Press release: Hugo Fernandes. What I love

Press release: Hugo Fernandes. What I love

Press release:   Hugo Fernandes new album. What I love

Hugo Fernandes is a thirty five-year veteran singer and guitarist. Born to perform music, he started professionally as a solo entertainer in South Africa, where he established himself as a ground-breaking live performer, a master of foot bass described in review as ‘the best one-man band on the planet’ before coming into Los Angeles where he has averaged over 300 gigs a year for the past thirty years. During this time he has been booked by many celebrated musicians like Herbie Hancock and has been applauded by Joni Mitchel.  He has been joined at the microphone by many of the worlds greats including Paul McCartney.

What I Love is the title of Hugo’s first album of all original songs. 17 songs chosen from the songbook of Andrew Brel. Arranged for solo guitar by Hugo and performed studio live as an acoustic reading of the song with just voice and guitar. An alternative title could be ‘Hugo sings Brel.’

Background on the two people involved in making “What I Love.”

32267371_10156633317321807_7914213116806692864_nHugo and Andrew  shared a house in South Africa in the early 80’s before Andrew moved to London, 1984, and Hugo moved to Los Angeles, 1987.  They met again after thirty years when Andrew moved to California where he heard Hugo performing one of his songs in his set. ‘You and me babe’, a popular song in South Africa in 1982. Hugo’s unique styling of this song created an interest in making an album using the same formula, Hugo choosing his favorite Andrew songs and arranging them in his own style.

Andrew would record and produce the album and give the project high production values, drawing on his experience from thirty years of music production in London, recording many great players and friends, including Peter Green, Hugh Burns, Leo Sayer, Spike Edney, Roger Taylor, Charlie Morgan, Ronnie Johnson and Mickey Moody.

This would be a challenge of playing the songs live from beginning to end. Old school. Not bar by bar cut and paste from a sample library. Hugo has many decades of learning songs behind him and hears music emotionally, by ear.  Before each session Hugo would pick out a Brel song and learn it in his own unique way, adding his distinctive guitar styling to the arrangements in a process that was filled with joyful reminders of why both Hugo and Andrew chose a musical life in the first place. This can be described as a labor of love, made for no other reason than the love of music.

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This album showcases a friendship in which both have learned something in the thirty-five years each has been professionally involved in making music, and still as enthusiastic about making new music now as when they met thirty-five years ago.

The recording process happened over a  12 Month period, meeting whenever possible for sessions in Andrews ‘Treadmill Studio’ in California. Recording Hugo’s voice on a Shure SM7 microphone,  through a UAD mic Pre. The guitar on the album is a rare Nylon Taylor NS72 hand made to order in 2005. (Cat Stevens bought the next one off the Taylor line.)    The 17 recordings are a cross section of songs written between 1985 and 2018 by Andrew Brel. Story songs such as;

Sophie and Johann” about the fourth most admired German woman in Germany, Sophie Scholl, 21, who risked her life as a liberal voice during the height of fascist horror. Leading to her brief meeting with Johann Reickhart, the eighth-generation executioner, in Germany in 1943.
You and me Babe” is a love song by a young man, starting out in life and love with the innocent naivete that is wasted on the young.
Paradise Key” is a well-known song about the 30,000+ boys who died in the Iran Iraq war in human wave attacks where tens of thousands of 11 year old boys were given red plastic paradise keys and assured of a place in heaven if they became martyrs for Islam.
Insensitivity” is a song in a Brazilian style about being sensitive to others, showcasing Hugo’s Brazilian timing.
Elegy to the Last Lion” is a song about animal conservation. Unless we look after wild animals, they will become extinct.
Suburban House” is a beautiful song about heartbreak, originally sung by Leo Sayer, here performed by Hugo in a guitar arrangement that is quite breathtaking.

The album closes with a song called “Family Law”, sung from the perspective of a young boy, separated from his father by family-law. Destined to become a favorite with anyone involved in separation where children are used as leverage for one side against the other.

I was very happy to hear both Hugo’s selection from my repertoire as well as his super fine reading of the songs. I think the production values successfully represent my intention; to make a recording sound like Hugo is playing live in your living room. 17 songs, lasting one hour. No time wasting solo’s.  Just voice and guitar with the focus on choice of notes, timing, phrasing and pitch.

Screen Shot 2018-06-16 at 11.18.00The album is available on CD from CD Baby And streamed media HERE

Hugo is available for a ‘What I love’ show, performing songs from the album. Contact him on Facebook or by emailing andrew@andrewbrel.com

Hugo Fernandes. What I Love.

 

 

29790424_10156531668011807_5292465850152427829_nHere is the story behind each of the 17 songs along with the lyrics:

1.) You and me babe
Andrew Brel 1981

Recorded first during my South African musical apprenticeship, in my Chartwell Rondavel studio on my Revox 8 track. And then later, in Minc studios, maybe the best studio in Johannesburg at the time. (Where Paul Simon first arrived for the start of the Graceland project.) That recording appeared on my UK gig sales tape called ‘Hit or Myth’ which was a cassette of my ten best songs I would sell at gigs for £10. It was that tape, long forgotten by myself, which Hugo used to find the song he remembered from my live set in the early 80’s.  He learned it and played ‘You and Me Babe’ at a special function in Laguna Beach where all my new American friends and family were present. I had forgotten about that song, but hearing it so well performed, and so well received blew the wind into the sails of this project between two old friends.
“Nuclear Bombs. Strikes and exploitation, you only need smile and they all disappear.”11hobo copy

You and me babe  (Brel)

You and me babe
we’re on a roll this time
It’s a parade
all the good things in life

We’ve made it this far
Through all the changes
that have brought us this close
Made us all that we are

Used to think that my time
Was all for waiting
Thought Id have no more life left to live
I’d despair

Since you came along
I’ve looked inside me
and the joy that I’ve found
is because your in there

All I have wanted from all the plans I’ve made
And all I have dreamed of, its you, you and me babe

So many times
I’ve looked around to find
a world torn apart
filled with tension and fear

Nuclear bombs
strikes and exploitation
you only need smile
and they all disappear

All I’ve imagined as the perfect life for me
Comes close each day, I can say in all honesty, is you and me
All I have wanted from all the plans I’ve made
And all I have dreamed of, is you, you and me babe.

 

2.) InsensitivityBouzouki-player
Andrew Brel 1981

In 1981, when I completed my two years of forced conscription in the South African army, I set out to pay my way through college playing live music. I started out as a solo guitar-playing singer, performing only original songs. My opening song was called ‘Insensitivity’ which I had written whilst I was the guitarist in the South African army’s Entertainment Corps. It was the one song most requested during my original music period as a live performer. I thought the sentiment was appropriate then, as now. I was listening to a lot of Michael Franks at the time, and the feel of this song is not dissimilar to any number of Michael Frank’s arrangements.
How can you feel life. Unless your open up to see. The price that you will pay for your. Insensitivity.

