Remember the classic BBC science fiction series 'Blake's 7'?
Well, in 1986 two Australian B7 fans, Narrelle Harris and Fiona Undy, put together a musical tribute to the show, a songtape called 'Voices from the Past'. Composing 12 songs with original tunes and lyrics, it covered what they saw as the four seasons of 'Blake's 7': Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
The result is an unconventional collection covering a variety of styles, from pop to rock. Each character from the series is focused on in his or her own song, with resonances ranging from hope to despair. The tape captures nicely the range of characters and emotions that made the series so memorable.
Now, ten years later and after interest from the new generation of B7 fans, Narrelle has decided to dust off the master copies and make 'Voices from the Past' available through the Net. If you'd like to find out more, steer your Web browser to: Narrelle's Web page
...and follow the link from there! The 'Voices from the Past' site includes descriptions of all the songs plus a selection of sound clips from the tape, so you can listen before you order a copy. All order details are available on the site, as well as a number of B7 and Filksong links. Please note that this is a non-professional, low-profit venture done for the love of it, and no attempt is made to supersede the holders of original copyrights.
This is just to let you know that Random Factors has just bought a bulk order of the filktape, so anyone living in the US and Canada will find it easier to purchase the tape from them. I've only just posted the tapes, so give it a week or two, but you can find prices and place orders with Mary Creasey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Random Factors site
We hope you enjoy the site and sounds! :-)
... and there is Narrelle Harris' "Voices from the past".
Loving music and "Blakes 7" and knowing how well Narrelle can write (her "Phoenix" is one of my very favourite fan fiction stories) I was *very* keen to get a copy of her re-released tape of songs she wrote about "Blakes 7". Now that I have it, I have to say that it has exceeded any expectations I had of it.
"Voices from the past" is one fan's perspective of "Blakes 7". It is Narrelle's perceptions of the characters and some of the pivotal aspects of the series told in her lovely words and set to what seems to me anyway to be very appropriate and often quite beautiful music. While I don't consider myself in any way expert in the judgement of music I just react to it as it seems to suit the words and enhances their impact. The songs trace the story of the seven from the beginning, when Blake in fervent anger throws off the chains of the Federation, until the end when Blake finds himself afraid of what the struggle has done to him.
Narrelle has most appropriately I think divided the story of the seven into four parts, likening them to the four seasons.
Spring tells of the beginning:
"Prometheus unbound" has a simple melody which allows the powerful words their full impact. Blake likens himself to the legendary Prometheus broken free from the chains of the Federation he threatens his captors with the fire of his rage. It is somehow totally reminiscent of the crusading Blake he was to begin with, hard-edged and zealous.
"Delta's son" If you have read "Phoenix" you will know how well Narrelle can write about Vila and this song, Vila's song, again, for me, captures Vila perfectly as he knew himself. The music combines a gentle verse with a chorus that is hard-edged rock music perhaps to underline the tough survivor Vila ultimately was and to suggest as well the softer exterior he liked to pretend to. "If I seem to quaver I'm just making sure the odds are in my favour."
"Enchantress" Perhaps the loveliest song of them all. Lyrical music and lyrical words examine the many aspects of Cally, the mystic guerrilla fighter whose "soul is cut by cruel injustice". It is simply beautiful.
"7 Card Stud" This song examines, most perceptively, what might have been the crew's thoughts about their commitment to Blake and his cause as they become more familiar with the risks and the realities of their life, and life expectancy, as rebels against the might of the Federation. "Bidding life against the chance you are going to win". "Corsair" This has a very catchy tune, one you find yourself remembering, often. This is Jenna's song and, for me, it captures the jaunty, self-confident, intelligent lady she was as she examines her attachment and attraction to Blake.
Follow you if you keep me believing"Servalan" Narrelle says in the notes about her songs on her web page that she imagined that this could have been what the troopers sang about the Supreme Commander, when she was far out of earshot! It is a very amusing but very apt description of Servalan. "Put a foot wrong with the Federation And she'll make it all much worse."
You can make your dreams come true,
And when all of us are free,
Will you choose, will you choose, to follow me?
"Farewell" This is Avon's thoughts about life without Blake after Star One. It is a most thought provoking interpretation of the ambiguous relationship between Avon and Blake from Avon's point of view.
"Broken dreams" This is my favourite song. It is a *very* moving, terribly sad song which examines what might have been on Avon's mind after "Rumours of death". The music sets the melancholy mood and adds much to the poignancy of the words. "All the lies were the only truths I've known." No matter what you feel about Avon I don't think you will be able to listen to this and not grieve for him.
"Shadow" This is most sympathetic and interesting examination of Tarrant and the personal demons which shaped him into the brash young man we came to know.
"Decree" This also has some very beautiful lyrics, compellingly sad words tell of the rebels beginning to realise that "the end is nearing" a large sample might suggest more than I can just with description: "So we are failing by degrees, We can't fight what fate decrees.
We once thought that life had meaning,
Oh, but now it seems the truth,
Is something darker than the lies,
They taught us in our youth.
We once thought we knew the answers,
But suddenly we find,
That all we knew were bright deceptions,
And all our faiths were blind."
"Huntress" This is Dayna's song. It has a beautiful melancholy melody, bitter/sweet springs to mind which somehow reflects very well the incongruities of Dayna herself. It sounds to me rather like a lament for the lost promise of Dayna's youth, blighted by Servalan's visit to her home.
"Afraid of the dark" And the end draws near ... and finds a very different Blake to the righteously angry and vengeful Blake of the beginning. This final song is like a soliloquy. Blake looks upon what he has become and is afraid to face the truth of it.
I fear illumination
Of the shadowed motivation
I have used for all I do.
It is sung almost like a hymn, using a simple melody. It is striking and most haunting.
The album is concluded by a pretty instrumental piece of music called "Phoenix" which recalls Narrelle's Post Gauda Prime story. It has a very gentle melody, played beautifully just on the guitar and it reminded me of a stream with the water running over stones and sunlight glinting on the water and as I have read "Phoenix" it reminds me very much of it as well because the story rescues out heroes from the pointless deaths they had suffered in those horrible underground places and brings them all back into the fresh air and sunlight to live on and fight on as they should. (OK, IMHO :) :) )
As you have probably gathered by now I loved this collection of songs about "Blakes 7" There is no song I did not like, and some I liked *enormously*
Technically the recording seems to me to be excellent. The singing by Fiona Undy and Narrelle is *very* good, and the music seems very well played and recorded - it is an amateur production, but certainly does not sound like it, at all!
It has a lovely cover; a black and white drawing of two figures sitting on a hillside silhouetted against the evening sky as the moon rises, perhaps two of the slaves of the Federation dreaming of freedom or perhaps Blake and Avon.
And it is great value: Australia/New Zealand: A$ 15 Elsewhere: A$ 18
For all the details of ordering, plus brief descriptions (and lovely illustrations) of the songs and sound clips have a look at Narrelle's home page
However, for those whose musical tastes are closer to Pat's and Narelle's, I'm sure Pat and I can arrange a way for people in the UK to buy a copy without going to the hassle and expense of buying a money order in Aus dollars. Contact me for a price in pounds.
Blake's 7 Index
Last changed on 13th of January 2000