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RAY LAIDLAW REPLIES TO YOUR QUESTIONSMany thanks to Ray Laidlaw for being such a good sport and agreeing to take part in our Q & A thread here on The Official Unofficial Lindisfarne Forum.
I'm delighted to post Ray's replies here .... in no particular order.
Again, many thanks Ray.
I did attempt a beard in 1970 but the result was that any photographs of me from my unshaven days look out of focus. It’s been pointed out by those that know me intimately that I’ve got lots more hair in other parts of my body than on my face. After a few months of merciless piss taking from my extremely heavily bearded chums I saw the light, invested in a Phillishave and turned my back on the dark side.
When Alan died our world was suddenly in turmoil. We got together quickly to talk things over; I think it was within a few days of Alan’s death. Once we had made the decision to stay together we then had to decide if we should continue as a five piece or bring someone else in. The new person would need to be a great singer and musician, have a good understanding of the band’s music and most importantly, fit in socially with a bunch of people who had played together for years. It was a no-brainer; I don’t recall any other names being suggested. We called Billy, offered him the position and he accepted.
I’m absolutely convinced that there wasn’t another person alive who could have slotted into the band as easily as Billy did. He had a different approach to Alan but his interpretation of Alan’s material brought a new dimension to lots of it and invigorated our sound and performances. Within about six months it felt completely natural and I doubt very much that we could have achieved what we did in the eight years after Alan’s passing without Billy’s integrity and enthusiasm.
Early and Obscure Recordings
Re: BBC sessions etc. I know someone brought a ‘Peel Sessions’ book out a while ago but I’m not sure if there is a comprehensive list of ‘all BBC sessions’ in a book. You remarked that it was odd for Alan to only have one song featured in the Top Gear session. We did so many recording dates for the BBC that we always tried to feature something different if we could get away with it. It was the producer’s call and sometimes they preferred a little rarity rather than the hits. I’m sure the TG session was a case in point. It amazes me how we keep finding tracks that we’d forgotten about but then it was a long time ago. Billy Mitchell has just unearthed four demos for inclusion in the soon to be re-released JTL album ‘Jackpot’. Included in them is a Jack the Lad demo of Si Cowe’s ‘See How They Run’, a song that eventually turned up as a Lindisfarne b-side. I’d completely forgotten that we considered it for ‘Jackpot’. As to whether there is much left hidden away that’s worth releasing? There is still material around that may be worth consideration at some point but it’s better to attach it to a legitimate re-release in my opinion so we’ll see what manages to escape over the next couple of years.
Eight More Years
I certainly didn’t have any preconceptions as to how long the band would stay together after Alan’s death. I wasn’t sure how the fans would react to Lindisfarne without Alan, some couldn’t cope with it and to them Lindisfarne was over. Others were prepared to give it a go and fortunately for us they liked what they heard and that in turn gave us the confidence to continue. I’m glad we did, we made some great music and had lots more adventures but it certainly didn’t feel like eight years, it passed by in a flash and now its history. As my old Gran used to say, ‘memories are better than dreams’.
Finest Percussive Moment
No contest here… the pre-chorus ‘pock-pock’ on the cowbell featured on the original ‘Fog on the Tyne’. It’s been the source of much fun and piss-taking since the day we cut the track. I’m sure one day there will be a nice blue plaque erected on the outside of the Royal Festival Hall confirming that within those walls the ‘pock-pock’ was played for the very first time.
The Hull Story
Putting The Hull Story together was a fantastic experience for me and it was gratifying to know that so many people enjoyed it. It was a real treat sharing the stage with so many old friends and every performance brought something a little different to the proceedings. The sight and sound of all those folks tipping their hats would have made Alan feel very chuffed although he would probably have expected bigger hats and much more ostentatious tipping.
Everybody who was there must have their favourite moments and for me it was Kathryn Tickell, I loved the way she managed to find something new in Alan’s melodies and her Overture set the standard for the whole evening. Everyone raised their game and nobody disappointed.
