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Lucy Over Lancashire [single]

by Paul Rooney

…and all I know about mysel’ is from what Alan’s told me, he’s chief sprite, there’s a lot of us sprites, he said, spread over Lancashire, air sprites, water sprites, marlocking like mad…you are now listening to this record, and it’s a very special record, I’ll tell you t’ story behind it after I’ve introduced mysel’, or mysel’ according to Alan, everything I know’s told to me by Alan, and Alan said I were one of t’ ‘sprites of th’ air’, a boggart, a skriker, but airborne, and without a body, no substance, only a voice, a ceaseless voice, but whatever I am, there must be more than one o’ me, though I can’t see anyone, and I can’t see Alan, there’s just a faint ginger shape occasionally, ‘at must be Alan I presume, a carrot coloured contour in t’ darkness, or t’ dark redness, it’s more of a deep red gloom everywhere, all around me, and all I know about mysel’ is from what Alan’s told me, he’s chief sprite, there’s a lot of us sprites, he said, spread over Lancashire, air sprites, water sprites, marlocking like mad, doing t’ work of th’ evil one, Satan that is, we’ve been here for centuries, and I’ve been all over, until recently I were inside a pair of Puma trainers hanging on a telephone wire over a bus stop on th’ A666 near Darwen, Alan told me this, I were hanging over t’ land, my voice merging with t’ bleeding busy bombinating buzz on t’ telephone wire above me, I were damned to carry on whining inside t’ shoes, haunting t’ trainers, ‘at’s what Alan told me, positively possessing pendulous Puma pumps I were, and I told mysel’ stories to keep me going, I were never silent, I would have liked to be silent, but I couldn’t be silent, so I told t’ stories Alan had told me, I don’t know any others, to keep me going as I were hanging there in those rotten old trainers, stinking to high heaven they were, though I couldn’t smell them, suffering Jesus, they would have stunk, if I could have smelled them, and it were a great view I had up there, apparently, or it would have been if I could’ve seen it, a view over Pendle Hill in Lancashire, chosen place is Pendle, and t’ rest of Lancs, part of northern England ‘at’s touched by evil, it’s all over t’ shop, so Alan informed me, Lancashire were always thought to be one of t’ ‘dark corners of t’ land’, a superstitious place, witches and Popery, but they’re not stupid, t’ Lancastrians, it’s not that, they’re just used to weirdness, and they still believe in Satan, Dark Lord, they don’t support him, but they believe in him, and no wonder, he’s chosen to base his business operations in their land, their Rose Red land, do you gawm?, it all makes sense once tha thinks about it. Devil’s branding and marketing strategy involves associating himself with t’ colour red, colour of magic, raspiest ruddy raspberry red, and Lancashire is t’ Red Rose County, red rose ‘at were garlanded around t’ gardens of Babylon, and one of t’ big football teams in Lancs, who play in red, even call themselves Red Devils, and if its numbers tha wants, th’ A666 highway runs reet through t’ county up to Pendle, so tha can’t get more obvious than that, if tha wants Satanic associations, Satanic with a capital S, and what’s more, there were something else, valleys around Pendle, yes, where a few of t’ local witches were caught a few years ago, ‘at’s where t’ whole plan were kicked off, some of th’ other witches got together, for a bit of revenge and merry mischief, they were known for merriment, Lancs witches, and they put a spell on t’ small scale weaving industry in those valleys, and their spell meant small industry gradually transformed into t’ great Satanic cotton mills of th’ Industrial Revolution, t’ heart of t’ fearful fiery furnace of th’ Industrial World, and so t’ whole of t’ global capitalist machine all grew out of those Lancashire valleys, triggered by t’ work of t’ witches, working for t’ Devil himself, Dark One himself, capital D, capital O, De’il were a weaver as well you know, it’s all down to him, t’ end of t’ world through global warming and ecological catastrophe caused by mass consumption and industrial expansion, it’s all part of his plan, his extreme x-certificate exercise, disaster movie stuff, brewed up in some cauldrons in Pendle, ‘at’s why Merxx and Angles, first thinkers of global capitalism, ‘at’s why they were in Manchester a while back, they needed to be at t’ beating heart of t’ bubonic barbarous beast, to predict how it would evolve, how t’ paroxysm would come, how t’ beast would be defeated by its own contradictions, it’s a nice thought, can’t see it mysel’, its not part of t’ plan anyway, ‘at’s what Alan tells me, the plan of Owd Scrat, Dark Lord, capital D capital L, for world domination through global industrial capitalism, it all started off with those cotton weaving wily witches in Lancashire, then t’ mills arrived, which got bigger and bigger, t’ mills needed cheaper and cheaper cotton, so th’ African slave trade were built up through t’ Lancashire port of Liverpool by Liverpool merchants to provide cheap labour to pick cotton in America, ‘at were all Satan’s idea, and t’ cotton mill workers in Lancashire themselves were practically chained to their large, looming looms, small childer worked in a hell on earth, in deafening noise and