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I wish
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My dad was in the Navy on a minesweeper in WW2 and went all over the Med and Asia at a time when working class people rarely even went to the seaside, but he chose not to dwell on those times and hardly even spoke of them.
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Al Stravinsky


Tue Apr 25, 2006
Rock : Folk Rock
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Charts position
» highest in charts:   # 441   (260,122 songs currently listed in Rock)
» highest in sub-genre:   # 33   (8,315 songs currently listed in Rock > Folk Rock)
About the song
From the album 'The sentence that I serve'. Click here for link:
album cover

My dad was in the Navy on a minesweeper in WW2 and went all over the Med and Asia at a time when working class people rarely even went to the seaside. He must have seen some horrific things, some amazing, life changing things, but chose not to dwell on those times and hardly even spoke of them. A drum loop, Moog bass, strings, accordion, some synthy sounds, two acoustic guitars, and lots of harmonies make up the backing track, with a single lead vocal.
Lyrics
Verse 1
In the spring of '43
You sailed away to sweep the sea
For mines, a boy of just nineteen
Caught up in troubled times.
From Malta to Gibralter
And every distant shore,
You ate breakfast cooked on pavements of
A steamy Singapore.

Chorus
I wish I could have been there
And seen the things you'd seen there -
The wonders of the world
Burned in your memory.
I wish I could have been there
So I could know you better,
And understand the man you came to be,
Who meant so much to me.

Verse 2
A photograph is all that's left,
A bunch of laughing lads on deck:
'That's in the past, oh let's forget
About it', all that you would say.
No war for me, and not my fault,
No chance to prove I'm worth my salt;
Your history, belongs to me
And my kids too, we're part of you.

Chorus
I wish I could have been there
And seen the things you'd seen there -
The wonders of the world
Burned in your memory.
I wish I could have been there
So I could know you better,
And understand the man you came to be,
Who meant so much to me.

Middle 8
On the backstreets of Colombo sweet surprise,
Led through an open door by her eyes
And hair of night and lips of deepest red.

The Taj Mahal at sunset brings a smile,
While all around the wild sea mile on mile -
'Hey I'll remember this for all my life
Think what we'll do when we get home',
'If we get home...'

Verse 2
For one who'd seen so much so young
Oh what a cage it must have seemed,
To make a home in this small town
And drown thoughts of what might have been.
Yesterday you went away to search for dreams
To sweep the sky,
And I, a boy with shattered hopes,
Left all alone to wonder why -
Still I wish I could have been there, to say goodbye.

Chorus
I wish I could have been there
And seen the things you'd seen there -
The wonders of the world
Burned in your memory.
I wish I could have been there
So I could know you better,
And understand the man you came to be
Who meant so much,
Meant so much
Meant so much to me