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“He’s Real Gone” is the long-awaited CD by the much loved Overend Watts, the bassist and founding member of the mighty Mott The Hoople who sadly passed away earlier this year. The CD contains eleven brand new compositions by Overend together with two cover versions plus the original demo of “Born Late ’58″ which dates back to “The Hoople” LP.
Imbued with Overend’s eccentric, warm hearted personality, “He’s Real Gone” is by turn quirky, amusing and, at times, it must be said, somewhat slightly odd. But beneath all that is a fascinating collection of songs that give you an insight into the World of Watts with wry, humorous tales of Herefordshire life, Car Boot Sales, ghosts, fishing, cups of tea in Acton and attractive young ladies in Tesco.
Musically, the album covers a wide range of styles from psychedelia (“Prawn Fire on Uncle Sheep Funnel”) to pop, rock and folk. There’s even a bit of faux jazz (Nice!) thrown in on “The Dinosaw Market.” There’s a distinct Sixties vibe to some of the songs especially on the harmonies and the jangling Byrds-like guitars. “Caribbean Hate Song” recalls Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd while “Belle of the Boot” somehow manages to sound like the love child of The Who and The Kinks.
The two cover versions included here also reflect Overend’s wide ranging love of music and his championing of less well-known acts. “Endless Night” was originally recorded by one of Overend’s favourites, the US psychedelic rock outfit the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, while “He’d Be A Diamond” written by Nick Saloman from The Bevis Frond, was covered by Teenage Fanclub, another band on who Watts was particularly keen.
Keith Smith, editor TMFH (July 2017)
It is a short set, only six songs, yet you get a good feel and sound of the band as they play blues rock set of covers and their own songs. Highlights include the slow blues burner ‘Every Little Bit Counts’ which highlights Bobby Harrison’s emotive singing and the rocking ‘Highway’, where Micky Moody plays up a storm.
Get Ready to ROCK! (July 2017)
There’s a timeless quality to his songs, anchored to Canada with a link that’s bound to stay unbroken: that’s what it’s all about for this artist. 4/5 stars
DMME.net (June 2017)
August 10th – The Musicians Club, Clyde Street, Leicester LE1 2DE
August 12th – The Golden Farm (The New Vaults) Upper Churnside, Cirencester, GL7 1AR
August 27th – The Phoenix Festival, Abbey Grounds, Cirencester GL7 2DA (Afternoon playing times TBC)
August 29th -
*JENNY DARREN & THE LADYKILLERS ALBUM LAUNCH* The Rec House, The High St, Twerton, Bath, BA2 1DQ – 8:30 -11pm
September 22nd – Somewhere Else, 65, Castle Street, Cirencester GL7 1QD
September 25th – The Robin, 20-28 Mount Pleasant, Bilston, WV14 7LJ
September 29th – The Wheatsheaf, 68 George St, Banbury, OX16 5BH
September 10th Victoria Park Festival,
Hill Avenue,Bristol BS3 4DP
October 7th Art on The Hill,
December 2nd Cafe Kino,
‘Barry Hill & Jenny Darren’
Xmas Album Launch
With The Stroud Valley Arts Band
November 9th ‘Jenny Darren’
Stroud Valley Art Space,
4 John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA
Watch Davey Dodds perform the track ‘Shoot The Gruffalo’ taken from his new album ‘Kernowcopia’ available now from Angel Air Records.
Watch Davey Dodds perform the track ‘Kick Off Your Shoes’ taken from his new album ‘Kernowcopia’ available now from Angel Air Records.
…At the end of a moving farewell tour, they decided to give a final concert at the Fiddlers Club in Bristol on December 19, 2015. That evening they were accompanied by Glenn Tommey (keyboards, vocals), old acquaintance who once played on the first album of The Korgis in 1979, Eddie John (drums) and Clare Lindley (violin, guitar, vocals)…long-time friend Mutter Slater honours the group with his presence on two titles, ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’ and ‘Slark’. Still, with the same sense of derision, Stackridge offers a festive show where good mood is in order despite a palpable emotion…
Prog Female Voices (Translated – July 2017)
This new 2CD live set was recorded at Bristol and as the title says was their ‘Final Bow’ after 45 years the band have finally called it a day. I wish them a long and happy ‘retirement’. To those of you who are familiar with their output you will find, probably, a good few favourites here, remember ‘Do The Stanley’? If you are new to the band prepare to enjoy! I found myself repeatedly going back to CD2 tracks 4-6 and just smiling the tracks in question being ‘No Ones More Important Than The Earthworm’ ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘Boots And Shoes’. ‘Earthworm’ was in fact written by Gordon Haskell (Fleur-dy-lys, Ruperts People) Gordon never became a band member but had many connections, but that’s another story! It’s just a delight of a song and a title! Those three tracks just sum up the band for me. But then there’s ‘Slark’ and ‘Dora The Female Explorer’ and…well its all just so bloody enjoyable. Its fitting this should also be Angel Airs 500th release, half a grand, but a whole grand time to be had by all. Enjoy!
