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A tribute to miners and the British Miners' Strike of A Right to Life or anti-choice song. Inconvenience, interrupting other plans. The schedule had no room for you. A Pro-Choice or abortion rights song. They tell us to get married and have three or four kids Change the diapers, be a good wife But we will decide how many children to bear We've got to control our own life Free our sisters, abortion is our right Free our sisters, abortion is our right Kennedy , and Robert Kennedy.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he's gone? Didn't you love the things they stood for? Didn't they try to find some good in you and me? Absent Friends By Saxon.

Written in remembrance of a loved one who had passed away. I wish I could see you for just a day. Tell you we miss you and ask you to stay. To absent friends this one's for you Aces High By Iron Maiden. Song Live version , begins with audio excerpt of Winston Churchill. Bandits at 8 O'clock move in behind us, ten ME's out of the sun. Ascending and turning our spitfires to face them, heading straight for them I press down my guns..

Acid Head By Tourniquet. About the dangers of substance abuse and the hallucinogenic drug LSD. Water cleans the system. Acid eats the flesh. Squirm yourself much deeper into the pit of selfishness. The burn of death is what you crave Choose sides or run for your life.

Tonight the riots begin. On the back streets of America they kill the dream of America. Little black girl gets assaulted. Ain't no reason why Adam's Song By blink Song deals with a teenager who is depressed and starts to have suicidal thoughts.

I laughed the loudest who'd have known? I'm too depressed to go on. You'll be sorry when I'm gone Days when I still felt alive Give all my things to all my friends Please tell mom this is not her fault Addicted To Chaos By Megadeth.

About lead singer Dave Mustaine's drug counselor who finally helped him get sober after numerous attempts at rehabilitation. Sadly the counselor lost his life to a cocaine overdose. Only yesterday they told me you were gone Lights shined on my path. Turned bad days into good Where's the helping hand? From the concept album "Dancing For Mental Health" performed and produced by portrait photographer Lynn Goldsmith in collaboration with Sting, Steve Winwood, Todd Rundgren and other recording artists.

Songs on the album promote a positive mental health message and deal with the importance of goal setting, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image, and not being afraid to strive for your dreams and desires. You are an important person. You have talents and abilities no one else has The power to do anything you can imagine is within you when you discover your real self by practicing a few simple laws of success It's you make it habit.

Make it happen only you A human rights song about the plight of women in Islamic nations. Your place of birth has many names. A woman here is born to live in misery and shame Dreams you'll surely need child to help you through your life African By Peter Tosh. Song is about self determination , preserving cultural identity, promoting Black Nationalism , and building a sense of community, pride, and unity among people of African descent.

Don't mind your nationality, you have got the identity of an African. Don't mind your complexion, there is no rejection, you're an African After All By Dar Williams.

A person coping with depression. And it felt like a winter machine That you go through and then You catch your breath and winter starts again And everyone else is spring bound And when I chose to live There was no joy, it's just a line I crossed It wasn't worth the pain my death would cost So I was not lost or found After Forever By Black Sabbath.

Song deals with issues related to religious beliefs and questions about the after life. Useful for a class on theology and religious studies. Have you ever thought about your soul, can it be saved? Or perhaps you think that when you're dead you just stay in your grave. Is God just a thought within your head or is he part of you?

Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school? Well I've seen the truth, yes I've seen the light and I've changed my ways. And I'll be prepared when you're lonely and scared at the end of our days The Aftermath By Iron Maiden.

In the mud and rain. What are we fighting for? Is it worth the pain? Is it worth dying for? Who will take the blame? Why did they make a war? Mix in the dirt of brother's blood Song is about the first bombing of a civilian target by an enemy aircraft. In the air there's plane headed for the heart of the Dolphin Human activity damaging the environment , "Look at mother nature on the run in the nineteen seventies After The Reign By Blackfoot.

About the displacement and relocation of Native American peoples in North America. Song is about the aftermath of the sinking of the luxury liner the Titanic on April , It told a sad new story, sixteen hundred had gone to rest.

Captain Smith surely must have been a-drinking. Not knowing that he was doing wrong. He tried to raise a record and let the Titanic down You're just another number in military schemes. They marched you in a uniform, you wore against your will. With lies of hope and glory, they taught you how to kill After The War By Warlock. Song is about the environment on a battlefield after a major battle or war has taken place. No singing of a bird, rustle of a tree A person has difficulty "letting go" and moving on from a relationship.

But to wait for you, is all I can do and that's what I've got to face.

NetRhythms: A to Z Album Reviews

And I'll be prepared when you're lonely and scared at the end of our days The Aftermath By Iron Maiden. In the mud and rain. What are we fighting for? Is it worth the pain?

Is it worth dying for? Who will take the blame? Why did they make a war? Mix in the dirt of brother's blood Song is about the first bombing of a civilian target by an enemy aircraft. In the air there's plane headed for the heart of the Dolphin Human activity damaging the environment , "Look at mother nature on the run in the nineteen seventies After The Reign By Blackfoot. About the displacement and relocation of Native American peoples in North America.

Song is about the aftermath of the sinking of the luxury liner the Titanic on April , It told a sad new story, sixteen hundred had gone to rest. Captain Smith surely must have been a-drinking. Not knowing that he was doing wrong. He tried to raise a record and let the Titanic down You're just another number in military schemes.

They marched you in a uniform, you wore against your will. With lies of hope and glory, they taught you how to kill After The War By Warlock. Song is about the environment on a battlefield after a major battle or war has taken place. No singing of a bird, rustle of a tree A person has difficulty "letting go" and moving on from a relationship.

But to wait for you, is all I can do and that's what I've got to face. Take a good look at me now, cos I'll still be standing here. And you coming back to me is against all odds. It's the chance I've gotta take Agent Orange By Sodom. About agent orange , a herbicide that was used by the United States government during the Vietnam War.

Many Vietnam vets have developed health complications or have died because of their exposure to this herbicide. Spray down the death. Cancer creeps into their innocent souls. Memorials of flesh and blood Poisoned 'til the end of their lives. About the health hazards of agent orange , a herbicide used in the Vietnam War. This agent orange from Vietnam, we carry it with us still. It stays inside for years and years before it starts to kill. You might get cancer of the liver, you might get cancer of the skin.

A complex song about many health issues. References made to risk taking, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, unprotected sex, low self esteem, and lack of respect for self and body. She is looking for the kisses that she never got at home And if she ends up with some dirty hot disease. It's a small price she pays for the need to be pleased Our heroine like many others is now dead Yo, yo, now that millions is dead I'm considered widespread Number one on the top ten and considered a world wide threat H-I-V will progress to A-I-D-S And transform your warm blooded bones to dry flesh By stressing the immune system Promiscuous men and women trying to avoid getting the micro-organism in them from running up in it raw Ready and willing, a couple of minutes of a good feeling is what'll kill them Break ya body down in steps, breath for breath In the hospital wit less then a dozen T-cells left About devotion and the power of love over time, and across the miles.

No matter where you are, no matter how far. Just call my name, I'll be there in a hurry Although we are miles apart, if you ever need a helping hand, I'll be there on the double as fast as I can There ain't no mountain high enough , Ain't no valley low enough , Ain't no river wide enough. To keep me from getting to you Song promotes abstinence, respecting yourself and your body and waiting to become sexually active.

Ain't no safe way anymore. You got people with one, two, three, or four. Abstinence rules, playing is for fools. The one who abstains is the one who's cool About having a positive outlook on life, striving for your goals and not letting negative people influence your way of thinking.

I know you know someone that has a negative vow Ask them where they are going, they don't know. But we won't let nothin' hold us back We're gonna polish up our act! Alainis Morissette By Wesley Willis. A tongue-in-cheek song about Canadian musician Alainis Morissette.

You are a rock legend to the max You are a rocking maniac. You are a singing hyena. About the Battle of the Alamo which began on February 23, in the state of Texas. Fought to save the Alamo, the battle twelve days long The last brave man fought to the end, the battle it was lost.

Fought to save the Alamo, their lives was what it cost The Alamo By Johnny Cash. Alcohol By Barenaked Ladies. Alcohol, a party time necessity. Alcohol, alternative to feeling like yourself.

O alcohol, I still drink to your health To walk the fine line between self control and self abuse O alcohol, would you please forgive me? For while I cannot love myself I'll use something else Alcohol By The Kinks. A well respected and successful individual turns to alcohol to deal with life's stresses and ends up ruining his marriage and life.

