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mockinghorse

Mad as the Mist and Snow - Kenny Craddock

My copy of Kenny Craddock's excellent album Mad As The Mist And Snow has finally given up the ghost and become unplayable due to the number of plays it has received.
I've emailed the contact address given on www.kennycraddock.com a couple of times to see if it is possible to buy a new copy but I've not received a reply.
I suspect the link may be out of date as it looks like the site was set up in 2008 and may not be maintained.
Any ideas gang?
PS I'd be interested to hear what any other posters to this forum think of the album if they are lucky enough to have heard it.
Derek

Mad As The Mist And Snow

My copy has also received countless plays over the last decade and has well stood the test of time. It's a superb collection of well-produced and performed songs with "House of Love", "Watcher On The Hill" and "Shore Bride" my favourites.  

I attempted to review the album just after it was released as follows:-

Kenny Craddock has many Lindisfarne connections as Chris Groom’s excellent 1997 interviews on this site confirm.   Asked onto the City Hall stage at the December 1971 concert released on “Lindisfarne Live”, Kenny was to play an important role in many Lindisfarne and Alan Hull recordings from 1973 to 1994 using his many talents as songwriter, keyboard player, guitarist, vocalist and producer.

Recruited into Alan Hull’s band for his solo studio albums “Pipedream”, “Squire” and “Phantoms”, Kenny was still providing highly effective piano and accordion support on the live “Back to Basics” (1994).  As a member of Lindisfarne Mk.II, collaborations with long-time musical partner and bass player Colin Gibson resulted in three songs for “Roll On Ruby” (1973) and another three for “Happy Daze” (1974).  Colin joined Kenny in the short-lived band Radiator with Alan Hull, Ray Laidlaw, Peter Kirtley and Terry Popple, contributing two songs to “Isn’t It Strange” (1977).

The Hammond Organ at the end of Lindisfarne’s “Nights” (1982) is Kenny’s. A decade later he was called to produce the band’s “Elvis Lives On The Moon” album (1993), playing keyboards/guitars and co-writing three songs with Alan Hull.  That December, following Si Cowe’s departure to Canada, he joined Lindisfarne on stage for their tour with the Strawbs.

Colin Gibson plays bass and Peter Kirtley guitars on Kenny’s first solo album “Mad As The Mist And Snow”. Sadly, Kenny’s untimely death in a car accident in Portugal on 30th May 2002 (where he had moved to set up his own recording studio) means it is also his last.  Happily, it is a beautiful work and a fitting testament to this multi-talented musician.  I find myself comparing it to George Harrison’s  “Brainwashed”, also released posthumously and another uplifting album. Both CDs capture the integrity, spirit and various facets of a man and his music. Each is a sonic pleasure and a captivating memento of a unique talent.

On “Mad As The Mist And Snow”, Kenny's songwriting and arranging skills combine with his outstanding Hammond, accordion and piano work to produce a thoroughly enjoyable and varied hour of entertainment.  Kenny has written all the music and his distinctive approach colours a memorable sequence of melodies and soundscapes. His warm vocals are complemented by his multi-instrumental ability and on this album he provides not only his trademark keyboards but also acoustic/electric guitars, mandolin, ukelele, bouzouki and brass arrangements.

A company of talented musicians joins him alongside his ex-Radiator bandmates. On percussion, there’s veteran session drummer Liam Genockey (currently with Steeleye Span and, who, like Kenny, has worked with Gerry Rafferty) and African Nana Tsiboe.  Both were previously in the Pete Kirtley Band with Kenny and Colin.  

The lyrics come from a variety of sources. In 1999, Kenny was working on the Gerry Rafferty album “Another World” in Barbados when he met up with Jack Pound, who had worked with Kenny on and off over the years. Jack later agreed that he and his song-writing partner Clive Gardner would write the lyrics on Kenny’s album in return for Kenny collaborating with them on a Manchester United tribute song “Alexander the Great”!

Lawrence Bristow-Smith penned the words for “Battle Song”. The same writer/composer combination resulted in “Madeleine” on Fairport Convention’s 35th anniversary album (2001).  

Kenny had already set Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) to music for Van Morrison. The poem “Before The World Was Made” featured on Van’s “Too Long In Exile”(1993) although Georgie Fame provided the Hammond Organ for that recording.  Yeats’ three-verse “Mad As The Mist And Snow” dates from 1933, the words spurring Kenny on to an epic arrangement for the two-part centrepiece of his solo album.

Co-produced by Kenny and Harvey Summers, a stunning variety of musical arrangements complement the many different styles covered.  The funky accordion/Hammond on the upbeat opener “One Way Traffic” is followed by the atmospheric and mesmerising slow jazz-blues swing of “Man Like Me”. Here, Kenny croons 1920’s-style over his piano and Hammond with harmonica from Jem Turpin and saxophone from Tony Rico. These (along with drummer Jon Ewen who appears on the track “House of Love”) are members of Harvey’s current band Nexusspysyndicate.  There’s even a backing vocals quote from The Beatles’ “Honey Pie” as the track winds down into a lengthy coda before a final shriek from the Hammond.  

The hook, effective key changes and Hammond flourishes on the gospel-style “Watcher On The Hill” makes this one of the most commercial songs on the album. The pace slows down for he afore-mentioned “Battle Song”, a war ballad in the style of Eric Bogle with accordion enhancing the basic acoustic guitar and drums.  

