Wednesday, 23 December 2009

another 'in concert' shot courtesy of Ian Gilchrist

Well, first of all I must apologise for the time it has taken for me to get round to adding a new blog. Also being new to this blogging game I hadn't checked back to see if anyone had added comments to previous blogs. So apologies to Duncan Saunders who, back in August, kindly informed us that the site was down. Luckily we had realised ourselves that it was down and it was up again quickly. But thank you Duncan.

Having been a while since I last checked the blog I now notice we have two more followers - so welcome to Frenchy48 and Bob Goolsby - Hello to you both! My New Year's resolution is to try and update the blog every week or two as we start into 2010.

One reason for the lack of attention to the blog is that we are having some buiding work done here at Salomonjay Studios and although it started in March it still isn't finished. Hopefully, it will be early in 2010 and we will then have more space - an additional area with hard surfaces that will give us different options when we are next recording. My intention is to start on the new CD as soon as the builders have gone and that it will be ready in the Autumn of 2010.

I mentioned back in July about writing a song about Helen of Troy. The intention was to write quite a serious song about the futility of war. In the end it morphed into a comic retelling of the legend but in modern times and set to a jazzy nightclub backing. As I've said before you start writing one song and then it takes over and goes its own way. You just have to hang on. I've also finished a piece about a Siren - based on the legend of Lorelei. For some reason it has ended up in 5/4 and 6/4 timing which has got Derek all excited - or is that annoyed?

We've had a couple of rehearsals in the last couple of months to try out the new songs. Luckily, Dave and Bruce have both got over long term hand injuries that stopped them playing and Ed is slowly recovering from a broken ankle from skiing earlier in the year, so we should be entering the New Year fully fit and raring to go.

It just leaves me to wish you all best wishes for Christmas and a happy and musical New Year.

Regards - John

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The new term begins

Ed strumming it large at the 2007 charity garden gig - photo by Bruce

Everyone is now back from their holidays and we are starting the new term by taking part in an outdoor charity event organised by Ed's choir group to raise money for the Brigitte Trust.

As I write this the summer rain is falling but I hope by the time of the gig in the middle of August that we'll all be basking in the sun and enjoying ourselves and lots of money will be raised for this worthwhile charity.

Best wishes - John

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Film Noir (Yesterday's News)

Well, I've finally managed to finish off the video for Film Noir and upload it to YouTube. After a bit of help from my computer consultant, I seem to have been able to link the video on YouTube back to the blog. So, if you click on the 'Share' below it should play OK.

I had problems and couldn't get the correct aspect ratio uploading straight to the blog, which is why I've gone via YouTube. And then the audio was overloading so I had to go back to the original material and start all over again.

Phew, I think I'll lie down for a bit now. Regards - John


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Picture of Ziggy (aka Mr Ratty)
in performance on top of the PA speaker at the Hunton concert.
Luckily the cack-handed guitarist didn't get in the way too much.
Photo courtesy of Dave's sister, Kathy.

Well into summer now and members of the band have either been on, are on, or are going on their holidays. I've no idea where they are at the moment. Hopefully everyone will be back in time for when we are next planning to get together, in August. After that we will start making plans for our next concerts and recording. Echoes of school-days - the beginning of a new term.

I've got some ideas for new things to do and, although I hadn't planned to, I have even started working on some ideas for new songs. Early days yet and they may come to nothing, of course. One of them is sort of about Helen of Troy. I think. Who knows what it might end up being about. I often find I start writing about one thing and then it goes off on its own in a different direction. I just go along for the ride. Having started it I noticed that some time ago we'd booked to see Troilus and Cressida and later on Helen, at the Globe over the next few weeks. Hopefully that might give me some inspiration as to how to finish it.

Bye for now. John

Monday, 18 May 2009

A shot from our concert at Hunton Village Hall on Saturday.

Thank you to all of you who came to the concert on Saturday and in so doing helped to raise money for the charity, GamBLE. There was a good turn out for our first performance in Hunton. I'm not sure how much was raised but we think it will be enough to pay for one or two more teachers for the school for a year. So well done.

The gig went very well and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were able to try out a few new songs in public for the first time and they went down well so we'll add them to the repertoire for future gigs. Lowlands Low and John Barleycorn were completely new songs; Our Captain Cried and Long Last were old songs that we've brought out of storage.

So now it's back to looking at new material for future rehearsal and recording.

Regards - John

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A shot of Derek from our St. George's concert
I realise it has been a long time since I last wrote something here so first of all I must apologise if you've been checking the site and not found anything new to read. My intention was to write something every couple of weeks but things have been rather hectic recently with the builders being here since late February and the place being in turmoil most of the time. I hope to do better in the future.

Well, it's nearly Saturday 16th May and our concert at Hunton Village Hall in aid of GamBLE. Tickets are limited but I understand there are still a few available so give the box office a call on 01622 814027 and talk to Clare or Derek if you want to come along. We are booked to go into the rehearsal studio on Friday for our last rehearsal before the gig. We've added a few new songs to the repertoire since the November concerts so there will be some first time live performances to add to some old favourites at Hunton.

Once the concert is over I hope to have time to finish off the video for Film Noir and to get it up on the website for all to see. I've finished all the studio and evening location shooting with Joceline who kindly helped out for this video and who was featured dancing in the Arabesque video. All I need to do now is add in the band and do the final edit. For those that are interested I am adding a still from the video so far.

Still from Film Noir

Anyway for now it's back to practicing for the Hunton gig. Now how does that song go?

Best wishes - John

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A picture from our St. George's concert last November

I don't know where the time goes, we are already half way through February. Next Saturday sees our first rehearsal of the year in preparation for our concert in Hunton in May. It will be good to get playing together again. Apart from going over the songs we did at our last concerts we will be looking at some new songs to add to the repertoire for our forthcoming gigs and possibly for our next album.
Having thought I wouldn't be ready to write anything for a while I find I have a couple of new ideas in development. The most recent tune I came up with suggested a fairly traditional theme for the words - "As I walked out one May morning..." sort of thing. The next thing would be to think of a story to tell. Something about pirate gold came to mind. Also the phrase "lowlands low" kept coming into my mind as I hummed through the verses. I decided to google 'lowlands low' and see what came up - the last resort when you get stuck - in my case the first resort.

This brought up a number of tradition song lyrics and in particular the song "Edwin in the Lowlands Low" which had been recorded by various people such as Martin Carthy, Steeleye Span and my hero, Peter Bellamy under the varying titles of "Young Emma", "Edwin" and "Edmund in the Lowlands" respectively. The subject matter covers gold, young lovers, cruel parents, murder and insanity and no happy ending for any of the protaganists - so just right for a Childe Rolande song and we can say it's not our fault as it is traditional. As with most traditional songs there are many variants of the song lyrics. I have chosen the version from the 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' as the starting point for our interpretation. I thought to call it "Lowlands Low".

Friday, 9 January 2009

A close up of Dave from the St. George's Concert

Well here we are in 2009 and things are starting to move again. We can now confirm our first concert date of the New Year. It will be on Saturday 16th May at Hunton Village Hall, Kent and will be in aid of the charity GamBLE with which Derek is heavily involved building and more importantly training teachers and running a school in Farato in The Gambia. If you want more information try the web site Please come along and support the charity. Put the date in your diaries and we'll give you more details about times and how to get there nearer the concert.