Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sgt Pepper, Aug 11, 2017.
Back and Fourth, the first reformation album of the original line up
I'm going to disagree slightly and say that Alan Hull wrote & performed pertinent and enjoyable songs right up until his untimely death (aged just 50) in 1995. Just check out Lindisfarne's later albums, Amigos and Elvis Lives On The Moon or his final solo record Statutes and Liberties, for proof. They're all superb.
A quick nod to the mid seventies Mark II version of the band & a second to Seed_Drill's love of Jack The Lad who made six tremendous albums between them before the classic line-up reformed in 1976,
Lindisfarne are still plugging away on the live circuit in the U.K. with members from different eras of the band, Only the drummer Paul Burgess, erstwhile Roxy Music tub thumper had no prior connection to the band (other than being mates). Fingers crossed they'll record fairly soon.
Finally - and apologies for being long-winded - two members of the current band, Dave Hull-Denholm ( Alan's son-in-law) and Ian Thompson play and record as a duo under the name of The Alan Hull Songbook & they released an album of previously unrecorded Alan Hull songs last year. It's magical.
Magnificent song. I'll never tire of it.
This is the superior original mix. Hully sounds fairly spaced, and it's not a bad thing.
You do need Alan Hull's first solo album - 'Pipedream' as well, wonderful record.
Some of his greatest songs post the Mk. 1 Lindisfarne are not served well by the studio recordings. The 'When The War Is Over' 2CD from a few years ago captures raw solo versions of outstanding songs like the title track, 'Down In The Underground' and the stupendous 'One More Bottle Of Wine'.
I bought this one recently for half the price as shown in the ad.
Lindisfarne: The Charisma Years 1970 - 1973 (4 CDs) – jpc
Have all 3 on NM- OG wax. One has a seriously wonky cover construction.
I have an original Fog on the Tyne album which i play on a regular basis; for some reason i dont have any other albums. I think its time to open my wallet again!!
You won't regret it!
A Gus Dudgeon production no less!
Hully on the OGWT, 1975. Bless him.
Yeh, first purchase was the Meet Me On The Corner single in the picture sleeve. Also still have the first three albums on vinyl.
I tend to play the Lindisfarne - The Peel Sessions CD quite a bit. Its only a four track job featuring Poor Old Ireland, Mandolin King, Lady Eleanor and Road To Kingdom Come.
A magical band. Yes the first two albums were the best, but others including Back and Fourth are excellent too.
Such is his irrepressible nature, Bob Johnston can’t stop himself from sharing a good story – even when he’s declining an interview and is on the point of putting the phone down. You’re calling from England? He knows about England.
“Guy stood on the front steps of my house in Nashville on a Sunday night,” he says. “Tells me he’s got a group in England who he wants me to record. He says to me, ‘I have a castle in Crowborough. If you record the group, and get them to 99 on the charts, you can come and live in the castle for a month’…
“I said, ‘Can I really? What will you give me if I get them a number one?’ He said, ‘You can stay there a year.’ So I went over to England and recorded Lindisfarne for Fog On The Tyne…”
He pauses, recalling his meeting with Charisma records boss Tony Stratton-Smith and this commission as a freelance producer. This was 1970 – after Johnston had spent several years recording artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Johnny Cash. For all his time spent as head of Columbia in Nashville, and all these successes, you can tell the 81-year old Texan still enjoys the punchline of the tale.
“They went to number one,” he says triumphantly. “And I moved into the castle.”
Bob Johnston: "Don't ever quit - don't stop playing! If you do, don't come back!" - Uncut
for the benefit of anyone new to Lindisfarne here's my angle on them
the guys above stating there was so much more to them than the first three albums are so correct
they enjoyed a brief 'golden era' of the first three albums on Charisma Records (UK) - signed up alongside Genesis by Tony Stratton-Smith - 'Nicely Out of Tune', 'Fog On The Tyne' and 'Dingly Dell' over 1971-73
USA releases were on Elektra
they also quickly then scored important UK hits to get the wider public view - 'Meet Me On The Corner' (written by bass player Rod Cements, sung by harmonica, mandolin player Ray Jackson - he's 'that guy from Lindisfarne' who plays the mandolin on Rod Stewart's 'Maggie Mae') which came from the second album
but then chief writer guitarist/keyboardist Alan Hull's song 'Lady Eleanor' from the first album became their second big hit single and for many their 'theme tune'
Hull's 'All Fall Down' from the third album also charted as a single
the 'classic' Lindisfarne was; Alan Hull, Ray Jackson (k/a 'Jacka'), Rod Clements, lead guitarist/vocalist Simon Cowe' (k/a 'Si') and drummer Ray Laidlaw
they played a mix of folky, bluesy, jugband, solo singer/songwriter with a bit of electric guitar led more powering tracks too (!) - quite an appealing very 'easy on the ear' rich musical mixture at times darker and deeper, at times Dylan-ish re 'social comment' at other times almost a party fun feel...!
