£21.99 – Indies Only White Coloured Vinyl LP
£21.99 – Standard LP
The woman who invented rock’n’roll. A serial killer from the Deep South who plucked her victims from lonely hearts pages. The jazz-obsessed heiress who fought for the Free French. A rowdy coach house landlady from 17th century Camden Town accused of witchcraft. The Wild West vaudeville star shot by a small town outlaw. These are just a few of the fascinating characters to feature on No Man’s Land, Frank Turner’s most original project to date.
“It’s bringing together my two main interests in life, which have always been separate from each other – history and songwriting”, explains Turner. No Man’s Land is dedicated to the women whose incredible lives have all too often been overlooked by dint of their gender. “These stories should have been told already” says Turner of the album, “And I suspect if they were men they would be better known”. Certainly there are a couple of names here that will already be familiar, such as the unparalleled Sister Rosetta Tharpe (“Sister Rosetta”) and the mysterious Mati Hari (“Eye Of The Day”), but by and large the women who feature have long been ignored by the mainstream.
Less a concept album and more in the same thematic vein as Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads – especially on the creepy tale of murderer Nannie Doss (“The Perfect Wife”) – Turner started work on No Man’s Land upon learning about the formidable Jinny Bingham (“The Ghost of Jinny Bingham”) on a sign outside The World’s End pub, then Dodge City singing sensation Dora Hand (“The Death Of Dora Hand”) and bebop patron Nica Rothschild (“Nica”).
The women featured on the album’s 13 tracks come from across wide geographical and historical lines. There’s Byzantine princess Kassiani (“The Hymn Of Kassiani”), Egypitian feminist activist Huda Sha’arawi (“The Lioness”), and Resusci Anne (“Rescue Annie”) an apocryphal drowned virgin whose face was used as the model for the medical CPR mannequin across the world. “You can’t not write a song about a woman who died never having been kissed and then became the most kissed face in history” reasons Turner.
No Man’s Land also includes perhaps the most revelatory song of Turner’s career. Written in tribute to his mother, “Rosemary Jane” honours her grit and determination through the harder parts of his childhood. “It is quite a raw song” he admits, adding that he felt compelled to ask permission from his mother and sisters to include the track. “But it’s nice about her. It’s not necessarily nice about my dad…”.
- Jinny Bingham’s Ghost
- Sister Rosetta
- I Believed You, William Blake
- A Perfect Wife
- Silent Key
- Eye Of The Day
- The Death Of Dora Hand
- The Graveyard of the Outcast Dead
- The Lioness
- The Hymn Of Kassiani
- Rescue Annie
- Rosemary Jane