Juke Box Love Songs, Leaving Blues, Border Crossings & Lovers’ Laments



The album features Phil’s own songs alongside musical settings of the poems of Langston Hughes. Phil writes:

“When I first encountered the work of the great American poet Langston Hughes, I heard the voices of the last long century and more. I heard solitary cries and massed choruses, public outbursts and whispered hopes. Hughes’ lyrical, angry, tender but always impassioned words re-drew the map of poetry for me. But they also re-drew the musical map, singing out everything from field hollers to old world ballads, love songs and leaving blues. I thought of Louis Armstrong recording with Jimmie Rodgers. I thought of Romeo, Juliet, Porgy, Bess, Bernstein, boogie-woogie piano, rock ‘n’ roll, and a lifetime in thrall to the blithe border crossings of American popular music. I thought of Mississippi John Hurt, Fats Domino, Robert Johnson, Tom Rush, Stephen Foster, Taj Mahal, New York, the Appalachians and something called the South. And I thought of my dad, making my first guitar and setting me on my way along this track by the shores of dreams. I no longer seek meaning, but I can recommend the company.

So this album is built around some settings of Langston Hughes’ poems, together with a few of my own efforts at catching the beat of the human heart. It’s dedicated to anyone who has ever been a child, and, of course, to friends and family, past, present and future.”

Phil Langran (vocals, acoustic guitar)
Steve Benford (acoustic guitar, banjo, vocals)
Frank McCarthy (electric guitar, vocals)
Mark Walker (bass, vocals)
Pippa Marland (alto & soprano sax, vocals)

with special guest Ian Beestin on drums

Vocal arrangements by Frank McCarthy