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about

The majority of the songs on The Tarn Machine were written in the period between January and April 2015 during a time where the new line-up of The Bar-Steward Sons were forced to take time-out from live shows after Scott's partner (and the 5th Doonican) Amanda had to undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Rather than letting the whole horrible ordeal get the better of them, Scott & Amanda set to songwriting to take their minds off it all (laughter really is the best medicine, folks). Meanwhile, Bjorn, Alan & Andy also started to work on some songs too, which makes The Tarn Machine the first BS/VD album where all of the members of the band have been involved in the writing process.

However, unlike previous albums, the band were unable to 'road-test' the songs until they returned to live shows. As a result, the very first time ANY of the tracks were heard was at Scott's 'One Man Show' at The Lantern Theatre (which is also available on Bandcamp on the album of the same name). Luckily, they were well-received, and work commenced on the recording on 28th April at Scott's house in Barnsley Rock City.

Scott spent a week recording his parts, Bjorn recorded his sections over two sessions on 4th May and 11th May, Alan recorded all of his parts in 6 hours on 12th May, and Andy arrived on the 13th May to add his parts. The album was mixed and mastered on 14th May, making The Tarn Machine the fastest studio album the band have ever recorded too.

The album also contains 'The Devil Went Darn To Barnsley', which was only previously available on the vinyl-only 'Bestest Bits II' and features Scott & Bjorn alongside some very special guests. We were lucky to be aided and abetted by the marvellous Maartin Allcock (Jethro Tull / Fairport Convention / Beth Neilsen Chapman Band) who produced the track between September and October of 2014, whilst also recording bass, baritone guitar, electric guitar and synths. Joining this motley crew was Scott's comedy-folk hero (and the main inspiration for BS/VD) Mike Harding, who plays the part of The Devil, our dear friend Eliza Carthy on the Devil's fiddle-break and backing vocals, Saxon's Graham Oliver on electric guitar and Matt Townsend who drummed the whole track in one take without any technical wizardry. Coincidentally, due to time restraints when the track was recorded, Eliza had to record her parts in a college in Whitby onto a small voice-recorder whilst stood in a classroom full of confused looking sixth-formers!

Despite being given an 'official' release date of 1st June, the band launched the album at their appearance at Bearded Theory festival on 21st May in front of a capacity crowd, and were joined on stage at the end of their set by the members of 3 Daft Monkeys, Tom Large as The Devil and Emmy-Award Winning musician Roy Harter from New York.

Not bad for a daft little comedy band from Barnsley, eh?

credits

released June 1, 2015

Scott Doonican: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, banjulele, bass guitar, piano, stylophone, body percussion, drum programming
Bjorn Doonicansson: banjo, mandolin, fiddle, flat-pack furniture assembly
Andy Doonican: 12-string acoustic guitar, bouzouki, electric guitar, sarcasm
Alan Doonican: piano accordion, piano, keyboards, master story-teller

with special guests on The Devil Went Darn To Barnsley:
Maartin Allcock - electric guitar, baritone guitar, bass, synths
Eliza Carthy - fiddle, backing vocals
Mike Harding - The Devil
Graham Oliver - electric guitar
Matt Townsend - drums

with screams from ‘The Sound of Hell Choir’ (recorded at Cabaret Doonican at The Fitzwilliam Arms, Elsecar)
Amanda White, JC Toller, Tony Davies, Graham Dodson, Kath & Andy Durdy, Emma Lennon, Jethro Platts, Den & Angie Duffy, Dave & Ross Harrison, Matt Townsend, Catherine Hammond, Cian & Hayla Stanworth, Steph Culic, Lewis Ryan, Steven Sanderson, Ed Sanderson, Andrea Beevers, Laura & Jacob Fox, Simon Porter, Patrick, Neil, Silke & Cat Fraser, Lizzie Morris, Brent & Dan Watson, Marie Haugen, Steve & Sharon Challoner


