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FREE ALBUM: Songs of Common Ground

by Talis Kimberley

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Terry England
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Terry England Lovely piece about our oneness. I love the writing, the tune (like an anthem) and the performance. Talis Kimberley's voice is like a mix between Kate Rugsby and Melanie. Beautiful. Thank you for this whole album!

Damned if You Don't - GREAT song. Rings true to me. Love the singing and guitar playing.

I like a lot of songs on this album, and the singing is sweet and powerful. The album is still new to me, so I'm still in the process of discovering this collection. Favorite track: The Great State of Nowhere.
yarnspider
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yarnspider Sometimes you need a reminder that those who can stand up and speak out really need to do so, to protect those that can't, and warn those that don't yet know. Favorite track: Belling the Cat.
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    Hello!

    This is where I put my more political and topical songs - we'll call it a digital-only rolling album of rough and live tracks hot off the press. Some have been available here previously, others are new. I'll add to the album as we go.

    While the BandCamp free download quota lasts, these songs will be free for you to download; I want them heard, and I want them sung! If you WANT to pay me money, however - you're very welcome to, and I shall be very grateful.

    In time, some of these songs may be recorded at studio-quality for inclusion in a 'proper' album. Several of them have already made an impact live.

    Please do link, share, broadcast and generally spread the word about if any of these strike a chord with you over current issues, won't you?
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1.
WE ALL SAID ‘NO’ Bill was out on his cargo bike and he was first to see. He said ‘They’re coming down the road, on the B four double oh three’ And he told Bob and Bob told Ginny and she let the village know The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ Mike had a word with the farming folk and they all knew what to do They filled each road with anything big so the trucks could not get through There were sixteen cooks at the village hall with kettles set to go The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ Roadblocks first and the ditches next and the pitch and the sharpened poles Practised teams got the earthworks dug like a troop of giant moles To a woman and man all the villagers took up arms and stood in rows The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ Flares went up when the battle joined and the jam-bombs went in first Boiling jars of the best preserve designed to do their worst Alternating flour and water, anything handy we could throw The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ Then the Parish Council stepped up sharp and a parley flag was raised The men who drive the fracking trucks were sticky, tired and glazed We gave our ultimatum and we said they had to go The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ We knew that was but the start of it, and we knew that they’d be back We had drawn our declaration up in the red ink and the black With the help of the local solicitor, he was a gentleman named Joe The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ They sent a crew from the radio with the journalists from town We told them all our full demands; there would be no backing down. Half the Parish council went to bat on the TV breakfast show; The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ ‘Not all of us are farmers here but we all need food to eat And we won’t allow your poisoned muck in the ground beneath our feet There are better ways of doing this, better leave what’s below, below’ The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ ‘You can’t repair what you break apart and you can’t take the poison out When you asked our democratic views we left you in no doubt But our voices counted nothing, that was a bitter, bitter blow The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’ Now Bill’s got a great big cargo bike and delivers here and there Most of us grow something and we trade and swap and share We’re a village-state in Nowhere-land and the pace of life is slow, since The day they came to frack our land and we all said ‘No.’
2.
THE GREAT STATE OF NOWHERE Citizens, friends, what’s a body to do When you love your country, but it doesn’t love you? When the shape of the noise round the flag you admire Lights a bonfire of hate and throws fuel on fire? Isn’t being one species enough common ground? Here are old friends just met, here are lost cousins found And the great arc of history joins me to you Mitochondrial Eve was my grandmother too Don’t I bleed just the same colour red that you do, friends and Citizens all - I’m as Terran as you If we haven’t the words we’ll find some other way Nevermind what you eat, what you wear, how you pray We’ll make shapes with our fingers if that’s what it takes Use the language of music and the language of cakes Some have travelled the world, others haven’t gone far; Human rights for the humans whoever we are In the great state of Nowhere no labels are worn - Human rights for the humans wherever we’re born Don’t I bleed just the same colour red that you do, friends and Citizens all - I’m as Terran as you Oh my dear friends, what’s a body to do When you love your country, but it doesn’t love you? Let the shape that we make with our hands be a heart It won’t change the whole world... but it might make a start
