A brief scribble to say that my EP with the Legends of Tomorrow, Don’t Go to Nashville, is now ‘out’, available on iTunes and elsewhere. The ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ moniker has arisen periodically since 1995 as a quasi-imaginary band name for recordings gathering many musical friends together.

Here’s the iTunes link:


The EP comprises two new songs, two from 2007/08 and one from 2000 – the oldies hitherto digitally unreleased. All were newly mastered at RedBox Studios by Cormac O’Kane, wizard of sound, and they sit remarkably well together, showcasing five of Northern Ireland’s finest vocalists: Mickey Rafferty (The Minnows), Ciaran Gribbin (ex-INXS, maestro of Aussie stadium rock), Paul Casey (supremely mellow Derry Celtic soul songwriter), Janet Henry (sublime Americana solo artist) and Lyndsay Crothers (Wookalily).

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some wonderful players on all of the tracks, but the title track, recorded recently, was a particular melting pot of bonhomie, creativity and genre fusion, hosted by the splendid ‘Late-Night Tony’ Furnell at his studio-with-no-name. Flatts Conigan is an Irish jazz piano sensation, using a cunning pseudonym – he previously played two-chord organ on my Stormont Assembly MLA-pay protest song/video ‘Smash the System’ and quite rightly felt his jazz career may not be enhanced by casual punters Googling his real name and finding ‘Smash the System’ before any of his exquisite pianism! Ali MacKenzie on bass is one of my longest-suffering collaborators/Legends members – an astounding musician who would surely be full-time in any other part of the world than Northern Ireland. Dr Chris Probst, from Portstewart, is a character – one of the great conversationalists, a semi-retired academic with a history of playing in late 70s showbands, 80s New Wave bands, 90s country-rock revivalists, Glastonbury and all the rest of it, and always capable of moments of brilliance. After faffing around for a couple of hours in the studio and talking non-stop, Chris produced a fabulous guitar take at the last minute. We knew he would! On drums, Petesy Burns (Stalag 17/The Outcasts) is a bona fide punk legend and Tai Chi guru – truly, a Renaissance man, adept on guitar, bass and drums. His energy is palpable, in anything he does. He’s a good laugh too.

That was the instrumental session. The vocal session was similarly fantastic. Minnows mainman Mickey Rafferty arrived with a colossal quantity of beer, and happily consumed most of it, while being sharp as a razor about harmony lines and phrasing. I had an idea that the voices of Mullavilly hillbilly gal Rowena Cairns (Americana singer/songwriter) and gospel/soul singer Ellen Weir would work well together, and luckily, I was right. They too provided plenty of ideas and bonhomie at the session (as did Tony) and the end result is a combination of all of our ideas. After the session, Mickey, Ellen and I went to a pub for a celebratory drink – where, almost out of a film script, Mickey was accosted at the door by a fan of the Minnows wanting selfies… and then again two yards inside the door… Once we had sat down, it was Ellen’s turn to be accosted by a fan of her gospel choir… who, amusingly, had never heard of Mickey Rafferty! (If I have any fans, they were all somewhere else that night…)

Here’s a montage video of ‘Don’t Go to Nashville’ with some pics from the sessions and some lyrically inspired pics:



In other news, I had the pleasure recently of editing some silent film of the mighty Mahavishnu Orchestra in Milwaukee Arena, May 1973, to an audio track from a concert later that year. The story is this…

A few months ago, just over six minutes of silent film of the Mahavishnu Orchestra appeared on YouTube. On the day it appeared, I had a pal, Welsh Chris, download it for me and soon got to work with another pal, award-winning graphic designer and amateur camera/editing buff Mark Case (who also designed the cover of the ‘Don’t Go to Nashville’ EP) to set the film to a piece of music from the very same concert – Milwaukee Arena, 11 May 1973.

On the day the YouTube upload had appeared, I’d mentioned it to fellow John McLaughlin biographer Walter Kolosky, who realised he knew the chap who’d filmed it, Rich Zimmermann, a professional photographer. Walter contacted Rich and it seemed there’d been a bit of a misunderstanding – an associate of Rich had shared the film without approval, so it was swiftly taken down. But Rich was relaxed about me setting it to music for his approval.

So… I chose ‘Miles Beyond’ from the surviving four tunes from the show (recorded by MO sound engineer Dinky Dawson) and we simply let the six-odd minutes of film run as it was and then repeated a few bits to loosely match what was prominent in the audio for the remaining couple of minutes. Though not specifically matched to the audio, it had a certain atmosphere about it, and in places (by chance) seemed to fit the audio rather well. Rich and Walter liked it but Rich reckoned he could get a better transfer of the film done. In due course, he did so. And it turned out there was 17 minutes of the stuff. Wow!

To put this in context, there’s only one other known bit of silent cine film of the ‘mark one’ MO (1971-73), of briefer duration, and its owner has been trying to sell it online for a five-figure sum for years.

So, armed with Rich’s new transfer, Mark and I edited the new transfer of the film to roughly match the audio of ‘Dance of Maya’ – performed at Milwaukee but not surviving in audio form, so I used Dinky Dawson’s recording of the piece from a show in December 1973, only a couple of weeks away from the MO Mk1 imploding, though you’d never know it from the dynamic, incendiary performance. Happily, Rich Zimmermann loves the result and is happy for it to be shared. In due course, I hope to create a second montage from the film for ‘One Word’, audio of that one from Milwaukee existing.

Here’s ‘Dance of Maya’:



Finally, it looks very likely that I’ll be involved in a very exciting Bert Jansch archive project appear next year, and I’m heavily involved. More in due course. Happy Christmas!


A now rare appearance of a CH feature in a magazine last month – a piece in ‘Record Collector’ on John Renbourn and Dorris Henderson’s 1960s recordings, on the back of Cherry Red’s 6CD set Unpentangled: The Sixties Albums containing the 1965–68 work of both, which I compiled and provided images for, with David Wells writing the notes.

