Joy & Jealousy

James Bell

  • Release 2013
  • Genre Traditional


The album title comes from a book of fifteenth century Italian dances.  Which may sound a strange source for an exploration of English popular music, but there is a kind of crooked logic to it.  Much of the album is either from or is referencing the 1600s, when I think English popular culture was born.  I liked the idea of taking something from the world before it.  And it made sense that it would be Italian because England looked to Italy for so much of its culture before the 1600s.  I think if you really want to explore Englishness you need to understand how it has been influenced by other cultures.  And there’s no better way to create a stagnant, stale, boring culture than to try to cut out and reject all the foreign influence.   Why did the name ‘Joy and Jealousy’ particularly seem to fit?  Because it seems to sum up so many things. Firstly, the experience of a night out dancing and drinking, which was as popular hundreds of years ago as it is today (maybe more so, as there was no internet). But it also expresses the flirtation and the sexual politics that goes with it, with all its highs and lows. And in a strange way I think it even captures something about the English, who may grumble like it’s an Olympic sport, and who may always be looking over the fence at the foreigners and tutting disapprovingly, but who are also capable of great warmth and down-to-earth joy. Even if they don’t like to admit it. ‘Joy and Jealousy’ also perhaps refers to my slightly manic tendencies, in life and in music. Either up into the top or lying down below.


‘Four Up’ (on Track 2) is written and copyrighted by Barry Goodman. All other songwriting / adaptation rights to tracks on this album are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA). In plain language, this means that even though most of these songs / tunes are traditional and therefore in the public domain, some parts are written / arranged by me, and if you would like to perform or record your own version of any of them (except ‘Four Up’) you may do so, even with identical arrangements, without first obtaining permission or paying any copyright fee. That said, I would ask (with a coy smile and a bat of my eyelids) that you acknowledge where you found the work and release it under the same license. All other rights (sound recording, cover art, etc.) are reserved. ℗ James Bell (2013).