General News

Nov 2023 News Update

Rick Wakeman and Gordon Giltrap

This month's news is an interesting one.

On Monday the 9th of last month I travelled from my home in Sutton Coldfield up to Suffolk in readiness for some filming which started on the Tuesday morning at a wonderful ancient Barn venue that is a piano studio that houses several magnificent grand pianos one of which is use regularly by the mighty Rick Wakeman.

Many of you will hopefully remember the 'Brush and Stone' album that Rick and I recorded about 13 years ago. At the Tewkesbury concert earlier this year I met up with Rick and we spoke about re issuing it again because my old record company boss Rob Ayling has plans to re issue not only that album but much of my back catalogue on limited edition vinyl in box collection format, one those being of course 'Brush and Stone'.

Anyway, the day arrived, and his royal highness and I settled down in front of three cameras to chew the fat about the past and the plans for the album. Rick is always interesting and humorous, and it was great fun to do. Rick had to get home for a few pressing engagements which left me the envious task of talking briefly about the planned GG releases many of which I truly couldn't remember the details of and which tracks were on which album etc.

Anyway I managed to power through and knock out a few old favourites likes 'Heartsong' .. 'Roots' ... 'On Camber Sands' etc etc.

After the recording, myself, Leigh Tarrant his lovely wife Jane (pictured left) and Rob Ayling sat around a table in the sun for a chat and it transpired that Leigh our cameraman was also a film director and showed great interest in possibly using some of my guitar pieces and a stunning vocal treatment of 'Starfield' on his latest film 'The Presence of Snowgood' (details and pics below.) How this vocal approach came about needs to be covered later but it's looking very likely that the above-mentioned track will be used for the end credits along with a selection of other pieces from 'Scattered Chapters'.

Many of you will remember this special guitar bought from a car boot sale in 2019 and used to record 'Starfield'.

At one point the neck started to move in a convex shape making it impossible to play but my good friend Tim who is the husband of that wonderful singer songwriter and special friend Patsy Matheson used his engineering skills to miraculously cure the problem. Tim is a fabulous guitar player himself so a huge thankyou to him for bringing this special guitar back to its original playing condition.

To my knowledge this will be the first time that my music will be used in a movie and a horror one at that!! Leigh is currently still filming and frantically editing for a December release. Even though it's a low budget film I see no reason why it couldn't reach a wider audience.

You can find out more about the film by following the links from the Instagram page HERE

Colin Welfare R.I.P

On Sunday the 15th of last month, I travelled by ferry from Portsmouth over to the fair Isle of Wight to attend a celebration of my dear late friend Colin Welfare.

I had known Colin since I was about 17 when we first met at a music club in the basement of a pub on Blackheath Road called The Royal Albert. Colin was a nice guitar player, and it was the first time I heard him sing a bunch of songs by Paul Simon, prior to that I had no idea who Paul Simon was so it was through Colin that I got to know the great man's music.

Colin like me was a Deptford boy and played on the same streets and bombed out houses that were dotted around the area at that time...great playgrounds for us kids. There is no doubt in my mind that we must have met as kids on the old disused railway line affectionately called 'The Bank' which ran along the back gardens of Elverson Road.

Colin was always very positive about my music in those days and encouraged me no end to keep composing and listening to the right people like Bert Jansch and John Renbourn along with the aforementioned Paul Simon.

Colin even owned one of my early guitars an Italian sounding make called something like Cruscionelli or some such make. Anyway, it was built like a bus and had no real volume but Col having a great sense of history wanted it. His lovely and brave wife Jill said it was still somewhere in their loft.

I may have a picture of it somewhere with me proudly holding will give you all a laugh if I can find it. Colin also took a cool black and white pic of me for the rear cover of my 1971 'A Testament of Time' album but sadly wasn’t credited. Colin loved his cameras.

A little about the picture (above) of Colin HERE

He and Jill had a sweet jewellery shop on the island for many years and to my knowledge the business continues. I do hope so.

I played just one piece in his memory 'Heartsong'. The crowd was appreciative bless them I hope he was there in spirit. I’m sure he was.

Jill wrote: In memory of Colin Welfare we had this amazing number from his friend Gordon Giltrap to close the fabulous ceremony of celebration of his life, hosted by Paul Armfield at The Spyglass Inn boathouse. You can see some footage HERE

A special thank you must go to my dear friend that brilliant artist Sue Martin who let me stay over in her beautiful home on the Saturday night prior to me driving to Portsmouth to get the IOW ferry. It’s always a joy seeing Sue and if we lived closer, I would love to visit her more often.

God rest you dear sweet old friend and my deep condolences go out to his lovely wife Jill and family who attended the wake in Shanklin.

In case you missed it...

Oliver Wakeman has written a review with loads of photos from the 'Other Coronation Concert' in Tewkesbury that I mentioned in the first article where I played with Rick Wakeman, Oliver Wakeman, Carrie Martin and Arthur Wakeman HERE

Fylde Guitars

The latest Fylde newsletter can be read HERE

From the archives

More guitar pics.

This is my lovely old Fylde guitar that is now owned by my friend Chris Abrams.. Nice shirt.

Pretty boy with my treasured John Bailey acoustic sadly sold many years ago. It was used on so many albums... 'Visionary' .. 'Heartsong'

Archive pic from my very first album shoot for Transatlantic. In the background my beautiful girlfriend Susan Cresswell.

Would love to meet up with her again if she is still on the planet. If anyone out there has any info do get in touch.

And finally.....

As I write this, I have my first gig in absolute ages on the 27th Oct in Wokingham so needless to say I'm a tad nervous. Resurrecting a few old faves like the 'Dodo' and 'Rainbow kites'. I will report back.