General News

Sept 2021 News Update

Giltrap and Hat

The Best Song in the World by Giltrap and Hat

I’m so pleased to have collaborated with Nigel Bates on this magical song. Of course what IS so special is this iconic image of my late son the legendary drum and bass artist Jamie Giltrap aka TANGO.

Thanks to Paul Ward for his superb mix of the song. I used my beautiful Fylde Baby guitar for the track for all you anoraks out there!

Best Song In The World by Giltrap & Hat - DistroKid

Nigel writes: “Are you any good” was my opening line to Gordon Giltrap! He overheard a conversation I was having in my gallery about maybe putting on some shows. “I'm alright,” he said and then presented me with his card! A few months later we had a show and Gordon played a great gig in our gallery Artifex.

Since then we have become friends, collaborators, connoisseurs, promoters, fundraisers, and creative partners. My band the HaHa Hats couldn’t be much further away from Gordon's music, its electronic warped pop mostly, but we both have a love of song and atmosphere and it's to Gordon's credit he likes to experiment and take himself into another field.

For myself, I am not a musician I am not a great singer, but I love to write a song I think in song, and Gordon has encouraged this and I am eternally grateful for his support and patience.

The modestly titled “The Best Song in the World” is our first release (we hope to have an album out soon). The song is a nostalgic look back at a time when you were young at parties and certain songs meant the world to you. A song can take you straight back to a moment an atmosphere a lost world, and a DJ had the power to play that song!

Although the song wasn’t written with Gordon’s son in mind, it struck a nerve with Paul Ward who produced the song and told Gordon it reminded him of Jamie, this gave the song a new connotation and I was honoured that Gordon asked if we could use a picture of Jamie on the cover. I hope it does them both proud.

It’s been a pleasure and an inspiration to work with Gordon and Paul Ward and to have the encouragement from Mark Soden at Mirror Noir Records.

Thank you Guys

Nigel Bates

HaHa Hats

Alessandro Corvaglia new album

My Italian prog rock friend Alessandro Corvaglia has his new album released soon and I donated the track '12 Towers' for him to work his magic on and my goodness he has done a wonderful job on it with some wonderful flute playing from his beloved partner Raffaella.

I heard a few taster tracks and they sound pretty amazing. Prog appears to be pretty big in Italy and the man deserves all the success in the world for the dedication he brings to the craft. I know I sort of fall under the banner of Prog but I don’t really see myself in that way. I’m just a writer of tunes for the guitar.

Paul and I were so taken with what he had created on 12 Towers that I reckon we will use it on our next Giltrap/Ward project.

Anyway well done that man.

Alessandro sent this press release from his home in Italy:

"On September 3, 2021 "Out of the Gate", first solo album by Alessandro Corvaglia will be released. (His relationship with Gordon and musical history was mentioned in the June News).

Besides "12 Towers", the magnificent tune provided by Gordon Giltrap, it will feature a song Alessandro wrote back in 2006 as an homage to Gordon's music ("A deed within a dream") Other songs on the album represent many different life experiences, not only those personal to Alessandro but also reflecting on some current topics such as the tragedy of migrants' death on seashores ("Promised Land"), the horrors of wars hitting humanitarian structures like hospitals or aid centres ("White Ghosts"), and others travels through Alessandro's emotions. It also includes an evocative cover version of a Peter Hammill song ("Vision") which is deeply loved by Alessandro.

Alessandro says that he hopes "Out of the Gate" is something that travels through his familiar genre (Prog rock) and moves towards an easy, engaging and enjoyable listening experience for the listener.

It will be available on AMS Records website and on the most important digital retailers."

Follow these links for more information:

YouTube taster video

AMS Records website


Zoom concert report

Gordon told me that he would be honoured if I were to write a piece for his Newsletter. Typically humble and it's refreshing to know someone who has such a talent, but is still grateful and unassuming. For me, this adds another dimension to his music as I feel his warmth and kindness emanate through the chords. So, of course, for dear Gordon Giltrap, I gladly write these few words.

