English Electric (Part One)

by Big Big Train

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03:43
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05:39
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08:56

credits

released 03 September 2012

Produced by Andy Poole

Recorded by Big Big Train at English Electric studios
Double bass on Upton Heath, Judas Unrepentant and Summoned By Bells, drums, brass band, classical guitar and violin recorded by Rob Aubrey at Aubitt studios

String section and double bass recorded by Ken Brake at Regal Lane studios

Recorder on Summoned By Bells recorded by Edo Spanninga at Studio Aurelia

Mixed and mastered by Rob Aubrey at Aubitt studios

Curator: Greg Spawton

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Big Big Train UK

Big Big Train is an independent progressive rock band which 'continues to plough its own considerable furrow without the aid of label support' (Guitar and Bass magazine). The band's music has been described by Classic Rock magazine as 'the prog equivalent of the Olympics opening ceremony'. Big Big Train won the Breakthrough Band award at the Progressive Music Awards in 2013. ... more

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Track Name: The First Rebreather
In a place where the river banks draw near
men work a heading to the west.
Where streams like giants’ fingers close
from the hills to the emptiness beneath,
to the depths of the mere.

Morning light
midwinter sun
underneath;
the river song.

In a place where the river banks draw close
men break stone to make new ground.
Light and air are hard down deep to find
engines work to hold the water back
to the edge of the mere.

‘Run boys run toward the light;
the river’s in, the tunnel’s in’;
Here she comes
the sleeper wakes,
ten thousand years
she lay in wait for this.

Every night their dreams were filled
with the fear of the river breaking in.
But this was not a river god,
this was something rising from the deep,
from the depths of the mere.

‘Run boys run make for the light,
save yourselves, the tunnel’s in.’
Here he comes
the first rebreather,
like a mummer,
like a souler
(come to save them.)

Rising up to the height of the river
at flood tide.
Engines fail, lost to the water
as silence falls.

This man will walk into darkness,
one foot in front of the other,
into the unsounded depths
of the heading;
into the fifth circle of hell,
with no light to lead him home,
man is all alone at the end.

This man will walk into darkness
without fear of what lurks in the shadows.
Watching the surface grow quite still,
waiting for hope at the ninth hour,
man all alone in the darkness.
Here he comes:
the first rebreather.
Track Name: Uncle Jack
Uncle Jack knows
A song of the hedgerows

The tilt of the earth
Makes the sun high
In the bright summer sky
Intensity of light
The earth turns around the sun
Spinning around the sun

Uncle Jack knows
A song of the hedgerows
Yes he does
Uncle Jackdaw
You see he’s heard it all before
Ancient and reborn

The flowers and the leaves
The birds and the seeds
The flowers draw the bees
And just after three
Evergreen and a mug of tea
Dog and master sound asleep

Uncle Jack knows
A song of the hedgerows

Don’t you know
The hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel
Hedgerow Oh Oh

Rose Hips,
Haw Berries
Hedgerow
Dry Stone
Dog Rose
Honeysuckle
Blackbirds
Red Wing

Song Thrush
Yellowhammer
Lacewings
Ladybirds

Fox Earths
Rabbit Warrens
Badger’s Sets
Partridge Nests

Rose Hips
Haw Berries
Hedgerow
Dry Stone

Dog Rose
Honeysuckle
Blackbirds
Red Wing

Song Thrush
Yellowhammer
Lacewings
Ladybirds

Uncle Jack knows
A song of the hedgerows
Track Name: Winchester From St Giles' Hill
Take the path to the top of the hill
follow the trail, look to the west.
Alfred had me made (or made me again).
Others came before, to Oram’s Arbour

A river flowing from the chalkhills
through the water meadows and the open fields.
Walls were made and streets were laid down,
halls and houses, schools and churches.

The East Prospect of Winchester from the hill,
go high enough see further;
the making of England; the long song.
the story in the stones and the lie of the land.

A river flowing from the chalkhills
through the water meadows and the open fields.
Walls were made and streets were laid down
halls and houses, schools and churches.

A river flowing from the chalkhills
through the water meadows and the open fields.
All you see is set out before you
all you need is walking beside you.
Walls were made and streets were laid down
halls and houses, tunnels and bridges.
A river flowing from the chalkhills
through the water meadows and the open fields.
Track Name: Judas Unrepentant
Venetian expertise
Inspired by Titian
Which he modified
Fine tuned along dutch lines

He’s painting revenge
Embittered by lack of success

With signature techniques
Attention to details
And fine tell tale brushstrokes
of badger and sable

Expressing contempt
For greedy dealers
Getting rich
At the artist’s expense

Infamous forger and restorer
Judas Unrepentant
branded a charming old lovable rogue
Judas Unrepentant
Hey
Judas Unrepentant
Hey
Judas!

