Acoustic Works 1981 – 1986 – (Album)

Acoustic Works 1981 – 1986 is an album, of 23 brand new acoustic recordings of songs released by The Alarm between 1981 and 1986. It is often referred to as “red” due to it’s cover artwork colour. The recordings started in 1995 with the final songs recorded in 1997. The recordings were made at 3 different studios: Fort Apache, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Dreamland, Woodstock, Ulster County, New York, USA. Mountain & Sea, Dyserth Wales. It was officially released as a CD on Twenty First Century Recording Company, catalogue number 21C004 on 28th October 1997

Press Release
MPO is proud to announce the forthcoming release of the ‘Red’ & ‘Blue’ albums (Mike Peters Acoustic Works 1981 – 1991). The 2 albums, available exclusively on 21st Century records through MPO feature 46 songs from ‘Unsafe Building’ to ‘Walk Forever by My Side’ (1981 – 1986) and ‘Rain in the Summertime’ to ‘Moments in Time’ (1987 – 1991). ‘Acoustic Works’ will be available as 2 separate CD’s, each containing a double album’s worth of material totaling almost 2.5 hours of running time

On 17th December 1997 a special MPO Xmas Party gig was held at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England to celebrate the Acoustic Works release

Sleeve Notes
On December 17 1993, I performed an acoustic set at The Gathering II in Rhyl, North Wales. It was to be the first time I had ever performed a set of acoustic songs based solely on material I had written for The Alarm

As the audience settled into the concert area, I sat in the dressing room, quiet terrified by what I was about to undertake. I knew I could not predict or control the outcome. I was unsure about which songs to perform in the set and in which order. I was nervous of being unable to remember all the lyrics, especially some of the songs I had never performed before. At the last minute, i decided I would have to take my book of lyrics to the stage with me. With only minutes to spare, I managed to acquire am old music stand and asked the crew to set it up onstage, leaving my lyric book open at page one (Unsafe Building) ….

I had resolved, in the words of Dylan Thomas, “begin at the beginning”, and leave the rest to chance and pure instinct. The house lights went down and I was introduced to the stage. I was overcome; all my senses went into overdrive. I was surrounded by fans & friends alike (no distinction). I picked up my guitar and without a word, descended into the time tunnel ‘Unsafe Building’, turn the page, ‘Marching On’, turn the page, ‘Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?’, turn the page and on and on….

The consequence of that night was quite amazing. I was surprised by the depth of reaction amongst the audience. I found myself coerced into playing songs that I could only just recall and loving every minute of it. I became aware and moved by songs and lyrics that, if I was being honest with myself, I had become immune to, having been forced to shout them night after night against an ever increasing, deafening wall of electric guitar amplification. I could actually hear my voice, and found it a revelation. I could hear the lyrics I was singing. I could hear every nuance, every syllable, as it warmed to the characterisation and melody of the song. I had always believed my songs were best suited to an electric band situation, yet here I was, armed with only an acoustic guitar, a naked voice and a lone harmonica., experiencing one of the best shows ever. if the pen was mightier than the sword then in this instance, lyrics and melodies are more powerful than electric guitars and drums.

I have performed the same show hundreds of times since; the song book on the music stand, opened to page one, the same descent into the time tunnel. However, with every performance of the same set of songs, a new and different story emerges. Sometimes I adhere to the chronology of my lyric book, following the songs in order of release; other nights I link songs by theme or by characterisation. For both performer and listener, the stripping down of songs and songwriter to the barest form will always reveal something new and unseen. Something new to take into the future, or something new to refresh the old and familiar. I have produced these recordings in the hope that they will achieve just that, refresh the work begun in 1981, and together with Acoustic Works 1987-1991, form a bridge to the future – Mike Peters 18th October 1997

Musicians & Credits
Mike Peters – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica

Produced and performed by Mike Peters
Recorded by Dan McLoughlin. & Joe Brigande at Fort Apache & Dreamland
Recorded by Gethyn Evans at Mountain & Sea
Design & Art Direction by Karl “The Design Doctor” Parsons

Track Listing:
1. Unsafe Building
2. The Stand
3. For Freedom
4. Lie Of The Land
5. Declaration
6. Marching On
7. Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?
8. Sixty Eight Guns
9. We Are The Light
10. Shout To The Devil
11. Blaze of Glory
12. The Deceiver
13. Howling Wind
14. Thoughts Of A Young Man
15. Absolute Reality
16. Knife Edge
17. Strength
18. Dawn Chorus
19. Spirit Of 76
20. Deeside
21. Father to Son
22. Only The Thunder
23. Walk Forever By My Side

The following songs were written by Macdonald/Peters : Unsafe Building, For Freedom, Lie Of The Land, Declaration, Marching On, Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?, Sixty Eight Guns, We Are The Light, The Deceiver, Howling Wind, Thoughts Of A Young Man, Absolute Reality, Knife Edge, , Dawn Chorus, Spirit Of 76, Deeside, Father to Son, Only The Thunder, Walk Forever By My Side

The following songs were written by Macdonald/Peters/Sharp : The Stand, Shout To The Devil, Blaze of Glory

The following song was written by Macdonald/Peters/Sharp/Twist : Strength

The following tracks were recorded at Fort Apache, Boston, Massachusetts, USA by Dan McLoughlin in 1995 : Unsafe Building, The Stand, Declaration, Marching On, Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?, Howling Wind, Strength, Dawn Chorus, Deeside, Only The Thunder, Walk Forever By My Side

The following tracks were recorded at Dreamland, Woodstock, Ulster County, New York, USA by Joe Brigande in 1996 : Blaze of Glory, Spirit Of 76

The following tracks were recorded at Mountain & Sea, North Wales by Gethyn Evans in 1997 : For Freedom, Lie Of The Land, Sixty Eight Guns, We Are The Light, Shout To The Devil, The Deceiver, Thoughts Of A Young Man, Absolute Reality, Knife Edge, Father to Son

(Page updated 06/03/2023)

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