But the pressures at the office and his socialite engagements He'll drink anything as long as all his troubles disappear. But he messed up his life and he beat up his wife Oh, demon alcohol, sad memories I cannot recall About the negative effects associated with abusing alcohol. References made to hangovers, violence, intoxication and driving while intoxicated. Bottles were breakin' and the windows too. All because someone drank too much brew Fight and shout and cause a brawl, when you're out drinkin' that alcohol Tomorrow mornin' I'll be sick as a dog The meanest trip is alcohol A man laments over his drinking problem and realizes that death is imminent if he doesn't overcome his addiction.

Sure, Lord's killing me If I don't quit drinking it every morning, sure gonna kill me dead Singers mentioned include Hank Williams Sr. They pulled poor old Hank Williams Sr. He ended up on alcohol and pills Elvis Presley, he came up from Jackson. Janis Joplin, she was wild and reckless The story just goes on and on About "unhealthy escapism", using substances in order to forget your problems.

Some dead flowers and a bottle of vodka on the kitchen table. Flowers for the good times and booze for the bad Alcohol in the bloodstream, 'bout the best I can do 'til I forget about you Alcohol is the root of all evil Every bad thing that happened to me would not have occured if alcohol wasn't involved A relationship is threatened as a person tries to deal with their partner's addiction to alcohol. Even though I threaten that I'm never coming back again The Alcoholik By Superjoint Ritual.

Blow through the prime of life. Numb all the senses down Tribute to legendary ruler, Alexander The Great. Was born a son to Philip of Macedon, the legend his name was Alexander Alex Chilton By The Repacements. Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'rond I never travel far without a little Big Star Alice's Restaurant By Arlo Guthrie.

Inspired by actual events taking place in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Related topics include; the military draft, Vietnam War, protest movements, crime and punishment, pollution, Thanksgiving traditions. Alimony By "Weird Al" Yankovic. About one of the many unpleasurable results of a divorce. Work at three jobs just to stay in debt now.

Well first she took my nest egg and then she took my nest. A song of acceptance, hope , and optimism. I'm thankful for every breath I take. I won't take it all for granted. So I learn from my mistakes. It's beyond my control Whatever happens in this lifetime Alive By Van Zant. Song is about making the most of your time here on Earth and being thankful for what you have.

I can feel it rushing through me. It's the miracle of life. Ain't it good to be alive Song is about growing old alone and being forgotten by your immediate family. But mostly, no one comes 'cept on the weekends. Ruby Wilson lives in where she spends most of her time Some days sure are lonely days and time can move too slow.

When you're all dressed up with no where to go Allentown By Billy Joel. Song is about economic decline and downsizing of American industry. Focuses on closing of steel mills in Allentown, PA. Out in Bethlehem they're killing time filling out forms, standing in line Song is about environmental awareness and the serenity and beauty of nature. Did you ever see the beauty of the hills of Carolina?

Or the sweetness of the grass of Tennesee? Did you ever stop to think about the air you're breathin'? I can see the concrete slowly creepin'. Lord take me before they're gone Song was written in the 's after Wall Street crashed sending people to the poor house and sparking the Great Depression. Now this is the truth and it certainly exposes that Wall Street's proposition is not all roses.

I put up my money to win some more. I lost it all and it left me sore This song is about living a healthy lifestyle, striving for goals, the importance of friendship and remaining drug and alcohol free. And I feel proud of all my friends when I see them working for their dreams We intend to always stay drug free. It's the only way to be Song is about unhealthy risk taking, living life in the fast lane and suffering the consequences. According to the artist, " You never walked away When I needed you to stay Or made me feel I'm not the one There've been no broken vows And there reason we're here now Is all the things we've never done We've never grown apart You never broke my heart With secrets that you've kept me from We've never been untrue And I'm still here with you Through all the things we've never done.

Tribute song to John Lennon. All those years ago You were the one who imagined it all All those years ago. Deep in the darkest night I send out a prayer to you Now in the world of light Certain individuals have emerged from the crowd. Reminding us of how far a human being can go No one is holding you back but you.

There is no excuse for not getting what you want A positive song about the power and importance of love. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung. Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game All you need is love. Love is all you need A protest song recorded in the late 's during the hippie movement when long haired people were viewed as rebels.

It happened just the other day I feel like letting my freak flag fly Alone By Blues Traveler. This song is about the hurt of unrequited love and the pain of rejection. She began to cry. She said she needed a friend. I said I'll try I'd loved her always. Let a friendship grow.

I tried to keep her, that's what made her go.. A love like hers ain't meant for guys like me Song was written in honor of artist's daughter, Emily.

You were sent to me by angels up above, I'm certain Along came you to teach me about love You're here to show me what love can be Tribute to the Nile river. Along the Nile The pyramids, Reminded us of ancestors And what they did. Along the Nile My people live Because of all The life it gives Already One By Neil Young. A relationship or marriage has ended but the couple are still joined or bound by a common interest , their child. I can't forget how love let me down Every time I look in his face I can't believe how love lasts a while But we're already one.

Now only time can come between us. Always By Bon Jovi. A person has a difficult time accepting or coming to terms with the end of a relationship.

He feels that his love for the other person will last forever. It's been raining since you left me, now I'm drowning in the flood. You see I've always been a fighter but without you I give up I'll be there till the stars don't shine. Till the heavens burst and the words don't rhyme.

I know when I die you'll be on my mind. And I love you, always This song is about optimism and the power of positive thinking. From the Monty Python film "Life of Brian" this song stands out in stark contrast to the "heavy, political stuff" normally associated with the artist. If life seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing When you're feeling in the dumps, don't be silly chumps Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing, and Always look on the bright side of life Always look on the bright side of life About regret, taking someone's love for granted, and trying to redeem yourself.

And maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have And I guess I never told you I'm so happy that you're mine. Little things I should of said and done.

I just never took the time Always the Cause By Al Stewart. Song is about the Spanish Civil War and the people who fought for the "Cause" of democracy.

Still hope won't be denied. There was always the Cause. There was always the Cause Setbacks come at every turn. New ways are hard to learn. Tonight I saw Guernica burn Always Tomorrow By Gloria Estefan. Song is about optimism, having a positive outlook on life and believing in yourself and others. Instead of just giving up, I use the power at my command I'll face whatever comes my way, savor each moment of the day. Love as many people as I can along the way That's why there's always tomorrow to start all over again This song is a tribute to Sir Thomas More , song deals with the rule of law , the legitimacy of authority, and staying true to your conscience or principles.

Henry Plantagenet still looks for someone to bring good news in his hour of doubt. While Thomas More waits in the Tower of London watching the sands running out. And measures the hours out from here to oblivion in actions that can't be undone So what if you reached the age of reason only to find there was no reprieve?

Would you still be a man for all seasons or would you just disbelieve? Look What They've Done to You Inspired by actual events. On February 4, four NYC police officers fired 41 shots at unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo striking him 19 times and killing him in the entrance way of his apartment.

John Wayne shooters rockin' hard dressed in blue. Abner Louima and now Amadou countless others paid the price for you Song By Phil Ochs. We will fight against disease when the money comes with ease. And when we get together we say hooray for A. If you can't afford my bill, don't tell me you're ill Every day we specialize more and more.

But we really love to stitch the diseases of the rich. We are sure there is a clinic for the poor Song is about the cycle of drug addiction, hitting "rock bottom", and then working towards recovery. When I lost my grip and I hit the floor. Yeah, I thought I could leave but couldn't get out the door.

I was so sick and tired of livin' a lie. I was wishing that I would die. With the blink of an eye you finally see the light When the moment arrives you know you'll be alright About Amelia Earhart , an American aviatrix who was one of the world's most celebrated and the first to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean Amelia Earhart flying that sad day.

With her partner Capt. Noonan on the second of July. Her plane fell in the ocean, far away According to the artist I wrote this indirectly for Kurt Cobain, but more precisely for the angst he represented. But even more exactly for the hopelessness so many felt after his death.

Where's my golden one? Where's my hope now that my heroes have gone? Pieces of us die everyday Song is about how the hopes, dreams and ideals of many American people have not been realized.

New world, new people. New dreams for all of the children. Back in the summer of ' I met a young girl, her heart was in flames War had changed her whole world. Her daddy died in Vietnam. She lost her husband in Lebanon And she saw hungry people in the streets. Young mothers who could not eat And it all goes on. Yeah, the dreams go on America By Neil Diamond. Song is about immigration and how our country is seen as a melting pot.

