SEAN FILKINS – 2011 – War and Peace & Other Short Stories (track by track)


1. Are You Sitting Comfortably?
2. The English Eccentric
3. Prisoner Of Conscience: Part 1 – The Soldier
4. Prisoner Of Conscience: Part 2 – The Ordinary Man
5. Epitaph For A Mariner
6. Learn How to Learn

Rok wydania: 2011
Wydawca: Festival Music

“Are You Sitting Comfortably” is really The English Eccentric part 1 for obvious reasons. Also it’s a little tongue in cheek dig at my previous band. I remember a blog I saw where an ex band mate said “There should be more Brass In Prog”. Also my Gran would always say “before we start lets have a cuppa”

“The English Eccentric”
I wrote most of the lyrics for The English Eccentric in 1999, but the rest of the track, music and arrangement, were new to this project. The song is part autobiographical but I have added parts, little idiosyncrasies from people I know and others I have met, to create the character of The English Eccentric. There is a link to the next track, the line “Daddy went to war, we’d always hoped that he’d return”

“Prisoner of Conscience Part 1, The Soldier.”
This was a completely new song for the project, apart from a few lyrics.
I’d had the story in my head for years. The character is based my Mothers Father, who went missing in the Second World War while out on patrol. My Mother and Grandmother never new if he was killed or wounded. My Mother always felt that he was alive somewhere, either badly injured or unable to say who he was or why he was. The character in the story is based on him being wounded, his return to England and slowly coming to terms with all that has happened to him and what he’s seen and done. The pain and suffering and the futility of it all.

“Prisoner Of Conscience Part 2 The Ordinary Man”.
This was based on a track I had worked on previously in 1999, with a couple of friends. I couldn’t use all that work because I hadn’t written it all, so I had to re-write certain passages and added a new arrangement. I new this part of the story could be extended so I wrote The Soldier to be the prequel to this.
The lyrics went so well as a follow on from Part1. The Soldier, finally realising there is light at the end of the tunnel and that inside there was an honest man trying to survive. My Mother often felt she was being watched by someone, and even glimpsed a man in the distance on a few occasions that looked like her father but stooping and crippled, instead of tall and strong. She always felt he’d survived the War. It’s a sad shame she never found out for real.

“Epitaph For A Mariner”
This track is made up of five parts. Part 1 Sailors Hymn. Part 2 Sirens Song. Part 3 Maelstrom. Part 4 Ode To William Pull. Part 5 Epitaph. All segued together to make one track.

It started out as a poem, which I wrote in the eighties, about my Great Grandfather, William Pull. He was a lifeboat man and boatman from Margate in the 1890’s. The song is about him and men like him and their struggle to earn a living at sea. During a great storm, my Great Grandmother was in labour. The shout went up that a boat was floundering off the coast and the lifeboat went out, but he couldn’t go as the midwife had been delayed and he had to help deliver the baby. His closest friends were on that lifeboat and it overturned and all but two were killed. The baby survived, my Grandmother. The joy they must have felt at the birth of their new daughter and the unbearable pain of losing most of your closest friends. A terrible conflict.

The ideas, music and arrangements for Sailors Hymn, Sirens song and Maelstrom were all new to this project. I had my daughter sing Sailors Hymn as the subject matter is about her Great, Great Grandfather. The lyrics for Ode To William Pull and Epitaph are all from the original poem that I wrote plus I added extra lyrics to Ode To William Pull to suit the music.
I came up with the music for Epitaph back in 1991, a song I did with Space Rock Band Soma. What is on the album is a completely different arrangement though and has new music added to this project, as I couldn’t use some parts that we had written as a band. The end finale instrumental, the solos of duelling synths and guitar and the final lament were all newly written for this project. The lament at the end, came about one day when I visited John Sammes at his house. He was playing his mini-grand and I thought it sounded beautiful, a classical piece, then I realised it was my song, the vocal melody from the chorus of Prisoner Of Conscience Part 1. I just had to have it on the album and it was a fantastic way to link this song with the previous songs on the album. For me the whole duelling solos part and fade out piano lament is one of the highlights of the album.

“Learn How To Learn”This track started out as a new age acoustic instrumental track, written by my good friend Geoff Webb. His track was called “Pastoral” I had heard it while recording at the studio he worked at. It was so beautiful that I wanted to write lyrics to it, which became Learn how to Learn. It’s a more positive track. It’s about trying to come to terms with one’s past and that we should all be looking and working towards a brighter future for all. For this album I wanted to make it a full blow Prog Rock track, so I added the mandolin, mellotrons, drums, bass, electric guitars, church organ and big guitar solo. I then added the Asian themes at the end, the real sitar, tabla drums, and flute, because I felt it was a link to previous tracks and just such a great way to end the album.

Sean Filkins

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