Liverpool 800: True Love Of Mine

New album by Alun Parry

Reviewed by Sandra Gibson

‘I didn’t write songs specifically to celebrate Liverpool’s 800th. My songs arose organically out of my feelings for Liverpool.’

Alun Parry’s latest album celebrates the people and city of Liverpool in the year of its 800th birthday. It was launched at a ‘profoundly Unofficial Liverpool 800th Birthday Party…The People’s Party’ at the Casa, Hope Street, on Friday August 31st 2007.

True Love of Mine - the title track - is a jaunty love song to Liverpool delivered with as much passionate commitment as any man addressing his peerless lover:

‘Oh true love of mine, you know that I need you
Just like a lover who’s captured my hear.’

It’s a good drinking song that wouldn’t be out of place on the football terraces.

The central image in Under Neptune’s Hand is taken from a Liverpool carving celebrating the slave trade. It depicts two naked slaves manacled back to back with Neptune’s hands pressing them down. There’s anger in this didactic song that challenges the hypocrisy and greed of the traders and this is echoed in the short ‘a’ sounds in ‘shackles’ and ‘master’ which are spat out with contempt and punctuated by the dramatic metallic sound of the cymbals.

Liverpool Love Song, a quieter piece full of gentle poetic yearning, has the iconic image of a woman gazing out at the sea which separates and reunites.

Red and Blue draws on Parry’s comedic resourcefulness and deals with two kinds of passion in this parody on the Romeo and Juliet theme: Liverpool and Everton replacing the Capulets and Montagues.

Arguably Parry’s strongest performance both on the album and live, My Granddad was a Docker unites the personal with the iconic. Fast-paced and powerful, slamming like machinery into the gut, this song elevates the Liverpool dock worker as moral and heroic force. The passionate delivery, minor-keyed and nostalgic, lifts it away from sentimentality. If this song was a painting it would be socialist realism.

Coming Home is a cheerful, optimistic anthem with lively piano and local references - the upbeat partner to the poignant Liverpool Love Song. It examines the cultural continuity of storytelling and as the last official song on the album it is fitting that the role of storyteller should be highlighted. Parry tells the stories of ordinary people in a memorable form as did every storyteller since time began.

You always get an encore. You are my Addiction is the unannounced surprise. In these lyrics joyfully exaggerating incompatibility, Parry’s verbal virtuosity places him with the great exponents of the comic song such as Victoria Wood.

‘I could be your bluebottle - you could be my Venus flytrap’

‘I could be your night of passion - you could be my flannel nighty’

Alun Parry’s tribute to Liverpool is as unsolemn as it is passionate and as varied as it is single-pointed. Has he encapsulated something of the Liverpool psyche?

To find out more visit www.parrysongs.co.uk

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Comment left by Geoff Edwards on 15th October, 2007 at 17:18
Having been fortunate enough to be present at the 800th birthday launch party I can fully endorse this review. Alun is a true Liverpool minstrel. The city should be proud to have such a songsmith leading a year of Capital of Culture. An excellent review of an impressive CD. Keep on with the promotion of this super city Alun!

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