A ROCKSTAR politician has released his latest record in an effort to highlight the plight of animals worldwide.

Liberal Democrat Norman Baker’s latest four-track EP Animal Countdown is hitting the shelves to raise money for the Born Free Foundation, based in Horsham.

The album’s title track was released a single complete with music video yesterday put together by independent film producer Mark Atkins – who was also behind the video for Mr Baker’s previous single Piccadilly Circus.

Mr Baker said: “It is shocking, and heartbreaking, to witness the sharp decline in numbers of wonderful animals like tigers and elephants. There is a real danger they may become extinct in my lifetime, bar a few in zoos. The world needs to act now to stop this happening.”

The album was recorded during sessions Mr Baker’s upcoming album with his band the Reform Club – but does not feature any of the members, being released under the moniker Norman Baker and Friends.

The other three tracks are I’m Sorry, One Way Love Blues and Nothing Left.

The album features acoustic numbers with blues and jazz influences and all songs are co-written and sung by the former minister.

Will Travers OBE, president of the Born Free Foundation, said: “Norman is an example to us all. If we care about the plight of the natural world we can all make a difference by using our talents and a little bit of our time to show our compassion.”

Mr Baker is also backing today’s World Wildlife Day and will be debating the topic in the House of Commons this evening.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: “It’s great to see an MP so engaged in the issue of wildlife protection and fantastic to see him spreading the animal welfare message in such a creative way.

“We wish him every success with the EP.”

Find out about World Wildlife Day at: wildlifeday.org.



FREELANCE writer and former journalist for Q and Mojo Rob Beattie casts his ear over the MP’s EP.

Recorded during the sessions for his band's - The Reform Club - second album, Animal Countdown consists of four original tracks, with Baker onlead vocals, backed by piano or guitar, embellished variously with trumpet, harmonica and fiddle.

It's worthy enough (some of the proceeds will go to the Born Free Foundation) but it's hard to see this . The title track is a one-dimensional lament for endangered animals (his commitment is clear but needs better ammunition than this).

One way Love Blues sounds authentically down-and-dirty though Baker's delivery is Lewes when it needs to be Louisiana, while Nothing Left is tuneful but - given the subject matter - oddly emotionless; and surely someone ought to have told him that penning a song called I'm Sorry will only remind listeners of his leader's unintended Autotuned Internet hit of the same name.

Hats off for some of the playing though - especially that acoustic slide and harmonica combo - and for the endeavour.

Given some of the things that MPs get up to outside parliament, there are many worse crimes than this.