by John Ellis

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
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
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
Backroads 03:03
Come Home 03:53
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
Landfall 02:58
Sure Enough 03:25
To Aliena 02:00
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?
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
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


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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