General News

August 2011 News Update

Shining Morn Concert poster

Birmingham Town Hall Gig Special offer

Beyond the Barricade Ltd presents

Monday 10th October 2011 at 7.30 pm  
Tickets: £17.50

An evening celebrating four decades of extraordinary live music from one of the UK’s greatest guitar legends. In honour of the recent 'Shining Morn' CD there is to be a very special one off concert in Birmingham's stunning Town Hall. Gordon will be joined for this exclusive event by a special guest, the master of the Uilleann Pipes, Troy Donockley of The Bad Shepherds.

All GG fans contacting the Box Office either in person or by telephone can claim £5 off a pair of tickets by quoting Giltrap Fan Club to the Box Office.This CANNOT be done with internet sales. This offer ends on 31st August.

Old Grey Whistle Test at 40

July 6th 2011, will remain in the memory for many years come. That was the day that Hilary and I travelled to Maida Vale Studios in London for the session and interview with Bob Harris to celebrate 40 years since the very first ever Old Grey Whistle Test. The minute we stepped in to studio 3 of this legendary BBC building one could sense that it was going to be a special day!

On our way down the corridor we were greeted by Bob’s lovely wife Trudie and escorted through to the studio. Bob was in the middle of an interview with Ian Emes, the man that created so many amazing visual images for bands like The Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield.

When the interview was finished we were greeted with huge smiles from the great man himself. I have known Bob for many years now, and he has remained constant as a great guy, very warm and genuine. His recent addition to this year’s honours list is richly deserved. Bob is now the recipient of an OBE.

The format was for me to record two pieces and then have a chat with Bob. After microphones were set up, I launched into a piece from that Whistle Test period, good old HEARTSONG. This I did in one take at a (for me) pretty break neck speed, which wasn’t a problem because the piece really requires that sort of energy doesn’t it! I then decided to do SHINING MORN, just to keep the whole thing very light hearted.

We then settled into the interview. What comes across time and time again with Bob is his genuine enthusiasm and passion for all kinds of music. The interview was a joy. I don’t know how much of it will be  used, but it gave me the chance to chat about my new JHS GG signature guitar and my connection with those two great guitar builders Rob Armstrong and Roger Bucknall. It was also good to relate the story of my first Top of the Pops appearance with my dear old friend, producer and keyboard player Rod Edwards, who proudly wore his Whistle Test Badge and West Ham scarf on the show! Great memories.

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After the interview and recording session, (which was filmed by the way for future online viewing) I was asked to sign the Whistle Test poster, which everyone signs who are guests of Bob for this 16 part series, then followed some photos with Bob and I. Unfortunately we can’t display them here because they are the property of the BBC and are for their use only....Shame!

Because SO many people from that period appeared on the show, they have to try and cram as many guests as possible into each allotted Wednesday. Before we arrived Steve Harley was in the studio for a session, sadly he had gone by the time we arrived. I had a great chat with filmmaker Ian Emes, who stayed for my session but had to leave in readiness for a flight to Istanbul the following day. Ian, it emerged is a Brummie from Erdington, just up the road from us in Sutton Coldfield!

After my session was completed it was time for American singer songwriter John Hiatt to arrive and do his allocated spot. We were OK to stick around. We weren’t in any rush and were staying with friends Brian and Sally Shuel in Muswell Hill. Brian was the man who photographed me all those years ago for my first two Transatlantic albums. Anyway I digress.

When John arrived with his tour manager and one other person, we were sitting drinking coffee. This chap came up to me and said “Gordon Giltrap, I’m Alan Robinson”. Alan Robinson and I became good friends a while back when Alan was recruited to do the PR on the From Brush and Stone album. We had never met until that day but had previously developed a great working relationship. Alan has subsequently worked on the Shining Morn album and helped to secure my deal with Demon records for those resent re-releases. A great guy, and what a joy to finally meet up. Allan was currently working on the PR for John Hiatt, hence the reason for him being there at the session.

This day just got better and better! I had a brief chat with John, extolling the virtues of his amazing handmade guitar, and Hilary got his signature in her book. He was quite chuffed when he was told that through his appearance, Alan and I had finally met!

Hilary had a great time getting various people in her book and like me, enjoying the moment. We said our farewells and promised to keep in touch and departed with our Whistle Test at 40 goodies...T shirts and badges.

This is probably one of the longest reports I have written for these news pages, I hope you have stuck with it.

My reason for making it so detailed is because this is a really important and significant moment in time for me. This series will not only be a major landmark in the history of rock music on TV, but proves that special people like Bob Harris REMEMBER! To have been invited to be a part of it all is a great honour and privilege. Over the years I appeared on the programme FIVE times!

These were indeed great times to be a working musician.

