Can now be heard on Horseshoe Tapes page on Soundcloud
home made cassettes 1981- 1990
PRE – 1990
There were a few hundred failed songs which made their way onto a bizarre array of badly recorded cassette tapes …some of my nicer friends still have things like ‘The Sugar Eels: Six Songs’, ‘Man of Straw, Wall of Rain’, ‘The Skylarks; Skeletons on the Roundabout’, ‘Black River’, ‘Train Songs’…etc..etc. Thanks through these times to a bunch of collaborators and/or sufferers including Mike Arnold, Tim Featherstone, Tim Brown, Neal Weston, Grant, Stephe Hitchman, David Stephenson, Simon Hobbs etc.etc.
homemade cassettes 1991- 1998
‘BLACK RIVER ‘ – 1991 Horseshoe Tape (HS 001)
Black River won the John Tobler (music critic) award for worst recorded tape he’d ever received!
‘TWELVE SONGS’ – 1992 Horseshoe Tape (HS 002)
‘LAST FARMER OF RATTLEDOWN ROW’ – 1993 Horseshoe Tape (HS 003)
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 I’m the Berkshire ghost of Hank Williams 15 years later…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……
‘PILLBOX MOON’ – Songs 1994 Horseshoe Tape (HS 004)
After the disappointments of the High Priests saga and the complete rejection of the ‘Last Farmer’ tape I somehow managed to bundle a years worth of songs together. We moved to Edinburgh in August 1994 so things were a bit disjointed. Favourite songs ‘Thames Valley Boy’ and ‘Canada Geese’ – rest were a bit sad really.
‘RIVER GHOSTS & BLACK TIN BARNS‘- Songs 1995 &1996 Horseshoe Tape (HS 005 dbl.)
My ‘Edinburgh Suite’ recorded on an already ailing Fostex in a tiny third-floor flat near the Meadows. Scotland was a weird mix of the fantastic (Hamish Henderson/ Sorley Maclean, Norman MacCaig / Boys of the Lough) and the not so fantastic ( Bank temp. jobs).
Hats off to the Edinburgh Songwriters and The Shore Poets for keeping my head above the water. I like these songs -my most ‘Steve Earle’ period. Also Edinburgh Central Library had the best collection of folk/country/blues I’ve ever seen -some of that rubbed off too.
‘FARM-HAND’S RADIO”& Extras – Songs 1997 Horseshoe Tape (HS 006)
Just to confuse things even further there’s a song in here called ‘Farm-Hand’s Radio’ that has nothing to do with the poem of the same name! I liked the title so much I used it twice. There’s also a lot of farms and horses around throughout. There were some songs from the same time that are extras -including ‘Caravan Park’ and ‘Skidding on a Bend’.
After the Fostex gave up the ghost I wangled a way of recording using mikes through its mortal remains and into my cassette machine -this is the result. 12 lo-fi efforts including ‘Great Song’ which ain’t and ‘Truck in the trees’ which might be – go figure.
The whole set named after a poem – they call it recycling I believe – or I just ain’t got that much of an imagination. I’m listening to Damien Jurado’s ‘Letters and Drawings’ whilst typing this and it’s beautiful and he’s a lot better than me ..oh well….that’s life.
THE TRAILER STAR YEARS