I've got leather on my shoes,
And I've got a dream to live,
There is nothing left to lose,
So I'm going,
I've got a suitcase here in my hand,
And I've got a hungry heart,
And I'm going to join the millions
There before me, on the freedom road.
Noone's coming to my door,
And all my friends are gone,
There's no work here anymore,
And though I know I hate to leave,
>From this land that I love,
There's a new tomorrow waiting,
Yes it's shining on the freedom road,
On the freedom road;
Oh sometimes it's going to be lonely,
Sometimes it will be sad,
But I've got to keep on going,
Until I hold that promised land
In the palm of my hand.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained or won
Without a hard fight,
We would never reach the sun
And when we're a million miles from home,
Out in the starry night,
We will see we're not alone
In the heavens, out on freedom road,
Out on freedom road,
Out on freedom road... out on freedom road.
"This song is about emigration. It's a very Celtic feel and it's done on the drone, you know, mainly around one key - one drone. It's about a guy, maybe in the West of Ireland, who realises the time has come for him to leave. Emigration is a serious problem here in Ireland, and my attitude towards it is quite simply that, morally, it's very sad to have your young people leaving. On the other hand, I emigrated. I went abroad, I learned about the world and I came back with my skills - and I live here now. It's a terrific thing to go out into the world and learn about the world, so it's kind of a sad and positive thing. The guy in the song, he says 'I've got leather on my shoes and I've got a dream to live. There's nothing to lose so I'm going. Suitcase in my hand, I've got a hungry heart - and I'm going to join the millions there before me on the freedom road.' I left out a couple of things there in the lyric, but that's the general vibe of it. So, all of his friends have gone, the place is deserted and there's no work any more, and he thinks 'Though I know I hate to leave from this land that I love, there's a new tomorrow waiting. Yes, it's shining on the freedom road.' I'll expand that with the idea that, yes, he knows it's going to be lonely, and he'll be sad - but whatever he has to go through, he's going to achieve the promised land. He's going to get there.
Then, the lyric says 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained or won without a hard fight', and basically what I'm saying is that we would never have left the planet earth if there weren't people prepared to take the knocks. It's about a man's achievement. You know, if you stayed at home, nothing would ever get done. So it's sad, and emigration is a problem - but you should be positive about it and it's an exciting new future. That's a good song, that one - especially when the bagpipes come in at the end..."
The Getaway Gazette, September 1988
"Leather On My Shoes" appears on the following albums: