Credits

Singing and playing by CG
Will Roberts arranged and played the horns on "Peterloo Sunset"
Songs written by CG, published by Gregsongs, administered by BMG Rights Management, UK     
Recorded and mixed at Gregsonics, Saddleworth, UK by CG
Horns on "Peterloo Sunset" recorded at home by Will Roberts
Produced by Clive Gregson
Mastered by Andy Seward
Design by Amelia Sanders
Photographs by Sara Porter

Thanks

Paul Adshead, All at BMG, Lorraine Carpenter, Missy Feeley, Ged Green, Andy Murray, Stuart Palmer,
All at John Pearse Strings, Sara Porter, Amelia Sanders, Andy Seward, John Stirling

Special Thanks

Will Roberts
Tracks

01: North Of England Days
02: All The Way Back To Manchester
03: Alderley Edge
04: Blackpool, Lancashire
05: Sparkle Street
06: At Peterloo
07: Nobody Hitchhikes Any More
08: These Streets Know Me
09: Summer's Ending
10: Too Much For This Town
11: Something About This Place
12: Peterloo Sunset
Lyrics

NORTH OF ENGLAND DAYS

It’s all forever winter and rain that falls in rods,
It’s bus stop conversations between boys who think they’re gods,
It’s girls with too much make-up, pushing prams through dirty parks,
It’s unlimited potential, sitting waiting for a spark...
But wherever my feet wander, wherever my path strays,
I dream of dark satanic sunsets and North of England days...

It’s black over Bills mothers, look, there above the grey,
It’s red brick revolution that’s always on its way,
It’s beer and chips and cigarettes, trainers, baseball hats and dogs,
It seems like only yesterday, it was ferret, flat cap and clogs...
But wherever my feet wander, wherever my path strays,
I dream of dark satanic sunsets and North of England days...

It’s all football and bingo, what’s on telly, what’s for tea,
Dusty bars and rusty cars and who can see the sea?
It’s the politics of envy, it’s the creed of couldn’t care less,
Who could fail to fall in love with such a glorious mess?
And wherever my feet wander, wherever my path strays,
I dream of dark satanic sunsets and North of England days,
I dream of dark satanic sunsets and North of England days...

ALL THE WAY BACK TO MANCHESTER

All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester,
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester…

There’s nothing like a well told story to raise the hairs on the back of your neck,
But action and adventure, they leave me a nervous wreck,
So I’ve got a tale to tell you about life in the inside lane,
Before I got off on the wrong foot, riding on a gravy train…
      
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester,
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester…

Had a head full of rhymes and reasons, a passport in meltdown,
One or two girls that cared for me, I gave them the run around,
Now given a choice between right and wrong, love never stood a chance,
The moment I heard that old sweet song, I began to dance…

All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester,
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester…

You might be in the middle of nowhere or a million miles away,
But every journey starts with one step and I’d best be on my way…

Hello Piccadilly, morning St Ann’s Square,
Wasn’t that once the Free Trade Hall, I made some memories there,
The guitars that I bought on Oxford Road just over from the BBC
,
Deansgate, Shudehill, Castlefield, Market Street HMV…
      
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester,
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester…

All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester,
All the way back to Manchester, all the way back to Manchester…

ALDERLEY EDGE

Oh, we live in a bubble,
We get everything we need from the worldwide web,
Hey, the drones are nothing new in Alderley Edge…

Oh, we’re kicking up a smoke screen,
Riding round in German cars with the latest reg,
You should see what we do for fun in Alderley Edge…

Well there’s not a lot here that a ton of cash can’t put right,
It’s only mortar and bricks, what can’t be fixed,
Stays right out of sight…

Oh, look over the corner,
The familiar face of a footballer flashing his wedge,
Who needs friends when you’re hanging in Alderley Edge?…

Well a little bit of what you like does you good,
Then a little bit more, who’s keeping score,
There goes the neighbourhood…

Oh, we’re strictly organic,
We recycle ourselves behind a ten foot hedge,
Long live us, come what may in Alderley Edge,
The world moves on but we’re here to stay in Alderley Edge,
It’s another perfect day in Alderley Edge…

BLACKPOOL, LANCASHIRE

Hey, it’s a beautiful day, let’s get away down to the sea,
Bring your bucket and spade, there’s lemonade and a flask of tea,
How lucky we are that we live so near,
That shining star, Blackpool, Lancashire...

