> Steve Ashley > Songs > Once in a While

Once in a While

[Steve Ashley]

Steve Ashley sang his own song Once in a While in 1983 on his Family Album. This recording was also included in 1999 on his anthology The Test of Time and in 2002 on Topic’s The Acoustic Folk Box. He also sang it Live in Concert at The Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, on 12 March 2006.

Token Women covered Once in a While in 1992 on their No Masters CD The Rhythm Method.

Maggie Boyle sang Once in a While in 2012 on her album Won’t You Come Away. She noted:

From Steve’s wonderful concept recording, Family Album, I first heard this song about twelve years ago, and felt an immediate and strong affinity with it. A granny before my time! If you don’t know Steve’s work, seek him out.

Narthen (formerly Coope, Simpson, Fraser & Freya) sang Once in a While in 2018 on their eponymous No Masters album Narthen. They noted:

Jo [Freya] and Fi [Fraser] have had the privilege of knowing Steve and his songwriting since their teenage years in Cheltenham. They are particularly fond of this song which they have been singing since it came out on his Family Album in 1983—a fantastic suite of music celebrating all things family which included Fi’s two personal favourites, one written from the point of view of the family dog and one from the point of view of the radio!


Steve Ashley sings Once in a While

Your children all are married and their own
Are growing every day
You see them from your tower all alone
And your hair is turning grey
Your family is in the world
Far beyond your care
And crazily the seasons twirl
Till you can only stand and stare

Chorus (after each verse):
But once in a while
You see it also clearly
Summon a smile
In spite of all the pain
You see through all the magic
In imagination’s games
Once in a while, Once in a while

Light the pull and suckle on your breast
In the days gone by
Now tight you pull that buckle on your dress
Bright you paint your eye
Face the changes every day
One by one you try
But wild and strange they’ll have their way
Till you can only wonder why

Time was when you were the Belle of the Ball
And you had every ballroom dancer
At your beck and call
Now God knows your beau’s gone
There’s no one at all
To take the pretty wallflower and pluck it from the wall


Song lyrics supplied by Steve Ashley. Thank you very much!