Nov 2015 News Update
Sunday, November 1, 2015
The year was 1971 and I had met Miles Copeland my then manager, and record producer Derek Lawrence, famous for producing the first Deep Purple album along with two albums by Wishbone Ash. This in turn led me on to meet a man who's music and friendship changed my life. His name was Derek ( Del ) Newman, and the album was A Testament of Time for MCA records.
Del at that time was working as musical arranger for Cat Stevens now Yusuf Islam. Since that first meeting Del has worked on three of my albums. A Testament of Time already mentioned, Giltrap from 1973 for Phillips records, and the finest of course being Troubadour.
Del went on to work with the biggest names in popular music. Apart from every major album that Cat Stevens released, Elton John, ( Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) Rod Stewart, (Atlantic Crossing) Paul Simon, (Hearts and Bones) Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey, (Ride a rock Horse) George Harrison, (Dark Horse) Art Garfunkel, Barbara Dickson, Donovan, Squeeze, 10 CC, Harry Nilsson, and many more.
Del retired from the music business best part of twenty years ago, but I had hopes that this great man of music would not be forgotten. To that end being a member of BASCA - British Academy Of Songwriters Composers And Authors, I had put his name forward a few times for the coveted Gold Badge Award. Eventually the powers that be realised that he should be a recipient.
On the 13th of October at the Savoy hotel in London, Hilary and I witnessed Del along with eleven others receive this coveted award in the form of a gold tuning fork lapel badge and certificate. The other recipients among others were Peter Gabriel, Leo Sayer, Mark King and Tom Robinson.
It was lovely to see old friends like Herbie Flowers and Robin Millar and to chat briefly with Peter Gabriel and Leo Sayer, and to see my publisher Simon Platz there.
On a personal level I felt deeply honoured and privileged to have been a part of Del being recognised for his outstanding contribution to music. Del has never sought this kind of thing ( this is the man who when moving house a few years back decided to take all his gold, silver and platinum discs down to the local tip) I almost cried when he told me. Hilary and I would have loved them as a keepsake!
He also told me that he become tired with each house move of dragging around huge bundles of scores from every album he had ever worked on just in case they may have been needed for the future. They never were, so he decided to burn the lot on a huge bonfire in his garden!
The only score he has ever kept from the hundreds he had worked on was the arrangement he did of The Kerry Dancers from Troubadour. Needless to say I was very touched by that. I am very gratified that this almost forgotten genius has been remembered in his own lifetime. Thank God.
A wonderful day and a wonderful memory.
I would have never dreamed all those years ago that I would be able to do this for him. Life never ceases to amaze me with the many good things it has brought.
Thanks to Mark Allan for the two photos above, with Herbie Flowers and Hil and I.
Brian May and the H clamp
It seems my pal Brian May is enjoying using the H-clamp for acoustic guitar recording.
Read what he has to say about it on www.brianmay.com HERE
Lancaster Music Festival
Because of my current health situation any upcoming gigs have been faced with a degree of trepidation. I had my last gig of the year and the foreseeable future at the end of October.
The two nights with my friend Rick Wakeman was one such concert, this time in front of a capacity crowd at the beautiful Lancaster Priory.
I'm delighted to report ( I have said that before) that it all went really well. I felt a bit of fatigue on the first night and there were a few errors that I normally would not have made and that really annoyed me, but all in all the audience were happy and I guess that is all that really matters. The following day I had a good two hours sleep before the evening show and I think it helped.
On the second night at the end of my performance I received a standing ovation. I was deeply touched.
To spend a couple of days with the Wakeman was good and to be able to catch up on health and family news is always a good thing. Ironically we didn't really do much music chat... funny that!
On the Saturday two dear old pals turned up Mick Doyle and Michele, who thoroughly enjoyed the show and Michele was pleased to meet Rick afterwards and get her photo taken with him. Rick is great like that and has always been accessible to his fans. Needless to say his performance and piano playing were breath-taking. He truly is a music legend and national treasure. His performance was centred around the superb Priory Choristers, and for me the magic moments were with Lizee their soloist. Beautiful moments indeed.
My thanks go to Paul, Stuart and Carol who went out of their way to make us so welcome and our stay extremely pleasant.