P.S. Whilst I was preparing to do my recording, I looked up, and above the control room window was a brass plaque that read something like... BING CROSBY RECORDED HIS LAST EVER SESSION IN THIS STUDIO.....There was also a picture in the canteen of the Beatles queuing up for food!

I have lost count of the sessions I did at Maida Vale over the years. It is still a privilege to walk through its doors. Watch this space for the broadcasting date.

John Bailey RIP.

It was with great sadness that I received the news from Maureen Bailey that her husband John passed away in July.

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Although it had been many years since I had seen John, he was always a part of my life through the beautiful guitars he made. I still own the stunning twin neck that he made in the late 60’s for guitarist and author Ralph Denyer. I bought the guitar in about 1975 and used it on stage, in the studio and featured it on album sleeves over the coming years. I guess the most iconic photograph of me with that guitar was on the inner sleeve of The Visionary album from 1976.

I foolishly sold it in the early 80’s via Bert Jansch’s guitar shop. In fact Bert re strung that very guitar in order to sell it to a Mr John Garvey. Many years later I was able to purchase it back from John, and it has been with me ever since. It made its last appearance on my Guitar Maestros DVD.

I acquired my first Bailey guitar in the late 60’s, brand new from the maker who I think took a shine to me and let me have it at a silly price of something like £70. Such was the generosity of John Bailey. Sadly I sold it a few years back when times got hard. I used the guitar for much of the 70’s and early 80’s and it has its place in my musical history on many a GG recording, specifically Heartsong where I high strung it. It formed the logo for my re releases on Voiceprint.

I really can’t remember all the many players that owned John’s instruments, but here is a list of just some that I can remember. Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Roy Harper, Al Stewart, Benny Gallagher, Richard Thompson, Ralph Denyer, Joni Mitchell. There are many more believe me!

The first Bailey guitar I saw was being played by Bert Jansch at Les Cousins, and I immediately fell in love with its looks and sound and vowed that one day I would have one. I can still remember asking Bert the make of his guitar. In fact it was the first time I had ever spoken to the man. How ironic that our first conversation should be in reference to a John Bailey guitar!

I would dearly love to get my original one back or even own  a nice example of a six string, but I doubt one will come up for sale, such is their rarity these days.

John was indeed a pioneer of guitar making and was, to my knowledge one of the first to write a book about building a steel string guitar.
This man will be greatly missed, and it was whilst going through my drawer of bits and pieces that I found a lovely note from him along with a brand new hand written label to go in my twin neck if I decided to replace the rather torn original. I decided to stick with the original. Maybe I shall frame that note and label as a memory of the great man!

We shall miss getting a Christmas card from John and Maureen. John was indeed a pioneer and the first and probably last of his kind.

The last time I actually saw John was when he attended my first wedding in 1970. He gave as a wedding present a beautiful Appalachian Dulcimer with heart shaped sound holes, which I used in concert and on an album track in 1973. The piece was called Spellbrook Meadow.

Rest in peace John.

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National Portrait Gallery London

The year was  1967 and there I was in Greenwich Park for a photo shoot for my first album cover. The man behind the camera was Brian Shuel, a man whose name I knew so well from those iconic images of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. Now he was here to take pictures of me. Needless to say I was nervous and felt very honoured to be photographed by the man who had in my opinion taken so many outstanding pictures of people who were my heroes!

We now fast forward to the present day. A few months ago Mr Shuel submitted about thirty black and white images from his collection to the National Portrait Gallery in London. They accepted pretty much all of them!

In amongst those thirty images was one of me! We now know which one they have chosen, (see for yourselves here: National Portrait Gallery) but needless to say this is a profound honour for me to be in the greatest Portrait Gallery in Europe and to be a part of posterity.

The images included one of Bert Jansch, one of Ralph McTell, three of Davy Graham and many more besides. The importance of being included and worthy of the gallery’s collection is just sinking in. Short of getting an OBE or a Knighthood this honour will do nicely thank you. Please forgive me if I savour this special news for a while my dear friends.

Del Newman

Everyone who is familiar with my music will know that I regard my Troubadour album as probably my finest work.

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The reasons for this are manifold. The collection of tunes for this album was accumulated over a fairly lengthy period and contains many favourites including On Camber Sands, Down The River and Rainbow Kites. The main factor as far as I’m concerned is the superb production and achingly beautiful arrangement by my dear old friend Del Newman.

It gave Hilary and I much pleasure in having the great man in our home for a couple of days in July. Del is wonderful company and has many stories and anecdotes from his illustrious career as a music teacher, arranger and composer. Del has worked with many of the ‘greats’ in the music industry including Cat Stevens, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon and Elton John to name just a few, and his arrangement on many of these seminal albums contain the sound track to many of our lives.

Del is now 80 but is as active as ever as a composer and teacher in Wales. Whilst he was here we treated him to the delights of Lichfield and Stratford on Avon. The weather was kind to us and between us we hope we created a lovely memory for this dear friend, and towering genius of music.

