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Lyr Req: The Last Chance (Leon Rosselson)

DigiTrad:
AZEKATARLE
BATTLE HYMN OF THE NEW SOCIALIST PARTY
BOYS WILL BE BOYS
DON'T GET MARRIED GIRLS
MOTORWAY SONG
RISSELTY-ROSSELTY
SHADOW YOU HAVE SEEN
THAT'S THE WAY THE WHEELS TURN
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
THE NEIGHBOUR'S CAT
WHOEVER INVENTED THE FISHFINGER
WHY DOES I HAVE TO BE ME
WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN (DIGGERS)


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GUEST,ray 01 May 05 - 01:40 PM
Joe Offer 01 May 05 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,ray 01 May 05 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 01 May 05 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,cookieless countess richard 01 May 05 - 03:15 PM
Susanne (skw) 01 May 05 - 09:57 PM
The Borchester Echo 02 May 05 - 02:27 AM
Joe Offer 02 May 05 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,ray 02 May 05 - 06:25 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: GUEST,ray
Date: 01 May 05 - 01:40 PM

leon rosselson - the last chance: anyone have the lyrics to this? had it years ago on tape and lost it in a move. I just remember that it had incredible power and I want to know if it is as relevant today as it was when I first heard it twenty years ago or so...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 05 - 01:47 PM

It's in the songbook called Bringing the News from Nowhere, but it's four pages long. I won't have time to post it until late Monday, because I'm on my way out the door for a 4-hour drive. Maybe somebody will beat me to it. If I forget to post it, remind me.
-Joe Offer-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: GUEST,ray
Date: 01 May 05 - 01:56 PM

thanks joe - I'll look out for it. This is the first time I've used your site. Years ago, was given a mix cassette of his songs. They were all great. lost them. It wasn't labelled and I didn't even know his name. Spent this afternoon racking my brain for key lyrics to google and track him down. Suddenly the words 'fish finger'...'invented'..and 'transmogrify' came to me. Found LR then your site. Sometime the internet is just amazing. Thanks for your help and your so quick reply. Have a good trip.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 05 - 03:14 PM

The Last Chance is on a 4-song CD about Israel/Palestine available directly from Leon Rosselson here.

Joe's right, it's a very long song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: GUEST,cookieless countess richard
Date: 01 May 05 - 03:15 PM

Oops, that was me.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHOEVER INVENTED FISH FINGERS (Rosselson)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 01 May 05 - 09:57 PM

Ray, is this the one you're looking for? I've always known it as

WHOEVER INVENTED FISH FINGERS
(Leon Rosselson)

Whoever invented fish fingers ought to be crucified
Skinned, mashed and boxed into uniform blocks
Then covered with breadcrumbs from collar to socks
Then frozen and finally fried
For who would do that to a fish finning its way through the sea
Colours in harmony, perfectly poised, riding his flying trapeze

             Progress is all very well
             But not when it chops up our dreams
             And it's hard to feel at ease in a world
             Where nothing is quite what it seems

Whoever invented BILD-Zeitung ought to be cut down to size
Pulped, then reduced to a horrible juice
And flattened and dried until ready for use
Then covered with newsprint - and lies
For who would do that to a tree lifting its head to the skies
Rooted in centuries, telling tall tales and breathing a green lullaby

             Progress is all very well
             But not when it chops down our dreams
             And it's hard to feel at ease in a world
             Where nothing is quite what it seems

Whoever invented South African policemen ought to be licked into shape
Toughened and trained till the body's a cane
Till the arms are a chain, till the nerves feel no pain
Till obedience rules and encircles the brain
With walls - so he'll never escape
For who would do that to a child jumping with joy and desire
Floating in fantasy, drowning in dreams, brimming with fun and with fire

             Progress is all very well
             But not when it locks up our dreams
             And it's hard to feel at ease in a world
             Where nothing is quite what it seems
             What it seems
             Where nothing is quite what it seems


Iain MacKintosh used to sing this version (but never recorded it), so the lyrics are probably not quite what LR sings himself. 'BILD-Zeitung' is a German 'red-top' newspaper comparable to The Sun.

