Ruins By The Shore


Jon says, “I believe this is the only song Nic Jones wrote in its entirety. A grim but moving summary of human existence, the subtext of which is, I suspect, carpe diem.”

I can add that I’ve come across two other sole writing credits, the songs Green to Grey and Rapunzel, not that it’s especially important. Given his output, however, this may not be exclusive but is pretty rare none the less (should you wish it Mainly Norfolk has a very good discography here.) A shame I think, although Jones may well have felt there was more of merit in the tradition (as some do here.) I don’t have his original to compare, but I like the way that this works. It seems to me part carpe diem and part lament to lost spirituality overtaken by worldly trappings.
You can buy the January digital album now from all good download stores.


17 Responses to “Ruins By The Shore”

  1. Joy Toole says:

    I first heard this sung by Julie Henigan American singer and guitarist way back in the 80’s Fantastic song Many thanks

  2. John says:

    This works very well unaccompanied and I liked Jon’s version very much. I have a Nic Jones recording of it on the album ‘In Seach of Nic Jones’. Nic comments in the CD booklet that on a trip to Brittany he saw a ruin which reminded him of the final scene in the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ where the torch of the Statue of Liberty is discovered sticking out of the sand. “The thoughts and imagery stuck.”

  3. Jim Lawton says:

    Yes I like Jon’s version too. I learned this song (unaccompanied) some years ago, though I never sang it “out”, or very rarely. One reason being that in the Nic Jones version I’ve got, the final line is “As we lay among the ruins … ” . This grammatical error annoyed me but I was told “Oh you can’t go changing NIC JONES’S words. So I waited with interest to hear what Jon would do. Yes, good man, it’s “lie” – hoozah :0) Very bleak though, and somehow apposite for an era of “reality TV” and pulp culture. “We search the heavens and the silent skies, hoping that light will fall on blinded eyes”. Excellent song.

  4. muzza says:

    Not the sort of song I would want to sing”out”. But ideally suited to a devotee listening to a Nic Jones album and enjoying the full range of the singer/songwriter’s skill.

  5. Peter Walsh says:

    Superb Jon! A perfect song for solo voice, but I’ve heard a brilliant treatment with piano intro and acoustic guitar / double bass on Debra Cowan’s album Fond Desire Farewell, keeping to the ‘lay’ lyric by the way. Oh yes, The Demon Barbers also sing ‘lay’ on their ‘Uncut’ album version!

  6. Nick Passmore says:

    I first heard Brian Peters sing this on his 1991 album for Harbourtown “The Seeds of Time”. It has a beautiful anglo concertina part.

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    As I don’t do carpe diem very well, this is a tadge too doleful even for this misery-loving bear! Any more bite to those blackened bones, Jon, & we’d be weeping under the pub table!

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    On second hearing, I stand by my comment of last year… lead me to the pub table! (Any excuse!)

  9. Diana says:

    What a woeful song but sung so movingly by Jon. I need something to cheer me up now.

  10. muzza (N.W Surrey) says:

    My first morning up after 4 days lay/lie under the duvet
    in the throes of a “man cold!”……with nobody to bring me sustenance……
    what a jolly song with which to celebrate losing half a stone!…not quite the blackened bones state.
    I knew I shouldn’t have stopped wearing my v**t!

  11. Diana says:

    Oh, you poor thing. Pity you are so far away otherwise I would have brought you something to eat and lots of lovely Lemsip (ugh). Still that will teach you not to leave your nice warm v** t off. Not the ideal way to lose weight, and such a cheerful song to greet you (not).

  12. muzza (N.W Surrey) says:

    @Daina………….don’t pity we Southern Softies……
    a Northern Lass would have brushed the 4days aside and still have got to the pit at 5am everymorning followed by a night shift at ‘arris’s mill!……..then neutered an old Tom that chanced to stroll across her yard!

  13. Tedd O'Ramsden says:

    Ha ha, Muzza, you know me so well. And I’m still up to a young tom that crosses my path, let alone an old one. HAHAHAHAHA!

  14. Diana says:

    Still a woeful song but couldn’t really expect it to change in a year.

  15. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Woweeeee……….I see that I had a man cold back in 2012……….ok at the moment this year even though the central heating broke down a week ago and the temp is 11C in the house….but I like plonking around in several jumpers and a selection of woolly hats Meanwhile,I’ll keep banging the jammed pump with a chunk of wood….My friend Mr.Micawber said it’ll free up soon…………and hey- spring is just around the corner.

  16. old Muzza(N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    Wey hey….thanks to the NHS giving me an injection of brass monkey glands I laugh at the snow….Ha Ha ha says I….man cold ….do your worst…..bring it on!
    Turned up at the pub today and stood in front of my friends in a seemingly, dishevelled Father Christmas outfit……….oh what joy it was to see their faces as I pressed the button and the suit inflated to sumo wrestler proportions!…. (it was the tiger onesy at our last monthly meeting!!!!) will I ever grow up!

  17. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha……2017…turning up at the pub as inflatable father Christmas was a laugh…..and I’m still at it at my age….turned up to the morris men session on New year’s day in gorilla outfit + baby gorilla and big inflatable banana…….unfortunately, some of my friends from 2017 are no longer with us so I’ll keep going (as long as I’m able)to remind me of them.
    Just as I cling to the AFSAD comments which have so many memories and is more than a folksong site to me.

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