Stream the new Crazy Arm album alongside the liner notes

By Tom Aylott

We love a bit of Crazy Arm here at Punktastic, and with the band releasing their brand new acoustic album ‘The Southern Wild’, we just had to bring attention to the release!

So, what better than having a read through the liner notes alongside a stream of the album?

Check out the album using the player in this article, and read the track by track as you soak in the sweet sounds. It’s an absolutely storming album, and one you need to wrap your ears around ASAP. Buy it here from iTunes.


Vicky and Jon originally recorded this for Patrick’s surprise 26th birthday CD. It sounded so good we just had to do it in the band. ‘Oh Death’ is an old spiritual dirge, sang a cappella, probably dating from the early 19th century. There are many more verses to the original song than this but we wanted to keep things moving along. ‘Hell To Pay’ was written in the style of a chain gang song, replete with tin of nails for percussion, and salutes the working class women, of all revolutions and political struggles, who always suffer the most yet fight back with an iron-cast determination. Free Pussy Riot? Free all female political prisoners!

Not a tribute to fallen soldiers, this is in remembrance of the true heroes: radical activists who have laid down their lives or liberty to fight for a better world without military imperialism, police violence, global capitalism, fascist oppression and divisive laws. Dedicated to Kostas Sakkas, Herman Wallace, Irina Lipskaya, Bradley Manning and countless, nameless others.

I was learning to play the banjo properly, for once, and while researching the clawhammer technique, I started to write this as a solo banjo piece. It isn’t played in clawhammer style, though, just with a plectrum. I’ll get around to learning it someday, just like I’ll get around to running an animal sanctuary someday. The lyrics are a mish-mash of how desensitised to suffering we have become, and how the personal revolution is never over.

One of Vicky’s favourites. I find it very hard to adapt to change, to new ideas and modes of behaviour. Which is probably why I’ve lived in the same rented house for nearly three decades, with some of the same anarchist posters on the walls since I first moved in. Living fossils. I can’t blame it on a carefree and wonderful childhood so I guess it has to be another symptom of depression and anxiety that has plagued me all my adult life. Footnote: my friend Anna’s son, Jethro, when asked in school what he wanted to be when he grew up, answered ‘Insane’. My all-time favourite answer to that career-loaded question.

We’re well aware how much of a Midlake rip-off this is. Imitation and flattery and all that. I wrote the phrase ‘county jaws’ by accident. I meant to type ‘county laws’. A serendipitous typo, if you will.

We wanted trumpet on this song but, sadly, it never happened. Next time, Mr Dobson! At least we managed to get some harmonium down. This particular one belongs to Pete Miles but Jon and Vicky borrowed it for a long period of time. I wouldn’t say that either of them mastered it but Jon puts in a decent and more than adequate performance here, even if it is only a drone. And if you listen closely you can hear the foot-pedals being frantically worked.

You may recognise this one. It was a B-side to our digital-only single ‘Henry Fabian Flynn’. We thought we’d give it the full folk/country makeover, which is how it first started before Crazy Arm ever existed.

My mum is a sensitive soul. I’m a lot like her. My dad is a pain in the ass. I’m a lot like him too. I hope that they won’t mind me saying that. I love them both, of course. Mum is also very ill. It hurts a lot when she hurts a lot. I think they’ve both just about accepted that I’m not like normal sons. And I think they now understand that this is not necessarily a bad thing.

This song was on our very first demo, ‘Cross Country’, back in 2007. We always intended to re-record and release it properly. Now’s as good a time as any, I guess.

I originally wrote this on banjo and demo’ed it as a super-fast bluegrass stomp with full band treatment. We didn’t have the time to record it like that so I thought I’d try it a cappella. The drone in the song was ‘built’ by James Bragg, using clarinet and cello samples, I believe. We will do the full band version at some point in the near future. I‘m well aware that the words sound religious – I love messing with biblical imagery. It’s just a bloody shame that God doesn’t exist.

My personal favourite. Inspired, in part, by the staggering work of David Eugene Edwards (Woven Hand / 16 Horsepower) and Nick Cave, it’s a companion piece to ‘White Canyon’ from our second album, ‘Union City Breath’. There’s a wry nod to Crass in there too, amongst all the moody melodrama (and they also made it onto the front cover of this record sleeve). Patrick’s piano coda was a spur-of-the-moment improv that couldn’t have worked out any better. (Hidden track – ‘Cajun Secrets’. Just messin’.)

Check Crazy Arm out on the following dates soon:

22 PLYMOUTH White Rabbit (w/Jim Jones Revue + Damerels + Vince Lee)

14 DEVONPORT Column Acoustic (acoustic w/Dick Gaughan)
28 PLYMOUTH White Rabbit (electric w/Antillectual + Sweet Empire)
30 CHELTENHAM Frog & Fiddle (electric w/Woahnows)

01 BRADFORD 1 in 12 Club
02 LINCOLN Scene (electric)
07 MANCHESTER Star & Garter (acoustic w/Larry & His Flask)