With the 30th anniversary looming this year Blyth Power were determined to get the long awaited next CD out and came up with a new way, for them, of doing this. In August last year we launched our very own Kickstarter Project. This gave you a chance to order your copy of the new album in a unique way.
You could back the project in exchange for some very special rewards as a thank you. These ranged from a simple pre-order of the CD, to all kinds of implausible and unlikely bribes we hoped would get you interested and involved.
Well we hit the mark! And beyond! Thank you to everyone who pledged, and we look forward to engaging with you all over the coming months and especially to recording what we are convinced will be the definitive Blyth Power collection yet.
But this is just the beginning of a general return to 'normal service'. Thirty years is a long time, but it's all been a learning curve and we plan to make better use of the next thirty, with live shows and recordings, books, and other projects planned. Anyone with anything to throw into the mix drop us a line. In the meantime thanks again and keep in touch.
What is the new CD?
Women and Horses and Power and War is the title chosen for what will be the eleventh studio release by Blyth Power. Drawing on a body of songs written chiefly over the last three years, the material is, as ever, a distillation of emotion and experience wedded to empathetic characters from history and literature that have captured the author’s imagination for one reason or another. The former, by and large, forms the subtext. The latter, quite frequently paints a vivid picture of what might, and should have been, had its author been in charge of the matter…
The recording will take place at Trinity Heights Studio in Newcastle in April, and be engineered and produced by Fred Purser, formerly of Penetration and Tygers of Pan Tang. Fred has produced all our best work to date, and knows our sound as well as he knows his studio and the up to the minute equipment he keeps it stocked with. Most of all he knows guitars, and how to record them – a matter of some importance in a band where setting the instruments in context is as important an element in the overall sound as the style and manner in which they are played.
This recording will feature:
Joseph Porter – Drums and Vocals
Annie Hatcher – Keyboards and Vocals
Jerry Hellfire – Guitar
Ben Bailey – Bass
The songs will be chosen to reflect as great a cross section of styles and sounds from the band’s eclectic influences as possible. The current tracklist is as follows, but there is every possibility that more will be written before the recording, and substitutions are not out of the question.
An up-tempo full-on thrash in which Froggy goes a-courting and finds himself ultimately disillusioned.
Jazz bands twitter ‘this is a fine romance’
And you haven’t the ghost of a chance
Going Down with Alice
A song in two halves. Fist we find an old and cynical Alice trying to find her way back into Wonderland, but the looking glass won’t let her pass. Smashing the truculent mirror, she turns the song into an astonishing pastiche in which a stark Crass-style rant is interwoven with the traditional ‘Green Grow the Rushes-o’ until in the end one is one and all alone and ever more shall be so.
Alice woke from fitful dreams of hearts and diamonds clubs and queens
Left her childhood passed her teens and drove her old reflections underground
Round The Outside
The dashing rakish beau Porter, confident of his dazzling charm, pops the question to a lady at the Regency Ball, only to be put firmly in his place. A semi-acoustic waltz in which we learn to look before we leap, and that pride comes before a fall.
Is it love she asks, is it greed?
A fleeting impression, a foolish obsession a need
For a primeval furrow to rut in to burrow and breed?
I think that you owe me an answer you’ll have to concede
You Come Too
It’s all a question of knowing when to call it quits. Churchill forged the special relationship to negotiate lend-lease with US President Roosevelt. Imagine how surprised they would both be, seventy years on, to see the UK backing away so precipitately from American foreign policy.
