This, the fourth CD in the series, features Nick Kershaw, Chumbawamba, Dr Rowan Williams (the Archbishop of Canterbury), Alan Tichmarsh, George Hamilton IV and many more…
Cat Nav sleeve notes
Written by Les Barker.
01 – What Is – Nik Kershaw
One of my regular escapes from reality and all the rules that go with it. Time is just an imaginary tape measure. Imagine it’s not there and anything is possible.
02 – The Lost Elephants Of Denbigh – The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
As I said, anything is possible. I’ve never seen a quark, but I’m told they exist. Mostly in Milton Keynes, I believe. In North Wales we have Elephants; much easier to see. In theory.
03 – Quasi B Goode – John Benns with Fairport Convention feat. Wurzel
One of my very early creations. This version was originally recorded for an album to raise funds for Broadreach House in Devon; a centre dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.
04 – Non Stick Pan – Mikey Hughes
One to file under non-friction.
05 – Hip Hop Hamlet – The Mrs Ackroyd Band
Hamlet’s soliloquy in a different language.
06 – Fishing For Sheep – Roger Lloyd Pack
There’s a field full of them outside my window. I spend hours sitting on the wall with my rod and line, but never catch any. Perhaps I shouldn’t be using maggots.
07 – Cat Nav – Keith Donnelly
Fish. I don’t think there’s a great deal else to say. Fish.
08 – The Nine Banded Armadillo – Bob Harris
As soon as I learned about the nine banded armadillo, I realised it must be a musician; they’re all in at least nine bands.
09 – Arnold – The Austin Lounge Lizards
As soon as I’d written the nine banded armadillo, I knew there was something else to write.
10 – Apocalypse Yesterday – James Naughtie
Every now and again, someone predicts the end of the world on a specific date. I’ve often wondered how they feel the next morning.
11 – Send In The Cones – Nonny James
A song I am constantly reminded of on my travels. I was constantly reminded of it before I wrote it. I expect to be reminded of it today.
12 – A Faulty Stereo – Norma Dixit
A simple concept. The customer is sometimes wrong.
13 – She Moved Through The Fair – Simon Mayor and Hilary James
In the original song, she moved through the fair without having a go on the dodgems or the waltzer or anything. It didn’t seem right to me.
14 – Who Can You Ask When You’re God? – Gary O’Donoghue
It must be very difficult for the poor chap.
15 – Dachshunds With Erections – Sniff Patrol
Someone gave me the title many years ago and I wrote the rest of it. It’s very sad, and true in more ways than one. Many years later I discovered the title had been a Billy Connolly one-liner.
16 – Us Goldfish – Barry Farrimond
I’ve been told this is a myth. Never mind; it was fun to play with the idea.
17 – You Won’t Like Tom Jones – Jez Lowe
Mae’n ddrwg gen i, Tom, as we Welsh people say. I have interfered with one of Mr Lowe’s excellent songs and he copes rather well with what I did to it.
18 – The Lonely Little Lemming – Shirley Henderson
The sad story of someone who doesn’t know how lucky he is.
19 – Absent Friends – Edward de Souza
20 – Flat Earth – Richard Briers
A story of how things might have been but aren’t.
21 – Hunting The Cutty Wren – Jill Grant and Alan Berry
When I first started going to folk clubs, I heard the original version regularly. I couldn’t understand the concept of trying to hunt a wren at all, so eventually I wrote the song the way it ought to be.
22 – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Beef Dripping – Bernard Wrigley
I wrote this shortly before having a heart attack. It’s actually a song that says I can’t believe there’s a product called ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’. You might as well have a product called ‘How about going to the pub on thursday?’
23 – I Can’t Find My Invisibility Cloak – Ken Galipeau
Years ago I wrote about the difficulties of owning a camouflage net. I could see the same problem with an invisibility cloak. Or rather I couldn’t.
24 – Shi Tsu – Jeremy Taylor
I know people who do Tai Chi. They’re very sensible people. But I couldn’t do it myself. I’d feel very silly.
25 – A Bunch Of Mimes – George Hamilton IV
I have never forgotten the sight of Marcel Marceau carrying a pane of glass.
01 – I Drive A Four By Four Four Door Fortress – Chumbawamba
I’ve never understood why people drive around in huge Tonka Toys. If I had enough money to do that, I’d do something else.
02 – Mid Life Crocus – Alan Titchmarsh
I’ve got some in the garden. I never had any when I was younger.
03 – You’ll Never Get To New Orleans – Reg Webb
Another one in the Johnny B Goode mould. He was wise to choose the guitar. Had he gone for piano, double bass or glass harmonica, life would have been so much more difficult.
04 – Sex Is Better Than Poetry – Les Barker
Written for the poetry debate at the National Folk Festival in Canberra; two teams of poets argue for or against the motion in rhyme.
05 – The Verb To Be – Dave Cash
A collection of proverbs assembled in an order that made some kind of sense at the time.
06 – Odd Socks – Bernard Cribbins
One of life’s eternal mysteries. Not Bernard; the socks.
07 – Auntie Beryl’s New PC – The King’s Singers
A hymn of despair written in the dark days of Windows 98.
08 – Why Don’t They Write It On The Side? – Richard Briers
I moved to the country a few years ago and was surrounded by plants and birds I couldn’t identify. Having now learned Welsh, I can now not identify them in two languages. I feel so much better.
09 – Roseville Fair – The Haley Sisters feat. Ric Sanders
This was an excellent song by Bill Staines. It is now something completely different.
