Hugh Featherstone, a troubadour of our times
home   info   news   contact  
discs   songs   photos   links  
 

back to discography

Hugh Featherstone discs

previous disc

next disc

 
CD album Landing 2001
 
CD cover of Landing by Hugh Featherstone  
Click on a track title to see lyrics and notes further down the page.

Three chord town

An American dream

Gone before you're there

Someone else's child

To sign for you

  6  Not missing

  7  Albena's tune  (instrumental)

  8  I'll remember you

  9  I lay with love

10  Sometime, never, maybe

11  Emotional dunce

12  Landing

13  Tomorrow will be fair
All songs by Hugh Featherstone
 
 
Released 18 October 2001

All text in this rather fetching blue-green by Hugh Featherstone.

From the considerable quantity of songs I've written in the last few years, this typically "singer/songwriter" selection is the one we felt to be the most appropriate to introduce my work to a wider public via a new record label.

The philosophical optimist in me can offer no excuse for the catalogue of emotional failure enclosed herein. All I can say in my defence is that I write better downbeat stuff than upbeat and that audiences, for obscure reasons of their own, seem to prefer getting thoroughly miserable to being cheered up.

In the winter of '98, frustrated by the slow progress of News from Nowhere, my survey of broken utopias, I decided to overtake myself on the inside lane. In just 36 hours we laid down the very personal collection of songs which was issued in the Spring of '99 as the double CD Me and Miss Wray.

Once released, "Miss Wray" began to divide opinions. But while some preferred the "red" disc and some the "green", most were clear on one thing: though the home-grown style was charming, many of the songs might have a real chance of success if given a more polished treatment. Since this was also my publisher's opinion, obstacles were soon cleared away and me & miss wray became a quarry, from whose bright veins the material was cut for this new album.

The original set contained 26 songs. Although the final choice of 13 tracks meant rejecting some personal favourites, this is the selection we felt to be the most accessible. Four songs, including the title, were simply re-mastered from the excellent "miss wray" originals, but the remainder were re-recorded at my studio in a former Belgian customs facility, using the finest 24-bit technology and some very impressive microphones.

Tracks 3, 7, 12 and 13 were taken from a solo session at M&N in the winter of 1998-99, the remainder were recorded in the millenial year during two sessions at the Tone Zone, a converted former customs facility, using the very latest in 24-bit technology and some impressive Brauna valve microphones imported for the occasion.

The sound of this album and my enjoyment in the making of it owe much to
the artistry of the following guitar builders, the living and the legendary:

Walter Kraushaar, Thomas Launhardt and Karsten Kobs,
Leo Fender, George Washburn and Gary Levinson.

Special thanks to Pip for the catering,
M&N for the solo sessions,
everyone at Kraushaar Guitars for unfailing support and lots of coffee,
Luc at Universal Music and Jan at Culture.

The landing crew was:

Yannick Le Roux - drums and percussion
Winfried Winkler - bass
Jackfruit - recording, engineering and occasional keyboards
Mastered by Alan Ward at Electric City, Brussels

Cover photo by Pip (Martine Passagez),
landscapes by Yannick, studio shots by PhilBY.
Graphic design by PhilBY.

All songs published by Universal Music Publishing.
A Jackfruit Production for Culture Records, Benelux





If I had 5 zlotis for every time I'd listened to all Hugh's previous recordings, I would now be in zloti millionaires' heaven and wouldn't have to design websites for a living.

Despite having been referred to once as "Jaded John", each time I hear from Hugh that a new offering is on its way, I still get tremendously excited; and once I've heard it a few times, and got used it, I become convinced it's his best work yet/ever. Well of course it is.

However, having listened to Landing for more than a year now, on and off, (not neglecting the older stuff, naturally) I am thoroughly convinced of its outstanding merit. Really! Hugh has actually outdone himself this time, with masterly reworking of songs which were already quite brilliant.

As ever, long-time Featherstone collaborators Yannick Le Roux (drums & percussion) and Winfried Winkler (bass) come up to snuff and do this disc proud.

If you listen really carefully, you can hear a finely tuned musical and poetical intelligence at work. Although many of the songs are tinged with the usual bardic gloom, the impression left by the album is actually quite uplifting. Perhaps it is just being tenderly touched by such lyricism - ostensibly melacholic - that sets the endorphins all a scootee rootee tooo. Not only hath Hugh's music "charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak" *, you can also sing along to it in the bath. There are even a couple of toe-tappingly poppy tunes here. Especially worthy of mention are Three chord town and Sometime, never, maybe. Catchy as rabies.