On the boats and on the planes. They're coming to America Freedom's light burning warm Everytime that flag's unfurled. America, America By L. About the displacement of Native Americans as the white man slowly took everything they had. You conquered what you called a savage people. Drove them to their knees beneath pointed steeples. You stripped them of their great and noble spirit A politician or public figure , caught in the act.

Then they caught you with the girl next door, people's money piled on the floor, accusations that you try to deny, revelations and rumours begin to fly Reporters crowd around your house. Going through your garbage like a pack of hounds Song was written as an inspiration for our American people to never stop striving for peace and prosperity. Dream on children, dream on. Don't let anybody tell you the dream is gone.

As long as there's a God Above. Keep praying we never wake up. Keep on dreaming the American dream American Heroes By Adam Wyle. A response song to the September 11th tragedy in New York City.

What a mistake they have made. Take for granted American people today. Within the scene you look around. All the love with both hands out This parody tours the human history of determining the value of pi. Song is a tribute to the people and cultures who contributed to our understanding of pi.

In the Hebrew Bible we do see the circle ratio appears as three The Chinese got it really keen: More joined the action with arctan series and continued fractions I can't remember if I cried When I read about his widowed bride But something touched me deep inside, The day the music died. Inspired by actual events , this controversial song includes important political and social commentary dealing with race and the criminal justice system in America. Lena gets her son ready for school.

She says now on these streets Charles you got to understand the rules. Promise me if an officer stops you'll always be polite. Never ever run away and promise mama you'll keep your hands in sight The secret my friend.

You can get killed just for living in your American skin American Triangle By Elton John. Song was written as a tribute to Matthew Shepard the victim of a brutal and vicious hate crime. Don't make no sense. I've seen a scarecrow wrapped in wire. Left to die on a high ridge fence It's a cold wind blowing. This song is about excessive corporate sponsorships and the commercialization of baseball. There's the NBC Peacock right fielder He threw the Exxon's runner out in the dirt And you really can't tell Who's playing for Shell 'Cause they've all got different logos on their shirts It's the sport that built this country A great pitch by any other name and it won't take long to sell you on America's national game Bank America's national game".

America's Unsung Heroes By L. Song is a tribute to Native Americans. References made to many Native American tribes. The Cheyenne, Apache, Cherokee and Navaho Wanted to only live in peace. For starvation and deprivation of their lands to cease A song of patriotism. Proceeds from the song will aid the Red Cross. America, the land of freedom. Still the home of the brave A song of patriotism and hope.

Our flag is up, the stock markets are down. But we're all united from the county to the town. About achieving success in life and losing jealous friends because of it. And it's so strange when you get just a little money. Your so called friends want to act just a little funny. He thinks you changed because of a dollar sign A man neglects his wife as he climbs the ladder of success.

To gain the world and lose our love is too high a price to pay. A parody song of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise". A satire of Amish culture , with numerous references to specific beliefs and practices.

But that's just perfect for an Amish like me, Ya know, I shun fancy things like electricity At 4: If you come to visit, you'll be bored to tears We haven't even paid the phone bill in years Hitchin' up the buggy, churnin' lots of butter Raise a barn on Monday, soon I'll raise anutter Among The Living By Anthrax. This song is said to be inspired by the Stephen King novel, The Stand. With some help from Captain Trips, he'll bring the world down to his knees.

He'll show them all his power. It pulses through his ice cold blood, a whole world to devour! Amoreena By Elton John. From the "Dog Day Afternoon" soundtrack this song is about yearning and desire. Amphetamine Annie By Canned Heat. About the dangers associated with the use of the stimulant drug amphetamines. References made to paranoia and the health consequences of drug use.

They call her amphetamine Annie Your mind might think it's flying baby on those little pills. But you oughta know it's dyin' 'cause speed kills AM Radio By Everclear. Song is a flashback to the 's with references made to am radio, eight track tapes and popular culture of that era. Just picture yourself on a beautiful day. With the big bell bottoms and groovy long hair You could hear the music on the am radio By The Beach Boys.

Song is a tribute to many of the fun packed amusement parks across the United States. You'll crash and burn in the bumper cars at Jersey's steel pier. You'll crack'em up when you stand in front of all the crazy mirrors Let's take your car and mess around at the park all day Anagram for Mongo By Rush. A fun tribute to the anagram. The letters of one word in each line of the song are rearranged to form other words.

End the need for Eden. Chase the dreams of merchandise. There is tic and toc in atomic. Leaders make a deal Miracles will have their claimers. More will bow to Rome Ana's Song By Silverchair. Lead singer Daniel Johns wrote this song after being diagnosed with anorexia. Only a small percentage of anorexics are males. In my head the flesh seems thicker And you're my obsession I love you to the bones Like an anorexic life Song is about corruption of government and the justice system.

Halls of Justice painted green, money talking Angel Dust By Sodom. About the dangerous drug angel dust or as it is also called PCP. References to drug addiction. Searching, hoping for the right connection coz I need it Need a shot to get me through the day About sacrifice, and the temporary, sometimes circumstantial nature of love. If you would not have fallen then I would not have found you And I patched up your broken wings And I knew someday that you would fly away So leave me if you need to.

I'd rather see you up than see you down Angel Of Death By Slayer. Known to have performed pseudo-medical and scientific experiments on many of the victims.

Slow death, immense decay. Showers that cleanse you of your life Human mice, for the Angel of Death Sadistic surgeon of demise Destroying without mercy to benefit the Aryan race Song is about the sixteenth century prophet Nostradamus who was believed to have predicted many of the great catastrophies fires, earthquakes, weather disturbances that occured in the twentieth century. In the sixteenth century there was a French philosopher by the name of Nostradamus. He prophesized that in the late twentieth century an angel of death shall waste this land Angel Of Harlem By U2.

This song is a tribute to singer Billie Holiday. So long Angel of Harlem Blue light on the avenue God knows they got to you An empty glass, the lady sings Eyes swollen like a bee sting Blinded you lost your way Artist wrote this song from the point of view of Lynyrd Skynyrd members and what they may have been thinking right before their plane crashed. These angels I see in the trees are waiting for me. The engines have stopped now.

We all know we are going down Artist wrote this song for her two brothers, Alan and Shawn, who died from cystic fibrosis. They were angels in waiting. Waiting for wings to fly from this world. Away from their pain Sometimes the body is weaker than the soul This song is a tribute to Annie Jump Cannon the woman who developed the system for classifying stellar spectra. She was a human computer at the Harvard College Observatory classifying stellar spectra she was the world's leading expert.

She created the spectral class system we all love and use today! Annie's Anorexia By The Huntington's. About a "perfect" girl who seems to have everything going for her in life. In reality she is suffering from the eating disorder anorexia. The star of every young boy's dream. I surely would not have guessed she starved herself to fit that dress She never skipped class in her life but she skipped dinner everytime Annie's Song By John Denver.

Song was written by the artist as a tribute to his wife Annie. Come let me love you. Let me give my life to you Let me always be with with you A man with a drinking problem tries to remain sober but gives in to his cravings for alcohol.

Everybody's having fun, so why be the one left out in the cold? You said you'd never take another drop. Your craving's big, your liver's shot You've got to dry out But it's martini time Anorexic Beauty By Pulp. Song is about society's unhealthy obsession with weight and how many models have developed eating disorders. We don't need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. All in all it's just another brick in the wall Song reveals a person's disregard for another who is less fortunate.

About the importance of community and social responsibility and compassion for the homeless. He walks on doesn't look back, he pretends he can't hear her. Starts to whistle as he crosses the street seems embarassed to be there Reference to using alcohol as a remedy for solving problems.

A person in denial. Countin on a remedy I've counted on before. Goin' with a cure that's never failed me. What you call the disease , I call the remedy. What you're callin' the cause, I call the cure Looking back and reflecting on the significance or importance of one's life and work.

I don't know, I may go down or up or anywhere. But I feel like this scribbling might stay So when you think of me, if and when you do. Just say, well another man's done gone Another Spill By Human Greed. Another spill battered environment Sinking tanker, encrusted beaches, dying seabirds coated in oil. Another ecosystem you've just destroyed Antarctica By Al Stewart. Song is about the human desire and urge to explore uncharted lands and regions, in particular, Antarctica.

