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The Voluntary Butler Scheme

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The Voluntary Butler Scheme is, to all intents and purposes, Rob Jones – a young man holed up in Stourbridge just outside Birmingham, writing pop songs of classic sound, vivid imagination and homemade ingenuity.

A couple of years ago, Rob filled the days surfing drum stools, playing for a string of bands and relishing the low-expectations life of a jobbing musician. But then, the offer of a solo gig came up. “So I wrote four or five songs, and played the show,” he explains. And? “And it wasn’t all that,” he laughs. “But straight away, I knew I didn’t want to play stuff with bands anymore. So I thought I’d try a little bit harder and write some proper songs - and I wrote a dozen songs in a couple of weeks.”

And the songs were good. Great, in fact. Take ‘Trading Things In’. A lush ’60s pop frolic rich with overlapping harmonies, dewy-eyed romance, and references to – amongst other things – broccoli, running shoes, and popular hits of the ’50s, it’s an excellent advert for the merits of singing what you know. “It’s got a lyric that goes “yes we can listen to La Bamba on your mp3 player’” says Rob. “Cos ‘La Bamba’, that’s one of my favourite songs of all time. I don’t even know what the guy’s singing about, but you know, it really doesn’t matter. The way he sings it – it just breaks your heart. And I remember thinking, oh, I can probably just talk about whatever I’ve been up to that day and it’ll work.”

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