You can read a great review of the event here: HERE
4 Parts Guitar
Our recent 4 Parts Guitar session is now featured on Bob Harris's tv channel WBBC "Under the Apple Tree"
Gedling, 24th Oct
“Good evening and welcome to my last concert of the year" You can't imagine how strange these words sounded to me when I spoke them on the 24th at All Saints Church in Gedling. But it was a fact. Because of my current health situation I can't really plan my live shows until I have had the dreaded surgery.
So it was with a degree of sadness that I stepped onto that stage, but I couldn't have wished for a finer concert to go out on, made memorable by some VERY special friends being there to share it with me.
The most special of those friends were without a doubt Sue and Mike Holton who would have driven a round trip the best part of 500 miles to be with us on the night. I can't begin to tell you how touched I was that they had made such a tremendous effort to travel up from darkest Kent to be there.
Nice to see Malc and Karen manning the merch table which looked particularly pretty with Karen's wonderful handmade jewellery.
Other dear friends were Gary Winterton along with his lovely Mum and our old friend Keith Meredith. It was Keith a few years back that commissioned me to write a piece for his beloved, that in my opinion is one of my finest: Fiona's Smile.
A special thanks must go to David Hodgkinson and his delightful family and all the helpers at the church. John my sound man for the evening was a delight to work with and reminded me so much of the great Mike Stranks in his approach and quest for audio perfection. Thanks to family Gil and Marge for their hospitality.
The concert was recorded as a fund raiser for the church and I await the CD to cherry pick the tracks to make this so. Also Sue and Mike had their camera and were filming the whole thing for possible YOUTUBE moments.
Thanks again to you all who have attended concerts throughout this year, and I'm delighted to report that I have been able to fulfil my obligations work wise since being diagnosed in June. Many thanks for all your good wishes, cards and messages...it means a lot.
As my friend Paul Brett has often said "Your health is your wealth." How true I know this to be.
Gedling – Review by Keith Meredith
All Hallows church commands a prominent position – this large and imposing edifice dates from the 11th century and is Grade 1 listed. The magnificent and noble sentinel atop the building is the second highest spire in the county. Illuminated at night, this timeless guardian drew this particular traveler from afar to a warm welcome as I anticipated what was modestly billed as “An Evening with the Legendary Gordon Giltrap.”
On arrival I noted that Malc and Kaz Welch were ably attending merchandise table duties – but it was only during the interval that I realized that Sue and Mike Holton had made the trek north to surprise Gordon. Sue was filming the concert, and cinematic images will no doubt be available hereabouts in due course. This support crew was completed and fronted by the wonderful Hilary.
When he took to the stage, our Troubadour looked rested, fresh and alert - prevailing over his current health issues – and inaugurated the entertainment with enthusiasm and passion. Perhaps because this was to be Gordon’s ultimate concert of 2015, there was something of an ‘end of term’ feeling to proceedings.
Gordon’s reminiscences from a long and successful career, his amusing banter and modest, witty, self-mocking manner quickly charmed the gathered flock of some two hundred.
A joke pre-attributed to Mr.Wakeman Senior did cause some anxiety to some present - aware of the risqué nature of some of Rick’s material – fretful as to what was about to come forth from Mr.G’s lips. Fears were unfounded, however, as the anecdote was suitable for those with an easily offended disposition. I won’t repeat the gag – surprisingly it featured Max Bygraves.
The musical component of the performance featured familiar Giltrap tunes ancient and modern – all presented by an outstanding artiste at his zenith. Included, of course, was a cracking outing for the Dodo and particularly vigorous renditions of both Heartsong and Lucifer’s Cage.
The audience, of course, showed their appreciation with gusto.
Of special note was The Lord’s Seat played on the small Viator guitar. The tone of this marvelous little instrument gave a well-known piece an additional resonance and quality that was quite delightful.
Also noteworthy was a genuine new composition – as yet untitled – that I believe possesses all the elements of a classic Giltrap piece.
According to the French polymath, Henri Poincare, “The stars are majestic laboratories - giant crucibles”. Gordon Giltrap is without doubt a star – and his productive compositional crucible has created prodigious and celebrated music for more than four decades.
