I have been tinkering with my recorded works just lately, trying to make some of them sound better and giving them tracklistings that fit together, so I thought I would do a quick run-through of what is on offer for the discerning listener.
The End Of Being Afraid was recorded in April 2005 by John Ablitt at his home studio. We recorded all ten tracks live with just me and my guitar. I kept making mistakes on ‘Don’t Call It Love’ so this was replaced with ‘Further Away’ instead. These songs were written over many years and I still love a lot of them today. It was my first chance to hear myself recorded properly.
One Lonely Night was recorded live at The Swan in the Rushes, Loughborough on 14th October 2005. It features some new songs and also ‘Don’t Call It Love’ which was left over from The End Of Being Afraid. This gig was the first of the Singer/Songwriters’ Charity Showcase nights that I organised with John Ablitt at The Swan. I like the sound of the recording but some of the songs are a little weak. Stand-out tracks for me are ‘A Note Of Goodbye’ which I wrote to be a song to open gigs with, ‘One Lonely Night’ which was inspired by The Passion of the Christ film, and the aforementioned ‘Don’t Call It Love’.
Harsh Light Of Day was one of the recordings that I gave a bit of a brush-up as it was a very raw recording from the mixer by Chris Thorley. I just added some compression and reverb to give it a fuller sound. It was recorded live at The Sun in Leicester the day after I had played at Picnic in the Park in Loughborough. I took this gig as an opportunity to play some of my darker songs. The recording is the gig in its entirety apart from a cover of Marillion’s ‘Sugar Mice’ which I did at the end and, to be honest, it wasn’t very good so I’m happy for the album not to have it on.
Dancing In The Stars is my epic live album featuring songs from two gigs at The Swan in the Rushes from 16th June and 27th October 2006, and the final track being from 6th January 2006. I think ‘Growing From The Outside In’ is one of the best tracks I’ve recorded as, like a lot of the songs on here, it features Nigel Lawson on harmonica. I’ve included as many of the songs I did with Nigel as I could, even though some are duplicated on the ‘No Further To Fall’ album, because I wanted the stuff I did with him to be available for people to hear as sadly Nigel is no longer with us.
No Further To Fall was also recorded with Nigel on harmonica and Mark Haynes on percussion and, like my previous recordings, was also produced by John Ablitt. The gig took place on 12th January 2007 and our set included two songs by Mark’s band, ist. It was a joy to play with my mates and although my guitar playing wasn’t at its best on the night, we had a good time and I hope the recording captures that. John deliberately cut out the crowd noise as I had been talking about doing a recording session with Nigel and Mark and I think he did that to give it a recording session sound rather than a live gig with audience sound. The final track was recorded at The Catholic Club, Loughborough on 16th February 2006.
Burnt Rose was recorded with my other collaborator, Amos Parkinson, at his home studio during 2007. We recorded the songs over two sessions and then he added the drums later. I think this album contains a couple of good songs, namely ‘The Twilight’ and ‘Mary Said’, and I’m happy that it has a really different sound to the other recordings and hopefully sounds more like a band. ‘Out In The Night Rain’ was recorded during 2011 but I added it to Burnt Rose as it was also recorded with Amos and features his son, Dan, on bass guitar.
The songs on Sailing Home were written after Burnt Rose when I felt I could no longer write my usual singer/songwriter-type songs. I started writing about sea stories and researched into the historical detail for many of them. I wrote most of these songs on ukulele but this recording is from a gig at The Donkey in Leicester where I played the songs on guitar. It was recorded by Chris Thorley on 11th March 2011.
Merry-Go-Round was recorded in early 2014 at home. I had been writing for some time and, following a break-up, I wanted to do something positive and creative, so I set about recording the songs I had been writing over the previous couple of years. Growing up, I had listened to The Barron Knights and The Bonzo Dog Band, so writing comedy songs seemed a natural evolution after the sea songs. Being Suddenly Single and Make Or Break were added later as they seemed to fit in well with the other songs.
I hope this has been of some help in navigating through my recorded works as they currently stand.