We’re off into modern territory again as Jon reveals this is “An Al Stewart number taken on by Bellamy. A friend of mine James Davidson recalls watching Bellamy perform this and leaning over to the chap next to him and saying ‘Incredible! Loads better than the original’. It turned out the chap next to him was Al Stewart, who agreed apparently.” Whether true of not, Bellamy and Stewart were close and the notes on Bellamy’s sadly deleted collection Wake The Vaulted Echoes offer, “ This is written by a man I used to run a folk club with once, in 1965 in a filthy little cellar off Charing Cross Rd.” That’ll be in Greek Street according to Al Stewarts Wiki page, but the duo were closer than that, sharing a flat and there’s even a suggestion that Bellamy was airing this in public before Stewart. Apparently a tape survives of him singing it at the Bridge End Folk Club in March of 74, although that’s actually almost 6 months after the albums release. As a similar time period elapsed between the albums recording and release, however, it’s quite possible Bellamy was performing it before then. He’d certainly have known it well before the record’s release. Mainly Norfolk has some interesting notes as well as the lyrics. Without wishing to stir up a Nostradamus debate, I’d suggest that Stewart’s take had a good fit with the deflation of the post-hippie-hangover of the early 70s, laced with impending apocalyptic gloom that lowered in the wake of Vietnam, the cold war stand off and general, gloomy fug of three-day-week Britain. I recall Chariot Of The Gods, gaining undue credence around the same time. Whatever happened to all of those blokes with ‘The End Of The World Is Nigh’ placards? Regardless, I think that Jon gives this a suitable Book Of Revelations fire and pulpit gravitas.
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