The agrarian revolution

Galliano have achieved a smash hit with their version of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s ‘Long Time Gone’. But they’ve refused to jettison their principles in the process, as Fiona Shepherd discovers.

In nearly a decade of compulsive gig-going. there have been few natural highs to compare with the

experience that is Galliano at Glastonbury. It was two

years ago on the intimate jazz stage. say the band. that they found themselves. Last year. as they frolicked on the hallowed Pyramid Stage, framed by a flaming sunset. it was my turn to draw the conclusion that Galliano are the apogee of musical communication (ahem). reaching. as they put it themselves. for the right vibe and galvanising a field of people from diverse strands ofsociety with their sinuous jazz-funk and celebratory presence.

Like other townies getting back to nature in the Vale of Avalon. Galliano are shaping up for the continuing forum of contention regarding how we treat and enjoy our countryside. The collective may have urban roots -— they‘re time-served in London‘s sweatbox clubland but on their current third album, The Plot 'l'lu't'kens. their agenda latches on to rural focal points and. accordingly. their soundtrack is a tnore expansive blend of atmospheric world and folk roots.

‘No one person has all the answers that are philosophically correct and scientifically true. Lite is not a science.’

The Crosby. Stills and Nash influence extends beyond their excellent rendering of the harmonising trio‘s ‘Long Time Gone'. Appropriately enough. the original version was the wide-eyed theme tune for the movie documenting Woodstock. the festival to end all festivals. Now Galliano are siphoning this spirit to denounce the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill the proposed legislation to end all festivals.

(For those who have not perused the music press recently to grasp the ramifications ofthis: ifthis bill passes into law it will give the police renewed powers to dissolve public gatherings ofeven a handful of people and to stop people en route to such gatherings. The upshot: adieu to unlicensed raves and open-air parties and a further squeeze on the lawful

movements of Britain‘s itinerant population. The subtext: civil liberties? What civil liberties?)

‘lt‘s nothing to do with criminality. justice or public order.‘ says Galliano‘s percussionist Brother Spry. ‘lt‘s to do with criminalising a lifestyle. I think the government are recognising that there is a growing mood of self-sufficiency which is not going to go away by being ignored. People aren‘t buying into the myths that have been used to prop up the status quo

and the whole alternative lifestyle and festival culture

that‘s rising is a lifestyle that‘s very threatening to the government. money and power.

‘But also I don‘t think it‘s a time for ideologies, I think it‘s a time for issues. No one person has all the answers that are philosophically correct and scientifically true. Life is not a science.‘

()ncc such issue which Spry would highlight is the construction industry‘s tendency to pour lines of tarmac over previously unspoiled tracts of countryside and call it improved transport and eonimunications. Galliano‘s next single. "l‘wyford Down‘. is a eulogy to one such area of historic importance and natural beauty which has become the

nation‘s latest motorway turn-off.

‘Hopefully we can use this record and our position as a platform to do something about this issue.‘ says Spry. ‘We can be the hype for the people who really are doing things to get something positive through.‘

A discussion of the situation on Twyford Down rapidly becomes a tirade against related abuses. like the vanishing notion of ‘public‘ transport and the subsequent pull of the car salesman. Spry‘s got those carbon monoxide blues.

‘If the government was really concerned about improving transport in this country. they wouldn‘t be dismantling the train network and privatising public


T in the Park, July 30th and 31st at Strathclyde Park

Living in harmonica with nature: Balliano go wild in the country

transport. they would be making it more subsidised. lt‘s disgusting that in the modern world. the Gross National Product how well a country is doing is gauged by how many cars people are buying.‘

Well. it‘s just another example of the way the First World defines progress as increase in automation. innit'.’

‘At the end of the day what people want is quality of life.‘ says Spry. ‘and your quality of life is not measured by how big your house is, how many cars you‘ve got or how comfy your sofa is. Your quality of life is measured by the quality of your relationships.‘

So presumably we can all start by getting acquainted with (ialliano.

(Jul/{mm play Bru'mwluml. Glasgow (m Sun I‘).

The List l7-—3O June I994 29