Rocket Roll

Blues Machine by Eric Joyner


Rocket Roll

To ev’ry band who never hit the heights,
Who play the clubs but never play the halls;
Whose name will never burn in lights,
Nor posters hang from bedroom walls –
Who always watch their fellow dudes a-strut,
And always think “We’re just as good as that !”
Who feel the calling in their gut,
But never feast upon the fat –
You’ve got the amps, you’ve got the tunes,
You’ve got your share of dweebs and loons –
Yet still you only smoulder, never blast.
You missed your chance to quit this town,
It’s gravity that keeps you down.
You’re only growing older and surpassed.

But ev’ry band with unloved riff and chord
Can always hope that Later Times may find
That album ev’ryone ignored,
And bring you forth to futurekind:
To fill the galaxy with your guitars,
And play your ballads on a thousand earths,
And sing your melodies to stars
For centuries beyond your births.
You’ve got the chance, you’ve got the pluck,
You’ve got your share of random luck:
May yet your thrusters fire, rockets gun ?
A soundtrack to the pioneers,
The very music of the spheres,
Could see you flying higher than the sun.



A God-Awful Small Affair

David Bowie by Carolyn Djanogly


A God-Awful Small Affair

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
Not the news on the hour, though…
This was news I had to know.
The DJ didn’t want to say, but did his best
Well, sometimes that’s the job, I guess.

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
But first they’d played a song of yours,
Though which, to my half-asleep ears, I couldn’t be sure.
My room felt like it were ten below
And I hoped that I were dreaming,
But it didn’t feel like dreaming,
So I rolled out on the floor.

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
Hell of a way to start Monday morning,
Making Winter that much greyer.
I always knew, but never thought you’d have to go
Always popping-up without warning,
Always working on the next long-player.
My room was cold,
And suddenly the world felt very old.

I tried to whistle you as I shaved,
But I couldn’t get a tune to sit,
And I ended up nicking myself a bit.
But I kinda didn’t mind,
Like you were still messing with my head.
And anyway, we shouldn’t wear black today,
But now, for you, I’m wearing red.

And hey, I only learned today
Just how to say your name,
Cos there was a right way all along.
But then, you always loved to play –
At being never twice the same,
And even your eyes could not agree…
So, I dunno, but maybe it was right that I was wrong.

Oh like Otis, ode and oaktree.
Oh like Oberon.

Not sure I ever understood
What any lyric meant,
Except the meanings that I brought myself, I guess.
But then, the tunes were good
And those hours that I spent
Decyphering your gorgeous mess,
The catchy lines you cut and pasted,
Never felt like they were wasted.
Anyway, they left their dent:
Each turn of phrase and smoky haze
Just made me wonder at what madness had I tasted ?

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
I have to drag myself to work,
But first I’ll put your record on.
What can I say ?  You made me glow
For twenty, thirty, forty years or so.
And then I woke this morning, and you’re gone.

Little Drummer Boy

drummer boy
A Drummer Boy of the Royal Scots Dragoon by George Joy


Little Drummer Boy

Came the boy with the drum,
In red coat and drumsticks
’tween finger and thumb
In his breeches of blue,
With his skin taut and true,
With a rat-a-tat-tat,
And a roll and a thrum,
He silenced the scrum
With a snare tattoo –
He may have been dumb,
And his feet felt numb,
But he pounded his drum
In a one-one-two.

He played for the Lord,
And the right of the sword,
With his rat-a-tat-tat,
And the planes and the bombs,
On his tom-a-tom-toms,
With a splat-a-tat-splat.
And he drummed-in the troops
With his patterns and loops,
And he drilled the recruits
In their berets and boots,
And he stamped his feet
For these proud mothers’ sons,
In a perfect beat
To their crack-a-crack guns.

On the holiest night,
With a rat-a-tat-tat,
He led the Lord’s might
With a gat-a-gat-gat.
And guided by drones,
So he led the bombs home,
Then marched all the dead out to Kingdom Come.
With a rat-a-tat-tat,
And a mournful hum,
So the innocents died
To the beat of his drum.

Deep & Meaningless



Deep & Meaningless

We cling to the words to remember the tune,
But they can be anything;
Who cares what words we sing ?
As long as it’s catchy, then no-one’s immune !
It’s tunes that are catchy –
The words can be patchy.
It doesn’t take poets to make songs a hit;
They’re nobody’s onus,
They’re there as a bonus.
As long as they rhyme and their rhythm will fit,
Well, that’s good enough –
Make them any old guff.
We all love some songs that make no sense at all:
Naive and inane,
But we’ll sing them again.
For music is music – it has us in thrall
From concert to single,
From opus to jingle.
We’re all of us guilty, we’ve all sung along –
We’ve all shown disloyalties,
Boosting their royalties,
Meanwhile ignoring some meaningful song
That wants to be soaring,
But just sounds so boring.

The cat’s meow
Is in the melody –
So, altogether now,
One, two, three:


Day-o, day-o,
Me gotta go.

Concerto for Air Guitar

air guitar


Concerto for Air Guitar

Here comes the good bit, so as we rehearsed:
Now form-up the stance and keep that head bowed
With your instrument horizontal at first,
And once or twice peek through your hair at the crowd.
Now throw your head back as you work with that plec,
Then lean to your right as you let your left rise;
Now slide it on down that invisible neck,
Saluting your fans as you open your eyes.



ONE two THREE four

Drumkit by Phil on Flickr


ONE two THREE four

Don’t you play that song again –
Really oughta be so funky,
Shame the drummer just ain’t spunky;
Plodding, stomping, session flunky,
Pissed-up, coked-up, beat-seat monkey.
He don’t get above a stroll,
He don’t got no rock and roll,
Don’t got rhythm, don’t got soul,
Don’t got mojo – goddam troll !
Stick them drumsticks, stick them drumsticks,
Stick ‘em up his glory-hole .
Thrash and prang with each kerrang,
He thumps them stumps with crash and bang,
And so from rock to plastic pop,
Your four-on-four will dick and dick and never stop,
And still the beat goes on.

So don’t you play that song again –
Backbeat’s back is broken, smashed up,
Merchandising sell-outs cashed-up,
Doped-out, hashed-up, secret stashed-up,
Shagged-out, lashed-up, nasty rashed-up,
Only beats in tedium,
Parties like a lady bum ,
Groupies strictly medium,
Rocking strictly stadium .
Stick them cymbals, stick them cymbals,
Right up his palladium .
He pounds each skin with shovels in,
His adequate won’t quit this din,
And so from dude to burned-out pock ,
Your four-on-four will suck and suck and never rock .
And still the beat goes on.



Between the Grooves

black vinyl player
Photo by Anton Hooijdonk on


Between the Grooves

Paul is dead, man.  Miss him, miss him, miss him !
So I call out to the devil, and offer him my bed –
I tell him “Sleep with me, I’m not too young;
But bring my lover back, put his words into my head.”
Satan he hears me, he has me believe:
“Just play all your albums, and listen where they’re slurred.”
He says “It’s fun to smoke marijuana,
It changes all music and the way you hear the words.”
So here’s to my sweet Satan –
I hear, against the flow, hidden in the track
The voice of Paul.  Turn me on, dead man.
He speaks to me once more when I play the records back.


The odd-numbered lines are examples of backtracks, or backwards-masking, that people with more time and less care for scratches have found hidden in their favourite albums.