OUr Back Yard

ARTISAN

OUR BACK YARD

Bedspring Music: BOING 9604

CD or tape cassette


A CD which chronicles life in Britain in the last fifty years

Track List
Album Credts
Intro
Reviews
Song words:-NIMBY

Track List

1. Do You Remember? * Listen (Brian Bedford)
Author and Composer
Vocals - Artisan.
2. Hold On To Your Dreams (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan.
3. Wannabe (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan.
4. A Posy Made of Dreams (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
5. A Habit I'll Have to Kick (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
6. The Spiral Trap (Ian Tupling)
Author and Composer
Vocals - Artisan
7. Lamb in the Jungle (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
Keyboard percussion- Brian Bedford
8. NIMBY -Not in My Back Yard (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
9. Rosy Pictures (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
10. Fear (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
11. Hard Ground * Listen (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
12. No Wars and Stuff (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
13. Buried Below (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
14. Lest We Forget (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
15. Walking Down the Alleys (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan

Album Credits

Produced and recorded by Brian Bedford at Park Head Studio for Bedspring Music, June 1996
Sleeve photography, retouching and artwork by Bryan Ledgard of Ledgard Jepson
Bedspring Music, 10 Park Head, Birdsedge, Huddersfield, England, HD8 8XW
e-mail the studio: brian at brian-bedford.com

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About the album

Artisan's latest release, with the much-requested NIMBY song on it (Not In My Back Yard). A sideways look at life from the 1950s to the present day, through songs which capture perfectly the nostalgia of childhood as well as Life, the Universe and Everything in the 1990s. As ever, the diversity of songs and styles makes this an album with something for everyone. There are velvet smooth melodic harmonies as well as fast patter songs and even a techno-Artisan track (Lamb in the Jungle).

1n 1997, "Lest We Forget", written by Brian Bedford, was nominated for a CARA, a Contemporary A cappella Recording Award, by the Contemporary A cappella Society of America. It didn't win but it was selected for inclusion on the CARA "best of..." compilation album. You'll find CASA are on our "Links" page. In 1998, Artisan was nominated for two CARAs, one for Best Folk Album (Driving Home) and one for Best Folk Song (Mabel). They won with Brian Bedford's song "Mabel".

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Reviews

Folk Roots / Dirty Linen / Sounds Celebrating Resistance / Crossroads

FOLK ROOTS

"Songs, all but one by the group's Brian Bedford, set in (T'd guess) their own lifetimes - near enough mine for that matter. If the opener seems to be yet more backstreet nostalgia, "Rosy Pictures" explicitly rejects that kind of outlook and elsewhere their affection for what's past is always tempered with realism. There are also veins of humour (A Habit I'll Have to Kick) and good honest anger running through it all, with the standout "Lest We Forget" a forceful reminder of the limits of rabid individualism. They also sing about debt and dope dealing (the latter with a drum machine for atmosphere and possibly the least effective track) and hopes of a better future. The harmony work is sharp and unfussy, the words are worth listening to, the tunes are good and the group convey a real energy and enthusiasm in their singing. A thoroughly heartening record." -- Nick Beale

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DIRTY LINEN

"The latest recording from the English a cappella trio, Artisan, is a look back at the England of the last 50 years, more in a historical, rather than a musical sense. The songs are, as much of Artisan's material, humorous but with a deeper meaning lurking below the surface. You'll have your fun but you'll come away with a deeper meaning of the issues being sung about. And, as always, the harmonies of Jacey Bedford, Brian Bedford and Hilary Spencer are as wonderfully tuneful and rhythmic as any to be found on the folk scene today.

"All but one of the songs were written by Brian Bedford. And though the songs spring from an English background, most of the themes are universal. "NIMBY" (Not In My Back Yard) applies anywhere, "Wannabe" about the English lottery and the hopes and dreams people have of winning, could be about any state lottery. And "Do You Remember" about growing up and remembering all the things from when you were young (outside privy, paraffin heaters, the milkman's horse) and how they've changed, should get anyone thinking.

