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Jerry Bus of Whats Afpot

reviews Tanks for the Memory by Fieldwork

Tanks for the Memory is the story of the village of Tyneham in Dorset. Taken from the original stage performance by Fieldwork it uses songs, readings and tunes to bring to life the feelings of the inhabitants of this remote village as they were asked to leave their houses. Sorrow became heartbreak and anger when the Ministry of Defence refused to return the land, which was clearly very special to all those who lived there; like the Bond family who had been there since 1683 and contribute vocals and readings to this CD.

Nearly everyday we see images on our televisions of loss, government betrayal, communities uprooted and fiiends and families separated. Over the years these themes have generated many powerful sons; so what is special about this recording? I feel Mick has been able to capture the heart of the land and the people, Dorset is not Afghanistan and these people left their homes with goodwill at first, believing they were doing their part to help win the First World War. The warmth and gentleness there, shading through sorrow into anger bring alive these people, you feel you know them, you care about their loss.

Tanks for the Memory is best sat down with and listened to like a radio play, the pace the structure hold the attention and draw you in. The songs are effective in context, the performances and production are superb. It works as a whole, you can put it on in the car on a long journey and the miles fly by. I usually find spoken word on music CDs annoying but here the dialect and turns of phrase keep it fresh; you cant remember what is coming next.
If you have never heard Mick Ryans work before this might not be the CD to try first. If you like audio books or listen to plays on the radio then this is a must, a compelling tale told by a master storyteller superbly produced.