The Future Needs Us Now

by Joe Solo

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Hope is the best of things.

Sadly, too many of us have given up on it. We've allowed it to be slowly eroded by decade after decade of the Politics of Despair where nothing can ever get any better because this is the only possible path to follow, and change only ever makes things worse.

For too long our outpourings have been wholly negative ones. We see a problem and make no attempt to solve it, we just latch on to the nearest scapegoat and take our frustrations out on them because this is the way we have long been encouraged to behave. It is cathartic, it is easy, and it keeps us EXACTLY where we are.

In this way we have become aggressive defenders of the status quo. We don't want change. We SAY we do, but all we REALLY want is for the status quo to give us a passing nod from time to time all the while cowering from the idea that change can influence the path ahead in any positive way, because we no longer believe in our heart of hearts that it ever can. We do all we can to reject change while still demanding it of our masters. We join in with the catcalls of the Establishment when anyone comes along suggesting the possibility of a different path, because we have been taught all our lives that there is only one, and we are on it.

We have become conditioned to acceptance and despair. We have become institutionalized by the three-headed beast of injure, deflect and blame. This is the way neo-liberalism plays out on our streets.

But to give up on hope is to give up on the future; and not just our own future, but that of our children and our children's children. To give up on hope is to commit the ultimate act of selfishness.

Don't lose faith. Don't give up on hope. We CAN change things for the better. This is NOT the only possible path forward from here.

And the future?

Well. The future needs us now.


released January 6, 2017


all rights reserved



Joe Solo Scarborough, UK

Joe Solo is an award-winning musician, writer, poet, activist, broadcaster and washing machine engineer from Scarborough.

Live he has an ever growing reputation as both a performer and raconteur, being thought-provoking, comical and punch-the-air political often in the same breath.

He is not an artist you forget in a hurry.
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Track Name: Care Out Loud
You got to rise up
Stand tall and proud
And if you care
Then care out loud

It's not enough to have a heart
And quietly believe
It's not enough til you take that heart
And wear it on your sleeve


There's people who think us strange
Who'll never understand
That it's just people who'll make that change
We got the power in our hands

Track Name: Joe Solo ft. Rebekah Findlay - We Could Be The Start Of Something Better
I met Woody Guthrie on an old and dusty road
He said: "You're blowing my way, let me lighten up your load.
It's a long, long road to freedom and a lonely one I know
There's many miles behind us, and many more to go

We could be the start of something better
We could be the start of something new
We could be the start of something better
You and me
Me and you

I said: "I must be dreaming, cos you're long dead and gone."
He laughed and said: "I breathe again, when e're you sing that song
And they can't really kill you, if you will not compromise.
I lived my life a-hopin', and hope it never dies."


So keep on walking brother, go out and sing your song
You're carrying the flame now, and someday you'll pass it on.
Wherever you may wander, wherever you may roam.
If you're on the road to freedom, you'll never be alone.

Track Name: Joe Solo ft. Rebekah Findlay - The Pencil & The Gun
The Gun said: "Now Pencil, I'm stronger than you.
I can smash you to pieces, and what could you do?
Stop all that writing, it's over, I've won.
They'll cower to gaze on this thing that I've done."

The Pencil it paused and then carried right on.
It said: "Do your worst because after I'm gone
These words that I've written will take to the skies
As free from your bullets as truth is from lies."

The Gun shot the Pencil to pieces then saw
Those words on the paper that fell to the floor
At once through a crack in the window it heard
The crowds in the streets sing those very same words.

It cried: "That's impossible! How can it be?
I killed you, I beat you, I won, don't you see?"
But the Gun didn't get it, how after we're gone
The words and the love and the hope they live on.
Track Name: Why Are You So Angry?
Why are you so angry?
Someone asked the other day.
I said: "I'm angry about long hours;
I'm angry about low pay;
I'm angry that my boss
Can hand a family man his cards
Then say I'll get the same
If I don't now work twice as hard;
I'm angry about closed hospitals
Fire Stations, schools;
I'm angry that our papers
Feed the bigotry of fools;
I'm angry that elections
Yield a government that gloats
It has a working mandate
With a quarter of the votes;
Or that we don't take in refugees
Then try to justify
The reasons why
We turn our backs while hungry children die;
I'm angry for the homeless,
The helpless and the lost;
I'm angry that compassion
Comes in second now to cost;
I'm angry at statistics
How they've come to run this land,
How the tail it wags the dog now,
While that dog it bites your hand;
And I'm angry at this island
Where we once shot fascists down
And now queue in droves
To cast our votes
To let em run this town;
And I'm angry that your colour,
Your culture, creed and class
Can define you
And resign you
To being written off en masse
So don't you dare say I'm ungrateful
I should be happy with my lot
You wonder why I'm angry?
I wonder why you're not!"
Track Name: Blue Town
This is a new town
A Blue Town
A loyal and true town
Don't want you to live here though
Cos we got more than you town
Splash cash cos they love it when you laud it
Only good neighbour
Is the one who can afford it here

