Fake News and Propaganda..

The final artwork is still in progress so have a gig flyer instead!

I never ask to get sneaky peaks of recordings Ferocious Dog are working on – when people ask I truthfully say there’s an appeal to waiting for the big reveal when the CD arrives in the post.

Funnily enough the latest person to ask was Ken – Ella and I had popped to see him a few weeks ago for some tattoos – he was surprised, and once he’d navigated the labyrinthine band and crew WhatsApp group admittedly we did hear a few songs through a tinny phone speaker whilst he kept tabs on Mansfield Town surprisingly failing to beat local rivals Notts County.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and a Facebook message pops up from Dan with a link to a Google Drive with ten mp3 files. The only accompanying explanation was ‘nearly mixed’ – no matter how much part of me might want to wait for the big reveal, it’s not like anyone is going to resist that opportunity, now is it? So of course I fired up the laptop and got downloading, eager as a kid on Christmas Eve to get stuck in.

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Freeborn Al / 3rd March 2019 / Band, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos

Besieged..

Whilst I’ve worked out how to do this here blogging lark I’ve got another album I’ve been hammering lately to muse upon. It’s one I’ve been waiting to hear for what feels like ages.

I’ve made no secret of my love of McDermott’s 2 Hours in the past – so relatively new release Besieged was a very exciting prospect and it’s not disappointed. A collaboration with the aforementioned along with Levellers and Oysterband, it’s a long overdue sequel to excellent similar co-creations – the last one I think was Disorder way back in 2004… gosh, that makes me feel old! This could well be the full-stop for McDermott’s 2 Hours.

And sure enough, it’s a fitting epitaph (of sorts – I don’t think Nick is hanging up his metaphorical creative boots for other projects).

It kicks off with the barnstorming Firebird, fiddle-driven and bouncing from the off with Nick Burbridge‘s inimitable vocal delivery setting down a strong marker. I absolutely adore both Nick’s lyrical skill (and Jeremy’s in the case of this song) and his delivery. This is a great example of both working in wonderful harmony with the expert instrumentation from the band – drenched in themes of some kind of renewal, characterised of course by a firebird, which is a phoenix, innit?

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Freeborn Al / 2nd March 2019 / Music, Other Bands, Photos

The year the music died?

Image credit: christhebarker

2016 will probably go down as one of those years where sad news overshadowed the good – certainly that was true for me both in personal terms, which I won’t cover here, but also the seemingly relentless march of famous icons being taken by the grim reaper.  Just as we were coming to terms with Lemmy passing away at the end of 2015, in 2016 we’d be constantly reminded by social media of a glittering parade of cultural icons shuffling from this mortal coil.

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Jimmy Bain, Terry Wogan, Harper Lee, Frank Kelly, George Martin, Keith Emerson, Frank Sinatra Jr, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett, David Gest, Victoria Wood, Lonnie Mack, Prince, John Berry, Nick Menza, Muhammad Ali, Henry McCullough, Anton Yelchin, Caroline Aherne, Kenny Baker, Dalian Atkinson, Gene Wilder, Pete Burns, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Sachs, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Liz Smith, Richard Adams, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

That’s not an exhaustive list, I’m sure, but that’s not really what I wanted this blog post to be about – but you can’t really do a review of the year without mentioning the elephant in the room.  As with seemingly most things these days it caused ruckuses on Facebook with folk taking to social media to express their sadness whilst others get irked at seeming over-emotionalness.  Certainly there’s a lot in that list who whilst I’ve never met have had huge influences over my life, and I felt genuine sadness at them moving on – some seemingly far too early, others having reached a ripe of age.

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Freeborn Al / 30th December 2016 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Lee Bonsall, Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Resolved..

A malfunction with letting him know my new address means I won’t get my hands on Gaz Brookfield’s new album ’til the weekend. However, a similarly exciting delivery did arrive on my newish doormat this week. A new album by Nick Burbridge is always pretty damn exciting for me – coupled with it being another collaboration with Tim Cotterell and well, excited doesn’t really cover it!

My first impression of this upon opening the jiffy bag on my doormat was that the cover of Resolved is a bit more friendly than its predecessor Gathered was. It seems like ages ago I had the latter in my hand for the first time (I suppose it was – 2012!). I loved it so much I felt compelled to write about it despite not having yet developed writing about music as a hobby. Sixteen tracks promises to be a bumper, although noticing six titled tanka with numbers prompted a quick Google.

