Only The Now

by Tom Robinson

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about

My songwriting career was unexpectedly kickstarted in 1976 by composing a protest song called Sing If You're Glad To Be Gay. It passed through a couple of Top Ten hits (2-4-6-8 Motorway and War Baby) and coasted to a close two decades later with an album appropriately called Having It Both Ways. Subsequently immersed in family life and radio work, I never stopped writing songs - this album's been almost 20 years in the making. It only got made at all thanks to three people in particular: my wonderful wife, my wonderful producer Gerry and my wonderful publisher Ian Ramage - who's kindly agreed to write these sleeve notes...
Tom Robinson

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Only the Now
In the 19 years since Tom’s last studio album - let alone the four decades since his first - the business of releasing music has changed profoundly, and at intoxicating speed. At the time of writing, global corporations are trying to change the very way we consume music, the Sunday evening chart ritual has been consigned to history, and the NME - another touchstone of UK music culture - has departed the newsagent to become a freesheet.

While many have recoiled from this revolution, screaming their dissent, one musician who embraces its wild exhilaration is Tom Robinson. Inspired by the proliferation of creativity in this connected world, Tom has founded his record on classic songwriting skills, realised in the vitality of the moment. The eclectic spread of influences and collaborations here are united by a simple honesty: he means it!

Hence the logic of marrying Sir Ian McKellen’s unmistakeable tones with rapper Swami Baracus on Holy Smoke; or the passion of Billy Bragg’s rant on The Mighty Sword of Justice, alongside John Grant’s soulful guest vocal on Cry Out.

And the sound of this record itself demands attention: producer Gerry Diver has conjured an astonishing sonic spectrum from his modest South London studio, giving the whole album an oddly magical coherence. These new adventures of Tom & Gerry present an utterly compelling listener experience.

As the musical environment continues to evolve - and showbiz moguls jockey for position in a constantly changing world - why should we mourn the past, or fret in fear at what lies ahead? Why not embrace the one thing that really matters: Only The Now.

Ramage
Autumn 2015
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credits

released October 16, 2015

Produced by Gerry Diver with
Tom Robinson bass, lead vocal
Lee Forsyth Griffiths second vocal
Andy Treacey drums
Adam Phillips guitar

Sleeve Design: Guy Sexty
Photography: Jill Furmanovsky/RockArchive.com
© 2015 Castaway NorthWest Recordings
℗ 2015 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited except Track 8

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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: Home In The Morning
Hey pretty David I'm so glad you made it
Come sit over here in the light
Sorry the setting is kind of depressing
But I need a favour tonight
That laughs & parties were good while they lasted
But now that it's time to move on
I need a friend who can tie up some ends
Tomorrow I'm gonna be gone

Goodbye to London, so long to St Mary's
I only wish I could have stayed
You nephews and nieces I love you to pieces
But let's just call it a day
Goodbye you ravers, you movers and shakers
You lovers and brothers I've known
Kiss me goodnight as you switch out the light
Cos I'm going home in the morning

My Rolex and phone are right there on the table
The keys to my car and the flat
Cut up my credit cards, pay off the milkman
Recycle the bills on the mat
The Boss and Armani are yours if you want em
Just stick all the rest in a sack
Then drop the whole lot at the charity shop
Tell the neighbours I'm not coming back

Goodbye to London, so long to St Mary's...etc

Shred all my letters and burn all the polaroids
Throw my old mags in the trash
Empty the treasure chest under my bed
And flush every crumb in my stash
Swear on your life that you'll wipe my hard drive
Smash any backups you find
No need for my mother to ever discover
The life I'm leaving behind

Goodbye to London, so long to St Mary's
I only wish I could have stayed
You nephews and nieces I love you to pieces
But let's just call it a day
Goodbye you ravers, you movers and shakers
You lovers and brothers I've known
Kiss me goodnight as you switch out the light
Cos I'm going home in the morning
Track Name: Merciful God
Fat white maggots with their fat white faces
Crawling all over God's holy places
Smoke glass windows, aircon coaches
Spewing out locusts, spewing out roaches

God is merciful, God is just
Why mind dying if he says we must
I'm not frightened, I'm not fearful
I'm doing the job God put me here for

Preaching democracy & Gentle Jesus
They lie and bully us, bomb and bleed us
Help our enemies slay our brothers
Kill our children & murder our mothers

God is merciful, God is just
Why mind dying if he says we must
I'm not frightened, I'm not tearful
I'm doing the job God put me here for

Fat white maggots, all blind and bloated
Like their reality sugarcoated
There's only one language - they understand
And that's when the bodyparts hit the fan

God is merciful, God is just
Why mind dying if he says we must
I'm not frightened, I'm quite cheerful
Doing the job God put me here for
Track Name: The Mighty Sword Of Justice
My daddy did his articles in 1954
When he began soliciting the work stuck in his craw
Enforcing for the bourgeoisie he very quickly saw
There's one law for the rich and another one for the poor

