Harry Smith was my father

by Hiawatha Telephone Company

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Hiawatha Telephone Company is named after a t-shirt, and a company that still exists which kind of makes its commercial viability rather unlikely.

Live, HTC is a rare commodity but he writes nice songs, 13 of which are available on the album 'Harry Smith was my Father',comprising demos recorded mostly in single takes on a cold wet day in January 2009 at Peppercorn studios in Brighton.


Sounds like "a lone urban cowboy singing his own earnest songs of melancholy with his trusted guitar"
(The Crack, Newcastle)

There is "nothing experimental, nothing progressive... The music Jon plays is immaculate and reduced to the necessary core. This is the acme of intimacy in music."
(Common Folk Meadow blog)


released January 23, 2009

Jon, guitar and vocals




Hiawatha Telephone Company Brighton, UK

Singer-songwriter, wannabe-band sort of thing, Hiawatha Telephone Company is named after a t-shirt, & a company that still exists.

The 2009 album 'Harry Smith was my Father' has been described as "immaculate and ... the acme of intimacy in music" (Common Folk Meadow blog). A second album 'Passengers Greatest Hits' was released in April 2014.
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Track Name: Happy as a mole
Down in my hole I’m happy as a mole
Deep in the earth my face as black as coal

When life gets you down, go underground
When life gets you down, don’t hang around

Take to my wings I’m flying high in the sky
Don’t know where I’m going, don’t wonder why

When life gets you down, just stretch your wings
When life gets too hard, forget about those things
Track Name: Flowers in the window
Flowers in the window, no-one at home
Flowers in the window, and I’m all alone
Sitting here contemplating, who what when why
Dark clouds descending, and covering the sky

Don’t make me laugh - in your old way
Don’t make me smile - like it’s the same
Don’t make out - that there’s nothing wrong
I need a reason to go on

November’s cold wind - cuts me to the core
Another bitter conversation - has left me raw
Track Name: Richard and Liz
Richard and Liz had a lovely life
Didn’t know what they had ‘til one of them died
Biggest diamond ring in the whole wide world
Isn’t worth a thing when you’ve lost your girl

Bonnie and Clyde robbed banks all the time
Bonnie and Clyde had love on their side
Bonnie and Clyde spent ten years on the run
But the love that they had couldn’t out-run the gun

Love is strong and it hits you like a knife
Rips you open and makes you feel more alive
Nothing in this old world that you can’t buy
Richard loved Liz and Bonnie loved Clyde
Track Name: One step ahead
You always were leading me astray
I thought you were a leader in every way
You never did follow me when I was going away
You never asked me if I wanted to stay

One step ahead, two steps behind
One minute we’re here, but still we’re out of time

You were thinking of the future, when I was living the past
Crossing paths over the ocean was never really going to last
My life was getting complicated, my days were getting long
Didn’t see who you wanted to be, didn’t know if you were that strong

I saw you downtown, you sure were looking good
I was thinking to call your name, but I didn’t know if I should
You’re living your own life now, when I’m growing out of mine
Can’t live in the past I guess, looking for what we’ll never find
Track Name: Moving house today
We’re moving house today, all the memories we had,
Some will drift away, and others they’ll take us back,
To good times we had, friends we loved and tidings glad,
They’re never gonna change, tho’ we can never have them back.

We’ve got to pack it up and say good-bye
See the passing years close my eyes

We’re moving house today, to get a different point of view.
Another neighbourhood, another lawn collecting dew.
I kinda liked our place, if we could only stay a while,
I’d contemplate the past and all the friends that made me smile.

Can’t live in the past, can’t find a way to make it last.
Time’ll take it’s toll, all the years are flashing past.
Another girl I knew, another life I lived before,
A friend I half recall, he never made it to twenty four.

Guess I could’ve helped them through, but life’s too short to make amends,
All the people I held true, I wonder where your lives will end.

Pack our things we’ve got to go
We’ll be back before you know
Track Name: Six weeks
Six weeks after the break up
I thought I must be losing my mind
Didn’t think that I’d feel bitter
But I guess I’d been biding my time

I’d been clinging to the past dear
It was keeping me twisted inside
It’s just the fear of being on my own
But I’m not gonna take you for any more rides

You’ve been seeing our close friends
You’ve been spinning some lies
You’ve been weaving a web of hate
You’ve got them hypnotized

But if half the blame was yours dear
Half the fault must be mine
Wash your sins down by the river
And I’ll hang mine to dry out on the line
Track Name: Alone again
Alone again in a strange town, Alone again in a strange town,
I don’t know why, …I’m hanging around this town

It’s dark __________ , So dark ___________ ,
Too dark…. To feel any thing.