All songs produced by Scott Doonican at Moon-On-A-Stick Studios, Barnsley Rock City...
Except The Devil Went Darn To Barnsley - produced by Maartin Allcock at Squiggle Studios, Harlech, Wales

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about

The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican UK

Hailing from Barnsley Rock City in't north, The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican are determined to follow in their father's immortal footsteps. They naturally began to perform other famous people’s songs complete with lyrics about life in't North and to complete their squeaky-clean image, they became instantly recognisable for their immaculate hair and their stylish dress-sense.
EY UP! LET'S GO!
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Track Name: She's From Dodworth
She's from Dodworth - thinks she’s looking good
Her Sanskrit tattoos are misunderstood
Wears an Oompa Loompa fake tan when she’s on the lash
While a carefully-placed vagazzle hides her shaving rash

Wears a onesie to her local pub at half past 8
And anyone who looks at her she wants to feight
20 aifs of cider she's a total wreck
She tumbles off her stool and nearly breaks her neck

She also nicks consumer products from the Tarn
An i-phone 6, an e-cig and a dressing gown
Judge Rinder stopped her claim against the Aldi there
Cos the cucumber she took back looked quite worse for wear
Track Name: Big Coffee Brand
I went into Tarn with me missus
All t'shops she did drag me ararnd
And after she'd spent nearly all of me cash
She war feeling a little run darn
She said to me “I need a cuppa
Let's go to that shop across t'road”
And when I did turn and did see that place
I thought “Oh, bloody hell, here we go…”

I tried to play stupid and silent
But ar lass was the one in command
And it's hard to keep your composure
When you go in that Big Coffee Brand

We ventured inside that establishment
And I just could not believe me eyes
It was rammed to the rafters with hipsters
Great big beards upon every guy
And then I perused the menu
There was nowt there that looked like a beer
I mean, what the chuff’s a Cortado?
I thought Clarkson drove one on Top Gear

More sneaky than Somali Pirates
Cos they’d rob you while you’re on dry land
And it's hard to keep your composure
When you go in that Big Coffee Brand

The spotty faced oik behind t'counter
Was glaring at me so bemused
Cos for him it war easy to understand
But I hadn’t got a chuffin clue
The front of the queue, it loomed nearer
With no paddle, I was up shit creek
‘Cos the prices were tekkin’ the biscuit
And the biscuits were not chuffin’ cheap

I tried not to resort to violence
While I stood with me head in me hands
Cos it's hard to keep your composure
When you go in that Big Coffee Brand

I attempted to order me hot drink
But it all went so wrong so fast
‘Cos before I'd finished my sentence
He’d robbed me of all of me cash
And the coffee cost 7 pound 80
I thought he was havin’ a laugh
Then he asked me 'Do you want a loyalty card?'
I said “Dun't bother, pal, I'm not comin’ back!”

I could have incited a riot
I’d had as much as I could stand
It's so hard to keep your composure
When you go in that Big Coffee Brand

So having completed my order
I decided to write down this tune
So you’ll know now why they call it Costa
‘Cos it’ll cost you a chuffin’ fortune!

Cos I needed more cash than Neil Diamond
Cos the prices were just out of hand
If there's owt that you've learned, or you're feeling concerned
Don't go near that Big Coffee Brand!
Track Name: Double Oven
Ar lass had nothing but bad luck
Anytime that she attempted to bake
The smoke alarm would often tell me
She may have made a ‘little’ mistake
She’d bring her goods to the table
Her buns cremated and black
And look at me with expectant eyes
While I wished she’d take the buggers back

She wants a double oven - the Bake-Off’s on her mind
Wants one with lots of buttons - fan-operated
“Get me a double oven - the Mary Berry kind
And nice new oven gloves so you can rest your worried mind”

She tried the technical challenge
But she couldn’t work the microwave
They came out salty and savoury
But that isn’t how meringues should behave
I ate the portion she offered me
It was all mangled and mauled
She looked all startled and horrified
As I spat it up against the wall

