Brisk & Breezy

by Marc Block

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Marc's new album, Brisk & Breezy, sees him revisit the “jaunty acoustipop” of his former band, Marc Block and the Breezes, overdubbing his own voice, guitar, bouzouki, harmonicas and percussion, with further backing vocals by Rachel Delicata and double bass by Martin Bentley. It’s an exuberant collection of mostly original songs, including new recordings of some of Marc’s old favourites from his younger days.

    CD artwork by Frank Duffy (www.frankduffy.co.uk), photography by James Fagan.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Brisk & Breezy via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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about

I’m immensely grateful to everyone who helped to crowd-fund the making of Brisk and Breezy. Without you I’d be a poorer man today.

The songs on this album are largely the repertoire performed by Marc Block and The Breezes from 2009 to 2013, then Marc Block Trio from 2013 to 2015. Some of them I also sang in duos with Tony Wells (The Unison Twins, 1985-6) and Graham Miller (Auld Alliance, 1999-2006). I recorded Hard Times of Old England with Graham, and also with the Breezes, with whom I also recorded Hal An Tow, Eyes Wide and The Black Dog, but those recordings are only available online. An early recording of Cradle of Sunshine was on my 2010 EP One Year From Now, and four-track cassette recordings exist of Eco Street and Fool for a Face (Foreign Voices, 1988) and The Moon and My Sisters (Sunrise in the Rain, 1990).

Many thanks are due to The Breezes – Chris Pitcher, Bee Powell, Milli Galgut and Lytisha Tunbridge – for their contributions to arrangements, and for their support which helped me grow as a musician.

My thanks also go to Ich Mowatt for demo recordings; to Roger Wilson, Sam Hindley, and Liz Elliot for putting my crowd-funder on the radio; to Phil Preen, Julie Palmer, Dave Walters, Mary Smith, Claire Halliday, and all at Poppy Folk Club for their support; to Steve Benford and Phil Langran for loans of guitars; to Keith Turner for past recordings.

Special loving thanks, for being who you are, to my family: my sons Solly and Max Worth, their Mums Karen and Wendy, my Dad, ‘Trombone’ Tim (who comes to nearly all of my local gigs), and my brothers Freddy and Oliver; and to my dear friends Sally, Charlie and Ollie Jackson, and Roy Bailey.

I dedicate Brisk & Breezy to the memory of my Mum, Letty, who was both those things, and so many more, and would have loved it.

credits

released October 7, 2016

Marc Block: Lead and backing vocals, guitar, bouzouki, harmonica, bodhrán, djembe and other assorted percussion
Martin Bentley: Double bass, all tracks except 10 and 14
Rachel Delicata: Backing vocals, tracks 3, 7, 9, 10, 13
George French: Keyboard, tracks 2, 8, 12

Produced by Marc Block.
Engineered and co-produced by George French and Huw Jones at Paper Stone Studios, Nottingham. www.paper-stone.co.uk
Mixed by Huw Jones
Master by J P Braddock at Formation Audio www.formationaudio.co.uk
Design by Frank Duffy www.frankduffy.co.uk
Photography by James Fagan

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about

Marc Block Nottingham, UK

"one of the most exciting singers I've heard in a long, long time" - Mike Harding

"passionate and careful in his treatment of traditional material" – Rob Bartlett

“..a great voice” – James Fagan

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Track Name: My Young Man
CHORUS
My young’s a fine young man, a fine young man is he
A fine young man is my young man, as fine as he can be

My young man he’s brisk and gay, he’s handsome, tall and true
His pretty mouth smiles and lights his eyes of palest blue
And when he takes me in his arms the world and all its cares
Fade from view and disappear as he his sweetness shares
We met on a grey cold day, a-walking by the Tyne
Where I went to face my fears and leave some stuff behind
And there I opened up my heart just like a morning bloom
Surprising me with joy he took me gently to his room

