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Never Mind The Bocs - album sleeve notes

Click the title to go to the info for each song:
1 Ffoles Llantrisant (tradd.)
2 Menai Shore (Meg Browning)
3 Chinese Whispers/Etsi Ketsi (Neil Browning)
4 Mae Gen i Fuwch (tradd.)
5 Rhybudd Y Carwr (tradd.)
6 Joscyn's Threads (Meg & Neil Browning)
7 Some of us Can Run (Meg Browning)
8 Mad Pachelbel's (Meg & Neil Browning)
9 Cainc Yr Aradwr (tradd.)
10 Bachgen Bach o Dincer (tradd.)
11 My Lover's House (Meg Browning)
12 Moving Woody (Meg Browning)
13 March Glas (tradd.)
14 Blodau'r Flwyddyn (tradd.)
15 St. Mongrel's Doorstep (Andy Cutting; Meg Browning)
16 Suo Gân (tradd.)
17 Hiraeth (feeling like a child) (Neil Browning)
18 Hiraeth (tradd.)
[pete live]

1 Ffoles Llantrisant [Lyrics] [Back to top]
"I'd be your lover if I could shake off this laziness". We initially learnt this lilting traditional song from Martin and Pauline in the Bangor session, and it crops up there regularly. Other notable versions (not on the CD!) include a new verse we wrote to include the triple harp, crwth, and pibgorn, and a hilarious ad-lib rendition at Tony and Leslie Conran's with extempore verses added by several different singers. Magic! Ceri Rhys Matthews from Fernhill wrote the fourth verse (''Black is the night, black is the Winter...'') used here- maintaining that ''it needed to be darker''. Mission accomplished, we think.

2 Menai Shore [Lyrics] [Back to top]
We live very close to the Afon Menai (Menai Strait), and walking on the shore Meg really did find a piano that didn't play. Only the rusted frame was left. Bizarre enough; but later she found out that she actually knew the person who had put it there. The biggest piece of litter on the shore, and certainly the most intriguing. The seagulls were recorded in our garden close to the Strait (they wake us up often, together with a blackbird that actually impersonates an alarm clock!).

3 Chinese Whispers/Etsi Ketsi [Back to top]
Two of Neil's tunes. The first was named after a game whilst staying with a host family at the Pontardawe Festival. The second is, apparently, Greek for 'so so'. Now you know!

4 Mae Gen i Fuwch [Lyrics] [Back to top]
"I've got a cow with a grey face". So begins this joyful piece of nonsense!

5 Rhybudd Y Carwr/Mwmpwy Portheinon [Lyrics] [Back to top]
A woman warns her lover that there is now no place for him in her life. Huw Williams would have us believe that the traditional tune that follows was named by Robin Huw Bowen following a sudden impulse to buy a shirt. This may even be true.

6 Joscyn's Threads [Back to top]
An unusual tune of ours (two tunes, really) that grew rather in the arranging. The tune is Meg's - she was determined to write something with an E major scale in it (on D/G melodeon!) - and the chords and arrangement are mostly Neil's.

7 Some of us Can Run [Lyrics] [Back to top]
Meg wrote this anti-war song at the time of the invasion of Iraq, but it could equally be applied to any conflict where the population on the streets are caught up in terrifying events beyond their control.

8 Mad Pachelbel's Dangerous Floorboard [Back to top]
The first tune is Neil's 'Pachelbel's Floorboard': firstly because it uses the well-worn chord sequence that is Pachelbel's Canon, and secondly because the strangely lilting five-four time signature reminded him of a slightly wobbly floorboard in our dining room. Meg wrote the second tune, which David immediately pronounced was "nyts o beryg" ('dangerously mad!') because of the missing beats in the second part. But this is nothing compared to what she does in Thin Ice, which I confidently predict will be on our next album...

9 Cainc Yr Aradwr [Lyrics] [Back to top]
The ploughman's song - he muses that if nature has its rhythm of ups and downs, why does his spirit never seem to lift? In the chorus he calls the cattle (his only friends?!) on the hillside.

10 Bachgen Bach o Dincer [Lyrics] [Back to top]
We love this song! It wasn't so long ago that children grew up along the North Wales coast hearing very little English spoken around them. The chorus (sometimes removed by purists) is a child's garbled version of the English song "Knickerbocker Line", which they had probably heard in the village (Penmaenmawr? This is where the song was collected, I believe). The verses make more sense, telling of the tinker travelling around fixing pots and pans. So naturally Meg reached for a metal teapot instead of the bodhràn, and when we came to record it for the album David just went into the kitchen and hit things. Where Kate's kletzma clarinet came from is not so clear...

11 My Lover's House [Lyrics] [Back to top]
One of Meg's earliest songs, and still one of her best, lamenting the ignorance and sectarianism that is sadly all too often found in our 'civilised' world. We don't often use keyboards, but the piano seemed to fit the bill just perfectly here, alongside Pete's acoustic bass.

12 Moving Woody [Back to top]
Two more of Meg's original tunes. The first, Moving the Session, commemorates the Bangor move from O'Shea's (formerly the King's Arms) to the Nelson in Hirael. Woody's Last Words contains another of those trademark 'missed beats' that Meg is so keen on. But where does the name come from? Answers on a postcard...

13 March Glas [Lyrics] [Back to top]
Two hundred years ago this was the equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear. A traditional song boasting of all the wonderful leather upholstery and accoutrements to be found on the singer's new pony. Does it accelerate from 0 to 60 faster than a jaguar, though? The song doesn't say. The tune in the middle is one of Meg's called "Unscrewing the Leg". Discuss.

14 Blodau'r Flwyddyn [Lyrics] [Back to top]
A charming song which Kate learnt from Siwsann George's recording. A simple love song, to a simple accompaniment of harp, and squeezebox. We'd like to say a special thank-you here to Siwsann- this is not the first song we have initially learnt from her "Songs of Wales" CD! Diolch o galon.

15 St. Mongrel's Doorstep [Back to top]
We wanted this set to capture something of how we play it in the Bangor session. The first tune, St. Michael's Mount, is by melodeon-hero Andy Cutting, and 'squeezes' in (ho ho) as Welsh 'cos he used to be in Fernhill. [I must apologise here for forgetting to put the proper name of the tune in the CD liner-notes - sorry Andy!] The other two tunes are Meg's- Up and Down the Back Doorstep and The Mongrel. The latter depicts either Meg's multi-national ancestry or our dog. Special thanks to Jeff Hughes for his fiddling, both on this track and in the Bangor sessions!

16 Suo Gân [Lyrics] [Back to top]
This Welsh lullaby became more widely known when it featured at the beginning of the film Empire of the Sun. It was actually sung in Welsh, too, although on our album it is used as a recorder instrumental intro to...

17 Hiraeth (Feeling like a Child) [Lyrics] [Back to top]
Neil's take on the 'homesickness/longing' theme. It's that feeling when you come back to a place you grew up in, with things being at once very familiar but always slightly different. As a child growing up in Nottingham, Meg remembers hearing her Nain, who lived in the Wirral, speaking Welsh whilst on a trip to North Wales. Not knowing until then that her Nain spoke the language, she suddenly realised that Wales was a country very different from England.

18 Hiraeth (tradd.) [Lyrics] [Back to top]
And this is the traditional song on the same theme. "Other things may fade away but the longing that tears my heart remains forever". We thought it rather appropriate that this album full of drum kits, melodeons, bouzouki, and (literally) the kitchen sink should be brought to a haunting close by our good friend Cass Meurig on the crwth- the oldest traditional Welsh instrument.

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