Gordon Giltrap is most well known for his crossover hit ‘Heartsong’, however his stature as one of the UK’s most respected guitarists is more notable. It’s 50 years since Gordon’s first release and the quality of his material has rarely dipped.
His new album ‘The Last of England’, made with with keyboardist Paul Ward, is another record gathering critical acclaim, so Jason Barnard speaks to Gordon about his career and new release:
Fairground Attraction, now notable for the songwriting prowess of Mark Nevin and peerless vocals of Eddi Reader, are a band of contrasts. They were incredibly popular but produced music that cut against the grain of the late 1980s pop scene. They live long in the memory thanks to chart topper ‘Perfect’ and Brit Award winning album ‘The First Of A Million Kisses’ but whose core output was released in just over 12 months.
Mark previously explained to me: “I just wanted to do everything opposite to what was current as possible and didn’t expect anything to happen with it except producing a record that I really loved. That’s what I wanted to make. When it took off no one was more surprised that we where. We thought “What on earth is going on?!” We made this record that we though was indie, with a few hardcore devoted fans and ignored by everybody because it was so unfashionable. It flew against everything. It was very surprising.”
This newly expanded re-release includes the classic album – unreleased demos for it plus ten tracks written for the never completed follow-up.
‘First Of A Million Kisses’ still sounds as great today with tracks you may have forgotten such as ‘The Wind Knows My Name’, ‘Whispers’, ‘The Moon Is Mine’ and b-side ‘Mythology’ shining through.
Of special interest will be the second CD that comprises tracks from the rare ‘Kawasaki Live in Japan 02.07.89’ album – songs that didn’t see an official release. It’s interesting to hear their version of tracks that Mark would eventually record with Brian Kennedy as Sweetmouth (a lost classic that’s well worth seeking out). This live material includes some of Mark’s best songs – ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Broken By A Breeze’, tracks that were also revisited on Mark’s excellent solo album ‘Beautiful Guitars’.
Mark said of ‘Broken By A Breeze’: “It’s probably my favourite song of all and I’ve always thought it should be up there with ‘Perfect’. If the Everly Brothers or the Righteous Brothers had done it, it would have been one of those songs that everyone slow dances to at the end of a disco in the old days.”
With sleeve notes from Mark and Eddi shining a light on the period, this edition is now the definitive Fairground Attraction release. It sweeps away the various budget releases since their split, and finally does this fine band justice.
The Bobby Patrick Big Six were arguably among the pioneers of British rock music. Overlooked in their native Britain, the Glaswegian sextet was one of the first British groups to perform on the Hamburg rock scene during the early 1960s.
Bobby Patrick Big Six – 1963. Back row from left to right: Pete McCrory, Freddy Smith, John Wiggins, Alex Young. Front row, left to right: Bobby Patrick, Archie Legget
While playing at the famous Top Ten Club on the Reeperbahn, the musicians became personal friends of The Beatles, influencing not only the Fab Four’s repertoire but also, in the case of multi-instrumentalist Alex Young (b. 28 December 1938, Glasgow), enabling the musician to draw on these connections in 1967 when John Lennon named his new group Grapefruit and signed them to a publishing deal with Apple.
Besides The Beatles’ connections, Alex Young (aka George Alexander) also came from an incredibly talented family, most of whom had moved to Australia in 1963. Younger brother George Young became the creative force behind Australia’s first internationally successful rock group, The Easybeats, while his younger siblings Angus and Malcolm have become guitar rock legends with the international phenomenon that is AC/DC:
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, David Bowie’s guitarist between 1966 and 1973, talks about David’s early days with The Buzz to the end of Ziggy Stardust.
David Bowie (and The Buzz) – Do Anything You Say (Single A-side, Pye, 1966)
David Bowie (and The Buzz) – Good Morning Girl (Single B-side to Do Anything You Say, Pye, 1966)
David Bowie (and The Buzz) – I Dig Everything (Single A-side, Pye, 1966)
David Bowie (and The Buzz) – I’m Not Losing Sleep (Single B-side to I Dig Everything, Pye, 1966)
Feathers – Ching-A-Ling (Stereo Mix) (David Bowie, Deram, 2010 reissue of 1967 album rec 1968)
David Bowie – Sell Me A Coat (Love You Till Tuesday, Deram, 1984 rec 1969)
David Bowie and John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – Space Oddity (demo) (Space Oddity, 2009 reissue, rec January 1969)
David Bowie and John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – An Occasional Dream (Demo) (Space Oddity, 2009 reissue, rec March/April 1969)
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson and David Bowie – Life is a Circus (unreleased rec April 1969)
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson and David Bowie – Love Song (unreleased rec April 1969)
David Bowie and John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – Conversation Piece (unreleased rec April 1969)
David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars – Watch That Man (Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – The Motion Picture Soundtrack (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition), 2003 rec July 1973)
David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars – Changes (Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – The Motion Picture Soundtrack (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition), 2003 rec July 1973)
David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars – Farewell Speech/Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide (Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – The Motion Picture Soundtrack (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition), 2003 rec July 1973)
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – Standing Room (Old Hat EP, Desert Mine Music, 2016)
“Hutch’s story is a fabulous journey that takes him from hometown Scarborough to the Marquee Club in London 1966 to the Hammersmith Odeon farewell concert 1973 – via Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. From a ‘buzz around London’ to worldwide hysteria… in the company of David Bowie. Jealous? Me?” Marc Riley, BBC Radio 6 Music on Bowie and Hutch, Hutch’s excellent book.