knife as I kissed your kids and wife
With the baby raging on inside...
I climbed back in the car trying to cover up the scar
With the baby raging on
The baby raging on...
Inside
Track Name: Tomboy
Call me crazy, I don't mind
I'm all shook up but I'm feeling fine
What's been has been, I ain't ashamed
If I had time I'd do it again...
But I've met someone I want so
I need to leave the devil I know
She's a motorcycle rider
I don't know anybody like her
She's a teaser and a fighter
And I've got to get beside her

Tomboy... I want you (I want you so badly)
Tomboy... I want you (I want that Tomboy)

Be my sister, be my brother
Love me like no other lover
She's a demon and a tiger
I don't know anybody like her
She's a teaser and a fighter
And I've got to get beside her

Tomboy... I want you (I want you so badly)
Tomboy... I want you (I want that Tomboy)

Lived all my life with a wandering eye -
Happy to be that way
Never imagined I'd finally find
Here I would stay...

Tomboy... I want you (I want you so badly)
Tomboy... I want you (I want that Tomboy)
Track Name: Kiss And Roll Over
Circling the earth in free rotation
High in the atmosphere
Space walking, space stations
We're all alone out here
Now is the time to kiss and roll over,
Lying awake at night

Above the curve of Mother Earth
Lock into orbit now
Over the oceans and rolling tundra
Pillows of nimbus spread out beneath us
We gravitate...

Won't you come home with me - why should we stay here?
What will become of us - where shall we go?
Who will look after us - when we get older?
Who'll be here when we're gone - how shall we know?
Now is the time to kiss and roll over
Lying awake at night

Meeting up together
In a way we never do on earth (We never meet this way)
Meeting up together
In a way we never do on earth (The way we do in heaven)

Won't you come home with me - why should we stay here?
What will become of us - where shall we go?
Who will look after us - when we get older?
Who'll be here when we're gone - how shall we know?
Now is the time to kiss and roll over
Lying awake at night
Track Name: Hard Cases
I was a fighter no-one could scare away
Hard and fast... hard and fast
Fancied myself as a bit of a tearaway
Hard and fast... hard and fast
The harder the cases, the faster the race is
The harder and faster we fall
As we get older the world becomes stranger
I don't understand any more

Hard and fast... hard and fast

Each time I try to act like a man again
Hard and fast... hard and fast
Finish up busted, back in the can again
Hard and fast... hard and fast
The harder the cases, the faster the race is
The harder and faster we fall
As we get older the world becomes stranger
I don't understand any more

Hard and fast... hard and fast

They use you and bruise you and strain you to breaking
Be glad if you leave here alive
You wish you could run but you're trapped in a corner
And duck as the punches arrive
Hard and fast... hard and fast
The harder the cases, the faster the race is
The harder and faster we fall
As we get older the world becomes stranger
I don't understand any more
Track Name: Can't Stop: Peter's Theme
Every night I'm getting flak
For being lazy, talking back
It's murder keeping up the act
I never live my own life

Fooling people for a while
Charm the bastards with a smile
Wishing I could run a mile
I never live my own life

Behind my back you made the plans you had for me
You're aiming at a future that will never be... cos I'm

Fighting for the right to live the way I like
You've taken everything I ever owned
But nothing you can ever do will hold me
I'm fighting for a life to call my own

Going crazy in my room
Suffocating, in a tomb
Can't say what may happen soon
I've got to live my own life

You try to keep me in your debt
Rob me of my self-respect
And crush me till there's nothing left
I've got to live my own life

Behind my back you made the plans you had for me
Still aiming at a future that will never be... cos I'm

Fighting for the right to live the way I like
I feel like I'm a stranger in your home
But nothing you can ever do will hold me
I'm fighting for a life to call my own

Can't stop... got to keep on
Can't stop... got to keep on
Track Name: My Own Sweet Way
I grew up on the Gaza strip
A pirate and a clown
And no-one in authority
Could ever grind me down

Been upside down and inside out
More cynical than sinning
And if you think you know me well
I'm only just beginning...

