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Dial It Back

by Malcolm MacWatt

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    Twelve songs on black vinyl-look disc.

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You were looking real good on the dancefloor Now you're over here talking to me You say you liked the way I was watching you moving And you like the way I speak I can see where this night is taking us So it's only right I tell you true I might live in the city but I was born on the bayou So if you wanna get with me then we're gonna get a little bit drunk So sip on this moonshine whisky and listen to some hillbilly funk You can take the boy out of the bayou But you can't take the swamp out of me And I don't mind big city lights But I like getting wild in the country So I'm just gonna come out and say it You better know what you're getting into I might live in the city but I was born on the bayou
Love is like a river flowing, don’t always know where it’s going Some days it’s fast and wide, some days you’re stuck on the other side That girl used to be with me, the one over there with the new baby Wedding band on her finger, married life just seems to suit her She was the latest in a long line Waiting around with me for the next guy CH: I’m a stepping stone to something sweeter I’m a stepping stone to where the grass is greener I’m a safe place to catch your breath before stepping off and moving on again Looks like I’ll spend my life alone, cos I’m always a stepping stone I would like to settle down, meet someone I can’t live without I want the house and kids and all those happy feelings couples get But just when I think I’ve found the one, next thing I know she’s up and gone So if you’re trying to cross this river, maybe I can be your answer If the water’s deep and the current strong I don’t mind laying down Maybe it’s my destiny, so go ahead and walk over me
Long hot summer of ill content Heat and pressure the city sweats There’s blood in the street a man shot dead And no-one believe what policeman said Ch: It won’t take much just a push and a shove Look out this city’s getting ready to turn Now I see black smoke on the skyline I can see riots and sunshine When the hell are we ever gonna learn The next time the city burns Tension’s turned up to fever pitch Streets of gold soon turn to shit Wound so tight and set to snap Just so hard to keep the peace intact Somewhere a grieving mother cries Her boy did not come home that night Don’t matter if it’s gun or knife The city takes another life
Southside of the river, looking over the water The money side looks prettier at night From the north bank of the river, looking over the same water The view of this side ain’t so nice in daylight And I hear sirens wailing, I can see blue lights flashing It’s just somebody’s bad day crashing back to reality This is my side of the city and what it means to me CH: Now I’m down here staring at the sky At the rich and the beautiful living up so high It’s a slippery slope when you’re trying to climb glass mountains I can see right through to the other side And if I wanna get there I’m gonna have to climb But standing in my way is a big glass mountain I’m not saying for certain there’s no way of escaping But these streets don’t let you go so easily The world you’re born into can wrap its arms around you The more they hold you back the safer it can seem And I know about glass ceilings they do a damn good job of keeping Folks like us from reaching higher ground This is my side of the city and this is what I found
Satellite 04:12
When I’m driving all I see In the headlights is the highway rushing by me When I’m driving all I hear Is the sound of the motor and the road rolling low in my ears Ch: And me….. I’ll be buzzing around you all night Buzzing around you all night I’m your satellite When I first saw you I just knew I could spend my whole life just being around you When I’m near you and you turn down the lights When you hold me tight then my whole world revolves around you Flying high at the speed of sound I’m your satellite You are the world I’m spinning around and around and around…..
I've learned to wake up in the morning without crying I've learned to realise that you are never coming home I’ve learned all kinds of ways to make it through But I never did learn quite how to ever stop loving you CH: I can’t carry the weight of you no more, it’s just too heavy for my poor heart to hold I can’t carry the weight of you no more, it’s too much sorrow for one poor soul alone But I can’t let you go, can’t let you go, I can’t let you go now… I never learned how. I feel so cheated cos I was sure we’d have more time I feel so sorry for myself cos I’ve been left behind I feel so angry that life is so unfair And I don’t feel this is something I should ever been asked to bear M8: If you were here you’d smile and shake your head You’d tell me to not to waste the time that I had left You’d tell me to stop my crying and dry my eyes But you’re not here for me to tell you I can’t even try
You don’t answer my telephone calls You’ve put new locks on the door You’ve shut me out, shut me off, shut me down but this Can’t go on no more What do we do with the life we once had? If we take this one last step further I need answers to my questions like what do we do now With each other? CH: The dust has settled and the storm has blown out Are you ready to talk to me now? After the flood and the water has gone down Are you ready to talk to me now? Cos words are all that we have left When we’re burned down to the soul There was a time your words were kind and warmed my heart but our Conversation’s turned so cold Maybe the life we have will make more sense If we can hear each other’s voices There’s no honest truth in silence Cold shoulders make cold choices Outro: Talk to me baby, talk to me honey I’m ready to listen just let it all out Talk to me baby, talk to me darlin’ Are you ready? Ready to talk to me now Ready to listen, ready and willing, no need for suspicion, don’t mind if you shout I swear I’m listening, even if you’re just whispering Just say that you’re ready, ready to talk to me now
Looks like hurricane season has come back around Cos here comes another one tearing through town Better take cover, tie everything down This girl will pull your heart out through your mouth Wild weather was forecast, everybody was warned She’s lightning and thunder she’s the perfect storm There’s nowhere to hide, and there’s no place to run There ain’t no going back once the damage has been done CH: Katrina, Wilma, Cindy & Jeanne, Isobel, Rita, Donna, Irene They left a trail of destruction, they came out of the blue But I was not ready for Hurricane You This was a quiet little town before she blew in Now it’s upside down and my whole world spins The guys are in a state of emergency Then just like a hurricane she’s gone with the breeze
Communication has never been better I can talk to anybody in a matter of seconds And even though we find it hard to talk to one another We can get a message through to a tin can floating round Jupiter Everybody’s living great lives on social media Dating online getting laid is getting easier The world’s at my fingertips it’s in my phone Without technology I’m basically somebody on my own Ch: Hard lessons of history haven’t taught us anything When all around me the only thing I see Is attitudes hardening – guns are all gathering The colour of my skin is an issue Who I choose to love is an issue The god I choose to pray to or I don’t is an issue Freedom to think what I want is an issue somewhere Mr Armstrong said it’s a wonderful world Another Mr Armstrong made one giant leap for mankind If we can fly to the moon or write a beautiful tune Why is it so hard to find A tolerant peace-loving forgiving new state of mind
Three walls and a cage door are locking down on me One window with no escape and no opportunity Three years in already with another three to go I never meant to hurt that boy, the whiskey told me so Prison got me sober and time has brought me shame I’m sorry for the things I’ve done when I hear her say CH:No matter what the world is putting you through When you’re lost and lonely and misunderstood When you’ve got the bluest of the blues No-one could love you like I do Faithless on the outside, a cheater and a liar I’m thinking ‘bout that girl of mine and how I made her cry I would sell my sorry soul just to see her smile again But she’s long gone now, I’m the one to blame Prison got me lonely but time has brought me faith I’m sorry for the things I’ve done when I hear her say Got out for mama’s funeral, I couldn’t cry enough Standing by that graveside both hands still in cuffs I made a solemn promise to her, right there and then I’m sorry ma but one day you’ll be proud of me again Prison got me humble and time has brought me grace I’m sorry for the things I’ve done when I hear her say Guess I’ve turned a corner, my time’s reached the end On my best behaviour, parole’s my new best friend New day for a new man with a total change of heart The door slams shut behind me, it sounds like a new start Prison got me cleaned up and time has set me free And outside in the parking lot a woman waits for me
Sympathy Sex 03:41
I say her name and she turns around and smiles But it ain’t the same cos the smiles don’t reach her eyes I’m the one to blame for pulling us apart I make the holes, she sews the patches on her heart I can see her getting set to make the break I know she needs to leave and find her own space She's got this strange look in her eyes, relief and pity, heartache and desire CH: So what about one last time for the road? One last touch before I go she said If I’m gonna break your heart, it’s better I should break it in bed And I know what’s coming up next.. some sweet, full of sorrow, sympathy sex It’s funny how when something is coming to the close You realise how good it was, it’s harder to let go And all of your senses are going into overload Oh darling why could it not be like this before? And there's part of her still loves you and you're holding on to that She's giving you her body but you know her soul's detached And she's pulling out all the stops so you remember her this way This is really gonna twist you up when she finds love again Sympathy sex, so much sorrow and so intense Sweet, deep and full of regret And I ain’t too proud to beg Darling please don’t go just yet …..sympathy sex
Three days without water, three weeks without food Five minutes without breathing and life is gone for good Well I knew for certain that I could not withstand Without you one more second I would be a dead man CH: Maybe I will walk on water, squeeze blood out from a stone Maybe I will buy the White House or talk to Jesus on the phone I could swim across the ocean, ride my Harley to the moon Cos I’m doing the impossible…. already... I’m living without you I’m trying to recover, from this hit and run Put myself back together, don’t think it canbe done Part of me is missing now, the part I really need Without you here my darling I’m half the man I used to be My vital signs are slowing, my heart don’t wanna beat When I think about you going girl, I can hardly breathe


