Monday, June 27, 2011

The days of David Mc Williams-THE DAYS OF PEARLY SPENCER


A tenement, a dirty street
Walked and worn by shoeless feet
Inside it's long and so complete
Watched by a shivering sun
Old eyes in a small child's face
Watching as the shadows race
Through walls and cracks that leave no trace
And daylight's brightness shun.

The days of Pearly Spencer
Ahh Ahh Ahh
The race is almost run

Nose pressed hard on frosted glass
Gazing at the swollen mass
On conrete fields where grows no grass
Stumbles blindly on
Iron trees smother the air
But withering, they stand and stare
Through eyes that neither know nor care
Where the grass has gone

The days of Pearly Spencer
Ahh Ahh Ahh
The race is almost run

Pearly where's your milk white skin
What's that stubble on your chin
It's buried in the rot gut gin
You played and lost not won
You played a house that can't be beat
Now look your head's bowed in defeat
You walked too far along the street
Where only rats can run

The days of Pearly Spencer
Ahh Ahh Ahh
The race is almost run
The days of Pearly Spencer
Ahh Ahh Ahh
The race is almost run
The days of Pearly Spencer
Ahh Ahh Ahh
The race is almost run

Pearly Spencer was a homeless man who David McWilliams befriended, and lived in the same town of 'Ballymena-Ireland' as David did.
The song was a statement on the lives of the people who live on the fringe of society.
David McWilliams died in 2002, age 56.
(this is a copy of a blogger's comment giving an explanation of  what Pearly Spencer really was)

David McWilliams (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from The Days of Pearly Spencer)
David McWilliams
Birth name David McWilliams
Born 4 July 1945
Belfast, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Died January 8, 2002 (aged 56)
Ballycastle, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Occupations Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1965-1980s

David McWilliams (4 July 1945 – 8 January 2002) was a Northern Irish singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his 1967 song "Days of Pearly Spencer".


McWilliams was born in the Cregagh area of Belfast, an only child and moved to Ballymena at the age of three.[1] He began playing guitar and writing songs in his early teens. After leaving Ballymena Technical College in 1963, he started an apprenticeship at the Shorts missile factory in Antrim, and also started a local dance band, the Coral Showband.[1][2][3] He was a well-respected football player, and had a trial with Linfield as a goalkeeper.[2][4]
He recorded a demo of some of his own songs, which was heard by music industry entrepreneur Phil Solomon, who had previously managed The Bachelors and Van Morrison's band Them and also had close business ties with Ronan O'Rahilly's pirate radio station Radio Caroline.[1][5] Solomon won McWilliams a contract with CBS Records, which released his first unsuccessful single "God and My Country" in 1966, before signing McWilliams to his own new Major Minor label. McWilliams' first album, David McWilliams Singing Songs by David McWilliams, was produced and arranged by Mike Leander, and reached # 38 on the UK album chart. He quickly recorded a second album, David McWilliams, which reached # 23 in the album chart and featured the single "Days of Pearly Spencer".[3] This was a song about a homeless man McWilliams had encountered in Ballymena, and featured a sweeping orchestral arrangement by Leander and a vocal refrain apparently sung through a megaphone.[1] Massive exposure on Radio Caroline and through advertisements in the UK music press in the summer of 1967 helped generate interest and sales in continental Europe, and the record topped the charts in numerous countries including France and the Netherlands, selling a million copies worldwide.[2] However, although it became well known in the UK, "Days of Pearly Spencer" failed to make the charts there, perhaps because the BBC refused to play it owing to Solomon's links with pirate radio, and through mismanagement McWilliams never profited from the song's success.[3] In Italy, the song was covered in 1968 by Caterina Caselli as "Il Volto Della Vita". Successful later versions of the song included a disco version which reached # 1 in Belgium in the 1980s,[2] and a cover version in 1988 by the French psychedelic band The Vietnam Veterans and their album The Days of Pearly Spencer. A recording by Marc Almond, with an additional verse written by Almond giving the song a more optimistic tone, reached # 4 in the UK charts in 1992.
He released another album, David McWillams III, and several further singles for Major Minor, and toured widely in Europe, on some occasions with The Dubliners and the Kerries.[3] His 1968 song, "Can I Get There By Candlelight?" was used for the theme of a Dutch radio programme, Candlelight with Jan van Veen. He became very popular in Germany and Italy, as well as in France and Holland, and re-recorded some songs in Italian.[1][6] Reportedly, David Bowie once named McWilliams as his favourite songwriter.[4] An album, Days Of Pearly Spencer, comprising tracks from his three albums, was issued by Kapp Records in the USA in 1968.[6] He moved to London, and released further albums and singles on the Parlophone and Dawn labels in the 1970s, but these were unsuccessful.[3]
McWilliams moved back to Northern Ireland in 1978. He performed infrequently after that, mostly in local bars, although he also headlined a concert in aid of striking miners in 1984 and occasionally appeared at the Ballycastle Northern Lights Festival.[7] A compilation album, The Days of David McWilliams, was issued by RPM Records in 2001.[5]
McWilliams died of a heart attack at his home in Ballycastle, County Antrim in 2002, at the age of 56. He was married twice and had eight children.[3]



