Surface Tension – New Release by legend Rupert Hine

Surface Tension – New Release by legend Rupert Hine

Cherry Records releases Surface Tension – The Recordings 1981-1983 by legendary producer, songwriter and musician Rupert Hine.

Menu: Intro | Noted collaborations | Disc One | Disc Two | Disc Three

Rupert Hine – Surface Tension is available for pre-order

As the 72nd birthday of late musician Rupert Hine approaches, Esoteric Recordings (part of Cherry Red Records) announces the release of a compilation of the artist’s recordings. The 3CD Box Set, entitled Surface Tension, features recordings from the songwriter and producer’s solo albums between 1981 and 1983. Surface Tension – The Recordings 1981-1983 celebrates the creativity and originality of Rupert’s solo work of the early 1980s. The box set is a newly remastered 3CD CLAMSHELL BOXED SET. It is set for released on October 28, 2022.

The boxed set includes 3 albums, each coming with bonus tracks. There are a total of 34 tracks including six bonus tracks. The 3 albums are ‘‘Immunity’, ‘Waving Not Drowning’ and ‘The Wildest Wish To Fly’. The boxed set comes with an illustrated booklet including interviews and an essay. The liner notes of the illustrated booklet that accompanies this release offer memories and observations of the recording sessions for these ground breaking recordings. This boxed set is a fine tribute to Rupert Hine, a greatly missed musical visionary. The Surface Tension – The Recordings 1981-1983, 3CD Box Set is available for pre-order the box right now for only 22.99 from the Cherry Records website.

Noted collaborations

Stephen W Tayler engineered all of the original recordings and co-produced them with Rupert Hine. The acclaimed engineer has now brilliantly remastered this compilation from the original master tapes.
Rupert Hine all composed the tracks. The musician wrote the albums with the late poet, graphic artist and lyricist Jeannette Obstoj (aka Jeannette-Thérèse Obstoj). Jeannette Obstoj is known among her many talents to have been the regular lyrics partner of Rupert Hine for all his solo compositions between 1981 abnd 1983.

The albums also features guest appearances. This includes legendary English singer-songwriter, record producer and Genesis drummer Phil Collins on drums. British rock sideman and guitarist Phil Palmer also appears. English singer-songwriter and record producer Robert Palmer and British singer Marianne Faithfull lends their vocals each on one song in one album. There is also James West-Oram, a member of London rock band The Fixx. Canadian drummer and songwriter Steve Negus from rock bands Saga and GNP also plays the drums on one of the albums.

Disc One: Immunity

The noted producer co-wrote acclaimed and strikingly original ‘Immunity’ (1981) with the late poet, graphic artist and lyricist Jeannette Obstoj. Guest performers on the album included Phil Collins and Marianne Faithfull appears on the song “Misplaced Love”. the album has influenced a host of celebrated musicians to this day.

  1. I Hang On To My Vertigo
  2. Misplaced Love
  3. Samsara
  4. Surface Tension
  5. I Think A Man Will Hang Soon
  6. Immunity
  7. Another Stranger
  8. Psycho Surrender
  9. Make A Wish

Bonus tracks

10. Scratching At Success
11. Introduction To The Menace

DISC TWO: Waving Not Drowning

The 1982 album ‘Waving Not Drowning’ was another fine work and was particularly popular in Scandinavia and once again featured Phil Collins.

  1. Eleven Faces
  2. The Curious Kind
  3. The Set Up
  4. Dark Windows
  5. The Sniper
  6. Innocents In Paradise
  7. House Arrest
  8. The Outsider
  9. One Man’s Poison

Bonus track

10. Kwok’s Quease

DISC THREE: The Wildest Wish To Fly

The Wildest Wish To Fly (1983) was a hit album in Sweden. It featured a small host of guest appearances. Phil Palmer and James West-Oram of The Fixx play the guitar. Robert Palmer is on vocals on the track “Living in Sin”.