CHORUS

He unhooked my hang-ups and he flung them on the floor
I showed him my worries and he showed them the door
I can tell him nigh on anything and he won’t bat an eye
I’m truly free to be myself with this young man of mine
My young man gives of himself freely and with love
Showers me with bounties that I never dreamed of
And now and then he’s fragile too, and if he’s feeling down
He’ll trust that I will be there, to soothe away his frown

CHORUS

Hardly any hour goes by that I don’t think of him
I’m put in mind of his tender love by almost everything
A bath, a bird, a curious word, an unfamiliar tree
We share in my imaginings wherever he may be
My young man always knows the very thing to say
No matter what the distance he’s the one who shows the way
And all he is and all he does appeals so much to me
Whenever we’re together, I am his entirely
Track Name: The Black Dog
The Black Dog Marc Block © Glasspool Music 2009

Fog comes down, black dog jumps up again
Fog comes down, black dog jumps up again
Bites hard, strikes deep, pulls me down

There’s a tight fist of rage that beats in my chest
I feel the panic rise and it beats inside my chest
But where it came from, I can’t even guess

I’ve seen green shoots covered by snow
I’ve seen green shoots get covered up by a fresh fall of snow
But soon it will melt and fade and I’ll watch them grow

Had some work to do on a dull day
Had some work to do on a dull and dreary day
Took a long time just to clear the thorns away

Fog comes down, black dog jumps up again
Fog comes down, black dog jumps up again
Bites hard, strikes deep, pulls me down

Didn’t know what I was trying to find
Lord I didn’t know just what it was that I was trying to find
But I kept on digging for something that was preying on my mind

Seems I’d dug a wide hole
Seems I’d dug myself a wide and deep hole
It was filling up with water dark and cold

I stood a long time, I could not jump in
Stood a long time at the edge, I knew I had to jump in
To the icy unknown where the child screams again

Fog comes down, black dog jumps up again
Fog comes down, black dog jumps up again
Bites hard, strikes deep, pulls me down

I’ve seen a change in the line of the light today
I’ve seen a change in the way the sunlight falls today
I’m hoping the warmer weather’s on the way

Storm on the ocean, storm at sea
There’s a storm, boys, on the ocean, a storm at sea
When a rock’s what I need, driftwood’s all there seems to be
Track Name: Eco Street
Eco Street (1985) by Marc Block Glasspool Music


Sitting in the sun
Waiting for the grass to grow on me
Well I’m sitting in the sun
With the flowers round my feet
Watching the sky, down on Eco Street
Watching this guy, down on Eco Street

Well the music’s pure
It fills me up like only you
Someone comes by
Selling cake, and that’s my treat
Spending my time down on Eco Street
Spending my time down on Eco Street

You can share a dream
Hear a tale or sing a song
You can buy your bread hot
From the oven when it’s time to eat
Do what you like down on Eco Street
Do what you feel down on Eco Street

Skin in the open
No-one tells you what to do
Well breathe your body
It’s hot, but there’s no heat
It’s an easy life down on Eco Street
Easy life down on Eco Street

When the sun goes down
We’ll be dancing by the great oak tree
Where the fire-siders
They play a crazy beat
But after a while, back to Eco Street
I’ll be watching the stars down on Eco Street
Track Name: The Old Fool
The Old Fool by Marc Block 2009 ©Glasspool Music

I’m bound to quit you but not just yet, I’m shamelessly obsessed
You fill up my screentime, you’re not like the rest
Your look’s not all it is, I’m entirely fascinated
I’m shooting-star-struck and sorely infatuated

Oh, oh, the old fool is calling
From time to time, I’m down and up again
And when you’re there, you help me through
Help me back to where I can do the things I need to do

I’m scrutinising every line for any kinds of clues
You and Oscar and your angst are giving me the blues
You once called me darling, I wish you hadn’t done
I must suppose it’s just a pose but it seems to lead me on

I keep rolling in late at night hoping you can chat
You tell me what you think I could do about that
You I wish it was when I’m beside myself
I wake up thirsty, besotted and on the shelf
I was close to driving half the day just to see you play
You would surely get it if I gave the game away
You’re young and complex and decidedly cool
I’m on the rebound, just a lonely old fool
Track Name: Hard Times of Old England
Hard Times of Old England Trad/*Corinne Male/**Roy Bailey arr. Marc Block

Oh the hard times of old England...

