The Serious Mr B-Side to Trailer Star

Category: Songwriting (Page 1 of 5)

Trailer’s Last Ride – Chalk Pit Rattle – Archive Volume 4

 

The final Archive Volume of Trailer Star recordings is now available on Bandcamp here:

https://trailerstar.bandcamp.com/

Trailer Star was my invented Late Great Country Star from 2001 when I sent a set of demos to Americana UK.

The character carried on resurrecting himself every few years and even starred in a contemporary art show as a painter in 2008 (Suit of Nettles).

He is now finally laid to rest forever and all that is left is on the bandcamp page for posterity.

Possibly the only fake artist to have a tribute to his fake self (Moon Over the Downs) Trailer lives on in the imagination and truly can never die….

 

 

Farewell then Trailer it was good to know you…

 

 

A box of songs…..Grist to the Mill

 

So there’s a box of songs…first drafts..snippets.dream written nonsense..but there is something….

After the last few years that an achievement in itself.

Without quoting Reg Dwight I still standing and maybe just maybe this time things will get better.

Fingers and toes crossed.

 

Re-Release Time: Floodplain 2000 and Last Farmer 1993 on Bandcamp

Here two re-released albums I made back in the day on a fostex or reel to reel or minidisc ( digital 2000!) .

they now free to download at Bandcamp see the players on right.

https://shaunbelcher.bandcamp.com/

 

 

https://shaunbelcher.bandcamp.com/album/last-farmer-of-rattledown-row-1993

 

1993 and I am living in London on the top floor in an Earls Court flat with Anna Fortun from Zaragoza and working at Shepherd’s Bush Housing Department
and dreaming of being Robert Forster (saw gig at Orange on August 14th 1993), Elvis Costello, Tom Russell and the Nicks.. Drake and Cave.

By September 1993 it and band The High Priests all over and I am living in Edinburgh and discover ‘alt-country and scottish folk’.

This a snapshot of a time when I thought I could be anything…sadly EMI and the rest of London at the time didn’t agree ?.

I still think I can do anything just not that often as I used to……that’s age.

 

 

Floodplain was originally the first Trailer Star release ‘Floodplain Demos’ this full version.

 

Top Ten Cassette Tapes

As part of the lockdown there been a meme on facebook of posting record sleeves.
This a variant based on old cassette tapes instead…these were my selection.

 

The Final Reckoning- Trailer Star bows out…

 

Today’s gig at Bar 71 will be more like a wake as I bring nearly 18 years of Trailer Star Productions to an end. Trailer Star was always a way of presenting my songwriting from behind a mask (or hat). I had little confidence in early days as singing and guitar playing poor (since improved on guitar). It owed much to the country music I grew up listening to and tonight’s gig will be a tribute to my Uncle Brian who inadvertantly introduced me to Townes Van Zandt at a young age and passed away recently ….

I will not be singing his favourites Crystal Chandeliers and Distant Drums but then he was always a better singer….he won a Butlins Country talent contest….

Robert, Grant and me: My Go-Betweens obsession – Floor of Wood

I always liked The Go-Betweens right from the get-go…and so did my friend Pete Astor from the Loft, the Weather Prophets. In fact the first time I saw them we went together to what was then called The Rock Garden in London’s Covent Garden before it became fancy dan town. They were supporting The Laughing Clowns who were also great.

As you can see from pics below I started collecting everything they did. Recently a neighbour went to Australia and pointed me at the Right Here: Go-Betweens appreciation society on facebook.

This prompted me to revisit a 1993 recording which summed up my devotion then and now.

The songs turned into poetry and the budding songwriter became old and grey but I think this amongst my best songs and certainly the most poignant.

It describes my visit to a now derelict farm cottage near Wittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire. My childhood home when my father a farm labourer. Everything in the lyrics is true.

It originally was released as a cassette tape here the original description and cover…

‘LAST FARMER OF RATTLEDOWN ROW’ – 1993 Horseshoe Tape (HS 003)

The story behind the songs…

The Big Time! Moved back to London -got my Fostex working overtime ( well three out of four channels anyway) and made the tape that would ensure I’d go down as the Berkshire Hank Williams! Ended up playing some pretty ridiculous gigs with a drunken bunch of HIGH PRIESTS which gained some attention and a debut 7″(click name to see full story).

Thought I was Tom Waits/ Raymond Carver and the ghost of Old Hank Williams until I sent out the tapes to all and sundry and received just two replies from a head honcho at EMI believe it or not who said the words were good -the music and singing not -and someone at Roundtower Records who was too polite to tell me I wasn’t the next Tom Russell but who sent me some of Tom’s discs anyway (for guidance?) so that made me feel a lot better.

Guess what …I still think 26 years later that I’m the Berkshire ghost of Hank Williams…too late to stop now……………..and there’s a bloke down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis…no really he’s the spitting image……

Track ‘City of stars’ renamed ‘Big City Nights’ on re-release CD

 

My heart is buried under a floor of wood…..here the song Floor of Wood lyrics and track on Soundcloud

FLOOR OF WOOD

 

This house was built of planks ten years after the war

I spent my childhood days watching the wind blowing the straw

As the sixties twisted away and the motorways came

I would stand at the window playing with toy cars in the rain

 

This time I’m really leaving these green fields for good

But I’ll leave my heart under this floor of wood

 

Slate roof is full of holes, the walls are covered in rambling rose

Nothing lives here now but the ghosts

I push a broken door against broken plaster and ash

And watch the wind blow through windows all smashed

 

This time I’m leaving these green fields for good

But I’ll leave my heart underneath this floor of wood

 

Since I was a boy England has drifted from fields to city

All these cornfields been turned to golf courses or light industry

Plaster crumbles and dusts my shoes just like chalk

I walk away, scratches on my arm, I try to close the door.