Hope this helps. Any other bits and pieces you can remember from that tape? We might still work out which one it was!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 02 May 05 - 02:27 AM

The Last Chance begins:

It was the last chance
It was a nightclub in the desert
Called The Last Chance
A cluttered dive of stones and wheels
It was a refuge for the rootless of the world
Washed up like driftwood in the sand
And we were there.

There follows a succession of verses and narrative lasting more than 11 minutes centring on two patrons representing polarised opinion on the state of Israel and anecdote (possibly historical or not) chronicling the unresolved conflict. I've seen Leon Rosselson perform it in a shabby pub on an out-of-tune piano which rendered it all the more authentic. The audience was mesmerised, "remembering" vividly along with him "the day the Bedouin came to town" and how "the lost, the broken and the mad...they came from nowhere".


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE LAST CHANCE (Leon Rosselson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 May 05 - 04:22 AM

The Last Chance
(Leon Rosselson)

    It was The Last Chance
    It was a night club in the desert called The Last Chance,
    A cluttered dive of stones and wheels,
    It was a refuge for the rootless of the world
    Washed up like driftwood on the sand,
    And we were there.
    It seems so long ago.

    They came from nowhere,
    The lost, the broken and the mad, as if from nowhere,
    They blundered in like blind invaders,
    While Mahalia boomed a gospel song
    And candles blurred the gloom,
    They drank and argued till the dawn
    Had drained the night away.

(Spoken)
Among the seekers after oil or truth or a home,
Among the businessmen, the pickpockets and whores,
Among the soldiers and the tourists,
Some had names
And histories.
Meier with his stone-ball head, built like a butcher,
Which he was.
He made his money dealing in pork,
Though not on the Sabbath.
They said his parents were killed in Belsen,
They said he saw his sister raped,
But no-one really knew.
Stories swirled about like dust on the desert wind.

You never knew what was true.
And in the end it didnt really matter.
There he was.
And Sam with his mournful expression
And his mobile face like crumpled leather,
There he was,
A dancer- light, light on his feet.
Theirs was a needle match, each trying to outscore the other,
Sam out of mischief, Meier out of a desire for victory.
So they came out of opposite corners of the ring in every argument.
Everything was an argument.

Like the Sinai campaign.
For Meier that was a time of glory.
That was when we found out we were strong, he said.
Strong shrugged Sam. Who needs it?
So Meier pinned his arm behind his back and
forced him to his knees. You do, Jew, he said.
The general opinion was that Meier won that round.
    They came from nowhere,
    The lost, the broken and the mad, as if from nowhere,
    They blundered in like blind invaders,
    While Mahalia boomed a gospel song
    And candles blurred the gloom,
    They drank and argued till the dawn
    Had drained the night away.

    Do you remember
    The day the Bedouins came to town?
    I still remember
    The women waiting still as stone,
    Their silent shapes cocooned in black
    Against the whitewashed walls that echoed back the sun
    To blind the eyes.
    Ghosts from another world.

(Spoken)
You know what's wrong with Israel? said Meier one night.
I know, said Sam, dancing in grinning. Too many Arabs. Right?
Wrong, said Meier. Too many Jews.
Look at them. Rabble. They don't speak Hebrew, half of them.
Rabble. Take the Yemenis. Donkey riders.
Never set foot in a bus before they came here.
And their women - all whores.
What about Rumanians? Sam threw in obligingly.
All thieves, said Meier.
They say all Hungarians are bald, said Sam, and raised his eyes to the heavens.
Meier ignored him.
We must forge one nation, he said.

We must weld the youth into one nation.
Why? said Sam. How? said Sam.
In the fire, Meier went on.
In the heat of battle, we will become one nation.
Under King Solomon, Israel was a great nation
Rich and powerful.
One day she will be so again.
Sam sighed. We are Jews, he said.
Why should our children turn into Israelis?
History loves a winner, said Meier.
No more guilt, no more fear, no more being strangers,
No more being different I like being different, said Sam, throwing his arms out.
I want to be different.
Meier stood up and pointed a thick finger and yelled.
He thinks he's funny. This Jew thinks he's funny.
No wonder they fed you into the gas ovens.
    Do you remember
    The day the Bedouins came to town?
    I still remember
    The women waiting still as stone,
    Their silent shapes cocooned in black
    Against the whitewashed walls that echoed back the sun
    To blind the eyes.
    Ghosts from another world.