David John


* From "The Mourning Bride" by William Congreve

You can order this CD

at blutopia.networks

www.blutopia.net
 
Landing lyrics and notes  

All Hugh's CD album sleeves contain lyrics and notes, so the best way to enjoy
them is to read as you listen. But for those of you who can't wait, here they are.

All text in this rather fetching blue-green by Hugh Featherstone.
 
Landing Three chord town track 1

Written 1998, recorded at the Tone Zone, October 2000.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

Catches the feeling everyone has known of being stuck
in the wrong place & far away from someone you love.
In my head I see this film of toy cars and cardboard cut-out streets.


I've been looking through the letters and the cards you sent from far away.
I wonder to myself just where the magic went from yesterday.
I haven't been feeling much since I lost your healing touch.
Can you take me home?

I've been counting all the hours and the days and weeks till you appear.
At least the time is marginally shorter than since you were here.
Your dog hasn't left his hutch, there's no other in my life as such.
Can you take me home?

Can you take me home to somewhere by the sea,
somewhere where the stars come out and play for free?
If you take me will you let me bring my friends along with me?
I hope we all arrive in time for tea.

As I drive around the corners of this three chord town I search the place.
In every neon dawn I need another down to drown your face.
I could manage without a crutch if I had your healing touch.
Can you take me home?
 
Landing An American dream track 2

Written 1998, recorded at the Tone Zone, July 1999.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray,
and a live version was included on his 2005 CD Live at the Chapel.

I've always been a Beachboys fan, so it's no accident
that the hero of this song is caught using Help me, Rhonda
as a non-therapeutic strategy for acute nostalgia.


An American girl came to stay, took a look at your life, ran away.
Couldn't cut it in the cold and the grey
and she thought you had a job anyway,
your American dream.

When you met her in the fall, in monterey,
it was love at first sigh, the movie way.
And you thought it would last, it all seemed OK.
Took a photo for your friends, wondered what they'd say
to your American dream.

We've all got our heartaches, heartaches,
shall I tell you mine?

Now you're staring at the wall, while the Beachboys play,
trying not to forget that fateful day
when an American girl came to stay,
took a look at your life, ran away,
your American dream.
 
Landing Gone before you're there track 3

Written 1997, remastered from the original.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

Starts with one of the best lines I ever wrote ... and then gets better, so we left it
as it was, just guitar and voice. Wrap this round your ears and sail away.


Some people are made for sorrow, they've got it stitched into their clothes.
Some are made for heartache, they've got it written in their souls.
And you can try to heal them, but it's hard to know just where.
They're long, long gone before you're there.

Some people are made for dreaming, they've got their thoughts up in the skies.
Some are made to wander, they've got the highway in their eyes.
And you can try to tame them, but all you catch is air.
They're long, long gone before you're there.

Time goes by like passing cars, and all our lives mean nothing to the stars.
Some people are made for fortune, it shines down where they stand.
Some are made for miracles, they've got magic in their hands.
And you can try to reach them, but isn't life unfair?
They're long, long gone before you get there.
They're long, long gone before you're there.
 
Landing Someone else's child track 4

Written 1982, recorded at the Tone Zone, October 2000.

Previous studio versions of this song appeared on "the Black Tape" (cassette album 1983) and
Me and Miss Wray (CD 1999), and a subsequent live version was included on Live at the Chapel (CD 2005).

The third time I've recorded this song and I still get something out of it.
In this age of DNA testing and paternity revocation, it has a whole new edge.


Awake on your own, you walk across the lawn.
You could almost feel you belong here, up against the dawn,
but it's someone else's, someone else's home.

Messages descend. You know you can't pretend.
Love is not the kind of thing to borrow or lend,
when it's someone else's, someone else's friend.

Such a tiny smile, you held it for a while.
Raised it up through tears and laughter to join the rank and file,
but it's someone else's, someone else's child.

Awake on your own, you walk across the lawn.
You could almost feel you belong here, up against the dawn,
but it's someone else's, someone else's home.
 
Landing To sign for you track 5

Written 1997, recorded at the Tone Zone, October 2000.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

My niece asked me to write her a song. But it mutated into one about
the problems guardian angels face when we no longer believe in them.


