Latin Quarter: Bare Bones

by Steve Skaith

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about

english info - see below

Steve Skaith - Mastermind der legendären britischen Polit-Popband Latin Quarter geht „Back to the Roots“ und präsentiert auf seinem neuen Album Songs der Formation neu aufgenommen in ihrer ursprünglichen Form: akustisch, minimalistisch und erfrischend aktuell.

Die Idee hinter diesem Album war, einige alte Latin Quarter-Songs zu nehmen und in ihrer Ursprungsform zu präsentieren. So, wie sie damals geschrieben wurden und Grundlage für die Pop-songs von Latin Quarter bildeten: Eine akustische Gitarre, eine Gesangsstimme, ein paar Keyboards, ab und an ein Schlagzeug und viel Harmonie.

Doch ist dies kein Aufwasch von altem Aufnahmematerial aus der Entstehungszeit der Titel, denn es gibt einen gewaltigen Unterschied: Wurden die Demo-Songs seinerzeit in Steves Schlafzimmer mit einer mobilen Aufnahmestation eingespielt, so wurde das vorliegende Material in einem richtigen Studio aufgenommen und von LQ-Mitstreiter Steve Jeffries, der auch die Keyboards bedient, produziert. Es wurde also nicht Altes erneuert, sondern durch Neues ein altes, geliebtes Feeling erzeugt. Den Funken von damals neu zu erzeugen, das Herz jedes Stückes mit einem simplen Arrangement erneut schlagen zu lassen, ist immer noch das schönste Gefühl für einen Songwriter.

Neben den neuen technischen Möglichkeiten und die dadurch unvergleichlich bessere Tonqualität, gibt es noch andere kleine aber feine Unterschiede. Manchmal wurde der Rhythmus geändert, einmal wurde der Refrain leicht verändert. Aber die Texte wurden nicht angefasst, denn sie sind heute noch genauso aktuell wir bei ihrer Entstehung vor vielen Jahren: die Politik wie auch die Gesellschaft sind wie eh und je nicht an Frieden, Gleichheit und Freiheit interessiert.

So sind Hits wie „America for Beginners“ in noch nie dagewesenen Versionen zu hören. Besonderes Schmankerl auf "Latin Quarter: Bare Bones": Steve Jeffries Tochter Becky CJ hat eine eigene Version des LQ-Titels „Wounded In Action“ aufgenommen, die hier zu hören ist – eine glasklare Stimme mit einfühlsamer Begleitung von Klavier und Cello.
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The idea for this album was to take some old LQ songs back to the state when they were first written and demoed: just a guitar, a voice, a bit of harmony, a touch of keyboard colour and hey presto! Obviously to do this in my bedroom on a porta-studio in the 1980’s is different to now doing it in a proper studio with Steve Jeffries producing and providing that keyboard colour. But trying to capture the spark, the heart of a song with a simple arrangement, is still the same great feeling. I think I have always enjoyed this part of being a musician more than any other.

Obviously there are changes apart from the sound quality. At times we approached the songs with a completely different energy. We changed some rhythms. In one case we changed a chorus. But one thing we haven’t changed is the lyrics. At times I wondered why I was singing songs about situations that passed many years ago. In the case of ‘No Rope as Long as Time’ the lyric is actually wrong. Apartheid was dismantled without a war. But to remember where we were, or where we thought we were, can help to remind us where we are now. What has changed and what has not.

I tried out a number of songs before settling on the ones here and then we got lucky. Becky CJ, Steve Jeffries’ daughter, had just recorded her version of the Latin Quarter song ‘Wounded in Action’. It sounds great and is exactly what we mean by ‘bare bones’ so we are very pleased to include it here and we know LQ fans will agree.

credits

released 17 April 2015

Steve Skaith (voice and guitars.)
Steve Jeffries (keyboards, percussion and backing vocals)
Mary Carewe (backing vocals)

Arranged by Steve Skaith and Steve Jeffries.
Produced, mixed and mastered by Steve Jeffries.

