‘Recorded as Blair and Bush were conspiring to strike fear and loathing into the region responsible for these grooves, it’s every bit as topical as Ghost Town, as eerie as War Crimes’, Time Out.
Nominally this is a collaboration between Terry Hall and Mushtaq, once of British-Asian pioneers Fun-Da-Mental — but ‘everybody we worked with had a story to tell,’ recalls Terry Hall, ‘and their stories became part of the record. We were blessed with the range of people we found.’ A Tunisian singer, a Syrian flautist, an Egyptian who had settled in Iraq, a twelve-year old Lebanese girl, a blind Algerian rapper from Paris, a choir of Polish gypsy refugees brought in from a social club in Leytonstone, the clarinettist who recorded the original Pink Panther theme; singers in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Romany. ‘Everybody had a sense of something in common in their minority and oppression and struggle. In the end, it felt more like we were editing a film than making a record.’
A year in development, the album is also a powerful reflection of the time in which it was made and the storm that was gathering: Bush and Blair were intent on Armageddon in Iraq; in the refugee camps on the West Bank, atrocities were being committed on a daily basis; closer to home, sections of the British media used the fear of terrorism to whip up a hate-fuelled campaign against asylum seekers and other minorities pushed to the margins of society.
‘What was going on as we were making the record seemed to make it more and more political. We had something to say, but we wanted to avoid being worthy or preaching and keep the words to a minimum.’
|A Gathering Storm|
|Sticks And Stones|
|The Silent Wail|
|A Tale Of Woe|
|The Hour Of Two Lights|
|This And That|
|They Gotta Quit Kicking My Dog Around|