English Bathtub Sea

by Anna Batson

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about

This debut album has been written by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Anna Batson, over a twenty-year period. It's a voyage of discovery with quirky instrumentation and references to a range of genres. It includes Bassoon, Emu Caller, recordings of Galahs in outback Queensland and a genuine Cornish plughole to name but a few. The lyrics take the listener on a journey from childhood to the contemplations of latter years; families, friends, water, fire and air and being surrounded by water. Who decides what a good life is....who takes the measurements when we laugh too loud...?Dive in and enjoy....

credits

released February 14, 2016

All songs written, arranged and produced by Anna Batson
All songs recorded and produced with Andrew 'Doc' Collins at PMC Studios, Plymouth, UK (2015)
Track 11 partly recorded at Austerio Studios with Cameron Heit (2008)
Track 9 partly recorded with Steve Becket, Plymouth UK

Other Musicians:
Kevin Crowe - drums
Matthew Potts - Double Bass, U-Bass (Bass Ukulele), Tuba
Simon Hackworthy - Bass

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Anna Batson England, UK

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Track Name: Bridges and Wings
Bridges & Wings

There’s a mist that lolls between these hills and settles in the bones.
A hunger for a deeper sun that kissed a place called home.
But we’re learning in this place of peace, with all that’s here and now.
To close our eyes and drift and sway to the beating of our own heart.

There’s a love that burns between these ribs and settles in the heart,
A longing for a child’s hand, or dancing in the dark.
Whispers from the water’s edge, the river meets the sea,
The salt-marsh and it’s sleeping birds, the moon that follows me…

All the sounds of the earth and her music.
Tongue-tied and wide-eyed.
Oh to do your thing.
All the sounds of the earth and her music.
Tongue-tied and wide-eyed
Born on bridges and wings…

In the paper that’s left on the seat are the figures of the day,
Someone’s calculations printed red upon the grey.
Pylons poking rudely at the edges of the sky
Smooth line of the Tamar, we turn in from riverside.

All the sounds of the earth and her music.
Tongue-tied and wide-eyed.
Oh to do your thing.
All the sounds of the earth and her music.
Tongue-tied and wide-eyed
Born on bridges and wings…

The boats that spin against the tide, pull tight upon their chains,
Ivy, bricks and stones and track suck at the passing train.
A tidal smudge, a triangle that warns of what might come,
Drumming on the underside, the brambles pluck and strum.

Please carry my words
On bridges and wings…
On bridges and wings…
Track Name: Cloud
Cloud

I've seen the snow like frosted sugar.
I've seen the frozen river's path.
I watched the night follow the plane.
The pink moon stayed with me for hours - for hours.
I've seen the white caps dancing
Beneath the Mackerel clouds that stretched.
I thought I saw the shape of a whale
And thought about falling down there...down there...

Break it to me softly...
Break it to me softly...
Break it to me softly...
'Cause I already know.

I've seen the red dust desert.
Spinifex that curls around
Concentric circles and paintings that she made
With grass and stones and footprints,
Footprints...
I've seen the forest layer over layer
Like the jade that rolled in the riverbed.
Uncurling ferns like fireworks in the glen.
The grey waves lapping at the sand - the sand.

Break it to me softly...
Break it to me softly...
Break it to me softly...
'Cause I already know.
I don't wanna come down from my cloud,
No I don't wanna come down from my cloud
No I don't wanna come down from my cloud
Not yet - not yet.

I'm holding all my memories of this altitudinal display
And a year of walking, wandering, looking, hearing everything again
Tuned in.

Break it to me softly...
Break it to me softly...
Break it to me softly...
'Cause I already know.
I don't wanna come down from my cloud,
No I don't wanna come down from my cloud
No I don't wanna come down from my cloud
Not yet - not yet.
Track Name: Eileen's Moon
Eileen’s Moon

She said there was a moon so big that night it made her cry.
It’s beauty was so far away that night her father died.
She stretched her arms up to it’s face and held it to her chest –
Glowing like a cat’s eye as it slumbered on her breast.

