Common Ground

by Neil Thomson

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about

Gently, folky listening from Scotland in a unique and contemporary style. Find out about the joys of the Bonnie Wee Well, take a road trip through Death Valley, unearth the nature of Burns or find out the secrets of the Old Armchair!

Neil's writing is mainly but not solely inspired by his native Scotland. It's roots, people, tradition and natural environment provide inspiration for creating music in his own relaxed, gentle style. He enjoys setting his music to traditional poems sung in Old Scots and in particular the poetry of Gerry Cambridge.

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released May 3, 2016

Aiden O'rourke - fiddle
Gerry Cambridge - Harmonica

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about

Neil Thomson Crieff, UK

Neil's writing is mainly but not solely inspired by his native Scotland. It's roots, people, tradition and natural environment
provide inspiration for creating music in his own relaxed, gentle style.

He enjoys setting his music to traditional poems sung in Old Scots and in particular the poetry of Gerry Cambridge.
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Track Name: The Bonnie Wee Well
THE BONNIE WEE WELL

THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE
THAT SKINKLES SO COLD IN THE SWEET SMILE OF DAY
CROONS A LITTLE SONG JUST TO PLEASURE ITSELF
AS IT JINKS BENEATH THE BRACKEN AND THE GENTLY BLUE BELL
SEEMS TO ME YOUR JUST A BAIRNIE AT PLAY
THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE

THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE
WINS BLESSINGS AND BLESSINGS OF MONEY EACH DAY
FOR THE WAYWORN AND WEARIE OFTEN REST BY ITS SIDE
WHERE MAN, WIFE AND CHILD ARE SO RICHLY SUPPLIED
FOR IT SPRINGS FROM THE YIRD WITH A FLICKER OF GLEE
THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE

THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE
WHERE THE HARE STEALS A DRINK IN THE GLOAMIN SO GREY
WHERE WILD MOORLAND BIRDS DIP THEIR NEBS AND TAKE WING
AND THE LARK WETS HIS WHISTLE BEFORE STERTING TO SING
SEEMS TO ME YOUR JUST A BAIRNIE AT PLAY
THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE

THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE
YOUR MEMORY OFTEN HAUNTS ME BY NIGHT AND BY DAY
FOR THE FRIENDS I HAVE LOVED IN THE YEARS THAT ARE GONE
HAVE KNELT BY YOUR BRIM AND PARTAKEN SO LONG
I DRINK TO THE ONES WHO COME BACK NO MORE
THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE

THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE
MY BLESSING RESTS WITH YOU WHEREVER I STRAY
IN JOY AND IN SORROW IN SUNSHINE AND GLOOM
DREAMING OF YOUR BEAUTY YOUR FRESHNESS AND BLOOM
SEEMS TO ME YOUR JUST A CHILD AT PLAY
THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE

IN THE DEPTHS OF THE CITY AMID TURMOIL AND NOISE
I’LL HEAR WITH RAPTURE YOUR LONE TRICKLING VOICE
WHILE FANCY TAKES WING TO YOUR RICH FRINGE OF GREEN
TO QUAFF YOUR COOL WATER IN NOONS GOLDEN SHEEN
SEEMS TO ME YOUR JUST A BAIRNIE AT PLAY
THE BONNIE WEE WELL ON THE BREIST OF THE BRAE
Track Name: Death Valley
Death Valley

Just when it gets cool
You sense the furnace on the horizon
With his greedy fingers the sun begins to climb
Lying like a blanket
You consume the world around you

What is green
You burn brown to the ground
Through the haze
Feel the madness in the heat
We are driving through Death Valley
To Furnace CreeK

Laying low for sunrise
Waiting for the sun to creep out
To the valley where the hungry sun must feed
Merciless, unyielding
There is no life to remind you

Only when the sun sets
You feel him close around you
Though the light has gone his presence still remains
No need to be reminded
As the stars shine in the black sky
You cannot escape the heat from dusk till dawn
We are driving, keep on driving

