Gateway to the South

by Big Ray

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released February 1, 2014

Produced by Rich Matthews with Ed Wenn, Michael Hampton & Rupert Coulson.



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Big Ray London, UK

Big Ray has been around in various incarnations since 1991 lurching from 'full time band' to 'state of mind' & all flavours in-between. The personnel shifts & expands, but centres around Ed Wenn & 2 or 3 close friends. The musical starting point has remained constant; a mix of The Who, The Kinks, Big Star, CSNY & Steve Earle layered over a punk rock sensibility & attitude. ... more

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Track Name: Intro (the living ain't easy)
Summertime, but the living ain't easy.
The fish ain't jumping and there's clouds in the sky.
The banks are rich from all the books they've been cooking.
Hush little baby; don't you cry.
I think that maybe it's time to fight.
Track Name: Ten Feet Tall
Well it was one of those times when your memory takes you by surprise
And I was driving home late again on a Friday.
I had the radio on. My mind was almost the whole way gone.
When Laughing Len jumped out at me from the darkness.
It got me thinking ‘bout you. It got me thinking how it used to be
And now I’m smiling and shaking my head
And driving home through the night

And I knew nothing. But I felt it all.
And that was the time I felt ten feet tall.

You had a bass guitar, a knackered Shaftsbury bass guitar.
It wouldn’t stay in tune or something so it just stood there.
I remember the peace in your rooms on those long, sleepy afternoons
The summer breeze in the curtains & those 'Songs of Love & Hate'
Walking with sweet Roseanne from Euston to Harlesden.
You said it’s no big deal, but it still blew my mind in a good way.

And we knew nothing, But we felt it all.
And that was the time we felt ten feet tall.

Oh, we played Dave Grubbs and Squirrelbait and Dinosaur before the ‘Junior’
Big Black and Volcano Suns, Antietam and Bullet La Volta.
We wore pajamas, beads, hardcore tees.
You hid me from the International Phone Police.
You lectured me about my choice of girlfriend.
You didn’t like that she wore make-up.
Then you became a scene supremo.
A punk rock star for real.
You played your bass on MTV.
Iodine and Savory.

And now I feel nothing, because I know it all
And I’d like to try again to feel ten feet tall.
Track Name: Cold Blue
Well, I'm feeling cold blue, not knowing if we're through;
Not knowing if all that stuff we said is true.
I never know where to go. Don't know what to do.
Just feeling cold blue. Through and through.

And I want to hold you just like I used to.
If you'd tell me what is hurting you.
I want to reach out and take it;
Take your hatred and break it.
If you'd tell me what is hurting you.

These days have been so dark and we can be so cruel.
We're pushing 'round dead time waiting for something new.
And now there's nothing I can say
You'd listen to anyway.
Just feeling cold blue, night and day.

It's clear that you've been playing to win,
While I've been playing the same game again.
And you can call it whatever you like.
'Cos when it all finally dies I'll be more relieved than surprised.
I'll be eating ice-cream for breakfast; watching our dreams die.

Oh, I wanted to hold you just like I used to
But you never told me what was hurting you.
I didn't reach out and take it
Take your hatred and break it
'Cos you never told me what was hurting you.
Track Name: Between Bones & 058
You said peace is not a lot to ask for,
But asking's always cheap.
And I can't see any evidence
Of peace leaping to its feet.
Are we both suffering a dislocation of the soul?
And the realisation that our parts may never quite be whole?

So tell me this...when will I rest completely?
Then tell me can I love so deeply?

I'll see you later onstage,
Somewhere between Bones and 058.
I'll start to see things round the right way.
Somewhere between Bones and 058.

Distractions here, distractions there.
Potential and intent fade away
And I'm still standing here,
But now there's nothing left to say.
I take stock by the flickering light of an otherwise empty room - it's 2AM.
Sometimes this company makes it hard to get in tune.

So tell me this...when will I rest completely?
Then tell me can I love so deeply?

I'll see you later onstage,
Somewhere between Bones and 058.
The only peace that I get these days,
Is somewhere between Bones and 058.

I'll pick you up at your place.
Bring my guitar and my stage face.
Three times a year in the UK.
Track Name: Uneasy
And as I sit here I feel uneasy.
With all these doubts running through my mind.
They leave me empty, tasting the dust of failure.
I hope you know that I hate to see you cry.
And I'm sure that this is not the last time that I will let you down
But know this now; know it forever.
That you are everything, everything, you're everything to me.

