Paul Cromford's Vanity Set

Paul Cromford

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Intimate studio recordings of songs played by Paul Cromford in his 'Vanity Set' show, at the Lee Wood Hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire, April 2018.

Scroll down the page for the lyrics.

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LYRICS

DUCKS AND DRAKES

If you would find a sheltered reach that you could call your own 
If all your ghosts are exorcised and every fear has flown 
You go skimming on the water 
Ducks and drakes across the stream 

I was born in Wolverhampton back in nineteen-fifty-nine 
The foundries took our fathers but they won’t touch me and mine 
I go skimming on the water 
Ducks and drakes across the stream 

I saw the Berlin Wall go up, I watched it hammered down 
I’ve seen the same injustices go round --- and round --- and round 
So I’m skimming on the water 
Ducks and drakes across the stream 

I heard The Beatles growing up, I heard the King was dead 
But music sold like muesli is not the music in my head 
When I’m skimming on the water 
Ducks and drakes across the stream 

The time was, when a livelihood could come from honest toil 
Now the crofters’ blood cries out to me from concrete-covered soil: 
“You’re just skimming ducks and drakes across the stream” 

So if you would find a sheltered reach that you could call your own 
If all your ghosts are exorcised and every fear has flown 
You go skimming on the water 
Ducks and drakes across the stream. 

~~~ 

Music :- traditional 
Lyrics :- Cromford

 

ONLY SMILE 

Only smile at the sound of my name  
You can laugh, play me down  
I’m still here, still unsure of the game  
More than halfway underground  

Looking back to the start of my trail  
I was scared by so much  
But no fear takes the wind from my sail  
Like this living out of touch  

Good things come to those who can wait  
With their speeches pat  
Standing too soon at the gate  

Happy dreams visit you as you sleep  
Wrapped up warm, speeding on  
Skies have shrunk and the seas grow less deep  
All I know is: this is The One  

Good things come to those who can wait  
With their speeches pat  
Waiting too soon at the gate  

Share a joke with the blokes from the ‘plane  
Grab your case by and by  
Only smile at the sound of your name  
And remember: we won’t cry. 

Yes, remember. 

 

EACH DAY I TELL YOU

Each day I tell you -- in my own head -- 
The thoughts I should show you in sweet words instead 
Each day I miss you, I lose a year 
In worrying about you, my dear 

Each day I tell you how we could be 
If I were sure of you being sure about me 
Each day I see you in my mind’s eye 
And feel one more part of my old self die 

Each night I get a little respite 
But each night I wonder what you’re going through 

And each day I tell you -- inside my mind -- 
That you are the grace I thought I’d never find 
Each day I wish you everything good; 
If you don’t know happiness, no-one should 

Each night I get a little respite 
But sleep tight is something I no longer do 

'Cause each day I tell you, I’m breaking free 
‘Cause I’ll tear my house down and step clear, you’ll see 
Each day I love you, each day it grows 
But how this will all work out, no-one knows; 

How you and I will make out, heaven knows.

 

MORE LIKE CLAY (Doldrum No.1)  

When the alarm-clock rang and found me waiting 
I never felt more like clay.  
Again I’ve walked through a shock of empty shouting;  
It’s been another dead-weight day.  

Sometimes the decades heap upon my temples;  
I never felt more like clay.  
What makes me think that I followed bad examples?  
It’s been another dead-weight day;  
I never felt more like clay.  

My bridge is far behind your flow of water;  
I never felt more like clay.  
A shorter route linking places that don’t matter;  
It’s been another dead-weight day.  

Maybe my blood was stilled and I was buried;  
I never felt more like clay.  
Just as, compared to the memories I’ve carried  
It’s been another dead-weight day;  
