Raise the Flag of Green – 2024

Damh has taken a break from the Y Mabinogi albums to write and record a music album. The first since Sabbat in 2016 this album is a journey from Spring through to Autumn and is a celebration of what it means to be a living being, and a part of the Web of Life. It contains songs that he played and honed during his live-streamed House Concerts which are sure to become classic live songs.

Raise the Flag of Green

A passionate celebration song dedicated to the Spring Equinox.

 

Verse 1

I went a-walking

On a cold March day,

Heard the Blackthorn talking,

And this is what they say.

Rain clouds, even now days are cold and grey,

But we are here, we are here,

And Spring’s not far away.

 

Chorus

The time has come the in-between

Hedgerow raise the Flag of Green

See the Maiden dance and sing

To the Spring.

To the Spring.

 

Verse 2

I went a-walking

On a fine March day,

Heard the flowers talking,

And this is what they say.

It is time, it is time,

We heard the Snowdrop cry,

So out we come, see the Sun,

And on we rise!

 

Verse 3

I went a-walking

On a late March day,

Heard the birds a-talking

And this is what they say.

Evening song, here we come,

With the Sun we fly!

Celebrate, avaite,

Lighting up the sky.

Something Beautiful

I was skipping through a book I use sometimes to get the flow of Awen going called Bartletts Book of Quotations and came across a quotation from Mother Theresa “Do something beautiful today”. This was towards the end of the Pandemic when the feelings I originally felt, that this was something we were all sharing and that it might just bring us together, was falling apart, seeing people and friends arguing with each other on social Media. I wanted to write a song as an antidote to all of that division. ‘Something Beautiful’ was the result.

 

Verse 1

Let’s do something beautiful,

No one will expect,

Inspired, something kind,

Give and not collect.

Let’s do something beautiful,

Dial a friend before they call,

If you hear them tumble,

Catch them when they fall.

 

Chorus

For the future’s like a seed within our hands,

It will better grow in soil than in sand,

We can plough and sow together, hand in hand,

And watch the flowers spread throughout the land,

Let’s do something beautiful.

 

Verse 2

Let’s do something beautiful,

Set our course and take the reins,

There’s a bright and better future,

It’s time to make a change.

Let’s do something beautiful,

Go and play out in the Sun,

We’ve been too long in shadow,

Let’s go and have some fun.

 

Verse 3

Let’s do something beautiful,

Take the higher ground,

It’s better to have sung your song,

Than never made a sound,

Let’s do something beautiful,

Set our sails to calmer winds,

Leave the rats upon the shore,

That’s a race no-one wins.

Under the Trees

I love the woods, the firests and the trees. If ever I feel sad, disconnected, stressed, if I can I will go to for a walk under the trees. Life was getting on top of me, and I wanted to write a song that expressed that, and also one that would inspire others to do the same.

 

Verse 1

Driving home at night in the company of a storm,

Endless tailights, I’m sitting here alone,

Another day gone by, where do they all go?

It’s getting harder to justify, a life on Deathrow.

 

Chorus

I wanna go where I can heal my soul,

Talk to the wisest people I know,

I will go.

The soothing sound of forest leaves,

And all my troubles start to ease,

Forgive me please,

You will find me,

Under the Trees.

 

Verse 2

When we are born, we are told,

You’re part of a great machine, no chance of parole,

But life is a miracle, this I know so well,

It’s time to turn the keys or this prison cell.

 

Bridge

And I know that it’s true,

It’s so much harder to do,

Than to say,

All that I can say to you,

Is come an meet me there too,

You know the way.

Lowlands Away

I love this classic ‘Sea Shanty’. It’s very much like an English version of the Irish song She Moved through the Fair. A sailor out at sea has a spiritual vision of his love, and he knows she has died whilst he has been out at sea. Heartbreaking, but so, so beaultiful.

