General News

August 2013 News Update

August 2013 News Update
Classic Albums now available again on CD

29th July this year sees the re-release of my three classic albums from 76 to 79. Visionary, Perilous Journey, and Fear of the Dark.

Cherry Red Records who released Ravens and Lullabies have taken on the task, and Oliver Wakeman has worked on the artwork and layout of all three albums.

Many of you will remember good old Voiceprint putting out these old chestnuts quite a few years back. Having Oliver on board to do the artwork will certainly add that extra touch of class to the package, and that respected journalist Malcolm Dome interviewed me for an updated history on the writing and recording of these now classic albums.

All three releases have the already mentioned new sleeve notes plus bonus tracks, and cherry picked archive material from that period. They have all been digitally remastered to the highest standard possible.

I firmly believe that these albums represent the best re-releases I have been associated with for many years, and it is great to know that the music contained has stood the test of time. Live at Oxford will be the next re-release on 26/08/2013.

I hope these albums become a welcome addition to your GG collection, and I thank Oliver and the record company for working so hard to make this a bit special.

Merry Hell

My session for that great band Merry Hell on Thursday the 18th of July at their studio with John Kettle was a great experience for myself and the band. They sent me a song written quite a while ago by their vocalist Virginia Kettle. The song is called 'Leave a Light On', and is in my opinion one of the finest songs I have heard in many a year, and touches on the very powerful subject of missing loved ones never found, and truly touches deep emotional depths.

I felt very responsible for contributing the best I could to this outstanding song. Judging by John's reaction when I first started to lay down my initial ideas I think I got it right. The track just grew organically over the days recording, so by the time the band arrived in the evening it was pretty much there in terms of ideas.

I can't wait to hear this song when John Kettle finally completes the track.

This band apart from being a bunch of great people, deserve huge success for their talent and 100% commitment to their craft, onstage and in the studio. When the time is right I have promised to perform the piece live when the right time and venue presents itself.

Progressive Music Awards 2013 Reminder

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Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman are delighted to announce that their track – Moneyfacturing from the Ravens and Lullabies album has been nominated in the "Anthem" category of the Progressive Music Awards 2013


Prog Magazine has scoured the activity in the progressive genre for the past twelve months and come up with what they feel is a perfect representation of the top movers and shakers from which you can make your astute selections.

Winners will be announced at Kew Gardens on September 3, so if you haven't done so already, please get voting !!

Gigs of Note

Hoghton June 29th

My concert on the 29th of last month in Hoghton near Preston, was a cracker. My friend Fran Lawson put on this concert to celebrate a group of friends who were turned on to my music via the Visionary album from 76.

This concert was really a reunion event, and one I was very touched by, not least by the fact the show was a sell-out, and that I was presented with a framed presentation containing the Visionary cover and inner sleeve and a separate space for those individuals to sign their names celebrating this event.

Review by Bren

Gordon Giltrap is undoubtedly one of the best guitarists in the country as was witnessed by a sell-out audience in Hoghton on the 29th June 2013.

Playing for well over two hours Gordon revealed a rare and special gift by being able to hold a hundred people spell bound by his playing.

He is a musician that is able to weave pictures with his music. He paints pictures with notes, adds highlights with harmonics and presents it all framed with creative cadences. He introduces each piece with a witty tale from his raconteurs mind, delighting the audience with pieces such as Heartsong, The Lords Seat, Lucifer’s Cage, The Picnic and Maddie Goes West. He finished the first half with a tour-de-force performance of The Dodo's Dream which, if you have never heard it, uses over-dubbing to build up a spectacular and complex musical edifice before fading into a silence that holds the audience mesmerised.

Giltrap is one of the UK's undervalued musicians and if you've never spent an evening in his company then have a look on his website and get to the next available event. If there was a criticism it is this: Gordon Giltrap ought to have been headlining at Glastonbury and his musical gift shared with a bigger audience. Still for those who were present at St Joseph’s Parish Hall, Hoghton we were glad he was with us.