I never felt more like clay.  
I never felt more like clay.


LOW SUNDAY

Crouching in the darkness round the back of your house 
I know you’re not at home, and you’ll miss me now; 
It’s Low Sunday, and the joke’s worn thin 

It seemed a strange arrangement, to be drinking your wine
When I don’t know your name and you never heard mine; 
It’s Low Sunday, and the joke’s worn thin 

Saturday’s an open-hearted pilgrim 
Starry-eyed ‘til heavens disappear; 
Low Sunday’s here. 

They told me you’re the easiest good time to be found 
But I just count the holes in your eiderdown; 
It’s Low Sunday, and the joke’s worn thin 

The more I came to look for you, the less you were there 
And incense hides the absence of good clean air; 
It’s Low Sunday, and the joke’s worn thin 

Saturday’s an open-hearted pilgrim 
Starry-eyed ‘til heavens disappear; 
Low Sunday’s here. 

The bird will have its seed, the dog has his bone 
But it’s a cock-and-bull tale, your cover is blown; 
It’s Low Sunday, and the joke’s worn thin 

So I’m crouching in the darkness round the back of your house 
I know you’re not at home, and you’ll lose me now 
You’ll lose me now 

Lose me now.

 

JACKDAW 

Jack, you suit a sky of raincloud  
Jackdaw, you make a stark stony upland look like home; you do the heartland proud  

Jack, are you the envy of your kin?  
Jackdaw, you’re just as dark but your blue-eyed soul cajoles the angels off their pin  

Jack, there may be gold in these hills
Jackdaw, or does the sparkling river keep you thirsty as the bed it fills?  

Hey Jack, bear in mind your reputation  
Hey Jack, people are not always patient  
Hey Jack, don’t you stoop to their temptation  

By Jesu, if they seize you, you won’t be all right, Jack.  

Jack, I’ve felt you on my shoulder  
Jackdaw, don’t see the mark on my forehead and I’ll shade my eyes to meet your stare  

Hey Jack, bear in mind your reputation  
Hey Jack, people are not always patient  
Hey Jack, don’t you stoop to their temptation  

By Jesu, if they seize you, you won’t be all right, Jack.  

Jack, you suit a sky of raincloud… 

 

THE SPACE (BETWEEN TWO NOTIONS)

 In their contented beds this midnight 
Should any stir as I travel by 
They’ll nestle deeper into their own heat 
And rightly think: “Sooner you than I” 

Because I’m flying like the nightjar 
On the momentum of a prayer 
These eyes are wider with the need to see 
The lights of Her home from the air 

Well, it’s the space between two notions 
And as long as now ‘til doomsday 
But it’s the road that takes me home 

Because I’m driving like the night-mail 
And hills of beacons light my way 
I tell the darkness what She means to me 
As I could never tell the day 

Well, it’s the space between two notions 
And as long as now ‘til doomsday 
But it’s the road that takes me home 

Because I’m riding like your nightmare 
I pound the turnpikes into dust 
And woe betide you if I ride you down 
I’ll leave you trampled if I must 

‘Cause it’s the space between two notions 
And as long as now ‘til doomsday 
But it’s the road that takes me home 

Yes, it’s the space between two notions 
And as long as now ‘til doomsday 
But it’s the road that takes me home  

Takes me home…. takes me home….

 

DEAR ENCHANTRESS 

Have you heard the tweeting of the blackbirds in the pie? 
Dear Enchantress, tell the old man, do 
Crying out like human bairns who’ve never blinked an eye 
Let them fly, there’s someone else for you.  

Have you heard the whining of the piper at your door? 
Dear Enchantress, tell the old man, do 
Looking fit to swallow every coin dropped on your floor 
Throw him more, there’s someone else for you.  

Were you watching Caesar when they carved him like a goose? 
Dear Enchantress, tell the old man, do 
And when Cleopatra fell, did you try on her shoes? 
Kick them loose, there’s someone else for you.  

Do you see your tortoiseshell familiar on the prowl? 
Dear Enchantress, tell the old man, do 
Do you seek to please him, be his mood ever so foul? 
Let him scowl, there’s someone else for you.  

