Everything And Nothing

by Ian Bland

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    After a couple of false starts and a difficult birth the long awaited Ian Bland CD “Everything and Nothing” and his first book of poetry “Bland On Bland” have sprung forth fully formed and lustily bawling.

    “Everything and Nothing” is a cinematic special starring a motley company of individuals. The songs are each a musical story, whether semi-autobiographical gems, gleaned conversations or plucked from current events, each deliver a condensed and precise serving of observed truth.

    The Lamington String band led by Ian Bland, featuring Ed Bates, Greg Hunt, Peter Anderson, Nathan Farrelly, Mark Stanley and joined by a host of other notable musicians, as usual add their own measure of polish to this the third Ian Bland solo album.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Everything And Nothing via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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released November 13, 2016

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Ian Bland Melbourne, Australia

Ian Bland - Melbourne based singer songwriter - musical influences include country, celtic, and folk with stories drawn from rural and urban Australia

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Track Name: But For Chance (Or The Grace Of God)
But For Chance (or The Grace Of God)

Ellen was my sister, a widow at nineteen
A husband lost to famine and the cold
A better life than Ireland lay ahead in Canada
The story the shipping companies told
Herded on like cattle on a stinking coffin ship
No amount of prayer could hope to save
As they sailed up the St Lawrence, still deep below its decks
She traded all her dreams for the grave

There were some who preached rebellion agin the landlords and the crown
While the poor were thrown out starving on the streets
But it’s hard to find the hunger for taking up the gun
When it’s all your strength to find enough to eat
Still I was the first among them as we marched against our lords
Till a trooper’s baton fell behind my ears
When I woke up all I suffered was a headache nothing worse
While the rest were hung or sent down fourteen years

Forced to take up thieving just to keep myself alive
I apologise to no-one for my crimes
For I never took a penny but from them who could afford
Desperate acts are born of desperate times
I ventured to Australia and the digs at Ballarat
Worked abandoned claims others gladly sold
I’d barely dug two shovels from where they’d given up
Here I stand near dug my weight in gold

Now I have a son and daughter and they’ve children of their own
I trust they’ll never walk the road I’ve trod
For I’ll leave enough behind me to know they’ll never want
I can only hope it won’t become their god
For money buys you shelter and money keeps you fed
But too much can exaggerate your worth
One thing that is certain, whether peasant or a queen
Is nothing but an accident of birth

 Chorus
How one tree stands, while those around it fall
It does no good to wonder why
But for chance or the grace of God go I 
Track Name: Last Night Of Summer
Last Night Of Summer

The post office closed, the bank followed in haste
The street signs were stolen and never replaced
The young forced to search for a future elsewhere
Now the houses are gone but souls remain there

It’s said they return to their old country hall
To sing and to dance and make sense of it all
The music spills out and puts flesh on those bones
It’s the last night of summer and they’re coming home

It’s years since the grand picture theatre was closed
Where lovers stole kisses up in the back rows
A poster still hangs well away from the lights
Selling next week’s attraction, “Arabian Nights”

Let your imaginings run for a while
You’ll hear the Jaffas roll down the aisle
And dream every movie, ever was shown
It’s the last night of summer and they’re coming home

The old wooden church where they worshipped and wed
Where they came to find comfort and farewell their dead
It was sold and removed to some place by the sea
Now day-trippers flock for their afternoon tea

The stories of those who once sat in those pews
Are lost to the clatter and breathtaking views
There are things you can buy that you’ll never own
It’s the last night of summer and they’re coming home

The cenotaph stands frozen in time
So many young lives cut down in their prime
Now there’s none left to honour and none left to weep
The garden’s kept tidy only thanks to the sheep

Some want it moved to a suburb in town
But they lived and they died with their roots in
this ground
Tonight every name’s gonna shine on that stone
It’s the last night of summer and they’re coming home
Track Name: Should The Whole World Be Mine
Should The Whole World Be Mine

Clouds stole the glory of morning’s first light
Slowly the sun broke free of the night
I watched as you slept, not that you’d ever know
There are things I feel, but don’t always show

Time, it has weathered, my body is worn
But love is as fresh as the day it was born

Should the whole world be mine I could want for no more
Than lie here in your arms

The rush of first love and the passions of youth
I would not have them back in my bed that’s the truth
There’s no lasting warmth in the spark of desire
Coals burn hotter than flames in the fire

After all we’ve endured, all we’ve laid bare
Do you think I’d be swayed by the grey in your hair?

