You Didn’t Know – The Three Belles and Bevin Boys “In Full Swing” CD track review

You Didn’t Know, the sixth track on the Three Belles new album “In Full Swing” was written by the Bevin Boys’ Will Keel-Stocker.

The Three Belles present their new debut album "In Full Swing".
The Three Belles present their new debut album “In Full Swing”.

It begins as a torch song with the lines:

“I didn’t know that you were looking for me last night / I wasn’t home when you called round. / You didn’t know, I saw I saw you leave with her last night / My baby in the arms of another / So it’s true you’ve found a love in somebody new / Just when I was feeling that our own love was true…”

The tremolo in the vibraphone backs up the melancholy message, maintaining a wistfulness throughout.

But as is so true to the Belles, these girls shake off their blues and get on with life, turning the situation round once again, never wallowing, always doing.

In the merry fast world the Belles live in, by the end of the song the situation is fully reversed. Along the way, there’s an irresistibly catchy melody, backed with the Belles’ trademark harmonies and each of the girls get to show off their solo singing voices.

Sally / Gail’s voice has a wonderful crystal clarity to it. Anneka / Betty’s has a richness, while Isabelle / Dorothy’s has smooth deeper tones that remind me sometimes of Judy Garland’s, of warmth and valve radios.

In all a chilled out number that varies the pace beautifully between Say Si Si and the next track on the album, In Full Swing…

Order your copy of The Three Belles debut Album, In Full Swing.

“Belles Are Swingin’” by The Three Belles “In Full Swing” Album Track Review

The second track on The Three Belles’ In Full Swing debut album is their bubbly signature song Belles Are Swingin’.

The Three Belles present their new debut album "In Full Swing".
The Three Belles present their new debut album “In Full Swing”.

For those who’ve bought the single, this wholly new version of Belles Are Swingin’ will come as a real eye-opener.  Gone is the stripped-down Bevin Boys trio of the single, to be replaced with the full big band sound of the WKS Studio Orchestra.

From the trumpet riff intro with the bouncing bass line and a foghorn bass horn marking the end of each lyrical line and the start of the next, this version of Belles Are Swingin’ is an extraordinarily catchy gem of a signature song.

After the initial warm nostalgic brass chords that hark back to golden times of sunshine along with a triumphant trumpet’s declaration of the melody, the horns pull back to make plenty of space for the vocals.  In that space, the guitar bounces the song along with a strong bass line punching underneath it all. As the melody goes on, the excitement grows and the horn lines come back in again blending their ’30s dance orchestra feel.

Swinging along with a bass line that underpins the melody perfectly, the song suddenly erupts into a higher level when the chorus kicks in with a luscious harmony and the girls split into a wider harmonic spread telling us they want to “see the whole place jumping” and that we should “get with the rhythm, you gotta learn how”. With this tune, that’s easy to do.

Then, with wonderful attention to dynamics, the song drops down so the girls are singing over a stripped-down rhythm section before the song comes back strong with the finale as the whole orchestra joins in.

It’s a vibrant mix drawing on thirties and forties harmonies, but with a modern drive that pushes the melody irresistibly along.

Thanks to Will Keel-Stocker’s close attention to the arrangement there ere are so many different textures in this song.

It leaves you knowing you’ve heard real class.   And damned catchy class at that, too!

Order your copy of The Three Belles debut Album, In Full Swing.

The Three Belles New CD “In Full Swing” Track Review: “In The Mood”

I’ve been handed an advance copy of The Three Belles’ debut album In Full Swing.

It’s so fresh the cover hasn’t yet been printed, so the piccie below only shows the disc, adorned with the unmistakably vibrant artwork of fourth Belle, Chloe Seddon.

The Three Belles present their new debut album "In Full Swing".
The Three Belles present their new debut album “In Full Swing”.

In Full Swing‘s first track is the Glenn Miller classic In The Mood. It’s a great choice for an opener. Familiar to big band and Belles fans alike, it’s also the name of the super-popular dance night they pack out when The Belles stage their fab, fun recreation of a forties dance.

While the track sounds familiar at first, kicking off with the classic Glen Miller riff,  it also has its surprises, breaking out from the smooth Miller arrangement with unexpected orchestral stabs and with the girls’ close harmonies driving the track along with boundless energy. It’s really cool to hear The Three Belles heading in a whole new direction in this track, fronting a big band as they vivaciously perform this absolute gem of a tune.

