Transcript

An Introduction to-an unshackling of-Mythical Creatures, the first and last-the only-LP by Blue-John Benjamin (that's me), made with the help of my Amateur Humans: a raggle-taggle assemblage of misfits and loveable rogues...Not really. They're loyal collaborators.

Three of the songs were co-written with Rich Whitworth, my brother, including the opening track, Deadtown. Rich also plays a number of instruments: bass, organ, guitar, different bits of synthiness.

It's something of a family affair. The wistful slide guitar was the contribution of my other little brother, Thom, who is usually to be found in jazz clubs.

Our American cousin, Peter Batchelder, aka Peter the Great, produced a couple of the tracks, one being Eggshell Blue, a cheery song about mental illness.

What word encapsulates Mythical Creatures?

Whitby-esque.

I live beside the Esk-close to the river.

It's a love-letter to Whitby.

No Whitby-esque album worth its salt would be complete without the actorly timbre of my friend, the truly unique Mr Morris. He kindly read my poem about the Barghest-the black dog-and, of course, the blood-guzzlers.

I don't want my lyrics to be self-absorbed, but Penguins is perhaps the most personal song that I will ever write.

The first part of Mythical Creatures comprises original material. Emily Brontë represents a transition point. The words are Emily's. They're elemental and at odds with her father's teachings. I imagine she frightened herself. I can understand why she was secretive. If you're a guitar-nerd, I tuned my blue acoustic-the instrument that taught me how to write songs-to DABCAB. It's a 'no chains can hold me' type of song, which still seems sadly relevant in the twenty-first century.

The songs in the second part come out of the folk tradition of the British Isles. A musician I admire is John Tams, and I can hear his influence. Blue-John Barleycorn possibly sounds like 'Monty Python meets The Wicker Man meets Children of the Stones' (#folkhorror). I incorporated phrases from early incarnations-in a sense, the ancestors-of John Barleycorn, and my research took me all the way back to before 1568.

I got May to hold, and indeed crunch on, icecubes before playing the part of the lady in Death and the Lady, which added a certain something to the performance; she's almost forgiven me.

My good friend and right-hand man, Quidgybopper, assisted me in the re-envisioning, if you will, of those old ballads. Our interpretation of She Moved Through the Fair is called She Moved Aleatorically. That track, for me, is a living organism, mutating and evolving.

A self-penned mythical creatures poem concludes each part of the LP.

We're releasing-unleashing-Mythical Creatures digitally on the first of May 2017. There'll be a small number of CDs in lovingly handmade sleeves.

A line in This Summer sums up Mythical Creatures: "With flea market gadgetry, we will fashion songs of Whitby jet."

The album was woven from dark energy, the whispering of ghosts and crumpled angels, and a lot of love; I hope you like it.