  1. Living in Sin
  2. No Yellow Heart
  3. The Saturation of the Video Rat
  4. Firefly in the Night
  5. A Golden Age
  6. Picture Phone
  7. The Victim of Wanderlust
  8. The Most Dangerous of Men
  9. The Wildest Wish to Fly

Bonus tracks:

10. Blue Flame (Melt the Ice)
11. An Eagle’s Teaching
12. Picture Phone (remix)
13. No Yellow Heart (later version)

Steve Pledger launches new album What Tomorrow Knows on 8th October 2022

Steve Pledger launches new album What Tomorrow Knows on 8th October 2022

One of our favourite singer-songwriters, Steve Pledger returns with a new studio album, “What Tomorrow Knows” to be launched on the 8th October at a special concert at Durham Town Hall

Six years after releasing the award-winning studio album ‘Somewhere Between’, and three years since his critically-acclaimed live album, ‘Alone In The Dark’, Steve Pledger is back, set to deliver his brand new studio album this Autumn.

Titled ‘What Tomorrow Knows’, it will be launched on 8th October at a special concert at Durham Town Hall. This will be Steve’s 4th collection of original material. The LP includes some songs that have already become firm favourites in recent years at shows (I am personally hoping for Reseda!), alongside others as yet unheard.

The much-in-demand Lukas Drinkwater produced the album. Various gifted collaborators contribute something special to what is arguably Steve’s strongest set of songs to date, including Lukas himself. Steve says the following of his latest project:

Whilst I don’t set out to write 12 songs with any kind of overarching theme, one often becomes apparent as a record takes shape. ‘Somewhere Between’ dealt a lot with transition, and it’s clear to me that these new songs speak a great deal to consequences. Consequences of our action, and inaction; our beliefs; our attitude toward and treatment of others, as well as ourselves. More than any work I’ve produced to date, it feels as if the writing, production, arrangements, and my own performances have come together to create something that best represents what I want to say and how I wish it to be heard. This record pulls no punches where punches ought not to be pulled, but I believe there is also an empathy and depth of compassion to it that I strive to capture in everything I do, on record and on stage. With the help of everyone involved in this project, that’s what I believe we’ve managed to achieve. And I could not be more excited to share it with folks later this year.”

Tickets for the launch concert are on sale via Steve’s website priced £12. As well as being the very first chance to hear some of these songs performed live – alongside some old favourites, of course – it will also be the first opportunity for people to get hold of a copy of the album itself.

For regular updates, follow Steve on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, sign up to his mailing list and his Patreon page containing exclusive material, offers and more for subscribers.

stevepledger.co.uk

The Whiskey Jar Open Mic Night 2 Aug 2022

The Whiskey Jar Open Mic Night 2 Aug 2022

There’s a place where you can listen to music in the heart of Manchester, near Piccadilly Station. That is The Whiskey Jar. Of course, there are other venues but there’s surely something about this place and its organiser. Because there’s a large audience and they listen, even though the venue is a pub. I’m guessing it’s in large part due to Joe “Bagpipes“, the regular host. After all, it has the reputation of being “Manchester’s longest running and best open mic night“. On 2 Aug 2022, The Whiskey Jar Open Mic Night welcomes another lot of talented musicians. I get to hear a subset of them.

Jeorgia Rose

I arrived late, at the end of the third musician’s set.  I will hear later that in effect, I was on time (8.00pm) but the replacement host started early (7.30pm). I felt like a queen for that second 😁 I also later found out the name of that third musician, Jeorgia Rose. You cannot miss her in the crowd. However, it did help that she was directly in my line of sight, sitting virtually opposite me. I speak briefly with her but find out more afterwards. Research tells me she is an 18-year old British country singer. I remembered that I just left some friends who invited me to watch them line dance at the Pride parade this coming 27th of August. This happened after a Dolly cover documentary I watched. I feel country music is after me lol. So I listen to her on Jeorgia Rose Spotify from the popular I will still Remember to the two other offers at the time,

Chris Tavener

Funny musical man Chris Tavener follows. The folk comedian makes us smile and laugh with his brand of music. The acoustics normally so on point is slightly lacking in clarity so it’s hard to properly hear his jokes from the back (probably my fault for being at the back!). He has 3 songs on offer for us. The first one is All I need. The second one is How to truly win at life from his 2022 EP release Easy Ways To Be Happy and the last one Bill Gates was my favourite. I remember catching his set a while ago during a So Far Manchester I attended and reviewed in 2018. It is so good to see and hear him remain the “satirical singer-songwriter, known for his comedic, witty lyrics and a vintage sound”.

