Latin Quarter - Swimming Against The Stream

Lyrics

Don't walk, don't walk it says but he can't ride
Not while his only living relative's inside
Who couldn't pay his way and couldn't pay his fines
His spirit stretched like gum between the 'stop' signs

The dust of angels hurled into your eyes
Does more than sear and more than tranquilise the burger beads of gristle marbled hard
And strewn like clam-shell pearls in your back-yard

Race me down, Felipe, race me down
To the small and secret corners of this town
Race me fast on sunset
Race me past sundown
Race me down, Felipe

The street is a storefront smashed beyond repair
Where the cheaper goods still cost too much to care
But wisdom's thrown in free with every sale
Don't fool yourself 'cos you can't even raise your bail

Say, hey Felipe, the barrio's like a barrier to a town
That no-one knows (where no-one goes)
Say, stay Felipe, left to lose, they left us curfewed,
Left us cracked in two

Song Description

Felipe is a Mexican immigrant in Los Angeles. His hopes have been shattered; he couldn’t make it out of the “Barrio”, the Latino Ghetto. The population of the Barrios lead a wretched life: the windows of the shops have been smashed, but hardly anyone can afford the goods on display anyhow. Only the advertising slogans are free. The meat from the hamburgers you can buy there are full of bits of gristle that you have to spit out. Comfort can be had from relatively cheap drugs. Felipe’s brother, who dealt in them, sits in jail. He couldn’t afford to pay the protection money to keep up his business.

Felipe shows a curious white tourist the Barrio, but they stay there too long, until after sunset. It gets too dangerous in the streets then, especially for an outsider. There’s a literal curfew in force. Now the two of them are forced to rely on each other, but nothing connects them.

Dust of angels, angel dust: A drug that induces feelings of being all-powerful. Originally developed as a sedative for animals. To crack in two: a wordplay with the drug crack.

Versions

  • AStudio Version (4:11)
  • BDemo (4:08)
  • CStudio Version (4:52)
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