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2023/4 Albums Thing 282 - Ian Prowse “One Hand On The Starry Plough”

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I was there the night this album title was birthed, up in the South Shropshire hills on a beautifully clear, star filled July night having celebrated the birthdays of two of my very favourite people on this whole planet (my wife and my brother share a birthday). Those clear summer nights in South Shropshire are unpolluted by city lights and the sky is sometimes awe inspiring. Ian Prowse was at the same celebration and that sky took his breath away while walking back to his B&B that night, it affected him so much he worked it into his album title. 

“Battle” is quickly developing into one of Prowseys signature songs. Written in the aftermath of the lockdowns ad Prowseys legendary Frida night Facebook live streams he conjured a lyric full of hope, strength and solidarity, a message to cling to when times feel tough. In “Holy, Holy River” Ian presents a joyous tribute to Liverpool’s mighty Mersey River, inspired by the public ferry which on occasions will stop mid-river so the ashes of departed Scousers can be scattered on the tides to make their way to “…Sausalito, Then down to Rio,…bangin on the door in Singapore”. We shan’t dwell on “Diego”. Prowsey knows how I feel about it, a waste of what could have been a wonderful song on a completely undeserving subject. We’ll agree to disagree.

“No Trial” suggests a short sharp solution to ultra right wing thinkers come the glorious revolution, set to a thumping rock ’n’ roll backing “Antifa’s alright”. “My Old Black Tie” is a gentle, heartfelt tribute that I relate to wholeheartedly. I’m sitting writing this while to my right is the shelf in our living room holding the service cards from the funerals of five dear friends we’ve lost over the lockdown years and after, all gone way to young and we miss them all for exactly the same reason, they are people who affected our lives and we wish they were all still here “Do you remember the walk of shame, When we were so young, I’d do it all again”.

"Swine” rocks and perfectly expresses my feelings about the guy that pissed me off in the pub a couple of Fridays back, moaning about taxi drivers who “come to our (he’d probably write it “are” !!!) country and can’t even speak English”…did he get you home for the price they quoted you, if so what’s your problem ? Thank your lucky stars you don’t have to work ’til the early hours driving ungrateful, drunk pricks like you home (</rant_mode_off). “Big Feelings” is one for all us parents, it changes us. Now, I know the subject of “Dan” and it nails him perfectly in song, I just wish this was a better song. “Go Livio” is an adult nursery rhyme for a kid that Ian met when he came to stay. 

“…Starry Plough” winds up with “He Sings I Cry” which has the best intro on the whole album and a lyric into which, as the sleeve notes tell us, Ian poured “mystery, wonder, revolution, music, faith, death, love and the sky at night”. There’s a couple of tracks on this record I could happily leave out but I’m also sure that most others who have taken Ian Prowse into their musical world would disagree with me, it’s why music is such a beautiful thing, none of us are right or wrong. I’ve now finished writing about Ian Prowse (until his next album) whether that be solo or with Pele or Amsterdam and one thing I know I am right about is I thank whoever arranged it for him to enter my musical world almost 20 years ago.

He Sings I Cry - https://youtu.be/fWNoNN_ClgE?si=GWVtnG4BqDlGRkM-

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