Rattle Your Chains ( Linda McLean)

Go on and lie there, you are busted,
Broke and rusted through.
Gone those days, trusting everything you say
Now I'm telling you

I'll be gone when the sun comes up and I won't look back,
I'm on a one-way track
And you can lie there in your rusting cage, and your worn out ways
And you can rattle.

Oh I cried; when I say I'm true I'm true, but not you
You're like a worn out sheet in a cheap hotel, a rusting nail in a wall that's
fallen all around you now
On that big head of yours

And I'll be gone when the sun comes up and I won't be back,
I'm on that one way track
You can lie there in your rusting cage and your worn out mind, and you can rattle
Cause I'll be swinging where the sweet sweet air's going to warm my hair on the Italian Riviera
And you can lie there in your rusted cage and your worn out mind,
And you can rattle your chains.

All those lonely days I wasted, lonely nights were long
No more lonely days of chasing you, lonely nights are gone

Yah I'll be swinging where the green green grass is going to warm my ass in the south of Spain
You can lie there in your rusting cage and your mind made up, and you can rattle
I'll be hanging with my millefeuille and my chocolate dreams on the Saint Germain
You can lie there in your rusting cage and your old worn out ways,
and you can rattle your chains

I can't hear you anymore,
You can rattle away

I'm so far gone, you can rattle your chains ...

(Linda McLean, P&C Mandolin Songs 2010)

Story Behind the Song

It was inspired by a moment of pure adrenalin rushing to my head, that feeling of being fed up with my old mind stories that I knew were keeping me glued to one spot. It's pretty much self-evident in the lyrics. I just wanted to make sure you know, I'm talking about my own cage, and not someone elses. Though you can use it to break out of an emotionally stuck relationship if that's what you need to do.

The band loved the song, so we've recorded the beds at Number 9 in Toronto, and the overdubs, vocals and guitars,  in an afternoon in my studio in the forest. It took a while for the mixing to be completed, because that's the way of our busy band. But here it is now, available for you to hear and love and adopt into your own family of songs.

With love. Linda

Long Road (Linda McLean)

Long Road feels like 'home again'
Long Road is like being with an old friend
Let's go somewhere we've never been
All the way to the east coast roads til we hit the morning.

I always loved those long drives with my dad.
We'd hit the road without a plan.
He'd let me roll down my window, sing as loud as I want,
and make those airplanes with my hands.
He'd say, 'Let's go somewhere we've never been,
As long as you're moving, you know you're living.

It's the long road that keeps me straight and true,
Takes me somewhere new,
Always beginning.
It's the long road, and it feels like home
'cause as long as I'm moving I know I'm living.'

He'd say 'Let's go somewhere we've never been,
Let's go pick all those blueberries, where the northern lights are dancing.

It's the long road that keeps me straight and true
Takes me somewhere new, somewhere to begin again
It's the long road, and it feels like home.
Just as long as I'm moving, I know I'm living.
As long as I'm moving, I know I'm living.
As long as I'm moving on, I know I'm living ...'

Story Behind the Song

I was born into a family of travelers. My favourite summer treat always began with the question, "Do you want to go on a drive?" I would woop with excitement and jump into the car and sit breathless in anticipation. I never knew where we were going, I never cared. I rarely brought anything with me. (Sometimes a towel in case we went swimming.) I was going on an adventure, and it's all I needed. Once we left and didn't come home for 3 days. We rented a cabin and my dad rented a boat and pulled out his fishing line, and I spent all my time diving off one side of the boat as he fished off the other. He would say, "Don't scare the fish." And I'd respond, "I'll scare them to you." And we'd both laugh. I was born to tour.

Here's an excerpt from a "road" story I wrote for a magazine a while ago.

My last tour of the UK and Scotland didn't actually begin in Aberdeen, but it was here my schedule offered me some time and space to breathe in the magical mystery quality of my journey thus far. A few days before I'd performed on the southern coastland of England, in Portsmouth, home of tall ships and pirate mythology. Now, here I stood in northeastern Scotland, fifteen miles outside Aberdeen in the ancient town of Stonehaven. The town is nestled in magnificent purple-hued hills, framed by ocean gray waters reflecting the windswept wave-wracked coastline. Aside this seaside town, 500 year old fishermen's cottages lean towards the ocean, as if on a perpetual eastbound voyage. Down the coast, persistent and unaffected by its circumstance,, stands Dunnotter Castle, whose residents have included William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots. How strange I thought, and miraculous, this feeling of being invited to share my songs in this historic region.