In this Blue Town
In this true blue town
This town
This town

We got the far right spite there
Underneath the arches
Green light given for the
Fascist marches
Better not be black, Jack
They'll say you're selling crack, Jack
Last to get a job here
And the first to get the sack, Jack
They're not racist, but...
They just never put
Their brains in gear
Or keep their mouths shut here

We got the slack-jawed masses
On the bones of their asses
Skint but they still think
That they belong the middle classes
But they're phonies phonies
Everything they own is
All bought on a credit card
To keep up with the Jones's
Yeah, that's right
I see you got the gist
They've not got ragged trousers
But they're all philanthropists here

You've got to covet thy neighbour's
Job and car
Shop em to the boss and boy
You'll go far
With the phonies, phonies
Who made it cos of cronies
Cast the first stonies
They wouldn't know honour
If it kicked em in the face
In this town
Track Name: Our Time Is Now
You can feel it in the air
There's something there
There's a change a-coming
It's time now to stand and fight
It's just not right
And you're tired of running

Hear the Chimes of Freedom ringing?
I thought they'd forgotten how
Some say our time will come
I say our time is now

For too long now they've had their way
Now what they say
Is ringing hollow
For too long now they've made the rules
And schooled the fools
For fools to follow

Hear the Chimes of Freedom ringing?
I thought they'd forgotten how
Some say our time will come
I say our time is now
Track Name: She's My Sister
She don't need fortune
She don't need fame
So don't try to mark them cards cos
She won't play your game
There'll be no compromising
For your diamonds and pearls
She's my sister
And she's changing the world

Don't try to bribe her
Cos she can't be bought
And don't try to set no trap cos
She'll never get caught
Her heartbeat's infectious
She'll put your head in a whirl
She's my sister
And she's changing the world

Some say the sky is the limit
Yeah, well she'd ask you 'Why?'
Some say: "Never say never."
She says: "Never say die!"
Her heartbeat's infectious
She's just that kind of a girl
She's my sister
And she's changing the world
Track Name: Joe Solo ft. Boss Caine & Rebekah Findlay - Halo
I met an old man, he said:
"Son I don't know you
But love is a three card trick
Watch and I'll show you
How you turn your head
When she walks in the room
Cos you can't see the stars
For the halo around the moon.

Don't try to hide it
And don't look surprised
And no son, don't you lie to me
It's there in your eyes
You're a ship on her rocks
In a storm and you're doomed
Cos you can't see the stars
For the halo around the moon

If the ocean is crying
You don't dry her tears
If a mermaid is singing
You cover your ears
Or they'll take you and they'll drown you
In their salty perfume
When you can't see the stars
For the halo around the moon."

I looked at that old man
And I saw that he spoke
Through the fog of the whisky
All mirrors and smoke
Like some poet who whined
About a flower in bloom
With some tired old line
About a halo and a moon
I said: "I know love and her traps
And you thought
That a free man like me
Would fall in and get caught?
Well you must be the dumbest
Old man in the world!"
And I left him right there
To go talk to a girl.....
Track Name: The Future Needs Us Now
The future needs us now
The future needs us now
Rise up for tomorrow
The future needs us now
Don't dwell upon no sorrow
For time will not allow
Rise up for tomorrow
The future needs us now

This one's for the future
For the battles yet to come
The arguments to counter
The races yet to run
And it goes out to the faithful
Who don't sit around and row
This one's for the future
The future needs us now

The future needs us now
The future needs us now
Rise up for tomorrow
The future needs us now
Don't dwell upon no sorrow
For time will not allow
Rise up for tomorrow
The future needs us now

This one's for the writers
Who kindle our desire
And it goes out to the fighters
Who pour petrol on that fire
And we save some for the dreamers
Who never stop to wonder how
This one's for the future
The future needs us now
Track Name: When I Was 14
I was in two minds about including some of the poems on the next album, but the reaction they get live has convinced me to put three or four can always skip em.

