Best of 2013: The Swapsies



The Swapsies are Sean, Elaine, Huw, and Andy. They hail from Liverpool in the UK. They released two EPs this year – one through February Records and the other was self-released (and is still available!). Their year was full of birds – from February Records and the bird logo, to the title of their new EP, “Sparrows.” So, the band decided to compile a list of bird-related songs.

The Swapsies Favourite Songs About Birds
(In honour of our song “Sparrows” and the February Records logo!)

“And Your Bird Can Sing” – The Beatles
If there’s a finer guitar riff in pop music I’ve never heard it. And those harmonies! (Andy)

“As the Dawn Breaks” – Richard Hawley
If you want to find meaning in certainties and constants, the dawn-chorus sure beats death and taxes. (Sean)

“Blackbird On The Wire” – The Beautiful South
The first CD single I ever bought. With beautifully simple cover artwork. The song’s not bad either! (Andy)

“Byrds Turn to Stone” – Shack
Although admittedly more about Michael Head and his brother John learning to play guitar and sing together by copying their favourite Arthur Lee and Byrds records, I’ve always loved that image of them from the chorus out-singing the birds ‘night after night’. AND there’s a birds/Byrds pun. (Sean)

“Chicken With Its Head Cut Off” – The Magnetic Fields
An ace metaphor for love in an album stuffed full of ace metaphors for love. (Andy)

“The Cuckoo” – John Renbourn
At the risk of being superficial, I’ve never thought deeply about the meaning of this song. It sounds boss though, and that’ll do for now. (Sean)

“I’m A Cuckoo” – Belle and Sebastian
Oi! Andy! What about the riff in this! All together now – “duh dud duh duh-ruh/ duh duh duh duh-ruh/ duh duh duh duh-ruh/ duh duh duh duh-ruh” etcetera etcetera (Huw)

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” – Hank Williams
Starts with a suicidal Whippoorwill and gets progressively more depressing from there. Still ace though. (Huw)

“Little Bird” – Annie Lennox/Utah Saints Dance Remix 1992
The very first time I went to The State nightclub in Liverpool was in ’93 and I recall not being very impressed by the dance tracks that kicked the night off … but when this version of Annie’s song came on, it changed everything! (Elaine)

“Rockin’ Robin” – The Jackson 5
Flippin’ brilliant song that is a must for bird-fancying rockers. All about a Robin “hoppin’ and a boppin’”, as they do. (Huw)

“When The Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along)” – Doris Day
I had to learn/sing this song in one of our junior school plays about the war, back in primary school in the early ’80s — still remember every word to everyone of those war time classics. (Elaine)

“Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley
The first song I attempted to play using barre chords on my guitar tutors vintage Gibson Les Paul. (Elaine)

Photo by Rachel Ravey

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