Rebekah's evil empire protected her in court
The Shredder lives in luxury his evil deeds have bought
But Doreen Lawrence had to wait for 18 years and more
There's one law for the rich and another one for the poor

The mighty sword of Justice stands high above us all
All citizens stand equal before her mighty laws
But even mighty Justice has one almighty flaw
There's one law for the rich and another one for the poor

Our leader meet in secret behind a thick blue line
When cops protect the wealthy the cost is yours and mine
They infiltrated Occupy and crippled them with fine
There's one law for the 1%, and another for the 99

The mighty sword of Justice stands high above us all
All citizens stand equal before her mighty laws
But even mighty Justice has one almighty flaw
There's one law for the rich and another one for the poor

Now Justice wears a coronet - but Justice is a whore
She puts out for rich gentlemen who love to pay her court
And kicks away the crutches from beggars at her door
There's one law for the rich and another one for the poor

The mighty sword of Justice stands high above us all
All citizens stand equal before her mighty laws
But even mighty Justice has one almighty flaw
There's one law for the rich and another one for the poor
Track Name: Don't Jump, Don't Fall
I still remember first meeting you when
You were a small blond kid about nine or ten
Your mother went missing and your father drank
For your first real home you had an aunt to thank
You came to stay when you were still quite young
You had mischievous eyes and a razorsharp tongue
Life has its interludes and this was one
As we'd pretend for the weekend you were our son
We used to pick you up when you were feeling blue
Take you out to the movies & the circus too
But nothing's forever and it couldn't last
We had our own baby, and the moment passed
If you felt betrayed, boy, you hid it well
But when I think back now I feel guilty as hell
You hit the bottle when you hit your teens
Became runaway jailbait for chicken queens

CHORUS
Don't jump, don't fall - there's a world of love out there & you can have it all

I must admit it must've seemed like fun
The kind of life you lived when you were on the run
The tricks you turned, and the drugs you'd done
As you scraped the barrel with your lowlife chums
You were always so certain you'd never see thirty.
When you called collect to talk drunk & dirty
A restless aching deep within
And the pain of inhabiting a human skin

CHORUS
Don't jump, don't fall - here's a world of love out there & you could have it all
Don't jump, don't fall - standing on that balcony, your back against a wall

You must have been shaking with a terrible dread
As you climbed unsteady from your unmade bed.
Did you feel relief or did you just feel numb
To know your moment had finally come
When you left the flat on that final night.
Did you lock the door, did you leave the light
Did you think of her, did you think of me
Or did you simply think you were about to be free
The alcohol raging round your veins
The black depression pouring down like rain
I pray to God by every holy name,
My own sweet children never know that pain

CHORUS
Don't jump, don't fall - here's a world of love out there & you could have it all
Don't jump, don't fall - standing on that balcony, your back against a wall
Don't jump.
Track Name: Holy Smoke
My father's in the kitchen
My mother's making tea
My sister's sitting stitching
My brother's dungarees
My grandad's in the attic
Some aunts & uncles too
I'm shattered and erratic
There's one thing left to do

Ripping out and rolling up the scriptures
The fire of Isiah makes me choke
Inhaling Revelations and Creation
2000 years of wisdom up in smoke

I like to smoke the bible
It makes a crazy toke
Those wafer paper pages
Go up in holy smoke
The wrath of God will find me
My friends and neighbours say
But I get high divinely
My sins are blown away

Ripping out and rolling up the scriptures
The fire of Isiah makes me choke
Inhaling Revelations and Creation
2000 years of wisdom up in smoke
Up in smoke

You like to smoke the bible
It makes a crazy toke
Those wafer paper pages
Go up in holy smoke
The wrath of God will find you
My saints and angels say
But me, I'm right behind you
Your sins are blown away

Ripping out and rolling up the scriptures
The fire of Isiah makes me choke
Inhaling Revelations and Creation
2000 years of wisdom up in smoke

Ripping out and rolling up the scriptures
The fire of Isiah makes me choke
Inhaling Revelations and Creation
2000 years of wisdom up in smoke
Track Name: Cry Out (feat John Grant)
Brown eyes and blue jeans and gut-churning beauty
Your crimson dominion of shame
The needles are in me - the demons within me
Cry out and remember your name
Speeding the freeway - and recklessly riding
Strung out at the end of my chain
The floodwaters rise - at the turn of the tide
I'll cry out and remember your name

Cry out - cry out
Strung out at the end of my chain
Cry out - cry out
Cry out and remember your name

Angel of darkness, sweet Lord of Oblivion
I worship again and again (I was…)
Born to adore you, to fall down before you
Cry out and remember your name
Sobbing & shaking please let me be taken
Tonight in the dark driving rain
Out in the trees when I'm down on my knees
I'll cry out and remember your name

