Six more reasons for peace: A selection of songs|
by Brian Cullen
Brian Cullen is an Irish musician and songwriter living in Nagoya, Japan. He plays a vibrant mixture of Irish traditional music and his own compositions. He has released and produced many CDs since his first release in 1995. For more information, visit his homepage at www.celtic-otter.com.
Hey Raging River [3.3 MB /.MP3 file]
I wrote Hey Raging River a couple of years after I came to Japan, probably around 1993 or 94. I was playing at a bluegrass festival somewhere up in the mountains with an old friend, Tomonori Shimizu. Sitting in front of a tiny stream, I came up with this song. I wrote the first two verses in a couple of minutes and added the third just before I went into the studio to record my first album, Lady, Don't Cry. There is a second version of this song on the first Rising Pints album, The Rising Pints. In that version, it's a duet with Mark Renne-Burke. After all this time (and all those songs), it's still one of my favourite songs - nice simple lyrics about learning to live within our environment rather than against it.Hey Raging River, won't you carry me, Carry me down to the sea, Hey raging river, won't you carry me down, To the place where your wisdom is found. For I cannot live on this dry land, I'm drowning, And I see truth no more, So hey raging river, won't you carry me, I'm waiting here on your shore. Hey towering mountain, high over the Earth, Tell me, what am I worth, Hey towering mountain, answer my plea, Tell me how you judge me. Am I fit to stand in your shadow, I'm falling, And I see my spirit is two, So hey towering mountain, just for a short while, I'd like to see with your view. There's power in the mountains, there's might in the sea, There's strength in all nature but me. But I too can be strong, if only I try, A strength that never will die. So I'll linger with you my teachers, To learn from your wisdom profound, To live without destruction, To love this sweet World all around.
[ p. * ]Lady Don't Cry [3.5 MB /.MP3 file]
I wrote Lady, Don't Cry shortly before I came to Japan - when I was in my final year of Trinity College Dublin. In fact, I seemed to spend a lot more time writing songs and drinking with Neily and the boys than I spent in the library. Still, I survived by quite a generous margin and the songs survived too. This was the title track of my 1995 cassette album, Lady, Don't Cry. I often consider remaking it with a full band rather than the simple piano version that's on the cassette. It would also be a great slow song for a heavy rock band - any takers?Sally Gardens [3.8 MB /.MP3 file]Deep in the heart of a lovely young woman, Lies the need for love but she's crying. Though she'll pretend that it's not her intention, You can tell from her eyes that she's lying. And it hurts you to leave but you go, You're breaking her heart and you know, That if you once weaken you'll fail, And so you hear yourself say, Lady don't cry (x4) And now that you've left her, you've still got your freedom, You're stranded alone at the crossroads again, But her tears are like thunder as they echo around, Like the insults she hurled at all men. And they cut you with a blade that's been honed, As they echo and sound in your mind, They'll make you weaken - you'll fail, And so you hear yourself say, Lady don't cry (x4) And it hurts you to leave but you go, It's breaking your heart and you know, That your tears will flow just like hers, And these haunting words will return, Lady don't cry (x4).
(Words: W. B. Yeats, 1889. Tune: Maids of the Mourne Shore, Trad.)
This is a very beautiful old Irish air with words by Yeats. I often use it in my Irish culture courses and students invariably love it. It is a very simple love song but its gentle view on life and love linger on in my mind and give me pause for thought now and then. I recorded this song on the album, Another Round with the band, The Rising Pints.It was down by the Sally Gardens, my love and I did meet. She crossed the Sally Gardens with little snow-white feet. She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree, But I was young and foolish, and with her did not agree. In a field down by the river, my love and I did stand And on my leaning shoulder, she laid her snow-white hand. She bid me take life easy , as the grass grows on the weirs But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears. Down by the Sally Gardens, my love and I did meet. She crossed the Sally Gardens with little snow-white feet. She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree, But I was young and foolish, and with her did not agree.
[ p. 80 ]Kayoko [3.7 MB /.MP3 file]
Kayoko is one of my very sweet cats. This is a song that I had half-written and finished at a well-beered session with The Magical Otters. Ja nai desu ka is Japanese for "isn't it?" or "isn't that right?". The other one of my sweet cats, Yasuo, was the subject of another simple blues song that I released on the Rising Pints album, The Rising Pints. It was called You Never Listen To Me for a very obvious reason.The Road Goes On [7 MB /.MP3 file]Pretty, pretty Kayoko, ja nai desu ka? Pretty, pretty Kayoko, ja nai desu ka? I tried, I tried, I tried To make you stay I tried, I tried, I tried, But I failed But if you'll just come back to me There'll be no more tears and misery This time, it's gonna be Just right It's so sad to be alone, ja nai desu ka? Walking in this world alone, ja nai desu ka?
This is one of my favourite songs. I have heard it said that love is a verb rather than a noun. Indeed, it is the everyday acts that we do that show our love for each other. I was listening to an old Van Morrison album recently and he deals with the same theme again and again. There is nothing quite so sweet as sharing the banal.If you dream of an empty space And a time with time to waste Then you may understand If you long for the endless sea And the rain, gentle on the breeze Then you may understand And I hope my love is on the same road as me. If a song can make you laugh and cry And a smile make you pause a while Then you may understand If you walk when there's nowhere to go And you can laugh and just let go Then you may understand And I hope my love is on the same road as me. Chorus Love is not something we have But every step we share I would like to walk on that road with you Let me know that you'll be there. The road goes on The road goes on and on and on The road goes on For you and me. If you are rich upon the smell of spring And feel the joy the dark of winter brings Then you may understand If you can see beyond the everyday And yet live for every breath you take Then you may understand And I hope my love is on the same road as me.
[ p. 81 ]River in the Sky [5.5 MB /.MP3 file]
I wrote River in the Sky when I was sober. If I had been drinking at the time, I hate to imagine how wierd it would have turned out. However, there is a grain of sense in there - see if you can find it. I recorded this on Just Right with The Magical Otters.There's a river in the sky, Where the sun and the moon go swimming at the weekend, From the corner of your eye, If you look right now, you can probably see them. There's a star 'neath the sea, That boils all the oceans through the night-time, If you smell very deep, You can smell burning fish in sauce of seaslime. chorus I feel so bad, that it feels good, And if I could dream, then I would, Dream of you ... There's a hole beneath the ground, Where 10,000 men and a cat are having fun, But on the roof comes a pound, The purring of the cat has revealed their secret den. There's a dream in my head, That you are lying here in my arms, What's wrong with what I said, A dream can never do me any harm.