What I can say about In The Mood is that with this track the album starts as it means to go on: it’ll come as a familiar friend to forties fans and will also be a welcome bit of joy for the lover of swing and the connoisseur of great sounds. It feels modern and vintage all at once.

In The Mood’s fresh swinging sound is brought to you by The Three Belles and the WKS Studio Orchestra led by the extraordinarily gifted William Keel-Stocker, whose arrangements and energy shine throughout this lovely opener.

For Belles afficionados who know the girls’ work well, there’s more freshness and fun to come. But more of that soon!

Advance order your copy of In Full Swing!


The Irresistible Appeal of Sex With Strangers…

For some sexual adventurers, the idea of having sex with a stranger has a definite frisson. As one dogger puts it:

“Sex with no strings, where you’re never going to see them again, so it doesn’t matter if you’re doing a good job or a bad job – what could be better? Of course it’s addictive.”

That’s the basis of Channel 4’s “Dogging Tales” which lifts the lid on the nocturnal activities of nature lovers with something of a difference.

Terry lives out "every man's dream"in Channel 4's "Dogging Tales"
Terry lives out “every man’s dream”in Channel 4’s “Dogging Tales”

For those in love with the idea of this night time sport, who fancy the idea of stealing into the night and bumping and grinding with a “furry triangle” (“and for free!” as one dogger proudly tells us), this is a perfect test as to whether you’re the right stuff.

The peculiar glass-eyed interviewee who first graces our screens from behind his owl mask, Les, dispels any ideas that this is going to reveal a deep experience. Vapid and everyday in his flat delivery describing ploughing through hundreds of women while untold numbers do the same to his partner in an evening, the only exotic elements in the interview are embodied in his collection of tropical birds.

Of course, it’s the lack of depth that appeals to doggers – who come in the night from all angles, it appears.

“I’ve met people from all walks of life, I’ve met undertakers, solicitors, vicars – the whole lot,” the husband of one dedicated dogging wife with a porn star’s body tells us.

From saddos to addicts, to bored couples, Dogging Tales shows it how it is, but tries not to tell us who it is, adding to the weirdness by getting everyone to wear animal masks for their privacy – simultaneously hammering home that we’re in the kingdom of the beasts, here.

So many people are hunting for something to fill the void, if you will excuse the pun. And although it appears to be a sad exercise at first, don’t let that fool you. It remains one all the way through.

Compulsion, addiction, body dysmorphia and the hit of sex to briefly dispel the surrounding darkness – you are watching lonely people in the midst of existential crisis – surrounded by darkness, little figures of solipsistic, warm softness in the night. It’s philosophical. Jean-Paul Sartre could have been a dogger. He probably was.

There are hilarious moments. Tiny little pipsqueak Terry and his rotund girlfriend are strangely depressing figures pushed to experiment by his 7 day working week and her libido that has lured her to cheat on him. He announces that he entertains “every man’s dream” of wanting two women. Two weeks later, he is interviewed on his sofa again, squeezed between two massive women, a blinking schoolboy flanked by two domineering aunties.

But when he is suddenly confronted with the reality of a stranger fondling his girlfriend, that’s too much for him. He’s a little frightened fellow, who goes home in a tizzy. It’s comedic-philosophic and suddenly profound. Terry, like many men, clearly is uncomfortable when his fantasies come face-to-face with reality in a freezing cold dark wood that he’s nearly fallen over in.

Those animal masks add something else to the proceedings. They make you think of a pagan rite that has suddenly re-emerged in the emptying countryside – a kind of pointless ritual that relieves for a few minutes the emptiness of existence, rather than being an atavistic homage to the phallus/fertility-cult.

Though not entirely – because there is fertility here and something very primal and very basic. Surprisingly, despite his glass eye and adenoidal voice, Les has 18 children and, as he announces, he can’t get a condom big enough to fit.

As for an ordinary member of the public who complains about the condoms in the woods and how the doggers abuse nature, there is no straightforward message about taste and morals here, as he promptly empties his dog over the nature reserve that was previously used as a dogging spot. The countryside is there to be abused, it seems. The image of beautiful Nature fouled is too obvious to comment on.

It’s a strange world, and it’s an odd fantasy. But, if you look at these people and you find nothing peculiar in what they are doing, and you aren’t a little saddened by the way they  have come to this pass, then well done. You just might make the grade.