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Track Name: Swimming against the Stream
Swimming Against the Stream
(Skaith/Jones)

They're growing pines now in cotton soil
Still making boxes for the sons of toil
Still bend your back to pick your food stamps up
Black coffee still comes in a tall white cup
They took the signs down but it's loud and clear
You want to eat? Well now, it can't be here

Tell me how long the train's been gone
Tell me again about the dream
Tell me the story of glory hallelujah
How we're swimming against the stream

More talk of marching on Washington
It never really seems to get things done
Along the way you maybe make good friends
But they can't tell us where the rainbow ends
It's getting more now than just out of reach
And don't go looking down at Howard Beach

Tell me how long the train's been gone
Tell me again about the dream
Tell me the story of glory hallelujah
How we're swimming against the stream

Montgomery and Selma - go ask Congress
25 years, change doesn’t meant progress
In Chicago you live on the south or the west side
But just like the townships - try moving in outside

Tell me how long the train's been gone
Tell me again about the dream
Tell me the story of glory hallelujah
How we're swimming against the stream
Track Name: Bride on the Bridge
Bride on the Bridge
(Skaith/Jones)

Down at the landing stage the sign reads 'Havoline'
You buy the diesel there, back in the old routine
You pay up your harbour dues and then, from the anchorage
All in her wedding lace
You see the bride on the bridge

Coat on the balustrade, bought at a fire-sale
She's been married to debt for years
Now she's climbing the lone guard-rail
Gulls are her Mendelssohn, there’s a bouquet of foliage
That no-one here is reaching for
Slowly the bride on the bridge

Those raising interest don't look up
They have no interest in her flight
Their spectrum has no bridal white
Don’t leave the scene
Not when money talks
The whisper-mill says "Buy Brazil"
If you don't mind blood on the stalks

Cargo comes rolling in, containers of even size
There's no rafts or floats aboard - so what if lives capsize?
Trading takes no account of strangers to privilege
Not if they cannot keep up their balances
She's vanished, the bride on the bridge
Track Name: America for Beginners
America for Beginners
(Skaith/Jones)

What's keeping the White House white
Is it chalk, Is it fog, Is it fear?
Are they staying up most of the night
And sending somebody out for the beers?
Is it bed-time for Bonzo?
Is it time for a change?
Is it flavour-free TV dinners?
Oh it's a hard thing to take, when they make a mistake
America for Beginners.

The sound of a bell with a crack
Even the swingers are swinging right
The vigilantes are on the way back
With prime-time 'fight the good fight'.
What a start to a day
Starts three times with a "K"
There's no sponsored hour for sinners
They'll bring back the hot seat
They’re gonna turn up the heat
In America for Beginners

That's America for
America for Beginners
That's America for
America for Beginners
That's America for
America for Beginners

You wear designer jeans after dark
And your shirts are sharp-cut in satin
But won't you watch out for Central Park
And the apartments in uptown Manhattan.
It's a sign of the times
You’d better stay out in front
Because they've only got time for winners.
Just keep living for fun, you son of a gun
In America for Beginners.

That's America for
America for Beginners
That's America for
America for Beginners
That's America for
America for Beginners

Everywhere there's stripes and stars
Men in dark suits in unmarked cars
Sipping Jack Daniels in Third World bars
They're close to the edge.
As close as you can get
Track Name: No Rope as Long as Time
No Rope as Long as Time
(Skaith)

Old Afrikaner farmer on the terrace of his home
Sits gently in his rocking chair, gazing at this land he owns.
There he sees his memories and there his past
There he smiles his grim smile, strokes his gun, swears he'll make it last.

Someone brings the whisky, someone serves the meal
Like the someone in the township, in the mine and in the field.
Someone at the graveyard, someone with their tears
There’s someone who can't forget the freedom lost these 100 years.

Old man, you can boost about the gun that's by your bed
Old man, you can tell me how you're good for all your kaffirs yet
And the guns can fire, and your prisons fill
And you've yards of rope for hanging still
But the guns can shoot and never hit the sky
And there's no rope as long as time.

Mandela in the prison, Steve Biko in the ground
Sharpeville and Soweto voices silenced till the end of time.
Freedom don't come easy, don't come bloodless, don't come fast
But in the hearts of the countless people
No pass law's gonna stop it pass.

Old man, you can boost about the gun that's by your bed
Old man, you can tell me how you're good for all your kaffirs yet
And the guns can fire, and your prisons fill
And you've yards of rope for hanging still
But the guns can shoot and never hit the sky
And there's no rope as long as time.

Sometimes he talks of reasons, economy and cause
Sometimes he'll even talk of changes
Though he clasps the gun and talks of law.
But power ain't this old man's gift
And freedom's no reform
The old man chose this history
And the history's stays a history wars.