Come all working people who travel along
And pray, come and tell me where the work has all gone
Long time I have travelled, and I can find none
and it’s Oh the hard times of old England, in old England, very hard times

Provisions you buy at a shop, it is true
But if you’ve no money, there’s none there for you
So what are the poor folk and their families to do
and it’s Oh the hard times of old England, in old England, very hard times

You go to a shop and you ask for a job
But they answer you there with a shake and a nod
It’s enough to make poor folk to turn out and rob
and it’s Oh the hard times of old England, in old England, very hard times

You see working people out walking the streets
From morning till night for employment to seek
And scarce do they have any shoes to their feet
and it’s Oh the hard times of old England, in old England, very hard times

*We go to the polls and they’re asking us to vote
And they’re telling us we’re all in the same boat
But how many sink while they stay afloat?
and it’s Oh the hard times of old England, in old England, very hard times

**So come all working people and stand to your ground
If we all join together we can turn it around
Freedom is turning the world upside down
Sing Oh! Good times in old England, in old England very good times
Track Name: Two Steps Back
Two Steps Back by Marc Block 2009 © Glasspool Music

Bright green on the sycamore and willow
Only ash and the oak are still bare
Gospel Dylan’s in my headphones
And it’s a slow train takes me there
Slow train takes me there

And I’m one step forward, two steps back
Down the slippery slope I go
Walking up the down escalator
Climbing on a greasy pole

Oh mercy I’m on my way to the city
Men are talking of the game without end
Recent things that you said are on the rise
I’m just trying to help a friend
Just trying to help a friend

We stop in our tracks in the country
Swollen river fills the meadow
Blossom’s on the bush, the wind is blowing
Fields are green and turning yellow
Green and turning yellow

One across the table, one beside me
Remaining strangers, in red
Man it’s true I hardly know you
But right now you’re always in my head
You’re always in my head

In Bartholomew’s Yard the sun is shining
There’s so much that I don’t know
In the gatehouse I can stop for a while
And I let my whistle blow
I let my whistle blow
Track Name: Cradle of Sunshine
CRADLE OF SUNSHINE Marc Block 2008 © Glasspool Music

We’re not so different, you and me
We both have the same view and we quite like what we see
But sometimes things just seem to hurry us too far
Let’s take the time to set things free

Take me rolling, take me dancing, to a garden in a dream
Take me laughing, smiling, running to the end
Take me from the mountain down to the sea
And lay me in a cradle of sunshine, beautiful friend

You like to feel the waves surround you
And I like to hear the breeze that whispers in the bay
We like to take a ride and turn it all around
So come on let’s spark the fire today

CHORUS

And now we’re lost among the circles in the sun
Don’t notice anything but the wind
It’s such a feeling like we never will come down
It goes around and round again

CHORUS

Life’s not that simple for you and me
We each have our troubles and we struggle to find the key
But sometimes we can forget them for a while
Love finds the way to set things free

CHORUS
Track Name: Hal An Tow
Hal An Tow Marc Block/Trad © Glasspool Music 2012

Take no scorn to wear the horn
It was the crest when you were born
Your father’s father wore it
And your father wore it too

Hal an tow, jolly rumble-o
We were up long before the day-o
To welcome in the summer, to welcome in the May-o
For the summer is a-coming in and winter’s gone away-o

Robin Hood and Little John
Both are in the green-o
And in the greenwood we will go
And see what they have seen-o

