The Travelling Songman

from by Joe Craig

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    Jimmy Coates: Killer
    Jimmy Coates: Target
    Jimmy Coates: Revenge
    Jimmy Coates: Sabotage
    Jimmy Coates: Survival
    Jimmy Coates: Power
    Jimmy Coates: Blackout
    Lifters

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about

Writing my books has given me the chance to travel about a lot. That's great, but it can get pretty tiring and at times isolating. So on the way to a book event at a school in Peterborough, I imagined myself in the persona of a touring musician. I thought up the tune and lyrics for this song in my head on the train, figured out some chords when the train was delayed, then finally performed it when I arrived at the school.

I’d been listening to a lot of Jimmy Webb, so I remember nearly calling this song ‘By the Time I Get to Peterborough’. Fortunately I thought better of it pretty quickly.

I like the key change at the end of the middle eight. I suppose you can’t really write a song about travelling without changing key so it feels like your destination is somewhere different from where you started.

lyrics

THE TRAVELLING SONGMAN
Joe Craig

He writes the words at traffic lights, on roads that tunes forgot
Precious seconds stopping are the only ones he’s got
He sings his life in melodies and poorly scripted lines
That seemed so realistic sung at station platform signs
He won’t trouble you for conversation, he just moves
On to his next destination…


The travelling songman, he was on that train
He didn’t stay long and he won’t come this way again The travelling songman, he’s seen the world, and he’s seen each and every one of us in the songs we’ve heard

He left a girl at yesterday, he loved one on the coast
His son has read his stories like they’re letters from a ghost
I know that he’s in pain, though he won’t let you see
I can tell - I know him. This travelling song man’s me
I won’t trouble you for conversation
I just move on to my next destination… (CHORUS)


What’s the hurry? Why won’t he stay?
What’s he trying to find? Or why’s he running away? Single ticket, all alone
He'd like to settle down, but music is his home…


The travelling song man, he was on that train
He didn’t stay long and he won’t come this way again.
The travelling songman, he’s seen the world
and he’s seen each and every one of us in the songs we’ve heard.

credits

from The Songman & Me, vol 1, released December 15, 2010

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Joe Craig Islington, UK

"The Songman & Me, vol. 1 is a collection of beautifully crafted songs in the classic tradition of Billy Joel, Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb and James Taylor. At the keyboard and with his intimate vocals, Joe Craig performs with a raw emotion that cuts to the heart of the characters and stories in the songs. He may be a virtuoso storyteller, but on this evidence, he's very much a gifted songman too." ... more

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