Guilty Secrets

CD 2014

CD Review - Gary Copeland  Stafford Folk Music and Dance

Graham Bellinger: Guilty Secrets.

These fourteen songs might surprise those who know Graham Bellinger only as a mainstay of the Deacons. They include simple love songs, nostalgic period pieces, foot-stompers and a delightfully quirky Elvis ain’t dead fantasy. Bellinger’s tasty finger-picking guitar is one of the many highlights here and it’s given plenty of exposure in Solid Ground, a punch-the-air ragtime celebration of life, and in It’s a Song, a Paxtonesque three-chorder in praise of, erm, songs. The lyrics throughout the CD are full of surprising imagery and witty musical references and reveal a storytelling talent that only occasionally misses its target (as in the moody Earthquake Weather, an atmospheric piece that, for me, lacks focus). One of the tests of a successful song is its hook. It’s not infallible, of course (for every Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, there are hundreds of Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep Cheeps), but it’s a useful rule of thumb. This album has several songs of quality that pass the test with flying colours. I’ve pinched a couple. But don’t tell Graham. You can -- and should -- get the album at his gigs or via his website



Guilty secrets of a guilty past

Always knew they’d come out at last

Seems no one forgets and no one forgives

Those guilty secrets, long as you live


Guilty secrets there’s no doubt

One fine day they’ll find you out

You can hide them but they’ll still be found

Those guilty secrets they’re always around


Every tap on the shoulder, knock on the door

            Deep inside you know what it’s for

            Time to face it and pay your dues

The past is catching up with you


Maybe you were foolish, maybe you were young

Might think you’ve forgotten just what you’ve done

Don’t you know the memory lingers on

Those guilty secrets never really gone


You may believe that the past’s long dead

But it’s still living in your head

But it’ll come right back to haunt you in your sleep

Those guilty secrets – the ones that we all keep


Every tap on the shoulder, knock on the door

            Deep inside you know what it’s for

            Time to face it and pay your dues

The past is catching up with you


Guilty secrets, all the same

All those things that we won’t name

When we thought we’d buried them so deep

Guilty secrets, the ones that we all keep




Used to be so solitary, used to be so sad

Anything I tried to do always turned out bad

But now it’s alright, I’ve got a smile a mile wide

That’s the truth - thank the Lord I’ve got you on my side


Waiting on the telephone, stood up in a bar

Waking late at night alone wondering where you are

But now things have changed found what I was waiting for

That’s the truth I’ve been pushing at an open door


        Yes yes yes – I believe I’m grateful and I’m glad

         Yes yes yes – counting all the blessings I have had


Seen it on the TV screen read it on the news

Must be in it if you want to win if not you’re bound to loose

But it’s not my ticket, I don’t need those numbers in a line

It’s the truth – I’m a winner every time


I don’t need some self help manual, don’t need no twelve step plan

Don’t need a secret password to be a happy man

I need you with me and me with you every moment every day

That’s the truth holding on all the way


         Yes yes yes – I believe that this time it’s all good

             Yes yes yes – this time life has turned out like it should


I don’t think about the future, don’t worry bout the past

I don’t know where I’m going or how long it’s gonna last

But now I know you’re the best thing that I’ve ever found

That’s the truth – got my feet on solid ground



He tried walking on the water

            He was sinking in the sand

Thought he’d grasped the secret,

It was nails in his hands

When the party’s over and the house goes up in flames

Don’t speak in tongues of what’s been done –

Don’t go naming names


And he went to the mountain top

            But it was all downhill

Betrayed his wife and family

            They said they loved him still

Lost the brakes, lost the gears, soon lost all control

And he never could stop digging

When he was in a hole

             Don't you go looking

            In the places you’ve been told

            There’s no hiding place in palaces

            Or temples made of gold

            Rather be out drinking

            Or singing with the boys

            Kicking up a little dust

            Making too much noise


Yes, I pulled into Nazareth

            But the tanks had got there first

Blessed are the meek he said

            But the strong had done their worst

Take a look around you, tell me what you see

Don’t say I brought this on myself

Don’t put the blame on me





Oh – where have you been

Look at the state you’re in

The way they’ve used you it’s a sin

But now you’re home


Oh since you left that way

I’ve had no song to play

Couldn’t find the words to say

So come on home – you’re not alone


            I know you fell into bad company

            I understand rough hands took you away from me

            Although it was so wrong

            It’s here that you belong

            And we still have a song unfinished

            In my arms back with me

            Is where you’re meant to be

            I don’t want to see this unfinished


Oh we can hide those scars

I’ll take you the way you are

Always the best by far

And still you are, yes you are


