Just for the Record

Glen peters

First CD release by Glen Peters

"Glen is a one off, an entertaining album full of unexpected twists and turns from Music Hall to the power of the Sun and all points in between"

Frank Hennessy BBC Radio Wales

A step back in time

Glen Peters has recorded his first CD helped out by some distinguished folk musicians such as Eliza Carthy, Angharad Jenkings and George Whitfield. It features a variety of song repertoire that is political, comedic and environmentally thought provoking. All proceeds from the CD will go to Unicef’s global vaccination programme. Glen Peters discovered British folk, as a recently arrived immigrant in the 1970s. The folk club scene was vibrant, people were welcoming and he soon became involved in singing and collecting his own songs and running his own folk club. Now, 40 years later he has recorded his first CD, Just for the record features some of the songs that have played a part of his journey with folk music.

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Damascus Skies

Damascus skies was written about the young Syrian boy who was washed up on a beach in Turkey and whose “picture moved a million hearts”. Fiddle by Angharad Jenkins

He was born under Damascus Skies

He was the apple of his mother’s eyes

She wished the sun would shine again

The Jasmin bloom and silence reign.

But the clouds of war blocked out the sun

All hope for anyone

Then men of darkness promised life anew

Where the grass was geen and skies were blue.

blossoms

Let no man steal your thyme

A traditional song sung in the style of an early morning Indian raag. Eliza Carthy's improvisations on fiddle reflect the sliding notes with a shruti providing the Gmaj backbone drone.

Come all you fine and tender maids,

That flourish in your prime.

Beware, beware of your garden fair.

Let no man steal your thyme, thyme.

Let no man steal your thyme.

glen-whiskey

She does like a little bit of scotch

Taken from the monologues fo Billy Williams in 1910, and adapted as a music hall song of the time. With George Whitfield on accordion and Glen on guitar

Since my old woman went to Scotland for a holiday
She’s got Scotland on the brain
She’s driving me insane
She used to give me eggs and bacon for my breakfast once
But I’ve been eating nothing else but porridge now for months

Chorus: She does like a little bit of scotch, d’ye ken?
She does like a little bit of scotch.
In the middle of the night she begins to sing
Jumps out of bed and does a highland fling
She’s christened me Sandy
Her ways you ought to watch
It’s a braw brecht moon licht nicht d’ye ken?
She does like a little drop of scotch, och aye!
She does like a little bit of scotch.

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Green Grows the laurel

A traditional Scottish love song with chorus, sung in different versions. Sandy Denny recorded a memorable version in 1966

Green grows the laurel and soft fall the dew.

Sorry was I when I parted from you.

Sorry was I and I’d hoped you’d prove true.

And change the green laurel to the violets so blue.

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there's bound to be a row

Two popular traditional songs welded together with a lovely chorus to sing along to. Accordion and octave mandolin accompaniment

As I came home one drunken night, as drunl as drunk could be.

I saw a horse standing there where my horse should be.

I says to the wife, my darling wife, ‘whose ever can this be?’

‘It’s nothing but a milk cow me mother gave to me.’

How many miles I’ve traveled, a million miles or more.

Such udders on a milk cow I never saw before.

There’s bound to be row, there’s bound to be a row.

Trouble and strife all through my life, there’s bound to be a row.

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Slaving for your craving

Slaving for your craving is a song which started life as a poem about the Chinese cockle pickers who lost their lives in Morecambe Bay. Hurdy Gurdy accompaniment by Patrick de Broux.

We’re the picker, cockle pickers, down from Fujian way.

We’ve been slaving for your craving, night and day in Morecambe Bay.

We came to find our fortune but all we found was hell.

We were slaving for your craving night and day in Morecambe Bay.

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the sun is quite a hottie

The sun's energy offers us the opportunity to rid ourselves of fossil fuels and end energy poverty. Original lyrics based on a popular 1930s song.

The sun is quite a hottie

Hip hip hip hooray

The sun is quite a hottie

And she brightens up our day.

Oh it makes me happy

Hip hip hip hooray

Smile down on us your beams so bright

And show us all the way.

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he used to sing in his sleep

A little rare gem from the music hall era discovered on a 78 rpm record in Brick Lane market in 1973.Guitar and George Whitfield on accordion.

Next door to me there used to be a very loving pair

They’d bill and coo the whole night through and love songs filled the air.

Now silence reigns supreme, here’s what broke their honeymoon dreams.

He used to sing in his sleep all night long.

In the middle of a beautiful dream, she’d hear him start to scream.

‘Alice here art thou? Alice I want you for my own.’

But his wife’s name was Mary, now he’s sleeping alone.

aurora

An original song to celebrate Aurora the goddess of the dawn that brings us its solar rays of hope for a future of renewable energy. Mandolin and cello by Angharad James.

Aurora we see you rising

You goddess of the dawn light up our gloom.

