Heresy and Hearsay

by James Bar Bowen

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Recorded in Huddersfield and York between Nov 2010 and May 2011.
Engineered, produced and mastered by John Vaughan and James Bar Bowen.


released June 5, 2013

Track 1 was written by Roddy Johnston; the rest were written by James Bar Bowen.
JBB played guitar and sang on all tracks, and played trumpet on 8.
Sam Bell played accordion (2,3,6); Clinton Hey sang (6); Richard Johnston played guitar (7); Roddy Johnston played violin (2, 3, 4, 7, 9);
Jonny Purkis played drums (1, 3, 7, 8); Jacqueline Rose sang (3)John Vaughan played violins, guitar and bouzouki (1, 4, 9)



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James Bar Bowen Huddersfield, UK

Acoustic folk punk singer-songwriter with attitude. Award-winning songs to make you laugh, cry and rage.
Original, unusual, controversial, political, heart-felt, tear-jerking, angry, inspired, humorous, iconoclastic, sentimental, anti-fascist, engaging, intelligent ... more

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Track Name: Skin
Like every mother here I’m so proud of my boy
With his dark haired good looks, he’s my pride and joy
He’s off to see the world with a bedroll in his hand
He’s off to make his fortune in a foreign land
He doesn’t tell me straight about the fears he’ll have to face
He just says he’s got to get a way from this place
There’s nothing left to keep him in this godforsaken town
Can’t stay here any longer, it just gets him down

Hey, Son! I hope they welcome you in
You find people to trust even when times are thin
Living on your wits and their goodwill’s not a sin
No question about the colour of your skin

I haven’t heard for weeks though he promised me so
He’d always stay in touch about the ebb and the flow
He’s a good honest lad with a good honest face
He’s an upstanding member of the human race
The work may be hard, the hours may be long
He’s not afraid of working, his hands and heart are strong
Though conditions may be lousy and the pay maybe poor
In rich western countries they’re protected by the law

Hey Son, I hope they welcomed you in
You found people to trust even when times got thin
Living on your wits and their goodwill’s not a sin
No question about the colour of your skin

Hey Mum….

Well I finally got here to the so-called promised land
After beatings and cheatings that I didn’t understand
I always tried so hard but my face didn’t fit
I ended up in trouble where they treat me like shit
We were raided in our hostel in the dead of night
By a bunch of local coppers who were looking for a fight
Off to an asylum centre, they welcomed us in
With a boot in the kidney for the colour of our skin

Hey Mum, I’m ashamed to come home
I’ve lost all my pride and everything I own
My face is one long bruise from my forehead to my chin
And all for the colour of my skin
Track Name: Wartime Sweetheart
Wartime Sweetheart (2010)
For many months we've observed uneasy ceasefires
Hidden snipers always shoot on sight
Diplomatic moves get buried in the rubble
But I'll seek solace in your arms tonight

Behind the lines, parachuted down in secret
On a hush-hush mission, furtive, undercover
Unilateral peace declared on warring factions
By you, my wartime sweetheart, my wartime lover

Kiss me, my wartime sweetheart
Love me two times and then we part
Fill my lungs, my souls and all my senses
But most of all bring peace to my troubled heart

Enigma codes say we're fighting here for freedom
Ration books, wailing sirens, fight and flight
Battle-scarred and shell-shocked in the shelter
It's time to build up trust, no time to fight

Now's the time to cross forbidden borders
It's time to speak plain words tonight
No codes, no passwords, no more disguises
Sweetheart, lie in my arms tonight
Track Name: Hex
Hex (1995)
Sisters burn while brothers weep
If the passion only goes skin deep
But you know I have to look like I don’t care.
Let the river flow another course
A muted phrase, an untapped source
A sentiment no longer mine to share.
With a look that casts a spell
I see you’ve cast it well
Your eyes beguile, your eyes beguile
I’m on the outside looking in
And I’ve seen beneath your skin
I’ve seen you smile, I’ve seen you smile.

Yeah yeah yeah I’ve seen through your disguise
I want to see your soul that hides behind those eyes
The prison gates are open if we dare to step outside
… it’s time for us to try.

Enchantment is a choice untamed
As I dream I share your song unchained
The current leads me back against the flow
I’ve said too much, I’m open wide
At least I can say I never lied
All I wanted was just for you to know.
Spell-bindings fall apart
Intoxicated from the start
You’ll hear me cry, you’ll hear me cry
I needed to caress
Still more needed to impress
Don’t ask me why don’t ask me why.

I’ve read my rights and I understand
The price of playing underhand
The most direct route is so often insecure
Parasites play at kiss and tell
To disconnect us from private hell
Indecision, the last path to endure.
If connection is the goal
Then I must redefine my role
I stand in thrall, I stand in thrall
I’m tearing up inside
As I try to defend the pride
Before the fall, before the fall.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve seen through my disguise
Now you can see the soul that hides behind those eyes.
Track Name: Time & Place
Time and Place (1992)

I landed on an amoral shore
Where everybody’s working for a little bit more
The braided coats all look the same
And we still play the protein game.
Fear returns, comes back in a flash
To the place where all the icons smash
Cards on the table are out of style
… The eyes don’t smile.

