Song writers have to be prepared to answer these two questions ad nauseam:
“How do you go about writing songs?” and “What comes first, the words or the music?”
I recently watched a documentary about the Eagles (yes, I know, but they were good really) in which Glenn Frey, (or was it Don Henley?) spoke about sharing a house with Jackson Browne, and hearing him get up in the morning and work away for hours and hours at the same bit of a song, over and over. Don, (or Glenn?) was made to realise that song-writing is principally about hard work and perseverance. So that’s one answer to the first question. Continue reading →
This song was written for the Living Archive Band’s radio ballad The Horse and the Tractor, but was not included when the ghost story fell victim to the editorial axe- a not inappropriate metaphor! The song intertwines two stories- the murder of Lady Grace Bennet at Calverton Manor, Buckinghamshire in 1694, and the childhood fears of Richard Fountaine who was brought to live in Calverton Manor after his family had bought the farm and the house. Not surprisingly, having heard rumours of hauntings, the boy was not happy, as he recounted much later in life:-
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. Continue reading →
Today marks the centenary of the opening of the British and Canadian offensive at Arras, on the Western Front.
Hawtin Mundy of New Bradwell, 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 →
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.
It is a very unremarkable guitar, except to me and to its current owner.
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 →
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.
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 →
“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.)
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 →