On the Dorris front, I’ve been digitising a lot of off-air radio session reels for a friend recently (in addition to my own collection) and between us there is almost all of the final two John Peel sessions by Eclection, recorded in 1968. Bar one single A side, these are the only tracks the band recorded when they were fronted by Dorris and one of the two sessions also features the splendid Gary Boyle on guitar. All of my own collection plus a few items from my friend’s are being uploaded as audio montages to YouTube. Sometimes the ‘montage’ is only one image and the audio, but now and again I’ll put time into doing something more elaborate. I was particularly pleased at how a reconstruction of the ‘lost’ 15-minute Pentangle TV show Songs From A Country Church (BBC, 1970) worked out – cleaned up from off-air audio with a load of period images treated and loosely synced to the music. There’s lots of this sort of thing on my YouTube ‘channel’; here’s the link to that one:


Hopefully by the end of this month the Legends of Tomorrow EP Don’t Go to Nashville will be released digitally via Market Square Music – comprising the all-new title track, sung by the splendid Mickey Rafferty (The Minnows), along with Cormac O’Kane remasters of three older recordings sung by Ciaran Gribbin (‘When It’s Gone’), Paul Casey (‘Liberation’) and Janet Henry (‘People on the Highway’), which have not hitherto been released digitally.

The ‘Don’t Go To Nashville’ sessions were great fun – three in total: the instrumental backing (with Flatts Conigan on piano, Professor Chris Probst on leads guitar, myself on acoustic guitar and Ali MacKenzie on bass), the vocal one (with Mickey Rafferty, Rowena Cairns and Ellen Weir) and finally a drum session with the great Petesy Burns.

I wrote another song last week, ‘Greta Thunberg at the End of Time’, demoed it and stuck it on YouTube. I might record it at some point with a guest singer and the like, but it’s quite liberating to have an idea, throw it down on tape (metaphorically) and push it out there.


I was thrilled on September 20 to host a ‘Warehouse Remembered’ gig at the Pavilion, Belfast, featuring reunions of four great bands associated with the Warehouse – a legendary venue near the docks that lasted 18 months spanning 1994–96. Those acts were Strawman, Stonefish, the Bush Turkeys and Disreali Gears, along with an all-star spot for Peacefrog founder Dave McLarnon backed by Ali MacKenzie (Bush Turkeys), Bob Moody (Stonefish) and Lonesome Chris Todd (a new addition to the Bush Turkeys). Warehouse founder Chris Roddy turned up (late!) and seemed to enjoy himself. Sensational soundman Matt McIvor recorded all the audio and award-winning design wizard Mark Case filmed it all. No doubt some high-quality audio-visuals will appear online in due course. The show was a charity event and we raised £901 for Fauna & Flora International. Well done all! There may well be similar charitable events in future with the same/other acts from the mid-90s Warehouse scene, and the Pavilion – whose staff and management were very helpful and whose facilities were much improved from their scuzzy 90s reputation – seems the ideal place to have such fun.


Finally, I’ve researched and compiled (on paper) an exciting 6CD set on a legendary artist about which I can say no more at present. Next time…


Mark Case’s film summary of the Pavilion concert:

Mark Case’s film summary of the Pavilion concert – via YouTube

So, did the Mike Gibbs 3CD set I mentioned last time come to be? Yes. It’s called Festival 69 (Turtle Records) and boasts two concerts from that year, one recorded at the Belfast Festival (deduced after a lot of period music press research and then confirmed by a visit to Belfast’s Newspaper Library), plus a substantial booklet essay from myself. It was great fun to be involved with and hopefully more releases from many more digitised reels from Mike’s collection will appear in due course, although at least one (for Market Square/Dusk Fire) looks likely to be a digital-only album, as the market for physical products in music continues to diminish.

I was also delighted to play a part, mostly in the background, in Turtle Records’ release this month of the 2CD set Honesty: The Unreleased 1963 Studio Session by the Fat John Sextet. A Facebook connection with former members Tony Roberts and Peter Lemer led to the release, and I supplied some period cuttings/adverts and audio from an out-of-copyright live LP the group appeared on in 1962 (their only released recordings before now). Simon Spillett wrote a typically fantastic essay for the set.


Did my ‘Smash the System’ protest anthem with punk legend Petesy Burns come to be? Yes. Did it make a difference? No. NI taxpayers continue to pay the salaries of 90 politicians not doing their jobs. The single, with splendid accompanying video by Mark Case, was released in October 2018 and gained around 12,000 views via Facebook and YouTube fairly quickly. I accompanied it with two tranches of press releases to every UK and Irish news outlet I could think of, but very little mainstream coverage was forthcoming. Emails to all 90 MLAs inviting them to give half their salary to charity, in lieu of the legislating they were not doing, resulted in six replies – most courteous, a couple piqued, none in agreement with me.

Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zXHEOqJ2DU

The best part of the whole process was the adventure with so many musical pals, who didn’t all know each other beforehand – Lonesome Chris Todd, Adele Ingram, Lyndsay Crothers, Petesy Burns, Donal McCann, Bruce McClements, Kyle Leitch, Ali MacKenzie. Indeed, I myself hadn’t met Petesy or Donal before the project. More for fun than anything else, we staged a one-off live performance of ‘Smash the System’ and a few other numbers associated with the ‘members’ of Colin Harper’s Bourgeois Fury at the Sunflower Pub in Belfast on 30 December 2018, alongside full sets by Petesy Burns’ ARSE and Rodney ‘Pieman’ Henry. Belfast’s uttermost king of rock Brian Houston joined us for it. A great time was had by all (except for the manager of the pub). Funnily enough, the only one of the six numbers we botched on the night was ‘Smash the System’ – the only one we’d all actually rehearsed. Several phone clips from the show can be found on YouTube.


Early in January 2019, hoboing troubadour Steve McCann invited me to take part in an event at the Black Box café under the Bert Jansch Foundation’s ‘Around the World in 80 Plays’ initiative (find out more here: https://80plays.bertjanschfoundation.org/). The muse tapped me on the shoulder and I wrote a new song directly inspired by Jansch, ‘Make Your Own World’. I performed it on the night along with ‘Blues for a Green Earth’ and Anne Briggs’ ‘The Time Has Come’ (with Anna Grindle). A studio version of ‘Make Your Own World’ is released as a download single by Market Square in a week or two, with the Harper & Jansch duo recording of ‘Blues for a Green Earth’ (previously released on Sunset Cavaliers (2016)) and a hitherto unreleased early version of ‘Rachelle’ as B-sides. A few hard-copy promo CDs with booklets will be sent to radio people. Might as well…

A few days after Steve’s concert – which was filmed by Mark Case and will doubtless appear online in various bits – Mark very kindly filmed me in a controlled environment (the Lamppost Café) talking about Bert’s influence and playing the new song and ‘Blues for a Green Earth’ using the guitar that had been supplied to Steve by the Foundation, before travelling on to someone else around the world. Posting video clips of this nature is part of the ‘Around the World…’ thing. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tszKR1rsUM


Forthcoming adventures include involvement in a couple of Jansch-related box sets: a prospective Bert Jansch at the BBC 5CD set for Earth Records and a 5CD or 6CD collection of John Renbourn/Dorris Henderson albums for Cherry Red. Lonesome Chris Todd’s debut solo released, the Dark Horses EP, is due in a couple of weeks – a digital release on Market Square with some hard-copy promos. My role was executive producer, and sounding board for the content selection and performances. Cormac O’Kane produced two of the four tracks and both he and Chris have delivered the goods, in my view.

