General News

June 2014 News Update

June 2014 News Update
Hilary and I are grabbing a few days away in beautiful Weymouth whilst visiting my lovely daughter Sadie, so I’m taking this opportunity to write down a few words.


There are two more nice re-releases from Esoteric coming out shortly, Airwaves and Peacock Party. That multi-talented Oliver Wakeman has once again done a fantastic job of recreating both covers along with submitted archive stuff from me plus new interviews with Malcolm Dome, who is a veritable mine of information when it comes to classic albums by virtually anyone of note you care to mention.

The bonus tracks on Peacock Party are particularly interesting in as much as I didn't write them, BUT I sure as hell played on them! They are two songs written I believe by Shirley Roden with additional vocal on one track by none other than John Gustafson. I hadn't heard these two tracks  in over 34 years, so to hear them again was quite a revelation, particularly my crafted electric guitar parts on both titles which are, Shel-em-Nazam, and Bella Donna, both inspired directly by illustrations from the book.

Full details in the discography HERE

Heartsong 2014

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giltrap 4595

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This brand new recording of Heartsong is growing in a nice organic way with the addition of stuff as and when the circumstances present themselves, and present themselves they did BIG TIME in the form of Craig Fletcher on bass guitar and Kevin Whitehead on drums. Both men are outstanding players and long-time members of John Lees Barclay James Harvest.

Both guys showed a deep desire to be a part of this new 'historic' recording, and both did a fantastic job when myself and Paul White visited John Lees superb studio in Delph near Saddleworth at the start of May.

This is just another important ingredient in the evolution of this new 21st century version of my now classic tune. My truly heartfelt thanks go to these two new friends for the work they did on the day, and who knows where this new association will lead. Watch this space my friends!

Ravens And Lullabies Tour

Obviously much has been written about the dates with Oliver and the band, and what we have here is really just a footnote to it all without going over the top. The final gig we played was at a tiny little pub in Swindon, which in all honesty wasn't really appropriate for a band of this size with all the kit we had with extra keyboards and myself with my usual array of guitars, but given all that, the crowd were fantastic and it was to a degree quite an emotional gig to finish on, and I know in my heart that the lads enjoyed it, and if I'm honest so did I.

Because of the technical problems pretty much every night I could hardly hear myself on stage, and I was told that many times my guitar disappeared from the mix. The only way that could have been avoided was to take our own sound system around and our own sound man. Both these luxuries we couldn't afford. Given all this I think we did a damn fine job. The memory will remain, and in the words of Forrest Gump "that's all I want to say about that".


I now have a fairly (soon to be) active presence on Facebook, which will run in tandem with Twitter methinks. Everyone keeps telling me how important this social networking stuff is, so I'm going to give it my best shot.

This Month's Guitars

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giltrap 4595

I'm featuring two instruments this month, a Bass and a Mandolin. I'm no mandolin player, but I was particularly drawn to this instrument when I saw it for sale on EBay. It wasn't expensive at £275, and bears the name Del Vecchio, which many of you know is the make of my treasured resonator guitar featured in these pages a while back. The guitars are particularly sought after because the late great Chet Atkins favoured them for their unique sound. Mine was a gift from my dear friend in America Paul Polycarpou.

After the mandolin arrived I did my usual thing of taking it apart and setting it up to hopefully play better, which I did, although there is still a way to go in that department. Obviously the most important thing is it's sound which I'm pleased to report is pretty good, so much so that I have already recorded with it and plan to do more in the future to justify it being there. The same thing applies to the Bass which I bought from good old JHS, and is designed along the lines of a Fender Jazz bass but a fraction of the price. Once again...delighted to report.....sounds great, plays great, records great and does the job, I love it.

I used both these instruments on a new recording project which I shall tell you about in a mo...

New Recording Project

Many of you will have heard me mention the term ‘Library Music’ in the past I'm sure. Library music is material specially written for usage in TV ads, background music and anything else of that nature. I have been writing library music for many years now. Some of this music finds its way on to my commercially released albums, pieces like Brutus which was used for World Bowls, and other pieces like Appalachian Dreaming have made their way on to our TV screens in the past, along with Deco Echo, and many more.

Over the past few months I have been involved in a new and interesting collaboration with a guy called Chris McCormack, who is one of the leading writers of library music using purely samples and all sorts of electronic wizardry to create some truly beautiful, and unique music. Chris spent many years in the dance music area of the business, and was even sampled by Fat Boy Slim!

John Wraight, the man responsible for getting us together wanted something truly unique, and his idea was for me to submits a whole bunch of different ideas and give them to Chris to weave his magic. The end result is truly fascinating. Basically he has taken these raw guitar tracks and done all manner of interesting things to them. Cut them up, time stretched them, taken them down several octaves, up several octaves, put them through filters, created new rhythm patterns with them, etc etc.

The end result is what I can only describe as ‘New Music’ which could be used for all sorts of things, even film music. John Wraight and my publishers are quietly excited by this collaboration. Those of you who love the old and recognisable GG will probably hate it. Me, I love it! Why? Because I have to a degree covered much of the solo acoustic area, and this is now something new and fresh and will hopefully lead on to greater things. I doubt you will see this as a commercial release, but that isn't its purpose. Thanks for indulging me with the explanation.

Quay Arts Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight

My first concert after the Ravens and Lullabies tour was at the Quay Arts Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight. Hilary and I love the island, and although a long way to go for a one off gig, we were able to see our friend Sue Martin in Singleton on the way through for a stop over prior to getting the Southampton ferry.

