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Ivan Beecroft - You Can't Take My Soul #Flyah Review

Ivan has struggled to transcend the limitations of his working class background. As a steel worker in a dying industry he was often appalled by the blatantly unsafe conditions he and his colleagues were expected to work under. The memory of a workmate screaming in pain after having his hand caught in a faulty machine is just one that has contributed to Ivan’s social conscience. The challenges of finding and keeping safe, ongoing employment have given him empathy with those who are displaced or disadvantaged in modern society.
Coping with the day-to-day reality of his working life led Ivan to turn to music as a form of solace. The song Miss You exemplifies this, it was inspired by the death of his father and dedicated to his mother and sister.
His workplace experiences are also reflected in his music. The lyrics can be angry and political and some are quite dark, while the simple melodies and upbeat rhythms belie the nasty, cynical element. However the mood is not all anger and melancholy – Ivan’s marriage to his teenage sweetheart has inspired some happier, more loving songs. Her efforts to find purpose, as well as Ivan’s own, have also been the catalyst for several more philosophical offerings.
Ivan’s musical journey was almost derailed when his bass player and long-time friend attempted to defend a neighbour from a random drug-fuelled attack. He was hospitalised, was in a coma for a month, almost lost sight in one eye and was left partially deaf. This rendered him unable to continue playing bass. Ivan was so traumatised that he turned his back on music altogether – until his wife bought him a new guitar for his birthday almost two years later, prompting him to start writing songs and playing again.
Ivan has always been a versatile musician. He started out playing the flute, then successively played saxophone, drums, and guitar in various bands, gigging extensively. He then moved into writing and recording original material. As a result of being dissatisfied with the music production that he could afford, and inspired by the independent Do-It-Yourself ethos of underground 70s UK bands such as Sex Pistols, Joy Division and The Clash, he learned how to record, mix, master and produce his own music. This gave him much more creative freedom.
His distinctive baritone voice is influenced by the deep vocals of Jim Morrison and Eddie Vedder, while his music shows evidence of the influence of his parents’ record collection – Glenn Miller Band, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Duane Eddy, Neil Diamond, The Beatles – as well as Ivan’s own collection: David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, The Church, Soundgarden, Paul Kelly, INXS, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Icehouse. Ivan’s music can be described as retro rock / 90s grunge pop.''

The track “You Can’t Take My Soul” was Inspired by the movie Shawshank Redemption’s character Andy Dufresne. The chorus in particular is a reference to the scene in the film where Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) defies Warden Sam Norton (Bob Gunton) by playing the duettino over the prison’s loudspeakers. Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) remarks in his voice-over narration: “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. […] I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it.” The scene highlights the deep satisfaction gained by the prisoners from something that spoke to their essential humanity, in spite of the prison regime they were living under. You Can’t Take My Soul reflects that affirmation of humanity under even the most soulless living conditions.
The first line of the song expresses distaste for the modern scourge of political correctness and questions the notion of blindly trusting institutions such as governments, corporate media organisations and the industrial military complex that President Eisenhower warned the world about directly after WW2.
The second line is a cynical dig at the individuals and corporations involved in successfully lobbying governments into making decisions that have systematically destroyed the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of people by offshoring all their work. This in turn has caused the unprecedented amount of inequality that we see in the world today. The last part of the line defiantly sends a message that they can own everything but “you can’t own the inside of me”.
The first line in the second verse takes aim at the rise of the mindless insipid reality TV shows that have been rammed down people’s throats and are passed off as a meaningful form of entertainment. The ones that are particularly offensive are the music reality shows, as they have had a detrimental effect on the craft of songwriting in general by focusing on vocal acrobatics and ignoring all other elements that contribute to a creative work. Also under fire is the mainstream media’s practice of creating a false reality to be presented to the public based on falsehoods and deliberate misinformation. This song shows an insight, and an absolute respect to its audience, that are not found in modern mainstream music.
The sound of the track itself starts with an air of mystery, the different musical influences of this track are melded together in an attractive array of instruments and sounds. It’s difficult to fully appreciate the genius of such a great work and how this song has very few lyrics b
ut manages to say so much. The vocal performance of this track emphasises and complements the lyrics perfectly while the deep tones of Ivan’s voice add an unmistakable, distinctive dimension to this song. It is possibly one of his best works to date. Even though the lyrics are quite cynical, this track is still a tribute to the resilience of a person’s ability to rise up and overcome dire circumstances in their life.


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