3.
TELLING CANTERBURY TALES Tell me, Archbishop, you’re comfortable here Does the populace ever get frighteningly near? Are your windows well-soundproofed so all you can hear Is your voice, telling Canterbury tales...? So tell me, What’s the church for with its buildings and treasures? For visits by those with the means and the leisure To purchase a guidebook and stroll at their pleasure While listening to Canterbury’s tales. Didn’t your man say some things about the poor Isn’t that what your faith is about, anymore? Here’s a vast institution, what lies at the core? Are you telling me Canterbury tales? If the pilgrims rode past your cathedral today And they wondered whose homes have been tidied away Would you know? Would you care? Tell me, what would you say? I’ve no faith in your Canterbury tales... Go tell the Knight and the Franklin, the Monk and the Squire Tell the Clerk and the Cook and the Reeve and the Friar That compassion and hope have joined love on the pyre There’s no justice in Canterbury tales. St Thomas a Becket, St David of Kelly, we pray you forgive us our sins Jean-Charles de Menezes, & Blessed Ian Tomlinson, when does the rising begin? When does the rising begin? Now the Archbishop’s writing a sermon on Lent The Physician and Parson are riding to Kent There was sanctuary once, I don’t know where that went But it’s not in these Canterbury tales... And the Man of Law’s busy, and the Miller’s downed tools And the Merchant’s convinced that we’re everyone’s fools And the Pardoner’s sorry... but these are the rules... And they’re all telling Canterbury tales. They’re telling us Canterbury tales I’ve no faith in these Canterbury tales We deserve better than Canterbury tales I’ve had enough of these Canterbury tales! __________________________________________ Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 29th February 2012
4.
OCCUPY YOUR MIND Just suppose you got to start a thing from scratch. Would you let just anybody speak? The articulate, the shy, the somewhat negative The vocal and the simply meek? Just suppose you got to choose what shape it was. Would you call it a democracy? Would you note the jazz hands, count the secret ballots Or try to work consensually? Will you let my questions occupy your thoughts Will you let my questions occupy your mind? I am only led to ask you since I’ve met A community of quite another kind, quite another kind Just suppose you got to take away the price. Would you share what you had plenty of? Would you take what you required and then give back Of what some others hadn’t any of. Will you let my questions occupy your thoughts Will you let my questions occupy your mind? I am only led to ask you since I’ve met A community of quite another kind, quite another kind Just suppose you got to glimpse a different way. Would you carry it inside of you? Would you stifle it from fear or let it bloom Until it blossomed In the heart of you? ___________________________________________ Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 13th December 2011
5.
Leave It 02:05
LEAVE IT It's: one more kick at a splintered door (Leave it all on the field) One more battle in a bloody war (Leave it all on the field) Leave it all on the field now, leave it all on the field Leave it all on the field you got to leave it all on the field. It’s: up all night so the email’s sent (Leave it all on the field) Zucotti Park in a freezing tent (Leave it all on the field) It’s swinging the poll with a single vote (Leave it all on the field) It’s the Selkie’s shawl and the goodbye note (Leave it all on the field) Leave it all on the field now, leave it all on the field Leave it all on the field you got to leave it all on the field. It’s the last best hope when the rest are gone (Leave it all on the field) It’s all or nothing on the final song (Leave it all on the field) Speaking out because who else will? (Leave it all on the field) It’s the birthing push, it’s an act of will (Leave it all on the field) Leave it all on the field now, leave it all on the field Leave it all on the field you got to leave it all on the field. Don’t say ‘can’t’ say ‘Show me how’ (Leave it all on the field) Don’t you go giving up on me now (Leave it all on the field) Leave it all on the field now, leave it all on the field Leave it all on the field you got to leave it all on the field. Leave it all on the field now, leave it all on the field Leave it all on the field you got to leave it all on the field. _________________________________________ Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 28th January 2012
6.