Old man, you can boost about the gun that's by your bed
Old man, you can tell me how you're good for all your kaffirs yet
And the guns can fire, and your prisons fill
And you've yards of rope for hanging still
But the guns can shoot and never hit the sky
And there's no rope as long as time.
Track Name: Contention City
Contention City
(Skaith/Jones)

We made Contention City
On the last night of a storm
Searching for the truth that money brings
We found lodging in the shadows
But they didn't promise rest
As hope sank to the floor on weary wings

We walked on glided splinters
As we scuffed the street for work
And we got by on the mission's cheapest brand
Till our dreams were filled with waking
And our hands with engine parts
As our hearts decayed like debris in the sand

Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Not even with eternity to try

My home's contention city
Where the master's minds are fixed
On thinking of the money they can save
Like a cat-walk without guard rails
That sent you into space,
I felt like firing shots above your grave

Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Not even with eternity to try

The city limits are another kind of the town
Oh Lord your lambs are starving and the horses all gone down
To the track where even truth gave up the ghost

Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Oh they can't tear your face from my mind
Not even with eternity to try
Track Name: The Men Below
The Men Below
(Skaith/Jones)

Album, tour, albumen - We're still picking at the shell
And you know we should be glad of this living
But it seems like a living hell sometimes
On this playing stage we play so hard
But so much harder still - is the life beneath, deep down in the seams
Where your hotel nights they’re the stuff of the dreams
Of the men below

Imagine, having to fight
To work two miles down from the air and the light
And imagine, having to plead
That a job that can kill you, is a job that you need

Darker still the darkness, than a pale young miner's eyes
Who had to see the convoy lights come shining
Couldn’t close off his surprise
With his one poor piece of paving, pressing hard against his palm
Knowing this could be the only way he'd ever get to spend another day
With the men below

Imagine, having to fight
To work two miles down from the air and the light
And imagine, having to plead
That a job that can kill you, is a job that you need

A bingo king is calling
It must be morning time again
And every gaudy ball that gets blown out
Seems like it's numbered 'number ten'

While on an empty bus they tried so very hard to fill up every seat
There was a method in this mad alarm
Who do you think would ever do such harm
To the men below?

Imagine, having to fight
To work two miles down from the air and the light
And imagine, having to plead
That a job that can kill you, is a job that you need

And who knows what we all owe
To the boys in the dust - to the men below?
And who knows what we all owe
To the boys in the dust - to the men below?
And who knows what we all owe
To the boys in the dust - to the men below?
Track Name: The Big Pool
The Big Pool
(Skaith/Jones)

There's a mouth on the book she is reading
The lips are so red, they could almost be bleeding
As red as the shirt that she has to pull on
As the wind cools
By the big pool

She is asking advice of her mother
The woman in black she could not be another
As black as the look that she gives to the boys
Calls them "Poor fools"
By the big pool

The big pool is frighteningly wide
Lapping a town where the red and the black collide
Sometimes the waves even have to decide
The big pool stirs just outside …

At the edge of the square there's a meeting
The men are in black and their wave is no greeting
Black as the sockets of skulls in a cellar
The new ghouls
By the big pool

Through the dust there's a cluster of young boys
Red neckerchiefs in the heat and the noise
Red as the past of Emilia-Romagna
By whose Rules?
By the big pool

The big pool is frighteningly wide
Lapping a town where the red and the black collide
Sometimes the waves even have to decide
The big pool stirs just outside …

"Tell me again", said the young girl
The sun's setting red and my head's in a whirl
Red is the colour that killed Aldo Moro
While black uniforms lived by torture and sorrow
But there's no middle ground, not now or tomorrow
Still, I will choose
I will choose
By the big pool

The big pool is frighteningly wide
Lapping a town where the red and the black collide
Sometimes the waves even have to decide
The big pool stirs just outside …
Track Name: Like a Miracle
Like a Miracle
(Skaith/Jones)

The wine you spill, the bread you steal
The European sick you heal
The crown of thorns that you can't feel
The table sags with you last meal …

It's like a miracle
A miracle we've come this far
It's like a miracle
Miracle and then some more …
From the manger to this abattoir

And the coloured glass and the piles of stones
The clicking beads like dialing tones
The incense scent in smokeless zones
The noise, the praise, the fevered moans …

It's like a miracle
A miracle we've come this far
It's like a miracle
Miracle and then some more …
From the manger to this abattoir

It's miraculous that we've all lasted
Deserted, starved, unfed and fasted
You left us hungry and unsustained
We planted grain
But it just rained, it rained and it rained and it rained

The unmade road and the son of Cain
The fallen women raised again
The ranters, ravers we call sane
The pious souls of Bloemfontein

It's like a miracle
A miracle we've come this far
It's like a miracle
Miracle and then some more …
From the manger to this abattoir

The mitre hat, and the shepherds' crook
The true believers you forsook
The carnival, the bloody book
The lamb hangs butchered from a hook

It's like a miracle
A miracle we've come this far
It's like a miracle
Miracle and then some more …
From the manger to the abattoir
Track Name: Love Has Gone
Love has Gone
(Skaith/Jones)


You're living in a world where all the lambs are frisky
And private eyes hold hold-guns that are hotter than
The whisky that they drink
The cops here never miss a hand-out and they
Never miss a detail
Super grasses sell you wholesale but they'd like to make it retail
Don't you think?