They Valleys IG @_the_valleys

A couple of musicians speak to the host. It seems they are going to be next. Spencer Grant is on guitar and vocals. Jeremy (Howling) Webster on harmonica. Their Instagram says they are “a fresh new band consisting of a bunch of friends with musical talents”.  Tonight they are two. From their choice of song cover to their interpretation, I am in. Even the pitch slides could not hide the talent. The karaoke that messed up with Grant’s vocals does not quite matter. To have chosen the very beautiful and traditional Henry Martin as a song shows discernment. Joan Baez  would be proud but would probably have a go at them for spoiling the vocals on karaoke (or is it just me?)! Ain’t No sunshine follows and the voice seems to recover some of its original timbre hitting the pitches. The harmonica was so well played on both pieces, subtly enhancing its tone.

The Valleys at Whiskey Jar Open Mic

Coeur Vaillant

Coeur Vaillant serves us his usual brand of well-constructed songs and infectious melodies on guitar. He has two pieces for this occasion: a “love” song on a bed of 7 sins and a fight song about freedom. The public is conquered. From head voice to falsetto, the public takes the trip with the singer-songwriter. It is not long ago that we were falling in love with Coeur Vaillant’s first single Spring Always Returns. The tireless musician honours his childhood passion, working hard towards his ultimate music dream.

 

Coeur Vaillant at Whiskey Jar Open Mic

 

Robert

In between sets, I meet Robert. Robert is a regular audience member at the Wednesday evening open mic. But he thought he would try out the Tuesday evening open mic that the venue also offers. He explains that he comes to listen and relax. He likes the atmosphere and enjoyed the last set. I tell him the name of the last act is Coeur Vaillant. I try to decipher the enigma of the foreign name and pronunciation. Coeur Vaillant in effect is Valiant Heart in English. There is a backdrop of knight time and day dream right there. I somehow also manage to drop that I’d like to perform here. Yes, you heard it, I basically inserted right there that I too am a musician. I am half-proud to have dropped some self-promotion there, something at which I am execrable. And to mark the following embarrassment I systematically feel (which will no doubt mean no promotion for hours), I’ll move ever so swiftly to the next subject. Robert says the ambiance is different to when Joe leads. The usual host makes sure no one talks during the sets, twitches the knobs to ensure the sound is at its best. Yes the music and its conveyor are king. This host is nice and cool and relaxed.

Before I leave

Robert compliments Coeur Vaillant as the musician returns to his seat. The host then performs. It is not the regular host, known as Joe Bagpipes. Shame, I wanted to finally meet him. This organiser performs what I understand to be Harvest (Neil Young). He follows up with a second song that sounds like a Nick Drake’s cover.

I am suddenly feeling tired and ill at ease. It’s humid and hot. I realise I need to leave before the end. Shame. It was a nice hour and a half shared with music lovers and music givers. I hear there’s another open mic on Thursdays but this time at a nearby venue, Stage & Radio at 7pm. It will be for another time. Robert will stay as usual until 11pm. But I need to end my night right there, right now. It is outside that I meet the Valleys again and get a lot of information about them. I am outside so I am feeling better. Live is well and truly back and that has made me feel great. But it seems that this whole lockdown thing has made it a little more difficult to be in crowded places for a long time. Or maybe it is the heat and humidity, whichever came first. Either way, I was happy to have been there and to have listened and witnessed some of the great next generation of musicians.

Ralph McTell live @ Words & Music Festival

Ralph McTell live @ Words & Music Festival

To think of Ralph McTell live @ Words & Music Festival

Ralph McTell live @ Nantwich Roots Festival

The Words & Music Festival team have done it again. Via their newly-formed Nantwich Roots Festival, they have brought in another legend, filled in the seats against the variants tide and programmed a delicious set at the Nantwich Civic Hall. Ralph McTell is the headliner, supported by Liverpool-based musician Anna Corcoran.

I am lucky enough to have been invited. Ralph McTell is a treat for me. The grounded and humble artist serves unpretentious Folk for the most heart-warming feel. My soul had been starving for food unspoiled by artificial sweeteners and my belief I’d find it on the musician’s set was vindicated. The artist took us on a trip of soul food, great friendship, musicianship and insight into the origin of his songs.

Producer and festival co-organiser Nigel Stonier introduces the evening and announces what was indeed going to be a great night.