So you come too
We two together can make the world as good as new
We’ll march shoulder to shoulder and try to make it through
But if we change our mind
Then you go back to your island and I’ll go back again to mine
Kasparov on the brink of disaster makes a wrong move and has to fall black on bluff and bluster to see the game through. An up-tempo rail against the complexities of social intercourse in an age of instant global communications, and people faced with such an embarrassment of choice that they simply do not know what they want anymore…
Don’t leave me half starved leave your calling card, send your avatar while I sleep
You can ask your 8-Ball to pick you a winning score but what you’re looking for is out of reach
(From the final confession of Thomas Wintour)
This is a stately dirge in the finest Blyth tradition, and hears the confession of Thomas Wintour, one of the Gunpowder plotters, as he awaits execution. Plans are to have a choir of children sing a primary school assembly introduction, accompanied by Fotherington-Thomas on the skule piano. The chorus is a chilling statement of fundamentalist intention, and suggests that if anyone really thinks Guy Fawkes was anything other than a Hell-bent religious extremist, they might want to reconsider
By our gracious Lady we give thanks for grace and favour
For our eyes to see and for the bell at morn
To rise up and awaken we have everything to play for
And our lives to give for a world reborn
Equating parenthood to Captain Oates leaving the tent. ‘I may be some time – about fifteen years or so.’
We made our bed that night
The blood was red as poppies our fingernails were white
Arc lamps shimmered softly and reflected beads of light
In the needles and the knives
Beyond Bessbrook Mill
Not so much a song about the Irish ‘troubles’ as the misunderstandings entertained throughout mainland Europe about how and why Ireland and the UK found themselves in such straits. ‘You English’ the Dutch and Germans used to ask us when we toured, ‘why do you not get your troops out of Ireland?’ To which we would respond by telling them that we have no soldiers of our own, andif we did they would be more profitably employed in doing our laundry, or in feeding the cat while we are away from home…
Terror presages in blackboard chalk intimations of a foreign war
Resolutions passed in crisis talks, intervention and an occupation force
Regarded with enmity
To safeguard necessity
Mussolini called it ‘Mare Nostra’ but after Taranto and Cape Matapan the British sailors renamed it ‘Cunningham’s Pond’, and it is unlikely that Admiral Cunningham received a higher accolade than this throughout the rest of his long career. This is a sea shanty with all the silliness that entails – accordions, mandolins, and a virtuoso binnacle solo that will make your eyes water
We left The Rock full of foreigners Oran a smoking ruin
And the flares we’ll light on Taranto night will shine like a thousand moons
We met them off Cape Matapan and fought through the night and the day
‘Til under our guns in the forenoon they wrecked and broken lay
Morning Comes Home
Good things happen at night – but good things happen in the morning too – sometimes even before seven o’clock. This is not about silver linings, but gold:
The Owl and the Pussycat foundered
Snow White never lived to tell the tale
And so many little things grow their legs and spread their wings
And change direction in the water and the air
So I’m glad you took the time to come and find me
And I’m glad you never do as you are told
And I hope you’ll always be there to remind me
That the morning is gold
Robertson Davies described science as ‘the theology of our time’ in which ‘the new priest in his whitish lab-coat gives you nothing at all except a constantly changing vocabulary… and you are expected to trust him implicitly because he knows what you are too dumb to comprehend. It’s the most overweening and pompous priesthood mankind has ever endured…’
This is the story of mankind’s fall, only to rise again and really make a mess of things:
He fell to Earth in smoke and flames and groaning lay on the stony plain
And mourning made him loud complain and swore he’d climb back to the garden again
Then out of the mist as the Tempest moaned
The ice-firths cracked and the oceans froze
Gaunt as a preacher and lean as a hoe naked and terrible an angel rose
Night Watch Story
Joseph plans to make everyone listen to Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Broken English’ when they come to rehearse this one. It’s a Cold War tale of passion and betrayal with a backdrop of gossip and intrigue
Along the watchtower our secret listeners strive to understand
While in the tractor plant assembly’s going to plan
And beneath the clocktower, where the cold war consorts always get their man
The situation’s underhand
Sleeping with the enemy
So, what can you expect for your pledges? Well, we don't want to give away the farm here, but expect anything, from all things CD related, band performances, and many one off experiences for you and yours to enjoy. Plus, if there is anything you are interested in which isn't on the list, do get in touch and we can maybe work out a package to suit you. We want this to happen and hope you will help ensure that it does.