News August 15th 2015

Hello all, Welcome to the new Rab Noakes website. It’s been a while but it’s here now. I’ve had great assistance from Dave Arcari, Stephy Pordage, Richy Lamb and James Black to get this designed, built and finally, up-and-running. I’ll be continually populating it with some interesting stuff such as a guitar gallery, photos past and present, free audio, archive links and a video version of my collection of essays ‘Reunited with my luggage’. I won’t overload you, or me for that matter, with oodles of stuff in one go. It’ll build.

As an introduction let me invite you to visit the shop and help yourself to the 7 extra FREE ‘I’m walkin’ here’ tracks.

We have now set 16th October as the release date for the DoubleCD. There’ll be some shows around its launch. They are further down this missive.

The album will be distributed widely but we’ll also have a launch offer in the Rab/Neon Bandcamp site where it’ll be available for a month (from Monday October 12th – Sunday November 15th) without P&P charge – saving about £2.50.

With the encouragement of Emma Pollock we have opted for a limited edition vinyl release. The 12” LP will contain the songs from CD1. All 26 tracks will be available via an exclusive download code which is contained in each LP.


I have now also rejuvenated my facebook Rab Noakes Music page. Please visit it and leave a mark. I’ll be updating it regularly as another outlet for activities, relevant postings, free songs and other stuff.


I am delighted to say I’ve been invited to take part in a 70th birthday celebration of Neil Young curated by Roddy Hart. It’s a concert, part of True North Festival in Aberdeen. It’s at the Music Hall in Union Street on September 27th. Also taking part will be Admiral Fallow, Emma Pollock, Eddi Reader, Zervas & Pepper, Justin Currie and others.


Launch tour Dates  

6th                   Kinross                       Backstage at The Green               

13th             Stirling                         Tolbooth                                         

14th             Campbeltown              Ceol at Seafield                             

19th             Glasgow                        Cottier’s                                       

20th             Strathblane                   Village Hall                                  

27th             Arbroath                         Hospitalfield                               


There was a good response to the possibility of both ‘Your cheatin’ heart’ and the three albums appearing on CD. It’s work-in-progress. Thanks to all who responded. Frankly I wouldn’t mind a bit more response from the rights-holders as it’s proving a slow progress. I’ll let you know what’s happening.


Here are a couple of appraisals of the new album.

‘I’m Walkin Here’

Rab Noakes

Long-time Rab Noakes watchers will remember how, even as he was being feted by a series of major record companies as a songwriter himself in the 1970s, his live sets would include versions of songs that had pointed him down the songwriting and performing path.

Buddy Holly and the Crickets, particularly the Peggy Sue saga, and Bruce Phillips’ The Goodnight-Loving Trail are two examples that spring readily to mind in recalling Noakes’ onstage enthusiasm for rock ‘n’ roll and what we now call Americana.

It went deeper than that and it didn’t take any great insight to realise that the songcraft that produced Turn a Deaf Ear or Somebody Counts on Me, to name but two early Noakes songs that were picked up by other artists, had been forged through copious studies of innumerable creators of music from the previous fifty years.

CD2 and the bonus downloads that come as part of this package make this case eloquently with recordings of film soundtrack hits, affirmations of Sam Cooke, the Everlys and Elizabeth Cotten’s greatness, acknowledgements of country music and Motown’s ability to hit the popular bulls eye and proof of Noakes’ continued fascination for quality songwriting through his own contemporaries and more recent writers.

Noakes the songwriter/composer with big ears and an open heart comes roaring out of the dozen originals that make up CD1 with equal force, however. Bare lines remembered from a film or documentary resurface with whole suits of clothes stitched poetically around them in the title track and Believing is Seeing, the sense of space in the latter’s arrangement matching the American west’s endless plains from which its inspiration sprang.

The blues, the Band and Buddy Holly feed into Slippin’ Away and Out of Your Sight and while one lost friend, Gerry Rafferty, is remembered in No More Time, another – Michael Marra, who is present in song on CD2 – looms for this listener in One Dog Barks. The Chinese proverb that Noakes profits from artistically here is exactly the sort of line that Marra would have pounced on as songwriting gold.

I’m Walkin’ Here doesn’t have the polished Nashville production that Noakes enjoyed on his Red Pump Special album, which was reissued in time to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2014. Therein, though, lies its charm and strength of personality. This is Noakes, the musician who picked up on skiffle’s immediacy and vibrancy, and also the sophistication that lingered below its home-made façade, singing like he means it (and he always means it) with a band that exudes the warmth and camaraderie of the Basement Tapes.

If the entirety of these thirty-three tracks (there really should be 33 and 1/3 in a collection that’s so redolent of the vinyl age and yet still so current) conveys the extended reach of Noakes’ musical appetite and admiration, from the harrowing traditional ballad The Two Sisters to the buoyant pop of (Don’t Say) Money Doesn’t Matter, then one track captures his essence as a musical enthusiast: Where Dead Voices Gather.

In three minutes and five seconds we get a picture that draws together country twang, New Orleans medicine shows and the roots of Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, and Bob Dylan as Noakes delivers a raw, emphatic subterranean homage blues to 1920s minstrel Emmett Miller.

Rob Adams

Music journalist


 ‘I’m Walkin Here’

Rab Noakes

“This is yet another stunning set of songs from Scotland’s premier singer-songwriter.
Songs full of passion, insight and wisdom, many with a ‘live’ feel, accompanied by
a hip and diverse collection of interpretations.
A masterclass in how to get it right.”
Stewart Cruickshank
BBC Music Radio


 ‘I’m Walkin Here’

Rab Noakes

From the moment I put on this 2x CD album it felt ‘comfortable’. Noakes has surrounded himself with a collection of songs that suit him down to the ground and come up with one of his best albums ever. There is a pleasing assortment of styles throughout – and each track has the performer’s ‘name’ all over it. The sleevenotes themselves are a joy, revealing some of the recording techniques and why particular instruments were chosen. It’s nicely produced with some tasty playing and singing from both Rab and his guest musicians and vocalists. This has been put together in a time-honoured fashion embracing the 50s style of capturing performances – as opposed to the more usual modern methods of digital multi-layering. Whilst there are nods to the past with its mono production feel, the whole thing still sounds very ‘now’.

‘I’m Walkin Here’ is Noakes’ late in the evening by the fireside, with an old Gibson on his knee and a bunch of friends around’. It’s more than just great songs.
Martin Peirson

Cherry Burton Arts