THE STEPS OF PAUL’S On the eve of the feasts of St Jude and St Simon The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigned While democracy stumbles and falls here on the steps of St Pauls. The whispering gallery’s noisy with rumour Great Paul’s saying nothing, but fear like a tumour Is ruling within these fine halls under the dome of St Paul’s Christopher Robin and Christopher Wren, When will my England lie easy again? With sanctuary offered to the women and men Who stand on equality’s side? While democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls. Bookends and stationery, jigsaws and gifts For you lovers of luxury, strangers to thrift All your cufflinks and printed silk shawls bought from the shop of St Pauls Gordon Brown’s laughing so all must be well ‘We’re a centre for public debate’ say the bells The economists set out their stalls under the dome of St Paul’s Christopher Robin and Christopher Wren, When will my England lie easy again? With sanctuary offered to the women and men Who stand on equality’s side? The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigns, But the bulk of his colleagues have pulled down the blinds While their restaurant serves only the finest of wines And the organ plays ‘Here comes the Bride’... With your cufflinks and printed silk shawls bought from the shop of St Pauls While democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls {Do let’s go see the cathedral again It’s sure to be open at twenty past ten} Was a sanctuary inside these walls when this was the church of St Pauls Well the tourists are missing their clotted cream scones It’s fourteen pounds fifty, one adult alone And please, if the Archbishop calls, tell him I’ve gone to St Pauls Christopher Robin and Christopher Wren, When will my England lie easy again? With sanctuary offered to the women and men Who stand on equality’s side? The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigns, But the bulk of his colleagues have pulled down the blinds While their restaurant serves only the finest of wines (don’t you know...) And the organ plays ‘Here comes the Bride’... Was a sanctuary inside these walls - with your cufflinks and printed silk shawls While democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls. The economists set out their stalls, and please, if the Archbishop calls, tell him Your god’s not returning his calls, he’s here with the rest of us - watching St Paul’s.
7.
BELLING THE CAT Smart little mice know their enemy’s name They don’t let the cat set the rules of the game It’s the predator’s downfall, the old story goes When the bravest mice bell him so everymouse knows. Everymouse knows, everymouse knows Let the bravest mice bell him so everymouse knows. Now I wouldn’t do the things some people do I wouldn’t say that and neither would you This is malice aforethought, I’m certain of that And to know it and name it’s just belling the cat. Belling the cat, belling the cat And to know it and name it’s just belling the cat. Till everymouse knows, everymouse knows Let the bravest mice bell him so everymouse knows. Reasonable people do reasonable things Courtesy merits what courtesy brings But it’s not universal, so heed my advice There are people prepared to be not very nice. Not very nice, not very nice There are people prepared to be not very nice. So we’re belling the cat, belling the cat And to know it and name it’s just belling the cat. Till everymouse knows, everymouse knows Let the bravest mice bell him so everymouse knows. ‘I don’t think he meant that’ ‘We must have misheard’ ‘I expect he’ll behave if I have a quiet word’ ‘It’ll sort itself out’ ‘Shall we see how things go?’ I say ‘That’s enough chances, let’s stand and say ‘NO’.’ Stand and say no, stand and say no I say ‘That’s enough chances, let’s stand and say ‘NO’.’ Not very nice, not very nice There are people prepared to be not very nice. So we’re belling the cat, belling the cat And to know it and name it’s just belling the cat. Till everymouse knows, everymouse knows Let the bravest mice bell him so everymouse knows. Everymouse knows, oh! Everymouse knows... Shh! Let the bravest mice bell him so everymouse knows! Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 16th December 2011
8.
COMMON GROUND Find a space and make a garden Plant some seeds and let them grow Learn the skills to mend and make things And pass on what you know Do your best to build a village In your cities and your towns Reach your hand out to your neighbour For you live on common ground. Buy the things most truly needful But choose well whose work to buy Be discerning and be mindful That the labelling can lie Teach some children, yours and others’ What you’ve learned and what you’ve found Be the change that you would hope for As you tend your common ground Take a moment to be grateful Take a chance and start to share Pay it forwards, don’t be wasteful Pay attention to what’s fair When the benefits of barter Serve you better than the pound You’ll be living, not existing In a world of common ground ___________________________________________ Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 23rd February 2012
9.
THE GREY MEN OF WHITEHALL The grey men of Whitehall are watching From comfortable ivory towers And the grey men of Whitehall sit comfy, running This country that used to be ours For the grey men had their education And society covered the cost But tell that to the next generation and then tell them Everything else that they’ve lost. And of course you’ve a right to be angry There’s enough to be angry about But point it at those who deserve it When you’re ready to stand up, Ready to stand up and shout – When you’re ready to stand up and shout. The grey men have mortgaged the future Put a price on what shouldn’t be sold Oh, the grey men of Whitehall know better But then they’re not afraid of the cold There are grey men in each of our cities Every parish and borough and town And if you want to take back their power Then you’d better stand up and put your name down And of course you’ve a right to be angry Only think before violence takes aim Does a century’s trade - in armchairs and tables - Really merit the fire, Merit the fire and the flame? Does it merit the fire and the flame? ‘Cos it starts with the local elections Real people who do give a damn Or the grey men will carry on suiting themselves And democracy’s only a sham. And of course you’re allowed to be angry But you’d better know who’s getting hurt And the ambulance man and the corner shopkeeper Bleed the same colour blood – The same colour blood down their shirts – The same colour blood - And of course you’ve every right to be angry There’s enough, I know there’s enough to be angry about Oh, but you’d better point it at those who deserve it When you’re ready to stand up, Ready to stand up and shout – When you’re ready to stand up and shout... Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 9th August 2011
10.
FREEDOM-FREE ZONE I realise that this is your job, sir As it’s mine to take issue with you Wrong actions don’t get any less wrong Because somebody higher up told you what to do I’m sure in your own private home life You’re a perfectly reasonable guy But I do not permit you to lay hands upon me Before you’ll permit me to fly. I do not permit this; no justice is served here My body’s my own – my body’s my own. You won’t secure freedom by making your country A freedom-free zone, a freedom-free zone It’s that or the backscatter scanners? That’s quicker for you, I suppose. These images I’m told your cameras don’t keep Of me standing there sans my clothes? Now we’re barely ten seconds acquainted But you tell me you’re going to insist? Well I’m picky ‘bout who gets to see me like that And I’m afraid, sir, you’re not on that list I do not permit this; no justice is served here My body’s my own – my body’s my own. You won’t secure freedom by making your country A freedom-free zone, a freedom-free zone I do not permit this; no justice is served here My body’s my own – my body’s my own. You won’t secure freedom by making your country A freedom-free zone, a freedom-free zone A freedom-free zone
11.
HMS MARIE ANTOINETTE Climb the rigging! Curse your debt! No way back when the course is set! What’s left over is the best we’ll get On the HMS Marie Antoinette Sixty splendid years it’s been Quite an achievement for an English Queen We must find a way to mark the date With perhaps a little gift to celebrate (With perhaps a little gift to celebrate) Would you like a clock? Would you like a cake? It’s a job finding presents for you, no mistake! Would you like some slippers or a nice warm coat? Or perhaps you’d rather have a great big boat? (Perhaps you’d rather have a great big boat?) Climb the rigging! Curse your debt! No way back when the course is set! What’s left over is the best we’ll get On the HMS Marie Antoinette Sixty years upon the throne Hardly a minute she can call her own It’s not as if she can retire With a dog and a whiskey and a roaring fire (With a dog and a whiskey and a roaring fire) But there must be ways to leave her mark Hospice, library, a public park? If I had my druthers and could cast my vote Then I wouldn’t spend a penny on a great big boat. (Wouldn’t spend a penny on a great big boat.) Climb the rigging! Curse your debt! No way back when the course is set! What’s left over is the best we’ll get On the HMS Marie Antoinette __________________________________________ Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 18th January 2012
12.
DAMNED IF YOU DON’T You have the right to pick the party but you’re not invited in Damned if you don’t, damned if you do Then it’s another five years living with the plans of those who win Does that feel like democracy to you? Does that feel like democracy to you – Oh the promises, the promises they make! Does that feel like democracy to you? – When you can’t hold them to the promises they break. You have the right to come to meetings and ask questions at the end Damned if you don’t, damned if you do Too bad the officer in question wasn’t able to attend Does that feel like democracy to you? We want local consultation about where new buildings go Damned if we don’t damned if we do We have the right to say ‘yes’ but not the right to say ‘no’ Does that feel like democracy to you? Does that feel like democracy to you – Oh the promises, the promises they make! Does that feel like democracy to you? – When you can’t hold them to the promises they break. You can elect local officials and I’m sure they’ll do their best Damned if they don’t, damned if they do The system grinds them down and spits them out till they’re bad as all the rest Does that feel like democracy to you? You have the right to sign petitions, you’re entitled to your views Damned if you don’t, damned if you do If you protest, we’ll have you kettled – oh, and who controls the news? Does that feel like democracy to you? Does that feel like democracy to you – Oh the promises, the promises they make! Does that feel like democracy to you? – When you can’t hold them to the promises they break. All that evil ever needed to succeed and win the game Damned if you don’t, damned if you do Is for good men to do nothing and good women just the same Does that feel like democracy to you?
13.