ninebattles.com (July 2017)
…Mutter Slater returns to add flute to signature tune ‘Slark’, and the expansive ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’ but there are newer numbers too. A sad, beautiful farewell – but, given their past, one’s never certain that Stackridge have ever split up for good.
Record Collector (July 2017)
Andy Davis shines on so many tracks but Red Squirrel and The Final Bow glow to my ears. Of course we mustn’t forget little James Warren, who many consider to be the band’s Paul McCartney to Andy Davis’s John Lennon. Here that likeness is reinforced with sweet vocals and Beatlesque harmonies and melodic bass lines, amply showcased on Fundamentally Yours and The Last Plimsol. (And yes you do recognise James Warren’s voice – he sang lead on The Korgis worldwide smash Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.)
Both the two aforementioned songs though, first appeared on the George Martin produced The Man in the Bowler Hat, an album he held in much affection and is often considered to be one of the finest albums he produced outside of the Beatles.
In many ways the Beatles comparison is obvious and fitting, the constant need to develop and change, pulling in influences from disparate musical traditions but always remembering to write a killer tune. The difference of course is that no-one wonders why the Beatles are so under appreciated…
This parting gift is full of similar killer tunes, and after 46 years of loving them I am going to miss Stackridge live, but I have this wonderful memory of a wonderful day.
The Progressive Aspect (July 2017)
This 2-CD set captures the band at their final gig in front of a partisan and parochial audience just before Christmas 2015. Of course, we’ve had the previous live set ‘The Forbidden City’ in 2007 so this really is a gentle update as much as a poignant reminder of a great band…Fittingly, given Angel Air’s faith in the band’s more recent restoration, this is the label’s 500th release in its 20th year. Fan and manager reminiscences in the liner notes pad out an excellent souvenir. Stackridge may be history but their music lives on. ****
Get Ready to ROCK! (July 2017)
This recording of their final gig at Bristol’s Fiddlers Club marks Angel Air’s 500th album release and provides an appealing celebration of Stackridge’s quirkily melodic approach to music-making, with former frontman Mutter Slater rejoining their ranks for a couple of perennial crowd-pleasers, “Purple Spaceships Over Yatton” and the epic “Slark”.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (June 2017)
Stackridge are at the heart of Angel Air Records, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is now releasing their 500th album…The Final Bow was recorded at a packed Fiddlers Club in Bristol on December 19th 2015 as Andy Davis, James Warren, Clare Lindley, Glen Tommey and Eddie John were joined on stage by former member Mutter Slater. This double CD includes ‘Over The Horizon’, ‘Long Dark River’, ‘Fish In A Glass’, ‘Slark’, ‘Lummy Days’ and ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’.
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (May 2017)
…The Magpie is a striking song because it’s all acapella. A full band version can be found on Red Jasper’s debut album in 1990. ‘The Shaman’s Song’ has harmonica in the arrangement, which makes a positive difference to the other songs of the album. Also remarkable is ‘Merlin’s Isle Of Gramarye’…The guitar and bass guitar are in the hands of Robin Harrison, while his Red Jasper mate David Clifford is on the drums…
ProgWereld (Translated – July 2017)
Davey admits that the prog-rock thing was self-indulgence on his part but some of Red Jasper’s music remains with him and several tracks are reworked on Kernowcopia. He’s also reunited with two members of the band…
RnR Magazine (July 2017)
Dodds enjoys revisiting some emblematic titles of the Red Jasper era. ‘The Magpie’ from Sting In The Tale (1990), recently released by the folk band The Unthanks on their 2015 Mount The Air album, ‘Jean’s Tune’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1993), ‘Ship On The Sea’ and ‘The Shaman’s Song’ from The Winter’s Tale (1994) are among them.
Located at the crossroads between Jethro Tull for music and Fish for voice, Davey Dodds returns to the front of the stage primarily for his own pleasure. And that’s fine!
Prog Female Voices (June 2017)
I have always enjoyed Davey’s vocals, and the album certainly doesn’t give the impression that he has been away from the scene for so long, nor that he had to get himself a mandolin, as he is in full control, and it really was only yesterday that he was treading the boards (I commented that he didn’t seem to have changed much, and the response was “I have a painting in the attic”).
