All The Colours - Disc One

by Tony Floyd Kenna

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  • All The Colours -Double CD Set
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    All The Colours -Double CD Set comprising Discs One and Two.
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about

Over the Autumn and Winter of 2011 / 2012 I wrote and recorded two albums with Joe Wanman Mc Guinness (LIGHT SIDE OF THE DARK and DARK SIDE OF THE NIGHT). During this period a number of solo tracks and collaborations were also worked on. The first batch of collaborations was released in April and I felt driven then to concentrate on a solo project. ‘All The Colours’ was taking shape.
The album opens with ‘LIGHT & SHADE’, a fairly obvious theme that nothing in life, in the journey of life, is black and white.
‘ALL THE COLOURS’ follows, ‘I pick the one that shows me you’. ‘STRINGS OF STEEL’ is a little instrumental interlude taking us to…
‘HEART IN A BOX’ … sometimes you just have to move on.
‘BE ALRIGHT’ is my favourite Peter Fitzpatrick song, you just gotta believe it will be alright.
‘MAMA SAID’ was written after spending a day with Mama Kaz and Johnny ‘Skip’ Crawford who had travelled down to Dublin to film with Balcony T.V. Jed McConkey was producing Mama’s new CD at the time so just had to be involved and contributed lead guitar. A noisy and fun track reflecting Kaz’s & Johnny’s energy & enthusiasm.
‘UNKNOWN COUNTRY’ ..centuries of Irish emigration and migration brought on by invasion, oppression, displacement, ethnic cleansing...
‘HEY, HEY, HEY’ duet with Rhiannah Warm, written following an exchange of messages with Swedish singer songwriter Lovisa Stall.
‘WE’RE GONNA MAKE IT’ heading out one morning, had an idea …
‘DRINK FROM YOUR SOUL’ ‘I ran my finger across your picture and I felt a connection …. ‘ Did you ever get a new CD and ‘feel’ the music before even playing it? .. Banga from Patti Smith...... and... feel the lyrics before even singing what you haven't even written....



‘ALL THE COLOURS’ by Tony Floyd Kenna 

CD review by Geoff Bennett.

I have already taken on the task of reviewing two of Wanman and Floyd Kenna’s albums. Now Tony has asked me to exercise my mind once more to review this latest solo collection.

I have to say that I am neither a music historian nor a follower of the genre which rather limits my ability to form any technical critique. That said, listening and ‘talking’ to Tony (and Joe too) through the wonder of the internet and more particularly, Musicians Together, I have begun to enjoy listening to electronic music and understand its value.

Tony can ‘talk the talk’ on so many subjects at so many levels so it is not hard to make a review based on conversation with him. (Those who know Tony will be impressed by my diplomacy here!)

Many musicians of his ilk will already be asking when I am going to actually discuss the music! To them I say, be patient, reviews are important in their own right so I get my say first.

As I said earlier, Tony and Joe have been busy setting up a number of quality products over the last year and Tony explained how from a list of ‘possibles’ some, though excellent in their own right are not considered ‘band’ material. Rather than discard them, Tony has looked at them as his own solo project and the CD I now review is the amalgamation of these and other new work. Tony has explained to me a bit about Dublin’s social problems and how Wanman & Floyd (as Maggies Farm) have dedicated time and sales to community support. It doesn’t surprise me then that much of his music comes from social and personal awareness.

DISC ONE –

Light & Shade came from a songwriting challenge suggested by the poet/songwriter, Brian Hardman. Tony looked at light and shade being the sometimes missing elements in our outlook on life. Seeing everything as black and white does not make for an integrated society while the components in between show that we do share similarities. I like this philosophy. This can be seen in the music where different sound textures begin to meld and create harmony.  Interestingly, Brian heard Tony’s first draft and developed it into an acoustic version. Following this, Tony took on board some of Brian’s ideas and the song returned in electronic form. Tony’s distinctive bass leads us in to this. 

All The Colours giving its title to the collection, takes up a repetitive ‘acoustic’ theme which creates a dreamlike effect. Tony tells that this track came from times when he sat waiting in a car wondering if we are real. What happens in our life which actually brings us into reality? We use colours to create moods and thoughts and in this song, Tony chooses a colour that turns the dream into reality.  . ‘Of all the colours I can choose from, I pick the one that shows me you..’. 

Easy enough to ‘live the dream’ but we need substance in our lives or there will be nothing to dream about. Being an ‘acoustic’ person, I like this track. The theme is quite basic but it does float along and add to the muse. Here too, Tony’s whispering technique adds to the dream-like sensation.

Strings of Steel is perhaps influenced by some of the funky drums and bass riffs we see on Wanman & Floyd tracks. I think of Tony mainly as a bassist (even though he does most of the guitar work on these solo tracks) and enjoy seeing where a bass guitar goes when let off the lead. This doesn’t disappoint. Something I really love about Tony and Joe too is that their ‘strings of steel’ excite but don’t hurt. This track is a good example. The tension is there especially at the break when the fugue sets in. Tony wanted to find an instrumental to make the transition between two vocal numbers and this fits the bill.

