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Everything And Nothing

by Ian Bland

  • Digital Album
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    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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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 
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
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
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
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
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
J.A. 04:28
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
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
Roses 04:22
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”
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
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


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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