I don’t think there’s a need to repeat the exercise as those that wanted to be part of it did so and the DVD is there as a testament to a brilliant evening. On the other hand, I’m sure that if enough people wanted to participate in something similar, then another concert could be staged. I don’t think I would want to be the producer if it happened again as it was a logistical nightmare and I’ve got enough grey hair already. If someone else wants to have a go then I wish them luck with it.
Why Jack The Lad?
The answer to this one relates quite a lot to the question regarding our most underrated album and my response to it. Following on from the disappointment of the supposedly under achieving ‘Dingly Dell’, we were not sure what our next move should be. The label/management was keen for us to press on regardless, mainly because our earnings were keeping Charisma afloat. Alan was suggesting that he needed some time off the road to re-kindle his song writing spark. Some of us felt we should return to America for intensive touring to really establish ourselves over there. I think the only thing we hadn’t considered was getting new management, re-negotiating our deal and taking some time off to think, write and rehearse. (Exactly what our label-mates Genesis did about a year after our crisis).
The discussions were ongoing throughout the end of 1972 and at various times we had different solutions, one of which was for Alan to retire from full-time touring to concentrate on writing and for Billy Mitchell to take his place for live work. I can’t recall the exact order of events but around Christmas 1972 Alan decided not to retire and somehow the blame for all of our problems post Dingly Dell was laid at Si’s door. Alan wanted him out of the band, citing the time Si spent tuning up on stage and other things that were irritating him. Rod and I felt that to blame Si for our current problems was not only unfair but ridiculous, we all needed to tighten up our on-stage behaviour as we had become a little sloppy and Alan was no-exception. Rod and I decided that if Si had to go, then so would we. The band decided to split in two with neither party retaining the Lindisfarne name. I then re-contacted Billy and asked him if he was interested in a new band, he said yes and JTL was born.
With the benefit of hindsight our actions could have been seen as naive. Despite our internal differences Lindisfarne had a hell of a lot going for it. If the original Lindisfarne had stayed together I’m sure we could have ironed out the difficulties eventually and gone on to capitalise on our great start in the USA and turned the band in to a huge international success. However, the initial solution suggested by Alan was very unfair and Rod and I couldn’t have gone along with it so rather that get into protracted negotiations we jumped ship and probably waved goodbye to a lot of money.
At that time, Alan and I had a perfectly cordial relationship about everything other than his remedy for the band’s ills and when he asked me to play on the Pipedream sessions I had no hesitation in accepting. I’m glad I did, we had a ball and made a great record. As the sessions drew to a conclusion Alan asked everyone involved to join his new band, I had other plans and declined as did John Turnbull and Colin Gibson. I’m fairly certain that following the Pipedream sessions Rod, Si, Billy and I went straight into rehearsals down in Devon for what became ‘It’s Jack the Lad’. We had some great new songs and I really enjoyed the opportunity to start again and put all the bad band politics behind me.
Shortly afterwards, Alan and Jacka along with Kenny Craddock decided to retain the Lindisfarne name, recruited Charlie Harcourt, Tommy Duffy and Paul Nichols and became the MK 2’s. Billy and I always had a good relationship with all of them and we often met for beers or turned up at each others gigs. For the first year or so Rod and Si were a little more reserved when it came to inter-band socialising which is fair enough, Si had been seen as dispensable and Rod got both barrels from Alan via the lyrics of Blue Murder. Between 1973 and 1976, the MK 2’s and JTL made some great music, had a lot of fun and made many friends around the world. As a bonus I still got to play on Alan’s solo albums so by and large everything turned out OK. For the record, Alan later regretted what he’d said about Si and admitted that he’d been over the top with his criticism. In the early nineties when Si left the band for the second time, Alan was quite choked and often remarked on how much he missed his little pal.
Memories of Leeds
I’ve had loads of great gigs, nights out and general good times in Leeds. I suppose the two most memorable performances were the first UK gig with Jack the Lad and the opening night of the Lindisfarne comeback tour in 1978.