But there's this pressure from all directions.
It's how we live today. It makes us want to run away.
Don't let this pressure get in the way

As the door closes, well I feel uneasy.
I guess I still just can't get used to leaving you.
But on the times we are all together
That’s when the balance is restored.
And like motes of dust floating in the sunlight
You're elusive, you're beautiful and you are so adored.

So fuck this pressure from all directions.
It's how we live today.
It makes us want to run away.
Don't let this pressure get in the way.

Now when it rains I can feel it come down but I don't care.
I'm busy keeping you dry.
It's not just about me these days it's about us
And that's something that I need to get right
Make it black and white.
Track Name: Bitter Wind
Take my hands. Take my heart. Just for a start
And watch me polish the machinery.
Take my hopes. Take my soul. Take it all
And watch me become part of the scenery.
I'll keep it clean. I'll keep it keen.
I'll keep it tick, tick, ticking over.
So take my sweat, make it oil. Make me toil.

While people need; other people do.
It just seems I need so much more than you.
Or so they tell me every day.
An empty life spent spinning and falling.
We’re falling through a hole in the world.
That they made for you and me

So take this token,
It’s my donation to the black heart of industry.
A growth market, guaranteed.
Another empty victory.
And it’s a bitter wind that’s blowing us home
And eating deep into our souls.
So go create. Be inspired. Think differently.
Just understand this;
They'll own us wherever we go.

And I know that everything seems a little crazy about now.
And I can understand it when you tell me that you think you're losing your grip.
So wise up and muscle up and rustle up a dash of perspective on the side
And then promise that you'll never let this slip.
Track Name: Attica
I’ll tell you about Attica, just something that I heard.
Another sorry lesson that nobody learned.
So we've got access; they just tell us what they want us to hear.
Too much information. Not enough truth.
You think you know it all, but you’ve really got no idea.

And the way they tell it on the TV.
That ain’t the way it happens on the streets.
And so the way it feels on the inside is far from complete.

I’ve been thinking ‘bout freedom and just what it means
After twenty-something summers spent chasing their dreams.
I’ve been going slowly crazy
Trying hard just to get it all straight.
This rich men's game is creaking with age.
We were born free, but now we live in a beautiful cage.

And you can scream out loud to the still, cold night.
Watch your tears start to freeze on the street
Or you can tell everybody they'd better wake up

I’ll tell you about Attica, just something that I heard.
Another sorry lesson that nobody learned.
And we can sing about freedom, but we ain't free yet.
So why don't you turn off your TV and do something less boring instead?
Track Name: Layers
Sunshine sits next to Mothballs.
They're wiliting in the Miami heat
They're both wearing dove grey, shirt-weight suits
And wishing they could go take a leak.
It's stake-out time for The Outfit
They're watching Jack Kennedy's back.
Mattress Jack looks good on the box
And he never gets caught in the sack.

There's too many layers.
There's too much crazy fun.
There's too many interests
Underneath the burning sun.
Said, there's too many layers.
Give the crazies bombs and guns.
There's too much at stake here.

It's cocktail time at the Nacional
While bodies pile up on the beach.
The Beard is immune to any threat in the room.
He's always there just out of reach.
Big Bad Jack where's the air support at?
Remember who's watching your back.
You may look good on the box or in bed,
But you're working on a shot in the head.

There's sugarcane burning against a pitch black August sky.
The sun's setting fast on the end of the world,
But state-sponsored terror intensifies.
Track Name: The Man Behind The Man
Ed Wenn
Vocals & acoustic guitars

John Ruscoe
Electric guitars

Steve Cox

Rich Matthews
Track Name: The King Of Kings Lynn
The King of Kings Lynn is feeling tired and confused
After another night singing somebody else's blues.
Hit after hit til it's time for him to quit
And he didn't write a single one of those tunes.
But he's good. Yeah he put in the hours
And he can sound like anybody you want him to sound
But he's stuck here and he can't understand
Why no-one ever showed him how it could be when you break free.

Get out of your bedroom
Then get out of your hometown
Never get too comfortable or you're lost.

The King of Kings Lynn is more than slightly bemused
That the local punk rockers are making the news
He's seen them around and he likes them well enough,
But he never took them seriously
Until they left for the States touring real long gone.
Europe, Australia and even Hong Kong.
It shook him up. Yeah it turned him around.
He was the King of Kings Lynn now he's a face in the crowd.

He's looking out for next big nothing.
'Cos you never know.
He's got some sweet deals cooking.
'Cos you never know.

