(Buying the albums sampled on”Picnic”].
The anonymous sleeve notes on the back cover kick off thus:
“The lyric and glee songs of England put together like icons by shepherds and farm workers all seem to tell part of the same story: meetings, partings, young men taken away to fight in wars they didn’t understand. Beginning in a May meadow, with the sun shining; the senses are singing and all truths universal. On that morning you and the world were created and all things seemed possible; puritanism the only serpent in England’s Eden. The girl you met you would have married if her doting had not led you away across those fields gathering other flowers. Was it the recruiting sergeant who turned your head to a higher than love’s duty? The young man would return only in his dreams; girls’ dreams of when it was really pleasant and delightful. Through the eyes of an old widow who dances with her girl-memories looking back through the peephole of the first world war, past that ritual slaughter of the dearest and best generation of young country boys to – what? More generations of young gods of orchard and pasture, cut down, wasted like our forests before. But today’s England has a special generation; from grammar schools and housing estates, from techs and universities are coming enough young men and women with a clear historical and prophetic vision of themselves, enough now to continue the story: no propagandist is going to fool them, or government coerce them: They know that they will inherit the best of their tradition, and to them this record is fondly dedicated.”
Wow, or what? More next time.