My heart lights up to think of those ninety years of moons,
Her girl-arms stretched in wonder from the window in her room.
The floorboards bathed in moonlight as the nights crept through her sky
And those moons were watching over her as ninety years went by.

They said her hair was auburn and her skin was porcelain.
Her green eyes roamed the Midlands and remembered everything
From Birmingham to Dawlish, that journey to the sea
Is all part of the story of how I came to be.

“So many moons since I was seventeen”
That thing she said wound in my head – Eileen’s moon.

It makes me hurt to think of all those ninety years of moons.
Her girl-arms stretched in wonder from the window of her room.
What happens to those glowing dreams that a child pulls from the sky?
Why did she watch them shrivel as ninety years went by?

That harvest moon we shared last night, you saw it, just like me.
We talked about that same old moon that stretched across the sea.
It’s fingers pulled at tides that ruled some other country’s shore
And Grandma that old moon has heard you call to him before.


“So many moons since I was seventeen”
That thing she said wound in my head – Eileen’s moon.

I think I found your dreams one night whilst sitting by the sea.
First you made my mother, then my mother she made me.
They squeezed down through the bloodline and your music flowed on through.
So, when I’m singing to the moon, I’m sending love to you.

So when you’ve gone and left us, I will think of time and tide,
Pulled by the moon that waited and never left your side.
He’ll bring us both together when my dreams might shrink in size,
And swell them in the water where the moon spills out its light.


“So many moons since I was seventeen”
That thing she said wound in my head – Eileen’s moon, Eileen’s moon.
Track Name: Suitcase
SUITCASE

Did the maker’s hands sew the journey map into these seams?
Did he stitch the leather and line it with my dreams?
He made it from both beast and cloth then fastened with a zip.
When at first I tried to sing my song, he sewed up both my lips.

Mmmm...

Dreams that scatter on the ballast stones
Stories on the train…
Carry my flesh and move these bones
My suitcase with a label – no address, just my name…just my name


Tears and smiles mix with the smears on the windows of this train.
Finding solace in sound, and mix my happiness with pain.
Goodnight wherever you may be as I cross this darker tide.
On steel toes we move from the day’s kisses,
In silent wishes hide.

Khushamdeed...

For my love won’t hide inside this battered, closed-lipped case.
It just burns right through the glass and then escapes without grace.
And then it finds its way to those I love worlds away from here.
Yet I carry them in both my hands right through this greener land.

Khushamdeed....


When dreams fall between the tracks, where do they all go?
Secrets and confessions whoosh past my ears in a heartbeat.
I search, but can’t remember the last thing you said to me,
All I know is I am travelling my own history…

So I take this leather case of mine and wait my turn to move.
Someone will decide for me when my story is approved.
Please don’t clip my wings this time - I really have to live.
Walk through gates and barriers with all my love to give…

Khushamdeed...
Track Name: The Fire and The Seed
The Fire and The Seed

It's funny what you miss when you're out there on your own,
Like cups of tea and chocolate and your mother on the phone.
I've ripped and torn my life up and I've thrown it in the air -
Sitting in the desert with the wind twisting my hair.

But I needed the fire to burst the seed
And I needed some of nothing - to find out what I need.
And I'll take some and I'll break some and I'll leave some by the road,
Then I'll trundle down the highway with a slightly lighter load...

At night I listen to the trucks as they rumble through the dark.
A trillion busy insects and the town-dogs choir of barks.
Night can't sound the same as the night-sounds back at home
Where the Barn owls break the wind-song with their melancholy tone.

But I needed the fire to burst the seed.
And the seed will always grow beneath the blackened trees.
And we need the fire to make the smoke
And we need the smoke-trails to find out where we are...

