‘No Petticoats Here’ by Louise Jordan - “...a landmark album that is engrossing and entrancing”(September 08, 2016)
An ocean of words has been expended on the criminal, profligate waste of life and the far reaching, cataclysmic social changes brought about by the First World War. To add more words seems superfluous. However, with considerable empathy for the subject, Louise Jordan has created ‘No Petticoats Here’, an album that definitely transcends the gratuitous and perfectly presents a little explored facet of the conflict. For the first time in history, women did not remain ‘at home’ waiting for the black-edged telegram, waving wet handkerchiefs to departing loved ones or soothing the fevered brows of returning troops. There were women who stepped outside convention, defied the establishment and actively took on challenging roles, many traditionally reserved for men.
Through Louise's poignant lyrics and haunting music ‘No Petticoats Here’ gives voice to real-life narratives about exceptional individuals ... women who dressed as soldiers, drove ambulances, set up front-line first aid posts, played football to raise funds, spied on the enemy and invented a method of dispelling poison gas ... women who overcame prejudice, chauvinism, intolerance and misogyny to achieve what they set out to do.
The album opens with ’The Pride of The Army’ inspired by Ada Hind, Staff Matron-in-Chief of Southern Command, British Army and recipient of the Royal Red Cross and bar for services to military nursing, moves to ‘Perhaps’ a poem written by feminist and writer Vera Brittain, who became a Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) nurse. The stories take a different turn with ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ about women munitions workers playing fundraising football matches for soldiers’ children and families (before the FA banned women from playing football in 1921) while the powerful songs ‘Freewheeling’ about Dorothy Lawrence who dressed as soldier to experience the front-line at first hand, and ‘Ripple and Flow’ relating Hestha Ayrton’s research in the field of science.
Louise Jordan has with ‘No Petticoats Here’ created a landmark album that is engrossing and entrancing and a fitting tribute to some exceptional women. If there’s one album you really should own, then this is it. Release date: 30th September 2016
Review: Tim Carroll