Jack the Lad’s debut was in Switzerland, promoted by our pal Dick Whitman, but that’s another story. The first UK gig was in a converted tram shed in Leeds called the Queen’s Hall. We were on a mixed bill with another two or three bands, I can’t remember all of them but Hawkwind were on just before us. At the time they had a lady called Stacia who used to ‘dance’ to their space-rock in a rather provocative and suggestive manner. I don’t recall what tunes the Hawklord’s played but Stacia’s antics were of much more interest to us. She was a big powerful lass who had been known to shed some of her clothing in mid dance should the moment inspire her. As it turned out she kept her ample chest covered that night, don’t know if it was because of the extremely low temperature in the hall or irritation caused by our verbal encouragement from the wings. Either way, she didn’t get them out for the lads.
The Lindisfarne gig was a much grander affair. We opened the tour and the second chapter of the original line-up’s story at Leeds University, famous as the venue for the Who’s ‘Live at Leeds’ album. I can’t speak for everyone but I know Rod and I were a bit apprehensive. The gig was sold out and it was to be our first gig outside of the Newcastle reunions for five years. We decided that we needed a distraction in the afternoon and set off to the cinema. Great idea in principle but the film we chose was ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. By the time we got back to the venue for the sound check the combination of the film and our pre-gig nerves had taken hold and we felt the need to fortify ourselves with strong drink. I don’t now remember much at all about the show except it was absolutely rammed, boiling hot and a huge success. I’m pretty sure that Lindisfarne still hold the record for the largest ever audience at Leeds University. A short time after our gig, the capacity of the hall was cut by the safety officers and so our record breaking ticket sales can never be beaten. Another memory from Leeds University, (it may have been the same night) we used some confetti canons at one point in the show. Basically they’re metal tubes about 9 inches diameter and a foot high and closed at the bottom. An explosive maroon is placed inside and then the tube filled up with confetti. At the moment likely to cause the most dramatic effect the charge is fired, there’s a loud bang and the confetti is blasted into the air to float down over the audience. Unfortunately the practicalities of this brilliant bit of pyrotechnics hadn’t been thought through and when the charge was fired the PA wasn’t muted as it should have been. The consequence was a huge explosion amplified a hundred times over, resulting in the band, audience and crew being deafened, the speaker cones in the monitors being shredded, four windows behind the stage being blown out and Lindisfarne footing the bill. Oh happy daze.
Most Coveted Drum Chair
Regarding which drummer’s job I would covet the most. Quite a timely question, I’m writing this on the 27th May and tomorrow I’m going to see the finest rock’n’roll band of this or any other era featuring one of the most powerful drummers you will ever hear. Of course it has to be Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with the marvellous Max Weinberg in the drummer’s chair. Ever since I got my first taste of the E Street Band at Newcastle City Hall in the early eighties I have been a huge fan of Bruce and I have now seen him and the chaps around a dozen times. Every show seems better than the last and I always leave feeling it’s the most complete, exciting and exhilarating gig I’ve ever experienced.
As for the mighty Max. He can do no wrong in my eyes and observing the way he works with Bruce, never taking his eyes off him for a second and assisting him on every move in the music, is a lesson in dynamics and taste for any drummer, young or old. I’ll never get the opportunity to play with that band and to be honest I wouldn’t be up to the challenge. The brilliant thing about their shows is that I don’t need to physically play with them to be part of it. Their gigs communicate such joy and positive energy that it’s impossible to be an impartial observer, I’m in the thick of it with the band. Just me and another 50,000 people all going mental. It’s what rock’n’roll is all about and no band does it better. Broooooooce!
You ask my opinion of the work of these other chaps, here goes –
Great rock’n’roll drummer, listen to the first Beatles album. Developed a really original style in the late sixties when the Fabs became studio bound. Had a lot to do with him being left-handed and playing a right handed kit.
Him and Keith are the engine room; love his playing and his entertaining one-liners.
Good player and a nice chap, quite a laid back almost lazy feel on some tunes but he could belt it out when he needed too.
A complete one-off, nothing like him before or since. It shouldn’t really have worked but he proved everyone wrong.
Very capable but a bit too jazzy for my tastes.
You’ve snuck him in with the old chaps. Good player, met him once in Russia.
I’d like to add two or three to join Max Weinberg in my favourites list.
Levon Helm, The Band - a true original.
John Woods, The Junco Partners - my first drumming hero, still as good as ever.
Chad Wakkerman, Frank Zappa - brilliant player and even better name.
The producer’s role in putting a record together takes on many facets and in my experience they all have their own way of getting the job done. Ultimately they are responsible for delivering the finished record within the budget and hopefully with some belting tunes as a result. In our case with three and sometimes four songwriters and as many lead vocalists, it was also very important to have someone to make final decisions should there be any disagreement. I’ve collected a few thoughts about four of the chaps that helped us out over the years.
John Anthony who produced Nicely Out of Tune was a lovely bloke and did a great job, gently guiding us towards the target that we had set ourselves. Although the producer’s job involves selecting material, he pretty much went along with our choice, not a difficult task bearing in mind the quality of the songs we had available. We all felt pretty bad when he was passed over for the next album but we couldn’t miss the opportunity to work with Bob Johnson especially as his recent clients had been Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash. I spoke with John A subsequently and although he was quite hurt at losing out, he was gracious enough to admit that we would have been daft to have insisted on him for FOTT when Bob J wanted to do it.
We first met Bob in a restaurant in Soho, along with Tony Stratton Smith and Marty Machat, lawyer to Tony and Bob. He was larger than life, probably the first real Texan any of us had met. After one more meeting when he came to see a gig at the Royal Festival Hall, we all assembled at Trident Studios to commence recording. We had a load of songs rehearsed and ready but after we had played through them all for Bob he asked what else we had. We spent the rest of the day playing every song we had written, some full band, some in twos and threes and the rest as solo pieces for Alan, Rod or Si. Meanwhile Bob sat with his cowboy boots on the desk, sifting through a big bag of Mexican grass, taking the seeds out and pausing to write a yes or no next to each song title as we played it. We recorded the whole album in three or four days, he didn’t hang around.
Bob’s approach was very different to John’s, he used very little in the way of overdubs, just good tight live versions of the songs. It all sounded a little under-done to us at first but Bob knew what he was doing. Fog On The Tyne captured the very essence of the band and went on to be our biggest seller by miles.
Working with Gus Dudgeon was different again. He was meticulous about every aspect of recording and in my opinion the tracks we cut with him are the most sonically superior recordings we ever made. This was before samplers and sequencers and I spent a day and a half with him getting the drums to sound just the way he wanted them. I think I glazed over after a few hours of comparing 15 or 20 snare drums but when he had finished switching mikes and moving stuff around the results were staggering. Again this is only my opinion but I think the recordings we made with Gus are the only real pop records in Lindisfarne’s body of work. Run For Home still sounds amazing to me.
Steve Lipson was a very entertaining chap. He produced Sleepless Nights, a bit of a transitional album for us. He was a great guitar player and I think he was the first producer we worked with that was also a musician. He was prepared to take the creative process further than we had been used too and often spent the evening editing takes (the old analogue method with a razor blade) and presented us with new arrangements of tunes the next morning. He also left a two track machine running throughout every session as he maintained that the bits that musicians play between takes were often the most creative thing they did. He trawled through those tapes for snippets that could be worked up into new song ideas.