 

I dreamed a dream the other nightLowlands, lowlands away, my JohnMy love, she came, dressed all in whiteLowlands away
I dreamed my love came in my sleepLowlands, lowlands away, my JohnHer cheeks were wet, her eyes did weepLowlands away
She came to me at my bedsideLowlands, lowlands away, my JohnAll dressed in white, like some fair brideLowlands away
And bravely in her bosom fairLowlands, lowlands away, my JohnHer red, red rose, my love did wearLowlands away
She made no sound, no word she saidLowlands, lowlands away, my JohnAnd then I knew my love was deadLowlands away
Then I awoke to hear the cryLowlands, lowlands away, my JohnOh, watch on deck, oh, watch, ahoy!Lowlands away

Wolf in the Corn

When the fields of corn (wheat and barley) are green it is a sure sign of the Summer Solstice. When we sit and watch a field of green corn and the wind blows it can create waves upon the surface of the green. In old folklore that is called the ‘Wolf in the Corn’, and it is this that is the inspiration behind this song.

 

Verse 1

Bear you up, lay you down,

Winter’s gone, you wore the crown,

And now, we carry you home.

Furrows ploughed in the waiting land,

To the ground from my hand,

This day, your seeds are sown.

 

Chorus

And the Sun brings the Song of your Rebirth,

Borne of Fire and Water, Air and Earth,

I will care for you through sun, rain and storm,

And in the Solstice breeze, I will run,

With the Wolf in the Corn.

 

Verse 2

Waxing Year, the turning Wheel,

Green man of the fields,

Of corn, you stand so high,

Under the Summer Sun,

Wind blows, then the wolves begin to run,

And so do I.

 

Verse 3

One more sheaf and the harvest’s home,

Wolves fled, you stand alone,

And now, I cut you down,

Ribbons red and a whispered prayer,

Braided through your golden hair,

Once more, you wear the crown.

 

Verse 4

Bear you up, lay you down,

Winter’s gone, you wore the crown,

And now, we carry you home.

20 Years After the War

Maybe it’s an age thing that makes us reminisce about our youth, about growing up. I’d been doing that a lot during the Pandemic. My Dad had been diagnosed with liver cancer, and we found ourselves talking about his life and memories. That made me think about mine too. They felt like less complicated times, but I’m sure that’s because I was a child and didn’t have to deal with the 3 Day Week, and the Winter of Discontent. To me they were good times, worthy of a song.

 

Verse 1

Recently I’m not sure why,

Been thinking about days gone by,

Summer seemed to last so long,

Now I blink, and they’re all gone,

Chopper bikes were so cool,

An hour of TV after school,

Top of the Pops was the thing to see,

Watching T Rex on TV,

All these things I remember and more,

I was born,

20 years after the war.

 

Verse 2

We played our football in the streets,

Returned old bottles for penny sweets,

The empty houses of the war,

Were our playgrounds and so much more,

Action Man and Lego Bricks

The endless Summer of 76,

Playing conkers with my friends,

I thought those times would never end,

Those days are gone,

But who’s been keeping score,

I was born,

20 years after the war.

 

Bridge

So many open spaces running wild and free

Until the sun went down,

I go back now and all I see are houses,

No children are playing,

In this town.

 

Verse 3

From my birth to VE day,

Seemed so very far away,

But it’s become so clear to me,

It’s just now to the turn of the century,

Seasons change and time moves on,

Summer’s nearly been and gone,

Those days that felt so far away,

Made me the man I am today,

No one knows what the future has in store,

I’m older and I’m wiser that’s for sure,

All these things I remember and more,

I was born,

20 years after the war.

How can we Believe (That we Own it All)

This song was originally written for a compilation album created by musicians playing at the CalderaFest Pagan Music Festival in the USA back in 2016. It was called The Green Album and the idea was to raise money for The Rainfirest Trust. It was a great album and it sold well raising enought money for The Rainforest Trust to close a project in the Congo.

 

Time has moved on and I wanted to bring the song onto a Damh the Bard album, re-recorded after 8 years.

 

Verse 1

If there’s life out in the stars,

Do they turn their eyes to ours?

Do we look serene? Do we looks so clear?

A tiny dot way out in space,

The home of the human race,

But things they aren’t going so well down here.

 

Chorus

From furthest sea to familiar shore,

From highest peak to the forest floor,

All creatures great and all creatures small,

How can we believe that we own it all?

How can we believe that we own it all?

 

Verse 2

Turn on the TV what do I see?

Politicians who disagree,

And another country overthrown.

Sometimes I think that the world’s insane,

But then when I look again,

I see the only madness is our own.

 

Verse 3

I cannot believe it’s true,

Is this the best that we can do?

So be the first, put down the stone.

Just like the birds up in the sky

And the fish on the oceans wide,

Know that this is our one and only home.

