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1) Here Comes The Night (by David Stockdale)

I used to have a better relationship with the darkness, although I was terribly afraid of it when I was a child. Maybe years of getting up at night to commute to work is finally getting to me. More than about darkness, anyway, this song is about anticipating tragedy. The ancient Greeks taught us through theatre that tragedy was part of life, but the anticipation of it is still unsettling. I face whatever it is I have to face, but I must keep telling myself, “The mind is a good servant but a bad master...”

Here comes the night
There he is, Mr. Doubt
Shadows creeping fast
Over trees and grass as the light goes out

Moon caught in clouds
Gray dome over me
Good evening, Mrs. Gloom
Would you like to share my room?
I need some company

Nerves have broken down
Patience, I can’t get back
Tell me where this old world’s bound
It’s off track with darkness coming round

Here comes the night
And I know I won’t sleep
Thoughts keeping me awake
Is there nothing I can take
To shake this feeling?

My troubled mind
All of this misery
I know there’s light somewhere
And someday I’ll get there
That, I can guarantee

Muscles pull and cramp
Nothing’s right, can’t relax
Time takes so much time to pass
Nightmare waits just beyond my grasp

2) Oh To Be Loved (by David Stockdale)

I think everyone ultimately just wants to be loved, once you strip away all the facades we put in place to hide that. The idea that a person can be difficult because she needs to be loved interests me. It’s a paradox, like killing for peace. It also makes us think twice before judging. Love is an incredible force, but it has its mysterious side. I wonder if people in ancient Athens, where marriages were arranged, knew more about it than we do. In any case, love and death seem to me, in general, to be very misrepresented in our society.

Heart loud and tall beats like fists on the wall
She steps through ropes into the ring
Beautiful, striking, cursing like a Viking
And prancing with the scowl of a king
You whom she thought could be trusted got caught
Little matter if you’re not to blame
Somewhere down there the hurt’s to be shoved
She’s put fire to the mattress again
She just wants to be loved

Something broke down in a man soft and sound
He rode city to city by train
Till a painted lady with heart dark and shady
Put holes in his jugular vein
With canines so white that they lit up the night
Now he’s back on the rails again
Preaching peace with hands that are gloved
Justifying her criminal deeds
As the need to be loved

Here’s to the hard, fed-up and scarred
Cold, cast down and out
Misunderstood, judged no damn good
Cynic, caught up in doubt
The truth anymore is not what they’re here for
You can’t manipulate the facts
They praise distant gods above
And deny what never has lacked
Oh to be loved
The need to be loved
She just wants to be loved back

3) High As A Kite (by David Stockdale)

The idea here is that there are other ways of “going high” than getting high. I have always liked a view from above: at school, I had a look-out spot over Happy Hollow Park and went there when I felt vulnerable. Getting high back then was very different from what it is now. Now it’s OGM Skunk. If I were forced to decide now, I would no longer be in favour of legalising marijuana, like I was in my youth. No morality intended here--excuse me while I have another beer--but it seems so many people are simply not responsible enough to handle it. That’s sad. Going high as a kite means managing it: having fun, but also being responsible.

When I get home in the evening,
I’m all muscle, no head
Funny how some gotta work so hard
For their daily bread
They say it’s three-piece suits and cowboy boots
And your ability to fight
But me, that’s not how I do it
And it’ll be all right
I go high, high, I go high
High as a kite

Frankie’s fond of philosophy, May adores her maths
Music’s everything to Marie and Lenny makes us laugh
We’re gonna gather all around the table
There’s good food and drink and life
And if the neighbours are able
They may bring a little wine
We’ll go high, high, we’ll go high
High as a kite

She won’t subscribe to their TV lies
Read between the lines
What is right in this world tonight
Is not what sells or buys
We used to trade a lot more heart-felt notions
Left and right
You could ponder up any kind of potion
As long as it was light
We’d go high, high, we’d go high
High as a kite

High as a kite, high as a kite, high as a kite

4) Earthquake (by David Stockdale)

This song is about the irresponsible people who built buildings of poor quality cement that came down during the earthquake of L’Aquila, Italy, in April of 2009. It’s about the government controllers who turned their backs on the people in favour of reckless corruption. When construction becomes like dealing drugs, money is god and people are replaceable. The Italian government learned well from George Bush that natural disasters can hurt your political career, so there was a media blitz to show they cared and then it all fell into oblivion. My question is: to what lengths will people go to make money (the price of human flesh per pound)? Furthermore, what am I supposed to tell the kids?