I’m hoping to make much more progress this year on my projected Big Pete Deuchar book. Research continues when time allows – with two research trips to British Library and BBC archives in Yorkshire and Reading coming up – and I made a point of starting to actually write Chapter 1 in January. It can be hard to find the time for something like this – a sure-fire money-loser – in between proofreading for a living, smashing systems and suchlike, but hopefully things will progress.


Here are a couple of long pieces, recording reviews of a sort, on my long-time musical associates Janet Henry (previously Holmes) and Jules Maxwell, who each launched new albums last year – Janet in June and Jules in October:

In December, I went to a punk gig for the first time (unless one counts a Ward Park, Bangor, open-air show by ARSE last summer – at which I was accompanied by website maestro Uncle Spike), at the Black Box, Belfast, to see the Outcasts + Petesy Burns’ ARSE. Here’s a review:

And finally, here’s a memoir of the Sunflower Pub ‘Smash the System’ event with Bourgeois Fury:

I’ve been digitising a number of reels by British progressive jazz legend Michael Gibbs recently and two concerts by his big band, both from 1969 and one featuring Gary Burton and his Quartet, will comprise a 3CD set on the Turtle imprint in September. Looks like I’m writing the notes as well.

Another project I’m excited about is recording, in the next few weeks, a punk protest song ‘Smash the System (Kick it In)’ with Belfast punk legend Petesy Burns and his regular drummer Donal, along with my regular bass maestro Ali MacKenzie. I’m apolitical but I found myself getting increasingly annoyed by Northern Ireland MLAs continuing to receive full salaries and expenses despite having gone off in a sulk in January 2017. That’s now more than 16 months of not turning up to work and over £16.7 million of public money as a reward, by my calculations. Obviously, my song is a futile gesture. We’ll be filming a no-budget video to go with it. Meanwhile, here’s the demo set to a montage of all 90 MLAs:




In less futile news, I’ve just ordered a further 40 copies of my book Echoes From Then from the printer. During the course of work on RPM/Turtle’s recent releases by Gordon Beck and Joy Marshall it became clear that I’d missed a line of enquiry on John McLaughlin’s BBC recordings with both during a brief but prolific period in spring 1968. Consequently, the next printing of Echoes From Then will feature a new 5,000-word section on this and on one or two other matters, including a rare 1970 interview with future Mahavishnu Orchestra member Rick Laird that I recently came across.

I’ve had a separate PDF created with this new section for anyone who already has a copy of the first edition of Echoes From Then and it’s available here.


I occasionally do interviews or write long-form pieces for The Afterword if I feel like it or want to help a pal get some publicity. Below are links to three very recent interviews: author Stuart Bailie on his new Trouble Songs book; jazz sensation Linley Hamilton on his new album Making Other Arrangements; and classic rock legend Andy Powell on the recent Wishbone Ash 30CD set The Vintage Years.




Finally, in between making a living, I continue to chip away at the Big Pete Deuchar story for a planned small book. Shortly after my feature on Big Pete for Record Collector earlier this year, I came across a reference in an obscure Canadian magazine from 1961 that led me to discover a hitherto unknown recording by the man, and an evocative piece of sheet music from the heyday of British trad jazz. As a bit of an insight into the process of researching music history, here’s the story:


Well, it seems my second book on John McLaughlin has been rather more popular than I thought. As explained in previous posts, Echoes From Then: Glimpses of John McLaughlin 1959-75 was conceived as a limited-edition companion to Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond (Jawbone, 2014). I was delighted with a Kickstarter campaign late last year that covered all of the printing costs and pre-sold around 50 copies of the 200 printed. Perhaps a couple of dozen more were used for PR and copies for interviewees but by the end of the year I had more or less run out of copies. Blimey…

I’ve had 40 more printed this month to cover the immediate demand but I hope to get another tranche of copies, if demand remains, in March and these will include an additional few pages of new content, which will be largely focused on a line of research, on the Gordon Beck Quartet’s BBC sessions in spring 1968, that was previously not known by me to be valid in terms of John’s involvement. With the knowledge that John did indeed record around a dozen sessions with Gordon, backing lounge singers Joy Marshall and Mark Murphy for late-night Radio 2 shows, research at the BBC Written Archive Centre can now be carried out and a repertoire revealed. Extracts from a newly found 1970 Rick Laird interview will be included along with one or two other useful bits of information that have come to light since publication. Purchasers of the original edition need not feel annoyed, though – I’ll make a PDF of the paginated/typeset new content available for free download via this site as soon as it is ready.

The Echoes From Then section of this website (within the ‘Books’ area) has been updated this month to include a full contents listing and extracts from the first six print reviews. The review coverage has been tremendous, and I’m very grateful to all those who took the time to read it and write something and to the editors who let them do so! I believe there may yet be a couple more reviews in the pipeline. The opening and conclusion of Trevor Hodgett’s review in RnR (formerly R2… formerly Rock’n’Reel…) made me smile:

‘Colin Harper’s Bathed In Lightning (2014) was so comprehensive that I ended my review of it by saying, ‘No one, surely, will ever need to write another book on McLaughlin’s career’. How knowing Harper’s laughter must have been on reading that for he himself has now produced another mighty and invaluable tome on McLaughlin […] Dare I say, again, no one, surely, will ever need to write another book on McLaughlin’s career!’

In a cunning plan to promote both the 2017 expanded remaster of my album Titanium Flag and the new McLaughlin book, Adele from Wookalily has kindly created this montage of pics from Echoes From Then, and elsewhere, set to ‘Years of Regret’ from the album:



In other news… I have a couple of magazine pieces out in the next month or two. The March edition of Record Collector (out in early February) will include my 4,000-word feature on Big Pete Deuchar, a remarkable fellow who cut a swathe through the British trad jazz, R&B and C&W scenes in the 50s and 60s before cycling around the world in the winter and spring of 1971-72 and breaking various records along the way. The March or April issue of Shindig! will include a 2,500-word feature by myself and Andy Powell, looking at his pre-fame adventures in the 60s and some of his influences from that era. The feature is partly edited together from material in Andy’s book, with which I assisted, Eyes Wide Open: True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior (Jawbone, 2015), but also includes a fair amount of new content, which – as was the case with some of the book itself – Andy is working on even as I type, on the road somewhere in Europe!