    Across the desert
    The road carves southward to the Red Sea
    through the desert,
    A cratered moonscape made of sand,
    We saw the burning fists of rock
    And felt the wind that sucked us dry
    And heard those urging, stirring songs
    Always new lands to tame.

Meier liked telling stories of how,
In the War of Independence, he blew up Arab houses.
He knew Sam would become agitated.
It would turn Sam inside out.
It is not true, he said. You did not do that.
Why not? said Meier. Facts.
Now there's nothing left for them to return to.
Only stones. Let them find homes with their own kind.
I want nothing to do with such facts, said Sam.
Where would you be without them? sneered Meier.

We made this country, he said.
Before us, what was there? Marshland. Desert.
The promise was to us. The desert shall blossom like a rose.
There were people, said Sam. Like us.
With hopes and dreams.
Hopes? Dreams? Meier spat the words out.
You think you can buy the future with dreams?
And he took a pile of notes from his pocket and threw them on the table.
There, he said. Facts. Money. Don't give me your dreams.
Sam turned away and began to find a dance with his feet
Like a child taking its first steps
While Mahalia sang on, her voice intense
With the joy and pain of believing.
But Meier wasn't finished.
This man is full of dreams, he taunted.
Full of could-have-beens.
A dancer, he could have been.
A mime-artist, he could have been.
It's true, said Sam, as he moved and swayed to the music.
I could have been a great mime artist.
And slowly, his mournful face upturned
And his hands outstretched
He wove a strange shuffling dance
Round the pillars and the wheels and the home-made stools
Round the stolen signpost indicating Ramle 45 kilometers away
Round the lacquered stones and the pieces of driftwood
Twisted, gnarled and desolated by the wind and the waves.
Meier's stone-ball head seemed to swell with fury.
Displaying himself, he said contemptuously. Where's the dignity?
And he pushed aside his cognac and pulled himself to his feet
And picked up a stone and gripped it in his bunched fist.
And in his eyes was a peculiar sort of hatred.
And suddenly the jangle of noise, the chattering, the shouting, the laughing
Fell away to a whisper. Everyone turned to watch.
There was only the sound of Mahalia singing
And the shuffling steps of Sam's dance.
Could we have guessed then how it would be?
Could we have seen then in Meier's eyes
Those certainties: Facts.
The houses torn apart, the torture,
The weeping, the children burning.
The fragmentation bombs, the phosphorus bombs.
Facts. The shortest distance between the past and the future.
But we saw only Meier, stone in his fist,
And waited in silence for what he would do.
Sit down, he said in a low voice. Sit down.
Then he hurled the stone with all his force
Not at Sam, exactly, but still - at him.
It smashed against a pillar and clattered to the floor.
Sam froze, stopped dancing,
A silent shape in the candle gloom,
His mournful face crumpled and yellow.
It seemed to us he was about to cry.
Then he put his arms about his head as if to protect himself,
Turning in on himself.
I want to go home, he said.
I want to go home.
    They came from nowhere
    The lost, the broken and the mad, as if from nowhere
    They blundered in like blind invaders,
    While Mahalia boomed a gospel song
    And candles blurred the gloom,
    They drank and argued till the dawn
    Had drained the night away.

    It was The Last Chance,
    It was a night club in the desert called The Last Chance
    A duttered dive of stones and wheels
    It was a refuge for the rootless of the world
    Washed up like driftwood on the sand,
    And we were there.
    It was so long ago.



from Bringing the News from Nowhere, a songbook by Leon Rosselson


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the last chance - rosselson
From: GUEST,ray
Date: 02 May 05 - 06:25 AM

Thanks to all who have replied. Joe - that's the one. And Suzanne - the fish finger song is great - and was the one lyric I remembered from the whole of the tape - but it was 'the last chance' that I was after. Thanks again to you all - from Ray in London.


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