Cry out - cry out
I worship again & again
Cry out - cry out
Cry out and remember your name

God knows I've feared you - but now that I'm near you
That sweet tender life was in vain
Your only choosing was sooner or later
But I still remember your name

Cry out - cry out
Cry out in the darkness again
Cry out - cry out
Cry out and remember your name
Cry out and remember your name
Track Name: Never Get Old
Long ago when we both were young
Living for kicks, kisses and fun
We were carefree, pretty & dumb
Take a good look at me now
Bloom of youth was starting to fade
The day you faced my wavering gaze
Picked me up and blew me away
Take a good look at me now

Did you think we’d never get old
Never get old, never get old ?
Take a good look at me now

Mad and bad - exciting to know
Where you led I was happy to go
In your spell I'd never say no
Take a good look at me now
Bit by bit you started to sink
Slapdash, bareback, starting to drink
I played safe & stayed on the brink
Take a good look at me now

Did you think we’d never get old
Never get old, never get old ?
Take a good look at me now

Leaning on me, sick in the street
Smelling of sweat, dead on your feet
Swallowing hard, unable to speak
Take a good look at me now:
Sober coat, a jacket & tie
Sat with strangers, wiping an eye
Empty gesture, saying goodbye
Take a good look at me now

Did you think we’d never get old
Never get old, never get old ?
Take a good look at me now
Track Name: In My Life
There are places I remember
In my life - though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some are gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no-one compares with you
And these memories lose their meanings
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more...

...In my life I love you more


Words and music:
John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Track Name: One Way Street (feat Ian McKellen)
We loved you like a brother, boy - we loved you like a son
So young and wild and handsom - so reckless, so dumb
You diced with the devil and you never met defeat
Until you drove the wrong way up a one-way street

You somehow passed your driving test when you were 17
You bought a beat-up trail bike and tweaked it till it screamed
You dragged us to the business park to see your maiden run
That fatal foggy Sunday when you planned to do the ton

CHORUS:
I've roamed the roads and motorways
The highways great and small
The B roads and the C roads
Why, I've driven down them all
One place you'll never find me though
As long as I can breathe
Is driving the wrong way up a one-way street

Your carburettor deafened us as down the road you sped
And roared towards the warning signs 200 yards ahead
You gave us all a thumbs-up as you hit your target speed
And disappeared the wrong way up a one-way street

Now even as a toddler your never would be told
You always went your own way because that's the way you rolled
We heard you hit the tanker as it swerved into a tree
Far in the foggy distance up that one-way street

CHORUS:
I've roamed the roads and motorways
The highways great and small
The B roads and the C roads
Why, I've driven down them all
One place you'll never find me though
As long as I can breathe
Is driving the wrong way up a one-way street

You girls and boys of every land, come listen to my song
The fact that someone's older doesn't always make them wrong
Be kind to one another - don't forget to brush you teeth
And never drive the wrong way up a one-way street.

CHORUS:
I've roamed the roads and motorways
The highways great and small
The B roads and the C roads
Why, I've driven down them all
One place you'll never find me though
As long as I can breathe
Is driving the wrong way up a one-way street
Track Name: Risky Business
I made my killing on the trading floor
Bought into bullion & gilts galore
First smell of trouble i was out the door
Headed up country in my 4x4

No more, no more risky business
No more, no more risky business
No more, no more risky business
Sue me suckers - I don't care no more

Why bother worrying about the past
The regulators they can kiss my arse
I made my decisions and I won my prize
You saw it coming and you closed your eyes

No more, no more risky business
No more, no more risky business
No more, no more risky business
Sue me suckers - I don't care no more

Now government money's made my job secure
Got the same fat bonuses I had before
But if you need a mortage or business loan
You'll get no credit & we'll take your home

No more, no more risky business
No more, no more risky business
No more, no more risky business
Screw you suckers - I don't care no more
Track Name: Only The Now
Felt like I'd known you for all of my life
Long before you both arrived
Those black & white Polaroids signalled the shift
Before we looked into your eyes
The freedom to choose I was happy to lose
When freedom's a prison with walls
You lifted the sentence that blighted my life
And captured me once and for all

The present seems endless as seconds slide by
And birthdays roll endlessly on
Familiar rituals year after year
Who could imagine them gone
Two brilliant stars shining under the tree
Two treasures we tucked up in bed
No home movie moments recapture the time
Or words that can not be unsaid

Only the now, there's only the now
The moments roll on into days
There's only the now, only the now
Don't ever wish it away

Blink for a minute, an era has gone
All futures plunge into the past
That room full of echoes stands silent at night
Its emptiness suddenly vast
I love you forever, and long may you know
The comfort and joy that we've shared
And long may your laughter ring on in this world
Long after we're no longer there

Only the now, there's only the now
The moments roll on into days
There's only the now, only the now
Don't ever wish it away