Life After Death

by Doug Gay

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1.
Days of Rain 05:22
IN THE DAYS OF RAIN (for Rebecca Stott) Our Fathers should have saved us But they were in too deep Our mothers should have saved us But they had friends to keep And Jesus should have saved us But he was fast asleep That’s why it felt like no-one ever came To save our souls from drowning In the days of rain In the days of rain In the days of rain The system was against them And no-one beats the house But they should have cut their losses And found us some way out ‘Cause we were only kids then And they had lost their doubts - that’s why it felt like.. I think our paths have crossed once A lifetime’s years ago I think I caught your eye once Before we turned to go I think I would have liked you But how were we to know - because it seemed like.. It all seems so unreal now An underwater dream A flood that rose around us Its waters dark and warm and I did my share of sinking Before I learned to swim - because it seemed like..
2.
TYING UP ROSES I just feel like a day of tying up roses Won’t you come and tie them with me And they’ll hang in the air, til the winter finds them there And a cold wind makes their petals fall and turn back into dust I just feel like a night of lying beside you Nights can get so lonely these days I would hold you so close in that space that no-one knows Where the secrets of our love were whispered o’ so many nights And the days just can’t get full, they’re filled with holes, the joy runs through And the nights just don’t get warm, when there is no-one holding you And the weeks just won’t go by, they crave the scent of that perfume Another year will never come, another rose will never bloom.. I just feel like a day of tying up roses Won’t you come and tie them with me And they’ll hang in the air, ‘til the winter finds them there And a cold wind makes their petals fall and turns them into dust
3.
Mansion Town 04:57
MANSION TOWN Nobody needs shoes Nobody gets those rambling blues Heaven’s streets are easy on your tired feet Nobody needs light Nobody needs to hold back the night There is light enough for all you need to find Home in Mansion town Your friends stay all around Folks keep stopping in to talk Here in Mansion town Nobody needs time Nobody here gets left behind So tell your stories long and as slow as you like Nobody needs love Every last soul has more than enough Peace has broken out, no-one can take it back Home in Mansion town Friends stay all around The folks keep stopping in to talk Here in Mansion town Nobody needs faith Every one here sees face to face, well Glory, Hallelujah, let those trumpets sound! Home in Mansion Town Children running round Wearing golden crowns All the lost are found Home in Mansion Town There's no tears falling down No holes in the ground Here in Mansion Town Home in Mansion Town Where the lambs and the wolves lie down On the holy ground Home in Mansion Town.
4.
THE THINGS THAT MADE YOU HAPPY every American Should see the Grand Canyon Something to look upon, Before you're dead and gone And it’s a long, long way From this town to LA Visiting at their place Gave you your place to stay The things that made you happy make me cry The things that made you happy make me cry You with your back to the Hollywood sign Was this the time of your life? Las Vegas from LA 'Cause it was the cheapest way Never a gambler’s stay You didn’t live that way Two for the canyon – hey.. You should have seen the way They loaded the breakfast trays Oh but it seemed a waste? The things that made you happy make me cry The things that made you happy make me cry You with your back to the canyon light Was this the time of your life? Now you will never know You won’t see the children grow You won’t watch the river flow The angels swung too low If I could hold your hand Tell you this man to man The way I always planned I hope you’d understand The things that made you happy make me cry The things that made you happy make me cry You with your back to the Canada skies Was this the time of your life? Or.. You with your back to the harvest behind Was this the time of your life? (to fade..)
5.
SATURDAY TRAIN I’m in a tunnel of grief On a Saturday train Hurtling along In the echoing dark Til it slams to a stop And the train powers down So they dim all the lights And I wait in the gloom While it stops for too long and all I can hear Is dark water running And rats on the track What if I never get out of here? What if I never can reach the light? What if this Saturday train never moves again? I’m being buried alive In a tomb made of turf The weight of the earth Is crushing my chest I can hear my own heart I won’t trust it again It’s beating too fast It’s beating too loud If I let myself sleep I might never wake up I might drown in these tears I might drown in these tears What if I never get out of here? What if I never can reach the light? What if this Saturday train never moves again?
6.
PILGRIM NO MORE The trumpets will sound And you will cross over Walking on water Over that river You're pilgrim no more Safe on that other shore I touched you cold Reaching from my own life But you were gone Over the other side You're pilgrim no more You left by that other door and my brother’s question, do the dead miss the living? Or just keep forgiving – endlessly, all that was ever left unsaid, left undone? We carried you Into the sunlit air Bone of your bone Wept as we laid you there You're pilgrim no more And all you were hoping for.. These brothers’ burden, to be borne by the living Is to just keep forgiving – endlessly, all that was ever left unsaid, left undone My brother’s question, do the dead miss the living? Or just keep forgiving – endlessly, all that was ever left unsaid, left undone? (la la la da na na)
7.
Beyond Blue 05:39
BEYOND BLUE I tell you I am beyond blue So I believe are precious you I cannot talk to you again This life will never be the same What will you dream about tonight? Your sleep is deeper than the darkness Your place is further than the distance I wish you sweet dreams tonight I wish you sweet dreams tonight I can imagine where you are A long, long way beyond the stars Where there is heaven brightly shining A universe of silver lining Will you get better where you are? And will they mend your broken heart? Are you with God and with the Lamb? Healed by the sorrows of the Son of Man? I will not even try to tell you How much we all are going to miss you I pray that God will keep this from you I would not wish such knowledge on you What will you dream about tonight? Your sleep is deeper than the darkness Your place is further than the distance I wish you sweet dreams tonight I wish you sweet dreams tonight
8.
Keep Looking Up I have not been The witness I should be I’m glad that you Believe in spite of me CHORUS Keep looking up Keep Looking up Keep Looking Up Keep Looking Up I have not lived The dreams I always dreamed I am so proud Of what you all achieved I am ashamed Of what we put you through I think you know The system hurt me too Keep looking up Keep Looking up Keep Looking Up Keep Looking Up If I’m spared I’ll walk and talk with you If I’m spared I’ll make it up to you If I’m spared I’ll walk and talk with you If I’m spared I’ll make it up to you Keep looking up Keep Looking up Keep Looking Up Keep Looking Up
9.
Some Things 03:25
SOME THINGS time heals some things but other wounds remain like a shadow or a stain you can’t paint over some things you don't get over time brings some change but some things stay the same like a funny kind of game you just can’t win now you can’t get change from some things I do forget you now some times you’re no longer at the raw edge of my mind I start to laugh again without you some times… some times. time takes some pain calls you back to life like a river deep and wide it takes you downstream some things move out to the sea time heals some things other wounds remain like a shadow or a stain you can’t paint over some things you don't get over

