It’s taken a while but it’s here at last. A journey from London’s West End to Canadian recruiting halls, to the roses of Picardy and the Chimes of Normandy, taking in French Inns with saucy barmaids called Madelon, a New York peace rally, a German destroyer (complete with shanty), a nursing station in No-Man’s-Land, a German trench in Verdun, and the poppy fields of Ypres. We have rarities that haven’t been recorded in a century, and we have the most well-known WW1 songs of them all, dusted up and polished to shine in their original, fresh and energetic glory.

You can purchase a copy HERE.

Okay that’s enough sales pitch. But I really do believe in this CD. It contains violin, clarinet, piano duo, cello, saxophone, xylophone, glockenspiel, trombone, harp, flute, accordion, banjo, Irish bouzouki, mandolin, drums, guest soprano Emily Atkinson (who also plays the xylophone), piccolo, bass saxophone and even some Hawaiian slide guitar in the interlude to “Long Long Trail”. All has been arranged carefully by Mr. Matt Redman ( where you can hear the Hawaiian slide guitars for yourself!) so you never hear all of this at once, but selectively according to the mood and background of the piece.

There are two songs in German and one in French, and translations are given in the booklet. You get a lot for your £10!

RoseI am at the moment selling it through BigCartel, which is a more personalised service than Amazon. For now. I may move to a distributor later. It depends on how things go. At the moment I haven’t got any sound samples up, but as I have more time I will do something about this. In the coming weeks I have a lot to do, telling radio, TV and print media about this recording while it’s fresh, and also a mini tour of Ipswich for Music in Hospitals, and then a week in Swaledale for the WW1 show, followed by some community outreach work: the Festival’s “Wandering Minstrels” scheme. Then it’s some horsey ragtime songs for Derby Day with the Saint Cecilia Choir in Epsom. I may have some time after that!

Original image!Anyway! Step right up! The CD is available and can be bought! And all credit to Harrison Phair photography, who captured the image that is the cover. For your interest, I’ve attached the original version! A lot of people think that the CD cover is a composite and the crowd is from 1914, but we only made it look that way. The parade was rounding the vintage streetcar singing “Pack up your Troubles”, and I joined them with “Tipperary” at the moment the photo was taken. It was in Fleetwood, on the 11th of November, 2014.

The CD’s track list:

1 If You were the Only Girl in the World
2 Somewhere in France
3 Over There
4 Roses of Picardy
5 Gegen England
6 Stay Down Here where you belong
7 The Rose of No Man’s Land
8 Bald, Allzubalde
9 Kristiania
10 Red is the English Rose
11 I’m Always Chasing Rainbows
12 Chimes of Normandy
13 Quand Madelon
14 You’d Better Be Nice to them Now
15 Pack up your Troubles in your Old Kit Bag
16 Till We Meet Again
17 Long Long Trail

This is just a few photos. In the next post I’ll give a sneak-preview of the forthcoming CD; I promise!
Here is one configuration of the group, performing for the operagoers at Grange Park. The crowd seemed happy! In fact, one fellow came and did a dance with me and a bit of barber-shop harmonizing to Moonlight Bay, and someone whispered to me that he’d conducted that evening’s opera!
Hilariously, one of the principals, a baritone, recognised me from a Messiah we’d done together last Christmas in Derby Cathedral. I love it when worlds collide.
Here is the same dress, but instead of Matt, Zac (accordion, piano), and Nick (percussion), we have Matt, Kit (violin, piano), and Simon (baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet). And Matt doing arranging, directing, piano, banjo, guitar.
The music-stands are all side-by-side for this particular number that Matt arranged, because the arrangement needed to be spread out over three of them. The banners looked very funny like this!
Kit and Matt did some wonderful 4-handed numbers. The venue was the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, for the festival. We had a very full house, and people were enormously enthusiastic. It made me happy that the 1871 Conservatory was given something befitting (or at least closer to) its era. We were entirely unplugged, but everyone said that we were very easily heard. It can seem wrong for these Victorian tea-houses to vibrate to amplifiers thudding away.
Now, lest it appear that I wear the same dress to everything, here is another one, at the Branscombe Festival, only a week later. I sang with Albert Ball’s Flying Aces, and we were very honoured to be one of the select acts to appear at this very exclusive delight of a festival. We were in good company: I Fagiolini, Philip Higham, Ailish Tynan (every bit as nice as everyone says she is), the Band of the Royal Marines. Above you can see the C.O. of Albert Ball’s Flying Aces, with his spoon-guard. Without it, the clanging cutlery can cause serious bruising. We were entirely acoustic for this, too, in the Village Hall. Everyone had cream teas, and there was dancing, and some very illustrious guests, including famous Wagnerians and members of Her Majesty’s Government. 6S4A9806smaller
Standing, left to right: Mr. Dickie Evans, sousaphone; Mr. Jon Butterfield, piano; Mr. Nicholas David Ball, C.O. and percussion; Mr. Ian Rosenblatt, fabulous patron of the arts, whose festival it is and whose guest we were; crazy singing gal in frock; Mr. Petroc Trelawny of the BBC. Front row, kneeling: Mr. Matt Redman, mandolin-banjo; Mr. Simon Marsh, saxophone and clarinet; Miss Ellie Smith, trombone.
And we were on In Tune! I believe you can still hear it HERE.
On Monday and Tuesday Mr Matt Redman and I will be playing WW1 songs at the bedsides of veterans in Care Homes in Cromer, performing at the Norwich “Lights Out” Commemoration in front of an estimated 2000+ people, and then haring back to London to take part in a re-enactment of a Pacifist meeting at the Salisbury Hotel! Then it’s all 1910s for the Horniman’s “Edwardian Late”.

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