On “Dial It Back” I’ve hammered my colours firmly to the retro mast by fusing contemporary songwriting with a wash of mid-70s sonic to create a new album that feels instantly comfortable. It’s not a tribute to the past, more a celebration of a time when rock music was happy to embrace harmony and melody without any sense of irony. The album title reflects the vintage vibe but is mainly about making a conscious decision to relax, sit back, jam and just let the songs breathe easy.

To get the feel of one band performing everything in one session, engineer and producer Phil Dearing at L-Sound Studio, insisted on using the same two guitars; a Jimmie Vaughan signature Strat and a Telecaster Deluxe; the same Fender amps, Hammond, Rhodes and the same rhythm section set-up for every song. The only additions were my G-tuned Squire Strat for the slide guitar parts on ‘Hillbilly Funk’ and "Are You Ready To Talk To Me Now?" plus a Gibson 335 to add some crunch to “Doing The Impossible”.

Over the last year I’ve grown in confidence as a songwriter and a performer and these songs have more social commentary, more diversity of subject matter and I’ve been more disposed to writing love songs. I’ve got the confidence to take a big step sideways out of the calm waters of folk and americana into a huge ocean that is much harder to navigate - the mainstream 70s rock sounds that I grew up with. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.


released January 17, 2020

A huge thank you to Phil Dearing. His keyboard, bass, programming and guitar contributions together with his production, engineering skills and enthusiasm were an essential part of this album.


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Malcolm MacWatt London, UK

“MacWatt will doubtless be considered among the best of the new breed of folksingers and songwriters, who speak of the past as a way to perhaps understand it and move forward” Stephen Rapid, Lonesome Highway

“He shines as a singer and he shines as an interpreter of the eternal folk songbook,” Tom Brosseau, The Great American Folk Show, North Dakota
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