Sid Griffin was a pleasure to work with. When we planned the Neighbourhood album, we wanted a producer that was aware of our history but who would help us to move on without losing out on the essence of Lindisfarne. It was the first studio album without Alan and we were a little nervous about how it would be received. It was me that suggested Sid. I’d met him a couple of times earlier as he was an old pal of Ian Thomson’s and they’d been in bands together in the States. It was the first album the Sid had produced outside his own material and he was confronted with a problem early on when I injured my back shortly before recording was planned to start. We had a limited budget so had to make the most of the studio time so Sid and the chaps put all the tracks down with a click track and I went up a week or so later and overdubbed the drums. We had a great time working with Sid and I know he took the responsibility of delivering a great, contemporary Lindisfarne album very seriously. I think Here Comes The Neighbourhood was a bit of a milestone in Lindisfarne’s history, it was the first album to feature Rod as the main writer and Billy as the main singer and I still love it.
Song and Album Titles
Generally the writer of the song already had a title for the song. Occasionally we changed it and usually regretted it.
The album titles came from lots of sources. Fog On The Tyne was going to be Stories, Dreams and Nightmares, Alan’s idea I think but the addition of FOTT to the album made the decision for us. I think Back and Fourth was Rod’s. Amigos came quickly, I think it was a joint effort; Tales of the Riverbank was an earlier suggestion but was rejected. Sleepless Nights was Rod. Here Comes The Neighbourhood was our pal Woody. The News was a bit of a last resort, never liked it myself. Magic in the Air was a good one, again one of Alan’s lines but I can’t remember who suggested it for a title.
Tony Stratton Smith
Tony was one of a bunch of managers/label owners who lightened up the British music industry in the late 60’s and early 70’s with their charm, wit and intelligence. At that time the rock music business was in its infancy and Tony along with people like Brian Epstein, Kit Lambert and Robert Stigwood were making up the rules as they went along. Just prior to our first contact with him and Charisma we’d had a recording test for the Air Group of companies owned by George Martin. Although not a recording company as such, I presume they would have made the masters themselves and then leased them to a label. Chris Thomas, who had produced the test session at Abbey Road got back to us after a few weeks and offered us a deal but by then Charisma were beckoning. We were also offered a management deal by Chas Chandler but again, we preferred the Charisma option. Tony was a charmer, had been a sports journalist, loved opera had written Pele’s biography and a novel about nuns. A bit more interesting than your average hustler. The Charisma set-up seemed very homely and non-corporate and appealed to us a lot. From a career point of view we should have had separate management but at the time the one-stop-shop seemed simpler.
Until very recently I had always understood that Charisma’s interest in us stemmed from a meeting between Tony and Joe Robertson, one of our two Newcastle based managers. The other was Dave Wood. Joe had taken some of our demos with him when he’d met up with Strat to discuss compensation for the loss of Charlie Harcourt from his other band, the Junco Partners. Charlie had left the Juncos to join Jackson Heights, managed by Strat. Tony listened to our tape and gave us a slot on one of his Charisma nights at the Marquee. He then offered us a deal after seeing us there. Or so I believed. I hope you’re still with me, very incestuous this music biz malarkey.
I recently spent some time with Greg Burman, an old friend who as well as being the leader of the legendary Greg Burman Soul Band was also a manufacturer of guitar amps in Newcastle in the sixties. He told me the following story. When Jackson Heights were getting together, their bass player Lee Jackson (ex The Nice and a Geordie ) asked Greg to supply the band with a set of new amps. Greg went to London and had a meeting with Strat to discuss the new equipment and payment details. During the meeting Strat asked Greg what was going on in Newcastle, where there any bands worth looking at. Greg spoke about us in glowing terms and Strat arranged to fly up to Newcastle to watch us at the next available gig. A week or so later Greg picked up Strat from the airport and drove him to the Mayfair Ballroom where they watched us play a blinder and then drove him straight to the airport back for his flight home. Result; when Joe arrived with our tape a few weeks later Strat already knew all about us. He agreed to have a listen and gave us a gig knowing exactly what our potential was and subsequently negotiated a not particularly favourable deal with Joe and Dave that gave the impression he was doing them a favour. Smart cookie.
