Feb 2022 News Update
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Hilary over much of 2021 has been sorting out numerous photographs and has unearthed some gems, this being one of them from 1991 at Cropredy.
We even have almost matching leather jackets. I look like the cat who got the cream, which of course I did the day I met this gorgeous and remarkable woman.
This photo was taken only last month…I WISH!!!!
Sad news about the passing of Meatloaf.My musical partner Paul Ward told me an astonishing story about the man. The Artist John Farnham had asked Meat to do some vocals on an album he was working on. His studio was booked at the time so Paul was asked to do the session at his home studio. The only room that was right sound wise to get the right vocal sound was in Paul’s bedroom.
The great man turned up on his doorstep alone, was shown into the bedroom where a microphone and headphones were set up. He duly did the vocals and departed. Not a great deal of chat was exchanged, he came in and just did the session.
What an amazing thing to happen to have one of the world’s greatest vocalists do a superb vocal performance in one’s bedroom.
I have heard time again what a nice person he was.
May he rest in peace.
Woody Mann R.I.P
On January 29th I learnt of the death of my good friend the great guitarist Woody Mann. I have many fond memories of our time together when he was here in the UK. I shall write at length next month. In the meantime our hearts go out to his widow and family.
RIP old friend.
(photo 4th June 2012 by Ron Buck)
Ravens and Lullabies on Yes Music Podcast - Produced by Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius
They write: “This week are joined by prog aficionado, writer, publisher, compère and all-round great chap, Stephen Lambe to discuss many aspects of Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman’s album, Ravens and Lullabies.” You can listen via the link HERE
At long last people are beginning to rediscover this wonderful piece of work which showcases Oliver's immense talent as a songwriter and producer. I felt that this album was very cathartic for Oliver after being removed from Yes at that time, and the wounds were still fresh.
I believe this album went some way towards a healing process for the dear chap and I'm very proud of what we achieved. I have such fond memories of the tour we did with Barclay James Harvest.
A new 3CD box set from Oliver is coming soon, called Collaborations which includes Ravens and Lullabies. Release due on April 11, 2022 – available to pre order after Monday 31st January 2022 from Oliver Wakeman (burningshed.com)
You can read the press release on Oliver's website HERE
In the meantime, here is a fantastic pre- release video of Moneyfacturing from Oliver.
Center Parcs adventures
Between the 10th and the 14th of last month Hilary and I spent a wonderful four days with our friends Geoff and Cath Olner at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest Nottingham.
It was the most eventful four days. Read on……
Global Blake Event
I received a message from Camila Veilchen Oliveira, the beautiful Brazilian lady who interviewed me two years ago for her Master’s Degree on the work of William Blake and his influence on music in the 20th century. My Visionary album was of deep interest to her. She came all the way up from London to our Sutton Coldfield home to conduct the interview (photo attached) and we have kept in touch ever since.
Whilst at Center Parcs I received a WhatsApp message from her asking if I would be able to do a musical interlude via Zoom for a Blake conference organised by the University of Lincoln originally scheduled for 2019. Because of Covid it was postponed. It was a worldwide event entitled Global Blake, and Camila is such a lovely soul, how could I refuse? One of the Blake specialists there was apparently a big fan of Visionary.
Fortunately our pal Geoff had brought a couple of guitars with him, an FX board and an amp which allowed me to play the Echoing Green and London live via Geoff’s laptop.
I’m relieved to say I played it with as much feeling as possible and the response was beautiful. After my performance Camila said “Gordon, you made me cry. What a blessing to be your friend. I’m shaking with joy”.
Then an amazing encounter
On our last but one day at Center Parcs we went for a walk. On the path just at the top of our chalet we encountered a couple gazing intently at a map of the park detailing all the cabins. Our friend Cath being the friendly sort asked if she could help in any way. The lady said that they were looking to see what cabin to book on their next visit. She then looked at me and asked “are you a musician, the reason I ask is because you look like one” I then told her my name and she stepped back in amazement and said she had done some PR work on one of my albums, she also said she played guitar and had not only worked on my album but guitarist Snowy White’s album. Things then got even more amazing when she told me that her husband who by that time had headed off towards the village was the son of the legendary Eric Morecambe. She also confided that they were both Buddhists!
This continues to beg the question, what were the chances of meeting someone who had in the past a connection with one of my albums? She couldn’t remember exactly which one it was but I have a feeling it was Troubadour, on top of that her husband being the son of one of the great comedy figures of all time!
You just can’t make this stuff up!
Running from Home
I was listening to this track Running from Home from the 2000 Janschology CD on Christmas Day with the family, who fancied looking at “grandad” on YOUTUBE, and this item came up.
