Monday 21 December 2015

BRAPA Special : The Soundtrack to BRAPA Part One

One of my first pledges during the creation of BRAPA back in January '14 was to compile a playlist of some great songs that I could see as relevant to my BRAPA trips and play them (preferably on train journey's to and from my solo Saturday trips, most notably Bedfordshire ones which involve a fair drag).

Using mainly my own music library, but with a bit of inspiration taken from good old iTunes (spit!), I created a 15 song list, and then getting carried away a couple of months later, a "second album".

Problem is, I recently realised looking back through BRAPA's formative months (see last week's blog entry) that I've never actually shared them with anyone, and I do so now, in the hope that someone, somewhere, whether it be a music fan or dare I say it, a BRAPA fan, might find this of interest!

1.  Richard Grainger - The Old Pubs 

Brilliant local folk song from a chap with his roots in a town where old pubs being knocked down to make way for plastic ones has probably been felt more strongly than most.  I'm talking about Middlesbrough where he was born.  No instruments, just a good honest short folk ballad, perfect intro as I often feel like BRAPA is some archaic trip down memory lane when you read things like "pubs aren't relevant in today's society" which truly saddens me.  I bet though that Richard is embracing the micro pub revolution in his home town.  In fact, he was probably one of the chaps sat at the bar in Infant Hercules near me recently! 

2. Claim the Throne - Set Sail on Ale

Folk music is where you are really likely to find songs about pubs and drinking, but what about Australian folk metal?  Not my first choice musical genre perhaps, but love the accordion and most of all, the song title and chorus.  Perfect warm up song on any early morning train or bus journey to the first BRAPA 'tick' of the day.  "It's time to tell our tale, and set sail on ale!"

3.  Dagmar and the Seductones - As Long as I'm Moving

Brilliant upbeat 50's throwback rockabilly female fronted song.  "North, East, South, West, every which way!"  pretty much sums up how BRAPA is going to have to be if I'm going to make a success of it, and it's another one to gear me up for the day ahead.  As soon as JW2 copied it for me, I thought "right, you're going on my BRAPA album!"

4.  Red Alert - Somewhere in England

"Ladies and gentlemen, the Duke!" introduce Sunderland's finest.  I love oi skinhead street punk for the same reasons I love a good proper pub, it's tribal, it's basic, it's honest.  A bit like the message of the last song, I like to sing my own lyrics for the chorus pre-BRAPA "it's an every day pub, in an every day town, i'm everywhere, i'm somewhere in England!" though I'd do it properly if I saw them live at the punk festival cos the lead singer looks a bit mental.  

5.  Singing Loins - The Pub on the Corner (r.i.p the Roebuck)

The Medway's finest folk-punk duo (trio by the time they split up) appreciate a proper pub obviously and remember "the beer's never bad" though you do wonder if the Roebuck was ever GBG listed, though "the pumps are full of magic, the barmaid's real hot!"  It sounds a bit like a story of their Green Owl, though a bit more rough and ready.  

6.  Village Green Machine - This English Summer

A bit camp, a bit northern, a bit indie but with amazing 50's guitar solo and I downloaded this really when I was looking for songs that summed up England, i.e. the perfect little village which of course the BRAPA pub would be an integral part of.  A great beer garden song! 

7.  June Tabor - a Place Called England

Probably the best song in my collection about what England is (and was), folky, great lyrics , gentle but cutting at the same time.  Without getting too deep, I feel so rooted in England like I've had so many happy past lives in a country that was a lot more rural than it is now.  It's a weird feeling, but when I'm there say, walking on a country lane in Bedfordshire, it feels like I've come home!  

8.  Greenland Whalefishers - Put Me on a Train

Norway's finest folk-punkers can't do much wrong as far as I'm concerned (apart from one of them supporting the White Shite) and this is a great tired, drunken song though probably more journey there than back ....  "put me on a train and send me where the action is" "hope another town will at least set me free, well set me free from my own company" with their own amazing blend of Irish instruments.  One of my fave bands of all time.  Oh, and it had a beat like a train getting slowly faster as it goes on (though we are probably talking Northern trains from Ulleskelf - Church Fenton).  "Well, I like to drink, a bit more than I deserve, but I hate the dehydration and the nerves!"  