Periodically, I write the odd long-form review or feature for the Afterword, an online forum. I suppose I don’t really consider this ‘work’ because it’s all labour of love stuff, and it can be as quirky and rambling as one likes because it’s not for an editor, a deadline, an agreed word-count or tailored to a formal book or magazine style. It’s a bit of fun, really. I might collect some of these long pieces in a new section for this site in due course, but the reason it’s come to mind just now is the release of Sarah McQuaid’s terrific album If We Dig Any Deeper It Might Get Dangerous (out in February). I pledged for the vinyl/book set on Sarah’s Kickstarter campaign last year but reviewed it from advance MP3s from out mutual publicist Pat Tynan (yes, I know how pretentious that sounds, but it’s true! The great man does PR for Sarah and has overseen radio distribution my own recent Titanium Flag album). The epic review can be found here:


Finally, I continue to be involved in helping Lonesome Chris Todd and his blues trio the Hardchargers. Following line-up changes in November, Chris is moving forward with a pool of musicians forming the trio (or indeed quartet) at any one time. Among that pool of excellent players are my friends Ali MacKenzie, supreme among bass players, and Scott Flanigan, maestro of jazz organ and piano – both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of recording with. With Dave Kennedy on drums, this was the quartet that played the Empire, Belfast, on December 29. The show was multi-track audio recorded and three songs filmed with a two-camera team. A few days later, director Paul McParland filmed an interviewed and some acoustic material with Lonesome Chris in the upper room of East Belfast’s splendid Lamp Post Café. Within a couple of weeks, a short ‘Introduction to the Hardchargers’ film will be available online, with full edits of the three Empire songs to follow. More info on the Hardchargers here:



At the time of writing, I expect to take delivery of 200 copies – the complete first print run – of my new book Echoes From Then: Glimpses of John McLaughlin 1959–75. (See previous update for content details.) Copies will be available exclusively from Amazon (UK) for £19.95 + P&P and from www.marketsquaremusic.com for £14.95 + P&P.Unlike previous books this one is self-published. The content is

Unlike previous books this one is self-published. The content is niche so it was never going to float any publisher’s boat… so I didn’t bother sounding any out. The work on the book has been largely self-funded, but I’m tremendously grateful to over 50 pledgers to my Kickstarter campaign, which funded the print run. It was a surprisingly painless process – thank you all!

I’m a huge admirer of the Jawbone Press presentational style so I’ve opted to get as close to that as possible, with Jawbone’s own Tom Seabrook on typesetting and Mark Case on design – both of whom delivered the goods. Mark, in particular, put in a Herculean effort in making sense of a very substantial amount of visual content. In addition to 16 glossy pic pages (8 B&W, 8 colour) there are roughly 80 pages of period adverts and news items relating to John McLaughlin’s musical path through ‘60s Britain – under most people’s radar, but still detectable in the small print… I hope the inclusion of such ephemera will help to bring the era alive.

I anticipate reviews in at least three national magazines, and if there appears to be genuine demand I will certainly commission another print run. However, while the book isn’t a ‘phony’ limited edition I can’t have £1000+ tied up in new print runs on an ongoing basis, so there will be only be as many copies in existence to meet what I judge to be the relatively immediate demand. In short, get a copy quickly if you want one.


In other news… the new Record Collector (issue 471, Led Zeppelin on the cover) includes, at last, my feature on the great Mike Westbrook, focused mostly on his 1967–76 output and with interview comments from Mike.

I provided some information content to the excellent Mick Houghton’s 7CD Pentangle box set project The Albums (Cherry Red), out later this month. Mick and John Reed have lovingly curated the set, with new remastering, bonus content and a superb booklet.

I was thrilled with a couple of recent reviews of the expanded remaster of my album Titanium Flag (Market Square), from Chris Roberts in Prog and Colin Irwin in Mojo. Oz Hardwick had earlier written a similarly generous review for RnR (formerly Rock’n’Reel, R2, etc.) The Prog review is one of their online samples this month: http://teamrock.com/prog

There’s probably other stuff going on, but I can’t bring it to mind right now – save this: look out for the debut release by NI blues trio The Hardchargers in mid-November. The album is mixed, mastered and designed and is but a Pledge Music campaign away from being manufactured…

‘Every week now, a new jazz book arrives on my desk. Biography, autobiography, discography, miscellany, anthology and fiction – they come streaming off the presses… Now, such is the spate of commentary and research, there will soon be nothing left to write about.’

Humphrey Lyttelton, 1960


In 2014 my book Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond (Jawbone Press) was published. The e-book edition contained an extra 100,000 words.

I’ve decided that material needed to exist – revised and expanded – in physical form, however limited in quantity. So, I thought, I’ll self-publish a run of 200 copies…


After a lot of new research, Echoes From Then: Glimpses of John McLaughlin 1959-75 is the result: 160,000 freshly burnished words and masses of new visual content, from unpublished photos to period press ads. Typesetting and design will be by Jawbone’s Tom Seabrook and Mark Case – the dream team. The book is more or less complete, with only the design and typesetting – and a final proofread – to be done.


I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for funds to help with the printing costs, running until August 16. If you want a copy of the book and feel like helping out, here’s the link:





Jawbone supremos Nigel Osborne and Tom Seabrook have very generously given this self-published new book their blessing. Bathed In Lightning remains the story of John McLaughlin up to 1975, and the musical worlds within which he moved, to the best of my ability. However, this additional text allows the reader to go deeper into certain episodes. Indeed, the opportunity to revisit this material has allowed me to go deeper into it, most especially in the chapters on Big Pete Deuchar and the Tony Meehan Combo, which have been subject to extensive new research, additional to what was possible for me to accomplish during the original 2012–13 research period.

In a short introduction to the original standalone e-book of the additional content I described it as not so much a random selection of offcuts and outtakes but, rather, a lovingly polished collection of B-sides and EP tracks – good stuff that just didn’t quite make it to the album. I think that’s still the case, and this hard-copy edition has found a few more gems from the vaults to add.