Insensitivity (Brel)

All the joy in the world
On a scale next to the pain in this world
Doesn’t weigh the same at all
See this worlds, divided and confused
In this world, some will win but most will lose

The only balance, in what you give and what you get
Is when you count the cost, all the things that you regret
How can you feel life, unless your open up to see
The price that you will pay for your. Insensitivity

Without love, there is nothing left to see
Just the shadow left behind. Insensitivity
Without hope. A better world for you and me
Without love. It’s just insensitivity

 

3.) Hanging around
Andrew Brel 1983

This was a typical folk song chord structure written in the key of G. From my wanna-be-a-folk-singer phase. Imagining that I was going to be playing alcohol sales related gigs for-ever. Stuck on the gig circuit. Hearing complimentary people say “What are you doing playing here?” Living on the bread line. It has a happy end though in that ‘it’s the journey not arriving at the truth or the lie’ that matters in the end. “Had the time of my life, searching through lost and found. It was all just hanging around.” Hugo found this song on his surviving copy  of my ‘Hit or Myth’ cassette, out of print since 1987.

Hanging Around (Brel)

Kimberley, 1979

Maybe its the cold tonight that makes me feel this old
or just the last year of low income blues
I’ve taken all the chances I had worked out in advance and now
I’m walking down a dead avenue

Got some money in my pocket, enough to stay warm
tell you that I’m here, up for the storm
I was a long way from those dreams, I had run out of schemes to save me
Got so tired of hanging around

I had intended to call you when I got to California
Headed long distance in my stride
I’m touring the nation here’s your airline reservation
won’t you come along for the ride

On the first LP I’d sign ‘Dedicated to you’
It was thinking of you, kept me pushing through
But then I lost all my faith in the dreams I had planned
just got tired of hanging around

This bar is full on Fridays but the other nights are slow
the ones who seem to  listen  are always first to go
It was you all along   I think I should have known
you’d get tired of hanging around

It’s been years of chasing shadows, years of being the clown
Waiting for better days
There’s been tears and fallow meadows, ups and then downs
Looking for better ways

But the lessons life has shown me  as time passes by
It’s the journey not arriving  at the truth or the lie
Had the time of my life searching through lost and found
learned the song  not the sound

It was there all along    just took time to find
It was all hanging around

 

4.) Stranger

Folk club in Johannesburg during a weekend pass, 1979

Andrew Brel 1986

This is the first song I wrote in England while in my home on Riverbank. My father-in-law at that time was a South African mining boss. A Catholic. Wealthy from working the mines. I learned early on growing up in South Africa that the mines were essential to the economy of the Country, Johannesburg is after all the City of Gold. I must have been seven or eight when I learned about gold mining and how the migrant labor-force used to work the mines had many sinister similarities to slavery.  South Africa’s mineral wealth and the distribution of wealth arising from this natural resource and the labor required to get it to market made South Africa the 3rd richest economy in the world in the seventies when I was a teenager. It always seemed clear to me that an awful exploitation was going on. Miners being paid thruppence a week to leave their families behind 11 months of the year to live in dormitories, working long hours deep underground in dangerous conditions while men like my former father in law lived like kings off the sweat of their brows. These displaced miners were strangers in the land of the very opportunity their efforts enabled for their overlords. Those who profited from their non-payment, the Religious mostly Afrikaner ruling elite, spending the bulk of this great economic resource not on education and social upliftment, but instead, on a military to fight a border war to uphold their apartheid system.    In the back of my mind when I wrote this song in a 5 minute burst of creative anger, was my former father in law, Bernard Smith, who gave me such a detailed insight into into the ethics of how mining works. A Catholic who once approached me with a .38 revolver, seemingly intent on shooting me, such was his outrage at the values I represented.  Confirming at least my impression of how nasty those people, the mining elite, were in their conscienceless exploitation of a legally disabled workforce. Raping the land as much as the workers lives.
Who pays the piper when the song draws to its close.
Turned out the answer was, no one. Even though a few hundred million Rands (small change in context) was awarded in 2018 to miners.  I recorded this song first with my first English musician friend, Ronnie Johnson in my first UK Studio, Hampton Court studios, and later at Dave Mackay’s studio, with a band featuring;
Ronnie Johnson (guitar), Geoff Dunne (drums) and Phil Mulford (Bass), who would all go on to play with Van Morrison. Which is why that recording sung by Ken Ganpot sounds  like a Van Morrison track.
“Born as a Stranger in a foreign Land.  Facing a poverty you’d never understand.”

Stranger (Brel)

Its not far away I once was told
there’s a city that’s paved with gold
Not far from where I am to where I’ll be
so put a ticket on and rescue me

I took the train to see what work I’d find
managed ten years down a working mine
Bleeding sweat to free the golden dust
They took it all and left nothing for us

Born as a stranger in a foreign land
I must accept conditions I cant understand
I’m told its treason if I ever can
say I believe, I am my own  man.

My independence is a travesty
of any human rights once due to me
My life’s a circle and in every way
I watch it growing tighter every day

I’ve seen my closest friends go overnight
across the border to take up the fight
I’m not a violent man, so I stayed home
The way its going who knows for how long

Born as a stranger in a foreign land
Facing a poverty you’d never understand
Id go to prison in this foreign land
to say I believe    I am my own man

Who pays the piper when the song draws to its close
I’d wanna know.  Who pays the piper
for what’s been  taken away

My stories told each day ten thousand times
In different places, with different rhymes
If there’s one lesson my life has shown
It’s that two rights don’t correct one wrong

Its only love I’ve come to understand
offers salvation to this race of man
We have no wisdom with which to explain why
we make the same mistakes again and again

Born as a stranger in a foreign land
I must accept conditions I cant understand
I’m told its treason if I ever can
say I believe, I am my own  man.

Born as a stranger in a foreign land
Facing a poverty you’d never understand
Id go to prison in this foreign land
to say I believe     I am my own man

 

5.) What I loveUntitled
Andrew Brel  1986

Soon after arriving in England  in 1985 and buying my first apartment, overlooking the Thames in the colorful Surrey village of East Molesey where I lived a happy musical lifestyle for thirty years, I started out with my own little basement studio, Hampton Court Studios, at 3 Bridge Road. Where I had a Fostex 16 track half inch B16.  A Studiomaster 24 channel board and an Atari computer running Steinberg 24. An early version of what would become Logic. I used to gig most nights of the week, and I worked an average 6 days a week in the studio, from ten till five, either being paid to produce recordings for clients, or writing and recording my own songs. Usually this would be a song a day. Writing the demo in the morning and finishing the recording in the afternoon. ‘What I love’ was one of my songs-in-a-day from this period of life.
Later, when I was gigging with another of my marvelous musical friends, Ken Ganpot, he sang it in a distinctive way, with his cool West Indian accent that made it a real crowd pleaser, and that led to an album of Ken singing my songs in the 80’s. Hugo has adapted Ken’s version (which appears on my album Riverbank Songwriting) pretty closely. Its a silly song really. Frivolous, but fun. And when played live, people react with smiles.
“What I love is in the way she moves. In her eyes there’s always something new”.