9.  Long Beach Dub Allstars - My Own Life

Very unique song, so chilled out, Brazilian style!  Well, apart from the punk rock ending which is worth waiting for.  "All I ever wanted was someone to let me live my own life".  Pre-BRAPA, I was feeling stifled by routine, and it's so liberating to do something unique every Saturday, and do something that most people seem to find interesting when you tell them about it.  But there'll always be people trying to get me to do things differently / slow down a bit / go on some other social occasion - and this is what I have to fight against for BRAPA to work!

10.  Lonnie Donegan - Lonesome Traveller

Lonnie D (king of Skiffle) is an absolute legend in my book, such a catchy soulful song, and I can sing this on the way home if the carriage is empty! "I'm just a lonely, and a lonesome traveller, and I'm travelling home!"  Yes, BRAPA can be a bit lonely at times but I wouldn't change it for the world.

11.  The Copper Family - Good Ale

Absolutely amazing folk song, just vocals only, no instruments and the song title means I don't need to say any more about Rottingdean's finest who seem to have been around in one form or other since the late 19th century.  Not sure when this is from but you probably couldn't sing about giving your wife two black eyes if she stopped you having a pint nowadays!  So glad I found this on iTunes. 

12.  Gus Elen - 'Arf A Pint of Ale

Brilliant music hall working class costermonger East End of London stuff from Gus (though he was actually a lot more well spoken, from Pimlico don't you know!) and again I found this browsing iTunes and was glad that he'd come out of retirement in the 1920's so there are recordings of his brilliant 1890's songs and in true CAMRA style, this is about how ale in moderation can actually be very good for you (with a crust of bread n cheese!) ,which is always reassuring on a big BRAPA bonanza!

13.  Magpie Lane - November Drinking Song

Proper folk goodness from some chaps of Oxford (I actually found 'Magpie Lane' amongst the Uni buildings on last year's BRAPA trip to the city).  "Get yourself to a cosy inn, and drink the winter away" and such lyrics, remind me that winter is my favourite time of year to be in a pub, preferably in front of a real fire!  And if all the young women all drank quarts of porter, the boys they would all run away.  Perhaps.  

14.  Wild Colonial Bhoys - Home for a Rest (live)

A great one for the journey home, actually my ultimate BRAPA anthem.  They might be Glasgow Celtic supporting Canadians, and this might be a cover version, but let's not hold it against them.  It describes a knackered touring band in England travelling and wanting to be back home, which can be perfectly applied to a BRAPA journey home :

"Euston Station the train journey north
In the buffet car we lurched back and forth
Past odd crooked dykes, through Yorkshire's green fields
We were flung into dance as the train jigged and reeled"

"You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best
I've been gone for a month, I've been drunk since I left
These so called vacations will soon be my death
I'm so sick from the drink, I need home for a rest...

15. Cute Lepers - Adventure Time

Don't forget, BRAPA is an 'adventure' as in British Real Ale Pub Adventure and I loved this song anyway with it's 70's power pop punk feel, backing vocals and piano bits.   I love the attitude, and I can walk around twice as tall (maybe not literally) and look everyone in the eye and smile when I've got this in my headphones.  

So there's your lot!  Join me on a Monday in the New Year for the "follow up" album which I did around April / May time.   

For now, a happy BRAPpy CHRISTMAS to all of you!  


  1. Si,
    Oddly that is the most educational post you have made from my perspective because every fact in their is new to me with the exception of Red Alert being from Blunderland, which you taught me on the tram to Hillsborough. I shall have to reread this a number of times I think to let it all sink in.

    Where is the album available? It certainly sounds varied.

  2. Sounds terrific, so here's hoping for the album. will have to download em missen!