His time bombs are in place
And anachronisms
Clues pointing to the truth
If ever they are X-rayed

Wrote legends in lead white
to trick the experts
And hoodwink
Hoodwink the trained eye

Infamous forger and restorer
Judas Unrepentant
branded a charming old lovable rogue
Judas Unrepentant
Hey
Judas Unrepentant
Hey
Judas Unrepentant

Establishing provenance
Acquiring old frames with Christies numbers
Then paints a picture in the same style
Specialising in minor works by major artists

All rise
Thirteen watercolours by Samuel Palmer
Have proven to be his undoing
And so he confesses then he is arrested
Charged him with conspiracy to defraud

Years of chain smoking and breathing in fumes from restorations
The stress of the court case had taken its toll
His trial was halted due to ill health

So now we can all buy
Real genuine fakes
That’s posthumous fame
It’s always the same

Infamous forger and restorer
Judas Unrepentant
branded a charming old lovable rogue
Judas Unrepentant
Feeling like Robin Hood
Just as good
As Rembrandt or Titian
Hey
Judas Unrepentant
Hey
Judas Unrepentant
Hey
Judas Unrepentant
Track Name: Summoned By Bells
Took a little time
to find the past
to walk the roads
we used to know
that lead us home.

Houses in terraced rows
that crowd around
the railway yard,
just sidings now,
all overgrown.

Above the high fields
clouds are grey and gold;
it’s as good a place as anywhere.

War came
and fires were seen
from 30 miles away;
a city burned,
they wait in line,
out in the high fields,
summoned by bells,
church; school; factory; home.

Along the London Road
across the park at Spinney Hill,
sledging in the snow,
we had our scrapes and our fights,
it was part of the deal.

Time moved quickly then
things were changing all around,
the world came
to this small world,
over the hillsides and rooftops,
different stories were heard.

We moved on
found a new place,
we remembered the days
of our younger lives,
we moved on.
Long years pass
we walk the roads
we used to know,
carried with the
rain that falls.

A stone’s throw from the line
some of the old places survive,
a golden thread in time,
a stream running down from the hills
into the heart of the high fields.

So come on now,
you know it’s alright,
those were the days of our younger lives.

Early evening, midweek
in a market town,
walking down those
same old roads
we know.
Track Name: Upton Heath
Many times I’ve walked alone here
Carried with the breeze
And many more have walked beside me
Carried with the breeze

All that we are
And all we shall be
Walk with me
Up on Upton Heath

So many times I’ve walked alone here
Carried with the breeze
And many more have walked beside me
Carried with the breeze

And all that we are
And all we shall be
Walk with me
Up on Upton Heath

Early distant warning finds us lost along the way
The echoes of a perfect summer
Lost along the way
Through the years

So many times I’ve walked alone here
Carried with the breeze
Many more have walked beside me
Carried with the breeze

All that we are
All we shall be
Walk with me
Up on Upton Heath

So many times I’ve walked alone
So many times along the road
Many times I’ve walked alone here

Many times I’ve walked alone here
Carried with the breeze
Track Name: A Boy In Darkness
Part 1: Brookbottom Colliery, Heanor, Derbyshire, 1842

Extract from Sub Commissioner’s report, 1842 on the conditions of children and young people employed in the collieries.

“His name is Godfrey Fletcher
Eleven years old
Worked these pits for nearly three years
Does not know the alphabet
Cannot read in the least”

The pit shall keep him body and soul
But better that than going to school
Or ploughing the field
Hot as any fire and brimstone Methodist’s sermon down here
In the awesome stillness
of the deep black

A Boy in Darkness

The seam they work is more than a yard
The headway here is nearly four feet
He hears the eerie sound of the whistling wind
Deep down here in the dry and the heat

A Boy in Darkness

Part 2: The March of Progress, Enlightenment and the Passing of Time

Part 3: Present Times

Once upon a time
A secret shared
Threatened not to breathe a word
To a living soul
Especially mother...

He was just a boy
But even though
It wasn’t the way it’s supposed to go
Needed a father
Not this hunter

To speak of the unspeakable
Takes guts and nerve
It’s going to disturb
He can’t bring himself to say the words

Misplaced blind faith
In church and state
Tied up in too much red tape
If help comes, pray not too late

We face ourselves
Look long and hard
Make the difference
A safer place
But most of all
Don’t be afraid
To shine
Light
Into the dark

A Boy in Darkness
Track Name: Hedgerow
Tell me do you know
The song of the hedgerow?
Coal for the winter
Ashes and cinders

Hey
Come on and see what I’ve found
Too many hours spent under the ground
Hey
Come on and see what I know
Get out in the fields
And out of the town o

Hedgerow do you know
Which way the wind blows?
Stoking the fire
Bramble and briar

(Springtime)
Come on and see what I’ve found
(Summer)
Too many hours spent under the ground
(Autumn)
Come on and see what I know
(Winter)
Get out in the fields
And out of the town

That is where you will find me
Out there
Waiting o
Hedgerow

Dog Rose
Honeysuckle
Blackbirds
Red Wing

Song Thrush
Yellowhammer
Lacewings
Ladybirds

Fox Earths
Rabbit Warrens
Badger’s Sets
Partridge Nests

Dog Rose
Honeysuckle
Blackbirds
Red Wing

Song Thrush
Yellowhammer
Lacewings
Ladybirds

Fox Earths
Rabbit Warrens
Badger’s Sets
Partridge Nests