Some things roll right off the tracks

Some things just slip through the cracks

But some things just keep coming back

And here you are – still a star


You have no need to apologise

            You found out now just where your interest lies

            You’ve been through the mill

            But if you have the will

            We have something still unfinished

You’ve been left out in the rain

And here you are again

You are still the same - unfinished 


Somewhere under city lights

Another child fades out of sight

Slipping into rainy night

Not coming home


All these children on the run

All these children holding guns

All these children stoned and stunned

And so alone, so alone


            Who is there now who will repair them?

            Who is there out there who’d even care for them?

            Where are they going to go?

            Time will surely show

            Who could leave them so unfinished

            Our lives are like the sand

            Things slip through our hands

            We never understand





When I was a child we sang of the man in the moon

And we all believed we’d be flying up there soon

With one small step or a giant leap

We've grown up to learn where we stand

Watching our dreams come true but not like we'd planned


The smile that hides the substance behind the style

The distance we’ve traveled to go that last extra mile

As we dance and we follow the piper

All the way down the yellow brick road

Scattering hopes and dreams and promises owed


                    When you’ve taken the trip of a lifetime

                    And you’re stranded on the moon all alone

                    Look up at the stars to find your way back home    


Now here we are it's the future and it's still the same

Blood sweat and the tears the last bus home in the rain

More than the clock and the diary

It's the mirror that measures the time

And here on your face is the story drawn out in each line


                                      You know I can't tell my future

                                      You know I can't tell the past

                                      I only know it seems to go so fast         


The man with his hand on your shoulder's come out of the wings

It's too late to win back whatever you lost on the swings

If you beat the clock and the hangman today

There's something maybe you’ve learned

This moment won’t wait while you watch the wheels all turn



L O S T  A T  S E A


There’s a man overboard

Swept away by the tide of affairs

And nobody can say for sure

Just where he went down

But it looks like it was the perfect storm

Looks like the end of the perfect romance

Is breaking without a sound

And he’s nowhere to be found


                        Castaway – beached and stranded

                        Castaway – empty handed

                        Castaway – lost at sea

                        Castaway – falling, floating, free


Someone said he was sinking fast

Weighted down by the dreams in his pocket

Someone saw his life flash past

And fade in the blink of an eye

And they think maybe that he lost his grip

Or the drink maybe made him loose his reason

Someone said that he’d just jumped ship

But broke when he hit the shore

Couldn’t hold on any more


Did he make it to Venezuela

Can you trust the word of a sailor

Did he make it to Valparaiso

Was he waving or drowning – I don’t know


Someone said they thought the met him

Wrecked and washed up in some run down sea port

Strange how soon we could all forget him

Strange how he drifted away

            And he said he was better but he looked much worse

            Said he was wiser but he was drunk and foolish

            Turned from the sea with a shrug and a curse

And gazed at the bottom of his glass

While the waves rolled in so fast


Did he pull himself up on the beach

Did he find somewhere just out of reach

Is he safe in some harbour he’s found

Some say he’d be better off drowned



E A R T H Q U A K E     W E A T H E R            


A dog somewhere far off starts to howl

Old men outside the café glance round and scowl

They let their smoke hiss out with the thoughts they’re thinking

They spit tobacco and then  turn back to their drinking

And the sky’s the colour of deep water and the air is too still

And there’s a thunder rolling round these hills


            Earthquake weather – my head is aching

            Earthquake weather – the ground is shaking

            Earthquake weather – this world’s gone wrong

            Earthquake weather – you’d best hold on


She’s been silent all day and he doesn’t know why

He could guess the reason but he won’t try

She’s been cracking down pans and slamming doors

But he’s not in the mood for rubbing old sores

And there’s an electricity that doesn’t feel right

And there’s a storm brewing in this house tonight


I’m checking the doors and windows, testing the locks

I’m counting my savings, taking stock

It doesn’t feel safe in this house today

But he won’t step outside with the world this way

There’s angry mobs gathering everywhere

And something burning in the town hall square




It’s a song that keeps me holding on

When everything around me’s going wrong

It's a song that helps to ease my mind

When I can’t tell the reason from the rhyme

And if I find I’m sinking down

There’s one thing that saves me

It’s a song that is my lifeline

Stops me going crazy

Maybe in the light of day all my dreams are gone

But hey – it’s still a new day,  and it’s the song


    It’s a song……..


