Album notes

With Love From Liverpool

Track 1         With Love From Liverpool

I’d had the name of the song and a rough shape for the chorus in my mind for a year or so before I decided to put my Liverpool songs together in an album. When I was thinking about a title for the album, the idea of calling it ‘With Love From Liverpool’ sounded just about perfect to me. Then, of course, I had to write the rest of the song! Lots of scribbled-on bits of paper filled the bin before I finally got there just as we started recording the tracks!

Track 2         Everybody Needs A Friend

This was originally in a children’s musical I wrote: ‘The Magic Music Man’. It comes at a moment in the story when just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and the young hero’s pet monster sings the song to him. We actually made a vinyl record of it when I was at St Aidan’s School in Huyton and sold a few hundred copies for school funds! I’ve changed a few of the words since then as they were a bit too specific to the musical for a wider audience but it has mostly stayed the same. You can find a link to the  lovely video of the song on the LInks page of this website – thanks to Dan, Isaac and Harry for this!

Track 3         There’s Nowhere Like Liverpool Town

As a boy I loved getting the bus into town. I loved the hustle and bustle of Church Street and the walk from there down to the Pier Head. A real treat was a trip across the Mersey on a ferry, especially in the summer when you could take the ferry all the way across to New Brighton! The first two verses are based on my memories of those times. And the chorus celebrates Liverpool’s greatest strength – its people!

Track 4         Liverpool Born

Really speaks for itself: Liverpool born and proud to be that way!

Track 5         Sailing On Home

From a school musical, ‘Johnny St John’, that I wrote when I was working in Huyton. The song comes at a crisis point when the young hero is sad to have to leave Liverpool but is determined to return: hence the change of mood and tempo as the song progresses. And I couldn’t resist a very 1960s big ending, much influenced by Roy Orbison’s ‘It’s Over’!!

Track 6         The Home Lights Are Burning

When a local choir were learning this song, one of the members came up to me and said that she had worked at sea and this was exactly how she felt when coming back home to Liverpool. I was made up with that! I’d like to say that the song arose from my own similar experiences but in reality I’ve never been further on a ship than the ferry to Dublin! It must be that the sea is in my blood, as they say, with a number of people in my family having been sailors.

Track 7         Back Where I Belong

There’s a lot of pride in this song and a lot of affirmation of my love for my home city. I wrote it during the years when Liverpool was very much in the doldrums and when the city came in for a lot of ‘stick’, hence the strong line ‘So when the world reviles you’. It certainly felt that way at the time but, with a lot of spirit and some good help, Liverpool is now making it through – good style!

Track 8         Liverpool Town When The Drinking’s Done

This is probably the most reflective song on the album. Thankfully, I’ve never been homeless, never had to sleep rough, but like many people I’ve been in situations where the roof over my head has been no more than that, and not really a ‘home’ or the place I wanted to be. The song explores and overlaps two ideas: not wanting to leave the conviviality of the pub and go home alone, and, far worse, actually having no place to go.

Track 9         Let The Flowers Grow

I wrote this in 1984 for a song contest that was part of the International Garden Festival, held in Liverpool that year. It was the first event of its type held in Britain and was aimed at boosting tourism in the city and hence helping to kick-start regeneration. I took a group of ten and eleven year olds from St Aidan’s down to the Festival site on a glorious hot evening in July to take part in the contest – and we finished second! It’s a song filled with hope, quite a lot of which has subsequently turned into reality, I’m happy to say.

Track 10        All Of Us played to One Tune

I very much wanted to close the album with this song. It’s not about Liverpool particularly but about identity in a broader sense. For me it reflects my Irish and Liverpool heritage, for others I hope it reflects whatever theirs is. I do believe very much that we are all ‘played to one tune’ and that we are all part of a people together forever, no matter how the years and generations seem to separate us.