By The Banks Of The A350

by Blake

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1.
Double O Seven (repeat)
2.
Something that you told me has thrown me and I can't find the words And even if you hit me or kissed me I'd be far less disturbed Than to know all those years ago he'd stolen the best thing in your world Now tell me how could he do it after all you did for him Betrayed with the kiss of Judas Was it really wicked or stupid or something in between Does it really matter the facts are so easily seen Now it seems all your hopes and dreams lie broken and it's all down to him Now tell me how could he do it after all you did for him Betrayed with the kiss of Judas Judas fled with the gold The devil's wage for the care of his immortal soul Judas hung from the tree The most hated man in all of history Did he ever think through the pain you'd inevitably meet And did he give a toss for your loss or did he think that to cheat On his mate somehow made him great when we all know he's not got much to brag about oh How could he do it after all you did for him Betrayed with the kiss of Judas
3.
You can make it if you reach for the stars You can be someone much better by far But for most of us it's back to the grind Twenty years is such a bloody long time so I'm sorry Goodbye cruel pop world I'm leaving today You won't miss me at all I'm embarrassed to say You don't even know my name You take a chance you know that someone must win You put your money down and you give it a spin You play your heart out take the rough with the smooth You send your demo out but it's always refused so I'm sorry Goodbye cruel pop world I'm leaving today You won't miss me at all though it hurts me to say You don't even know my name In the Welcome Break about 3am You decide you don't wanna be here again You thought you couldn't lose if just had a shot But that gig at the 100 Club was the best that it got so I'm sorry Goodbye cruel pop world I'm leaving today You won't miss me at all but I'm delighted to say That I'll be OK
4.
Mr. Dawkins 02:43
He's got credentials, he's academically strong He's fundamental, he's fundamentally wrong Mr Dawkins when you die, when you wave this world goodbye Will you ask the question why why why? Mr Dawkins when you sit at the bottom of the pit Will you still claim this is it? He's a believer, he's a believer in himself He's a deceiver, and he's better than anyone else Mr Dawkins when you die, when you wave this world goodbye Will you ask the question why why why? Mr Dawkins can you aspire to be elevated higher Than the burning lake of fire? He is a winner, he's the champion of the world He's not a sinner, he knows that sin's for little girls He is a teacher, he's got the answers in his book He wants to teach you, and he wants you to take the hook Mr Dawkins when you die, when you wave this world goodbye Will you ask the question why why why? Mr Dawkins when you sit at the bottom of the pit Will you still claim this is it? Mr Dawkins
5.
I'd like to say something to you today About the way I feel when you're away Everyday I'm OK Cos I know that you're here to stay I'd like to show you what you mean to me Want you to know just how you've set me free Help me be who I can be Help me see what you see Being with you, being with you I could never find no more peace of mind Being with you, being with you I could never find no more peace of mind I'd like to give something back to you For all the times I've ever made you blue The things you do are something new You are so true and I love being with you Being with you, being with you I could never find no more peace of mind Being with you, being with you I could never find no more peace of mind And so I sing this song to you to say How great you make me feel in every way Every day I'm OK And I love your way Being with you, being with you I could never find no more peace of mind Being with you, being with you I could never find no more peace of mind
6.
7.
Falling 03:24
I've been climbing up the walls I've been feeling two foot small I've been down upon my knees I've been drowning in your seas I've been walking in the park I've been sleeping til it’s dark I've been writing you a song I've been waiting here too long I climbed up tried to see I climbed up but now I'm falling Like a room without a door Like a song without a score Like a boat upon the sand Like a gig without a band Like a tree without a bird Like a letter without words Like a race without a start Like a man without a heart I climbed up tried to see I climbed up but now I'm falling
8.
Memories of golden days All the songs we used to play Blue Suede Shoes, Runaway Take your time look around Keep your feet on the ground What goes up must come down You've got to give it up, baby Growing up at my high school On the bus we'd stare at you Just to watch the things you'd do We were all hypnotised When we looked in your eyes Something else was there besides You've got to give it up, baby Take me back from where I came Things can never be the same I don't care it's such a shame Never thought I'd hear me say I'm getting used to shades of grey But things just turned out that way You've got to give it up, baby
9.
Almost Blue 03:06
And they say she's got such elegance And they say that she's the best And they say she's got an inner strength And they say she must be blessed Cos she's always good and she's always true And she's always kind but she's almost blue And they say that she's everybody's friend And they say that she's so calm And they say they wish that it was them And they say she must be charmed Cos she's always good and she's always true And she's always kind but she's almost blue And she's always fun if they only knew That she's always fine but she's almost blue
10.
I'm getting closer, I'm getting closer to your heart Though you don't show it, I know you know it that's a start Cos everything you're saying is noted for my files And every night I'm playing I'm looking for your smile I can't be wrong cos I've known you far too long So baby don't be down You don't believe it, you don't believe I love you best One day you'll get it, you can forget about the rest Cos everything you're saying is noted for my files And every night I'm playing I'm looking for your smile I can't be wrong cos I've known you far too long So baby don't be down, baby don't be down You got a lot of living to do You got a lot of loving to do now You got a lot of living to do So baby don't be down, baby don't be down Woke up this morning, woke up to find you on my mind The day was dawning, I felt like dropping you a line Cos everything you're saying is noted for my files And every night I'm playing I'm looking for your smile I can't be wrong cos I've known you far too long So baby don't be down, baby don't be down
11.
You gotta raise on sevens & nines You gotta raise on sevens & nines The Devil’s running sixes high You gotta raise on sevens & nines You gotta go all in when you see the sign You can take my hand cos you’ll beat him with mine You gotta stop the killing now You gotta stop the killing now You gotta do it anyhow You gotta stop the killing now You gotta stop it now whatever it takes Cos when I come back it’s gonna be too late You gotta set my people free You gotta set my people free Send them back to me Set my children free You gotta set my captive people free Or when I come back you’re gonna answer to me You gotta raise on sevens & nines
12.
Can we make it to the other side Can we make it through the rain Didn't have much time to say goodbye Will we make it home again I've been over everything I've studied what's been happening Is anybody listening out there Yes I believe, yes I believe Though my heart is broken and my mind don't see Yes I believe, yes I believe Though my body's aching and I'm down on my knees Yes I believe, yes I believe Though my soul is shattered still my spirit screams Yes I believe, yes I believe in you Now I see that there's no turning back It's no use to just pretend Cos the day is turning into black Will we make it to the end I've been over everything I've waited for my phone to ring Is anybody answering my prayers Yes I believe, yes I believe Though my heart is broken and my mind don't see Yes I believe, yes I believe Though my body's aching and I'm down on my knees Yes I believe, yes I believe Though my soul is shattered still my spirit screams Yes I believe, yes I believe in you
13.
14.
Come To Me 04:09
She likes to sit amid the flowers And read Virginia Wolff's The Hours She wants to finish it one day She wants to throw it all away anyway Come to me all ye broken hearted lovers Come to me and I will give you rest Come to me all you broken hearted lovers Your broken hearted souls I'll rest He likes to walk along the railway line He likes to think of their first valentine He knows she must be far away He couldn't find the words to say anyway They like to stand among the poplar trees And feel the sun and watch the dancing leaves The earth that in a mound is laid The earth that teaches us we're clay anyway
15.
As I walked out on a midsummer's morning For to view the fields and to take the air Down by the banks of the sweet primroses There I beheld a most love-lie fair. Three short steps, I stepped up to her Not knowing her as she passed me by I stepped up to her, thinking for to view her She appeared to be like some virtuous bride I says "Fair maid, where are you going? And what's the occasion of all your grief? I will make you as happy as any lady If you will grant to me one small relief" "Stand off, stand off, you're a false deceiver You are a false deceitful man, I know 'Tis you that has caused my poor heart to wander And in your comfort lies no refrain" So I'll go down to some lonesome valley Where no man on earth shall there me find Where the pretty little small birds do change their voices And every moment blows blusterous wind So come all young men who go a-sailing Pray pay attention to what I say For there's many a dark and a cloudy morning Turns out to be a sunshiny day