This is a truly beautiful album, and credit must be given to Derek Aunger who has worked with Davey to capture an incredible sound. The only real issue with it is that I have been playing it so much that it stopped me from listening to other material that I should have been getting on with! As to the album title, if you didn’t know, ‘Kernow’ is the Cornish name for Cornwall, so it is a play on that and “cornucopia” (an abundant supply of good things). Even though I’m from Devon, I must admit it’s not just pasties and the A38 that are the only decent things coming out from Cornwall, I’ll add this album to that incredibly small list. I love it.
MLWZ.pl (June 2017)
Often likened to Fish vocally, Dodds’ strong storytelling style comes through in this thoroughly stripped back setting where bodhran, mandolin, fiddle, tin whistle and even ‘bones’ are the backing for the vocalist to tell his tales – two of the musicians involved being Red Jasper men, Robin Harrison and David Clifford. The protagonist certainly hasn’t lost any of his acerbic edge, Dodds still turning a spotlight on what he views as social imbalances. The result is an album steeped in traditions, not just musically but also lyrically…an honest album that thrives on a clear love for the music and approach it employs.
Sea Of Tranquility (June 2017)
Dodds’ album is primarily Folk…drummer David Clifford is there on two pieces; guitarist and bassist Robin Harrison even features on “Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye”…otherwise, the album is dominated by Dodds’ vocals and mandolin with Martin Solomon’s fiddle…
Musik An Sich (Translated – June 2017)
Magnificent Cornish storytelling songs from prog rocker Davey Dodds! The best folk release of the last decade!
Keys and Chords (June 2017)
Help fund John’s surgeries and rehabilitation – Click here to donate now
DEAR LADY NHS IS A WONDERFUL INSTITUTION, BUT SHE IS CREAKING UNDER THE BURDEN OF OVERLOAD.
LIKE SO MANY OTHERS, JOHN IS WAITING FOR SURGERY.
HE HAS WAITED PATIENTLY FOR 6 MONTHS, SINCE COLLAPSING ON STAGE OCTOBER 28th 2016, AND HAS ONLY JUST BEEN PUT ON THE WAITING LIST FOR HEART SURGERY.
THE IRONY IS, WAITING TIME IS ANOTHER 6 TO 10 MONTHS FOR THE SURGERY! HE WILL HAVE WAITED 12 TO 16 MONTHS FOR THIS CORRECTIVE SURGERY.
OF COURSE, DURING THIS TIME HE HAS HAD TO CANCEL, AND TURN DOWN SHOWS, HIS LIFE BLOOD AND LIFE PASSION FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS!
IN EFFECT, HIS LIFE IS ON HOLD.
HE LIVES WITH THE THREAT OF CARDIAC ARREST, SUFFERS CONSTANT EXTREME EXHAUSTION, SHORTNESS OF BREATH, AND DIFFICULTY BREATHING, DEEP MUSCLE FATIGUE AND PAIN, NAUSEA, INSOMNIA, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, DIZZINESS, VISION PROBLEMS, PAIN ROUND THE EYES AND CHEEKS, WEIGHT GAIN, RECORDED HEART RATES UP TO 240 BPM, AND MUCH MORE, ALL RESULTING FROM HIS CONDITION, AND THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE MEDICATIONS WHICH CURRENTLY CONTROL HIS HEART FUNCTION.
JOHN IS ALSO CONCURRENTLY WAITING FOR SURGERY TO REMOVE A BENIGN TUMOUR FROM HIS RIGHT EAR CANAL, AND BECAUSE IT REQUIRES A GENERAL ANAESTHETIC, THIS HAS TO WAIT UNTIL THE HEART SURGERY HAS BEEN PERFORMED.
JOHN IS 70 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR, EVERY SECOND IS PRECIOUS TIME WHICH COULD BE SHARED WITH JOHN ON STAGE WHERE HE BELONGS, PLAYING FOR THE PEOPLE, SHARING HIS STORIES AND SONGS.
ALL MONIES RAISED BY THIS CAMPAIGN WILL BE USED TO FUND JOHN’S SURGERIES AND REHABILITATION IN PRIVATE HEALTHCARE FACILITIES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. HE IS TOTALLY POSITIVE IN SPIRITS, YET EVERY DAY HE SEES HIS LIFE SLIPPING THROUGH HIS FINGERS, UNABLE TO FUNCTION PROPERLY UNTIL THE SURGERIES AND REHABILITATION ARE DONE.
THE SURGERY WILL FIX THIS!