What I love (Brel)

What I love is in the way she moves
In her eye’s there’s always something new
What I love is in the way she always tries
To keep me satisfied

My baby loves me
She shows me with a happy smile
Always clever with talk  on a romantic   walk
A mindful woman  with a lotta style

What I love is in the way she moves
In her eye’s there’s always something new
What I love is in the way she always tries
To keep me satisfied

Last week on Sunday
We stayed in bed right through the afternoon
Were just so happy this way    living for today
Until forever would be too soon

What I love is in the way she moves
In her eye’s there’s always something new
What I love is in the way she always tries
To keep me satisfied

What I love. Behind her eyes
Always keeps me. Satisfied
When we  care.   How we share
always shows    how      love will grow

What I love is how she always cares
What I think   and how she lets me share
What I love is in the way she lets me know     love will  grow

 

6.) Always mi AmorROPE
Andrew Brel  1987

Hugo found an old song I had recorded from my Hampton Court studio sessions called ‘Sometimes’ sung first by myself and later by Ken Ganpot, with a noisy 80’s production featuring the  DX7  synth pad that seems to be on every recording made between 1982 and 1988, and a DMX drum box bashing away in 80’s pomp.
Hugo’s first take of ‘Sometimes’ didn’t do it for me. Eventually we established Hugo was uncomfortable with the downturn in the lyric. The idea then was to move the songs beating heart from the Caribbean to Brazil. We observed that the songs we had recorded up until this point had a predominantly dark theme. To lighten the album and give it a better balance between light and shade, I revisited ‘Sometimes’ with a coloring pen, and it became ‘Always mi Amor’. Altogether a far better reflection of what I meant to say in the first place. “Always, mi amor, your love for me, it feels so pure.”

Always mi Amor (Brel)

I came here alone, a heart harder than stone
I couldn’t see   or   tell the days apart
Then I met you       and in that  follow through
I got to feel        what’s real       the loving start

I don’t know just quite what to say
I never felt love in  this way
Since we’ve been together        Together    

Always mi amor
Your love for me      it feels so pure
One thing     I know is  sure
Love is at my door
Who oh oh oh  You are mi amor

Now that I can say   my heart will always be
every day, yours and you will see
I’ll sing you my song, make you smile the whole day long
Your joy is mine       so fine       our love will be

Always mi amor
your love for me it feels so pure
I don’t know quite what to say      I don’t know
Never felt love in this way       Oh oh oh oh

 

7.) Suburban House
Andrew Brel/Josh Phillips 1999leowallyy

In 1999 I had lovely girlfriend named Emma. And then I didn’t. Emma wanted marriage and a child. I didn’t, having ‘been there done that‘. It was best to part. I knew she would (and should) be a great mother, but I did miss her terribly. My friend Josh Phillips, keyboard player in Procul Harem, was at hand to do what one does at times like that. Write a sad song. Josh was a good friend and a shrewd fellow, nagging me to write a song when all I wanted to do was mope around listening to torch songs and drinking beer with the boys in the Albion. Eventually I agreed to a songwriting session. He played the piano and I played the guitar and the song came together very quickly with a pen and one page of yellow A4. Not much changed after that first writing session. It was a finished song from the start. “There was a time when angels cared.”
The following day we drove to Amersham in Josh’s Mercedes and played the new born song live to Leo Sayer, on his piano in his studio and asked if he would sing it.
I booked Snake Ranch studio, called my great friend the legendary Sound Recordist John Etchells, and called in favors from our favorite session players, including Hugh Burns on guitar, contributing a magnificent electric guitar solo and the always lovely Mark Brzezicki on drums. I never tire of writing “Leo is such a great singer.” He is just a different level singer to the rest in terms of singing the right thing. Later still a Ukranian singer named Ani Lorak translated the lyric to Ukranian and had a minor hit with it in that market.
Hugo faced a musical challenge arranging a guitar part from Josh’s original piano part which was a highlight of the experience for me. A fantastic guitar interpretation of the song and the musical intention. Very different to both Leo Sayer and Ani Lorak’s versions. A special song from a special time in my life. Couldn’t be happier with Hugo’s arrangement.

Suburban House        (Andrew Brel/Josh Philips)

There was a time     when angels cared
She was my world      when love was fair
We did the marriage vows  and the suburban house
Our baby’s grown and  she’ll be leaving soon

Don’t know just when      I woke to find
A curtain drawn       a strangers mind
Its taken this long to know, love was the letting go
I’ve tried to pretend but now  I  realize

There’s a time and place for a   broken heart
Start to run this race  with the horse      before the cart
Searching every face I see  since were apart
Somewhere in this life, there’s someone there for me
Holding out to hold my heart

I looked away     the years slipped by
Caught in a web      of loves last lie
Working to pay the bills, losing that loving thrill
We go through the motions   now the passions died

There’s a time and place for a   broken heart
Start to run this race  with the horse      before the cart
Searching every face I see  since were apart
Somewhere in this life, there’s someone there for me
Holding out to hold my heart

I would go on
as if    there’s nothing wrong
I’d believe   one more day       in a world without love
Is more than I can stand

After the silence came, I was the one to blame
Tried to pretend but now I realise….

There’s a time and place for a   broken heart
Start to run this race  with the horse      before the cart
Searching every face I see  since were apart
Somewhere in this life, there’s someone there for me
Holding out to hold my heart
I need someone to hold my heart

 

8.) Here and Now
Andrew Brel/Hugh Burns 2000andrewrandroyv_HDR

I met Hugh Burns in the early 90’s when we collaborated on starting a ‘Guitarist of the year’ event for Guitarist magazine, in which the winning contestants would play on a big stage (Wembley Conference Center) in a house band led by Hugh. (With Charlie Morgan on drums and Felix Krish on bass.) It was immediately apparent to me that Hugh Burns is a transcendent player and illuminated person. A mirror of the person every guitar player with mindfulness would want to be.  We became very good friends right away and hung out together wherever possible. Which became once a week. For many years. We made several albums and wrote several songs.  Over one of our pre-recording coffee chats I had an idea for a mandolin song based on the idea that ‘the moment’  is everything. Past and future are irrelevant to the here and now.  Leo Sayer sang the fist recording of this song (in one take beginning to end). Hugo didn’t stray far from the original arrangement, fashioning his own guitar phrase to add a new layer to where the mandolin would have been. During the guitar recording Hugo tapped his foot as he played and I thought that seemed to work with the arrangement, so I put the mic on it and used it, subtly, in the track. That worked well enough as a percussive element to suggest adding it to three more of the songs. When we wrote ‘Here and Now’ my favorite musical part was Hugh’s  open note (E) drone through the verses and I am pleased with how well Hugo phrased that in his arrangement.

