I Felt The Valley Lifting

by Toby Martin

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    Toby Martin's brand new LP I Felt The Valley Lifting on 12" black vinyl.

    Design and cover photo by Cameron Emerson-Elliott.

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Strange Fish 05:01
As I walked out one summer’s morn I heard the thrush a’ singing As I came over the top of Cop Hill I felt the valley lifting The canal spooled out like video tape The road went down and up again The smell came up so fragrant I felt a strong belonging As I opened up the shutters one morn I heard my neighbour knock He’s asking for my wi-fi password For his illegal Sky box His daughter’s doing her GCSE’s I feel responsibility He still owes me thirty pounds So I do it for his family If the Romans were here For 400 years And were never called ‘British’ Then what hope do we have Of ever being more than Strange Fish? As I walked out one summer’s morn I heard a lass a crying By the time I got through the door By her brother’s body was just lying I held his stomach as I got out my phone And tried to staunch the bleeding And by the time the ambulance came He was in the pub a’ drinking. The newspaper headlines: Brave mums and knife crimes And standing in the way of the people’s wishes Call me pal, call me buddy, Don’t look at me funny Like I’m some strange fish
German Sea 04:23
10 nights in a caravan down by the German Sea My father said this was a special holiday for me 18 hours of daylight but we had to leave the light on Grey sea and the clouds merge so you can’t see the horizon Smell of manure from the farm, stench from the plastic factory Looks like a photo of east berlin from the 1970s Went to the beach but we didn’t go on it Went to the sea but we didn’t swim in it When all of your children they come back to claim you You tried to make it perfect but somehow they blame you Got bitten by a squirrel down behind the shower block I tried to give it a bit of bread nearly bit my head clean off 6 hours in emergency, 10 stiches in my face Dad said thank you very much for ruining the holiday What with all the meals out and entertainment coz we’re bored Dad said it would have been cheaper to have an all-expenses trip abroad There’s a kid in a Ronaldo shirt says he lives here with his Mum We start playing together searching through her boyfriend’s stuff We find a box of fireworks past their use-by date He dares me to set a match to it the explosion nearly destroys the gate I catch a baby pike in the pond by the old bandstand I didn’t bring a bucket so carry it home in my bare hands Its flipping, flopping, trying to breathe, the kid says it will die But when I get it home the little thing is still alive I used to play with my brother here we used to climb the trees But that was before the night my dad said that he had to leave I saw something moving was it a sea monster? I said what is that Dad he said I can’t see what you see Keep all my memories down underwater But sometimes they surface lie rotting on the shore
I saw my red blood on a pure white bank The card I carried just beyond my outstretched hand I saw a pair of Vans and a bull mastiff A cigarette stubbed out in a snow drift I heard a chirp of grouse and the clop of hooves And from a distance the M62 For heaven’s sake this town A butcher’s gown 1,000 year frown I was on my way To tell you my heart Was filling with love For you Never been to Manchester, York or Leeds The next valley is another country From my horizontal vantage point I see your name On a street sign – Old Sykes Lane For fuck’s sake this town The Green and brown The Rose and Crown As I lay there in the snow All I could see Was you getting breakfast For your baby A saint is not someone who does good They’re someone trying to be good
Town Gossip 05:17
This town’s full of gossip People with nothing to think about As I held him down my hands shook Then I read about it on Facebook He’s my son and I know what he needs I know they’re talking about Me Me Received the date for my appeal If they think I’m gonna turn up and kneel Well they can all think again Victorian ruins by Victorian men What I did on the bridge was for his good Now there’s people who say I should I should not Be Where do I derive my own pleasure? At midnight, nine straw heads are warmly breathing Monstrous justice heedless to the consequence Innocent experience now sentences One day they will redeem me