I felt the chill of mystery with one foot on your shore, and then and there resolved to go where no man had before Seduced by this ambition I easily forget, the hopeless quest of Shackleton , the dreamlike death of Scott The Anthem By Good Charlotte. An anti-establishment or teen angst song about about identity, individuality, and rebellion. At my high school It felt more to me Like a jail cell, a penitentiary My time spent there, it only made me see That I don't ever wanna be like you I don't wanna do the things you do I'm never gonna hear the words you say And I don't ever wanna, I don't ever wanna be I'm gonna get by And just do my time Out of step while They all get in line I'm just a minor threat so pay no mind A protest song about the Vietnam War and government proceedings of that time period.

I'm the fool, I'm waiting. Twenty five years of anticipating. I'm tired of your treating all of my children the same. Spending all that money on a stupid war in Vietnam. When we need it at home.

I'm an anti-establishment man Anti-Homophobe By Brutal Truth. Song speaks out against homophobia and homophobics in general. You don't have the right to force your own opinion We believe in freedom. Whatever turns you on An environmental awareness song.

Main theme of the song is about recycling and taking care of our planet. Keep your planet clean and neat. Put your wrappers in the round bin. Recycle cans that are made of tin Apache By Nuclear Valdez.

About the longing for youth and the safety and security associated with childhood. Life was different in so many ways Yes, the disc's a delight from start to finish, and beautifully recorded too by the way; although of course it helps if you're not immune to instrumental charms of the tenderly plucked variety!

I'll not harp on, then - but equally, don't let it pass you by. Farewell To The Fainthearted is the album you didn't know you had to have until you heard it. The seven members of Halfway, including the Dublin born brothers Noel and Liam Fitzpatrick have taken Americana, alt country, country rock, or whatever else you want to call it, back to the wrong side of the tracks.

These are songs about lives lived against a backdrop of rusted, broken trucks, dirt roads and stray dogs. Farewell To The Fainthearted is a gritty, no frills slice of realism, set to unforgiving guitars played with an energy and belief that can only come from personal experience.

The rock n roll simmers and bubbles and its country influence, largely courtesy of the Fitzpatrick brothers, hasn't been softened by city living. But what Farewell To The Fainthearted does, almost imperceptibly, is draw the listener into its web. In real life, love is never clean cut and there's a kick in the teeth lurking round every corner for all of us. Halfway play the soundtrack to an imperfect world. However in the midst of Farwell To The Fainthearted lies Miles and Miles Of Love, a song so tender that it appears that the band must have been caught in an unguarded moment revealing their gentle side.

It's made all the more poignant because it seems so isolated. Farwell To The Fainthearted is a complete and self-contained album, nothing on it requires anything that the band and a small and select group of guests can't supply. It's stuffed with catchy, layered melodies carrying beautifully written and constructed lyrics but above all it generates its own heat. Even the accursed 'hidden' track works well, Lowell George's Willin takes the band from its native Australia and plants it firmly in its spiritual home, southern USA.

Not a bit of it this is a band that's already there. Over the intervening years they've never disappointed, but they've also continually developed their craft, greatly helped by fellow-muso John Carey in particular to whom the Halls' latest CD, on around half of which he sports his trademark violin, is dedicated.

Songs From The Shore is definitely the Halls' best recording yet, and sensibly majors mostly on acoustic-roots-rock rather than folk, albeit that it sets off with a cracking, full-tilt rendition of Child Ballad No aka House Carpenter.

The remainder comprises self-penned material, six songs by each of the brothers - and mighty fine they are too, displaying a bold maturity and an increasingly literate expressiveness. Many of the songs just cry out to be covered, stuff that wouldn't disgrace a Show Of Hands or latterday Fairport album methinks, with a grand sense of melodic construction and proportion that shows how much they've learnt from their peers. And you're also likely to have fun, I'll bet, spotting the sneaky, what you might term "closet" folky, references, idiomatic twists and quirks that betray the brothers' formative influences but in a thoroughly nice way like Another Turning Day' s rippling Thompsonesque guitar undertow, and Shanty 's sturdy seadog structure.

The album's title reflects a certain inclination towards "watery" or nautical metaphor, and gives the CD an extra level of artistic unity alongside other purely musical elements such as the Halls' superb acoustic playing and their signature excellent solo and harmony vocal work which is still is there in abundance as you'd expect if you've heard their previous work.

The surprise for some will be that at the other end of the scale from the brothers' brand of delicate modern acoustic-based balladry several tracks also have a rather harder, kickass edge with full and effective use of electric guitar with drumkit courtesy of the aptly-named Nic Shipp high up there in the mix. And bloody good they all sound too! Oh, and any violin duties not undertaken by John Carey are beautifully fulfilled by Hannah Bunyan; all other instrumental parts are played by the Halls themselves, naturally.

The whole album has a great live vibe to it, and the recording's clean and positive cheers, Andy Bell of Spike Productions. It takes what's described as the 60ss singer-songwriter aesthetic of her third record White Street , and marries it to an eminently approachable brand of new-millennium acoustica.

That entails gentle and engaging but at the same time highly assured vocal work, pleasingly mature songwriting and appealing, carefully conceived small-ensemble arrangements. While admitting that not every one of the disc's ten songs will necessarily score top marks for memorability or longevity, there are more than enough delightful experiences to encourage the listener on to make further discoveries.

Lest my words cause you to feel I'm damning with faint praise, I must say that subsequent playthroughs have revealed deeper pleasures beyond an initial impression of slightly lightweight. Although Jezz hails from Cambridge, he's best known on the local folk and acoustic club scene of Nottingham, where he moved in the 80s. As such, he's been endorsed by Pete Morton, whom he's supported on tour.

Jezz has an assured and vital presence both vocally and instrumentally, as well as a telling confidence in his own lyrical abilities, and the excellent recorded quality of the self-co-produced Smalltown brings these qualities out to perfection. Some accompanying musicians are used sparingly on a mere handful of tracks, but they in no measure detract from Jezz's own distinctive personality.

Jezz's singing style is attractively husky, almost casual at times yet with a compelling approach to phrasing and onward momentum that never allows your attention to drift; surprisingly, as on Favourite Girl , I found myself detecting shades of Donovan in the precision of his delivery, but without the latter's feyness.

Musically, most of the album is gently powerful and thoughtful, partly influenced by folk tradition and partly by the contemporary acoustic troubadours. Seven Days had me visualising Nick Drake accompanied by Davy Graham, and Baxter's Mines seemed a credible contemporary take on the traditional Blackleg Miner , from which it clearly derives both structure and inspiration.

Fortune's Waters is a beautiful if maybe Dylanesque, at least in that man's more traditional mode lonesome traveller's ballad, while Secret Heart has a similarly engimatic, yearning simplicity that recalls vintage Michael Chapman, and Closer To You has all the ramblin' wistful bluesiness of Chris Smither or perhaps even Mark Knopfler.

The "odd tracks out" inhabit an altogether jauntier bluesy-ragtime groove which I more quickly tired of in comparison halfway through track 7 in fact and Prescription Blues , which owes much to the Wizz Jones school of prime acoustic bluesiness; in retrospect, perhaps the title track oughtn't to have been placed right at the start of the CD, since it gives a misleading impression of the musical idiom of the remainder.

The Hall family of Horsham, West Sussex was a singing family, yet unlike the members of other more well-known "singing families", Mabs and her four sons would sing mostly at family gatherings; they did not frequent folk clubs, and not all their songs were folk songs. One of the sons, Gordon, developed his own arguably quite idiosyncratic singing style entirely independently of the "folk" scene, for he had no specific knowledge of that scene until a visit to a folk club in the early s and a chance reading of a folk magazine article about Bob Copper, whom he subsequently visited with his mother.

These occurrences made him realise that his mother's "quaint old songs" were more important than he'd hitherto realised, and so he devoted his retirement to researching these and other songs from the folk corpus. Word got round about Gordon's dynamic singing and unusual songs, and Mike Yates recorded both Gordon and his mother in the mids.

Gordon who died in was a fine singer indeed, with a truly unmistakable, forthright and intensely commanding and loud! Some distinctive features of his style such as his penchant for emphasising ends of lines with an exaggerated "ya" verge on mannerism, and not everyone will warm to his singing some folks found it positively intimidating!

Mabs was a singer of charm and character too, and although by the time she was recorded then in her 80s she lacked the evenness of tone and delivery with which Gordon was blessed she was still in remarkably good voice.

