the song
title : Glasgow star
written by : Eddi Reader and Teddy Borowiecki
song copyright : © 1996 Warner Music UK Ltd
Eddi said
“Autobiographical really. Inspired in the main by a million memories of my upbringing: winchin’ up a close. George’s Square at midnight on a Saturday. Busking in the centre of town, etc…”
Candyfloss and medicine press release

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader lead vocal, vocal percussion
Teddy Borowiecki piano, accordion
Calum MacColl guitars, penny whistle
David Piltch electric bass
Roy Dodds drums and percussion
with :
Kat Evans fiddle
Anthony Thistlethwaite mandolin
music
key : C major
time-signature : 6/8
tempo : MM 62
form : VR VR vR VR VR vR N
lyrics

provided for research and private study only (see above for copyright details):

Glasgow star

there’s a yellow star
hung over a Glasgow sky
in a sandstone doorway
I had the sweetest kiss

I’m here for days like these

and I’m walking down the middle of the Great Western Road
and I’m surfing on a tarmac wave
I’ve got fifty pounds in silver pennies
for singing in Buchanan Street all day

I’m here for days like these
I’m here for days like these, yeah-ha

– whistle solo
yeah-ha {scat}


I’m here for days like {these}

there was Mary, Madge and me {I’m here for days like these}
smoking black, shooting the breeze {I’m here for days like these}
and as far as I can see {I’m here for days like these}

I was here for days like these

now I’m sitting on the last bus home
and Brian’s got a thing for the conductress
stop singing that bloody Rangers song
come here and shut your Proddy mouth and kiss us

I’m here for days like these
I’m here for days like these
, yeah-ha

– whistle solo
I’m here for days like this
rrrr-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cha
there was Mary, Madge and me
hail Mary full of grace
I saw you when […] your face

explanations

Honeychildren regulars will know that the albums Mirmama and Candyfloss and medicine were and are released without lyric sheets/booklets, leading to all sorts of guessing games over the years the Honeychildren mailing list existed (1996-2005). By sharing interpretations, and with occasional input from Boo and Eddi themselves, a fairly accurate set of lyrics has been arrived at. The booklet supplied with the Japanese version of Mirmama (Eddi Reader) and later with the compilation album Seventeen stories (containing parallel English and Japanese texts), helped clear up a few of the remaining lacunae (see ‘All or nothing’ and ‘Honeychild’ for example), but when it comes to the present track the chief effect is to muddy the waters!

In verse one, the sandstone doorway is presumably that of a Glasgow tenement (apartment building) since a lot of these are built of red sandstone.

The Great Western Road is the main road out of Glasgow to the western highlands (the A82). It passes through the suburbs of Hillhead, Kelvinside, Knightswood and Drumchapel, heading intitally for Dunbarton. The first three miles or so are dead straight.

Even I’m not old enough to remember silver pennies and some poetic license is obviously at work there.

Buchanan Street is in Glasgow city centre, running north-south near the Central railway station; part of it is now pedestrianised. Until the 1960s it had its own railway terminus and I believe that area is now a shopping-centre.

There is a suggestion that “smoking black, shooting the breeze” refers to soft-drug taking, but never having indulged, I would welcome confirmation of this. Of course, they could just be references the windy and soot-covered nature of parts of Glasgow!

I’m sorry I don’t know whether Brian is a real person or just a character in the song.

Rangers is one of the two main football (soccer) teams in Glasgow. Their rivalry with Celtic is emblematic, and sometimes more physically demonstrative, of the Protestant/Catholic divides in the city, hence the reference to “shut your Proddy [= protestant] mouth”


the recording
personnel
produced by : Eddi Reader and Teddy Borowiecki
recorded by : Gerry O’Riordan assisted by Dan Gilliland, Mark Chambers and Ron Warshow at The Snake Ranch, Lots Road, Chelsea, London; and David Bottrill assisted by Adrian Scarff and Simon Wall at Eden Studios, Acton, London (vocals)
mixed by : David Bottrill at Eden Studios, Acton, London
mastered by : Tim Young at Metropolis
technical
track timing : 4:51
song timing : m:ss
released on
album : Candyfloss and medicine (UK, Japan) track 1
album : Candyfloss and medicine (US) track 1
album : Seventeen stories: the best of Eddi Reader   (comp.) track 8

commentary
Regarding Eddi’s comment, George’s Square crops up in the song ‘Medicine’ on the same album.

In the fade out you can just hear some extra vocals, which don’t occur in the verses and refrain of the song. First up is “Hail Mary full of grace” which is the start of the Roman Catholic “Ave Maria” or “Hail Mary”, a prayer used, among many other things, as a penance; it may have been suggested by the verse about “Mary, Madge and me” which is re-quoted just before. Secondly there are some words which I cannot catch, roughly “… your […] face” (any ideas anyone?).
Adrian Dover