Do you speak with hedgehogs, visit squirrels in their drey? 
Dear Enchantress, tell the old man, do 
Do your cantrips foil the hounds and speed the hare away? 
Let it play, there’s someone else for you  

Wond’ring if enchantment can be worked the other way 
And as I say, there’s someone else for you.

 

HOMEBIRD  

You and I have talked a thousand times  
With nervous laughter  
Making love, we’ve put our world to rights  
And I could cry now  
Knowing all too well these are but dreams  
Since this evil happened to me  

And I see seasons pass as you rebuild your life  
No glances my way  
You believe these window-panes are blind  
To your dismay, but  
Wait: come near the glass, look for the signs  
That this evil paralysed me.  

Can’t you see?  
I never left; I still live in this house  
I never left; I’ve never been away.  

I told you that all I have is yours  
And that I would let loose  
All Hell if it could smash the walls  
We build between us;  
Now I’d go through fire for you to spend  
Just ten seconds gazing at me.  

Can’t you see?  
I never left; I still live in this house  
I never left; I’ve never been away  
I never left; I’m still inside this shell  
I never left; I’ve never been away.  

Please just see; see how I cloud the glass.

 

YOUR WORLD

There’s an overcast of nimbus
That will hide the lowest hill. 
Many hikers are confounded when 
Visibility is nil. 
Though you might despair of shelter 
Or of finding your way clear 
Can you see the torch I shine for you? 
Then you know your home is near. 

Well, I can’t compare with Jesus 
And I’d never be so bold 
But you would honour me 
If I could be the light of your world. 
There are chasms in a lifetime 
Never gilded by the sun. 
Many people lose their way therein 
And I guess that you are one. 
Though there is a footpath upward 
It’s a long and weary climb 
But this summer sky will wait for you 
And this day will take its time. 

Well, I can’t compare with Jesus 
And I’d never be so bold 
But you would honour me 
If I could be the light of your world. 

No I can’t compare with Jesus 
And I’d never be so bold 
But you would honour me 
If I could be the light of your world. 

You would honour me 
If I could be the light of your world.

 

PALE FORTY-NINER

Forty-niner, swaying by the road
Do you recollect what you are owed? 
Gold-rush snowdrifts in your mind 
Froze your heart and turned you blind 
Forty-niner, where’s your motherlode? 
Forty-niner, where’s your motherlode? 

Forty-niner, can you use a friend 
Now your line of credit nears its end? 
Work your golden fillings loose 
For to buy your bed and booze; 
El Dorado’s just around the bend 
El Dorado’s just around the bend. 

Pale Forty-niner could find and lose a mountain 
Pale Forty-niner
Whose pick was bust 
Whose mule went lame 
Whose tent was wrecked 
Whose map went up in flame. 

Forty-niner, looming in the glow 
When the camp-fire tale is murmured low 
Of your fever and despair; 
And ‘though I’d swear I see you there 
I believe you died long years ago 
I believe you died long years ago. 

Pale Forty-niner could find and lose a mountain 
Pale Forty-niner 
Whose pick was bust 
Whose mule went lame 
Whose tent was wrecked 
Whose map went up in flame. 

Forty-niner, swaying by the road…

 

GO WELL 

This time I’ve straightened myself out 
This time I know what I want to say 
And you won’t need to walk me the rest of the way; 
Go well. 

I drew a bead on your target 
I tried to see what you’re aiming for; 
Now, at last, I admit I don’t like what I saw. 
Go well. 

Piety behind me, money on either side 
Whatever’s out there waiting, I mean to enjoy the ride. 

Some days I caught a few glimpses 
Some days made up for the rest somehow 
And they’re all that I want of your memory now; 
Go well. 

I know you tried to read me; you’re very badly read 
But if I try explaining, I lose what’s in my head. 

Some days I caught a few glimpses 
Some days made up for the rest somehow 
And they’re all that I want of your memory now; 
Go well. 

Go your ways, go in peace, don’t go crazy my friend; 
Go well.