Give us the hope that we desire

Shine down on us atomic fire

Gardens of abundance bloom.

Slowly I see you peeping

The cool fresh morning air affects our minds.

Your glorious crest of gleaming gold

Below the mountain ridge you hold

Saviour of all human kind.

I see star spangled waters

Herons float upon the misty lake

We worship your life giving rays

They’ll brighten up our sad dark days

People of endeavour now awake.

We thank you Aurora

For giving us the miracle of light

To show your face you never fail

You help daybreak to unveil

Aurora you’re such a lovely sight

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Fear no more

Fear no more the heat of the sun is from Shakespeare's Cymbeline. Given the folk treatment with mandolin accompaniment.

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, 

Nor the furious winter’s rages; 

Thou thy worldly task hast done, 

Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages: 

Golden lads and girls all must, 

As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. 

Fear no more the frown o’ the great; 

Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke; 

Care no more to clothe and eat; 

To thee the reed is as the oak: 

The scepter, learning, physic, must 

All follow this, and come to dust. 

Fear no more the lightning flash, 

Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone; 

Fear not slander, censure rash; 

Thou hast finished joy and moan: 

All lovers young, all lovers must 

Consign to thee, and come to dust. 

No exorciser harm thee! 

Nor no witchcraft charm thee! 

Ghost unlaid forbear thee! 

Nothing ill come near thee! 

Quiet consummation have; 

And renownèd be thy grave!

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lord you never told me

A song written after hearing an interview with Tony Blair who said that he prayed for divine guidance before deciding to go to war in Iraq. Electronic organ accompaniment by Lee Mason.

As I said my prayers one morning, heard a voice that made me chill.

It told me that I had  to help George Bush on Capitol Hill.

Told me that I had no option, Iraq was full of WMD.

Crikey, was it an aberration, Lord you never did tell me.

The French were absolutely horrid, stopping us from going to war.

We told them it would soon be over, Arabs would love us evermore.

We passed a UN resolution, helped by George across the sea.

Milliaon marched against us.

Lord you never did tell me.

Damascus skies was written about the young Syrian boy who was washed up on a beach in Turkey and whose “picture moved a million hearts”. Slaving for your craving is a song about the Chinese cockle pickers who perished in Morecambe Bay and Lord, you never told me, is a song about Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq. Glen is a committed environmentalist and wrote The sun is quite a hottie for his grandson. Aurora is about the sun goddess of dawn. He also collected unusual musical hall monologues and songs from the early 20th Century and set them to song. She does like a little bit of Scotch and He used to sing in his sleep are comedy songs which are aided by the superb accordion playing of George Whitfield. Glen sings and plays the guitar, octave mandolin and traditional mandolin. Anghard Jenkings and Eliza Carthy help out on fiddle. Alan Coy plays sousaphone, Patrick De Broux plays hurdy gurdy and Angharad Williams accompanies on cello. Recording and production was by Lee Mason at Fflach studios in Aberteifi. Glen, who lives in Pembrokeshire, runs the events programme at Rhosygilwen.

