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  1. After the previous 2 albums I was ready for “Every Valley” on release day. I didn’t really read anything about it ahead of it’s release as I had enjoyed the previous 2 records so much. This was a mistake. The formula remains much the same and this time the “concept” (this and “The Race For Space” are concept albums after all) is the history of mining in Wales.

    My main problem with this record showed up the very first time I played it. Suddenly, with absolutely no warning, my ears were assaulted by the tuneless caterwauling of James Dean Bradfield. No, I’m not a fan of him or his laughably shite Clash tribute band, so to have him wailing in my living room with no prior warning was not something I was in any way anticipating nor appreciating. A simple sticker telling me “Featuring a guest appearance by…” on the outside would have done it, forewarned is forearmed and all that, but no, I was totally unprepared for the horror…thanx PSB !

    As I pointed earlier out there’s nothing much different here musically to the previous 2 albums, although there is no “Spitfire”, “Gagarin” or “GO!” included, the essential dancefloor banger that would have lifted it. That, added to JDB’s unwelcome cameo and the fact that the history of mining in Wales isn’t quite as gripping a subject as the space race means this ain’t my favourite PSB record.

    People Will Always Need Coal - https://youtu.be/5JwoMf2f9FQ?si=jEa3Gc9rb9TiFp3r

  2. I was told about this album by my brother, Miles. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a fascination with space, astronomy and sci-fi and Milo’s description of “The Race For Space” convinced me to buy it.

    Working with sound samples again from the British Film Institute, the album tells the story of the US/USSR space race from 1957–1972. It begins with President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University on 12th September 1962 when he announced “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth”, the speech that fired the starting gun on the race for space.

    The album then takes you through that space race, from the launch of “Sputnik” to the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin, cosmonaut Alexei Leonov’s first spacewalk in “E.V.A” to the tragic disaster of Apollo 1 in “Fire In The Cockpit” and then the radio silence as Apollo 8 disappears behind the moon in “The Other Side” and you literally hold your breath waiting for them to reappear. 

    There’s tribute to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, the pure danceable euphoria of “Go” as all the flight controllers at Mission Control confirm they are ready for Apollo 11 to land on the Moon (“RETRO? “GO!”, FIDO? “GO!” GUIDANCE? “GO!”, CONTROL? “GO!”). It all finishes with “Tomorrow”, based around the words of Gene Cernan (the last man to walk on the Moon) as he steps off the surface to begin Apollo 17’s journey home.

    “The Race For Space” is a superbly constructed story and a must if you have any interest in music and space.

    The Other Side - https://youtu.be/fIuSq5nAUSQ?si=Zkmi0QNwrgmDu0ma

  3. Public Service Broadcasting somehow got access to the archives of British Film Institute (BFI) and The National Archives (UK) and trawled through old public information films to lift snippets of dialogue that could be set to music to form “songs”. It’s a weird yet intriguing idea, and it really works.

    PSB are a 4 piece who go under pseudonyms adding an air of mystery to the whole thing. Mainman is J. Willgoose, Esq. who handles stringed instruments and samples,  Wrigglesworth plays drums, piano and electronic instruments, J F Abraham plays assorted other instruments and finally there is Mr B who looks after visuals for live performance. I’ve never really had it explained how they got access to the BFI and National Archive collections but the “songs” on here cover subjects like road rage, the navy, Spitfires, Mount Everest and overnight mail delivery.

    Opening and title track “Inform-Educate-Entertain” is like an overture, featuring snippets from other tracks on the album. It’s on second track “Spitfire” whet it becomes clear how this idea can work. Over a thumping dance beat including a groovy guitar riff we have snippets from he 1942 movie “The First Of The Few” a bio pic about  RJ Mitchell the designer of the the Spitfire aircraft. The track is interspersed with spoken pieces by Leslie Howard playing Mitchell, things like “The birds fly a lot better than we do…It isn't exactly a bird I'm creating, is it?…A bird that breathes fire and spits out death and destruction” and my particular favourite “It's gotta do four-hundred miles an hour, Turn on a sixpence, Climb ten thousand feet in a few minutes, Dive at five-hundred without the wings coming off…”. All this and still a dancefloor banger.

    “Theme From PSB” features Marie Slocombe, who founded the BBC Sound Archive in 1936 talking about it in 1942. “Signal 30” hurtles along and is based on a film shown to high schoolers in Ohio right up to the 80’s about the risks of dangerous driving. The film features actual dead people ! I’m sure there’s some dialogue in here from a 50’s Looney Tunes style cartoon about the same thing but I can’t be sure. “Night Mail” is another subtly groovy thing with dialogue from a 1936 film about the trains that transported mail across the country overnight. I’m vaguely recall seeing that film in the cinema when I was a kid. Read the “lyrics”, they have a lovely natural rhythm to them

     This is the Night Mail crossing the border

    Bringing the cheque and the postal order

    Letters for the rich, letters for the poor

    The shop at the corner and the girl next door

    Side 2 has two really cool tracks. “Lit Up” is based on commentary by Thomas Woodrooffe at the Coronation review of the Fleet at Spithead in 1937.  Woodrooffe was a former Navy Lieutenant Commander turned BBC commentator who, before watching the fleet, met up with some former colleagues on his old ship HMS Nelson from where he was to broadcast. The old friends had a few drinks which led to Thomas being extremely inebriated and by the time he got on air it was obvious not only was the fleet lit up, as he kept telling listeners, but so was he! He was taken off air after a few minutes and the BBC suspended him for a week, later saying he was “tired and emotional”.

    That is followed by “Everest” and whoever thought that gentlemen describing the climbing of a mountain in textbook Received Pronunciation could be funky, I certainly didn’t but here it is ! A beauty of a keyboard driven dance tune featuring poetic dialogue like “Two very small men cutting steps in the roof of the world, Why should a man climb Everest? Because it is there

    “Inform-Educate-Entertain” probably shouldn’t be quite as successful as it turned out to be. The very idea of it is strange, one or two tracks maybe but a whole album…naaaaah. You may need a vague interest in social history for it to appeal but I’m weird like that.

    Everest - https://youtu.be/vhgfzEm3CWU?si=7bMsVglJshVH2-Fh