Appears On - Covered By - Annotated Lyrics
Ragged and rough in those sepia pages
Tear streaked and fearful, alone,
They were caught in the casual flash of the camera
A number, a name, do you know where they've gone?
They came with the faces of innocents
And they left with the bodies of men.
They were out on the run,
they were fleeing the wrath of the rain.
Deadbeat with drifting, they scrambled ashore
And they ran from the spell of the sea
And they looked to the past and drank to the future
And knew in their hearts it was never to be.
Now some of them came from the stony lands
And some from the paths of the plain;
But every man was fleeing the wrath of the rain
Where have they gone to, those faded faces,
Those fierce moustachioed men?
The women and boys and their tattered belongings,
What has become of the loss and the pain?
I see them today on the streets of the city,
We nod to each other again;
And I stand in their doorways to shelter
Awhile from the rain
those sepia pagesAt some point, everyone has come across these pages, many of them linked into the railway photos that are mentioned as "see him driving the golden nail.. that holds together the silver bars"...the picture I have in my mind is of my grandfather John Sinnamond Devlin and his Lough Neagh cronies..now those were moustaches.
Barry Devlin, email to the site, August 2010
caught in the casual flash of the cameraThe written lyric is amended from the original "the flash of the curious camera". Barry Devlin sings the original version in the recording.
looked to the past and drank to the futurePaul Brady sings a beautiful version of Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore - different from our version - which has the lines" we each of us drank a parting glass in case we should never meet more" With the gloomy benefit of hindsight I thought my version was more likely to represent the reality.
came from the stony lands and some from the paths of the plainThe "stony lands and the paths of the plain" were actually Athlone and Athenry in my mind. Ashtar from Mars, our hippy-proto roadie had seen a sign for them, late one night and said softly "Ah...Athlone and Athenry (he pronounced it as in Henry VIII)... two lovely cities of the plain"
We laughed a lot but it stuck and it's part of the band mythology which we always tried to incorporate and in which the lyrics are rich...ah, ephemera..... So, Westmeath and Galway but yes, Connemara too.
fierce moustachioed menYes. Self referential...but there's more. Lots of Irish people use "fierce" as a synonym for "very" We were "fierce loud" as a band for instance. So we often said the line without the comma. We've been apostrophized as TFMM often in the days since.