I Dreamt I Was in Legbourne
The first song I wrote
for the album, though the second to last that I finished. The theme of communing with my ancestors in my ancestral village of Legbourne is a theme that is returned to in the final track.
My GGG Grandmother
Mary Green (born Laceby Acres 1776, died Legbourne 1852) is the oldest relative I have definitively been able to track. I do know that she was married to William, but could find no trace of his birth or death dates. Here, I imagine a little of what her life
might have been like.
The Liverpool Butcher
One nice surprise to emerge from my family research was that my moving to Liverpool in 2003 marked something of a return, my GG Grandfather Thomas Buckley, the eponymous
butcher of the lyric, was born and Christened here in 1824. This branch of the family almost certainly made their way here from Ireland originally, and the story of how they ended up in North Lincolnshire via Liverpool is told in the style of a traditional
English Folk Ballad.
The Coming of the Railway
I was quite happy with my original acoustic guitar version of this, but eventually went with the ‘Full Band’ electric version. It’s kind of a nineteenth
century version of my earlier New Life Rising, a song about how technological developments can be a mixed blessing for working people. In this case the development of the railway in 19th century Britain stands for all technological development.
In This Town
This piano/vocal song arose out of my worry that I might be romanticising nineteenth century British life on the album. I called it the ‘bleak song’ during the recording process. Probably my best
ever piano/vocal effort.
Airships in the Sky
My banjo song. This one definitely idealises life in the Victorian era. It’s all about how whole working class communities would often take their annual week’s
holiday, once they had won the right to such things, together, the entire neighbourhood traipsing off to Skegness or Blackpool or Whitby to drink and frolic on the sands. The title/hook comes from the Steampunk genre/aesthetic and its obsession with Airships.
The Mystery of Eleanor Walsham
The eponymous Eleanor, my GG Grandmother was married to my GG Grandfather Thomas Green and is buried near him in All Saints Churchyard, Legbourne. I decided that the fact that they are buried
close to one another but not together suggested that a great schism occurred at some point in their relationship. My attempt to explore the mystery of how this marital breakdown might have occurred lyrically never quite worked out, and eventually I decided
that the song worked well as an album mid-point instrumental.
True Gibson and the Spanish Dimension
During my family tree research I was quite excited to discover that one of my GG Grandmothers was blessed with such
an evocative name, and that she was apparently of Spanish ancestry. However, I soon realised that I had embarked on a genetic wild goose chase; that her presence at a family wedding could only have been in the capacity of a witness. Still, my new image of
her as an exotic family friend turning heads as she glided through Victorian Grimsby made a good basis for a song. Musically, with its tricky Minor 9th chords, it resembles something John Lennon might have produced for the White Album.
The Wise Old Labourer
The Wise Old Labourer of the title being my GG Thomas Green (1812 – 95). It seems that he was born, married, died and buried in the tiny village of Legbourne. The bare facts of his life form
the basis for the sparse lyric. The ‘Life’s race...’ section was lifted wholesale from the inscription on the gravestone. The song might perhaps be seen as a coded attack on the modern death of community.
of the Amateur Genealogist
My photographic record of members of my family only stretches as far as my grandparents, but as the tradition of working class people going to a local photographic studio to have their portraits taken stretches back
to the 1880’s, photographs of my G and even GG Grandparents almost certainly exist or have at some point existed. Here I imagine my G Grandparents Charles and Mary Jane visiting such a studio, and of what the discovery of the fruits of that visit would
mean for a family researcher such as myself.
Little Green Book
Probably my most important family heirloom is my Grandfather Charles Green (1881-45) First World War Soldiers Handbook, which would have been carried by
him in the trenches of Belgium and France. The song is about that book. This one was known during the recording process as my ‘Anthemic Garage Rock’ song.
There’s a War On
My dad told me that on the
day that WW2 kicked off his father and WW1 veteran Charles gathered his family together to say ‘There’s a War on, everybody’s got to do their bit.’ That story forms the basis for this good old fashioned knees-up-sing-a-long around the
In the Church (Alone)
We finish back where it all began, in Legbourne, sitting in All Saints Church reflecting on the whole, long, strange, genetic journey that has led me to this point. One of the earliest
songs written for the album. A finger-picked survivor of the original vision of a pure guitar-vocal album.