She wants a double oven - has baking on her mind
Going mad with chocolate buttons - She's fond of fondue
She cracks eggs by the dozen - until it’s all combined
Beware her soggy bottom - be sure to take it out on time

The double oven arrived on Friday
The model she had been longing for
The missus gave me a furtive wink
And my temperature started to soar
She promised me something saucy
I’d hoped it would be obscene
She said “It’s all in the wrist action”
But then, walked in with nouvelle cuisine

She’s got a double oven - the Bake-Off’s on her mind
Got one with lots of buttons - fan-operated
She’s got a double oven - the Mary Berry kind
And nice new oven gloves so she’s chuffed to pieces
She’s got buns in the oven - Eclairs and Florentines
Baps and tarts by the dozen - Check out that muffin
She could stop but she doesn’t - She’s working overtime
There’s no more kitchen nightmares - A master baker in her prime
Track Name: Friday I'm In t'Pub
I can’t wait till Monday's through
Tuesday's shite and Wednesday’s too
Thursday - 9 till 5 can screw!
It's Friday, I'm in’t pub

Monday mornings crush my soul
Tuesday, Wednesday no rock n roll
Thursday’s: time to take control
Cos it's Friday: time for t’pub

Saturday’s great - But on Sunday you can’t stop out late
On Friday nights, I’m with my mates

The weekend’s over, Monday's back
Tuesday, Wednesday same old cack
Thursday’s soul like coal is black
But by Friday I'm in’t pub

Monday messes with me head
Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s I see red
On Thursday I know what’s ahead
It's Friday and I'm in’t pub

Saturday’s great - But Sunday’s I would underrate
One of five nights I love to hate
A word to the wise - it’s no great surprise
To find that perfection is pint sized
Going out rarnd Tarn - without a care or a frown
Line em up and then neck ‘em down
And yer future looks bright - it could never be shite
To wash out the week, with a well earned pint
You can never sup enough - enough of this stuff
It's Friday! I'm in’t pub

I don't care for Monday morn
Tuesday, Wednesday feel forlorn
I’m taking Thursday by the horns
On Friday, darn to’t pub

Monday you can bugger off
Tuesdays, Wednesdays - write ‘em off
Thursday’s just not good enough
‘Cos on Friday I'm in’t pub
Track Name: Move Yer Knackered
You just sit on your arse - morning, noon, night
Straining your heart - with each big bite
Taking pizza away - won't make it OK
Considering how much you weigh
Got the remote control - Mam’s your waiter
You claim you’re big boned - to the haters
And you say "I'm a kid", but your tekkin’ the piss
Cos you won't run for shit

Milkshake in one hand playing X-Box
At eight years old it’s criminal that
If you move you're knackered
You go to move you're knackered
You only look across the room towards the door and you’re shattered

Scoffing trays of jam-filled donuts
Eat crisps from the folds in your gut
You can’t move - you’re knackered
And if you moved you’d stagger
And you’re just laid there watching Star Wars but you look like Jabba

Go to school in the car - forget walking
To the end of the street - must be joking
Because you have a date - with your breakfast at eight
You’ve got enough on your plate

So dieting’s tough - Atkins feels like
There’s just not enough - salad tastes shite
Dr Gillian McKeith, says you beggar belief
Even your arsehole’s got teeth

So get on your feet…
Your PE teachers know your scam
Every week you bring a note from yer mam
Cos when you move you’re knackered
Don’t give me looks like daggers
Forget the pie and peas swap it for low-fat cheese n crackers

Fitness classes won’t enrol you
You’re the poster boy for Gregg’s sausage rolls
That stomach won’t get flatter
Cos when you move you’re knackered
And you just dream of Crispy Creams and Mars Bars fried in batter

Enough’s enough, I’ll go the extra mile
Gonna take control, change my whole lifestyle
And it’s no big secret - That I’m trying to beat it - run, rest, repeat it
So just like Rocky, I’m gonna fly
Cutting out the Twix’s, cutting out the Sprite
Lifting kettle-bells - well it hurt’s like hell - but I feel compelled