about

This album was recorded at home in Melksham (by the banks of the A350) in 2007. The cover shot features my very pregnant wife. She was not that amused that I'd made her dress up in period costume and I was dragging her up and down a main road with truckers shouting things at us. She insisted on the mask.

Terrascope Online review by Phil McMullen:
There was a time when we were inundated here at the Terrascope with singer-songwriter albums with a folky, psychedelic pop edge to them, the vast majority of which I confess passed me by although the cream of them (and here the Kitchen Cynics and Todd Dillingham spring to mind immediately) inevitably rose to the top and stayed there. Several claimed inspiration and allegiance to the Bevis Frond; some more obviously than others, it’s fair to say.

It’s been a while, but the Wiltshire-based Blake makes the wait bearable at least. Admirers of the Frond’s earliest bedroom recordings, with squeaky Farfisa bleat, fuzzy guitars and crash-bang drums will find much to admire on his album ‘By the Banks of the A350’, particularly numbers such as ‘Almost Blue’ and ‘I Believe in You’. The opening ‘Soul Agent Pt 1’ sounds for all the world like an outtake from the Fred Bison Five’s ‘Beatroots’ collection, whilst later on in the collection ‘Soul Agent Pt 2’ (arguably the standout number on here) could sit alongside the material on Bevis Frond’s ‘Auntie Winnie’ album quite comfortably.

My favourite moments though are where the guitar explores a more down-home, rural-rock sound not a million miles removed from the likes of 70s acts such as Bronco and Gypsy - ‘Come to Me’ and ‘Goodbye Cruel Pop World’ are perhaps the best examples of this, with the former showing tell-tale signs of being influenced Julian ‘Blake’ Pugsley’s alter-ego as a member of a Beatles covers band, although apparently he’s John rather than Paul.


Overplay review:
Not since the heady days of Adam Ant has a frilly-necked shirt, stockings and shoes with massive buckles on them been essential rock ‘n’ roll attire. But, on the cover of this album, Blake hints at his own peculiar reinvention of the past. Indeed, the Bath-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (AKA Julian Pugsley) likes to spread himself around. Across the 15 tracks on ‘By The Banks Of The A350’, he pops in and out of sweet jangly pop, sweaty Britrock, glam, electronica and a few other bits and bobs besides.