I’m flying high in the dawnlight now
Instead of blundering in the dark
And I can see for a thousand miles
… Time stands still.

The spell still binds upon the hill
Nostalgia with its bitter-sweet pill
With value systems in time once shared
We see each other running scared.
I will run faster, I have a place to hide
Canute gets swept away with the tide
I won’t tell ‘cos you won’t try.
… I justify.

… Time to run

New heroes soon replace the old
Interchangeability in the same mould
And oblivion’s worth the price to pay
‘Cos there’s always plenty more to say
Burning bridges til it gets too hot
Altered images call the shots
Fear and respect go hand in hand
… I understand.
Track Name: A new language
A New Language (2011)
How in the hell we gonna build a new world in our hearts
How in the hell we gonna find a new language for love
We don’t even dare to invent new ways to share our dreams
New meaning, new language, new life

The fields of freedom stretching out before us if we only dare to dare
Surface structures denote deeper meanings with elegance to share
Our new language denotes a turmoil stripped down bare

We may burn the symbols to appease the censor and pretend that we were never there
Talk in togues at tangents, trusting hope and wisdom, still afraid of the searchlight’s glare
Our new language is a trustgame for us to share

Uncharted waters and the fear of freedom, I hold my hand above the flame
The poet’s wordplay breaks the rules of syntax, I hoped you’d feel the same
Before our language becomes a scapegoat ripe for blame
Track Name: Fuck-me shoes
Fuck-me Shoes (2008)
Well I calculate that it's time to get my clothes on
My make-up, my nylons, my lipstick and my little balck dress
Well I calculate that it's time to be more gorgeous
I'm going to strut and pout and mince and flaunt
With all that I've been blessed

Now you make calculate that I'm feeling just a little bit nervous
About my make-up, my nylons, and my new stiletto heels
But I calculate that it's time to provoke a reaction
I'm going strut and pout and spit and snarl
With a new-found resolve of steel

Now you can bet your life that I know just what I'm doing
And you can bet your life that I'm doing it for myself
There's method in my madness, goodness comes from badness
In my fuck-me shoes and a fuck-you smile
My fuck-me shoes and a fuck-you smile

Well you may calculate that I'm no ordinary soldier
In my battle-dress, my warpaint... and these shoes
But I calculate that I'm serving on the frontline
Where I'll strut and pout and mince and flaunt
In a war we must not lose

Well I calculate that you might be ready to join me
In your make-up, your nylons, your lipstick and a dress you can borrow off of me
I calculate that together we will shine like diamonds
We're going to strut and pout and mince and flaunt
In the name of liberty
Track Name: Never Never Land
Never Never Land (2007)
Down here on Airstrip One at the Ministry of Fun
They’re having practicals in ignorance and fear
Double-edged with double glazing, doublethink is just amazing
And we’re convinced that it can’t happen here
In Never Never Land life is never never bland
Repayments are deferred ‘til next year
With designer clothes and branding we relinquish understanding
And refuseniks hardly merit a sneer

Now correct me if I’ve misunderstood
But when I came here somebody told me that she thought that I would
And I should have kept my mouth shut but I’m not sure that I could

Cryptic confabulation and naked reification
Makes for markets of unfettered fun
Common sense has been suspended, common decency’s been upended
Or so they say in your soar-away Sun
Manufactured consent makes it look like we’re content
We’re aspiring to trophies and bling
Allegations and alligators and dissenting disseminators
Say we’d rather have a cabbage than a king

Now correct me if I’ve misunderstood
But when I came here somebody told me that she thought that I would
And I should have kept my mouth shut but I’m not sure that I could

Have you heard they’re having witch trials like something off the X-Files
Apportion chips with mushy praise and with blame
Now your flavour needs enhancing, tasty diners are busy dancing
You’re seeking something that’ll spice up your game
Willing workers in a sweatshop and that’s not real blood, that’s just ketchup
We’re proud to sport the slave-owner’s brand
Sportswear that seems unsporting and high-grade Charlie for them that’s snorting
A normal day here in Never Never Land

Now correct me if I’ve misunderstood
But when I came here somebody told me that she thought that I would
And I should have kept my mouth shut but I’m not sure that I could

Alternative Chorus
Now correct me if I’ve missed something good
But when I came here somebody told me that she thought that I would
And I should have kept my mouth shut but I’m not sure that I could
Track Name: Tough love
Tough Love (2006)

When you put your arms around me and say you’ll never let me go
I often try to say the same thing too
I seek the comfort of strangers for the strangeness of it all
Who leave me hanging like you always do

Our meetings are always fraught with feeling
And our feelings are always full of fears
I’m seeking inspiration, I’m breathing in your smell
Till our farewells get crowded with our tears

Tough love is for lovers much tougher than me
Tough love won’t ever set you free

Now I’m looking for a welcome where no one seems to care
No concept of the time that’s passing by
And I’m looking for a way in with words and more to share
Conversation where no one has to try

I get a sense of dislocation from a place I once belonged
Or at least I though it was the place for me
Now you’re living on the west side and our story still unfolds
Enough love is good enough for me