50​-​90​-​2012 Vol. 1

by TA Walker

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about

Between the start of July and the end of September 2012, I joined over a thousand other songwriters and musicians around the world, in a seemingly insane mission: to write (and record if possible) fifty songs in ninety days. They called it the 50/90 Challenge (fiftyninety.fawmers.org) - a spin-off from "February Album Writing Month" (FAWM) - and this is the first volume of songs taken from those I wrote and recorded between 4 July - 23 August 2012, as part of my participation in it.

It should be borne in mind that these recordings are demos, of songs written in quick succession (often every two days, occasionally even less) over a period of weeks, and recorded in all manner of locations (the garden, a holiday chalet overlooking the sea, in my car in the office car park during lunchtime...) The quality of songs, recordings, performances, etc. may therefore be a bit variable, ranging from basic acoustic demos through to more fully-arranged pieces. However, this is part of the 50/90 Challenge "experience", which also includes "having fun"... which I did!

The songs on this collection are presented in chronological order of submission to 50/90, with the exception of "This Ukulele Wants To Say" and "The Continuing Adventures Of Major Tom (Retired)", which were swapped over for sequencing reasons (i.e. I thought that the first three songs sounded better with the fully-arranged "Major Tom" in the middle).

I hope to rework the best of the songs from these sessions at a later date, but in the meantime, here are my favourites from the first 50% of my 50/90 creations, presented as they came...

credits

released August 27, 2012

All instruments, programming and voices by TA Walker
Recorded by TA Walker at various locations and on various pieces of digital gear, during July and August 2012

All compositions by TA Walker

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about

TA Walker UK

Guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter, often with "electronica" and "prog" inclinations. Will that do?

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Track Name: The Continuing Adventures Of Major Tom (Retired)
Don’t talk to me of Ground Control
Don’t want to hear of Ground Control
They got their fingers out and finally brought me down
Don’t owe a thing to Ground Control
I left behind that Ground Control
Quit the Space Corps and retired to the coast...

Major Tom’s come down to Earth for good
I’ll never fly again
And the only capsules that I ever see
Are the ones that keep me hypertension-free

Neighbours never call me “Major Tom”
When I pass them on the street
On my mission to collect the Daily Mail
“Hi, old Tom”, I hear, and answer every hail

[bridge 1]
EVA... now means getting out of my car
Far across the road
The shopping bags are blue
And my pension’s nearly due...

[spacey bit]
A G E D (x 2)

I’ve nothing more to do with satellites
Unless my Sky+ fails
My blood pressure gains escape velocity
TV fills the space in empty days for me

[bridge 2]
A quiet evening in the park
Suddenly, everything goes dark
Can you hear me, Ground Control?
Can you hear me, Ground Control?
Can you... oh, it only means that night has fallen
How quickly I forget
Planet Earth’s still there - I’m not going anywhere...
Track Name: This Ukulele Wants To Say
You bought this ukulele one Valentine's Day
I don't think my present came close in any way
It's tough to write a song with a table for two
Though I'll give it a try anytime

[chorus]
This ukulele wants to say “I love you”
Even though it's made of wood and strings
This ukulele wants to thank you warmly
For the chance to help me write these things

He sometimes fights to keep in tune – I know the feeling well
He's made of ply, not koa wood, but who of you can tell?
When he sings, I find him a happy little chap
He's thankfully forgiving when a new song turns out... poorly
Track Name: Another Hippy Song
The flutes are Mellotron-ic
The guitars gently weep
Our drummer’s trying hard
Not to fall asleep
So listen for a while
And then sing along
To another hippy song

A second Mellotron
To add some eerie strings
I wax poetic on
Environment things
Our drummer’s woken for
His big chance to shine, with
A great loud fill, and it’s time...

We’re mean to the world
And I can’t find a girl
Just like the decent rhymes
That pass me by-y-y-y....

I feel this song is flagging
We’re not yet halfway through
Some woolly platitudes
I think they might do
A lift is needed here
So we’re gonna forge
A guitar solo from George

And now we’re near the ending
How did those strings get in?
We can afford just this
Tape keyboard machine
I’m running out of words
So I bid “so long"
To another hippy song
Track Name: Showers
Dashing out between the showers
If I miss one, the next will be here soon
So goes the afternoon
When every drop releases colours
Chase away the unrelenting grey
To come back another day

And blessings come in bits and showers
With puddles there for jumping in
Wellies on, and take a leap with me

As we grow, we soon forget
Or maybe fear of getting wet
The simple fun of playing in the rain
Track Name: I'll Be Late Today
Light through the window
Day underway, pass me by
Trains leave stations
None of them carry me

[chorus]
I'll be late today
World, go on without me
I'll catch up tomorrow
Let me sleep some more

Roads in the distance
Carry the world away
Planes vapour-trailing
Let my dreams trace them home

I'll be late today...

[bridge]
We're working tomorrow
Keep these moments for free
For just one morning
Slow the earth down for me
Track Name: By The Seaside
Sometimes your thoughts feel tangled like seaweed
And a walk down the beach is what you need
Miles away from meetings and routine
Where the sharks bask and the sea shimmers blue-green
Leave your cares in the pots with the lobsters
Dive through the waves to a place where there's lots-ta-do
With fish and squid and me and you

Nothing like a week by the seaside together
No calls on our time, so we can do whatever
Comes to us, calls to us, appeals to us...

