Real Lives

by The Living Archive Band

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about

Released in 2000 by the 9-piece electric line-up of the band to coincide with the revival of 'All Change', (the very first performance to be put on at the new Milton Keynes Theatre), this collection combines music from that play together with some other old favourites.

credits

released February 1, 2000

Marion Hill, Sue Malleson & Shahnaz Hussain-Hall: vocals
Brad Bradstock: guitar, vocals
Neil Mercer: guitar, mandolin, whistle, trumpet, vocals
Paul Clark: bass, vocals
Kevin Adams: fiddle. mandolin, guitar, vocals
Andrew Hall: keyboards
Ben Hallett: drums, percussion
Dave Watson: drums

Recorded at Audiolab , Buckingham by Andy Glass
Mixed by Andy Glass & Nigel Neill
Except-
Track 1 recorded by Brad Bradstock at the Living Archive, 1996
Tracks 5 &10 recorded live at Stantonbury Theatre 1995, mixed by Brad Bradstock

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about

The Living Archive Band Milton Keynes, UK

An acoustic quintet with an emphasis on strong vocals to deliver both songs and the spoken word depicting the experiences of the people of North Buckinghamshire past and present. The inhabitants of the towns of Wolverton, Stony Stratford and Bletchley and of course the new city of Milton Keynes all have had something to say, and the Living Archive Band gives them a voice. ... more

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Track Name: I Want A Little More From Life
I Want A Little More From Life
Neil Mercer

Here in this house, it’s not my home
I dream of somewhere I can call my own
A chance to start afresh would be so nice
I want a little more from life
The people here, they don’t complain
They say be grateful if things stay the same
But I’ll take no more of their advice
I want a little more from life

I’m not looking for La Dolce Vita
I don’t expect a life of ease
But I’m sure life could be sweeter
Why am I so hard to please?

What’s to be done? What should we do?
We’ve got to work to make our dreams come true
And though we wonder if it’s worth the price
We want a little more from life

People call me discontented
Because I want something new
But when I see how their dreams have ended
What am I supposed to do?

Here in this house, it’s not my home
I dream of somewhere I can call my own
A chance to start afresh would be so nice
I want a little more from life
I want a little more from life
Track Name: Refreshment Room
The Wolverton Refreshment Room
Words & music: J Cunningham

If ever you take the railway that runs through Birmingham town
Three hours out of Euston, they let you all get down.
Eleven minutes is allowed - we have to keep up speed
And the Wolverton Refreshment Room will answer every need
With seven fair young ladies to wait upon you all
Four men and three boys are at your beck and call
A kitchen maid is in her proper station
With a matron to guard her reputation .

‘A wonder of these modern times’ a gentleman has said,
‘Three hundred railway cottages and every one is red,
A giant locomotive shed where meadows used to be.’
But the Wolverton refreshment Room is all that you will see
With seven fair young ladies to wait upon you all
Four men and three boys are at your beck and call
A scullery maid, a kitchen maid are in their proper station,
With a matron to guard their reputation.

You will not meet the railwaymen, oh entertain no fear,
They go off to a public house, The Royal Engineer
Or over to Hell’s Kitchen, which is beastly and profane
But the Wolverton Refreshment Room has neither sin nor stain
With seven fair young ladies to wait upon you all
Four men and three boys are at your beck and call
A laundry maid, a scullery maid, a kitchen maid
Are in their proper station, with a matron to guard their reputation.

Banbury cakes, ladies fingers, brandy, lemonade,
The company has insisted they be tastefully displayed
And if about your comfort you still harbour any doubt
There’s warming up, by the stove, a quantity of stout.
With seven fair young ladies to wait upon you all
Four men and three boys are at your beck and call
A house maid, a laundry maid, a scullery maid, a kitchen maid
Are in their proper station, with a matron to guard their reputation.

One hundred pounds of luggage is all that we allow,
Smoking is prohibited. The train is leaving now.
We hope you have been satisfied with our establishment
And please - no gratuities. The servants are content.
With seven fair young ladies to wait upon you all
Four men and three boys are at your beck and call
An odd man, a house maid, a laundry maid
A scullery maid, a kitchen maid
Are in their proper station, with a matron to guard their reputation.
Track Name: The Bunny Run
The Bunny Run
Kevin Adams

Sunday afternoon we're out to take the air
Up and down in Stony Town, see who else is walking there.
Hoping that some day I'll find that certain special girl of mine.
So I'm always there when the weather's fine

On the Bunny Run

Sunday afternoon, when we're walking in the street
The lads stroll up and the girls walk down and ne'er the twain shall meet.
There's a girl I've seen who's caught my eye so I gave her wink sort of on the sly
And she winked back- now my, oh my !

Sunday afternoon, trying to impress
Cleanest boots and Sunday suits - it's not a day of rest!
You might stand a while in a shop doorway just to pass a little time of day
Till Sergeant Rollings moves you on your way...

