2015 – The year of the Dog..

12347814_10153863571453060_2422930688827816042_nOkay, so Ferocious Dog have been around a little longer – but this last year has felt rather like a landmark.  And not just because back in February it’s when Ferocious Blog was born, ha!  The lead up to a new year is traditionally a time for reflecting back on the year just gone and looking forward to the next one, so I figured it’d be nice to trawl back through the months and pull out a highlight or two for each month of 2015, it will be tough to pick just one or two so feel free to chip in your own in the comments – despite my best efforts I didn’t quite make it to every Ferocious Dog gig in the year!

January 2015 – a light month, Ferocious Blog was yet to be created (although it had been an idea kicking around in my head for at least a couple of years).  Checking my calendar and personal blog doesn’t reveal much at all in the way of Ferocious Dog activity – we’d have been still basking in the warm glow of Dogfest back in December – I latterly discovered that a 3 Piece Acoustic performance took place in honour of Ella’s 21st birthday in this month, but alas I didn’t know Snotty at this juncture!

IMG_9188_gFebruary 2015the blog is born after an acoustic appearance by Ken and Dan at the Brown Cow in Mansfield.  Seldom has one of Sam’s nights had such a huge crowd packed in.  The demand for the event was the perfect excuse to arrive early and chat nonsense with friends for the afternoon.  An afternoon of drinking had taken its toll on Dean who for the first time decreed I needed to get up and surf in his place – a great way to start what became a year of extreme ‘dogging’.  These smaller intimate gigs are as enjoyable for me as the bigger and bolder shows that are to follow.  We were first introduced to Scott at this appearance too.

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Freeborn Al / 30th December 2015 / Band, Gigs, Hell Hounds, Music, Other Bands, Photos, Thoughts

From Without – it’s finally here!

IMG_0447Facebook has been awash with excited people receiving packages through the post after the Herculean efforts of Gibbo and Hannah in getting everyone’s album packaged and mailed over the weekend.  Despite basically having it already, it was still a bit galling to be stuck at the office periodically spotting a series of delighted people  posting photos and their initial thoughts – all of which have been positive so far (not that I ever doubted it).  I’ve skirted around writing about the album tracks a few times, but now it’s ‘in the wild’ I can do so unabashed at spoiling anything too much.

Biased though I undoubtedly am, I love everything about it – the imagery, the packaging, the slight imperfection in that the lyrics for Gallows Justice are missing from the sleeve notes (Waggy has posted the page online should any perfectionists wish to download them), the signatures, the fact my name is in it, and of course the songs themselves.  The songs, they’re unmistakably Ferocious Dog, they are a mixture of biting political observation, historical accounts, a traditional re-imagining and a love ballad gone sour.

They are unmistakably Ferocious Dog, but they chart some evolution too.  What more could you want?  I described it earlier on Facebook as a plateau of an album rather than a roller-coaster – whilst there’s variation of paces and styles there’s no let up in quality, it peaks early and stays there – I do genuinely love it.  Even though I heard it a lot I still played it all the way home from work, playing pretend that I’d been in in time for the Postman to deliver it to me.

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Freeborn Al / 5th October 2015 / Band, Music / 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

All the world is waiting for you brave young girl..

As the clock ticks down to Something to Smile About on Saturday there’s also the excitement of Ferocious Dog releasing Ruby Bridges as a digital single on Monday too.  I talked about the song when previewing some of the rough cut tracks from the album a while ago, briefly summarising the subject and that the song was conceived in Dan’s mind when Ruby would’ve hit the news having just turned 60 last year in September.

Dan had earmarked the song as a potential idea for a co-written piece with Maelor Hughes, but subsequently liked what he’d started too much to not have it as a Ferocious Dog track that he finished off with Ken.

The story of Ruby Bridges is one of real inspiration though.  In 1960 a federal court order decreed that public schools in New Orleans, where the Bridges family lived, were forced to desegregate.  Put simply, white and black children were no longer to be educated separately.   Black children from kindergarten were tested to see who would be put forward to go to an integrated school – Ruby duly passed this test and the first challenge was to overcome divisions within the family.

Her father was understandably reticent – worried that the act of his daughter going to a mixed school was ‘just asking for trouble’ whilst her mother saw the opportunity Ruby could have for a better education and future prospects, and of course the bigger picture of taking a opportunity of a real tangible step forward toward racial equality.  Eventually after much debate within the family it was this view that won out, and it was decided that Ruby would indeed attend an integrated school in November 1960 – a date decided by a federal judge.

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Freeborn Al / 4th June 2015 / Band, Music, Thoughts / 0 Comments