A Medway Christmas Alphabet: B is for “Bela’s Kiss”

‘Tis the festive season of advent calendars and countdowns to Christmas. To mark the occasion, what better way than to have a completely non-festive A-Z of Medway songs.

Funke and the Two Tone Baby - Battles

Today, Day Two of this alphabetical extravaganza, finds us considering the letter B.

Looking through my list of songs beginning with B, I find there are quite a few ballads in Medway’s back catalogue: Pete Molinari’s ‘The Ballad of Bob Montgomery’, Sally Ironmonger’s ‘The Ballad of Flying Isaac’ and Thee Headcoats ‘The Ballad of the Fogbound Pinhead’.

There’s also Stuart Turner’s ‘Ballad of the Gliding Swan’, The Spartan Dreggs’ ‘The Ballad of Robert Walser’ and Theatre Royal’s ‘The Ballad of Tommy Hall’.

That’s as maybe. But the song I’ve gone for today doesn’t feature the word “ballad” at all. That said, ‘Bella’s Kiss’, by Funke and the Two Tone Baby, is a ballad of sorts. Here, with more detail on the song, is a short extract from Do It Yourself: a History of Music in Medway:

‘Funke and the Two Tone Baby specialise in a fusion of blues and folk. Their 2012 album, Battles, is a richly textured affair. ‘Bella’s Kiss’, the album’s first song, is an enticing piece of grizzled blues with a raspy harmonica accompaniment.

‘It’s a self-assured start to an impressive album.  The song’s title is a play on the name of a Hungarian killer of some 24 women, Béla Kiss. And so the lyrics outline Kiss’s sinister motive:

‘Dear ladies, I’m seeking a wife.
She’s got to be rich, got to have no ties.
No-one who will care about
No-one who will miss
When I put your lights out.’

Read more about Funke and the Two Tone Baby and many other Medway musicians in my book, Do It Yourself: a History of Music in Medway.

And you can buy the album, Battles, on which you’ll find ‘Bella’s Kiss’ from Amazon and iTunes – and other places – of course.

In news hot off the press, today it’s emerged the book sits alongside Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink and Richard Balls’ Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story as one of US music magazine, Goldmine’s books of 2015. In fact, it seems to be one of their best 50 things from the year, full stop. Which is nice.

Look out for tomorrow’s blog. Which will, of course, be all about the C-word. Or rather, a song beginning with C.

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