Abigail

Words & Music Festival

I’m sitting next to a little girl and her father. Later I find out that her name is Abigail. She was at one point Ralph McTell’s youngest fan, at 4 years old. She was certainly the youngest at the concert on this day. She has met our act before.  In fact, she was in a related BBC programme testifying of that. And she will later go and say hi again, backstage. She will come back having realised that my name was on the Words & Music Festival shirt she was wearing. I think she blushed, how lovely. That made me smile. I love her name, Abigail. I will then take a photo with her, but not as a performing artist giving her that gift. She is the music sensitive artist who wants to learn the guitar and is already appreciating the art. This photo is for me when she becomes a star as I know she will. And I will show it to her to remind her we once had this wonderful experience. Of course, I am not going to post it here! She’s underaged! But for the moment, we are going to watch Ralph McTell live!

Anna Corcoran by wayofthebob live at Nantwich Roots FestivalAnna Corcoran

Supporting act Anna Corcoran starts off the night with a collection of well-received originals and covers. Her versatile piano playing accompanied her lovely vocals to support a varied set including 2016 album’s pieces Adelphi and All That’s Pretty. The Americana Music Awards UK 2021 instrumentalist of the year has played with the likes of Laura Marling and showcases her talent during her opening set. You can find more of what she does at her Facebook page, Anna Corcoran on Facebook.

 

McTell

Ralph McTell live by wayofthebob nantwich roots

After the break, the hearts are served a mix of song explanation in the form of inspirational narration (clearly never meant as much more than contextualisation) and nourishing songs that they had been yearning for.

First love – The first song is that of the boy who invented himself a persona to attract the opposite sex. It is a story seldom told but so often experience by all genders. At this point, this is my favourite song of the set (and my known favourite songs has not even made it yet).

The story of Harlem’s Reverend Bill unveils one of McTell’s musical heroes, inspirational blues and a sweet example of literal blind faith. The Black Blues artists who have fed McTell’s musical muse would be proud that he has developed a style of his own, that his audience relates to.

Capehorn – A 1928 film subtext inspires the next, strumming song. McTell continues to delight with his blend of simple pleasures and uncomplicated waves underpinned by lessons of a life well-observed and simply lived. The lyrical punchline asserts that to love your life, you have to flirt with death.

The next song requires a change of guitar. The artist entertains us with his humble and funny (in the simplest way) narration. “Nigel,” (the organiser) he tells us, “has trouble playing this song.” So maybe the trick is to sit like Ralph to avoid the guitar constantly escaping your grasp. Nigel later tells me that the song is called Nettle Wine. As McTell plays, I’m reminded of the typical Folk arrangements that the likes of Georges Brassens also add to their arrangements. This time, I hesitate to say this is my favourite song so far because I have already been proven wrong three times during the same set.

Michael in the Garden is a ’70s song. It tells the story of a boy institutionalised because people did not understand his way of saying things. McTell remembers parents coming to him and saying “you’re talking about my boy.” Then the word autism came about I guess. I think that’s what I like about this man. He doesn’t wait for acceptance to see, to sing the obvious injustice, what a boy may have endured wrongly for misunderstanding and difference.

Talking about guitars had McTell start reminiscing about the late Scottish Folk musician Herbert Jansch (Bert) who changed the way British acoustic guitar players played. Thalis led him to transition to a song Bert Jansch arranged,  Blackwaterside (I’ve also seen it written as Blackwater Side and Black Waterside hmm…) which he then covered for us.

Another change of guitar leads the songwriter back to the one he’s had since he was 19. He tells us of his friendship with Bert, a man with whom he’s had lots of adventures all over Netherlands, USA, Spain, etc. He cannot but think of his friend every time he plays the guitar for the time they shared and the  tips and tricks they exchanged for best playing their favourite instrument. The nostalgia particularly hit  as he changes his strings every night.

I really, really don’t want to say that Gammel Dansk is my favourite so far. The lyricism is on point, cinematographic and all at once lifting and grounding. The chord progression is beautiful. All that seems to invade my head are the last words “And the rain turned back to snow”.

I was right not to say that Gammel Dansk was my favourite even as only the first few chords of the next song had resounded. One of the musicians who changed his life, this is the 2nd time he plays this, rolling guitar player with a wonderful voice and a beautiful smile – Ralph wrote this just the other day – a little Americana “Mississippi John”

Mr McTell then serves a beautiful, beautiful lullaby “When they were young“. The song was repetitively requested and its air reminds us why. For a moment, I am taken to the most peaceful place within myself. There is love, nostalgia and melancholy. I know for sure there is no point trying to pick a favourite now.