  • David McWilliams Singing Songs by David McWilliams (1967) - Major Minor - UK # 38
  • David McWilliams (1967) - Major Minor - UK # 23
  • David McWilliams Volume 3 (1968) - Major Minor - UK # 39
  • Lord Offaly (1972) - Dawn
  • The Beggar and the Priest (1973) - Dawn
  • Livin's Just A State Of Mind (1974) - Dawn
  • David McWilliams (1977) - EMI
  • Don't Do It For Love (1978) - EMI
  • When I Was A Dancer (1979) - EMI (Europe only)
  • Wounded (1981) - Carmel
  • Working For The Government (1987) - Homespun
This compilation is offering also the "dramatic" in lyrics and composition "THE STRANGER"(as a bonus track) which is an uknonwn musically diamond of its genre. In the compilation somebody can also notice another one . The"3 o'clock Flamingo street" 

Empty sound, deserted town
Beneath the silvery feathered down
Of morning's waking breath
Forgotten tunes and silver spoons
Goes to deeply shadowed gloom
And dies a silent death
Junkered peers through plastic ears
Holds his bottle heaven near
And dimly strange to rise
Unreal, can't feel
His dagger dangling band of steel
Through plastic coated eyes
Don't turn away, there ain't no need
It's just 3 o'clock Flamingo Street

Big band show an hour ago
I saw the laughing doorman show the stairway to the crowd
Yellow girls
Hair uncurled
Swaying in a rhythmic world
To the music playing load
Close light, shines bright
Pierces through the yielding night
And hides the shadows deep
Feeling free should be
No time to turn the door to see
Where morning widows weep
Don't turn away, there ain't no need
It's just 3 o'clock Flamingo Street

Pains begun bottle done
No place where a man can run
To shield his shaking brain
Head down round and round
Hold on harder to the ground
Untouched by the rain
Flesh cold, young or old
Who cares if the truth be told
Is only him to blame
Jack and Jill, had their fill
Begin to walk the day
Until it all begins again
Don't turn around there ain't no need
It's just 3 o'clock Flamingo Street

The Stranger(recorded in Germany 1969)
He passed us as we laughed
The stranger talking of our memories
We drank a while, and didn't even see him
The conversation drifted on
To he who was to die next morning
Leave his mark on life to be forgotten
And as we talked he watched and listened
To the words that poured out hated
From the garbage of our bellies so long hidden
We curst and swore & damned
The very body that gave breath
To such a man who's very name we could not utter
And the stranger came and joined us
He sat dawn at our table
Wished us all good evening, and he smiled
He joked and sang us songs
Of life and love and even dying
And no shadow passed before us all the while
We talked long through the midnight
And then far into the morning
Till the light crept through the shutter casting shadows
Till once again the conversation turned
To he who was to die
And every decent soul might sleep in peace again
The stranger smiled a little sadly
And said not to judge our knowing
That a story told too often, is told too well
That situations make a man
And not man a situation
And we nodded though we couldn't understand
Then he wished us all good luck
And he stepped out in the morning
Where the mist was slowly laughing at the dawn
And we called him by the name of friend
And said we see him soon again
To talk of all the things we haven't said
The drinks were gone, bottles blown
The money we once had was gone
So laughing we all stumbled to the hanging
But the laughter turned to ashes
When we looked beyond the hangman
For the face upon the scaffold was the stranger's

saurce taken from the official website 

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