5 Track EP - Magic Money Tree

3. Mar, 2018

Its thick snow outside, all the folk clubs and open mics seem to have been cancelled, my Mum is not very well and I'm stuck here getting depressed and going up the wall (for foreign visitors this is an expression used for going mad)....Time to update the old blog!

I've got a few new songs on the go, but not sure how close they are to completion. It always takes a huge effort to get them written down and up to 'semi-performance quality', so then I can fine tune them by playing them live before recording them.

I haven't done much more as far as recording is concerned as the Sound Recording Engineer, Nick, has sadly not been well - although I have managed to get some Tom-toms and Congas on 2 of my songs thanks to Mike Townsend.

Having a bit more time at home has allowed me to edit a video (taken by Mike Townsend) from a gig I did last year at The Gates Pub in Sutton Coldfield for BrumAid.  I made a sort of  medley by editing short clips from each song.  I also uploaded a version of the The Bee-Boy song with the mighty Keith Parkins improvising on the saxophone - a really scary but immensly enjoyabe experience - it was taken on my Fairphone so the quality isn't great.

More recently I was asked by Wolverhampton and District Trades Union Council to play at 2 events they held for 'Love Unions' week.  It involved me playing at Wednesfield and Bilston Markets.  It was cold but great fun once I got going.  At Bilston I finished with a version of the Internationale (I stick to the original words but nicked the chords from Billy Bragg's website) - Some people joined in and one (Nick K) said its been a long time since the Internationale has been sung in Bilston Market (which made me laugh).  The W&DTUC have long been supporters of mine, for which I'm very grateful, they have always supported live music and have helped keep me going by giving me gigs most years.

I wrote a song about Thomas Spence (one of my historic political heroes) and its been included on the Thomas Spence Society Web site.

Future gigs

I've agreed to play at Erdington Labour & Trade Union Group "Live Music & Comedy Night" at6 St Thomas' Association Club, Station Rd, Erdington B23 6UB on Thursday 8th of March - Tickets are the Princely sum of £5.00 each - Its a fundraiser for the local election campaign - so I'll be playing political stuff.  I'll probably post a copy of the poster.

I've got a gig for the Birmingham Trades Council on the 5th of May

And of course I'll be playing at local folk clubs regularly and will be producing more youtube videos to post on here.

29. Sep, 2017

Its been a long time since my last blog post.  A lot's happened over the last few months and I've got a few things coming up:

A very dear friend of mine died of breast cancer in August  - We started going out together in the early 80's, lived together for many years and worked together and stayed good friends right up until she died.  Della was somebody who enabled me to change my life, was a guiding light, a touchstone and a comrade in mirth and fun. I'll miss her terribly as many will do.

Before she died she bequethed me some money and told me (she was quite ill at this time) "Less splishy splashy (crying) and more plinky plinky (playing music)"  So I've been trying to record some of my songs (I've written nearly 80) at The Shed Recording Studio in Burntwood.

Although home now. my Mum has deteriorated, so together with my grief at Della's illness and death, I haven't felt like, or had time to keep the blog and website up to date.

I have been out and about playing though and managed to get to the most excellent WMA Summer School of Music.  I've also written a few new songs - tried 2 of them out last night at Moor Green Allotment Club.

I'll be performing tonight at The All Saint's Cafe with Ingrid Gould - if you get a chance come down and have a cuppa.

9. Jul, 2017

It was a very moving experience (as it always is) singing with Birmingham Clarion Singers at the annual mesothelioma action day event in the Priory Rooms, Bull Street, Birmingham. There were some visitors from Japan joining us all in demanding justice for people affected by this terrible disease. The numbers are still climbing, and the disease can take 30, 40, even more than 50 years after asbestos inhalation or ingestion. Its disgusting that they are still using it in some parts of the world and it is still in some of our public buildings (including schools) as well as some houses.

I've been spending some time in the studio (The Shed in Burntwood) the last couple of weeks. I've only been able to do this as a very dear, but exttremely poorly, friend of mine has generously funded the cost, - so I'm keen to make the most of it. Nick Thompson (of The Shed) thinks we have 8 useable songs recorded so far - just baritone uke and vocals. I've got a new song I'm trying to record about the terrible infant mortality figures in some parts of the country (particularly in Walsall and Wolverhampton and worse in areas like Darlaston). Its proving a little tricky as its a new song and I usually play them quite a few times at home, then perform them, then record them.  I blame it all on Doug James for asking me to write it!
Once the recordings are finished I'm hoping to produce some CD's to sell at gigs and make some tracks downloadable.
I'll probably make a video of today's session in Coffee 1, King's Heath, but first I'm off to Quakers and then going to visit me Mum in hospital.
8. Jun, 2017

Its been a while since my last post.  I've still been getting out playing at various events but its harder for me to find the time now my Mum is out of hospital and back home (I'm her carer). 

I've set up a small photographic studio in my old place, so I'm slowly trying to get my songs on video.  It takes a long time for me to get the production bit done as I'm not a Sony Vegas Wizzard yet, and the sound isn't multi-tracked, its just a simple "one take" with possibly some "Green Screen" and some text for lyrics.  I've posted a couple over on the page headed "Protest" - please have a look and let me know what you think.

I've also put a video taken at Fletcher's in King's Heath of me and Ingrid playing on the page titled 'Other Stuff'

Yes its General Election day!  I usually vote for the Green Party, but it will be Labour today - a lot of the policies cross over anyway

17. May, 2017