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Living In A Boom Time [1992]

by Tom Robinson

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1.
Intro 00:58
A word or two I'll sing to you On why I'm here alone I came to play for you today My band are safe at home A solo thing I've come to sing It may have been unwise Cos I'm a heavy metal bigoted rock and roller In disguise I hate traditional harmonies And men with beards and pipes I hate the feel of an eightsome reel And smoky cellars at night Steeleye Span I cannot stand But Christy Moore's alright Cos he's a heavy metal bigoted rock and roller In disguise
2.
Whatever happened to the old brigade The hopes we had and the plans we made Days and nights we spent together Now those days are gone forever Martin studied and he made the grade Emigrated to the USA Now he's working for Edison Con On a research project, making a bomb Ben's been selling retirement homes Pinstripe whistle and a cellnet phone Ripping off pensioners don't look good If he didn't do it some other guy would Pad those shoulders, swing those hips Don't get angry, read my lips... we've all got New opportunities... knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities... Let's forget about the gloom time... these are your New opportunities... knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities... Let's forget about the doom time (soon time) Margo's happy with her cats and dogs Given up people as a total loss Says dumb animals got no choice Firebombs laboratories to give 'em a voice Dave just privatised his council flat Home owner, drop of a hat Interest went up, he couldn't pay Big corporation gonna take it away Shrug those shoulders, let's get hip Don't get angry, read my lips... we've all got New opportunities... knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities... Let's forget about the gloom time... these are your New opportunities... knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities... Let's forget about the doom time (soon time) Jamie's working out at the gym No more dangerous living for him Given up alcohol and ecstasy Ever since he diagnosed HIV No more parties, no more trips Wise up suckers, read my lips... these are your New opportunities... knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities... Let's forget about the gloom time... these are your New opportunities... knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities... Let's forget about the doom time (soon time)
3.
Ben was born in County Wexford 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
4.
Day after day I've been living in dread Cheating at work and lying in bed No hard feelings, just a bit of 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 Now 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 want to 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 So I'm sitting in the middle And it's hitting more lives than one It's a bitter situation And it's taken more lives than one
5.
Yuppy Scum 03:07
Heads up in the clouds, noses in our beers Sat on a bench outside the Station Inn Me and my friend JoJo with our good friend Pierre Drink to the passing of our teens Jojo thinks he's Jean Genet - Pierre he's Casanova And me, the most modest of the three Me, I simply see myself as me And late at night we'd see the professional classes Leaving the hotel restaurant We'd show our good manners and we'd show them our asses And then we'd chant: Yuppie scum - smug and dumb The richer they are, the thicker they get Yuppie scum - smug and dumb As they get old they all forget Heads up in the clouds, noses to the grind Sat on a bench outside the Station Inn Me and my friend JoJo with our good friend Pierre Drink to the way our lives had been Jean Genet's forgotten his words And Casanova's on his knees And me, as for good old modest me Me, I'm as drunk as only I can be And late at night we'd see the professional classes Leaving the hotel restaurant We'd show them our good manners and we'd show them our asses And then we'd chant: Yuppie scum - smug and dumb The richer they are, the thicker they get Yuppie scum - smug and dumb As they get old they all forget Heads up in the clouds, champagne every night To celebrate our great success JoJo he's a broker, Pierre's at the bar We've all done well I must confess Jojo still talks of Jean Genet But Casanova's just a book on the shelf And me, as for good old modest me Me, me I talk only of myself And every night outside the Station Inn, Inspector Whenever we leave this restaurant Those little assholes always drop their pants And then they chant: Yuppie scum - smug and dumb The richer they are, the thicker they get Yuppie scum - smug and dumb As they get old they all forget
6.
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
7.
Where the sun lights up still waters in the harbour, And where hungry eyes once stared out to the sea, Yes it's there that I'll come home, across the dancing foam, And once again I'll walk on Castle Island I remember years ago the place seemed quieter, The rain fell softer still, the moon shone brighter Maybe memory plays its' games, and the beauty's still the same As when I took my first steps on Castle Island I smiled as I walked up past the old ballroom Where in sharp creased suits we'd laugh and dance till dawn And when Mary said 'I will' my heart with joy was filled But we cried as we sailed out from Castle Island The city that we came to was a stranger, Where neighbours passed you by without a word, The work we did was hard and filled with danger, Never found the promised land of which we'd heard We met up with fellow souls who'd left the old place, And we'd drown our dreams in pints and whiskeys smooth, And when Liam would sing a song, we'd be carried all along, Transported through the tune to Castle Island Now the years lie heavy on my aching shoulders, And my weary bones cry out for rest at last, When the circle is complete, the good earth will taste so sweet, As they lay me down to sleep on Castle Island, With my own folk I shall sleep 'neath Castle Island
8.
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
9.
The Brits come back to Dover With our hovercraft and hats With slogans on our T-shirts And salmonella snacks Our beer is warm and cloudy Like the water in our taps A welcome on the quayside When the Brits come rolling back You set 'em up... we'll knock 'em down We are the champion diplomats You set 'em up... we'll knock 'em down When the Brits come rolling back The Brits come back to Dover Wearing blazers and cravats We ponce about in Volvos Full of beaujolais in racks Our flesh is singed a lobster red And peeling from the backs Of screaming savage children When the Brits come rolling back You set 'em up... we'll knock 'em down We are the champion diplomats You set 'em up... we'll knock 'em down When the Brits come rolling back The Brits come back to Dover With our tolerance and tact Our famous sense of humour And behaviour at the match We shout about who won the war And roam around in packs You'd hardly know it's over When the Brits come rolling back You set 'em up... we'll knock 'em down We are the champion diplomats You set 'em up... we'll knock 'em down When the Brits come rolling back top of page
10.
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're 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 want to 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 want to batter you to your feet and knees and elbows When I'm kneeling like a candle at the foot of my own bed Corresponding disasters every night on the TV Sickening reality keeps 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 every day War baby... etc. 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 When I suddenly wondered who the hell it was we were trying to fool Co you were the first one that 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... etc. So here we all are back in the Old Country 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 this crowded room It's gonna be so cold - wonder which way the wind blows Oh, how much longer... War baby... etc.
11.
I had guinness with a Hot Press photographer in a Dublin pub He wore a crucifix and a short fat beard Showed me pictures of Gavin Thursday, Three Men And A Dog With the Joshua Duo stood around looking weird Met a Sid Vicious lookalike and he was six foot four Had spikes on his dog collar made of solder He was sitting in Bewley's caff in a dirty old gaberdine mac He was 17 but he looked about ten years older... that was Back in the Ould Country, back in the Ould Country Back in the Ould Country, back in the Ould Country 10am one Sunday, Diceman hadn't been near his bed And he was gargling creme de menthe just to keep awake He'd been rolling through night, and got ossified in Sides He look so smashed and happy it made my day, that was Back in the Ould Country, back in the Ould Country Back in the Ould Country, back in the Ould Country Headed into Limerick on the Clonmel road In a beat-up rented Nissan with no brakes Saw a Garda on the beat with two size 13 feet Ten convent girls and a nun on roller skates... that was Back in the Ould Country, back in the Ould Country Back in the Ould Country, back in the Ould Country