Here and Now     (Brel/Burns)

Whatever it was that made you think this of me
Might because because I would have fallen gladly
Under your spell I would have fallen madly
In love with you. What else could I do

Whatever I said that made you hold on to me
Those words that bled all of the the love that could be
Right from the start until the end I would be
In love with you. What else could I do

But here and now there’s just no getting over
Where I was before
I wish   I knew   how to  find a way through
Close this open door

Whatever I do
I don’t stop thinking of you
Every breath I take is only meant to
Keep me alive until the moment that you
Come back to me. That’s all I see

But here and now there’s just no getting over
Where we were before. You told me that time would be the healer
Now I’m not so sure
bout open doors

Here and now somehow I’m in between enough
and wanting more 
I wish   I knew   how to  find a way through
Close this open door

 

9.) Alone
Andrew Brel/Spike Edney 20011989andchair_HDR

I met Spike Edney sometime in the late nineties. Working with him to produce the SAS Band ‘Blue Album’ at Black Barn Studios and later the SAS Band live album at Shepherds Bush. Spike had a lot of time off from his Queen job at that stage – before the musical took off –  and wherever possible we would meet up in Riverbank and write songs. Sometime in 2001 Patti Russo was visiting from New York for some SAS Band shows and I had an empty flat that I was able to house her in. We used that opportunity to record Patti singing several songs on the Otari Radar 24 track studio that was then Riverbank Studios. (Where I recorded many albums after the sale of Black Barn studios to Paul Weller.) Wallace the dog, a giant amongst miniature Schnauzers,was present at all the sessions.
Alone’ arose from a call from a conversation with a friend whose mum had died. “I’m not alone, she is in the next room” is how Lucy described it to me. My thought was a song about staying in touch with people even after they are gone. I had hoped to see it as a popular choice for celebration of life and memorial parties. A song about coping with profound loss in a positive way. A beautiful song that means what it says. Those we love live on in our thoughts. Death as a concept is open to many interpretations.  Hugo’s arrangement is far more sensitive than the powerhouse version by Patti. Hearing the song on guitar rather than keyboards brings out a whole new color in this beautiful song.

 ALONE     (Brel/Edney)

There was a time     I would cry myself to sleep
Wondering why      life left me to find
so many secrets I can’t keep

How could I know what was written long ago
In colors so bright   they opened my eyes
showed me the part of you in me

So I’m not alone
I know your love is all around
Your in the stars, here in my heart
And when I need you now I know        
That I’m not alone.     I see you any time at all
Though your not here, whenever I call, darling   I know       
I’m not alone

Life can be hard
It can tear your world apart
Nobody knows when tragedy blows
leaving you out and on your own

But I’m not alone
I know your love is all around
Your in the stars     here in my heart
And when I need you now
I know     that I’m not alone
I see you any time at all
Though your not here         whenever I call
Darling I know    I’m not alone.

I’m not alone. I know your love is all around
Your in the stars     here in my heart
And when I need you now
I know     that I’m not alone
I see you any time at all
Though your not here         whenever I call
Darling I know    I’m not alone.

 

10.) Apple not the Tree
Andrew Brel/Alan Tarney 2004wall15

I met Alan Tarney in the late nineties. One day Leo Sayer phoned saying, “I’m bringing someone round to meet you.  You two guys are so similar, you just have to meet.” Thanks to Leo we became firm friends with many similarities including a love of tennis. Allan has been the Surrey veterans champion for many years.  We set up a weekly schedule of two hours playing tennis every Monday at Siggi Cornish club in Kingston. In the plastic bubble that meant play during the winter months. Two hours of guaranteed tennis every Monday, even when it snowed. Something that changed my winter exercise regimen dramatically.  Alan is a unique personality, unusually intelligent and self-contained and a marvelous musician. His song ‘We don’t talk anymore’ is a great example of his artful songwriting and the AHA song ‘Take on me’ a great example of his production competence. We agreed to write a song together after tennis one day and I had the great pleasure of spending time in the studio watching Alan’s tricks of the recording trade going back to his start as bass player in the Shadows. Absolutely a master musician and person. And great friend to many.  When I had some personal misfortune in June of 2013, Alan would come and collect me from home at least once a week and drive me to a gourmet restaurant for an uplifting night out.  A friend in need is usually a pain, but not for Allan. Everyone should have a friend like Alan Tarney.

 

The Apple not the Tree (Brel/Tarney)

When the light burns, the heart yearns, for what we hope to be
All in good time, we will find, the truth that sets us free
In the end we see

Our eyes. See the colors of the world in different ways
Some see skies of blue while others just see greys
We write our history. And its such a mystery
And one that suits conveniently
That when we look we see. The apple not the tree

You know what stays or goes. Is fast before it’s slow
It will all sit, will all fit, above or just below
The sense in what we know

Our eyes. See the colors of the world in different ways
Some see skies of blue while others just see greys
We write our history. And its such a mystery.
And one that suits conveniently
That when we look we see
The apple not the tree

And our eyes,   see colors in so many different ways
All mirrored though the microscope of faith
We write our history. And its such a mystery
And one that suits conveniently. That when we look we see
The apple not the tree

 

11.) Mans Time
Andrew Brel/Alan Tarney 2004

The second song I wrote with Alan came after a conversation about the most deadly of mans inventions. Religion. How our evolution from hunter gatherer cave dweller to critical thinking socialist nations, with compassion and kindness and awareness that the gift is in the giving, is the dawn of a new age in which humankind is finally ready to move out of the dark ages. The subjugation to fantasy based superstition enabling an amoral elite to exploit an impoverished majority, held in check from ambition by belief in a rewarding afterlife to compensate for a miserable existence as a born sinner.
With evolution and education and the rise in anti-theism, Mankind’s time has come. And Gods work is done.
“There’s no excuse as any fool can see. God has become divisive energy.”

 

Man’s Time (Brel/Tarney)

Some struggle with reality
Cant get to grips with birds and bee’s
So they turn to a philosophy
That turns them into someone who believes

Deluded by the poetry
Written by the few so long ago
To subjugate the innocent
Blindly using faith to strike a blow

Ooo  ooo    Theres no excuse    as any fool can see
Ooo  ooo   God has become divisive energy
Ooo  ooo    isn’t it time we change our destiny
And see. Gods work is done.  Man’s time has come

There comes a time for every one
When we must choose to fall or   stand
When to walk and when to run
Where to find the promised land

Ooo  ooo     Theres no excuse    as any fool can see
Ooo  ooo  God has become divisive energy
Ooo  ooo    isn’t it time we change our destiny
And see. Gods work is done.  Man’s time has come

Miracles are everywhere
In skies above in hearts that care
Love is where the lesson starts
The rules of love come from the heart

Ooo  ooo where is the love   the lost and blind can see
Ooo  ooo  an end to war and greed and poverty
Ooo  ooo  Isn’t it time to rewrite history
And see.      Mans time has come
Gods work is done. Mans time has come

If love has won anything at all
then we will live as one or we will fall.
Man’s time has come.

