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HMS Blake Catch of the Day (Nos. 1 - 40)



A big thank you to everyone who bought the HMS Blake CD. The following is a series of posts I wrote about each song on the album that I originally published on my Facebook page. There's music links to each track plus lyrics, along with a brief introduction.


I am going into the studio in February to record my new album. It will be recorded on analogue tape and I am very excited about it.


Wishing you a Happy New Year. Roll on 2021. Let’s hope it’s a good one (couldn’t get no worse).



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #1 ‘Whenever’


I wrote this song as a kind of homage to the Velvet Underground, musically speaking, and as a song for my wife, lyrically. I think I’ve got that the right way round. The coda was my attempt at something ‘What Goes On’-ish. It was the song from 1971 that caught the attention of a few record reviewers and of the record label which released HMS Blake, Subjangle.


Whenever Whenever I see the sky turn black Whenever front is back Whenever lost Whenever I wander off the track I know you got my back Whatever cost And though sometimes I’ve blocked you from my heart You must know I have loved you from the start That I do not feel whole when we’re apart You know that it’s true I still love you Whenever I feel all hope is gone Whenever right is wrong Whenever down Whenever the nights seem very long Whenever I’m not strong You are around And though sometimes you’re just not on my mind And I can be a fool and be unkind When I turn away from you I know I’m blind You know that it’s true I still love you But if you need to let me go I wouldn’t blame you doing so And though sometimes I see in black and white And I think you must be wrong and I am right It never takes me long to see the light You know that it’s true I still love you But if you need to let me go I wouldn’t blame you doing so

Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyrigh t 2020 All rights reserved

Blake - vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, programming


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/whenever-2



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #2 ‘Denied’

‘Denied’ is a song that came to me in a dream. Probably about half the songs I write these days start out this way. Usually I will dream the entire song including lyrics but when I force myself to wake up I can generally only remember parts of it. With this one, I remembered all the melody and the words to the chorus and I got up and sang it into my phone downstairs very quietly so I didn’t wake everyone else up.


Denied In my mind I see your face And you’ll never know all the joy you’re bringing There’s some things that I can’t replace And all I can do is to keep on singing Denied, I was denied All the things you always took for granted Denied, on the inside All the things I always really wanted I wonder if I’ll see you again There’s not too much room in my head for your feelings So if you’ve had enough say when I can’t expect you to wait for my healing Denied, I was denied All the things you always took for granted I was denied, on the inside All the things I always really wanted It’s fine to go when I hit the bottom In time you’ll know you weren’t forgotten Denied, I was denied All the things you always took for granted I was denied, on the inside All the things I always really wanted


Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2020 All rights reserved Blake - vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, programming


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/denied-2



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #3 ‘Vinyl Junkie’

I wrote this song about a friend of mine who has the most amazing record collection I have ever seen. He is very passionate and knowledgeable about his subject and was something of a mentor to me when I was discovering new worlds of music at school. His tastes are eclectic but superb. He just knows what’s good. I don’t think he’s really an addict; he’s simply someone who gains great pleasure from great music. It just sounds better on vinyl, in his view. I completely agree. He directed the promo film, too: https://youtu.be/6vuiuuwcneg This song was mastered at Abbey Road.


Vinyl Junkie I don’t buy mp3s I’m in love with vinyl It’s not snobbery it’s about survival I’ve got a steady hand when I drop the needle Collecting lots of bands especially The Beatles I got a long way to go but I know that I’ll never reach the end And my collection’s not complete and I’m becoming obsolete can I amend my ways? Got an enquiring mind, I examine labels Know what I want to find leaning over the table At the record fair, at the vintage clothes store You’ll always find me there trying to find a new score I got a long way to go but I know that I’ll never reach the end And my condition’s down as used my inner sleeve has been abused can I amend my ways? I see it as my goal to find the rarest pressings Something I can’t control spent too long obsessing But it’s my pension plan and it’s appreciating So can you dig it man my ears have got mint rating I got a long way to go but I know that I’ll never reach the end And now my record’s getting stuck and I believe I’m in a rut can I amend my ways? La la la la la I’m a vinyl junkie I got to get my fix I’m a vinyl junkie I got to get my hit I’m a vinyl junkie

Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

Blake - vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, harmonica Joe Brown - organ, programming


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/vinyl-junkie-2



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #4 ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams’


This is sort of a companion piece to ‘Vinyl Junkie’ and is basically the story of my musical career. I was delighted to get in my ubiquitous “Hello Birmingham!” John Lennon story into a song at last! The other stories are all true, too. My first experience of being in a band was when a classmate at school heard me singing to myself in art class and literally frogmarched me to an audition at his house after school for his group who played solely Joy Division covers. My first electric guitar really did have the words to The Byrds’ “So You Want to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” written inside the lid and I did take this as some sort of affirmation/message from the universe – ha! I came across the ‘Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying’ graffiti on a park bench when I was living in London in 1999 and I had a huge hangover after a night out dancing at ‘Blow Up’, which was then at The Wag Club in Wardour Street. I was working at Great Ormond Street Hospital but it didn’t pay well and I was skint and my landlady was horrible. I moved back to Gloucestershire and got engaged to my girlfriend and the rest, as they say…


Rock n Roll Dreams


‘69 was the year that events conspired to seal my fate

John and Yoko in a hotel room with peace to articulate

My dad was a reporter and John came on the line

He said, “Hello Birmingham!” and it never left my mind


I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams

I’m still making all my little plans and schemes

I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams


I fell in love with The Beatles in the saddest circumstance

On that day in 1980 when a crazy didn’t give peace any chance

At school some classmates asked me if I’d lend them a hand

I stood in as the singer of a rock n roll band


I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams

I’m still making all my little plans and schemes

I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams


At seventeen inside the case of my first electric guitar

Someone had written out the words to The Byrds’ “So You Want to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”

I took it as a prophecy and seconded the motion

For me it was a contract for a lifetime of devotion


I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams

I’m still making all my little plans and schemes

I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams


I practiced in my room and I wrote songs almost every day

I got a group together and we dreamed of going all the way

I gave up on my studies and they threw me out of college

My only thirst for learning was for rock n roll knowledge


I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams

I’m still making all my little plans and schemes

I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams


There’s a shop called Vinyl Vault

It’s always been my favourite haunt

You can get anything you’d ever want


I knew that there was nothing else that I could ever do

So we struck out on the circuit and we went and paid up all our dues

A record label signed us but they didn’t really get it

I left and went my own way and I never did regret it


I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams

I’m still making all my little plans and schemes

I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams


I was living in the city some graffiti told truths I was denying

On a bench someone had written “Get me away from here I’m dying”

I’m a child of the seventies, my generation’s ageing

I wish it was the sixties when the times they were a-changing


I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams

I’m still making all my little plans and schemes

I’m still chasing all those rock n roll dreams



Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

Blake - vocals, acoustic guitar, programming Joe Brown - organ, 12 string acoustic guitar, bass, backing vocals


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/rock-n-roll-dreams




HMS Blake Catch of the Day #5 ‘Metanoia’


As it’s Sunday, I thought I’d better select this one today. This was inspired by two tracks from Donovan’s 1968 LP, The Hurdy Gurdy Man, which, unfathomably, was not released in the UK. The songs in question are ‘Peregrine’ and ‘Tangier’ which feature Don playing harmonium and intoning chant-like against a backdrop of Middle Eastern flavoured percussion. I absolutely adore the album, as I do pretty much everything of his I’ve ever heard. Metanoia is a Greek word meaning “beyond thought” and generally understood as a transformative change of heart or repentance following a spiritual conversion. The words are taken from the Gospel of John. At the start and at the end are snippets from a field recording I made on a walk near my house in the springtime.


