Several songs on this album mention war but none of them glorify it. We can learn a lot from history, so I make no apologies for the fact that some of the songs seem to be looking into the rear-view mirror, because in fact it’s almost impossible to drive without one.
The English 937 was the year that Aethelstan the high king of the Saxons fought and defeated the Vikings from Cumbria and Ireland at the Battle of Brunenburh in the Wirral. It was the great watershed that turned the Saxons into “the English”.
Vocal, guitars, bodhran, whistle Gerry
Second vocal Shannon Brooks-Lee Djembe Lem Mellor
Do Your Washing For a Penny Kitty Wilkinson was probably one of the finest people ever to have lived and during the terrible cholera epidemics in the early part of the 19th century she worked selflessly bringing hope to her neighbours in Liverpool. Thanks to her humanity and steadfast efforts, the wash house movement was eventually to ease some of the awful living conditions of the poor. Her portrait adorns a window in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Vocals, guitar, banjo Gerry Bouzouki Chris Kelly
The Admiralty Regrets…. The Thetis submarine sank in Liverpool Bay on 1st June 1939 with ninety-nine men onboard. The mystery is why they were never rescued, despite the vessel’s hull being visible and accessible for over twenty-four hours and salvage experts ready and willing to go onboard. Vocals, guitar, whistle Gerry
The Woman Loved By All Another war-time story inspired by the life and adventures of a friend’s Mother, whose gravestone reads “a woman loved by all who knew her”. Light-hearted and based very loosely on the facts, it reminds us how cosmopolitan Liverpool was at that time, and how tragedy was always just a telegram away. Vocals, guitar, whistle Gerry
Ballad of Dorothy Drew The alternative story to The Calico Printer’s Clerk. Vocals, guitar, banjo, whistle Gerry
When Paddy Came Marching Home The true story of an eccentric Irishman who joined the Royal Navy just before WWII and didn’t like it, so while on leave he joined the Army and fought all the way from North Africa a to Germany with the Eighth Army. Vocals, guitar, banjo, whistle and bodhran Gerry
Where Did All The Flowers Go? Pete Seeger’s Where Have All The Flowers Gone? is one of the best anti-war songs ever written. Taking it as inspiration, I use flowers as a different kind of metaphor and attempt to unpick the reasons for so much unhappiness and injustice in the world. Vocals and guitar Gerry
The Fox (recorded live) based on the traditional American tune, I explore the issue of fox hunting and allude to Oscar Wilde’s definition of fox hunters as ”the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable”. Vocal, banjo Gerry
The Thingumybob Girls A song dedicated to my Mother who worked at the ROF Aintree and to all the other women who kept the home fires burning throughout the dark days of war. A reworking of a song recorded in 2014 Vocals, banjo, guitar Gerry
My Brother’s Shoes Inspired by a pair of boots left at the Vietnam War memorial in Washington DC, this song is dedicated to the veterans who, as young men were conscripted and sent half way around the world, to fight an unpopular war which lasted almost twenty years. Another reworking of a song recorded in 2014 Vocals, Guitar, banjo Gerry. Fiddle Johnny Baxter
Bound For Glory With thanks to Mike Jacob who did the initial research and suggested it would make a good song. The Ben My Chree (woman of my heart in Gaelic) was owned by the Isle of Mann Steam Packet Company and still holds the record for the fastest crossing from Liverpool to Douglas by a steamship. On the outbreak of WWI she was commissioned by the Royal Navy. Mike’s great grandfather Walter served as an officer onboard, as did Tony Benn’s father and the novelist Erskine Childers. Vocals, banjo Gerry
Tara a lament. whistle Gerry
The Merchant Banker An expression of my feelings about these creatures. Vocals, guitar, banjo, bodhran Gerry Bouzouki Chris Kelly
I would like to thank Johnny Baxter for coming into the studio to put some lovely country fiddle into My Brother’s Shoes and Chris Kelly who did likewise to add Bouzouki to Do Your Washing For a Penny and The Merchant Banker. Shannon Brooks Lee whose lovely voice sprinkled fairy-dust onto the chorus of The English inspired me to change the title of the song. Lem Mellor engineered the cd but he has offered me constant encouragement and advice throughout the process, as well as playing djembe on The English. Karen Richards took the photographs of me in Liverpool and she too has been a steadfast supporter to me in all my endeavours.