From green lands of running water
To the brown lands of rock and stone
I have voyaged many miles to see your face
Mountains pink and gold astound me
With heated winds you do caress me
You are harder than the rock your rays bake.
Track Name: The Nature of Burns
THE NATURE OF BURNS words: cambridge music: thomson

IT’S NOT THE RIVERS BUT THE BURNS—
THEIR UNEXPECTED DIPS AND TURNS
LIKE A POET’S VERSE INSPIRED —
I LIKE THE MOST, CHUCKLING ALIVE
NOT GRAVID; SHALLOW, MAINLY, AND
HAPPY WITH IT,
CLEAN ON THEIR GRAVEL BEDS, TOO QUICK
TO SUFFER THE REFLECTION OF A STAR.
EACH WITH THE HAPPENSTANCE OF LYRIC,
LIKE THE BURN AT CANDYMILL
PUNCTUATED BY DIPPERS,
THAT’S NEVER STILL
EXCEPT IN DROUGHT,
LOVELY LIQUID SYLLABLES
WEAVING THEIR SENTENCE OF LIFE AROUND THE HILL;
MUSIC
STARTLING ME INTO THIS WORLD FROM MY HEAD, OUT
UNDER THE STARRY GOSSIPS.
OR THIS BURN AT STRONCHULLIN
IN ARGYLL, DAY AND NIGHT
ITS FLOW OF LIGHT AND DARK
THROUGH THE GLEN OF LICHENS AND EMERALD MOSSES.
IT’S NOT THE RIVERS BUT THE BURNS ...
WHERE THE SWEETEST WATER RUNS.
WHERE THE SPAWNING SALMON GO.
Track Name: The Old Armchair
THE OLD ARMCHAIR words & music: robert cromet

WELL MY GRANDMOTHER SHE AT THE AGE OF 83
ONE DAY IN MAY WAS TAKEN ILL AND DIED
AND AFTER SHE WAS DEAD THE WILL OF COURSE WAS READ
BY THE LAWYER AS WE ALL STOOD BY HIS SIDE
TO MY BROTHER IT WAS FOUND SHE HAD LEFT A THOUSAND POUNDS THE SAME WENT TO MY SISTER I DECLARE
BUT WHEN IT CAME TO ME THE LAWYER SAID I SEE
GRANNY’S GONE AND LEFT YOU THE OLD ARMCHAIR

HOW THEY TITTERED HOW THEY CHAFFED
HOW ME BROTHERS AND ME SISTERS LAUGHED
WHEN THEY HEARD THE LAWYER DECLARE
GRANNY’S GONE AND LEFT YOU THE OLD ARMCHAIR

WELL I THOUGHT IT WASN’T FAIR BUT I SAID I DIDN’T CARE
AND IN THE EVENING PUT THE CHAIR AWAY AT HOME
THE FOLKS ALL LAUGHED AT ME MY BROTHER SAID WITH GLEE I THINK IT MAY BE USEFUL JUNK SOME DAY
WHEN YOU SETTLE DOWN IN LIFE AND YOU FIND YOURSELF A WIFE YOU’LL FIND IT VERY USEFUL I DECLARE
WHEN YOUR QUITE CONTENT AT HOME AND YOU DON’T INTEND TO ROAM SITTING IN YOUR OLD ARMCHAIR

WHAT MY BROTHER SAID WAS TRUE FOR IN A YEAR OR
TWO I’D SETTLE DOWN INTO MY MARRIED LIFE
FIRST THE GIRL I WENT AND SOUGHT THEN THE RING I WENT AND BOUGHT AND TOOK HER TO THE CHURCH TO BE MY WIFE NOW MY WIFE AND ME ARE AS HAPPY AS CAN BE
AND WHEN THE DAY IS OVER I DECLARE
I’M QUITE CONTENT AT HOME AND I DON’T INTEND TO ROAM SITTING IN MY OLD ARMCHAIR