I first began listening to Gordon when I was in my early teens as I was learning to play the guitar. At this time I attended a concert of his and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I later purchased his album called Performance with money from a Saturday job in Woollies. I was going through a tricky time in my life and his album helped me immensely. Every night with headphones on and volume up, I was lost in his music. I listened intently to every string played, every chord and every movement. Even now I do the same.

I wrote to Gordon when Covid-19 struck the World as none of us knew what could be around the corner. I wanted to tell him what his music means to me and how it helped me all those years ago. Gordon so kindly played a private Zoom concert for myself and my husband on 13th July. What a wonderful treat that will never be forgotten. Gordon allowed us to choose what we'd like to hear and we enjoyed listening, watching, relaxing and chatting with Gordon and we also met Hilary.

For us, the 13th July has become Gordon Giltrap Day for evermore!

Thanks Gordon, you truly are the best,

love Debbie and Tim xx

Stickney Car boot sale Lincolnshire

On a recent family visit to Lincolnshire, Hilary and I attended a local car boot sale. Whilst strolling the along isles (and of course wearing my mask) I came across a chap who was displaying some very nice wristwatches. On the ground next to him was a guitar case. I enquired whether it was just a case for sale or a guitar within. He said indeed there was a guitar in there, a quite nice early 70’s Ibanez classical.

We got chatting and he was saying that he doesn’t play classical any more due to hand problems and had now gone over to playing steel string guitars, and was extolling the virtues of a high end Lowden he had recently purchased. I could tell by the conversation that he was a serous player.

The names of Williams and Bream were of course mentioned. I then asked him what steel string players he liked. His reply was “well I like Gordon Giltrap”. I was shocked and stunned and grinning like a Cheshire cat behind the mask. I was fully expecting the usual names to crop up like Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Simpson, Pierre Bensusan, Martin Taylor and more, but no, the only name he mentioned was ME!

I then went on to ask him how long he had been into Giltrap, and he said that he saw GG at a village hall some years back and also a concert in Grantham with three other guitarists (Four Parts Guitar.) By this time I was bursting to tell him that (I’m Spartacus.) When I told him he was of course shocked. Bearing in mind that I kept the mask on the entire time and he really had no idea who I was! I then gave him a GG plectrum and offered to play him something and attempted a feeble version of Maddie Goes West on this rather high auctioned classical, but it proved the point. (I told this story to my daughter Sadie who thought it was hilarious and asked if I did the big reveal. I said no because I kept the mask on all the time for obvious reasons.)

We then went on to chat about recording studios, home recording etc. He then asked me for an autograph. I of course obliged. I then asked him for an email address so we could keep in touch. The email was duly sent. He replied shortly afterwards saying lovely things about the encounter.

Obviously this whole episode was lovely for me, and I thought “gosh I really am quite well known” not really having viewed myself in that way. I promise you, I was the ONLY name he mentioned!

I have stopped believing in coincidences and firmly believe in the law of attraction and destiny because the chances of going to a remote car boot sale and experiencing the above; well you couldn’t write it and the chances are several thousand to one in my book; but that’s just me and I firmly believe it’s true and happens more and more the older I get. Certainly since 2015!

Anyway I hope the above raises a smile for you. The memory will remain for many years and will be one of those things where you look back and say ”did that really happen?”

Lincolnshire car boots are very special to Hilary and I because I first met my dear friend and musical collaborator Paul Ward at Tattershall car boot sale close to my sister in laws home in Woodhall Spa. This was around 1988. Paul and his future wife Cathryn were helping Paul’s parents sell their unwanted stuff. Hilary and I were looking at their sale items when this young chap said “has anyone ever told you that you look like GG.” The rest as they say is history. What were the chances of meeting the man who changed my life with his genius and him with my music when he was young? He has said many times that I was his biggest influence. Destiny again! How blest am I.

Comment from Paul Ward: Some things are just meant to happen.

