river ghosts

the shaun belcher songwriting archive

so far I've added songs (working backwards) from present back to 1996
so only 5 years and about five hundred songs to go...better get a scanner:-(

those titles underlined link to song archives

songwriting pre trailer star

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.

home made cassettes 1991- 1998

'BLACK RIVER ' - 1991 Horseshoe Tape (HS 001)

Black River won the John Tobler 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 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...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'.

'FLINT FIELDS' - Songs 1998 Horseshoe Tape (HS 007)

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.


CIERZO MOON - Songs 1999

FLOODPLAIN - Songs 2000