The opening “Soul Agent Pt 1”, for instance, is a fizzy ‘60s organ groove, but it’s quickly supplanted by the Housemartins/Shop Assistants ‘80s indie jangle of the bouncy, melodic “Kiss Of Judas”. Things get melodramatic with the Scott Walker balladry of “Goodbye Cruel Pop World”, but it’s tracks like the Fratellis-esque “Being With You”, the early Beatles “Come With Me” and the smooth acoustics “Falling” that provide the base of this record. Strong, well written and soulful pop music that wraps your ears in a toasty duvet of good vibes.

In between all that, though, is the weird stuff that makes things really interesting. “Yuri Searches For God” is a massive synth-off with all the powder-faced romance of Japan or Bowie. “Baby Don’t Be Down” cocks a cream-coloured Trilby to The Style Council’s café jazz. Meanwhile, the brilliant “Sevens & Nines” is a Technicolor Restoration glam stomp with the swagger of Goldfrapp and the pretension of The Doors. Finally, we get to the Morris-dancing-friendly “Banks Of The Sweet Primroses” – a bouncy acoustic number that sounds like you think the whole album might be like if you’ve only glanced at the cover. In fact, there are a hundred things going on in Blake’s head and the grassy verge of an arterial road in Wiltshire is as good a place to start as any.


2007 CD Baby notes:
'By The Banks Of The A350' is the latest release from Blake – 'The thinking woman's James Blunt'. This prolific songwriter from the west of England has recorded and released five albums in two years – over three and a half hours of music, most of which was made in his two bedroom cottage just off the A350 in Wiltshire. Of this latest project, Blake says: “I never meant to record an entire album so quickly after 'Carruthers Gets Bashed', I was just going to release an E.P. I'd written this song called 'Hope You Know', basically an ode to my wife, and I had a few other things kicking about which I thought I might as well put out. One of those things was an instrumental version of the traditional English folk song 'Banks Of The Sweet Primroses' which I'd recorded a la Mike Oldfield overdubbing various instruments playing the same melody again and again. Then the album title sprang to mind and suddenly a load of songs came pouring out. 'Soul Agent Parts 1 & 2' I wrote after listening to Mark Lamarr's alternative 60s show on Radio 2 one evening. 'Kiss of Judas' is a bitter song about a betrayal by a close friend – it wrote itself. 'Goodbye Cruel Pop World' is a tongue-in-cheek valedictory song and fairly self-explanatory. Mr Dawkins should be titled Dr Dawkins really, but my brother-in-law has a PhD and he never uses Dr unless he's booking a table in a fancy restaurant. Anyway, it's about Richard Dawkins, the world's most famous atheist... well, after Stalin and Hitler, of course. 'Being With You' is a song I wrote about six years ago but I'd never recorded. It takes me back to that time when my life was completely different. 'Yuri Searches For God' came about after a jam between myself and the Tascam. I love instrumentals and I was actually trying to write something really relaxing but it took a different course. I'd recorded 'Falling' for 'Final Whistle' but for some reason I held it back from that project and also 'Carruthers Gets Bashed'. I'm glad because it fits in perfectly here and is maybe the best song. 'You've Got To Give It Up, Baby' was quickly tossed off, as it were. I suppose I was aiming for a basic Velvets-y thing. It's a staple in my live electric set, although I was far happier with 'Almost Blue' – it took no time to record - not that my stuff generally does, obviously - but it just all slotted together naturally. Actually, this may be the best one. 'Baby Don't Be Down' is another one from a few years back. Karmatruffle played it a few times at acoustic nights. I never liked it much but my mate Paul (Karmatruffle guitarist who still plays with me) says it's one of his favourites. 'Sevens & Nines' was my attempt at Goldfrapp-style electro-pop, except it's more electro-blues - a reject from 'Carruthers'. It's the only thing I've ever recorded with a complete absence of guitars. I wrote 'I Believe In You' on holiday in Cornwall this summer. Finally, 'Come To Me' didn't really record well – it was better as an acoustic demo, but despite this I preferred it to the other four songs I ended up leaving off the album. They will no doubt appear on next year's rarities project “Antheology” along with other unreleased songs from my archives dating back to 2000.”

credits

released December 12, 2007

All songs written by Julian Pugsley, except 'Banks of the Sweet Primroses' Trad. Arr. Blake, and © Rockhopper Records 2007.
Produced by Blake. Recorded entirely at home.
Photography by AJ Bennetts on location by the banks of the A350 and in The Red Lion, Lacock, Wiltshire.
Thanks to Andrew, Jacqueline and All You Need Is The Beatles.
Very special thanks to Lady Sarah Pugsley, benefactor and cover model.
This record is dedicated to Mandi & Dean.

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Blake England, UK

Singer-songwriter and DIY musician from the UK. File under: 'Eclectic'. Sign up to my mailing list and receive a free download of my track 'Vinyl Junkie': eepurl.com/dV04f

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