Breathing Space



Bedspring Music: BOING 9302,


Track List
Song: What Am I Bid?

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Track List

1. In the Beginning (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
Lead - Hilary Spencer, Harmonies - Jacey & Brian Bedford
2. Breathing Space * Listen (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
3. Curupay Freijo (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
Percussion - Mike Freeman
4. Unnecessary Toil (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
5. Big Green Credit Machine (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
6. Hammer Ghost (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
7. Dream Home (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
8. Power Cut (Brian Bedford) Solo - Hilary Spencer
Harmony - Brian Bedford
9. Silly Old Fool (Brian Bedford) Solo- Jacey Bedford
Harmony - Brian Bedford
10. This is the Way the World Ends (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
11. Put Me Through to Heaven (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
Percussion Mike Freeman
12. Feel the Rhyme (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
13. Unclean (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
14. Bed Rap (Brian Bedford) Vocal lead Brian Bedford
Percussion Mike Freeman & Brian Bedford
15. The Rainbow Never Came * Listen (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
16. Not Now (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
17. Snakes and Ladders (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
18. I'll Sail No More (Brian Bedford) Solos - Hilary Spencer & Brian Bedford
Vocals - Artisan
19. Left Right Right Left * Listen (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan
20. What Am I Bid? * Listen (Brian Bedford) Vocals - Artisan

Album Credits

Produced and recorded by John Adams at Panda Studio, North Dalton, East Yorkshire
Originally produced for and released by Festival Records, Halifax, England in 1993.
Sleeve design and artwork by Bryan Ledgard of Ledgard Jepson
Re-released 1995 by Bedspring Music, 10 Park Head, Birdsedge, Huddersfield, England, HD8 8XW
e-mail (brian at

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About the album

Twenty classic Artisan songs, all written by Brian Bedford and encapsulating a particularly sideways look at life which is an Artisan speciality. They have an ability to laugh at the absurd without losing the knack of being able to step aside for a moment to say, "We feel strongly about this." They also tease out the ridiculous from the pompous and highlight the perversity of the Western World, which greedily gobbles down the produce of Rain Forest lands while wearing "Save the Trees" T shirts.

The singing is all you would expect from Artisan and more. This album has been aired on radio stations all over the world from the UK and Europe to North America, Canada (a big thank-you to Max Ferguson of CBC who plays it regularly on his coast to coast show), Hong Kong and Australia.

If you've never had an Artisan album in your CD collection before, this album is a great starting place.

Artisan are joined on this album by Mike Freeman who adds an interesting array of percussion to three tracks. Mike plays darabuka, hi-hat, dumbek, chicken shaker, African clay drum, and triangle. He is currently working as half a duo and you can see Tania Opland and Mike Freeman performing in both the USA and the UK. Mail them for details.

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Folk Folk Roots / / Folk on Tap / Living Tradition / Folk North West


Artisan, purveyors of seamless close harmony, have always had a) an affinity for Paxton-esque 'stiletto disguised as a joke' political comment and b) a resident songwriter in Brian Bedford. With "Breathing Space" they've gone for the big one - not a single 'trad arr.' or spiritual in sight, just twenty (!) Bedford originals. Whether this will be sustainable remains to be seen, eschewing non-original material can become a self-inflicted problem. What is certain, however , is that Brian's songwriting ability, particularly his craftsmanship with words,is worthy of Artisan's extraordinarily skilful singing. That mixture is pretty much as before - Hilary Spencer's powerful voice in front, with Jacey and Brian slipstreaming in behind. They're all capable front-men (unisex term) however, and the sound changes, particularly when Jacey's softer voice takes the lead.

"There's not a single weak track here in this great torrent of ideas from Brian. Perhaps his ability to write tongue twisters is slightly over-utilised? Perhaps the "Bed Rap" will grate after the initial hoots of laughter die down? Who cares, this is a monster bundle of high quality writing. Government job creation schemes, the credit card society, global warming and homelessness all come into Bedford's sights, and he doesn't miss. He's not afraid to be sentimental, though, and "I'll Sail No More" is as nice an example of an unashamed love song as you'll find. My pick, however, is the nod to 'World Music' in the ecological anthem "Curupay Freijo". Fabulous." -- Allan Murray