This reviewer is now temporarily redundant – free to consider some more diverse superlatives for when the Legend returns and the Giltrap Chronicles continue.
CRS Book - RotherhamRocked
The Classic Rock Society
The First 18 Years
In 2009 Classic Rock Society founder Martin Hudson decided he had taken the CRS as far as he could. He co-founded the CRS back in 1991 with a meeting of classic rock fans at the Florence Nightingale pub on Moorgate Road, Rotherham.
From this came a fanzine that evolved in to an A4 sized colour glossy magazine that has included interviews with many of the world’s great rock names. The magazine continues to this day.
One such interview back in 1992 saw Martin ask world renowned rock keyboards player, Rick Wakeman, if he would become the CRS’ Honorary President to which he readily agreed. He has been part of the CRS ever since.
Other famous rock names followed by adding their names as Patrons, including Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, rock DJ Bob Harris and other rock luminaries such as Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Fish, Gordon Giltrap, Dave Greenslade, Roger Hodgson, Carl Palmer, Dave Pegg, Dave Cousins and John Wetton.
There was also that first ever concert at the Florence Nightingale when the CRS filled the venue and then went on to organise 350 concerts in the next 18 years. Those concerts continue, although in much lesser numbers and not all in Rotherham, sadly.
Those concerts included visits to ‘little’ Rotherham by Rick Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble, Steve Hackett and his band, Focus, Glenn Tilbrook, Magnum, ex-members of Whitesnake and Bad Company, Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren, It Bites, The Groundhogs, Climax Blues Band, Judie Tzuke, Sam Brown, members of Supertramp and a whole host of big name progressive rock bands from the UK and countries such as the USA, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, France, Belgium, Germany and others.
One such band with a big reputation today is Californian band Spock’s Beard and their first ever UK show was for the CRS in Rotherham.
Sadly, Rotherham never had the perfect live music venue for the CRS and so most were held at the now demolished Herringthorpe Leisure Centre, quite a few in the top hall at Oakwood School (renamed by the CRS the Oakwood Centre), some at the Montgomery Hall at Wath Upon Dearne (some are still done there) and smaller places after the Florence such as Rotherham Rugby Club and some pubs in town.
The Classic Rock Society was always up against it while trying to establish itself in Rotherham, but with the help of an army of volunteers managed to create a global business that brought rock fans to Rotherham, bringing business to the towns hotels etc..
Asia frontman and voice to such hits as ‘Heat Of The Moment’ once said that it was the Classic Rock Society that put Rotherham on the musical map while Rick Wakeman said that it was the Classic Rock Society that kick-started the progressive rock revival. It is a lot healthier today than it was back in 1991 when Martin Hudson and a group of friends started things off.
Martin Hudson’s book has been encouraged by some well-known musicians such as Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake & Palmer and a host of CRS followers.
It has been three years in the writing and tells why it happened and how it grew. Lots of anecdotes about the concerts, the interviews and how Rotherham became recognised in classic rock circles.
All profits from the book will go to Rotherham Hospice.
Order online now: www.classicrocksociety.co.uk
We now know the costs of P&P. Not cheap because the book is an inch thick.
First class UK £4.50
Second class UK £3.50
The Gordon Giltrap Collection
For those of you wanting to play my music, six new titles have been added:
A Christmas Carol
Sadie in May
Tears of Joy
By Angle Tarn
See the full list here HERE
All titles on this list come in a PDF format which includes both musical notation and Tablature.
Each PDF costs £4.50 and is available via the Lathkill Music Publishers website.
Worry not folks, I'm not taking up the banjo yet. I just wanted to share this beautifully made instrument with you. I bought it in a bad state of repair from an antique fair about three years ago and a friend kindly restored it for me.
As yet I haven’t really played it and it requires adjustment of action etc, but it does have a lovely sound. In the hands of great players the banjo is a fine sounding instrument.
Here is the makers name on this beautifully carved neck, almost sculptured. If this instrument could speak what tales would it tell?
Follow the link below if you care to because I think it makes interesting reading.
Just because I'm out of the loop performance wise doesn't mean that things have come to a grinding halt. Far from it! What this has done is to free me up for all the other projects I have been working on. More news as it comes.