You mix cement
Like a pusher cuts his drug
More water, sand, and another grave half-dug

Kick back the funds
Pocket everything you can
And when blood runs, blame it on some other man

In the middle of the night
Your buildings came tumblin’ down
Africa knocking, listen now
What was the price of human flesh per pound?
History’s foaming at the mouth
What of this blood money the builder hides?
Earthquake, shake loose sordid lies

Your money’s god
Get it any way you can
To you it’s odd that there’s any other plan

In the middle of the night
Your buildings came tumblin’ down
Africa knocking, listen now
So high the price of human flesh per pound
Sell your mother, send father south
Now your son has all he doesn’t need
Earthquake, shake loose ruthless greed

You mix cement
Like a pusher cuts his drug
More water, sand, and another grave half-dug

5) Going To My Baby (by David Stockdale)

This is just what it sounds like: the joy of finishing a challenging job, hopping onto a train and feeling butterflies in your stomach thinking about going home finally to the one you love. For me, this meant summer break from school. Teaching is a hard job. Lots of people take teaching for granted and don’t understand the need teachers have for retreating, reloading and recharging. I’m not saying mine’s the only difficult job. We all have our problems. But there’s a lot of friendly fire in the war of public education and it’s not easy giving kids a good education when people are shooting at you. On the other hand, it makes holidays wonderful.

Light suitcase and a smile
Stepping up into relief
Battle’s over for a while
It’s gonna be this train and me

Got a real good book to read
Piece of paper and a pen
Tickets, money, all I need
To be free
This train’s my friend

I just love that feeling
When it picks up speed
Like the lights dimming before a movie
A seed that’s growing
Going to my baby

I have earned my keep
Lots of work, too little sleep
I deserve this leave
Going to my baby

Countryside is racing by
Wheels beating to my heart
Foreign couple, bumpy ride
And it feels like another start

I just love that yearning
This churning down below
Now it’s twisting and turning
I feel it grow
A river that’s flowing
Going to my baby

6) Neil’s Car (by David Stockdale)

I watched an interview on YouTube in which Neil Young talked about his hybrid car project. It involved transforming his beautiful 50’s gas hog into a car of the future. He succeeded, declaring that music would no longer change the world. Okay, okay, but try taking his guitar away from him... Neil is a great resource for humanity and I’m honoured to have written a song about him. Once in high school, I asked a friend to borrow a bootleg of Neil Young. He agreed but only on the condition that if I scratched the LP he could castrate me with a rusty grapefruit spoon. That’s how important good music was. Neil is right: the world has changed. Like all my songs, this was written with an acoustic guitar, of which you’ll hear very little; producer Marco Tansini did an incredible job of arranging this.

Angel on the road
Wings of dreams and steel
Strong, dynamic, bold
Yet humble, unassuming
Silently it fares
Over spills and potholes
Seemingly unaware
It’s a gift of love
The product of care

Grace, simplicity
Born from wealth and means
Lovely hybrid thing
Once so dependent
On fathers of greed
Now transcendent
To foster, to seed
A new kind of world
A better breed

See what changes hence
Bonding work, well being
Beauty, common sense
Look, there it goes again
Gliding down the road
In the driver’s seat, a boy
Laughing as he goes
Waving to disbelievers
Gawking from afar

Neil’s car, Neil’s car, Neil’s car, Neil’s car

7) Boogaloo You (by David Stockdale)

History repeats itself; it was the Persians for Alexander the Great, the Carthaginians for the Romans, the Infidels for the Crusaders, the Communists until the fall of the Great Wall, Muslim fanatics since 9/11: the common enemy, in short. So I made up a verb, to boogaloo, which means scaring people into believing they are being threatened so they will do anything you say. It’s a simple trick that has worked again and again over the course of history. Sometimes it was justified, sometimes it wasn’t... On a more positive note, I was happy to translate into English an Italian saying and use it in this song: wife and cattle from your own country [“mogli e buoi, dei paesi tuoi”, meaning you should choose your cattle and your wife from your own country and not from abroad]. Me? I prefer globalisation.

Wanted: enemy
Of the dangerous kind
Dire, dreadful thing with a criminal mind

Terminator to keep the interest hot
Detonator, thick becomes the plot

Virus on the rise, it’ll be what does us in
No more friendly skies
Invisible, it’s gonna win

Sorry, Sweetheart
Don’t think twice, my dear
Just maybe, baby
We can get you out of here

Boogaloo you
All they want to do is to boogaloo you, too

Your immigration man
Got to stop that human ark
Cause they’ll take all that they can
And make trouble in the dark

Don’t go near them
And do not socialise
Wife and cattle from your own country
Red moon on the rise

Boogaloo you
All they want to do is to boogaloo you, too
Boogaloo you, boogaloo you, boogaloo you, too

8) Ballad of Tanya And Joe (by David Stockdale)

The ballad on my last CD, Feed the Illusion [2008], was entitled Ballad of Erick and was written by my big brother Joe. I used his name, but this song is more inspired by the world of my son, Michael, and his friends. It’s not about them; it’s about the world they have to grow up in, a world that doesn’t know how to integrate the weak and different. Michael once told me the story of a particularly aggressive policeman he knew of who had lost his daughter to drugs. I had a hard time singing this in the studio: I kept crying. My producer, Marco Tansini, was very patient and we got through the recording, but I simply could not sing the whole song without breaking down. It’s like a film to me (Into the Wild rings a bell—thank you Sean Penn and Eddie Vedder!). The title of the CD, Dark Riders, comes from this song.