The drawback was that by that time she had forgotten many of her songs, and so the majority of these recordings of Mabs are either short songs including fascinating variants such as Cecilia or fragmentary performances. The remaining ten songs present Gordon in typically formidable full fettle, and although he was known for singing the fullest versions of his songs he would equally readily crop or omit verses in performance depending on his mood or how he was being received.

Gordon's take on The Bitter Whaling amusingly typo-ed as Wailing on the outer track list! Grounds is suitably persuasive, and economic at just two and a half minutes, while his gloriously stentorian Sweet Lavender street-cry would certainly persuade me to buy his wares! One or two of his performances eg Blandford In The Mud, Salonika verge on the "shouty" maybe, but I'd much rather hear this kind of unbridled involvement with a song any day than experience an anodyne rendition.

In fact, I find Gordon's singing both captivating and hugely enjoyable; if you do too, then I'd urge you to acquire his solo CD Good Things Enough on the Country Branch label, and also available from Veteran's mailorder service , also seeking out the four other Veteran releases which include tracks by him.

Even if you're not totally won over, you can't deny the importance of this treasurable release which by the way comes with the usual excellent, fulsome standard of booklet in bringing to our attention two under-appreciated traditional singers. David Kidman February Releasing his debut album back in , Hall spent four years fronting The Stormbringers the band in which Michael Weston King played prior to forming The Good Sons , releasing four albums before relocating to Nashville for a solo career.

Three further critically acclaimed albums followed before he returned home to open his Voodoo Room recording studios. A fifth Stormbringers album followed in , but then he dropped below the radar for a decade, finally returning with two albums, Songs From The Voodoo Rooms with Ian Bailey and, his first solo album in 15 years, That Old Brand New, both of which sadly appear to have passed me by. So, the arrival of this new album was like meeting up with an old friend again after many years and discovering that, while they may look and sound older, they've matured with time like a fine whisky.

Again joined by Bailey on vocals and guitars with assorted guest contributions on mandolin, banjo, lap steel, dobro, and strings, it's an acoustic collection of roots-country music variously grained with Texas dust, Appalachian pines and honky tonk fumes. Hall's voice has seasoned and deepened into a warm, slightly husky twang which on barroom weepie I Can't Believe She's Gone sounds somewhere between George Jones and Johnny Cash while the beautiful reflective Long Mynd Mornings has definite hints of John Stewart.

These are well balanced by a fine selection of slower or mid-tempo tracks; the metronomic rumbling and spooked dobro of A Country Mile From The Shore's reflections on a life lived, a steadily strummed A Small Price To Pay which, complete with harmonies and harmonica, could easily pass for an Everlys country classic, the twang and warble Still My Reason Why and the terrific close harmony Red Dirt Roads about a girl leaving home and baby to become a big city singing star and finding only a jar of empty dreams and an audience of drunks and losers.

The only niggle is that there's no lyric sheet, but with this and a second My Darling Clementine album due, classic old school country has never been in better British hands. This master melodeonist from Norfolk is a real character with a quirky and individual style and a determinedly uncompromising outlook on life.

And a brilliant cartoonist, by the by see the album's cover! Stubbornly but entirely legitimately, Tony revels in the sound of his antique Hohner melodeons with their noisy key-clicking - which as far as I'm concerned gives his recordings a special appeal, and my ears at any rate soon grow accustomed to it!

And yes, it's true, there is no instrumental multitracking whatsoever on this disc, for one of the features of Tony's playing is his ability to sound like two people are each playing a melody line at the same time. This is but one element of the wide appeal of his performances: Tony shares with Brian Peters and John Kirkpatrick to name but two the distinction of being an able-fingered squeezer who can credibly sequence The Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance, waltzes both lovely and lively, some ragtime, a Jimmy Shand piece, a Howard Keel showtune and even a bizarrely soulful rendition of Strange Fruit yes, the very song Billie Holliday made famous - and do them all justice.

Not to mention that inimitable Norfolk accent and ripe sense of humour on his own Down On The Hard careful! Only one puzzle remains: Tony's defiant but slightly self-deprecating booklet notes term his Enigma Of The Southwold Tide "the most boring song ever written" - no way!

This whole CD is a totally honest, proud and immensely enjoyable little gem full of goonishly-delightful moments, to whom no-one in their right mind should fitfully admonish "Shut up Beccles! A real historical artefact, this, as it contains some long-thought-lost recordings which have recently surfaced, and whose provenance requires a little explanation.

If last year you purchased the recently-republished Halliard: Although Dave had kept the master tape safe, shortly afterwards the Halliard itself were no more; that tape therefore lay gathering dust, coming to light again only last year during a house clearance. The recordings have now been remastered by John Bushby, taming the original "artificial" stereo image, and they now sound pretty good for their time. And for the most part, the singing and playing therein has a tremendous vitality.

All are interesting at the very least, and some - for example Nic's intriguing and unusual new melody for Death Of Nelson, the tricky metre of his Bold Captain Grant, the gentle resignation of Sad Lamentation Of John Kington somewhat reminiscent of Paul Simon! The remaining five of the tracks are renditions of songs which fitted the character of the urban broadside - and, typically, the overall theme of the collection, in that all the songs deal with the heroic or the villainous.

The disc's unofficial "theme" provides a ready-made excuse for it to lead off with a set of what we now recognise as better-known material, but this may be a mistake as I feel the first four of these are the least successful in terms of the treatments or it may be, of course, that the songs are over-familiar or that I just don't respond to the songs themselves.

Finally, as an addendum to the 15 tracks from that tape, The Last Goodnight! These final three tracks complete the available audio versions of the entire canon of broadsides featured in the aforementioned book. All told, this is an essential acquisition for admirers of Nic Jones and the Halliard alike, with honest and vital performances that transcend mere historical-artefact value. This brand new publication reviving the Halliard name takes pride of place in the review section this issue, as for many it will be an essential acquisition.

It takes the form of an A4 songbook with companion CD. The book contains 30 broadsides set to tunes composed by Nic and Dave together with an instrumental piece by Nic with Nigel. The companion near-hour-long CD contains 17 tracks 16 songs and the aforementioned instrumental piece, all appearing in the book itself , ten of which are new recordings recorded and mixed over 12, miles - for Dave now lives and works in Hobart, Tasmania!

Nigel's current musical partners-in-crime Ralph Jordan and John Dipper were also heavily involved, largely in the mastering and production of the recordings, while the whole project has been ably masterminded by Nic's wife Julia. And it's a hell of an achievement too, notwithstanding its scholarly, historical and yes, nostalgic importance.

So now to deal with the individual elements of the package. Inserted into the middle of the book, on coloured paper, is the full transcription six pages, plus two of notes of the tune Tae The Weavers Gin Ye Go. The songs are preceded by a useful "short historie of the Halliard" penned by Dave, which sets the record straight once and for all on some long-and-hard-disputed myths such as the real story behind the creation of the tune to Boys Of Bedlam!

The typefaces chosen are just right, clear and readable, and layout is attractive and easy on the eye. My only criticism on the book's presentation is that the songs are not given in the same order as on the companion CD, which would have made more sense rather than necessitating reference to the index of contents each time.

Moving on to the CD then: They're very much in the robust, perfectly accessible style that has been accepted and used as a kind of template ever since and which the Halliard had found already in practice around the clubs when they first went out to tour the material! In truth however, it hasn't really dated - at least, in the sense that you can still hear many club singers performing songs such as Calico Printer's Clerk and Lancashire Lads in the "approved" style heard on this CD, so much so that it might appear that the odd intervening years have seen little appreciable change in "popular-folk" tastes or performance style.

Whatever your take on that issue, it's clear that the quality of the singing and playing on the CD is consistent between the eras and whether modern or original recording holds up just fine. And of course it's good to hear Nic singing again; that in itself represents considerable progress and should not be underestimated. Although the book does not precisely differentiate the temporal provenance of the individual tracks, I'd guess that the first seven are those taken from the original master; and aside from some occasional minor waverings in pitch and a small mastering blip that occurs around twenty seconds before the end of track 6 A Thousand Miles Away , the engineers have done a splendid job and the recordings' age is only betrayed by an intermittent slight flakiness in timbre of the instrumental accompaniments on these tracks - certainly not worth worrying about in any way.

I probably say this every time Kieran releases a new album, but his latest offering his 19th studio album! Kieran's singing voice is immediately recognisable, as are the distinctive traits of his personal expression and musical idiom. It's not an easy trick to pull off time and again when it could easily become so predictable, but Kieran always manages to ring the changes and keep the listener's interest even when exploring familiar themes in his songwriting.