Should the whole world be mine I could want for no more
Than lie here in your arms

Troubles, they call on the rich and the poor
There’s no lock will hold when they knock on your door
I know your strength and I’ve lived with your fears
I’ve wept at your kindness, been stung by your tears

When you fret for the girl you can no longer be
I wish you my eyes for the beauty they see

Should the whole world be mine I could want for no more
Than lie here in your arms
Track Name: Everything And Nothing
Everything And Nothing

Sure I remember you – you used to work at the mill down by the station
Yeah, I heard they closed it down – how’d they put it – rationalisation

Good to see you’ve kept your smile
A long face never was your style
Everything and nothing’s changed around here


I just dropped by for old time’s sake – share a couple of beers
Me? I left here a long time ago – I’ve been gone for years

There’s a lot of memories in this place for me
Let’s just call it curiosity
Everything and nothing’s changed around here

It’s quieter than I remember – Used to go mad on a Saturday night
These are uncertain times - Money’s a little tight

I see they knocked the foundry down – guess nothing’s meant to last
There’s a car lot where the freight yard stood – I nearly drove straight past

Kids still hang out in the car park lane
The fashions different but the boredom’s the same
Everything and nothing’s changed around here

I should probably make a make a move – I’ve got a long way to go
Yeah, it’s good to see you too – tell everyone I said hello

Spare change? – Here, I’ll get you something to eat
You can buy me a drink when you’re back on your feet
Everything and nothing’s changed around here
Track Name: He Was A Fighter
He Was A Fighter

His mother was just fifteen - Father wasn’t there
Family didn’t want him – So they put him into care
Those meant to protect him - Wolves disguised as sheep
What was done in God’s name – It would make the devil weep

Never show you’re frightened - He was quick to learn
Lie in bed, pretend to sleep, and pray it’s not your turn

Worked a string of dead end jobs - Spent the nights in bars
Didn’t dull the memories - But it toughened up the scars
Always kept his distance - Wandered, like a stray
Didn’t look for trouble - But he wouldn’t back away

Put his trust in no-one – Wary of the law
How do you find peace, when all you’ve known is war?

As a child he’d watch the families playing in the park
And wonder what it felt like to belong
The nights seemed endless, as he lay there in the dark
And tried to figure out what he’d done wrong

Woke up in the gutter – Curled up near the bins
Swore, that night, he’d paid enough - For someone else’s sins
Put himself through night school - Earned himself a trade
He grew stronger - With every brick he laid

“My kids aren’t going to suffer, for what’s been done to me
The past will be my shadow but not my legacy

Chorus
He was a fighter
Sink or swim
No-one in his corner
All came down to him
Wouldn’t take a backward step
Faced the world alone
He was a fighter
All he’d ever known
Track Name: Sunday Morning In Dublin
Sunday Morning In Dublin

The buskers have long gone from Grafton Street
Home to count their rewards
The juggler, the fiddler, the girl who eats fire
The boy with his two lonely chords
Now a hungry old dog has the street to himself
Follows his nose round the bins
The tourists were kind to the buskers
Perhaps they’ve left something for him
He finds his reward, a cold bag of chips
They disappear in one bite
It’s Sunday morning in Dublin and what’s left of Saturday night

Some London girls dressed up like hookers
Relieving themselves in the men’s
Next weekend one’s getting married
Tonight she’s out with the hens
She’d rather be home with her friends round a fire
Quietly having a few
But she’ll go bar to bar in fishnets and rouge
Cause it’s what you’re expected to do
They’ll drink and they’ll dance, they’ll laugh and they’ll flirt
Then fly home high as a kite
It’s Sunday morning in Dublin and what’s left of Saturday night

The last of the lads spill from Temple Bar
Long given up hope of romance
They’re the ones who didn’t get lucky
And the ones who were never a chance
Drift off in every direction
Spread out like spokes on a wheel
They don’t even notice how cold it’s turned
As they stagger the thirteen pint reel
You know next weekend, they’ll be back here again
Searching for love or a fight
It’s Sunday morning in Dublin and what’s left of Saturday night

An old couple walk down by the Liffy
As they have every week since they wed
Headed for church, the first of the day
As the rest of the town heads for bed
They pass a boy wrapped in a blanket
Drop a few coins onto his plate
Offer to buy him some breakfast
I guess Jesus, he won’t mind the wait
In a moment they’re gone, swallowed up by the mist
Turned blue by the street corner light
It’s Sunday morning in Dublin and what’s left
of Saturday night
Track Name: J.A.
J.A.

A toilet at school, is where we first met
Both skipped assembly and shared a cigarette
It was stashed in your sock, it was smelly and wet
But sweeter than sermons and hymns

Neither books nor the cane stirred the scholar in you
They really had no idea; you really didn't have a clue
But you’d study a form guide, pick a winner or two
Seemed more useful than Latin or Greek

Their champion athlete they were quick to anoint
You kept smashing records till you couldn’t see the point
But you’d run like the wind for a beer or a joint
And they don’t hand out medals for those

Work wasn’t something you tried to avoid
You found other ways to be gainfully employed
Only person I knew who could dance to Pink Floyd
You weren’t just another brick in the wall

I never worked out where that head of yours went
The language you spoke only you could invent
Never knew what you said but I knew what you meant
And god knows you had a good heart

