My word, I’ve read some scathing reviews of ‘Every Valley’, the new release from Public Service Broadcasting, and they are all entitled to their opinion, even if their opinion is crap. In fairness, I’ve read some good ones as well. I heard the track ‘They gave me a lamp’ on BBC Radio 6 several times over the last few weeks and really liked it, so much so I played it on the radio show, so it was inevitable that I would eventually buy a copy of the album.
The album chronicles the rise and demise of the Welsh coal mining industry in South Wales, which is where I’m from, and where my Grandfather worked in a mine and lost his leg when the mine shaft collapsed.
The album has historical narratives, from Richard Burton as an example who describes “the arrogant strut of the lords of the coalface” and an advert for coal mining Fromm the 1970’s where prospective employees are encouraged to apply with the words “Come on, be a miner! There’s money and security”, if only they knew.
They Gave Me A Lamp
I would say that listening to this album has given me a greater understanding of exactly what my Grandfather and others from his generation went through and listening to it was at times quite an emotional experience.
The Beaufort male choir add their v voices to the track ” Take Me Home” and James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers and Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell add vocals elsewhere, so it’s not entirely samples of over music which adds some light and shade to the album as a whole. One of the criticisms I read was that the album doesn’t warrant listening to more than once because vocal samples aren’t as interesting as sung lyrics, which just isn’t true, take Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’, it was a huge success (and also included Richard Burton).
I really loved this album, and I have the 180g clear vinyl version, which is a nice thing. It’s been played at least 10 times since I got it so, in my house at least, it is well worth repeated listenings.
1. EVERY VALLEY
Contains samples from: Every Valley, licensed by the BFI, all rights reserved; and the Dick Cavett Show, courtesy of Daphne Productions
2. THE PIT
Contains samples from Plan For Coal, New Power In Their Hands, Modern Wales & Every Valley, all licensed by the BFI, all rights reserved
3. PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS NEED COAL
Contains samples from A Job In Coal, People Will Always Need Coal, Mining Review 3rd Year No. 7, Modern Wales and Big Job, all licensed by the BFI, all rights reserved
Contains samples from Modern Wales, Plan For Coal and New Power In Their Hands, all licensed by the BFI, all rights reserved
5. GO TO THE ROAD
Contains samples from Above Us The Earth, licensed by the BFI, all rights reserved; and The Welsh Miner, Artsmagic Ltd and used with kind permission
6. ALL OUT
Contains samples of: All Out, University of Bristol and used with kind permission; Smiling And Splendid Women, used by kind permission of The South Wales Miners’ Library, Swansea University; Swansea Women’s Group / Jazz Heritage Wales; and The Welsh Miner, Artsmagic Ltd and used with kind permission
7. TURN NO MORE
Words by Idris Davies, adapted from the poem Gwalia Deserta, used with kind permission of Gomer Press
8. THEY GAVE ME A LAMP
Contains samples from: interviews with Margaret Donovan and Christine Powell, used by kind permission of the South Wales Miners’ Library, Swansea University; Margaret Donovan; Christine Powell; and All Out, University of Bristol and used with kind permission
Title taken from Phyllis Jones’ They Gave Me a Lamp: Reminiscences of a Colliery Nursing Officer, used by the kind permission of Patricia Mee
9. YOU + ME
10. MOTHER OF THE VILLAGE
Contains samples from: The Welsh Miner, Artsmagic Ltd and used with kind permission; interview with Ron Stoate, recorded by J. Willgoose, Esq. and used with kind permission; and samples from recorded interview with Christine Powell, used by kind permission of The South Wales Miners’ Library, Swansea University; Christine Powell
11. TAKE ME HOME
Performed by the Beaufort Male Choir
Contains a sample from Every Valley, licensed by the BFI, all rights reserved.