This time round, the devil's even more in the detail, so to speak: The songs themselves radiate Kieran's typically assured demeanour, his solid, unflinching and yet supremely sensitive stance; inevitably there's still a hefty measure of anger and aggression largely at the state of the world that's to be worked through, and the opening pair of songs kinda gets it out of the system, by railing against the lack of viable alternatives the title track and an anthemic expression of our understandable lack of faith God Has No Plan.

Kieran so often voices one's own innermost feelings in language that's so simple we wonder why we've not written the songs ourselves, but it's Kieran's skill as a songwriter that makes something special out of these reactions, beliefs and experiences.

This applies whether Kieran's examining political issues or helping us to come to terms with romance, relationships and "real life", and he's almost always able to derive a measure of comfort from adversity. Several songs are air-punching homilies that make optimum use of devices such as repetition, staccato rhythms and smart rhymes to get their messages across.

Then, on the other side of Kieran's songwriting coin, we find the powerful, world-weary rueful remembrances of October Moon and New Year's Day and the tender entreaties of Year After Year. Yes, sometimes it can feel like it's always Closing Time In Paradise, and there are still occasions where a series of thoughts and ideas is left hanging in the ether after two verses and you feel might usefully be developed more, but invariably Kieran's songs still make you think and leave you thinking, which is never a bad thing.

Long may Kieran keep coming up with provocative new songs to make you think again and over again. Having recently returned from a year's sabbatical, Kieran has shown with some storming live gigs that he's lost none of his touch, his bite, his winning way with an audience or his powerful presence; or, on the evidence of this CD of almost all brand new material, his gift for creating memorable and passionate songs.

The anger and desperation of Still Bleeding Wound also hits hard, as does the regretful The Road Ahead, another very relevant song tackling Kieran's familiar preoccupation with examining the clash between past and future in the light of present feelings and experiences. Road Train Driver is another typically thoughtful slice of Halpin life-philosophy, set to a catchy melody and driving beat, while Bankers is a right-on vituperative piece with a particularly catchy chorus.

Kieran's backing musicians on this latest disc comprise his regular collaborators Maart Allcock and Yogi Jockusch along with guitarist Jimmy Smith and jazz keyboardist Dave Milligan; this is an ideal ensemble, other than that on the first three songs the title track especially Dave's glitzy Wurlitzer tones sound too jazzy-lounge in style for the material, diluting its impact I feel.

While one or two of the songs will undeniably come across more intensely and make a more immediate impact in Kieran's visceral live voice-and-guitar setting, the quite lengthy travelogue Found Australia, which palls a little in live performance, seems to work better on record with its playful country-mode geetar frolics.

Finally, after the nine new songs, the CD concludes with a reworking of Kieran's anthemic classic Glory Dayz, which gains extra poignance with its additional verse written in direct personal tribute to the brilliant guitarist Chris Jones, with whom Kieran worked closely for over ten years and who sadly died in shortly after recording for Kieran's CD A Box Of Words And Tunes. The first of two new releases from Kieran this year is a live album recorded at various British venues in November of last year during his tour with guitarist Chris Jones.

Kieran and Chris had released an earlier live duo album back in Glory Dayz , which was notable for its winning combination of exceptionally strong songs and playing that was vivid and fiery yet very subtle. Moving Air takes the two's working relationship a stage further in accomplishment, with some mightily beautiful intricacies of texture and harmonics woven in among the power chords - a combination that suits Kieran's songs down to the ground.

The album's title proves extremely accurate - play it loud and you can feel the air move, it positively shimmers in the heat haze of the cascading, rippling strings, and the recording perfectly conveys the intensity of the live experience.

The music is gutsy, honest and uncompromising, with Kieran's distinctive, gravelly vocal as compelling as ever; it's ostensibly quite abrasive, but Kieran's always proved himself capable of finer vocal shadings too, as on the achingly beautiful Angel Of Paradise and when he effectively revisits an earlier song like No Turning Back here given a thoughtful new slant. On the most recent song here Good Reason , Chris shares vocal duties, though while proving himself adequate to the task his quiet tones form almost too much of a contrast with Kieran's own matchless, forceful delivery.

The majority of the songs on this new album don't duplicate Kieran's earlier live releases, and they range over a wide timescale, emphasising the sheer consistency of his world-vision over his long career. Even on those songs which have appeared before on his live albums, Kieran always manages to find something new to say, while his most recent writing shows him still developing his themes and concerns in a credibly contemporary fashion.

And I've already enthused about the wonderfully complementary guitar work of Kieran and Chris, whose contrasting styles that coexist admirably yet also spark each other to fine new expressive heights. Neil Halstead - Sleeping On Roads 4AD Gestating over two years, the solo debut from the lead singer of Mojave 3 isn't exactly any radical musical departure from the day job.

Which means more Nick Drake infused delicately miserable country-folk, pretty tunes and hushed lazy vocals. Their bare acoustic guitar bones fleshed out with banjo, cello, trumpet and keyboards, it's all very pleasant stuff, the Leone touches to Driving With Bert especially attractive with the gently rolling leafy mood of Two Stones In My Pocket, the slowly swelling guitar-borne dream of flying free that's See You On Rooftops and six minute reverie Dreamed I Saw Soldiers the most obvious highlights.

But with no obvious personal agenda to the songs themselves and no sense of exploring musical directions frustrated by the band confines, it doesn't really seem to have any reason for its existence other than proving he could do it.

You are excused and we'll see you later OK, now they've gone and we can get down to Ed Hamell's latest collection of acoustic-powered, folk-punk genius. It's wild, funny as hell with lyrics that slice like a knife at a crime scene. What you get is a guy with big opinions, stories from which to make film scripts and a lot of acoustic strumming over inspired percussion.

Some of his stories are true Downs , his recovery from a near-death car accident with the aid of a pharmacy of morphine and derivatives , or he's the voice of an angry God Don't Kill , 'what part of Thou Shalt Not Kill don't you understand? Surreal at times and poking fun or the finger at a multitude of targets, there's a hilarious bizarre internet romance First Date , a small tale of blackmail and a gang rap Dear Peter, When Destiny Calls , with guns accenting various verses - not literally - and Hamell firing words of warning There Is A God , and - maybe literally - hitting dustbin lids Tough Love!

No sweet harmonising, she does a fine job in edgily keeping up with the Hamell whirlwind. He's supported her on tour and she's extended her support for him by signing him to her Righteous Babe label. Tough Love is a Triumph.

No 'singing between the lines', Hamell comes at you with a punch and this one is his best right hook. Straight into my pile of Best Albums of the Year. Hamell is a showman who shocks. He's a wild weapon of communication - an urban folk-punkster, a thrash-rocker who fires songs at you which are not exactly hot on forgiveness and compassion.

He strums like a man possessed, he's outrageously funny and utterly compelling. Choochtown feels very ' live ' though some tracks are supplemented by drums, bass, electric guitar, trumpet and samples. Let's face it, this isn't sensitive stuff, so if you in the mood for something pretty and singer-songwritery, this one isn't for you.

On the other hand, if you like your songs honest, bad and bloody - and you think Bob Dylan, Lou Reed or Loudon Wainwright are a little tame these days, Hamell's your guy.

This man is brilliant and he's at The Borderline again on November 2nd. Finally, a joke from Hamell's on-stage, mostly unrepeatable banter, " What has four legs and an arm? As Rebecca Hollweg's other half, he also played on and produced her album June Babies.

Now he's finally made his own and, not surprisingly, several friends dropped by to return the favour. It takes a few listens, but it sneaks into the bloodstream. And it goes without saying double bass aficionados should purchase forthwith. The quite-newly-launched Cherry Red subsidiary label Esoteric is currently doing a splendid job of reissuing all the albums of celebrated songwriter Josephine Claire Hamill, who was also quite recently hailed by Record Collector mag as "the finest vocalist you've never heard" yes, I do like the presumptive eloquence of that description!

As a taster, though, comes The Minor Fall, The Major Lift, a handsome two-disc retrospective compilation covering virtually the whole of Claire's career to date to and spanning the records she made for Island, Konk, Beggar's Banquet, Coda and finally her own label. If I'm totally honest, I don't entirely connect with some of the prog and then New Age modes with which Claire became engaged from the late 70s through to the late 80s, a blandness too far on occasion for me perhaps, but the sample tracks from the albums made during that period encapsulate what she was doing pretty well.