 

12.) Paradise Key
Andrew Brel/Hugh Burns 2004hughb

I met Kaveh Golestan in 1985. Son of an Iranian movie producer who owned a beautiful house in Eaton Square, where I would meet him on a regular basis when he was back from covering the Iran Iraq war as a leading photojournalist.
I was introduced to Kaveh by Reza Deghati, another award winning Paris based Iranian photo journalist who I helped in South Africa and who, by way of thanks, on learning of my imminent move to London told me that he wanted to introduce me to ‘Someone who thinks like you do.”
With the introduction made, I trundled up to Sloane Square one day in 1985, to an Eaton Square address. One of the most expensive streets addresses in the world. Kaveh greeted me from the first time as an old friend and a fantastic friendship quickly developed in which we would smoke the most excellent hashish which Kaveh was somehow able to source from the very top drawer of this type of manufacture, the seventh screen of dust usually reserved for the manufacturers private use, and drink coffee brewed in the Iranian style by Kaveh’s wife Hengameh. We would talk for hours, chain smoking Camel cigarettes, initially talking a great deal about the Iran Iraq war, at that time into its 5th year. I learned much about Iran from this legendary documentary journalist who was spending 6 months of each year ‘embedded’ in Iran covering the war for the major publications.

One thing I never considered when choosing a life in music was the people I would meet. After 40 years I can observe that the most rewarding part of my life choice on this ‘road less traveled’ has been the amazing people I have been fortunate to meet and exchange with as friends. And Kaveh was that. A remarkable elevated human being. A fearless visionary with compassion and a great storyteller. A sharer and a carer. With a camera and a raconteurs charm.
In 1988 Kaveh took the first pictures of the aftermath of the Halabja poison gas attack by Saddam on the Kurds. Imagine, I sat with him just days after his return listening firsthand to his recollection in his library in Eaton Square.
Halabja was the largest gas attack ever. Some 5,000 dead bodies to photograph. Some 10,000 burned survivors to photograph. I heard first-hand what it was like to walk alone into a town filled with the dead bodies of gas burned victims and keep it together to take hundreds of photos that would go on to hasten the end of Saddam. Important journalism that actually forced change in the world for the better.
That evidence Kaveh revealed though his photos revealed that the University of Newcastle made and sold the gas to Saddam Hussein which was used in Halabja to commit genocide.
Kaveh won many awards for his work and achieved a great deal of recognition. But never for one of his riveting stories which I was profoundly moved by.

Kaveh told me the story of the Paradise Key, when the Iranian Mullahs under the Ayatollah Khomeini decided on a unique military tactic involving two thousand young boys at a time, brought to the front lines every Friday afternoon by their mothers, where they would camp, praying, until Sunday. Then, upon the God is Great instruction, holding hands in a long line, 2,000 young men,  4,000 young feet, stepped out into the no man’s land between the soldiers of Iran and Iraq. In a human wave they walked fearlessly towards the Iraqi gunners, wearing around their necks a little red plastic key which would assure them entry to paradise. As a military tactic, its value lay in harming the Iraqi gunners, themselves Muslims, who knew it was wrong to shoot young Muslim boys.

On one occasion, in 1989, following the conclusion of the Iran Iraq war, I arrived at Kaveh’s lovely home, where he asked a favor of me. Would I look through a selection of 200 large black and white prints. He had in mind a large sized high quality print coffee table book, with no words. Titled The Iran Iraq War. 1980 – 1988. Only the 200 pictures, each taking up a whole page, telling the story of the 8 year war. I was seated in his magnificent library, brought a coffee, and left for an hour to chain smoke my caffeinated way towards my opinion. One sequence of 5 pictures I remember is of a woman in a Hijab. She is holding a child in her arms. At some distance from the photographer. Even at this distance, it is clear that she radiates joy. The impression is of a mother glowing with pride. The next picture shows her closer to the camera. The glow of pride is still there, but the first sense that something is amiss comes in the form of the child’s shape. The next picture, several paces closer, heightens  this sense of alarm. And the final picture is a close up of a young mother holding a body in her arms. It is missing the head and various other body parts. Essentially it is mostly just hat remains of a torso. The Black and White element has delayed the realization that the shadow on the mother dress is blood. The contrast between the soaring joyful pride in the mother’s eyes and the broken remains of an 11 year old boy in her arms remains one of the most powerful images I have ever seen. I tried as best I could at that time to assist Kaveh in publishing his book, but learned that “No one is interested.” A forgotten war. For good reason. This powerful moment that left such an impression on me would have to live on through my words. Just like the story of the Paradise Key.

I valued my friendship with Kaveh and we would meet at least once a month after the war ended in 1988. He was equally fascinated in my tales of the South African Border war and provided much of the enthusiasm that led to me writing ‘The Emergency Bouzouki Player’ years later. On one occasion he asked if he could do a photo shoot of me as the subject and came down to my home in East Molesey, shooting a series of shots of me in my studio and environs including the Palace next door, which he later gave me high quality color prints of.      We continued meeting up every few months until one sad day in 2003 when I walked past a TV and saw his face on the news on top of a red banner reading ‘BBC journalist killed in Kifri, Iraq.’  Kaveh was covering Iraq war stories for the BBC and had stepped on a landmine. So ironic.

I was alone at that time and sat down to process this awful news about my friend. I picked up a guitar, as I often do when I find myself in times of trouble, and remembered those Black and White pictures of the proud mother and the story of the Paradise Key. I wrote the lyric to Paradise Key in one five-minute session with myself and my thoughts of Kaveh. Later I called Hugh Burns to talk about Kaveh and process the loss and I played him my song. Hugh was impressed with the lyric and moved by the story and asked to be involved in this tribute to my friend. In no time at all we recorded a beautiful version of Paradise Key with Hugh singing. The only time I ever heard him sing. When we recorded the demo at my Riverbank Studio, we discussed who should sing it, looking for a name artist as is the way with songwriters, and came up with Alison Krause. The arrangement was done with her in mind.  It was pitched to her music publisher and I was told, came very close to being used, but the end message was ‘Alison doesn’t do songs with a negative story. She is a devout Christian.’ Good for her. Not so good for us. That dampened our enthusiasm. I never thought of it as a negative song.  Quite the contrary. I wrote a blog about the song and posted a recording on YouTube. And moved on.