10 – The Ballad Of Cosmo McGrew – Shep Woolley
Mr Woolley went back into the mists of the distant past and came back with this. I particularly like the line ‘Nobody frightens a hatstand’.
11 – The De’il’s Awa’ Wi’ The Exercise Bike – Isla St Clair
He used to be awa’ wi’ the excise man, but times have changed.
12 – Je Ne Sais Quoi – Charles Collingwood
I don’t know what it’s about.
13 – My Husband’s Got No Porridge In Him – Norma Waterson
Anotther traditional song I’ve written. The moment I added the porridge, three bears turned up and the song went off its own direction.
14 – The Duvet Cover – Susan Jameson
I don’t know if you have trouble with these things. I do. I’ve found it’s easier to sleep inside the duvet cover and just put the duvet on top.
15 – Hedgehogs – Louis de Berniere with Tom Bliss
Back to sex again. I’m not sure whether I’d rather be a hedgehog or a dachshund.
16 – Seeing Is Retrieving – Sian Phillips
I have often wondered what dogs see in people. We’re not just The Hand that holds The Tin Opener.
17 – Ben Kenobi – Wheeler Street feat. Roy Bailey
A space shanty written many years ago during recrding sessions with the Mrs Ackroyd Band.
18 – Cosmo, Prince Of Denmark – Edward de Souza
The return of Cosmo (Hopefully you’ve already got him on ‘The Missing Persians File’), not to mention the return of my memories of A level English Literature.
19 – Sloop John A – Dan and Gene
Ever since I first heard of the Sloop John B, I’ve wondered what happened to the first one. It’s like starting a novel with Chapter Two.
- What Is – Nik Kershaw.
- The Lost Elephants Of Denbigh – Rowan Williams (Former Archbishop of Canterbury)
- Quasi B Goode – John Benns with Fairport Convention feat. Wurzel.
- Non Stick Pan – Mikey Hughes.
- Hip Hop Hamlet – The Mrs Ackroyd Band.
- Fishing For Sheep – Roger Lloyd Pack.
- Cat Nav – Keith Donnelly.
- The Nine Banded Armadillo – Bob Harris.
- Arnold – The Austin Lounge Lizards.
- Apocalypse Yesterday – James Naughtie.
- Send In The Cones – Nonny James.
- A Faulty Stereo – Norma Dixit.
- She Moved Through The Fair – Simon Mayor and Hilary James.
- Who Can You Ask When You’re God? – Gary O’Donoghue.
- Dachshunds With Erections – Sniff Patrol.
- Us Goldfish – Barry Farrimond.
- You Won’t Like Tom Jones – Jez Lowe.
- The Lonely Little Lemming – Shirley Henderson.
- Absent Friends – Edward de Souza.
- Flat Earth – Richard Briers.
- Hunting The Cutty Wren – Jill Grant and Alan Berry.
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Beef Dripping – Bernard Wrigley.
- I Can’t Find My Invisibility Cloak – Ken Galipeau.
- Shi Tsu – Jeremy Taylor.
- A Bunch Of Mimes – George Hamilton IV.
- I Drive A Four By Four Four Door Fortress – Chumbawamba.
- Mid Life Crocus – Alan Titchmarsh.
- You’ll Never Get To New Orleans – Reg Webd.
- Sex Is Better Than Poetry – Les Barker.
- The Verb To Be – Dave Cash.
- Odd Socks – Bernard Cribbins.
- Auntie Beryl’s New PC – The King’s Singers.
- Why Don’t They Write It On The Side? – Richard Briers.
- Roseville Fair – The Haley Sisters feat. Ric Sanders.
- The Ballad Of Cosmo McGrew – Shep Woolley.
- The De’il’s Awa’ Wi’ The Exercise Bike – Isla St Clair.
- Je Ne Sais Quoi – Charles Collingwood.
- My Husband’s Got No Porridge In Him – Norma Waterson.
- The Duvet Cover – Susan Jameson.
- Hedgehogs – Louis de Berniere with Tom Bliss.
- Seeing Is Retrieving – Sian Phillips.
- Ben Kenobi Nobi – Wheeler Street feat. Roy Bailey.
- Cosmo, Prince Of Denmark – Edward de Souza.
- Sloop John A – Dan and Gene.
Cat Nav acknowledgements
The Technology Association of Visually Impaired People (formerly British Computer Association of the Blind) thank all the artists and everybody involved for your total support of this project in your own time and at no cost. We would like to thank the following people and companies for their help in the production of this work:
Les Barker, for supporting such a strange project around his strange poems over a strangely long period, and for writing some delightfully strange sleeve notes.
We would like to thank the following for recording and editing tracks on which they did not appear:
Peter Bosher (Soundlinks), David Brownlie – Marshall at Lambeth Palace, Vo Fletcher, Gray Cooper (Holland Road Studio, Les Hewett (Pearlbay Ltd) Maidstone), Robert Kirkwood of Insight Radio, David Miller of the BBC, Jonny Miller, Ich Mowatt (Sounding Post), Chris Harvey-Pollington, David Reay (Grass-Hopper Productions who also helped immensely in putting the album track running order together).
We would also like to thank:
Hester Nevill, liaison with artists at BBC Radio 2, Richard Ellin of Osmosys Records for wholeheartedly backing this project with faith and money, Bill Zorn for permission to use “Quasi B Goode,” McDonald Bridge (Work on legal contracts) Clive Lever and Don Thompson, who kept the tracks on the project and the project on track, the brains behind it all and the guys who really believed it could happen.