Bridget St. John – To B Without A Hitch

• “To B Without A Hitch” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to The Psychedelic Garden.

9.5 “All-time classic Folk from England”

First out as a single (Dandelion 4404) circa July, 1969. Shortly thereafter included as the opening track on her debut LP “Ask Me No Questions” (Dandelion Records S-63750) released circa August, 1969.

The fanciful notion of running a record label, free from the constraints of the “straights”, had been burning with John Peel for a considerable period of time; Bridget St. John was the catalyst which spurred the idea on from fantasy to reality. Her 1968 session for his Night Ride Radio Show (her first public exposure) was simply too good not to be realised on record – but no-one else was showing an interest. In the launch ad for Dandelion Records (the International Times, 18 July 1969), Peel explained:

The half-witted, idealistic notion behind Dandelion and our other violent, capitalist enterprise, Biscuit Music, is that any profits, if such there be, should go to the artists, not to Clive nor myself. We want to record people whose songs and poems we like and whom we like as people. At the moment this means Bridget St. John, Beau, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre and the Occasional Word Ensemble. If people like their records, and I honestly can’t think of any reason why they shouldn’t, then we’ll be able to record a host of other people you’ve probably never heard of either.

They did a great job with this early 45. The press release knew its subject well:

BRIDGET ST. JOHN feels that when she writes a number it is a statement rather than a song. On her first record for the Dandelion label there are two very different statements illustrating her point that she writes a song only when something inspires her to do so.

TO B WITHOUT A HITCH extolls the virtue of hitch hiking as others rush by on trains and bus, all jostling to get somewhere on time. The flurried guitar backing indicates the speed of the traffic and the pace in places slows to that of the hitch-hiker leisurely waiting for the lift.

On AUTUMN LULLABY Bridget’s attractive deep voice is shown to advantage as she sings a gentle, rather dreamy song with a lilting tune.

Born in East Molesey, Surrey, in 1946, Bridget attended Primary School in Rosehampton and a leading girl’s public school, St. Paul’s Hammersmith. She moved on to study French and Italian at Sheffield University and graduated last year with a BA honours degree in language.

She started to sing and compose her songs whilst at university and was introduced to the general public by way of John Peel’s “Night Ride” programme. She has since appeared on television’s “How It Is” and in a Central Office of Information film.

“To B Without A Hitch” had been inspired by her once hitch-hiking all the way to Italy… and reading Beatrix Potter to her friends children on lazy, hazy sunshine days. “I will eat a butterfly sandwich, and wait till the shower is over” said Mr. Jeremy. See?

Cars roll by a hundred miles-an-hour
Windscreen wipers driving off the rain
Wonder if they’ll make it where they’re going to?
Or will it be the same as when they came?

But, as for me, I’ll sit and eat a buttercup sandwich and wait ’til the shower is over

Everyone tries boarding rush-hour buses
Even though they know there’s no more room
Me I sit here trying to thumb somewhere
In time I know a car is bound to come

But, until then, I’ll sit and eat a buttercup sandwich and wait ’til the shower is over

Water does no more than get you soaking
But people act as if they’re going to drown
Forget about the summer when the sun burns their skin
Forgetting man lives not by bread alone

But, as for me, I’ll sit and eat a buttercup sandwich and wait ’til the shower is over

Unbelievably, it’s not even my favourite track on the album. “What could possibly be better than this mini-masterpiece?” I hear you ask.

Well, I don’t really, but I’ll tell you anyway. You can hear the answer to that question and read more about the brilliant LP on my album review chart for 1969, here.