Beans On Toast – The Fascinating Adventures Of Little Bee


A new Beans On Toast album is becoming as much of the festive season as new socks, turkey sandwiches and soap omnibuses. Every year, on the 1st of December (Beans’ birthday) the artist also known as Jay McAllister has dropped a new record, and while this idea could become stale (just like those sarnies) Beans always finds ways to keep things fresh. That’s certainly the case with his latest offering, The Fascinating Adventures Of Little Bee, a collection of stories and songs made for little, and big, kids alike.

Having followed Beans’ eclectic career for a number of years, I was only half surprised when I learned of his new venture, but it still spiked my interest, nonetheless. In conjunction with a nurse and teacher (Jaime and Lily Adamsfield) he’s produced a series of illustrated books and accompanying 10-track CD. Both forms of media are inextricably linked, with each of the songs relating to an individual story, and while it’s perfectly feasible to enjoy them separately, when experienced as a whole the result is a colourful, joyous romp that shines a light into our dark times. Throughout his career, Beans has addressed some weighty topics, so I wondered how he’d transfer to this arena, and the answer is very well. In truth, both folk and children’s stories have much in common; each are a mode of communication that relay messages of hope, and of caution. In short, they can be enjoyed on two levels, and that’s certainly the case with this opus; youngsters will revel in the simplistic stories, whilst those young-at-heart can read between the lines for deeper meaning.

Despite its simple parameter and language, ‘To The Sea’ could easily have come from a “regular” Beans album, and his trademark phrasing and gravelly voice certainly give a familiar edge. The thing I always like about music is being able to infer my own meaning, and ‘To The Sea’ could easily be about migrants making the dangerous trip across the Channel, but it could equally not. There’s nothing more patronising than an artist ramming their beliefs down your throat, and like the ocean to which it pertains, ‘To The Sea’ lets you swim on the surface or dive to the bottom, the choice is yours. From the reggae infused ‘The Rainbow’ to the rockabilly of ‘To Town’ via the futuristic electro beat of ‘To Space’, this is a shapeshifting album that revels in its own diversity. With only one of the tracks (barely) breaking the two-minute mark, The Fascinating Adventures Of Little Bee doesn’t overstay its welcome, but with every song flitting around like a bumblebee drunk on nectar, that was never going to be a concern.

Perhaps it’s because of the lyrical content, but this album feels a lot lighter than other Beans On Toast releases, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and the bright light that emanates from this record not only illuminates another side of a multifaceted artist, but acts as a balm to soothe our troubled times.

  • The Fascinating Adventures Of Little Bee is released via Play On Words Publishing on 1st December 2022 and is available now (from here).
  • Official Website

Track List:

  1. To The Sea
  2. To The Woods
  3. To Town
  4. To The City
  5. Back In Time
  6. The Rainbow
  7. The Moon
  8. To Space
  9. To An Imaginary World
  10. To A Gig