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LP Announcer 1981
 
Cover of the LP album Announcer by Hugh Featherstone  
Click on a track title to see lyrics and notes further down the page.

Side 1

The Score

Kansas Man

Daylight

Airmail



3:29

3:54

2:22

4:57
Side 2

Late Night Hunger

Betrayal

Trees of Knowledge

Carry on the Song



4:16

3:18

5:52

8:30
Thursday at Eleven 7:23 All songs by Hugh Featherstone
 
 

Announcer cover illustration

cover illustration by
Don Stevenson
 

A vintage microphone from LP inlay

photo of a microphone
on the inner sleeve
by Antonio De Padova
 
Announcer album title
 
 

Hugh's third album, a musical and technical quantum leap which spawned the single Late Night Hunger on sexy 7-inch heavy-duty blue vinyl. A collector's item, to be sure. A few copies are still to be found by trawling the web. Good luck.

The arrangements here are already becoming warmer and more richly textured, more mature and a stark contrast to the more "hollow"" or echoy sound on some previous Featherstone treatments. Don Stevenson's pencil work on the cover would have been enough for me to buy this colection of widely searching songs. A book by its cover, indeed.

Kansas Man, for example is a real revelation. What first sounds like a shambling sub-country & western number, could pass for a end-of-a-relationship lurvsong, turns out to be a piece of acoustic art. WHAT? Listen and try it. It may take a few listens, but it's well worth it.

Both Daylight and Betrayal, tight and harsh, prefigure Hugh's later prediliction for more rock-oriented realisations of his poetry.


Hugh wrote:

This was a big jump up in technology and musicianship. Recorded in Kurt Eggmanns new, larger studio on eight track tape with crack musicians and a well thought out production concept, cut by the latest Neumann helium-cooled lathe with computer graded variable wall thickness to avoid the problems of overprint so typical of the vinyl era, Announcer was actually quite state of the art. In fact it got an excellent review in Audio magazine with high scores for the songs, the musicianship, the recording quality and the quality of the very detailed sleeve information.

Several of these songs are still in my programme today. Neither is there anything that I would do very differently now. It was a privilege to work with musicians of class like Gerd Fellner (with whom I later made a super five-song "limited edition" project, the infamous "Black Tape", on which he played absolutely everything with gob-smacking virtuosity), wonder-funk bassist Charles Lewis, the Telecaster King Billy Huggins, Rick "the keys" Panzer and the very solid Caroline Duskin. Respect to all of them, wherever they are now.

Don again worked with me on the well thought-out graphic concept and all the time and effort we put in definitely shows. Even now it still looks and sounds fresh, fresh, fresh!

If any record company had taken a chance on me then, it would have been a sure thing for all concerned, of that I am certain. Every song on Announcer is a strong contender. But as fate would have it, despite good reviews and a small but enthusiastic following, I was destined to remain in the wilderness, a place I have since begun to regard as my own (in fact, I'm thinking of re-doing the wallpaper, that chintzy cactus stuff with the pink rocks is starting to get on my nerves).
inner sleeve
photos
 

Hugh Featherstone Blyth

Hugh
 

Gerd Fellner, drummer

Gerd Fellner
 

Carolyn Duskin, bass player

Carolyn Duskin
 

Charles Lewis, bass player

Charles Lewis
 

Bill Huggins, guitarist

Bill Huggins
 
The four page inner sleeve of the LP includes
photos of the musicians and a microphone,
song lyrics, track notes and the following credits:

Drums: Gerd Fellner
Basses: Charles Lewis and Carolyn Duskin
Guitars: Bill Huggins and Hugh Featherstone
Tubes: Colin Dunwoodie
Congas: Tom Nicholas
Synthesizer: Rick Panzer
Vocals and small persussion: Hugh Featherstone

Recording: Kurt Eggmann
Mixdown: Kurt Eggmann and Hugh Featherstone
Master Tape: Tonstudio Bieber
Master Disc: ela-tontechnik, Offenbach
Pressing: Pallas GmbH, Diepholz
Rehearsal tapes: Whit Duskin
All titles written & produced by Hugh Featherstone Blyth
Original Master Recording

Package design: Don Stevenson and Hugh Featherstone
Illustrations: Don Stevenson from photos by Antonio De Padova
Inner sleeve photos: Antonio De Padova and Don Stevenson
Printing: Johannes Alt
Typefaces: True Gothic Bold, by art finish,
and Antique Olive, set by Setzkasten, Frankfurt am Main

Published by ms edition, Darmstadt
ms nr. 19
Distributed by Rockport

Hugh Featherstone's Struts and Frets logo

Hugh's Struts & Frets logo

Designed by Hugh,
drawn by Don Stevenson.
 

minos und stelis logo

Logo of Michael Stühr's MS Edition
(minos & stelis) "the world's
smallest record company"
 
Announcer lyrics and notes  
Text in this rather fetching blue-green is by Hugh.
 
Announcer The Score track 1

Bass: Charles Lewis. Guitars: Hugh

Dedicated to Lot's wife and other saline säulen; the applause is only cricket, so what's the score?

