November comes round again. I rather like this month. It gets the best of the winter I think, providing it stays dry which it mostly does. The frost makes its first significant appearance and, so long as you’re dressed for it, the outdoors is a pretty good place to be. In previous lives that would have been any time of day whereas now I have to admit to it being more of a daylight pastime.
Since Stephy and returned from holiday early in October we’ve been out doing a few shows and doing further work on the 70/50 in 2017 album which now boasts the working title of ‘Welcome to Anniversaryville’. There’s more to be done on the record and although it’ll have taken a while to complete there won’t have been that many days spent on it. I’ll tell you when it’s done if you like. We aim to release it on Neon somewhere about six months from now.
There are no gigs as such in November but I will be appearing in a couple of events. One of them is ‘Concert for Stewart’ a celebration of the life and interests of Stewart Cruickshank. Stewart and I spent significant years together at the BBC. This was between 1988 and 1995 when I was Department Head and Stewart was Senior Producer. The department was called Entertainment but was mostly Popular Music, everything from Take the Floor to Rock on Scotland. Not such a great leap really and all steps in between were represented. From me you can expect a couple of collaborations alongside one solo song. The cast-list is a most impressive array and I’m delighted to be a part of it. All proceeds will go to Drake Music.
The other is a fundraiser for Celtic Music Radio. CMR is a vital outlet for, and window on, a wide range of acoustic and folk-based songs and music. For this event a group has been specially assembled. We’ll be called The Marchtown Prophets for the night. The name was the brainchild of the marvellous Findlay Napier and historically relates to the part of Glasgow’s Southside where we reside. So much for the boys. There are two great women with us. One is Gillian Frame, a hightly-regarded, creative and accomplished musician, mainly on fiddle. And, last but by no means least, is the fab Jill Jackson, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader and singer of renown. I work with Jill often as you know. The four of us’ll be designing and rehearsing a one-off set for this night. Full details ie Date/Place/Tickets are further down the note.
On the subject of Stewart I prepared a wee piece relating the time I spent with him. This reached the journalist Fiona Shepherd and her pal Alison Stroak. They look after the Glasgow Music Tours and have kindly posted the piece on their blog.
Here’s the link:- https://glasgowmusiccitytours.com/blog/
Now I’m not bragging but I received, what is to me, a significant recognition in October. I was inducted into the Hands up for Trad Hall of Fame. As a ps to this note I’ve posted my acceptance paragraphs.
Here’s a link to some photographs taken on the night by Louis Decarlo:-
As Xmas approaches (did I say that out loud?) and thoughts turn to presents I’ve got one for you. Back in the early part of 1967 I was in London working in what were the last legs of my Civil Service ‘career’. At the end of ’66 I walked by a shop window on Shepherd’s Bush Green, where I shared a room at the time. In the window was an intriguing looking device, a Philips portable cassette recorder. This was new at the time and it just looked terrific. The cassettes appeared ingenious (they were) and I checked the price-tag and promised myself one as a present-to-self that approaching Xmas. I loved it and used it a lot. One use it was put to was to record me. This was achieved at my girlfriend Rena Paterson’s shared flat. She and I had met in Alloa in 1965 and we plotted to go to London in 1966. She got a job with the BBC World Service and went first. She shared a flat with three other young women who worked for the BBC. It had a great location, above a café, on Pollen Street which runs between Maddox Street and Hanover Street, parallel to Regent Street. A stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, Carnaby Street and Soho. I followed a few weeks later and, as I said, shared a room with a couple of like-minded compadres in Cromwell Grove, Shepherd’s Bush.
A bunch of recordings were made in the Pollen Street flat in early’67 with Rena holding the microphone. A few years ago she sent the cassette to me which I’d either never had a copy of or it had gone astray. I am eternally grateful to her for sending them to me as it’s good to have.
This will be called ‘Demos & Rarities Vol 3 – Bob Noakes, London 1967’.It will be available FOR FREE at www.rabnoakes.com/shop from mid-December until the end of January. Thereafter it may remain available but with a small price-tag attached.. Don’t forget the other titles, bargains and bundles available at the store particularly the most recent –
‘Bridging the Gaps’, a double CD containing 37 songs from the LPs released in 1972/1978 and 1980.It contains the 1972 album ‘Rab Noakes’ on A&M, 1978’s ‘Restless’ on Ring O’Records and the 1980 album ‘Rab Noakes’ on MCA. It’s all the original album tracks plus some bonus songs. They include a b-side which didn’t feature on an album, a version specially recorded for a single, an out-take, a rehearsal recording and a version edited and mixed for a single.
All three LPs are placed chronologically on this double-CD which totals 37 tracks.
It’s priced at £9.99 for download (full album only – a licence stipulation) and £14.99 + P&P for CDs.
There will be shows to look forward to next year 2018 including a couple of Celtic Connecrtions appearances. There is no concert of my own this year but I’m on a couple of multi-artist events. I’ll post full detail s next time.
The entire CC2018 programme and ticket access are available here: www.celticconnections.com/
I hope to see you at one or other of November’s appearances.
‘A concert for Stewart’ night is at St Luke’s Glasgow on Friday November 24th
Celtic Music Radio night with The Marchtown Prophets at The Glad Café Glasgow on Sunday November 26th
Hands up for Trad
Hall of Fame acceptance
I’m delighted to receive this illustrious recognition and honoured to be included in the Hands up for Trad Hall of Fame.
The presence of Traditional Song may not be immediately apparent in my own work but it is there, in a substantial way. My interest was always, and indeed still is, in the song. All kinds of songs.
Let me refer to the 1960s, which was a time for me, and many of my contemporaries, of following the leads given us by singers and artists we liked. A typical scenario was the way John Lennon bounced us into Bob Dylan who in turn bounced us into folk songs.
I was entranced by the cornucopia of riches that were to be discovered in folksong clubs, particularly the Scottish repertoires. I learned, and sang, many of those songs and was privileged to spend time with the older performers, those known as source-singers. These folks, women and men, were far from unsophisticated. They were accomplished artists who delivered many valuable lessons in stagecraft, as well as demonstrate how to deliver songs with poise, wit and conviction.
Those experiences made a significant impression on me which has remained a part of my creative activities ever since.
I have had occasion to reconnect with that repertoire recently in collaborative shows with Kathleen MacInnes, the Jimmy MacBeath part I have in Greg Lawson’s orchestration of ‘Grit’ and a songwriting commission for Trad’s Scotland Sings community choir project.
I am excited to find myself in this year’s distinguished company, across all the nominees.
Particularly though, it is hugely gratifying to be granted a place within the broad range of exemplary performers, across the generations, who are recognised by the vital initiative that is Hands up for Trad. Hands Up indeed.