ONE DAY THE CHAIRLEG FELL DOWN WHEN I PICKED IT UP I FOUND THE SEAT HAD FALLEN OUT UPON THE FLOOR
AND THERE TO MY SURPRISE WHAT LAY BEFORE MY EYES
BUT A BUNCH OF NOTES 10000 POUNDS OR MORE
WHEN MY BROTHER HEARD OF THIS THE FELLOW I CONFESS
WENT NEARLY MAD WITH RAGE AND TORE HIS HAIR
BUT HE TOOK IT ON THE CHIN WHEN I ONLY LAUGHED AT HIM DON’T YOU WISH YOU’D GOT THE OLD ARMCHAIR
Track Name: Back When We Were Kings
BACK WHEN WE WERE KINGS words & music: thomson

I’VE GOT THINGS TO TELL YOU
FIND WAYS
TO MAKE YOU WARM
WHEN YOU ARE COLD,
YOUNG
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
AND GREY
I CAN’T LET IT BE
FUNNY HOW TIME
MARCHES ON

I’V GOT THINGS TO TELL YOU
I’VE GOT LOTS TO LET YOU KNOW
ABOUT BACK
WHEN WE WERE KINGS
WHEN WE WERE QUEENS
I REMEMBER YOU
HOW WE LAUGHED AND HOW WE CRIED
IN THE SUMMER OF OUR LIVES
WAY BACK
WHEN WE WERE KINGS
HEY HEY HEY HEY
WAY BACK
WHEN WE WERE KINGS

THE SUN WOULD ALWAYS SHINE,
WAKING UP INTO ANOTHER DAY
LITTLE CHILDREN . .
ALL COME OUT TO PLAY
THERE’S JUST YOU AND ME
YOUNG AND WILD
AND FREE

OUT IN THE BIG BAD WORLD
SITTING . .
WITH OUR HEADS
DOWN IN OUR HANDS
ALL OUR HOPES AND PLANS
ARE WASHED AWAY
THERES JUST
YOU AND ME
YOUNG AND WILD
AND FREE
Track Name: I Will Make You Brooches
I WILL MAKE YOU BROOCHES

I WILL MAKE YOU BROOCHES
FOR YOUR DELIGHT
FOR BIRDSONG IN MORNING
AND MOONSHINE AT NIGHT
I WILL MAKE A PALACE
FIT FOR YOU AND ME
FOR GREEN DAYS IN SUMMER
AND BLUE DAYS AT SEA

UP TO THE MOUNTAIN, DOWN TO THE SEA
OVER THE OCEAN, YOU AND ME
BIRDSONG IN MORNING,
MOONSHINE AT NIGHT
I WILL MAKE YOU BROOCHES
FOR YOUR DELIGHT

I WILL MAKE MY KITCHEN
YOU SHALL KEEP YOUR ROOM
WHERE WHITE FLOWS THE RIVER
BRIGHT BLOWS THE BROOM
YOU SHALL WASH YOUR LINEN
AND KEEP YOUR BODY WHITE
IN DEWFALL IN MORNING
AND RAINFALL AT NIGHT

THIS SHALL BE FOR MUSIC
WHEN NO ONE ELSE IS NEAR
A FINE SONG FOR SINGING
A FINE SONG TO HEAR
THAT ONLY I REMEMBER
THAT ONLY YOU ADMIRE
OF THE BROAD ROAD THAT STRETCHES
AND THE ROADSIDE FIRE
Track Name: Song
SONG words: soutar music: thomson

WHERE YON BROKEN BRIG HANGS OVER
WHERE YON WATER MAKES NO SOUND
BABYLON BLOWS BY IN STOUR
DEEP OVER DEEP FOR ANY DEPTH
FAR ENOUGH AND YOU WOULD DROWN
SALT OR SWEET FOR THE MOUTH

GOING DOWN WITH A SONG
GOING DOWN

BABYLON BLOWS BY IN STOUR
WHERE YON WATER MAKES NO SOUND
DARKNESS IS YOUR ONLY DOOR
GOING DOWN WITH A SONG
GOING DOWN
Track Name: Common Ground
COMMON GROUND words & music: thomson

