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  1. It does exactly what it says on the cover. We have the story of Ian Prowse from Pele all the way through to a brand new song, all pressed on lush gold vinyl and contained in some of the most spectacularly lavish packaging you’ll see. It’s the perfect spot to start the Prowsey journey if you are new to this. You’ll be lucky to find this vinyl version out in the wild and if you do the price is starting to climb (there’s one for sale online with the sleeve and booklet missing priced at twice what I paid for a brand new one!) but it’s worth the hunt.

    It doesn’t run chronologically (which kinda freaks me out) and begins with “Home” which is a lot of people’s favourite. He says of it “this one mainlined a freshly broken heart straight through my aul Takamine”. It’s definitely a communal experience at one of his shows.

    Next up is one of those…if you were to be remembered for just one thing in your whole life then for that one thing to be “Does This Train Sop On Merseyside?” is certainly a way to do it. Reportedly John Peel’s 2nd favourite song after “Teenage Kicks” it could reduce the great man to tears. As he asks in the sleeve notes “why is Liverpool so different ?”, I don’t know but this song goes a long way to trying to explain it, the good and the bad.

    Over the next 75 or so minutes we find out all about Ian Prowse. How he pinched stuff from one of his favourite bands and no-one has noticed yet, how he feels about being a Dad, his revolutionary spirit, his conviction and “Only The Love” gave us a glimpse into the future.

    The only thing I can think of to say right now is Go ‘ead Prowsey…

    Taking On The World - https://youtu.be/gc9_zF3PiuU?si=8jyBF-XocRTqnpI7

  2. This one was a very strong candidate for the best album of 2019, it had some pretty stiff competition that year too. In 2020 we only went to 1 gig (yeah OK it was a year shortened by Covid) and that was to see Ian Prowse open for Elvis Costello, and the first gig we attended when the world got back to normal ? Well that was Ian Prowse too just over 2 years later. There’s something about a Prowsey gig that lifts the spirits, fortifies the soul and makes you feel better about shit in general. “Here I Lie” does all of that on record.

    Since we last encountered him Ian Prowse had made another album with Amsterdam (“Arm In Arm” in 2008) followed by two solo albums, “Who Loves Ya Baby” in 2014 and “Compañeros” (an album of cover versions) in 2015. All three were CD only releases (although as I'm posting this Ian has announced a 10th anniversary edition of “Who Loves Ya Baby” inc. 3 tracks that never made it onto the original release and an vinyl, so we'll get to that as and when). Which is why we now jump to 2019 and “Here I Lie”, whereupon Prowsey serves up the the finest set of songs he’s ever put together on a single album. Songs of love, loss, hope, sorrow, joy and even some history too.

    It all begins with “Joseph”, the story of Grace Gifford & Joseph Plunkett who were married in Dublin’s notorious Kilmainham Gaol the night before Joseph was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising. The tone is set early, great singalong songs these are but “Spoon, moon, June” they ain’t, some things need saying and Ian Prowse is gonna say them. 

    “The Ballad Of North Street” is another of Prowsey’s hymns to Liverpool. The opening line “Down in then Crocodile Bar where me and Gareth went too far” always makes me smile after someone on Twitter once asked “On which occasion?” ! That’s followed by “We Ride At Dawn” a song of hope and not giving up. “Something’s Changed” is a breakup song but it’s also about how people can change, not always for the better.

    Then we arrive at what, to these ears, might just be the greatest song Prowsey has ever conjured to existence (and he’s been responsible for a few). “American Wake” is a helluva song and an education along the way. When young Irish emigrants would leave for America in the 19th century the families they were leaving behind knew this was probably the last time they would see them so they would hold a gathering before they left, a wake to say goodbye. Here we hear from Mary and Sean Devlin, Sean is off to America and Mary, his mother, knows it will be an opportunity for him but is obviously still distraught at “losing” her son. It’s a song I sing along to with great enthusiasm whenever it’s playing until we get to the final lines where, Mary, on her deathbed, thinks to herself “I hope that Sean’s alright”, oh brother it’s a choker. The song also has the most incredible guitar solo (not something that usually overly concerns me as you know), have a listen down there.

    Side Two opens with the title song, a song to his daughter from a future time when Dad’s not here anymore. If you’re having a bad dad here’s a message from yer old man to try and make things better, music can defeat even death itself. “All The Royal Houses” is another feisty Republican anthem aimed at the monarchy “I’m for the people not the Crown”. “Ten Second Journey” was inspired by the documentary “The Falling Man” concerned with the photograph of a lone man falling head first from the World Trade Centre on 9/11. “Rebel Girl” is again a song for Ian’s daughter.

    It all comes to a close with the gentle lament “Ned Madrell”. Ned, who passed away in 1974, was a fisherman from the Isle of Man and the last native speaker of the Manx language, a form of Gaelic, spoken by the Manx people. In one song Prowsey brings to life a beautiful melody to tell us an historic story we may not have known about. It’s a song of history, of loss but also of hope “It’s not that he was the final one, It’s just what’s been and gone”.

    “Here I Lie” is a bloody fantastic album. It contains music to make you sing, dance and cry alongside songs that make you smile and those that teach you something you didn’t know before. I know I keep saying it but if Ian is someone you’ve yet to get on board with, what are you waiting for ?

    American Wake - https://youtu.be/G1PHD0QQM0A?si=dc_r2E_oLIMVAZQt

  3. Sometime in the mid 80’s Deb and me went up to Edinburgh to stay with the Scottish half of her family for a week. It was a legendary holiday and we were assured we would be welcome back any time. 10 years or so later we went back with a couple of friends as my brother, Miles, was playing in Auld Reekie and Deb’s cousins said of course they would put us up. They now had kids who were unceremoniously turfed out of their bedroom so that we could bed down in there. This bedroom was a real sight, the quilt covers, lampshades, curtains, carpet, wallpaper everything was branded with the badge of Hibernian FC, one of Edinburghs 2 professional football teams. When we met the usual residents of that bedroom the next day they impressed upon us that we must now become Hibs fans, so here I am 20+ years later tied to the fortunes of the Hibees, along with the (twin) brothers Reid of The Proclaimers.

    And why the brothers Reid I hear you ask ? Well they are Hibernian’s most high profile supporters and their song, which is the title song of this album, has become the Hibs fans anthem. Have a listen to them singing it at Hampden Park after Hibs won the Scottish Cup in 2016, it’s spine tingling https://youtu.be/lt26StUVHoc?si=g_Ae1uhtSj9v_fmg (if you’re confused by this I should explain that Hibs stadium, Easter Road, is in the Leith district of Edinburgh). Some years after when Wonder Stuff fiddler Erica was to be playing “Sunshine On Leith” with The Proclaimers at Edinburgh Castle I happened to hear her say “what shall I wear ?”. I offered that an emerald green dress would be perfect. She asked why and I told her she’d know as soon as she walked on stage.

    The album is much better known for the songs “I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and “I’m On My Way” which was used at the end of one of the Shrek movies. My other great favourite on here is “Cap In Hand” a proper protest song which not only features the lyric “I can understand why Stranraer lie so lowly, They could save a lot of points by signing Hibs goalie” but also the oft repeated refrain of “But I can't understand why we let someone else rule our land”…likely not one for the Unionists out there.

    Cap In Hand - https://youtu.be/SdXeM4bHBhk?si=2gJBs9V_g1zLTKsM