East of Alexandria
- Raggle Taggle Gypsy
- Beast of Bodmin Moor
- Mary In the Silvery Tide
- The Navigator
- Origin of Fire
- My Friend
- The Rise and Fall of Mary Read
- Silver Linings
- Copper & Gold
- Just as the Tide Was Flowing
- East of Alexandria
- The Parting Glass
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The East of Alexandria Project
Recording began in Summer 2014, in the loft, with the blazing heat and unbearable recording conditions, it was decided to recruit the help of an engineer and allow Chris the chance to learn the full workings of Pro Tools and engineer techniques.
We spent five months working with Matt Pittori, behind the scenes, formulating our debut album, pulling together 8 original pieces inspired by traditional maritime and military themes and 4 traditional arrangements and we present East of Alexandria.
The name is based around the ‘Battle of the Nile’ which was one of Lord Nelson’s most famous naval victories over the French which took place in the southern Mediterranean in the late 18th century. East of Alexandria is also one of our favourite tracks on the album.
For the project we have utilised close harmony singing, cello, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and percussion and the sound centres around a footstomping, vibrant and uplifting feel, even when the song describes death, heart ache and general misery, as many good folk songs often do. David took the chance to record on a full drum kit for the percussion and we brought in our friend Rachel to record some violin work.
Thank you again to Jo Elkington Photography for the time spent producing this artwork.
The idea for artwork started with a long exposure photograph of us standing in the sea (in winter). We then superimposed a handdrawn (traced) map of Europe over the top and wrote the track names on various cities. Chris then added various drawings such as the pyramids, compass and sea monster (see if you can spot it).
East of Alexandria Songbook and Explanations
1. Raggle Taggle Gypsy
A lady is tempted away from the trappings of her gilded cage when she meets three wild and exciting gypsies and decides to leave behind her new marriage to create a new life with them attracted by the free and nomadic lifestyle. This is an arrangement of a traditional song.
2. Beast of Bodmin Moor
Original song describing the plight of a poor young maiden who rides across the misty fields to meet her secret lover but encounters the Cornish Beast of Bodmin Moor. Legend has it the beast is a large wild black panther-like cat. The poor young maiden is eaten by the creature and this begins the death theme so common in folk songs.
3. Mary in the Silvery Tide
Another arrangement of the traditional song telling the story of Mary, whose reluctance to give in to a Captain’s advances, leads to a gruesome end. As a summary, the Captain loves Mary but as Mary loves Henry, the Captain murders Mary in a fit of jealous rage. In the original version of this song there are many more verses, detailing how the murderer was brought to justice having been identified by his monogrammed handkerchief. The song experiments with different time signatures. Most of the verse is in 6/8 timing except the third of every four bars being in ⅝ timing.
4. The Navigator
An original song telling a simple story of a navigator who recites memories of his family to help him through the early moments of his career in the RAF during the fighting of WW2.
5. Origin of Fire
A arrangement of a Native American traditional tale which describes how a fox accidentally discovers the secret of fire from fireflies and the original tale and lyrics would go on to tell how a fox has a bushy tail, why they are orange and why they are nocturnal.
A traditional inspired original song with a moral tale, detailing the story of a man who is down on his luck and has lost his job, his family, his home and his friends. But after borrowing all the favours he can and recovering again to his normal life, he realises the importance of friends and giving back.
7. The Rise and Fall of Mary Read
Simply an instrumental song, inspired by an Irish set which comprises various Jigs and Reels.
8. Silver Linings
An original song in the style of a classic, perhaps cliche lovesong which encompasses the calm before, and the weathering of, the storm in a relationship with the moral of; things will work out in the end.
9. Copper & Gold
When you are poor and hungry, grab a guitar and go and busk. This is an original song, based on a true story of a friend of the band who, upon being very poor, busked for dinner and earned enough for three people to eat and drink all evening.
10. Just as the Tide was Flowing
Traditional song. Whilst enjoying leave onshore, a sailor chances across a pretty maiden enjoying the fair weather. She succombs to his advances and tries to tempt him back on his next visit.
11. East of Alexandria
Inspired by the famous ‘Battle of the Nile’ victory, one of Lord Nelson’s three great naval victories. This one was significant because it was one of the most comprehensive victories in naval history and established Nelson’s fame across Europe. We really liked the story and the history behind it plus let’s be honest, who doesn’t love beating the French?!
12. The Parting Glass
Traditional song. Before the rise in popularity of Auld Lang Syne, this song was commonly sung to wrap up parties and gatherings, sung unaccompanied in three part harmony live in a church in a single take.