Over the years I have had many calls about the song and my source. (Originating from my blog and the YouTube video.) From several professors and political science majors. I have been interviewed by more than one Phd student, from Oxford and Yale. The song was used in a presentation at Teheran University alongside an actual ‘paradise key’ and surviving paraphernalia and pictures of those human wave attacks. My blog called ‘The Paradise key’ is somewhere on the interweb, with hundreds of thousands of hits.
Although it is clearly a remarkable song, my reward for writing it never came financially. More significantly, and of far more value,  it has made me many friends who say it is a ‘great song’. Which I believe it is. An important story.

Hugo chose to cover this song for our project and immersed himself in the subject matter. I had some concerns over this choice, because it is difficult to categorize this serious song as ‘easy listening’.  Hugo approached the reading of this song with the brief to make it musically light-hearted. His ‘open the gate’ falsetto adds a lovely layer to the voice of the child in the song. I think that, like the holocaust, and the Ottoman occupation of Greece, this is a story of inhumanity under the benign influence of an imaginary god which should never be forgotten. It is an important warning of where blind faith in the almighty can corrupt even that most powerful of bonds,  the mother’s instinctive love for her child.

The Paradise Key (Brel/Burns)

I was a child      with the world at my at my feet
I ran and I played      where the crossroads  meet
Mother drove me to join     my brothers in arms
And on the front line      we were handed the charm

For two days and nights      we listened to talk
how wars are won     how holy men walk
We learned about God      And our part in his plan
when the time came        We rose as one man

All the way from the east. Made especially
A gift from above. To set my soul free
The locks to their heaven. Will open for me
Cause I am the one with the paradise key

Then up from the trench        four thousand young feet
In a human wave rose         for the good God we’d meet
they fell to my left      they fell to my right
our victory is sure      as the spirit takes flight

All the way from the east. Made especially
A gift from above. To set my soul free
The locks to their heaven. Will open for me
Cause I am the one with the paradise key

Then below my feet        the ground did explode
My motion went slow      On a wave up I rode
I followed the light       resolute in my faith
I reached for my key       to open the gate
Open the gate

All the way from the east. Made especially
A gift from above. To set my soul free
The locks to their heaven. Will open for me
Cause I am the one with the paradise key

 

13.) Jacques the Dad                                  .
Andrew Brel  2005

Since 1986 I had a well equipped studio in Riverbank, East Molesey. The first and only home I have ever owned, where I worked up until 2013 when the most awful theft ended my time there. (Referenced in my 2018 song ‘family law.’) I have already referenced how fortunate I have been in my life choices leading to the most amazing friendships with the most remarkable people. The Yang to that Yin is that my gratitude for all the good fortune I have had in life has made me something of a pleaser. A helper. I have been lucky enough to help some friends through misfortune with success and this set me up for a tremendous sucker punch. Think ‘ A good turn seldom goes unpunished ‘ to the power infinity.
I thought of her as the rainbow thief before I was able to properly understand that sometimes people are just plain evil. Born dark.  With no redemption option.   Sometimes life imitates art and sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes a good turn receives the converse of gratitude. Keith Richards sang about it in “Robbed Blind.” Andrea Lee wrote about it in ‘Big Book of Family Law.”

Before that awful cynical fathers-day Mafia-hit in 2013 stole my British life and found me starting again with a fourth nationality, (South African, Greek and English being the first three) sometime around 2005 I was having a microphone repaired by Phil, the resident studio tech at Dave Gilmour’s Astoria studios.
This studio where many Pink Floyd recordings began is a magnificent world-renowned Houseboat Studio walking distance from my home. (Once owned by Fred Karno who commissioned it as an orchestra platform.) Phil the fixer had a repair room on the mooring land next to the houseboat and when he was not busy with Dave’s work, Phil would fix any old piece of studio equipment for friends, charging extremely friendly rates.
I had an old AKG valve mic that needed attention, and I took it to Phil, in the shadowy depths of his shed filled with decades worth of rare bits of old style tech parts. Two months later, fixed by Phil, with a replacement valve, my AKG mic was back. When I connected the mic to test it, I started the usual routine. ‘One two. One two’. It worked. But I wanted to test it more thoroughly,  with some singing.
Just then an email binged on the screen. A fan mail asking “Are you related to Jacques Brel.

The truth is, I could have just explained Andrea Broulidakis was signing a first professional contract at age 20 with a music agent in Hillbrow  who said, “Andrea Broulidakis. Mmmm. I can’t see that appearing on any billboards. How about Andy Brel.”
That honest reply seemed too simple for the opportunity the question represented and while I thought about it I sang my test vocal into the mic. With this thought playing in my head; what if I made up a story where Jacques Brel was my dad.  I set a drum loop off and played a basic major triad and started singing. And what came out was more or less exactly the lyric of a song I decided to call Jacques the dad.
A flow of consciousness four minutes in which art imitated life and later life would imitate art.    I loved the song, mostly for the brief demands it made on my time. Written and recorded in about two hours.  I added a tiny bit of guitar later, but essentially the song is as I sang it in that first mic testing session.
Later still, Ian Winter my friend the movie producer and former husband of a Walton family heiress, who decades previously faced a divorce lawyer asking him to name his price for the divorce and answered, “I don’t want anything more than I brought into the marriage. She can take her hundred million dollar offer and shove it” demonstrating once again the quality of my friendships. Either that or the stupidity of my friendships. I am still not sure Ian made the right call there. The man who valued his dignity above a $100 million dollar cheque.
Ian liked the song and agreed to do a music video for me. (Without the indignity of charging.)  The idea was to feature 15 of my marquee guitars in the video. Each verse showing a different guitar. At that time I had a fabulous collection of guitars, which would also go in the theft of 2013 by the dishonest lawyer.

Hugo chose this song because he had a great arrangement idea; to change key for each verse, incorporating an open tuning thing that he does so well. Another of the songs he sang where I got a chill hearing him finish the vocal recording. “The crowd hushed down for his tender song.”

Jacques the dad. (Brel)

I was born in May, near Germany
We grew up strong    just mom and me
Our house had tears   and laughter too
When times got tough    we made it through

I was ten years old first time met
He came to the house    I wont forget
He said hey son   your growing fine
Ill be back soon as I get the time

Soon as I get the time
(Mmmm Mmmm Mmmmm Mmmm  Mmmm Mmmmm)

Five years passed in the blink of an eye
He never came back.  I asked Ma why
He lives for his songs     out on his own
son your pa’s a rolling stone

Then one day Ma   said ‘son there’s news
your dads in town with his traveling Revue
He’s sent two tickets. Front row the pair’
I guess he’s come to show he  cares

He’s come to show he cares.

I was just fifteen and filled with pride
That’s my pa on the stage. I was bursting inside
And when he said   ‘Here’s a song for my boy’
the missing years disappeared in my joy.