sweltering heat, and believe it or not, at one point t’ mill workers, white slaves, showed support for Lincoln’s American Civil War forces trying to abolish slave trade in t’ US, forces ‘at were blockading t’ slaving south, even though their blockade had led to a shortage o’ cotton, the Cotton Famine, the Panic it were called, bobbins were idle, and the Lancashire workers had to dree and were clemmin’ for years, it were terrible for ‘em, but mill workers still supported blockade, an example of t’ selfless solidarity o’ slaves with slaves, Lancashire workers were fighting back, trying to foil t’ Devil’s plan, and slavery were abolished in t’ cotton fields of America, a setback for Satan, but t’ wage slavery carried on in t’ Lancashire mills, then later in t’ twentieth century, workers were brought over from t’ Asian sub-continent to slave for t’ wages, until they too were thrown out o’ work, and they were stuck there, in t’ mill towns, hassled by t’ BNP, far right party who’s leader stood for election in Lancashire, where else?, all part of t’ plan, keeping t’ kitschey county Dark, with a capital D, and Alan told me all this, when he emerged out of t’ red mist, or his shape loomed, I should say, there were no emerging, if only there were emerging, but there’s only ever looming, looming redness, and gingerness. I were going to tell you about this record weren’t I, well I am doing, sort of, so stick with me, it will all become clear, what were I going to say?, there’s another looming shape, that were it, as well as Alan, another skrikey whine, th’ voice must be a mate of Alan’s, they both must be part of t’ sprite committee ‘at’s responsible for me, or they could be t’ same person, as t’other one is ginger as well, any road, Alan said ‘at t’other one were his assistant, so they must be two folks after all, he told me that Mick, Mick Bucknall is t’other one’s name, had a pop group called Impy Red, there’s colour red again, he hung out with t’ Red Devil footballers a lot, and Mick’s musical group were really famous, Alan said, Satan can sort all that out no problem, chart success, all t’ rest, t’ music world is under t’ Big S’s thumb, always has been, selling souls, Devil’s music and all ‘at jazz, and Mick once tried to work with reggae producer Lee Scratch Berry, he asked Lee to produce one of his records, because Jamaican dub music is a threat to t’ Dark Forces, capital D and F, Alan told me this as well, there’s something about dippy dubby drops in t’ deep dub mixes, moments when all th’ instruments drop-out into an abyss of silence, with snare shots echoeing across t’ void, these moments suck up evil like a black hole, and t’ dubby bass, deep deep deep de deep dub bass absorbs and slows down t’ evil energy, so Mick wanted to discover t’ secret of t’ dub, to learn how it conquers Darkness, he even started a record label putting out dub records, so he could tame and then destroy t’ dub, but Lee suspected something, he wouldn’t get involved with mad mawkin masticating micturer Mick up to his rigs, he knew, all t’ dub folk know, about Lancashire as heart of Babylon, ‘at’s how Jamaican dub music found its way back to Lancashire, because t’ music ‘at came out of Caribbean slavery tried to undermine t’ beast from within, he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity, it makes sense, dub is a farrantly righteous music, so t’ dub got into t’ red county and invaded th’ airwaves, a Radio Lancashire programme called Up On t’ Wire started to play t’ dub music, it tried to turn t’ terrible tide, and t’ programme started broadcasting in t’ 1980s from a studio a few miles away from Pendle hill, it got t’ dub on th’ air, it tried to drown out sprites like me, drowning out diabolical voices of t’ Lancashire air, and Lee Berry appeared live on t’ programme, he stayed in Clitheroe near Pendle while he were there, he supported th’ effort, and because of all this the Great Sprites Panic happened, and all t’ sprites started wasting away, th’ evil sucked out of them, I needed to tak’ refuge in th’ hanging trainers, I were losing ability to sprite, but Alan heard of t’ dub threat, he had to stop it, so he went on t’ radio, sprites do that a lot, it’s easy, we are a bit like radio waves, voices on th’ air, that’s all we are, so he went on t’ radio, as Alan Keswick, he started a late night phone-in show on Red Rose Radio, and he were crabbed and croat, he savagely abused anyone who went onto t’ programme, th’ air were clarty with fraps and wild ravings, sorest madness of t’ world, he spat bilious bloody black bile of Satan out onto th’ airways, trying to reclaim t’ Lancashire air for t’ Darkness, tha could hear t’ barking of th’ hounds of hell themselves in t’ background as he broke off for t’ ad breaks, and in Revelations thirteen all of this is prophesied, ‘a ginger man will blacken and reclaim th’ air over t’ red land with evil words’, it says, or words to that general effect, if any man have an ear let him hear I say, and in Revelations thirteen, if you put together every sixth word from the start of the verse, what do you get? Lancashire radio wrath. I was going to tell you about this record weren’t I, I’m coming to that, and anyway, Alan often played a song on his show called Helter Skelter, by a pop group from Liverpool, as often as he could, a record famous for t’ hidden messages ‘at