Lyrics

Just for the record

From FFlach - CD73N

Glen Peters with… – Just for the Record Fflach – Out Now Just for the Record has an unassuming cover featuring Pembrokeshire-based Glen Peters posing alongside an old wind-up phonograph, the gold and black design recalling the golden age of shellac and the 78rpm. Whilst the likes of the well-known Eliza Carthy and Angharad Jenkins (of Calan) guest on the album, like the cover, there is a similar humble quality throughout this release which makes it all the more potent. Even the album title hints at this. Just for the Record is a personal celebration of his years spent enjoying the British folk music scene, which he was first introduced to in the 1970s when he arrived in Britain as an immigrant from India. He was taken under the wing and encouraged by the likes of Bob Davenport via the Islington Folk Club, later becoming an event booker and running venues. What you hear across these eleven tracks are very far from the obvious. There’s variety in abundance and some stunning moments. His love for vaudeville and music hall surface on the comedic Billy Williams number (a fellow immigrant) “She Does Like A Little Bit of Scotch” and, accompanied by George Whitfield’s accordion, the quirky but catchy “He Used to Sing in his Sleep”. Whilst there’s a healthy dose of humour and nostalgia, Peters diverse selection of songs also paint the picture of an activist with a warrior’s heart. With Angharad Jenkins’ fiddle providing strong emotional accents, Peters’ penmanship shines through on Damascus Skies, casting a light on the plight of the immigrant fleeing from war-torn homes, as well as on Slaving for your Craving that highlights the ongoing exploitation of immigrant labour, as he recalls the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster of 2004 when 21 Chinese immigrants, men and women between the ages of 18 and 45, were drowned after being cut off by the incoming tide. His attentions turn to Iraq and Tony Blair’s “prayer for divine guidance” when he chose to go to war on Lord You Never Told Me, …it’s a powerful song to end the album and highlights the inequalities that weigh heaviest on his heart. Having set up his own renewable energy company in 2010, sun-themes also feature prominently on two clever self-penned numbers. Played to the gleefully nostalgic pre-war tune of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, with a bright mandolin and irresistible knee-bending sousaphone, The Sun is Quite a Hottie tackles global warming and fossil fuel consumption. In contrast, the sun-worshipping Aurora plays out like a swaying vintage love song to the sun and her atomic power. The album’s highlight has to be Let No Man Steal Your Thyme, on which he is joined by Eliza Carthy on fiddle. The added combination of Peters’ shruti playing and Angharad James’ cello lends a melancholic raga air to the song, which beautifully accentuates Peters’ voice. It’s one of the most beautiful versions I’ve heard of this well-known song. While there are moments of humour and sadness throughout, Glen Peters’ passion makes the biggest impression upon the listener. You don’t just warm to his voice; you get a real glimpse of his personality. So much so that you are left with a desire to play it all over again. Just For The Record is an album with a genuine and enriching heart. Just don’t make this your last, Peter.
Singer-songwriter Glen Peters is based in Wales (Pembrokeshire), hence the appearance of this album on Welsh roots label Fflach Records. However, Glen’s folk background goes right back to the 1970s, when he arrived in the UK (as an Indian immigrant) and quickly became immersed in the vibrant folk scene. He was encouraged and inspired by singers like Bob Davenport to forge his own style of adapting, singing and collecting traditional songs, and this quickly led to running his own folk club. It will come as a surprise, then, to discover that Just For The Record is Glen’s very first CD. I could be wrong – but it may be that the impetus for its recording became more of an imperative with the realisation that he had chalked up over four decades of involvement in folk, and thus he needed to make a permanent record of his journey thus far, featuring some of the songs that have played a part in that journey. So Just For The Record, then, is just that – a humble and honest collection, a nicely turned record that charts and chronicles Glen’s repertoire and demonstrates his musical versatility. It’s also a distinctly endearing portrait that reveals much of Glen’s musical personality through its disarming nature. Glen’s a thinking-man’s songwriter who brings to the table not only a facility with words and a gift for expressing feelings but also the inside knowledge of the true folk song enthusiast allied to a forward-looking open-mindedness. He has the songmaker’s ear for fitting to existing tunes (or close approximations thereof) his own thought-provoking lyrics, which tend to centre on political or environmental issues. Taking the disc’s five fine self-penned songs, the “political” category provides its bookending tracks. Damascus Skies uses the Lord Franklin/McCafferty tune-family to frame its memorial to the young Syrian boy Alan Kurdi who in 2015 drowned and was washed up on a Turkish beach, while Lord You Never Told Me, in bitter irony, uses the tune of When This Bloody War Is Over for its condemnation of Tony Blair’s 2003 decision to go to war in Iraq (allegedly made with the benefit of “divine guidance”). Slaving For Your Craving focuses on the exploitation of immigrant labour – in this case the cockle-pickers from China who tragically perished in Morecambe Bay in February 2004 – and its aptly Union Miners-related tune is boosted by the Glen’s bouzouki and guest Patrick de Broux’s hurdy gurdy. In the “environmental” category, we find a contrasting pair of songs saluting the power of the sun: Aurora, concerning the sun goddess of dawn, and The Sun Is Quite A Hottie, a bouncy sousaphone-backed ditty (paying homage to the old novelty number The Sun Has Got His Hat On) advocating solar power – Glen, the proud owner of a renewal energy company, penned this fun song for his grandson. Balancing the earnest messages of the political and environmental songs (and taking a cue from Bob Davenport’s example perhaps) Glen treats us to three delicious “comedy items”, on which he’s accompanied by accordionist George Whitfield: these comprise Billy Williams’ vaudeville favourite She Does Like A Little Bit Of Scotch (hugely entertaining!), the north-eastern Drunken Nights-variant There’s Bound To Be A Row and the whimsical music-hall song He Used To Sing In His Sleep. Glen’s vocal delivery of the latter rather reminds me of Clive Palmer, but of the other two comic songs mentioned I could say that although Glen has all the measure and comedic response, he arguably doesn’t have quite the power in his voice to do them full justice; but that’s a minor point, all things considered. Of the remaining three tracks, my favourite may well be Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun, Glen’s fresh, animated, almost insouciant take on the Shakespeare song from Cymbeline, accompanied on the octave mandolin. But then again, the two trad-arrs include another standout, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme, here done in east-meets-west drone-raga mode and featuring Eliza Carthy on fiddle. Other superb fiddle contributions on the album come courtesy of Angharad Jenkins (of Calan), while Angharad James brings her lyrical cello playing to a couple of the songs. So there you have it. I strongly recommend this entirely unassuming album with its attractive retro faux-shellac cover design. Not only does it reap rich rewards for the listener, but all proceeds from its sale will go to Unicef’s global vaccination programme. David Kidman