By Hannah Ridgeweigh
Leeds duo ON TRACK have released a Remembrance Day song and video inspired by one of the world’s most-loved authors, Ken Follett.
ON TRACK – Craig Michael on lead vocals and Bramley-based musician and songwriter Rob Russell Davies on keyboards – regularly entertain audiences across the north of England, appearing in clubs, pubs and cabaret venues across the region.
According to Rob, who was a semi-finalist on TV’s Britain’s Got Talent 2021, there’s more to the guys than just doing covers. Original songs are regularly added to their repertoire and a growing video presence on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram means the duo are finding new fans every day.
Especially written for Remembrance Day, ‘Telegram Taff’, was inspired by a scene from Ken Follett’s epic novel: Fall of Giants. The year is 1916, the WW1 battle of the Somme is raging in France and families in the UK await news of their loved ones. That news was invariably delivered by telegram – the post office workers often being boys as young as 14. But telegrams nearly always meant bad news – often the most dreaded news of all. For this reason, these young men became known as ‘angels of death’.
“The scene in Fall of Giants where a boy postal worker in a welsh mining village delivers telegrams to fearful families with tears running down his face was so powerful, it just stayed with me,” says Rob. “It inspired me to write ‘Telegram Taff’ and also to write to Mr Follett himself to take a look at the video.
“And I was humbled and delighted when I received a reply thanking me for sharing and wishing Craig and I every success with it’s up-coming release. It was simply amazing to hear back from one of my favourite authors and a long-time hero.”
Over a million people were killed or wounded in the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history.
“But the true cost of war,” says Rob, “was seen in the heartlands of the UK, when young postman like ‘Telegram Taff’ wandered the valleys of Wales carrying devastating news in their post bags. Yes, it’s now history. But we keep repeating that history and the madness of war is never far away and has even returned to Europe once again.
“Telegram Taffs and their grim post bags may be no more – now the devastation of war is played-out in realtime on our screens and phones. But one thing that doesn’t change is that soldiers, their families and innocent civilians still keep paying the price for man’s inhumanity to man.”