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Ruins by the Shore

[Nic Jones]

Nic Jones sang his own composition Ruins by the Shore on his 1998 anthology of live performances recorded between 1979 and 1982, In Search of Nic Jones. The sleeve notes do not mention the recording date and place for this song but he commented:

Somewhere in Brittany there is a ruin rising up above the shore where we spend a day during on of our camping holidays. As I watched Helen investigating hidden places among the stones trying to find spiders with which to scare the wits out of Joe, I was reminded of a scene in the film The Planet of the Apes, when Charles Heston finds the torch of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand. The thoughts and the image stuck.

This video shows Nic Jones at Warwick Folk Festival on 26 July 2012, accompanied by Belinda O’Hooley

Brian Peters sang The Ruins by the Shore in 1992 on his Harbourtown CD The Seeds of Time.

The Demon Barbers sang Ruins by the Shore in 2002 on their CD Uncut.

Debra Cowan sang Ruins by the Shore on her 2009 CD Fond Desire Farewell. She noted:

On one of my UK tours, a recording of Nic Jones’ brilliant guitar work and singing kept me company on many of the drives. When l first heard Ruins, I was drawn in and decided that i had to learn this wonderful anthem of our times.

Jon Boden sang Ruins by the Shore as the 13 January 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow sang Ruins by the Shore on their 2014 CD The Hum.

Ollie King sang Ruins by the Shore in 2017 on his CD Diffractions. He noted:

Nic Jones has been one of my musical heroes ever since I heard Penguin Eggs at the age of 12. This is one of his self-penned songs, a song that reflects on the fragile and temporal nature of humanity.

Ken Wilson sang Ruins by the Shore on his 2018 CD Portraits. He noted:

Whilst holidaying in Brittany some time in the 1970, the landscape reminded Nic of a scene from Planets of the Apes. It also reflected on the fragility of humanity.


Nic Jones sings Ruins by the Shore

Sometime between ice ages was that they first appeared,
Fell hungry on the beasts and fish they speared.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
But all their bones are blackened
And their faces are no more
As we walk among the ruins by the shore

They worshipped gods and thought they’d never die,
But now the spiders nest the tombs wherein they lie.

They dreamed of golden cities raised into the air,
But greed drew their simple hearts into its snare.

Kings, tyrants and their empires on the Earth held sway,
Their belief in science took their souls away.

We search the heavens and the silent skies,
Hoping that light will fall on blinded eyes.

Final chorus:
But all our bones will blacken
And our faces be no more
As we lay among the ruins by the shore,
As we lay among the ruins by the shore.