Readers might recall Terje Gravdal, The Viking Cowboy, from only a couple of months ago, prior to Christmas. Did I ever tell you that the band I was in when I was 17 (as the ‘drummer’ – ha!) was third on the bill to ‘The Rochdale Cowboy’, Mike Harding, at the Spotland Social Club, our only pro gig? But that’s another story, one for the memoirs.
I identified Terje then as the type who “writes the songs that make the whole world think” to paraphrase old Concorde-nose Barry Manilow.
His previous song, ‘Get in Line’, isn’t on this five track EP but is worth mentioning again for the way he satirically destroys the New World Order and The Great Reset with excoriating lyrics that embrace the pandemic, vaccinations and lockdowns; climate change, environmental constraints and the 15-minute city; the higher taxes needed to pay for it all; and the perpetuation of conflict and the violation of human rights that go with it to ensure profits for industry. And without pulling any punches.
The EP does include the song ‘Industrial Workers’, which I also previously mentioned and reckoned must refer to the I.W.W., the Industrial Workers of the World, the early 20th century trade union movement which fought tooth and nail for workers rights in the USA.
He’s a true social commentator and protest song writer, something the world is seriously lacking, and he does it without appearing to take sides politically which is pretty well unique in my estimation.
Anyway this sample track is the title one, ‘The Gambler’, about “the inside trade done by top politicians and their close relations”.
Just how pertinent is that right now? Many countries in Europe, the EU, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, The Vatican (by some accounts), you name it, they’re all at it. The whole world’s a banana republic.
The Litmus Test for democracy comes later this year, in November to be precise when the US elects its next President, by hook or by crook if you’ll pardon the pun. How many current and ex-politicians are going to be tarnished forever by the shenanigans that are going to arise out of that little exercise I wonder?
‘The Gambler’ was inspired by, if that’s the right word, stock shorting by Norwegian politicians and their relatives, and wrapped up in Americana. You could imagine Johnny Cash singing it down Nashville way after he’s seen the light. And listen up, George Soros, the guy who shorted the pound and broke the freaking Bank of England because I suspect you’re going down come January of next year, too.
Terje’s lyrics, as ever, are precious.
“It’s just a coin, easy to join, enter the gamble”
“I am no sinner; I am a winner; I love to play; I need to pray;
(“Pray” could be read as “prey” of course and be equally effective but in ‘The Gambler’ the Bible is a used as a symbol in two ways:  Politicians put their hand on the Bible and swear loyalty and allegiance to people and country.  Politicians have legislative and appropriating authority. In this way they have the power to create the “Bible” we all must live by.)
And hence: “Know when to buy, know when to sell, I trust my Bible.”
I could bang on about this song for a while yet, with other interpretations of politicians, their own alternative to the Bible and money (clue – Scotland) but I’d be pushing the boat out so I’ll leave it at that.
But do check Terje out, and the rest of the EP. This is deep, serious stuff but not too deep for a sing-a-long. The style is mainly what I’d call soft rock ballads and on two songs he is joined by relatives Frida (‘Diamond in my soul’) and Tuva (‘Stay’) on vocals.
This is a transcript video, you can follow the lyrics.
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