about

Grief and loss break things and end things - hearts, hopes, plans, sometimes faith.
Writing these songs was my way of trying to pick up the pieces.
The lyrics of these songs are full of quotes:
from my Mum, in shock after Dad’s sudden death at 67,
who repeated the same phrase about ‘Tying Up Roses’ for days afterwards;
from my (then) 3 year old son asking if Grandpa’s heart would get better where he was now; from an old Plymouth Brethren man in the funeral meeting quoting Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress ‘and so he crossed over and all the trumpets sounded for him’; to my brother’s question…

So much about death is dark and hidden and buried. Hard to process and access and yet other things are right on the surface, the raw edges it opens in our minds.
From Christianity we get images, metaphors, stories, doctrines which may or may not seem to shed light and bring hope when we are deep in grief. Some of the songs show my attempts to wrestle with those, as I tried to work out how to think about Dad after his death. And to think about myself and God and faith.

Tying Up Roses is a love song for those who lose the one they love. Saturday Train is an Easter Saturday song for when grief seems endless. Things That Made You Happy was written about the framed holiday snaps around the living room in our family home. Most are of the two of them on their last few holidays, but among them is one old 1950s black and white one of my dad, young, handsome, shirt open, grinning as he drove the tractor at harvest on the family farm in Wiltshire. Mansion Town is an attempt to imagine heaven as more and greater life - it might help to know after starting life as a farmer that dad ran a shoe shop. Beyond Blue is a country lullaby, echoing all the country tapes my dad played in the car when we were kids.

It was only after we recorded them, that I realised Pilgrim No More and Things That Made You Happy are slow sad dances, at least that’s how I hear them now - like a funeral waltz if such a thing could ever exist. Pilgrim is about the visit to the morgue and then the day of the funeral and my brothers and I carrying the coffin to the graveside. Its also about all the work you have to do to forgive the hard stuff as you carry on with life after death. Keep Looking Up builds on the last ever conversation I had with my dad and tries to capture some of the things I think he was trying to tell me.

There are two new songs. One is dedicated to Rebecca Stott (who grew up at the same time as me, through the same religious sect of Exclusive Brethren - ‘the system’) for her searing 2017 memoir of her father In The Days Of Rain. The other, Some Things, grew out of reflections on other losses since that first great grief of my life, in particular the untimely deaths of my beloved friends Ali and Mark and of Robbie, my friend since week one in high school. Also, the loss of Debbie and Graham and Donna.

There is unspeakable loneliness in grief, but there can also be profound and remarkable solidarity. Whether you are a person of faith or not, if you are facing Life After Death I hope you feel and find these songs are somehow in solidarity with you.

I want to thank those who made this album possible: Al Pearson, Stocki and Boesel who kept on for many years telling me to do it; all of the lovely crowdfunders; my dear friends Steve Butler for producing, recording and playing soulful keys and Charlie Irvine for sublime guitars; Sandy Butler for additional guitars and bass; Rory Butler for additional guitar; David Dukes for drums; Suzanne Butler and Annie McCaig for additional vocals and Suzanne’s fiddle, Caroline for clarinet. Beth for artwork. Rachel for long term encouragement and for teaching me early on in our relationship some of the hard, hard lessons she had already learned about life after death.
I loved every minute of working on this project and am so grateful I got to do it.
And thanks Dad. I try to Keep Looking Up, like you told me in that last ever conversation we had down by the river… I wish you sweet dreams tonight.

All songs © Doug Gay 2017.

credits

released February 14, 2018

Recorded, Engineered and Produced by Steve Butler

Keyboards - Steve Butler
Guitars - Charlie Irvine, Sandy Butler, Rory Butler
Bass - Sandy Butler
Drums - David Dukes
Additional Vocals - Annie McCaig, Suzanne Butler, Steve Butler
Fiddle - Suzanne Butler
Clarinet - Caroline Brown

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Doug Gay Glasgow, UK

Doug was part of Calvin's Dream in the 1990s, who released the album 'Fanatical' on Sticky Music in 1995. These days, he teaches theology at Glasgow University.

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