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Pain or Paradise

[John Tams]

The Albion Band: Pain and Paradise (Harvest HAR 5175)

Pain and Paradise / Lay Me Low
The Albion Band
Harvest HAR 5175 (single, UK, January 1979)

The Albion Band recorded Pain or Paradise at Chipping Norton Studios, Gloucestershire, in July 1978. Author John Tams, who developed the song from the sea shanty Riding on a Donkey, sings himself with Viola Wills joining in on chorus. The song was originally released in January 1979 as a single on the EMI/Harvest label and later included as bonus track of the CD reissue of the album Rise Up Like the Sun. On both versions, the song’s title is Pain and Paradise even if the chorus goes Pain or Paradise. The B-side of the single, Lay Me Low, is a remix of a track from this album. This was included in the CD reissue too.

A 1979 Albion Band live recording with John Tams and Julie Covington singing was included with its proper title, Pain or Paradise, on the Ashley Hutchings anthology The Guv’nor Vol 3.

June Tabor and the Oysterband sng Pain or Paradise in 1990 on their album Freedom and Rain.


The Albion Band sings Pain or Paradise

Ragged roads I’ll cease to ride,
A thousand days I’ve laid aside
To watch the sun rise in your eyes
When I see you smile.

Some you lose and some you gain,
You take a chance and play the game.
Is it paradise or pain
When I see you smile?

Fortune teller, do you see
What the future holds for me?
Happiness or misery,
Pain or paradise?

All the lives I’ve led before,
None of them I’ll ever turn to.
I know what I’be been searching for
When I see you smile.

Save me from the darkest night
And hide me in your arms till morning.
Strip the shadows from my side
When I see you smile.

(2× Chorus)