Farewell, old friend

No going back. I have sold my fiddle.

My 19th century German workshop Maggini copy, with two bands of purfling front and back, and an extra turn in the scroll (apparently not one of Maggini’s signatures).

In thirty years together we have seen and done a lot: from Castlethorpe Village Hall to Westminster Hall, from Leicester to Leipzig, countless ceilidhs, innumerable morris stands and nearly as many pubs as there are stars in the sky. I ought to be sad, but I truly am not. I keep saying that l’d rather all my instruments were being played and loved rather than hanging on my wall, and I mean it. It isn’t even leaving the village, so I could ask to see it every so often if I really wanted to. It is in good hands. So long!

Old friend

The Valley of the Shadow

Arras, April 9th 1917

Today marks the centenary of the opening of the British and Canadian offensive at Arras, on the Western Front.

Hawtin Mundy of New BrHawtin Mundyadwell, Buckinghamshire, fought and was captured in the battle. His powerful memories were recorded late in life, inspiring community drama and song that ties modern Milton Keynes and its inhabitants to its past.

Here is a part of Hawtin’s moving testimony:

Hawtin’s description of the battlefield at Arras was carefully turned into song by Paul Clark for the play Days of Pride, and has never failed to move audiences each of the many times it has been sung since. Continue reading

Slipjazz

Fresh old music from the depths of StudioBlend:

I named this tune years ago. If only  I’d known then what would happen when you search on ‘Slipjazz’ I might have had second thoughts. Ah well… Continue reading

Shining, Sheltermore & Samuel Palmer

Two years ago I set myself the task of finishing off a number of tracks which had been hanging around for some time. Here are the resulting two albums. Sheltermore is pretty folky (after the folk-rock of the first track), while Shining is much more layered, instrumental and personal.

Continue reading

The Five Minute Wonder, 1969-2016

This is the story of a guitar.

It is a very unremarkable guitar, except to me and to its current owner.

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The Five Minute Wonder

 

It was my first guitar, bought for me by my parents some time around 1969. I had pestered them for it, and Dad was not too convinced.
“It’ll be a five minute wonder like everything else,” he predicted. Continue reading

The Cat Club de Purr-ee

StudioBlend is proud to announce the new single from the Cat Club de Purr-ee.
Entitled Calling All Rabbits, it is a toe-tapping, tail-wagging piece of Tabby-Jazzfolk.

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The Cat Club de Purr-ee  ( l-r: Ringo, Bingo, Yehudi, Bassman)

Ringo, Bingo, Bassman & Yehudi went into the studio last month to record the tune, which was written by StudioBlend’s very own Kevin Adams, and are very pleased with the result.
“We all feel like the cats who got the cream,” says Bingo. “Kevin is such a great writer, and as soon as we heard his demo we knew we had to do it.”
“That’s him on mandolin, by the way,” adds Yehudi. “I could have played that myself, but his original was so hot we had to keep it.”

Of course  we had to ask, why Calling All Rabbits? This is what Kev told us… Continue reading

Dancing About Architecture

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

I first encountered this aphorism attributed to Elvis Costello. It tickled me. How true, Elvis! (It turns out, wouldn’t you just know it, that the quote has a longer and more complex history. That’s not for now, but you can read about it here, for instance.)

costello

No, it’s just that the other morning I mentioned it to Ruth as we sat in bed with our morning cup of tea, and we had a bit of a laugh pursuing the idea of, indeed, ‘dancing about architecture’. Here are a few projects we’d pay good money to see: Continue reading

Calverton Suite

Here’s a piece comprised of four tunes which I wrote for the Living Archive / Living Archive Band’s project about Manor Farm, Calverton. Continue reading

From Reel-to-Reel to Reaper

I have been recording digitally since 2000. Prior to that I had recorded demos with a 4-track Portastudio, and going back further I’d had occasional access to a 2-track reel-to-reel tape recorder. All recordings from these machines have been carefully hidden from the world. Continue reading