Chapter 63: Joy & Jealousy

Dear Diary,

SO… the main event.

Remember this?

Today is the day it goes online. And here it is!

And the story behind how/why it was written… well, I’ve told it many times now. There was the radio interview with BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz, in which we also discussed authenticity and tradition, the local music scene, and why bald men really do do it better:

There was also the interview with BBC Radio Oxford supremo Malcolm Boyden, in which we discussed some of the stories behind the songs, and I tried very hard not to swear or make any innuendos throughout the whole interview, and very nearly succeeded:

And there was also the blog Q&A that I did for the Old Fire Station:

What makes you pick a certain sing when you find one and what is the process from finding one to performing it?

When it comes to choosing a broadside to perform or record, the first thing I’ll do is flick through the collection, seeing if anything catches my eye. A good title helps, and if a tune is suggested to go with it then even better. I’ll read the first few lines, and if there’s something that immediately looks intriguing then I’ll read the whole song (which is not always easy, as the prints are sometimes very hard to read!) And then I’ll weigh up whether I think the song is interesting enough for me to live with it for the next few years.

If there’s something about it that hooks me, the next thing I’ll do is try and research as much about it as I can. Are there any other versions? Do we have any idea who wrote it, and when, and where? Then I’ll concentrate on the tune. If no tune is suggested on the sheet then I’ll go through my iTunes library (I’m sure Edwardian folk collector Cecil Sharp used the same method) and see if I can find any good tunes from around the same period that fit the words.

And if none of that works then I’ll just give up and nick something from Martin Carthy.

The Old Fire Station, incidentally, were just a little bit amazing. Jeremy Spafford specifically is supercool, letting me do the album launch there, and the whole team were just incredibly helpful and supportive and stuff.

And I forgot to include them in the ‘Thanks’ on the album. Which was a bit stupid.

I also neglected to thank Gaya for her fantastic photos of the gig (although I hadn’t booked her when I wrote the sleeve notes, so that’s why).

And on the subject of sleevenotes, the list of the members of the Half Moon All Stars is already out of date. (You know who you are, and soon an unsuspecting world shall too.)

Also, here is a PDF of the album booklet of lyrics and info – most of which is online, but not in this priddy layout…

There is also another booklet explaining in detail how the song came to be written – what the challenges and reasons were etc. – and also including photos of the recording process. (To be honest, they’re mostly of rum, coffee and blisters…) But I want that to be something that only the owners of the hard copy CDs have, so I won’t be posting that.

The album launch itself was a blast (last-minute-Thai-takeaway-indigestion aside). There were mermaids and murderers and aborted Macarenas, and even time for a quick mashup of “Bonkers” by Dizzie Rascal over “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. More video clips to follow, and hopefully a whole bunch of album launch photos too.

So that happened. And then I had a bit of a break. And now it’s time to get out gigging, promoting the album, traveling the land, righting wrongs and singing songs. You know the deal. And it won’t be long before I’ll need to start on the next album, whatever that may be. (Actually, I know exactly what it’ll be, but I want there to still be a little mystery between us.)

But in the mean and in the main, thanks again to everyone who helped me get the m*****f***** finished.

I suppose I don’t have an excuse for not getting on with the rest of my life now…

Leave a Reply