PLEASE NOTE, WITH YOUR BLESSING, ANY SURPLUS FUNDS WILL BE DONATED TO SIMILAR CAMPAIGNS.
WE ARE REACHING OUT URGENTLY TO YOUR HEARTS TO HELP US RELEASE THIS STRONG HEART AGAIN.
PEACE AND LOVE
…thankfully the music herein displays more creativity and imagination than the band name, as tracks like opener ‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’ and ‘Glorious One’ take obvious inspiration from McCarty’s beliefs, with much of the music on the record reflecting the peace and serenity and occasional almost trance-like feel of this philosophy…if you like those original Renaissance and Illusion templates, give this a try…it doesn’t stray to far from that template…
Classic Rock Society (July/August 2017)
It started out as a McCarty solo project – Jane Relf’s vocals are restricted to harmonies, but the dreamy, spiritual otherworldly atmosphere of Illusion remains, whether the floating soundscape of ‘Mystery Of Being’ (which turned up in a louder vein on The Yardbirds’ 2003 return ‘Birdland’), the eastern trills of ‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’ or the title track with its new age synth, this is far more than merely a casual reunion and it’s topped off with a couple of decent previously unheard tracks too.
Record Collector (July 2017)
From start to finish you are taken on a whirlwind tour of the exotic sounds and nuances of musical styles from peoples and cultures around the world. The Angel Air label’s decision to re-release this long unavailable album is to be warmly congratulated. It is captivatingly atmospheric, whisking you away to a decidedly gentler place and what feels like a much kinder space, where you can put aside the worries and complexities of the moment and enjoy the sounds of happier times.
The Progressive Aspect (May 2017)
Having recorded solo albums in the ’90s, Jim McCarty decided in 2000 to form Renaissance Illusion with his former bandmates Jane Relf, Louis Cennamo and John Hawken, who had all been with him in his bands Renaissance and Illusion, to record a new album.
That album was long out of print but now rereleased with two previously unheard bonus tracks – ‘If There Was Something I Could Change?’ and ‘Moving On’.
Bev Bevan, The Sunday Mercury (April 2017)
…meanwhile McCarty made solo albums and in an interview with Radio 68 he calls “Through The Fire” half solo, semi group. ‘Half solo’ because he wrote everything and sings most of the songs, ‘half group’ because he had, in his own words, not only the need for the talent of his old friends but also their ability to provide ‘chemistry’…The result is a piece that I would rather call spiritualistic than prog, also due to the spiritual message of McCarty’s lyrics: the imbalance in the world, the mystery of life (‘Mystery Of Being’), the importance of people with good heart (‘Good Heart’), the wisdom of the master himself (‘Glorious One’) and core elements such as karma and rebirth (‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’, ‘Through the Fire’).
Musically the group finds a nice balance between the atmosphere needed to create such a spiritualist foundation on the one hand and the needs of a progressive rock album on the other. McCarty sings the praises of Louis Cennamo and especially the classically trained pianist Hawken, who then turned a song with two chords to a charming song (‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’). ‘Good Heart’ and the two bonuses certainly provide the necessary rhythm…
Keys and Chords (Translated – April 2017)
…the surviving members of the original Renaissance line-up did reconvene three decades later to record a splendid new album in the shape of ‘Through The Fire.’ As an exercise in melodic soft-rock this tastefully constructed package was well nigh faultless, with ‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’ and ‘Mystery Of Being’ emerging as two and the stand-out tracks.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (April 2017)
As with most of this version of Renaissance (and Illusion), the basis of this album may be more song based than many will expect, memorable and gently hook laden choruses sticking long in the mind as the likes of “Good Heart”, “Glorious One” and “My Old Friend” play out. The latter a beautifully poised selection that conveys loss and time passing in a cleverly accessible manner, even as its pace refuses to rise above an engaging crawl. With “Beyond The Day” a gentle sway that incorporates pipes and whistle and “Through The Fire” almost a casual jaunt that possesses a decided glint in its eye, while this album could never be seen as anything other than reserved and controlled, it is somehow surprisingly diverse. This Angel Air reissue adds two previously unheard bonus selections in the shape of “If There Was Something I Could Change?” and “Moving On”, which thankfully don’t break the album’s spell, fitting the mood and atmosphere perfectly. As such they are both welcome additions and, rather pleasingly, just as good as anything the original release contained.
They may have been overshadowed by the band they formed and then left behind and their reappearance as Illusion. However, with this solitary album Renaissance Illusion created a worthy legacy of their own and one that in this hectic world provides an excellent opportunity to slow down and relax with some beautifully poised and memorable music.
Sea Of Tranquility (April 2017)