Bren wrote afterwards: I got some feedback from some of the folk that live round here and went to the gig that I thought you might like to get.
I told my mate Keith (the left handed guitarist with the Eko Ranger that couldn’t be there) that it was rubbish and he was better off in Durham. This was mainly to save him from the trauma of the truth. Unfortunately loads of people at St Joseph’s came up to him and told what a fantastic night that he had missed. He is now on the phone to the Samaritans.

One chap had a slight stroke last year and to help him get improve the slight weakness in his left hand his wife bought him a guitar. He hadn't touched it since Christmas until last Monday and because he was so inspired by your playing he thought he's have a go. He's going through Bert Weedon’s book but at least he's having a go.

Another chap said he was a bit worried about a whole evening of guitar music but then loved every minute of it and found all of it entertaining. He said each piece was of the right length and nothing became too prog-rock.

Duncan knew about your music and the evening exceeded his expectations. Frances his wife said everything was 'lovely', the music, your tales, the atmosphere everything.

The Parish Priest was there and is a harmonica player. He usually clears off after the first half (of our gigs) but he said it was so fantastic that he was captivated he couldn't resist the whole evening. Father R did say you didn't look your age and that you are a real man of art.

My Friend Alison who runs a music school in Blackburn had a fantastic night, worth every penny and it was stunning. Ben, who is a music teacher and an all-round Muso, was stumbling over his words as to how good he thought it was.

Someone couldn't believe how you got the sounds you did, or how could anyone play with that speed and accuracy.
All in all it was a great success and next time we'll fill it in half the time. You have a new bunch of fans from the home of the Sirloin!

Email from Fran

Hi Gordon and Hilary, had so much fantastic feedback from Saturdays gig already I don't know where to start, so quotes may be a good place...

"My wife and I were mesmerized..."

"Dodo's dream was worth the admission fee alone, where can I get the album"

"I'd have paid £100 for that concert...”

"The sound check was worth at least a tenner" (Bren)"

"When’s the next one, put us down for tickets"

"This was very, very  special please thank Gordon if you get a chance"

"2 hours of sheer brilliance"

"I know I shouldn't have but sometimes I just closed my eyes so I could hear better. (I know what she means)

All the people back at mine were so surprised to see Gordon walk through the door, it was such great ending to a great night, I know we probably kept you both up longer than you had planned, we all had a fantastic time chatting about everything, mainly music have to admit,

So on behalf of all those from back in 1976 brought together again by Gordon's music, and of course Bren and myself, thank you both ever so much, it was a really special night, hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we all did.

Little did I know that all these years on that recording would have meant so much to these lovely people. To Fran, Bren and all who made this evening so special I thank you.

Dent Beer Festival June 30th

This concert followed on perfectly from my gig in Hoghton, and was equally as enjoyable as the first time I played in this beautiful part of the world. Great to see our dear pal Madeline Martyn in attendance. Many of you will know that Madeline is of course Maddie of 'Maddie goes West' fame. I sincerely hope the festival require my services again, as it was great fun, especially being met by a tractor to transport my equipment from the car park to the performance area at the bottom of the field!

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Huntingdon Hall July 5th

What can one say about a venue that has been so important to me over the years! Great venue, great sound, well attended by friends and fans alike. I love it there. Great to see my agent Sue Webster at the hall to help out in any way she can with making the show run as smoothly as possible!

Double Vision July 6th

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It is always great to be on stage with my dear pal Raymond Burley in our duo format of Double Vision. The concert was pretty much sold out and Ray and I soldiered on through the heat of the evening, and I have to say that bearing in mind that we hardly get the chance to play together, we did good methinks.

Lovely to see our friends Steffi and Arthur Blake who live in the next village and between them they brought along loads of new people. Our thanks to Kaz and Leigh Greenham for all their hard work in organising the event.