Don’t even look at me, Don’t tell me what you see
In my face… I’m not thinking anything.

Street lights shine on me, touch my soul with electricity
But they… make shadows in every place.

Dark alleys and distant hills, pints of lager and bitter pills,
Keep me dull… to every pain.

I get lonely_______ , Oh so lonely ________ ,
In this place…. Where nobody knows my name.

In this town where nobody knows my name
I don’t know why I’m hanging around this place.
Track Name: Long hard road
The coastal road is long
I never made it to Bognor Regis
Kicking pebbles on the beach
It’s so easy not to leave here

Can’t remember all the places I’ve stayed
Can’t forget all the mistakes I’ve made

I met you in Paris
You were just nineteen
Walking along the Left Bank baby
I thought you looked like a queen

I never thought I’d miss you when you’d gone
Never thought that I could get it so wrong

I can’t remember who left who at the altar
Guess I took the blame and I probably ought to
You probably hate me and I couldn’t really blame you
But where I was coming from, there was Nothing else to do

Now you’ve got a family to care for
I haven’t got one shirt that’s clean
If I look a little bit jaded
It’s ‘cos I’ve run away from everything

Can’t remember all the journeys I’ve taken
Can’t remember all the lines I’ve been fakin’
Track Name: Cards on the table
Cards on the table
I’m playing your hand
I had four kings
Thought that you’d understand

I went to France
I took the stand
I‘ve never been much
Of a one man band

Take out the trash
Tie up the bags
Put on your best dress
And dress me in rags
Track Name: Child is father to the man
The child is the father to the man
When you're older you will understand
All our castles are made of sand
And the tide is coming in

Solid air and solid rock
Keep me running around the clock
Something's telling me I should stop
But I don’t know when

I used to take my time too slow
Before you'd know it, I'd let things go
There is just one thing that I know
There’s nothing to be afraid of

My father used to say to me
Son, you'll be a rich man or a thief
You could be a waster or an indian chief
You know the choice is yours

Now my father he's been dead for 15 years
And I don't think about him much
Can't say I shed that many tears
When I remembered his tough love

But I remember what he said
And I remember how he tried
To teach me be a better man
Teach me not to waste my life

Solid air and solid rock
Keep me running around the clock
Something's telling me I should stop
But I don't know when

But I don't know when
Track Name: What's Your Move?
What’s your move? Where you gonna go when your time has come?
What’s your move, where you gonna go when your river has run?

Are you going to make some changes?
Are you going to carry some pain?
Are you going to make some changes? Again….

Life is short, don’t ya know? Every day is lost.
Life is hard, I surely know, to my cost.

Peace will always come, if you wait, when you’re in the ground.
Life goes on, it only does, when you’re still around.

What’s your move? Take a chance, come on
Have you stopped playing the game and having fun?
Track Name: Why do you make it so hard
We’re never together and yet we’re never apart
I hardly ever see you but you’re always there in my heart

Our eyes are open and yet we’re not seeing so far
You know I love you, so why do you make it so hard?

You know you’re the prettiest girl that I’ve ever seen
You’re smiling at me and I feel like I’m living a dream
I wish I knew all the thoughts that are inside your head
I wish I saw your lights when they didn’t shine red

You know you make me feel like I hadn’t a care
My wife is pretty and your boyfriend’s a millionaire
I can’t live without you, I can’t bear to see you go
Your heart says you want me but your lips are still telling me no
Track Name: The Ship Song
There’s a ship
Sailing on the sea
It’s bringing my baby
Back home to me

Sail on sailing ship back home to me

It’s got rigging
and big white sails
It’s got a crow’s nest
to spy the whales

Mind those whales so you come home safe to me

The ocean waves
are big and rough
To get across
I hope you’re strong enough

To come sailing on your ___ boat back to me

The ocean’s big
and wide and dark and deep
But that boat of yours
is built to keep

Sail on, sailing sailing ship back to me