A tanka is a short poetic structure from Japan consisting of five lines and 31 syllables. Five in the first and third lines, seven in the remainder, sort of like a haiku plus I suppose. Intriguing! Nick is, after all, a well-regarded poet (and playwright) as well as songwriter. All but the second track are prefixed Song of – a hint of some kind of narrative or journey perchance.

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Freeborn Al / 8th December 2016 / Music, Other Bands, Photos / 0 Comments

Triumphant return to an old Haunt..

IMG_1781In Southampton I was lucky enough to wake up in time for breakfast this time, and once everyone had convened and Wez had fetched Cerebus round for the next leg of the journey it was rather a more sombre trip along the coast to Brighton as the full extent of the awful events in Paris became apparent.  There was a degree of mood lightening with the scattered remnants of the previous night’s entertainment that John and Scott, both surprisingly chipper considering, could actually remember.

The hotel we were staying in was actually in Newhaven, some miles outside of Brighton, we opted to head there first to get checked in – Waggy’s sat nav amusingly taking us to a Premier convenience store nearby instead – but soon enough we did find our destination.  I ended up in with Ken for this night as Les was travelling home after the gig since Margate is just down the road for him relatively speaking – we got our bags dumped, freshened up and it was back on the bus to get to the venue.

Of course we were all at The Haunt earlier in the year – it’s an ace little place, sound checking seemed to go pretty well.  Ken had casually announced Jeremy from the Levellers was coming later, and Nick Burbridge too – hopefully getting up to perform with the band.  Nick is one of my all time favourite songwriters – so this was unfeasibly exciting for me even more so than normal!  Waggy and I also cased out the balcony – not open that evening for the public – as a good potential photography spot – the video below shows the soundcheck from up there.

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Freeborn Al / 17th November 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Videos / 0 Comments

The waiting is almost over..

IMG_0447.. and boy are you going to think it’s worth it.  From Without has been mastered, and is going into production ready to be sent out to the good folks who made it a possibility by paying up front for it.   Back in April I wrote a review based on some of the rough-cut tracks I’d been privy to, subsequently I’ve been lucky enough to hear a number of the iterations of mixing that occurred and finally the mastered full album this evening.  And wow, what a treat.  I’m not sure if posting this is torturing folk who’ve waited or help with anticipation.

In the recent radio interview Ken talked about From Without and how it was inspired by Karl Marx.  More specifically the inference that revolution can’t be triggered solely by the proletariat but would need help from without their ranks.  Of course all the speculation and misinterpretations were fun – but undoubtedly this is an album that has a strong political underpinning almost throughout – be it contemporary or historical – there’s anger and cutting observation.

Whether it be what sounds like a summary of Iain Duncan-Smith’s assault on the disabled and the farce of the bedroom tax in Living on Thin Air (this is the track, you’ll remember, that was co-written with Nick Burbridge), historical accounts like Ruby Bridges, Crime and Punishment and more recent history in the form of Marikana Massacre or the hauntingly sad-yet-beautiful Slow Motion Suicide charting the demise of a jobless miner in the wake of the pits being closed – there’s clear messages of the disenfranchised ringing through the opening nine tracks of the album.

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Freeborn Al / 1st September 2015 / Band, Music, Photos / 0 Comments

From Without (from within)..

Eeee! New Ferocious Dog songs ON MY PHONE!!

Eeee! New Ferocious Dog songs ON MY PHONE!!

After a pretty full-on weekend of Ferocious Dog and a Monday morning fresh after the school holiday it was always going to be a bind to get to work this morning.  Once I’d arrived and grabbed a sneaky breakfast I was settling down to get my to do list beaten into shape when my phone rang. It was Dan which was rather unexpected so I grabbed the phone and excitedly said yes when he offered me the chance to listen to a few rough-cuts from the new album recordings.

A link to Dropbox was duly texted through and after some faffing around I fashioned a way to have a crafty listen to the tracks whilst finishing off a Powerpoint presentation.  Some were already surprisingly familiar from the live performances, some less so – one mentioned in a teaser post by Waggy on Facebook a few days ago. My remit is to review them without giving too much away – particularly the tracks that have yet to be aired on the tour as yet.

I’ve not quite decided how to tackle this so I’m free-typing on my keyboard in the hope that inspiration strikes.  I posted earlier about listening to Ferocious Dog giving you the urge to drive fast – this evening I was home from Solihull in around 42 minutes – normally I’m happy if I’m not too far north of an hour.  The new stuff, even pre-mastering, is clearly pretty heady stuff… I get the chance to hammer it to death over the next few hundred miles I drive to start to learn some of the words.  I’d best start watching out for speed cameras.

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Freeborn Al / 13th April 2015 / Band, Gigs, Music / 0 Comments