Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley

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).

Progress

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.

Tracklist 

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

4. PROGRESS

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.

2 Comments

  1. Tony

    It’s odd; Public Service Broadcasting seem to split reviewers right down the middle. I heard “The Other Side” on the radio and went out and got The Race For Space and really enjoyed it – then saw it had a similarly polarising effect on reviewers.
    I hadn’t heard anything from this one – perhaps because the subject matter isn’t one that interests me as immediately as the former album’s – but like these tracks so will check out some more.

    Like

  2. verian

    They do seem to inspire rather a lot of vehement dislike and I can’t quite see the reason for it, even if it’s not the sort of music a reviewer likes there has to be balance i the reviews and in some it is just an exercise in attacking the band on every level without really having any facts to back it up. The Race for Space will be my next listen, I haven’t hard much of anything other than Every Valley, looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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