I particularly like this one as it is basically my journey through music and what I got from me a chance to say 'thank you' to a lot of amazing artists who saved my life in one way or another.

It is a personal journey, but I hope it's a universal one too. I think anyone who loves music has paved their path with heroes and all you need to do is change the names.


I was 14 years old when my journey began
It was needle on record...that crackle...then BANG
It was Stiff Little Fingers who hit me that night
It was just as if someone had turned on the light
And then handed me over the keys to the world
One that wasn't just homework and football and girls
But was everything I'd ever wanted to know
And for a kid with no friends
That was some place to go.

The Clash taught me music isn't there on a shelf
You live it and breathe it! You think for yourself!
They packed me off to Jamaica
Bob, Jimmy and Toots
Gave my rockers and radicals reggae and roots
Woody Guthrie said this land was my land to roam
Billy Bragg said with no band you go it alone
Joe Hill showed me legends can live down the ages
Paul Simmonds that stories can slip between pages
In history books, and it's our job to write em
Pete Seeger, injustices stand up and fight em
You don't fake it to make it
You don't beg for a deal
You write what you see
And you sing what you feel.

Johnny Cash taught me one thing I'll never forget
That's your voicecan ring truer the older you get
Dick Gaughan said I had to work out before
I start writing, what I'm fighting
And what I'm fighting it for
Propagandhi said hit hard and fast with no pity
Tom Waits showed me romance
Don't have to look pretty
Bruce Springsteen he said that it's ok to dream
Gillian Welch that a whisper can drown out a scream
Mega City Four that you're never alone
The Weakerthans that there's no place like home
Attila and TV Smith keep up the fight
And The King Blues the showed me
The kids are alright
Cos they've got it, they get it, they know what it means
They all had that moment I had at 14.

So Ii'm old now, I'm shattered
I'm tattered and torn
But like Rancid I'll stand here
And weather the storm no matter what
Because like them I know
When I got the music
There's a place I can go
Track Name: Battle On, My Friend
The path to the future
Is paved by them who fight
Who fly the banner skyward
Who stand up for their rights
See when it comes
Well it don't come from above
Change it comes when fights are fought
By people like us

I'll battle on
I'll see em out
I will kick and scream and shout
Til the the day that no-one goes without
My friend
I've got Woody, Jack and Joe
At my shoulder so I know
Not even death is the end
You've got to battle on my friend

Now old Tom Paine
Told me the fight never ends
It'll cost you your family
It'll cost you your friends
But know this, son
If that's the path you choose
You'll never win
Oh but we'll never lose

I'll battle on
I'll see em out
I will kick and scream and shout
Til the the day that no-one goes without
My friend
I've got Woody, Jack and Joe
At my shoulder so I know
Not even death is the end
You've got to battle on my friend
Track Name: Joe Solo ft. Rebekah Findlay - Rattling Tins
I rattled tins on corners
Through The Strike in 84
As Thatcher wreaked her havoc
In this town
I remember hunger
Like I'd never felt before
And the day their truncheons
Laid my Daddy down
But we wouldn't bow to Thatcher then
And I'm sure not bowing now
"You stand your ground,
You never let them win."
Daddy made me promise that
And I swore a solemn vow
If I had to spend my whole life
Rattling tins

Like lambs queued for the slaughter
Or turkeys writing Christmas cards
There's working people
Voting Tory still
But I'm a miner's daughter
And I know when times are hard
I've got something
They can never kill
And if I have to march a million miles
With banners held up high
Just tell me when and where
That march begins
For I will not break that vow I made
Until the day I die
If I have to spend my whole life
Rattling tins
Track Name: Dear Mr Black Dog
Dear Mr Black Dog,
Don't think by these tears
That I'm beat, in defeat
After all of these years
Of you growling and howling
And prowling around
Up inside of my head
A soundtrack
That pound, pound, pound
Pounds back incessantly
Down all my days,
A constant critique of my words
And my ways
And how everyone hates me;
How they don't like my songs;
How I hurt those I love;
How I only do wrong;
How am I so stupid?
How can I not see,
That they're not really cheering
But laughing at me?
How I can't see the damage I do;
And then how,
A less selfish man
Would have give up by now.