Hull, Jackson and Cowe provided strong three part harmonies with Hull and Jackson the main lead singers (Si Cowe on occasion too) - Hull had a slightly mournful quality of pathos in his voice (which suited laments such as the moving 'Winter Song') while Jacka had a more authorative deeper voice that provided a good vocal contrast on songs such as 'Road To Kingdom Come' etc
like The Kinks, and The Who in Lindisfarne there was a major songwriter Alan Hull who contributed about 75% of their original recordings...and another equally strong composer Rod Clemets who was maybe rather overshadowed somewhat and tended to contribute just two or three songs per album BUT which were of top quality (Rod penned the all important first breakthrough UK hit single 'Meet Me On The Corner')
- Si Cowe and Ray Jackson each also contributed the odd gem too, but overall Alan Hull dominated the songwriting like say a Ray Davies or Pete Townshend due to his sheer quantity and quality of songs, thus back then Rod Clements, like John Entwistle and Dave Davies (and George Harrison in The Beatles) only got in a few of his songs per album but they were always songs of very high quality
- much later Rod would really come into his own a chief songwriter for Lindisfarne in the 90's
then after 'Dingly Dell' and a live album they split up for several reasons some musical (possibly some business I suspect) - possibly avoiding the 'Badfinger fate' (?) - and rather like 10cc fell into two factions
Ray, Si and Rod formed Jack The Lad with guitarist/vocalist Billy Mitchell (later of Lindisfarne following Hull's sudden death in the late 90's) and another guy whose name I forget ! - they did three albums I think (must dig 'em out), self titled, 'The Old Straight Track' and a third album I have tucked away somewhere...'Jackpot' I think it was
Alan Hull recorded his classic solo album; 'Pipedream' which charted - Jacka guested on a few tracks
Hull and Jacka then formed the seen as 'disappointing' (they wern't) Lindisfarne 'Mark 2' - they recruited Kenny Craddock (guitar/keyboards), Paul Nicholls (Drums), Charlie Harcourt (guitars) and bass player/singer Tommy Duffy
and cut two albums; 'Roll On Ruby' and on moving from Charisma records to Warners; 'Happy Daze'
they were firmly aimed at the USA market - thus for each typical Lindisfarne song like say Hull's 'Taking Care of Business' there was a less typical song like 'Steppenwolf' or 'Juiced Up To Lose' etc with a harder rockier bluesy feel - Tommy Duffy was a strong songwriter ('North Country Boy', 'Roll On River', 'Goodbye' etc) but had a very 'soulfully bluesy' voice that just didn't sound like Lindisfarne - the UK version of his songs 'North Country Boy' and 'Roll on River' are sung by Ray Jackson unlike his own lead vocal on the USA album version
Alan Hull contributed some great songs - 'Taking Care of Business' (always makes me think of Badfinger's tragic story), 'When The War is Over', 'Crazy', and his early gorgeous song 'River' (with it's telling lyric; 'thinkin' of the giver...who's also the taker away...') but Hull contributed less songs overall as Duffy, Craddock and Harcourt were all gifted songwriters too - overall the 'magic' just didn't seem to be 'in the air' for 'mark 2' tho' both albums are MUCH better in retrospect than I and probably many thought at the time...
Alan Hull later lamented; 'mark 2 should have been drowned at birth'
(far too harsh on himself and his band )
Ray Laidlaw however said they were a great band full of fine players but in retrospect probably should NOT have used the name 'Lindisfarne' (probably done due to record company pressure) and ought to have maybe called themselves 'Pipedream' after Hull's successful solo album
After the demise of 'Mark 2' Alan Hull then released his fine solo album 'Squire' on Warners
it seemed that was that re Lindisfarne...but it was only the first half of their story - the second half is only really known by fans of the band after a brief successful comeback to the wider public view
if anyone's interested I'll cover that in another post soon
sorry if I've got any facts a bit off - not got my albums to hand !
I had the first Nicely Out Of Tune, and Fog on the Tyne. Not well known in my parts, but very enjoyable. In addition to the tunes highlighted above, I also found Guthrie's "Jackhammer Blues" a nice contrast in the album.
Saw Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell in the pub the other week - they were there to watch Billy's son play...
There's an interview with Ray Jackson out on the net somewhere in which he paints quire a sad picture of late period Lindisfarne (and by late, I mean still with Hull) when Hull had clearly stopped bothering. Apparently, he was responsible for the Paul Gascoigne debacle and for the dreadful party album, C'mon Everybody. Such a shame because he was a hell of a writer. Wish I could remember the link...
I saw Hull not too long before he died at a pub quiz. He was rather the worse for wear. Still beat everyone else, though...