Let’s go up the tower, we’ll spend an hour, see what we see,
The Zoo, the Pleasure Beach,
The Golden Mile, piers one, two, three,
Back down to earth, we’ll buy souvenirs,
Candy floss and rock from Blackpool, Lancashire...

Rollercoaster rides, water slides and dodgem cars,
Girls with screaming kids all along the Promenade...

There's music all around, transistor sound of the latest hits,
Grandad won a fish and a coconut and he’s thrilled to bits...

Fish and chips and full guest houses,
Pubs packed out with leisure trousers,
Bingo, bowls and ballroom dancing,
Bus shelters made for romancing...

When we’ve seen the sights, we’ll see the lights shine through the dark,
Then we’ll start the search for that back street where our car’s parked,
And all the way home and year after year,
We’ll celebrate Blackpool, Lancashire...

SPARKLE STREET

There’s a house that no-one lives in on a street where no-one goes,
There’s a garden out the back door where the only things that grow,
Are best forgotten memories, tears that never dry,
And fruit that turns more sour as every year goes by,
And I can almost taste that bitter-sweetness,
On the tip of my tongue,
Now I may be a million miles away from Sparkle Street,
But that’s where I belong...

There’s a corner of some foreign field that I will always know,
Basking in the morning sun, the rosy afterglow,
Of the evening of an empire that was always built on sand,
Where something that I tried to keep went slipping through my hands,
And I can almost taste that bitter-sweetness,
On the tip of my tongue,
Now I may be a million miles away from Sparkle Street,
But that’s where I belong...

Call me a dreamer, call me the worst kind of fool,
But I had to find out the things they don’t teach you in school...        

So I’m running through my repertoire, my litany of lies,
And if there’s one lesson I’ve learned well, it’s always compromise,
If someone won’t meet you halfway, then go the extra mile,
Champion the underdog while putting on the style,        
Ah, I can almost taste that bitter-sweetness,
On the tip of my tongue,
Now I may be a million miles away from Sparkle Street,
But that’s where I belong...
Yeah, I may be a million miles away from Sparkle Street,
But that’s where I belong...

AT PETERLOO

They poured into this city,
The August sky was blue,
They talked of reformation,
At Peterloo…

Fair pay for honest labour,
For the many, not the few,
The Hussars rode them down,
At Peterloo…

The muskets sounded, the sabres fell,
From peaceful congregation to living hell…
      
And I remember Barbirolli,
Pink Floyd, Clapton and The Who,
A close encounter with God’s Cop,
At Peterloo…

Lest we forget the price they paid,
Life should be so much more than a working day…

Right now it's happy hour,
And no-one has a clue,
They're at the heart of what went down,
At Peterloo, at Peterloo…

NOBODY HITCHHIKES ANY MORE

Well I was a college kid with nothing but a six string to my name,
I’d take a hometown gig, never worry it was fifty miles away,
From Congleton to Alderley, Wilmslow free ride,
Cheadle through Levenshulme, then on into the hive…

Nobody hitchhikes any more,
Nobody hitchhikes any more,
Well, I’ve thumbed a ride on every mile of the north A34,
But nobody hitchhikes any more…

Through spring and summer, autumn rain that slips into cold winter snow,
I worked the best spots where it always seemed the lorries had to slow,
The Bleeding Wolf at Scholar Green, with Mow Cop way up high,        
Up Beartown Hill in bottom gear, the diesels whine…
      
Nobody hitchhikes any more,
Nobody hitchhikes any more,
Well, I’ve thumbed a ride on every mile of the north A34,
Now nobody hitchhikes any more…

Knights of the road, how times have changed, those were the days…

Nobody hitchhikes any more,
Nobody hitchhikes any more,
Well, I’ve thumbed a ride on every mile of the north A34,
But nobody hitchhikes any more,
Well, I’ve thumbed a ride on every mile of the north A34,
But nobody hitchhikes any more, any more,
Nobody hitchhikes, any more…

THESE STREETS KNOW ME

There’s the spot the Spitfire ran me over,
My life flashed by until I hit the ground,
And that’s where I became a bitter lover,
And learned that crying’s such a lonely sound…

I know these streets, I know these streets,
I know these streets won’t let me be,
I know these streets, I know these streets, I know these streets,
And these streets know me…

This is where I came to get my schooling,
Can’t say that I ever learned too much,
Caught between the teachers and the bullies,
Funny how they had a common touch…        

I know these streets, I know these streets,
I know these streets won’t let me be,
I know these streets, I know these streets, I know these streets,
And these streets know me…

These streets aren’t mean, they’re just out of sorts,
You get away with murder if you don’t get caught,
You can bet the house you built from straw,
You can let your conscience rub you raw…
      
