General News

April 2024 News Update

Peter Green Albatross Man

This month's news will feature a fairly lengthy feature on my connection with the late great legendary Peter Green also there will be news on past gigs and upcoming stuff.

Peter Green

Many of you may remember that many years ago I recorded an arrangement of Peter Green's classic 'Oh Well' (to my shame). I say to my shame because as the great man said when I spent an evening with him in 1981 at an Indian Restaurant in Putney " You can't cover a classic”. And looking back of course he was right.

I have always had, like many guitarists on the planet an incredible respect for the man, not only for his astonishing blues playing and great voice but his genius songwriting and overall creativity. I was totally in awe of him.

'Man of the World', 'Green Manalishi', 'Albatross' and of course 'Oh Well'. 'Black Magic Woman', 'Need your love so bad'. All these from the pen of one man! I also thought that in our younger years we could have been brothers both having dark looks and thick wavy hair.

Of course, Peter's looks came from his Jewish ancestry and mine from my Spanish and Burmese background and who knows maybe from way back Jewish! In fact, when he and I met the first question he asked was whether I was Jewish and I replied ... "probably"

This is all leading up to the recently published definitive biography entitled Albatross Man and a section of the book that was brought to my attention because there is a photograph of a two page letter dated 1975 sent to Peter by his friend the late Duster Bennett mentioning me desiring to get in touch with him, it even contained my London telephone number at the time. My name was misspelt but no matter. Duster was tragically killed driving back from a gig and fell asleep at the wheel.

Shortly after this I did make phone contact and it was very interesting and quite revealing. He seemed very interested in the fact that I was a father of two and shared a mutual admiration for the classical guitar. He loved Segovia. He despised flashy guitar players and said that if two such players had tried to outshine each other they should be "taken out and shot".

We did eventually meet up at the aforementioned Putney restaurant. I can still remember him sitting opposite me at the table gazing intensely at me saying that sadly he once had hair like mine. He obviously wasn't the handsome guitar God that he once was in the early days and had suffered much in the ensuing years with mental illness. He was indeed a troubled soul.

It's a little-known fact that the main reason I signed with the PVK record label in 1980 was because Peter had signed with them and because of that I may at long last have had a chance of meeting him! On reflection it wasn't really the most career orientated reason for signing with a label, but the end result was the release of 'The Peacock Party' and of course I did finally meet the great Peter Green and I cherish the memory.

Recent Concert

On Saturday March 2nd I played my intimate concert in Ross on Wye with a short guitar workshop in the late afternoon. The venue was The Gateway Theatre which was a 52-seat luxury cinema which made a superb and comfortable intimate setting.

My friend Andy from Beyond the Barricade had used the venue before as the perfect workshop area. He had the vision that it would be perfect for artists who like that intimate setting, and I was the first to be featured there and I'm so glad he did.

Anyway, it went swimmingly well, and I do hope it blossoms into something special for future artists and someone like Carrie Martin would be perfect for it.

Well done Andy and many thanks.

Fairport Convention

I very rarely attend concerts, but my dear old friend Ric Sanders invited me to attend the band's final gig in Dudley Town. I took a friend along on the night and it was so good to witness probably the best in the business at what they do and it's great to see that they are still as superb as ever.

The founder member Simon Nicol was in fine voice and the band just delivered many of their classic songs including 'Crazy Man Michael', Ralph McTell's masterpiece 'The Hiring Fair', and 'Meet on the Ledge'. It was great to see that great drummer Dave Mattacks back in the drum seat once more.

Dave Pegg (Peggy) has got to be one of the best bass players in the business. Many will know of my long musical association with my long-time friend that demon fiddler Ric Sanders and our gigs together in the late seventies and mid-eighties and our 'One to One' album.

Ric along with the wonderful Chris Lesley complete what is probably the finest line up of all time outside of the classic line up of those heady days with Dave Swarbrick, Richard Thompson and the late Sandy Denny.

A lovely end to their annual winter tour and it was a delight to witness it.

Nick Hooper

On the 19th of last month, I spent a very pleasant morning rehearsing with my dear old friend Nick Hooper for an upcoming house concert at the tail end of this month.

It had been years since I had the pleasure of working with this giant of music. A man who has composed music for over 250 films, who is an astounding guitarist and composer and all round decent human being.

It's always a joy making music with Nick, and something truly happens when we get our guitars out and start filling the air with our own compositions and the odd Irish jig. At some point we plan to go into a studio and make a long overdue album together so watch this space!

