The Story of Them Lyrics - Van Morrison

Review The Song (1)

When friends were friends
And company was right
We'd talk and talk and sing
All through the night.
Morning came leisurely and bright
Downtown we'd walk
And passers by
Would shudder with delight
Good times...
All the cats were there
Just dirty enough to say
"We don't care."
But the management had had complaints
About some cats with long long hair
"Look look look"
And the people'd stare
"Why, you won't be allowed in
Barred from pubs and clubs and
Made the scene at the Spanish rooms
at the Falls
And man, four pints of that scrumpy was
enough to have you
Out of your mind.
Climbing up the walls
Out of your mind
But it was a gas, all the same
Now just around about this time with
the help of the three J's
Started playin' at the Maritime.
That's Jerry, Jerry and Jimmy
You know they were always fine
They helped us run the Maritime.
And don't forget Kit
Hitting people on the head and
knockin' them out
You know he did his best and all
Was something else...

Now people say, who are
Or what are Them
That little one sings and that big
one plays the guitar with
a thumble on his finger runs it up
and down the strings
The bass player don't shave much
I think they're all a little bit
But the people came
And that's how we made our name
Too much it was
Yeah, good times
Wild, sweaty, crude, ugly
And mad.
And sometimes just a little bit sad
Yeah, they sneered and all
But up there, we just havin' a ball
It was a gas, you know
Some good times...
We are the Them take it or leave it
You know they took it
It kept coming
And we worked for the people
Sweet sweat
And the misty misty atmosphere
Gimme another drink of beer baby
Gotta get goin' here...
Blues come rollin'
Down Royal Avenue
Won't stop at the city hall
Just a few steps away
You can look up at
Maritime hotel
Just a little bit sad
Gotta walk away
Wish it well...

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maritime odysseys 1963 to 1967 | Reviewer: colm connolly | 3/17/12

Zero reviews seem likely because the "Rock" imagery and associations are meaningless outside of Belfast.

The song alludes to an odyssey down the Falls Road 1963-64 similar to Van's odyssey along Sandy Row referred to in 1968 Astral Weeks conscious-stream "Ulysses"-style track Madame George.

Just seen up the Falls Road (the Falls) from the Spanish Rooms was Durham Street. Walking south down Durham here from the Falls this way you also came to the Maritime Hotel near the corner of College Square North.

Continuing straight along Durham from the Maritime you crossed an intersection of movie theatres and straight onto Boyne Bridge over the Great Northern Railway track (GNR-now the Europa Hotel) from Dublin and into Sandy Row of Madame George. (Boyne Bridge symbolises the railway bridge down below that Van threw pennies onto from the train).

The Story of Them includes this type of imagery coming down the Falls from Durham Street intersection (which crossed up to the Shankill Road, an otherwise famous shopping street with miles of shops in Belfast) and on towards the Spanish Rooms on the Falls. The Spanish Rooms sold cheap unrefined cider (scrumpi) and was where all the Rock muso "head" people congregated.

Contrary to what big global newsmedia blurb today suggests "Rock stars" were treated like garbage in the "Swinging 60s". I myself was thrown out of public toilets in Belfast by the janitor who said "We don't want people like you in here." And he threatened to call the police. Long hair was not "popular fashion" at all then, nor at all widely worn except by Rock muso and "head" types. So anyone with long hair was 99% certain to be muso or Rock scene people.

Van Morrison's touch-down entrance point seems to represent returning to Belfast from a showband gig in the sticks.

The most historically important Rock music site in Belfast, Northern Ireland ran from Chichester Street and the Plaza ballroom or the old American Army Red Cross Club of 1942, across the front of Belfast City Hall on Donegall Square North to Wellington Place and Crymbles music shop and Rock musos weekly Saturday morning ren-dezvous where I bumped into every Pop and Rock muso in Belfast including Van Morrison who to me was just another Belfast muso there along with the rest. The Maritime was just around the corner in College Square North from here.

Royal Avenue was the main T-junction into the Plaza-Maritime thoroughfare coming down from the northern counties and Scottish (Glasgow) dance gig circuits out from Belfast.

This is not really a review of The Story of Them but how to review it. And does it do this for you.

colm connolly.

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------ Performed by Van Morrison

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------ 11/24/2014

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