Were I really to consider the whole nature of my tour, the bigger miracle might have been that I'd arrived here at all, having, as I did, to wend my way through cities, towns and villages, braving the M-ways and B-ways's and circumventing industrial parks on graying stone streets until, losing my way, gallantly, alone, finding it again - driving from gig to gig, up and down this crowded little island, and up again, in my Ford Xtac 5-speed diesel, shifting gears and navigating the left side of ever narrowing roads leading me eventually into the magnificent hills surrounding the surprisingly sprawling city of Aberdeen - and once again having no idea where I was going to end up I was completely sure I was m in the right place and eventually given enough time these ever rounding round a bouts would take me to my destination.

Tonight, The Blue Angel, one of the oldest and most prestigious music venues in Aberdeen apparently, all the great artists passing through have played there, and so I will keep good company. By some small miracle the street I have been told the venue is on will be sign posted, unlike most streets in the UK which remain blissfully unmarked, ever to stay that way because according to the locals, street signs would only make things more confusing when you know where you're going. . I can't argue the point, I am only there for a day after all, and am completely in love with the experience of my brief visit to this remote and currently affluent part of the island. I have written a song called "For England" and I realize I will not be able to play it this evening, because these people do not feel English, they will not appreciate my attempt to understand that place to the south of them, where my language was born, and the poets who bare my heart, and my husband. So I will tell them of my Norwegian heritage, and my feeling of being closely tied to them through landscape and history, and suggest our ancestral paths will have crossed somewhere back there in time; and I will sing my songs of the journey I have tread, these roads of the songwriter I travel, this soujourn of my creative soul that inevitably brought me to them, that eventually narrowed my choices, like the narrow roads that meander though their beautiful countryside.

John Lennon's Bed

Verse 1
Some kind of magic brought me round to this house
To these halls and walls eating beans on bread
While the stories they told circle in my head
The pin up of Elvis is dancing with Marilyn as I strum your guitar
To the noise of the cars out on Menlove, south end of Liverpool an ordinary room

Your singing in the bars
Took you far away from here
But you left behind a very lonely tune
Vibrating in these walls
I won't get much sleep tonight
Lying in John Lennon's bed

Verse 2
First chord's the end of an early tune
Old guitar hard bed I feel normal here
In the skipping game I always married you
Your band's in the house blending voices in the entryway
Write a song every day, lose a mom find a wife
Sing for your life and dream
and fight the good fight.

Singing in the bars
Took you far away from here
But you left behind a very lonely tune
Vibrating in these walls,
and I won't get much sleep tonight
Lying in John Lennon's Bed

Is she missing her man
She's missing her man, missing her man, missing her man, missing
her man. Like I'm missing my man ...

Verse 3
Did you have to cry quiet in this small room so Mimi couldn't hear
And when Albert fell from the top of the stairs, did Julia scream
Strangers are writing their names in this guest book cause everybody wants you
Everybody wants you to know who they are
The only difference is they breathe

Singing in the bars
Took you far away from here
You left behind a very lonely tune
Vibrating in these walls,
and I won't get much sleep tonight
Lying in John Lennon's Bed

Your Voice is in the hall
I can hear that lonely tune
Lying in John Lennon's Bed
Vibrations in the wall
and I won't get much sleep tonight,
Lying in John Lennon's Bed

(Linda McLean, 2010)

The Story Behind Writing "John Lennon's Bed"

Intuiton vs Synchronicity (or Either Way Eh?)

I was on a month long solo tour in the UK in support of No Language, and my final gig was in Liverpool. Earlier in my tour I'd been driving from a London gig to Brighton, and decided spur of the moment to visit my friend Bob Harris in Oxfordshire. It turned out Colin and Sylvia, curators of Mendips, the house turned museum that John Lennon grew up in, were also visiting the Harris family that afternoon. Bob was interviewing Colin for an upcoming BBC special celebrating the 50th anniversary of Lennon and McCartney's first meeting. Colin is an expert on Lennon's childhood, and runs the museum at Mendips. He and his wife Sylvia also live in the house during the part of the year when the museum is open. When they discovered I would be in Liverpool soon, they offered to put me up. "But", said Colin, "It's not a big house and you may have to sleep in John's room." I thought he was going to say, "on the floor" which wouldn't have made me jump up and down in excitement any less.

My 24 hours in Liverpool turned into a big deal for many reasons. First, my manager had arranged an hour long interview at BBC Liverpool with Spencer Leigh, the accepted local authority on Beatles' music. Second, Liverpool would mark the final gig of my month long solo tour of England and Scotland. And third, (I pinched myself) I would be spending the night in John Lennon's bed.

The morning I drove into Liverpool there was a light rain falling. I'd figured out on my map where the BBC building was, but Liverpool was under renewal' construction at this time and the circuitous roads were even more dense and difficult to maneuver than usual. The garage I found was a fair distance from the radio station, and I had just enough time to walk and ask people as I went along for directions. As everyone told me, you can't miss the building; it's the big gray walls with giant photos of the Beatles.

