The Bara Bara Band return with a bold new album The Seeds Inside (The Grapes Upon The Vine), out on 15th September 2017 via Singaround Records. Each track has an underlying story behind the band’s intricate musicianship and Ruth Jacob and Rupert Browne’s colloquial, warm lead vocals.
Plimsoll, our Song of the Day, is no exception, an original arrangement of a broadside about the politician Plimsoll who, in the 1800s, canvassed for better safety on cargo ships where owners were sending sailors off to their deaths to cash in on insurance.
From the sourcebook, A Ballad History Of England (Palmer, 1979):
“The name of Samuel Plimsoll (1824-98) is a household word both because of the shoes called after him and the markings on ships to indicate safe levels of loading. As MP for Derby from 1868 to 1880, he was an ardent social reformer, the most famous of his campaigns being for safety at sea. His main target was ‘coffin ships’, overloaded and unseaworthy vessels which were heavily insured so that when they were lost at sea, as frequently happened, the ship owners made a considerable profit. Having failed in an attempt to introduce a parliamentary bill on the problem, Plimsoll proceeded to write his famous appeal to the nation, Our Season (1873), which helped to bring about a Royal Commission of Inquiry. The commission’s recommendations were, however, ineffectual. In 1875 Plimsoll again put forward his own bill. Rather than accept it the government, led by Disraeli, who was hostile towards Plimsoll, proposed an inadequate substitute of its own. Plimsoll’s fury led to a famous scene in the House of Commons when he called some of the members villains. The ensuing storm and the great wave public support for Plimsoll, at last, caused the government to give way. Plimsoll’s temporary Unseaworthy Ships Act became law in August 1875, and his Merchant Shipping Act of the following year permanently embodied the Plimsoll Line in English Law.”
Over the past several years the band have a strong London base where Rupert and Ruth also run their own folk club Tooting Folk.
The Bara Bara Band are a collective who do not fear tradition. Instead, they embrace it with open arms, whimsical humour and touching melodies.
The Seeds Inside (The Grapes Upon The Vine) is out on 15th September 2017 via Singaround Records.