Having said all that, Strat loved Alan’s writing and the sound the band made. I’m sure he made some tactical mistakes that cost us a few quid but there’s no guarantee that we would have fared any better with other management/labels. He was one of the rock’n’roll pioneers, was extremely good company, loved life and I’m glad to have spent time with him.
It was 1977 and Alan had asked me to play on his new solo album, the one that eventually became Phantoms. As was usually the case, Kenny Craddock, Colin Gibson and Peter Kirtley were also booked to play on the sessions. As the recordings progressed Alan got more and more enthusiastic about what we were putting down and was really enjoying playing with the four of us. It got to a point where it was decided that the album would not be an Alan Hull album but a group album. This caused all manner of problems with the record company but Alan was adamant. The only complication was that Ken, Colin and Pete were already gigging as Radiator. They had a fine drummer in Terry Popple who’d played with Colin in a number of other bands. They also had a manager who owned EZ Hire, hence 24 hour access to PA, back line and crew. We decided to join forces and set about rehearsing with two drummers. I found the idea exciting; I’d seen a few bands with two kits, early Mothers of Invention, Grateful Dead and felt that as long as the drummers had a respect and understanding for each other’s playing, as well as the music they were performing, then it could be a lot of fun. I wasn’t wrong. Terry and I decided who would be the rock on each track and who would do the flowering. We arranged a few parts to play in unison but most of it was done on the spur of the moment and it felt great. We played a lot of gigs but it was mostly clubs where the economics didn’t stack up. The new-wave bands were getting all the headlines so it was hard to progress and expensive to keep on the road. Eventually Alan and I decided that our future lay back with our original band. The only downside to getting Lindisfarne back together permanently in 1978 was that Radiator had to go. The others were upset and felt we’d left them in the lurch, I know that Kenny and Terry forgave us, don’t know about the others. I still feel bad about the way it finished, it was a great band.
Most Underrated Album
I think it would have to be Dingly Dell. At the time of its release the band was extremely popular and the criticism that the album received from some quarters, although not totally unexpected, our honeymoon with the music press was coming to an end, it was a bit hard to take.
I think DD was a big step forward from the previous two albums. Up till DD nearly all the songs we recorded had been written prior to the band being successful but apart from the title track the songs where all new. It was also the second album with Bob Johnson as producer, we played more confidently in the studio and the subject matter and instrumentation of the new songs took us along some different paths.
There were three reasons why the album was considered a disappointment. Firstly, no hit single. Reason, we let our enthusiasm for one of our then current passions influence the choice of first single. Instead of releasing the obvious choice, ‘Wake Up Little Sister’ which would have been a huge seller, we put out ‘All Fall Down’, a great song pointing the finger at the Newcastle city planners. It was a really good track but nothing like as commercial as Sister and consequently didn’t make much of an impact on the charts. After that cock-up none of the other singles released from the album achieved much in the way of airplay or sales.
Secondly, the packaging. We let a second of our passions, ecological matters, dictate that the album should be issued in a jacket made of plain recycled board. Result, it looked really drab and was almost invisible in the stores when a visual presence in the displays was required.
Thirdly and most importantly. Our previous album, ‘Fog On The Tyne’ had been a huge success and had sold ridiculously well. We thought that DD was better and would sell more. Our management/record company never pointed out that FOTT was a phenomenon and it was highly unlikely that any album we released would be as successful again under any circumstances. Consequence, about a month after it’s release to primarily very good reviews, DD was considered a flop, we felt that we’d blown it and shortly afterwards the band broke up.
When I listen to DD now, I don’t feel the bad vibes that used to be associated with it. It sounds fresh, optimistic and very musical; it’s a shame that a great album became the innocent victim of the band’s inexperience and our management’s lack of balls by giving in when we spat our dummies out.
Great stuff Bob
Hopefuly we can have some more of this type of question and answer session both directly and indirectly connected with the band.