The Hornèd Hunter and the Hare
Are rising for the dawn-o
To be the first to chase the buck
And run all in the morn-o

Warmer days are on the way
And that’s what makes the May so gay
The garland wound around the pole
Makes the Queen’s delight

The fires that we light tonight
Blaze all in the field-o
And those that make the sacred rite
Bless and quick the yield-o
Track Name: The Moon and My Sisters
The Moon and my Sisters Marc Block 1988 © Glasspool Music

I live with my sisters and together we worship the moon
We live in a magic castle that’s full of ups and downs
Creaking stairs and a mighty bell and people everywhere
Of every size and shape and kind, it’s a strange place, but we don’t care

We sit by the fire and drink glasses of wine
Tell stories of childhood and mystical times
My sisters and I we just laugh
When the moon is high, when the full moon is high

Rosa, she’s the life and soul
Excited like child
Lives every moment, with a song upon her lips
She’s dancing crazy, and we dance in the rain

We sit by the fire and drink glasses of wine
Tell stories of childhood and mystical times
My sisters and I we dance
When the moon is high, when the full moon is high

Cathy is the poetess
Surrounded by her books
Waxing and waning with a moonface
I know someday she’ll tell us her tale
And Nell is of the faery-folk
Enchanting with a smile
Weaving her silver web of loveliness
She holds me warm in her arms

We sit by the fire and drink glasses of wine
Tell stories of childhood and mystical times
My sisters and I we embrace
When the moon is high, when the crescent moon shines

I live with my sisters and together we worship the moon
We live in a magic castle that’s full of ups and downs
Creaking stairs and a mighty bell and people everywhere
Of every size and shape and kind, it’s a strange place, but we don’t care
My sisters and I love it there

We sit and get high and drink glasses of wine
Tell stories of mystery and magical times
My sisters and I we just laugh
When the moon is high, when the full moon is high
And when the crescent moon shines, when the full moon is high
Track Name: Fool For a Face
Fool for a Face Marc Block 1987 © Glasspool Music

Oh what a face, what a face you have
What wouldn’t I do for your smile?
You’re full of surprise, a delight to my eyes and I’ll
Do anything for you, I’m a fool for a face (x2)

Well gladly I’d give you my last chocolate
And gladly I’d give up my chair
I’m eager to please you whenever I see you there
And I’ll do anything for you, I’m a fool for a face

Well you just don’t know what you do for me
You make me laugh aloud
I’m jumping inside I’ll confide that now
And I’ll do anything for you, I’m a fool for a face

Oh! What a face, such a face you have
What wouldn’t I do for your smile?
You’re full of surprise I delight in your eyes and I’ll
Do anything for you, I’m a fool for a face
Track Name: Eyes Wide
Eyes Wide Marc Block 2008 © Glasspool Music

Seven years old, teenyboppin’ disco
Crocodile Rock and I love your Tiger Feet
Fourteen, big school disco,
Stayin’ Alive and Yes Sir I can Boogie
Had so much fun learning how to dance
But I grew up slowly, got too hung up on romance

There was a time, I was young, I was shy
I would hide on the floor on my own
I’d get up and fly but I’d close my eyes
And I’d try not to feel so alone
But that was a long time ago
Now I dance with eyes wide open
I’m dancing with you
Want to see what I feel in my hips and my heels
Want to see you feeling it too
Dancing with my eyes… wide…

Eighteen, Friday night disco
Tainted Love and Karma Karma Chameleon
And my longing's a guilty pleasure
Can’t let the pretty boys see me watching
I didn’t have the nerve to take that chance
‘Cos most guys, they don’t want my kind of romance

CHORUS

Getting old now, but still love to move
To Rock Around the Clock all Brisk and Breezy
But no longer am I bound by the
Hope against hope that used to dog me
I’m free to feel the heart-beat and life-blood of the dance
‘Cos oh boy in you I’ve found my romance