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Louise Jordan Louise Jordan
Album: No Petticoats Here
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

I remember asking an author once why he'd written about murder ballads, the response was along the lines of the well researched ones I've read weren't an enjoyable read and the ones that were an enjoyable read weren't well researched, I suspect if I were to ask Louise Jordan the same question about "No Petticoats Here", I would get a similar response.

Essentially "No Petticoats Here" is an album about the, almost forgotten and overlooked, roles that women played during world war one and just after it, both at home, at the front and arguably all points between, eleven vignettes of life from back in the day.

Some of the stories you hear, you may have already seen in documentaries or read in other books, "Shoulder To Shoulder" the tale of women's football during the time may not have the same recognition in people's as the Christmas day kickabout, but arguably it's a far more culturally important event, that the leagues and games have largely been written out of history actually speaks volumes.

"No Petticoats Here" really does cover all aspects of the roles women played, the exciting worlds of espionage and derringdo contrasting with the monotony of life on the shop floor of munition factories and being turned yellow by the chemicals that you were having to work with and by doing so emphasises how unfair it is that half of the population are carefully written out of the story, because it didn't fit the narrative of the establishment.

Now if that all sounds a bit of a feminist tract, can I refer you back to paragraph one? Louise Jordan delivers an album that is well researched and an enjoyable listen. "No Petticoats Here" sparkles with personality and personalities. It has a real sense of drama where it needs it, never overplaying its hand and delivers an album that delivers beautifully on its concepts and does so in a very entertaining way.

The album is one that delivers from the moment it arrives. It falls into your hands as a brown paper parcel, hand tied with string, that alone raises expectation, the modern equivalent of opening up the gatefold sleeve. You then find the accompanying booklet, which adds more detail to the sung stories, again in an enjoyable and educational way.

One of the things I like about Louise Jordan's songwriting is not just what she says, but what she doesn't say, crediting her listeners with an ability to join the dots, when a hanging note, for example, can say so much more than another sentence or verse. The songs and arrangements are deceptively simple, but speak volumes.

"No Petticoats Here" is one of my albums of the year, because it does marry the worlds of education and entertainment so well. Songs that stand up on their own, but as a body ask as many questions as they answer. If you want to know a bit more, well there's the booklet and like the songs that could stand on its own as part of an exam syllabus. Yep, this is an album that matters, so give it a chance to matter to you and grab yourself a copy.

Neil King