I really enjoyed the interview; Spencer was generous with his time and showed real interest in my music and story. We chatted and I performed a few songs, and left the studio on a high. There was time to figure out how to get to Mendips before my gig, but when I got into my car I realized I had no idea which direction to go. I did not have a street map or GPS and I didn't want to burst my happy bubble by asking the grumpy people getting into a nearby car for directions. I wondered how this was going to work out, and turned on the radio. The song playing was "Across the Universe", the same Beatle song I had just admitted to Spencer I was learning. As my hands held the steering wheel, it suddenly made perfect sense to say out loud, "OK John, take me to your house." I left the parking garage and turned right (which, by the way, in England is harder than turning left).

Driving along roads and around round-abouts, I remained blissful and confident, with no sense of which direction I was going. I followed cars that attracted my attention, just like Dirk Gently The Holistic Detective, and generally felt positive that I was on the right track. Suddenly I was crossing Penny Lane and knew I must be close. In fact, not too far along I came to an intersection with a sign posted Menlove Ave. Johns house was 251, just past Druids Cross Garden. I pulled into the parking area, said, thanks John" and walked to the house. Though I'd resolved to keep it to myself, as soon as Sylvia opened the door, I blurted out, "I had no idea how to find my way, so I asked John to help me out. And he brought me right here." I thought she would look at me like I was crazy, but she just blinked once and said without a hint of irony, "I'm very sure he did."

I visited with Colin and Sylvia for a while, enjoying a private tour, and tea with the cookies Sylvia had purchased to serve Yoko Ono the day before. It turns out Yoko had come to Liverpool to take part in the opening of the new John Lennon wing at the hospital. They told me whenever she visits the house, she spends some time in John's bedroom. That day she'd spent a long time alone with the door closed, and when she came out, Colin noticed she'd been crying. She didn't touch the cookies. I ate several on her behalf.

Later that night, after a fun gig, and comfortably ensconced in the front lounge of Mendips, Colin and Sylvia regaled me with fascinating stories about the lives of John and Mimi and George Smith, and Julia and members of John's bands. They served me beans on toast, one of John's favourite meals and we chatted away until 3am. Finally, because we were tired and I had to make an early morning flight, they showed me to my "room" and we said goodnight.

There I stood, in John's bedroom. Small, ordinary, damp. The room where he dreamed and played and grew into one of the most famous people on the planet. I was in the room where he began to write songs, and dreamed of becoming a star. A narrow room with one long window at one end and the space taken up almost entirely by the bed, a small desk, and a clothes cabinet. I took a deep breath and stood there for several moments thinking, I know this place. My eyes scanned the details of the room and then became glued to the guitar leaning in one corner. The guitar was so much like the little guitars I had grown up with and first learned to play. I sat on the bed and put my arms around the neck and body saying, whichever chord I play, that's going to be the one I use to write the song about this experience. I said out loud, "Show me which chord John." and felt my fingers shape an F7. I strummed lightly and promised myself I would remember the moment and the tone of the instrument, and would let it be the inspiration for the song when I returned home to Canada.

I turned out the light, climbed into the bed, and lay there quiet, unmoving, waiting for something to happen. I put my hand on the wall and tried to feel through to the past, imagining what it must have been like to grow up here. The road was close and traffic loud through the single paned window and thin brick and plaster wall. The air was cold in the room, the bed was hard and narrow, but despite the austerity, there was a solid comfortableness to the space. I thought, A great cocoon for an icon to grow.' And didn't sleep a wink. I spent the time in that half drifting in and out state of mind, and tried to remain conscious to absorb every minutia of the experience into my cells. (Well that's how I put it in my delirious state) Before long I was filled with a sense of loneliness and longing I haven't felt since my own childhood.

The next morning I had to leave Mendips before Colin and Sylvia woke up. On my way out of the house, I stopped for a moment in the tiny front entryway. Bob Harris had told me this was where Lennon and McCartney had spent hours perfecting their famous harmonies. I sang out a few notes into the space, and found a lovely resonance.

If I had ignored the thought "I should go and visit Bob." that morning in London, I never would have met Colin and Sylvia, and I never would have been invited to spend the night in John Lennon's bed, and this song would not exist. Synchronicity offers riches when we are open to the airwaves.

Pre-Production Band Notes
The first process we went through as a band was to listen to all the songs to discuss the pros and cons of each, what was working, what needed to change. We would determine which songs we were interested in working on, and which ones we thought weren't really interesting or ready. As we listened to the songs I made notes of what was said so we could have a starting point to work from.

John Lennon's Bed
We listened to the song demo without much of an intro. I said, this is the latest song, not quite finished the lyrics, but we like it. No one said anything. Just lots of nods and listening. They loved the groove of the song. It was different and interesting and we all got into it. These were the only notes I made during our first band discussion.

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