Well, I don't want to hurt you but I tell you what I must.
There's not a single thing down here that you can trust.
You're pretty new and you just don't know the breaks,
and you might not get a chance to learn from your mistakes.
I've seen you with your cool defenses down,
and I could hear you suffer though you did not make a sound.
When times are thin and opportunities are few,
you're going to need someone to sign for you.

Well I know it's hard, with the world so fresh and bright,
to believe that there are those who want to steal your light.
But the God who made us formed us all from clay,
so you can't expect us to behave much better anyway.
I've seen you stand apart with frightened eyes,
as if the things you overheard had come as a surprise.
When the chips are down and there's no friend in view,
you're going to need someone to sign for you.

Someone to sign for you, someone to check the smallprint,
show you what you need to do.
Someone to sign for you,
to testify you always did the best that you could do.
When the chips are down and there's no friend in view,
you're going to need someone to sign for you.

Well, you used to know me, used to breathe my name,
until you got your signals crossed and slipped out of the game.
I was the one who always had to set things right,
but that job got much harder as you slid on out of sight.
I see you like a seagull in the storm,
with not a star to steer by, not one nest to keep you warm.
when your wings are tattered and your heart is torn in two,
you're going to need someone to sign for you.

Someone to sign for you,
someone to hold the compass, keep an eye upon the crew.
Someone to sign for you,
someone prepared to witness that your course was always due.
When your wings are tattered and your heart is torn in two,
you're going to need someone to sign for you.

Someone to sign for you,
someone to check the smallprint, show you what you need to do.
Someone to sign for you, to testify you always did the best that you could do.
When the chips are down and there's no friend in view,
when times are thin and opportunities are few,
when your wings are tattered and your heart is torn in two,
you're going to need someone to sign for you,
to sign for you.
 
Landing Not missing track 6

Written 1998, recorded at the Tone Zone, July 1999.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

I've been here before too. One day I'll release the original I cut
with Milen and Kris at Gabrovo DHS in Bulgaria.
We started recording an hour before my train left. A bird on a wire.


How much time must I wait, 'til I know that it's too late?
How much time 'til I feel that all the hurt has finally healed?
How much time until it's true, when I tell myself that I'm not missing you?

How much time until my friends can say your name and not offend?
How much time will it take until I look like I'm back in shape?
How much time until it's true, when I tell myself that I'm not missing you?

It's never going to happen, never going to change.
I'll always feel about you in the same old way.
I'll never get over it, never rise above.
It'll always be you that I'm thinking of.

How much time 'til I admit that I'm better off out of it?
How much time must pass me by 'til I can smile at that other guy?
And how much time until it's true, when I tell myself that I'm not missing you?
 
Landing Albena's tune track 7

Instrumental. Written 1996, remastered from the original.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

I played this in Albena & Stefan's kitchen. She asked me if it had a name.
I said no.
"It does now", she said.
Here it plays the role of interval between the two halves of the album.
 
Landing I'll remember you track 8

Written 1997, recorded at the Tone Zone, July 1999.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

The idea of remembering things in the tomb is the sort of theological liberty songwriters
are allowed to take. At 2:05, this was considered too short to be the single.


The world we know goes by so fast,
there's very little built to last.
No wonder I prefer the past.
I remember you.

This is the age of interaction.
To me it offers no attraction.
My life has only one distraction.
I remember you.

I remember you, deep within the sunlit glen.
When I remember you, you're lying in my arms again.

Even though I feel forsaken,
even though my world is shaken,
even though my heart is breaking,
I remember you.

I remember you, deep within the neon room.
I'll remember you even when I'm in my tomb.

Someday when I'm out of fashion,
someday when I'm out of passion,
when they put the sack and ash on,
I'll remember you.
 
Landing I lay with love track 9

Written 1997, recorded at the Tone Zone, October 2000.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

A rather celtic lovesong, which either does or doesn't cry out
for a violin, depending on how much you like violins.
Jackfruit said I'd need a day to tune mine, so we let it be.


I lay with love one morning, just as the day was dawning.
We whispered, sweet and tender, the words of love when new.
But now my heart is broken by every thought unspoken.
Her love was but a token, a trick of light, untrue.

I lay with love one evening. My heart it was a-grieving.
For she was cold as moonlight, though fairer far than you.
But you are warm and giving, compassionate, forgiving.
You raise me to the living and all my faith renew.

I lay with love one morning, just as the day was dawning.
We whispered sweet and tender, our love was fresh as dew.
But now my heart is broken by every thought unspoken.
I would I had awoken with you.
 