Seems like I’ve walked this town forever,
The pavements and the shiny cobblestones,
The shoes upon my feet, they’re none too clever,
I can’t shake the winter from my bones…

I know these streets, I know these streets,
I know these streets won’t let me be,
I know these streets, I know these streets, I know these streets,
And these streets know me…

I know these streets, I know these streets,
I know these streets won’t let me be,
I know these streets, I know these streets, I know these streets,
And these streets know me, these streets know me,
These streets know me, yeah, these streets know me…

SUMMER’S ENDING

Summer’s ending much too soon and like a mayfly caught in June,
I’ve no business being here, this is not my time of year,
Winter’s just around the corner, I should be where it is warmer,
Holding back the harvest moon, summer’s ending much too soon...

Summer stopped just as it started, showed its face and then departed,
Saw the waste washed up on beaches that the ocean never reaches,
Mother Nature’s playing tricks, Punch and Judy, kiss me quick,
Picture postcard, strip cartoon, summer’s ending much too soon...

How we English love our weather, keeps us entertained forever,
Oh, those storms in ‘87, that was our idea of heaven...

Summer’s ending much too soon, drifting like a lost balloon,
Spinning crazy in full flight, till it disappears from sight,
Meanwhile back on earth I shiver, wonder what next year might deliver,
Let me curl up in my cocoon, summer’s ending much too soon,
Summer’s ending much too soon...

TOO MUCH FOR THIS TOWN

Two people meet, the stage is set, the tragedy begins,
And when the grasp exceeds the reach, nothing is a sin,
Suffer the little children, it’s written on the page,
Until we see the innocence collide with all the rage…

Maybe there’s a part of everyone that never sees the light,
A piece of every single soul, darker than the darkest night,
And who knows why the stars align to let the evil out,
I only know what happened here was too much for this town…

First, do no harm, a gentle touch always wins the day,
And in those fretful hours, so many slipped away,
When those we trust aren’t what they seem but castles made of sand,
Never in our wildest dreams can we hope to understand…

Maybe there’s a part of everyone that never sees the light,
A piece of every single soul, darker than the darkest night,
And who knows why the stars align to let the evil out,
I only know what happened here was too much for this town,
Too much for this town…

THERE‘S SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PLACE

There’s something about the way the rain just has to fall,
There’s something about the time and space,
In the grand scheme of things, it may be no big deal,
But there’s something about this place…

Well I found out a long time ago,
The pull of the past can’t be erased,
When it has you in its grip, it won’t ever let you go,
There’s something about this place…

It’s the wind on the water,
It’s the snow on the hills,
It’s the vast array of nothing,
The canals and the mills…

Whenever I leave, I know that I will be back,
With half a smile on my face,
There are some things in life that no-one understands,
There’s something about this place,
There’s something about this place…
I've been thinking about making a record of songs about the north west of England for quite a while and have
been stockpiling material that I thought might fit. I finally managed to pull it all together for the 2020 series of
releases and so here it is.

NORTH OF ENGLAND DAYS

If memory serves, this was the first song I wrote for the project. Makes sense... it's a kind of overview
about the aspects of England that came to mind whilst I was tinkering away in my home studio in Nashville,
where I was living at the time. It's hard to imagine that too many songs came out of Nashville referencing
"ferret, flat cap and clogs"...

ALL THE WAY BACK TO MANCHESTER

I once read that "we spend the first half of our lives trying to get away from our roots and the second half
trying to get back to them"... That's probably true of me... although I'm not a real Manc... I was
born and raised in Ashton-under-Lyne, about seven miles east of the city. In many ways, those seven
miles might as well have been seven hundred... but when Americans ask me where I'm from, I always say
Manchester. It's just easier... they've usually heard of Manchester United. The last verse is a roll call
of places that have some musical significance for me... various gigs, A1 Music and the BBC on Oxford
Road, the HMV store where half the members of Any Trouble used to work...

ALDERLEY EDGE

A very tongue in cheek look at the jewel of south Manchester/north Cheshire. I did see a Premier League
footballer in a bar there once, honest! The rest of it I just made up...

BLACKPOOL, LANCASHIRE

And by way of a contrast to the previous song...

SPARKLE STREET

Sparkle Street is in Manchester, not far from Piccadilly Station. Somebody once told me that it was so named
because it was in an area where the rag trade was the predominant industry... and one particular
factory made shiny buttons. If buttons were damaged during the manufacturing process, they were simply
chucked out onto the cobbled street. When it rained (which is not very often in Manchester, of course!)
the street sparkled. Great story... I hope it's true. It always reminds me of the great northern tradition of
aspirational and therefore generally inappropriate street names... Paradise Street, Mount Pleasant etc.