When Tanya and Joe set out on open road
No one thought she’d ever be back
It takes a village to show
Its children how to grow
But the weak are still driven from the pack
They met in de-tox seems so many years ago
Her bane was booze, his was methadone
They realised you can’t fight that shit with lies
That’s when they started to roam

She’d been pierced, he tattooed waist to head
Both bore the brand of outsiders
Dodging police cars
With bridges for a bed
They rode the Western sky, dark riders
It wasn’t that simple, but better than back home
Far better than the expectations and the curse
Once they were beaten but mostly they made love
In fields of the universe

One summer night under silvery moon
Policemen, looking for a man
A veteran whose daughter
Had died from the spoon
Careless bullet found Tanya as she ran
Now Joe’s still vagrant and he curses all of those
Who took Tanya back to be buried with her kin
She wanted her ashes tossed on a river that flowed
Anywhere she had never been

9) Hunting Season (by David Stockdale)

“Public Education and politics... don’t mix. Save your school.” Producer Marco Tansini arranged this beautifully; he is an incredible talent. It is about political power used where it shouldn’t be: at school. Where politics puts a full stop at the end of sentences, Education should put question marks. Politics is brutal; Education should not be. Politics judges and condemns; Education should provide a place for free, civil speech, however reckless, and allow unconditional dialogue that stimulates intellectual growth. That’s my opinion, anyway. I would have liked to have dedicated this to a school I worked at, but the director of the school, as well as political leaders involved in its management, don’t deserve the mention, so I’ll dedicate it to all those teachers who sacrifice so much to open minds.

You work so hard
They’ll put you to the test
It’s the thanks you get for cleaning up their mess

What were you thinking
That change was gonna come?
You’re only there because of the damage done

It takes method and glamour, not thinking beings
A sickle without the hammer
And some righteous means

Lions, tigers, bears, in their cages run
It’s hunting season, everyone

So many before you
So high the fence
Trying to turn love of power into common sense

This kiss-ass world
With its fake kings and queens
Their celebrations of authority

It takes lots of courage and sacrifice
To make a change work
And to pay the price

Lions, tigers, bears, in their cages run
It’s hunting season, everyone

Lions, tigers, bears, in their cages run
It’s hunting season, everyone

10) Who (by David Stockdale)

This song is dedicated to so many politicians and to “the Age of Ignorance” in which we live--a paradox, considering all the information Internet provides us. A political bigwig recently declared that most school teachers in Italy were leftist and therefore against family values. At the time of his declaration, this person was on trial for having sex with a minor and promoting prostitution. His defence was that he was paying the girl NOT to prostitute herself. I have had the pleasure of meeting the teacher of two of this politician’s children (from the Steiner School in Milano, a great school if you have children and want to give them a complete education). She is a wonderful lady and I will never forget her, but I keep thinking: the Steiner School is the official school in Sweden; why not in Italy?

Shiny limousine and lingerie
You’d be hot if you weren’t so damn mean

Paparazzi boy, that signature walk
You’d have style if you could only talk

What kind of message is this?
What do I tell the kids?

I said, who do you think, who do you think you are?

Armed entourage, security’s tight
Men in black to get us through the night

They say: Love thy family and heed the call
If we don’t, we’re only human after all

What kind of message is this?
What do I tell the kids?

I said, who do you think, who do you think you are?

What the hell is there to grin about?
Let’s talk sense so we can work it out

Something you’ll have to admit
Something to tell the kids

I said, who do you think, who do you think you
Who do you think, who do you think you
Who do you think, who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?

11) Right From The Heart (by David Stockdale)

This is the light that comes out of the darkness of Here Comes the Night. Light, right from the heart. It’s a kind of very heart to heart talk with myself. Producer Marco Tansini did a great job of hiding the Dylan influence. I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious; how could anyone of my age NOT have been influenced by Bob Dylan? He was a god in sunglasses! I mention in this song my partner, Sabrina, and my son, Michael, who occupy a good part of my heart along with my family and close friends. I hope I have not revealed too much; the fact is, I needed to get naked and feel the air and water again on my skin.

I’ve followed my heart, made many mistakes
(Thus the long delay)
Felt the heat of goddesses and tongues of snakes
(You have found your way)
Got fixed and then broke, caged and set free
(Don’t look back too long)
Sometimes it’s unreal to think it was me
(You must carry on)

Light, right, right from the heart

My son, he’s a dreamer, ironclad
(In a badly managed world)
I hope he will learn not to be mad
(Keep your flags unfurled)
The long way around’s the harder deal
(Such is our destiny)
But in the end, you know what is real
(Rivers to the sea)

Light, right, right from the heart

Choose not the superficial, speak with care
(Singing right from the heart)
It’s hard to be simple but you’ll get there
(The end’s a very good start)
My lady, she’s a joy, the best that can be
(Hold her, not too tight)
I thank her every day for comforting me
(And help her through the night)

Light, right, right from the heart
Light, right, right from the heart

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