only Keswick himself could interpret, and he also played ‘at other Lancashire group, t’ Fallen, who were named after Lucifer and his mates who descended from heaven into th’ abyss, but both these groups were only half Dark, so to speak, t’ Fallen were half evil as a result of a botched possession attempt by Mick Bucknall himself, Mick were a music fanzine writer and used to pester t’ lead singer of t’ Fallen for interviews, he were really trying to influence t’ Fallen towards t’ Dark Side, which he only half achieved, and from then on all of t’ Fallen’s records contained a bit of Darkness, their gigs and records were big bilious bleeding battles between t’ Darkness and t’ Light, like Lancashire itself, and some writing on one of t’ Fallen’s single covers summed up conflict of forces, it contained this peach of a pleading prophecy: ‘I urge t’ finder of this master tape never to unleash it on humanity! – Ah! Already th’ evil Deit-y Ri-Kol is clawing at my brain! – If it is unleashed – The Fall is here, th’ ectoplasm exorcised and Humanity Can Either Eat That Grenade Or Face t’ Second Dark Age’, meaning t’ next one after th’ industrial age I presume, when Satan has his very vicious victorious victory, th’ only way out is to blow tha head off, I guess ‘at’s what it all means, singer Mark E, the E is th’ evil bit obviously, embodied t’ Dark/Light dichotomy within himself, a useless hexen priest, re-living t’ witch trials, he could practice many half Dark Arts, always looked a bit deawldy, and could croon like an angel, ‘at last bit’s not true, but there were another thing, to do with Bibles, its gone, well anyway, there were one time, yes, t’ Fallen accidentally supported Christian Irish band U3, and th’ original support band dropped out, obviously cursed by t’ mighty mithering Mark E, and t’ U3 fans, who know a red mist when they see one, chanted ‘Satanists! Satanists!’ at t’ Fallen and threw Bibles at t’ band, they threw big black brassy Bibles at them, and what’s more t’ Fallen once wrote a song in celebration of t’ radio shows o’ Alan Keswick, and Alan were very tak’n with this, he told me so, he told me all of this, I’m just repeating what he’s said, and he said t’ song were a B side called ‘Lucifer over Lancashire’. It didn’t work out, Alan on th’ airways, he were tak’n off th’ air, defeated by t’ forces of dub, but Alan had an alternative plan, and here’s where this record comes in, it’s based on another prophecy, a prophecy about ‘a red disc ‘at will restore t’ Dark Force over t’ red country’, and so Alan told me I had been selected out of thousands of sprites for t’ job, he sen it were assignment in spryting I’d been waiting for all these years, even though I didn’t want assignments, I just wanted to stop, but I were damned to carry on, I’ve said this before, and any road, he wanted me to go to a pressing plant and tak’ occult possession of a red coloured vinyl record, he said I would be able to leave my pumps behind and live in t’ disc, it had to be vinyl, tha can’t possess CDs, not enough texture to them or something, and outmoded technological forms have more scope for subversion, Alan said, th’ revolutionary possibilities o’ t’ discarded and overlooked, is how he put it, and I would live in t’ shiny red grooves, if tha could call it living, though I had to agree it would be better than t’ trainers, I couldn’t deny that, and it would be a dub record, playing t’ dub folk at their own game, in their own lair, my revolving red ranting record would be broadcast on th’ Up On t’ Wire programme itself, it would destroy t’ dub from within, it would finally defeat t’ dub challenge to Satan’s plan, t’ great plan cooked up in t’ big black bubbling cauldrons of Satan’s own county, and old Lucifer will reign over Lancashire once more, his agents Alan and Mick by his side, ready for t’ day of victory, and now it’s too late for thee, because this is th’ record, tha’ll be listening to it now, tha only has to listen, ‘at’s all it tak’s to be damned, tha cannot escape now, tha’s damned, is thee, well and truly, but I can’t keep this up, tha were damned already, if truth be told, and I don’t believe what Alan’s told me, its nowt to do with this record, or me, or Alan, or Satan, it would be better for thee, wouldn’t it, if only pointy bearded fork tailed red blokes, or old crones, or DJs, or ginger singers, if darkness only came from them, it would be so easy, but it isn’t, you know that don’t you?, I’m sorry about all this, it’s the way things go, I’m not doing my job am I?, I think I’ve failed my mission, I’m just glad to get out of those trainers, after all those years, and get onto a record, a big red vinyl spinning record, with a big red shiny cover, and I bet tha would have done just t’ same as me, if tha were in my shoes, so to speak. Here’s th’ end of my record, run off groove is coming up, where t’ needle slips across t’ shiny red vinyl and lifts up, and there’s silence, silence for thee, but not silence for me, if only it were silence for me, I’m still whining on in t’ grooves don’t forget, still damned to carry on, inside these grooves, inside your head, at least I’m not inside trainers, at least it’s not that, but I still have to carry on, ‘at’s th’ thing, carry on ranting away forever, think of that, think of what that word forever means. Alan said it were a very long time.