St Giles Hospice July 9th

Something I have kept fairly quiet about recently is my low key concerts for our local hospice St Giles. I have already done a few lunchtime acoustic spots for them, but thought it would be good to bring my full kit along, PA and all and do a proper GG concert and hopefully raise a few pounds for this worthwhile charity. This I did on Wednesday the 10th at the hospice. Over three hundred pounds was raised that afternoon, so all parties were pleased.

Little did I know that this low key in house affair would be reviewed and sent to the record company, but it was, so you can read it here.
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The Afterword  - Musings on the byways of popular culture
Submitted by SteveT

Where: St Giles Hospice, Sutton Coldfield

When: Tuesday 9th July 2013

Comment: Firstly this was not a night out but rather an afternoon bathed in beautiful warm sunshine - summer has been a long time coming but worth the wait. I saw Gordon Giltrap once - around 1976 after his piece Heartsong became a minor hit having featured as the theme music to The Holiday programme hosted by Cliff Mitchelmore. The gig was probably sandwiched between gigs by Greenslade and Gentle Giant as it was the tail end of my prog fascination.

Anyway this was a wonderful afternoon where Gordon treated us to around 90 minutes of wonderful guitar playing. Opening with Here Comes the Sun the only other cover was an expertly played Angie written by Davey Graham although familiar to me from the Bert Jansch version. The rest were his own compositions including Heartsong, a wonderful On Camber Sands and nice tune called I believe Dublin Day. He has a warm tone and a way with a tune. Been playing for over 40 years and it shows.

The audience: This was a fund raising event - many of the audience were probably unaware of his work but they were hushed and respectful during the performance and happy to engage him in conversation in the interval.

Food & drink: A cup of tea and a raffle ticket - how Rock and Roll is that?

It made me think: This is a guy with a genuine desire to do something good for his local community - playing for free with the proceeds going to the Hospice. He could easily have sold his many cd's in the interval. He resisted the temptation. What a top guy.

I shall continue to do my non-public appearances at the hospice, but I have been asked to do a public fund raising event, so watch out for that on the concerts section of the site.

Bulkington Village Hall July 13th

I just love playing at this venue because they are such a nice bunch of people who run it, and I’m always made so welcome. A goodly turnout and very enthusiastic they were bless ‘em! Good to see old friends the Adams there along with John and Frances Firth. Many of you will remember Frances as the sculptor who fashioned that bronze of me yonks ago!

Guitar of the Month

Rob Armstrong Baby Guitar

I know that this guitar has been featured in these pages before, but what makes it this significant now is the fact that after many years of playing it, I have decided to retire her. This is due to the fact that wear and tear has taken its toll and she needs a rest.

This is such a huge part of my recorded and live history! More so than many of my guitars because it has had constant use since the day its creator Rob Armstrong sold it to me.

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As you can see by the photographs it has undergone a few changes including work done by Roger Williams to actually try and get it to play in tune, which it never quite did from day one, but because I loved the sound so much I stuck with it.

There are two pearl markers on the side of the instrument to cover up where there had once been a Fishman pre amp fitted. The old machine heads were replaced quite a while ago. The sound hole was never large enough to accommodate a Rare Earth pickup, so I had to modify the current one and somehow secure it by elastic bands.

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It's creator has never volunteered to bring it back to a proper playing condition for whatever reason, and I never pushed the issue and just judged that his silence spoke volumes. To make it play the way I would want it would probably require major surgery so I can only guess as I’m not a mind reader that was the reason....who knows?

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The thing is that in spite of its shortcomings I have worked all these years within its idiosyncrasies and made it work for me, and no one ever complained about its sound or possible tuning issues.

I may resurrect it one of these days but at present this priceless instrument has been  replaced by a budget vintage travel guitar that does the job pretty well.

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So, I shall just keep this old faithful in its case and show friends from time to time. I may even offer it for sale if someone makes a really serious offer, as it would be a shame if someone else couldn't make it sing like I have over these many years.

The Picnic, Mrs Singer's Waltz, Spring Dance, The Lord's Seat and many more were written on her and for that I’m very grateful.

I have even left the tunings I used in Heathcliff on the sticky labels at the back of the guitar!