In “House of Love”, Kenny’s Hammond shrieks into a minor key verse which then winds down to a rousing sing-along gospel chorus. The transition back to minor mode and the distinctive Hammond solos make this one of the album’s highlight tracks.    

The epic two-part “Mad As The Mist And Snow”, totalling over 8 minutes, develops from a multi-instrumental Oriental soundscape backing Kenny’s atmospheric vocal introduction into a lovely slow ballad. Here, jazz singer Liane Carroll supports Kenny with exquisite saxophone weaving round the vocals.  It’s a great piece of work.

“Stealin’ Time” rings the changes again, this accordion and harmonica-assisted talking-blues reminding me of Mark Knopfler. The “It’s worth it just to hear you say” section and touches of piano add a nice touch of variety to the track.  

We then move into Charlie Rich territory with an emotional country-style ballad “Folded”. Building to the chorus  “Nowhere left to go- our love has folded” and supported by the Lap Slide of Richard Brunton (who has worked with Kenny for over 20 years), this is a lovely recording.

The mood changes with the Eastern sounds, discordant chords and irregular time signatures of “Tigerlilies At Pearl Lake”. This dark arrangement contrasts effectively with the final track. A piano introduction evoking “Roll On River” or Alan’s solo “Mother Russia” is heard; Kenny’s atmospheric solo keyboard and vocal on “Shore Bride” makes a perfect album closer.            

This is a superbly crafted album with attention to musical detail, a rare commodity these days.   It grows on you each time you play it. It is so good I had to write this review- now buy it please!!  

Thanks, Kenny, for the music and to his friend Colin Gibson for overseeing the release of this fine solo album.
Craig Johnson

I'm not sure there's much I could add to Derek's fantastic review - thanks Derek for providing a few interesting snippets of information that I didn't know!

I think it's a wonderful album, and comparisons with George Harrison's 'Brainwashed' are valid. To add one other snippet, I think Kenny Craddock was booked to play on the 'All Things Must Pass' album, but got severe sunstroke not long before and had to pull out.

I've not listened to the album for a while, and it deserves many more airings than it's been given. Thanks for bringing it up - always good to be reminded of it.
StuartG

Sadly disappointing. I expected much better from someone who's contributions to Lindisfarne (and Radiator) I had rated highly. That is, with the exception of the contributions to Elvis, and album I don't rate highly at all.
Craig Johnson

I find the Elvis album very interesting. I know many people loved the Amigos recording, but I wasn't too keen on it. I found it quite basic, and wasn't impressed. So for me, Elvis was a big improvement, and songs like 'Mother Russia' and 'Soho Square' are up there for me with Hully's finest. Some songs I didn't enjoy at all, such as 'Don't Leave Me Tonight', but all in all, I enjoyed the recording a great deal.
Derek

Interesting opinions Stuart and Craig!  I really rate "Amigos" and it remains one of my favourite Lindisfarne albums. "Elvis" I find rather a downbeat album which I only really enjoy when I'm in a similar mood! I do like the title track, "Soho Square", "Demons" and "Heaven Waits". I think "Day Of The Jackal", "Mother Russia" and "Old Peculier Feeling" exist in better versions elsewhere. In particular, "Mother Russia" is performed superbly on both "Back To Basics" and on the bootleg from the 1993 Christmas tour, Kenny being prominent on both. The "Elvis" version in my opinion doesn't even run them close!

Thanks for your kind comments about my review Craig. It was written on the day in 2003 I learned it was "time gentlemen please" and Lindisfarne were to call it a day. I'd just finished the review, then went onto the message board to discoverer the bad news!
Michael

Apologies for the thread derail...

There's some great stuff on Amigos and Elvis. And some not-so-great stuff.

IMO, Elvis doesn't feel like a Lindisfarne album, something I attribute to an almost total absence of real drums. It's very sterile, but it was probably light years ahead of its time.

I'd love to hear definitive live versions of a lot of the tunes on those two albums.
Kirsty

Re: Mad as the Mist and Snow - Kenny Craddock

mockinghorse wrote:
My copy of Kenny Craddock's excellent album Mad As The Mist And Snow has finally given up the ghost and become unplayable due to the number of plays it has received.
I've emailed the contact address given on www.kennycraddock.com a couple of times to see if it is possible to buy a new copy but I've not received a reply.
I suspect the link may be out of date as it looks like the site was set up in 2008 and may not be maintained.
Any ideas gang?
PS I'd be interested to hear what any other posters to this forum think of the album if they are lucky enough to have heard it.


Ive tried searching the site also to no avail and ebay wiyth nothing
Waldo

Kenny Craddock CD

I also tried the 2008 website but sadly there is no response and I have not seen the CD for sale anywhere.
There are some good clips of Kenny on the Tube though. One I like outside the Lindy ones, is with Kenny supporting Paul Brady on the Jools Holland show. John Illsley of Dire straits on bass and the great Liam Genockey on drums. You should still be able to find it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piv3tauJo2M
Jamie Craddock

Email Address is working now

Hello,

Sorry to all with inconvenience of my late fathers website. I have spoken with the IT support behind the website and have made sure that all emails are directed to my personal email address.

So for any enquiries please reuse the email address and will be happy to answer -info@kennycraddock.com

Thanks for showing interest in Kenny's music.

All the best,

Jamie Craddock
Waldo

Mad as the mist and snow

Wow, what a turn up! Thanks for the post Jamie, and your help in getting the CD GREAT to hear from you.

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