The crowd hushed down for his tender song
I felt tears on my cheeks as they sang along.
He was halfway through when the curtain drew
from the side of the stage where a child walked through

I saw a child walk through

Here’s my boy said Dad     his name is Jake
His ma told me    he’s a mistake
But I can right the wrongs I done
Show baby Jake that he’s the one

Ma took my hand  led me away
Out of the theatre     we couldn’t stay
It may be ten years now and ten years more
till I can see his face at my door

My door.

Daddy’s a writer of song and of verse
I never knew him, that’s daddy’s curse
dead two years now    his name lives on
through me and Jake     his two best songs

He never knew me and that’s a shame
for daddy Jacques no one is to blame

 

14.) Elegy for the last Lion
Andrew Brel/Stephen Trombley /Hugo Fernandes  2009/2018

Sometime in the last decade I wrote a blog about animal conservation. I was born in Africa and have an advanced interest in wild animals and their conservation. This interest crossed over with my interest in US Gun law, the economy underpinning gun culture and the commonality between so called sports hunters and spree killers. The idea that people have terminology like ‘Outfit my trophy room with a Rhino’ and that they use the deceit of words like trophy hunting to deny, even to themselves, the ghastliness of what it is they do provoked me to give them a new name. One free of denial and self-deceit and biblical justification in dominion over the animals. They are Kill for Fun hunters. Calling it what it is. The Kill Thrill. A base retardation by diseased minds I feel justified in referring to as tards. My blog titled ‘Kill for Fun’ attracted many readers, some of whom, the most tarded, were deeply offended, some who went as far as issuing thinly veiled death threats. One was a Texas Judge. A woman who had a TV show glorifying her Hunting the big five. Posing over their dead bodies holding a rifle with telescopic sights and a big proud beaming grin. Another was a Taxidermist from Texas named Tim, who wrote explaining that ‘you know what it is we do and we do it well. Now you are a target.’ A death threat?  I thought of writing a song about that called ‘Tim the Tarded Texan Taxidermist’ but by then I had learned that you can never really change a tarded mind. People who agree with you on Facebook agree before you say anything. They just hold a similar viewpoint. People who do not agree will never be convinced by your reasoning. (Them that know know that they know. Them that don’t know, don’t know they don’t know.)  So I couldn’t justify writing the song, no matter how tempting the titles alliteration was at the time.

By luck, I had a tenant in my Riverbank property at the time who was a former senior policeman and consultant to MI5. David. A smart guy when it comes to criminal law. I showed him the mail and he volunteered to make a call. The thing with Facebook is you can very quickly identify anyone’s address and Tim the Texan Taxidermist advertised his services on his page, with his address.
A  brief google maps scan showed our Tim lived one block away from a Police station. Literally. The Police station web page had the sheriffs name listed. David, very kindly, phoned that station in Texas and had a ‘cop to cop’ chat with the sheriff. Explaining that MI5 were aware of a death threat made against a British citizen by an American citizen in their jurisdiction. Tim was named and his address given to the sheriff. Who assured the British Policeman that they would attend and thanked David for the early warning. “I will be paying him a visit real soon.” International terrorism doesn’t go down well in Texas apparently.

I never heard from the Tim the Texan taxidermist again and the death threats dropped off after that. But my interest in pointing out that people who kill for fun are part of an economy that is unacceptable and breeds serial killers in the US remains. What is it about the alchemy in God, Capitalism and Guns that attracts so many Killtards.

I wrote the song ‘Kill for Fun’ with Stephen Trombley, in Nashville. Stephen, an ethicist like myself is moved by the fact that people ‘Kill for fun’ and brag about it. Our writers motivation was based on a similar ethical position. Why not co-write on this subject with the editor of the Fontana Book of Modern thought.

During the writing process the Daily Mail ran a story with pictures about a family, mom dad and the two boys, who traveled to South Africa’s Limpopo province on a safari to shoot a Giraffe family. Mom and Dad giraffe, and their two foals. One for each family member. After which all four pose on their trophy. Conveniently piled atop each other for the photo opp. The family are from Texas. They paid for a permit to have the heads sent to Texas for taxidermy, after which they will be mounted in the family’s trophy room. All legal.

I recorded the song ‘Kill for Fun’ myself in Riverbank Studios with input from Stephen in Nashville via Skype. (I used the same nylon Taylor guitar that Hugo plays on his version.) The arrangement I did was for a Country singer as Stephen was in Nashville. The home of Country music. The problem was, no Country singer wanted to alienate their base, which is people who have the god given right to pass on the great American tradition of hunting. A miscalculation by Stephen and myself. Country music people certainly don’t want to think it is ‘Killing for Fun.’ So the song went on YouTube and was forgotten.

When Hugo heard it, as a fellow conservationist with an African background he wanted to cover the song, but was concerned that my provocative tone in the original demo would alienate people on the fence in this issue. And so we split the difference. Moving verses around and taking out the main chorus line of ‘He likes to Kill. Does it for fun. Does it for the thrill. With a bow or a gun. Kills for Fun.’ Instead we changed it to an elegy of conservation. An ode to the last Lion. This watered-down anger in the song should in no way indicate a watered-down anger in the writer. I loathe people who kill for fun.

“If they won’t change their killing ways then something must be done. Yes. Something must be done.
Don’t Kill for fun.

Elegy for the last lion. (Brel/Trombley/Fernandes)

Long as I remember    loved to watch the world
When ways of nature called  her mysteries unfurled
I cherish life as something to respect      and to observe
And that is what defines         values that I serve

Natures been my teacher     what I’ve learned is there
find my joy in care      happiness I share
I can’t see the reason   why we kill for fun
Change our killing ways   that’s what must be done
That’s what must be done.

Don’t kill, don’t kill
Don’t kill for fun

Home was the Limpopo  a province wild and free
She lived to eat the leaves   with her family
Looking through my lens  a distance far away
A movement caught my eye  a hunter and his prey

A family safari  for this Giraffe and her young
A father bends his knee  prepares his helpless son
Pointing at the foal he said ‘aim carefully and pull’
I’ll take the Mother when your done   mom can take the bull
mom can take the bull

Don’t kill, don’t kill
Don’t kill for fun

Some do believe the kill thrill  is gods gift that’s free
Killing just for fun   seems so wrong to me
god fearing  people  hunt to kill for fun
Grow up thinking they’ll   do what daddy done

What some choose to do   with their money and time
Hunting trophy lives   take all they can find
Conservators of nature       wherever they be
Call it conservation         nothing comes for free
nothing comes for free

Don’t kill animals for fun

 

15.) Sophie and Johann
Andrew Brel  2011

Most Germans already know Sophie Scholl. Recognized as one of the most inspirational Germans ever. Not that many know about Johann Reickhart. Or about their meeting, brief though it was. I was fascinated by the thought that this dignified looking man, an 8th generation executioner, had to look at this beautiful young woman, just 21, and think “I am just doing my job” before chopping her head off. And her final words “Such a fine sunny day, and I have to go.” Not all Germans were Nazi’s ‘placing duty above conscience without pause to wonder why’ and not all anti-Nazi activists were men. Sophie Scholl is, deservedly, a legend. A bright flame of inspiration to any ideologue. I love this song. And all that Sophie Scholl stood for.