Sunday afternoon only comes round once a week
It's over far to soon, Monday looks so very bleak
As the days go past I'm a sorry case but when I close my eyes I can see her face
And I'll see her next week in the usual place.
Track Name: I Would Not Change A Thing
I Would Not Change A Thing
Wods & music: Neil Mercer

We’re in a changing of times for worse or better
With dreams much braver than mine you bring change in
I know when you take a stand for what you believe in
You try the best that you can to bring change in

But as I look out tonight
On this summer evening as the church bells ring
I just know then that I’m right
About what really matters
I would not change a thing

I hear there’s trouble today though you don’t tell me
Maybe it must be that way to bring change in
So sure of all of your plans you give your reasons
To those who don’t understand the change you bring
Track Name: The Valley Of The Shadow
The Valley of the Shadow
words & music: Paul Clark

Our great attack had failed, we'd nothing left to give.
Our wounded hanging in the wire had little time to live.
The German shells came screaming down
To shred them where they lay,
Abandoned in the valley of the shadow.

The battle ground at night would look as bright as day,
As Very flares turned blackness into ugly, lifeless grey.
The twisted shapes that once were men in senseless patterns lay, The tenants of the valley of the shadow.

The torn and shattered fields, the bits of wire and steel
No blade of grass, or branch, or leaf, to make the place seem real.
An ancient traveller passing by just couldn't help but say:
“This surely is the valley of the shadow.”

Let paintings of that scene be hung upon the wall
In rooms where governments decide if men should stand or fall.
They'd never go to war again if leaders had their say
While looking at the valley of the shadow.
Track Name: A Few Coppers
A FEW COPPERS
words & music: Neil Mercer

Oh times are very bad for business
The shopkeepers all say
When half of the people walking down High Street
Are stretching what they've got to buy enough to eat
There's not much prospect of employment
Unless you move away
So be glad of what you've got and do the best you can
A few coppers go along way.

But it's not enough sometimes
And you know sometimes-
I wonder what it's all about.
What we put away for a rainy day
Just seems to have run out.

But things seem better when the fair comes
For those two magical days
Each penny that you save will mean an extra ride
A few coppers go a long way.

Oh the fair brings folk to Stony Stratford
From near and far away
There's PC MacAdam from his Bradwell beat
And families from Wolverton to join the treat
From Market Square down to the Horse fair
There's loads to do each day
So pitch yourself a coconut on Oxford Street
A few coppers go a long way.

But it's not enough sometimes
And you know sometimes-
I wonder what it's all about.
What we put away for a rainy day
Just seems to have run out.

Oh times are very bad for business
And they may stay that way
So be glad of what you've got and do the best you can
A few coppers go a long way
Track Name: Sheltered Lives
Sheltered Lives
Paul Clark

Now Wolverton's a place with an easy gentle pace
It's a railway town of no great renown
But to us that's no disgrace.
The summit of success is a job with LMS
With a terraced house, contented spouse,
And in time two kids or three
Who in their turn will grow to learn
To want no more than we.

Suppose we tried to say what really makes our day
It would be hard to know, 'cause things always go
In that same old simple way
The hooter tells us when it's time for work, and then
Its familiar call reminds us all
That it's lunchtime- twelve till one
One last time it blows, the whole town knows
That another day is done.

The works doors open wide, the workers move inside
Anyone could say as we start our day
That we feel a quiet pride
Our work requires our skill, our manliness and will
'Cause you know each lad will follow dad
Who taught him what to do
In a job that's sure, safe and secure
That will last a whole life through.

Just look across the square, the War Memorial's there
With the names marked down of the boys from town
Who copped it over there.
Depression times were tough, there just never was enough
But through it all survives the sheltered lives
That we've lived amidst these fears
Should war come again, we'll be the same
As we've been through all these years.
Track Name: The Permanent Way
The Permanent Way
Kevin Adams

Granite for ballast and sleepers of pine
Cut through the country in a very straight line.
Depart and arrive the very same day
On the London to Birmingham Railway

On the permanent way
On the permanent way
On the permanent way
London to Birmingham the very same day.

Train coming out of Linslade tunnel
White smoke streaming from the funnel
Pistons pumping, drive wheels hum
Folks in Fenny surely hear us come.