After a day of nautical frolics
And "au revoir" to the fishy body politic
The sun sinks low over sea and sand
We watch it dive, I take your hand
The stars emerge and wink hello
As if they'd rather we never have to go
Back to our town, rain falling down
Track Name: Long Sunlit Hours
Evening sunbeams glinting on the sea
You and me and daughter makes three
Seagulls skim the shore and sing for joy
And who am I to disagree
With them?

[chorus]
The gift that we have
These long sunlit hours
The best that leaves me wishing
That slowing down time was in my power
To give

Sails on the horizon pierce the sky
Walk the beach, our girl rushes by
The rockpools too important to wait
But does she need an alibi
For fun?

[bridge]
Stop the clocks
Keep tomorrow at bay
Our home is waiting
I say, let it wait
For today
Track Name: Only The Blue
Try not to daydream of
Padstow harbour
The world has returned

[chorus]
And only the blue sky
Remaining behind of the
Light hours I want to
Catch in these nets and
Stop them all escaping to
Sepia memories

All that remains of
All those ice creams
My trousers don't fit

And even amidst
The Monday commute
The postcards remain
Track Name: Seasons
Wheat will rise and ripen
In the golden sun
Trees bend with the fruit they bear
Mornings bright and evenings fair
Humming bees take to the air
All summer long

[chorus]
Every season, dark or light
Red sky, grey or blue
Sun and showers, hail and calm
And we will see them through

Azure blue to russet brown
Soon the leaves must fall
Breezes turn to tempests strong
Storms roll in and nights grow long
Autumn brings a chilly song
And a lonely call

Every season, dark or light...

Gales turn to icy frosts
Life lies cloaked in snow
Sleeping under iron-cold ground
Strain to hear the slightest sound
Of life or cheer, none heard around
But listen well

Every season, dark or light...

Hear the springtime’s strident song
When the winter’s through
Bursting from the earth in thaw
Snowdrops, bluebells, by the score
Hares will leap and eagles soar
To greet life anew

Every season, dark or light...
Track Name: The Summer That We Nearly Missed
I suppose that we should be grateful
The sun showed his face for a week
And the garden has much to thank the sky for
The weeds need no water to seek
I’ll grimly concede to a “Thank-you”
As the August Bank Holiday nears
At the very last minute, when hope had near-fled
A light through the cloudbank appears

[chorus]
So best late than never, us Brits gamely grin
As our skin by the sunbeams is kissed
We’ll remember this season, like the last five or six
As the summer that we nearly missed

Now we scramble for T-shirts and flip-flops
To soak up the remaining rays
‘Cos we have no idea how our luck will hold
It could be hours rather than days
The roads will get clogged to the seaside
But the chance we must take, for the fear
That if we pass up the crowds at Southend
It’s all we might get ‘til next year
Track Name: M4
It starts off somewhere near Hammersmith
Bending round the office blocks like a concrete Thames
Emerging out of London, wave hello to Heathrow
Look for Windsor Castle, when the city ends

[chorus]
From the streets of London, to the far west coast
of Wales, we take the M4 - the road we love the most

Through the Berkshire countryside, following the sun
Past the lights of Swindon - all human life is there
Always break for coffee - where? You have a choice
of Reading, or Membury, or Leigh Delamere

From the streets of London...

[bridge]
Fly the Severn Crossing, and through the Newport bores
Wave hello to Cardiff - pedal to the floor
Port Talbot, Neath and Swansea, they all go flying by
'Til finally at Pontarddulais, we bid you goodbye...
Track Name: Mr Cable The Sysadmin
I am a system admin and I keep computers running
Living in the server room from morning through to night
Fix permissions, network issues and forgotten passwords
Stocking printers, swapping leads and checking flashing lights

I'd love my job immensely if it wasn't for the users
Meeting every little query gets to be a pain
They think a "kernel panic" means a bloke who's in the army
The usual solution: turn it off and on again

I have no time for arguments preferring Macs or PCs
They do a job and make mistakes, and that makes work for me
I personally preferred it in the days of the Amiga
And keep it to yourself, but I'm a fan of BSD

I cannot find another job that I would rather work in
Butcher, baker, windmill worker - none would feel the same
Fixing people's PC problems brings me satisfaction
I am a system admin - Mr Cable is my name
Track Name: Metaphors
You make the pouring rain feel warmer
You bring the sunbeam that breaks through the grey
You’re the hot fudge sauce on the sundae of life
I bring the nuts that top a sweeter day

[chorus]
And I’d like to bake for you a better metaphor
One that won’t sneak out the oven door

You make the icing on our daily cake
You bring the freshness that follows every storm
You spark the touchpaper that lights our Roman candles
You fuel the fire that keeps our hearts so warm

And I’d like to bake for you a better metaphor...
Track Name: My Little Girl
My little girl
I've got so much to say
And so little time
These days won't last so long
My little girl
Seems like just yesterday
You first walked to me
Now you critique my songs
My little girl

[chorus]
I'm scared I'll turn my head
Look back and you'll be gone
And in your place, an experienced face
I know but don't know

My little girl
I'm sorry for the days
I just let fall
Like the sand in your castle
My little girl
I'm so honoured that I
Can watch you grow
This time will pass us all
My little girl