A 2014 CD re-issue on Owd Scrat Records of Lucy Over Lancashire, the alternative anthem to North West England. For the 2017 remaster see other listing.

"Rich in comic irony, the narration is nonetheless as deeply rooted as a folk ballad... [a] thought provoking 16 minute gem." Julian Cowley (The Wire Magazine). Oct. 2014.

“It’s a masterpiece, is it not?… It is quite magnificent.” Marc Riley (BBC 6 Music). 28/5/14.

The 50 best reissues of 2014. FACT (FACT website). 2/12/2014.

A single 16-minute prophecy in manically inventive post-punk dub, Lucy Over Lancashire by Liverpudlian songsmith-artist Paul Rooney is the vehicle for a ‘spryte of the air’ to expound on the English county of Lancashire’s role in the plans of Satan, plans which involve (amongst other things) the Pendle Witches, singer Mick Hucknall, the bile-filled late-night phone in shows of Allan Beswick, and the Radio Lancashire programme On the Wire (whose longstanding commitment to dub reggae provided one of the inspirations for the work).

The red vinyl 12” of Lucy Over Lancashire was originally premiered by On the Wire in 2006 and released on SueMi Records, Berlin, in 2007. Following it’s steady acquisition of a certain cult notoriety we at Owd Scrat Records released the track as a limited edition CD in 2014 (see reviews and comments below). But to commemorate the tenth anniversary of its original vinyl release (and to celebrate Paul Rooney’s first Owd Scrat album earlier this year) we thought we would also present to you a nicely remastered 2017 CD version of Lucy in a lovely deep red lancing pack sleeve with a cover image by artist Leo Fitzmaurice (see other listing).

“A re-issue, again, of Lucy Over Lancashire… that’s a fine, fine thing, it still is…” Michael Fenton (Fenny), On the Wire (BBC Radio Lancashire). 20/8/2017.

“Paul Rooney’s magnificent 16-minute opus Lucy Over Lancashire… has become something of a cult classic, and would certainly be one of my eight Desert Island Discs choices.” Bryan Biggs (Bido Lito magazine). September 2017.

