By Ken Hunt
The World Turned Upside Down is a seventy-two-track
anthology of what Leon Rosselson endearingly calls “Rosselsongs.” Four
CDs, organized into The Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties and The
Nineties to 2010, and a booklet are packed into one of those CD-sized
This collection is not, of course, the complete Rosselson. There is nothing of him from his session guitarist years accompanying Stan Kelly, Zimra Ornatt and their kind, when he, Steve Benbow and John Hasted were The Few.
The World Turned Upside Down is a one-stop concentration of material from one of the pioneers and finest exponents of English-language chanson-strength song creation.
Leon Rosselson applied the jump leads that got the stalled engine of socially engaged, literate song racing. And then got it purring and spitting.
The selection rounds up his best known songs like “Stand Up For Jesus,” “The World Turned Upside Down,” “Ballad Of A Spycatcher,” and “Battle Hymn Of The New Socialist Republic” alongside slipped-through-the-interstices observational and/or satirical songs like “Whoever Invented The Fishfinger,” “The Man Who Puffs The Big Cigar,” “Bringing The News From Nowhere” and his mocking “Talking Democracy Blues.”
Listen to “It’s Just The Song,” “The Ghost Of George Brassens,” and “The Power Of Song” for insights, manifestoes or confessions about what got his creative juices flowing. That last song, a rousing evocation of the big-voiced excitement of bygone and present-day socialist choirs, brings us back to one of his early inspirations. All with Rosselsong annotations to contextualise the near-perfection of this extraordinary set.