The next song is The Girl On The Jersey Ferry. Ralph Mctell blends melancholy and passion in the piece. The idea germinated from a scene in the movie Citizen Kane. This boy saw this girl on the Jersey Ferry and knew instantly that he was going to spend the rest of his life with her. But she left never and never came back.

Ralph McTell now gets up again to play the rest of his set. I’m thinking how appropriate it is that Abigail was falling asleep (it is late after all) as the guitarist starts performing The Girl From the Hiring Fair. I find the lyrics a little sensual, nothing scandalous (especially considering what pop has been serving us) but still. I loved the lyrics though, gosh, what penmanship!

There is no Ralph McTell live set complete without the song. The Streets of London is dedicated to Jeff (Jeff Pownell, I later find out). I am entranced. The public is one. The main man sings and asks us to join and no voice is louder than another. We sing as one, as a rehearsed choir and it sounds like magic. Nantwich has a beautiful unanimous voice with a beautiful rendition that all at once thanks and celebrate the man.

We get to another one of his heroes. This time it is for American Blues influencer, composer, masterful guitar player and singer Robert Johnson for whom he wrote a song. He reminds us here again of the debt he feels he owes these Black Blues icons. The song’s title is simply The Ghost Of Robert Johnson.

When McTell says “thank you”, my heart sinks. Where has the time gone? Why is it already finished. But the singer-songwriter keeps on giving and before we know it, there is another song. It is the song From Clare To Here. I feel better already. But I know the end is near and at least now I can prepare myself mentally. And the ballad is calming so I am more than grateful.

For his encore, Ralph McTell goes to another kind of hero. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is the 1963 second album by the Folk musician. The album, McTell tells us, changed the way people made songs, bringing a new wind in music (I wonder if the pun was intended). Suze Rotolo shares the album cover with the legend and later writes a book A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties about her time with Bob Dylan and other artists. What they create on the cover (shot on West 4th Street And Jones) though sums up the feeling that goes throughout the album, two people free to make music. The song West 4th Street And Jones is an homage to the inspiration the cover, the Folk legend that is Bob Dylan and the book inspired. It is probably why he picks up the harmonica (to complement the guitar), an instrument that has a tendency to feature on Dylan’s songs.

The audience is sated. The smile have not left their faces as they realise the set has reached its most natural end. It is hard to deny what a great evening we have just spent.

Vienna D’Amato Hall

Vienna D’Amato Hall

Vienna D’Amato Hall – Artist Profile

There is something in Vienna’s sound that makes you believe that she is already inscribed in the Hall of Music fame and its tapestry in Time. Her voice has a natural sensuality that accompanies music as if it were its confident. From the first song of the debut album (Song of Ruth), it is what hits you. It exudes confidence further demonstrated in songs like Dare we Dance. It surprises you with a toe-tapping head-swinging singalong but only by its own unique hand and rules, as in “Madeleine” and “Benedict”.

The arrangements and production must earn their own little mention in the way that they so well complement the voice and yet allow the song to be its own shade of light. The subtle marks of careful instrumentation here and there as we hear e.g. in We the Jailbirds just add to the overall charm exuding from the tracks. We look forward to seeing Vienna doing more production, no doubt, making an even stronger mark in refining her sound. It takes a listener

There would never be a point trying to box this artist. She wonders in the depths of her creativity with only one restraint: to be herself, express herself, never pretend. “It’s What the Dog Saw” (+~Dear Child) is the line of tracks that almost reflects her music personality: even the simple (sound) wave can hide a disruptive storm. What is most admirable about her sound, her voice, is probably its ability to exert restraint whilst roaring intensity. This demonstration is almost a summary of Vienna’s music: exquisite contradiction that takes you by the gut.

Vienna D’Amato Hall in 10 songs

  • It’s What the Dog Saw
  • King of Keys
  • Famous Blue Raincoat: A heartfelt rendition of a famous song by a fellow countryman
  • Proud
  • Joshua and Me
  • Southern Cross
  • He is a gun
  • Like a star
  • Womanhattan
  • Long Stay Hotel