Sophie and Johann (Brel)

She was the mayor’s daughter from a town in Germany
The 4th of his 6 children  back in 1943
She had a carefree childhood     painting pictures    reading books
grew to be considerate    with brown hair   and good looks

When the flags of war were waving    and the nation turned to hate
She raised the rebels warning       of what consequences wait
The white rose grew to symbolize    the role she chose to play
And despite the reign of darkness         she had love to light her way

Such a fine sunny day
Such a fine sunny day
Such a fine sunny day and I have to go

Johann was an older man      enough to be her dad
from the 8th generation      of the famous Reickhart clan
He worked the family business taking pay for ending life
Even though the cost   would soon include   his   son and wife

Sophie was just 21       the day that they first met
Did Johann greet their circumstantial    meet without regret
Knowing about life and death       and choices people make
Her defiant stand of courage      would live on as something great.

Such a fine sunny day
Such a fine sunny day
Such a fine sunny day and I have to go

Johann is someone you know  perhaps Johann is you
chained by submission    to that thing he has to do
Placing duty above conscience   without pause to wonder why
There’s accounting for all good or bad   on that you can rely

When the lights went down in Johann’s town    did Sophie come to mind
Maybe a fleeting moment       did he wonder bout her kind
Sophie and Johann    live together in this song
One for standing for what’s right    the other for what’s wrong

Such a fine sunny day
Such a fine sunny day
Such a fine sunny day  and I have to go

 

16.) Dreams
Andrew Brel  2013

On June 16th 2013, my girlfriend at the time, a devious, dishonest family law member, left on fathers-day, taking my beautiful 4 year-old son with her and then using British family law to steal my home and business in a confluence of deceit, ingratitude, child abuse and classlessness that marks an ethical low point in British family law. The upset of which ended my dog Wallace’s life, as he sniffed around the empty house in increasingly distressed circles, looking for his four year-old charge whose smell still lingered but who was nowhere to be found. Wallace was already ill, at fifteen years of age and succumbed two weeks after the events of fathers-day. Unable to eat his meal was the goodbye notice. His death was the last straw marking the lowest point in my life. I could at that stage have written a Country song. “My woman done gone. Took my baby boy. Stole everything I had and now my dog done up and died.” But I didn’t. Too soon. My sense of humor had not kicked in yet.

Shortly after Wallace died I realized that processing every important moment of loss in life starts with writing a song. It was a duty and a ritual for my kind. But this time, I was not willing to spend the emotional coinage to write a beautiful song of loss commemorating such a deeply unattractive person as the odious ex. Instead I gave myself one day and that was it.

Whatever I came up with in that day in my studio, was going to be the song. I called it Dreams. The next day I was having dinner with Graham Preskett (PBUHN) at the Maybury Arms, one thing led to another and Graham (PBUHN) very kindly agreed to provide the melancholy violin part that gave the song context. A lonely violin wafting over a folksy chord picking sequence. And with that touch of musical class my work as a writer was done, I put the song aside, like the bad memory of the time.
But Hugo found it on the interweb, and decided to do a reading, without violins, and with a more Latin edge. I wouldn’t have chosen this one myself for our project, for reasons of residual rancor, but concede Hugo sings it quite beautifully and makes it end happily.
I have been so wrong so many times I wonder why I carry on like loves first fool.”

Dreams (Brel)

I have been so wrong
So many times I wonder why
I carry on, like loves first fool
I can’t help but wonder why

The light of love that burned
Once shone so bright, that lessons learned
So many dreams all turned to stone
They find me here out on my own

Being alone  regrets are few
So much I’ve learned I never knew
Loves been the best and worst of me
My greatest joy and misery

Dreams

Love is a four letter word
That’s all that’s left when you’ve been burned
There’s not an edge that isn’t rough,
The best I had wasn’t enough

Dreams

Down that road    to don’t know where
Don’t know when    I’ll get to there
My loves a fading memory
Of what once was      and what will be.

 

17.) Family Lawolearytwitter4
Andrew Brel/Hugo Fernandes 2018

Our project was ready at 16 songs, all written by me and performed by Hugo. But with one day left of recording time, I thought we should do a co-write. And as the topic closest to my heart was British family-law and the awful statistics of child abuse that follow bad family-court judgments by amoral dishonest members of this exploitative entitled clique called family-law, I decided to take it on as a songwriting challenge.  I based the couplet verse structure on Janis Ian’s ‘At 17’ and gave Hugo the lyrics inviting him to do the music.  Luckily it sounds nothing like ‘At 17’ (Which is such a great song – thanks Janis). Hugo returned with a simply fabulous musical arrangement.
Hugo’s vocal performance on this song, singing as the voice of a child abused by family court, is moving. At the end of the recording take, as the last note faded away, I literally felt a shiver run down my spine. I have enormous admiration for how far Hugo has advanced the art of singing and interpreting songs. A fitting end to our 17 song project. Two old musical friends reunited after thirty years. The songs dedication is to three members of British family law. Tom Amlot. Charlotte Adler and Michele O’Leary. Each one special in their own similar way.

Family Law  (Brel/Fernandes)

Four years old on fathers day    when my mum took me away
another love called her to play   told my dad  she couldn’t stay

Daddy was a music man   he found it hard to understand
The honesty of her demands   ending a lifetime worth of plans

She  moved me to a new address     she called the break up a success
she spoke about her happiness      she lied and never would confess

Daddy bet on family law.      To win back his child of four
Our love and bond   as father son    was what we lost and what she won

Family Law     who is it good for     family law

This judge saw what she chose to see.       Never thought what’s best for me
Ruled it prejudicially.      Abused me with dishonesty

Avarice was the lawyers name.    He played the law like it’s a game
My life will never be the same       that’s family-law I hold to blame

Mummy is a lawyer too.  She lied to win and saw it through
Married now to someone new. He calls me son but that’s not true

I think about him every day,  feelings just don’t go away
The music and the laughter too  I miss my dad, you know I do     

Family Law     who is it good for     family law

With time I understand,   one day I’ll be a grown man
One who looks back with regret.     Missing the dad he can’t forget

I know the court faces a choice,    the money or the children’s voice
Us children left to court abuse.       The ones the judge decides will lose

I’ll thank my mum one day she says.           Maybe in my night-mares
What  I think about each day.       Is why my daddy went away

I
miss him so  you know I do     I miss the time we spent as two
We loved each other from the heart       ‘Till family-law tore us apart.

Family Law     who is it good for     family law      

I miss my daddy yes I do
I know he misses me too