The original e-book bonus content consisted of the following:


  • Three largely standalone chapters or episodes – on Big Pete Deuchar; the Tony Meehan Combo; and British soul, mods and pirate radio – which had been extracted from the partly completed narrative of Bathed In Lightning (and replaced with brief summaries of the episodes in question as necessary) midway through the writing process in order to become ‘bonus chapters’ in the e-book edition. The writing of the book was thenceforward completed with the two editions in mind.
  • The recollections of Arjen Gorter, a colleague of John McLaughlin in Time Is Now (1968), which became an e-book chapter by virtue of Arjen’s contribution arriving with me very late in the process, when the text of the print edition had been more or less locked down.
  • Four chapters relating to the adventures of the second Mahavishnu Orchestra (1974–75), with a lot of focus on the lesser-known members of that band, which were completed with the e-book in mind.
  • Four appendices covering John’s British recording and broadcasting sessions 1963–69; his US recording sessions 1969–75; his known British concert appearances from 1963–68; and the second Mahavishnu Orchestra’s concert appearances 1974–75.
  • An appendix reproducing in full ‘The Texts Of Festival: Star Truckin’ ‘75’, an NME 23/8/75 report by Charles Shaar Murray.


To that text, Echoes From Then adds the following:


  • ‘The World’s First John McLaughlin Interview? The Wandsworth Advertiser, March 22 1963’ – what we can glean from a local newspaper report, with quotes, on a Georgie Fame gig from the very last days of John’s membership of the Blue Flames.
  • ‘Graham Bond’s Manifesto’ – a look at the beginnings of the Graham Bond Quartet in 1963 via the reproduction of an interview with Graham from Jazz News & Review.
  • ‘The Georgie Fame/John McLaughlin Recordings’ – originally an exclusive website essay looking at the problematic identifying of Georgie Fame recordings involving John McLaughlin, presented here updated with new information.
  • ‘Duffy Power Innovations – reproductions of three published interviews (from Sounds, NME and Disc & Music Echo) with Duffy from 1971 on the release of his mid 60s recordings with John McLaughlin, plus the album’s original press sheet.
  • ‘Gene Perla: Mahavish? No!’ – a new interview with jazz bass legend Gene Perla, shedding light on his little-known role as the ‘Pete Best of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’.
  • ‘Richard Williams on John McLaughlin and Lifetime’ – reproductions of five 1970–72 Melody Maker pieces on John McLaughlin and Lifetime by the legendary writer.
  • ‘The Non-Average White Band’ – new recollections from Steve Kindler on an abortive Mahavishnu Orchestra photo session.
  • ‘New Gleanings from Old Sources’ – a scrapbook of vintage quotes and pieces of information that escaped my attention first time around, plus significant recent quotes by John McLaughlin on the period covered in Bathed In Lightning.
  • ‘Addenda & Errata’ – a digest of typographical errors and minor errors of fact in Bathed In Lightning, plus longer discussion on a handful of debateable matters in the original book.
  • Numerous period adverts and news items and previously unpublished or rare photographs from Christian Rose, Bill Smith, Jak Kilby, Michael Parrish and others.


Additionally, the following substantial revisions to the original e-book bonus content have taken place:


  • Big Pete Deuchar – this chapter has been extensively revised through new research in Jazz News, Melody Maker, Manchester Evening News, BBC Written Records Centre, the Raleigh Industries archive in Nottingham and interviews with associates.
  • Tony Meehan Combo – this chapter has been extensively revised through new research in NME and Record Mirror, with much relevant interview material and information on repertoire and chronology emerging.
  • Appendix 1 on John’s 1963–69 British recordings has been enhanced with substantial new information on broadcasts with Graham Bond, Ray Ellington and Georgie Fame.
  • Appendix 2 on John’s 1963–68 British concert appearances has had a number of additions/revisions in the Graham Bond, Tony Meehan Combo and Night-Timers sections.
  • Appendix 3 on John’s 1969–1975 recordings has been enhanced with new details and several items not in the previous version.
  • Appendix 4 on the second Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1974–75 concert appearances has been substantially enlarged.


Wish me luck…


More on other recent activities soon…

A quick update this time… My 2010 under-the-radar album Titanium Flag will be reissued nationally in expanded and remastered form by Market Square Records, run with exquisite taste and aplomb by bon viveur, renaissance man, public relations guru and all round good fellow Peter Muir.

This new edition exists because of a steady stream of positive feedback on the back of the album’s original hundred copies in card wallet and digital availability, and similar generosity towards my mostly instrumental 2016 album Sunset Cavaliers (also released by Market Square), which shares some of Titanium Flag’s DNA.

The original Titanium Flag was 44 minutes of instrumental music, mastered by Cormac O’Kane. This edition enhances that original in three ways. Firstly, it is remastered by the legendary Denis Blackham. Secondly, it adds four contemporaneous recordings (four vocal items from the original sessions). Thirdly, it adds three newly-recorded pieces within the theme of the original album and featuring the same musicians, specifically reconvened: Alan McClure (violin), Rachelle Stewart (clarinet), Linley Hamilton (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jim Cuthbertson (drums) – the strings, woodwind, brass and percussion sections of the Titanium Flag orchestra. They are joined by pianist Scott Flanigan and bass maestro Ali MacKenzie, along with Jan Akkerman, to whom the album was originally dedicated – a dedication repeated here. Two of the new pieces were originated in Belfast and recorded by Cormac O’Kane with some additional recording by ‘Late-NightTony’ Furnell; the third was originated in Newcastle, Australia, by writer/musician/producer Mark Tinson and was a happy accident. The three new pieces open this new edition of Titanium Flag, followed by the nine tracks that comprised the original album and then the four contemporaneous bonus tracks.

I’ll sort out links to buy the album when it becomes available (well, I’ll ask Uncle Spike to sort that out…). Meanwhile, we’ve updated the Titanium Flag page within the ‘Musical Projects’ area of the site with the new artwork and text. The physical edition, limited to 500 copies, comes with a 12 page booklet and a second fold-out insert of two vintage Arctic maps.


In other news, two Mike Westbrook reissues due in April have had some involvement from me in terms of happening, although I’m not involved in annotating either. Live, on Hux, is a fabulous 5-piece live recording from 1972, with two extra tracks from the concerts, with remastering from Jon Hiseman, a new note from Mike and a splendid new cover design. Marching Song, from RPM, is a sumptuous 3CD version of the 1969 2LP original. Duncan Heining provides the notes and 51 minutes (five tracks) of rare or unreleased music, spanning 1966-70, has been added on a bonus disc. I supplied a few period reviews and adverts. A 4,500 word feature by me on Mike should appear in Record Collector in their April issue (though they might have cut 500 words). It was a huge undertaking, research-wise. Phew…

The next issue of Mojo 60s – probably in April or May – will include an edit of my feature from 2000, originally published in parent magazine Mojo, on Bert Jansch & Davy Graham.

