Artist: Alun Parry
CD: We Can Make The World Stop
facebook: facebook group
We Can Make The World Stop is Alun Parry’s first CD since 2007’s Liverpool 800: True Love Of Mine EP, and his first full length album since his debut Corridors of Stone in 2006.
The album is a collection of twelve songs that cover a wide selection of Alun’s many interests. When I say ‘interests’ I should really be saying ‘passions’ because Alun is nothing if not passionate about the things he believes in – something that many other songwriters could learn a lot from.
We Can Make The World Stop is the opening track and Al sings of the power that we, as ordinary citizens working together, have to change the world and make the real difference. Aimed firmly against the law makers and power brokers who have never dug coal, cleaned a school, or driven a bus this is a powerful, driving, upbeat song with an equally powerful message.
Moving from Alun’s passion for socialism, Run Patsy Run touches on two more passions – football and social justice. Patrick O’Sullivan – Patsy – was a carpenter working on the new Wembley Stadium. He was hit by a 300 kg wooden platform that fell 300 feet when the tower it was on was snagged by a skip that was being moved by a crane. The inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death, a result that made no reference to the mistakes that were made on the building site by individuals and site managers. In fact, the construction firm admitted to breaches of health and safety legislation and was fined £150,000 making the accidental death verdict seem even more unjust.
The Limerick Soviet is a fun song that recounts the two weeks in 1919 when the city of Limerick declared independence from Britain. It’s got a catchy chorus proudly sung by a small group of male, Irish workers from 1919, or at least the closest thing to them that Alun could find!
Together is a haunting love song about what one person would do just to be with the one he loves, whilst Princess Deborah is a rockin’ song (complete with handclapping and boogie-woogie piano) that examines the flip side of the love/lust coin and the infatuation that some men have for certain ‘online ladies’.
Waiting For The Lovers is a beautiful love song that tells how the love of two men for each other is more powerful than the blinkered homophobia of the gang waiting outside the club for them to come out.
Even without reading the title of the next track, the first four bars of music instantly whisk us away to 1969, and John Lennon’s famous honeymoon ‘Bed-in’ in the Amsterdam Hilton. For it was here that John and Yoko wrote the anthem Give Peace A Change, and it’s Lennon’s words and philosophy that inspired John Lennon Said. The song highlights the duality of humans, that we are all capable of good and bad in equal measure. It also highlights Alun’s passions for music and Liverpool. Oh, and the rabble (sorry, chorus line!) from Limerick make a welcome return at the end.
Hello Barren Desert changes the mood once more, with a ballad about the power of nature, and what happens when the balance of nature alters.
With Alun labeling himself as a ‘radical singer songwriter’ it can be all too easy to forget that he’s also a damned fine writer of songs about ‘love, life and laundry’ (apologies to Leon Rosselson!). Any Change At All is one such song from Alun’s ‘slice of life musical storytelling’ category. The story is:- Relationship ends, man leaves woman, woman begs for man to return telling him that she’s changed, man returns, man realises woman hasn’t changed, man leaves woman. Feel free to retell the story with the roles reversed – it works just as well.
Chasing Yourself has another story to tell. A woman leaves behind all of her problems and worries at home by running away to somewhere sunny (i.e. not the UK!) but soon realises that she can’t escape from herself. Echoes of Shirley Valentine, don’t you think?
Take The Mother’s Name has an apt folky feel, complete with refrain. It looks back through history at the repression and subjugation of women, and how wealth, power and the family name came to be passed down along male lines.
The final track All Hail To The Market is a topical take on the myth that market forces work best when they’re given unrestricted freedom (i.e. the freedom to make money for the few at the expense of the many) and what happens when it all comes tumbling down!
This album is a real gem from a performer, songwriter and storyteller who’s at the top of his game. Alun is not afraid to write and sing about the subjects that matter (or at least should matter) to all of us, and it’s this at which he truly excels. Forget James Dean – Alun Parry is a rebel with a cause and he sings it loud and proud.
Alun is joined on the album by musicians and friends Stuart Thompson, Barry Briercliffe, Jon Withnall, and Sharon Latham.
‘Alun Parry really wears his socialism on his sleeve’ one girl said to me the other month. Given that Alun is also passionate about social justice, music, football (of the red variety), social history, equality, and his home town of Liverpool, I’m guessing he must have pretty long sleeves!
Graham Holland © 2009
Liverpool Acoustic – liverpoolacoustic.co.uk
We Can Make The World Stop is launched today (24/8/09) and is available to buy via Alun’s website parrysongs.co.uk
The official album launch party takes place this coming Friday 28th August, 7.30pm, at The Casa on Hope Street. Full details from the Liverpool Acoustic news and reviews page.
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s award-winning live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s a Web Development Officer, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations. He lives in Wavertree with his husband and their cat Xiao Hei.
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