We hope we spoilt him enough to want to make a return visit to Giltrap Towers.

Be Well Del.

Private Concert For Jane And John White

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On Saturday the 23rd of July in the beautiful surroundings of Chevin Golf club, it gave me great pleasure to perform as part of Jane and John White’s 25th Wedding Anniversary celebrations.

Performing at an event such as this is not dissimilar to playing a village hall, because in the main many of the invited guests would have no clue as to what I do or who I am. To that end I always find it a little daunting, but at the same time a challenge to try and come across as best I can to an audience of potential converts to GG music.

Whether I achieve this always remains to be seen, but THE most important thing is that the people who DO know my music and invite me to be a part of their very special day and enjoy the moment. Hopefully I achieved this with this very special couple, and at the end of the evening the beautiful Jane and husband John said how well it all went and how much their friends and relatives enjoyed it all.

Our thanks go to them both for looking after Hilary and I so well. We really loved the idea of their guests being fed a first class fish and chip meal as the main dish, with strawberries and ice cream for pudding. In our book it doesn’t get any better than that! We thoroughly enjoyed ours!

Hilary and I wish Jane and John a happy anniversary with many more years to come.

Review from Jane and John

Fifteen months ago, it dawned on John and I that it looked like we would make it to our Silver Wedding Anniversary. We decided that we really ought to celebrate! Not wanting a party where you spend the entire evening “working the room”, we decided that we were going to have a “do with a difference” – and that difference was Gordon Giltrap, in concert just for us and our guests.

I first contacted Sue Holton in May 2010 to book the date – 23rd July 2011. It was a very long wait indeed! However, last Saturday night, we celebrated, along with 50 guests and Gordon! For anyone thinking about booking Gordon for a private party I would say “don’t delay, just do it”. The great man has only one wish, and that is to make your party very special indeed and he most certainly does just that.

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It was a truly magical evening. Before supper, Gordon treated us to such delights as Shining Morn, Here Comes the Sun, Heartsong and, of course, Dodo’s Dream. Some of our guests listened in awe as the Dream became a reality – it was one of the best versions we have ever heard – Gordon was “on song”!

After supper, with dusk turning into darkness, the mood turned really mellow and Gordon just kept playing more and more favourites, Appalachian Dreaming, Rachel’s Reflections (especially for Rachael and Bob, without whom the evening wouldn’t have happened), The Lord’s Seat, On Camber Sands, Rain in the Doorway and, to end the evening, Lucifer’s Cage. Finally, just for my Dad, Gordon’s version of Brian May’s version of God Save the Queen!!! (We actually had two renditions of this – Gordon’s first effort wasn’t loud enough!)

Suffice to say, Gordon, we had a wonderful evening. It was lovely to meet and chat with you and Hilary before the celebrations started. Thank you for making the evening so special. I know Gordon was a bit concerned that our audience were quiet, but it seems they were just stunned at what they were hearing – in a very good way, I hasten to add! We got a card today from one who was there. It says “Thanks for a lovely evening on Saturday. It was a special occasion and I was glad to be part of it – and, ........ you’re right .......... Gordon Giltrap is ACE!

We have been asked a few times today if we can do it all again next year – someone even suggested we could hire a minibus to go and see Gordon again if he’s vaguely local!!

We have been left with some fabulous memories – just wish we could do it all again this weekend!!

Jane and John xx


On Wednesday July 27 Hilary and I visited Boston in Lincolnshire. The town is undergoing a few changes right now with the town square being re-furbished and an archaeological dig is in process outside the medieval church.
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The people organising the dig had employed the services of a superb musician Dante Ferrara Dante is a virtuoso player of early instruments like the Lute, the Cittern and the Hurdy-gurdy.

Dressed in costume of the period he played various pieces on the aforementioned instruments and chatted with folk about the music of the period.

In between pieces I asked him if he knew some friends of mine, The City Waites, who had appeared on album with me and also the Old Grey Whistle Test. Dante did indeed know them, he had performed in concert with them, and proclaimed their first album as a major influence on his life. I then told him that it was through the group working with me way back in the early 70’s that the album came about. Small world or what eh!

Finally as we were about the leave I noticed that he used a similar gauge plectrum to me. Dante said that he had it for years and couldn’t remember where he got it. On closer inspection it turned out to be a Picato Gordon Giltrap signature pic. Dante couldn’t believe it, neither could I!

Coincidences are strange aren’t they? Dante is a charming man and fine player.

We are invited to lunch next time we are in the area.

I can’t wait!

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Woody Mann

As mentioned in last months news, I recently played several very enjoyable gigs with Woody Mann and we're looking forward to recording together at a later date.

Thanks to Andy Smy for this great picture of Gordon and Woody in Barnstaple on 21st June 2011.