I will never forget that day in Tattershall. At that time I thought it was just a meeting with a hero, but I now realise it was life showing me the way ahead!

Classical guitar

I bought this old BM Espana recently and it sounds really good. All laminate construction but really shouldn’t sound as fine as it does. Rich bass and trebles. I treated it to some new machine heads and of course a set-up and a new set of strings.

I have had three of these over the years and they have all sounded consistently good. It reminded me of those early Yamaha FG 180’s from the early 70’s the red label ones. They also we’re laminate and sounded fantastic. My old mate John Martyn used them and I think may have even recorded with one.

Those early red label ones are really collectible and go for a few hundred pound these days. If you can find one that hasn’t fallen apart or had a bent neck then go for it!

OBVIOUSLY none the above can be applied to my stunning Fylde’s and Vintage range, but for a beginner they are really ideal.

I recently set up a Hohner Countryman guitar for a pal. Once again all laminate construction but with a bit of tweaking it played and sounded ridiculously good.

I know what you’re thinking…This bloke should get out more or even spend more time in serious practise, but I just love trying to make these old guitars sound and play better.

What has lockdown done to me?

Bill Leader biography

For all those interested in the evolution of folk music here in the UK and the life of one of the truly unsung heroes of the acoustic folk movement Bill Leader, then this is the book for you.

The author Mike Butler kindly sent me this signed copy. It is one hell of an interesting read and a book I need to engage with sometime soon.

Many who follow my work and history will know that it was this great man who helped me beyond words in the very early days of my fledgling career. The man is a genius and a legend amongst those who know.

You can find out more by visiting

Guitar Heroes at the BBC

So there I was watching a bit of late night tv before turning in, and up comes this clip on Guitar Heroes At The BBC. I think it’s a naff title and is utter nonsense.

For a long time I found it hard to watch, but this time it felt different. The band that appeared with me were from Barnsley and Leeds. The wonderful Eddie Spence on keyboards, Graham Ward on electric guitar, Phil Walkman on bass and Graham’s younger brother Dave on drums. Many of course will know of Eddie’s superb piano playing on Tailor Bird from Peacock Party and his scintillating synth on Heartsong.

Sadly Phil has passed away but it was a great reminder of what a fine bass player he was, and what a great electric guitarist Graham was, and in general what a great all round band it was. God knows what they made of me, this emerging rock musician from the depths of the folk scene.

I got there in the end but the transition was a tad slow!

Of course when I see this young fresh faced 28 year old all I can see is my Jamie in there but with long dark hair!

Good old BBC for keeping alive the memories of a golden age in music way back then. The world has changed and so have I.

Guitar Heroes at the BBC YouTube

Guitar geek stuff

Paul Ward paid us a lovely visit a few weeks back.

Because of COVID we hadn’t seen each other for well over a year and it was truly a joy to be in his company again. He came bearing gifts.

The first one was an unwanted Hohner Countryman guitar which belonged to his nephew. It was unplayable on arrival but a few days later I put it on the work bench ( kitchen work surface) got my basic tools out and transformed it into this really nice sounding instrument that looks and plays really well for a budget guitar. Although all laminate construction it don’t sound bad at all and I recon if one placed a nice mike in front of it, the beast would record well of that I’m sure. (pictured left below)

I bought one of these yonks ago from a local charity shop for about £25 and we auctioned it off at a Tracy Sollis event. I shall dig the original pic out to show you.

First Hohner Countryman guitar

There ya go. This one was a nice cherry sunburst (pictured right above) but I don’t remember it sounding as nice as this recent one.

More guitars

This is the second guitar that Paul brought with him.

It’s an early 70s Commodore electric. I think these may have been purchased from Woolworths but can’t swear to it.

Anyway here it is in its raw state and eventually I shall take it apart and try to get it playing again, and who knows it might turn out to be a real gem.

Future Box Set

I received a call recently from my old friend Mark Cunningham who is currently working for a major label who have shown interest in releasing a bumper box set of my work from day one up to the present time. It’s still in the early stages but shall keep you posted.