Flesh & Blood (Album)

Flesh & Blood is an album released on 5th January 2000 by Mike Peters and was released on The Twenty First Century Recording Company label as catalogue number 21C009

Flesh and Blood began after Mike Peters appearance at a benefit concert at the Blackwood Institute, Wales, in Autumn of 1998. Patrick Jones, the brother of Manic St.Preacher’s Nicky Wire had organised a benefit concert for Kosovo and had invited Mike to perform. (The Manics are Alarm fans and used to take the train to watch The Alarm play at St. David’s Hall, Cardiff). Patrick is a playwright and so, extracts of his play, were also being performed that night. Watching in the wings was a man called Phil Clarke, Artistic Director of the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. Phil, a lifelong admirer of Mr. Peters’s works, approached Mike and asked him if he would be interested in writing some music for a new Welsh play, following on from Phil’s successful collaboration with Patrick’s play, “Everything Must Go” which first opened at the Sherman (with music written by the Manics). Mike said he would like to, and that was that. A few days later, a large bundle arrived on Mike’s doorstep. I was out shopping (James feared the worst!) and upon my return, Mike was sat, exhausted and elated at the kitchen table, having written 12 songs. He proceeded to perform the entire sequence of songs, one on one for me and I fell in love, there and then. I just couldn’t release the melodies from my head and to this day, fall asleep to the haunting lullaby of St. Davids Day – Jules Jones-Peters Blog 2000

Mike Peters recorded the sound track to a new stage play ‘Flesh and Blood’ on December 3 and 4 1999 at the BBC Studios, Llandaff, Cardiff. The sound track, which features original new music by Mike Peters, formed the basis of a brand new Mike Peters solo album, ‘Flesh and Blood’, released in early 2000. Mike Peters enlisted the help of Alarm songwriting partner Eddie Macdonald who joined Mike, playing acoustic guitar, as well as contributing towards the string arrangements. This was the first time Peters and Macdonald have worked together creatively, since the last Alarm album of 1991

Album sleeve notes :
Flesh & Blood is a different kind of Mike Peters recording, embodying a different kind of Mike Peters song. Flesh & Blood, written by Welsh playwright and actress, Helen Griffin. Flesh & Blood is set around a family in South Wales and ‘believe you me’, Helen’s comedy leaves no stone unturned. You’ll know this family. They live in your own town or street, or even in your house. Dad has an opinion on everything and should be ‘running the world’; daughter, Serena, is having an affair (but who with!) and Steve, the youngest, is into very dodgy dealings. And long suffering Mum is trying to keep the family together – after all, they are flesh and blood! On top of all that, it’s a love story on the edge of the century bound together with this exciting new music by Mike Peters.
According to Mike Peters, the songs you are about to hear were written during a two hours sitting on Saturday 5th June 1999, when Mike read the script of Flesh & Blood for the very first time. the opening song, House of Commons was written during the reading of scene one … before the reading of scene two … which gave birth to the second song Life Can Be Beautiful [Sometimes] …. which was conceived before reading scene three … which gave rise to song number three and title track, Flesh and Blood …. The process was repeated so on and so forth until … upon completing his first reading of the play, Mike had written the entire basis of the Flesh & Blood songtrack
A raw acoustic demo of all the songs was recorded the following day and duly packaged up and posted to Artistic Director, Phil Clarke of the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, (Phil had originally commissioned Flesh & Blood with Jonathon Church of The Hampstead, Theatre, London). It was Phil Clarke who had sent the Flesh and Blood script to Mike in the first place and asked for a musical response. Phil Clarke passed the demo tape on to Helen Griffin. Mike, Helen and Phil met in Cardiff a few days later and the idea of recording the songtrack was born
This album was recorded on the 3rd and 4th December 1999 at BBC Wales, Cardiff, in Studio One. 10 years earlier in 1989, Mike Peters and The Alarm had recorded in this very studio and so Mike took this anniversary opportunity to reconvene his musical relationship with Eddie Macdonald of The Alarm. A friendship that, from 1981-1991, spawned over 100 compositions, (including A new South Wales, re-recorded here with new lyrics as A New Wales). Mike also resumed a 10 year musical acquaintance with the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir, (who also sang on the original sessions)

As a producer, Mike Peters wanted the album to capture the tension of a live performance with the clarity that only a studio recording can achieve. To this end, an audience of 150 people were invited to attend the two day sessions which ran from midday to midnight (with a break for lunch in the BBC canteen)
A twelve piece string section from The Welsh College of Music was recruited to play a score arranged and conducted by Gill Edward-Jones of Treharris, South Wales. To complete this diverse musical ensemble David Watkins-Clarke was enrolled to play his melodious Rickenbaker bass guitar along with his friend and rhythm accomplice Tom Homewood playing a Ludwig ‘silver sparkle’ 4-piece drum-kit. James Stevenson of London added a flash of electric guitar and Helen Griffin herself joined in on backing vocals.

