Battle of the Birds


Released: 12th January 2004

Produced and re-mixed by Harry Williamson, assisted by Gilli Smyth

An expanded re-release of the 1981 Mother Gong release Battle of the Birds, which was previously only available as a limited cassette release available via mail order and sold at gigs.  The recording makes use of Ant and Harry Williamson's 1978 recording of Gypsy Suite (with additional flute parts by Didier Malherbe and oboe by Ant's brother Robin) as the backing music for Gilli Smyth's narration of the story of the Battle of the Birds.  Harry and friends also contribute some spoken parts as characters in the story and additional musical contributions were also later made by Jan Emerick, Hugh Hopper and Guy Evans.

This CD essentially makes use of Ant and Harry's music as the backing for the story with Ant's contribution to the recording being confined to his co-writing and playing on Gypsy Suite, which was released in its original form on the Gypsy Suite CD.  

Tracks 13  -15 are instrumental mixes of three of the pieces used as the backing for the story and were not featured on the original cassette release.


Track Listing

1. The Wren & The Raven (2:52)

2. Raven Flight (3:08)

3. The Magic Bundle (4:52)

4. The Promise (3:07)

5. The First Test (3:33)

6. The Second Test (4:27)

7. Wed The Giants Daughter (2:34)

8. The First Spell (3:54)

9. The Last Spell (2:23)

10. From Rags To Riches (6:26)

11. Auburn Mary (3:08)

12. The Choice (2:15)

13. Sombre (1:19)

14. Flight (3:09)

15. Twilight (3:49)




1978 recording sessions:

Anthony Phillips: Guitars

Harry Williamson: Guitars

Robin Phillips: Oboe

Violin & Cello: Carl and Dorothy

1981 recording sessions:

Didier Malherbe: Flutes, piccolo, saxophones

Jan Emerick: Guitar

Hugh Hopper: Bass

Guy Evans: Percussion


The Cast

Gilli Smyth: Narrator, Auburn Mary

Tamsin Smyth: The First Queen

Harry Williamson: The Raven, The First Kings Son

Orlando Allen: The Mouse & The Hoodies

Bee Williamson: The Cooks Son, Mice & The Hoodies

Taliesin Allen: The Second Young Son & The Hoodies

Aardvark: The Shoemaker

Helen: The Shoemakers Wife

Dave The Wave: The Giant & Guest

Clare: Auburn Mary Song

Everyone Around: The Guests at the party


CD release details

Country of Release

Record Label Catalogue Number
UK Blueprint Records BP359CD
UK Floating World Records FloatM6070 (double CD re-issue with Gypsy Suite)



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