So put your hands together for the next big nothing,
Because here we are again and you thought I was bluffing.
Stop living in the past. Get up off your arse.
Let's celebrate this glorious, beautiful nothing.
Track Name: Shimmy
Looking out a motel window on Bondi in ‘88,
You were smoking grass and I was drinking wine
We both stayed up real late.
And nothing was too serious then, we were scared of no-one.
We did what we wanted ‘cos we were the first
Wrote the book as we went along

And it felt so good to me.
Yeah, so fucking good to me.

And we were hanging out with the Burrito Girls in College Town, USA.
The skinheads in Houston didn’t like our style
They threw Texas right in our faces.
And there’s a millionaire’s pad in Baton Rouge
With a girl who hated her job.
There’s a party to crash; a porno stash.
Stuart’s talking 'bout his Granddad’s yacht.

We made the front page in London by talking to fools.
I thought we’d done enough.
But now there’s money talking louder than people can hear
Spending album budgets on lunch.
And when you come around we check our stories out of lost and found
And I know we agree so why can’t we shake up this cynical town?
Track Name: V.Thirteen
Sodom and Gomorra, let the DJ play,
'Cos I'm only gone tomorrow and here today.

There's a lotta rockheads on the block.
Dougie died and Sue got frocked.
If the stove is hot then I ain't lost
And Rosa says my star is crossed.
Little Jamie writes, V. Thirteen.
Comes in by the door goes out by the screen.
He don't listen to me he knows everything.
Girls on the avenue ask me to sing.

Sodom and Gomorra, let the DJ play,
`Cos I'm only gone tomorrow and here today

The paper drags and folds me down.
Like a paper cup I fly around.
I've been eating food that ain't been checked
And the Russian rain is beating down my neck.
Screen blackout on the southern war.
Cue talk breakdown on point forty four.
There must be a place the preachers say "I guess".
But a drifter will tell you no place is best

Shout for all the people who have nothing to say,
'Cos we're only gone tomorrow and here today.

It was a one-off dirt jam when England came good.
One night in a thousand they've played knock on wood.
We used to go roamin' go roamin' around.
If you don't look for something it's sure to be found.
Track Name: Lost & Broken
This shitty world has got me beat
And I don't understand a thing.
There's people paid to tell me lies;
They fabricate and fantasise.
And so I am the misinformed,
Manipulated, but adorned.
Unrepresented and disinclined
A 21st century state of mind

And I feel lost and broken down tonight
If this is the way it's gonna be forever?
The world feels lost and broken down tonight.

Well, if there's good it's hard to see.
There's profit, greed, hypocrisy.
And people paid to sell me dreams;
Of life, love and all the in-betweens.
There's millions trying just to stay alive
Trying to make it through another night.
We're brought up to take this and that
And not to give a damn thing back.

So get off your knees and start to fight tonight,
Or things will stay this way forever.
Get off your knees and change your life tonight.
So get off your knees and start to fight tonight,
Don't let things stay this way forever.
And then the world won't seem so broken any more.
Track Name: Everybody Pick Up A Guitar
You disappeared, but I got you back.
Shacked up in South London with Mac Rebennack.
I was stuck in Saint James Booker Infirmary
So it's kon kon the kiddy kon kon gris, gris

I spent eight days a week with Polythene Pam
She could hip shake, shimmy, Mississippi Goddam
Now I'm stumbling through the heart of a Saturday Night
With Miss Emmylou Harris in these arms of mine

I feel it flowing through me again.
Can you feel it flowing through you?

We are the one, but that's subject to change.
In another state of mind and feeling jealous again.
So take a load off, Annie; please understand
That my sweet lord is the alligator man

There was a girl playing "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"
There was a girl with a song in her heart.
There was a boy working out "I Wanna Be Your Dog"
There was a boy with a song in his head.

There was a boy who picked up a guitar.
There was a girl who picked up a guitar.
Everybody pick up a guitar.
Track Name: You'll Be Fine
Well I know a deep-thinking man.
He takes most things to heart.
He's always looking for more than there seems to be,
But sometimes it's just art.

And it ain't wrong to just sit back and enjoy
All the things that you like.
You don't need to find the true meaning to step into the light.

And sometimes the thing you need most is inside you all the time.
So shut down those systems you use.
You don't need them.
You'll be fine.

And there's thousands of days and thousand of nights;
They're all stretched out ahead.
Enough time for thinking things over and chasing them all round your head.

So fuck all those philosophers.
They ain't living your life.
There's only so far you can travel with their words as a guide.

Sometimes the things you keep locked away inside feel so right.
So shut down those systems you use.
Lose your old self.
Be strong and step into the light.