Usually with anything featuring my vocals I run a mile to avoid listening to them, but this track is the exception! Not only am I proud of the playing on this track (in fact I couldn’t improve on it even now) but the vocals are honest and unpretentious. It’s a miracle!!!
I mentioned in last month’s NEWS about my Zoom lessons so here goes.
To truly kick start the lessons I decided to give FREE half hour lessons. The end result was that I devoted quite a few days in December meeting up with some great people in the comfort of my own music room/office. The interesting thing was that the wall behind me is white and being this grey haired person that I have been for many a year now I sort of blended into the white background, so I decided to get a nice tapestry to hang behind me which has done the trick, although when I first hung it, it was too high, so I have lowered it and all is well now.
My students have been quite a cross section from established teachers to beginners but I have enjoyed teaching both. One of the most gratifying experiences was teaching a blind chap and that was a challenge but we found a way round that and all was well. The lesson was booked by one of his sons as a Christmas present! We spent the first half hour chatting about our shared history in as much as he grew up in the same part of town as I and it was real trip down memory lane for both of us both being South East London boys.
The surprising thing for me was the fact that my early albums had a profound impact on him. He even liked my vocals!!!
If anyone fancies an hour or half hour lesson with me PLEASE don’t be put off by thinking you won’t be good enough, I promise you you will and it can be great fun!
Contact Paul Roberts on 07860 648 068 or email email@example.com
I dropped in to visit the fundraising team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital recently. They told me they have 14 signed copies of the HEARTSONGS CD left in stock!
What a great way to start 2022 by purchasing a copy or two and contributing to a worthwhile charity!
If you are fans of Rick Wakeman, Brian May, Midge Ure, Steve Howe, Simon Phillips, Neil Murray, Yes, Ultravox, Toto, Black Sabbath, Queen, then this will appeal to you. All these artists and their worldwide music connections make a guest appearance on the opening track of the now classic HEARTSONG.
The album is only £10 and that includes postage and packing.
Snap up these last remaining copies by visiting their website HERE
THE CD IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MY SON JAMIE WHO PASSED AWAY FOUR YEARS AGO THIS MONTH. xx
The Long Road Home
I have been listening to this remarkable album this morning from one of the great masters of the classical guitar, my friend Raymond Burley. Anyone could say “of course you think it so, because it’s your music that being played.” This is not the case entirely.
It is because Raymond has taken these ancient tunes of mine and made them his own. Many of them were created in my open tunings and the maestro took on the monumental task of transcribing them into standard tuning, apart from a dropped D here and there. He then went on to breathe new life into them and as I said at the beginning, making them his own, and in my humble opinion improving them.
I’m deeply humbled by the whole thing which astonishingly was recorded way back in 2007. The album never achieved what it deserved at the time, and that still remains the case to this day.
If my dear pal Raymond has seen this posting I hope he can give more information as to where you can get a copy or find out where it can be downloaded.
God Bless ya Ray for creating this album all those years ago.
More Ovation updates
I promised more info on the 1981 Ovation Country Artist I bought recently. Its preamp has been fixed and back in the guitar and of course it now has strings. I have a great fondness for these guitars that did without doubt have a striking look about them, almost futuristic which they were at the time with the Lyrachord body and distinctive sound hole rosette and headstock.
When I was using these instruments back in the day, I remember a trip to Rose Morris in London who at that time were the distributors and choosing a selection of these guitars; a Pacemaker 12 string, a Glen Campbell and a Folklore along with an Ovation Breadwinner electric which I posed with for a tour brochure but never used.
Also I remember the very rude salesman saying that there was no point in asking for a discount and if you did you could p--s off! Which was of course totally out of order. I hasten to add that my lovely production company Triumvirate loaned me the money to buy them!
The demand for these instruments was such that they weren’t cheap. Everyone but everyone was using them back in the day; Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, John Williams, ABBA, Jimmie Page, Glen Campbell. So many that I really can’t remember all of them but believe me there were a lot.
Of course once Heartsong happened and my profile went up, a lot of players were buying one after seeing me play, but it has only been in later years that this was revealed to me. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the company thanked me by gifting me a beautiful Adamas that I used for quite a few years. I have a publicity photo somewhere and I’m playing it.
I think I used it on a couple of tracks on the Elegy album, but like so so many of my guitars they were sold or part exchanged for something else. Great days and great memories. I’m enclosing a pic of me taken from the Live at Oxford album where I’m trying to look mean and moody!
Well here she is fully strung and sounding glorious.
The Vintage V1700 all solid maple and spruce construction.
I’m looking forward to writing something new on this thing of beauty.