Look down there that's Denbigh Hall
Hardly a sign of life at all
Turned round here when the line was new
Now we just keep rolling through

Slow goods up, fast mail down
Rattling the windows through Wolverton Town
Never mind the cinders, never mind the smoke
Wolverton people are railway folk

Steam train coming, powerful sound
Darken the sky and shake the ground.
If you live to a hundred and three
It's the fastest thing you'll ever see.
Track Name: Do You Ever Think Of England-
Do you ever think of England?
Rod Hall

Do you ever think of England
When it’s four on a shell-shocked morning
You try staying awake lad, when your body cries for rest.
You try being a hero when the best friend that you ever had
Is lying out in No-Man’s Land with a bullet in the chest

Oh…. I can still hear the brass band playing
I can still see them singing and marching
While they take young men off to war
Oh… If they really want to make me happy
Then they’ve got to march me down
From the top of this hill
That they marched me up before

There’s a quiet place behind the lines
Where crosses stand in row on row
The list of missing and wounded grows longer every day
Kitchener told us when we joined
We’d be proud to hold our heads up high
Don’t try doing that here, lad you’ll throw your life away.
Track Name: Denbigh Hall
Denbigh Hall
Words & music: Paul Clark

‘Twould be a stately place you’d think, to call it Denbigh Hall
But until now, it’s truth to say, there was nothing there at all.
Its little pub was never used by coaches passing through,
No fame it had for beauteous barmaid, or for powerful brew.

Now the fortunes of this pub have risen with a bound
The railway’s come right through the place
There’s navvies all around
And ev’ry day they spend their wages buying food and beer
They pack the place up stairs and down with rough and hearty
cheer

The railway coming up from London ends at Denbigh Hall
To travel any further north the trains won’t help at all
But there are coaches right at hand to serve the traveller’s need
To Lichfield or to Nottingham they’ll get him there with speed

Each day the train from London town arrives at half past one
And then begins a frantic rush with trav’lers on the run
They’re jumping into coaches porters stowing bags away
Each coach and omnibus starts out with minimum delay.
Track Name: James McConnell
James McConnell
words & music: Paul Clark

I come from Daley, Ayrshire
McConnell is my name
I’m a first-class railway engineer
And few can make that claim I say,
And few can make that claim

At thirteen I set out from home
To learn to make my way
Studied at night in the Institute
Apprenticed in the Works by day,
Did apprentice work by day.

In Glasgow and in Liverpool
I learned the mechanics’ skill
At the drawing board I used my brains
On the shop floor used my strength and will
I lived by brains and will

I’ve worked on jennies, I worked on mules
On cranes that sit dockside
I’ve built a crystal palace too
But locomotives are my pride,
Locomotives are my pride

On the Birmingham and Gloucester line
Where Yankee engines fail
Up a one in thirty seven grade
One of my engines specially made
Carries people freight and mail

And now I’ve come to Wolverton
My terms are fair and square
I want good labour, I want good men
And I shall do my share I say
And I shall do my share
Track Name: Captain Swing
CAPTAIN SWING
Words & music: Paul Clark

For poor law pay, they’re forced to useless labour
A morning’s work, two miles a stone to bear
That afternoon they’re forced to take another
You’d think good men would use their labour better

Their families starve, they freeze through all the winter,
They steal to eat, so to a cart they’re tethered,
On market days, through Aylesbury streets they whip them
You’d think just men would treat their misery better.

Their fathers worked a whole year for one farmer.
From farm to farm they beg for each day’s pay,
Their only choice, the workhouse or the prison.
You’d think wise men could change their lives for better.
Track Name: All Change
All Change
Words & music: Kevin Adams

When this story first began, when Adam delved and Eve she span
Who was then the gentleman? I hear the ploughman cry
Rich man safe in his estate, poor man sits outside the gate
How much longer will he wait before he questions why?

All change, all change
Listen well and heed the call
All change, all change
See the writing on the wall
Change is coming for us all

Once I walked while master rode
Once I carried master's load
Laboured under master's goad
Tied to master's land
Iron forge and coal to burn has
Thrown the future in the furnace
Who can tell just where this journey's
Leading you and me?

Ploughman walks away from sorrow
Turns his back on field and furrow
Lends his strength unto tomorrow
On the iron way.
This soil here turned once for ever
Lines laid here that none can sever
Brings the distances together
Hastening the day -

All change , all change etc.
Track Name: The Night The Stones Rolled Into Town
The Night the Stones Rolled Into Town
Music: Neil Mercer words: Neil Mercer & Kevin Adams

I was just 15, it was the year that I left school
Levi jeans, Ben Sherman shirts were what we thought was cool
In your Burton's made-to measure, you're nobody's fool
Getting used to working weekdays, living by the rules,
‘Til the weekend came around

Wilton Hall was paradise for all us music fans
Dancing there on Friday nights to the latest bands
And the man behind it all, I'd like to shake his hand-
It was Ron King who wore the crown
On the night the Stones rolled into town

And we were living for the future, glad to be alive
Then one day you wake and find the future has arrived

In Makario’s coffee bar, before the show that day
Sipping our espressos, sang 'Not Fade Away'
Nowhere else to got to, happy just to stay
While the world went spinning round
On the night the Stones rolled into town

We went into Wilton Hall, on that famous day
Right up to the stage, and there we stood and watched them play
I can still remember, just like yesterday
How Keith made that guitar sound-
On the night the Stones rolled into town.