Between the waking and the opening of morning eyes
Is a place of gentle peacefulness 'neath the turning of the skies.
The chooks start scratching at the floor and the dogs scratch at their heads.
The cattle smooching lazily as the dust swirls round their legs.

Morning has broken like the first morning.
The frogs are croaking a familiar tune
Where nothing lies broke, or frightened and crying
in dreams where you're flying and you don't feel alone.

But I needed the fire to burst the seed
And the seed will always grow beneath the blackened trees
And I'll take some and I'll break some and I'll leave some by the road
And I'll trundle down the highway with a slightly lighter load.

But I needed the fire to burst the seed.
And the seed will always grow beneath the blackened trees.
And we need the fire to make the smoke
And we need the smoke-trails to find out where we are...
Track Name: Over Tea
Over Tea

Choose when to sit down and spend a little time with me.
We'll talk all about nothing and I'll make us both some tea.
'Cause I'm losing my best friend, and I don't know what will be - uh oh
So choose when to sit down and spend a little time with me.

Stir it all through - milk into brew,
Comforting steam-curl.
You're breaking my heart.
I force a fake laugh - to make it seem easy...

Choose when to sit down and spend a little time with me.
We'll talk all about nothing and I'll make us both some tea.
'Cause what I mean is, "I love you"
And I say it from all of me - uh oh
So, choose when to sit down, I think I've ruined everything.

Merry-go-round
Sadly turn round
And walk through the turnstile.
You're breaking my heart,
You've walked on too fast
And out of my life...
Now...

Friends come and sit down and spend a little time with me.
We'll all talk about nothing
And it's all done over tea.
Track Name: Sumac Tree
Sumac Tree

There you are swinging your legs with curls down to your waist,
Making circles with your feet - sat next to me.
Thirty years ago sitting 'neath the Sumac tree.
There you go...there we go...

There we were swinging our legs with curls down to our waists,
Reaching skywards with our hands and spinning yarns.
Twenty years ago sitting 'neath the Sumac tree,
There you go...there we go...

Momma gave me seedlings so I could grow my own, saying
"Careful where you plant them, else everywhere they'll go"
So, you flew to America, and I ran to the sea -
My little Cornish heaven where I plant my memories.

There we were swinging our legs with curls beneath a hat,
Holding little Emma-Jane and saggy old black cat.
Just ten years ago sitting 'neath the Sumac tree,
There you go...there we go...

Momma gave me seedlings so I could grow my own, saying,
"Careful where you plant them, else everywhere they'll go..."
So, you flew to America - a home and family.
I'm in my Cornish heaven where I plant my memories.

And here we are all sitting, with curls all tumble-down.
Sitting here with Grandad, whose hands are ninety now.
And all these years of growing here, this gnarled, old Sumac tree
Has watched us be together as it scatters memories.

You know the leaves turn red before they fall?
Like a glowing winter fire.
And all this time I've loved you all - I've loved you all.

Momma gave me seedlings, so I could grow my own, saying
"Careful where you plant them, else everywhere they'll grow"
We scattered them all over, though we're parted by the sea.
American and English soils - we plant our memories...
Track Name: My Old Van
My Old Van

Suzy, can't you make another hill?
I know you're feeling tired, but it makes me nervous -
You've got time to kill, but it's getting dark,
Road-train thunders past and we watch the dead grass sway.
Suzy, we just need a few more k's
I've got a place in mind, slightly off the main highway.
You've got fuel to burn, so what's the deal?
Road-train thunders past and we watch the tail-lights fade.

I know you love the open road and I love to watch the stars push through as well -
A metaphor that standing still will let things past present themselves at will - just sitting still...

Suzy, we just need another mile,
The dust won't settle till the rain comes beating down, some beating down.
You and me can't make another hill,
Our hearts are tired of broken passions...
Our throats are dry, our tongues are still,
Our hands untied as we watch a love that fades...

