Widening The Gravel Road by Cathal Coughlan

From Cathal Coughlan’s 2006 Foburg album. Written by Cathal Coughlan. No capo.

High Llamas - Snowbug



[E] The gates are rusted and the weeds are tall
[F#m] Roll, roll the unravelling [E] road
[A] Rip them up, ex [E7] cite the town,
[A] Build a wider [E7] way
[A] Flagstones, bottles, [E7] knots of cloth
[A] Mashed up, swept a [E7] way


[E] Summer Sunday and the staff brass band
[F#m] Roll, roll the unravelling [E] road
[A] Waltzes, marches, [E7] polkas too
Op [A] pressed the [E7] humid air
[A] Inmates gazed as the [E7] townsfolk swayed
And [D] swans tra [D7] versed the [Cm7] river in [B7] pairs

The [A] grub was scarce there and the [E7] rats were long
They [A] ate the timber [E7] floor
To [A] bed at five, farmyard [E7] bolts and moans
[F#m] God may guide you, [F#dim] He may cure you, we [B] won’t
The gravel [F#] road [Amaj7] [B6] [F#] [Amaj7] [Dmaj7] [Bm] [C#m] [Bm] [Abm]


He’s [E] been reborn in the police cell
[F#m] Roll, roll the unravelling [E] road
Be [A] hind locked doors, forty [E7] hours or more
No [A] lawyer, phone or [E7] rest
“You [A] wished them dead,” the [E7] first one roared
The [D] second [D7] rubbed his [Cm7] chin on his [B7] chest

The [A] questions stopped, the [E7] door flew wide
[A] Inquest, burial [E7] stone
[A] Compo paid, the [E7] good name stained
[F#m] No more workdays, [F#dim] no desire to a [B7] tone
The gravel [F#] road [Amaj7] [B6] [F#] [Amaj7] [Dmaj7] [Bm] [C#m] [Bm] [Abm]

On [E] coming out he saw the [Cm] spring had come at last
That the [E] cherry-blossoms flew on the [Cm] breeze
On [E] coming out he saw the [Ddim] blackened skies of April [Am7b5] part as if giving him leave
On [E] coming out he saw the [Cm] tail-lights on the ring-road
As [E] beacons of solitary de [Cm] sire
[E] One comes on, a [Cm] nother goes out
No [Dm6] rhythm, unwired


It’s [E] just a building and it’s just the past
[F#m] Roll, roll the unravelling [E] road
And [A] memory and [E7] destiny – those [A] serpents tamed and [E7] coiled
They [A] must bow down to [E7] gadgetry, o [A] pacity and [E7] toil

The [A] new name written, [E7] ten feet tall
The [A] paupers in their [E7] graves
The [A] basement stripped of [E7]padded walls
[D] Unap [D7] proved in [Cm7] scriptions e [B7] rased

The [A] big red cranes like [E7] weathervanes
A [A] tradewind’s blowing [E7] strong
[A] Tin cans roar down [E7] six wide lanes
[F#m] No more exiles, [F#dim] no more exile [B] songs
The gravel [F#] road

[F#] [Amaj7] [B6] [F#] [Amaj7] [Dmaj7] (x3)

[Bm] [C#m] [Bm] [Abm]