Landing Sometime, never, maybe track 10

Written 1998, recorded at the Tone Zone, October 2000.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

Actually, "across the river, into the trees" were the last words
of American Civil War General "Stonewall" Jackson.
Nothing to do with the song, but I thought you'd like to know.


With all the time that's passed, I should be getting over you.
It seems things only last until you really want them to,
just like our life together, pretty short kind of forever,
this year, next year, sometime, never ... maybe.

With all the tears gone by, I should be well cried out by now.
Though rivers do run dry, not when you want them to.
How could we watch our love together slip downstream just like a feather,
this year, next year, sometime, never ... maybe.

No dandelion's going to tell me what I need to know.
I used to play that game when I was small, so long ago.
The tiny angels would go flying on the summer breeze
and I would follow with my dreams, across the river into the trees.

With all the friends I know, there should be one to understand,
that everywhere we go still bears the imprint of your hand ... it to the piano fella,
play our song and lose my tether,
this year, next year, sometime, never ... maybe.

The story of our lives together, pretty short kind of forever,
this year, next year, sometime, never ... well, maybe.
 
Landing Emotional dunce track 11

Written 1998, recorded at the Tone Zone, October 2000.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

A dunce, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the class idiot,
he of the pointed paper cap bearing a big "D".
Neil Young should have written this, but didn't.


Darling I've received all you've done for me.
I guess I just believed that it was meant to be.
So I've never thanked you once, but it is nonetheless true,
that in between the grunts I have this thing about you.

Darling, don't get mad, think of what we had.
Nothing's quite as bad as dumbing out with Dad.
You've never mentioned once all the pain I've put you through.
Give me one more chance to find my way back to you.

Darling there's a train in an hour or two
and if you want to take it, well I'll carry your stuff for you.
To show there's no hard feelings, to show I understand.
But meanwhile, here's my heart reaching out for your hand.

Darling, if you go, there's one thing you should know.
It's true I may be slow to see what others know.
But underneath the stunts and all that macho Kung-Fu,
there's this emotional dunce who's in love with you.
 
Landing Landing track 12

Written 1997, remastered from the original.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

This is my personal favourite, though I hope to do better one day.
We kept the highly emotional original, despite vocal lapses.
The rhythmic background hiss is my Shetland pullover.

More recently Hugh wrote about this song:

I think this is one of my best. Like many love songs it is part obsession, part nostalgia and part atmospheric rendering of the state between fear of commitment and fear of loneliness. Its age is betrayed by the technology of fixed-line phone calls and real paper letters, which were occasionally mislaid in that romantic time before we all became permanently connected by Facebook and the world lost much of its magic.

I travel far to see you. It's quite another world.
You draw me like a magnet. You're that kind of girl.

You said you'd love forever. I only had to choose.
I'm not afraid of gambling, I'm just afraid to lose.

I travel far to see you. Why must you be so hard.
You slide between the mirrors to keep me off my guard.

You said our love was perfect. You'd never let me down.
I'm not afraid of swimming, I'm just afraid to drown.

I travel far to see you. My friends all think I'm mad
to kill myself with yearning for what I've never had.

The post returns my letters. You're not there when I call.
I'm not afraid of climbing, I'm just afraid to fall.

And when I finally touch down, without your guiding hand,
I'm not afraid of flying, I'm just afraid to land.

I travel far to see you. It's quite another world.
You draw me like a magnet. You're that kind of girl.
 
Landing Tomorrow will be fair track 13

Written 1998, remastered from the original.

A previous version of this song appeared on Hugh's 1999 double CD album Me and Miss Wray.

A sinister lullaby to close this melancholy catalogue.
An oil-worker, who doubts the fidelity of his young wife,
sets the baby to act as watch-dog while he's at sea. Bizarre.


Sleep my baby, dream of me, far out on the stormy sea.
Tiny, tiny bairn, tomorrow will be fair.

Daddy's off to work the rig, Mummy's off for to dance a jig.
Tiny, tiny bairn, tomorrow will be fair.

Guard the breast, I'll drill the field beneath my castle made of steel.
Tiny, tiny bairn, tomorrow will be fair.

So, sleep my darling, dream of me, far out on the rolling sea.
Tiny, tiny bairn, tomorrow will be fair.
 
Hugh Featherstone plays Kraushaar Guitars
 
www.featherstone.de website design Ursa Major