Musicians & Credits
Mike Peters – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Eddie Macdonald – Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gill Edward-Jones – Piano, Backing Vocals
David Watkins-Clarke – Bass Guitar
Tom Homewood – Drums
Helen Griffin – Backing Vocals
James Stevenson – Electric Guitar
The Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir conducted by Alwyn Humphries – Backing Vocals
String Section of The Welsh College of Music : N Tziomakas, R Karatchivieva, N. Ramirez-Celis, M. Walker, E. Berry, A. Manais, J.Park, K. Rowe, A. Morgan, V. Wright, A. Moore, S. Stevens

String arrangements by Gill Edward-Jones and Eddie Macdonald
Strings conducted by Gill Edward-Jones

All songs written by Mike Peters 5th June 1999 except A New Wales
The album was recorded at BBC Studio One, Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales
Produced by Michael Peters
Recording Engineered by Nigel Lewis and Mike Jones
Mixed : the Forge by lee Monteverde 22nd December 1999
Photography by Jones
Artwork by Karl “The Design Doctor” Parsons @ the Concept Clinic
Released by Twenty First Century Recording Company on CD catalogue number 21C009
Released on 5th January 2000

Track Listing:
Act One
1. House of Commons
2. Life Can Be Beautiful [Sometimes]
3. Flesh & Blood
4, Steve’s Theme
5. Staring Into The Thin Air
6. If I Ruled the World
7. Those Were The Days [Bastard Days]
8. Lucky Numbers
Act Two
9,. Semi-Circles
10. [She’s Got] Two To Think of Now
11. St. David’s Day
12. Working Class Heroine
13. A New Wales
14. Acoustic demo recordings* : House of Commons, Life Can Be Beautiful [Sometimes], Flesh & Blood, Steve’s Theme, If I Ruled the World, Staring Into The Thin Air, Lucky Numbers, Semi-Circles, Those Were The Days [Bastard Days], [She’s Got] Two To Think of Now, St. David’s Day, Working Class Heroine
(* the demos start after 32 minutes of silence on this last track)

The full Flesh and Blood album can be listened to on The Alarm Central Platform

Recording Notes
Friday December 3rd and Saturday December 4th 1999
BBC Wales Studio One, Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales
In Concert and recording ‘Flesh and Blood’

The AAA laminate provided the lucky few with the opportunity to witness the recording of an album from conception to completion, from the laying down of the backing tracks to the final sessions with the string section and choir, right through to the Saturday night concert. They had access to the control room and direct contact with Mike and Eddie as they record the album, ‘Flesh and Blood’

The ‘Flesh and Blood’ recording began at approximately 2pm on Friday the 3rd Dec. and continued through to Saturday evening 4th Dec, when Mike and Eddie hosted a grand finale concert, joined by The Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir.
The BBC studios have been chosen because they hold a special place in the history of Mike Peters and The Alarm. Studio One was the location for the recording of ‘A New South Wales’, which originally took place on 26th June 1989. 10 years on, and Mike Peters has enrolled the help of The Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir, who sang on the original to take part in a special re-recording of ‘A.N.S.W.’, which will feature new lyrics by Mike Peters as performed exclusively at the opening of The Welsh Assembly ‘Voices Of A Nation’ concert

‘Flesh and Blood’ was recorded in two days at the BBC Studios in Cardiff on December 3rd and 4th. Mike Peters, accompanied by Alarm bassist, Eddie Macdonald, recorded the 13 track album with the help of Poets of Justice, bassist, Dave Watkins-Clarke, drummer, Tom Homewood, arranger, Gill Edwards-Jones on piano, a twelve piece string section from the Welsh College of Music and the Morriston Orpheus Choir

In the control room, the recording process was in the safe hands of MPO’s own sound engineer, Mike Jones and BBC engineer, Nigel Lewis who also engineered on the original recording of ‘A New South Wales’, almost 10 years ago. Helen Griffin, the playwright of ‘Flesh and Blood’ was in attendance, accompanying Mike on backing vocals together with Phil Clarke, the Artisitic Director of the Sherman Theatre and chief protagonist of the whole ‘Flesh and Blood’ affair

Fifty MPO laminate holders were given free rein to roam amongst the leads and microphones as well as the hallowed control room as Mike and his colleagues steamed through the recording process. It was an intense and heady weekend, a roller-coaster of emotions as the MPO audience witnessed the making of a new Mike Peters’ masterpiece. The melodies permeated the brain, and once heard were impossible to set free, with all in attendance, desperate to hear the final recordings on CD

House of Commons
Life Can Be Beautiful [Sometimes]
Flesh & Blood
Steve’s Theme
Staring Into The Thin Air
If I Ruled the World
Those Were The Days [Bastard Days]
Lucky Numbers
[She’s Got] Two to Think of Now
St. David’s Day
A New Wales
Working Class Heroine
The finale rendition of St. David’s Day together with the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir moves one to happy elated tears

Video Link – Flesh and Blood News Report on the making of Flesh and Blood album

(Page Updated 17/02/2023)

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