Spellbound

I wrote this song for Cerri as a gift for our Civil Partnership ceremony. I wanted people to feel the love within the lyrics and melody of the song, and to write a song that others might feel spoke to them of the love they felt for their partner. I also wanted the lyrics to work regardless of the couples’ gender. I love this song. It’s even got an epic instrumental break, and I can see many others having their first dance to this at their own Handfastings.

 

Verse 1

Take me back again,

That night on the beach,

Beneath the stars,

Not a care again,

You were so out of reach,

Yet here you are.

I give you my heart,

I give you this song,

Darling, I’m sorry that it’s taken far too long.

 

Chorus
I am the Sun, to your Moon,

And we’ll watch the world spinning round,

We will dance to our own tune,

Head in the clouds, feet on the ground.

Spellbound.

 

Verse 2

I just fell again,

The love of my life,

And my best friend,

Under your spell again,

I’ll stay by your side,

You can depend,

I look in your eyes,

I need you to know,

I’m still in love with you like all those years ago.

The Last Apple Tree

I stepped into my studio with the aim to write a raucous Wassail song. A song based on the tradition of stepping out into orchards around 12th Night and there holding ceremony to bless the trees, scare away any negative energies, and to wake the Spirit of the Trees. It’s a tradition that almost died out, but has been re-introduced all across England.

 

As I sat down with my Bouzouki I remembered playing in an orchard in Burgess Hill as a child. Even then it was in the edge of a new housing estate and I know it would have been cut down and built over many decades ago. As I strummed the strings a very different Wassail song arrived. The chorus is the words of a traditional Wassail song from Gloucester, in honour of the tradition of the past.

 

Verse 1

As I went out walking, on the 12th night,

Past all of the houses, beyond the streetlights,

To old apple trees, an orchard I knew,

As a boy, I might have scrumped there an apple or two.

The full moon of Winter shone down on the land,

The sign said, “Keep Out’, I did not understand,

Then I saw all the trees lying dead on the land,

And I started singing a song.

 

Chorus

Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree,
With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee.

 

Verse 2

I kicked over the sign, stepped into the field,

Saw the bricks and barbed wire, then the full moon revealed,

Down by a hedgerow, what do I see,

Standing defiant, the last apple tree,

There’s a circle of people, I don’t know how,

There’s fresh-fallen snow, and they’re standing there now,

And I watch as they hang some toast on the bough,

And they start singing a song

 

Verse 3

A full year has gone, it’s 12th night once more,

I walk under the streetlights, same as before,

Along Orchard Close, then up Apple Street,

The freshly laid pavement under my feet.

Still standing by the hedgerow the last apple tree,

Curtains are twitching, then what do I see,

As every door opens, and they join in with me.

And we start singing a song.

Autumn Leaves

A song dedicated to the Autumn Equinox. This song was always going to be the last song of the album. I didn’t know then that the opening song would be dedicated to the Spring Equinox, and thus they would bookend all of the other songs. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the Autumn. I’m a Child of Summer and love the light and warmth of Spring and Summer. The waxing times. I love Autumn but don’t entirely trust it, because hiding behind it’s back is the Winter. So as a peace offering I wrote this song, as a love song for Autumn.

 

I also wrote it on the piano. Now I’m not a pianist, but I knew someone who was. So I sent my very amateur demo to my friend Jamm Master, and he created his wonderful magic on the recorded version.

 

Verse 1

The warmth of the summer,

Has faded away,

I watch the Sunset from the shore,

The geese and the swallows,

Promise that they,

Will return as they sing and they soar.

I watch as they fly to lands so wide and far,

The music of Autumn is sung by Orion’s stars.

 

Chorus

Lady bring your wind and rain,

The Oak and the Holly,

As equals meet again.

Lady bring, your mist and storm,

Can I hear your sigh, in the Corvid’s cry?

As the Autumn leaves

Begin to fall.

 

Verse 2

Nights growing longer,

The harvest is in,

The furrows lay barren and bare,

And the hedgerow remembers,

A Maiden of Spring,

Dancing free, white flowers in her hair,

Now heavy with berries she sings by the light of the Moon,

Her bright song of Summer has changed to Autumn’s tune.

 

Bridge

Poor old Robin has nowhere to hide,

And the wren will soon be King,

Old Jack Frost at the window will smile,

And the veil is getting thin.