by John Ellis



released June 26, 2012

Produced by John Ellis, Howard Butcher & Barry van Zyl
Recorded by Howard Butcher
Mixed by Neal Snyman in Hout Bay
Mastered by Rogan Kelsey at Lapdust in Johannesburg

Recorded at Peace Of Eden, Knynsa, South Africa October 25-27 2011 (except “To Aliena” & “Wonderful Place”: Recorded in Guy Buttery’s lounge, Umhlanga, August 2011)

JOHN ELLIS: instruments & singing
BARRY VAN ZYL: drums & toys

Additional handclaps by Jeni Harvey-Butcher & Judy Chatterton

Words & music by John Ellis
Published by Jellisongs
All songs © Jellisongs 2011

Artwork: Arno Jackson
Design Co-ordination: Antony Ellis


all rights reserved



John Ellis Durban, South Africa

A singer-songwriter from Durban, South Africa, John has played his music all over the world. Following his 2010 solo debut "Come Out Fighting", his second album, an all-acoustic record named "Rural", was released in June 2012. A new song, "Get You", came out on Sony Records in 2012, and was followed in 2013 by a five-track EP, "Bush Telegraph", also on Sony. "Tells" is John's 3rd solo album. ... more

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Track Name: Rights All Wrong

Forty years of struggle ended on an April day
Every man and woman lined up to have their say
All together for the first time – who can forget?
in that autumn sky a rainbow made by military jets

So explain – I dare you
How come we got here from there?

With our human rights all wrong
And our dreams all up for sale
Can no-one keep a promise these days?

So what’s happened to our freedom – we’d like to know?
How come Chief Luthuli’s country is Stalin’s now?
After every revolution it starts again
Every hero is a tyrant stealing oxygen

It’s so wrong – it’s shameful
How can you look your people in the eye?

With our human rights…

Hey people – what happened?
We shouldn’t be here after all that we’ve been through
Hey people – wake up
You don’t have to live this way forever
Track Name: Jack Kerouac's Blues

Every man’s an island and the sea level’s rising
All the dolphins are belly-up on the shifting horizon
And the sun’s going down tonight on places it’s never seen
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

Every city throws up another street kid who grows up
Pimping out the Revolution to the Sons of Devolution
As the forty-year-old moon is the loneliest it’s ever been
Me I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

First Class is loaded and Economy’s bloated
And the captain is sleeping while the auto-pilot’s drinking
Home-made margaritas while the flight attendant vents her spleen
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

Street names are changing and that lonely moon is waning
And my electric blanket’s giving me a headache
And I can’t figure out just what that Book of Ezekiel means
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

Pigs are up on two legs gambling with the farmers
I’m at the window looking for some attention
There is no hidden meaning – everything is what it seems
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

Ocean is dusty and the desert is frozen
And the north pole’s melting while the equator’s tightening
You can have a favourite colour baby as long as it’s green
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

Hope for the best but I expect the worst I am
Told I am blessed but I know I’m cursed, what’s the
Point of playing if you won’t take one for the team?
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

All votes have been counted a decision’s pending
There’s a set of gold hubcaps for the loudest bigmouth
I’ve got a one-year subscription to Peace & Quiet Magazine
I’m only happy when I tell myself it’s just a dream

Words & Music: John Ellis
Published by Jellisongs
© John Ellis 2012
Track Name: Any Minute Now

Someday when my ship comes in
One day when I stop struggling
I will take you far away
Hang on baby, one more day

Any minute now
We’re going to leave the past behind us
And these troubles will never find us
Any minute now

I dreamed a real good dream last night
First one in a long long time
You and me were free somehow
Hang on baby, any minute now

Any minute now
This is not just wishful thinking
We could change the tune we’re singing
Any minute now

There never was a night like this
Heaven close enough to kiss
Imagine all those prayers I prayed
All get answered in one day

Any minute now
The road could bend toward the daylight
We could turn our backs on midnight
Any minute now
Any minute now

