Tricks Upon Travellers 2 | From Another Plaice

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Folk: Political Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Mood: Quirky
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From Another Plaice

by Tricks Upon Travellers 2

An alternative view of politico folk rock, big guitars, accordion and fiddle, darkly lyrical yet very satisfying.
Genre: Folk: Political
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. The Sound of Sirens
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5:49 $0.99
2. Knocker Boys
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4:26 $0.99
3. Civilisation
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4:40 $0.99
4. Despot's Dead
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4:48 $0.99
5. Third Way
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5:08 $0.99
6. Million Miles
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4:10 $0.99
7. Ivy
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6:06 $0.99
8. Blood Against the Wall
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4:29 $0.99
9. Porton Down
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5:51 $0.99
10. Cadavers Burning
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4:28 $0.99
11. And Johnny Says
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Dick Langford & Tricks Upon Travellers

I guess that most of us musicians have some kind of ego problem.

Sometimes it feels like I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall for too many years and yet still continue to do serious damage to my cranium.

So what’s it all about ?

The band is/was Tricks Upon Travellers. We achieved more than a modicum of success in the folk roots world with appearances at Glastonbury and a number of festival gigs. The gigs were storming with mucho dancing and general frivolity which is interesting as most of the songs are lyrically very downbeat. Just goes to prove that at live gigs few people listen to the lyrics.

I get distinctly miffed and I’m slightly suspicious of bands who seem unable to describe their music. What faith can you have in a band who can’t describe their own music ?

OK you ask, what sort of music do you play ? Well, it’s difficult to describe really. Actually it’s not. It’s folk roots or folk rock. For the uninitiated it means we can do pretty much what we want as long as we give the fiddler a few traditional sounding tunes and I manage to produce some authentic English folk melodies.

It’s great working in this genre. I can assuage my guilt about not being as politically active as I should be by writing about inequality, globalisation and the manipulations of the media. Death and love come pretty high on the agenda as well which probably surprises no-one. It gives me freedom to write whatever I feel strongly about. If something moves me I don’t have to fit it into some cliched style, I write as I feel and then we play as we feel.

I’m lucky in that I worked with and learnt from our old singer Graeme Hobbs, who is an excellent writer. He has the ability to get straight to the heart of the matter. Whereas I tend to intellectualise the writing process and can agonise for hours over one line (and still get it wrong) Graeme’s lyrics just poured out of his head like some stream of consciousness beanfeast.

Now I'm working as the main songwriter I've hopefully learnt my lessons well. It's the quality of the songs that give the band it’s unique strength. Take for example "From Another Plaice" our 4th CD but the first in the new line up. It’s a wonderful mixture of styles and songs (no shocks there then). From the sparse, dark opener "Sound of Sirens" to the gypsy swing of "Knocker Boys" and the bile filled "Third Way" there are no two songs that sound even remotely the same.

Maybe that’s a problem, maybe we didn't have an instantly recognisable TUT sound. Nevertheless it’s received great reviews in the folk rock press and independent radio stations all over the globe have picked up on it in a big way. Unfortunately all the promises of a succession of agents, promoters and would be managers remained just promises.

Ah, the joys of the music business. I have “cynic” running through me like the lettering on a stick of rock but I’m still surprised at how talent is kicking around in little bars and clubs up and down the country. For our own part we’ve been rejected by folk venues for being too “rocky” and rock venues for being too “folky”. A rock and hard place certainly come to mind. C’est nous !

It’s strange really, I drive all over the south of England spending hours in cars and vans, unloading and loading heavy awkward gear and getting home again at 4 in the morning. Why ? It’s for that 2 hours on stage, 2 hours of ego massage, 2 hours of feeling truly alive, 2 hours of feeling just wonderful. It’s all a lie really it’s sometimes 2 hours of “I can’t hear the guitar guys”, 2 hours of “all I can hear is the guitar guys”, 2 hours of “who set this sodding PA up anyway?”. But the more I play these days the more I get a sense of incredible privilege to be able to do what I do.

The band has reached a temporary hiatus with the arrival of 2 sets of twins to drummer and bass player (!!!!) but I continue to write new songs and look forward to performing them when the time is right.

Stay cool guys.


Reviews


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R J F

Wonderful dark folk-rock fusion
This is a really worthwhile and enjoyable album. Although the lyrical content is very dark there's a kind of instinctive joy in the music itself and a lot of it is quite upbeat on the surface, with the more subtle depths coming out gradually on repeated listenings. The instrumentation is solid and crisp and bright, quite strongly rhythmic for the most part. There's some very chopsy bass playing, and the omnipresent electric fiddle is played with sensitivity and character.

From what I can gather, this is a re-formed line-up of the original TUT band with Dick Langford the only common denominator. I suspect the departure of key members of the original band have forced Dick to step out into the limelight whether he wanted to or not, and in the process several latent talents have emerged and it's really enabled him to shine. His prowess as a guitarist has never been in dispute and there's plenty enough evidence on this album of his "rock god" credentials with superb playing on electric and acoustic. However there's a lot more of his own songwriting on this album, and he also takes on most of the lead vocals ... both of which bring new layers of subtlety and complexity to the TUT sound.

It's not as high-speed as the previous TUT material nor as adrenalin-rushing, but has more of a poised energy and a subdued, controlled gracefulness, but still with plenty of pace and drive. Thoughtful and poignant lyrics combine with a very varied and imaginative range of musical ideas, so every song is unique and yet it all sounds like it belongs together on the same album. Dick's voice has a warmth of tone which is very appealing. His vocals are soulful and expressive in a way that really enhances these deep and intelligently written songs.

What you get on this album are politically aware songs with depth and substance and which have enough musical interest on the surface to make them thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. Cleverly blended strands of electro-acoustic rock and folk are interwoven with new original ideas and the end result is delightful.