Lyrics and scores

Over the years Jess has written a number of songs which have been taught and performed by other artists.  This makes her very happy and she’d be delighted if you want to learn some too. All she asks is that you credit her with anything she’s written and register any recordings or performances with the relevant organisations (MCPS/PPL/PRS).

To purchase a vocal scores for arrangements of “Pilgrimage” or “Wedding Bells” please see our shop

Lyrics for songs Jess has written & recorded to date are below:

Raise Your Voice (Jess Arrowsmith)

Once there was a man, and he had no song,
He felt his head was empty and his voice was wrong,
And though he often tried, his songs were trapped inside
He couldn’t find the place where they belong

But raise your voice with mine
For now’s the perfect time to join the song

Once there was a woman, and her songs were loud
She sang them in the shower, and she sang them proud
But when her friends were near, her voice it shrank with fear
And left her shaking, mute, before the crowd.

But…

Now if you want to sing but don’t know how or why
Don’t listen to the ones who say you should not try
There’s bound to be a way you’ve not tried before today
To free your voice to soar beneath the sky

So…

Once there was a singer and he made his choice
To leave his doubts behind him and to find his voice
The journey that he’s on is to learn just one more song
And sing it out and make his friends rejoice

So…

Raise…

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, recorded by
Melrose Quartet: Dominion (2017 own label) ]

Anthem of a Working  Mum (Jess Arrowsmith)

When I was a little girl I knew that I could do it all
Now that I’m a woman grown, I just want some time at home

All my life is hurrying, worrying
All my life is busy ’cause I just can’t let go

When I was young and in my prime I’d read to while away the time
Now the books stay on the shelf, the laundry doesn’t do itself

All my life…

I once had freedom every day to choose when I would rest and play
Now my time’s not mine alone a mother’s work is never done

All my life…

Stress and headaches sometimes hit, knock me back a little bit
I’ve got to change before I break or kill myself with too much cake

All my life…
All my life…

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, recorded by

Melrose Quartet: Dominion (2017 own label) ]

All the Salt (Jess Arrowsmith)

When we are gone from this place, a dim remembered face
Can bind us all together, our mothers and our sons
And all the links in the chain, forged with love, blood and pain
Can remind us all forever of where once we had begun

All the salt in the sea cannot preserve me
All the heat in the fire cannot bring my heart’s desire
All the birds in the sky cannot teach me to fly
But the love in my soul can keep me whole

Now if we have purpose here, give up duty and fear
Cherish family, cherish friends, our fathers and our daughters
To each moment hold fast, as if each were your last
And hope each day will end with embraces, smiles and laughter.

All the salt…

When reasoned thought can’t explain untold suffering and pain
Take solace in good company, our partners and our neighbours
If we strive, do our best to fill their hearts with happiness
Then our own soon full can be, and so reward our labours

All the salt…

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, as yet unrecorded]

Pilgrimage  (Lyrics: Jess Arrowsmith, tune: Trad Flemish (De Pelgremstocht))

Where are they going, your sons and daughters, where are they going with games and fun?…

Under the moon, over and done, under the moon and the rising sun
We cannot go back, so says everyone.

They’re going for soldiers, sons and daughters, going to fight and carry a gun…

Why are they going, your sons and daughters, why are they going with fife and drum?…

They’re off to the fighting, sons and daughters, fighting a war that cannot be won…

Will they come back, your sons and daughters, will they come back while they’re still young?…

Only a few of them, sons and daughters, passage of death will wait for none…

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, recorded by
Crucible: Love & Money (2008 Fellsongs)
The Fagans: Milk and Honey Land (2009)
Paul & Liz Davenport: Spring Tide Rising (2011 HallamTrads)
Melrose Quartet: Live at Cheltenham (2011 own label) ]

Wedding Bells (Jess Arrowsmith)

On a Winter’s day I walked alone
The coldest day of all the year
And I wished that I had for my own
A sweetheart who would be my dear

Oh wedding bells ring out one day of joy
Oh wedding bells ring out one day of joy

On a day in Spring ‘neath skies so clear
I met my love for the very first time
And my heart was filled with joy and cheer
That I was his and he was mine

Oh wedding bells…

On a Summer’s day the sun did shine
We shared our thoughts and did agree
That evermore our hearts would twine
And therefore married we should be

Oh wedding bells…

This Autumn day as all can see
We stand together clasping hands
In front of friends and family
Are joined as one with marriage bands

Oh wedding bells…

Oh wedding bells…

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, recorded by
Melrose Quartet: Fifty Verses (2013 own label) ]

The Single Girl’s Lament (Jess Arrowsmith)

When I was a young girl with my sister I did play,
We’d dress in fancy dresses and act out my wedding day,
Now I have many a pretty frock and ribbons in my hair,
I dance at all the dances, and the lads all call me fair.

My dad calls me his darling but no young man’s said that yet,
My mother says my time will come just when I least expect,
But I’m growing tired of waiting and I can’t think what to do,
For all my friends have young men, and I just want one too.

A young man came a-courting but my sister caught his eye,
And soon they fell in love and they’ll be married by and by,
I love my sister dearly, I’d never wish her ill,
But I still don’t have a young man, and I fear I never will.

Young men they can be fickle, young men can be unkind,
Young men can be unthinking and can’t understand my mind,
But surely in the whole world, oh somewhere there must be
A young man I think is lovely, who will think the same of me.

So come all you young women, though single you remain,
Though dreary days and lonely nights do bring us all much pain,
Keep smiling and keep dancing, come join me in my song,
Oh bring us all a young man, and please don’t wait too long!

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, recorded by
Jess and Richard Arrowsmith: Customs & Exercise (2012 own label) ]

Jack Lay Back (Jess Arrowsmith)

There were three brothers, all on a day
Jimmy and Johnny and Jack were they
Jimmy was quick, and John was keen,
But Jack was the laziest man I’ve seen,

Oh Jack lay back,
Jimmy be nimble and John be quick
Oh Jack lay back.

Now all three brothers were poor as they come,
They hadn’t a penny, not even one,
So off they went one market day,
To make their fortune, so said they.

As they were a-walking along the road,
They met a man with a heavy load,
And his daughter beside him a-carrying her share,
And the sun it shone down on her long yellow hair.

Kind Sirs”, said the man “I’ve a shilling for you,
If you’ll help me and my daughter too,
For I’ve goods I must sell at the market today,
And already the morning is wasting away.”

Now Jimmy was keen and John was fast,
They took up the loads, all down to the last,
Then off they went, with the man, at a run,
And Jack was too slow to get even a one.

So Jack and the girl, they strolled along,
He lazily smiled and he sang her a song,
And although it was noon before they reached the fair,
Her heart was Jack’s about half way there.

So Jimmy and Johnny in all their haste,
They missed a trick that Jack didn’t waste,
For they each got a shilling but that was all,
Jim and John got the money, but Jack got the girl.

[copyright Jess Arrowsmith, recorded by
Jess and Richard Arrowsmith: Customs & Exercise (2012 own label) ]