Words & Music: John Ellis
Published by Jellisongs
© John Ellis 2012
Track Name: Come Home

You remember how it used to be
Those days when none of us were truly free
Things changed and everybody feared the worst
And you escaped before the bubble burst

But some afternoons there’s a scent in the air
Of mountains and thunderstorms and you can hear it:

“Come home – come home
where did you go? Come home.
You’re not yourself until you’re here with me
Please stop running like a refugee
Come home…”

Sure – we could all be better off
These days every push has come to shove
But things change ‘cos everybody wants the best
And she who lives under curse will be blessed

You are a child of this earth, you belong
To the Southern Cross, to these fields of sunlight
Track Name: To Aliena

Aliena I just saw your picture at my mother’s house
You’d just turned 18 and you’d started to doubt the boy taking your picture
By the piano in a cheap summer dress – your late summer skin –
You’re biting your lip as you fight away tears of confusion and sorrow
Did I make you cry Aliena?

There’s a hand-print on your bedroom ceiling, I know it’s still there
I painted your walls in the winter, you lay on your bed laughing at me
I can see you, that night at your gate, I came to invite you
You asked me inside and a part of me’s still there under your blankets
Won’t you let me go Aliena?

Girl I left you because I was told to by my so-called friends
And what did I know? I believed them – it’s 20 years and they’re still lonely
And your picture, it floats through the ether and knocks at my window
I would just love to say sorry and hear you say that you forgive me
Can you hear me Aliena?
Track Name: We Are Not A Nation Yet

This is not a nation yet, how could it be?
When most of cross our fingers while the past still lingers
Still segregated – this is not a nation

When “Transformation” is just another word
For getting your revenge on those you still depend on
What are you celebrating? This is NOT a nation!

We are not a nation yet, how could we be?
We replaced a great dictator with another great dictator
We’re still suffocating – we are not a nation

This is not a nation, this is Monarchy
A hungry Kingdom of Frustration while the king is renovating
We are all still waiting – we are not a nation

We are not a nation yet, we’re still not free
We have watched the Revolution become an Institution
Where’s our liberation? We are not a nation

Cry, beloved country, shed your tears
A land still overrun by the tyranny of guns
Fear dominating – this is not a nation

We are not a nation, we all want to escape
We’re all lined up at the station for evacuation
We are emigrating – we are not a nation

We are not a nation yet, how could we be?
With most of us still hostile, longing for a fair trial
Or retaliation! We are not a nation

We are not a nation yet but we could be
If you believe it, put your hand up
You want to see it you’ve got to stand up
We could be a nation – we could be a nation

So don’t sing your anthem or raise your flag up
Come on come on come on
Track Name: Three-Day Rampage

I got that sinking feeling – forgotten something
I’m checking my pockets to see what’s missing
Teenagers’re beating the Grim Reaper with a stick
That girl’s so healthy it must be some kind of trick
I want to go home but I can’t get there from here

Asleep in the aisle seat – I’m in the exit row
There’s all kinds of chaos twenty thousand feet below
I’ve got ten thousand songs but I’m four records short
I need the whole collection to make that connection
I want to go home but I can’t get there from here

Someone hand me a dollar in the wrong currency
She’s full of anxiety – the fear of new money
Where’s Che Guevara and Bill Hicks when you need ‘em?
All these new celebrities and no way to feed ‘em
Can’t wait to get home but I can’t get there from here

In a cold wet field one hour before midnight
We’re underneath Scorpio as we break our promises
Both from the same tribe, our roads intersected
See you on the other side – don’t get infected
I should go home but I can’t get there from here

Police pulled me over for thinking and driving
I was born in a thunderstorm, raised on lightning
Passport’s burning holes in the bedside table
Wisdom is wasted on the young and able
Wish I was going home but I can’t get there from here

Want to drink red wine in the open country
Orange sun sinking behind a crumbled building
I’ve got no shoes and loose tobacco
You’re in a thin dress, band of flowers in your hair
I want to get home but I can’t get there from here