Dan Haywood's New Hawks

Dan Haywood's New Hawks

 Lancaster, England, GBR
BandRockFolk

Dan Haywood is a songwriter and ornithologist based in Lancashire, England, where his newest record, Dapple, was recorded at various locations in the Forest of Bowland.

Biography

Given that Dapple could be set in the 18th century, I was keen for there to be no motor vehicle noise, just in case the listener might prefer to imagine it that way. So the locations had to be out of the way, and some of the sessions started as early as 4am to beat the sound of the Abbeystead gamekeepers Land Rovers and Bowland farmers tractors. Days on which the breeze might gust above 5mph were avoided, which was good for reducing wind noise and for a preponderance of midges.

In the spring sessions the air was alive with birdsong, and youd wade into that set and make a small territory and start singing yourself, just a thread in a tapestry. Theres a list of avian background singers and scene-stealers on the sleeve. Later sessions could be deathly quiet and the molestation of the air was all our doing, like on the post-dusk title track, when the frightened words seemed to flash up in a pitch-black anechoic chamber. Rather than Miltons darkness visible, its darkness audible.

I spent half a decade making a very long-playing record called Dan Haywoods New Hawks, which was largely a place-specific and time-specific suite of songs, set in places in the Highlands of Scotland where I lived and worked in the early years of the 21st century. There were huge flights of fancy and trips around the globe, but it always returned there a 32-part love song to Caithness and Sutherland. But as a suite, Dapple is a love letter to rural England, although it sometimes perhaps sounds a little Danish or Austrian or Hungarian.

New Hawks involved many musicians, and had a few snatches of library recordings of Highland birds and so forth. At the time, we were working in increasingly larger buildings like churches for spatial effects. So it seemed to be the next step to record in the outdoors and be part of the ambience rather than add that in. My New Hawks bandmate, the inimitable Mancunian composer and multi-instrumentalist Paddy Steer, had picked up a 70s mono Nagra, a portable tape recorder used in film and radio, which audiophiles maintain is of the highest fidelity. I nagged him to help me with an al fresco project.

Obviously I needed players who could work fast and sound good, and who werent addicted to post-production or overdubbing because none of that was available; it was all live and set in stone. So we have Mr Steer, Andy Raven, Therese Standish, Richard Turner and Jeff Barnes, who are tasty and fearless, and all necessarily unplugged on guitars and mandolins but also double basses, drum kits and harmoniums that got heavier and heavier as we carried them up bilberry-covered hills or down ferny gullies. DH

Praise for Dan Haywood's New Hawks:

"This strong, 32-song album is positively livid with ideas and resists easy categorisation" WIRE MAGAZINE

"A wild-eyed mix of cosmic country and chamber-folk...makes for a thrilling noise" UNCUT MAGAZINE

"Charmingly, it succeeds in being both engaging and oddly uplifting while also being as dour in texture as a North Sea shoreline" INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

"A grand, definitive statement...sacrificing none of his unique poetic elegance for the sake of either conformity or convention" THE LINE OF BEST FIT

"Defiantly individual...Surely a future cult classic, its raw takes on folk and country are a timeless delight" 24/7

"A lifework in its extensive meditations" SHINDIG MAGAZINE

"Epic...fervent and profound" THE FLY

"Very far out" DC BERMAN, SILVER JEWS

Lyrics

Killer Of Men

Written By: Dan Haywood

I am a wicked and a very sad man
The things that I could tell you
Could've been told to you long ago
By a drunk old woman all sat down
When I first came, when I first came to this town

And the women? Though the girls are hardly fair
Take pride in fair deception
There's a fascination for young people
This town has no cathedral
This town has no cathedral and there's dark pragmatic laughter everywhere
And these women, though these girls are hardly fair
Take pride and look all lively
When they think they've seen you all before

Pierre Smirnoff, killer of men
Destroyer of men
No fig-water in the drinking up here
Destroyer of men

June darkens faintly as you queue on to the club
Sun come shutting-time
Back to the mornings when farm diesel was my friend
And my friends were by my side

I finished her sentence - was it six months? Was it nine months? Two, three, four
Or was it five years down the road
Pierre Smirnoff, killer of men
Destroyer of men
Pierre Smirnoff, killer of men
Killer of men

David In Cedars

Written By: Dan Haywood

Nothing doing but the ninth changed all of that
When I found something on the mat
In our house David only means one man
He got one good one in the can
Litter-pickers doing it for sweet sleep
Turn stuff up by Lover's Leap
I check the weather with this pitch pipe of a house
F sharp means it's blowing south
In our house the name of David could only ever mean one man
He got one good one in the can
I bid for brine in which he swam