Cos now I roll like this…
Cutting out the snacks and sweeties
Avoiding Type 2 diabetes
I’d gone from flab to flabber
But now I move like Jagger
And now I’m working up a sweat as I move up the ladder

You may think drinking eggs is silly
But nowadays I can see my willy
I don’t feel half as shattered
My BMI’s been battered
Given a choice of sweets or salad now I’d choose the latter
Track Name: Massage In A Brothel
Lost in Amsterdam – so drunk that I can’t see, oh
And I can’t find me mates – there’s no-one left but me, oh
And on those cobbled streets – I slipped and put me back out
And I could hardly move, all I could was shout-out
A lass walked up to me, she was ever so polite
She said “My name’s Roxanne”, under crimson neon lights
She helped me to my feet, and walked me up some stairs
To a small red room, it was then that I got scared

I'd send an SMS to me bird - but I know that she’ll go completely berserk
I know I’ve really cocked up - I never meant to end up
Or even planned to get a massage in a brothel

I woke face down, I got up to get my coat
I knew by then it was time to depart
But she blocked the door, she was all dressed in leather
With a gimp mask and a riding crop, she’d break more than my heart

I'd send an SMS to me bird - but I know she’ll go completely berserk
I know Roxanne did not stop - and I could hardly stand up
Me back felt worse after that massage in a brothel

Woke up next morning - don't believe what I saw
Whips and chains and rubber objects scattered round the floor
It was then I screamed at the top of me lungs
As she gave me lacerations right across me plums

I'd send an SMS to me bird - but with me hands in chains it won’t work
I didn’t need a close-up - I know I nearly threw up
I never thought it would get messy in that brothel

Sendin' out an SOS - rather than the SMS
I need some time to convalesce - after all of this undue stress

I'd send an SMS to me bird - but I know she’d go completely berserk
I’m looking pretty messed up - she’ll say I’ve never grown up
And to think it started with a massage in a brothel
Track Name: Frisky In The Jar
Me and me missus went to, the Jessop Wing in Sheffield
Signed-up for a course of IVF, but we found it was a minefield
They first produced a fountain pen and we signed a pile of paper
But I hadn’t got a chuffing clue what they had in store for me there
They took us to a tiny room and said they needed samples
Two vials of blood from her right arm, but from ME they took an armful
Three nurses had to hold me down, they ruffled up me tanktop
And they left me with an empty arm, a cuppa and a Hob Nob!

Muttering “Ooh you’ve buggered me arm”
We only came for embryos
Not for pain and a tale of woe
I’ve no strength to lift me fire hose

They gave me a small plastic jar, and then they took the biscuit
And sent me to another room, with very little in it
A drawer with sticky magazines – the TV muted silent
And a DVD in black & white, titled ‘Shaving Ryan’s Privates’.

No way would I be sitting, in the wipe-clean leather armchair
Lord only knows, how many blokes, had shot their pistols sat there
So there I stood, with task in hand, struggling with me software
Tried shooting straight in the tiny jar, but it was a chuffing nightmare

Juggling a lad-mag and me jar
I’m whackin’ on me-laddio
It’s hard to act like Romeo
Getting frisky in a jar-o

I had bragged about a bucketful but I struggled with a thimble
Now I’m not ambidextrous and it’s clear that I’m not nimble
And where were all the nurses, their help would have been super
But here I am on the NHS, Christ I should’ve gone with BUPA

Struggling just to fill up me jar
Not the best scenario
I’ve got cramp but no ‘get up and go’
Getting frisky in the jar-o

Now it hurts when I play me guitar
Like a limp lothario
I can’t come or get me cock to crow
Not so frisky in the jar-o
Track Name: You're So Vain
You walked into the party like everyone’s worst nightmare
Like a fart inside a spacesuit
You were clearly unwelcome there
You were showing off your extension rod
And it’s telescopic end
And all the girls thought that you were a muppet
Wondering where they could shove it, cos...