* * *


"The latest release from the a cappella trio Artisan has their expected polish and professionalism. Twenty tracks from the pen of the prolific Brian Bedford ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Brian's expert manipulation of words often leaves us lesser mortals gasping and his tunes and rhythms leap from melodic to syncopated. This time they have adulterated their unaccompaniedness with a few percussion instruments and kazoos (on three of the tracks). The topics covered include green issues, the corporate ladder, our credit dependent society and many more. Probably the most unusual song must be the "Bed Rap" - what a pleasant change to hear the words of a rap uncluttered by mindless noise. The sleeve notes, written by Brian, give an insight into the influence behind the songs. Something one usually gets only by attending a live performance. The harmonies are close and tuneful. Artisan demonstrate great attention to detail in the way the songs are arranged in relation to each other and the varying treatment their three voices can mete out.

"As a lover of fine tunes and great lyrics I cannot recommend this album too highly. With each listening one discovers more thought provoking ideas or encounters new diamonds of humour glistening among the harmonies. As an incurable romantic, "I'll Sail No More" has got to be one of the best love songs even written, I think. I'm sure we can all empathise with the sentiments in "Power Cut".

"This is definitely one to add to the collection and listen to over and over again."

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* * *


"Prolific is the word for Hilary, Brian and Jacey and here is another new album to illustrate the point. This time the material is entirely the work of Brian and makes for riveting listening. Drily humorous and trenchantly observant by turns, he has penned 20 songs here, several of which are quite remarkable. I particularly admire the title track and "This is the Way the World Ends", while "Put Me Through to Heaven" and "I'll Sail No More" also have much to commend them.

"The singing is everything you have come to expect from Artisan. Powerful, thrilling and a thorough delight. The arrangements are also excellent with some dramatic use of percussion here and there and the production is first rate. It scores highly on the value for money front too.

"State of the art close harmony from a very fine band indeed. Highly recommended."-- Anne Marie Ringler

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* * *


"I saw Artisan some three years ago and they were superb - three singers, two female and one male, who produced exquisite harmonies on contemporary and traditional songs.

"On this CD they have jettisoned the traditional part of their act but fear not it has been replaced by the songwriting skills of band member Brian Bedford, who proves equal to the task and has produced twenty original songs. I'm unsure of his songwriting pedigree but on this CD it seems that a gem of a songwriter has been unearthed. His writing is humorous, thought provoking and lyrical as he tackles all manner of subjects. Words are included as well as a precis of the songs which provides an interesting insight into them.

"Outstanding songs for me are "Curupay Freijo" (people who live in ecological glass houses...), "Dream Home" (homelessness) and "The Rainbow Never Came" (the folly of human smug self-importance) - many more run them a close second.

"The ladies contribute an important role too, with their excellent harmonies in this very professional group. I've always thought the best instrument of all is the human voice and this CD proves it many times over. Recommended."--P.H.

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What Am I Bid?

What am I bid for a bell with no sound, in a carpet of blue by a stream?
I'll bid you a dream
What am I bid for a single rose, with its guard of thorns the fool soon knows?
I'll bid what I've seen

I pity the man who sees no need for the silent bell, for the worthless weed
I pity the man who needs to own and keep for himself what was freely grown
So what am I bid for a bell with no sound in a carpet of blue by a stream?
I'll bid you a dream

What am I bid for the dawn I see, mounted here in a window frame?
I'll bid you my name
What am I bid for the virgin kiss and the memories of my youth?
I'll bid you the truth

I pity the man who has to buy the painted smile and the sculpted cry
The woodland scene of what might have been, and view it alone in a vault of stone
So what am I bid for the dawn I see mounted here in a window frame?
I'll bid you may name

Is it going once to the shifty nod?
Is it going twice to the builder's hod?
Is it going cheap to the rich man's heirs?
It's obscene to buy shares
In a single rose or a silent bell
I'll bid them to Hell.

So what am I bid for the single rose with its guard of thorns the fool soon knows?
I'll bid that it grows
And what am I bid for the bells with no sound and the streams by which they dwell?
I'll bid them farewell

© May 1992 Brian Bedford

Published by Bedspring Music
10 Park Head, Birdsedge, Huddersfield, England, HD8 8XW
Phone + 44 (0)1484 606230

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These pages were created by Jacey Bedford © April 22nd 1997
Last updated March 29th 2014