He’d been planning it all for six months The publicity Had all been sent off I told him it’s not too late to stop it But he lay under a blanket To demonstrate the air pockets Tried to escape but he couldn’t escape Practiced with pillows down in the basement The crowd stopped their cheers and started to pray A mechanical shovel pulled him out of his grave The big day was finally here Down on the green A carnival atmosphere He said I can see it all so clearly Tomorrow’s headlines: ‘The Linthwaite Houdini’ Tried to escape but he couldn’t escape He’d been playing it out in his head like a tape Parents grabbed their children and turned them away A mechanical shovel pulled him out of his grave Down in London they sneer About the things we do here And put it in galleries But all of our hurt To escape from the dirt And charging our cavalry Tried to escape but he couldn’t escape Parents blocked the eyes of their children too late 500 people could not turn away A mechanical shovel pulled him out of his grave Pulled him unconscious out of his grave A reporter from the Examiner asked him ‘Why do you do it’? There must be a reason He answered with rare wisdom Everybody’s got something They want to escape from
Bird Boy 05:34
When I get home from school my Dad’s already into it Wearing a white singlet, the word ‘Swag’ written ‘cross it The letters they are printed ‘cross a sexy girls’ breasts And I think about the girl before I get into bed My Mum works in a nursing home she says she needs a drink From her nights spent cleaning up 90-year-old shit She says ‘Do you think I could go on Love Island, seriously?’ I say ‘Mum, you are not sexy enough for tv’ I walk up to the quarry A flurry Of ground pigeons move From under my feet Like the arrival Of sudden bad news The world splits in two I love the summers you can play football ‘til after 10 A yellow moon rises above the terraces Sometimes the bigger boys think they can really take the piss But once they’ve played against me they no longer think like this Everyone says that we’ve Not had a summer Like this Since the last really hot Summer Of ‘76 The dog pants and licks A grey heron Staring At fish down there by the canal To me It feels special To everyone else it’s banal Sometimes I Think I’m The only person who can see it That it might be a Ghost, or a Phantom, an ancestral spirit Paying a visit Everything that will happen Has already happened We’ve been learning ‘bout reincarnation In a past life I was a raven My grandfather thinks there should be a war And that is what wars are for
Buddleia and vomit Next door in the vacant lot Black plastic flapping in the field Sometimes my anger makes me ill Sometimes it feels like I have died But I haven’t realised Invisible in broad daylight A ghost haunting a former life Here he comes like a fire in a stall Cauterised, I don’t feel anything at all Moving mouth, plucking reasons from thin air I know his past. I sympathise but I don’t care When we wake in the winter gloom Wash his face get him dressed for school Your vacant look your sullen grin I hate how you’ve made me hate him Cheesy chips and a can of European beer Lying round like the clues in some strange crime scene Passed out in the greenhouse once again He was always good at playing the victim He’s got your eyes Nose and chin And I see your face Every time I looks At him Cauterised and a quarter of a wife Numb to all, that’s the story of my life
My father asks what do I think abandoning my weaving I say I’ve been up to Blackmoorfoot collecting peat-moss for the evening My mother asks where have I been to get my skirt hems pushed round all widdershins I say I’ve been to Blackmoorfoot to watch the summer moon a risin’ My friends stop me at the laneway gate I say ‘Do you have to ask it? I’ve been up to Blackmoorfoot to gather mushrooms for my basket My sister asks what have I done that evening when in bed I say I’ve been up to Blackmoorfoot a countin Pheasant’s eggs Enoch’s hammer came down on us I wait for her at Blackmoorfoot behind the old bus shelter Then we catch the bus back home while my mates all insult her The clouds come in on Scapegoat Hill where they hung the martyrs The past’s so close sometimes I feel it reaching out to touch us
Pole Moor 04:51
In loving memory of Clara Bamforth And Heidi, daughter of the above Died April 5th 1897 Of Dirker, Marsden, aged seven months We held her for fifteen minutes Long enough to give her a name And then a raven dressed in a white gown Came and took her away Does hope exist so it can be taken? Does sweetness lie in a chord of death? The mobile phone tower blinks on Pole Moor She put the pale thing to her breast Saw her transformed into a stranger As she sat in the neon glow Where she was I just couldn’t reach her Something quietly got up to go You carve inscriptions to make sure it happened You give things names or they never were Her mother said that there was a history Both of her sisters hadn’t gone full term You think to you it will never happen And if you did, how could you live? But these electric trams and buses Built on the bones of tragedy It’s so easy to think that nothing will change


released September 10, 2021


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Toby Martin Sydney, Australia

Toby Martin is a singer-songwriter from Sydney/Gadigal Australia, inspired by British Isles folk music and fuzzed out indie rock.

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