It’s a friend who always sticks around

Who doesn’t take my bullshit lying down

Who cuffs my head and puts me back on track

When there’s too much drink and too much looking back

And there’s a room where I’m at home

And a chair that fits me right

And there’s a porch light welcomes me  

When I come back at night

Maybe I have been away from the old place too long

So what keeps coming back to me – the song


What is it can make us strong

Let us know where we belong

What is it can set us free

Voices raised in harmony

What is it can touch the heart

Though we may be far apart

No matter that the miles are long

There is magic in the song………..



……… a new day, there’s a friend

A light up in the window – journey’s end

There’s always another reason to get beat

But there’s always a bright side to the street

            Sometimes these things can slip my mind

            Sometimes things fall apart

            Sometimes I loose the compass

            Sometimes I just loose heart

            But I know the ground my feet stand on,

                                                   I know where I belong

            When I pick up this guitar,  find the song.



Black and white comes the light

From all those years ago

Grainy photos rainy nights

All you need to know

                        We looked over the fence, peeped under the gate

                        It's coming in bright colours and we just couldn't wait


Vinyl black, fourteen tracks

The secret in the sleeve

Your heart beats for Soho streets

If only you could leave

            Oh to leave this county town, kick off your schoolboy shoes

            They're playing in new tunings, have you heard the news


Renbourne, Jansch, Davey Graham

Tellling me I’ve got nothing to loose

Stories of a road through France

You take when you want to pay your dues

But me I have to wait til summer

Schooldays over and my hair grown long

Maybe next year maybe never - just to step away


Silver strings and a Turkish ring

Thumb out on the roadside

Sleeping bag and West Coast Rag

Can get you on the inside

Of all the steamy windows of smoke filled coffee bars

In all those all night sessions with all the six string stars


            The old A5, the National Seven

            Denmark Street, heaven and hell

            Doorways, mysteries

            Dreams to live, lies to tell……….

                        Join the tribe of weekend wanderers

                        Sleepy, smiling slightly stoned

                        Maybe this way maybe that - just a step away


Sodium flares, a bare bulb glares

The rain comes through the roof

Just roll it up and drain the cup

Makes you bullet proof

            Don't worry about what's coming

            Don’t worry bout what is gone

            Loose yourself in magic

            The singer and the song


Reeling round Tottenham Court Road

Then down to Cousins to hear the blues

They tell me that someone there

Has an old guitar there that he don’t use

Heard he's giving it all away

Bought a gypsy caravan

Going to Galway or Khatmandu – just a step away

            Maybe next year maybe never - just a step away




When I was a boy I bought myself a guitar

Plywood and wire from the USSR

It was cheap and nasty it was all I could afford

But I learned some tunes and I learned some chords

It was really hard to hold down the strings

It wouldn’t stay in tune and the sound didn’t ring

But I persevered on that lump of wood

Learned Bm7 and it made me feel good


Looking for the old lost chord boys,

We’re all looking for the holy grail

Looking for the lost horizon

And hoping to find it in a junk shop sale


(Freight Train)


Well a few years later I had a little money

Thought I’d buy a guitar wasn’t quite so crummy

I got myself a new one made in Japan

All put together Yamaha San

Well those Japanese guitars are good in their way

But the best guitars are from the USA

So it wasn’t too long before I’m back in the shop

Looking for a guitar with Gibson on the top


(Streets of London)


Well I got myself a Gison, was a J45

Took it to the folk club, thought I was the jive

Then I turned on the TV and knew I’d blundered

There was Neil Young playing a J200

So I scrimped and I saved everything I had

Scoured the Guitarist magazine ads

Travelled the country scoured the land

Looking for a dream I could buy second hand




Well I worked through shops, drove salesmen mad

Trying out every guitar they had

For my dream guitar I’d give my right hand

Sell the wife and kids, even sell my band

Now I’ve got this guitar it’s ebony and pearl

Maple and rosewood the best in the world

It’s a real great guitar, I hear everybody say it

And it cost so much money I’m too scared to play it


……………but you don’t get the grail in a junk shop sale