Some days the tears come
But by them I swear
That's not me defeated
I've just come up for air.
And yes there's been damage-
Emotional cost-
But the fact I'm still standing here
Means that you lost.

So Dear Mr Black Dog
Come on, do your worst.
I'm staring you down
And I will not blink first.
Track Name: A Patient Man
When I was young my Papa told me: "Son,
Word to the wise before the bullies come.
You stare em down and tell em 'DO YOUR WORST'
The pick the biggest one and hit him first."

I don't give up
I don't give in

And sure enough them bullies came to call
This gang they pushed me back against a wall
I said: "If I was you I'd turn and run.
There might be five of you, but I'm my fathers' son."

I don't give up
I don't give in

A reputation ain't no bad thing see.
A job need doing, they come call on me.
See they know I never cut and run.
I stick around and get the damn thing done.

I don't give up
I don't give in

My best friend, Ali, was a dark-skinned man
Came over here to lend a helping hand
One night three of em and a hunting knife
They cornered Ali and they took his life.
I was 50 when I took the last one down
Back of a bar way out in Camden Town
Boot on his throat I said: "You know who I am.
It's been 30 years, but I'm a patient man."

I don't give up
I don't give in
Track Name: The Clash Didn't Smash The Town Hall
Pulling 10 til 8's at Renny's
It was driving me beserk
And I'd stopped for twenty Bennies
On my way back home from work
When shuffle sent a song my way
I hadn't heard in years
'Complete Control' came pounding out
And I fought back the tears

It must have been November
Cos me Dad was still at home
When The Clash hit Boro Town Hall
With that riot all their own
We'd spiked our hair with soap
And we'd sewn zips into our jeans
Looking back we hadn't much of nothing
But our dreams

There was me and Jack and Johnny
And a stolen bottle of gin
We didn't have a penny
But the band they let us in
Took me 30 years to see it
On a Number 19 bus!
The Clash didn't smash the Town Hall
That was us

There was Mick and Paul and Topper
And in the centre of the stage
There was Strummer barking orders
In that mystic kinda rage
This was our Rebel Army
And they'd come to take our town
We let out all our anger
And we tore the damn place down


The band are dead and gone now
And I thought I was too
But Strummer woke up something
When he shouted: "That means you!"
And I jacked my job at Renny's
What I'll do now, I don't know
But I owed it to the young man I was
All them years ago

And the moral of this story
Is you've one life, don't you blow it
And anyone can change the world
It's just most of us don't know it
You either live life like you mean it
Or you rack up more regrets
And I'm 53 next Friday
But I aren't finished yet

Took me 30 years to see it
On a Number 19 bus!
The Clash didn't smash the Town Hall
That was us.
Track Name: One Life At A Time
While some are waiting for the spark to fire up their heart
She just rolls her sleeves up and says 'Let's make a start!"
She says that poverty's a punishment that has no crime
And if I have to I will save the world one life at a time

One life at a time
One life at a time
If I have to I will save the world
One life at a time

She says a lot of good, good people gonna die out there
And all to feed the greed of them who'll never care
And from here it might well look like it's a mountain to climb
But if I have I will save the world one life at a time


She says I just can't bear to see good people going without
And I've every right to stand and fight to scream and to shout
You find the first to justify it are the last to care
And I may not have that much, but what I've got I will share

And with that she disappeared out there into the dark
To spread the love she's got inside that big, big heart
And if you ever think your mountain is too steep to climb
You can always try to save the world one life at a time
Track Name: We SHALL Overcome
We SHALL Overcome
We have to
It's as simple as that.
No-one in power will stoop down this low
From their Ivory Tower to help us you know
And your history books, they will all tell you so.
We must take up the struggle ourselves.

We SHALL Overcome
We have no choice.
A voice lost in silence
Just incites the violence of class war waged from on high
Unleashing a rage of lie upon lie
In a storm of statistics which abuse and decry
And prove nothing
Except what they were made for
Sought and bought and paid for

We SHALL Overcome
With a raised fist and a helping hand
For we understand that THIS paves our path
Let compassion fashion out a future from this heartless past
That today breathes its last
For tomorrow has yet to be written

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