Hey, hey... I can't stay
I'm gonna go my own sweet way
Living life from day to day
No matter what you do or say
Hey, hey, hey... my own sweet way

Society has lied to me
I grew up and believed
That men were men and never cry
Or show the way they feel

You filled me up with prejudice
And tried to waste my time
You won't get any more of me
The rest is strictly mine

Hey, hey... I can't stay
I'm gonna go my own sweet way
Living life from day to day
No matter what you do or say
Hey, hey, hey... my own sweet way

I wish I'd seen it all before
I wish I'd wondered how
to smell the rain and see the trees
I'm glad to have it now

And looking back on everything
I've undergone and known
It's funnier than words can say
And way too close to home

Hey, hey... I can't stay
I'm gonna go my own sweet way
Living life from day to day
No matter what you do or say
Hey, hey, hey... my own sweet way
Track Name: Rigging It Up, Duncannon (bonus track)
My name's Duncannon and I used to deal
As a radar rigger on the Forties field
But in my face you'll see the scar
Of the petrodollar and the German car

Oh, no no - Rigging it up Duncannon
Oh, no no - Rigging it up tonight

Worked on a pipeline pumping crude
And lived with the shiftwork, gales and food
But the greatest danger, near or far
Were the boardroom barons with a German car

Oh, no no - Rigging it up Duncannon
Oh, no no - Rigging it up tonight

They'd save on safety maintenance
They were mean and underhand
They'd maximise their bottom lines
In shelter on the land...

It was 0300 on the brig
When the nightmare happened on our sister rig
I can see the fireball in my dreams
As the dot disappeared from the radar screens

Oh, no no - Rigging it up Duncannon
Oh, no no - Rigging it up tonight

They sent for their insurance men
They sent for Red Adair
They sent the rescue services
To the rig that wasn't there...

You whizzkid cowboys of the range
As you make your killing on the Stock Exchange
Remember the men you pressed too far
For the petrodollar and a German car

Oh, no no - Rigging it up Duncannon
Oh, no no - Rigging it up tonight
Track Name: For You The War Is Over (bonus track)
See the shattered man of war
Standing off a foreign shore
Straining under sail and oar
To break off the engagement

Shrouds and rigging on the deck
Mizzen split, her rudder wrecked
Men and timber shot to shreds
Abandoning her station...

For you the war is over
Defeat is no surrender for the brave
We'll meet again in peacetime
It's time to live and fight another day

Aboard a fortress in the flak
A daylight raider limping back
Starboard engine burning black...
Freezing in the ether

Ammunition running low
Another hundred miles to go
A hostile continent below...
Looming up to meet her

For you the war is over
Defeat is no surrender for the brave
We'll meet again in peacetime
It's time to live and fight another day

Tonight I'm trying to fight my way back home to you
I feel as if I'm sinking like a stone
The friendly lights of freedom seem so far away
I feel like I'm a hundred miles from home...

For you the war is over
Defeat is no surrender for the brave
We'll meet again in peacetime
It's time to live and fight another day

The war is almost over
The lights of freedom seem so far away
We'll meet again in peacetime
Just trying to survive another day

The war is over...
The war is over...
Track Name: Jonestown (bonus track)
Sometimes my memories
Lead down this broken road
Alongside all the casualties and losers
And though the details
Barely matter anymore
One night of darkness still pursues us

She wore that face
No-one could penetrate
I smiled that smile
I never could hide

Somewhere in Jonestown
My childhood disappeared
One final showdown
That burned away the years
No-one leaves Jonestown
Unless they leave in tears
Don't go to Jonestown -
It's everything you feared

Someone once told me
What glittered wasn't gold
But I was too enlightened to believe him
I tried to find you
As I stumbled through the night
But couldn't look behind as I was leaving

She'd worn that face
No-one could penetrate
I'd smiled the smile
I never could hide

Somewhere in Jonestown
My childhood disappeared
One final showdown
That burned away the years
No-one leaves Jonestown
Unless they leave in tears
Don't go to Jonestown
It's everything you feared

Hey Joe, get out of the way
Somebody's got a hold on me
Go on, get out of my way
Somebody's got a hold
On me
Track Name: Happy In The Homelands (bonus track)
There is red in the sky tonight
And in the aftermath of morning
Of what is wrong & what is right
Their bravery & courage
Or just platitudes for sin
I'm not sure...
Which country I am in

Did you think they'd last forever
Happy in the homelands
Would you be so righteous if you knew
How it feels to live forever
Happy in the homelands
Who could blame their anger if you do ?

Oh Lord, tell me what to do
With these feelings of frustration
And this déjà vu
If we're all in this together
With our patience wearing thin
Let's all make sure...
Which country we are in

Did you think we'd last forever
Happy in the homelands
Would you be so righteous if you knew
How it feels to live forever
Happy in the homelands
Who could blame our anger if you do ?