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Observations placeholder

Rafferty, Gerry - Shipyard Town



Type of Spiritual Experience


Remembering Gerry Rafferty , rock's most reluctant star by Paul Rees (Classic Rock) January 04, 2018 Classic Rock  

 it’s the sound of that resigned vocal and eruptive saxophone that still now most readily brings Gerry Rafferty to mind. But better, more representative songs would be Shipyard Town from North And South – a rousing version of which Jack Bruce performed at the remembrance concert Celtic Connections in Glasgow hosted, at which Noakes, Dickson, the Proclaimers and Jack Bruce played– the stately The Right Moment, or any of the other deep, soulful songs on which the big bear of a man from north of the border with the aching voice and too-wounded heart bared himself.

“For me, he’s the greatest ever Scottish songwriter,” maintains Barbara Dickson, who released her own tribute album to Rafferty in 2013. “It was an honour and a privilege to have even known and been close to him in any way. When he died, I cried and cried, but whenever now I get sad about him not being here, I say to myself that it’s better to have had a part of him than not to have had him at all.”

“I will be forever in debt to what Dad gave me,” Martha Rafferty concludes. “There were so many indescribable experiences. Every day was a journey in itself and I’m still recovering from the impact those years had on me.”

Folk Roots (1988) - A Humble One: Colin Irwin talks to Gerry Rafferty

CI: How did you come to write Shipyard Town?

GR: Well that’s unashamedly nostalgic. My wife comes from Clydebank, which was the shipbuilding area. It was there where they built all the queens, Queen Mary and the QE2 and stuff like that. I spent a lot of time over there when we first met and the song is just about that basically. An old-fashioned love song!

A description of the experience

Gerry Rafferty - Shipyard Town (1988)


In a dance hall by the river, I was singing in a travelling band
Just another small town night, with a silver moon shining
I remember when I saw you, that first moment when it all began
You looked across a crowded room, and stole my heart away.

And we stood out in the moonlight, in the shadow of a factory wall
Music playing soft and low, and a gentle breeze sighing
And the light on the river was magic, yes a magic that I still recall
Moments come and moments go, but these moments still remain.

Remember how we met, down by the waterside
How easily we forget, all the love that we knew.

So we married our fortunes together, and we sealed it with a golden band
But somewhere down along the road, we could see the flame dying
Now an exiled heart gets weary, like two strangers in a foreign land
We reached the point of no return, a long long time ago.

Remember how we met, down by the waterside
How easily we forget, all the love that we knew.

The source of the experience

Rafferty, Gerry

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