Heart In A Box is based on the symbolism of pirate culture or more particularly, Pirates of the Caribbean where the Captain’s heart is cut out and locked in a box. Tony’s lyrics suggest that this is how dead romances should be dealt with (equally symbolically I trust) I love the rhythm of this one. Tony tells me that he chose a simple chord sequence through both verse and chorus, Tom Petty style, to create a rolling building backing track. The vocal aimed to be hard and impassioned, nothing sentimental, ‘Nothing to give, Nothing to share no more.’ Tony imagines Captain Sparrow singing this (apparently Johnny Depp has a ‘track’ record of accompanying. I leave you to find out where and whom). Speaking personally, I wonder if Jack Sparrow possessed a romantic heart?.. but then, I was brought up with Burt Lancaster as the Crimson Pirate. 

Be Alright is one of few songs covered by Tony. It was written Peter Fitzpatrick. Tony tells me that, “Peter sent me a message inviting me to cover one of his songs for a forthcoming project. Without hesitating I said ‘yes’. Peter had been introduced to me a few years back by a mutual friend ‘Steddie’ Eddie Joyce.

 He was doing a blog on some of the early bands and demos we were all part of and reflecting back after twenty, twenty five years. A studio band of mine, Good Intentions, was included in this. Coincidently that very same band had just reformed and were about to release ‘Sacred Ground’….” 

Interestingly, Tony has reviewed this track himself on Musicians Together as part of  Peter’s solo E.P. ‘Lonely Hearts And Car Parts’ Again, I like the ‘acoustic’ aspect of this and the steady bass. I have a feeling that in this case the vocals are a little too hard for the piece. Peter puts a more folky upbeat sound to his lyrics but who is to say there is not beauty in the beast! Tony admits this himself but says he had to do the track  in his own way. I like his description, ‘My style is a sort of talk-sing back of the throat one’. We are not in the business of being ‘tribute’ artistes besides which one of my all-time favourite tracks is ‘Wandering Star’ by Lee Marvin..

Mama Said is one of my favourites here. Tony wrote this after an enjoyable time with Mama Kaz, a singer-songwriter from Belfast, well known in Ireland and hopefully, thanks in a small way to Musicians Together, worldwide. Incorporating the soaring gutsy lead guitar of Jed McConkey, Tony has produced a fitting tribute to this wonderful personality. 
To get an idea of her unique style and background you only need to hear her headline track on ‘Lipstick and Cocaine’ (Produced by Jed), better still watch her live or failing that, watch the video which is astounding! Tony will forgive my digression but it does explain the feeling he and Jed have put into this track. 

Unknown Country comes from another song-writers’ project. I think all peoples who have been forced to leave their homeland share a deep feeling of sadness and resentment. Tony chose the history of his own people to chronicle the strife which led so many countrymen to early death or distant banishment. The music takes on a Native American feel which aptly highlights the similarities between two oppressed and exiled nations. I love the rumbling bass to this and the anguished howls at the beginning and end. Here too I note a different and not unpleasant tone in the vocals.

Hey, Hey, Hey is one of those two part dialogue songs which really get me excited. Tony enters the realm of country music as he is joined by Rhiannah Warm, another product of the Irish music phenomena.

The song came from another real-time exchange of messages between Tony and a ‘reviewee’, Sweden’s Lovisa Stall. Tony’s romantic imagination took over to produce this lovely song. 

‘Hey, Hey, Hey’ has become a term of welcome in certain circles. I love the
composition and the contrasting vocals of Tony & Rhiannah.

We’re Gonna Make It is one of those upbeat messages advising confidence in yourself and silver linings. Tony appears to work best when the mood is right. The sun was shining when he wrote this gentle piece. Again, I felt an acoustic touch to this.

I remember learning at an early age that you should write not only about what you know but what you feel and believe and then you will capture your audience’s attention. Drink from Your Soul at first sight appears to reflect an ‘obsession’ for things dark and supernatural and Tony accepts that many will see that in the lyrics of this song. However, in his comments, Tony explains that he is referring to that deep feeling one gets when listening to music or just, ‘running a finger across a CD cover.’ He says he had this feeling before even listening to the recent songs of Allison McGrath and Patti Smith. (Get hold of their CDs to see if this works for you.).

He believes that their positive energy gave him the stimulus, as if transfusing their souls to his. I know this to be true as in a smaller way. I have been inspired just by talking to some of these dedicated song-writers and musicians. Who can just sit and listen without air-guitaring or finger-drumming? I even found myself harmonising in the chorus! 

I loved the build up of the tension in this. I also recognise the ‘banshee’ chorus from Wanman & Floyd Kenna recordings. I imagine those creatures will visit my hotel room when I finally visit Dublin.

This was a well-chosen end to Disc One as it left time to reflect on the words before another track crashed in.

Disc Two includes seven of Tony’s Wanman & Floyd tracks, and three solo ones from the 2010/11 period, possibly the most well-received solo tracks. When you listen to Wanman & Floyd collaborations it is easy to see how complimentary these two fine musicians are in their creation of music.

