June 2011

Nine months since the last update – must do better! A fair amount has happened since then. The vintage Martin Carthy CD The January Man: Live In Belfast 1978’ was released in January on Hux Records, followed a couple of months later by two Quintessence-related CDs – all of which I was proud to have had various levels of involvement with. The Quintessence releases are Rebirth: Live At Glastonbury 2010 (a lavishly produced and packaged record of the one-off reunion of Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones and Dave ‘Maha Dev’ Codling along with original Island Records-era producer John Barham) and Only Love Can Save Us: The Anthology by ‘Shiva’s Quintessence, being a set of recent recordings by Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones and Swiss keyboard/production wizard Ralph ‘Rudra’ Beauvert, including fabulous reinterpretations of vintage Quintessence material. All three are highly recommended, as will be a forthcoming CD of 1970s recordings by the late James Griffin, which I’m also loosely involved with for the same label. Hux can be found here: www.huxrecords.com while a splendid 10 minute feature from BBC Yorkshire on Quintessence at the Glastonbury Festival can be viewed here:


Titanium Flag, my instrumental album released last summer, has enjoyed a quietly remarkable amount of European airplay. It’s really very gratifying indeed, and a very pleasant surprise, to find that people seem to like it. Within the next couple of months I hope to be completing – with the aid of one of ace design maestro Mark Case’s associates at White Noise Communications – video representations of several of my instrumental pieces for uploading to youtube and vimeo. I’ll post links as and when…

In the meantime, an album of vocal pieces which were recorded during the same period as the Titanium Flag material is on the cusp of release (also via CD Baby – link to be posted when ready). My good friend, producer, multi-instrumentalist and all-round wizard of sound Cormac O’Kane (the secret of whose success is baffling*) was adamant that the vocal and instrumental pieces were two separate projects, best heard on two separate pieces of plastic. And he was absolutely right. Having said that, the content and feel of the vocal album, which is entitled Rust, developed significantly over the past few months. Several tracks were ultimately dropped and edits of two of the more winsome pieces from TF were added – the effect being to lighten the overall mood of the record. A small group of musicians were involved – Cormac O’Kane, Ali MacKenzie, Late-Night Tony Furnell, Karen Smyth and myself – with a trio of guests: Carol-Anne Lennie aka ‘Carol From Luton’ on vocals on the lead track, ‘Squirrel’; jazz maestro the one and only Linley Hamilton on trumpets and flugelhorn; and the legendary Andy Roberts on Beatle-esque electric guitar, also on ‘Squirrel’. In fact, a delightful home-made video for ‘Squirrel’ – featuring a bunch of squirrels – can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVsDrfmenus

More news on the Titanium Flag videos and the Rust CD Baby link in due course. Finally, some recordings I was involved in back in 2001 with the fabulous and under-appreciated British jazz/blues vocalist and songwriter Duffy Power are due to appear on Market Square Records fairly soon entitled Tigers. Myself, Janet Holmes, Ali MacKenzie and a few other friends were involved in three or four tracks on the album – which will be the first album of new material Duffy has released since the ‘70s – and here’s hoping it gets the airplay and attention it deserves.

(* he swears it’s all down to the quality of one’s moveable sound-proofing equipment)

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