AT PETERLOO

The Peterloo massacre of 1819 is arguably the single most important event in Manchester's history.
The first half of my song gives a very potted account of the event. Verse 3 is about the Free Trade Hall,
which was built on the site some 35 years later by public subscription... imagine that now! It became the
home of the Halle Orchestra, which I saw Sir John Barbirolli conduct when I was still at school. It also
hosted the first big rock concerts I ever attended...and bizzarely, it was also the venue for the annual
prizegiving and speech day for the secondary school I attended. By some miracle, in my final year
there I actually won the school prize for English so I had to troop onto the stage to receive my prize from one
James Anderton, aka "God's Cop". He later became Chief Constable of Manchester and no stranger
to some pretty unpalatable opinions...

Something else sticks in my memory from that evening... as things were winding down, one of my
classmates pulled me to one side and told me in no uncertain terms that I had cheated him out of the
English prize that should have rightfully been his! The whole prize thing clearly meant a lot more to him
than it ever did to me, so I offered him the book I had chosen as my prize... Paul Oliver's definitive
"The Story Of The Blues"... (great book, I still have it...) which he sneered at in much the same way as
Anderton had when he handed it to me on the podium earlier... Odd how these things stay with you...
I bet my classmate is a judge, senior civil servant, a head teacher or some such these days... maybe
he's still an arsehole too! Back to the song... the Free Trade Hall is now a high end hotel... I went to meet
some friends there a while back and wondered if any of the folks drinking the bar dry had any idea
about the history of the area...

NOBODY HITCHHIKES ANY MORE

I went to Crewe and Alsager College in 1973... about fifty miles away from Ashton-under-Lyne. I was already
playing a fair number of gigs at that point... mostly solo, folky things. My patch was still Manchester and
environs... and since I was the archetypal impoverished student, I regularly used to hitchhike. I saw
every mile of the A34 between Congleton and Manchester from the passenger seat of a lorry cab and I was
never once abducted or murdered! I almost always made my gig, too...

THESE STREETS KNOW ME

Tameside Metropolitan Borough, I salute you!

SUMMER'S ENDING

Written on Southport front one September afternoon...

TOO MUCH FOR THIS TOWN

Verse 1: The last "proper" job I had was at the Employment Centre in Hyde. I used to register people for work
then send them across the office to claim unemployment benefit while I tried to match their particular
skill set to any vacancies we might have on our books... not an easy task in the late '70s! One day I
signed on David Smith, the man who shopped the Moors Murderers to the police. He was actually present
at the killing of Edward Evans, the fifth victim... and going through Smith's file at my desk that day made for
pretty grim reading, I can tell you. My brother went to the same school as John Kilbride, the second
victim...  and my mum knew Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett, the third victim. My first wife was
raised a few streets away from the house on Hattersley where Brady and Hindley lived and carried out
two of the murders... and although we were only eight or nine years old when the Moors Murderers were
actually committing their atrocities, we both had clear memories of the fears and insecurities that were
prevalent at the time. It was all very close to home...

Verse 2: Hyde is about 3 miles from Hattersley... and the sprawling estate that is the latter is generally
considered to be an adjunct of the former. If you drive west using the A roads rather than the motorway,
it's hard to tell where one town ends and the next one begins. My eldest sister is a nurse and for many years
she was one of the senior members of the district nursing team that covered Tameside. The job often
brought her into contact with patients whose GP was Harold Shipman.... thought to be the most prolific
serial killer in modern times. His practice was in Hyde...

My chorus ponders where such evil can possibly come from whilst wondering why so much horror was
concentrated in such a small area... I almost wrote another verse about Dale Cregan, a career criminal
who lured Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone (two Police Constables) to a home in Hattersley in order to
murder them.... but I just couldn't do it. Too much for this song...

SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PLACE

In contrast to the previous song... a song about Saddleworth that focuses on the positive. It's a beautiful
part of the world... and it hardly ever rains!

PETERLOO SUNSET

With apologies to Ray Davies! I got the idea for this whilst visiting the Peterloo Memorial late one evening...
John Wood is aways telling me that northern silver bands play English soul music...  so I asked Will Roberts
to try and conjure up that atmosphere through his remarkable trombone playing. What a fine job he did....
thanks Will!
Bus Stop Conversations (2020-06)