You’re so vain - You had to bring your chuffing selfie stick with you
You’re a pain
I wouldn’t tire from using it just to clout you, clout you, clout you

There have been times when I’ve told myself that maybe you’re just naive
But with your iphone 6 and yer selfie stick
Sending pictures I don’t want to receive
The times I’ve drove myself to drink, to block out what I saw
You sat on the lav, showing off your new phone-case
Pulling a duckface

You’re so vain - and your toilet selfie doesn’t become you
You’re a pain
No-one wants to see your intimate tattoo, just think it through

…Throwback Thursday arrives and you’re far from embarrassed
Of your snap with Rolf Harris, and…

You’re so vain - You had to bring a bloody selfie stick with you
My disdain
Is something I saved specially for you, and your phone too

When I heard your auntie Ethel died, I was saddened to the core
Our hearts were with your family, she was a lady who was adored
Stood solemnly at the funeral, but clearly you couldn’t wait
There with the corpse and a friend of the vicar
Clicking your clicker

You’re insane - even with a hashtag it’s far from touching
You’re deranged
You’ve a face I’d never tire from punching, punching, punching
You’re so vain
You had to bring your chuffing selfie stick with you
You’re a pain
I wouldn’t tire from using it just to clout you, clout you, clout you
Track Name: Since You've Been Ron
I get the same old dream, same time every night
Of you in that dress and make up
I still remember when, you turned to me in bed and said
Your life needed a shake up
Six months of work in West Berlin
But now my her has changed to a him

Oh since you’ve been Ron, since you’ve been Ron
I’m struggling with the whole ‘man’-thing
It just seems so wrong, cos since you’ve been Ron
Now you can wee while standing

I just can’t understand, why you want to be a man
Your curves were in the right places
Your chest is all hairy, but still the weirdest thing for me is
Beards on both of our faces
I used to love to watch you dance
But now I’m scared of what’s in your pants

Oh since you’ve been Ron, your voice has gone
All gravelly like Joe Cocker’s
I’m far from impressed, you swapped your bra for a vest
I preferred you when you had knockers

I’ll make a bob or two - all your Jimmy Choo shoes are going on ebay…

Oh since you’ve been Ron, Since you’ve been Ron
You’ve learnt how to leave pans soaking
Oh since you’ve been Ron, something’s gone wrong
I used to do all the poking

Ever since you’ve been Ron
Track Name: The Zipper
I’ve lost the power to talk - after what I’ve gone through
Though it’s hurting me - I want no-one to see
Feeling deeply scarred - from torment I have been through
Words cannot convey - the pain I feel today

Me zipper caught me balls
You could hear me wailing through the walls
I screamed a hundred decibels
Because it hurts like chuffing hell

I tried to stay calm - but the shock it was horrendous
Looking down on my mistake - and my mangled trouser snake
I want to be free - to let me dingles dangle
But how can I abandon ship - with me conkers in me zip?

Wish I’d been much more precise
I’ve tried to cool me plums with ice
But now I’ve got no tail to tell
Because me mojo’s trapped as well
The zipper trapped me balls
Yes I’m quite far from enthralled
Because this tragic injury
Has caused nowt but misery

I can hardly move - cause it’s throbbing so bad
Frozen where I stand - it’s laid in tatters in my hand
I’ll say sorry in advance - to the paramedics
Cos I know how much I’ll shout - when they pull the bugger out

The zipper caught me balls
Singing falsetto down the hall
Oh yes my strength was quickly sapped
When me space hoppers got trapped
And size it clearly matters not
Me chuffin zipper ate the lot
Track Name: Bono Bloody Bono
I can’t believe the news I’ve seen
The bike that you fell off got knighted by Queen
You’re one of Ireland’s favourite sons
But you would rather pay tax to the Netherlands
How long - how long must you sing your songs?
How long, how long

Cause tonight, why can’t you just get stagefright

D’you still want to run on unnamed streets?
When booking plane tickets, your hat gets its own seat!
And I can’t help but wonder why
You have to look like you’re Jeff Goldblum in the fly