“The [Festive Fifty] chart has also continued to recognise great bands and tunes so cruelly overlooked by the mainstream: …a top five spot for Paul Rooney’s brilliantly under-recognised Lucy Over Lancashire in 2007 one of many others”. Mark Whitby (Louder Than War website). 15/11/2014.

“Where you learn that Kendal is the dark heart of Babylon, Mick Hucknall chief envoy of Satan, and deep, deep dub bass soaks up evil like nowt else.” Rushscored1 (This Is My Jam blog). 8/6/2014.

“…tonight…I hope to play Lucy Over Lancashire – Paul Rooney’s brilliant collision of cultures… All 16 mins of it!” Marc Riley (BBC 6 Music) via Twitter. 28/5/2014.

Guy Manchester (Louder Than War website). 25/10/2012.

“This is a top three choice, in any year”. Jonathan Lovett (Massive Crush blog). 3/01/2008.

Dandelion Radio Festive 50 of 2007.

“…heavy dub that could easily come from the studios of Kingston”. Calum Craig (Is This Music? website). 5/11/2007.

“Paul Rooney’s Lucy Over Lancashire, first blogged about here, an ambitious piece of music in which a Boggart Lucy explains at some length the connections between Lancashire and the activities of the Dark One.” John Davies (Walking the M62 blog). 11/10/2007.

“…this magnificently chewy and utterly surreal 12” single”. Neil Cooper (MAP magazine #10). June 2007.

“Don’t be scared, even though we in the studio are absolutely petrified after listening to that. Lucy Over Lancashire, that was part 3, by Paul Rooney, we’ve already played parts 1 and 2 on the show. Parts 4, 5 and 6 coming up over the next three shows… Brilliant stuff from Paul Rooney, one of the most talked about tracks that we’ve played on this show…” Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1FM). 3/5/2007.

“Well that’s brilliant isn’t it? It’s called Lucy Over Lancashire and it’s by a fellow called Paul Rooney, it’s a limited release on a label called SueMi… a scary start to this week’s Unsigned Podcast, that’s Lucy Over Lancashire.” Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1FM) One Music Unsigned Podcast. 13/4/2007 to 20/4/2007.

“Now a great track called Lucy Over Lancashire by the Liverpool based musician and artist Paul Rooney. This was originally made to be broadcast on Steve Barker’s ‘On the Wire’ Radio Lancashire show. Now the Berlin based SueMi Records (great name that, SueMi) have just released it as a 16 minute track on red 12” vinyl… Thoroughly enjoyable piece…” Robert Sandall, Mark Edwards, ‘Where’s the Skill in That’ (Resonance FM). 16/5/2007.

“Hello, this week on the Unsigned Podcast there’s music from Nova Robotics, Chris Moss Acid, Stuart James and an ace song by Paul Rooney – Lucy Over Lancashire – really spooky and well worth a listen…” Huw Stephens (Myspace blog). 13/4/2007.

“I’ve got a record in my hand here which is quite intriguing, it’s called Lucy Over Lancashire by Paul Rooney on SueMi Records… Love it, absolutely love it – great isn’t it? I told you it was a weird one.” Marc Riley, ‘Marc Riley’s Mint’ (BBC 6 Music). 25/3/2007.

“Great discovery: a dub delight”. John Davies (Notes From a Small Vicar blog). 30/12/2006.

“Further to redkah’s original thread, Paul Rooney’s Lucy Over Lancashire debuted on Radio Lancashire over the weekend, and it’s a cracker. Reminds these ears of Backsaturday era Prolapse, but with rather bit more going on. All this and Fall references too!” Anon. (The Fall web forum). 21/11/2006.

“Fenny played an incredible piece on On the Wire last night by Paul Rooney called Lucy Over Lancashire…” Moth Machine and Her Mechanical House Mates (Myspace blog). 19/11/2006.

“Did anyone else here hear Lucy over Lancashire by Paul Rooney on ‘On the Wire’ last night? It was probably the best song ever in the history of the whole world. Posited the theory that the Devil has a hold over Lancashire and the only way to keep him at bay is through the power of Dub.” tangerinedream (Urban75 web forum). 17/11/2006.


released April 7, 2014



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