Brothers’ song for heroes

PUBLISHED: 11:17 13 December 2010 | UPDATED: 13:27 13 December 2010

Andy Blackford

Andy Blackford

Archant

TWO brothers from Litlington have made an attack on the music charts with a song dedicated to the British Armed Forces.

Andy and Dick Blackford have pulled together to write Afghanistan, which was inspired by young soldiers being trained at Bassingbourn Barracks before heading out east to fight.

Andy, who fronts rock band Big in Litlington, explained to The Crow how the song came about.

“I wrote the Afganistan after seeing so many fresh-faced young lads step off the train in Royston ready to go to the barracks,” said the former professional musician.

“It’s not a war protest song. It’s really just to salute to the brave young people who unfortunately are the front line of our foreign policy, whether or not you believe their presence to be necessary or desirable.”

Andy, who wrote the theme to the Um Bongo adverts, wanted to make Afghanistan a rock song with an epic, poignant chorus, and describes it as “Billy Bragg crossed with Verdi’s Requiem.”

“It is a rock music anthem, with stark guitar accompaniment for the verses, and a whacking great choir for the chorus,” he said.

“It took nearly a year to record the whole thing, but it’s been well worth it, and we have sold a few too.”

Andy’s older brother Dick, a professional conductor, arranged the song, and put Andy in contact with David Broader of Royston Choral Society, who conducted the Herts Youth Orchestra to sing on the track.

“David Broader was fantastic, and so energetic, and I’m thankful for the work he did,” said Andy.

“The choral parts were arranged by my brother, who is well-known as a composer in the classical tradition. This was fortunate for my bank balance as well.”

Officially, the song is by Andy, but Big in Litlington, who have been performing together for two years, play the music.

The members of the four-piece have an extraordinary music background, with guitarist Dave Howman writing number one hits for the likes of Showaddywaddy and The Drifters, several songs used in Monty Python films, and the theme to One Foot in the Grave.

American drummer Jason Stigler was member of the house band at legendary New York venue CBGBs, and has played with James Brown and Little Richard amongst others.

Andy himself played in cult bands Spreadeagle, who toured with Genesis and Lindisfarne. What’s more, they all live on the same lane in Litlington.

“It’s incredible how all these musicians live in the same village, and play in a band together,” he said.

The song is available on iTunes for 79p, and a clip can be heard at www.biltheband.com. All proceeds go to Help the Heroes.

Another Andy and Dick Blackford song, In the Desert, will be performed by the Royston Choral Society at the town’s Parish Church on December 18, with tickets available by calling 01763 249058.

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