Record Collector have also received a 4,000 word feature from me on the career of Big Pete Deuchar– encompassing Trad Jazz, R&B, Country & Western, round-the-world cycling and other adventures. I have no idea yet when it will appear but I would hope in the next three or four months.

I continue to work on revising/enhancing the e-book bonus content of Bathed In Lightning for a short-run hard-copy edition sometime this year, and I’m also working on a monograph on Big Pete Deuchar, covering his adventures with the Vieux Carré Jazz Band, the Professors of Ragtime, Dougie Richford’s London Jazzmen, Pete Deuchar & his Country Blues, the Moonshiners and his amazing world cycling trip. I’ve done a lot of print research thus far and spoken to several hugely helpful associates of Pete – not least Brian Bennet, Toni Goffe, Bill Hales, Mike Deighan, John Coles and Colin Coe. If anyone else out there has interesting recollections of Big Pete, do please get in touch via the site!

There’ll be another update along soon, with links to Titanium Flag on sale…


November already? I really must update more often. The Peter Eden/British Jazz feature in Record Collector finally appeared, in RC458 (October 2016). In support of the tremendous Quintessence 2CD set on Hux, Spirits From Another Time, released earlier this year, I wrote a feature for Shindig! (can’t recall the issue number).

My Sunset Cavaliers album, released in March, was remarkably well reviewed in the UK. I’ll put some extracts up on the album’s page within the ‘Musical Projects’ tab to left. It was a great honour to appear on both Mickey Bradley’s Radio Foyle show and Ralph McLean’s Radio Ulster show to talk about the album and other things – thank you, both!


My current musical project is an expanded remaster of 2010’s limited-release instrumental set Titanium Flag – a concept album on Arctic history and exploration. The enhanced audio content is, at the time of writing, complete and by the end of the week the design will also be complete. The original album was dedicated to the great Dutch guitarist Jan Akkerman and I was thrilled that Jan agreed to play on one of three new tracks, extending the theme of the original ‘Ice Museum Suite’ of tunes. I regrouped the original ‘Titanium Flag Orchestra’ for two of the new tracks, inspired by Fridtjof Nansen’s 1888 crossing of Greenland – Linley Hamilton (trumpets), Rachelle Stewart (clarinet), Alan McClure (violins), ‘Ulster-Scots Jim’ Cuthbertson (drums). It was terrific to have the team back in action. Added to these tracks were Scott Flanigan on piano and Premik Russell Tubbs, recording in New York, on flute, plus Jan – delivering a sensational four-minute solo that is totally evocative of people battling through howling blizzards with indefatigable spirit!

The third new track is a reworking of an instrumental I originally recorded with Peter Wilson in 2007 as ‘The Duke Out On The Ocean’, here retitled ‘On The Ocean’, which is – by happy coincidence – the title of Pytheas of Massalia’s lost book on his fourth-century BC voyage to the Arctic regions. Australian production wizard Mark Tinson very kindly arranged and produced this new version in sunny downunder, featuring Aussie guitar legend Martin Cilia, with Linley Hamilton (flugelhorn) and Scott Flanigan (piano/Hammond) adding sublime parts in the less sunny Northern Hemisphere.

Four vocal numbers recorded at the original Titanium Flag sessions have also been added and the whole set has been mastered/remastered by the great Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering, who has done a typically superb job on it.

Alex Smee’s original silkscreen-print inspired cover design was fantastic, and I thought about keeping it, but in the spirit of refreshing the whole thing I’ve asked Mark Case to come up with new ideas and I’ve sourced an image that I hope will work as part of this. We’ll see… New booklet notes have been written, expanding the original limited edition card-wallet CD’s insert sheet, and I’ve sourced two vintage maps of the Arctic, which will be reproduced on a double-sided fold-out insert. I suspect this will help to bring the concept to life a little more.


I’ve been involved to varying degrees in several CD and vinyl reissues lately. I’m particularly excited about potentially three progressive British jazz CD archive projects planned for release via RPM circa March 2017. Legendary producer Peter Eden has kindly allowed Mark Stratford, the RPM-meister, to revive his 1970-71 Turtle label as a new imprint for these releases, which is a wonderful idea, and the first release will certainly be the Mike Westbrook Concert Band’s 1969 double LP (albeit originally released as two volumes in the UK) Marching Song. Appropriately, the album was originally produced by Peter Eden for the Deram label. This long-out-of-print revival will be a 3CD set, with a third disc of unreleased 1966-70 studio and live material selected personally by Mike Westbrook. It will, one hopes, if all goes well, be the first of several such personally expanded Westbrook reissues on RPM/Turtle. Mark had asked me for ideas for two other releases on the revived Turtle imprint, and I have provided these suggestions. As licenses aren’t yet in place, I’ll save the details for another time.

Still on a vintage British jazz theme, I was delighted to make the introductions between Mike Westbrook and Hux-meister Brian O’Reilly and between Tubby Hayes biographer Simon Spillett and Brian. Two great releases are in the offing from Hux: an expanded and remastered reissue of Live (1972) by a short-lived and fantastic Mike Westbrook five-piece, including Gary Boyle on guitar, and a first-time-on-CD release for the 1969 Tubby Hayes album on Fontana, The Orchestra. I’m not involved in the execution of these releases bar the cheerleading (Mike and Simon will provide the notes, respectively) but it’s terrific to see these albums on CD. I strongly recommend Simon’s book on Tubby, The Long Shadow of the Little Giant (Equinox, 2015) – a brilliant evocation of an era, and a compelling tale of one of British music’s greats.

Finally, on the British jazz theme, I’m involved in bringing a 1991 concert tour project to releasable fruition for the great bandleader/composer Michael Gibbs. Peter Muir’s Dusk Fire label will release some kind of fabulous audio artefact – I’m guessing a 2CD set – drawn from a slew of terrific DAT recordings from a 1991 British tour by the Mike Gibbs Orchestra featuring John Scofield. I was delighted to make the introductions between Michael and Peter and I’m helping with the digitising of the material. The music, performances and sound quality – even ahead of mastering – are superb, and it’s a real pleasure to be a part of making this happen.