I saw you huddled in a parka by the fifteen furlong marker
What you told me was obscured by the hooves
And the cling-film clings around you
Choking off all of the sound you're making
Even though you scream it
From the roofs

Love has gone, taken a rain check
Left you with no forwarding address
Love has gone, sailed the evening tide
The last surviving signal was distress
Love has gone …

You played them all the sickly crooners
All the sugar "moon" and "Juners"
But that waxworks never got you past first base
After all of that Scorsese you should know
Things don't come easy
Now you're shedding bitter tears by the case

Love has gone, taken a rain check
Left you with no forwarding address
Love has gone, sailed the evening tide
The last surviving signal was distress

Love has left you in Manila
With your "Off the Wall" and "Thriller"
And a bill that's mounting every single day
And the telex and the ticker tape
They tell you what you can't escape
She's left you not a single thing to say
Except love has gone.

Love has gone, taken a rain check
Left you with no forwarding address
Love has gone, sailed the evening tide
The last surviving signal is distress
Love has gone, taken a rain check
Left you with no forwarding address
Love has gone, sailed the evening tide
And you’ll never, ever, never cry
Your way out of this mess
Your love has gone.
Track Name: The Weatherman
The Weatherman
(Skaith/Jones)

Blind Joe Death had been transfigured
We’d hung the hangman’s daughter high
In the rolling paper silence
We thought in step like passers by
From Cyfartha to Siddharta to King Arthur’s saintly knights
We’d bring the warring tribes together
And set a broken world to rights

But hoping that Frodo got to Mordor
No longer seemed appropriate
As Chinese printed ‘Gotha Programmes’
Took the place of opiates
From your backside to the Bogside
For Upper Clyde and Soledad
We carried bed sheet dyed red banners
And poured in every hope that we had

Jerusalem is shattered
Evacuate the towers
There’s a hurricane approaching
The weatherman predicted showers.

If A is Allende, A’s Angola
And a taste of victory
Getting even, getting closer
With Franco down and Lisbon free
From the first cut, to the last round
We met and argued, marched and planned
Oh who would guess we’d soon be fewer
When everywhere was garage land

Jerusalem is shattered
Evacuate the towers
There’s a hurricane approaching
The weatherman predicted showers

Oh, you can’t get a pin between the splinters
With the broad church on its knees
In these cold, bleak mid-winters
The south is blue and the rest can freeze
From the Medway to the west way
Easy money they recite
There’s some would share
But all’s divided
Where 'The Sun' would cast no light

Jerusalem is shattered
Evacuate the towers
There’s a hurricane approaching
The weatherman predicted showers

Chain the rain dogs to the gatepost
Drag your urchin kids inside
Press the play, turn up the volume
Hope the good Lord will provide
From the Tay Bridge, to the Tamar
The blame is hers, the fault is ours
At least a
Hurricane approaching, the weatherman predicted showers
At least a
Hurricane approaching, the weatherman predicted showers
Track Name: Wounded in Action
Wounded in Action
(Jones)

You kept me all night talking
Equal rights for us and them
Then I heard you sold the sequel rights
To the head of M.G.M.
Your care for your profession
And in honesty and trust
So how come all these party crumbs
Come from England's upper crust?

Empty windows, empty windows in the snow
How come it's winter, winter everywhere you go?
Did you think I needed, did you think I needed to be hurt?
Wounded in action, were you hoping I'd desert?

What was common in our background
Was this game of 'Let's pretend'
When the hosts swooped from Rebecca
There was nothing left to mend
Oh, how could you find this easy?
And how could you be so hard?
Should have seen those extra clauses
Hidden in your party card

Empty windows, empty windows in the snow
How come it's winter, winter everywhere you go?
Did you think I needed, did you think I needed to be hurt?
Wounded in action, were you hoping I'd desert?

Ah, wounded, wounded isn't dead
Maybe I'm stronger now not in heart
But in my head
Wounded, wounded and alone
I hear 'The Last Post'
On a tenor saxophone

Empty windows, empty windows in the snow
How come it's winter, winter everywhere you go?
Did you think I needed, did you think I needed to be hurt?
Wounded in action, were you hoping I'd desert?