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Utopian Track Breakdown 5) Rollin' On (The Things We Gave Away)

This tune was written in 1998 and demoed at Pete Thomas's home studio in Richmond in February 1999 along with Whatever It Takes, What You Wanted, Why Are The Beautiful So Sad? and Nobody Say Nothin' To No One. It can be found on Boots my second outtake collection. I always liked it but felt it didn't fit on the subsequent album Ian McNabb (2001). I was obsessed with hiring real Mellotrons every time I did a session which proved problematic. We couldn't get it down the stairs at Pete Thomas's place and Skinnie ( my close friend and tech) had to rest it halfway down at a jaunty angle and I played it there. We couldn't possibly get one on the Barge so I ended up using a sample. I have a Micro Mellotron now which is one of the greatest loves of my life. The Mellotron never made it onto the finished master.

This project was my attempt to make a Powerpop album. I spent a lot of money and time recording it at The Barge in Twickenham with Geoff Dugmore and Roy Corkill. Ian Broudie was renting it off Pete Townshend. It was a fun experience. It was a strange time for me. I was unsure where to go and a bit lost. I didn't have a deal but this album secured one with Sanctuary who stumped up the costs and then spent absolutely nothing on promotion and it sank without trace, even leaving many fans cold. I really love it and consider it one of my finest all-round pieces of work. When making a list of songs to record for Utopian I remembered RO and decided it was time to record it properly. We sped it up a bit and hollowed it out. I've always been proud of the lyrics and their timeless message. It has a clear Beatles vibe, unusual for me. I've played it live a couple of times, solo at the piano.


5) Rollin' On (The Things We Gave Away)


Fallin' in and outta love with reassuring ease,

people in the wounded streets once common goal to seize,

pacifists in revolution, arbitrary evolution, peace at last in absolution,

marching as to war,


captain in the wheelhouse as his ship is going down,

the bride-to-be is dancing in her mother's wedding gown,

taste the wine or taste the water, for the time is growing shorter,

come to rest or come to order,

marching as to war,

rollin' on, rollin' on, climb aboard this freedom train on silver rails across the plain,

we're rollin' on, rollin' on, pushin' ahead into tomorrow, there'll be joy and there'll be sorrow,


met a girl in Calgary with fire in her eyes,

she said she liked the show and just came backstage to say hi,

she broke my heart in twenty places, used me up and stole my aces,

now you cannot see the traces gimme more and more,


rollin' on, rollin' on, peaks and valleys, little towns,

in rain or sunshine ups and downs,

we're rollin' on, rollin' on,

do what we do because we have to,

lose the dream and love will pass through you,


oh the things we gave away...


there's a place for us somewhere girl just you wait and see,

just because we've been around don't make us history,

do you really need a reason? Apathy is out of season,

better just go on believin', gimme more and more,


rollin' on, rollin' on, climb aboard this freedom train on silver rails across the plain, we're rollin' on, rollin' on, pushin' ahead into tomorrow, there'll be joy and there'll be sorrow...



Written by R.I.McNabb © Peermusic (UK) Ltd. 1999

Ian McNabb: Lead vocal, slide guitars, bass. Ciaron Bell: Yamaha GX-1, grand piano, backing vocals, percussion. Nick Kilroe: Drums.




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