Well heavens.. anyone would think I'd hibernated and gone to sleep since the last update in 2014. Not a bit of it! Let's see if I can remember what I've been up to..: -)
During 2014.. I did do six (yes six !!!) live gigs, two of which were at the lovely WM Jazz club in the WaterMargin restaurant in the surrounds of the O2 in Greenwich. We recorded one of the sessions which became an album 'Live At WMJazz, which was self funded with Alistair Murphy and self-released in August 2014 by us both.
Also that year (March) Black Sails by Sleepyard was released with two songs co-written by me and Oliver Kersbergen and others. Lovely stuff!
And in May 2014, Plane Groovy Records released the vinyl version of Flow and Change, again beautifully manufactured and still available
Flashback magazine released a beautiful version of the Trader Horne album, Morning Way, with lots of inserts and the singles as singles in January 2014 and I began to work on my own Anthology - 'Gathering The Threads - 50 Years of Stuff' which ended up as 3 CD limited edition set of rarities and oddities from my career in music. Never intended to be a collection of my 'show-casing' stuff, it was a collection of every piece of unusual and strange and peculiar things which have been recorded over the years..This came to fruition in ...
March was when the Anthology was released. I had manufactured 450 copies and they sold out very very quickly which was lovely. Some were signed, and numbered and some weren't
During 2015 I was introduced to Fire Records and their companion company Earth Recordings who took over much of my back catalogue and released the first part of my anthology as Vinyl, CD and download, and also re-released Trader Horne's Morning Way in the same formats (see below) to coincide with the re-union concert
Dave Thompson, the extremely talented and prolific author of music books and other esoteric subjects, wrote the sleeve notes for the Anthology. To do that I had to explain exactly (ish) what and why and when the various tracks were released and how they came about. When th Anthology was completed , he suggested that it might be time to write my autobiography and that he would be happy to be part of it. So that was next.. I sent him all the beginnings which I had started to write and then written myself into cul-de-sacs, (of which there were many), he hunted out other biographies where things about me had been writtten and newspaper reviews and interviews and asked me questions and plumped up my answers and told me to think again when I appeared to have been in several places at once. And generally stitched my life together into a readable whole. Soundcheck Books decided they'd like to publish it and so they did, but much of 2015 and the early part of 2016 were taken up with writing and proof reading and all that sort of malarkey
Also in 2015 was the year of the re-appearance of Trader Horne, the duo of me and Jackie McAuley. It had been suggested that we re-unite for a one off concert to celebrate the 45 years since the release of the album Morning Way and that we play the album in it's entirety. The man who suggested this disappeared from sight (as he always had in the past) as we began to put this idea into execution.. With the help of Adam Williams we did a warm-up performance at Manor Farm Ardley and then put on the show on a really horrible rainy night in November 2015 at the lovely Bush Hall, Jack did a solo set, I did a solo set and then we ran through the whole of the album from start to finish. Backed by my Band of Perfect Strangers and with Jackie's brother Brendan, it seemed to go down a treat. We were filmed and did an interview (my second for this film about Peter Sanders) by Respectable Films that will possibly be released this year...
Five more gigs were played in 2015 with my Band of Perfect Strangers
As for my personal life, Betty the greyhound continued to be my companion, my heart was broken once again and I gained a new grand-daughter Eleanor the Exquisite who along with the now 7 year old Freya the Boatchild are the delight of my grannydom. Ellie now has her own song which will be on my next CD.
More gigs...4 so far this year, in Ardley, Stroud, London and Cambridge so far and another one in Greenwich at the WM club hopefully in December. with the Perfect Strangers and one more with Trader Horne at the Green Man Festival, which was wet hilly and muddy but ultimately great fun. That will be the last of Trader Horne for another 45 years (unless someone offers us a small fortune!)
And one other playing solo with Trembling Bells and Stevie Jackson and others at Celtic Connections in Glasgow In January. In the snow. (With cough which lasted till June!!) But it was a fine thing...
The autobiography 'An Accidental Musician' written by me with Dave Thompson was published in May this year and I was delighted by the lovely reviews it received in the music press. This is available from my shop (and other good bookshops and Amazon) should you wish to buy a copy and read about my life... It's reasonably accurate, given my great age and lack of memory cells :-) We launched it at the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green where I was born and grew up (in the place - not the bookshop- don't be silly!)...Three of my perfect strangers accompanied me so that I could sing and read...
So what happens next? Well, a new album is being created and there are new and brilliant things in the pipeline. Fingers crossed they will work out and become reality next year I promise to update this a bit more regularly...