28 February 2011


Over in darkest North Wales, Lord Gray of Trelawnyd recently reported a sleepless night. It must be catching. Waking at 3am, I tossed and turned for an hour but the tunnel of nocturnal unconsciousness would not let me back. Lying there, in the 3am darkness, I thought of a song from way back in 1967. It appeared on an Incredible String band album called "The 5000 Spirits or The Layers of an Onion" and was written by the quirky one-off poet, harpist, songwriter, bandleader, professional hippy, dreamer and humanitarian - Robin Williamson - who appeared at Woodstock in 1969. The song is called "No Sleep Blues". It's pretty long but these are the opening lyrics:-

Cracks rack the windows, howls hold the floor
Rains rot the rafters and do you just have to snore?
It's a most inclement climate, for the season of the night
Is that mouse playing football, oh, I thought they didn't like the light?

And the dawn comes sneaking up when it thinks I'm not looking
I am starting to grieve, man, I used to know but now I believe, man
They tell me sleep is a gas and if I want to lay down
But I'm sorry I woke you, I mean I've got the no sleep blues

And here's the song. I must warn you that the ISB were very much an acquired taste. You were in "the club" or you weren't. Back then, I was very much in it:-


  1. Lord Gray of Trelawnyd
    you are such a sweetie!

  2. 1967? Methinks you are older than you let on! ;)Or an early developer.

  3. JOHN Lords don't address we serfs in that manner!
    JENNY In 1967 I was fourteen and perhaps more alert to new music than I have ever been since.

  4. Cure - another visit to the Bull's Head.

  5. Lords address serfs in any manner they choose.

  6. I was .... and now I'm ear-wormed by 'The No Sleep Blues'. Thanks.

  7. BRIAN No way! After last weekend I am tempted to take the pledge.
    RHYMES So you are also a serf?
    MOUNTAINEAR There are not many of us around. In my mind there is a painting box.


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