In all, it's actually a very sensibly programmed compilation, and certainly whets the appetite for the forthcoming projected complete reissues of all the individual albums over the next year or so and prompts a re-evaluation on my part.

And even Claire's staunchest fans will probably not own all of those albums! So to those issued thus far One House Left Standing was the product of the ingenuous Claire's signing with Island at age 16, and ambitiously showcased her nascent songwriting and her enviably pure and uncannily cultured singing voice on an unexpectedly wide-ranging set of songs, mainly penned by Claire herself some with her then-boyfriend Mike Coles.

The record started out stylishly, with the kittenish Dixieland swing of Baseball Blues whoa, what an opener! It's a persuasive set that wears very well indeed, and its ten tracks are topped up with two bonus cuts, the lengthy and intense single B-side Alice In The Streets Of Darlington and a cutglass cover of Lindisfarne's Meet Me On The Corner featuring Gerry Rafferty and Stealer's Wheel as backing musicians. A more pronounced Joni Mitchell influence also seemed to be present, especially in the melodic contours of songs like To The Stars.

There are some sensitive string arrangements too courtesy of Nick Harrison , and the final track Peaceful was even recorded alfresco in the cold in the middle of the night! The odd-track-out is a quite strident cover of Jimmy Reed's Baby What's Wrong With You which, well done though it is, breaks the flow of the album's original second side somewhat.

Sadly, there are no bonus tracks with this reissue - but, as with One House The third of the reissued albums, Voices, propels us forward 12 years to , by which time much water had flown under Claire's musical bridge. At that time, Claire was settled and married, and had just supported Rick Wakeman on a national tour. At the instigation of her husband Nick, Claire dipped her tentative toes into the then-nascent New Age genre, recording a whole album based around the concept of a vocal interpretation of the changing seasons.

Using then-pioneering layering techniques to create a thick, ethereal soundscape from her own extraordinary vocal performances, Voices proved a startlingly original record which genuinely broadened musical horizons, astounding listeners and defying preconceptions of what might "sell".

Heard now, it seems a verys artefact, rather akin to Kate Bush without the outlandish eccentricities I thought, and definitely a precursor of what's now regarded as the Enya sound especially in its wash of swooning, shifting vocal colours - but it doesn't sound dated in the way that much 80s music does, and it contains some inspiring and uplifting composition. From the vantage point of two decades on, it's easy to underestimate how inventive and original this music was back in the mids, and this repackage allows us to reassess its magic in all its aural splendour.

The fourth album to be reissued in this series, Love In The Afternoon, dates from , a time when Claire was on a creative roll after the massive success of the Voices album. It's a collection of songs without an overall concept, and although it doesn't suffer from disunity in that sense and there are some fine songs among its nine tracks it still doesn't quite satisfy as an entirety.

Trees, Japanese Lullaby and to some extent Glastonbury and the title track are to some extent all style-defining within Claire's later output, but the album's standout is probably Beauty Of England which is drawn from an aborted concept album Domesday, about the Battle Of Hastings. Love In The Afternoon shares with many albums of its time a distinctly 80s synth-dominated backing, which now makes it sound quite dated more so than Voices , and this dilutes the impact of Claire's writing somewhat for me.

It would be interesting to hear some of these songs with a less elaborate textural backdrop. Best known for a string of albums on Island Records in the early seventies, Middlesborough vocalist Claire Hamill has never stuck rigidly to one formula, reinventing herself along the way as New-Age songstress, occasional rock-chick singer with Wishbone Ash and conceiving the remarkable 'Voices' album, which featured multi-layered arrangements of Claire's erm, voice!

Released in , her most recent studio album sees Claire return to the comparative comfort zone of singer-songwriter mode, yet several of the songs in this collection stand comfortably alongside the best of her earlier work; the jazz-tinged 'Beautiful Moon' featuring the moody trumpet of Duncan Mackay, a song which would not sound out of place on a record by Madeleine Peyroux or Diana Krall and the bright 'In the Leaves of the Park', as crisp and clear as a brisk Autumn walk.

Claire obviously has a keen ear for a cover and her little-girl-lost vocals are perfectly suited to 'Blue' from the pen of McAlmont and Butler. We also get another chance to hear the beautiful 'You Take My Breath Away', re-recorded due to the renewed interest in her work largely thanks to the surprise discovery of a recorded version of Claire's song by the late Eva Cassidy.

There is an air of melancholy throughout much of this album, even on the uptempo 'Mr Wonderful', but it is an emotion that Claire handles better than most. On the closing track, 'Singer', she proclaims "where did you go, I used to buy your records many years ago. She's been likened to Bush, Harvey and Lennox as well as Regina Spektor and Imogen Heap, and while you'll hear the comparisons, she's still very much her own voice. The album is an exotic musical journey, brushing the multicultural world wings of dreamy celestial pop tinged with Gaelic mist Exist , cobwebby jazz soul folk The Bush infused Pick Me Up , airy Brill building balladry There It Is , the panoramic rhythms of African plains How Beautiful , and the melting icicle soulful ebb and flow fragility of Deeper Glorious.

Then there's the Weill cabaret shades to All In Adoration with its puttering percussion beats and woodwind trills, the classical hymnal majesty of Liathach's choral beauty and, drawing on her time in Cambodia, the intoxicatingly hushed seductiveness that is Mekong Song. She's releasing Winter Is Over a a trailer single, a playfully catchy pizzicato plucked strings waltzer that suggests a sort of Oriental Bjork by way of an arthouse 40s Broadway musical.

But it's the closing Think Of Me that's the real deceptive killer, a windchime, musical box Gaelic lullaby that floats you away on a pillow of clouds and twinkling night stars. Sophisticated, sensuous, complex, layered and utterly beguiling, there's a song here called Paradise. A better description of the album would be hard to conjure. Well there's certainly plenty evidence of a rock edge and drive here, but his roots are certainly showing, too.

Just seven songs of high quality combine a Guy Clark-like fondness for characters and story-telling with a very twenty-first century musical approach. Three tracks of random radio stuff "reception 1", etc don't make too much sense to me; I guess it's an attempt to make the songs seem like random unknown voices from the ether too.

Nonetheless, bags of atmosphere are conjured from some pretty sparse ingredients; Nathan's warm, slightly fractured vocal on Cinders is sung right up against the mike and supported by an arrangement of great delicacy shot through with steel - reminiscent, I suppose, of one of Lou Reed's painfully intimate songs.

If Cinders was on your mp3 and popped up out of the blue I think you'd have to stop what you were doing to drink it all in. Weary World, on the other hand, demonstrates an ability to make an apparently simple, straightforward tune and lyric carry an awful lot of emotional weight, not an easy trick to pull off whilst Change could have come from Nels Andrews' songbook; it has a similar weighty, considered style to the acoustic guitar sound, an echo-laden pedal steel for the atmosphere and an acute sensitivity for the disappointments experienced in real lives - a long way from the vacuous optimism of pop music.

Receive, in contrast, gets the electric guitar brought out and a pretty fuzzy, heavy sound backed by a thumping drum; Nathan's vocals have the edge required for a very good rock voice and the warmth that draws you in for the quieter, folkier songs. It's a slow-burner, this one, and it'd be well worthy buying or downloading what you can and familiarise yourself with Nathan Hamilton's style before you check him out live; there's hidden treasures here and I think the man could be a real find.

It's a bit over two years since Peter's last solo studio recording Incoherence , but he's been busy over that time, not just with the VdGG reunion tour and remasters but also in supervising the remastered reissues of his 70s Charisma solo albums. All despite having suffered a heart attack, an experience which no doubt played a part in triggering this new set of songs on which Peter reflects on mortality and on considerations of history both personal and public.

With admirable, if typically cryptic succinctness, Peter admits that "the main theme here is the long dive down into not being what we were", and in confronting this situation I think he's produced a very fine set indeed, one that ranks with those Charisma albums in actual songwriting power yet doesn't possess anything like the impenetrability or degree of turn-off idiosyncrasy that many music-lovers had often found such a barrier to appreciating his earlier output.

That doesn't mean to say that Peter's abandoned the experimental elements in his music - indeed, the urge to forge new and intriguing sonic landscapes is as strong as ever eg the fragmented voice and treated-piano textures of White Dot ; and Singularity is once more a totally solo effort, all instruments and voices you hear belonging to Peter himself. Lyric-wise, the Hammill hallmarks of literate and expressive heart-baring are there in abundance, yet imbued with a new maturity in their freshness of execution.