I could fill this page with roadside songs that break my heart and soul to set them free - poor old me.
But I'm stuck here staring at the line where the road appears to poke into the sky...I'm learning why...

And then I feel it lifting like the sun that warms the blood and wakes the morning birds.
Manyana is your quiet place beside the road with the nosy crows at dawn.
The big sky yawns.

I could fill this page with angry tears that break my heart and soul to set them free - poor old me
But I stand here staring at the line through the windshield and the bugs and laugh aloud - I get it now...

Then I feel it lifting like the sun that warms the blood and wakes the morning birds
Manyana is your quiet place beside the road with the nosy crows at dawn
The big sky yawns...
Ya da da da da da...
Track Name: Gordon's Country
Gordon's Country

We drove for just an hour or so to where the gap in the hills is wide.
A steep old climb before the kingdom's mine for a moment or two.
Now, in this place beneath a billion, trillion stars
I'm finding answers to so many asks.
And while my demons sleep beneath the river stones.
I sit beside the fire, just like we do back home.
But the mantlepiece is the mountain rising high
And the living room is the endless, inky sky.

And how I yearn, yearn, yearn, yearn, yearn
For those warm-heart cuddles and kiddie troubles like it was back then.
And how they learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
Watching amber faces in the fire-glow
Really nothing else we need to know just now.

Take it with you and your children from this night.
Marshmallows and their sticky-faced delight
While their Daddies play at being timber men -
Leave their city jobs for chopping logs and help the children build a den

And how I yearn, yearn, yearn, yearn, yearn.
For those warm-heart cuddles and kiddie troubles like it was back then.
And how they learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
Watching amber faces in the fire-glow
Really nothing else I need to know just now...
Track Name: Coffee
Coffee

It tasted like Coffee - your kiss on my mouth.
A sugary fever - you've spun me right out.
Your voice cut right through me.
Stopped dead in my tracks.
Bristling with bulls**t
I won't take it back - take it back.

Talk about a wake-up call
When you said, "You're small"
Now I'm standing tall
I will dare you to take me on...

Been living so softly since it all began.
Been burning my bridges
As fast as I can - as I can

Talk about a wake-up call
When you said, "You're small"
Now I'm standing tall
And I dare you to take me on...

In a way forgotten - watched you fall to the bottom...
in a way forgotten...
But you can never tell...
One nice purple bruise - one you'd like to lose
Wear it like a rosette - one you'd like to forget
One you'd like to forget....
One you'd like to forget...
One you'd like to forget...
One you'd like to...

Talk about a wake-up call
When you said, "You're small"
Now I'm standing tall - and I dare you to take me on.
Track Name: Chosen
Chosen

Who am I to say you're wading shallow?
Because I choose to live the life of a spring tide.
Who am I to think I know you better?
Because with you I feel that I have never had to hide - never had to hide.

She's so sure of all the things she doesn't know about.
Say it loud enough - it must be true.
She's so sure of all the things she doesn't know about.
So, how come you keep her close to you?
She's so sure of everything that's in her life.
She can't touch the things that I have known with you.
This woman you don't know if soon to be your wife -
It's too soon, give me more time, it's too soon..

She's so sure of all the things she doesn't know about.
Bet you didn't tell her when you kissed me on the pavement late last night?
I'm sure you know what games are all about, but you're not playing it fair, so I'm leaving it there with you...

It's too soon and I'm losing you..
It's too soon and he's chosen you...
Track Name: Sky and Sea
Sky & Sea

I’ve rocked on broken waters
I’ve rolled in curling surf
I’ve lain in turquoise slumber
I’ve washed in river’s swell
I’ve watched the stretching sunset
I’ve sat there on my own
Dune-grasses sway beside me
Silent line of sky and sea
Sky and sea…

I have my song.
I hold it in my arms.
I hear it sleeping
When all is quiet.
I have my song.
It sleeps within my heart.
It keeps on singing
When my world has fallen apart -
I have my song.