Of the seven, my favourite for personal reasons is My Woman Blues. I have heard several covers but none can achieve the angst of the original.

Of the final three, solo tracks Don’t Worry ’Bout Me and Break of Day are stages of the journey which stay close to the Blues Rock idiom  but finally, Sky, a celebration of Mother Earth, gives light to what is to come and now has arrived, ‘All The Colours’.

I have enjoyed listening to this double compilation and talking to Tony about thoughts on these tracks and music in general. I have also enjoyed visiting the music of those he has mentioned to me and I to you. 

‘Coinnigh an ceol ag imirt, Tony’.

Geoff Bennett

credits

released September 27, 2012

Vocals, instruments, recording & production by Tony Floyd Kenna.
Lead guitar by Jed McConkey on 'Mama Said'
Vocals by Rhiannah Warm on 'Hey, Hey, Hey'.

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Track Name: Light & Shade
The World ain’t black, the World ain’t white
It’s light and shade, like the day and night,
It’s light and shade.

Is anyone happy, is anyone sad,
We’re light and shade, we ain’t too bad,
We’re light and shade.

So if you see me in colour
If you see me in light
Don’t you know I won’t leave you
Alone…..in the night…

If I did not love you, if I did not care,
There’d be light and shade, that we both could share,
Yeah, light and shade.

We may see grey, we may see shades,
Yeah, light and shade, as the memories fade,
It’s light and shade.
Track Name: All The Colours
Sometimes I think I’m dreaming
And the World outside just doesn’t seem real
Sometimes I feel I’m falling
Thru’ the colours of night and the hope of day.

And sometimes, I just want to wake up
‘feel the Sun and the light of a brand new day
And always, I hope I’ll see you
To find some comfort in the things you say.

Of all the colours
I can choose from
I’ll pick the one
That shows me you.

And if I ever, think I’ losing
I’ll hold on tight to all I have
To the memories of the good times
To the simmering light out on the wave

My World is like the ocean
It ebbs and flows and never keeps still
And sometimes, it might brew a storm
But I’m holding fast, and I always will.

Of all the colours
I can choose from
I’ll pick the one
That shows me you.
Track Name: Heart In A Box
Well, she threw me a line
But I kept sailing by
Guess she couldn’t figure
And she kept asking why
But I ain’t doin’ that
I ain’t feeling her love, no more.

Yeah, I have no place to rest
And no place like home
But I’m feeling cool
Now I’m in my zone
Don’t tell me you care
‘Cause I know that you don’t, I know.

So put my heart in a box
Put the key on ice
Gotta cut to the core
‘Cause it’s not very nice
There’s just nothing to give
Nothing to share no more.

Well’ if she calls me up
I won’t think twice
I won’t say hello
I won’t hear her voice
‘Cause she’s got nothing to give
She’s nothing left, for me.

So put my heart in a box
Put the key on ice
Gotta cut to the core
‘Cause it’s not nice
There’s nothing to give
There’s nothing to share no more.
Track Name: Unknown Country
Our Children are dead
And our homes are taken
On the roads are the people
That the Lord’s forsaken
When There’s nothing to eat
And there’s no one to care
There’s no reason for hope
We can only despair
If we once were kings
If we once were strong
It’s so hard to explain
How it all went wrong
They came from the sea
And they took our lives
Cast us out
And put us down…

So I can’t go home
And there’s nothing to feed me
I’ll have to take that boat
To that Unknown country

They killed our husbands
They killed our wives
There was nowhere to run
To save our lives
‘There’s no happy ending
For the millions who died
We will always remember
All our children who … cried..
Track Name: Tony Floyd Kenna & Rhiannah Warm. - Hey, Hey, Hey.
Hey, Hey, Hey…..

I heard your song on the radio
And I thought you were singing to me.
I wrote a letter and sent it off
Crossed my fingers and waited to see.

I read his words on the note he sent
I have to say I was blown away.
It might be quick but I fell in love
Perhaps too soon as some would say.

Hey, Hey, Hey….

We may be Oceans apart
But we can feel the Heart
We may have never met..
But our course is set.

Hey, Hey, Hey…

I’m Just a boy.
I’m just a girl.
And we’re both feeling pretty good.
Is it too soon?
I don’t think so,
It’s just new love and we’re feeling good.

Hey, Hey, Hey….
Track Name: Drink From Your Soul
In that glorious time between dusk and dawn
I can loose myself in your absolute song
I can feel your pulse in my still beating heart
And arrange all the memories with no time apart
In that glorious time in the dark healing night
I can float on the breeze of emotion and light
The Moon’s a reflector, bright side or dark
It can pull it can howl it can savage the heart

I can drink, drink from your Soul
I could drink, drink from your Soul.

And I can taste the pure sweetness as our two Souls entwine
On the dark side of midnight we open the wine
For we may never meet on the light side of dawn
We may never know just what street we are on
We may never touch never reach out and smile
But the Universe knows and gives birth to our child
And if I dreamed, if I dreamed, what a dream, what a dream
When I awoke I could tell you your future was seen

And I could drink, drink from your soul
I could drink, drink from your soul