Metanoia Do not be troubled or upset Believe in God also in me My Father’s house has many rooms I will prepare a place for thee So many rooms So many rooms In my Father’s House If I prepare a place for thee I would not tell if it weren’t so I am the Way, the Truth, the Life Now you have known me Him you know So many rooms So many rooms In my Father’s House


Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Blake - vocals, harmonium, acoustic guitars, programming


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/metanoia-2



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #6 ‘Peter Green’


This is my tribute to Fleetwood Mac founder and lead guitarist, Peter Green, who sadly passed away in July. I’ve been a fan of Peter and the original Mac since I was at school and saw the ‘Fleetwood Mac at 21’ documentary on TV. I’d discovered The Beatles and Dylan prior to this, but the original Mac became the third act in my musical holy trinity. I’ve covered Danny Kirwan’s ‘Dragonfly’ and ‘Dust’ in the past but I’ve never even attempted to cover one of Peter’s songs. I just wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near his playing, singing or harmonica ability. I love his music deeply. Peter was certainly very special and although his story is tragic in many ways, like Danny’s, I am very grateful for everything he gave to the world before it got too much for him. God bless you, Peter Green.


Peter Green Born in ‘46 and just another East End kid Growing up was tough, your roots were something that you hid In rock n roll, Chicago blues you knew you’d found a home With music as your best friend you would never be alone Peter, Peter Green They called Clapton God until you burst upon the scene You played just like a dream God bless you, Peter Green Your lucky break got broken when God came back home from Greece But Mayall had not forgotten that he’d found the Golden Fleece Fresh Cream soon came calling and the blues breaking began But very soon you knew that it was time for your own band Peter, Peter Green They called Clapton God until you burst upon the scene You played just like a dream God bless you, Peter Green No-one else could touch your phrasing, you were on your own Your pick ups out of phase gave you a supernatural tone But still you wanted Jeremy to be pushed out to the fore The money and the glory weren’t what you were aiming for Peter, Peter Green They called Clapton God until you burst upon the scene You played just like a dream God bless you, Peter Green Sometimes I feel so sad When it’s clear there’s so many things that you have never had But it makes my heart feel glad When I hear you sing 'I Need Your Love So Bad' Danny was your protégé on those long West Coast trips The heights you reached unequalled as you shared your precious gift And though the game has ended, I’m so glad you sang your songs For the light that burns twice as bright burns only half as long Peter, Peter Green Fleetwood Mac still looking back on what just might have been The best we’ve ever seen God bless you, Peter Green


Words by Julian Pugsley. Music by Julian Pugsley except excerpt from 'The World in Harmony' by Peter Green and Daniel Kirwan copyright Fleetwood Music Ltd and Wc Music Corp. Licensed via Easy Song Licensing. ID: LPL380070

Blake - vocals, acoustic guitars, bass, programming



https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/peter-green-2



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #7 ‘Pepper Man’


A few years ago, a crew of top musos, including Mike Viola and and Tim Christensen, came together to perform Paul and Linda McCartney’s ‘RAM’ in its entirety. The gig was filmed and, when it was available on YouTube, I couldn’t stop watching it. It was a brilliant show and it just reminded me what a blinkin’ genius Macca is. In fact, my first thought was to stage a similar concert in the UK. This has not yet materialised but the next best thing I thought to do was write a tribute song to the man. Despite McCartney recovering from the terrible image he had when I was at school (I was embarrassed to tell my friends I had bought ‘Give my Regards to Broad Street’ when it came out), I still don’t think he is fully appreciated for the colossal figure in popular music he is. Lennon has, in some ways, been almost sanctified since his tragic early death, while McCartney’s legend has had to cope with the ups and downs of his continuing existence. I think we should celebrate him while he is still with us, and ‘Pepper Man’ is my attempt to do that.