What was once a distinctly inward-looking narcissism is replaced by a worldly realism, often quite self-critical and definitely not devoid of humour.

Peter's metaphors are still intelligently conceived, but they're inclusive not opaque, and the music expresses a fragile tenderness amid the sometimes still painful recollection and assessment of a personal situation. Peter uses the key word "singularity" in both senses: At its most intense as on Event Horizon , Peter's writing exhibits an expressive beauty that's both accessible and immensely compelling.

Now if in the past you were put off more by Peter's intensity, by way of his histrionic vocal delivery, than the actual admittedly often impenetrable content of his songs, then I firmly believe that Singularity may be the album to now give you the optimum chance to re-evaluate his music - for although it's still recognisably Hammill, the actual expression of the drama and thought-content within the songs is toned down naturally not in any way dumbed down, I hasten to add and, allied to some genuinely interesting musical content, makes for a most rewarding listening experience and hey, Naked To The Flame even contains a snatch of tune we can whistle along with Peter!

But that doesn't for a moment mean that Peter's compromised his ideals or his talent. Singularity is a grand achievement by any standards, flying defiantly in the face of those who'd argue that anyone who's been writing and recording for 40 years is bound to have nothing new to say.

Following in quick succession barely a month after the previous batch, here's the second tranche of Peter Hammill remastered reissues, covering his four solo releases which originally came out between March and October The album does, however, at least seem to audibly begin where Nadir's Big Chance left off, in the sense of throwing at us the proto-punk riff-heavy vibe of Crying Wolf.

Over comes with three bonus tracks: Coming complete with some striking cover photos like the front shot which I always thought made PH look like Kenny Everett! Although there's often a distinct sense of trial-and-error about much of the album, it's amazing how it hangs together and although it's not my favourite Hammill album by any means, it nevertheless retains an aggressively confident quality right through.

The two bonus tracks, spare versions of album tracks If I Could and The Mousetrap taken from the Kansas City tape, exude an intense self-containment. The followup, pH7 which turned out to be Peter's final album for Charisma , appeared just over a year later, in October ; Peter regarded it as a twin to Future, and certainly it contained a rather similar mix of experimentation and social commentary.

Its at once punning and misleading title it was PH's eighth album not his seventh! It began, however, with two for PH less characteristic tracks: My Favourite, a fairly lightweight pop-love-song with slightly laboured imagery redeemed by a charming string arrangement, and then the declamatory new-wave stance of Careering.

Thankfully there's stronger material to come: Not For Keith is a brief but affecting tribute to VDGG's first bass player Keith Ellis; Handicap And Equality harks back to the social-commentary folk-troubadour approach, whereas The Old School Tie is an even more obvious attack on politicians and the dawn of spin, imbued with all due venom and bile.

Imperial Walls, a setting of 8th century Saxon words found displayed at the Roman baths at Bath, has a scratchy grandeur all its own.

Compositionally, the album's odd-man-out is an old song of Chris Judge Smith's Time For A Change , but it's a tribute to Peter that it suffers not from the comparison with his own songs. A Black Box, released in the late summer of , was a go-it-alone independent-label effort, self-released on S-type Records almost as a gesture of frustration at the albeit inevitable situation of being dropped from Charisma due partly to the ever-familiar story that although Peter's albums were critically esteemed, his music wasn't deemed commercially viable.

Like most of Peter's music, it can at times be tough going but it invariably rewards the patient listener. In common with the previous batch of Hammill digitally remastered reissues, the above four are state-of-the-art, and sound better than ever.

All sleeve art and lyrics are faithfully reproduced, and the reissues benefit from Peter's own commentary within the booklet notes. Listening to these albums again in sequence I experience an embarrassment of riches, a torrent of ideas and feelings that's truly overwhelming. Peter's songs are singularly dramatic, turbulent, restless, angst-ridden utterances, yet they often possess much quiet beauty both musical and lyrical amidst all the torment.

The second and third and suitably lengthily-titled! Chameleon, though a typically introspective collection, is compared with some of his earlier VDGG work less concerned with wilful sci-fi obscurity and more with the deeply personal; if it were issued today, I suspect it would probably fall most readily into the indie category notably in respect of the occasionally brittle nature of the home-studio-produced sound and its primitive, much-of-its-time approach to stereo imaging , but that's not in any way to denigrate its many abundantly impressive qualities.

As Peter himself admits, he was "stumbling under the guidance of instinct as much as conscious innovation", although "many of the moves he made at this time were to prove pivotal in his later development".

Like all of Peter's work, it's music of startling, nay frightening originality. In matters such as his distinctly independent spirit and obstinate integrity especially I often hear a kinship with significant mavericks like Bowie and Harper, but the truth is that for the most part Peter's songs sound like absolutely nobody else's, even though there may be elements and echoes of modern-day chanson flooding through pieces like In The End and the sinister pastoral of What's It Worth.

And he was at first slow to distance himself completely from VDGG, as Easy To Slip Away with its throwback to the personae of Refugees and In The Black Room a song originally destined for the band's next, unrecorded - intended fifth - album, with its grandiose, episodic nature and band dynamics both show in their different ways. Chameleon may be the first real fruit of Peter's potential solo career, but it's an astonishingly assured and coherent album.

Even at a temporal remove of some 30 years, it's almost too much to take in at once: This remastered edition comes with three bonus tracks: The third bonus track Rain 3 AM is an unreleased curiosity from around the time of the album: Peter's pulsating electric guitar work on this track in particular betrays the influence of Spirit's Randy California, who made a one-off guest appearance on another of the album's key tracks, Red Shift.

Of the four bonus cuts, three are versions of album tracks which come from a roughly contemporaneous Peel session with David Jackson in tow , the last The Lie being another delightfully over-the-top selection from the abovementioned Kansas City concert. In Camera was the first Hammill solo album on which everything aside from percussion on just three tracks was played by Peter himself.

It continues the startling advances made on The Silent Corner, notably in terms of wild experimentation, while the sheer scope of its material bravely presents the listener with at times uncomfortable challenges in the form of extreme contrasts, from the relatively orthodox reflective confessional of Again to the rockist angst of Tapeworm, the intriguing guitar-quartet setting of The Comet, The Course, The Tail to the ultra-synth texturings of Faint Heart And The Sermon, and the strange but logical pairing of the harmonium-rich Gog misprinted as Go on the back cover - oops!

Three bonus tracks, taken from a Peel session recorded shortly after the album's release, are sparse voice-and-piano readings of two of the album's songs plus a real rarity: Though released in February , barely six months after In Camera, Nadir's Big Chance saw the Chameleon mutate dramatically into Rikki Nadir, a kind of proto-punk alter-ego! The album comprised a set of by Hammill standards pithy quasi-pop-songs though in practice few of them weigh in at under four minutes!

Not unnaturally, it was received with some puzzlement and a degree of antipathy, but in retrospect, although it's not necessarily Peter's finest forty-seven minutes, I really rather like it for what it is - and it sounds great in this remaster, even though it yields no bonus tracks. The digital remasterings of these four albums have been carried out by Peter himself, and he's opened out the original slightly thin sound with far better presence, notably in certain of the bass frequencies, and the bonus tracks are well worth having; these sensibly-coordinated reissues, which are graced with additional new notes by Peter too, are state-of-the-art.

A few months after Nadir, VDGG ended its four-year set-aside, and the Godbluff lineup was to take up most of Peter's time for a year or so; a convenient point at which to break my survey of Hammill remasters - the next batch will appear shortly. This has actually been a really difficult record to review, basically since it's nigh impossible to capture the incredibly individual essence of Brighton-based Mary's wildly original and very very special talent as a singer and songwriter.

It's also one of those "less is more" jobs that makes much out of exceedingly minimal resources. And it's a seriously scary experience from beginning to end - at times it's almost too disturbing to listen to at all except in the comfort of your own mind. But the first thing you'll hear, after the bald tenor guitar intro that is, will be Mary's totally extraordinary voice, which will bring your ears stark upright, for it takes the art of singing into an unearthly place indeed you'll either love it or hate it with a passion, I suspect - and I love it!

It's a voice of paradoxes: Mary's writing - and indeed her whole sound-world - is peculiarly haunting. Imagery is spellbindingly strange, both significantly eldritch and properly poetic, sometimes ostensibly impenetrable but always keeping a firm handle on the boundaries of perception. Melodies sound primordial, ancient, modal, yet with adventurous turns of the screw.

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