When we arrived, the first thing we did was drive to Platform One Music College for my afternoon workshop/ seminar. This was my second visit to the College, and it's always good to share what I have learnt over the past 46 years with younger students. They were lovely and very receptive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The lady who runs these seminars is married to ex Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock. I thought you might find that little snippet of information vaguely interesting!

After that it was on to the Quay to prepare for the evenings concert. The Quay is a cracking venue, but like many I have played over the years, it is in no way shape or form geared up for visiting artists. There is no separate get in, and you have park at the adjacent car park (and pay) before dragging your gear from the car into a side door then up several flights of stairs into the venue. Fortunately I had a couple of people to help. This in no way detracted from my enjoyment of playing in their cracking little theatre, which I’m delighted to report was sold out.

For me personally there were two highlights to the evening. The wonderful Karen Tweed now lives on the island, but due to ill health has had to cut back on extensive touring. Anyway bless her she bought her ticket and was in the audience, so I was able to dedicate the odd tune to her and acknowledge the fact that she was there and how happy I was to see her.

We met up briefly after the show, and the lovely Karen was looking extremely well and said how much she enjoyed the show. Let me share the text she sent me the following day. "Hi Gordon. Thank you for a truly wonderful evening. Sorry I didn't stay longer but I will be in touch shortly. You are so very inspiring on so many levels. Next time I'll get you over to Mark Hickman's, a fine luthier & old boat maker. Warmest wishes to you and Hilary. Love KT .x"

Be well Karen and we wish you much love and happiness in your new home and life on the Island.

The other highlight was seeing my old friend Colin Welfare and his lovely wife Jill. We went out for a drink afterwards at the NOISIEST wine bar imaginable, which was interesting to say the least!

All in all a lovely memory all round.

Fenny Stratford

The incredibly articulate Keith Meredith has written a nice report of my Fenny Stratford concert below. Every word is true, including the tiredness thing, which I can only put down to old age.
Fenny Stratford is a small town long ago swallowed up by Milton Keynes’s urban sprawl. A claim to fame is that, in 1890, the first successful heavy oil engine was invented and built in the workshop of one Herbert Ackroyd Stuart – the precursor to what is more commonly known as the diesel engine. It is argued that these engines could have been known as ‘Ackroyds’ if Rudolf Diesel had been less paranoid about giving other inventors due credit.

St.Martin’s church is older than it looks. The original building dates from 1730, but the church has been extended and enlarged and much of the current fabric is of the Victorian era – albeit in the Gothic style. Decorative brickworks abound the interior – the use of different coloured bricks producing pleasant patterns and designs – and the family arms of benefactors emblazon the ceiling.

Seating had been arranged in the church ‘cabaret style’ which enabled the seventy or so present to partake of the delicious buffet that had been provided as an appetizer to the evening’s entertainment.

Gordon appeared unannounced and, commencing his set with the meteorologically appropriate Here Comes The Sun, proceeded to entertain in the Giltrap manner with old and new favourites from his extensive repertoire.

Eventually the audience realised in whose great presence they were, and warmed to the Troubadours wit and charm – and came to appreciate the prestigious abilities demonstrated by his talented digits. Two ladies seated left and front even encouraged Gordon to reprise his singing career.

Of particular interest was an acoustic version of Anyone Can Fly from Ravens & Lullabies – it confused us briefly until we recognised the piece. Perhaps song sheets should be provided so the audience can all sing along???

Other highlights included: Appalachian Dreaming on the car boot guitar; Angie; the beautiful Loren; Wherever there is Beauty; a note perfect Fiona’s Smile and a flawless Dodo. All lead to a fantastic finale of Heartsong with an encore of the fast and frantic Lucifer’s Cage (which Fiona’s electronic notebook recorded as Lucifer’s Café – hooray for technology).

Before the show, Gordon had described himself as being very tired (not the exact words he used) but his performance certainly did not betray his fatigue. On the contrary, the music was well up to the usual very high standards. The energy and passion exhibited - in the final two pieces especially - prepared us well for our combat with Milton Keynes’s roundabouts on the journey home.

Acoustic Magazine

My piece in this month's ACOUSTIC magazine is that old chestnut Down the River. The theme for my column is ‘unusual tunings’ and they don't come any more unusual than the tuning that was given as a gift to me many many years ago by my friend Nev Martin. The tuning for all you guitar pickers is as follows, CGDGBA. The version I have submitted has been heavily edited to accommodate the magazines pagination, and one couldn't possibly give them the full seven minute version, as lovely as I truly think it is. I have focused on the ‘widdly twiddly’ bits that players seem to like about my playing, and that even I still find challenging.

I still keep looking for challenges in my life, but I said to Hilary recently, if I find yet one more challenge that is probably beyond me at my age, she has my permission to slap me....grin.

Edward Tudor Pole

My good friend Roger Bucknall has recently had the actor musician Edward Tudor Pole staying with him. Ed is not only a huge fan of Fylde guitars, but apparently a huge fan of me, and told Roger he thought I was the finest guitar player he had ever seen. Isn't that nice!

Archive Photo

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This photograph from about 1981 or 82 was taken I believe on stage at The Hexagon Theatre Reading. The guitar was made by Tom Mates. This twin necked guitar is a thing of beauty I'm sure you will agree. The twelve string is an Ovation, and the other guitar a hand crafted Yamaha. Wonder where they are now? In fact I can answer one of those questions. The twelve string is currently owned by Midlands entertainer, my old friend Malcolm Stent.

Wish I was that thin again!!


My good friend Stu Fields shop The Guitar Cavern-Worcester, is doing great guns these days and he has recently sold a guitar from my collection that I had a great affection for but it had to go. The Dick Knight mid 70's 12 string.

There are still a few of my instruments left for sale so do check out their cracking new website,  I must have another rummage and get more instruments to him!