I shot the ‘Coming Up’ inspired video in the overflow car park of ‘The Rowdey Cow’ below Roundway Hill, Wiltshire, with assistance from my ‘crew’ (the wife and kids): https://youtu.be/od2jOX3UAjA


Pepper Man


Pepper man writing those hits as fast as you can

Pepper man number one

Pepper man screaming your gift like nobody can

Pepper man sing your song


You’re a magical mystery genius

On a helter skelter ride

You have lessened the distance between us

You sang the times of our lives


Pepper man writing those hits as fast as you can

Pepper man number one

Pepper man screaming your gift like nobody can

Pepper man sing your song


You’ve been a man on the run now dear boy

You did it good on the way

It’s been such wonderful fun now dear boy

You’re not just another day


Pepper man writing those hits as fast as you can

Pepper man number one

Pepper man screaming your gift like nobody can

Pepper man sing your song


You wrote the soundtrack to all our lifetimes

We stored your melodies within

Hitting playback on all those great lines

I don’t know where to begin


Pepper man writing those hits as fast as you can

Pepper man number one

Pepper man screaming your gift like nobody can

Pepper man sing your song

Pepper man writing those hits as fast as you can

Pepper man number one

Pepper man screaming your gift like nobody can

Pepper man sing your song

Sing your song


Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

Blake - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming

Joe Brown – backing harmonies and block harmony arrangement


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/pepper-man



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #8 ‘The Free Life’


‘The Free Life’ was written by Alan Parker and is one of two cover versions on HMS Blake. (The other is my cover of my friend Richard Kilbey’s song, ‘Hide & Seek’.) This tune was the theme music to the seventies ITV schools programme “My World”. The aforementioned Richard created a compilation tape for me earlier in the year of classic tracks from the KPM library music archive and this one immediately sent me on a trip back in time. I had to research where I remembered it from. Those of us who had childhoods in the seventies were blessed, I think; certainly in terms of music, TV, film and freedom. The video I made to accompany it consists of cine footage taken when I was a kid when the skies were bluer and everything else was brown and orange: https://youtu.be/RUkXT3BWP1M I’m a nostalgist at heart, so I would say this, but they don’t make ‘em like this anymore.


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/the-free-life-2



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #9 ‘Going Back to Liverpool’


Number 9. It had to be my song about The Beatles today. This was, unconsciously, inspired by the Jackie Lomax song of the same name. Jackie Lomax was an Apple artist who The Beatles failed to break, despite Paul, George, Ringo and Eric Clapton playing on his first single, the excellent Harrison composition, ‘Sour Milk Sea’. A fellow Liverpudlian, the Fabs had known him since the early days. I’d pretty much forgotten about Jackie’s song when I wrote my ‘Going Back to Liverpool’, however, although the title was obviously hanging around in my subconscious somewhere. My song is about the oft-repeated daydream I would have, usually when I was bored at work, imagining I was one of The Beatles inner circle in about 1961/62. It also uses the line “If only in my dreams”, which I later realised I had poached from ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’. The “I’d love to turn you on” line was deliberate, however. I just attempted to sum up how much I love The Beatles and Liverpool itself. The accompanying video was made from trips on the official ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and other explorations of Beatles shrines during one of many attendances of International Beatleweek: https://youtu.be/fXXK7gFvy18

Going Back To Liverpool Picture myself back in Lime Street Station Catching the Number Nine Dream Brian is there and the boys are waiting Everything’s real now it seems Climb in the van and say hi to Neil, Mal’s changing the strings on the Gretsch Head into town and it’s so surreal John’s offering us cigarettes I’m going back to Liverpool I’m floating down the stream I’m going back to Liverpool If only in my dreams Afternoon show and they pull a blinder Get a shot of rhythm and blues A guy in the crowd’s given George a shiner Ringo can’t believe he was booed John’s got a song that he needs help finishing We’re having a crack in the Grapes Paul is with Dot and I’m sitting there listening Rounds of black velvet til late I’m going back to Liverpool I’m floating down the stream I’m going back to Liverpool If only in my dreams Just like the moon and stars and sun Their songs shine on and on and on Back on the stage for the Cavern all-nighter Lights are low the hi-fi is high Thelma cooks scouse and the space grows tighter Your feet’s too big and some other guy Brought down to earth by the sound of laughter Break is over back to the floor Somebody calls, it’s another drama Wish that I was born years before I’m going back to Liverpool I’m floating down the stream I’m going back to Liverpool If only in my dreams I’m going back to Liverpool Get back where I belong I’m going back to Liverpool I’d love to turn you on...


Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved Blake - vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, programming


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/going-back-to-liverpool



HMS Blake Catch of the Day #10 ‘Anyhow’


This is a straightforward little pop song that Subjangle were keen to include on the album. I’m glad they liked it because it’s always been a favourite of mine. It was one of the ten songs I wrote for the Stay Human album, that I recorded in a professional studio for the first time since Karma Truffle’s debut LP five years previously. I used the stylophone solo from my demo recording. The greatest compliment I had about it was when my friend and fellow musician Richard Kilbey did a cover version of it. He takes the song in a completely different direction and I love it.


Anyhow It’s so hard living without you It’s so hard with all this space I never thought I could doubt you Or thought that I’d be replaced Looking back I see all the things I would not do now But just ask me anything I’d do it for you anyhow I see that I could be jealous I see that I could be dumb But what we had was so precious I wish I could change what I’ve done Looking back I see all the things I would not do now But just ask me anything I’d do it for you anyhow Anyhow I wish that you were still with me I hope that wish could come true I know I could have done better I guess that you thought so too


Words and music by Julian Pugsley

Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved

Blake: vocals, acoustic guitar, stylophone, harmonica Paul Kench: lead guitar Joe Brown: bass, vocals Chris Scrivens: drums Richard Kilbey: banjo


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/anyhow-2


HMS Blake Catch of the Day #11 ‘We’ll Be Champions’


On 16th July 2014, a few days after the World Cup final, some Palestinian children were playing football on the beach by the harbour in Gaza City. Four of them were tragically struck and killed by shells from an Israeli gunship. The Israeli military investigation that followed concluded that the children had been mistaken for Hamas militants preparing to attack Israeli forces. This incident occurred soon after I had returned home from performing at a music festival in Bethlehem with my friend Joe Brown, at the invitation of the Holy Land Trust who had heard my album ‘Star Over Bethlehem’. As soon as we heard the story on the news, Joe and I decided to write a song to express our horror and sadness at what had happened. RIP Ismail Mohammed Bakr (aged 9), Zakaria Ahed Bakr (aged 10), Ahed Atef Bakr (aged 10), Mohamed Ramez Bakr (aged 11). Stop the War. Stop killing children.


We'll Be Champions Go get the ball we can play by the harbour wall, quickly Take turns in goal you can be Ronaldo, I’ll be Messi Pass it to me, pass it over I’m free, put a cross in Do you know what it means to be part of a team, it’s belonging And I hope when we grow up we’ll be champions And I hope when we grow up we’ll be free We’ll be free Playing games on the sand but we don’t understand what the rules are Because we never knew they would target us too, we’re just children Take a penalty shot, do you think we can stop them from scoring Just look at us run little shapes in the sun now we’re soaring And I hope when we grow up we’ll be champions And I hope when we grow up we’ll be free We’ll be free

Words and music by Julian Pugsley and Joe Brown Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

Blake: vocals, acoustic guitar Joe Brown: vocals, acoustic guitar


https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/track/well-be-champions


HMS Blake Catch of the Day #12 ‘Over and Over Again’


The first LP I ever owned was ‘Dog of Two Head’ by Status Quo. I’d asked my parents to buy me a Quo LP for Christmas after I’d fallen in love with their 1980 single, ‘What You’re Proposing’. That they chose the Dog LP was a strange but fortuitous decision. I’ve been a fan of their no-nonsense heads down boogie ever since and I’ve still got the record. Funnily enough, this song started out life as a Marvin Gaye soul tune until it morphed into a Quo style blues shuffle. I needed a vehicle with which to rant about Johnson and this was it.


Over and Over Again Don’t know why the things you do Are so bizarre ain’t got a clue Don’t know why the things you say Are bent and twisted come what may But over and over and over and over And over and over and over and over again I hear it Over and over and over and over And over and over and over and over again You smile and you joke along But underneath there’s something wrong You just can’t hide what’s true There’s something dark inside of you Cos over and over and over and over And over and ov