Thursday, 18 May 2017

What we'll do for money...

One of two rather embarrassing pictures my good wife has posted of me (might as well fess up!). This was how I walked down Oxford Street in '95 collecting money for Children In Need. 

A young lady I was working with at the time did my makeup and loaned me the dress. She said it was her husband's "second best". 

Make of that what you will...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

“When Butterflies Scream” COMPETITION – and the winner is…

I know what you’re thinking – after last night’s Eurovision Song Contest, can I take any more excitement?

Well, I’m delighted to tell you we have a winner in our “When Butterflies Scream” competition!

Just to remind, the question was ‘on which of the WBS’s twelve tracks do you think you’re listening to Scruff’, the less-wholesome of my pair of 1967 Harmony 12-string guitars?

Most popular choice (by quite a distance, actually) was track 2, “Gerrymander Street Blockade”, followed by “The Promise”. Neither of those, I’m afraid!

Only a select half-dozen guessed correctly that Scruff made his recording debut on track 9, “The Nightmare”.

And the first correct answer out of the washing-up bowl was… Robert Walker!

So many congrats to Robert. The promo copy (signed or not, as he wishes) will be winging its way to him in the next day or so.

And many thanks to everyone who took part. It’s been greatly appreciated, and I hope everyone keeps on enjoying the album.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

“When Butterflies Scream” – COMPETITION UPDATE…

Many thanks to all who’ve already joined battle for the original promo copy CD of “When Butterflies Scream”.

This is just a reminder the Grand Draw for the winner will take place at noon UK time next Sunday (14th May).

Entries have been coming in all week; the question being, on which of the WBS's twelve tracks do you think you’re listening to Scruff, the rather less-salubrious of my pair of 1967 Harmony 12-string guitars? There is only one…

So far, the five top contenders (in album order!) are “Who Pays The Ferryman”, “Gerrymander Street Blockade”, “The Promise”, “The Fire” and “The Nightmare”.

Do you know better? The wheel’s still spinning. Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows...

Friday, 5 May 2017

Beau, Jim Milne & The Honey Pot - "Silence Returns"...

A quick heads-up... not out 'til September, but those who remember "Silence Returns" from "Creation" are gonna love this; my goodself and Jim Milne working with the great Icarus Peel... 

Watch this space!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Thanks for the Amazon feedback, folks...

Sincere thanks to everyone who's leaving feedback comments on Amazon about "When Butterflies Scream"

They really are all greatly appreciated!

"The Illegal" on Rocker's Dandelion Radio show...

A belated "many thanks" to Rocker for including "The Illegal" (all seven minutes of it!) on his Dandelion Radio show throughout April! I'm sure this helped boost "When Butterflies Scream" to its #1 spot in Amazon's folk chart. 

Rocker's full April show is now Mixclouded, and a great show it is! Just click on the link below...

Appreciated, big man!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

"Who Pays The Ferryman" on Popcast...

Many thanks to Flat Ed for playing "Who Pays The Ferryman" from "When Butterflies Scream" on Monday's Popcast. ("Ferryman" is towards the end, but do check out the whole show - it's now Mixclouded!) 

Cheers, Ed!

Monday, 1 May 2017

"When Butterflies Scream" - on the rise again...

Hmm, having dropped down the listings for a few days, "When Butterflies Scream" is on the rise again at Amazon - back up to #5 in their Folk Best Sellers! 

Many thanks to all who are giving it its second wind...

Friday, 28 April 2017

Beau – “When Butterflies Scream” – IT’S COMPETITION TIME!

IT’S COMPETITION TIME, FOLKS! But first, many many thanks for all your kind words and support for my latest release, “When Butterflies Scream”. It’s really has been, and is being, greatly appreciated!

But now, I have a little puzzle for you…

Y’see, the accompanying guitar on all the “Butterflies” tracks was my trusty fifty-year-old friend, Big 12; all the tracks, that is, except for one. The odd one out featured Big 12’s rather disreputable and less-pampered brother, Scruff. 

The question is, on which track do you think you’re listening to Scruff?

If you’ve already become familiar with the album, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “I know that!” If so, just send me a message or an email with the title of the track. Then, on Sunday 14th May, we’ll put all the correct answers in a barrel (or hat, or egg cup – whichever seems most appropriate!) and draw a winner.

And the winner will receive… one of the hens-teeth-rare original promo copy CDs – signed if you wish!

There’s no need to have bought the album to enter the competition. Samples of all the songs are available at most of your favourite download sites. But there are of course a couple of rules (aren’t there always?)

1) We have to say just one entry will be allowed per email address or social media I/D (anyone submitting multiple entries, the first one received counts). 


2) The judge’s decision (i.e. mine) is final!

So, with thanks to everyone for helping to drive “When Butterflies Scream” to #1 in Amazon’s Folk download chart…

Faites vos jeux, Mesdames et Messieurs and good luck!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

It's Psychedelic Baby! reviews "When Butterflies Scream"...

Brilliant review of "When Butterflies Scream" for It's Psychedelic Baby! magazine by Brian R. Banks.

Many thanks, IPB and Brian!
Beau - When Butterflies Scream (Cherry Red Records, 2017)

The singer-songwriter Trevor Midgley, known as Beau, has aged well like all good vintage stock; still a rich, heady consistency after all these years. From a Yorkshire teen band that got a BBC session to kudos and a number one in Lebanon with John Peel’s first release on Dandelion Records in the late sixties, he has been prolific in this century with several albums in various formats by Cherry Red among others. He’s also recorded electronic music recently under the moniker Simfonica. Unusually, Beau’s high regard in folk circles has been achieved with few gigs throughout those fifty years.