about

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Solo, acoustic, recorded live at club gigs in Ireland: this first 90s album for Cooking Vinyl captures the spirit of a TR solo show around that time. 'More Lives Than One' is better than the original, and 'Castle Island' is unavailable on any other album.
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VOX Magazine - October 1992
TOM ROBINSON
Living In A Boom Time
(Cooking Vinyl COOK CDO52)

Across eleven tracks, recorded live on tour in Ireland earlier this year, Tom Robinson reinvents himself as a solo folk singer. But where some faded rock stars may clutch desperately at the acoustic guitar, as a straw to save them from the harsh realities of life without chart positions, our Tom would appear to have made a sound and successful career move.

Shorn of the obligatory bass, drums and electric guitars', Robinson reveals a bite at the bottom of his voice-and a dozen more tonsiliary textures besides which will come as a considerable surprise to those who remember only the one-dimensional, weak and watery sound of his singing on the likes of '2-4-6-8 Motorway' and 'Glad To Be Gay'.

Standing alone and vulnerable like this, Robinson still manages to infuse his material with a strong sense of meaning, without having to resort to the blatant sloganeering which has often blighted his writing since the late '70s.

But then, with the possible exception of 'Yuppie Scum', Robinson's own translation of Jacques Brel's inflammatory 'Les Bourgeois', the songs here are uniformly less angry and embittered than they were back in his heyday as a pinko Punk.

Robinson's subject matter on 'Living In A Boom Time', 'My Own Sweet Way', 'Rigging It Up Duncannon' and 'The Brits Come Rolling Back' is still everyday social injustice in the post-AIDS, post-Thatcher era. But he now handles his themes with a weary resignation which, paradoxically, pushes the message home all the more effectively. And entertainingly.

Such a shift in emphasis may well prompt the agitprop fraternity to accuse him of going soft politically but, for the rest of us, Living In A Boom Time is Tom Robinson's most appealing album in years.

Chas de Whalley

credits

released February 3, 2013

Guitar, keyboard & vocals by Tom Robinson
Guests: Ciaran Wilde, sax on War Baby
Peter Stewart, backing vocal on Back In The Ould Country.

Original recordings engineered by Ali O'Riada at Nancy Spain's in Cork, The Purty Loft in Dun Laoghaire, Whelan's in Dublin and The Mansion House in Waterford.

Post production engineering, mixes and compilation by John Davis at Turbot Studio, London.
Sleeve design by Cactus.

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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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