Oddest peacock you ever saw
Young blood seeps through his barrel door
You can only ask so much when an old man makes his dram
He got one good one in the can
Litter-pickers doing it for sweet sleep
Turn stuff up by Lover's Leap
Oddest peacock you ever saw
Young blood seeps through his barrel door
In the cedars with a ring on either hand
Blonde cows celebrate the man
Nothing brewing but the tenth changed all of that
When I found something on the mat

Spate River

Written By: Dan Haywood

Short work crossing that spate river
The trouble always coming in the meeting of men
He shook my white and bitten right hand, let out a growl
And shook my hand again
He couldn't have been much more tawny
The moor purplish like the frill of a cock
He said, "Us people here, we're like your 14-point deer
Tethered to a rock
The rock being the expectation
You ticks on our belly sides
Immune to a blunted hoof
You unscrew when you're blue
Summer through
Back south till you attach again"

Bucks and Herts Women's Green Army
Camped to save mahogany in 1985
When they dried up, Cathy sold up and moved way north
To the far coast where hope's alive
But man, they're selling hard liquor
They're chopping native Norways for the turbine and the plough
I suspect that you've put stuff down in the foxholes in the past
But you've really done it now

I've got a pressure cooker
Varicocele either ball
Counsel charitably
Neutered croft kids run the hall
But in Brazil the village children knew the drill and feared the petrol saw

Please don't pick on my memory
I've got such a massive vista on all you creatures great and small
I know you sinners are insisting on dossiers and dates for things
But I can't record it all
Attention all you gay lovers
Turning stuff up down by the edge of Steòrnabhagh woods
I know you think that you can really love each other
But it's only me who can love you good
Only me who loves you good
Only me what loves you good
Only me who sees what you do down by the edge of Steòrnabhagh wood

Short work crossing that spate river
The trouble always coming in the meeting of men
He shook my white and bitten right hand, let out a growl
And shook my hand again
He couldn't have been much more tawny
The moor purplish like the frill of a cock
He said, "Us people here, we're like your 14-point deer
Tethered to a rock
The rock being the expectation
You ticks on our belly sides
Immune to a blunted hoof
You unscrew when you're blue
Summer through
Back south till you attach again"

Eagles of Black Sutherland

Written By: Dan Haywood

I thought I could make like Scott and find the world
But when we set foot we sat in a bar with peas rolling on the table
Anyone with long red hair or a lonely girl
Or with a young approach
A life is saved to touch

She says, "Och, what must it be like?
Waking in a different bed every night"

John Peel talks to the Byrds but is too left-bank
His hair is blonde down to the shoulder
What's exchanged is blank
But I've said, "With nature, you're never alone"
Mosses creep in fingers cross a mammal bone

The sky is unrelenting and the rain goes through
I try to broadcast sea noise from a walking boot
I track a spiral eagle til the edge of earthly light
The person nearest to me mans a satellite
The sky is unrelenting and the rain goes through
I try to broadcast sea noise from a walking boot
I track a spiral eagle til the edge of earthly light
The person nearest to me mans a satellite

I've been down this way so long
I know too well
Try to imagine a worse cartographer man
I feel a long, long pause
Next I'm down on all fours
I try to note it down
A cable car and back to Farr and snarling

And she says, "Och, what must it be like?
Waking in a different bed every night
She says, "Och, what must it be like?
Waking in a different bed every night"
Oh oh whoa

Superquarry

Written By: Dan Haywood

Me and Bill went up the hill for water
Maybe watch our superquarry grow
As we wash we tend to see the world exposed
Thirty miles of shit from sea to sea

I don't know but I've been told it's hard to run
Tell me, tell me skipping down the marsh
It might have been a while since I had last checked in
For all I know they might want me back in school

Breaking rocks ain't hard to do the way we do it
Turning world grinds cliffs through our machine
When dawn is come the ships have too
They then dressed in stone
Turning world grinds dough into the sun

I don't know but I was told the West was won
Dollar dovekie twirling on a nail
Flail-arm spraying tacks around - now watch my heart
Watch my Gaelic heart you filthy hun

Me and Bill went up the hill for water
Maybe watch our superquarry grow
As we wash we tend to see the world exposed
Land awash in shit from sea to sea

Discography

SBR001
Dapple (2013)
CD

VAN252
Field Notes: Live in Britain (2012)
Hand-numbered CD, limited edition of 300

VAN240
John's Shoes (2011)
Blue vinyl 7", limited edition of 300

TMBR015
Dan Haywood's New Hawks (2010)
180g triple vinyl in box, or double CD, with lyrics & photography booklet