updated 6.3.2008

A joyous summer it was indeed, spent frantically strumming the banjo at The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in a revival of Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend. I do hope you and your sparkling wine picnic were present. If you missed this glorious experience, I've just noticed there is a new fortnight run scheduled for early September, 2007.

I also spent a lot of time in Derbyshire, where as well as soaking up the convivial atmosphere, I was busy working with my old mate John Tams on various projects, including his third solo album, The Reckoning, released by Topic records on September 5th, 2005. JT was nominated in five categories for the BBC Radio 2 Folk/Roots Awards, which was held at The Brewery, Barbican on 6th February, and he picked up three awards, Best Singer, Best Album and Best Version of a Traditional Song for Bitter Withy, from The Reckoning: more...

We also collaborated last Autumn on music for a new production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Bill Bryden at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, some of which was recorded at Cannon Hill Studio.

JT's appreciation page is here.

Bill Bryden does not have an appreciation page, but most heartily deserves several.

On 7th December, 2005, BBC Radio 2 transmitted a tribute to The Beatles' Rubber Soul album, released 40 years ago, to which Tams and Taylor contributed a vocal, ukulele and black-and-white soundtrack version of side 2, track 2, Girl. The show was dubbed "Rubber Folk", creating visions of Morris Dancing/Pewter Tankard-Wielding Wallace & Gromit characters.

This is Now Available for your Delectation on CD - see Amazon, etc....

THE RADIO BALLADS

The Major Project, which kept us busy until March 2006, was the revisited Radio Ballads, inspired by Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Charles Parker's original cycle of song and social history programmes made between 1957 and 1964. This comprises six one-hour programmes, dealing with Steel, Shipbuilding, Foxhunting, Fairgrounds, Ireland and HIV/AIDS. The series featured fascinating and moving interviews interspersed with especially composed songs by major writers, such as Tams, Julie Matthews, Karine Polwart, Dave Burland and Jez Lowe, newly-recorded with musicians including John McCusker, Bob Fox, Chris While, Andy Cutting, Andy Seward, Martin Simpson, Barry Coope and GT.

Please look at
http://www.smoothoperations.com/radioballads.htm and http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/radioballads/2006/ for more details of this important series which was courageously produced by John Leonard. The CDs are now available.

A memorable session at Cannon Hill last year, where music for three BBC radio programmes was written, played, recorded and mixed all in the space of 16 hours, featured Fairport Convention's jazz/folk fiddler Ric Sanders, along with his other band, comprising guitarist Vo Fletcher, and long-time colleague of mine, drummer Michael (Greg) Gregory, whose (not unwelcome) kit seems to have taken up residence in the corner of the studio. Further sessions with Ric and the band are expected this autumn.

Cannon Hill Studio is situated in South-West London/Surrey, not far from Wimbledon, and is available for your private hire. Please check the Studio page and contact Graeme if you are interested.
 

I mustn't forget to mention helping out with some very interesting music written by my dear daughter, Clare, who graduated from York University having led the orchestra for her last year, and then won a place for a Post-Grad Performance course at Trinity College, Greenwich, where she ended up also as orchestra leader. She is interested in, and adept at a variety of styles, and has contributed to the forthcoming Big Sun CD and also successfuly made her debut in the West End playing jouhikko and violin in The Lord of The Rings. Of her I am, of course, mightily proud.

 

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