AUTUMN COMES
AND LEAVES WILL FALL
BADGERS NEST
AND BIRDS WILL CALL
THE FLOCK OUT
FOR THE TRIP
TO WARMER CLIMES
WINDS WILL BLOW IN
FROM THE WEST
ICY BREATHS
THAT TEAR AND BLAST
MAKE YOU WRAP UP WARMER
FROM THE COLD

THROUGH THE SEASONS
THAT COME AND GO
YOU WILL REAP ONLY WHAT YOU SOW
THROUGH THE SEASONS
AROUND AND ROUND
SHARING WITH GODS CREATURES
HERE ON COMMON GROUND

WINTER COMES
AND LIKE ALL GODS CREATURES
YOU HIDE AWAY
AND SEEK THE WARMTH
WHILE SLEET AND SNOW
COME BATTER ON YOUR DOOR
FOGGY DAYS AND ICY NIGHTS
WE GUARD OUR NESTS
AND GATHER TWIGS
STEAL OR KILL SOME FOOD
TO FEED THE YOUNG

LIKE A HEARTBEAT EVERY DAY
IT GETS FASTER EVERY NIGHT
IN ADAN AND EVE’S GARDEN OF EDEN
EVERYTHINGS BEEN ALL RIGHT
EVERYTHING SEEMS ALL RIGHT
Track Name: The Clyde
THE CLYDE words: macdonald / thomson music: thomson

HANDS SWEETER THAN RAIN
COME AND EASE MY PAIN

FROM CARMICHAEL I AM BORN
TO THE WEIR I FALL UPON
FROM THE SPRING TO THE SEA
I TWIST AND TURN TO BE FREE

BUT WORKING ENGINES HAVE HARNESSED ME
FURNACE BREATH BLOWS STANK AND FOUL
THUNDER ROAR WITH SPARK AND FLAME
CHOCKING ME, HURTING ME, POLLUTING ME

IS THIS IMPROVEMENT? TO HAVE CHANGED
MY BANKS LIE LEAFLESS AND SORE
TOIL GROWS CHEAPER, THAN TRODDEN WEED
SO TAKE MY BLOOD AND USE IT WELL

WITH SOOTY EXHALATIONS DOWN MY STREAM
I GIVE BIRTH TO IRON SHIPS
BRICK LANES SMOKE
AND CLANKING ENGINES GLEAM
POISON ME, USING ME, CHOCKING ME

ALL MY CHILDREN DON’T KNOW BETTER
DON’T HAVE MUCH HAVE NOT BEEN TAUGHT
LEFT IN TOWERS BORN IN SCHEMES
IN THE GUTTERS FLOW BROKEN DREAMS

SPEAK NOT TO ME OF SWARMS
THIS SCENE SUSTAINS
ONE HEART FREE TASTING
NATURE’S BREATH AND BLOOM
IS WORTH A THOUSAND SLAVES
TO MAMMONS GAINS
CLEANING ME, FREEING ME, HEALING ME
Track Name: The Highland Soldier
THE HIGHLAND SOLDIER ( trad )

FAR AMONG YON HIGHLAND HILLS
THERE LIVED A COMELY MAIDEN
AND SHE CAME DOWN
ONE FAIR SUMMERS MORN
TO SEE ALL THE SOLDIERS PARADING

FOR THEY LOOKED SO FINE
AS THEY MARCHED AWAY
THE DRUMS DID RATTLE
AND THE PIPES DID PLAY
AND IT CAUSED POOR MARY
FOR TO WEEP AND SAY
I WILL FOLLOW MY HIGHLAND SOLDIER

MARY DEAR MY PAY IS SMALL
AND IF ON THE BATTLEFIELD I SHOULD FALL
AWAY ON HOME TO YOUR FATHERS HALL
THINK NO MORE ON YOUR HIGHLAND SOLDIER

I’VE A HUNDRED POUNDS IN STORE
AND I’VE GOT A HEART
THATS WORTH TEN TIMES MORE
AND I’LL GIVE IT ALL THE LADDIE I ADORE
I WILL FOLLOW MY HIGHLAND SOLDIER