Over in folksville, I’ve written a 3,000 word note for It Suits Me Well, a new Cherry Red 2CD set presenting four of the six Dave Swarbricksolo albums released between 1976 and 1983. Confusingly, I wrote the notes for a Sanctuary 2CD set of the very same title, which was compiled from the same four Swarbrick albums plus BBC material. (I wasn’t involved in titling either set.) This new set comprises the four albums in full and a completely new note, based on a forensic trawl through Melody Makers for the period and drawing on other published Swarbrick interviews. It’s a beautifully designed booklet, by Shindig!’s Andy Morten.

I’ve also written the notes – partly based on content from my Jansch biography, but including new writing – for Living In The Shadows, a new 4LP/4CD Bert Jansch set from the Earth label, comprising The Ornament Tree (1990), When The Circus Comes To Town (1995), Toy Balloon (1997) and an excellent fourth disc featuring 40 minutes of previously unreleased studio material. I had (as mentioned in a previous update) provided Earth with many 1990s photos and digitisations of soundboard concert recordings, but they’ve opted for a studio-based set and a minimalist design approach, which works perfectly well. Perhaps the above material will be utilised on another occasion, but this set is certainly recommended to Jansch fans and even newcomers. It is a mark of the fourth disc’s quality that it alone could be played to someone unfamiliar with Jansch’s music and act as a perfect snapshot of his artistry. Earth will reissue the 1998 Jansch live recording Downunder: Live In Australia in the New Year, including an expanded version of my notes for the original Sanctuary release.

I’ve been very slightly involved in a couple of other 60s British folk projects recently: the wonderful Anne Briggs vinyl EP of 1966 BBC recordings plus one same-period amateur recording titledFour Songs, on Fledg’ling (simply suggesting the idea to label owner David Suff, who had the courage to run with it and create a wonderful artefact); and a set of forthcoming Davy Graham Decca album reissues from US label Virtual Label. For this latter project, I was asked to source and provide scans of various Davy Graham adverts, interviews and reviews from my collection of 60s British music magazines – a bit more of a task than you might imagine, but one that will hopefully add an evocative sheen to the end products.


Speaking of Anne Briggs, Mojo 60s – a themed spin-off from UK music magazine Mojo – will be republishing my 1997 Mojo feature on her in their December edition.

In terms of new writing, I’m working on a Mike Westbrook feature for Record Collector, for which I’ve interviewed Mike and collected an almost overwhelming amount of vintage interviews and reviews. I have a feeling there must be an easier way…

I’m also working on a limited edition (probably 200 copies) hard-copy presentation of the e-book bonus chapters and appendices from Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond (Jawbone, 2014). I’m quite excited about this, and I’ve already started doing a few new interviews and new print research, particularly on McLaughlin’s first employer Big Pete Deuchar. I can guarantee that the book – which I may title anew, to avoid confusion (although doing so may in itself cause confusion) – will feature several previously unpublished or ridiculously rare vintage McLaughlin photographs (from 1959-75) along with rare period adverts and the like. There will be new content in the Pete Deuchar and Tony Meehan Combo chapters, and maybe elsewhere, and anything needing revised/updated – such as the Discography and Mahavishnu Orchestra Mk2 Concert Listing – will be sorted out. The BIL website bonus chapter on Georgie Famewill be added and I’m looking into additional written content of value.

Given the above, and the recent launch of my own academic proofreading service (see: www.belfastproofreading.com), a couple of other book ideas on British jazz are on a back-burner just now, but they are not forgotten.


Finally, I’ve found myself a little more involved in the local music world in and around Belfast this year than has been the case for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of Brian Houston this year, having not done so for two or three years, and wrote a couple of long online pieces on his history and on a couple of live performances. Brian also took part in Lampstock, a great fun event I organised in early November as a fundraiser for local café The Lamp Post, which also featured some of my fave local artists Brigid O’Neill, Wookalily and Janet & Colin Henry. A great time was had by all. At the time of writing, having brought Brian together with John McSherry for an Irish-themed album earlier in the year (see previous posts), it looks like I might have done something similar between himself and the great bass player Ali MacKenzie (who can be heard to great effect on the new Titanium Flag remaster). Brian’s been pursuing a blues direction recently and Ali joined him, unrehearsed and plucked from the audience, at Lampstock, for a sensational improvised gospel-blues set with Brian and harmonicist Michael Beattie. Brian’s regular trio has been amicably disbanded recently, and I’m hoping the Houston/MacKenzie collaboration has some legs. Great things could result. Fingers crossed…

More definitely, terrific local trio the Hardchargers will be recording a debut album at my palLate-Night Tony Furnell’s studio (so new it has yet to be named) in December. I first saw the ‘Chargers in July at Welsh Sarah’s festival somewhere near Armagh and then later made a point of seeing them performing a full set at a bar in Monaghan. Based on a very distinctive ‘amplified country-blues’ sound, they definitely have ‘something’. My involvement has been offering some advice, encouragement and contacts, and hopefully the result will be a nationally available Hardchargers album early next year – one that is representative of their live power but also encompassing studio arrangements and polish where appropriate. The goal is to give the band a calling card or platform for expanding their live work into Britain and Europe.

And thus, almost everything mentioned in the June 2015 update came to pass… The one exception, at the time of writing, is the Record Collector feature on Peter Eden and British Jazz circa 1970. Maybe next month…

My two books, The Wheels of the World: 300 Years of Irish Uilleann Pipers (with John McSherry) and Eyes Wide Open: True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior (with Andy Powell), were both published, by Jawbone Press, in late 2015. The official publication dates were September and October, respectively, but they both ended up in the shops during September – a rather remarkable situation of having two books published in one calendar month, which I can’t see being repeated!


The reception for The Wheels of the World has been tremendous, with a number of generous reviews and some fun appearances on radio shows in Belfast and Dublin, along with, from memory, eight or nine public events involving readings and music. John McSherry was able to join me for some of these, when his gig diary allowed, bringing along his ace piping cohort Frances McIlduff – appearances of this trio at sister Tíona’s trad festival in Castlewellan and at Dublin’s splendid Hodges & Figgis bookshop were really enjoyable. Hodges & Figgis had very kindly gone to town with a week-long window display. At some other events, I was joined by either John’s unperturbable nieceMiadhach Lughain O’Donnell with her pal Jamie (on flute and pipes, respectively) or by Aaron O’Hagan (pipes), and a good time was had by all – hopefully! Authors aren’t necessarily natural raconteurs, but it’s a case of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and I enjoyed this block of public speaking more than I have done with similar events in the past. It’s a matter of thinking, ‘Well, what’s the worst that can happen?’ During October, Tíona very kindly organised three concerts to promote the book: in Belfast, Westport and Strabane. Piping legend Paddy Keenan headlined, with John McSherry and Francis McIlduff also on the bill. I was at two of the three and they were fabulous evenings. Paddy was on form and John and Frances enjoyed playing with him onstage as much as the reverse, I think.