And this latest release— #1 on Amazon’s Best British Folk list in April—of a round dozen is among his most evocative so far. Lyrics are very much of these times, without his usual excursions into fascinating byways of history. Beau has the wonderful—and rarer than one first thinks—ability to musically versify what is in the English psyche. His songs lyrically resonate and chime like his 12-string. The opener Who Pays The Ferryman? highlights the background of Brexit—everything that happens must be paid for. Are we not now reduced to slavery no matter who the overseers are? The closer The Illegal first references the border-crossing train hobo of folklore then the current immigrant ‘crisis’ and rescue ships preceding further dehumanising activities of the authorities. As he notes in the press release, “one in every hundred-and-thirteen people on earth is a refugee, and counting…” This timely commentary of seven staccato minutes, perhaps a reinterpretation of the ethos of Phil Ochs’ Pleasures Of The Harbour, is a strong, powerful finale to a gripping album.

Just as the opener seems to be a blues title, contradicted by the style and couplets, the album title with its nod to Chaos Theory is embedded in the chorus of Gerrymander Street Blockade. It is an appropriate reference if we seek to make sense of what is happening around us. The wonderfully-titled The Smile Of A Pox Doctor’s Clerk is a pulling-down-to-earth of recipients of national honours, a fall-out of the class system, but a wider industry shady as Dylan and the Nobel (for literature?! Could this have been the impetus for the better-placed Cohen’s demise? A Grammy for Rowling next?). Midgley is more direct about everyday concerns than Mr Zimmerman (whom he probably values higher, I dare say, than this reviewer!). 

The Mandarin is a whimsical reflection on doctrinal influence with a nod to the satire of W.S.Gilbert of comic opera fame (“the despot we know and the despot we don’t”). In the shadows lurk the bureaucrats, diplomats and their “choir”; Beau is sussed enough to see that not all oligarchs are in the east. There is a thread through his albums about the military, and here the soldier’s lot is treated in a five-minute The Promise which is in Ochs, Pete Seeger or Dylan’s pseudonymous Brown ballad vein. The media, who has a lot to answer for, gets its just swipe too.

In lineage from his Dandelion days, there is jealousy, envy, pragmatism and much more (Donovan!) in Smilin’ Billy Lye with its almost orchestral guitar-playing; The Fire; Ben & Jerry’s Coca-Cola Tarantella inspired by Aldous Huxley, recalling that Stravinsky started on second fiddle! A latter-day ballad (The Nightmare) imagines a bed-ridden patient that may be a metaphor for the Trump era and what’s round the corner. It reminds this listener of the poignant subject of Kevin Coyne’s House On The Hill, if the inmate still lives.

It’s Only Just Begun is a couplet-driven roller mentioning Genghis Khan, Dresden 1945 and a Falklander among unforgettable insights. The slower Kill The Idea parodies “unlimited resources” and such popular trumpeted slogans (“Bells remodelled by artillery shells”…), with biting criticism of this age of fads (which tend to be ever-more mindless). This erudite troubadour deftly weaves the vernacular and colloquial into his very real melting-pot: why he is so little known is as mysterious as the mother of The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith being the inventor of Liquid Paper (i.e. Tipp-ex).

Beau, who first started his folk career inspired by the fellow-12-stringer Lead Belly, has been compared to Roy Harper, Tom Paxton, and especially the troubled Texan song-writer Ochs (“England’s answer to Phil Ochs” Good Times 2009), who suicided when 36 partly-engendered by what happened at protest meetings when flower power was answered with batons and rubber bullets. His first albums for Elektra (the US label of Dandelion) were also acoustic like Beau’s, before experimenting for A&M with baroque-folk and backing in the last of his eight LPs. Ochs preferred to call them not protest but “topical songs”, calling himself a “singing journalist” as he wanted to be a writer and put poems into song which is the same feeling here. There’s an incisive humanism, and Beau does this in British rather than American terms for what’s of course universal experience. 

One event in the American’s life highlights then and today very graphically. Ochs and a friend were deported from Argentina (for political reasons) to Bolivia, where protesters were known to disappear. The pilot of the Braniff Airways plane refused to allow Bolivian security police on board and flew them to Peru and safety. How times have changed! We all saw in public and social media how airline companies now respond to passengers who don’t do what they are told, made brazen by how successfully they can humiliate even grannies and children under their mantra of ‘security’ (the first metal detecting gates were installed by Gore’s company). It’s now known that the 500-page FBI dossier on Ochs often couldn’t spell his name right and kept the file open even after his death as “potentially dangerous”.  Beau is a spokesman, in an august tradition among folk singers, of this deterioration in our age into ‘deep state’ and profit over all else.

A big influence on Ochs was the little-remembered older song-writer Bob Gibson, who looked more like Beau and also played 12-string as well as banjo, which the Englishman’s guitar can sometimes sound like, almost as if Beau has taken some of the more edgy country ethos without the love-lorn topics or standardised style. Beau free-wheels for his own personal ethos. If you are weary, maybe, of the one-or-two-decent-song albums by the famous resting on their laurels, as relevant to today as carbon paper, Beau’s work is a welcome antidote. 

When Butterflies Scream is a beautifully evocative collection of fireside tales, with a lavish supply of tinder and vitriol. Some of his strongest-ever ballads are interspersed with jaunt, but not in the style of Mike Absalom or his now-look-alike Mick Softley from their counter-culture backgrounds. Each is memorable without any damp wood filling your eyes with vaporous smoke. A highly-recommended classic of the genre, showing that music can still commentate and define the times in which it appears while sounding pertinent warning bells. 

Brian R. Banks

Wednesday, 19 April 2017