I’ve rocked on broken waters.
I’ve rolled in curling surf.
I’ve lain in turquoise slumber.
I’ve washed in river’s swell.
I’ve watched the stretching sunset.
I’ve sat there on my own.
Dune-grasses sway beside me,
Silent line of sky and sea,
Sky and sea.

I have my love.
I hold him in my arms
I hear him sleeping when all is quiet
And I love this man
He sleeps within my heart
He keeps me loving when my world is falling apart.
I love this man
He steps beside my feet.
He keeps me loving when we're awake or drifting in sleep.

Be with me always,
Be with me all the coming days.
Be with me always,
Be with me all the coming days

We’ve rocked on broken waters.
We’ve rolled in curling surf.
We’ve lain in turquoise slumber.
We’ve washed in river’s swell.
We watch the stretching sunset.
We sit there hand in hand.
Dune-grasses sway beside us,
Silent line of sky and sea
Sky and sea…
Track Name: Angels and Devils
Angels and Devils

Like a snowfall in the month of May,
Frost burning roses on a summer day.
I was singing when I was alone,
My dreaming broken by the telephone.
Beautiful and beauty falls,
Beautiful and beauty falls.

They were not perfect, though you'd never know
And in a muddle helped their children grow.
They had no money, but they danced and sang.
This beautiful lady and her handsome man.

These dear folks knew to keep true hearts.
They're fading now like works of art.
Lest we forget at our peril, as we dance among our angels and our devils.

Swollen feet and a rocking chair,
She was a dancer, but no-one cares.
I saw her moving when they played her song.
Her body whirling all night long.

These dear folks knew to keep true hearts.
They're fading now like works of art.
Lest we forget at our peril, as we dance among the angels and the devils.

He was a diver in a bright, blue bay.
Could spin a yarn back in the day.
Just a fragment of a memory.
"Hold me close" he said to me.
Beautiful, and beauty falls...mmmm
Beautiful, and beauty falls....mmmm

So give your friend a call to wish her well
Her life is crashing down - can't you tell?
She was singing when she was alone
Her dreaming broken by the telephone.

These dear folks knew to keep true hearts.
They're fading now like works of art.
Lest we forget at our peril, as we dance among our devils and our angels.
As we dance among our devils and our angels.
Track Name: English Bathtub Sea
English Bathtub Sea

I made an island with a long stretch of sand -
Shaped it with my hands,
Pulled it from the land at the edge of the sea.

So fly with me, fly with me -
So fly with me, fly with me -
To my Coochiemudlo Island in my English bathtub sea.

There on my island is a lake that's filled with birds,
Whispers from the trees, those silver blue-gum leaves
At the edge of the sea.

So fly with me, fly with me -
Fly with me, fly with me
To my Coochiemudlo Island in my English bathtub sea.

I feel the Cornish rain that settles on my skin.
Can't tell where clouds begin
As the cold comes rolling in at the edge of the sea.

So fly with me, fly with me -
So fly with me, fly with me -
To my Coochiemudlo Island in my English bathtub sea.

On a dark day filled with worry I can take myself out there.
Where I closed my eyes that sunny day and promised to return...
And I shared a day with the Pelicans...

I love my England and her green fields and her rain.
The people who complain about the weather every day -
She convinces me to stay.

But fly with me,
Fly with me,
Fly with me,
Fly with me
To my Coochiemudlo Island in my English bathtub sea.
Track Name: Tinker Tailor
Tinker Tailor

Who decides what a good life is and what is then allowed?
Who then takes the measurements when we laugh too loud?
When did we get old enough to stifle what we mean?
How could we know "better than that" when life is but a dream?

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief!
Let's have a cry my hurting friend.
A hug and a kiss, just keep it brief.
Lady, baby, gypsy, queen, elephant, monkey, tangerine,
Let's have a cry o' hurtin' friend.
A hug and a kiss, don't say what we mean....