I'd love to think that the surviving members (and their satellite members...) will put aside whatever differences they have and get together to record before they lose anyone else. I know there were some Hull demos and unfinished tracks that his son was working on. Mitchell and Laidlaw tour as The Lindisfarne Story; I believe Jackson quit again; I think Clements has been touring with the most recent incarnation of the band.
Jack The Lad did another album 'Diamonds' or something besides those I mentioned - it's up in my attic somewhere - re Lindisfarne Live' the CD version has a lot more live tracks included than on the original LP version
Lindisfarne, a wonderful band that I haven't played in years. I will definitely give them a spin this weekend. I have the first three studio albums plus the wretched sounding live album.
not sure I'd agree with what Ray Jackson said there to be honest
Ray exited the band under a bit of a cloud but partly it was his own doing - he was based down in London and his career as a graphic designer was taking off - apparently he began not being available for some shows etc (no band can really put up with a situation like that - from a frontman - can they ?)
earlier they had recruited Marty Craggs as a 'sideman' sax player at first...he came in full time by 'Dance Your Life Away' album on vocals/sax...then took lead vocals too by 'Amigos' (Craggs was with them about 18 years)
Ray Jackson began to diminish (sadly) as a contributor as Craggs role grew - but partly that was down to Ray's absence from the group and clearly he was then drifting away from them not so much them booting him out or anything
whatever Ray left in 1990 after a live album - a pity as 'Jacka' was SO important a member...but that's life
it's not really accurate to say Hull lost interest or anything - he contributed most songs to 'Amigos' and 'Elvis Lives on The Moon' (a title taken from a silly headline in the dismal 'Sunday Sport' UK newspaper Hull saw)
The large Lindisfarne later Bass player Steve Cunningham told me Alan Hull and Kenny Craddock spent TWO YEARS writing and working out arrangements for the songs on 'Elvis Lives...' (an album I LOATHED at first...now I LOVE it ! - it's an aquired taste...like beer)
so I don't believe Alan Hull ever lost interest in songwriting or recording for his band at all
a guy who worked on their album designs told me the party album began as them being offered to re-record some of their songs (on 'side four') then after they had done that it quickly got around to them being asked to do a few 'party songs'...which then developed into the double album - the hideous 'club 18-30' cover pic was done without the band's knowledge until it appeared much to their dislike
of course then they were tagged just a; 'has been party band' by the critics
(Slade did likewise)
the awful Gazza single they hated BUT it made no.2 in the UK and got them more promotion than a few years of 'slogging it' around the venues would have done so presumably they agreed to it purely for the wider public promotion - reminding everyone of the name Lindisfarne (and alerting younger music lovers to it)
A visit to Russia made a deep impression on Alan Hull (hence his song 'Mother Russia' on 'Elvis Lives...') and he very FIRMLY 'ordered' the band to lose it's 'Christmas party' image...hence the far more serious indeed rather sombre songs on 'Elvis Lives...' such as 'Russia', 'Demons', 'Soho Square', 'Keeping The Rage', 'Think', ...and finally a place for his bleak but compelling 'Day of The Jackal' he had written some time earlier
The story is Si Cowe inherited a Canadian brewery just after 'Elvis Lives' was released ...and left to 'drink Canada dry' they said
Steve Cunningham then took over on bass guitar, Rod Clements switched to lead and slide guitar, Kenny Craddock joined on keyboards/guitar (for touring) with Hull, Laidlaw, and Craggs (who sang 'Meet Me On The Corner')
I saw them on tour with Alan Hull for the final time playing shows along with The Strawbs - both bands sounded terrific !
I like Lindisfarne's first 2 albums and have several others. Also like Ray's outside contributions especially on Peter Hammill's debut where he plays a wonderful mandolin on the magnificent The Candle.
I like Hull's eccentric original material better than the folkier stuff. Of course Lady Eleanor and also Clear white light. But my favorite is Winter song - the touching lyrics are one of the best I heard from anyone.
'.....do you spare a thought for Jesus who had nothing but his thoughts, who got busted just for talking and befriending the wrong sort...'
Jimmy Alan Hull !!**
** just before heading into 'Clear White Light' in concerts Alan Hull would yell; 'John Lennon' !
on 'Untapped & Acoustic' the first live album after Hull's untimely passing new frontman (ex-Jack The Lad frontman & their old friend) Billy Mitchell shouts a salute of ;'Jimmy Alan Hull' after they perform 'Lady Eleanor'
a poignant case of what goes around...comes around re the 'name' tributes
Nice. You'd also want to include the one album by Alan Hull's band Radiator, which came out on Rocket UK just before the original Lindisfarne reunited in 1978. Effectively a third Mark 2 Lindisfarne album, nearly all Hull songs including "Corporation Rock," a nice stab at that emerging trend.
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