Dingly Dell: A track by track review
by Jerry Gilbert
from Sounds July 29, 1972 - discovered by Michael Clayton

Lindisfarne's Alan Hull gives a track by track review of the new album "No title, the music says it all"

 "We're not worried about a title - the album doesn't need a title because the music says it all," Alan Hull declared as Lindisfarne put the finishing touches to their new album in Island Studios last week. Hully was in high spirits, and unable to restrain his delight at the outcome of the recording sessions. American producer Bob Johnston also acknowledged the new super-professional Lindisfarne who had gone into the studios and emerged three days later with all the tracks in the can - most of them recorded first take. 

"There's one track that's real Rolling Stones' rock and roll - it's dirty and funky and Bob's made it sound really American," Hully enthused. "And the songs are as good, if not better, than 'Nicely Out Of Tune'."

The album will be released by Charisma on September 8 without any garish sales impact to back it up. "Just a plain brown cardboard cover, no ink or anything - just some notes on the dust sheet," Hully went on. "It's the music that counts and the music, performance and the arrangements are all much better this time.

"Most of the back-tracks went down first day and then there were just a few overdubs to do. Ray Laidlaw's brother Paul has done some really good orchestral arrangements especially on 'Dingly Dell'." This is the only old Lindisfarne track featured on the new album and I asked Hully why it had been excluded from 'Fog On The Tyne'.

"We weren't happy with the song as it was, and in any case it didn't seem to fit on 'Fog On The Tyne'. It's a very abstract song and was inspired by the writing of Coppard who was a very abstract writer round the turn of the century."

'Dingly Dell' fills the final seven minutes of the album and is the longest track featured. "Nothing could follow that," exclaimed Alan, and then proceeded to give a run down on the rest of the tracks.

"We start with three songs put together - we're not going to call it a trilogy, but they will probably be called collectively 'All Fall Down'. It's a song of sadness dealing with the ecological, psychological, sociological and what have you state of things, and opens with the title track 'All Fall Down'. Then it goes into Si's instrumental 'Plankton Lament', (sic) which is about the destruction of all the plankton in the sea. Although it's a happy piece, it's called a lament because, as Si says, who knows how plankton lament! " The third part is called 'Bring Down The Government' which I wrote, and although the words are fairly heavy, it's a pretty stupid tune. "After that there's Rod's song 'Don't Ask Me'. Originally, when I heard it I thought this was going to be the shit-hot song on the album but everything is so good that it's just turned out to be one of the ones. It's going to be a shock for people because it's real Rolling Stones' rock and roll and the way Dylan might have been after 'Blonde On Blonde'.  Then there's 'Poor Old Ireland', which is my lament for Ireland, and then another of my songs called, 'Oh No, Not Again', which starts off sad, then becomes happy and then goes completely crazy.

"The second side will probably start with 'Dingle Regatta', which is a traditional Geordie tune which lasts about a minute, it features plenty of Jacka's harmonica and is the kind of thing that sends you crazy. "Then 'Wake Up Little Sister', which is another of my songs - really sweet and all the girls like it. "Next comes one of Si's songs, named 'Go back', which sounds happy-go-lucky, but there's some very real sentiments about it. He wrote it after reading 'The Politics Of Experience'.

"The next track will probably be a song of mine called 'Court In The Act', which is about an interesting experience I had in Hull magistrates' Court. I wrote it in honour of appearing there, and it's reminiscent of Eddie Cochran. "'Mandolin King' features two mandolins, one played by Jacka and one by Si, and it's reminiscent of 'Meet Me On The Corner'. You have to guess which is which. "Last of all will be 'Dingly Dell', which is a real f***er.  "The album will have all the usual ad libs and Si is playing banjo on the album for the first time."

Alan's elation was largely due to the musical improvement of the band since the last album. "From the moment we went into the studio we never stopped having fun, and Bob Johnston thought it remarkable that this was only the second album we'd done with him because it sounded like the eleventh! "I really feel a bit proud about this album because it's better than anything that's come before." After the album is completed the band will take another two or three weeks' holiday, play a couple of European gigs, finish their holiday and then start rehearsing for their autumn British tour. 

"We want to make it as nice as possible - like a modern day music hall," Alan went on. "Rab Noakes and Genesis will be doing it with us and we're also taking Andy Andrews to compere as he'll be much better than some dee-jay." As Lindisfarne have already taken their new material out on a couple of live dates I asked Hully which songs had already started to prove themselves with audiences.

"Well, 'Bring Down The Government' and 'Don't Ask Me' went down a bomb and I think the audiences were a bit surprised by them. You see, what's happening is that we've gone heavier, but the thing is we're dead pleased we can do all the numbers on stage. It's much heavier, but we've had no problem reproducing the songs live."

   Jerry Gilbert