A quick post to show off some rather fine musical swag that arrived over the weekend. I recently signed up to become a “patron” for the new Sweet Billy Pilgrim record which is all pretty exciting as I’ve never patronised anything before; you may insert your own gag about how patronising I am here.
So the deal is that, for the princely sum of £85, you get a signed vinyl copy of their last album (the Mercury nominated, bloody marvellous “Crown & Treaty”), a CD of unreleased music, a hand written set of lyrics to a song of your choice, a pair of tickets to an upcoming gig, and a copy of the new album when it’s finished. There’s a £500 version where you get a private gig in your house which I would love to have stumped up for but the subsequent divorce would have cost even more. More details on all of that here at their website.
SBP loosely hail from Aylesbury (what is with Aylesbury bands and crowd sourcing – has Mark Kelly been running workshops ?) which, in a bizarre way, has always made me feel a certain affinity with them beyond the fact that I love their music. So my £85 was for anyone trying to create something in the Chilterns; be it them, Marillion, or Bill Drummond plotting his latest art experiment. Of the three I figure SBP will probably use the money in the wisest way – Marillion don’t need it so much and Bill might burn it.
I guess the cost, pitched some way above the usual price of a new album, might raise a few of your eyebrows. But what’s a song worth ? If you asked me to put a price on Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” or Merry Clayton’s vocal on “Gimme Shelter” or John Squire’s solo at the end of “I Am The Resurrection” or the drums at the start of The National’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio” then I would struggle. I have paid money for all of those records so I can tell you the cost to me in buying them but the £10.99 (or whatever it was) doesn’t come close to expressing their value to me.
It’s a question that I asked myself again last year when SBP offered up “Crown and Treaty”, for free. It seemed – still seems – mildly ridiculous to me that something so lovingly crafted and brilliantly executed could be mine for nothing. In particular the closing track, “Blue Sky Falls”, a gorgeous, fragile slow burner, is worth more than that surely ? For each and every time it has lifted my spirits as I picked my way across the countryside separating Amersham from Milton Keynes, driving to work, for each and every moment it has spoken to me of escape, every time that layered, building, intertwining “oh my god” harmony at the song’s climax has raised the hair on my neck and pulled a smile to my face, for all of those times it’s worth rather a lot more than nothing.
Here it is in all its glory:
So £85 seems like fair redress to me. Besides: behold the glorious swag !