More Nick Hooper news

18th March marked the release of an astonishing 100 Dawnings. To celebrate, we've got something truly special for you! We're delighted to be able to share with you an exclusive new interview with film composer, author and musician Nicholas Hooper as he reflects on this milestone.

Back in November 2022, Nick made the decision to start each day by spending 15 minutes creating new poetry or prose, and composing music to go with each work. In October 2023, we began releasing these publicly on our website and on social media and, since then, he's amassed a catalogue of over 6.5 hours of music that's been listened to by hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Join host Peter Baumann for a deep dive into Nick's creative process, his inspirations (including a collaboration with close friend and guitarist Gordon Giltrap in lockdown), and the spontaneous magic that guides his daily artistic ritual.

Why tune in ?

Get an inside look at Nick's innovative Dawnings project.

Uncover the stories and inspirations behind the series.

Learn what drives Nick to create something new every single day.

Discover how embracing constraints can lead to boundless creativity.

Find out what he's learned from capturing his raw and unedited creative inspiration over more than a year.

Special readings by Nick of some of the favourites from the series so far.

The grand reveal: the 100th 'Dawning'! ·

And so much more!

We hope you enjoy it.

Warm wishes,
The Wordandnote Team

Albert Lee

Having said that I rarely attend concerts, I attended two last month.. Fairport Convention and Albert Lee in Tamworth.

I have already written about the Fairport gig and here's a few words about Albert's gig.

Albert is without doubt THE finest country guitar player on the planet... fact. I have known Albert for many years now and are good friends. Albert has just turned 80 years old and is playing as brilliantly as ever. My good friend Gary Hudson treated me to tickets for the first show on his current UK tour. On Sunday March 3rd, Gary and I along with his lovely partner Lorraine arrived at the Tamworth gig.

Albert's current band are a bunch of brilliant young players who are obviously honoured to be working with this outstanding legend of country guitar. When Albert mounted the stage, he was in fine form bearing in mind that he told me after the show that he was still jetlagged and hadn't had much practice time and his fingers were quite sore.

The only downside was the sound which improved as the evening went. The main problem as far as I could see was the fact that the mixing desk was at the side of the stage and not out front making it nigh on impossible to truly hear what the balance was hence the reason why Albert's guitar was inaudible for the first few numbers which was crazy as one goes to one his concerts to hear the master playing!

What was surprising was that his classic 'Country Boy' was not in the set which was a little disappointing. As much as I love Albert's playing, I do love his singing and piano playing and when he signs the Jimmy Web classic 'The Highway Man' it just sends shivers.

I saw Albert briefly for a quick hug and hello after the show so that was nice for old time’s sake. I trust the rest of the tour went well. Albert continues to be an inspiration.

A lovely letter I received recently on Facebook

Dear Gordon,

please forgive this unsolicited message, but I really wanted to reach out.

You may or may not remember, during the (From memory) late seventies/ very early eighties you recorded a children’s theme tune for Yorkshire television, it was over a lunch hour, and I was that, star struck 18 year old recording engineer. I was already a fan, and I was completely taken a-back when our manager arrived with yourself. I had been booked but the job was undefined. I was, I remember rather nervous. Luckily for us both we had some very good period microphones Neuman U77'S etc. We recorded it straight to 1/4" as we had no multitrack in that studio also it was just one part.

I have tried to look up which children’s show it was but have failed thus far, I thought I'd write to thank you for your professionalism that day. As a very junior member of the department, I was almost overwhelmed. I have recently retired after 40 years as a dubbing mixer, mixing TV and film. I subsequently met many Hollywood A listers and all the stars of TV and film that Britian had to offer, but no one came close to impressing me as you did that day.

I play a pretty average 20's and 30's country blues, Broonzy etc but never in your league. Its lovely to see you re-appear here on FB And I hope to catch you live soon.

With my very kindest regards

Adam Severs

Thank you Adam for such a lovley letter, I hope you don't mind me making it public.

And finally… A Facebook posting by Keith Simmons

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me birthday messages. Absolutely amazing. I had a truly brilliant day. Fran took me for lunch at the Little Bull in Brenchley, Kent. Had a really great meal and then we drove round to Moatlands Manor, the place I was born many years ago.

It has been a Gentlemen's Club, a Golf Club, the Summer residence of The Lord Mayor of London and for eight years was taken over by The British Hospital for Mother's and Babies. Gordon Giltrap was born there a year after me.

It is now privately owned and, incredibly, a lovely lady called Julia Irvine, the owner, invited us in to look around. This is the original staircase. Fabulous.