Morning comes and you're moving an
Evening comes and you're dreaming of what's gone
We go forward into day
But you look back into the night

What's the score?
What're you crying for?

It has to change
Don't you know it has to change?
That looking forward into day
That dreaming back into the night

That's the score
What we're working for

It had to change
Heaven knows
It had to change
 
Announcer Kansas Man track 2

Bass: Carolyn Duskin. Guitars: Bill Huggins

This one improved considerably after Billy simplified the chords.

Looking back through wind and rain
Remembering the open plain
Pretty strange what you're changing to these days.
One way ticket one way ride
Seeking out that better life
Pretty strange how you went such separate ways

Thinking about your Kansas man
To keep you warm
Thinking about your Kansas man
But you're never going back there no more

You say you hate your working day
But you're spending all that pay in style
Another city girl who claims
   she's lost some country town.
And every step along the way
There's a rented room where you stayed awhile
Another chapter in a book you can't put down

Still thinking about your Kansas man
To keep you warm
Still thinking about your Kansas man
But you're never going back there no more

Some people love the life they need
Some others turn around and speed away
And you're a girl who just can't make up her mind.
But I could never be the one
To tell you what to do or how it's done
Once you know what you're looking for
   it's not so hard to find

Quit thinking about your Kansas man
To keep you warm
Quit thinking about your Kansas man
If you're never going back there no more
 
Announcer Daylight track 3

Bass: Charles Lewis. Rhythm guitars: Bill Huggins and Hugh. Solo guitar: Bill Huggins

Pinned in the glare like a rare moth; a sizzling little solar parable.

Daylight
Checking up an everyone
Daylight
Seeing what you did, undone.
He come peeping through your window
And knows you when you run
You can't hide from the daylight

Daylight
Did you eat your food today
Daylight
When you take you have to pay
He come peeping through your window
And blows you clean away
You can't hide from the daylight
No no

Daylight
Blessing every distant land
Daylight
Blessing every mouth and hand
He come peeping through your window
And knows just where you stand
You can't hide from the daylight
No no
 
Announcer Airmail track 4

Concert bass: Carolyn Duskin. Congas: Tom Nicholas. Guitar & octave guitars: Hugh. Thankyou Don

On the old blue envelopes there used to be a little picture of Hermes, the wing-footed messenger of the Gods.
The lyric refers to Bahá'u'llàh, Prophet-founder of the Bahá'i Faith (1817-1892).


Down among the derelicts and angry boys
It's hard to get the word out there
No one wants your ideals
"That's for romance"
Who cares?

Living for a candle and a dirty spoon
He only reads the Spray-Can News
How to break his cover
With an offer that he can't refuse

Airmail
Get it through somehow
If they don't know by now

Down among the ranches and the cadillacs
It's hard to get the word out there
No one wants
A way of life that makes them feel
Obliged to share

Living for a cocktail in the afternoon
He only reads the Business News
How to break his cover
With an offer that he can't refuse

Airmail
Get it through somehow
If they don't know by now

Loosed among the nations like a spear of light
An energy they just can't kill
The hand
That ceased to write in 1892 is
Writing still

Manacled together in a filthy room
They shouted out the Wondrous News
The kingdom is fulfilled upon us
Something that we can't refuse
 
Announcer Thursday at Eleven track 5

Bass: Carolyn Duskin. Flute: Colin Dunwoodie. Guitars: Hugh. Synthesizer: Rick Panzer

Begun in Athens in '69, finished in Edgeware in '72 along with some other things.

Thursday at Eleven
And I'm meeting you down by the café
We sit and drink our coffee
Like a pair of people in a play
And it's all because of such a little thing
That we're breaking up this way
It's got us acting like strangers

Friday
And I'm standing on the hill
That looks across the bay.
All about, your precious marble ruins
Make a virtue of decay
And it's all because of such a little thing
That we're breaking up this way
It's got us acting like strangers

Saturday
My friends have packed my bags for me
In case I try to delay
"Take a ferry to the islands"
And I'll soon forget about you
So they say
And it's all because of such a little thing
That we're breaking up this way
It's got us acting like strangers

Yes it's all because of such a little thing
But I have to go away
I can't face you like a stranger
I can't treat you like a stranger

Now I'm that much older
But the thing happened just the other day
Minnesota Man told the truth
You have to go through twice
If you can't afford to pay
And it's always because of such little things
But it hurts too much to stay
And treat each other like strangers
 
Announcer Late Night Hunger track 6

Bass: Charles Lewis. Guitars: Bill and Hugh. Sax: Colin Dunwoodie

We couldn't get the right-sounding telephone; you'll have to imagine it just before the solo.
But the telephone and the lyric are both questions of fidelity.


