Tradjic Roundabout



Witches, warlocks and sorcerers too
Martin Luther had nothing on you
He had a dream, you'll have a baby, baby
Will you cope, I don't know, maybe

Your CIA in Mothercare
They'll screw you up 'cos you're not all there
I see submission in a million eyes
Dreamweaving habits of still telling lies

And you're not so gifted at all, at all

Matches, basements all over the land
You're striking pulses with half dose in hand
You think you're righteous 'cause you're smoking some shit
And I'm the one that pays for it

You're not so gifted at all, at all
And we're not so gifted at all, at all

Woo !

And you're not so gifted at all, at all
And we're not so gifted at all, at all

Woo !


Lyrics by:
Brown

Music by:
Squire / Brown / Couzens

Written:
1984

Personnel:
John Squire (lead guitar)
Ian Brown (vocals)
Andy Couzens (rhythm guitar)
Pete Garner (bass)
Alan Wren (drums)

Produced by:
Martin Hannett

Available on:
Garage Flower (3.10)

First live performance:
Hampstead Moonlight (23rd October 1984)

Pseudonyms:
'Martin Luther', 'You're Not So Good'

Details:

Tradjic Roundabout is the most difficult track on Garage Flower to decipher lyrically. Assuming the line "You think you're righteous 'cause you're smoking some shit" (or "You think you're right jus' 'cause you're smoking some shit") is correct, the damning anti-drug dependence theme of the Sex Pistols' 'New York' may serve as a reference point here. Ian expresses annoyance at funding this person's habit ("And I'm the one that pays for it"). Over a decade later, he and Aziz would collaborate on a song criticizing women who socialize with bands simply for drugs, on Corpses In Their Mouths. Rhyming with magic roundabout, the title may be a play on words of the term 'viscious circle', which Ian wants to break out of ("you're not so gifted at all"). Nominally, one would take "Martin Luther had nothing on you..." to mean leader of the Protestant Revolt, Martin Luther (1483 - 1546), an interpretation supported by the associated content of the opening line ("Witches, warlocks and sorcerers too"*). However, the focus of the third line - "he had a dream" - seems to shift to another 'Martin Luther', civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and his famous "I have a dream..." speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., on 28th August 1963. In interviews, Ian Brown often expresses great admiration for King; speaking to Los Angeles KROQ radio in 1995, the singer nonsensically proclaimed, "Martin Luther King was the Second Coming, you missed it." Martin Luther King was a Baptist civil rights activist. I missed nothing.**

 

Left: Portrait of Martin Luther (1533) by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 - 1553)
Right: At the conclusion of his speech, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. waves to a crowd of more than 200,000 people at the National Mall in Washington D.C., 28th August 1963.

* The song later moves into another realm of the occult in its reference to dreamweaving, in which the shaman purports to walk consciously between worlds and transfer wisdom between them. John Squire's Time Changes Everything bemoans the witchcraft techniques of its addressee.
** The Second Coming will indeed see the return of a King, but not the one Ian Brown is pinning his hopes on. Furthermore, Ian needs to get his head around the basics of the First Coming before he concerns himself with promulgations of the next.


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