Adapted extracts from the book appeared in The Irish Times, The (Belfast) News Letter and fRoots. The Irish Times extract can be found here:


Because of funding niceties, the book is a limited edition of 2000 copies and almost half of that print run has now been sold. Hopefully a second edition (and eBook) will prove possible.

Here’s a link to John and myself appearing on RTÉ’s Arena show in August 2015 with presenter and all-round good guy Jim Lockhart:



Eyes Wide Open, Andy Powell’s memoir with my assistance, has, curiously, yet to receive much in the way of print reviews, although an extract was featured in December’s issue of Record Collector. It was a total pleasure working on the book with Andy – how he manages to juggle all his commitments (including periodic bursts of energy working on the book, in between horrendous touring schedules wherein he often drives the van himself) – and remain so full of energy and so positive I don’t know. Aside from touring, there were a number of other projects fighting for his attention last year, including a terrific three-night run, filmed for a DVD (now out), at a theatre in Paris and a direct-to-vinyl live recording at Metropolis Studios in London (also now out). Work on the book went right up to the wire, with Andy delivering extra content above and beyond expectations. I don’t actually know how long the book ended up being, but it is well beyond the anticipated 120,000 words.


The CD projects I detailed in the last Update – Chris Spedding’sSongs Without Words (Hux) and the 3CD box set Turtle Records: Pioneering British Jazz 1970-71 (RPM) – both appeared in late 2015, featuring extensive CH sleeve notes. Indeed, Mark Stratford at RPM really grasped the nettle with the Turtle project and commissioned a perfect-bound luxuriantly illustrated and designed mini-book format for the 17,000 word essay and discography I provided. It was, again, a delight to be involved with, and the reviews have been generous and widespread. Off the back of that, I was interviewed in December for a prospective film documentary on British folk, pop and jazz producer Peter Eden’s career, along with jazz expert Linley Hamilton. Peter Eden and Mike Cooper had already been filmed in interview, and other great musicians are lined up. Sadly, they won’t include pianist John Taylor, who passed on unexpectedly only a few weeks after I had interviewed him for the box set notes. His album for the Turtle label, Pause… and Think Again remains a magical piece of work.

At short notice, I also contributed a 2,000 word note (alas, I was restricted to eight pages…) to the Wishbone Ash 4CD live box set Road Works (Talking Elephant), which was released in December. This set is terrific value for money, gathering up four previous merchandise-stand-only short-run live albums spanning 2010-14 and giving them wide availability. I made a point of interviewing all four of the current Ash members. It’s a great way to hear the latest (and longest-lasting) of the band’s many line-ups.


Back in September I was asked by the arts editor of the Irish Times if I fancied interviewing Stereophonics when they did a one-off show in Belfast. ‘Why not,’ I thought. I don’t want to get back to doing routine journalistic stuff, but the idea of doing the odd thing if I fancy it, if somebody asks, is fine. I’d reviewed Stereophonics live for the IT back in 1999 or thereabouts, and couldn’t quite see what the fuss was about. I saw a bit of their live show this time around and, while their stagecraft has improved, it was still not quite my thing. Still, I enjoyed the new album they were promoting (better on record than live, for me – more nuance and variety) and I liked them as people. Here’s a link to the resulting feature:



My album Sunset Cavaliers is released nationally through Market Square on February 19. The great Mick Houghton is very kindly helping with PR to radio. Early feedback from a few friends suggests that my notion of an album hanging together with an autumnal/evening sort of feeling seems to be holding water. Which, I suppose, makes it a wet weekend in November. I’m very pleased with the album, and honoured to have had so many wonderful players on it – not least my regular collaborators Cormac O’Kane and Ali MacKenzie. The album is dedicated to Duffy Power. I’ll be appearing on Radio Ulster’s Arts Show on February 12 to talk about it, with punk legend Mickey Bradley asking the questions (no doubt kicking off with: ‘Progressive rock in 2016 – why?’).


The exciting project of early 2016, for me, is a forthcoming 2CD set of unreleased Quintessence studio recordings from their Island Records era (1969-71). Band members Phil Jones and Maha Dev are in the loop, as is original producer John Barham. The project has required a lot of (expensive) tape research, with 16 two-inch multi-track reels and 7 quarter-inch mix-down reels (out of 32 that we had hoped to access) digitised at Abbey Road, based on the sometimes cryptic scribblings on the tape boxes. The next stage is searching through those reels for unreleased performances of high quality. At the time of writing, the mixing is almost complete and over 100 minutes of remarkable content – six hitherto wholly unknown compositions and a number of breathtakingly good alternate takes of familiar songs – will be included across the two discs. The set is provisionally entitled Spirits From Another Time: Island Studios 1969-71 and will hopefully appear around May 2016. I take my hat off to Brian O’Reilly at Hux: this will be his most expensive archive CD project to date, out of 150 releases. I think I’ve been involved in around 20 of those releases – some of which have been good sellers, others less so. Fingers crossed for this one!It’s a privilege to be involved in bringing (yet more) unheard wonders from the glory days of Quintessence into the world, and I’ll be doing everything I can to get this release noticed. With a fair wind, there may well be another Quintessence project in due course.


In a more semi-detached way, I’m involved in a couple of projects from Earth Vinyl, a boutique vinyl label. Their forthcoming deluxe vinyl reissue of Bert Jansch’s sublime 1979 LP Avocet looks amazing. It will include my mid-2000s Sanctuary CD reissue notes. Over the past few weeks I have digitised a lot of my 1990s photos and soundboard recordings of Bert towards a future 4-LP vinyl box set comprising his three mid-90s albums and a disc of rare and unissued recordings, compiled by Adam Jansch.


Not before time, and taking merciless advantage of web-meister Uncle Spike having a bit of unexpected time on his hands, I have updated a fair amount of content on the rest of this site.

In the Books section, I have created new pages for Bathed in Lightning, The Wheels of theWorld and Eyes Wide Open plus an additional page featuring the December 2015 fRoots adapted extract from the piping book, on the great Séamus Ennis.

In the Musical Projects section, I have updated the intro page and added a new page and retail link for Sunset Cavaliers.

In the CD Reissue Projects section, I have updated the intro page and updated the Quintessence page.

I have also revamped the About section.

After all that, I have a feeling Uncle Spike will be expecting a very serious high-end coffee shop experience, huge muffin included.