"But Artisan isn't being nostalgic , the power of many of the songs spring from contrasting "then" to "today"--of how, if we forget those lessons, we may very well repeat them. "Lest We Forget" is about the Second World War and how the Britain that was built then is being lost today. And in "No Wars and Stuff" that fear of war is being pushed deeper and deeper into hiding. What I do like about Artisan is they deal with reality. With all the questions they pose about society today, they know enough to point out in "Rosy Pictures" that, as bad as things seem, in the future we'll look back on this time with a certain sense of nostalgia.

"That, I feel, is what sets Artisan apart. They make you think, they make you laugh, and then they let you draw your own conclusions. And that's a rare thing."

--Jim Lee, Simi Valley, CA

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SOUNDS CELEBRATING RESISTANCE

Artisan is an a cappella trio of two women and one man from England who do original music. They've got strong voices, work well together, and come up with catchy and creative arrangements. This recording is a collection of songs looking at the last 40 years or so and it works as a great personal and social history of the last half of the 20th Century in Britain, although the appeal definitely goes beyond national borders. Plenty of feeling, humour and social class conscience. This is definitely worth checking out.

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CROSSROADS

Our Back Yard, by the English a cappella trio, Artisan, continues and refines their tradition of razor-sharp performances of Brian Bedford's precision tunes and lyrics. A cappella music, especially in such a small ensemble, (Bedford's the sole male voice amidst those of Jacey Bedford and Hilary Spencer), is a peculiarly naked and exposed form. There are no instruments to mask vocal peccadilloes, and the lyrics must fit the tune and meter perfectly. Artisan stands proud, if naked, on songs such as "Wannabe", a staccato plea for enhanced personal status; the beat is carefully and dramatically modulated. The lead-off song,"Do you Remember?", while mellower, is no less precise in evoking those good old Socialist days in England's north, powerfully recalling some of Robb Johnson's political songs. Brian Bedford's idealistic social commentary is studded with elements of irony and hints of tragic realism as well. "A Posy Made of Dreams" is a case in point for idealism, and a protest against the invasion of education by experts and bureaucrat. His "A Habit I'll Have to Kick" brings the irony to the fore, with a jaunty piece of circular logic in which contemporary health consciousness burdens us with an addiction to battling addiction. We become the monsters we fight, surely an ironic realisation. Artisan also takes on urban street culture in "Lamb in the Jungle", which is voices accompanied by samples and a boom box beat. Our Back Yard is a treasure box of social commentary done a cappella, including discourses on the "NIMBY" syndrome, "Fear" itself and a plea for "No Wars and Stuff". If you're intrigued with lyrics and the purity of the human voice, it's for you." -- Jim Foley

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Songs

N I M B Y

Wanna have a smoke free, choke free vege-burger cup o' tea
Hey, man, where's it at ? Where you gonna put that?
Over there. I don't care, anywhere but my back yard

You can have a windmill, landfill, Jerry-rig a big drill
No hope, isotope, hanging from a big rope
Fall out no doubt, keep it out of my back yard

Over there, don't care, you can put it anywhere
On a beach out of reach , I can preach a good speech
Put it down out of town, find a pool and let it drown
Up a tree, in the sea, lock the door and lose the key

You can have a highway, by-way, keep it out of my way
No grass, by-pass, burn your gas and spend brass
Don't brake, overtake, anywhere but my back yard

You can have a bad house, mad house, prison full of posh grouse
Jolly good, knew you would, stick it full of blue blood
Old folk can't cope, keep 'em out of my back yard

Dig a pit, bury it, push it through an exit
Overflow, don't know, give a push and let it go
No fear, too near, you can make it disappear
Find a screen, paint it green, stick it in a magazine

You can keep and old aunt, pot plant, find a heart and transplant
Gene clean mean green, keep it like it's always been
Unrest protest, keep 'em out of my back yard

Over there, don't care, [Repeat]

You can have a long chat, fancy that, standing on a door mat
Old slum, welcome, haven't got a crumb, chum
Move on have they gone, anywhere but my back yard
[Repeats etc.]

© August 1993 Brian Bedford
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Published by Bedspring Music
10 Park Head, Birdsedge, Huddersfield, England, HD8 8XW
Phone + 44 (0)1484 606230

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These pages were created by Jacey Bedford © April 22nd 1997
Last updated 29th March 2010