 

This time I’m leaving these green fields for good

But I’ll leave my heart buried under this floor of wood

 

© shaun belcher – horseshoe songs 1993

 

A 1000 Birds – new song – new typewriter

 

 

I bought an old manual typewriter and thought now I had it I better write a song on it..so I did…simple really…

how to solve writers block just get away from the screen for a while 😉

Will record and place soundcloud link here later.

Inspired by Darrell Scott’s song believe it or not. ‘You’ll never leave Harlan alive’ .

I heard versions of his song by Dave Alvin, Kathy Mattea and his original version
oh my  what a song!

My Berkshire farmer’s version of same theme:-)

p.s. birds true..as a kid I saw a thousand or more Redwings launch up from a fieldside never forgot it 🙂

Oh and ice and cattle yup did that too..as a boy

 

Revamped Studio and new song

New Year, new studio..well the old Trailer Barn Studio given a dust off and a new track recorded on the trusty old TOA recorder.

 

                     

 

http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/toa-mr8t/2186

 

 

For People My Age

PEOPLE MY AGE

PEOPLE MY AGE WORRY ABOUT THINGS
WORRY ABOUT THE WEATHER, THE PRICE OF STRING
PEOPLE MY AGE KNOW THE DAYS ARE SHORT
KNOW THE ROAD LEFT IS DARK AND COLD

PEOPLE MY AGE – PEOPLE MY AGE – PEOPLE MY AGE

PEOPLE MY AGE KNOW HOW TO MAKE DO AND MEND
THERE SO MUCH PUNISHMENT THEY TAKE
PEOPLE MY AGE ARE HEADED TO THE SUN
WORRIED ABOUT THEIR PENSION AND THEIR MORTGAGES

PEOPLE MY AGE HAD A THOUSAND DREAMS
A THOUSAND THINGS THEY MEANT TO DO AND SEE
PEOPLE MY AGE KNOW IT AINT EASY
AS EASY AS IT SEEMS

PEOPLE MY AGE THINK THEYRE FOREVER YOUNG
PEOPLE MY AGE SOME ARE DEAD AND GONE
PEOPLE MY AGE THINK THEY WILL LIVE FOREVER
PEOPLE MY AGE SING AND DANCE AS ONE

PEOPLE MY AGE ARE RISING LIKE LIONS FROM SLUMBER

 

Two new guitars…..like buses

Nothing for ages then I buy two in as many weeks….

First up was the 1974 Takahuru Japanese Martin D25 copy made by a violin maker…..which I love

http://takeharuguitars.blogspot.com/2009/09/takeharu-acoustic-label_21.html

then today my lovely local second-hand shop handed me the Prudencia Saenz

https://www.guitarrasdeluthier.com/en/luthier/prudencio-saez-guitars/106

Probably a beginners or student edition. Solid spruce top looks like and laminate sides probably late 1960s early 1970s.

Later editions are all higher quality and quite a expensive mid range luthier in Spain now.

Plays well I not a classical guitarist but nice to have. I can stop buying guitars for a while now.

 

Dylan to Sinatra’s Capitol Years – a new obsession

I purchased the Dylan ‘Triplicate’ volume in the nice packaging back last year not really thinking that it would be that good but curious none the less.

Although the performances range from the stunning to the not so sublime throughout there is an obvious affection for the American Songbook which like The Great American Novel everybody knows about but nobody can quite say what it is…

Subsequently I started collecting Sinatra LPs and CDs whenever they turned up on a trawl.

Pretty quickly the obsession kicked in and I now am collecting as many Alan Dell mid 1980s vinyl copies as I can find ( in some cases Dutch copies are DMM too) but generally they in better nick than original 50s and 60s vinyl and sound better due to improved transfer of tape to vinyl.

I also started collecting the 1987-1991 Larry Walsh remastered CD transfers as they are considered (with the exception of the expensive 21 CD UK set) to be the best out there. All of this recording trivia is wonderfully explained on this website.

http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/Welcome_Sinatra_Cole.html

Even more there a handy wall-chart of the best copies too:-)

So far  have about 5 Alan Dell reissues and 6 Larry Walsh CDs from the Capitol years.

More importantly I discovering what a treasure trove of song writing they contain and my admiration or Sinatra growing daily.

e was a complex character but always like his mother a Democrat and stood up against racism and injustice whenever he saw it…sometimes as in the case of being Sammy Davis Jnrs best man when it could have harmed his career but like Chaplin he bigger than all of that.

There no place for highlights most of the albums are superb but particular stand outs are September Song on  Point of No Return his last album for Capitol and Lonesome Road off of A Swingin Affair.

The Beatles came and went and he was still singing and having hit records which shows his longevity.

I have a lot more to discover.

Here where it all started for me…Dylan ‘moidering’ one of his songs…and the original and best 🙂

 

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