Rowena, you call me from the Orly
I can't hardly hear you
Over the band
Musak
Filling up the hallway
Can't get no sleep, no
In this foreign land
Rowena
The corner cowboys
Have a word for my condition
Late night hunger
Makes a lonely boy forget
Your sweet commission

Rowena, it's time to throw the gun away
Can't keep my grip no more
On this merry-go-round
Musak
They're taking all the fun away
Seems like every stair go up
While I'm coming down
Rowena
The corner cowboys
Have a word for my condition
Late night hunger
Makes a lonely boy forget
Your sweet commission
 
Announcer Betrayal track 7

Bass: Charles Lewis. Rhythm guitars: Bill Huggins and Hugh. Solo guitar: Bill Huggins

The text is full of echoes; the whole song is a haunted house.
I could not live in or with it anymore so I put it on the album.


Betrayal
It's got him an his knees
By the bedroom door
Betrayal
Love is just a tease
But he's back for more
Lonely
Silence breaks the heart
of a city where the people died
So many streets
Before you get to the other side
Look at all the people
You see what they do
They're breaking up the old
And they're corrupting the new
Betrayal

Daytime
The sun is up
You're working and they got you beat
Night time, the neon buys you
You're living and you're feeling neat
Evening
She comes and whispers
Whispers you're the only one
Morning, the neon dies
And all your garbage greets another sun
You look at all the people
And you see what they do
They're breaking up the old
And they're corrupting the new
Betrayal

Shakedown
She wakes up and
Sugars up that bitter pill
Breakdown
He wakes up and
Notices she's dressed to kill
Betrayal cuts him like a knife
In the middle of the night
Betrayal and no, no, nothing
Can make it right
He looks at all the people
He sees what they do
They're breaking up the old
And they're corrupting the new
Betrayal
 
Announcer Trees of Knowledge track 8

Bass and concert bass: Carolyn Duskin. Guitars: Hugh. Gong: Gerd Fellner

Variation on an old theme: apples may be hazardous to your mind.

"All the world's away,"
I heard the spaceman say.
"I've been looking out my window
Ain't seen a soul all day

"Such a lovely place
Sure beats outer space
Wonder why they ever left
I think I'll take the case.

"Perhaps they're hiding
Guess I'll glide in
Fix a neat disguise
Plant a bean crop
I'll run a clean shop,
They'll never realize.

"Just a single guy
Come in from the sky
Looking for a single girl
And hoping to survive.

"There's a fruit here
Makes you see things
Makes your head feel strange,
Crazy ideas
I never thought that
We had so much range."

A little farther on
"Things keep goin' wrong,
Life support's got all confused
It can't hold out too long.

"Trees of Knowledge
Of good and evil
Angels standing guard
Got to leave now
Can't believe how
Life could be so hard
You're making it
So hard to live here.

"But she's a winner too
She's going to see us through
Seems that in this whole wide world
There's only me and you."
 
Announcer Carry on the Song track 9

Bass: Charles Lewis. Concert bass: Carolyn Duskin. Guitars: Hugh. Gong: Gerd Fellner

Solomon Grundy epitomizes the 9-to-5 man. Carry on the Song insists upon an alternative.
Stay tuned, the lyric has 63 lines, 15 of them are important.


Solomon Grundy
Born on a Monday
Christened on Tuesday
Schooled on Wednesday
Married on Thursday
Worked all Friday
Died on Saturday
Buried on Sunday
That was the end of
Solomon Grundy
(Trad. anon.)

I was born in '51
Natural loving mother's son
I didn't have no fear.
Two days later across the sea
Another little baby just like me
It was a good year.
Those days they marched against the bomb
Thousands came and sang along from far and near
But they never took it far enough
Just billboard speeches, it was all a bluff
They soon gave up Hiroshima
For a middle-class career
And that don't seem right, you see
No that don't seem right to me

So won't you please carry on the song
Don't let it die

Well I grew up and she did too
Some days happy, some days blue
Well ain't that life
As I daydreamed and flunked my courses
She baled hay and fell off horses
My future wife.
Now I left school in some confusion
The kids were talking about revolution
It was a time of strife
But flower love and phony peace
Just couldn't guarantee release
And now the subway's full of zeroes
Who come on like Mack the Knife
And that don't seem right, you see
No that don't seem right to me

So won't you please carry on the song
Don't let it die

Well I did strange things in stranger places
Fell in love with pretty faces
Like a songwriter should.
Now here I am with a wife and child
A sidewalk creature come in from the wild
Like I knew that I would
It's cold out there.
Now I look at you and you've lost your way
And the music doesn't have much to say no more
it's just recycled grease
And the world still goes from bad to worse
While all the young gods throw parties on the hearse
Oh how can we have peace
If the kids don't care

So won't you please carry on the song
Don't let it die

Now the music business digs your grave
If you don't belong in any wave, you get no answers
I'm just a guy with a difficult name
Who isn't nasty and isn't tame
And he don't write dancers.
But moving 'round from place to place
I've been checking out the changing pace
I'm like a loaded gun, sir
So sign the papers, don't be slow
This guitar needs a place to go
Sure could be a shame
If you miss out on all the fun, sir
That wouldn't seem right, you see
No that wouldn't seem right to me
 
Hugh Featherstone plays Kraushaar Guitars
 
www.featherstone.de website design Ursa Major