A wee while back I mentioned that while 2016 had for a long time, in musical terms, looked like being the most appalling year imaginable thanks in the main to so many tragic and unexpected deaths, there were some signs of things taking a turn for the better, such as the decision by Arab Strap to temporarily get back together and play some gigs later this year.

There’s also been a lot to get excited about gigs and records wise with the likes of The Just Joans, Ette, Adam Stafford, Emma Pollock, Randolph’s Leap and TeenCanteen all getting me excited at various points in time while a number of old favourites such as Lloyd Cole, Super Furry Animals and Teenage Fanclub have (or are about to) come up trumps in the live setting while I’ve got my hands on tickets to see The Pixies at the Barrowlands later in the year.

And then yesterday afternoon, at 3pm after a marathon session of crucial meetings at work, I sat down for a belated lunch and browsed the little corner of social media that I engage in.  This came up:-

Today is the fifth anniversary of the release of the last Butcher Boy record.  We wanted to mark the occasion, so here is a new song we recorded.

It’s called November 1951, Bad Things Happen When It’s Quiet.

I was stunned.  Only last week I was talking with someone about Butcher Boy bemoaning the fact that we knew the band had been in the studio but there was no indication that anything was going to emerge soon.

But it would seem this has been a bit of a long-term plan with band members kind of sworn to secrecy that the track would appear at this time and in this low-key way.  It certainly grabbed my attention and I reached for the headphones immediately and hit play on the linked video.

My work colleagues in the open plan office must have looked at me with either a degree of curiousity or concern as I’m sure I gasped out loudly within the first few seconds.  And then they must have wondered why it was I got off my chair and went into another meeting room all on my own never taking my eyes away from the small screen.  I certainly was asked if I was OK when I came back into the open plan area some ten minutes later with one person wondering if I’d been given some shock news.

But how do you explain that a band, of whom 99% of my colleagues won’t ever have heard, had just put up a new song online that had not only blown me away with its first few notes but had rendered me speechless on listening to it for the first and then second time back-to-back.

This is a song like nothing else Butcher Boy have before recorded and released. It is haunting, moving, epic and atmospheric.  It is a song on which a number of the band members don’t make an appearance but it is augmented by a number of guest musicians:-

Words and music by Butcher Boy, 2016

Maya Burman-Roy, Alison Eales, Fraser Ford, John Blain Hunt, Findlay Mackinnon, Basil Pieroni, Cat Robertson, Robert Spark

Recorded by Brian McNeill

Second voice – Anna Miles

Additional strings – Jacqui Grant (cello), Kathleen McVey (violin)

Choir – Lindsay McIntyre, Madeleine Schmoll, Maija Sihvola, Hannah Thorley

I’m reliably informed that this is a taster for an EP which is in the pipeline in which there will also be a full band version of the song available.

Can’t wait.

mp3 : Butcher Boy – November 1951, Bad Things Happen When It’s Quiet (strings version)



  1. Thanks for reminding me how much I love Butcher Boy! YouTube “Next upped” me into Imperial as a bonus.

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