May 29, 2024

Mark Radcliffe, recently recovered from cancer, writes a folk epic on England in the times of coronavirus

Mark Radcliffe, Radio 1 DJ, who has recently recovered from cancer, has released an epic sixteen minute song about England under the times of coronavirus.

Its an incredibly poetic piece, a brilliant attempt at capturing the ‘new normal’; the coronavirus ‘zeitgeist’. Whilst Radcliffe’s voice wavers at times, struggling to make the notes, his vocal limitations are rendered redundant by his heart, which shines intensely throughout the song.

The sixteen minute song riffs on the motif ‘and the sun shone’ a brilliant move – its so true – the weird thing about this time has been the weather, so damned good for the most part.

On writing the song Mark explained,

Hi everyone – hope you’re all doing okay, especially those who are ill, lonely or battling on the front line of essential services.

Like everyone else I’ve been filling my time at home, mainly with creative endeavours as my d.i.y. skills are negligible.

I was struck by how many difficult changes had been imposed on everyone and how that seemed to contrast with the endless sunny weather. That’s what got me started on this lock-down ballad.

Then Bob Dylan released ‘Murder Most Foul’ which I loved, especially the way he’d sort of found a hinterland between song and the spoken word. It was also seventeen minutes long and that got me thinking….why don’t I write an epic of my own. And so, over about two weeks, I wrote twenty verses. Sorry. I then gave it to my regular co-writer in Fine Lines David Boardman who sketched out the chords and recorded the guitar over a simple drum beat.

Next my long time collaborator, former member of The Family Mahone and Galleon Blast and current member of Fine Lines, Chris Lee added double bass and pedal steel. He also mixed the track. Our dear Galleon Blast friend Clare ‘Fluff’ Smith contributed fiddle and cello before another Fineliner, Gary O’Brien, finished things off with piano and organ.

Hope you like it and that it speaks to you about these strangest of times. See you down the road somewhere. Eventually.

All best and stay safe,

Mark Radcliffe

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