Bono, Bloody Bono

Have you found what you’re looking for?
If not then dun’t wear sunglasses when you’re indoors
For Africa you made such fuss
Well tonight thank God that it was them instead of us

Bono, Bloody Bono

How long - How long must this song go on?
How long, how long

Cause you’re shite… you’re Ireland’s new potato blight

Bono, Bloody Bono

Please just go away
Just call it a day
Burn out and fade away (Bono, Bloody Bono)
D’ya know the way to San Jose? (Bono, Bloody Bono)
That’s not far enough away (Bono, Bloody Bono)
How about the Milky Way (Bono, Bloody Bono)

Bono, Bloody Bono (Bono, Bloody Bono)

Your sneaky itunes giveaway
Can’t take The Edge off it, or make you go away
Removing it was such a farce
Why can’t you just remove your head from up your arse
You think that you’re the Lord of Rock
While the world looks on and thinks that you’re a… fool

Bono, Bloody Bono
Track Name: Mr Soundman
Mr. Soundman, don’t have a fit
You have the power to make us sound shit
We’ll thank you when the show is over
Or at least we will if we are sober
Mr Soundman, please don’t get stressed
Our soundcheck isn’t an intelligence test
Just show us that wonder stuff
Mr. Soundman, don’t be a chuff

Mr Soundman, let’s reconvene
I need more monitor for my tambourine
Ten DI’s and six miles of cable
And less accordion when you are able
Mr Soundman, don’t misbehave
My vocals sound just like I am in a cave
And please turn off that smoke machine
Where’s me band gone, they can’t be seen

Mr Soundman, don’t make us sound crap
Although we’re comedy we’re not Spinal Tap
And don’t get angry when Andy comes late
That’s no excuse to take an early lunch break
Mr Soundman, don’t make us sound shite
Just work yer magic, it’ll turn art alright
Make it sound great out the front
Mr Soundman, don’t be a wazzock
Track Name: The Devil Went Darn To Barnsley
The devil went darn to Barnsley Tarn
He war lookin' for a soul to steal.
He war in a bind 'cause he war way behind
And he war willin' to mek a deal
When he came across this young ’un
Laikin’ on’t fiddle and playin' shit ‘ot.
And t’devil jumped up like a big daft lump and said,
"Ey up, let me tell thee what.

I guess you didn't know it - but I'm a fiddle player, too.
And if you'd care, to tek a dare, I'll mek a bet with you.
Now, you play pretty good fiddle, lad, but I’m gunna mek thee see.
I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul,'
Coz I think I'm better than thee."

The lad said, "Hi, me name's Bjorn, and it might be a sin.
But I'll take your bet, you big red get ‘coz I'm t’best that's ever bin."

Bjorn you better get yer bow and play yer fiddle hard,
'Coz hell's brok loose in Barnsley Tarn and t’devil deals the cards.
And if you win you get his shiny fiddle med of gold.
But if you lose, the devil gets yer soul.

The devil got his fiddle, and he said, "Reight, off we go!"
And fire flew from his fingertips and he put on quite a show
Then he brought in Graham from Saxon and Eliza Carthy as well
These stranger’s in t’night, they din’t sound shite
No they rocked like bloody Hell!

When the devil finished, Bjorn just said, "Thar pretty good, t’old lad,
But sit darn ovver theer for a bit and I’ll mek thee look reight bad.

A Doonican from Sweden livin’ in’t Tarn
I show thee what’s the crack – Ah’m t’best ararnd
The Devil’s goin’ darn cos he’s Number One
Playing them hits with The Bar-Steward Sons

The devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd bin beat.
And he laid that golden fiddle on’t ground at Bjorn's feet.
Bjorn said, "Devil, just come on back if thy iver wants to try ageeain.
'Cause I told thee once, you big daft chuff, I'm the best that's ever been."

A Doonican from Sweden livin’ in’t Tarn
I show thee what’s the crack – Ah’m t’best ararnd
The Devil’s goin’ darn cos he’s Number One
Playing them hits with The Bar-Steward Sons