The Arms Of The Enemy is the third album by Alan and Patty.
Like the first two of their CDs, its tracks run through a broad range of styles.
It opens with the poignantly sung period pop of Beautiful Music, with magnificent double-tracked vocals from Patty.
The jazzy Walking on High Ground would not have been written without Alan’s lifelong passion of travelling long distances by foot through the countryside of England and the bigger hills of the world beyond. Although he had started this song many years before, he only completed it after returning from an expedition to the 23,000-feet summit of Aconcagua, tallest mountain in the Andes and highest in the world outside the Himalayas. “It took a long rest,” he says of the lyric’s development.
For the hymn tune on The End of the Day, no lyrics at all were required. This track is a rare instrumental, based on the traditional Irish melody used for Lord of All Hopefulness and Be Thou My Vision. The words of the first were written by the agnostic English journalist Jan Struther, after being approached by Canon Percy Dearmer, compiler of the Songs of Praise book in 1931. The tune is sometimes known as Miniver, after the character created by Struther for her regular column in The Times and made famous through the 1942 romantic war movie Mrs Miniver. This track is richly embellished by the lead guitar of country music veteran Wes McGhee.
Along with the classic delivery of the title track, two of the most popular numbers were Four Beaks in A Bar with its Fifties England feel and The Roedean Song about the fall of a debutante. A video of a live performance of The Rodean Song at Locally Sourced in West Hampstead, below, was recorded by Sixties singer-songwriter and photographer Sylvan Mason
The musicians on The Arms of the Enemy are: Patty Vetta, vocals; Alan Franks, guitar and vocals; Tony Harris, bass and banjo; Steve Reynolds, double bass, accordian and keyboards; Ned Williams, harmonica; Wes McGhee, slide guitar, electric guitar and Dobro; Rebecca Laker, penny whistle; Graham Preskett, fiddles; Simon Mayer, fiddle and mandolin; Al Stewart, sax and clarinet; drums, Steve Dixon.
The Arms Of The Enemy was produced and recorded by Patty Vetta and her husband Tony Harris at their Caprasound Studio in Hertfordshire, as was its predecessor, Ladders of Daylight.