And big thank you to Ray for taking the time to answer our questions
RayI only became a fan of the band last year (I know, after they broke up!) after hearing Run for Home on the Sunday for Sammy DVD. Since then, I have become addicted to the band, listening all the time to their Greatest Hits, Time Gentleman Please and The Hull Story.
I never knew why the band split up in the 1970s so it was interesting to hear Ray's answer to that, so many thanks to Ray, and I forward calls for more Lindisfarne members to do the Q&A, preferably Billy Mitchell!
Bloomin eck, give me chance
This was an excellent piece and my thanks to Ray Laidlaw for taking the time to respond to the questions put to him.
I found his responses honest and insightful. I particularly liked the information around the 'Dingly Dell'/Jack the Lad/Radiator period and I can't recall hearing any other band member, apart from Jacka, being as forthcoming about what went on in that period and the mistakes and errors of judgement. Thanks Ray. As an artist, Jacka said he always hated the cardboard album sleeve and I agree with Ray's comments that 'Dingly Dell' was a fantastic album which circumstances at the time (not just the sleeve design) undermined.
On the subject of 'Radiator', when talking to Colin Gibson about the recording of 'Pipedream' a few years ago, I did not detect any rancour towards anyone over the reformation of Lindisfarne which killed off Radiator. Then again, CG struck me as a lovely person - a gentleman and so I can't imagine him being horrible about anyone. I still think Colin is a great bass player and I can understand why Alan wanted him on his 1970's solo work, in the Mk 2's and in Radiator. I was surprised by Ray's comment about Alan wanting Jon Turnbull to join the Mark 2's? Although he took part in the 'Pipedream' project, my impression from Kenny Craddock, Jacka and Colin Gibson is that he did not record much on the album and a lot of the lead guitar work was down to Kenny. If you listen carefully, you can easily pick out Kenny's unique style of guitar playing. Any comment on that Ray?
Big big thanks to Bob for setting this up, and to Ray for taking the time to answer the questions so fully and candidly.
Many,many thanks indeed.
Happy daze they were!!!
Many thanks for this full and frank reply.
Notwithstanding Otley B's wish, entitlement and requirement to take breath, the replies could easily be the starting point for more questions. And it's whet the appetite for similar exercises with different questioneers. It would be interesting to hear Simon's take on things, the quiet and sometimes overlooked member of the group. Absolutely no hurry, though, Bob! Have your tea first.
Yes absolutely - thanks Ray for what was a very full and detailed set of responses to a rather random set of questions! And I agree completely that it would be fantastic to repeat the performance with other band members, the mention of Si would be a really interesting and different place to start.
Without a doubt one of the most interesting set of posts ever re Lindisfarne. As a fan (albeit with record shops) who got the chance to listen to Dingly Dell pre release,(hence the order of 3000 for the Newcastle shop even though we could reorder whenever we wished), I always thought that Dingly Dell was Lindisfarne's "Sgt Pepper." All in all a superb coup for Bob's forum. Ray's memory is clearly in top form, apart from who suggested the title "Magic In The Air."
Thanks Ray for a set of extremely interesting and illuminating answers. Interesting to read about Steve Lipson and his razor blade tape editing- I think there was definitely more creativity before computers came along!
In addition to the other issues about the under-rated Dingly Dell I often wonder whether the album would have worked better if the tracks had been sequenced differently perhaps leading off with "Wake Up Little Sister" or "Court In The Act" and "Don't Ask Me" ? Nowadays shuffle play sorts any such issues but in vinyl days the first couple of tracks were often considered crucial album sellers. The placing of the instrumental "Plankton's Lament" in such a key position on the album always seemed strange to me!
All Fall DownI always thought that All Fall Down was an absolute classic, and thirty-odd years on I still can't understand why it was not a massive hit when released as a single.
That, I suppose, was the crucial event in my disillusionment with the music charts.
However, I have to agree with Derek, when I heard the album, Plankton's Lament following hot on its heels just didn't work for me, in fact, I still recall my initial sense of disappointment.