This is a song I started writing over 30 years ago. Like most of those early attempts at songwriting, they were never finished or never saw the light of day. This one was never finished. I had a set of lyrics but I wasn't entirely happy with them. I could never nail down a tune either. Timed moved on and I felt the song may not be as relevant anymore. Well, thank you Tracy Dillon, your challenge this month caused me to revisit it. After a couple of days working on it, I think I've finally knocked it into a bit of shape. The song is ostensibly about a misguided gardener and his love for the robin redbreast that visits his garden. Freedom is a strong theme within the song. It is an allegorical tale so I thought I will let the listener work out what the song is really about. I hope someone gets it.


  1. Very, very nice. Beautiful playing, great voice, lovely song. Thirty years in the making, but you must be very please with that. I’d get that sent to Kate Rusby if I were you…I can very easily hear her singing that. Well done Sir.

  2. I love this. A great take on the Freedom theme. It all hangs together very well, and has vivid imagery and a memorable chorus. Very nice performance – both singing and playing. I wish I’d kept previous song snippets that I’d started but given up on, but in my case they all went in the bin in exasperation!

  3. Great song and a touching take on the theme John. Lovely guitar. Catchy happy/mournful melody. Gentle evocative vocal and lyric. Well worth finishing after 30 years! A gorgeous folky sound that isn’t just folk. Enjoyed this a lot.

  4. I posted this song for this month’s challenge a few days ago but didn’t fully explain what it was about. I wrote Redbreast as an an allegory because the actual subject matter was challenging to write about in a literal sense. As I already mentioned, the song was started over 30 years and never finished. I wanted to do justice to the subject matter and didn’t quite get there. So I tried again and hope I got a little closer. The song is about the Hillsborough tragedy of 1989. Hillsborough happened because of two things. The first was football’s response to the hooliganism of the 80’s whereby they sought to protect the fans by fencing them in. The accident waiting to happen occurred at Hillsborough when the lack of effective crowd control resulted in all those lives being lost. The erroneous blaming of Liverpool fans at the time was disgusting. The time it took the families who lost loved ones to get justice remains as a dreadful stain on our society.

  5. Beautiful song – well written and well performed. I would never have guessed the true subject, and reading your explanation adds layers to the song. But the song stands up as a wonderful song even without the back story.

  6. So glad you completed this and shared it with us John. I didn’t work out what it was about until I read your comment, so I played it a 2nd time and listened more intently to the lyric. Fantastic work on such a subject matter

  7. Wish I could play guitar like you! Your voice is really clear, too. It’s a really original take on a black day in football history. I wouldn’t have got the reference if you hadn’t explained it above, but as you have it really works. I would imagine Liverpool fans (and football fans generally) could relate to this. Nice one.

  8. Such a great song John Davies, the lyrics are so well written and you delivered a just wonderful performance as ever. Loved it. So pleased that you found a way to finish it after so many years. It’s full of meaning and it sticks in my head. As Kris said, it’s a wonderful song even without knowing the sad story behind it. You are so good.

  9. I guessed it but only because of your clues posted on FB. How clever to tell the tale through a gardener and the birds and their roles in such a tragedy. It might have been a long time ago but there’s a whole generation for whom this will still be vivid in their memories, definitely one for sharing with the wider world. It’s beautifully performed too here.

  10. Some songs demand to be set free too and this is one of them, John. You manage a sensitive topic with reverence, empathy and sensitivity. You use all your skills to deliver a song that is masterful on so many levels. To take such a tragedy and create this treasure is an admirable achievement.