You’d drag yourself up then you’d fall down again
As fast as a needle could puncture a vein
You can piss in the wind and pretend that it’s rain
Darling, you still end up wet

I always imagined you’d leave with a roar
A last act of defiance, a thunderous encore
Instead, like a lamb, you curled up on the floor
And peacefully drifted away

At your funeral they prayed you’d finally found salvation
Or anything short of eternal damnation
But you lived for the journey and fuck the destination
I can’t see them changing you now

Chorus
Tearing round wild, ways of a child
Playing outside in the cold
You’re just a boy, a boy never meant to grow old
Track Name: This Was A Working Town
This Was A Working Town

The old man walks his dog each night
He’s up and dressed before first light
Potters round the shed, always things to do

Worked his whole life in this town
Watched as everything closed down
Brick by brick, everything he knew

This place was never paradise
The days were hard and long
But they took pride in what they did
Now even that is gone
It’s hard to believe now, when you look around
This was a working town

Where ships would queue to reach the docks
The wealthy moor their motor yachts
An old barge carries tourists on a cruise

Warehouses once choked with freight
Apartments now, prime real estate
Everybody wants those river views

Sheds replaced by restaurants
Overalls by suits
Italian shoes grace timbers
Built for steel capped boots
Cries rang out from gantries
And two miles underground
When this was a working town

They wove the cloth, worked the mine
Built the cars, cast the iron
Children followed parents to the mill

Nothing’s made here anymore
All the jobs have gone off shore
Where labour’s cheap and life is cheaper still

Nothing lasts forever
Change won’t be denied
But those whose sweat built empires
Are the first ones cast aside
All that’s left are photographs
In memories whistles sound
When this was a working town
Track Name: Roses
Roses

He sorted through his Great Aunt’s things
Art Deco vase and garden shears
Walking stick, engagement ring
Not much to show for ninety years

A book on roses; a gardener’s guide
The cover frayed from use and age
A long dead bud, pressed, inside
And written on the title page

The binding clinging to the spine
Braced with tape and rubber bands
Stained by sun, rain and time
Borders smudged by muddied hands

A photograph of happy days
Youthful smiles, hope, embossed
Faith, frozen in a sanguine gaze
Their stories like their names, long lost

Hopes and dreams live ever on
Within the covers of that book
Beyond the page, they’ve long since gone
To a desert grave outside Tobruk

A petal crumbled from the bloom
Fell as dust upon the floor
Robbed of colour and perfume
What truer monument to war

Chorus
“Here’s to the roses we will grow
To all the years in which to learn
Here’s to the garden we will sow
May this bring joy till I return”
Track Name: A belated reflection on Bob Dylans "I pity The Poor Immigrant" fifty years after the fact
A Belated Reflection On Bob Dylan’s “i Pity The Poor Immigrant” Fifty Years After The Fact

When neighbours turn against neighbours
Friends disappear without trace
Your only crime is the god you serve
Your name, your gender, your race
Hatred can burn generations
We pass down the misery
I pity the poor immigrant but I weep for the refugee

A knock on the door in the dead of night
And you don’t see your husband again
Your sons are both in the army
And the eldest is not even ten
When the choice is killing or dying
Is that what it means to be free?
I pity the poor immigrant but I weep for the refugee

We kill in the name of religion
Power and greed trigger wars
The innocent are the ones who pay
Regardless how noble the cause
Who’s there to pick up the pieces?
Scattered amongst the debris
I pity the poor immigrant but I weep for the refugee

A bullet won’t wait while an old man runs
A bomb can’t choose who it harms
A mine doesn’t care if you’re enemy
Or a girl with a babe in her arms
When your name is collateral damage
When you’re lucky, you’re just an amputee
I pity the poor immigrant but I weep for the refugee

You have no home and no country
You have no shoes on your feet
You live in a camp without shelter
Dirty water and nothing to eat
When fear leaves you so desperate
You’ll take your chance in the sea
I pity the poor immigrant but I weep for the refugee
Track Name: When The Melaleuca Blooms
When The Melaleuca Blooms

Small boats crowd the harbour in the hours before first light
Winter has retreated though the wind still holds its bite
Like drifts of snow, small flowers crown the scrub above the dunes
The snapper will be running when the Melaleuca blooms

Children come to try their luck from the piers that dot the beach
They cast into the darkness where only hope can reach
White caps slap the pylons shedding frenzied, foaming plumes
Faith flows through the water when the Melaleuca blooms

Gulls patrol the shoreline, no crumb escapes their eyes
They fight for every scrap and shred with piercing, baleful cries
The lean months soon forgotten, a more kindly mistress looms
For spring has claimed the season when the Melaleuca blooms

The first to fish these waters and walk upon these sands
Those born to its rhythm; now driven from these lands
In a heartbeat, lost, a world that saw a half a million moons
The sea and sky remember when the Melaleuca blooms