FIVE GOLD RINGS Oh what a five-ring circus, roll up, roll up to see It’s world-wide peace and harmony galore There’s a new and shiny pool down where the lido used to be But I can’t afford to swim there anymore. We love our seaside semi and we like to watch the boats The public park’s our favourite place to walk But now they’ve built a wall there hiding anything that floats We’ve lived here forty years, but money talks Community means ‘those who buy the tickets’, it appears Perhaps they’d like to charge us too for listening to the cheers? Five gold rings: the law forbids I name it. Five gold rings: the trademark’s nailed down. Five gold rings: they’ve bought the right to claim it for their own and send their Circus through our villages and towns. Who’s pulling on the strings? ‘Cos they’re attached to five gold rings. My Gramps loved his allotment and it kept him fit and strong For a hundred years that’s what the land was for But they bulldozed eighty gardens that had been ours all along And Grandpa doesn’t plant things anymore ‘Perpetuity’ no longer means forever, so it seems And Grandpa’s not too active now, but there’s gardens in his dreams: Five gold rings: the law forbids I name it. Five gold rings: the trademark’s nailed down. Five gold rings: they’ve bought the right to claim it for their own and send their Circus through our villages and towns; Who’s pulling on the strings? ‘Cos they’re attached to five gold rings. Fire up the corporate lawyers with the words ‘cease and desist’ Tell knitters that they denigrate the games Our sponsors’ cash investment needs protection after all Fizzy drinks, fast food and chocolate bear their names And let’s have lots of music, and we won’t shell out a bean They’ll be glad to play for nothing, won’t they? ‘Least it gets them seen! Five gold rings: the law forbids I name it. Five gold rings: the trademark’s nailed down. Five gold rings: they’ve bought the right to claim it for their own and send their Circus through our villages and towns; Who’s pulling on the strings? ‘Cos they’re attached to five gold rings. Oh what a five-ring circus, roll up, roll up to see The glories of this peace-time nation You’ll all feel safe and sound thanks to the British military And our tower block’s a missile station... Excuse me from this celebration
14.
15.
Spoon 02:22
SPOON This spoon is dirty, oh what shall I do? (You could wash the damn spoon!) I’ll make me another that’s shiny and new (Or you could wash the damn spoon!) Wash the damn spoon, wash the damn spoon Or you could wash the damn spoon! Dig me a well that goes all the way down... That’s where the black stuff is generally found... Bring it ashore in a jolly big boat... If she should founder the oil will float... Wash the damn spoon, wash the damn spoon Or you could wash the damn spoon! Get it refined so it knows to behave... Mould it and melt it to the shape that I crave... Pack it in boxes with ten thousand more... Drive for a week to they get to the store... Wash the damn spoon, wash the damn spoon Or you could wash the damn spoon! Ring up the price that it says on the tag... Carry it home in a nice plastic bag... Takeaway chicken and noodles for two... Now my spoon’s dirty and what shall I do? Wash the damn spoon, wash the damn spoon Or you could wash the damn spoon!
16.
ALL THE BIRDS ARE GONE Land beneath my feet; the rock and soil of England Cornflowers and wheat; our childrens’ futures here What will burn, will burn, and the great machines are hungry Oh, and this shall cost us dear All the birds are gone, and all the stones are shaking; On and on and on, every day in turn What will burn, will burn, and they dare to call this ‘needful’ But the birds do not return Sleep’s a beggar’s dream, the great machines are roaring Thirsty for the fuel the land had stored away What will burn, will burn; our rights are bought so cheaply What does England have to say? Seize the ancient light, poison all the water Crack the ground apart that all of us stand on What will burn, will burn, money shouts the loudest And all the birds are gone _____________________________________________ Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 11th August 2013

about

I'm available solo and with band for gigs of all kinds - my website at www.talis.net will tell you more about me. I've performed at folk clubs and festivals, green and community events, literary gatherings, the odd museum, ship, protest, orchard and cemetary - wherever you've got an audience for contemporary folk songs with a sharp green edge and a warm and whimsical heart, I'll entertain and provoke a little thought. It's all about the story!

There are more songs of mine here on Bandcamp, and I've three studio albums available too - not all my writing is political, in fact there's little I won't tackle in song, but literature and folklore, history and green issues between them provide much inspiration, and a sense of humour and a delight in language does the rest.

CDBaby.com is one place to look for my CDs, or else get in touch with me via my website, or on talis@talis.net . Thank you!

credits

released February 23, 2012

Photo by Mike Whitaker. Recordings mostly taken by Talis in assorted places with the little hand-held Tascam. (Please note, these recordings are rough tracks and are not indicative of my studio work - they're simply a way of sharing the songs I want to get heard fast,for their political relevance and immediacy.)

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Talis Kimberley UK

Green and political contemporary folk with a warm and whimsical heart... voice, guitar and bouzouki and rather a way with words.

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