Sunday, August 30, 2009
Alun Parry - the We Can Make The World Stop album launch gig
Alun Parry, you just gotta love him - and as it said in the review of his new album in the Metro (hey, you have to start somewhere), this man is "the heart and soul of Liverpool"
He invited his fan base, of which I am proud to be a member, to a free gig at the Casa on Hope Street on Friday night for the launch of his new album We Can Make The World Stop. And what a great night was had by all.
There were a couple of guys in support, Vinny T Spen and Stuart Todd, who were very good but we were all waiting for the main event and Alun didn't disappoint.
He sang about half of the tracks from the new album, some from his back catalogue and also a few covers to get those in the audience really going who were not so familiar with his own work. Of the covers I particularly enjoyed Space Oddity (he said he wanted to song about a working man, that we would all know, and had chosen a song about a working astronaut!). Brown Eyed Girl is always one of my favourites, for obvious reasons, and it was a great idea to get us all singing along to a Beatles song, given it was the beginning of the Mathew Street festival weekend (You've got to hide your love away - with lots of enthusiastic "hey"s from the audience).
The gig was going out on live feed on the internet so we all shouted hello to the world periodically as the beer flowed and we became ever more enthusiastic. I was sitting next to a Norwegian man now living in Honduras who was amazed by the art work in the Casa and in particular a mural depicting Latin American freedom fighters, a great backdrop for Alun as he sang about Desi Warren (wonderful song) and about the breakdown of capitalism and the exploitation of the workers. The Casa was also a good place to be singing "I want Rosa to stay, not just today, or tomorrow but forever". I struggle mightily with the treatment of asylum seekers in this country, it is no secret, and I do what I can to support the work of Asylum Link and if more people could hear this song the world might be a better place.
We were challenged to say what we thought new song "Hello Barren Desert" was all about, Alun saying he was not absolutely sure himself, but would take his lead from the best of the reviewers. So I shall have my turn, it seems pretty obvious to me that with lyrics about the "sun burning the pastures" and the rising of the waters, that it is about global warming, but clearly that was only part of the story. There was a verse about the whisking away of the sheep - which is very biblical only I am sure he didn't mean it to be - I cannot quite fit this in with my global warming theory. There were also echoes of The Times They Are A'Changing, which he did in fact sing later, was that a clue Alun? Is this song also a tribute to Dylan? And was there perhaps a bit of a Palestinian reference going on? I am going to suggest there might have been. Over to you mate.
The new album is great, you should order one from the website, I think my favourite song is probably "Waiting for the Lovers" which he dedicated to Michael Causer, a song about two gay men, meeting and falling in love in a club, while a gang outside "clutching broken bottles" wait for them to come out.
And I loved "Take the mother's name" based on a study of Engels. This covers a really fascinating subject not just for feminists but also for genealogists; the fact that although we know with certainty the mother of a child, we don't know who the father is (short of taking DNA tests - not something around in Engels time) and yet we insist on passing property and name through the paternal line. I have traced my family name back 500 years but there is no certainty that any of the male Baldocks were really my ancestors - unlike the female lines, all of whom I have also traced, and are definitely my grandmothers through the generations.
If you do buy the album, and you should, check out the centre pages of the accompanying booklet for photos of fans.
The set began with a very well behaved folk crowd, sitting listening with quiet intent to thoughtful lyrics, beautifully delivered, and thanks to Alun's skilful assessment of his audience, moved in and out of more familiar songs, so that we could sing and clap and cheer, before settling down again into reflection. Thanks for the invite Alun. I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we all did.